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Time Zero Nothing Exists

  1. Dec 3, 2007 #1
    At time zero nothing exists? I do not mean at the beginning of the universe. As time elapses to zero, nothing has happened, no photons emitted, no fields emitted, I would sense nothing and I would not exist myself to even observe. Forms have to change to show time and nothing would change, nothing could be observed.
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 4, 2007 #2
    Time does not exist. Only movement. Our brains interperet change as time. Without an observer (a brain) a particle in space simply changes position relative to other particles. As a human we need to put those movements into an order and to us this means past present and future. Thus past present and future only exist in our minds. You may think "the particle was over there and now it is over here, therefore time has gone by" but that is how your brain is constructed to think. You are using memory but to the particle it has just changed its relative position. There are other observations that I believe are just human perceptions but do not exist in reality. These are movement, mass, and size. A little thought experiment you can do to understand this is to do the following. First we have to decide on two possible realities for our universe. One it is either infinite in all directions or it has finite borders. If we assume it is infinite the the thought goes like this. We place a bowling ball into this picture. It is the only matter that exists. If we could magically observe this bowling ball with out existing ourselves, then how could it be seen to move without being relative to anything. How could it have mass without being relative to anything. How could it have size without being relative to anything. Now place a small marble into the picture. All of a sudden it has observable movement,mass, and size. Because now it is relative to something else. Now notice that throughout the above thought experiment we have an observer ( a brain). This observer witnessed movement and size (mass would be a "feel" sense) only when there was something else relative to the other object. I am not totally sure what to make of this but I suspect that what really exists is only matter-energy and space(nothingness). What we observe and interperet as movement, mass and size is only the difference in energy levels of discrete formations of matter. This idea is still in the beginning stages, any input would be appreciated.
  4. Dec 5, 2007 #3
    Yes!! Thank you!! I've been trying to put this into words for about 2 weeks now...ha ha thank you, I think your whole reply is very accurate.
  5. Dec 5, 2007 #4


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    Gyvor, the problem seems to be that what we interpret as distance and mass seem to be heavily correlated with how those particles change positions relative to each other, which gives the impression that it's a bit more fundamental
  6. Dec 6, 2007 #5
    Are you saying that time doesn't exist, that we see change as time?
    Whouldn't that mean every thing takes place at once?
  7. Dec 6, 2007 #6
    It's not quite that time does not exist as much as the word "time" is superfluous. The subject of interest is actually change. It is redundant to say that a clock measures time when it fact what it measures is its own internal change, e.g. how many times its pendulum has changed position. Likewise, a ruler doesn't measure any distance other than its own length. It's when an observer put it close to other entities that he uses it to measure the length extent of other things; it's when an observer puts a clock near an observed event that he uses it to measure the extent of change in the event.
  8. Dec 6, 2007 #7


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    Really? So rocks previous to man's evolution did not start off at the top of a cliff and end up at the bottom? A cloud of dust and gas did not start off dispersed and end up as a solar system?

    I know you're not really saying that but, what makes the time after the creation of creatures with spinal chords (and thus brains) different than the time before that?

    Chemical reactions don't proceed at set paces unless there's someone watching them? All that ancient quartz underground begs to differ.
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2007
  9. Dec 6, 2007 #8
    Says who? I expect changes to happen even when I don't measure them.
  10. Dec 6, 2007 #9
    I will adopt Einstein's operational definition of time - it is what you read off a clock. Also not that the Big Bang was not an event, since you cannot assign it x,y,z,t coordinates.

    (The Big Bang is actually the expansion of the Universe; my above mention is the pop-sci bastardization of the term).
  11. Dec 6, 2007 #10


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    Kinda my point. So time exists whether we are around to observe it or not.
  12. Dec 7, 2007 #11
    IMo time has nothing to do with clocks.
    Clocks are mechanical objects that move back and forth in the same interval, many things could be used as a clock then.
    In theory if I were able to, I could walk back and forth in a straight line, using exactly the same amount of TIME on each length.
    And other people could watch me and use me as a reference.

    Time is not the measurment of how long something takes, but rather what makes something move.
    It is not certain that time moves at the same pace either, if pace were heightened in an area at the same period, nobody would notice it.

    Of course it's all relative again to other objects.
  13. Dec 7, 2007 #12
    Well, it sounded like you were contradicting me but you were talking about something else. My point was that "time" is a word that should not receive so much press given that nobody seems to agree on its definition. What actually matters is the fact that all things do not remain in a constant state, and the word used to describe this fact is "change". I find it more useful to say that "change happens whether we observe it or not" instead of saying that "time exists whether we observe it or not".

