Special Relativity and Etrnalism (AKA Rietdijk–Putnam 4-dness)

Eloise
Theist
Eloise's picture
Posts: 1804
Joined: 2007-05-26
User is offlineOffline
Special Relativity and Etrnalism (AKA Rietdijk–Putnam 4-dness)

Firstly I am curious as to how familiar with this idea my fellow science-philes at RRS are. Have you read it, heard of it, thought about it or, perhaps, drawn a similar conclusion for yourself from thinking about Minkowski space-time as an analogue of the physical universe?

Secondly, I wonder, what, if anything, changes in the way you perceive the universe as an entity subject to the notion that the Big Bang is not "gone and done", per se, but simply at a relative distance away from your 4 dimensional position, ( ie it is 'there' as much as Jupiter is 'there' but along a separate axis ) as opposed to your perceptions strictly under the notion that it has been and is not (presentism).

Thirdly, whether your perception does or doesn't change, and especially if you take a possibilist (in which the past is ontologically like space but the future is not) rather than a presentist view, what do you think the manifest presence of the fabric of time between your now and the Big Bang is in tangible terms.

 

Now I'll put forward my answers to these questions, and I would appreciate, though you're perfectly welcome to simply discuss my answers with me, if you have some unique input related to answering the questions please share it.

 

So my first answer is I have read a bit on the Rietdijk–Putnam argument, I've done so because I believe similarly that space-time (from relativity) most definitely implies some form of eternalism is the accurate philosophy of time, based on my understanding of it.

Second, I note a slight difference in my perception of the universe as an entity under the assumption that it is continuous and contemporary in existence along a time axis. The "contemporaneousness" of the whole seems to portray it as a more coherent singular identity than does the opposing viewpoint.

Finally the "contemporaneousness" of the past is found manifest in the present as distant light reaching the eye of the observer, already. We already know this and it is a limitation binding what we are able to perceive inextricably to the position in space-time from which we perceive it. (ie we see the edge of the universe, now, only as it was when time began and we can not see what came after because it hasn't arrived yet. ) it seems to me this principle might hold extended as a basic truth. So to say that your position in space-time intersects a finite block of information travelling as light through the eternalistic universe. Thus the past and future manifests as information not travelling through your space-time at the point in which you are.

 

Over to you...

 

Theist badge qualifier : Gnostic/Philosophical Panentheist

www.mathematicianspictures.com


Desdenova
atheist
Desdenova's picture
Posts: 410
Joined: 2008-11-14
User is offlineOffline
Debunked

Eloise
Theist
Eloise's picture
Posts: 1804
Joined: 2007-05-26
User is offlineOffline
Desdenova wrote:DebunkedGot

Desdenova wrote:

Debunked

Got anything to contribute as as individual? The blog you linked is very insightful but it's a blog for one, which means he hasn't held it up to much professional scrutiny yet so I doubt the writer would expect you to consider it wholly authoritative, and for two if you had even bothered to read the comments the writer, himself, is still openly reviewing it after being asked some good questions, and has conceded there may be more to it than he has thought of just yet. Jumping to heady conclusions like you did there isn't very productive or rational, I don't think, do you?

Theist badge qualifier : Gnostic/Philosophical Panentheist

www.mathematicianspictures.com


Desdenova
atheist
Desdenova's picture
Posts: 410
Joined: 2008-11-14
User is offlineOffline
Not my area of expertise to

Not my area of expertise to comment on individually. I certainly didn't see any solid refutation of his argument though, only speculative.  And his mention of conceding that he might be wrong was followed up with a clause that you apparently overlooked.

As for his credentials,  when did Rietdijk or Putnam become physicists? When was the last time either of them were published in the Journal of Applied Physics?

It takes a village to raise an idiot.

Save a tree, eat a vegetarian.

Sometimes " The Majority " only means that all the fools are on the same side.


RatDog
atheistSilver Member
Posts: 562
Joined: 2008-11-14
User is offlineOffline
 I don't really think I'll

 I don't really think I'll ever really understand anything about the nature of the universe unless I can gain some understanding of the nature of time. 


