Is this an adequate resolution of the "paradox" of the arrow of time?

This question was closed on the grounds that it is not "mainstream physics", and I was referred to this page. That page says:

a question that proposes a new concept or paradigm, but asks for evaluation of that concept within the framework of current (mainstream) physics is OK. Similarly, a wrong answer that makes false statements but claims to work within the bounds of a mainstream theory is also allowed.

By that criterion, my question would be allowed. It did not propose a new concept or paradigm as far as I know, but it asked for evaluation of an idea within the context of mainstream physics.

  • $\begingroup$ At-tagging is not a general purpose messaging system and you shouldn't try to use it as one. None of those people have been active on this post so they won't be notified by those comments (which I'm about to delete as noise in any case). $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 10, 2016 at 19:54
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    $\begingroup$ @dmckee : All of them have been active on the post that this one asks about. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 10, 2016 at 20:56
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    $\begingroup$ I've deleted a comment in which aspersions were cast at other users on the site. That kind of thing is not in keeping with the overarching "Be nice." policy. Please keep the focus on content rather than people, folks. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 10, 2016 at 21:03
  • $\begingroup$ Michael: none-the-less the system does not let you ping them on this question. However, you can rest assured that most of the users who use their privilege of casting votes to close visit meta with some regularity and you can expect to hear from some of them You should also be aware that some of those users may have selected a different close reason as only the most popular reason is displayed. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 10, 2016 at 21:05
  • $\begingroup$ I think the question was more philosophical than physical in nature. Digging a little deeper, not having anything about CPT symmetries was disappointing, but indicative of it not being a very physics-based question. $\endgroup$
    – Jon Custer
    Commented Oct 10, 2016 at 22:37
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    $\begingroup$ Status: resolved. The question is now re-opened $\endgroup$
    – Jim
    Commented Oct 11, 2016 at 14:15

2 Answers 2


It seems that OP's question (v3) is a valid mainstream conceptional question concerning the thermodynamical arrow of time in the same category as, say, inquiries about the Boltzmann H-theorem and Loschmidt's paradox. The question should therefore be reopened.

As to why OP's question was closed as non-mainstream: Well, it seems it was a mistake.

I want to use this opportunity to:

  • Remind reviewers to skip a review if they are in any way in doubt.
  • Stress that our reviewers usually do good and competent work.
  • Encourage more 3k+ users to participate in the reviewing process. Without reviewers, Phys.SE can not function.
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    $\begingroup$ The lack of any way to contact those who close questions is disturbing. They post a reason for the closing that's just xeroxed boilerplate. Intelligent explanation of their rationale cannot be requested of them. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 11, 2016 at 17:26
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    $\begingroup$ I've been keeping an eye on this post because (1) it seemed to me a good example of how to make this type of inquiry and (2) my first impression is that the question is mainstream (though there could be other reasons to close it). I think this answer and the reopening of the question argues well for the self-corrective process at work here. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 11, 2016 at 23:55

I can't answer for the rest of voters, but I can sort-of explain my own decission.

In my opinion, the line between "a question that proposes a new concept or paradigm" and a non-mainstream question is too blurry. You introduce a new concept, "temporally asymmetric initial conditions", and as @knzhou commented, you didn't define it at all. For me, this was an indicator to decide that your question lies past the blurry line.

Another common pitfall of non-mainstream posts is that they tend to be arrogant: they have solved one of greatest mysteries of all times where everyone before has failed, and they won't stop bragging about it. Your question is a very mild case of arrogance, but I definitely did not get a good impression the first time I read it. Now I'm inclined to think that it wasn't intentional, but I'd recommend you to tone it down a bit.

All in all, I must say that I had to meditate my decission because I wasn't sure at all. It seems that the community disagrees with me (since the question is now reopen), so I have to admit that I was wrong, after all. No problem.

Nevertheless, closure is not a death sentence for a question, it is an opportunity to rethink, rewrite and improve it. I still think that your question needs a bit of work, along the lines I've explained above, in order to be a good question. I encourage you to do so.

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    $\begingroup$ My question said: Is this an adequate answer to this question of physics, and if not, why not? Is that "arrogance"? $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 11, 2016 at 23:14

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