# Is mass a number?

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by arfa brane, Apr 14, 2022.

1. ### James RJust this guy, you know?Staff Member

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arfa brane:
Now you're mincing words. "Equivalent to" is different from "the same as". I get it that you're trying to make some wiggle room for yourself, but who do you imagine you're fooling?
Yes it is.
Matter is not a number. Matter is "stuff". You can build a house from matter. You can't build a house from numbers.

Are you just trolling, or are you really so dense that you still haven't understood the distinction I've pointed out to you so many times? You haven't acknowledge that you understand what my position is. You just go on as if I never wrote anything. Do you intend to ever deal with what I've put to you, in a honest way?
Then I can only include that you're trolling, to prolong a conversation that should have ended pages ago. Why are you doing that?
Neither the facility nor the boson is made out of numbers. That suggests to me that neither of them is a number. Sheesh. How difficult is this for you? It's no longer plausible for me to accept that you really still don't understand the distinction. The only remaining conclusions I can draw are (a) you are trolling; or (b) you are thick as a brick. Based on your previous posts (albeit dating back some time on this forum), I am inclined for now to assume that you're not actually stupid, which rules out option (b), leaving only (a).

The only remaining question, then, is: why are you trolling?
Mass is a unit of measure. If I step on my bathroom scales, they tell me that my mass is 83 kg. The number "83" is a number. The "kilograms" is an arbitrary unit of measure (albeit repeatable), invented by human beings and used for convenience. Thus, "83 kg" is a number (with some units).

I just posted my mass to the screen you're reading. Obviously, I'm not on your screen. None of the matter that makes up my body is on or in your computer screen. And yet, you have my mass right there in front of your eyes.

How hard is this? Do you need to troll some more? Are you actually a functional idiot? Or what? What's your excuse, arfa brane?
Matter is made of particles, yes. Particles have associated masses, yes.
Atoms and molecules combined to form macroscopic objects that can be bottled, seen by human beings and weighed.

Do you have a bottle full of numbers that can be seen and weighed? No, because numbers are conceptual.

Nothing about my body says "83 kg". That number is a concept that gives you a mental picture of how much matter is in my body. It's no more part of my body than the fact that I have an arminess of 2 Jarms.

Need to troll some more?

3. ### James RJust this guy, you know?Staff Member

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I already knew you are a slow learner, so that doesn't surprise me.
Yes. So stop talking about it here!
You've only been back for a few days, following your 10 year gap since your last post, and already you're reverting to type. Have you learned anything in the last 10 years? You told me you have been reading this forum regularly, without posting? Haven't you picked up anything, or changed your mind about anything (to do with science)?

Proved Newton wrong my arse. Of course you didn't.
This thread is currently in "Free thoughts".

If you try to post stupid unevidenced assertions about how you think you've proved Newton wrong in our Science sections, they will obviously be rapidly moved to where they belong: in Pseudoscience. What would you expect?
You and I have a history on this forum. All the old conversations are on record. When you failed in a scientific debate with me - which is what typically happened - it was because you couldn't support your position with persuasive evidence or arguments. I believe that you received numerous warnings for trolling back then, the majority not from me but from other moderators who were active at that time. sciforums is a little different than it was 10 years ago, but you already know that since you've been watching the forum. However, what hasn't changed is the need for a person making scientific assertions - particularly controversial ones - to at least attempt to back them up with appropriate evidence and/or argument.

Claiming that you're proven Newton wrong immediately puts you in the same camp as George Hammond, who claims that he proved God to 2 decimal places. In case you're wondering, that's not company you should want to be in.

I was very clear on why I didn't answer your questions. I did not forget.

There is no reason I should overlook your rudeness and do you a favour by answering your questions. I am not obliged to entertain you.

5. ### James RJust this guy, you know?Staff Member

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Yes.
Yes.
Okay.
Yes.

When are you going to answer the actual questions I asked? I mean, you quoted them, but then you completely failed to even start answering them.

7. ### arfa branecall me arfValued Senior Member

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7,832
That looks like trolling. I have answered, you've agreed with my answers. (see post 162).

Now what? Does the distance between the ball and the ground actually exist? Is the distance just a number?
Or, where is the potential located? That kind of thing?

My answers don't correspond to the "mass is a number" school of thought? I gave you some answers, you agreed with them then said I haven't answered your actual questions.

I don't actually care, James.

8. ### arfa branecall me arfValued Senior Member

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That's ridiculous.

