# Do events exist in reality?

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## Main Question or Discussion Point

Are there any events in reality, or is everything a continuous process?
If events exist, do they have precise beginnings and ends?
When a photon hits an electron, is that an event? Does that "event" have a beginning and an end?
Could the big bang be considered the only event?
Can there be any events in a process?
Related to the above question is the question: Are there any causes in reality?
When two billiard balls traveling towards each other collide and proceed to travel in their respective opposite directions, what was the cause of that event?
To make it a bit more difficult, say two balls are traveling in line and in the same direction, ball A at 10mph and ball B at 20mph right behind ball A, then ball B collides with ball A; what was the cause of that event?

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Drakkith
Staff Emeritus
Are there any events in reality, or is everything a continuous process?
Yes, there are "discrete" events if that's what you mean. The emission/absorption of radiation is just one example.

If events exist, do they have precise beginnings and ends?
Yes and no. It depends on what you mean by an event. Not all events are discrete, but we commonly talk about many events that are continuous processes as being discrete because of the way the interacts occur. For example, a slingshot maneuver used by a space probe can be thought of as an event, but there is no sudden beginning or end to it.

When a photon hits an electron, is that an event? Does that "event" have a beginning and an end?
Yes, it would be considered an event. The interaction and transfer of energy from the photon to the electron occurs instantaneously as far as I know.

Could the big bang be considered the only event?
No.

Related to the above question is the question: Are there any causes in reality?
Yes.

When two billiard balls traveling towards each other collide and proceed to travel in their respective opposite directions, what was the cause of that event?
In reality there is a chain of events leading up to the collision, of which all could be considered as one of many causes. But the most immediate cause is the interactions between the atoms and molecules of each ball generating a repulsive force that repels them from each other.

To make it a bit more difficult, say two balls are traveling in line and in the same direction, ball A at 10mph and ball B at 20mph right behind ball A, then ball B collides with ball A; what was the cause of that event?

"The interaction and transfer of energy from the photon to the electron occurs instantaneously as far as I know."

That's the $64,000 question. Strange that no one else wants to tackle that. Are my questions absurd, or the answers too obvious? If there were no events there would be no time. That is quite a popular idea of what happens at the end of the Universe, If there were no events there would be no time. That is quite a popular idea of what happens at the end of the Universe, Why couldn't everything be continuous from the big bang onwards? Drakkith Staff Emeritus Science Advisor Why couldn't everything be continuous from the big bang onwards? What do you mean? Why couldn't everything be continuous from the big bang onwards? So far it is continuous. The problem is that the Universe appears to be expanding at an increasing rate. In mega-bazzillons of years in the future, everything gets so spread apart that no interactions of any consequence are happening anymore. What do you mean? I'm assuming that within a continuous process there can be no events. Am I wrong? Or, maybe there's no such thing as a continuous process? russ_watters Mentor "The interaction and transfer of energy from the photon to the electron occurs instantaneously as far as I know." That's the$64,000 question.
How so?
Strange that no one else wants to tackle that. Are my questions absurd, or the answers too obvious?
I think the answers are too obvious. An "event" is often defined as being a single point in time and that doesn't really have anything to do with whether time is actually continuous or not.

I'm assuming that within a continuous process there can be no events. Am I wrong?
Yes.

Drakkith
Staff Emeritus
I'm assuming that within a continuous process there can be no events. Am I wrong?
I think that depends on what you define as an event. As I said earlier, we commonly label things as events that are continual processes.

This comment is an event!

"An "event" is often defined as being a single point in time..."
According to that definition, every event consists of an infinite number of timeless events.

This comment is an event!
Is the event "comment" still happening?
When did it start, with your typing the first "T"?

No it doesn't
If you fall under a truck and die tomorrow, you will not be doing that an infinite number of times,

Drakkith said:
I think that depends on what you define as an event. As I said earlier, we commonly label things as events that are continual processes.
I can't define "event" because I deny such existence.

No it doesn't
If you fall under a truck and die tomorrow, you will not be doing that an infinite number of times,
Falling under a truck isn't an event because it has no beginning and no end.

Another angle:
I'll take the liberty to treat time and space equally here. The space equivalent of an event would be a thing. Thus, I also claim that there are no things in the universe. To this day I can't tell where my nose ends and where my cheek begins.

My old man is is a dustman and he wears a dustman hat,

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My old man is is a dustman and he wears a dustman hat,
Reported.

russ_watters
Mentor
"An "event" is often defined as being a single point in time..."
According to that definition, every event consists of an infinite number of timeless events.
Nope. Every event is a single point in space/time. I think you are still trying to mix in the idea that events have a duration.

It really isn't complicated: is 4 a point or continuum?
I can't define "event" because I deny such existence.
1. You aren't really entitled to make up your own definitions.
2. Even if you were, what you are saying doesn't make logical sense, for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that you do, in fact, need to define "event" before you can show whether such a thing exists or not.
3. In this forum, we require people to adhere to known science and not speculate outside of it.

Drakkith
Staff Emeritus