Does Time Exist? Einstein, Julian Barbour, Lee Smolin, Some Greek Philosophers–And The New Data From The NASA Fermi Gamma-Ray Space Telescope

Julian Barbour, Albert Einstein, and Parmenides vs. Anaximander and Lee Smolin. Theoretical physicist, Julian Barbour, believes that what we experience as time passing actually consists of frozen moments of space-time in relation to one another (akin to a flip book). It feels as if time is passing, but like cinema film, past, present, and future, to borrow a phrase from Jacques Derrida, “always already” exist.

Albert Einstein once wrote that “People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubborn, persistent illusion,” and the pre-Socratic philosopher, Parmenides, also believed time to be an illusion, a conclusion he derived from logic. Being can’t pass into the state of nothing on its way to becoming something else, for nothing can come of nothing. Therefore, becoming must not occur. Parmenides’ student, Zeno, defended his teacher’s position with a famous argument: one can imagine slicing space infinitely fine, and so any object, to go from point A to point B, would have to pass through an infinite series. This can’t happen, so movement in time must be some sort of illusion. Everything is at rest; nothing really moves; all moments are eternal. Past, present, and future are right now. Think block universe. 

Poetic, perhaps, and even a bit creepy–but is it true?

A different pre-Socratic philosopher, Anaximander, thought not. In his On Nature, quoted at the beginning of Lee Smolin’s book, Time Reborn (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2013), he wrote, “All things originate from one another, and vanish into one another according to necessity […] in conformity with the order of time.”

The world, in other words, is on fire, baby. Time is not an emperor with no clothes, but akin to the burning bush in Exodus: a god wearing flames.

Theoretical physicist Lee Smolin agrees with Anaximander, and the idea of time as fire is poetic, if a bit nervy–but who’s right?

Can science call this one decisively?

Smolin has long thought yes; that the data from NASA’s Fermi Gamma-Ray Space Telescope would provide a smoking gun in favor of the idea that time is really real, not just an emergent property out of more fundamental principles. How so? By showing the speed of light is not constant when measured over vast distances (ten billion light years), and therefore that time isn’t really relative to the motion of the observer. In other words, by proving Einstein’s theory of relativity wrong.

Put another way, Einstein says gravity slows time, not light. Smolin says if we can set photons to racing over sufficiently vast distances, and measure them, we’d find that, in fact, gravity slows light, not time. Time is constant, not light.

Lee Smolin’s Prediction. For Smolin, time is special. It is universal, not local. It might appear locally to us to be relative, but across the cosmos, and at the quantum level, time is not ultimately dependent on the speed observers are moving. It is not an emergent property of space, the laws of physics, and matter-in-motion, but fundamental. Instead, it is space, the laws of physics, and matter-in-motion that derive from time; it is they that are the emergent properties. Indeed, time is the only thing that is fundamental. Not God, not dumb luck, not the infinite multiverse. The buck stops for Smolin with time.

So Smolin has long believed that Einstein’s theory, in the final analysis, is wrong about the speed of light being constant, and therefore about the relativity of time in relation to an observer’s motion. There is a substrate to reality in which everything that exists, exists now, and is passing out of this burning moment into another moment at the same instant.

Here’s Smolin, writing all the way back in 2003 (which may no longer exist, if Smolin is correct):

Some of the effects predicted by the theory [of quantum loop gravity, a theory Smolin promoted at the time] appear to be in conflict with one of the principles of Einstein’s special theory of relativity, the theory that says that the speed of light is a universal constant. […] [T]he theory [of quantum loop gravity] predicts that the speed of light has a small dependence on energy. Photons of higher energy travel slightly slower than low-energy photons. The effect is very small, but it amplifies over time.

In other words, if Einstein is right, low-energy and high-energy photons, from a great distance (again, ten billion light years), will basically reach NASA’s Fermi Gamma-Ray Space Telescope at the same time. If they don’t; if the low-energy photons lag a bit, then the speed of light isn’t constant and time isn’t relative, but fundamental. Here’s Smolin again:

Two photons produced by a gamma-ray burst 10 billion years ago, one redder and one bluer, should arrive on Earth at slightly different times. The time delay predicted by the theory is large enough to be detectable by a new gamma-ray observatory called GLAST (for Gamma-ray Large Area Space Telescope), which is scheduled for launch into orbit in 2006. We very much look forward to the announcement of the results, as they will be testing a prediction of a quantum theory of gravity.

When Smolin wrote this back in 2003, he speculated on the consequences of any detection of laggard photons by the space telescope:

A very exciting question we are now wrestling with is, How drastically shall we be forced to modify Einstein’s special theory of relativity if the predicted effect is observed? The most severe possibility is that the principle of relativity simply fails. The principle of relativity basically means that velocity is relative and there is no absolute meaning to being at rest. To contradict this would mean that after all there is a preferred notion of rest in the universe. This, in turn, would mean that velocity and speed are absolute quantities. It would reverse 400 years of physics and take us back before Galileo enunciated the principle that velocity is relative. While the principle may have been approximately true, we have been confronting the frightening possibility that the principle fails when quantum gravity effects are taken into account.

Drum roll, please. Well, it’s 2015, twelve years later, and the results have recently come in from the space telescope, and been digested by researchers. This is via Phys.org (March 16, 2015):

One hundred years after Albert Einstein formulated the general theory of relativity, an international team has proposed another experimental proof. In a paper published today in Nature Physics, researchers from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the Open University of Israel, Sapienza University of Rome, and University of Montpellier in France, describe a proof for one of the theory’s basic assumptions: the idea that all light particles, or photons, propagate at exactly the same speed.

The researchers analyzed data, obtained by NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, of the arrival times of from a distant gamma-ray burst. The data showed that photons traveling for billions of years from the distant burst toward Earth all arrived within a fraction of a second of each other.

This finding indicates that the photons all moved at the same speed, even though different photons had different energies. This is one of the best measurements ever of the independence of the speed of light from the energy of the light particles.

In other words, this is Parmenides’ revenge–and Julian Barbour’s–and Einstein’s. Disturbing as the implications may be, the idea that we live in a block universe is alive and well. Time and change may indeed be stubbornly persistent illusions. Gravity really does appear to slow time, not light. It does not look like time is fundamental.

This means that when 20th century mathematician Hermann Weyl wrote the following, he may not have been far off the mark:

The objective world simply is, it does not happen. Only to the gaze of my consciousness, crawling upward along the world line of my body, does a section of the world come to life as a fleeting image in space which continuously changes in time.

Put another way, the speed of one’s gaze (whether “crawling” or zipping) from a particular vantage in relation to another thing, generates the illusion of becoming. All moments already exist alongside one another as a dimension in space-time. I’m curious to read what Lee Smolin makes of the latest space telescope data, but I can’t seem to locate anything by him about this online. I look forward to that.

__________

A brief, speculative addendum on aspect seeing, Escher, and time. Weyl’s description of awareness “crawling upward along the world line of my body,” with “a section of the world” coming momentarily into awareness “as a fleeting image in space” seems curiously akin to aspect seeing (as with the goblet vs. two faces image in all introductory psychology textbooks; the figure-ground image).

The figure and ground in such an image is static and completely interdependent–you can’t have one without the other–but awareness ping-pongs back and forth between the two images as if trapped in a very simple space-time square of indecisiveness. Is it a goblet? Is it a face? Is it both? Is it neither?

What one affirms in one moment seems negated in the next.

Perhaps the cosmos combined with awareness is like this, but rather than a two-dimensional square, it’s a three or more dimensional box or bubble–a very, very large box or bubble. And because the box or bubble is vast, awareness never hits a wall to ping-pong off of, so it tumbles all in one direction (hence the illusion of time).

Think of an Escher drawing, Sky and water I (1938). The school of fish and flock of birds in the drawing are a mutually interdependent arising (to use a Buddhist phrase), and, akin to Schrodinger’s Cat, they are both there and not there depending on where attention takes hold. The fish and birds are not the same as what they emerge out of (both your brain and the drawing)–and yet, in a sense, they are. They’re not the self-same, but they’re inseparable from the viewer and each other–and are along a continuum. Whatever you affirm about either the fish or birds becomes a negation when pressed, for both are empty of an independent essence. Now there are fish, now birds–but the first now is just the flip side of the second now, and it has no independent or substantial essence. Now there’s a ghost fish. Now a ghost bird. And these are inseparable from awareness “crawling” (Weyl’s word) down the “world line” of what is.

Does this match, not just Einstein’s claim that time is “a stubborn, persistent illusion,” but the intuitions of a non-dual Buddhist like Nagarjuna or a poet like Blake? Is awareness the empty and moving image of eternity?

There is a story from the Zen tradition that goes like this: two monks view a flag blowing in the wind, raising the question of what moves. The first monk says the wind moves; the second, the flag. Their master passes, smiles, and says, “Mind moves.”

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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41 Responses to Does Time Exist? Einstein, Julian Barbour, Lee Smolin, Some Greek Philosophers–And The New Data From The NASA Fermi Gamma-Ray Space Telescope

  1. Mikels Skele says:

    But what can it possibly mean to say that time is only an illusion, only our perception? What can perception possibly be in a block universe? How can we possibly experience anything in a block universe, unless something is moving in it? Our very existence as sentient beings is prima facie evidence to the contrary, and cannot be ignored in homage to an imagined objectivity. Time is clearly an aspect of consciousness, and the non-existence of consciousness cannot be argued without a consciousness to argue it.

  2. MattMars says:

    Hi Santi,
    Nicely outlined, here’s some thought that may at least give you new avenues to explore.

    ‘time’, is there an Elephant in the room wearing the Emperors invisible robe?
    (“Can science call this one decisively?”)

    In my carefully considered opinion, these discussions on the apparent existence or not of a thing called ‘time’ make me think of an elephant in the room wearing the emperors invisible robe.

    The elephant in the room being the automatic acceptance of, and the lack of, our adherence of the scientific method in these matters.

    Anyone supporting the hypothesis that a thing called time exists, should be able to clearly define what it is they think may exist, and be able to cite experiments as per the scientific method to provide evidence to support the claim. E.g. if postulating there ‘is’ a ‘past’ one should be able to describe it as more than just a generally accepted ‘idea’, and provide an experiment that shows its actually existence… as more than just a vague, though useful idea. Likewise ‘the’ ‘future’ etc.
    Scientifically… it is also a very good idea to try and break one’s own hypothesis, and suggest and test logical antitheses to it. This seems not to be done. With respect even Barbour’s et al timeless ideas seem to be attempting to explain away ‘time’ in terms of ‘time’.

