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Author Topic: Does time exist?  (Read 1640 times)

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Offline KaneTopic starter

Re: Does time exist?
« Reply #25 on: March 19, 2014, 10:25:58 AM »
Kane, you seem to be arguing that Model 2 is more accurate than Model 1. Maybe that's so, but Model 2 doesn't work well for time management. So we model time as a kind of coordinate, despite the flaws in doing so.

I agree completely. I'm in no way saying that clocks and traditional view of time are obsolete. It's more of a discussion on what is time's nature than how should we view time.

Offline Juicy Lucy

Re: Does time exist?
« Reply #26 on: April 14, 2014, 07:47:31 PM »
I'm feeling like a simpleton here, but I'm going to take things as I simply see them - time DOES exist.  Our civilization is built upon the concept of time, and it's something we can accurately measure.

Offline The Dark Raven

Re: Does time exist?
« Reply #27 on: April 15, 2014, 12:16:30 AM »
I'm feeling like a simpleton here, but I'm going to take things as I simply see them - time DOES exist.  Our civilization is built upon the concept of time, and it's something we can accurately measure.

Time is a construct of humanity to deal with ordering their world, so they can deal with things in an orderly fashion. The brain craves order. ;)

Offline meikle

Re: Does time exist?
« Reply #28 on: April 15, 2014, 01:39:09 AM »
Time is a construct of humanity to deal with ordering their world, so they can deal with things in an orderly fashion. The brain craves order. ;)

Even if you want to separate it from humanity, time is a dimension that exists whether or not we are here.

Offline Vekseid

Re: Does time exist?
« Reply #29 on: April 15, 2014, 02:58:41 AM »
Time is a construct of humanity to deal with ordering their world, so they can deal with things in an orderly fashion. The brain craves order. ;)

Rather the opposite - our perception of time is solely due to entropy.

Offline vtboy

Re: Does time exist?
« Reply #30 on: April 16, 2014, 05:04:00 PM »
Now here is the issue I have with that. If this is the case, what exactly dictates the moment that we are experiencing presently. Technically speaking, if all the moments are equally real and constant, then all of the events must also be unchanging. Why are we experiencing the moments we are experiencing, in the order we are experiencing them? Logically thinking, it appears abstract that without there being anything to assert the order in which we experience things, we should still somehow experience them in a manner that makes sense.

Some years ago (bad way to begin a comment about time, I suppose) I read "The End of Time" by Julian Barbour, most of which was utterly incomprehensible to me (I have no background in physics or math). But, the little that managed to penetrate my thick brain was really fascinating.

As I recall, Barbour posited a universe of eternal, static moments, sort of like individual frames in a movie reel. As Barbour conceived them, each moment is something of a "time capsule", containing references or links to what we perceive as "earlier" moments, but not to "later" ones. In my 3:00 PM time capsule/moment, for example, there are references to what I ate for lunch at noon, but not to what I will have for dinner. My 8:00 P.M. time capsule/moment will presumably have links to both (and, hopefully, to a single malt as well), but not to tomorrow's drive to work. The architecture of these time capsule/moments is thus something like a hierarchical database, in which "future" time capsule/moments are like higher order (i.e., longer) keys or search arguments, capable of pulling up more data than lower order arguments, analogous to "earlier" time capsule/moments.     

I think that, in Barbour's view, we are experiencing all of the moments of our lives simultaneously and eternally. I am now and always, for example, being born, entering kindergarten, losing my virginity, watching my son take his first steps, entering my dotage, and dying. The "flow" of time -- our sense that events are happening/have happened in a certain order -- is entirely a consequence of the one-way "time capsule" links in each static moment. And, the sense each of us has of "now" experiencing only a particular moment is an illusion under which each fragment of his or her consciousness in every one of these moments labors.

I've probably done great disservice to Barbour, for which I apologize. 

Offline TwoHundredTabs

Re: Does time exist?
« Reply #31 on: May 25, 2014, 10:54:10 AM »
Just popping in to say thanks to the people who provided engineering/hard science information about time. I wish I'd had that information at hand when I was in my Metaphysics class in college. We spent several weeks on discussing philosophical theories of time, and I kept saying to myself "Right, but we're only approaching the question with the resources of our own reflective abilities. We can run thought experiments all day, based on vague characterizations of some people's interpretations of scientific findings, but we're spinning our wheels."

At the end of the day, all that I knew was that "time" as a human concept was "things move around and within me, and I know that by seeing differences and causality", that this human conception of "time" moved only in one direction (forward) - and therefore that had to correlate to some statement of fact we could make about the universe in its current state, and that "time" as a scientific concept was either about the way in which things moved or the way in which a universe was ordered (if all possible events/relationships between matter somehow existed at once). That made writing my paper on the subject difficult.

The way I see it, the vague idea explained as "some people think that there's a way that atoms exist in every possible state and location, and all that 'changes' is what reference point is active" really just doesn't make sense in any way. The movement of particles isn't 'an illusion', and therefore discussions about "time" being "a stable thing" or being "relative" comes down to a misunderstanding between personal experience and facts about the universe. It's a parallel to the mistake made about "free will" versus "determinism" - one thing is a description of human experience, and the other is a description of the physical world.

It was fun to think about this topic again. Thanks for making the thread.