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Fred Champion

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Everything posted by Fred Champion

  1. PeterJ, it seems to me that you equate real with absolute and fundamental. And I believe you have said that the absolute and the fundamental cannot be experienced. If so, this means that the real cannot be experienced and thus all phenomena are not real. Maybe I missed it along the way, but I do not see where what you describe as relative (and/or emergent?) comes from if not ultimately from the fundamental. I don't remember you saying that the relative comes from nothing. I don't understand why we cannot consider the "child" (product) of the fundamental just as real as the "parent" (original). Establishing a frame of reference is basic in physics. I think the most important part of any frame is the origin. It seems to me that what we consider absolute, fundamental and real is the ultimate point of origin in both metaphysics and physics. I can understand that everything in a frame is relative to the origin, but what makes any of it less real than the origin? The one best example I can think of for accepting an origin right now is the phrase "I think, therefore I am". I think it no accident that the phrase "I am" occupies the prominent place it does in the book of Genesis; how better to establish an origin? If there is to be anything real can it be other than the "I"? If not, then why should I consider what I experience to be not real? Help me with this.
  2. I don't want to limit what we can experience to "our physical sense". Hume used the term "experience" when he said all we can know is what we experience. The implication is that experience may include more than physical sense. However, is it not true that for quite a long time now the consensus philosophy in science has been that we can accept as true only what we can observe and such observation is limited to our senses (and our machines which enhance our senses)? Even our most advanced machines must "show" us something in order for us to accept it. If this is "physics mode" then, when it comes to physics, I'm in it. Tell me how a blind man can gather evidence on his own sufficient to accept that there are stars. If you can accept that religion is a philosophy for living, then isn't Taoism a religion? I see philosophy of or about a subject as the approach to that subject. Everyone approaches living their life in some way. That way is their philosophy and, consequently, their religion. It may not be well thought out, codified or deliberate but it is what they do and since everyone does his or her own thing as they live their life, to me, everyone practices his or her own religion. I accept my own experiences beyond my five physical senses, and I have had several, as true or real but I am not able to provide physical evidence of them or share them with others. Since I cannot present evidence of them, I cannot ask others to include them in our physics. However, there are enough anecdotal accounts of such experiences from others, especially when I consider my own, for me to accept that there is something that happens beyond our five senses. My understanding of metaphysics is that it is where we express our a priori notions and our experiences beyond our five senses. In light of the fact of continuing discoveries, I can think of metaphysics as the "bleeding edge", in today's terms, of physics. It seems to me that throughout history, and before, a priori notions have given way to theories which have given way to discoveries which have forced and allowed us to develop more a priori notions. In other words, it seems right to me to include metaphysics as the "first chapter" in our physics book.
  3. Yes, I get your point. I think the discovery of something outside space could be accomplished only if space were finite, situated in a larger volume of a universe of something that is not-space and something in that not-space were interacting with matter in our space. This is way too far from our experience for me to buy into it. Could it be possible? Maybe. Is it likely that we could recognize it? I doubt it, mostly because we are creatures of our space and I expect we just don't have the physical makeup required to experience anything other than our space. Never say never of course, but I think we will have to discover much more about our space before we have evidence sufficient to seriously postulate a larger environment.
  4. No, I suggested that the units of space are the fundamental particles and that they are not capable of initiating any independent action; they are inert. The obvious implication is that some external influence was required to get them moving and produce all the phenomena we experience. I anticipate your response to be that a posited external influence means that space is not fundamental. I agree. So I must limit the idea of units of space being fundamental to them being the fundamental units of space and not the fundamental units of a posited external influence or some external environment. Science is limited to what can be discovered. I expect that anything apart from space will not be discovered. I will not deny that space could be a sub-set of something external, but I don't see how we could know that without leaving space.
  5. The notion that the underlying pattern of the universe can neither be described in words nor conceived in thought seems to me to be a more basic way of saying that we cannot describe or imagine anything in terms which are outside of our experience. If one were to hold to this idea, it would lead to an idea that discovery is futile. Maybe it is. Of course we must describe everything in terms from our experience; we can know only what we experience. If there can really be only one fundamental phenomenon, let it be space. Both the singularity of the Big Bang and God of the creation story had to be "somewhere" before the beginning. I expect that idea is inevitable if we are composite beings emergent from space. Perhaps in seeking our origin we want to look outward but we are only capable of looking inward. I have no objection. I cannot object to what I do not understand. I cannot conceive of something non-material existing. Perhaps the problem is, as you say, one of definitions. My understanding of inductance is that either a current or a magnetic field must be applied to the circuit for anything to happen, but perhaps I'm wrong.
