Is mass a number?

You think, for some reason, that if I stop responding, you'll have "won" this silly argument by default.
Yes it is a silly argument. It's about a subject that for most people, is done and dusted by high school.

But you've kept up your end with the ridiculous idea that if it can't go in a bottle, it doesn't exist. You insisted that I should be able to take the mass out of an object and put it in a bottle, remember?

Ridiculous. You are a joke. A bad joke. Please stop discussing physics with me. This is your final warning.

Matter is, approximately, stuff you can put in a bottle. Mass is a concept in your head.
Mass is not a concept, you idiot.
Now you're getting yourself even more confused. Volume and density aren't the same thing, silly. They even have different units. Check it out.
I didn't say they were the same. You keep doing shit like that. Why? Because you then assume you can accuse me of doing it. Well, you can fuck off, James.

You are fucking hopeless at explaining anything. You can't explain your own fucking useless ideas about physics, because they're fucked.

Jesus Christ.
I know I'm impressive, but I'm not Christ.
You actually believe that particles in the Standard Model get mass, which is a concept, from a field which is also a concept.
The Standard Model is a scientific theory. i.e. CONCEPT.
Mass is a numerical quantity used in the Standard Model theory. It is a CONCEPT.
Various fields are theoretical entities that exist within the Standard Model. i.e. the fields are CONCEPTS.

You are confusing the map for the territory. The Standard Model is a map of the territory. The territory itself consists of the actual particles that exist in the physical world, and their observed real-world behaviours and interactions (which the Standard Model tries to model in a theoretical or conceptual way).

Don't get me wrong. The Standard Model is a very powerful and useful theory, even though we're not sure that all aspects of the theory are correct. But it's a mistake to think that it is "real" in the same way that an electron is real.*
I feel kind of sorry for you, you dipshit.
No you don't.

You ought to learn some manners. Grow up.

Oh, and don't imagine that nobody noticed how you skipped out again on trying to properly summarise the simple point that I have put to you. I don't think you can do it.

---
* And let's not even start on how real an electron really is.

The Standard Model is a scientific theory. i.e. CONCEPT.
Oh fuck.

Is the electron's mass a concept? What about the electric charge? That's a concept too? And fermion spin, that's a concept?

The answer to all the above questions is the same: no, they're physically real. Concepts about what they are and what they mean, are very much independent of their physical reality. But you don't believe that do you? You don't because you prefer an unworkable model of physics to beat people over the head with.

You are truly pathetic. Please don't respond. I will not reply to anything further from you, it's just too boring and pointless. Keep waving the flag or whatever you think it is.

Mass is not a concept, you idiot.
Will you ever realise that argument by assertion is a fallacy?
You're obnoxiously rude. Grow up.
I didn't say they were the same. You keep doing shit like that. Why? Because you then assume you can accuse me of doing it.
Here's what you wrote, verbatim:

"Except that, since Newton, an amount of matter--a volume of matter--has been called a mass density, in kg per cubic metre these days."
This is factually incorrect. A volume of matter would never be called a mass density, by any competent physicist.

If you understand that volume and density are different - which I would ordinarily assume that you do - a more appropriate response from you would have been "My bad" - an apology for your error (which I could charitably assume might have been an inadvertent slip-up). Instead, your response is to accuse me of not honestly responding to what you wrote.

Meanwhile, of course, you ignored most of my previous post, just so you could could focus on your anger about being corrected again on a minor point.
You are fucking hopeless at explaining anything. You can't explain your own fucking useless ideas about physics, because they're fucked.
Even your insults are getting confused now. Is it that I'm a bad explainer of my ideas, or is it that my ideas are unexplainable? You need to decide on a consistent line before you try to deliver an insult; it might be a little more effective that way.

On the other hand, there's that thing about ad hominems being an argumentative fallacy, which you keep forgetting.

Are we now at the point where you have nothing left to contribute except froth-at-the-mouth incoherent insults? Are we done, then?

Is the electron's mass a concept? What about the electric charge? That's a concept too? And fermion spin, that's a concept?
Yes, yes and yes.

