What is time? Does time even exist?

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I am not certain at all, I am just taking my chances, and see reactions in this thread. If I am wrong I am very happy to be shown why, at least I am learning something new.

I'm not sure why you would expect to be shown why, when you appear to be talking about something unknowable (the nature of "reality" - whatever that means). I'm not sure why your opinion/guess is any more valid than someone else's.

My opinion, for what it's worth, is that if the "ultimate nature of reality" is unknowable, then we deal with the reality we can know, which includes width, length, height and time. That is how science works. Your view is more like philosophy and, while potentially interesting, is of little practical value.

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Time measurement (Seconds) are adjusted to the cosmos to serve mankind and not the other way around.

And I though it was the time datum that gets changed at appropriate moments.

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And I always had problems with this definition for second:

"The time needed for a cesium-133 atom to perform 9,192,631,770 complete oscillations". The second is defined by it's measurement.

It like I'm saying: "For me the meter is that unit that I managed to divide it into 100 smaller units(cm)."

That's not an apt comparison. To realize any standard you have to measure it. But the measurement of 9,192,631,770 oscillations in Cs is not the same as subdividing a meter; the meter is a defined unit. An oscillation is not.

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That's not an apt comparison. To realize any standard you have to measure it. But the measurement of 9,192,631,770 oscillations in Cs is not the same as subdividing a meter; the meter is a defined unit. An oscillation is not.

I didn't cached which of which. Are you saying that the meter is valid because it was properly defined and the second not, because the oscillation is not a defined unit?

I don't know which of which but:

"Since 1983, it has been defined (the meter) as "the length of the path travelled by light in vacuum during a time interval of 1/299,792,458 of a second."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metre

So, "An oscillation is not" then what that tells us about the second and implicitly about the meter?

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I'm not sure why you would expect to be shown why, when you appear to be talking about something unknowable (the nature of "reality" - whatever that means). I'm not sure why your opinion/guess is any more valid than someone else's.

My opinion, for what it's worth, is that if the "ultimate nature of reality" is unknowable, then we deal with the reality we can know, which includes width, length, height and time. That is how science works. Your view is more like philosophy and, while potentially interesting, is of little practical value.

Who said that my opinion is more valid than someone else's? Little practical value? Actually, creating a consensus on definitions has always a big practical value. Because usually all we do is just arguing about meaning of words, which is not very practical. That's why it's very important to create a consensus in definitions, separating poetry from science. So, to recap, "time" it's not a poetic mysterious dimension, such a thing doesn't exist (even if it has been treated for too long like a dimension). "Time" is a human concept used to keep track of the atoms and subatomic particles movement, in their sequence and progression. "Time" is basically "speed", which is real, it does exist, and the speed of atoms moving from point A to point B is measured by comparing it with the speed of our clocks, but in theory you can measure speed with anything you want. Speed is real, it does exist, but it's not a dimension, just like time is not a dimension. The only dimension we have it's space, and we measure it with our human concepts of height length and width. So, in short, if by the word "time" you mean speed, then it's real and it does exist, but if by "time" you mean a poetic dimension, then, it doesn't exist at all.

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The only dimension we have it's space

Why do you think space is more real than time?

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Why do you think space is more real than time?

Please, no fights, phasers on stun, I come in peace. What do you mean by time? Speed, or a poetic dimension?

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Please, no fights, phasers on stun, I come in peace. What do you mean by time? Speed, or a poetic dimension?

I'm not arguing. I'm just curious as to why you accept the reality of space as dimensions but not time? (For what its worth they are all equally "real"; however you want to interpret that.)

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Wonderful, we're back to talking about time as if it something more than a mere measurement.

I would remind everyone that space does exist, that is indisputable. We know that matter exists, that is also indisputable (though I suspect someone might try to dispute it, there's always someone). We know that matter moves within space.

Now this is where people need to adjust their thinking a little, and start drawing a mental line between tools to analyse the universe, and what actually makes up the universe.

Time is merely a way of measuring the motion of matter by taking a small repetitive motion, for example the tick of a clock. By doing this we invent the famous sum Don't Spill Tea.

Distance = Speed * Time

Or perhaps better restated as:

Distance = Speed * CP (Comparative Motion)

Comparative motion of course is time, so we're not comparing two distance motions, but the point at which a motion changes direction, tick, tock, tick, tock. This is a second. Or as I like to think of it, a regular change in state of motion.