  6. I see the fields produced by magnets as material (physically existing) and the interaction between them as material (physically existing) also. I expect the interaction between any two or more material objects to be material. In the post I responded to, you said "... non material items may possess the quality of existence...". Imagined objects do not exist, at least as I understand the terms imagined and exist. Solenoids are inert until an electric current is applied. Self-induced change is the mirror image of perpetual motion; it just doesn't happen on this side of the looking glass. That was exactly my point. And it is not just "interaction" it is "action" too. This looks to me like a nicer way of describing what I have proposed as units of the volume we call space. I like it even though I don't understand the "common focus" part.
  7. We are "inside" the universe and cannot isolate ourselves from it. We cannot look at it, or any part of it, from any point of viewing other than our own. We cannot isolate any part of the universe from the whole. Every coordinate system we might choose other than our own is imaginary. The only "real" coordinate system we have is the one where we "sit at some location in space-time". There is no other location where we may sit in space-time. This location is the origin of our one and only real universal global prefered frame of reference. We may not sit at the center of mass of the universe, or at the location occupied by the singularity prior to the "beginning", or at the center of the limits of the universe (if there are limits) but I don't see why that would matter. The Earth does not sit at the center of the solar system, but we were able to discern the real configuration of the solar system. I don't know whether or not we have been able to discern the true configuration of the universe yet, but I expect that there is a true configuration. Today it seems that the speed of light prevents us from knowing what "is". My objection to people saying the universe "is" expanding is that they also say the evidence they have of that expansion is several billion years old. My understanding is that the galaxies closest to us are getting closer. It seems to me that this observation might imply that a contraction has already begun. Better to say that the universe "was" expanding several billion years ago and might even be contracting today.
  8. Your statement makes no sense to me. You must understand the meaning of "material", "non-material" and "existence" in a way I don't understand. Help me out here. I'm just a simple guy who sees a mechanical universe. You ask "How can there be two fundamental things? As studiot says, two things implies three things. And so on..." I ask how can one thing, one fundamental thing, one non-composite thing without anything else to interact with, produce another thing? It seems to me that a fundamental thing must be inert, with no internal structure, incapable of any activity independent of external influence.
  9. Yes, but with the qualification that the interaction, or more properly the result of the interaction, may not necessarily be a "thing" which could be considered a phenomenon, and I expect the interaction between two somethings might not necessarily be limited to producing a single result of which more than one could be considered a phenomenon. I think it fair to say the nature of the two somethings and the circumstances of the interaction would determine the outcome.
  10. Do you equate "relative" with "composite" for phenomena? You say "space-time" phenomena. Is there another kind? The reason I suggest that all phenomena are composite is because my understanding is that two or more objects must interact to produce any result. I don't see how our senses, or any object, could experience anything without something acting upon them, or it, or reacting to some action by them, or it. In other words "it takes two" or more of something to produce any phenomenon. Seems to me that interaction may be only one of three ways: fundamental object to fundamental object, fundamental object to composite object or composite object to composite object. The only one of these which might be considered non-composite is the first. I expect that our senses and our instruments are not sensitive enough to respond to action by a fundamental object, although we and our instruments might respond to the result of interaction between a fundamental object and a composite object.
  11. I take your term "composite phenomenon" to mean the result of the interaction between two (or more) non-composite phenomena. I don't know how to take the meaning of your term "non-composite phenomenon". I suggest that all phenomena are composite. I have posited a smallest unit of something that can be anything (spheres of space). I have also posited that we can say an object exists only when that object presents evidence of its existence and it does this by interacting with its surroundings. I have posited that a single smallest unit will have no properties other than occupying a volume, thus there will be no evidence of the existence of a single unit isolated from its neighbors. My my suggestion is that there is only one kind of fundamental object (the smallest units), the only expression of the existence of those units is the result of displacements among them, and all of the displacements, waves, currents, vortices and larger constructs interact to produce "composite phenomena".
  12. What isn't transient? I don't get the logic of requiring permanence as a property of reality. I don't equate real with fundamental. To me, something fundamental must be real, but something real doesn't have to be fundamental. I see both light and water vapor as disturbances (at different scales) in the substance of space. I consider the substance of space is real (and fundamental) therefore light and water vapor are real and the interaction betwen the two is real. Therefore the rainbow, although transient, is real. Would this mean it contains no voids?
