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Another Way of Looking At The Physics of Time

  1. Jan 17, 2005 #1
    Dear Friends,

    I am new to these most interesting forums. I am very pleased to have discovered them. Perhaps I can add a subject that might also be of interest?

    Some philosophers, theologians and even some scientists seem to feel that "time" is but a figment of human imagination or some similar fabrication. Others suggest that it is only but a manifistation or similar extension of an existing concept, without any truly solid, independent description of its own.

    I would submit, for your consideration, the contention that "time" is a major factor, if not THE major factor, in our universe. The thesis for this is presented, in some detail (but without the mathematics), for your inspection at: .

    I haven't given the specific page on that site, in the address noted above, because I also believe you will find the entire site most interesting. However, the page in question is: "The Physical Nature of Time".

    I hope you will enjoy the experience and will return here will various comments and such. I'm sure that such a discussion will be quite interesting.

    Most sincerely,

    Tal D. Noble
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 17, 2005 #2

    cronxeh

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    Unfortunately for "philosophers, theologians and even some scientists" their thoughts will always be under scifi tab and never amount to much without any solid mathematics. Give us something. Give me at least a working model with a closed system that would fit with at least one everyday phenomena - i will dig into it - but otherwise this is a pointless discussion and really spans the essence of 'figment of imagination' - its not the time thats figmet of imagination, its you. And I didnt quiet understand the theme of that paper - what is the alternative then?

    "It's all a matter of "motion" and nothing else do we find"
    So if you stop motion then what? The 'time' stops? Or the passage of events stop?

    "We only find changes in the volume of space between what seems more and more to be anomalies we call matter and energy. And such anomalies (if that's what they are) are forever between endless changes in the volume of space and are, themselves, only internal changes in the volume of space. It is indeed a very strange universe."

    Im not sure how to perceive the 'changes in the internal volume of space' but there are things that dont rely on volume or motion and still take place and time is there. Can you elaborate on this one?
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2005
  4. Jan 17, 2005 #3
    The best way that I can put it, without reverting to differential equations and such, is to ask the following questions. What do you perceive, in this universe of ours, that is something, anything other than motion? And what is motion? And, how might you think this would relate to "time?"

    And of course remember, I'm not saying that the universe is just observed changes in measurements of space. What I am suggesting is that it would seem this is all we are currently able to perceive.
     
  5. Jan 18, 2005 #4
    Hi,

    I would say that time can be looked at as the interval between events or the duration of an event or both. This can be in either a discrete or continuous manner.

    Time can also be looked at as change and in this way relates to motion.

    juju
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2005
  6. Jan 19, 2005 #5
    Welcome to the forum.

    I find Nargaruna good on time. He presents a solid case for the non-existence (or epiphenomenal nature) of past, present and future that has yet to be refuted. Physicist Peter Lynds argues the same. Also, is it not the case that M-theory more or less says that spacetime does not exist in any absolute sense? I thought this view was more or less accepted by physicists and that it was well established that time is not a fundamental property of reality, but simply a relation.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2005
  7. Jan 19, 2005 #6

    Moonbear

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    I don't understand what new idea you're trying to present in that essay at all. Since you've chosen to use, as you admit, the imprecision of words, rather than equations, I'll join in here since clearly there's a reason physicists work with equations rather than imprecise words.

    I'll start with this statement:
    You've described changes in rates of metabolism or frequency of stimuli. This immediately leads to a circular argument, as rate and frequency are terms that refer to distance travelled or events occurring per unit time. Such terminology already assumes time is a fixed unit of measure. To then use a change in rate of something as evidence that time is changing is circular.

    It is difficult to see time as events. Events are events. Time elapses between events, but is not describing the events per se. Also, time is not described or defined as the orderly passage of events, but rather the other way around, the orderly passage of events is used as a tool through which we can measure the elapsing of time. All it appears you are trying to do is redefine time as something it isn't for the convenience of claiming you have a new approach to it.

    I've already addressed what I see as the problem with defining time as the orderly passage of events. Now I'd like to know why you define motion as the volume change of space. This doesn't make any sense to me at all. I'm not sure what a classical definition of motion would be, but it is measured based on distance change between two objects.

    Indeed, you then change your definition in the following:
    Here you are actually using time to define motion, when in actuality, what you are referring to are rates (motion or distance traveled per unit time). So, at this point, the argument becomes completely circular to use time to define motion and then use motion to describe time.

    If you've lost important components of your meaning in using words rather than equations, by all means, delve into some serious math and we can give the physicists a crack at it.
     
