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Thread: What is Time? For GerryN in particular!

  1. #1 What is Time? For GerryN in particular! 
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    Time, as other contributors have noted, cannot be defined in any easily graspable way.

    That is because it is one of the conditions of our existence, two other conditions being space and matter. The relation between the three types of being - space, time and matter - is indirect, is prepositional i.e.

    Matter is in time which in turn is in space. It is this otherwise straightforward relation of the nature of our existence which Einstein's relativity was designed to confuse & sabotage - replacing it with spacetime-matter, a muddled lumping together of the three ontologically separate beings.

    This is all I can do to define time, Gerry. As you grow up you come to appreciate both space and time - since they are everywhere always. The ontological relation of matter, space and time has to be accepted because if you do NOT accept it fully, you are confronted by the logical paradox-generating nonsense of SR etc.

    Over to you, GerryN!

    TFOLZO
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  2. #2  
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    My friend wrote an article on what time is. It's at http://users.wfu.edu/brehme/time.htm I read it carefully and it's the best I've seen on the subject in my humble opinion. But the most important part is in the first two paragraphs, i.e.
    Whatever else may be said about time, one thing is certain. It defies definition. The best we can say is that we all know what time is, intuitively. For it cannot be expressed in terms of other things, though some try. The Seventh Edition of Webster's Collegiate Dictionary tells us that time is "the measured or measurable period during which an action, process, or condition exists or continues." Of course, what the lexicographer has done here is to tell us that time is defined by its measurement and that that measurement is of a period during which something occurs. He has not told us what time really is.

    I can do no better. And so I begin this article with a description of how we measure time, without knowing exactly what it is we measure. But in examining the measuring process, I hope we become aware of some of the subtle properties of time. Later I digress a bit by considering "time travel", and finally I launch into the most puzzling aspect of time, that the passage of time, (and here I mean physical time, not merely our bodily sense of its passage) is relative.
    Sometimes certain quantities can't be defined because eventually you'll end up having circular definitions. Anybody that's ever read a dictionary carefully and followed the terms used in the definition will understand that.

    This is reminiscent to the term "set" in mathematics. That too is an undefined quantity. When you try to define it you end up with a circular definition. For example see
    Set -- from Wolfram MathWorld

    They define "set" as a collection of objects but they leave the term "collection" in that definition undefined. If we go to "collection" we see In mathematics, the term "collection" is generally used to mean a multiset, i.e., a set in which order is ignored but multiplicity is significant. But this is just what a set is. So they define a set as being a set. See the problem?

    I have a book somewhere that explains this very nicely. I'll look for it. In the mean time these might be helpful
    Undefined (mathematics) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


    Math Forum - Ask Dr. Math
    Date: 8/27/96 at 22:15:6
    From: Doctor Robert
    Subject: Re: What is a point?

    The word "point" is often left undefined in geometry texts. It is
    pretty easy for us to conceptualize a point, but it is quite difficult
    to define exactly. I would say that a point is an entity that has
    only one characteristic. That characteristic

    OL
    is its position. But
    then, you see, I haven't defined position, have I? Anyway, a point
    has no size, color, smell, feel, etc. It has only its position.

    A point is often represented by a smudge of chalk on a blackboard,
    or a smudge of pencil lead on a piece of paper. But, of course,
    those are only representations. A point can really only exist
    in our minds.

    I hope you're not more confused than when I started.

    -Doctor Robert, The Math Forum
    Check out our web site! The Math Forum - Ask Dr. Math
    Another quantity which is undefined is energy. In The Feynman Lectures on Physics, Vol I Richard Feynman wrote the following. From Section 4-1 What is energy? page 4-1
    It is important to realize that in physics today, we have no knowledge of what energy is. We do not have a picture that energy comes in little blobs of a definite amount. It is not that way. However, there are formulas for calculating some numerical quantity, and we add it all together it gives “28” - always the same number. It is an abstract thing in that it does not tell us the mechanism or the reasons for the various formulas.
    But just because we don't have a definition of it that doesn't mean that we don't know its properties. Feynman claims that we have now knowledge of what it is. Don't confuse that with having no knowledge of its properties because we have a good understanding of the properties of energy, i.e. that it's constant.
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    In reply to TFOLZO, re: your #1 post.

    Cheers!

    What do you want me to say? A rebuke, perhaps? I don't have one...just what I've posted previously.

    I am of the opinion there is NO TIME as a "formal state thing-of-self". Period. In 40 years, I have never read or seen or created any scenario in my own mind that can justify the concept

    of "time" as a real entity. All the machinations of "SR" basically revolve around this singular arbitrary concept, that "time" can be induced to vary by the velocity of an object within a given

    frame, thus in effect using velocity to "escape" every known basic concept of reality, that a given object can actually escape from the continuum of the real Universe by the mechanism

    of speed and thus is no longer subject to the dictates of "GR!!!"