BTW, fermion "spin" isn't really spin at all, as we usually understand it. That, in itself, ought to give you a hint about its ontological status. That's if you know some physics, of course. I thought you did, previously. In the past, you always seemed to me to have a reasonable grip on this stuff. Now, though, it seems like you're struggling even to keep focus. Are you okay, man?
The answer to all the above questions is the same: no, they're physically real.
You have yet to make any attempt to define the term "physically real". I don't think you have any clear notion about what you mean when you say something is "physically real". Now you have TWO challenges:
1. Explain to me in your own words the distinction between mass and matter that I have put to you. (You don't have to agree with it, mind.)
2. Define the term "physically real".

It might be fun for me to keep adding to this list if we are going to continue this.
Concepts about what they are and what they mean, are very much independent of their physical reality. But you don't believe that do you?
I do! That's exactly what I have been trying to get you to understand, all this time.

It's not a good sign that, at this stage of our discussion, your understanding is that I hold precisely the opposite position to the one I actually hold. It shows that you haven't listened. Or haven't understood. Or perhaps you're just trolling, though right now I'm leaning towards actual stupidity as the best explanation. I guess a belligerent determination not to listen or try to understand remains a live option.

Of course, it may well be that since you are apparently unable to define what you mean by "physical reality", we're just talking at cross purposes on this particular point. I can't tell if your definition of that term would bear any resemblance to mine (which I have given in previous posts, BTW).
You don't because you prefer an unworkable model of physics to beat people over the head with.
Tell me one thing that is "unworkable" about any "model of physics" that I have used. Go on, try.
You are truly pathetic.
Why do you always end with (pathetic) ad hominems?

It isn't helping you. The opposite, in fact.
I will not reply to anything further from you, it's just too boring and pointless.
We're done, then?

Promise?
Keep waving the flag or whatever you think it is.
Anybody who has stuck with this conversation - now spread over two threads, at your insistence - this long will have realised long ago that you ought to have waved the white flag to save yourself further embarrassment.

Apologies for another off-topic post, but I should have responded to a post from Motor Daddy, from earlier in this thread. He is no longer a member of this forum, so I can't send a private message, but he might still read this post, and his comments were public in the first place. I'd like to try to clear up some misunderstandings, if possible. So, I address this largely to Motor Daddy.
I have a love hate relationship with James. I really do love his wisdom and knowledge, and that he is level headed. I really do respect him for that knowledge and wisdom. I give him apologies when in order. I make certain comments about his great knowledge, effectively showing my respect for him.
Thank you.
The flip side is that James shows no respect for me. It's a one sided relationship where I show him respect and he treats me like an idiot, by constantly claiming I'm too stupid to understand something.
Why does he usually make those types of comments to me? Because he considers me a crank and he could never let a crank teach him something or admit to a crank that they are right. He would NEVER apologize to a crank. In his mind he labeled me a crank because I did not agree with his ideas of space and time.
I am usually quite careful to distinguish between criticism of a person's ideas or arguments and criticism of the person himself. I try to stick to the ideas and arguments most of the time. The exception usually comes when the other guy starts in with ad hominem attacks, insults and the like. In fact, this thread provides quite a good illustration of that: witness arfa brane's inability to stop himself from peppering his posts with personal insults. I think it is quite fair to call such people out on their sub-par behaviours towards other people, and try to help them to be more aware of those behaviours, which often turn out to be habitual and hard to break.

It was never my intention to disrespect Motor Daddy as a person. I apologise if I failed to distinguish criticisms of some bad ideas and shoddy thinking from personal slights. I would happily sit down with MD and have a beer. I hope we could get along just fine. Only certain technical topics would be likely to put as at odds.

There are a lot of people who have an interest in science, but little formal training in it. I'm all for encouraging the interest; it's one of the reasons I'm on this forum. I also understand that nobody can be an expert on everything, including me. However, that does not mean that everybody is on an equal footing when it comes to expertise. Unless you happen to mix in the right circles, chances are that if you're an untrained science enthusiast, you probably don't get much chance to talk directly to experts who know their stuff. It can therefore be confronting when you do, if it turns out that you have some incorrect notions.