  8. Jan 20, 2005 #7
    Some answers about "Time."

    Moonbear ---

    I don't have a great deal of time. My field is astrophysics and I'm kept very busy. It's an exciting and very energetic exploration and it leaves precious little time for anything else. Let me cover at least a few of your comments, however.

    You seem unfamiliar with the concept of an "orderly passage of events." Well, what is being discussed here is all the stimuli of your awareness. That is to say, the "events" are whatever you become aware of as something that happens.

    That also means everything from the patterns of motion that underlie what you think of as our universe, to the patterns of motion that produce everything from human memory to geological evidence on a much longer scale. In many ways, events are simply everything that happen.

    And it is often spoken of as an "orderly" passage of events because all that happens does seem to follow the laws of nature that we have been learning about for quite a number of years now. It is "orderly" in that sense. All things seem to follow an orderly pattern of rules.

    So, this "orderly pattern of events" represents the benchmarks for establishing the existance of and the chronological listing of all these things into what Hawkings has referred to as "time's arrow." It's what we perceive from all of this motion.

    And, what do I mean by a "volume of space?" Well, there are a number of ways to put that. If you are a mathematician, you might care to speak of points from which measurements are taken. I speak of it as a "volume" only because I don't want anyone to think I'm talking about some sort of linear measurement. What we are talking about here is noting the change of the amount of space between all things (in all directions -- the total volume). And, of course, "things" represents anything you can use as a benchmark for your measurement. It comes down to anything from a planet to an atom (or anything else, for that matter).

    And so I define time as motion? Well, what I am actually saying is that any manifestation of time that one can experience is something that we find as continuing patterns of motion, which in turn is seen as those changes in the measurements in space.

    One of the best ways to observe and recognize the validity of this is to ask yourself the question,....What, in all of the universe, are you aware of that is not ultimately defined as these changes in distances between everything and everything else?

    We're talking about everything from the suggested undulations and vibrations of super strings, all the way up to the accelerated expansion of the macrocosmic universe. And we are talking about how we see these patterns of motion unfolding before our eyes and think of it as the passage of time.

    And yes, I know, all of this would seem to suggest that possibly the entire universe is nothing more than the motions of space and you and I, and everything else we are aware of, are just anomalies of a sort, upon the real universe, which is well beyond our seeing or understanding at this time.

    That may turn out to be true, or it may not be. What I am actually saying is that all of this "motion" is all that we can perceive, is all that we are aware of at this time.

    And, if you might be willing to accept this, which is right there in front of us all, what does that mean? What does that matter? Where could that lead us? Ah, now we're getting somewhere.

    I worked out the basics of that first paper almost 50 year ago (back when most of what I suggested had not yet been seriously considered). Now, I am working on Part-2 of that paper. It intends to show where this might all be relevant with regard to a different way of going from point-A to point-B. And there are other things that might be explored in this new light as well.

    And then after that, it's onward to the appropriate differential equations and such, for after all the statements have been made, the math will most definitely have to be done.

    Meanwhile, I do hope this will be enough to keep you all out of mischief for a while. Have fun.



    P.S. Actually this is a serious physics subject and it was originally presented in a much more appropriate location, but the manager(s) of this site evidently have little or no exposure to this area of physics, therefore, as many do when they lack the knowledge, they make rather uneducated decisions. Sorry about that.

    Most sincerely,

    Tal D. Noble, Dir.
    "The Astrophysics Group - West"
    and the associated web site:
    http://groups.msn.com/AstrophysicsGroupWest
    west@k-online.com
     
  9. Jan 20, 2005 #8

    Moonbear

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    Okay, I have no problem on this explanation. But it doesn't describe what time is, it gives us a way of perceiving that time exists.

    So, you're simply saying volume to indicate that you're referring to relationships of more than two things at once? But, is the overall volume of space changing? The way it is phrased, it sounds like you're talking of ALL space, when what you seem to be meaning is space between given references. Indeed, if everything moved together and in the same direction, we would not detect motion at all (else, we'd be rather dizzy on this spinning planet of ours), so it has to be motion that results in measurable differences in distances in order to detect it as motion. Is this too simplistic of a view?

    Can you explain how this is different than saying we measure time using motion as a tool? Does it get us any closer to better to knowing what time is? I'm really just not seeing what's new about what you describe from how people already think about time.