    The emperors invisible robe here, is to me the acceptance that something invisible, unobservable and intangible exists by default unless disproven.

    If in a logical analysis of what we observe, and can conclude from it, we start with a single false assumption, and expect to ‘disprove’ it this is very unscientific and may lead to endless circular , conclusionless discussions. E.g if I start by assuming invisible ghosts exist, then this cannot be disproven. Scientifically I have provide a reason for my suspicions and evidence to support them.

    With respect, non of the discussions on time that I am familiar seem to start form checking our most basic observations, but start by asking leading questions like “what ‘is’ time”?, or even “does time exist”.

    A better start may be to ask “what do we actually observe”? – which to me seems to me only that matter(/energy) seems to exist, and that it seems to be moving, changing, and interacting in all spatial directions.

    From there we can ask “IF matter ‘just’ exists moves and interacts, would this be enough to *mislead* us into wrongly assuming a ‘past’ or ‘future’ and thus thing called ‘time’ exist.

    We certainly have patterns in our minds we call ‘of the past’, and ideas in our minds we call ‘of the future’, but it seems to me that both of these constructs in fact only require, and demonstrate that matter exists, moves and interacts (and can be in relatively stable or unstable formations).

    Therefore, I suggest anyone asking (as you do ) “Can science call this one decisively?”, should make sure the scientific method has been applied very rigorously at every step, and not just assume that our casual ideas ‘there is a past’ are legitimate and confirmed.

    Also, re “Can science call this one decisively?” consider have you actually even asked yourself…

    “given that all we seem to observe is matter just existing and interacting – nowhere seeming to head into a ‘future’, and nowhere seeming to ‘leave a temporal past behind it’ – Then IF in actual fact the matter of the universe ‘just’ exists and interacts would this explain all our observations and conclusions?”

    (especially taking into consideration the changing patterns of clearly existing physical matter in our minds)

    Relativity.
    Throughout your piece, Einstein’s Relativity is often mentioned. But no one seems to really check the basic assumptions made in “On The Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies”.
    https://sites.google.com/site/abriefhistoryoftimelessness/special-relativity/the-electrodynamics-of-moving-bodies

    If we do we find section 1 Kinematic says….

    “If we wish to describe the motion of a material point, we give the values of its co-ordinates as functions of the time.”

    But follows this up with …
    “If, for instance, I say, “That train arrives here at 7 o’clock,” I mean something like this:

    “The pointing of the small hand of my watch to 7 and the arrival of the train are simultaneous events.”

    So the suggestion in this seminal paper is that “we give the values of [an objects] co-ordinates as functions of the time.”

    But in fact the paper only gives the value of the coordinate of one object ( a train) as a function of the value of the physical coordinates of another object (the tip of a rotating hand, designed to be moving ‘forwards’ steadily in one direction).

    Just citing 2 examples of the fact things can exist and be moving, and calling one of them ‘time’ , is in no way a scientific confirmation that a thing called ‘time’ exists and passes in a steady direction.
    (the paper also uses the word ‘simultaneous’ but provides no proof that contrary to observation there is anything other than a ‘now’ in which all things are always somewhere doing something).

    Whether a thing called ‘time’ exists or not, OEMB only assumes such a thing does, and without giving a reason. Therefore, logically the paper cannot actually be used to extend the idea of time, unless an actual experiment to show matter does not in fact just exist and interact can be cited.

    All is not lost however, imo, without ‘time’, and with just matter and motion, all of the genuine testable essence of relativity still holds true, but one needs to consider reinterpreting Relativity as showing that

    -mass warps space
    And fast moving or accelerating objects ‘are’ changing more slowly than stationary ones.
    i.e. an astronaut in the ISS cannot be said to be ‘surging into a future’, or we ‘sinking into a past’, unless you can show there is indeed a ‘past’ or ’future’. And instead it seems to make logical and testable sense to suggest she, and us, and everything, all just exists and can ‘be’ changing at different rates.

    Just my thoughts, but sincerely if one starts from a possibly false assumption, and one doesn’t bother to check actual observations and conclusions from the ground up, and doesn’t check the most simplest logical hypothesis that fits all observable facts, then no wonder people may create confusion.

    M.Marsden
    (auth “A Brief History of Timelessness”)
    Timelssness.co.uk

    • MattMars says:

      (corr) The elephant in the room being the automatic acceptance of,the idea of time, and the blind acceptance of , the lack of, our adherence of the scientific method in resolving this cornerstone concept in science.
      mm

      • Alan says:

        Silly-sophical nonsense, all the way down. We were all once young. That was in the past.

  3. Hi Alan,
    Thank you for your comment, but you don’t say anything about my reasoning, so no one reading it can actually be sure you understood what I am -suggesting- clearly enough such that your comment has value.

    So re your opinion on ‘time’,
    Whether there is or is not a ‘past’, the thought or idea that we were all ‘young’ in a place or thing called ‘the past’, must clearly exist in our minds for us to access it.

    That’s not a bad starting point to suggest a ‘past’ exists in some way, but from there to actually be scientific you have to go beyond just stating and opinion or idea (no matter how many other people may agree with it), and actually clearly define what you mean by ‘the past’, and provide an experiment as per the scientific method to provide evidence to suggest this ‘past’ actually exists.

    For you to have the idea ter is a past, requires only that matter exists and interacts, such that certian stable pattererns and images are being formed I your mind.

    Can you scientifically show that extra to this there actually ‘is’ a past?

    E.g can you show that as a car is moving down a street it does not just move down a street, but also creates and stores some record of its motion in a thing or place we might call ‘the past’?

    If you are right, then proving this at the most basic level should be very easy.

    You also use the term ‘young’ , are you suggesting that as a baby is separating from its mothers body, and the cord is cut, , the matter that makes up the baby in some way becomes ‘younger’ than the matter that makes up it’s mother, or you, or I, just because it is in a different formation to us?.

    In short, if you can’t cite a clear and precise generally agreed definition of ‘the past’ and show clear evidence to suggest it is more than just an idea (that can exist if matter just exists and interacts, as actually observed), then no matter how strongly you, I, or anyone else likes the idea, it may be just, and only a (useful) idea.

    Sincerely
    M.Marsden.
    Ps also , watch out for confirmation bias, to be scientific you should be evaluating both possibilities equally, and not just defending the one you happen to have the most belief in, or thoughts about.
    IMO science is not about making the world seem how we like it, but to discover how the world actually is, whether it agrees with our basic assumption or not.

    • Alan says:

      Dismissing all knowledge is not reasoning.
      Reality is not dependent upon our knowledge nor our ability to understand or explain it. Science is not slave to a ‘method’. Language is not subject to notions of dismissing it.
      Simply doubting everything leaves you unable to know or learn anything. It is pointless and futile. Absent time, you could not start a breath, nor complete it. You could not be born nor grow. Begin your understanding with recognizing your existence. That you exist requires time – that you exist is a sufficient ‘experiment’ to confirm time. That you access the internet is sufficient evidence of your existence.
      Whether there is or is not a ‘past’? Based on all the evidence of science I do not believe there ‘is’ a past, when what we call past existed, it was the present. No ‘flip card’ universes waiting to be revisited. No time travel!

      • MattMars says:

        Hi Alan,

        (Yep you’re right about using word🙂

        Bearing in mind the title of this web page is “Does Time Exist…?”…

        If I can be direct, your reply pretty much highlights the areas in ‘time’ that most people seem to miss, re the possibility and method I am suggesting. ( i.e. to actually start form basic observations and see what we may have wrongly concluded, and fail to reassess).

        I write a lot about time/timelessness on the net, and it seems no matter how carefully I word the possibility of timelessness in the sense I mean, many people comment negatively, but one can tell few comments are based on an understanding of what I am suggesting. Typically I get the sense people have scan read what I write, and commented without actually understanding or testing it, because they are sure it must be wrong… because they are sure a thing called ‘time’ exists. i.e they very confirmation bias I warn about.
        E.g…

        You suggest…

        -We were all once young. That was in the past.
        -Dismissing all knowledge is not reasoning.
        -Simply doubting everything leaves you unable to know or learn anything. It is pointless and futile.
        -Absent time, you could not start a breath, nor complete it.
        – that you exist is a sufficient ‘experiment’ to confirm time.
        -I do not believe there ‘is’ a past, when what we call past existed, it was the present.

        While I suggest,
        -anyone trying to untangle confusion scientifically so test favored hypothesis against logical antithesis
        -we should be extremely aware of confirmation bias
        -we should check our most basic observations, and our conclusions from them
        -science is about seeing the world as it happens to be, not adjusting things to fit our ideas.

        If you look at your reply, that you suggested “Dismissing all knowledge is not reasoning”,
        And “Simply doubting everything leaves you unable to know or learn anything”, indicates that you have not digested what I’m suggesting. Because if you check no where do I dismiss all knowledge, or doubt everything.

        I say very clearly we should check our most basic observations, virtually all of which I agree with, and I by no means at all doubt everything.

        What I doubt is the reasoning behind jumping to the conclusion that a past, future and thus thing called time actually exist.

        What I do not doubt is that everything material/energetic seems to exist move and interact, and what I suggest is we ask the question…

        “what IF everything ‘just’ exists moves and interacts- would that mislead us in to assuming a past, future and thus time exist?”

        Your first post suggested this was “Silly-sophical nonsense”, but what is sophical about checking observations and conclusions drawn from them and asking pointed questions ?

        In Einstein’s words
        ““It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education.”

        And ( annoyingly ironically worded for me : )

        “If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on the solution, I would spend the first 55 minutes determining the proper question to ask, for once I know the proper question, I could solve the problem in less than five minutes.”
        Your opening position is
        -“ We were all once young. That was -‘in the past’- .”

        But you also say…
        -“ I do not believe there ‘is’ a past”
        – “when what we call past existed, it was the present.”

        So we were all young ‘in’ some ‘thing’, that you do not believe exists, but did exist in the ‘present’, ‘when it existed…

        This is far from a clear cut scientific proof or description of something that is clear cut and basically resolved.

        And I’m suggesting we think very carefully indeed, and consider are such thoughts in our minds really sufficient evidence to suggest there is a ‘place’ or thing called ‘the past’… that doesn’t exist ?

        Or – does everything just exist move and interact misleading us in to this contradictory , unproven and un provable conclusion, that is not backed up by any actual evidence, and leads to web pages like this being put up… specifically asking the clear question “Does Time Exist?” – and discussing apparent paradoxes that seem to confuse the best experts… (with respect) none of who seem to have checked our basic observations and conclusions from the ground up.

