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Why Time may not be possible

Just a place where all John's threads can be kept nice and tidy.
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John Jones
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Why Time may not be possible

#1 Postby John Jones » October 19th, 2010, 4:16 pm

There is no event, or "sequence" or set of events, that cannot be described in non-temporal terms. That is one reason for there not being Time.

Another reason for there not being Time is that there is no period between the shortest measurable clock-events: whether the shortest time period between such clock events is a second, or a thousand years.

Another reason for there not being Time is that it cannot be used in the description of physical objects. The creation of physical objects requires the prior existence of Time. Hence time is independent of physical objects.

Finally, the reason for there not being Time is that no-one has evidence for it, measured it, seen it. Thus we have no right even to speak of "Time" as an "it" or a concept - linguistically it is an empty mark, mathematically it is a conceit, to the human race itself it is a romance.

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Manuel
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Re: Why Time may not be possible

#2 Postby Manuel » October 19th, 2010, 5:15 pm

I'll try that with my boss the next time I'm late for work.

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Nick
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Re: Why Time may not be possible

#3 Postby Nick » October 19th, 2010, 6:28 pm

Personally, I don't understand a word of your post, John..... :puzzled:

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Emma Woolgatherer
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Re: Why Time may not be possible

#4 Postby Emma Woolgatherer » October 19th, 2010, 6:37 pm

John Jones wrote:There is no event, or "sequence" or set of events, that cannot be described in non-temporal terms. That is one reason for there not being Time.
Funny, I'd have said exactly the opposite. There is no event, or "sequence" or set of events, that can be described in non-temporal terms. SImply by using a verb with either a present or past or future tense is to use temporal terms. Not that I think that proves anything either way.
John Jones wrote:Another reason for there not being Time is that there is no period between the shortest measurable clock-events: whether the shortest time period between such clock events is a second, or a thousand years.
I'm sorry, but I don't know what that means.
John Jones wrote:Another reason for there not being Time is that it cannot be used in the description of physical objects. The creation of physical objects requires the prior existence of Time. Hence time is independent of physical objects.
If the creation of physical objects requires the prior existence of time, and hence time is independent of physical objects, then surely that implies that time does exist, not that it doesn't.
John Jones wrote:Finally, the reason for there not being Time is that no-one has evidence for it, measured it, seen it.
Well, in a way we've measured it, and we've seen and felt the effects of its passing. And heard them, and smelt them, and tasted them. But still, I'd not argue with the claim, if you were to make it, that our perception of time is, to a significant extent, illusory.
John Jones wrote:Thus we have no right even to speak of "Time" as an "it" or a concept - linguistically it is an empty mark, mathematically it is a conceit, to the human race itself it is a romance.
I don't think you've demonstrated any of that, though I'm pretty open to having my ideas about time completely turned upside-down. It's not something I think about very often, though perhaps I should. But as I understand it, time is our way of making sense of the continuously changing world we live in. It is a concept: an emergent concept. We have romanticised it. Linguistically we've turned it into something more concrete that it really is, but then that's pretty much what we do with everything.

John, are you really committed to this argument for the non-existence of time? Or are you using it as some kind of analogy?

Emma

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Re: Why Time may not be possible

#5 Postby Paolo » October 19th, 2010, 10:43 pm

John Jones wrote:There is no event, or "sequence" or set of events, that cannot be described in non-temporal terms. That is one reason for there not being Time.

If that's the case, go ahead and describe how to soft boil an egg in a way that can be usefully applied by someone unfamiliar with boiling an egg, without using temporal terms, like "first", "begin", "start", "before", "when", "until", "for [in relation to duration]", "minutes", "seconds", "fractions of [insert unit of time]" or "count [insert mechanism for assessing the passage of time]", etc. I want to see how well your premise holds up with a simple, everyday example.

John Jones wrote:Another reason for there not being Time is that there is no period between the shortest measurable clock-events: whether the shortest time period between such clock events is a second, or a thousand years.

No period between the shortest measurable clock events? I think you may be conflating the way in which time is measured with what time actually is - i.e. a dimension in the same way that width, height and length are. There is a period between the shortest measurable clock events in the same way as there is a distance between the smallest measurable lengths - it's just not readily observable.

John Jones wrote:Another reason for there not being Time is that it cannot be used in the description of physical objects. The creation of physical objects requires the prior existence of Time. Hence time is independent of physical objects.

The creation of physical objects also requires matter, do you suppose that matter is therefore independent of physical objects and therefore does not exist? This is a non sequitur - your argument is flawed.