    But does this necessarily define time, as it could also be simply providing us with arbitrary units with which we can measure something we cannot observe directly? I would think either is a possibility, but again fail to see what is new about either way of looking at it. Or have astrophysicists had their heads up in the stars so long they never considered such a simple definition? Honestly, what you describe is pretty much how I've always explained time to myself for as long as I can remember considering time as something more than the position of hands on a clock. I truly have no training in advanced physics, so would assume this is far too simplistic of a view, something that appeals to the warm and fuzzy feeling that comes from explaining the universe in terms that are within the limitations of human perception.

    How does this suggest anything about us being anomalies? Either there is something I missed because I don't know string theory, which you referred to just prior to this statement, or there was a step in your logic there that was not made explicit.

    Again, this seems like such an obvious statement, I'm just baffled why you present it as something new. Of course, the question that follows from this is what are the limitations of our perception? Is all that we perceive all that there is? Or are there things we cannot perceive, but nonetheless are there, just beyond our limited abilities?

    That's a bit of a cheap shot!

    First, the moderators and admins here are very knowledgeable in physics.

    Second, what makes you think a topic of discussion is taken any less seriously when defined as philosophy? As presented, your paper seems perfectly constructed as a topic for philosophical debate. Perhaps the lack of knowledge is yours regarding what philosophy encompasses.

    Third, as you did not present hypotheses, proofs, or empirical evidence in your paper, but instead presented an essay format for what you considered a new way of thinking about time, regardless the relevance or credibility of your topic, it was constructed as a philosophical argument. Had you included those equations and proofs you chose not to include in this thread, it might have gotten better consideration for inclusion within one of the physics topics.

    Fourth, you double posted this topic to begin with (yes, I saw both places it was originally posted); count your lucky stars they didn't just lock both threads, and instead took the time to move it to a suitable location.

    Fifth, has anyone implied that I, or anyone else, wasn't taking your topic seriously? If you weren't, at the least, being given the benefit of the doubt regarding the seriousness of your topic, this is not the forum to which it would have been moved.
     
  10. Jan 20, 2005 #9
    Hi,

    Time is not real. There is only now. The histories of now exist only now. The expectaions and predictions of now exist only now. Now flows from histories into new realities.

    juju
     
  11. Jan 21, 2005 #10
    Moonbear ---

    When I ask you what, in all of the universe, are you aware of that is not ultimately defined as these changes in distances between everything and everything else, you answer with the question, "But does this necessarily define time..." You might like to consider my original question yet again.

    If you find nothing that is not observed as anything but these varying distances, then would not "time," which we recognize as the "time's arrow" manifestation of it all, be at least an approach to a reasonable definition? One would think so.

    Are not the "arbitrary units," the human yardsticks we use to help us measure what we actually do observe? What is new, of course, is that this concept was first postulated almost 50 years ago and only recently is being used to redirect some of today's inquiries.

    And, volume in the context of these conversations should be realized as the measurable amount of space between all points of measurement. We are speaking of the changing amounts, the volume, all of the space as measured from any point. And motion is what we call the result that we observe, right?

    We do often get mislead by what we see and bogged down with our word explanations quite often, but it should be, as you observed, a simplistic view (possibly even a real one). It also might be a mindset that can lead one in new and sometimes very interesting directions.

    Yes, of course we use motion as a tool. However, let us not forget what we are actually seeing. That is the difference. And what is new? If you have been following the literature in past and current physics, astrophysics, cosmology and such, you can see that this is a position that we have been gradually coming to (sometimes reluctantly -- sometimes enthusiastically).

    I'm really quite disappointed that you consider the arbitrary conclusion (in one case) and the relocation (in another case) of my contributions, as being, when pointed out, some sort of "cheap shot." And no, my many physicist friends don't feel this sort of discussion as some sort of philosophical dissertation. In fact, I have been told that this is the normal form that concepts are almost always put in, before the math begins, which I suggested will be one of the following steps to be taken.

    In a "physics" position on this site, I believe there would have been a genuine chance for the beginning of some of the appropriate differential equations from some of the contributors. Too bad. This is evidently not the site where this kind of science is to be encouraged, at least not in this instance. Too bad.

    I will go back to the physics community where I belong. I hope you all will understand. And I hope you will continue to take interest in all things and question all things.

    We seem to be in agreement in some important parts of this presentation, though certainly not necessarily in all of it. Keep observing. Keep asking a lot of questions. Keep on learning. That's what we all must do.

    Most sincerely,

    Tal D. Noble, Dir.,
    "The Astrophysics Group - West"
    and the associated web site:
    http://groups.msn.com/AstrophysicsGroupWest
     
  12. Jan 21, 2005 #11

    Evo

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    Your post in the Physics section was locked and moved to TD, it was not generating any serious discussion.
     