Cranks differ from other kinds of amateur enthusiasts in a number of ways. They tend to exhibit certain characteristics which mark them out as cranks. The biggest one is in demonstrating an unwillingness to learn new things from experts, sometimes (but actually not that often) combined with an actual lack of intellectual capacity. Cranks typically want to tell, not listen. Cranks tend to have limited vistas on science. Often they focus on just a few ideas. Often they focus on trying to bring down what they perceive to be high-value targets, like Einstein or Charles Darwin, usually without taking the time and effort to first understand the theories those people actually espoused.

"Crank" is a label. It is easy to use it as an ad hominem attack, and I disapprove of that. On the other hand, there comes a point, after giving a person's ideas fair scrutiny and giving them ample opportunity to respond to reasonable criticism, where the label becomes fair comment.

Being "cranky" about some narrow ideas does not make one a crank about everything. Lots of "cranks" are mostly-normal people whose cranky notions about physics or biology probably don't get much airing outside of internet science forums. (Perhaps they bend the ear of their brother or wife or best friend from time to time.) They may be willing to change their minds about a lot of things, but it is the few non-negotiable ideas fixee that ultimately maketh the crank.

Commenting on Motor Daddy specifically, his anti-relativity ideas were certainly "cranky". It became clear over time that he didn't really understand basic underpinnings of any theory of relativity (never mind Einstein's specific theory), such as what a reference frame is. Nor was he willing to make the effort to learn, apparently. Yet he still felt confident enough, for some reason, to claim that the experts were all wrong and he was right, despite being utterly unable to demonstrate any soundness to his criticisms of standard scientific theories.

A distinction could also be made between "honest cranks" and "trolls". The former don't know what they don't know, essentially. Their fault lies in be unwilling to listen to alternatives to their initial ideas. The latter, however, understand that their cranky ideas are worthless; their goal is to have a dishonest discussion, usually with the aim of provoking an angry or otherwise emotional reaction. The moral test of the honest crank lies in resisting the resisting the temptation to turn troll after one understands that one's ideas were in error. Sadly, many fail that test.

I cannot honestly say for sure whether Motor Daddy was an honest crank or a troll when discussing topics such as relativity. I have an opinion, of course, but from time to time that opinion has flip-flopped back and forth.

(continued...)

What really pisses me off more than anything is dishonesty and corruption.
MD and I share common ground here, if this is for real (and I think it is). I'm all for exposing dishonesty and corruption. But I also think it is very easy to accuse others of dishonesty and corruption, for one's own dishonest or corrupt purposes. That's why, if somebody is going to make such accusations, they really need to bring the evidence. Mere opinions are better kept to oneself.
I REFUSE to be part of a clique! If it's a clique here I want no part of it, hence my request for a permaban and all my posts deleted. I would rather take my ball and go home than to be part of some clique that I have no desire to be part of.
Birds of a feather flock together. Unfortunately for cranks, there is usually ONE scientific position that has a large degree of consensus. Perhaps 99% of scientists agree that X is correct rather than Y, let's say. On the other hand, no two cranky "theories" are ever quite the same, so it can be hard for the crank who believes Q to find many people who will support him. To the crank, therefore, it can no doubt often seem like the world is ganging up against him. Cranks tend to rationalise this by imagining that they are the only people who see the Truth, while the "mainstream" experts who all disagree with them are essentially a misguided cliquey cult following a dogma. Since the crank typically isn't interested in (or in some cases able to understand) learning about the consensus position, it is easier to make the excuse that the mainstream can't be trusted.