        (let alone considered checked the possibility ‘the universe may be just and only as it appears’)

        I’m not being rude, just direct. If you check my first post carefully and actually think about it, and test it for yourself you may see more in it than you assume.

        Sincerely
        M.Marsden
        “A Brief History of Timelessness”

    • Alan says:

      Matt
      Science, I suspect, is the principal villain here, but I see we are also tumbling over words. I will try to be clear. At some point at least.

      Before that, however, I will say that post Einstein physics has made a complete mess of time.

      The phrase ‘in the past’ is a figure of speech that should in no way suggest any ‘existence’ in the present of the past outside our memories. I tried to clarify that with ‘… when it was present’. Past, present and future are not ‘things’, they are notional. They refer to situations in time.

      Thus the claim: ‘What I doubt is the reasoning behind jumping to the conclusion that a past, future and thus thing called time actually exist.’ (and all similar statements through your post) is equivocation. That is the statement acts as if words/phrases that mean one thing actually mean something altogether different. Similarly, the ‘existence’ of an idea, or a dragon for that matter, is fundamentally different than of say, a cat.

      Now, I will suggest, that the most fundamental observation ever made by man is that change happens. Based upon that observation, the word ‘time’ has been introduced into our language to help us share such observations and experiences. I challenge you to find anything, any idea, any experience more confirmed than time. Thanks to modern science, time is also extraordinarily confused. Einstein, I believe, made an occasional attempt to temper this confusion by substituting ‘clock’ for ‘time’.

      Absent time, change could not happen. That is fundamental to the concept of time. Every change validates the passage of time – this is fundamental to the construction of clocks as well.

      The title, ‘Does Time Exist’, is a joke and a linguistic trap. Because Special Relativity has shown that there is a very peculiar (per our observations and experiences prior) relationship between mater, energy, space and time. This peculiar relationship suggests several rather bizarre paradoxes, logically contradictory. This makes the larger topic worth consideration – What is this relationship?
      I will argue that ‘the past’ and ‘the future’, per our common experience, do not ‘exist’, and that time travel is not at all possible. Such a position is supported by experience, but not specifically by the mathematics and relativistic philosophies in current physics.

      With all respect, what I see in your posts (and I suspect other readers see as well) is an insistence that we question our most fundamental experience of reality and concepts of existence. A challenge that is tough to accept or even view without sarcasm.

  4. (Scus typos, can’t find an edit option)mm

  5. MattMars says:

    Hi Alan,

    Thank you, your reply highlights the confusion, which I thinks is born from people interested in ‘time’ not being extremely clear at each stage as to what they mean, and habitually using certain terms ‘past’ ‘future’ and ‘time’ very casually, and even asking questions about these ‘things’ without even defining them.
    Eg even the opening post here doesn’t give a clear agreed definition of the thing it is asking about ‘time’.

    let me address your points as follows.

    Science, I suspect, is the principal villain here, but I see we are also tumbling over words. I will try to be clear. At some point at least.

    Not so much science, but our failure to apply the scientific method and to check our most basic observations and conclusions. Which is what I set out to do , observing only that things seem to exist and move, and asking why do we conclude there is a past future and thing called time – where we in fact observe no such things.

    Before that, however, I will say that post Einstein physics has made a complete mess of time.
    Einsteinian physics is extremely useful, but I think people have confused the accuracy of certain calculations and experiments with what they actually prove. Eg the confirmed difference in gps oscillators to ground oscillators proves only that things oscillate or change at different rates, and not that there is a past, future or thing called time.

    The phrase ‘in the past’ is a figure of speech that should in no way suggest any ‘existence’ in the present of the past outside our memories. I tried to clarify that with ‘… when it was present’. Past, present and future are not ‘things’, they are notional. They refer to situations in time.

    So, there is no past. Period.
    So whatever this time thing is meant to be it cannot be flowing in the direction of something that is just a figure of speech.
    However many people apparently discussing ‘time’ would insist such a thing or place does exist and is a fundamental aspect of ‘time’. – aka confusion.

    Thus the claim: ‘What I doubt is the reasoning behind jumping to the conclusion that a past, future and thus thing called time actually exist.’ (and all similar statements through your post) is equivocation. That is the statement acts as if words/phrases that mean one thing actually mean something altogether different. Similarly, the ‘existence’ of an idea, or a dragon for that matter, is fundamentally different than of say, a cat.

    Absolutely not, I am most certainly trying to pin people down as to what they mean by certain words – as opposed to letting them just use them casually. Ex you suggest we were younger ‘in the past’ – and that ‘the past ‘ is just an expression…
    While also saying ‘time’ exists, and the question ‘does time exist’ is a joke or linguistic trap.

    Re ideas and actual things – yes it is extremely important to be clear as to what are just useful ideas – and what are actual phenomena. Please see the video at location 28:00

    Now, I will suggest, that the most fundamental observation ever made by man is that change happens. Based upon that observation, the word ‘time’ has been introduced into our language to help us share such observations and experiences. I challenge you to find anything, any idea, any experience more confirmed than time. Thanks to modern science, time is also extraordinarily confused. Einstein, I believe, made an occasional attempt to temper this confusion by substituting ‘clock’ for ‘time’.

    Yes, absolutely , our most basic observation , and you can check this by looking out of a window is that hings can be moving – ‘change is happening’.
    We observe such things need energy or momentum etc to be moving – we do not observe that things head into a future or leave a temporal past behind them – or that a thing called time must exist and pass for things to be able to move.

    Substituting clock for time is logical but misleading – a ‘clock’ is just a motor – which prove only that things exist and can be moving – and not that a thing called time must exist and flow for a future to a past for things to be moving.
    Where ever anyone is comparing some motion to a ‘clock’ – all they are observing is two examples of motion and all they are doing is comparing two examples of motion.

    Absent time, change could not happen. That is fundamental to the concept of time. Every change validates the passage of time – this is fundamental to the construction of clocks as well.

    “Absent time, change could not happen” – you need to cite an experiment as per the scientific method that shows for things to be moving they do not just need energy or momentum – but also a thing called ‘time’.

    Your experiment should show what this extra thing is, and how it is involved in making or letting things move – and that the idea “things need ‘time’ to move” is not just and empty, though widely held idea idea.

    The title, ‘Does Time Exist’, is a joke and a linguistic trap. Because Special Relativity has shown that there is a very peculiar (per our observations and experiences prior) relationship between mater, energy, space and time. This peculiar relationship suggests several rather bizarre paradoxes, logically contradictory. This makes the larger topic worth consideration – What is this relationship?

    I disagree, hence the clear and detailed explanation I gave about
    Relativity – “On The Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies” paper.
    https://sites.google.com/site/abriefhistoryoftimelessness/special-relativity/the-electrodynamics-of-moving-bodies.

    Showing how it in no way proves there is a thing called time, nor does relativity need time to be understood and accepted fully.

    If you check the paper and observations etc about it you will find every single example only involves, and shows that things exist and can be changing at different rates – nowhere is it shown that there is a thing called time with a flow or direction etc.

    The paper explicitly refers to ‘clocks’ and does not make it clear that a clock is just a motor that proves only that certain things ‘pointers on numbered dials’ can be moving in circles.

    I will argue that ‘the past’ and ‘the future’, per our common experience, do not ‘exist’, and that time travel is not at all possible. Such a position is supported by experience, but not specifically by the mathematics and relativistic philosophies in current physics.

    So wiki says “Time is a measure in which events can be ordered from the past through the present into the future,” – but the past is just an expression, and likewise no where do we see a future… but we are sure ‘time’ exists ?

    With all respect, what I see in your posts (and I suspect other readers see as well) is an insistence that we question our most fundamental experience of reality and concepts of existence. A challenge that is tough to accept or even view without sarcasm.

    Absolutely not, as I clearly explained in my reply above. I have pointed out the risk of confirmation bias, and checking facts from their basic observations up.

    I am ‘suggesting’ ( not insisting) that anyone hoping to unravel the confusion apparently about a thing called time,
    -be extremely clear about each term they use – and not to use extremely misleading terms like ‘the’ ‘past’ casually without clear definition as to whether they are talking about a real thing, or an idea, or they don’t even know which.

    -be very carefully to check their own observations without embedding any blind assumptions.

    -consider that all they directly observe is that things exist move and interact and ask themselves “what *IF* things ‘just’ exist move and interact”

    Anyone who finds it hard to accept without sarcasm that we check our most basic observations and conclusion in a subject ‘time’ that seems fully of vagueness, stake contradictions in opinions, endless apparent paradoxes, and undefined terms used casually as if their meaning is obvious – and in an area devoid of actual experiments as per the scientific method – will probably end up in endless circular logic.

    ‘check our most basic observations and conclusions – ohh really,’ –
    I don’t see why anyone with a scientific approach would consider that idea sarcastically.

    Anyway – please note none of the questions I ask in any of my posts are rhetorical – they are all questions I think people will learn from if they actually try to answer them for them selves – as opposed to just commenting about them.

    Re this you say “Absent time, change could not happen” could you please give an example of this and explain precisely what you think this time thing is and how it (extra to energy or momentum) is needed and involved in allowing something to be moving etc.
    Ie what is it and how does it apparently do what you think it does.

    Yours
    m.marsden

    • MattMars says:

      ps do please check the video if you are interested – it addresses most common questions about the possibility i am suggesting –

    • Anonymous says:

      “Re this you say “Absent time, change could not happen” could you please give an example of this and explain precisely what you think this time thing is and how it (extra to energy or momentum) is needed and involved in allowing something to be moving etc.”

      You realize of course that energy and momentum are physical quantities that we measure with respect to time right? E=mc^2 and p=mv both involve velocity which is just the measure of change of distance with respect to change of time. So if time did not exist as a scientifically measurable quantity, then we could not measure energy nor momentum. So, no time, no energy and no momentum.

      • MattMars says:

        Hi Anon,

        Re “You realize of course that energy and momentum are physical quantities that we measure with respect to time right?”

        Potential or kinetic energy can be stored by a raised static weight, or a spinning flywheel, or chemical bonds etc.

        And the momentum of say a freight train is directly related to is mass and speed. But the speed of a train may just be “the speed of the train”. You seem to be suggesting that for something to move (e.g. a mass, or a photon) a thing called time must also exist and ‘pass’/ you need to be able to show this is not just a figure of speech, but be able to show how this ‘time’ thing is actually involved in motion for your point to be valid.

