Temporal Anisotropy . In a short video clip showing two billiard balls bouncing off each other, forward and backward in time are indistinguishable if one ignores friction and inelasticity. In a longer video of a billiards break, the future is the end in which the balls are no longer in a nicely ordered triangle. If causes can be attributed to effects as easily as effects can be attributed to causes, then causal laws do not distinguish past and future, and the future for an event is the direction of increasing disorder in the system. Traces and memories of the past are a localized increase in order at the expense of an increase in system-wide disorder. Due to statistical considerations, some systems can cycle between order and disorder. In such systems the direction locally considered to be future can vary over the timeline of the system.
Rationalists object to the phenomenological and functionalist approaches, arguing that they fail to understand why believers in systems of non-scientific knowledge do think they tell the truth and that their ideas are right, even though science has shown them to be wrong. We cannot explain forms of knowledge in terms of the beneficial psychological or societal effects that an outside observer may see them as producing. We have to look at the point of view of those who believe in them. People do not believe in God, practice magic, or think that witches cause misfortune because they think they are providing themselves with psychological reassurance, or to achieve greater cohesion for their social groups. They do so because they think their beliefs are correct – that they tell them the truth about the way the world is.