On the other hand, sometimes cranks do gather together into their own "cliques". Sometimes one crank can be charismatic enough to attract his own cult followers. Sometimes independent cranks have ideas that are similar enough - perhaps influencing each other enough - that they are willing to join together to fight the good fight against the evil establishment. It's an obviously appealing idea to imagine yourself the hero David against the evil Goliaths of science.
James seems to treat me fairly, but on the same token he uses me as a punching bag. Someone to beat on that he thinks is an easy win.
Once it becomes clear that somebody is unwilling to make any effort to learn something new, yet still insists on trying to publicise his own incorrect notions (often with an obsessive laser-like focus), what is to be done? In "real life", we usually have the option to walk away from that person. On an internet science discussion forum, that person can be as "in your face" as anybody else, despite the balance of opinion being overwhelmingly against their ideas. A choice must be made as to whether to keep trying to change that person's mind - or perhaps merely countering his errors, for the benefit of other readers - or to seek to exclude him from the internet community. For me, which choice I make can depend on whether I judge somebody to be an honest crank or a troll. There is always the chance that the honest crank can learn and change. With the troll, there was never any real chance.
When I start to prove him wrong he throws his moderator powers against me, so I can never win. It's a damn shame, really. James can be such a great guy, but then he is dishonest and abuses his power when he starts to lose a debate.
I point out to any interested readers that Motor Daddy has a very long record of posts on this forum. I have had long debates with him on various topics. So have other members. I invite you to read the record and decide for yourself whether (or to what extent) I have ever been dishonest with Motor Daddy, or abusive towards him. At the same time, please consider how he has conducted himself. Decide for yourselves. I say that the record will show that not only have I been honest with Motor Daddy, but also extraordinarily patient. Bear in mind that most of MD's activities on this forum were prior to 2014.
If he starts losing, like is the case in this scenario with Arfa, then he will do and say anything necessary to prolong the argument and win, one way or the other.
arfa keeps saying, in this thread, that he wants to stop our discussion. Then he ... doesn't.

I have not introduced irrelevances into our discussion. I have continued to make the same basic argument, which arfa brane is yet to even acknowledge that he understands. arfa's main responses have been to contradict my claims, without providing justification, and to make ad hominem attacks on me.

I would find it strange that Motor Daddy had no criticism about the the way that arfa brane has conducted himself here, were it not for the assumption that people often assume that "the enemy of my enemy is my friend".
He is not capable of admitting defeat and giving an apology, and that is his biggest downfall, something I absolutely can't stand and will not tolerate.
Unfortunately for MD (not to mention arfa), one must be defeated before one needs to admit defeat.

I have given one apology in this post, alone. So, it seems I am capable of that. I'm actually quite a reasonable guy. We could have a beer. Let's not chat about Einstein's theory of relativity if we do, though, eh, because that seems to be a trigger for you.

It wasn't exactly a response to the specific question I asked, regarding a "reality check".

Yes, James, we understand it wasn't a genuine question.

Of course you're right. The huge chip on arfa's shoulder dates back long before this particular thread. Over time he has worked himself into such a lather over me that he now goes out of his way to find excuses to disagree with me, even over trivial matters.

I think you're right. At some time in the past, I no doubt called arfa out on an error he made. That apparently caused some kind of crisis of ego in him. It seems to me that he is accustomed to believing himself to be the smartest person in every room. Rather than admitting an error or an inferior understanding of something, he feels like he needs to double down or triple down to protect his fragile ego.

Maybe arfa brane isn't like this "in real life". Maybe he reserves his particular brand of arrogance for internet forums. Whatever it is, though, on the internet he has apparently forgotten how to carry on a polite conversation - at least if there is any chance of somebody disagreeing with his views. Worse, he takes being gently corrected as a personal slight. It makes him angry, and he starts lashing out with personal attacks. He tries to bully, in short, and I'm the first to admit I don't like that.

No doubt there was a particular trigger point for arfa's animosity towards me. But he's now spent so long trying to come up excuses to pick fights with me that it's hard for me to pinpoint when the first one might have been.

I get it that it takes a certain strength of character to admit you're not perfect, and humility to admit when you are wrong. Some people struggle with developing that maturity. Probably, some never get there. Some like to deflect their problems and shortcomings onto others. I understand this. It doesn't mean I (or you) should pussy-foot around such people, to pander to their insecurities.

And that's you needing five paragraphs to acknowledge that no, you don't actually know why he's upset.

I should point out that, if somebody is going to make either of those accusations (against anyone), they should have the common decency to present a supporting case for their view, which ought to be objective and evidence-based. Otherwise, it's just rudeness - insults for insults sake.