In physics amount of matter and mass density are used equivalently, what the hell are you on about?

You say because mass is a number and we agree on the difficulties with getting numbers into a bottle, that means something about what you say mass is. But you're assuming it is, and you can prove it isn't; mass isn't the number in a number of particles, say Avogadro's number, which is "just a number".

9. ### Motor DaddyValued Senior Member

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James R,

Can you please just answer the question of what exactly did you measure when you claimed to have measured mass? Was it a NUMBER that you measured and claimed to have measured MASS?

You have backed yourself into a corner with your "mass is just a number" and it's typical of you to NEVER admit you're wrong.

You measured a number and claimed it was mass that you measured, and then gave it a number and claimed mass is just a number. LOL

You measure time with a clock and then claim time is just a number because you can't bottle time! LOL

...and the "LOL" is not a "nervous tic", it is me Laughing Out Loud AT you.

Some respect lost for your inability to admit when you are wrong! You're making yourself look like a FOOL!

Last edited by a moderator: Apr 27, 2022
10. ### arfa branecall me arfValued Senior Member

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I've tried to apply the James R principle and think it through.

I can't see a way to give a number a shape. All it has is a value.

Mass is a number is a woolly man without a face, a beast without a name.

11. ### arfa branecall me arfValued Senior Member

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It's a category error.
Numbers are contained in sets.
Atoms are contained in material stuff that has a shape.

83kg contains no information about the container

12. ### arfa branecall me arfValued Senior Member

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There it is then. Some number of kilograms is insufficient information. It also needs a description of the particular arrangement of particles.
It might be a bottle with liquid in it with that weight. It only specifies or describes a one-dimensional property of mass resp. matter because the local gravitational acceleration is also specified.

Lifting a weight so it has greater gravitational potential means another one-dimensional property is output, a distance from a chosen point of zero potential. Information is physical in the case of the distance. Useful work outputs meaningful information, but useful and meaningful are anthropocentric.

You can't do work on a number. You can't put a number into an atom and call it atomic weight. But you can call what is in an atom physical information, it explains or specifies the difference between heavy and light atoms.

13. ### arfa branecall me arfValued Senior Member

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Conjecture: in physics the only direct measurement is distance. Mass is hidden information.

You don't measure forces directly. You see an object with mass accelerating. So you explain the change in distance via the action of a background field and call this field gravity.

The field accelerates chunks of matter at the same constant rate. You use distance information to prove this in the mathematical, not informational sense.

14. ### James RJust this guy, you know?Staff Member

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39,237
arfa brane:

You say that energy is not conceptual but real in some sense. You have said that you think that energy is inside objects, more or less. I asked you where the gravitational potential energy of a ball was located. You did not answer. Instead you talked about "potential", which is a different kind of quantity.

Try to keep up.
I've already explained it to you many times. Look, you'll probably never get it, if you haven't already. I don't think I have more time to waste on you, with this. Either you're trolling or you're stupid. Either way, you're not a good investment of my time and effort.
No they aren't. Not by any careful physicist, anyway.

Last edited: May 1, 2022
15. ### James RJust this guy, you know?Staff Member

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Earlier, I posted a detailed post explaining what is happening when we measure mass. Go back and read it.
Yes.
What do you think mass is?
I don't believe we have discussed what time is.
It's what you try to substitute for an actual argument. It won't help you, other than to make you feel better about yourself, maybe. Don't kid yourself.

16. ### arfa branecall me arfValued Senior Member

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I say energy is real in the sense it has physical units. The concept of energy is a thing in a human mind. An anthropocentric concept.
No I think what I have said is that mass is inside objects. That in no way implies their energy is in there, or their centre of mass.
Maybe you did. I mentioned that work was done lifting this ball to a height. The potential is in this distance because of the field around it. The potential is gravitational because--it's a gravitational field extending from the centre of mass of the earth.
With what?
James, I'm waiting for your proof that mass is a number. If this is true then numbers can be proved to exist with an existence proof. Shouldn't be hard, if you have all the evidence. . .

Oh yeah, please post some evidence that physicists don't use mass density and amount of matter equivalently. When you've found some please demonstrate that mass, a number in your logic, is not dependent on the amount of matter, not a number etc, or that kilograms per cubic metre is not representative of an amount of matter.
Please support your claim instead of just making it and continuing to look stupid. You do look stupid, James.

