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Does a Year Exist?

  1. Jan 4, 2010 #1
    Year: " The period of time during which Earth completes a single revolution around the sun, consisting of 365 days, 5 hours, 49 minutes, and 12 seconds of mean solar time."

    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/year" [Broken]

    It seems very clear to me that a year does indeed exist, but I recently had a discussion with someone who was adamant that a year does not exist. However, this person was not very clear as to his reasoning for a year's non-existence. Consequently, our discussion did not really change my mind. However, our discussion DID get me thinking about whether or not another person might have more fleshed out reasoning for why a year does not exist.

    This may be a very obvious question, but I suppose I can't be sure until I ask you guys.

    In case anyone finds this necessary or is curious, the following is a collaboration of the points that he brought up (slightly edited for grammatical consistency without changing his sentences because I don't want to misrepresent his point of view):

    -"I was going more down the path of the way we measure time is nothing but a shared idea that is most likely neither the best nor even just an efficient way of doing so"

    -"Time is not a constant linear function"

    -"Less Einstein, more Hawking"

    -"The concept of a year not actually measuring "the amount of time it takes" = does not exist as a measurement of time."

    -"I am talking about the actual physical properties of time i.e time itself speeds up the closer you get to a black hole and no one yet knows what happens to time in that actual hole. when I say the difference between how we perceive it, I don't mean on an individual perspective."

    These are all direct quotes (our discussion was online and is documented), and are all I could find referring to his point. From what I understand, his points are generally irrelevant in disproving the existence of a year, but I have only recently changed my undergraduate major to Astrophysics and unfortunately don't think I know enough about physics yet to definitively say that this person's contention is without merit. Although he most likely lost the debate, I'm more concerned with the truth.

    I reason that the physical rotation of the Earth around the Sun happens, and therefore a year exists.

    Again, this may be completely obvious, but I don't know enough to be sure. Do you guys and girls think that my opponent has some valid (but poorly explained) points? Do you have an independent or related reasoning for why you think a year does not exist?
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 4, 2010 #2
    A year is a human measurement used as a standard, as are metres, kilograms, etc. Yes, it exists, as an abstract concept.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  4. Jan 4, 2010 #3
    I agree with this.

    The person that I was talking to, from what I gathered, was trying to say that the Hawking version of time disproves the existence of a year. I don't see how, but I don't understand Hawking's theory on time as well as I should (I think I get the jist of it, but I honestly just haven't learned enough mathematics and physics to follow much of the meat of his theory).

    Edit: I also appreciate the response. I imagine the question posed in this thread is pretty boring and obvious for most of you. Hell, it seemed boring and obvious for me until this person got very heated about disproving the existence of a year. I was a little flustered at his determination, and subsequently began to question my understanding.
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2010
  5. Jan 4, 2010 #4
    I've never heard or read Hawking's theory on time, strangely. This cat needs to know weight changes in different environments, and that length changes in a black hole as well, and that physics doesn't necessary apply in a black hole.
  6. Jan 4, 2010 #5
    In order to try and understand his theory, I read two items:



    I didn't notice any implication that a year per the explanation you gave and I agree with is incorrect when following Hawking's "No Boundary" model of time. I did, however, notice that his theory on time seems to be rather discredited (or at least mostly ignored) in contemporary physics.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2017
  7. Jan 4, 2010 #6
    I didn't see it, either, but I didn't read very carefully and think about it extensively. People get odd things stuck in their heads about physics.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2017
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