The question of corruption depends on subtleties and nuance; when people present evidence, you just get indignant, rewriting what people say in order to defend your character against your own straw, and if it gets too much for you to handle, you just don't answer.

And that's part of the reason why lines like—

One thing you (and other readers) might have noticed over time is that I become less "easy to talk to" the more the people who are trying to talk to me fail to observe basic human courtesies.

—don't work. It goes both ways, you know; other people's frustration with your wilful dishonesty and disruption builds and, yes, some do eventually start cussing you out. That doesn't mean Arfa Brane's conduct is appropriate, but it's also true that compared to trying to figure out how to accommodate your extraordinary needs, a fuckton of fuckoff can feel like an easy temptation.

Here's another example:

We could have a more useful discussion about the reasons I might "disdain" certain aspects of religion, if you were interested.

These sorts of lines are more performative than anything else. After you spend years avoiding such questions, you try a line like that when you think it might have some theatrical effect, but we do have the recent example of the thread about talking to God↗, so maybe you should quit with the make-believe.

Yes, James, we could have a more useful discussion about the reasons you might disdain certain aspects of religion, but it's not, as you suggest, a question of my interest; you have been running away from those discussions for years. Genuine, useful discussions of religion and religious belief apparently exceed you. And, moreover, as the example I provided reminds, getting you to even approach those issues is its own trial, and what you offer is largely a bland, featureless caricature that, at best, applies to some assertion of an impossible average.

That's part of what I mean when I say you are difficult to talk to: Instead of responding to the discussion at hand, you make stuff up and respond to that, instead, and blame everyone else for your behavior.

And, actually, part of that is how we find ourselves in the present moment: We might still wonder what you were actually doing when you asked for a reality check, but part of the answer seems to involve you inquiring based on your own make-believe. To reiterate the earlier points in short form: 1) There is almost always a communication problem; 2) while I'm not a scientist, I see the same sort of rhetorical noise and distortion in your exchange with Arfa Brane that I see in other subjects; 3) it is unclear whether you are capable of recognizing certain distinctions, including example; 4) in re distinctions, do you even know why the other is upset; 5) because no matter how righteous you feel, you are displaying behavior common to much of your posting involving a diverse range of people and subjects.

Furthermore, as I said, when you asked it was not clear your inquiry was genuine. Now that you've made the point that it wasn't, well, it's not surprising, but still.

And like I said, without that origin there is a cloud over the answer, so even if Arfa Brane was totally off his rocker at the outset, it's hard to tell; he certainly isn't going to say so, and you're not able to.

Additionally, it is unclear whether you are able to recognize certain distinctions. Think of it this way: Motor Daddy or Mr. G yelling at you isn't quite the same thing as when Arfa Brane is pissed at you, or Sarkus is annoyed, or even when Vociferous goes around in circles with you. It really is a diverse list even without including me, and even when you're right, James, you just seem unable to help yourself. Still—

Perhaps you should consider not just my side of the interactions with those people, but also their side. See if you can spot some common, problematic behaviors in them

—consider that you have set me up for an easy line that goes, approximately, Yes, they disagreed with you. I actually don't like the line; its priorities feel awry, and it's far too general. The more accurate point is that they have somehow offended or displeased you in another context. Again, this behavior of yours is so common it is nearly irrelevant to whether you are right or wrong; e.g., even if Arf is running crackpot, there is something else going on here—you passed over that part.

Or perhaps—

Only one of the two of us is regularly resorting to insulting the other rather than presenting coherent arguments in support of our position on the particular topic of dispute.

—we might observe only one of the two of you routinely strikes a condescending tone according to straw men constructed for the apparent purpose of justifying condescenscion.

There is a cheap line in political dispute about everyone who disagrees with you, and when people throw it at me one obvious point to consider is that no, not everyone who disagrees with me is negatively categorized, because some of them teach me what I need to know in order to not be incorrect. And if we don't see much of those around here, that could easily be a marketplace result characteristic of our community.

And in our community, James, people know that nobody is going to stop you. Remember that, because no, your straw pretenses are not polite; they are, in fact, disruptive, provocative, and rude. I can read Arfa Brane whatever list of advice about what is or isn't appropriate, but he already knows, and if he looks right back at me and complains, "And it's not going to stop, is it?" he will not be wrong.