  13. I don't understand why you think I said or implied that "a continuum can be extended". I'm not sure what a continuum would be when we're talking about space unless it would be "the" continuum of space, which to me is the universe. I should not have said "empty space between the spheres". I was trying to present the idea that each sphere would be in contact with its neighbors, which would lead to the idea that the displacement of one sphere would cause the displacement of its neighbors. I don't want to include the idea that there would be anything between the spheres, not even a void; the spheres would be and would define all that "is". But enough of that, this thread is not the place to expand on what is obviously only at best incomplete. I just have not, and most likely never will, develop the ideas into a coherent whole. I don't have the knowledge of all the related subjects required to do it and I really don't have the inclination to spend the time required. I presented what I have thought about thus far as the basis for my philosophy of what is real. I do not understand your statement "the same logic can be made to lead to the idea that all things are composite, and reduce to voidness or emptiness". I don't understand how something (a composite) can be thought to come from nothing (a void). Maybe I am wrong but it seems to me that the path of composition must be retraced during the process of reduction. Argument in philosophy is not quarrel is it? I accept it as constructive reasoning. I expect most of the members posting here are way ahead of me in their knowledge of philosophy and I appreciate the discussions.
  14. I don't understand your comment "It is a very unorthodox idea that what is emergent is less real than what it emerges from." I didn't mean to imply that. I would take both what is emergent and what it emerges from as equally real. Or perhaps I don't understand emergence. I did not say "space comes from something, therefore it is real". I said "I accept space is real, [therefore] it comes from something. I do not understand why you would say "it comes from something, therefore it is not real". I say the little spheres, the quarks, the molecules and the piano are all equally real. I do not see how a microscope can change reality. Maybe our definitions of "real" are different. I'm not sure what you mean by "continuum". You know from my posts in other threads that I don't believe time is real. I don't accept a union of space and time. I don't like the idea of infinite divisibility; not sure about infinite size, but probably not, more likely a size too large to measure. I expect there is no empty space between the spheres; as one is displaced, it displaces others. Does this qualify as a continuum? The spheres would be rigid and not deform. Since they would have no properties such as mass, and there would be no surface friction (and nothing we would describe as a surface), I can't begin to figure what it would take to displace the first sphere if they were all at a rest state. I think what we would mean if we were to say that all the energy in the universe was to be used up would be that all the little spheres had achieved a rest state. At that point the only thing left would be space, consisting of the set of all the little spheres. I see this as an independent reality which could not be reduced and would not be eliminated by the displacement of the first sphere. I think it would be impossible to construct anything if we had to start building with something infinetly small. A building constructed of infinitely small bricks, even an infinite number of such bricks, would still be infinitely small. The experience of having finite things constructed of other smaller finite things seems to me to argue for a finite smallest thing.
  15. I know I shouldn't, but I can't resist. Since this is under philosophy and I accept that one's philosophy of or about some subject is that one's approach to that subject, I explain that my approach to what is "real" is that everything must start with something. I accept that the volume we call space is real. This means that space comes from something. So far my least bad idea is that space is composed of the smallest units of something that can be something. Nature's most efficient shape for enclosing a volume seems to be the sphere. I expect the smallest units of volume are spheres. I believe we can say that anything that can be deformed or changed must be composed of other, smaller, things. (Big problem for strings). What this means for the spheres is that they can have no property other than that they enclose volume and as a consequence they occupy place. I believe the only force we understand really well is the one that causes displacement. It might be that that force is the only force. I expect that the result of the little spheres of space being displaced could be the formation of waves, currents and vortices. These structures could form larger structures, those larger structures could form even larger structures, and so on until the really large apparently coherent structures we call fundamental particles are formed. (What we call fundamental particles have properties that distinguish them from other fundamental particles, thus, they seem to be made of smaller stuff.) This idea of really small structures allows room for particles small enough to be the flow we detect as fields. So, what all this comes down to is that I can call "real" anything made from units of space, perhaps I should say disturbances in space and the resulting larger constructs.