Now we can work out how far something has travelled, the rate at which is is travelling and predict the time taken to travel (or rather how many regular change in states of motion).

And thus you have a system by which time as an independent dimension or object or form of matter or force or anything else people think it should be, doesn't exist.

This basically means that concepts such as time travel, i.e. winding the universe back to a previous state, requires instant and universal reversal of every motion and interaction in the universe. Something which is clearly impossible.

Of course that doesn't fit into science fiction so it will never become a popular concept with the man on the street.

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I think that time is a measure of events in the Cosmos.

It has a beginning at the "Big Bang" and It is related to speed and to hit a singularity at the speed of light because light brings the Cosmos to us. It contorts along with the properties of light, (bending in a gravitational field, frequency disturbances, visual receptors, doppler effects .... ) Time is associated and transmitted beyond light as well as light speed with other frequencies than light and ends when space ends.

Edited by zorro
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I'm not arguing. I'm just curious as to why you accept the reality of space as dimensions but not time? (For what its worth they are all equally "real"; however you want to interpret that.)

Yes, I would be very happy to answer to you, if you tell me what do you mean by time?

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Everything you just discussed, speed, light speed, is judged by the motion of a particular particle, a photon. You are not describing time there you are describing the motion of something within the universe. The big bang isn't important because that's merely the starting point (btw, as far as I'm aware Big Bang is the wrong term now, it's universal inflation). Though it does make a really cool name for a TV show. Either way, space ending, light waves, speed of light. This is all directly related to space, and the movement of matter within the space. This has nothing to do with defining time as a separate entity, force, dimension, whatever. It's just space, space and more space. Just as that which lays between my ears is

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Wonderful, we're back to talking about time as if it something more than a mere measurement.

I would remind everyone that space does exist, that is indisputable. We know that matter exists, that is also indisputable (though I suspect someone might try to dispute it, there's always someone). We know that matter moves within space.

Now this is where people need to adjust their thinking a little, and start drawing a mental line between tools to analyse the universe, and what actually makes up the universe.

Time is merely a way of measuring the motion of matter by taking a small repetitive motion, for example the tick of a clock. By doing this we invent the famous sum Don't Spill Tea.

Distance = Speed * Time

Or perhaps better restated as:

Distance = Speed * CP (Comparative Motion)

Comparative motion of course is time, so we're not comparing two distance motions, but the point at which a motion changes direction, tick, tock, tick, tock. This is a second. Or as I like to think of it, a regular change in state of motion.

Now we can work out how far something has travelled, the rate at which is is travelling and predict the time taken to travel (or rather how many regular change in states of motion).

And thus you have a system by which time as an independent dimension or object or form of matter or force or anything else people think it should be, doesn't exist.

This basically means that concepts such as time travel, i.e. winding the universe back to a previous state, requires instant and universal reversal of every motion and interaction in the universe. Something which is clearly impossible.

Of course that doesn't fit into science fiction so it will never become a popular concept with the man on the street.

I agree with everything you said. Distance = Speed * Time, is the most confusing thing I have ever read in my life...

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Daniel hello again:

Space is not relevant to time. Space is a component between the elements and fields of the cosmos weather the element is a Galactic assemblage or the God particle. Space ends when all fields end then Nothing begins.

btw: The "Big Bang Theory" is my favorite TV show and Sheldon (Jim Parsons) is superb.

Edited by zorro
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Comparative motion of course is time, so we're not comparing two distance motions, but the point at which a motion changes direction, tick, tock, tick, tock. This is a second. Or as I like to think of it, a regular change in state of motion.

Daniel it's nice to have you back. From the point of being this topic starter I mean (which may be relevant in this discussion).

"but the point at which motion changes direction, tick, tock, tick, tock"

Interesting concept. If I got it right there is only one point (of reference) which makes a reference frame? A sort of back and forward ?

If so it will be a self-explanatory notion. Otherwise (and even so) an Human observer (if there is another kind, I don't know of it: aliens, etc) is in discussion. Because to talk about time and such without the entity who has the perception of time, distance etc seems pointless.

Also to talk about motion without a point of reference, seems pointless to me. If I go along with that motion?