    ......

    My statement will then be immediately assailed by declarations that "You just don't understand physics! You are denying Einsteins' "SR!" "You must show "how" everyone in physics is

    wrong but you!" "The math proves this, that, and the other things of SR, so therefore you...." and other choice items of comment. Except NONE of the comment can repudiate the

    the declaration that "time is a numerical function only, it has no reality of it's own".

    ......

    My assertion is that there is only the instant of "NOW"...there is no "past" "present" or "future" time as a true state of condition. The "NOW" is infinite, there are NO borders or constraints or

    limitations, "NOW" is always "NOW". "Now" would exist whether or not there is matter or no matter, velocity or no velocity, space or no space.

    ......

    More questions?


    (Thanks for reading!)
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    In reply to Physicist, re: your #2 post.

    You mentioned that Feynman basically advocates, by intent or implication, that "energy is a constant". I write the same thing, as a logical QED posit, and am told I'm a fool who does not

    understand the least thing in physics theory. "How so?" you might ask.

    Because I state that energy may well be considered as two states-of-condition, "potential of actuality" and the "manifestation of the potential as an actuality". The energy is either present or

    not present...if not present, then it exists as a "potential". (I do not see the problem w/this concept, as it is an analog of "action/reaction", a "solid foundation" IMO.)


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    I like what you say, GerryN!

    This is because we cannot imagine either space, time or matter each by itself. We can imagine matter & space together but then the situation is 'frozen' in that there is no time available for things to move.

    At a deeper level we have to consider the nature of matter itself. Is matter inherently solid or is it fluid? Einsteinians like to treat matter as solid - even if as powder, much like gremlins in fairy tales turn people into dust or smoke rather than truly fluid objects. Newton liked to reduce everything to solid matter too, so fought the Bernoullis all his life, since this family devoted their lives to fluid mechanics for which Newton would keep coming up with 'solid ball' explanations.

    The arguments continue to this day - but quantum theory would have resolved it in favour of the more fundamental nature of fluid objects since quantum theory, as Eric Lerner shows, fits in with theories of fluid dynamics i.e. subatomic particles are spinning vortices of fluid, hence apparently solid objects actually consist of stable vortices of fluid held together by electromagnetic fields. The Copenhagen Interpretation (type C) however merely denied that matter existed at a more fundamental level than what could be observed, so Bohr & Heisenberg categorically denied that, physically, there was anything there. Physics, following Einstein - whose SR drivel Bohr & Heisenberg upheld - was now reduced to mere mathematics since the physical part had been edited out.

    Hence the ongoing failure to solve the nuclear fusion question - because the theoretical models are mathematics-based, treating subatomic particles as abstract points (like Popper's Type A interpretation of quantum theory) rather than considering the nature of particles as spinning vortices etc.

    TFOLZO
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    In reply to TFOLZO, re: your #5 post.

    As to the true state of atoms...everything is open to interpretation. There is no mechanism to actually observe an atom, and likely never will be, so the only way to establish "what their

    properties may be" is assign numerical designations to wave-functions. I accept this as the only way to describe an atom and its' sub-atomic constituents.

    What I do have argument with is a continuance of numerical functions applied to various "supposed states of condition" and then flatly declaring "a math equation has explained all".

    The reality of "space" is an excellent example, as well as time...in the context of "space" simply apply a baricentric calculus function to an imagined center, and then extrapolate the

    confines of a tensor boundary to establish an FoR and then place whatever you wish in the "box". I have no problem w/this, as long as it is NEVER considered to be a "true state" of

    space itself, that space can assigned mathematical constraints because "numbers say so!" This is where "suppositional reality" that exists only a mathematical construct is now treated

    as a "true state"...just how this came to be is beyond me, and yet this is exactly what many QM suppositions state is a "true reality".

    Am I saying "everything is wrong?" No...I'm saying everything needs to be considered as "temporary" until something can proven as "real". I don't see this as being unrealistic or a "flat

    denial", rather I see it as the chance to explore things with more rigor in a "theory" aspect, and less use of "numbers as theory of itself".

    For instance, I can say "I can place this many atoms into this much designated space" and therefor it "defines this much area of "space" that atoms can held within". From a numerical

    standpoint, yes. From a standpoint of "defining" the "space"...NO.

    All I have done is find out "how many atoms will fit together without losing their singular aspects" and that is all. I cannot define "space' numerically with matter, or numbers.

    Saying "this is a cubic meter of space" only defines the parameters of a "cubic meter", not the "space which is supposedly contained within the cubic meter". To me, space has no limit, no

    end or beginning...and this applies to time as well.