Eloise
Theist
Eloise's picture
Posts: 1804
Joined: 2007-05-26
User is offlineOffline
Desdenova wrote:Not my area

Desdenova wrote:

Not my area of expertise to comment on individually. I certainly didn't see any solid refutation of his argument though, only speculative.  And his mention of conceding that he might be wrong was followed up with a clause that you apparently overlooked.

I didn't overlook it. It's a distinctly weakening clause, a common practice for dealing with unknown variables does not constitute a concrete basis for judgement.

FWIW, I have a good deal of respect for your posts, Desednova and I don't much like having to pull you apart, here. Bryan is clearly a talented scientist, I read a lot of his blog, but the fact is he is arguing off record against a significant Philosophy of 20th century physics and I'm sure he knows that his blog does not constitute a solid unassailable refutation and I believe you probably should accept the same.

Desednova wrote:

As for his credentials,  when did Rietdijk or Putnam become physicists? When was the last time either of them were published in the Journal of Applied Physics?

Wim Rietdijk is a physicist, his paper on this matter was first published in 1966 so you can imagine he is probably beyond the age of full time defending these days. He has a few recent works credited to his name, though.

Putnam holds a degree in Mathematics and in Philosophy and he has been long recognised and respected in the Philosophy of Science field so it is a bit of a stretch to argue against his credibility also.

Moreover, the same 4d existence concept is echoed by Roger Penrose in his Andromeda Paradox. If you don't know who Penrose is, he was one of Hawkings mentors (lecturing at Cambridge while Hawking was attending) and worked with Hawking when he formulated his cosmological singularity theorem (the one that lead to proof of the Big Bang, you might know of it), the general singularity theorems are the work of Hawking and Penrose combined and they are based on special relativity, in fact it is told that it was Penrose's unique understanding of special relativity that inspired Hawking to his theory of the cosmos. Penrose is primarily a mathematician, but hopefully knowing the significance of his role in modern physics might sway you from mistakenly thinking that Putnam could not have anything credible to contribute to Physics.

 

 

Theist badge qualifier : Gnostic/Philosophical Panentheist

www.mathematicianspictures.com


BobSpence
High Level DonorRational VIP!ScientistWebsite Admin
BobSpence's picture
Posts: 5809
Joined: 2006-02-14
User is offlineOffline
My first reaction is that

My first reaction is that applying the concept of "eternal" to a framework where time is but one dimension of a 4-dimensional manifold has totally missed the point of the 'space-time' perspective.

So "eternalism" is already  a suspect concept, as is any talk of 'contemporaneousness' in this context.

Past and Future, the 'Arrow of Time' are/is 'traditionally' defined by the concept of entropy, AFAIK.

Quantum Theory helps here, if you imagine the 'many worlds' as a multidimensional manifold containing all the 'possible' states of a 'universe', with less probable world-lines fading into a null state as their ultimate probability drops below some finite scale, analogous to the Planck scale in space-time itself. Thus multiplying possible 'worlds' would not lead to an ever-growing number of distinct possible world-lines.

Just some opening thoughts...

 

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


Desdenova
atheist
Desdenova's picture
Posts: 410
Joined: 2008-11-14
User is offlineOffline
My apologies for a knee jerk

My apologies for a knee jerk reaction. I don't usually employ them due to the above tending to happen. Some research showed me that Rietdijk is indeed a theoretical physicist. Finding his writings are a little difficult,  and as his his name would imply, are mostly found in Dutch.

The argument made by the authors, and elaborated on by Penrose, seems similar to the 'time as a sliced loaf of bread' explanation that I've seen demonstrated. The problem with it is that it really has no effect on reality one way or another as it would require an observer to be able to view all events simultaneously.  Similar to Penrose's paradox, but on a universal scale. In other words, it can't be used to validate an omniscient god. It simply refers to what different observers might conclude as 'present observations' from their perspective. Being a non physicist, the only difference I can see in it and special relativity are semantics.

It takes a village to raise an idiot.

Save a tree, eat a vegetarian.