  13. Jan 22, 2005 #12

    Les Sleeth

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    I thought your explanation of time was quite good, and it seems similar to what I've argued myself here at PF many times. But I do think your approach belongs in philosophy.

    In fact, it is a well-known philosophical concept that time is a nothing but a mental construct with no actual "isness" in the real world. It is simply our observation of (and how we measure) change, and of course change always involves motion, just as you've said. In our universe, motion (overall) is accompanied by divergence (e.g., EM, expansion, etc.) so your point about increasing volume also seems relevant. I personally like physical change better as the basis of time than motion so I'll talk about it that way.

    Because physical change seems tied up in orderly cycles, from oscillatory rates of particles to planets circling the Sun, we are able to track change by observing those things. So time ends up being the rate of physcial change. It's become important to physics because it turns out the rate of change is affected by circumstances like gravity and acceleration. So, according to this model, when will "time" run out? When physical change ceases, or as you seem to say, when physical motion is no more.

    When I said I think your ideas belong in philosophy, I just meant that I can't see how your ideas, as you present them now, would have any practical consequences to physics. Right now you seem to only be talking about another way to look at time, which makes it philosophy. I hope that doesn't make you feel discouraged from participating at PF in the appropriate areas for your thoughts. :smile:
     
  14. Jan 22, 2005 #13

    Les Sleeth

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    No need to be rude, his concepts are reasonable.


    Right. No change, no time. If every single thing in the universe stopped, there would be no entropy, no oscillation, no radiation, no universal expansion, no heat . . . all would be frozen in the moment. It is the change/movement of physical stuff which gives us time.
     
  15. Jan 22, 2005 #14

    Moonbear

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    Is that all he was trying to say? I thought he was trying to redefine time as motion, not point out that there is only motion and no actual "entity" as time.

    It seems a lot of people forget, or have never been taught, that discussion of ideas that have not been fully fleshed out to test empirically, or cannot be tested empirically, falls under philosophy's umbrella. Just because the topic may be under discussion by physicists doesn't mean they aren't having a philosophical debate.
     
  16. Jan 22, 2005 #15

    Les Sleeth

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    Well, I'm not certain of course. You know us philosopher types, we like to be vague. :tongue2:


    I agree. This seems especially true for people who first arrive here and don't realize how strict staff has drawn the line between known facts and practiced science, and theory/philosophy. One might assume, for instance, things work the same way here as they do at some other site where they've been participating.
     
  17. Jan 23, 2005 #16

    arildno

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    Tal D.Noble:
    You make a few, rather trivial, philosophical statements, and then you boost them up by insisting you've got lots of physicist friends and implies that M. Kaku himself is enthused by your ideas.

    First part (the statements), okay enough, but shouldn't be mistaken as science (yet).
    Second part (your inflation procedure) is merely tiresome.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2005
  18. Jan 23, 2005 #17

    Les Sleeth

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    It seems like Tal D. Noble pissed off some people here. Maybe it was when he said this, "Actually this is a serious physics subject and it was originally presented in a much more appropriate location, but the manager(s) of this site evidently have little or no exposure to this area of physics, therefore, as many do when they lack the knowledge, they make rather uneducated decisions."

    I went back and read his posts to Moonbear again, and I thought his thinking was solid; regardless if anyone agrees with him or not, he supported his ideas logically. I can see some "inflation" as you say, but I figured he was embarrassed and trying to recover from some ego damage. I couldn't find where he implied "Kaku himself is enthused" by his ideas.

    I've seen numerous debates on time here, and participated in quite a few. I'd have to say his view, while in the minority, isn't new. So I am not sure if he is what he says he is. Maybe he's found a new way to calculate time using his approach and was hoping for some feedback, or maybe he is just "inflating" as you say.

    I suppose my concern is that from what I saw, I don't understand the intolerance shown towards him. Did I miss something?
     
  19. Jan 23, 2005 #18

    arildno

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    Hi. Les:
    You might take some time to read T. Noble's grumpy reply in the feedback section:
    https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=60148

    I agree, there is much sound thinking in his article, but it is:
    a) Not terribly original philosophy (as you seem to agree with)
    b) Not yet science.
    In my view, it is, at best, proto-science, science in the making, if you will.
     
  20. Jan 23, 2005 #19

    Les Sleeth

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    Thanks for the link, I hadn't seen it.
     
  21. Jan 29, 2005 #20

    saltydog

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    Dynamic perspective of time

    Time is a trajectory in phase space between stable attractors. All of cosmic history is a trajectory connecting the pre-existence with the final state of the Universe.

    SD
     
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