    (Thanks for reading!)
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  7. #7  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gerry Nightingale
    In reply to Physicist, re: your #2 post.

    You mentioned that Feynman basically advocates, by intent or implication, that "energy is a constant".
    Of course. That's the overall defining property of energy that it's conserved, i.e. constant.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gerry Nightingale
    I write the same thing, as a logical QED posit, and am told I'm a fool who does not understand the least thing in physics theory. "How so?" you might ask.
    Who told you this and where? Please show me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gerry Nightingale
    Because I state that energy may well be considered as two states-of-condition, "potential of actuality" and the "manifestation of the potential as an actuality". The energy is either present or

    not present...if not present, then it exists as a "potential". (I do not see the problem w/this concept, as it is an analog of "action/reaction", a "solid foundation" IMO.)
    It appears as though you're phrasing this in terms that nobody else uses, i.e. "potential of actuality" - What in the world does that mean?
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    Gerry N: In reply to TFOLZO, re: your #5 post.

    As to the true state of atoms...everything is open to interpretation. There is no mechanism to actually observe an atom, and likely never will be, so the only way to establish "what their properties may be" is assign numerical designations to wave-functions. I accept this as the only way to describe an atom and its' sub-atomic constituents.

    Your highlighted statement above, GerryN, is obsolete or at least old-fashioned. Devices like the scanning-tunnelling microscope enable atomic outlines to be drawn - imaging individual atoms and in the future to outline the shapes of orbitals. It is commonly believed, based on the maths that d-orbitals are 4-lobed and f-orbitals 8-lobed - but neither of these notions are either practical or yet found experimentally. In fact I reject them entirely since subatomic particles have magnetic poles i.e. are bilobed only as are p-orbitals, hence any more complicated structure predicted mathematically is fanciful. Thus we can image things smaller than a wavelength - and these techniques will continually improve.

    What I do have argument with is a continuance of numerical functions applied to various "supposed states of condition" and then flatly declaring "a math equation has explained all".

    The reality of "space" is an excellent example, as well as time...in the context of "space" simply apply a baricentric calculus function to an imagined center, and then extrapolate the confines of a tensor boundary to establish an FoR and then place whatever you wish in the "box". I have no problem w/this, as long as it is NEVER considered to be a "true state" of space itself, that space can assigned mathematical constraints because "numbers say so!" This is where "suppositional reality" that exists only a mathematical construct is now treated as a "true state"...

    I fully agree here. Space (and time) cannot be reduced to mathematics.

    ...just how this came to be is beyond me, and yet this is exactly what many QM suppositions state is a "true reality".

    This is because QM is tainted by relativity theory. Hugh Everett's many-words interpretation of quantum mechanics actually derives from SR and its logical paradoxes. It is not really quantum theory at all! But wait until you hear cincirob () scream that the opposite is true - though I suspect that he is rather more circumspect today!

    Am I saying "everything is wrong?" No...I'm saying everything needs to be considered as "temporary" until something can proven as "real". I don't see this as being unrealistic or a "flat denial", rather I see it as the chance to explore things with more rigor in a "theory" aspect, and less use of "numbers as theory of itself".

    For instance, I can say "I can place this many atoms into this much designated space" and therefor it "defines this much area of "space" that atoms can held within". From a numerical standpoint, yes. From a standpoint of "defining" the "space"...NO.

    Very good, Gerry, because you distinguish clearly between space and what-is-in-space.

    All I have done is find out "how many atoms will fit together without losing their singular aspects" and that is all. I cannot define "space' numerically with matter, or numbers.

    Saying "this is a cubic meter of space" only defines the parameters of a "cubic meter", not the "space which is supposedly contained within the cubic meter". To me, space has no limit, no end or beginning...and this applies to time as well.

    (Thanks for reading!)

    Thanks for writing. You last comment was truly excellent so I highlighted it - so expect SYAAAAAARRRRGH and his band of pirates to attack you sooner than you think!

    TFOLZO
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  9. #9  
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    Quote Originally Posted by TFOLZO
    There is no mechanism to actually observe an atom, and likely never will be,
    What are you basing that assumption on? Do you have a wide knowledge of experimental laboratory instruments? What you just said here is incorrect. Have you never heard of a tunneling electron microscope? If not then see Scanning tunneling microscope - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    A scanning tunneling microscope (STM) is an instrument for imaging surfaces at the atomic level. Its development in 1981 earned its inventors, Gerd Binnig and Heinrich Rohrer (at IBM Zürich), the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1986. For an STM, good resolution is considered to be 0.1 nm lateral resolution and 0.01 nm depth resolution.[3] With this resolution, individual atoms within materials are routinely imaged and manipulated. The STM can be used not only in ultra-high vacuum but also in air, water, and various other liquid or gas ambients, and at temperatures ranging from near zero kelvin to a few hundred degrees Celsius.
    Underline is mine.
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    The quotation in red, Physicist...
    There is no mechanism to actually observe an atom, and likely never will be,
    Quote Originally Posted by Physicist View Post
    What are you basing that assumption on? Do you have a wide knowledge of experimental laboratory instruments? What you just said here is incorrect. Have you never heard of a tunneling electron microscope? If not then see Scanning tunneling microscope - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Underline is mine.
    ...is not by myself but originates from GerryN in post #6 line 2. I merely emphasized it in my reply to him. Thank you for your references here nevertheless, as I think these will help convince GerryN!