  16. No, I do not want to set up a global coordinate system. I only point out that such a system already exists for each individual. It happens when one recognizes one's identity. The reason I felt a need to respond in this thread was because it seems there are so many who have bought into the idea that setting up a frame of reference somehow produces a real environment which is somehow isolated from the real universe. We can see that in any number of posts in the Relativity threads. The first part of swansont's post (#24) confirms that the distinction is not generally driven home to students. I suspect this is done to avoid giving students the idea that relativity is illusion, but that's another topic. As for our view of the observable universe and the notion of expansion, inflation or whatever is the latest, it seems like speculation to me. I do have one problem with explanations of the cosmic background radiation, inflation, expansion and all the rest and that problem is when the word "is" is used. I really do wish those reporting or commenting would remember that what we observe is not current but history; at least that's what we're told. Statements such as "the universe is expanding" make me wonder about those who voice them. I don't know about treating galaxies as point like, but I am not willing to accept that the "laws of physics" are different for objects of different size. In the case of everything in the universe I buy into the idea that one size does fit all. Now I'm not saying that we should describe a pizza or the process of baking one in terms of the quarks that make up the dough and cheese, just that whatever is happening at every scale is directly connected and is part of the same system. But, this is a different topic, too. You are correct of course. I think the fact that the distinction is not made and is not driven home to students has caused confusion. There are lots of folks out there who believe that math and geometry were discovered, not invented. Old hands see the forest, new ones may see only the trees.
  17. Yes, there is a concept of time. Yes, we use it to describe changes of all sorts. Yes, we use it to describe previous states and predict future states with equations. But, a concept is not a thing. That concept arises because we have intellect and memory. We don't experience a concept. What we do experience are things which interact with their surroundings. This is also true for inanimate objects. We remember and record; inanimate objects do not. The only evidence of our concept of time, or time in general for that matter, is our memory and our records. There is no evidence of time in the state of any object; if time permeats the universe there would be. Equations of motion are our attempt to predict and describe states of objects. These equations require an initial state, a set of posited conditions, and a quantity of "time" to produce a result. Yes, the results do match, within tolerances, our observations and records; if they didn't we would develop other equations. But, do they show evidence of time? No, they do not. The equations are inventions of intellect constructed to match observation, so it should be no surprise that they work. They work because we have matched the terms and conditions with our memories and records, tested the predictions and adjusted the equation as required, not because of any intrinsic "goodness" or mathematic discovery. I find it no surprise that we have developed the concept of time we now have; I think it is an obvious evolution in thought. The incredible thing to me is that in science, and physics in particular, where we require evidence of anything before accepting it, we give time a pass, and not just a pass, we have elevated the concept to the status of space and matter. That is incredible. I can say no more on this subject; any further posts would be repetition. Thank you for the discussion. I give you the last word.
  18. It is generally accepted that events follow Newton's first law of motion, the modern interpretation of which is that a couch potato will not move until his wife (or mother) yells at him. This event will happen only upon the wife (or mother) reaching a point of frustration sufficient to induce yelling. Time is not a factor, it neither allows nor constrains the event. The effect is the result of a cause, not time. You know as well as I do that proving a negative is not possible. It is up to you to prove the positive, the claim that time "is", and to do that you must present evidence that time is a factor in cause and effect. Just saying that without time cause and effect "makes no sense" or that time is "involved" is not sufficient; you must show how it is involved.
  19. I think you both are pretty much correct. I accept that in order for a frame of reference to have any utitily it must include a volume within which things will be described, a point of origin within that volume and a coordinate type imposed with a zero point at the point of origin. If the volume chosen is the universe and if the point of origin chosen is the location of the identity doing the choosing, I accept that the frame thus constructed is real. For each individual, there can be only one such frame. To me, the choice of a different volume, a different point of origin or different conditions makes the frame imaginary. In either case the coordinate type chosen is imaginary. If any imaginary frame is to have any utility, that is to say that anything discovered or results achieved within it are to have any application in the real frame, there must be a translation into the real frame such that discoveries or results in the imaginary frame are consistent with those in the real frame; the "laws of physics" in an imaginary frame must be consistent, with translation, with the "laws of physics" in the real frame. My experience is that some do not seem to understand this as well as they might, thus causing some degree of confusion and so I feel it necessary for us to bring the point to the fore.
