# What is "time"

Discussion in 'Physics & Math' started by Saint, Nov 9, 2014.

1. ### paddoboyValued Senior Member

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I'll add to that previous post, that time is just as real as is space, space time, gravity and matter and energy.

Or as Sten Odenwald puts it.....
Experiments continue to show that there is no 'space' that stands apart from space-time itself...no arena in which matter, energy and gravity operate which is not affected by matter, energy and gravity. General relativity tells us that what we call space is just another feature of the gravitational field of the universe, so space and space-time can and do not exist apart from the matter and energy that creates the gravitational field. This is not speculation, but sound observation.
https://einstein.stanford.edu/content/relativity/a11332.html

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3. ### Billy TUse Sugar Cane Alcohol car FuelValued Senior Member

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People who think time is something real need to do two things, IMO:
(1) Tell some observable property of time.
(2) Tell some error in my post 28 mathematical proof that all the observable processes in the universe can be described without any mention of time.
Part of post 28 is quoted in post 93 and then discussed more, trying to make more clear that we can ONLY compare one phenomena's change to that of another.

For your conveniences, here is link to post 28: http://www.sciforums.com/threads/what-is-time.143040/page-2#post-3243118
Appeal to POV of various "authorities" is not a counter to a mathematical PROOF.

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5. ### MattMarsRegistered Member

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Hi Pad,
Please don't take my comments or suggestions as being negative or critical etc, rest assured I am always only trying to be objective and concise.

I appreciate you read and disseminate for yourself, that's why I recommend OEMB, because that is what all those other books ultimately lead to and rest on, and, of course Einstein, (like Feynman etc) is very good at putting his points across understandably. So IMO, OEMB really is the most sensible and efficient thing to read to check ones most basic facts at source. (And I think there is a small but very significant oversight in S1 )

Re Can some one show me, or illustrate to me a realistic world, a realm, a Universe, where time does not exist?

Yes, I think I can, and I posted you a reply, I've put all my working in a (presently) very cheap book (price will go up as sales start to rocket : ), and in a detailed and searchable website ( www.timelessness.co.uk ), and in a series of 10 or so detailed youtubes, and, specifically as I mentioned in my reply, the youtube

Is my best summary of a possible "world, a realm, a Universe, where time does not exist", ie potentially, this one.

As a writer/presenter etc, I can only do so much, no one can produce a book, website, or video etc that demonstrates a possibility to someone (be it ultimately right or wrong) if they do not objectively consider it, so if you are genuinely interested in seeing how a world might be timeless, try the vid.
mm

Last edited: Nov 12, 2014
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7. ### paddoboyValued Senior Member

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[1] Past, present and future.....The fact that we have no universal "now"

[2]I can't do that, but just as legitimate is my question to anyone to show me, or illustrate to me, a world, realm, or Universe in which we have no time.

Sure it is.....As long as those authorities are physicists in that field. More to the point is that what you claim as "mathematical proof " may not be valid.
Your mentioning of planetary rotation, orbital periods etc are not time, and no one has claimed that they are. They are just means [as is a clock] in assisting us to arrange events that occur with the passage of time.
But as I said, the reality or otherwise of time is debatable. If it wasn't we would not be having this debate, and books promoting different aspects of it from different sides would not be necessary : shrug:
My view is as stated....Time like space, spacetime, gravity, matter energy, is real and the proff of that is that they all depend on one another.

8. ### quantum_waveContemplating the "as yet" unknownValued Senior Member

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It is surprising to see how diverse our opinions are about time. It is about time we had this discussion

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. Hopefully we can agree on some points, and I'll offer a point and see if anyone agrees, and I would also like to ask for others to offer a point about time that they think people should agree with. From there, we can identify the points of contention and perhaps explore them as a group, with each interested member making their position, point by point.

First and foremost, the concept of time is not new to any of us, and that concept has practical applications in all of our day to day lives. I'll state the concept in my words as being that time is a measurable if we have a clock, but clock or no clock, the measurement of time quantifies the duration between events. You can take that to mean in a given reference frame if you want, or in any given local environment, which has a broader application to differing theories and hypotheses about time.