    TFOLZO
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    In reply to Physicist, re: your #9 post.

    Show me how one atom can be used to DIRECTLY observe another atom in a "real-time" state, and will I will retract my uninformed statement. IMO, what is being observed are extrapolations

    "shored-up" by mathematical paradigms, NOT direct physical observations w/ a human eye! Yes...I'm aware of equipment that can theoretically "see" an atom...the key predicate here being

    the word "theoretically". Yes, I also have seen the pictures...but I'm wary of such "proofs" that are completely supported by a math "bias" which is built into the programming to decipher

    what the machine is "seeing". Unless or until such time as I feel safe w/ the programming protocols being "correct", I will stand w/ my assessment of "what the machine says is true".


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    In reply to Physicist, re: your #7 reply.

    You are correct! Much of what I write w/regard to my own "pet theories" uses terms that NOT part of accepted physics terminology...because they don't exist in science orthodoxy.

    What do I mean by "potential" w/regard to energy? I mean that there IS a presumed state of "rest" w/regard to energy, a state of "potential" that is neutral. This is why I mentioned

    "action/reaction" as a comparative value of condition. I don't regard energy as a condition of magic, in that it becomes actualized from a state of "nothing" as in "it wasn't there before, and

    now it is" (such as lightning). I am maintaining that a pre-cursor condition of energy exists, a "potential" and further, that the "potential" becomes manifest by the actions of matter.

    (If you think this thru, you will rapidly realize the implications inherent to a concept of "energy exists of itself". Such an idea logically dictates that "energy exists of itself" and this would

    more or less "throw the baby/bathwater/and the house itself out the window" in terms of physics theory and practice, so I wouldn't worry overmuch about if I were you. There is NO WAY

    that any of what I just wrote regarding energy would have a "prayer in hell" of ever being thought as having any merit, because to think any different would destroy "modern physics" in

    an instant!) Fortunately for "QM", "what I think" will soon disappear along w/the rest of me at some point.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Gerry Nightingale View Post
    There is NO WAY

    that any of what I just wrote regarding energy would have a "prayer in hell" of ever being thought as having any merit, because to think any different would destroy "modern physics" in

    an instant!)
    No, I don't think that modern physics would be destroyed, Gerry, and I'm not sure why you do. Scientists are always considering pretty wild ideas -- just look at what we have today: Black holes! Dark matter! Dark energy! The uncertainty principle! Wave-particle duality! These are so astonishing to the lay mind that many rebel against it ("QM makes no sense; it must be wrong!" and so on). So if one looks at the history of science with an open mind, it becomes clear that "thinking different" is not a problem for science. Instead, it is precisely the way science has advanced.

    Now, what does run into difficulty is the notion that merely thinking different is sufficient. Make no mistake: It is not. Ideas are a dime a dozen (if that). Everyone has one or a hundred. Everyone. Just witness this and other fora. Of necessity, nearly all of those ideas are wrong. The few successful ideas have always come from people who have a deep knowledge of the theories they seek to extend or overturn. That knowledge is essential for, without it, one cannot know where the weak bits are, what the poorly tested (or untested) regimes are, etc.

    And one must add to that the requirement that any new theory must replicate all of the successes of the old, while also going beyond. Very, very few theories meet this high bar (and the bar gets higher with each added bit of experimental support for the current theory). So, whenever someone comes along claiming a superior theory (and this happens all the time), it is natural for science to regard such a claim as extraordinary (and thus require extraordinary proof of the claim). And if the claim offers no quantitative predictions, the "theory" can't even be called that. It's more properly regarded as a philosophical position, or a statement of one's personal aesthetics. These count for zero on their own. Yes, they may be very important to the individuals who come up with the ideas, but to science, not so much.

    Given the above, you can perhaps better appreciate the seemingly hostile reception such ideas encounter. It isn't the result of fear by a hidebound orthodoxy, so intellectually ossiifed that new ideas are rejected summarily. Rather, it's a weary response by a community that has seen the same movie a countless number of times.
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