        Consider someone measuring the speed of a train. They are looking at a train on a track, and they have a motorised hand rotating on a numbered dial.

        Whatever observations and measurements they make, all they observe is that a train is moving, and a hand is rotating, and they can choose to express the speed of one moving thing in terms of the speed of another.

        e.g. they could say ‘the train is moving 10,000 x as fast as the rotating hand”, or “ the hand is rotating 10,000x slower than the train”.

        Both things are just objects that prove only that things with energy or momentum can be moving. ‘Calling’ one example of motion ‘ a train’, and the other example of motion ‘time’ (when in fact it is clear just motion), leads to extreme confusion because the word ‘time’ is discussed and used in so many places ( e.g. this article and discussion) – without it even being defined.

        So in fact, while you suggest “You realize of course that energy and momentum are physical quantities that we measure with respect to time right? E=mc^2 and p=mv both involve velocity which is just the measure of change of distance with respect to change of time.”, you may find people are only measuring the change of distance of one thing with respect to the change of distance of another.

        (to claim you are measuring the change of distance of one thing with respect to something that is flowing invisibly in another ‘dimension’ for a speculated ‘future’ into a ‘past’ that some people think is just a figure of speech, needs clarification and evidence to actually be taken seriously scientifically.

        Re” So if time did not exist as a scientifically measurable quantity, then we could not measure energy nor momentum. So, no time, no energy and no momentum.”

        I disagree, if one could not produce useful examples of things moving at a steady speed to compare to other motion, then we could not measure energy nor momentum.

        So, logically, (and without jumping to the conclusion that extra to what we see a thing called time exists, ) energy and momentum are things that exist and that we can measure by comparing them to other energetic things.

        But energy and momentum do not prove there is a ‘past’, ‘future’ or thing called time that flows between these undefined things or places.

        Yours M.Marsden

        The speed of light, is ‘the speed of light’
        https://sites.google.com/site/abriefhistoryoftimelessness/mathematics/the-speed-of-light-is-the-speed-of-light

  6. MattMars says:

    (i did separate yours and mine comments in bold etc – but it didnt come out – shame)

    • Anonymous says:

      Sorry to reply here, but there was no reply link on the previous post.

      You mentioned that Alan was trying to add something “extra” to energy and momentum called “time” to explain change. My only point is that if you are going to allow energy and momentum as observable facts, then you’re already assuming time exists. The mathematical formula for velocity/speed is dx/dt or the change of distance divided by the change of time. Alan is not adding anything that you aren’t already allowing.

      Now for the sake of argument, time may or may not exist, but it will not help your argument to posit that time does not exist and then go ahead and use it to further your argument.

      “e.g. they could say ‘the train is moving 10,000 x as fast as the rotating hand”, or “ the hand is rotating 10,000x slower than the train”.

      “I disagree, if one could not produce useful examples of things moving at a steady speed to compare to other motion, then we could not measure energy nor momentum.”

      Here you again use terms like faster, slower and speed. All these terms assume time…faster means that dx1/dt >dx2/dt and slower means dx1/dt<dx2/dt.

      So please stop using terms that use time as part of their definitions for arguing that time does not exist…..it's not helping your case.

      • MattMars says:

        Hi Anon,

        Thank you, I appreciate what you are saying, but this is very much my point. People tend to have an extreme confirmation bias towards accepting ‘word’ as counting as some kind of proof.

        Scientifically, mathematics must follow reality, i.e. we cant just come up with a label and assume the thing thus exists.

        Consider a runner on a track, and an observer with a hand rotating on a numbered dial.

        We tell him the moving hand may not be calibrated to the usual speed, but ask him to describe the speed of the runner.

        The runners distance is labeled ‘d’, and the position of the rotating hand ‘h’

        All the observer can express is the speed of the runner as a fraction of the speed of the rotating hand.

        If the dial happens to be 60cm around, and the hand points to ‘12’ many people will automatically ‘call’ this “12 seconds”, and put a value for ‘t’ (time) into their equations as “12”
        So the fact is the runner may be 9,000 cm up the track, and we call that a distance ‘d’, and the hand is literally just 12cm from the top of the dial but we call that distance ‘seconds’ – with no actual justification.
        Logically this is as sensible as me seeing 2 dogs, and just deciding to ‘call’ one a dragon, and claiming thus Ive shown dogs and dragons exist.

        https://sites.google.com/site/abriefhistoryoftimelessness/mathematics/1-kilometres-yes-hours-no

        So re “So please stop using terms that use time as part of their definitions for arguing that time does not exist…..it’s not helping your case.”

        I suggest people interested in answering the question “does time exist”, please stop naming what is in fact clearly a distance , as a ‘time’, and assuming that because they use the symbol ‘t’, and because the maths works, they have shown that a thing called ‘time’ exists and is involved in motion.

        (I’m just suggesting people very carefully check their most basic observations, facts, and conclusions – without confirmation bias)

        (Einstein’s paper
        Relativity – “On The Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies” paper.
        https://sites.google.com/site/abriefhistoryoftimelessness/special-relativity/the-electrodynamics-of-moving-bodies
        makes the similar assumption ( that a train on a track is one thing but a motorised hand on a dial shows ‘time’) )
        sincerely
        M.Marsden

        (Auth “A Brief History of Timelessness”)

  7. Alan L. says:

    I’ve clicked through several of your links, and it is clear that it is not really possible for anyone to hold a productive exchange with you as you dogmatically repeat the same errors and do not display an understanding of common words, phrases or ideas. While there will always be some misunderstandings between people, those can usually be worked out in discussion. No one can make sense of what you write, and you cannot seem to make sense of anyone responding to you. It is like you are using a private language with English words but unknown meanings.

    You are not challenging science with your claim, but the use of language. Without a common language, communication is limited.

    • MattMars says:

      Hi Alan,

      (first please note, anyone reading your comment will see it doesn’t actually quote or reference specific bits of my work, so they will not be able to conclude whether your comments have any validity. Please feel free to cut paste any examples – otherwise it is nonsense to just say “I read something I thought was dumb” – ie without showing what you are talking about no one can decide of you are right – and I cant specifically defend )

      >>>Re – I’ve clicked through several of your links, and it is clear that it is not really possible for anyone to hold a productive exchange with you as you dogmatically repeat the same errors and do not display an understanding of common words, phrases or ideas.

      This is not true, I have numerous productive exchanges with people, however I do ask people to provide clear definitions of the terms they use to describe and suggest the existence of time. I also ask them to cite experiments to support their ideas . in variable this frustrates people because it shows them that ‘time’ tends to be defined in terms that are defined in terms of ‘time’.

      So people start to realise that discussing something using poorly or ambiguously defined terms is part of the problem surround the apparent mysteries of ‘time’.

      (e.g. you suggested what I am saying is sophical nonsense because we were young in the ‘past’. But where pushed to explain what you mean or prove the term ‘past’ you said it is just a figure of speech.
      It may or may not be… but each of the people in the main article above have a different opinion to yours – some say ‘the past’ literally can be travelled to! – you say its just a figure of speech – so yes I am suggesting people lock down their definitions, and don’t just casually use terms without agreed definitions.

      >>>Re- While there will always be some misunderstandings between people, those can usually be worked out in discussion. No one can make sense of what you write, and you cannot seem to make sense of anyone responding to you. It is like you are using a private language with English words but unknown meanings.

      This is factually incorrect, there are numerous people who make sense of what I write, and I make sense of everyone responding to me, because being familiar with these and many other works on time I m familiar with most of the common versions of the theory and where they are lacking in evidence, and where they conflict with each other.
      https://sites.google.com/site/abriefhistoryoftimelessness/bib

      >>>Re – It is like you are using a private language with English words but unknown meanings
      Not at all , I am suggesting we consider the possibility “that matter may just exist move and interact” – and that this may be enough to explain all that we observe.

      I do question others definitions of words used to make their points – because as is clear you could be discussing ‘the past’ with someone apparently assuming they ‘knew’ it was just a figure of speech, as they were sure it is a ‘real and tangible place’.

      >>>Re – You are not challenging science with your claim, but the use of language. Without a common language, communication is limited.

      I am challenging the actual application of the scientific method to this theory of time, hence may call for experiments as per the scientific method from people making claims.

      >>>Re- Without a common language, communication is limited.
      Agreed, so given this discussion is apparently about a thing called ‘time’ – what is the agreed definition of the word that you think everyone here is discussing?

      Given that the OP hasn’t defined what he means, and neither have you, or any other posters , I think you will find on of the main problems here is that languages is being used in an extremely poor and undisciplined way in this matter.

      Mm

      This table may help you see the distinctions I am suggesting

      https://sites.google.com/site/abriefhistoryoftimelessness/basic-timelessness/table-of-timeless-vtime-distinctions

      • Anonymous says:

        Sorry again to reply here as there was no reply link where I wanted to post.

        You’ve used scientific terms such as velocity and speed but I see now that your argument is really with the definition with the scientific definition of those terms. You cause confusion by using the same word (that has a commonly accepted meaning) with your private definition. Why not say there is no such thing as speed and invent a new word?

        Let me ask you a question. How do you know that anything has actually moved? If you say a train has moved from point A to point B how can you prove that? Remember, there is no such thing as the “past” so the train can only be observed to be where it is now. Same question for a clock. Since there is no past, what exactly are you comparing the position of the watch hand to?

      • Alan says:

        Anonymous: You can simply click on the first ‘reply’ button above the comment without a button and your comment will fall into line at the next lower spot.

      • Anonymous says:

        Thanks for the tip Alan.

      • Hi Anon

        (Re using terms like speed, and sensing motion “timelessly”)

        Yes I use terms like velocity and speed, and yes of course these have scientific and mathematical definitions.
        Typically speed is defined as distance/time of course.

        What I am suggesting is a very careful logical analysis of the actual observable facts from the ground up, rechecking all or basic assumptions.

        Thus it is important not to let potential false assumptions to creep in.

        If I can give an analogy, consider two people “Freddy” who assumes the world is flat, and “Rob” who thinks the evidence shows the world may be round.

        (Flat) Freddy assumes the world is flat because it looks flat. And because he observe he can pile up any number of objects on top of each other, and that all objects seem to rest on something else (unless they are flying in air), he assumes the world must be resting on something- itself resting on something- and that on something etc. (E.g. “Turtles all the way down”).

