Those readers who enjoyed Brian Cox's discussion of the Large Hadron Collider might also appreciate this series of videos on the nature of time. Cox has some fascinating things to say about this enigmatic, but essential part of our lives. This is part one of a six part BBC series:
Cox seems to assume that time is a part of our objective world, but what if Kant was right in saying that time was really a part of our mental apparatus and that apart from a mind, time is nothing? If Kant is correct then time is simply the way we apprehend experience. It's a subjective phenomenon. If there were no minds there'd be no time.
If this is true, though, then it follows that there really was no time before the appearance of minds in the world. There were events, of course, but they were not embedded in any time, at least not the time that our minds impose upon events.
Think of events in the history of the cosmos as frames in a strip of movie film. If we run the movie in "real time" it may take 14 billion years to view everything that occurs in it from the Big Bang to the appearance of mankind. If we speed up the film the events still all occur, and occur in the same relation to each other, but they whiz by twice as fast, or ten times as fast, or virtually instantaneously, depending on how fast we run the tape.
If all this is true then the question of the age of the earth and the age of the universe is moot. The creation event happened, the universe unfolded, and ultimately minds appeared. Those minds look back on the evidence for the evolution of the universe and conclude that had those events been observed they would have taken 14 billion years of the observer's time, but in fact, since they weren't observed (except by God), they happened virtually instantly.
Minds perceive events as forming a "time line" upon which the events reside. The line has a beginning and stretches into the indefinite future. If there were no minds, however, the totality of events would be more like a point than a line.
If time is indeed a subjective phenomenon, like our perception of color, then our sense of vast ages of time having elapsed in the "past" is simply an illusion.RLC