Sometimes " The Majority " only means that all the fools are on the same side.


Eloise
Theist
Eloise's picture
Posts: 1804
Joined: 2007-05-26
User is offlineOffline
RatDog wrote: I don't

RatDog wrote:

 I don't really think I'll ever really understand anything about the nature of the universe unless I can gain some understanding of the nature of time. 

Thanks for replying Ratdog, I agree there, time has a nature that changes depending on what were looking at or where we're looking from, making it difficult to pin down and flies in the face of our intuitive understandings. I would like to understand time better and to find new ways it can be used and explored. 

Theist badge qualifier : Gnostic/Philosophical Panentheist

www.mathematicianspictures.com


Eloise
Theist
Eloise's picture
Posts: 1804
Joined: 2007-05-26
User is offlineOffline
BobSpence1 wrote:My first

BobSpence1 wrote:

My first reaction is that applying the concept of "eternal" to a framework where time is but one dimension of a 4-dimensional manifold has totally missed the point of the 'space-time' perspective.

Yeah it's not the most appropriate title, really, I agree it seems somewhat misleading in that it might imply an infinity of points in time, but I'm pretty sure that isn't the intended implication of the reference to eternity. Rather, I think the reference is supposed to connote perpetuity rather than infinity - time is eternal in that at no point anywhere in the entire manifold is any other point on the manifold absent, all points are ever-present, unending and perpetual.

Quote:

So "eternalism" is already  a suspect concept, as is any talk of 'contemporaneousness' in this context.

OK, thats a fair criticism but in my defense our language fails completely to encompass the relationship between past and future implied by a Minkowski manifold, two points in time are contemporaries of each other in exactly the same sense that you and I are contemporaries of each other but personally we have only experienced this along the axis of time thus every word we have to describe such a relationship is imbued with the context of happening within one singular point of time. I'd be glad if you can think of a word that isn't polluted with this assumption that I could likewise use to describe the relationship, cause I can't think of one myself.

Quote:

Past and Future, the 'Arrow of Time' are/is 'traditionally' defined by the concept of entropy, AFAIK.

Yeah, I would have said conventionally rather than traditionally but I understand. And conventions have validation or else we abandon them as conventions.

The arrow of entropy as the arbiter of time direction is very different to, and I am sure you know, not well reconciled with the basics of special relativity. Entropy is a feature of quanta (ie quantum) non-continuous, dimensionless 'bits of bits' of stuff, relativity is a feature of a topological continuum, the polar opposite of quanta. So of course time in relativity doesn't conform to a quantum convention, how could it? 

I realise there are conventions and they exist mostly to deal or not deal, as the case dictates, with the fact that there are variables in each theory that have no place in the other. That's because, as it stands, the reality is you can only deal with one or the other; and until you somehow miraculously stumble upon the meeting ground that's the way it has to be. Thus the behaviour of point particles in this context is a moot point. A space-time continuum demands that time stretches and deforms according to its mandate, entropy conforms to the gradient of the gravitational curve and it is subordinate to the topology of space time. So, what then?

 

Theist badge qualifier : Gnostic/Philosophical Panentheist

www.mathematicianspictures.com


BobSpence
High Level DonorRational VIP!ScientistWebsite Admin
BobSpence's picture
Posts: 5809
Joined: 2006-02-14
User is offlineOffline
I still think applying any

I still think applying any concept of time as we think of it to any account of the space-time manifold is both unnecessary and misleading.

The many-worlds state-space I imagined can just as easily apply to a fixed space-time manifold, where the internal relationships between space and time dimensions are in accord with relativity, as to what we perceive from our temporal perspective. In fact maybe more easily, IMHO, at least conceptually.

 

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


Eloise
Theist
Eloise's picture
Posts: 1804
Joined: 2007-05-26
User is offlineOffline
Desdenova wrote:My apologies

Desdenova wrote:

My apologies for a knee jerk reaction. I don't usually employ them due to the above tending to happen. Some research showed me that Rietdijk is indeed a theoretical physicist. Finding his writings are a little difficult,  and as his his name would imply, are mostly found in Dutch.