        (Round) Rob, suggests that the distinguish path of shadows on the ground, and at different places on the earth indicate the world may be a sphere.
        And, that all celestial objects appear circular, and un supported, so they, and the Earth may all be spheres ‘floating’ in ‘nothing’. And the world may seem flat because it is a very large sphere. Also, Rob suggests the earth and other planets may go round the sun… And the moon may go around the Earth.

        This leaves the situation that Round Rob, may not be able to explain “how” the sun, earth, other planets and moon may all be spheres floating in nothing.
        He may not be able to explain where they all came from, how they got where they are, how they could possibly spin and “orbit” each other, what the force holding them in place may be, or why they have forward motion… Etc etc etc.

        Also, round rob, may not be able to answer flat Freddy’s questions and assumptions about a “Flat Earth”, to Freddy’s satisfaction… Especially… If flat Freddy does not actually consider the other possibility being presented, but chooses only to see and defend his cherished point of view.

        The point is that in fact flat Freddy’s idea relies on unobserved phenomena (the earth being flat, and resting on an infinite pile of something), while round Rob’s suggestion relies on observable facts only… And, the more and more it is tested the more it seems to hold up to experiment. E.g one can build a mechanical orrery that very accurately shows, how and why, from a floating spinning earth the sun and stars seem to have the motion they do, and why certain planets seem to actually change direction in the sky.

        But, critically, note flat Freddy will on,y see this if he actually, carefully considers how it may be the case, as opposed to only seeing how the world may be flat, and rejecting all ideas that do not conform to this assumption.
        So although round robs suggestion may seem to expose some unknowns, this does not mean it is wrong.

        So, re “time”, vs the possibility I am suggesting (“that matter may ‘just’ exist move and interact, not heading into a ‘future’, no re leaving a ‘temporal past’ behind” ), you need to seriously consider what you actually and only observe, and how it “may” actually be the case, whether we know how or why it is the case or not.

        So, while I use the term speed, we need to consider that things may in fact just move, and that things can be moving at different “speeds”, e.g if two similar footballs are kicked with different forces.

        (Note also, i find it rather crass / osintatious if anyone comes up with new words for things eg like speed , eg “movonly”🙂 etc, so I’m not inventing new words. “Timelessness” is a necessary evil)

        And we need to consider that it “may” be the case that things may just exist, move (at different “speeds”), and interact without a thing called ‘time’ existing in any way.

        It is extremely useful to “imagine” that there is a thing called “time” constantly flowing, in one mysterious unworldly “direction”, that is conveniently the same for all people and objects wherever they are.

        But the question is “is this ‘time’ thing just a useful idea, or does it actually, also exist”?

        This is why you have to consider, that wherever you think you are measuring the speed of something against a thing called “time”, your are (typically), in actual fact only observing that that thing can be moving, and you are only in fact, comparing it’s motion to the motion of a rotating hand.

        You should also be very clear indeed, that though you may measure the straight line distance of the object from a start point, in the case of the rotating hand, we choose to completely ignore that we are actually looking at a thing going round in circles, and “pretend”, or think, we are talking about this time thing.

        Mathematically everything would workout fine if we are precise about the motion of the pointer, (eg using sines and cosines to description it’s actual position on the disc, but this would be unwieldy , so it is easier to just read out the numbers round the disc… Or to think of that number as “of a thing called ‘time’, that is ‘passing’.

        So, re “how do you know anything is moving”, well, take a look at something that is moving… I’m not being facetious, but look.

        And ask yourself “*IF* everything just exists and moves, could I be able to sense the effects of motion”?

        Conversely , ask yourself “if a thing called time exists, then how does that enable you to see motion”?

        Seriously consider this, typically so one who assumes time exists, seems to suggest we only see infinitely, or Planck thin “moments” of time.

        And I assume you don’t think you can actually see into “the past” or “the future”, so the question is

        “If you are assuming there is a thing called time, can you show this ‘past’ and future are not just ideas in your head, and …. Most critically, what is you explanation as to how this time thing enables you to sense motion”?

        If you get the flat Freddy, round Roland analogy, I’m trying to show you that (IMO) my view (that matter may ‘just’ exist move and interact “timelessly” so to speak), seems to fit all observations, and not rely on unseens, and be enough to explain all that we actually observe,
        While the ‘time’ pov seems to speculate unobservables, (a past and future) and not even show their existence, or how, or where they are meant to exist… Or what they are, or what they “do”.

        So re the actual calculation of a measured speed , you need to ask
        “*IF* in actual fact everything just exists and interacts! could I be comparing the motion of an object to a rotating hand! and be doing calculations in my head as to what I am seeing”?

        As to “what exactly are you comparing the position to”, at the point of doing the mathematics, we are considering the patterns formed In our minds as we are observing motion.
        we may “call” these “memories of the past “, but it is a testable fact they exist and grow In our minds, and that it is actually these images etc that we are looking at as we are determining our calculations.

        It is also a fact, I assume, that you don’t think you are actually looking at “the past” as you are thinking about what you see, so this is where, you may have to be extremely clear in your own mind as to whether you are right to assume that there is in fact an actual past, and not just patterns formed I your mind that you “call” “of the past”.

        If I can leave you with that question…

        “If you think a thing called time must exist, because you can observe motion, yet you think you can’t actually see “the past”, and you can only see an incredibly thin slice of “time” – how do you suggest this time thing actually is involved in you sensing motion, in this infinitely thin “present moment”?

        Sincerely
        M.Marsden
        (A Brief History of Timelessness)
        http://Www.timelessness.co.uk

      • Ps ,Scuse typos, hard to edit on ipad
        mm

      • Anonymous says:

        Hey, I don’t necessarily want to defend that time exists. I want to hear what you have to say.

        So I’m not Flat Freddy or Round Rob, I’m more of a Curious George.

        “As to “what exactly are you comparing the position to”, at the point of doing the mathematics, we are considering the patterns formed In our minds as we are observing motion.
        we may “call” these “memories of the past “, but it is a testable fact they exist and grow In our minds, and that it is actually these images etc that we are looking at as we are determining our calculations.”

        My question was:
        “If you say a train has moved from point A to point B how can you prove that?”
        I may have “thought” I saw a train at point A, but now I actually “see” it at point B. How can you “test” that I actually did see a train at point A. Oops! I used a past tense, which implies a past. I see that you too used a past tense when you said “patterns formed In our minds”.

        You also mention that the “memories of the past” exist and grow and that this is a testable fact. But how does something “grow” in one’s mind from one thing to another? Doesn’t that mean that there was first something small and then something greater and then something greater still? I didn’t measure anything….did they all happen at once?

        “It is also a fact, I assume, that you don’t think you are actually looking at “the past” as you are thinking about what you see, so this is where, you may have to be extremely clear in your own mind as to whether you are right to assume that there is in fact an actual past, and not just patterns formed I your mind that you “call” “of the past”.”

        I’ll follow your lead that thinking involves mentally examining patterns formed in my mind. Sometimes I think through a series of thoughts. Then I stop and wonder how I got came up with the latest thought. I trace my thought process backwards and and then remember that, oh yes, I was thinking that I didn’t want to go to work today. Is my clock’s hand now back to where I first started the thought process?

      • Alan says:

        Matthew
        Time is a dimension of reality just as height, width and depth. Strike any dimension and reality cannot be reasonably modeled nor comprehended. For a thought experiment on a reality lacking one of these dimensions, read:

        Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions (1884, Illustrated) by Edwin Abbott Abbott
        http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/201

      • MattMars says:

        HI Anon,

        Excellent, an impartial objective pov.

        Re >> “My question was:
        “If you say a train has moved from point A to point B how can you prove that?”
        I may have “thought” I saw a train at point A, but now I actually “see” it at point B. How can you “test” that I actually did see a train at point A. Oops! I used a past tense, which implies a past. I see that you too used a past tense when you said “patterns formed In our minds”.

        Ok, ‘time’or ‘timelessness’ is a very, very sticky, and tricky subject.

        If you look at my posts, videos etc here, and elsewhere
        https://sites.google.com/site/abriefhistoryoftimelessness/home/time-forums-and-sites

        you can see that the majority of my effort is spent trying to get people to just understand the possibility I am suggesting, so that they can objectively evaluate it.

        One central issue is to realise that the “idea” and “language” of ‘time’ IS extremely useful, works extremely well, and is used very naturally and casually by virtually all of us, myself included.

        However, as an analogy you can see that the “idea” and “language” of ‘money’, is equally extremely useful, works extremely well, and is used very naturally and casually by virtually all of us.

        But we can easily see that ‘money’ itself does not exist, only the ‘idea’ of money exists. But he idea is so strong and powerful that people will very literally kill each other for rectangular pieces of paper if they are made to a widely accepted standard.

        We can also consider say “gravity”, gravity may be the idea that there is a force that attracts all massive objects to each other over vast or possibly infinite distances – but in the case of Gravity, whatever it is, it seems also to actually exist as a phenomena.

        So the question is, is ‘time’ just and only a useful idea, or is it a useful idea that describes an actual phenomena.

        So re your question ,
        “If you say a train has moved from point A to point B how can you prove that?”
        I may have “thought” I saw a train at point A, but now I actually “see” it at point B. How can you “test” that I actually did see a train at point A. Oops! I used a past tense, which implies a past. I see that you too used a past tense when you said “patterns formed In our minds”.

        Yes, I do habitually use tense based terms, but you have to ask yourself the question

        “ *IF* in actual fact we are completely wrong to assume a thing called time, or a past, or a future actually exist, and if ‘time’ is just a useful system of words and thoughts, *THEN* could people use terms like ‘I *did* see’ – even though there is in fact absolutely no such thing as ‘the past’ “?

        If you are genuinely interested in what I am suggesting you need to very carefully consider the above question as it is written, paying special attention to the word *IF*.

        Most people in response to such a question, ‘respond’ but don’t actually address and answer the question.

        i.e instead they will tell me why they think a thing called time exists, or what scientists do, or how they think it cant be the case that matter may in fact just exist move and interact, not heading into a future and not leaving a temporal past behind it.

        (this is like round rob asking “what *IF* the earth is a sphere floating in space?”, and flat fred ‘responding’ “but everything must rest on top of something so it cant be” – i.e the responder doesn’t actually consider the possibility being presented – so his comments cannot actually be about it).

        Re >>> You also mention that the “memories of the past” exist and grow and that this is a testable fact. But how does something “grow” in one’s mind from one thing to another?