Last edited: Apr 29, 2022
17. ### Motor DaddyValued Senior Member

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5,425
James, what number did you measure? How much mass is the number 3, have you measured that number's mass yet? How about the number 9, have you measured that number yet?

Can you describe in detail how you measure the number 3? How big is the number? What color is the number? Does the number 9 have more mass than the number 3?

18. ### James RJust this guy, you know?Staff Member

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39,237
arfa brane:

I think you missed the part where I told you that trying to educate you on this is not a good use of my time and effort.

Briefly, then:
• That energy has units has never been in dispute.
• It is good that you finally recognise that energy is a concept, rather than a substance, if indeed you do recognise that.
• You still seem a bit confused about the difference between potential and potential energy. They are not the same thing.
• I have no intention of trying to prove to you that numbers exist. I'm not jumping through that hoop.
• "Amount of matter" is a vague term. It could mean mass. It could mean volume. It could mean density. Who knows? Physicists don't typically refer to "amount of matter" unless their meaning is clear from the context.
• Your attempt at argument by insult is a failure, as usual. It also doesn't make me more inclined to talk to you. You need to learn some manners.

19. ### James RJust this guy, you know?Staff Member

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39,237
I don't think you've even got to arfa brane's poorly-informed level in this discussion. Work a little harder.

At no time have I claimed to find to the mass of a number.

Your attempt at argument by insult is a failure. It also doesn't make me more inclined to talk to you. You need to learn some manners.

20. ### Motor DaddyValued Senior Member

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5,425

So you can't explain how mass is a number, but you're sticking to that claim. You still haven't learned how to admit when you are wrong.

Your response is to insult me.

The problem is that you've considered me a crank from the start, and you could NEVER let a crank prove you wrong. The thing is, I have never been a crank, and you've been wrong the entire time!

You are delusional! You're a legend in your own mind!

21. ### James RJust this guy, you know?Staff Member

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39,237

What do you think mass is?
That's just another two things you're wrong about. Stop with the childish insults. Grow up. Learn some manners.

22. ### Motor DaddyValued Senior Member

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5,425
It certainly is NOT just a number. Mass is not the number 9.

Mass is an object's quantity of substance. Quantity of substance is directly proportional to inertia. The more substance (mass) an object has the more inertia it has. Inertia is resistance to acceleration. Acceleration is the rate of change of velocity.

So mass is directly proportional to the resistance to change of velocity.

That is a loose definition of mass. What mass is NOT is "just a number." Numbers don't resist acceleration. Numbers don't have inertia. The number 9 is not more resistant to acceleration than the number 3!

23. ### James RJust this guy, you know?Staff Member

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39,237
You're all mixed up, still.

Look, I walked you through all of the supposed issues and struggles you're having about the concept (!) of mass back in these posts, earlier in the thread:

Post #100
People often talk about "a mass" when what they really mean is "an object with mass". Objects are made out of matter, so "a mass" is a euphemism for an object made from matter.​

But that's not the problem that arfa brane is having here. arfa seems to think that "mass" is something inherent in an object, rather than just being a number with units that we associate with an object.​

Read the full post, then review posts #104, 106, 110 (which had questions for you that you ignored), 118 (which talks in some detail about how to measure mass), 132.

These were just the posts I posted to you. You should already have read my replies to arfa brane. If you haven't you should do that now, too, because you and he are both suffering from the same confusion.
----

Briefly, in response to your post quoted here:
• Mass is a measure of a quantity of substance. It is not the substance itself. See post #100 for further discussion.
• Mass can be considered to be a measure of inertia, which I also discussed in previous posts.
• There is no dispute that more substance means more inertia, and more inertia means greater mass.
• There is no dispute that inertia has to do with resistance to acceleration.
• There is no dispute that acceleration is the rate of change of velocity.
• I have previously discussed "loose definitions" of mass, along with more precise ones - like the ones actually used by physicists.
• There is no dispute that numbers don't resist acceleration.
• There is no dispute that numbers don't have inertia.
Notice how most of your post entirely missed the actual topic in dispute?
----

Let me put your confusion in a nutshell for you, because that might help. There are two possibilities. One is that you're actually confusing the concept of mass with the reality of substance (matter). They are not the same thing. Mass is in your head. Substance can be bottled. Concepts in general cannot be bottled. The other possibility is that you're confusing the euphemistic use of the word "mass" to denote substance itself with the quantitative (numerical!) measurement denoting a particular physical property of a substantive object.

Sort yourself out and everything will be fine.