It's cool, I find him a bit difficult to read, too, even the stuff in English.

Quote:

The argument made by the authors, and elaborated on by Penrose, seems similar to the 'time as a sliced loaf of bread' explanation that I've seen demonstrated. The problem with it is that it really has no effect on reality one way or another as it would require an observer to be able to view all events simultaneously. 

Yeah, that sounds about right. And I'd concur that it seems fairly probably that it can have no effect on personal reality. I think, however, that it does effect general reality, for example as the Andromeda paradox suggests, two entities seemingly in a single reality may find that they are actually in two separate ones if they were, by chance, to examine the differences.

However, in that regard, I think it unlikely that observer 1 and observer 2 would be inclined to perceive each other AND the chasms between their realities simultaneously. Our actual physical perceptions are, by their very nature gap-riddled, thus perception on our part is quite significantly made up of 'filler' information gleaned from psychological material. That is to say we only see some of what we are looking at and we use our mental image/reflection of our reality to fill in the gaps in order to see a whole reality. Thus the very mechanism of perception undermines the possibility of perceiving reality beyond our own, so if we were, perchance, to meet something from another reality we would, regardless, frame it in the mental reflection our own reality in order to perceive it, by default, and never see it as anything else.

 

Quote:

Similar to Penrose's paradox, but on a universal scale. In other words, it can't be used to validate an omniscient god.

For the record, I'm not trying to prove any kind of god by this. I don't apologise for any god and I think believing that one's god needs to be defended is the height of stupidity. If your god is 'God' then it doesn't need your protection and it certainly doesn't need you to bully other people out of questioning its existence. I don't engage in that sort of idiocy, so don't worry. If you ask me a specific question, that's different, of course, but unless you asked, don't expect me to insist anything on you.

 

Theist badge qualifier : Gnostic/Philosophical Panentheist

www.mathematicianspictures.com


Eloise
Theist
Eloise's picture
Posts: 1804
Joined: 2007-05-26
User is offlineOffline
BobSpence1 wrote:I still

BobSpence1 wrote:

I still think applying any concept of time as we think of it to any account of the space-time manifold is both unnecessary and misleading.

So you're saying that special relativity has nothing to offer us in explaining the nature of time? And it's misleading to even consider it?

 

Quote:

The many-worlds state-space I imagined can just as easily apply to a fixed space-time manifold, where the internal relationships between space and time dimensions are in accord with relativity, as to what we perceive from our temporal perspective. In fact maybe more easily, IMHO, at least conceptually.

 

You might have to go into some more specific detail, I can't see how fitting a many worlds state space to a space-time manifold does anything to negate the questions in my O.P.

Theist badge qualifier : Gnostic/Philosophical Panentheist

www.mathematicianspictures.com


BobSpence
High Level DonorRational VIP!ScientistWebsite Admin
BobSpence's picture
Posts: 5809
Joined: 2006-02-14
User is offlineOffline
Eloise wrote:BobSpence1

Eloise wrote:

BobSpence1 wrote:

I still think applying any concept of time as we think of it to any account of the space-time manifold is both unnecessary and misleading.

So you're saying that special relativity has nothing to offer us in explaining the nature of time? And it's misleading to even consider it?

Not at all. Both Special and General relativity would describe the internal relationships, the geometry, of a fixed space-time manifold, if looked at from such a 'timeless' perspective.

I am honestly a little surprised at your response.

This seems to be your error, from my PoV, that it makes any sense whatever to apply any time-based concepts in the context of the space-time manifold. Unless of course there is some higher dimension along which the 4-dimensional manifold itself changes in a 'time-like' manner.

Quote:

Quote:

 

The many-worlds state-space I imagined can just as easily apply to a fixed space-time manifold, where the internal relationships between space and time dimensions are in accord with relativity, as to what we perceive from our temporal perspective. In fact maybe more easily, IMHO, at least conceptually.

You might have to go into some more specific detail, I can't see how fitting a many worlds state space to a space-time manifold does anything to negate the questions in my O.P.