        This page may help
        https://sites.google.com/site/abriefhistoryoftimelessness/basic-timelessness/the-past/-x–plaining-away-the-past

        consider instead of complex human memory a clay tablet. Using a finger etc we can be making any simple or complex pattern in the clay , conveying an image, text, or even a sound wave form etc.
        In doing so we add or remove no matter to the clay, all we are doing is rearranging the existing matter.

        And to do this all that is required is that matter exists, and that matter can move and interact. And the act of rearranging existing matter in no way proves that there is ‘a past’, or ‘a future’ or a thing called time that must exist or pass where things interact.

        Thus what we call 2memories of the past” are in fact ( imo) just patterns formed in the matter in our minds.

        So I can ask you “is there an image of your junior school in your mind, and of its name”? and you can reply “yes there is… ‘st johns’ (etc)”

        *Or* – I can ask you “what is the name of the junior school you used to go to *in the past*”
        And you may reply “in the past I went to St Johns”

        The point is that in both cases you are in fact only accessing matter that exists in your head just behind your eyes – but in case to you talk about that information “as if” there is “a past”.

        This is fine as a starting point or hypothesis – ie the basis for a theory that a thing called time may exist – and the cue to devise experiments as per the scientific method – but here’s the point, instead virtually everyone – professional scientists explicitly included – seem to complete miss that – and instead simply talk about ‘time’ and a thing or place called “the past” as if it is obvious that this invisible ‘dimension’ exists , and there is no need to even think about applying the scientific method here.

        However, if we do a very simple test to see if we have even the most basic reason to assume a ‘past’ is created or exists, then it seem s to come up with nothing
        Eg
        https://sites.google.com/site/abriefhistoryoftimelessness/basic-timelessness/the-past

        Hope that helps,

        Please note, I am aware i may be wrong, but also very serious about the possibility I am suggesting, “A Brief History of Timelessness” book etc represents this, so please check out the main video

        if you have other questions, it hopefully answers the most basic typical ones, so we can get up to speed more quickly.

        Sincerely
        M.Marsden.

      • MattMars says:

        Hi Alan,

        Re >> What if pigs could fly? What if magic ruled the world?

        And

        Re >> Are you trying to pretend that Special Relativity has not been supported by experiment? …
        You are denying science and reason.

        Ive no idea, and I don’t know why you pose such (rhetorical) questions, they are very different to the questions I suggest we investigate which are.

        —“what if everything in the universe is just as it appears to be? With matter/energy just moving existing and interacting in all spatial directions, but not ‘heading into an unseen future’, nor ‘leaving an unseen past’ behind it”?

        And

        —“if all the matter in the universe just exists moves and interacts ( as observation shows us), would this be enough to mislead us into wrongly assuming a ‘past’, ‘future’ and thing called ‘time’ exist”?

        Your questions seem based on things that are not observed.

        If someone suggested to me that they thought “pigs could fly” or “magic ruled the world”, I would ask them to very clearly define what they meant, and to cite an experiment as per the scientific method to provide evidence to support their claim.

        Likewise if someone is telling me matter does not just exist move and interact, but there is also a thing called ‘time’. I would require a clear definition of ‘time’ and an experiment to give evidence that at least one of its alleged components or functions actually exists as more than just an idea.

        If you look at the main text on this page you can see that apparently , Julian Barbour, Albert Einstein, and Parmenides vs. Anaximander and Lee Smolin, all don’t even agree on a precise definition of what they are sure does or does not exist.

        And… that none of them are considering the possibility that perhaps matter just existing and interacting is enough to mislead us into assuming a thing called time, eg with a past +/or future exists.

        Note, I am not insisting I am correct here, that is unscientific, but I am very strongly recommending people check out the possibility I am suggesting because, no one else seem to do so.

        (e.g. none of these and many other sources and works.)
        https://sites.google.com/site/abriefhistoryoftimelessness/bib

        what is more, as you can confirm for a fact your self, even where it is pointed out to people that they consider that perhaps things may just exist move and interact, people tend Not to.

        i.e look at your own responses, every one just defends the idea that a thing called time exists…
        there isn’t a single one of yourreplies that starts…

        “ok, let me actually think carefully and objectively about the other possibility you are suggesting…. if it happened to be the case matter just exists and interacts, how would scenarios x,y,z look, ?
        What would make sense in this scenario?
        What might be an error in this scenario?”
        Etc.

        I can only politely show what you may not be considering, its up to you to actually check it for yourself, if you only defend the widely held pov then that is dogma.

        Re >> Are you trying to pretend that Special Relativity has not been supported by experiment? …
        You are denying science and reason.

        Re SR – No – I’m questioning the habitual interpretation of one aspect of SR, and showing how in sectio0n 1 the paper only assumes ‘time’ – but does not show how or why, and thus any conclusion built on the idea that SR confirms ‘time’ should be very seriously doubted, unless an actual experiment showing time is cited.

        The experiments show that various oscillators are oscillating at different , extremely accurately calculated rates- but this in no way shows there is a past,. Or future, or ‘passing thing’ called time that is being dilated.

        Re >> You are denying science and reason
        No , science requires that theory’s ( such as the theory of time) be supported by experimental evidence, I’m pointing out that everyone seems to miss this step with time. What is the experiment to prove a ‘past’ or ‘ future’ are not just ideas ?

        SEE
        https://sites.google.com/site/abriefhistoryoftimelessness/basic-timelessness/the-past

        Oed defines science as
        “The intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment:”

        And intellect as
        “The faculty of reasoning and understanding objectively,”

        So lets look at “ON THE ELECTRODYNAMICS OF MOVING BODIES”
        (https://sites.google.com/site/abriefhistoryoftimelessness/comments-on-time-books/-einstein-s-relativity )

        Actually scientifically, and actually objectively ( as opposed to pseudo objectively, just assuming everything it says is correctly interpreted because everyone else says that, and everyone is in awe of Einstein’s work)

        So OEMB section 1 Kinematics, the heart of the seminal paper on Special Relativity says….

        (quote)

        “If we wish to describe the motion of a material point, we give the values of its co-ordinates as functions of the time.

        And in explanation …

        If, for instance, I say, “That train arrives here at 7 o’clock,” I mean something like this:

        “The pointing of the small hand of my watch to 7 and the arrival of the train are simultaneous events.”

        So , this critical paper , says we compare the “motion of a material point” by giving “the values of its co-ordinates” as functions of a thing called “time”.

        But in actual fact, it is extremely clear to see that the paper only actually gives the “the values of its co-ordinates” of one object (a train), as a function of the values of the co-ordinates of another material point ( the tip of a motorised pointer rotating on a numbered dial).

        In describing the position of the train in relation to the position of the motorised pointer, the x,y,z location of the pointer is completely ignored without explanation, and instead just the number on the dial it is pointing to is used, – and used as if this painted number is in fact some unit of a mysterious thing called ‘time’ that is passing in ‘another dimension’ as things move.

        But “ON THE ELECTRODYNAMICS OF MOVING BODIES” gives absolutely no reason or explanation as to why we should consider the location of one object as a location and the location of another as a value of a mysterious thing called ‘time’.

        So, Alan, ‘objectively’ we can see that ‘electrodynamics’ only assumes there is a thing called time that exists and passes as , or for things to be able to exist and move, but in no way supports this assumption, nor cites any other paper or experiment re this.

        Thus Minkowski’s famous quote…

        “The views of space and time which I wish to lay before you have sprung from the soil of experimental physics, and therein lies their strength. They are radical. Henceforth space by itself, and time by itself, are doomed to fade away into mere shadows, and only a kind of union of the two will preserve an independent reality.”

        Is also built on the (possibly incorrect) assumption ( but not proof) that ‘time’ exists, and that relativity confirms this.

        The “soil of experimental physics, (and therein lies their strength)” is the confirmation that the speed of light is the same for all observers, whatever their reference frame – but this is absolutely not the same as proving experimental that there is a ‘past’, or a ‘future’ , or a thing called time that exists in any form at all ( as a ‘dimension’ or otherwise).

        Thus – objectively , imo, OEMB does not show the conclusion that “space by itself, and time by itself, are doomed to fade away into mere shadows, and only a kind of union of the two will preserve an independent reality”

        Because with its light boxes etc , OEMB (SR) only actually shows that an oscillator moving rapidly in a spatial direction will ‘be’ “changing more slowly” that a similar stationary oscillator.

        This is absolutely not the same as proving that there is a ‘past’ or ‘future’ or that anything is ‘sinking into a past or future’ or that there is an extra dimension called ‘time ‘ that is being dilated.
        (imo)

        If you are genuinely interested in actually considering the possibility I am suggesting, please check out the main video ….

        or website
        http://www.timelessness.co.uk

        sincerely
        M.Marsden
        Auth “A Brief History of Timelessness”

        https://sites.google.com/site/abriefhistoryoftimelessness/special-relativity/the-electrodynamics-of-moving-bodies
        https://sites.google.com/site/abriefhistoryoftimelessness/advanced-timelessness/why-time-is-not-a-dimension

        ps this site seems to have no structure to its replies, if you have any comments explicitly re the videos please post there.
        mm

    • Time videos , re dub sound on edinburgh vid !
      Tweet
      facebook and website s Matt w and time

      Hi Alan,
      If what you are saying is correct then you need only email the people mentioned in this article, and… Problem solved.

      However, you seem to accept the theory that a thing called time exists,
      Thus I assume you accept that “things exist, move and interact ‘over time’ ”

      Thus logically, you accept that you can observe that “things exist, move and interact”, but you add this idea that this happens “over, in, with or through a dimension of a thing called ‘time’ “.

      So the question is “can you describe an experiment as per the scientific method that shows things do not just exist move and interact, but that there is also a thing called ‘time’ that is in some way involved”.

      I personally think (based on significant research, observation and analysis), that you cannot do so, I think you will only be able to describe ideas you have about what it might be ‘if’ exists, but I may be wrong.

      Re “Strike any dimension and reality cannot be reasonably modeled nor comprehended” , I would agree, re any legitimate dimension, but it seems very clear to me that reality can be completely modelled and comprehended in terms of thing just existing, moving and interacting in 3 dimensions, because, if you check for yourself, I think you will find that is all you actually observe.

      So, to avoid us going round in circles, would you please describe exactly what you think this extra dimension of “time” really “is”, and precisely how and why you think it exists and is involved in the existence and motion of the matter we clearly observe.

      Otherwise the statement “time is a dimension” seems to me to hold as much scientific weight as the suggestion “ghosts ‘are’ the spirits of the dead”.

      I.e “time IS a dimension” is true IF it is true, but just rhetoric if you can’t back it up by experiment.