9. ### Billy TUse Sugar Cane Alcohol car FuelValued Senior Member

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Past also does not exist. You can have now old photo or a childhood memory but they are part of present and only demonstrate that most real things changes. Candles do burn etc. Most physical and chemical processes are changes and how much per swing of a pendulum can be observed, but how much "time passes" can not be. - because "time" has no property that could be observed to change. The location of the hands of your Timex wrist watch do change - are observables, but Time is not.

Another way to show neiher past nor future are real things is to replace those words with "before" and "later."
Do you also think "before" is a real thing with properties?

If there is a difference between "now" and "the present" you will need to define these terms and point out some difference to me - I think they have the same meaning. I.e. now = the present.
Our universe and all smaller parts of it are without this thing with no properties you call "time."
Math is the most well defined form of logic. Yes, I MAY, have made a logical error - but you have not found one. The POV experts is not logic, but OPINION. Opinion is not any counter to math demonstration Only showing where there is an error in the math does that.
Again time does not exist or depend on the others you list. Spacetime is the volume with in a light cone, and a particle of matter can have a path or trajectory in that light cone.

Yes, you could mark positions along that path with various labels, like inches, years, seconds, small x or points, etc. Each of these "markers" is defined in some observables. I told the definition year, second, and some other terms that refer to observable processes in prior post 93. They are convenient reference to observable processes , not them selves observables.

Last edited by a moderator: Nov 13, 2014
10. ### paddoboyValued Senior Member

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Of course it does! I look into the past everynight when I am star gazing.

I dont see either of those analogies as legitimate. We don't see space/time either, but it was measured and its effects are observed. We also likewise measure the passing of time, and see its effects everyday in change.
The before, as you put it, is the past, and as I have explained, we see it every night, and even in the day.
As I said earlier, there is no such thing as a Universal now, and neither time nor space is absolute.

I concur. But that says nothing about the lack of a universal "NOW" OR "PRESENT".

I don't really believe your so called maths is relevant, and I'm sure if it was, it would be noted by the professionals and be governing the opinions out there that oppose your own.

Spacetime is the Universal background against which the laws of physics and GR operate.
And your opnion on time, is still just that. But as I have said, I'm still waiting for someone to show me a realm or world where time does not exist.
That as yet has not been forthcoming.
Spacetime also comes from the 3D space and 1D time concept, which was shown to be more correctly presented as a 4D spacetime.

11. ### paddoboyValued Senior Member

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Time most certainly exists. I think the question people should be asking is whether it is fundamental or emergent.
I still believe it is fundamental. Space and time are fundamentally necessary to understand the Universe we inhabit.
And of course the third law of thermodynamics and entropy, which has not been mentioned for a while.
Those are the more physical aspects that professionals give in their case for time being real.
In my own way, I still prefer my Occam's razor reasoning, that if it wasn't for time, everything would have happened together....Or maybe actually, nothing would have happened at all....Without time, and subsequently space expansion, we would not even have got started.

And again, I see it as something along with space, spacetime, gravity, matter and energy, that all make the world [Universe] go round.
There are many difficult concepts in physics that we accept without fully understanding it...Time is one of them.

12. ### danshawenValued Senior Member

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If time is related only to relative motion, then what is the smallest possible motion? Intervals measured between varying cycles of electric, magnetic fields of a photon is one measure. Intervals between oscillations of neutrinos between one of three states after interaction with electroweak is another. Intervals between color charge exchanges between gluons and quarks would be still another. Various kinds of quantum processes in Bose-Einstein Condensates. Transitions between spin flips of electrons… the list goes on and on. Most of these can occur without anything like a clock. The speed of light is involved in most of them in some manner or another. Without a constant and invariant speed of light, I expect that clocks constructed by any means would vary rates so wildly as to make the concept of time useless to any purpose.

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14. ### DinosaurRational SkepticValued Senior Member

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To either this or another Thread I Posted the following (paraphrase of Einstein remarks)
The above is not a quote: It is a paraphrase based on my not infallible memory. I Think it is from the preface to one of his books or essays on Relativity. I have read several articles containing very lengthy & confusing verbiage which did not seem to describe the concept of time any better than the above.

It is interesting that Albert used bold or italics for before & after, implying that they should be considered primitive terms, not definable via the use of simpler terms or concepts.

Note that an axiomatic system requires undefined primitive terms to avoid various problems associated with circular definitions.