  20. None of the examples you present are dependent upon time. They are depependent upon action and reaction. Time is not a factor. If we place one brick on top of another, that configuration will change only if some internal instability, produced during manufacture of one or both bricks, causes one or both of the bricks to change, or if some external influence causes an internal change in one or both bricks, or if some other object or objects causes a displacement of one or both bricks. None of these changes in configuration can be described as being due to or happening because of time or time passing. Time is not a component of cause and effect. I present no straw men. You have presented change as evidence of time. It isn't. Change is evidence of objects interacting with their surroundings. Each domino falls because another falls upon it, not because it is "time" for it to fall or because there is some uber schedule requiring it to fall at a certian "time" or because enough "time" has elapsed so that it must fall. The state of any object is not a function of time. If it were we could write an equation for that state independent of any other state of the object. In the example I gave of the two pictures of a clock we have the advantage of a record of two states of the clock. Even with this advantage we cannot write an equation for either state as a function of time. You claim that time "is". And, without any evidence whatsoever, you extrapolate that into cause and effect. This is the logical failure here. Now, with all that said, we will use time as our shorthand way of expressing our recognition, through memory and because of intellect, of different states of certain objects compared to different states of other objects accepting that there is a physical, not temporal, cause for the different states. We will do this because it is convenient, not because we accept that time "is". The idea of time as real is so ingrained in our collective thinking that we are inclined to cling to it despite a total lack of evidence. In the final analysis it doesn't matter much except when we try and apply or use time as if it were real.
  21. The only state of any single object, or the entire universe, that exists is what we call the "now". The only reason we have for labeling the state we observe is because we remember other states. Objects without intellect don't remember. They, and we, experience only the "now". Objects have no need to distinguish the current state. If time "is" it should be universal. It isn't universal; it is limited to memory. Show me one example of time acting upon any object, or of being the cause of any effect, or of being the effect of any cause. If this cannot be done, we have no reason to claim any state of being or existence for it.
  22. Well, I'm not ready to accept an infinite number of real points in the universe. It seems much more likely that space is granular; thus a smallest unit of place, a smallest volume. If I were to attempt a GUT, I would start with a unit volume and build from there, but that's another topic. I will go back to my original claim that the universe is our only real frame of reference. The only real point of origin for each individual is the location of that individual's identity. Each of us has only one real frame of reference. We may choose a point other than our location to use as a mathematical or geometric origin, and as you point out there are a very large number of possible points. Any conditions, other than the real conditions at your location or at a location directly translated from your location, that you may impose at a chosen origin are imaginary. The point to keep in mind is that experiments done at such locations can only be "thought experiments" and the results should be applied to a real location with real conditions only if they are properly translated from the imaginary frame into the real frame. I'm sure you know all this. I say it only as a reminder for those who may try to apply results from thought experiments to the real world. Peace.
  23. Any x,y,z you may express is imaginary. Volume cannot be reduced. You may describe volume in terms of x,y,z but those are only descriptors. The one and only real location you may experience is the location of your identity, the "where" of where you are. Any translation away from that location is imaginary (unless you are having an out-of-body experience ). Do you seriously need me to define what an event is? Come on. You ask a lot of questions. I have answered. I have presented examples. You answer no questions. You present no examples. I conclude you are not interested in participating in a discussion, only in baiting me into an endless philosophical rat hole. Show me evidence of time or admit there is none. You tell me how either state happened and what part time had in the happening. How do we know there "were" two states? How do we know one happened "after" the other? I accept that a phenomenon is an observable event. We may discuss any number of things that are not "independently existing phenomena" like pain, love, distance, area, hot, cold, mathematics, geometry, science, physics and a host of others. I take your reference to a fundamental theory to be to a GUT. To me, the only utility of "time" in any such theory is a convenient shorthand way of describing the state of objects relative to the states of other objects. I have posted that Einstein is quoted as saying that time is what we see when we look at a clock. I accept that he was correct; we see the state of the hands relative to the state of the face of the clock. Any attempt to specify a "time" or the "passage of time" can be reduced to the state of objects compared to the states of other objects.
  24. On this side of the looking glass, "c" is taken to be constant. If one wants to define space as being distorted, one first has to establish what it means to be not distorted. Measuring non-distortion in a distorted environment is above my pay grade.
  25. Your comment about "making sense" gives me an idea. Let's approach the issue from a different perspective. Let's remove the notion of making sense. We can do that by removing the influence of intellect from the experience of "time". We can look at the evidence of time as presented by inanimate objects not sentient entities. So, what evidence of time is there that we can glean from objects? I suggest that there is none. Example: two pictures of a clock showing different positions of the hands. What caused the hands to change position? Which picture was taken "first"? And this example gives us the advantage of seeing two different states of the object, while other observations provide only the current state. Maybe this is a good example, maybe it isn't. If you do not like this example, please present one which shows evidence of time. Using the term "exist" might be part of the problem. Would it be better to use the term "phenomenon"? In other words, the question I would ask is: is time a phenomenon? I think you know my answer already, what is your answer?
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