For Smolin there is no timeless world and there are no timeless laws. Time, he says, is real and nothing can escape it.
Time, of course, seems real to us. We live in and through time. But to physicists, time's fundamental reality is an illusion.
Ever since Newton, physicists have been developing ever-more exact laws describing the behavior of the world. These laws live outside of time because they don't change.
That means these laws are more real than time.
First of all, it can be true both that time is real and that not everything is in time.
Second, if you want to tell us that time is an illusion, just say that, don't say, oxymoronically, that its fundamental reality is an illusion. Obviously, if something has reality, let alone fundamental reality, then it cannot be an illusion.
Third, as I argued earlier, it is impossible to maintain both that time is an illusion and that, e.g., the Big Bang occurred 12-13 billion years ago. If you want to say that temporal becoming or temporal passage is an illusion, then say that; but don't confuse the rejection of temporal becoming with the rejection of time altogether. For it could well be that time is real, but exhausted by the B-series, as I explained in the earlier post. And this, I take it, is what most physicists maintain. They think of time as the fourth dimension of a four-dimensional space-time manifold. That is not a denial of the reality of time; it is a theory of what time is.
Fourth, it is intolerably sloppy to say that "to physicists," time is an illusion when, as is obvious, Smolin is a physicist who denies this!
Fifth, If the laws of physics don't change, how is it supposed to follow or "mean" (!) that "these laws are more real than time." What on earth is this guy getting at? Is he suggesting that time is an illusion because the laws of physics are real? The laws of physics are real and they 'govern' what happens in the changing physical world which is also real.
Frank, I take it, is a physicist. So he must be capable of precise thinking and clear writing. Why then does he write such slop as the above in his off-hours? Why can't he write something clear and coherent that is helpful to the interested layman?
I fear that a lot of our contemporary scientists are hopelessly bereft of general culture. They are brilliant in their specialties but otherwise uneducated. But that does not stop the likes of Dawkins and Krauss and Coyne and Hawking and Mlodinow from spouting off about God and time and the meaning of life . . . . They want to play the philosopher without doing any 'homework.' They think it's easy: you just shoot your mouth off.