It is interesting that Albert did not mention the concept of the flow of time from past through the present into the future, which does seem to be a construct (illusion?) of the human mind rather than an objective process associated with reality.

15. ### DinosaurRational SkepticValued Senior Member

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To either this or another Thread I Posted the following (paraphrase of Einstein remarks)
The above is not a quote: It is a paraphrase based on my not infallible memory. I Think it is from the preface to one of his books or essays on Relativity. I have read several articles containing very lengthy & confusing verbiage which did not seem to describe the concept of time any better than the above.

It is interesting that Albert used bold or italics for before & after, implying that they should be considered primitive terms, not definable via the use of simpler terms or concepts.

Note that an axiomatic system requires undefined primitive terms to avoid various problems associated with circular definitions.

It is interesting that Albert did not mention the concept of the flow of time from past through the present into the future, which does seem to be a construct (illusion?) of the human mind rather than an objective process associated with reality.

16. ### river

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17,307
Yes

Time matters in understanding of things , of the micro and macro reality

But time cannot influence the dynamics of either

For instance to change time in any equation means that the physical dynamics must also change , before the time change

17. ### MattMarsRegistered Member

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Billy T said: Past also does not exist.
Hi Pad,
I think it is extremely important where being scientific not to start with presumptions, becasue they may cloud our vision ( e.g. confirmation bias ).
you may show an example of that here.

Also where being scientific it is important how we react when shown how one of our assumptions may in fact be incorrect.
typically, i find people either...

A-Ignore or dismiss what they have been shown, and move on to another example to support a point.
B-change what they say they meant by the example given, or
C-realise there may be some significance in seeing how their initial assumption may be misleading.

your suggestion
ok, let's try some diagrams, consider.

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Firstly, from high school physics you know, that you and I cannot ever see a distant object.
all we in fact see is focused light hitting our retina, at the place where that light is, ( ie actually in our eye).

Therefore, re stars, we should be very clear as to what we actually are, and are not seeing.

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A star disperses light in all directions, whatever the core of that star is doing,
we in fact see a sample of that 'light', just, here, now, physically 'in' our eye.

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so we aren't seeing "the past" in the night sky, just images, here, now , in our eyes...
which we might describe as being "of the past", or even "evidence of the past existing"... if we start with the assumption there "is" a past, and thus time.

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if a tennis ball hits your head you dont think it is "of" the "past", you just think its here , now , hitting your head
a photon hitting your eye, no matter how it looks, is what it is, and it is here now... and only evidence that stuff exists and can be in places changing location etc.

mm
https://sites.google.com/site/abriefhistoryoftimelessness/the-arrow-of-time/star-light-and-raindrops

Last edited: Nov 13, 2014
18. ### MattMarsRegistered Member

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57
Hi Quantum.

you make a great deal of sense in suggesting we start from a reference point ( you will find that this forum, like many others i post on, > ∆-TIME Forums and sites rushes off to discuss 'time', without even an agreed working definition to prove or disprove).

and while sensible, i think there may be a flaw with your approach, which no one notices, and which in seeing this made me think it was worth the huge effort of writing 'timelessness'.

this flaw may be, that you have started with an assumption , and definition about a thing called time.

this seems of, but if in fact we are wrong from the out set to assume such a thing exists, you may have already taken the first step away from ever seeing this.

so - i suggest you start by asking

"what do i actually observe"

which i think you may find is

"just a whole load of matter moving and interacting in all directions",

and from there ask...

"IF a whole load of matter just exists, moves and interacts in all directions ( around, and within me), THEN would this be enough to mislead me into thinking a thing called time exists, and passes, so as to have durations"?

in other words, while i agree the system of "time " is extremely useful, try sitting somewhere quiet, and actually looking around... the idea you see durations or intervals assing, only makes sense if there is "time" passing. and the idea there is "time passing" only makes sense if there "is" a future and past , for it to be flowing between...

all well and good in theory, but test the theory... what do you actually see (/observe)?

do you actually see a "future arriving"?
or
actually see a past" receding ?

or actually see invisible infinitely thin " moments" of a thing called "time" "passing"... separating "events" by "durations" ?

or is all of the matter involved in any so called "event", eg a ball, a player and a goal mouth, not just always somewhere, doing something ?
never actually being at the start or end of an event, and never separated by some other event by a duration?