    Why does it matter? Because "change" is easily defined whereas "time" is controversial and the subject of endless debates. Because the concept of change is necessary to the concept of time, which in my view makes it more fundamental. Because a clock that does not undergo any change cannot report time either. Because "what a clock measures" is its own change of state. Because a "time unit" is in fact defined by a specified number of changes in the position of a pendulum, in the state of a crystal, in the amplitude of a wave, or any other change that seems regular enough to be useful.
  14. Dec 7, 2007 #13


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    But time can pass even if there is no change.
  15. Dec 7, 2007 #14
    If nothing changes, what is the difference between time that passes and no time that passes?
  16. Dec 7, 2007 #15
    If nothing changes, what is the difference between time that passes and no time that passes? Whack hit it on the mark. If the universe was devoid of all matter would there be time? NO! There would not. If only you existed would you age? Absoulutly. Because the cells in your body move and movement is change. How could you stop aging. Well it would not be by stopping the "non-existant flow of time" but rather by freezing yourself solid and stopping all movement. We all have "time machines" in our homes. The freezer. Put an steak in the freezer and it lasts a year. Keep it on the counter it lasts a day or so. Why, because we have slowed down movement thus slowing down change. Movement is the key. You stop ALL movement and your imaginary "time" disappears. You stop movement for one thing (like the steak) and "time" ceases to exist for it. Until you pick it up and throw it at me!! See it is very hard to get the concept of time out of our heads because it is such a vital part of how we think and deal with the world. We have to by our very nature put all movements in an order for us to understand them. That order is past ,present, and future. Well the past and future do exist, but only in our minds. Time does not exist for a rock because it can't think.
  17. Dec 7, 2007 #16


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    How do you defend this? Is it so just because you sat it is?

    This does not stop movement, nor does it stop time. Your atoms are still vibrating.

    Oh nonsense. This is just metaphorical pseudoscience.
  18. Dec 8, 2007 #17
    Gyvor, but what about the 'pace of time'?

    In your theory the movement of any object(s) is completely random, but here on earth things move at roughly the same pace.
    If I throw a ball into the air on another planet which has much less gravity than on earth, it may take a longer amount of time for it to fall down than it would on earth, does that mean time has gone slower on the planet if we use the ball as a measurement device for time?

    Usually on earth time is controlled by the earths rotation, and day/night time.
    But let's say earth started spinning faster, leading to faster progressions of day/night, wouldn't 24 hours on the clock still be the same amount of time as it was before the rotation accelerated?

    I guess my point is that no matter what objects we use to measure the passage of time, the pace at which time progresses is always the same.

    It seems to me that there needs to be some kind of limiter to keep at least the macroworld keeping a coherent time, rather than everything just moving randomly leading to nothing being coherent.

    Any thoughts on this appreciated.
  19. Dec 8, 2007 #18
    To clarify my point of view...

    Freezing a steak does not alter the fact that all things are not constant inside the freezer. It does not affect the "change" aspect of reality which is, again, the fact that things are not constant. While temperature cannot change this fact, it does affect a specific type of event (the chemical process) but not subatomic activity or the rate at which radiation traverses everything in the freezer. A clock inside a freezer reports the same time as a clock on the kitchen counter, so the nature of change is not affected by temperature. In the same sense, change applies to a rock just as much as to an busy bee: both are immersed in a common reality where change happens.

    But if the freezer moves, then something interesting happens. Albert described how the rate of change within the freezer would be reduced compared to the rate of change on the stationary counter. Here's a bit of imagery to illustrate: a natural limit seems to exist for the relative extent of change. When the freezer as a whole approaches this limit then whatever is inside cannot maintain the same rate of change: adding the amount of internal change to the freezer's external change in position would exceed this natural limit. If the freezer could move at light speed (the natural limit of change) relative to the kitchen counter then no further change would be possible within the freezer itself (relative to an observer sitting on the counter). What we refer to as "time" would appear to stop, or in terms of change then no more change at all could occur within the container that already undergoes its maximum. But slowing down the freezer would allow some internal change to resume within the freezer.
  20. Dec 9, 2007 #19
    No...Time cannot exist without change. Even in the absence of ALL other elements, the time itself would still be changing.
  21. Dec 9, 2007 #20
    And if time cannot pass without change, then the universe cannot "come into existence" without time because coming into existence is itself a change from non-existence. The same might be said about space. It is impossible to describe anything without a space to describe it in. So the very first instants must have been the creation of space and time. And the very first thing that spacetime did is expand. It expanded from nothing into existence, so the first function of spacetime is expansion, or inflation if you perfer.
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2007
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