How could we know that changes are not discrete in reality?


We know from watching the movie that there is only a discrete set of slides needed to create a sense of continuous motion which is an illusion. Brain in fact creates this illusion. How could we know that changes are not discrete in reality?


You are reminding me of Zeno’s paradoxes. Been there, done that?


I cannot understand how this topic is related to Zeon’s paradox.


Do you mean all change is an illusion? Or do you mean just the sense that things are changing outside of our heads?

The former is impossible, because you need change in order to create the illusion of change just like in your example of the movie. The illusion of change only occurs because the slides are actually moving.

If you mean the latter, i find it hard to believe that the things outside of our heads are not actually moving in some way. At the end of the the day we receive a continuous stream of information from outside of our heads and that requires change. We sense a sequence of information and that is the only reason we have a sense of objectivity in the first place. How could it possibly be an illusion that you typed information into your computer and posted it on this forum if everything outside of your head isn’t moving at all? How would you be able to interact and change anything if there is no motion in what you are sensing? That in itself requires a sequence of events outside of your head, the movement of your arms, typing etc; unless of course it’s all happening in your mind and there is no outside, no objective reality.

But even if you say it’s all just in your mind, you are going to run into problems, because you still have to receive the information from somewhere and we receive it sequentially.


Free will possibly? Free will moves the body?


Consider God’s perspective on the world. God perceives the world as a single unchanging “eternal now.” So I ask the question: Is God’s perception accurate, or is ours?


I don’t like to sound like a broken record but we are told that Gods thoughts are not our thoughts, and I don’t doubt that, so how could we possibly know how God sees everything.

As far as change is concerned we live in a dynamic universe, even atoms have electrons buzzing around them don’t they? To borrow someone else’s joke and I paraphrase “ change Is inevitable if you only have a fifty pound note.”


I’d be careful of stating God perceives it this way, because it still seems to imply that God experiences moments in some meta-time outside our own and the world is then unchanging throughout those meta-time moments. I don’t think it’s strictly speaking accurate to say God perceives at all if we want to knuckle down on this topic, though I’ve admittedly used the word elsewhete for convenience.

God doesn’t perceive the universe as an unchanging reality, he simply knows all things in his own, unchanging, eternal now.


I’m not sure discrete moments automatically rule out the idea of both persistency and change in nature. Even if it is discrete, it doesn’t mean this rock in one discrete moments A and B aren’t, in some way, the same rock in some manner while also being different in a different manner, which we understand to be the case in continuous time models, too.


Ok, so God knows all things at once. Does this knowledge ever change? It does not. Therefore, the things about which God knows must also not actually change. If they actually changed, God’s knowledge would need to change too.


But it’s a misunderstanding to take this as meaning change isn’t real or must therefore be simply relative to the observer. God doesn’t change, but other things really do. Your phrasing still suggests God is subject to some type of dimension of time.

Yes, I suppose the reality of change is debatable for some, but the Catholic position on God’s knowledge doesn’t contradict our understanding of change as real.


Or to put it differently, it seems to view God as being higher dimensional than us, when it is probably more apt to say he is dimensionless.


Well technically our eyes and brain have a response time so we necessarily digest reality in discrete chunks even if appears continuous


Each slide is different in the movie (or, if not noticeable, at least different at a molecular or atomic level).
Since it is different, not only at 60 frames per second, but also at 720 or 1080 fps the slides are different, as they are in high speed cameras. As technology develops better cameras, they have not found a “discreet” timing where two frames are equal.
Logic has to contend that this would continue no matter how much faster the frame switching, thus the conclusion must be that “change is linear in material reality”, the conclusion must be that “the Earth does not outside of time jump in 10 mile appearances around the Sun, but we are only looking when it is in different coordinates after a 10 mile timeless transfer”. Beam me up, Scotty, and it will appear I am faster than light.
John Martin


Just asserting that it is a mistake doesn’t make it so. Sure, God is timeless. His knowledge is timeless. It cannot change. So ultimately in God’s highest dimensional (or dimensionless) existence our universe does not change: there is no time for it to change over. We are a 4D statue: God sees/knows it all. That must follow, where is the mistake?

Are you going to say that God’s knowledge is wrong or limited?


No. I mean that change is discreet but what we experience is continuous.


Are you asking how we know that motion is continuous rather than a “changing of slides?”


If change in reality is discrete then this rock are different at moments A and B. They just look similar.


Yes. I am asking whether change is discrete like changing of slides or it is continuous.


I’d say it’s continuous. To say they’re discrete would leave the question as to how this were to happen given that it would imply no motion goes on in a particularly small space and something “transported” so to speak. We don’t really have too much evidence that it’s not continuous

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit