Time Cube was a pseudoscientific theory from a crank. It is generally believed by the scientific community that there is no meaningful theory which can be isolated from the Time Cube corpus.

In debate, Time Cube has not been debunked directly. This is partially because it was advanced by a crank, and partially because Time Cube has never been phrased as a direct definition which harmonizes with common-sense notions and existing science.

To most onlookers, Time Cube is obviously wrong. Why is Time Cube wrong? By what philosophical grounds can we reject it?

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    The "skepticism" tag is probably a good catch-all for "debunking" and the like. Aug 27 at 17:11
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    A theory does not get a hearing by default, it has to pass a threshold to even become worth debunking by presenting at least facially suggestive evidence and/or arguments. Time Cube did not. So we have common sense grounds to dismiss it out of hand until it does. "One fool can ask more questions than seven wise men can answer."
    – Conifold
    Aug 27 at 20:30
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    @MauroALLEGRANZA: Hume + Zeno + Socrates + Gettier: All science is, at one point, held as belief by only a single scientist; it might not represent reality, or it might be extremely correct and yet rejected by a doubting authority, or it might be false knowledge which is not backed by theory. A classic example is that of Semmelweis, who was at times the only scientist to believe that disinfecting hands was worthwhile prior to germ theory. So a call to authority isn't strong enough here.
    – Corbin
    Aug 27 at 22:02
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    Besides no detailed risky prediction compared to the usual linear transitive time model as required by Popper's famous falsification of any scientific theory, as a literal theory of everything from metaphysics first principles it could be undercut by failing to address why it's cubic not quintic per sufficient reason, say. Quite a few modern physical theories tried to treat time as non-linear or even emergent, in this respect it's mundane... Aug 27 at 23:13
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    Being wrong is a privilege. You have to make a testable hypothesis to earn it.
    – g s
    Aug 28 at 17:42

4 Answers 4


From a philosophy standpoint, the truth content of Ray's "time cube" model is objectively indeterminate, inasmuch as it is/was infinitely malleable by Ray to accomodate, avoid, or escape any logic- or reality-based objections.

This characteristic renders the model unfalsifiable, which is a key characteristic of crank theories in general: they are constructed illogically, which makes them irrefutable ("my theory is true because the color 'five' smells red").

Note here that cranks commonly confuse unfalsifiability with irrefutability, and irrefutability with truth. In my experience it is a waste of time to try teaching them the difference.

  • Could you expand on the implication of "infinitely malleable"? It sounds like one of Ray's philosophical weaknesses might have been a lack of commitment to a position, or concrete predicted entailments of his position.
    – Corbin
    Aug 27 at 21:55
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    @corbin, what I mean is that ray could twist and contort the time cube model to escape any refutation. this characteristic renders the model unfalsifiable. Aug 27 at 22:00
  • Sounds great! Could you explain this in your answer? It's not so much about "illogical" construction, but about evidence which, when admitted, contradicts the constructed theory.
    – Corbin
    Aug 28 at 11:21
  • @Corbin: They all seem entirely consonant with that point. Not falsifiable mans not even wrong.
    – CriglCragl
    Aug 29 at 23:41

If by 'Time Cube' you mean the text of the website that can be found by clicking the link in your question, then the answer to your question is that the text is meaningless gobbledygook. To appeal to philosophy to refute the content of the website is entirely unnecessary.

To refer to Time Cube as a pseudoscientific theory is to glorify its status. The website is the rant of an inarticulate, antisemitic, homophobic bigot. I have not made a detailed assessment, but I feel confident in guessing that more than 90% of the statements it contains are pure word salad. The remaining 10%, which form coherent sentences, are repetitions of the following claims:

That the square of minus 1 is minus 1. Evidently false.

That the author of the website is the wisest human and the greatest mathematician. A debatable matter of opinion.

That belly buttons prove we have mothers. Faultless logic.

That people who do not believe in the Time Cube have snot brains, have been brainwashed by Jews, deserve to die, will go to hell, etc etc. Technically incorrect.

That for every day there are four simultaneous days. A vacuous claim in the absence of any justification, explanation, predictive power, etc etc. I could make the same claim that there are nine point seven simultaneous days, or any other number.

The value of pi is 3.2. Nonsense.

People are being killed to suppress the truth about the Time Cube. I suppose that could explain the high rate of unsolved homicides in the US, so let's suspend judgement on that.

I could go on, but hopefully I have made the point that describing the time cube as a pseudoscientific theory is setting the bar to enter that category at such a low level that any collection of statements, however ludicrous, incoherent or patently false would qualify as a theory. Fine, if that's how you want to use the term, but there needs to be a higher bar to denote theories worthy of assessment.

  • "Meaningless" suggests a desire for semantics; "gobbledygook" might be charitably read as a request for syntax. It sounds like this is a logical approach. Could you clarify?
    – Corbin
    Aug 27 at 21:53
  • It sounds like what is a logical approach? Aug 28 at 6:04
  • Please expand your answer to explain why logic is an appropriate path for refutation, and why Time Cube is not logical. After all, the typical answer on this site is also "meaningless gobbledygook;" to claim otherwise is to demonstrate a grammatical parsing and an assignment to consistent semantics. (Y'know, model theory.)
    – Corbin
    Aug 28 at 11:19
  • What I would like to say is too long for comments, so I will edit my answer instead a little later when I get a chance. Thanks. Aug 28 at 14:42

Sometimes cranks are genuinely onto something that the rest of us can't understand. They just aren't capable of expressing it cogently and compellingly. Conversely, many wrong and bad ideas have been widely disseminated and given a place of respect because of the compelling rhetoric surrounding them.

In the case of "Time Cube," there doesn't seem to be anything in the way it is formulated or expressed that other people have widely found helpful, compelling, practical or usable in any way. The originator might have some genuine insights, but he was not able to share them.

There are thousands and thousands of philosophies out there, and many of them are neglected despite having a wide variety of virtues that "Time Cube" lacks. All that "Time Cube" appears to have going for it is internet fame. If you did happen to find "Time Cube" of value, there's no "Council of Philosophers" to stop you from taking what you can from it. But there's also no-one to give (or withhold from) a philosophy the stamp of official approval--the proof of a philosophy is that it reaches people. You don't need any other reason to reject a philosophy than that you don't find any value in it.

  • I think that you are too generous. At least one person -- Richard Janczarski, known as "Cubehead" -- committed suicide over Time Cube and Gene Ray. Crankery can and does harm people when it becomes sufficiently popular.
    – Corbin
    Aug 28 at 18:55
  • @Corbin Crankery is actually less harmful because it's less compelling--like a bad-tasting poison. There's no idea so crazy that it can't appeal to someone. We can't stop people from drinking bleach. // The greater danger is from bad ideas expressed very well, and in a compelling manner--for instance, the philosophies of David Hume (to use an example others would likely reject). Aug 28 at 19:09

Philosophy is less in the business of showing when a theory is false, or when premises in a theory are unsound, and more in the business of showing when a theory is shallow, or when the inferences from a theory's premises are invalid. Socrates did not prove to Euthyphro that polytheological voluntarism is wrong per se, but that Euthyphro's understanding of his own commitment to that ethical system was unrefined, even inchoate (such as by lending itself to inconsistencies that Euthyphro did not appreciate beforehand). And so it went in many of Plato's dialogues over general definitions of concepts/terms.

Now, with respect to the science/pseudoscience distinction, we have to differentiate between something that is merely not scientific, and something that is actively pretending to be scientific. Perhaps this distinction will itself prove futile to try drawing with sharp lines, but for now:

The phrases “demarcation of science” and “demarcation of science from pseudoscience” are often used interchangeably, and many authors seem to have regarded them as equal in meaning. In their view, the task of drawing the outer boundaries of science is essentially the same as that of drawing the boundary between science and pseudoscience.

This picture is oversimplified. All non-science is not pseudoscience, and science has non-trivial borders to other non-scientific phenomena, such as metaphysics, religion, and various types of non-scientific systematized knowledge. (Mahner (2007, 548) proposed the term “parascience” to cover non-scientific practices that are not pseudoscientific.) Science also has the internal demarcation problem of distinguishing between good and bad science.

A comparison of the negated terms related to science can contribute to clarifying the conceptual distinctions. “Unscientific” is a narrower concept than “non-scientific” (not scientific), since the former but not the latter term implies some form of contradiction or conflict with science. “Pseudoscientific” is in its turn a narrower concept than “unscientific”. The latter term differs from the former in covering inadvertent mismeasurements and miscalculations and other forms of bad science performed by scientists who are recognized as trying but failing to produce good science.

Pretense as a means of going around a public/intersubjective commitment to factual representation, as a potential subversion of this representation, appears to involve a problem of social ethics, then. Depending on how wide one takes the intersection of ethical theorizing and philosophy to be, then, one might count an ethical judgment of the Time Cube theory as somehow philosophical. So take the snippet of the original site, as copied to Wikipedia's article on the topic:

enter image description here

We have Ray characterizing the normal education system as evil, and not just in general (which is not so unbelievable), but on account of implicit or explicit rejection of, and dissociation from, Ray's theory. Not only that, but he floats the idea of killing educators for their refusal/failure to promote his theory. His confidence in the merits of his theory is utterly self-absorbed, borderline solipsistic, in the first place.

So even before we judge the Time Cube theory to be pseudoscience, we can actually go ahead and judge it to be pseudophilosophy, since he makes implicit epistemological, metaphysical, and axiological/deontological judgments that conflict with the spirit of philosophy (in which arrogance has little to no place). Or if not that, then antiphilosophy first, pseudoscience second (or besides). And then since the Time Cube theory tries to ground itself in opposition to peer-reviewed consideration (with a hostile sealioning-like claim at the end of the quoted section from Ray's site), evades mathematical clarification/specification, and all that in the service of a theory that itself is little more than triviality or poetry (or both), that is where it betrays its identity as pseudoscience most precisely, even for a philosophical reason: in a sense, "of course" we can represent some of the flow of time around a sphere with a cubic pattern. In fact, it was just recently discovered that the general theory of cubes is able to help us better interpret the theory of black hole formation:

One of Schoen and Yau’s major innovations was to recognize that an equation devised by the physicist Pong Soo Jang, which originally had nothing to do with black holes, can “blow up” — go to infinity — at certain points in space. Amazingly, where it blows up coincides with the location of a closed trapped surface. So if you want to find such a surface, first figure out where the Jang equation goes to infinity. ... Hirsch, Kazaras, Khuri and Zhang also rely on the Jang equation. But in addition to a torus, they use a cube — one that can be seriously deformed. This approach “is akin to Thorne’s idea, using square hoops instead of traditional circular hoops,” Khuri said. It draws upon the “cube inequality” developed by the mathematician Mikhail Gromov. This relationship connects the size of a cube to the curvature of space in and around it.

Again, then, it's less that the Time Cube theory is false, or can be philosophically demonstrated to be false, and more that the theory is both unethical (in the way of Ray's presentation) and superficial (reading more into the obvious cube-theoretic structure that can be read into the target context (time) than is valid to infer from that structure (as if we were to take e.g. Aristotle's square of opposition and try to directly infer that existence itself is arranged uniformly, primarily, and/or only in a square-like manner, as some sort of "Space Square" (if you will))).

Condensed argument:

  1. Meaning is, in part, socially grounded; or at least must be so grounded when the "faculty" of semantics is used publicly.
  2. An antisocial presentation of a theory is not properly socially grounded: either the proponent tries to mean their own thing by their words and the socially intended sense/referent of those words (so the theory's semantics is overloaded), or they are pretending that their personal definitions are the public ones and equivocally criticizing public apathy or opposition to the theory based on those definitions (and the theory has an oscillating semantic deficit).
  3. Not, then, that the antisocial theorist (e.g. Ray) is even trying much to convince people that their theory is itself true, but that such a theorist is casting a wide net, trying to rope in those gullible enough to be mesmerized by their poetry. The cognitive predator is not aiming at truth, as such, at all, but is looking for cognitive prey, for people who they can use poetry on to get emotional support from. (We might also speak of cognitive parasites, though Ray's overtly violent rhetoric mirrors predatory rather than parasitic behavior.)

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