These two fallacious elements, James—the sosobra you build, and the pretense of what is polite or not—bring you and everybody else more grief than anything else; they are even basic components of what happens at that intersection of you and supremacism↗, or why your atheistic evangelism often reads like fodder for religious paranoia about infidels.

It's not simply that people disagree with you; it's that some run afoul of some particular pretense of dignity, so even if Arfa Brane really was that far out in the wasteland, or it remains unclear who got the better of what in running circles with Vociferous, or, sure, maybe Sarkus could have been a little less defensive about your sleight, one shared component among a range of otherwise diverse experiences in our community has to do with these parts of your behavior.

To wit:

Anything is possible, I suppose. But it's really not a plausible reading of this thread. I have been very careful to clear up all possible points of confusion where arfa and I may have talked past each other for a post or two, although arfa is still pretending that I never posted such clarifications.

Y'know, you just spent five paragraphs making clear that no, you don't actually know why he's upset.

It's one thing if people notice, another for them to wonder at what point it's worth engaging, but throughout they cannot overlook that it's not going to stop.

And remember, a line might feel persuasively effective, and can be reasonably well constructed, but if something about it is untrue, people will eventually notice.

Tiassa:

Yes, James, we understand it wasn't a genuine question.
And by "we" you mean the Royal "we", which means this is just your own perception. I get it.
And that's you needing five paragraphs to acknowledge that no, you don't actually know why he's upset.
No. It's right there in paragraph 2.
The question of corruption depends on subtleties and nuance; when people present evidence, you just get indignant, rewriting what people say in order to defend your character against your own straw, and if it gets too much for you to handle, you just don't answer.
Nonsense.

Look, Tiassa, this meta stuff of yours is all well and good, but at some stage the rubber really needs to hit the road. Bring something substantive, if you're going to complain. Your interpretations and attempts to read between the lines are just that, nothing more.

The question, at this point, is not why afra brane is upset. The more interesting question is: what's the bug up your arse? Why don't you tell me what you're so riled up about?
It goes both ways, you know; other people's frustration with your wilful dishonesty and disruption builds and, yes, some do eventually start cussing you out.
You never quite manage to actually come up with any examples of my supposed "wilful dishonesty". I'd say that might have something to do with your wilful dishonesty.
Yes, James, we could have a more useful discussion about the reasons you might disdain certain aspects of religion, but it's not, as you suggest, a question of my interest...[snip]
Okay. I'm quite happy to leave that as a topic and move on. Done.
Genuine, useful discussions of religion and religious belief apparently exceed you.
You're welcome to your opinion, of course. You seldom deign to come down off your high horse long enough to participate in any actual discussion of religion or belief, but you're always ready to throw peanuts from the gallery.
That's part of what I mean when I say you are difficult to talk to: Instead of responding to the discussion at hand, you make stuff up and respond to that, instead, and blame everyone else for your behavior.
If only you have one example of me blaming everyone else for my behaviour, it might help make your case more forcefully. But alas, you do not.
.... even if Arfa Brane was totally off his rocker at the outset, it's hard to tell; he certainly isn't going to say so, and you're not able to.
It was there in the five paragraphs you obviously didn't read. Apart from that, it's obvious from the earlier posts in this thread, which you didn't read.
Think of it this way: Motor Daddy or Mr. G yelling at you isn't quite the same thing as when Arfa Brane is pissed at you, or Sarkus is annoyed, or even when Vociferous goes around in circles with you. It really is a diverse list even without including me...
That's an interesting list of names of fine, upstanding people that you have provided, Tiassa, including yourself of course. Yes, undoubtedly, any problem must be on my end. I invite any interested readers, as always, to review my exchanges with any or all of the mentioned people. Please draw your own conclusions, by all means!
—consider that you have set me up for an easy line that goes, approximately, Yes, they disagreed with you. I actually don't like the line; its priorities feel awry, and it's far too general. The more accurate point is that they have somehow offended or displeased you in another context.
The devil tends to be the detail with these things, doesn't it? I see that you're merrily skipping over all detail to talk in vague meta generalities, which is no doubt easier for you than trying to find concrete evidence to support your accusations. A reader might wonder (if they are still with us at this point in the discussion) what these fine upstanding people disagreed with me about, exactly. As a moderator of this forum, I sometimes find, for instance, that people whom I moderate disagree with me about my actions. I have found in some cases that some of those people have carried grudges afterwards, believing that my actions as a moderator were unfair to them for one reason or another (or for no particular reason, other than a desire not to be held responsible for their own actions, perhaps). In some other cases, the disagreements might have nothing to do with my official role here. Some people have trouble being told they are wrong about things, and get upset as a result, I have found.