The many-worlds state-space encompasses the space-time manifold, in its many possible QM probable states.

http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=11002

refers to a book, Schrodinger's Rabbits: The Many Worlds of Quantum by Colin Bruce, which I found extremely helpful in getting a conceptual handle on QM. I read it while it was available to be read on online at that site, as they seem to often to as an introductory boost.

I can't now even give you any quotes from the book that aren't available on that site.

All I have done here is to apply the idea to the states of a space-time manifold instead of just a time-wise perspective of such - I can see no obvious problem with that, once you even partially get your head around QM and that interpretation of MW.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


RatDog
atheistSilver Member
Posts: 562
Joined: 2008-11-14
User is offlineOffline
 I'm not quite sure how

 I'm not quite sure how time should be defined.  Do either of these two definitions work?  This questions is directed at anyone able and willing to answer.  

 

1) Time is a dimension same a length, width, or height.  

2) Time is a comparison between a repeating series of events and the changing state of a system or systems external to those events.  

 

 


BobSpence
High Level DonorRational VIP!ScientistWebsite Admin
BobSpence's picture
Posts: 5809
Joined: 2006-02-14
User is offlineOffline
RatDog wrote: I'm not quite

RatDog wrote:

 I'm not quite sure how time should be defined.  Do either of these two definitions work?  This questions is directed at anyone able and willing to answer.   

1) Time is a dimension same a length, width, or height.  

2) Time is a comparison between a repeating series of events and the changing state of a system or systems external to those events.  

Both are applicable.

Just as we measure a length with ruler, a standard of a known length, we measure time by a sequence of two or more events with a known interaval between them.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


Eloise
Theist
Eloise's picture
Posts: 1804
Joined: 2007-05-26
User is offlineOffline
BobSpence1 wrote:Eloise

BobSpence1 wrote:

Eloise wrote:

BobSpence1 wrote:

I still think applying any concept of time as we think of it to any account of the space-time manifold is both unnecessary and misleading.

So you're saying that special relativity has nothing to offer us in explaining the nature of time? And it's misleading to even consider it?

Not at all. Both Special and General relativity would describe the internal relationships, the geometry, of a fixed space-time manifold, if looked at from such a 'timeless' perspective.

I don't understand what you mean.

Quote:

I am honestly a little surprised at your response.

I think my problem is I need you to be more clear, sorry.

Quote:

This seems to be your error, from my PoV, that it makes any sense whatever to apply any time-based concepts in the context of the space-time manifold.

Huh? Do you mean to say it's nonsense to apply a scientific description of time to one's concept of time. That seems a little hard-headed to me. Are you sure you think its in error, or are you avoiding any challenge to your personal beliefs?

Quote:

Unless of course there is some higher dimension along which the 4-dimensional manifold itself changes in a 'time-like' manner.

What do you mean? What difference does that make. Inherently, a continuous space-time manifold raises questions about the nature of the existence of future and past, no higher dimension convolutions are needed for this to be true.

 

Quote:

Quote:

Quote:

 

The many-worlds state-space I imagined can just as easily apply to a fixed space-time manifold, where the internal relationships between space and time dimensions are in accord with relativity, as to what we perceive from our temporal perspective. In fact maybe more easily, IMHO, at least conceptually.

You might have to go into some more specific detail, I can't see how fitting a many worlds state space to a space-time manifold does anything to negate the questions in my O.P.

The many-worlds state-space encompasses the space-time manifold, in its many possible QM probable states.

http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=11002

refers to a book, Schrodinger's Rabbits: The Many Worlds of Quantum by Colin Bruce, which I found extremely helpful in getting a conceptual handle on QM. I read it while it was available to be read on online at that site, as they seem to often to as an introductory boost.

I didn't ask you to explain what many worlds is. I asked you to explain how it negated the questions in the OP. You say it does, so you must have some explanation as to how.

Quote:

All I have done here is to apply the idea to the states of a space-time manifold instead of just a time-wise perspective of such - I can see no obvious problem with that, once you even partially get your head around QM and that interpretation of MW.

You mean some manner of replacing the concept of time with a concept of probability states?