About Big bang it's a nice theory but filled with holes from my point of view. There can be many arguments here, but one: it uses the current state of the Universe and reminded back until.... and it assumes that figured out the right order of events in the Universe.

Concerning inflation(there is a If here also): the Universe might inflate and deflate and inflate again without reaching 2 Big bang theorized "moments".

Anyway, that's a little off-topic. Concerning time, currently an undefined perception, I think it can be a viewed as an interval between 2 symmetrical states.

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Yes, I love Sheldon, he both makes me want to strangle him and discuss physics with him at the same time.

Hello Zorro

I would counter that, by saying. What would time be without space? Time by itself is not observable, so without matter to affect, and indeed matter to make up our moral forms, what would be the point in time? Then again, one may ask the question in the exact reverse. What would matter, and space be without time. For you can't really speak about space and not treat it as a framework for matter to exist.

But, while time is nothing without space and matter to affect. Matter doesn't have to exist under the constraints of a time "force"/"dimension" as most people seem to think of it. There are only two certain things we can absolutely observe with total certainty.

1) Matter exists (it is observable, and interactive so therefore it must exist)

2) Matter Moves (and therefore matter must have something to move within, aka X, Y and Z)

Now, as matter moves, we start to ask the question. Why does it move? Or at least I do. This is where we start getting into the fundamental forces, gravity, small nuclear, large nuclear, electromagnetic. Each seems to occupies it's own domain within space and affect matter according to it's own observable rules. After much testing we have come across multiple techniques to predict the movement and interaction of matter which of course we write down as mathematics.

Because we needed a tool to define snapshots of the universe in multiple states (past, present and future) we invented the concept of time. The mark of a good mathematical system is the ability to take multiple data points and then predict both past and and future interactions with a great deal of accuracy. This is why time was invented.

In fact one may argue that the past doesn't exist any more than the future is. While you may have abilities that I don't or another perception on this, I personally only ever experience the ever present now. I can remember the past and kinda relive it, sometimes very intensely, but that is still a function of now. I can not do the same thing for the future, because the future was never a now while the past was once a now that occurred. Of course Sir Terry Pratchett might say that that the reason we can see the past and not the future is because we're walking through time backwards. But such human fancies aside, the fact remains that I am the now of the moment, and the was of the past simply remains as a certain configuration of neurons in my mind. No more real in the moment than the future was.

So if there is only the moment and the past and future was at heart a human invention, then why does any form of time need to exist. There is only matter, and the motion of that matter, the interaction of that matter, and affection of forces upon matter.

In order for time to exist, at least in my primitive mind, as anything other than a set of tick tocks of ever moving matter. Then it would have to be a governing force. Time would have to fold into itself all fundamental forces, and then all forces within the universe would have to be an expression of time. Now while I can accept that the forces might be an expression of a greater force in a way we don't understand, I don't think that whole unified force is time. But something we don't really have a concept for at present.

Either way, in my own primitive way I look at the tick of clockwork, the swing of a pendulum, the burning of a candle and the movement of the sun by the one factor they all have in common.

Motion. And motion, certainly isn't time. That's why it has a word all to itself.

P.S. thanks hyperion1is it's nice to be back.

Edited by Daniel Foreman
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Yes, I love Sheldon, he both makes me want to strangle him and discuss physics with him at the same time.

Hello Zorro

I would counter that, by saying. What would time be without space? Time by itself is not observable, so without matter to affect, and indeed matter to make up our moral forms, what would be the point in time? Then again, one may ask the question in the exact reverse. What would matter, and space be without time.

Space is not observable but time is. By definition Space is a volume minus it's Cosmos Boundaries . The boundaries are observable not the space between.

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Space is not observable but time is. By definition Space is a volume minus it's Cosmos Boundaries . The boundaries are observable not the space between.

Time is not observable, since it doesn't exist. What we can observe is only speed and motion.

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As this is in the Physics forum, would anyone like to add some science to this (rather than just philosophical speculation and opinion). For example, has anyone reformulated GR without time (or using speed instead of time). Or even classical dynamics?

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As this is in the Physics forum, would anyone like to add some science to this (rather than just philosophical speculation and opinion). For example, has anyone reformulated GR without time (or using speed instead of time). Or even classical dynamics?