      Sincerely
      Matthew

      (I’m not being factious here, i am very familiar with the flatland books, they start with the assumption there is a thing called time, and try to describe how we might envisage extra dimensions, or the lack of, but this in no way counts as evidence that there is a thing called time.
      https://sites.google.com/site/abriefhistoryoftimelessness/bib

      The entire reason that my book is available is because in all my research all I find is people talking about a thing called ‘time’ as if it exists, producing a lot of speculative conversation, yet giving no clear definition, or experiment to prove their theory)

      • Scuse noise at start of reply, used editor, and had junk at top,
        Is there an edit function here ?
        mm

      • Alan says:

        What if pigs could fly? What if magic ruled the world?

        Are you trying to pretend that Special Relativity has not been supported by experiment? Your posts are funny simply because they are so absurd, but you do not seem to be getting your own joke.

        You are denying science and reason. You are defying most logic and if not inventing new words, calling for privileged meanings of old ones. Your arguments work well as a joke because they are well constructed from a linguistic perspective, delivered with meticulous courtesy but completely bizarre from a logical perspective. They catch us all off guard. They throw many of your readers into diverse degrees of confusion, most of the rest into laughter or frustration.

        Your premise is based on a lack of English comprehension if not deliberate distortion and your argument is based on a misunderstanding of science. Your oft repeated phrase as a case of the former: a thing called ‘time’, if it exists …
        For any standard comprehension of time, the phrase you choose is nonsense. No one refers to a lemon as ‘a thing called yellow’. Yellow is a property of many lemons but is not a ‘thing’ of itself. In distorting the language, you seem to be confusing yourself as well as many of your readers.
        Similarly with science, time is by definition one of the dimensions in the four dimensional relativistic model. None of those four dimensions exist as ‘things’. To suggest such is either a joke or a failure of comprehension. To call a well verified scientific model ‘rhetoric’ is quite hollow when the rest of your argument is: ‘well, what if …?’

        When it comes to science, every deliberate act by any human is an experiment. Every conscious observation is data. Science has been built upon records kept of acts and observations. As I pointed out earlier, every human, every day performs acts and observes effects that confirm time. Time is verified billions of times a day all across the planet. Many of your readers have pointed this out to you while you ignore us all. Every experiment ever performed by science relies on time. Every action of man or beast relies on time. That does not make time a thing! If you want a ‘thing called time’, go to a New Year’s party and look for a man in a white robe.

        As a further insult to science you regularly make comments such as: ‘we need to consider that things may in fact just move’.
        To accept that things ‘just happen’ is to abandon science for magic or faith. A move that reason dictates not be taken lightly.

      • MattMars says:

        Hi Alan,
        (sorry if posted twice, couldn’t find original version on site)
        (added a ps re “dimensions, , relativity and asking “what *IF ” )

        Re >> What if pigs could fly? What if magic ruled the world?

        And

        Re >> Are you trying to pretend that Special Relativity has not been supported by experiment? …
        You are denying science and reason.

        Ive no idea, and I don’t know why you pose such (rhetorical) questions, they are very different to the questions I suggest we investigate which are.

        —“what if everything in the universe is just as it appears to be? With matter/energy just moving existing and interacting in all spatial directions, but not ‘heading into an unseen future’, nor ‘leaving an unseen past’ behind it”?

        And

        —“if all the matter in the universe just exists moves and interacts ( as observation shows us), would this be enough to mislead us into wrongly assuming a ‘past’, ‘future’ and thing called ‘time’ exist”?

        Your questions seem based on things that are not observed.

        If someone suggested to me that they thought “pigs could fly” or “magic ruled the world”, I would ask them to very clearly define what they meant, and to cite an experiment as per the scientific method to provide evidence to support their claim.

        Likewise if someone is telling me matter does not just exist move and interact, but there is also a thing called ‘time’. I would require a clear definition of ‘time’ and an experiment to give evidence that at least one of its alleged components or functions actually exists as more than just an idea.

        If you look at the main text on this page you can see that apparently , Julian Barbour, Albert Einstein, and Parmenides vs. Anaximander and Lee Smolin, all don’t even agree on a precise definition of what they are sure does or does not exist.

        And… that none of them are considering the possibility that perhaps matter just existing and interacting is enough to mislead us into assuming a thing called time, eg with a past +/or future exists.

        Note, I am not insisting I am correct here, that is unscientific, but I am very strongly recommending people check out the possibility I am suggesting because, no one else seem to do so.

        (e.g. none of these and many other sources and works.)
        https://sites.google.com/site/abriefhistoryoftimelessness/bib

        what is more, as you can confirm for a fact your self, even where it is pointed out to people that they consider that perhaps things may just exist move and interact, people tend Not to.

        i.e look at your own responses, every one just defends the idea that a thing called time exists…
        there isn’t a single one of yourreplies that starts…

        “ok, let me actually think carefully and objectively about the other possibility you are suggesting…. if it happened to be the case matter just exists and interacts, how would scenarios x,y,z look, ?
        What would make sense in this scenario?
        What might be an error in this scenario?”
        Etc.

        I can only politely show what you may not be considering, its up to you to actually check it for yourself, if you only defend the widely held pov then that is dogma.

        Re >> Are you trying to pretend that Special Relativity has not been supported by experiment? …
        You are denying science and reason.

        Re SR – No – I’m questioning the habitual interpretation of one aspect of SR, and showing how in sectio0n 1 the paper only assumes ‘time’ – but does not show how or why, and thus any conclusion built on the idea that SR confirms ‘time’ should be very seriously doubted, unless an actual experiment showing time is cited.

        The experiments show that various oscillators are oscillating at different , extremely accurately calculated rates- but this in no way shows there is a past,. Or future, or ‘passing thing’ called time that is being dilated.

        Re >> You are denying science and reason
        No , science requires that theory’s ( such as the theory of time) be supported by experimental evidence, I’m pointing out that everyone seems to miss this step with time. What is the experiment to prove a ‘past’ or ‘ future’ are not just ideas ?

        SEE
        https://sites.google.com/site/abriefhistoryoftimelessness/basic-timelessness/the-past

        Oed defines science as
        “The intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment:”

        And intellect as
        “The faculty of reasoning and understanding objectively,”

        So lets look at “ON THE ELECTRODYNAMICS OF MOVING BODIES”
        (https://sites.google.com/site/abriefhistoryoftimelessness/comments-on-time-books/-einstein-s-relativity )

        Actually scientifically, and actually objectively ( as opposed to pseudo objectively, just assuming everything it says is correctly interpreted because everyone else says that, and everyone is in awe of Einstein’s work)

        So OEMB section 1 Kinematics, the heart of the seminal paper on Special Relativity says….

        (quote)

        “If we wish to describe the motion of a material point, we give the values of its co-ordinates as functions of the time.

        And in explanation …

        If, for instance, I say, “That train arrives here at 7 o’clock,” I mean something like this:

        “The pointing of the small hand of my watch to 7 and the arrival of the train are simultaneous events.”

        So , this critical paper , says we compare the “motion of a material point” by giving “the values of its co-ordinates” as functions of a thing called “time”.

        But in actual fact, it is extremely clear to see that the paper only actually gives the “the values of its co-ordinates” of one object (a train), as a function of the values of the co-ordinates of another material point ( the tip of a motorised pointer rotating on a numbered dial).

        In describing the position of the train in relation to the position of the motorised pointer, the x,y,z location of the pointer is completely ignored without explanation, and instead just the number on the dial it is pointing to is used, – and used as if this painted number is in fact some unit of a mysterious thing called ‘time’ that is passing in ‘another dimension’ as things move.

        But “ON THE ELECTRODYNAMICS OF MOVING BODIES” gives absolutely no reason or explanation as to why we should consider the location of one object as a location and the location of another as a value of a mysterious thing called ‘time’.

        So, Alan, ‘objectively’ we can see that ‘electrodynamics’ only assumes there is a thing called time that exists and passes as , or for things to be able to exist and move, but in no way supports this assumption, nor cites any other paper or experiment re this.

        Thus Minkowski’s famous quote…

        “The views of space and time which I wish to lay before you have sprung from the soil of experimental physics, and therein lies their strength. They are radical. Henceforth space by itself, and time by itself, are doomed to fade away into mere shadows, and only a kind of union of the two will preserve an independent reality.”

        Is also built on the (possibly incorrect) assumption ( but not proof) that ‘time’ exists, and that relativity confirms this.

        The “soil of experimental physics, (and therein lies their strength)” is the confirmation that the speed of light is the same for all observers, whatever their reference frame – but this is absolutely not the same as proving experimental that there is a ‘past’, or a ‘future’ , or a thing called time that exists in any form at all ( as a ‘dimension’ or otherwise).

        Thus – objectively , imo, OEMB does not show the conclusion that “space by itself, and time by itself, are doomed to fade away into mere shadows, and only a kind of union of the two will preserve an independent reality”

        Because with its light boxes etc , OEMB (SR) only actually shows that an oscillator moving rapidly in a spatial direction will ‘be’ “changing more slowly” that a similar stationary oscillator.