John Jones wrote:Finally, the reason for there not being Time is that no-one has evidence for it, measured it, seen it. Thus we have no right even to speak of "Time" as an "it" or a concept - linguistically it is an empty mark, mathematically it is a conceit, to the human race itself it is a romance.

Time can be measured - that's what a clock does. Evidence for time is rife - it is the dimension within which change can occur, so every change that happens is evidence of time. Every letter on this screen is evidence that time exists. Time is as real as any other dimension (more real than some in fact). If you are willing to conceded that there is a physical universe then you're rather stuck with time as being not only possible, but unavoidable.

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Re: Why Time may not be possible

#6 Postby John Jones » October 20th, 2010, 3:46 am

Emma Woolgatherer wrote:
John Jones wrote:There is no event, or "sequence" or set of events, that cannot be described in non-temporal terms. That is one reason for there not being Time.
Funny, I'd have said exactly the opposite. There is no event, or "sequence" or set of events, that can be described in non-temporal terms. SImply by using a verb with either a present or past or future tense is to use temporal terms. Not that I think that proves anything either way.
John Jones wrote:Another reason for there not being Time is that there is no period between the shortest measurable clock-events: whether the shortest time period between such clock events is a second, or a thousand years.
I'm sorry, but I don't know what that means.
John Jones wrote:Another reason for there not being Time is that it cannot be used in the description of physical objects. The creation of physical objects requires the prior existence of Time. Hence time is independent of physical objects.
If the creation of physical objects requires the prior existence of time, and hence time is independent of physical objects, then surely that implies that time does exist, not that it doesn't.
John Jones wrote:Finally, the reason for there not being Time is that no-one has evidence for it, measured it, seen it.
Well, in a way we've measured it, and we've seen and felt the effects of its passing. And heard them, and smelt them, and tasted them. But still, I'd not argue with the claim, if you were to make it, that our perception of time is, to a significant extent, illusory.
John Jones wrote:Thus we have no right even to speak of "Time" as an "it" or a concept - linguistically it is an empty mark, mathematically it is a conceit, to the human race itself it is a romance.
I don't think you've demonstrated any of that, though I'm pretty open to having my ideas about time completely turned upside-down. It's not something I think about very often, though perhaps I should. But as I understand it, time is our way of making sense of the continuously changing world we live in. It is a concept: an emergent concept. We have romanticised it. Linguistically we've turned it into something more concrete that it really is, but then that's pretty much what we do with everything.

John, are you really committed to this argument for the non-existence of time? Or are you using it as some kind of analogy?

Emma


Commited? It is better that what we have.

Try it. Any bunch of events you like. They can all be described without using Time or "what came next".

Another point, there is no physical eviidence of "Time".

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John Jones
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Re: Why Time may not be possible

#7 Postby John Jones » October 20th, 2010, 3:52 am

Paolo wrote:
John Jones wrote:There is no event, or "sequence" or set of events, that cannot be described in non-temporal terms. That is one reason for there not being Time.

If that's the case, go ahead and describe how to soft boil an egg in a way that can be usefully applied by someone unfamiliar with boiling an egg, without using temporal terms, like "first", "begin", "start", "before", "when", "until", "for [in relation to duration]", "minutes", "seconds", "fractions of [insert unit of time]" or "count [insert mechanism for assessing the passage of time]", etc. I want to see how well your premise holds up with a simple, everyday example.

John Jones wrote:Another reason for there not being Time is that there is no period between the shortest measurable clock-events: whether the shortest time period between such clock events is a second, or a thousand years.

No period between the shortest measurable clock events? I think you may be conflating the way in which time is measured with what time actually is - i.e. a dimension in the same way that width, height and length are. There is a period between the shortest measurable clock events in the same way as there is a distance between the smallest measurable lengths - it's just not readily observable.

John Jones wrote:Another reason for there not being Time is that it cannot be used in the description of physical objects. The creation of physical objects requires the prior existence of Time. Hence time is independent of physical objects.

The creation of physical objects also requires matter, do you suppose that matter is therefore independent of physical objects and therefore does not exist? This is a non sequitur - your argument is flawed.

John Jones wrote:Finally, the reason for there not being Time is that no-one has evidence for it, measured it, seen it. Thus we have no right even to speak of "Time" as an "it" or a concept - linguistically it is an empty mark, mathematically it is a conceit, to the human race itself it is a romance.

Time can be measured - that's what a clock does. Evidence for time is rife - it is the dimension within which change can occur, so every change that happens is evidence of time. Every letter on this screen is evidence that time exists. Time is as real as any other dimension (more real than some in fact). If you are willing to conceded that there is a physical universe then you're rather stuck with time as being not only possible, but unavoidable.