Theist badge qualifier : Gnostic/Philosophical Panentheist

www.mathematicianspictures.com


RatDog
atheistSilver Member
Posts: 562
Joined: 2008-11-14
User is offlineOffline
BobSpence1 wrote:RatDog

BobSpence1 wrote:

RatDog wrote:

 I'm not quite sure how time should be defined.  Do either of these two definitions work?  This questions is directed at anyone able and willing to answer.   

1) Time is a dimension same a length, width, or height.  

2) Time is a comparison between a repeating series of events and the changing state of a system or systems external to those events.  

Both are applicable.

Just as we measure a length with ruler, a standard of a known length, we measure time by a sequence of two or more events with a known interaval between them.

Thanks for the answer.  That was very helpful.  Would definition two be better termed as. 

2)  Time is a comparison between between two or more events with known intervals between them and the changing state of a system or systems external to those events.  

Another question.  Could you say that the the know interval between two clicks of the second hand on a clock is a second, and the know distance between the two ends of a meter stick is a meter?  I suppose that is kind of a weird question.  What I'm really trying to ask is can distance and time be know without some kind of comparison.  


cj
atheistRational VIP!
cj's picture
Posts: 3330
Joined: 2007-01-05
User is offlineOffline
RatDog wrote:Thanks for the

RatDog wrote:

Thanks for the answer.  That was very helpful.  Would definition two be better termed as. 

2)  Time is a comparison between between two or more events with known intervals between them and the changing state of a system or systems external to those events.  

Another question.  Could you say that the the know interval between two clicks of the second hand on a clock is a second, and the know distance between the two ends of a meter stick is a meter?  I suppose that is kind of a weird question.  What I'm really trying to ask is can distance and time be know without some kind of comparison.  

 


That definition sounds about right to me.

I can't think of any measurement that can be known without a comparison to a standard.  Hence, the International Bureau of Weights and Measures or Bureau international des poids et mesures.  Also see Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coordinated_Universal_Time  Where they keep track of how long seconds are, the length of a day and a year as exemplified by the earth's rotation and so on.

Standard weights and measures are used extensively in engineering and science.  UTC used to be a scientific or IT geek thing, now it is critical for international businesses as well as computer clock time.  Comes into play when calculating exchange rates and financial transactions between countries.

My husband has measured a number of his body parts - don't go there cause I ain't telling and get your mind out of the gutter! - and uses them when exact measurements are not required.  For example, holding his arms out straight from his shoulders with his hands flat and fully extended, is almost exactly 6 feet from left middle finger tip to right middle finger tip.  The last joint of his thumb is almost exactly 1 inch long.  A long step is about one yard from heel of one foot to toe of the other foot.  I use the measurement when holding my hand flat from the base of my palm to the tip of my middle finger is almost exactly 5 inches.  Try it on yourself sometime.

 

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

"We are entitled to our own opinions. We're not entitled to our own facts"- Al Franken

"If death isn't sweet oblivion, I will be severely disappointed" - Ruth M.


Eloise
Theist
Eloise's picture
Posts: 1804
Joined: 2007-05-26
User is offlineOffline
RatDog wrote: I'm not quite

RatDog wrote:

 I'm not quite sure how time should be defined.  Do either of these two definitions work?  This questions is directed at anyone able and willing to answer.  

 

1) Time is a dimension same a length, width, or height.  

2) Time is a comparison between a repeating series of events and the changing state of a system or systems external to those events.  

 

 

They are both a manner by which we perceive the existence of time. The first is a means which is very structured and abstract, the second is a means which is more immediate and intuitive.

Reasons not to define time the first way include:

1. It is counter-intuitive; we perceive no extension in time in our reality, thus our psychology is attuned to intuiting ourselves as a point in time rather than, as a time dimension would suggest, a coherent 'blob' of values stretched out over a finite real valued interval. Our past and future physical values don't factor in our immediate perception so we don't intuit they exist coherently with us.

