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Do clocks measure time?

  1. May 4, 2006 #1
    A direct quote from "Science News", April 22, 2006! :wink:
    :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:
    As I first said, some forty years ago, "someday clocks will be so accurate that the academic community will recognize the fact that they are confusing two very different concepts of time: the readings on a clock and the fact that two things at the same place and time can interact". :biggrin:

    Anyone interested in discussing the "philosophical" issues here? I know the academy has no real interest in the issue. :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

    Have fun -- Dick

    "The simplest and most necessary truths are the very last to be believed."
    by Anonymous
  2. jcsd
  3. May 5, 2006 #2
    The doc is in!

    My definition of time is that it is a measurment system that measures change.

    That's how an "hour glass" works. It is the measuring of one series of changes against another. It can be very complicated because you have the shadow of a sun dial measuring the position of the sun with regard to increments on a dial. You have sand transfering from the top of an hour glass to the bottom as compared to the position of the sun (actually the position of the earth). You also have the rate of decay of C14 or whatever and how it relates to the position of the rotation of the earth in relation to the sun.

    Then there are the changes that take place outside of the system described above and those would be the position of the solar system in relation to the spin of the galaxy and its centre. ETC...

    So, what is really slowing down as you get closer to the geoid and a heavier gravitational effect?

    I would suggest that change itself slows down in the nearer degrees of proximity to a gravitational source. Whether this tells us that gravity inhibits rate of change or that it stablizes it or what... is hard to say.
    In fact, until the true nature, cause and reasoning behind the presence of gravity are discovered, we will not know why change slows down in its presence.

    What I would suggest to ease the variance in "time keeping" between atomic clocks etc.. is that a gyroscopic chamber be devised to hold it that remains constant in relation to the continuous changes in tide, atmospheric pressure and geological changes. It would have to tap into a 24/7 feed of oceanic/meterologic/geologic data and resulting predictions to maintain a constant position with regard to the geoid and the earth's core centre. This would also involve a feed from and advanced GPS system.

    "Do Clocks Measure Time?"

    No. Clocks measure the Rate of Change, usually using the sun as a reference.

  4. May 5, 2006 #3
    How about the notion that TIME is a construct of the human mind to helps people cope with the problem of MOTION. Duration of existence and TIME are not the same thing, but TIME can be used to understand the concept of 'duration of existence.' You probably do not agree with any of the above but it is my 'philosophical' view of time.
  5. May 5, 2006 #4


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    Staff: Mentor

    You misunderstood both of the portions you highlighted in the article. Ironic, since you were right about them being the most important parts of it. Your blind adherence to your own point of view is preventing you from even seeing and understanding the other point of view - much less making a reasoned conclusion about which one is better.
    The scientific community has no interest in discussing philosophical issues here because there are none. Words have precise definitions in science. (and quantumcarl - your definition of "time" is not the same as the scientific community's definition either.)
    Last edited: May 5, 2006
  6. May 5, 2006 #5
    Gee Russ, explain to me where I misunderstood. :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:
    After years and years of interacting with "academic experts" I have become convinced: I am discussing philosophy and not science. That would be in the same sense that Galileo was not discussing the issues of interest to the religion of his day. I guess you would say that a compulsion to stick with a clearly failing perspective is neither a scientific nor a "philosophical" issue. :yuck:
    Yes, and I have been told many times that "time" is defined as "what clocks measure". McCarthy and Kleppner seem convinced that time is at least related to "the fact that two things at the same place and time can interact". On the other hand, anyone familiar with relativity clearly comprehends that the reading on a clock has almost nothing to do with the "the fact that two things at the same place and time can interact". Who is confused here. :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:
    Now here I agree with you. Quantumcarl's definition of time is very close to mine and it is far superior to the scientific community's definition. And, when you get down to facts, it can be seen as quite precise also; see my presentation "A Universal Analytical Model of Explanation Itself". o:)

    Considerably more precise than "no more meaningful than comparing the rates of pendulum clocks on small ships scattered in the oceans, each bobbing in its own way and keeping its own time". We are talking about the "definition" of time here and you need to keep that in mind "(as even today it blocks the view of the whole scientific community)". :wink:

    The difficulty here is exactly the fact that the central purpose of time is to define when two things can interact; this is the central concern of McCarthy and Kleppner and is central to any valid description of our world. Einstein's position (that time is a coordinate of representation) completely avoids this very issue. There is nothing in Einstein's space-time trajectories which embody a differentiation between past and future. Einstein's approach only works when what has happened is entirely known and all significant interaction is a fact, having nothing to do with the readings on any clocks (the differentiation between past and future is immaterial to the problem). That perspective has already thrown out the idea that there are other possibilities (other than what has happened) before any analysis of what has happened even begins. Thus it is that his perspective will never be consistent with quantum mechanics. It is a fundamentally wrong perspective. As wrong as was was the theory of phlogiston as an explanation of heat. The scientific community is still totally hung up on interaction concepts which were introduced when pendulum clocks were the most accurate instruments in existence. :biggrin:

    Have fun -- Dick
  7. May 5, 2006 #6


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    I disagree that this has no real interest for academia! Actually, as far as I understand it, this is becoming a central issue in loop quantum gravity. Some are seriously taking the approach that the usual concept of time (whether it is in Newtonian physics or in relativity) is inadequate and downright superfluous. Time is something that must actually be removed completely from the theory! The only thing left are events and the *relations* between events.
    I don't know much about the details, but the folks on the Beyond the Standard Model board could say more. My main point is that this is actually a hot topic of cutting edge research. And a very very interesting topic.
    Last edited: May 5, 2006
  8. May 5, 2006 #7
    Well, that is nice! However, I am persona non grata with the scientific community, and have been for many many years. No professional would condescend to even give me the time of day much less consider what I have discovered. :rofl: :rofl:
    Again, that's nice. Where do they say these things? :biggrin:

    Have fun -- Dick
  9. May 5, 2006 #8


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    It would seem you already know what you misunderstand. You know you are discussing philosophy and not science, but you are unable to differentiate between the two.

    Your ideas are philosophical. The article is scientific. Your ideas are irrelevant to the article.
  10. May 5, 2006 #9
    The "scientific" article has a typo:


    A tally for ScienceNews bloopers.
    Last edited: May 5, 2006
  11. May 5, 2006 #10
    Hi russ,

    I certainly respect the differences in the definitions of words where scientific and common usages are concerned.

    I am not aware of the scientific definition of time. Is there a formula? How much more complicated can it get than what I've already come up with on my own!?!?

    Please post the super scienterrific definition of time. In point form and with diagrams if possible. Besides, this is a physics forum.... right!:wink: :wink: nudge nudge

    Thank you
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