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What caused time?

  1. Oct 23, 2007 #1
    ok i have a few questions about time...

    first off what caused it to be? i'm pretty sure i understand what it is but what caused it to even exist in the first place :/???

    secondly how does entropy relate to time? or even does entropy HAVE to relate to time?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 23, 2007 #2
    Purely philosophically- time cannot have a temporal cause- i.e. something that came before which acted as the cause.
  4. Oct 23, 2007 #3
    well I'm actually writing a philosophical paper hah.

    but would it be ok to state that time is caused to be by humans noticing local entropy?

    even though entropy COMES from time... cause we can't directly observe time but we know that it exist through changes..
  5. Oct 23, 2007 #4


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    What caused length?

    Why do people pick on time? What did time ever do to you?
  6. Oct 23, 2007 #5


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    Discovered, maybe, but not caused. Discovering, naming, defining, or theorizing about a phenomena does not cause that phemomena to come to be.

    I'm really not sure this is even a useful philosophical exercise. There can be no answer to the question. Regardless, since it isn't physics, I'm moving this thread to philosophy.
  7. Oct 23, 2007 #6
    Entropy doesn't cause time- but it does unambiguously define a direction for time since net entropy always increases from the past into the future.

    I don't agree with your suggested wording- but I'm no expert on the subject. I think you should be honest and say that time is a big mystery to all of us!

    And yes, why pick on time? Where did any of our physics come from?
  8. Oct 23, 2007 #7
    Yeah i'm not "picking on time' just trying to clear up something that i have no understanding what-so-ever of.
    and yeah discovered is a better word choice thanks.

    as for it being useful... i think that it's purpose is for us to think more abstractly
  9. Oct 23, 2007 #8
    There may be answers to the question of 'time'. Real physicists are interested in the subject- but I agree, the OP is asking a philosophical question (not that there's anything wrong with that).
  10. Oct 23, 2007 #9
    yeah i understand that entropy doesn't cause time that's why i said that entropy comes from time not vice-versa. but it's through entropy that we can know that time exist in the first place.
  11. Oct 23, 2007 #10
  12. Oct 23, 2007 #11
    yeah i looked over that... but my teacher said that if we EVER use ANYTHING from wikipedia he will personally castrate us... i got basically the same information from a book the fabric of the cosmos which is actually REALLY interesting and easy to read but i haven't gotten this far into it so ya :p

    would i be wrong in stating that us observing entropy locally caused us to 'discover' time

    and if that's not wrong would that suffice explaining what caused time to be? (in the sense of humans gaining knowledge of it)
  13. Oct 23, 2007 #12
    Think! People used the concept of time millennia before they thought about entropy!

    I think a more fruitful avenue of research would be to write about clocks. It's not as sexy as writing about entropy- but it's a good start when you want to discuss time.
  14. Oct 23, 2007 #13
    well i'd rather work my ass of for a sexy paper with a good mark than mediocre and mediocre grade :p

    this is what i put for the entropy stuffs :

    At the beginning of this expansion the universe had very low entropy as everything was just beginning. As the universe inflated this low-entropy naturally changed to progress into high-entropy. Entropy is locally observable by humans and the cause of entropy is time (since entropy is a function of time). This is what causes people to know or create time.
  15. Oct 23, 2007 #14
    1) There's a difference between 'sexy' and accurate. I suggest you spend more time on the latter and less on the former.

    2) Your text is completely devoid of any real understanding. First you have to understand and explain what entropy is. Second- you have to define what time is. At the moment, all I see are buzz-words.

    Maybe the first thing you should do is admit to yourself and your audience that you don't understand time. That's OK. Time is one of the most difficult problems in philosophy.

    Out of interest- are you a high-school or college student?
  16. Oct 23, 2007 #15
    highschool and yeah i define what entropy is earlier and i also define what time is earlier..
    i also speak of clocks watches 15 minute cookies aristotle newton mach/leibniz einstein hawking and have come to the conclusion that they all speak of time but no one actually just says where it even comes from

    (aside from aristotle he says time is a measurement of change, not the amount of changes but actually of change.) and thats what i'm basing this whole thing off of just with more modern thought in it.
  17. Oct 23, 2007 #16
    The fact that a complete description of time has eluded Einstein, Aristotle et al might suggest that it's also going to be elusive to you! First, have some humility. Accept that it's not completely understood.

    It takes years to develop an understanding of entropy. I have a PhD in physics and work in physical chemistry- and my understanding of entropy is horrible. Could you admit to yourself that your understanding of entropy is incomplete?

    You're not discussing a trivial problem.
  18. Oct 24, 2007 #17
    Sorry if I sound grouchy! I'm not trying to put down your work.

    An important part of doing science is to accept when you don't understand something. It's OK not to have all the answers.

    Anyway, I'm going to sleep. Best of luck.
  19. Oct 24, 2007 #18
    yeah i understand that we don't know and actually may never know alot about these topics but ... i guess i should have mentioned this EARLIER

    we get marked on our thinking and analytical skills not on the actually information... if i could persuasively argue effectively that time is say black then i would still get good marks even if it isn't true or completely insane.

    that's the whole purpose of this exercise. thanks for your help :D i actually re-worded what i've said many times after you came back at me hahahaha
  20. Nov 2, 2007 #19
    Yes indeed. I have to remind those having a "need to know" relationship with me that, "No! I don't belive in time!" I would refer, instead, to my experience of length if any would pursue the matter.
  21. Nov 2, 2007 #20


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    I am a big fan of your teacher already.

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