Soft-boiling an egg isn't done temporally, in sequence. It is done conceptually.

If you use a second to measure time, does that make Time a second?

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Re: Why Time may not be possible

#8 Postby Paolo » October 20th, 2010, 7:22 am

John Jones wrote:
Paolo wrote:
John Jones wrote:There is no event, or "sequence" or set of events, that cannot be described in non-temporal terms. That is one reason for there not being Time.

If that's the case, go ahead and describe how to soft boil an egg in a way that can be usefully applied by someone unfamiliar with boiling an egg, without using temporal terms, like "first", "begin", "start", "before", "when", "until", "for [in relation to duration]", "minutes", "seconds", "fractions of [insert unit of time]" or "count [insert mechanism for assessing the passage of time]", etc. I want to see how well your premise holds up with a simple, everyday example.


Soft-boiling an egg isn't done temporally, in sequence. It is done conceptually.

Sorry, but that is nonsense. Soft-boiling an egg is a time-mediated exercise in practical chemistry. The exposure to heat required to bring about a change in the protein structure of the albumen, without triggering a similar change in the yolk is not conceptual, it is physical. The process is a sequence of events and I ask you to support your initial assertion by describing this in non-temporal terms. PUSU.

John Jones wrote:If you use a second to measure time, does that make Time a second?

No, it doesn't. It just means that an a priori agreed quantity of time is being used as a comparative measure against which the passage of time can be monitored. What you're sayings is similar to me saying that I am a tape measure because my height can be measured with tape measure (in fact, it's closer to saying that I am the height indicated by the tape measure, but you get my drift). It simply does not follow, it's a non sequitur.

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Re: Why Time may not be possible

#9 Postby jaywhat » October 20th, 2010, 8:50 am

you mean there would be no ever rolling streams?

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John Jones
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Re: Why Time may not be possible

#10 Postby John Jones » October 20th, 2010, 8:34 pm

jaywhat wrote:you mean there would be no ever rolling streams?


An ever rolling stream is a single event.

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Re: Why Time may not be possible

#11 Postby Alan H » October 20th, 2010, 9:45 pm

John Jones wrote:
jaywhat wrote:you mean there would be no ever rolling streams?


An ever rolling stream is a single event.
Does that apply to all molecules that make up the stream and all particles dissolved in it? Is that still one event?
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Re: Why Time may not be possible

#12 Postby animist » October 21st, 2010, 6:23 pm

this thread seems a waste of what it is about - time

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Re: Why Time may not be possible

#13 Postby philbo » October 22nd, 2010, 10:43 am

Isn't half time usually 15 minutes? So that makes Time=half an hour

At school, you have to learn your time stables.. does that mean time is a horse?

Am I making as much sense as the OP?

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Re: Why Time may not be possible

#14 Postby Paolo » October 22nd, 2010, 4:32 pm

Come on John Jones, I asked you to demonstrate the truth of your opening assertion.

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Re: Why Time may not be possible

#15 Postby jdc » October 23rd, 2010, 3:33 pm

I knew a bloke who hired a druid to do some work on his garden. Chap turned up four hours late one day and said "I would apologise for being late, but I don't believe in the concept of time". This druid was being paid by the hour though... :smile:
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Re: Why Time may not be possible

#16 Postby animist » October 26th, 2010, 9:35 am

jaywhat wrote:you mean there would be no ever rolling streams?

I don't know whether JJ is serious or a troll, but this example (the ever-rolling stream) reminds me of the two early Greek philosophers: Heraclitus ("No man ever steps into the same river twice"), who saw everything as in constant turmoil, and Parmenides, his opposite, who thought that change was impossible

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Re: Why Time may not be possible

#17 Postby John Jones » October 29th, 2010, 2:17 pm

Paolo wrote:Come on John Jones, I asked you to demonstrate the truth of your opening assertion.


This isn't the sort of place to maintain a discussion. There are too many flippant people making threats who are in with the moderator. No offense.

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Re: Why Time may not be possible

#18 Postby Alan H » October 29th, 2010, 2:26 pm

John Jones wrote:This isn't the sort of place to maintain a discussion. There are too many flippant people making threats who are in with the moderator. No offense.
What threats?
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There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Re: Why Time may not be possible

#19 Postby Maria Mac » October 29th, 2010, 2:27 pm

John Jones wrote: No offense.


None taken. :)

Amazing how many thousands of discussions have been maintained on this forum given all these flippant people making threats though, isn't it, troll?


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