So yes, pointing out that people who dislike me here have often disagreed with me about something is an easy line. Also a rather glaringly obvious one. Perhaps some people are immature and need to grow up and take responsibility for their own behaviours rather than looking for somebody else to blame. What do you think about that, Tiassa?
And in our community, James, people know that nobody is going to stop you.
I am well aware of the power imbalance that comes from being a moderator on this forum, just as you are (or should be). Nobody stops you, either, do they? So you know what that's like, and hopefully you're also aware of the responsibility that goes along with the armor that prevents people from stopping you.
I disagree. All indications are that is he either does not know, or else can't bring himself to act like a mature, responsible adult.
And remember, a line might feel persuasively effective, and can be reasonably well constructed, but if something about it is untrue, people will eventually notice.
Indeed. A point you should reflect on.

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If mass is matter,what is a massless object?

Not matter?

I thought mass was a measure of a body's resistance to acceleration.

Admittedly I am wrong more often than right.

Edit:Seem to have lost the earlier post in this thread where someone said "mass is matter" and someone answered "yes,you got it"
I might find it if I keep looking

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If mass is matter, what is a massless object?
Mass isn't matter. Mass is a number, as I have explained. We shouldn't mix up concepts (mass) with "stuff" (matter). [And yes, I know that most people don't bother making a clear distinction in this case, so the common usage of the word "mass" is hopelessly muddled. But in this thread we're having a technical discussion.]

Massless objects are not matter, I suppose.

The objects we see around us are mostly made of particles that have mass - protons, electrons and neutrons. There's also quite a lot of massless stuff buzzing around, such as photons of light. I think that most people would not include light in the category "matter". Conveniently, photons of light have no mass, so that's consistent with the common-sense description in this case.

What other kinds of massless objects do you have in mind? (Are there any?)
I thought mass was a measure of a body's resistance to acceleration.
That's correct. Mass is a number that can be used to characterise certain properties of objects. Inertia is one of those properties, and mass is a measure of inertia.

What other kinds of massless objects do you have in mind?
It was just photons I actually had in mind ,even if I kind of assumed there could be others.

I remember when neutrinos were thought to be massless although now that is no longer the belief since,apparently they change flavours and so must have some mass

I would imagine that the graviton ,once detected would also be massless, as would be the other force carrier (the gluon?)

But ,as I said above I am very prone to being wrong even when I feel sure of my ground so I try not to mislead if at all possible.

Anyway,if a photon is neither massive nor can be called "matter" I do wonder how it is to be categorized

Is it something that is more fundamental than matter in the sense ,perhaps that it formed at an earlier time in the evolution of the Universe -and so distinct from matter on that sense?

That's correct. Mass is a number that can be used to characterise certain properties of objects. Inertia is one of those properties, and mass is a measure of inertia
That is interesting. What other properties of objects does/can mass measure?

geordief:

I would imagine that the graviton ,once detected would also be massless, as would be the other force carrier (the gluon?)
There are four fundamental forces. Photons, which carry the electromagetic force, are massless. The weak force is carried by W and Z bosons, which have mass. The strong force is carried by gluons, and I can't recall whether they have mass or not. I do know that most of the mass of something like a proton is not to be found in its constituent quarks, however; I think that gluons are massive. Gravitons, if they exist, ought to be massless, but we won't know for sure until we have a good quantum theory of gravity.
Anyway,if a photon is neither massive nor can be called "matter" I do wonder how it is to be categorized
It's characterised in various ways, according to its properties. So, it's a boson, a spin 1 particle, etc.
Is it something that is more fundamental than matter in the sense ,perhaps that it formed at an earlier time in the evolution of the Universe -and so distinct from matter on that sense?
The universe is thought to have started as a very hot quark-lepton-photon plasma (not sure if "plasma" is really the right word here; maybe "mixture" would be better). In the early stages, photons were constantly being emitted and reabsorbed by the other particles that were around the place. After the universe expanded sufficiently, some photons were then free to travel through "empty" space (and we can still catch some of those photons now).
That is interesting. What other properties of objects does/can mass measure?
I was thinking in a rough way of the idea of an "amount of substance". Objects are typically built from atoms, so the total mass of an object is approximately the sum of the masses of its constituent atoms, which means that mass can be used to "count" the atoms in an object, approximately. There are some complications in the detail of how atoms bind together, but it's more or less a correct idea.

I was thinking in a rough way of the idea of an "amount of substance". Objects are typically built from atoms, so the total mass of an object is approximately the sum of the masses of its constituent atoms, which means that mass can be used to "count" the atoms in an object, approximately. There are some complications in the detail of how atoms bind together, but it's more or less a correct idea.
Yeah, see that's the whole weird thing about this entire so-called discussion. All that you say is essentially correct, it corresponds to what I was, and what I assume most students were, told about what mass is.

Then you seem to want to be able to say that it's "just a number". This does not follow. Mass is still a subject of some conjecture as to what and where it is.

Photons can be said to have an effective mass; photons don't accelerate, the concept of inertia is not meaningful in a photon's frame of reference. So what is photon "mass"? You say you know, I say you cant say you know because nobody does.
Right?

Yeah, see that's the whole weird thing about this entire so-called discussion. All that you say is essentially correct, it corresponds to what I was, and what I assume most students were, told about what mass is.
Yes, but you also think that mass and matter are the same thing, rather than one be a measure of the amount of the other. I understand the loose talk; it's very common. What I don't understand is why you won't acknowledge the distinction even after it has been careful explained to you. I put that down to an ego problem.
Then you seem to want to be able to say that it's "just a number". This does not follow.
*sigh* I'm not going to walk you through it again. Go back and read the thread until you understand it, FFS.
Mass is still a subject of some conjecture as to what and where it is.
??
Photons can be said to have an effective mass...
A lot of things can be said to have this or that. The rest mass of a photon is zero.
... photons don't accelerate, the concept of inertia is not meaningful in a photon's frame of reference.
Because photons are massless, they always travel at the speed of light. There is no such thing as "a photon's frame of reference".
So what is photon "mass"?
It's a number. Just like the mass of anything else.
You say you know, I say you cant say you know because nobody does. Right?
That's what you say, yes.

Yes, but you also think that mass and matter are the same thing, rather than one be a measure of the amount of the other.
That's what you say. I don't believe you though.

I think you make a lot of mistakes and don't acknowledge them .I think you're the one with an ego problem.
You still want me to believe that you have the answers to questions about what something physical is. Physics doesn't really say much about what things like mass or charge are. What are they really? You say they are concepts, numbers. I say you can't know that.

I think you like to believe that you've got some kind of insight. I can't see what it might be, though. That's after all this time.

There is no such thing as "a photon's frame of reference".
Indeed. So any statement about such a thing is meaningless, including any statement about inertia (like the one I posted, right?).

"Mass is a number" is another meaningless statement. It's not something that is known by anyone, anywhere.

"Mass is a number" is another meaningless statement. It's not something that is known by anyone, anywhere.

Can I stick my toe into this puddle?
Isn't "mass" a symbolic name for describing an accumulative potential of atomic density patterns?

The denser the atomic pattern, the greater its mass. This specific potential has been symbolically codified with the term "mass" as the mathematical symbols of "relational values" (numbers, units of measurement) associated with "density"?

I like this term "relational values" . I believe it can be applied to all "differential equations"?

It is an applicable generic mathematical description of everything associated with spacetime. Relational values.