2. It is abstract; like space we deform the dimension of time in order to apply linear computations to it. With space we are able to be more aware of the deformation we are allowing and able to judge reasonably if it is significantly affecting the accuracy and precision of what we are doing, knowing so little about time as we do we're less able to judge how markedly flattening out the dimension effects the value of our results.

 

Reasons not to define the second way include:

1. No single degree (or unit) of difference, apparently, applies universally; A good definition is characterised by its invariability over the span of applicable domains. Change happens at wildly varying rates subject to an unwieldy number of physical conditions. To get a handle on the sheer number of variables needed to tweak time units according to rates of change introduces multiple sensitive dimensions to any model of reality decided this way. So ultimately, this definition greatly increases complexity unless you apply it in a vacuum.

So for me, neither is really satisfactory as a complete definition, but each has its value in addressing the few means we presently have with which to perceive the passing of time.

Theist badge qualifier : Gnostic/Philosophical Panentheist

www.mathematicianspictures.com


BobSpence
High Level DonorRational VIP!ScientistWebsite Admin
BobSpence's picture
Posts: 5809
Joined: 2006-02-14
User is offlineOffline
RatDog wrote:BobSpence1

RatDog wrote:

BobSpence1 wrote:

RatDog wrote:

 I'm not quite sure how time should be defined.  Do either of these two definitions work?  This questions is directed at anyone able and willing to answer.   

1) Time is a dimension same a length, width, or height.  

2) Time is a comparison between a repeating series of events and the changing state of a system or systems external to those events.  

Both are applicable.

Just as we measure a length with ruler, a standard of a known length, we measure time by a sequence of two or more events with a known interaval between them.

Thanks for the answer.  That was very helpful.  Would definition two be better termed as. 

2)  Time is a comparison between between two or more events with known intervals between them and the changing state of a system or systems external to those events.  

Another question.  Could you say that the the know interval between two clicks of the second hand on a clock is a second, and the know distance between the two ends of a meter stick is a meter?  I suppose that is kind of a weird question.  What I'm really trying to ask is can distance and time be know without some kind of comparison.  

I would say Time is what is being measured by a clock, perhaps more intuitively expressed as the passage of time. The reading on a clock is the amount of time that has passed since the clock last read 00:00:00, assuming it has been ticking undisturbed since then, of course.

Without a specific comparison, we do have a subjective perception of the passage of time from the progression of our thoughts, but it is strongly affected by many things, including the intensity of our concentration on something, any anticipation of some event in the near future, and so on. Which is why we definitely need clocks to give us a consistent and common measure that will be the same for everyone (neglecting relativistic effects).

Regarding the first 'definition', I would not say 'Time is ...', rather 'Time can be represented as a dimension like distance in a particular mathematical/scientific model of the Universe, of Reality, which is useful for many contemporary theories of physics and cosmology. 

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


Greatest_Curse
Posts: 12
Joined: 2010-12-25
User is offlineOffline
Eloise wrote:1. No single

Eloise wrote:

1. No single degree (or unit) of difference, apparently, applies universally; A good definition is characterised by its invariability over the span of applicable domains.

 

Which, in my opinion, is why looking at the question in terms of spacetime rather than just time or space is so much more useful, since all observers agree upon the spacetime interval between two events.

The fundamental laws of our universe
As they are taught us by our greatest curse


Ktulu
atheist
Posts: 1830
Joined: 2010-12-21
User is offlineOffline
Greatest_Curse wrote:Eloise

Greatest_Curse wrote:

Eloise wrote:

1. No single degree (or unit) of difference, apparently, applies universally; A good definition is characterised by its invariability over the span of applicable domains.

 

Which, in my opinion, is why looking at the question in terms of spacetime rather than just time or space is so much more useful, since all observers agree upon the spacetime interval between two events.

I think you hit the nail on the head there.  The differences between intuitive "reality" and theory of science "reality" arrive from both semantics and a narrowing of the amount of references to support on theory over another.  Trying to explain length without referencing time or the other spacial dimensions is impossible.  We just intuitively explain special dimensions because we've evolved to think that way and we take it for granted.

"Don't seek these laws to understand. Only the mad can comprehend..." -- George Cosbuc