( my point is the question "does time exist" etc seems innocent, but every book i have read on "time" starts with the assumption it exists, and so each one may be innocently starting with a fatal flaw, that covers its self up more and more with each attempt to find the truth - thats why i say to Paddoboy, look out for confirmation bias)
mm

19. ### Billy TUse Sugar Cane Alcohol car FuelValued Senior Member

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You are doing that in the PRESENT. Same as looking at old photograph of your self as child - that does not show the past child exist, nor that the distant galaxies do. - ALL THAT IS IN THE PRESENT. Yes THE PRESENT does exist.

People who envision a time machine and going back into the past are very confused - Just where it this presumed to exist past? (Other side of the moon? or where?)

Is there a place where Babe Ruth is for ever pointing to left field, where he, in a little more recently past (at some other place, of course) will hit a home run? I'd like to go to both those places and see that, and come back as a young man in the 1945 place to fix some things I did wrong. For example, I did not buy any TimeX stock as "knew" good watches were only made by the Swiss or Germans.

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20. ### MattMarsRegistered Member

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Hi RJ, nice to meet you,

... i think we have to be extremely careful as to whether we may be over complicating things from step one...

Thoroughly testing the insight behind my book against these >Brief History of Timelessness, Bibliography and many other works, i couldnt 'break' it. so

re do you believe there is a "now"?

im led to believe, yes, there is a 'now'. and there may be nothing at all other than 'now'.

the reasoning being , well, look around you, look at what you actually, at first principles, through direct observation , observe , for yourself !

i fully understand the entire theory of time, and all its suggested components a past, future, etc....

but doesn't your grass roots observation tell you there is no actual evidence at all , whatsoever, of a "future arriving", or a "past receding", or "anything other than now".

imo, you and i "are" dying, that is what we are doing ... not "over time", but just here 'now' to use a possibly thus redundant word.

us dying is a bit like a car with the engine running... bits "are" wearing out, but they are doing so precisely where they are rubbing etc, and some component may blow up, and the engine may stop, but every single part of the engine, wherever it is, and whatever it is doing "running" or not, always exists somewhere and is doing something somewhere.

a simpler example may be the smoking of a cigarette... consider if you are watching someone take out and burn a cigarette, it does not "come out of a future", and in burning it does not "go into a past"... it is just breaking up into little bits, that spread out and get hard to see.

And here, i say again, we must be very wary from the VERY first step. you mention "other points in history" - And im saying we should check very carefully whether or not "other points in history " actually exist, or do not.

To be very clear, i think you would agree that what actually inspired you to type those words, came not from a "temporal past" , but from inside your mind, which is here now, and is only evidence that stuff exists moves and interacts "here now".

it comes down ( imo) to this

is there a "past"?

despite all our talk apparently about "it", "the past", you have to be absolutely clear for yourself,

as you walk down a street ( for example) , do you have evidence to suggest that the universe creates and stores some record of your motion, and the motion of everything else in the universe, in a place or thing called "the past"?

or not?

if yu can prove there IS a past, then send your data to the nobel prize people and await a massive cheque, if you have no evidence there actually IS a past, then all sentences mentioning or relying on the IDEA of apast, are just and only doing that, and in no way support or prove a thing called "time " exists, or that there is anything other than "now".
mm

ps check out my reply above to quantum, and perhaps these links

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21. ### Farsight

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Yes, there are some images missing. Sometimes URLs go offline and I think the forum was ported to a new platform causing issues. That's happened here too.

That's it, but it isn't really on sale. However Amazon continue to sell secondhand copies, they're a law unto themselves.

They're probably signed copies. I gather it's becoming a bit of a collectors item. You shouldn't have bought one, let me send you one. A signed copy!

I was selling relativity+ for £9.99, which I thought was pretty good for a glossy book with 150+ colour pictures.

Last edited: Nov 13, 2014
22. ### Landau RoofRegistered Senior Member

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598
Even your grammar, as well as yourself and everything you ever do is in the present.
Kung Fu panda got it right. "Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is mystery. Today is a gift. That's why it's called the present."

23. ### Farsight

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Perhaps we should. But shifting conviction is like shifting a tooth. So I'm forever searching for ways to make the truth more palatable. People can be very irrational when you challenge their conviction.

I agree. How nice it is to meet another one-eyed man.