I don't know if Einstein used the word "time" to indicate speed of motion according to our clock, or to indicate a poetic dimension. In any case his calculations are very useful, GPS relies on those. So he deserves all the credit for that.

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As this is in the Physics forum, would anyone like to add some science to this (rather than just philosophical speculation and opinion). For example, has anyone reformulated GR without time (or using speed instead of time). Or even classical dynamics?

Lead by example, if you want to inject what you perceive as science feel free. As far as I'm concerned what we are discussing is science. Discussing "how to view" the universe could be argued as the most fundamental nature of science. Observe, seek to understand, that's how it works. I observe that everything around me is capable of being moved, or is in active motion. I don't however see time. But then we don't see gravity either we only see it's effects on matter as I drop the ever famous apple. Some chose to attach that motion through space as an example of time passing. I chose to view the motion of that apple through space as nothing but motion. At which point do you fail to see science happening?

Space is not observable but time is. By definition Space is a volume minus it's Cosmos Boundaries . The boundaries are observable not the space between.

I would argue the reverse. Time is not observable, but both space and matter are. For example, if I place an apple on a table, and take 5 steps back then I am observing two things.

1) there is an apple on the table.

2) there is space between myself and the apple

I do not however see time.

I also know through astronomy thanks to my telescope, that the same rules apply within a vacuum. While I've not been to space myself I take it as an item of faith that it is a vacuum except for trace amounts of dust, (the following image serves no purpose I just think it's cool yes it is space dust )

So my conclusion is that because I can see Saturn quite clearly (I posted it on youtube yay)

visible even at it's massive distance, thus providing the same apple and 5 steps demonstration, using a planet and my position on earth. That the only thing separating us is space, therefore space is observable via distances between objects.

So again, I would state that the only factor that can not be observed is mysterious time force thingie. I can see motion, but I don't see motion being a consequence of time.

Edited by Daniel Foreman
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Lead by example, if you want to inject what you perceive as science feel free. As far as I'm concerned what we are discussing is science. Discussing "how to view" the universe could be argued as the most fundamental nature of science. Observe, seek to understand, that's how it works. I observe that everything around me is capable of being moved, or is in active motion. I don't however see time. But then we don't see gravity either we only see it's effects on matter as I drop the ever famous apple. Some chose to attach that motion through space as an example of time passing. I chose to view the motion of that apple through space as nothing but motion. At which point do you fail to see science happening?

I would argue the reverse. Time is not observable, but both space and matter are. For example, if I place an apple on a table, and take 5 steps back then I am observing two things.

1) there is an apple on the table.

2) there is space between myself and the apple

I do not however see time.

I also know through astronomy thanks to my telescope, that the same rules apply within a vacuum. While I've not been to space myself I take it as an item of faith that it is a vacuum except for trace amounts of dust, (the following image serves no purpose I just think it's cool yes it is space dust )

So my conclusion is that because I can see Saturn quite clearly (I posted it on youtube yay) visible even at it's massive distance, thus providing the same apple and 5 steps demonstration, using a planet and my position on earth. That the only thing separating us is space, therefore space is observable via distances between objects.

So again, I would state that the only factor that can not be observed is mysterious time force thingie. I can see motion, but I don't see motion being a consequence of time.

No No. In your Saturn/apple example, you see light fields not space . Again , space is not observable.

As in GPS, only time differences are observable . Distance and elevation are computed. Saturn's distance is a table look up and only observable from a reflected beam. Time is the observable again.

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And what do those "light fields" travel through to before they get to me?

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And what do those "light fields" travel through to before they get to me?

.

Other fields and dark matter. On to the eye cones / rods. The space is near negligible and not observable.

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the brain has time keeper cells near the core regions of the brain. these time keeper cells create a time cycle that the brain uses this as the standard, by which it compares internal clocks and sensory time. since this arrangement formed naturally, this suggests that space-time is actually time-space, with time having first seat.

when humans first started to develop science, they picked distance first, instead of time, because distance was much easier to conceptualize and agree upon as a standard, compared to time. distance is passive and therefore is was easy to measure with a stick or foot using matter. but time was dynamic and more ethereal and therefore not as easy to conceptualize or agree upon as to its nature.

even today, time is still nebulous as this topic continues to show. this is why although the brain naturally uses time-space, humans prefer space-time.

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