        This is absolutely not the same as proving that there is a ‘past’ or ‘future’ or that anything is ‘sinking into a past or future’ or that there is an extra dimension called ‘time ‘ that is being dilated.
        (imo)

        If you are genuinely interested in actually considering the possibility I am suggesting, please check out the main video ….

        or website
        http://www.timelessness.co.uk

        sincerely
        M.Marsden
        Auth “A Brief History of Timelessness”

        https://sites.google.com/site/abriefhistoryoftimelessness/special-relativity/the-electrodynamics-of-moving-bodies
        https://sites.google.com/site/abriefhistoryoftimelessness/advanced-timelessness/why-time-is-not-a-dimension

        ps this site seems to have no structure to its replies, if you have any comments explicitly re the videos please post there.
        mm

        ps re >>>> Similarly with science, time is by definition one of the dimensions in the four dimensional relativistic model. None of those four dimensions exist as ‘things’. To suggest such is either a joke or a failure of comprehension. To call a well verified scientific model ‘rhetoric’ is quite hollow when the rest of your argument is: ‘well, what if …?’

        first check OEMB to make sure the 4d relativistic model is sound, as pointed out above, the paper gives no proof of ‘time’ but just assumes it. Without time relativity may in fact just show how warped space ( not space-time) exists, and how gravity, acceleration and rapid motion cause things to “be” changing more slowly than expected , in simple 3d .

        re >>> None of those four dimensions exist as ‘things’.
        dimension comes from
        oed “A measurable extent of a particular kind, such as length, breadth, depth, or height:”

        to measure out
        “”measurement, size,” from Latin dimensionem (nominative dimensio) “a measuring,” ”
        http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=dimension

        so while our 3 “dimensions” are just ways of looking at the world, we can measure the length, height depth of some thing, and we can head towards a place 100metres south , 30 metres north etc.

        the suggestion of time being a dimension, suggests it is a “measurable quantity” – in whic case to verify this you need to show what, and how you think you are measuring.

        note also many experts suggest one can go to “places” in this extra dimension, for this to be correct they need to show precisely what they think these “places” are, and where they are.
        (you yourself think time exists as a dimension , but that “the past” does not exist, so what is your dimension meant to be spanning between?

        re >>> To call a well verified scientific model ‘rhetoric’ is quite hollow when the rest of your argument is: ‘well, what if …?

        it is not hollow to call that aspect of science rhetoric, if it happen to be the case that it is.
        look at the discussion above, or in any of these and other forums…
        https://sites.google.com/site/abriefhistoryoftimelessness/home/time-forums-and-sites

        or these or other books…
        https://sites.google.com/site/abriefhistoryoftimelessness/bib

        the one thing you can agree on, is that there very little agreement about this suggested “time”thing.

        also , imo, it is not necessarily “quite hollow when the rest of your argument is: ‘well, what if …?”
        because my argument is “what if everything is just as it appears to be?” – thats not hollow that is as solid as anything can be,

        the only way one could deduce that the earth is not a flat disc resting on an infinite pile of objects is to ask “what IF it is just a ball of mud floating in empty space, surrounded by other spheres by an invisible force, and orbiting the sun”?

        in asking such a what if question , and – seeing if it ties in with all observable that one can test the idea…. likewise , i suggest you actually sit some where , look around you , and within your mind, and actually ask yourself.

        “what do i actually observe, and what *IF* there is only matter and motion in 3 dimensions, with no past, future or time actually existing other than as a useful mental construct”?

        its up to you, what have you got to loose : )
        as i say do check out

        if you have any more questions.
        mm

      • MattMars says:

        ps : re >>> As a further insult to science you regularly make comments such as: ‘we need to consider that things may in fact just move’.
        To accept that things ‘just happen’ is to abandon science for magic or faith. A move that reason dictates not be taken lightly.

        That is not quite what i mean by “just”.

        things move if they have energy or momentum, we dont need to know precisely what energy or momentum is for us to observe this is the case.

        what i am suggesting is that the universe may be just as it appears to be, things with energy move, the question is do they move for various reasons and “over a thing called time”, or do they move for various reasons and we are wrong to assume a “time” thing exists in any way and has anything to do with movement.

        invariably wherever anyone claims they are defining the position of an object in relation to “time”, if you check where they are apparently getting this time value from it is by looking at another thing , that itself just exists and is moving.

        in other words we are only defining one example of movement in terms of another reference example of movement,and using the word “time” for this reference example of movement.

        so we have not shown things in fact “move over ‘time'”, but just that things move and their movement can be being compared.

        if you analyse methods of calculating the speed of light by astronomical observations ( eg observing the light from Jupiter moons etc) you will see that ultimately one can only say “light is so much faster than the earths speed in its orbit, or the speed of a point on the earths equator.
        (expressing this as “miles per ‘second’ ” is useful, but one can only say seconds are an arbitary unit of a thing called time, if one can actually show this thing exists and its ‘passing’ is being measured by the spinning earth or a motorised hand rotating on a dial).
        mm

        see
        What is meant by ‘JUST’.
        https://sites.google.com/site/abriefhistoryoftimelessness/miscellaneous-sub-pages/what-is-meant-by-just

    • Alan says:

      Matt (re: June 21 comment)
      You are hanging with Alice, on the wrong side of the looking glass where your words mean whatever you say they mean. That is all just nonsense.
      MattMars says: ‘That is not quite what i mean by “just”’.
      ‘things move if they have energy or momentum, we dont need to know precisely what energy or momentum is for us to observe this is the case.’
      ‘(Note also, i find it rather crass / osintatious if anyone comes up with new words for things eg like speed , eg “movonly”🙂 etc, so I’m not inventing new words.’

      What you are doing is worse, Matt. You are concocting new meanings for words in common use. You are twisting words into nonsense. There really is a difference between a rational statement or a logical claim and a tall tale or a flight of fantasy. If a writer is spinning a yarn he is allowed ‘literary license’ to make his point. Your claims are novels you seem to confuse with science. Again you repeat ‘thing called time’ confusing an amusing joke with a logical statement – it is not. It is simply nonsense. Your reading comprehension fails. Please try and understand what words mean and use them appropriately. Try to understand when you are making funny and how you might make sense.
      MattMars says: ‘but one can only say seconds are an arbitrary unit of a thing called time’
      No, Matt, one cannot say that in a logic bound English sentence – ‘a thing called time’ is a deliberate logical error of equivocation as you typically use it.
      Once upon a time, seconds were arbitrary measures of time, inches, feet and miles were arbitrary measures of length or distance. Now, however, we have established standards so such units are carefully proscribed. So while Alice is in Wonderland, she may insist that ‘energy’ means whatever she wants it to mean, in a technical exchange, the kinetic energy of a moving body is the product of mass with velocity squared, and velocity is distance (such as meters) per second.

      That said, reality exists independent of anything we may know or perceive. Science has never ‘proven’ time exists, but all of our models of reality depend upon time, and our models make some very accurate predictions about the reality of our perceptions. And within these models of science, a thing called time exists, as these models are built, in part, around the measure of time. To claim that this thing called does not exist within scientific models of reality is as to claim letters do not exist in the alphabet.

  8. Santi Tafarella says:

    Anonymous and Alan:

    With regard to time, why can’t language of motion be used akin to Wittgenstein in his Tractatus, where it gets a person to the point where the ladder of language can be kicked away?

    The standard explanations of special relativity refer to time even as they upend the ultimate reality of time.

    I’ll summarize a Stephen Hawking example from memory, with a riff on details (he used an airplane, I’ll use a spaceship): Imagine an alien spaceship from another galaxy has entered Earth’s atmosphere, and is now hovering just thirty meters above you. You look up and see that the belly of the spaceship is clear, like a glass bottom boat, and that there are ten aliens on board. Five are clustered at the front tip of the ship and five are at the far back. You also notice that the aliens at the back of the ship are flashing light signals to the aliens at the front of the ship.

    The spaceship is 100 meters long, therefore the light is travelling 100 meters from back to front.

    Now let’s say you happen to have a very special Apple Watch. One tick on this watch measures the distance that light travels in 100 meters. It thus takes one tick of your watch for the light sent from the aliens at the back of the spaceship to reach the eyes of the aliens at the front.

    Now the ship rises to two thousand meters, and you can still make out the flashes of light, but you also see that the ship has started to move away from you. From your vantage, because you see the ship moving, the light at the back of the ship has to traverse a longer distance to get to the aliens at the front of the ship. That is, it has to go from where the ship was just a moment ago (point A) to where it is now (point B). That distance is, say, 1000 meters, the distance the ship has traveled thus far, not the ship’s length of just 100 meters when it was just hovering over you. The ship is on the move.

    Question: From your vantage on the ground, how long is it taking for the light from the back of the spaceship to reach the front of the spaceship?

    Answer: it’s taking ten ticks of your Apple Watch (100 meters x 10 ticks = 1000 meters).

    But for the aliens in the spaceship, it’s taking their Apple Watches just one tick. The light, from their vantage, is only going 100 meters.

    Time is relative to the motion of the observer. The constant is light’s speed. That’s Einstein’s theory of special relativity. Time is actually space-time.

    This is why Einstein called time a stubborn illusion.

    And that means that, from the vantage of the aliens, you’re aging ten times faster than they are (and from your vantage, they are aging ten times slower than you are). So long as the aliens move in their ship at that speed, ten ticks of time will have passed for you for each tick of time for the aliens.

    If speed of light is constant for both observers, it suggests that time is not fundamental; it only exists relative to observers; it doesn’t exist apart from space and objects in relation to one another.

    So you observe the spaceship from the outside moving quite fast away from you, but the aliens, being inside the spaceship, always experience the distance that light has to travel from the back to the front of the spaceship at just 100 meters. You’re getting older faster than they are; your watch is accumulating ticks faster than theirs is–and neither one of you is keeping objective time. From the vantage of light, everything is, nothing becomes. The closer you reach the vantage of light (the speed of light) the more you take on light’s vantage. Time becomes eternity in an hour, then, if you get up to the full speed of light, stops altogether.

    This is why special relativity, discovered 110 years ago, is so pernicious and baffling. No experiment ever overturns it–not even when you measure light coming from the vantage of ten billion light years away. Gravity doesn’t warp and slow light. The energy levels of the protons don’t determine speed. No ether appears to put a drag on it whatsoever.

    Light is the Road Runner and Lee Smolin appears to be in the role of Coyote. And the wisdom of Road Runner seems to be saying: time is an observer dependent illusion. In truth, nothing moves; no time passes.

    • Alan says:

      The phrase ‘too clever by half’ perhaps fits best here. Like the nonsensical Parmenides/Zeno paradox – where change cannot happen and the quickest runner cannot cross a room. They simply crippled themselves, tied in a knot of only their wits. Wittgenstein has done no better, writing a book to declare that language is impossible. And Santi moves to his keyboard and spends a few minutes clicking at the keys, composing a few paragraphs concluding with ‘In truth, nothing moves; no time passes.’
      Like Parmenides, Zeno and Wittgenstein – it is all a joke, but for who’s benefit?

    • Santi Tafarella says:

      Alan:

      This isn’t being too clever by half, it’s what we observe in experiment. It’s not a philosophical thought experiment, but a prediction of what you’ll find if you check: light is constant everywhere, which means that time is relative to the observer in space-time. I don’t know what it ultimately means, but Einstein’s working out of special relativity in 1905 has yet to be dethroned. It’s most recent space telescope test was about as rigorous a demonstration as one is likely to get that the speed of light is constant everywhere.

      • Alan says:

        Santi:
        Special Relativity says that clock rate is an observer dependant phenomenon. Jumping from that to: ‘time is an observer dependent illusion. In truth, nothing moves; no time passes.’ Is a significant misunderstanding.

      • Santi Tafarella says:

        Alan,

        But time stops when you reach the speed of light. It stops. The clock stops.

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