# Time... does it exist?

What do you think of the idea that time doesnt exist, except as a concept. It may well be common belief however it still proves thought provoking.

Time as we can see it is infinate, we have no way of proving otherwise. Like the earlier posting on random numbers, we cannot place ourselves on any sort of position on an infinate scale. It is only with a beggining and an end that we can create measurement. We (people) have a beginning and an end so we can measure our life span, however when we talk about time generally, it seems pointless.

People created time, so it is just a concept. Time is synthetic, so who created it, and could there be any other sort of idea other than time?

To argue the toss though, we can recognise periods or phases because we are fairly stationary on the earth and everything moves around us. Still though we have proved that the moon is slowing down, so that is not an accurate measurement. The heavenly bodies themselves however do not exist in a time restricted world, they have presumably a beginning and presumably an end but they are all made of the same material… so is matter restricted by time?.

So a problem is where does time come from?

I’m too late…JJ-ism is spreading like freakin cancer on this website. please don’t cite anything that JJ posted in the random number thread, because it was likely wrong.

when you say time is an infinite scale, you misunderstand how a scale works. Remeber a the number line in first grade? That has no beginning and no end, but you could still count, add, subtract, figure out the greater of two numbers, and so on. You can never compare an occurance to the beginning of time, but you never have to. You pick an arbitray zero point and measure all other occurances relative to that point. Whether the scale is finite or infinite is irrelvant…if you know the graduation, and you have a reference, then you can make a meaningful measurement.

What ever caused you to think that time is a human invention? Time is a fundamental part of our universe. It is sometimes called the fourth dimension because it behaves as if all of space were moving at a constant rate along another spacial dimension.

You should really read some astromony more recent than aristotle…it might surprise you to know that heavenly bodies are time dependent just like everything else. We have evidence of both their beginnings and ends., as you said. They are not made fo the same amterial in the end, however. they start out as balls of hydrogen, which fuses over time to become helium, which fuses to become carbon and a few others until the core becomes iron. Iron is the low point on the nuclear energy scale…smaller atoms can be fused to telease energy, larger ones fissioned to release energy. when the star almost exhausts it’s fuel, it undergoes one of several death sequences depending on its mass (red giant->nova->dwarf, supernova->neutron star, black hole). The energy released in the death of stars that go nova creates elements as heavy as gold.

That whole pathway follows the laws of entropy, which is the big restriction on the universe. Since the universe’s entropy increases with time, non-homogenous distributions of energy (and matter) are time-restricted. so, as time progresses, the concentrations will even out, stars will burn out, etc.

Now the big answer to the big question. Time is no more understandable than mass, length, or charge. We cannot explain what they are, because all our definitions are circular. You can’t explicitly define the concept of time, because time IS the concept that defines everything else. I bet many who answers this question will fall into that trap. You can’t define time without using a concept that is in turn, defined in some way by time.

ok, so our arbitary point is presumably the big bang?

surely time exists as an idea that fits the observation… we created the idea of time, this is where it gets confusing because we couldnt imagine anything else… progression is that, progression. time is a measurement of pregression, but when people like hume question the fixture of the past or future or rather how they are not fixed, does this then raise questions about time? if time is a measurement of pregression, and progression can be measured, presumably there is no denying that the past is fixed? … grrr this is getting rather complicated…

you said that ‘all of space were moving at a constant rate along another spacial dimension’ but wheres the proof? surely the rate is only constant because we made it that way? and things are speeding up and slowing down all the time, what do you mean by this?

what do you mean exist only as a concept? it is clear that things happen, and then in many cases, very specific things happen directly ‘after’ the first one without exception. is this one of those things that since we dont know the entire universe isnt completely in our heads it ‘doesnt exist’? cause it does exist, i see it. thats exist. what other useful definition of exist is there? who cares if it exists somewhere i dont see.

i think time is a product of our brains inability to see all things at once.

everything outside of the behavior of life (and possibly that too) is exactly calculatable. that means that if you know the starting position, you can tell what will happen at every point in time that exists after that. this basically means that we can ‘see’ the entire universe at every point in time, without actually going through the whole 15 billion earth revolutions that have passed since it started. we can see it with math, but not with the pile of organs we have.

therefore i think the ‘passing’ of time is a product of those organs, since it is not neccesarily a product of the way the universe behaves. the universe does not change over time, only the position of its elements. the charge of an electron, the force of gravity have not changed since day one. the only thing that has changed is where each instance of those things are, and the universe ‘knew’ from day one exactly where they would be.

the observance of time requires change, the universe didnt change, the equation was exactly the same throughout all the rearranging. if we only existed for one instant, and only saw where the stuff started and how much force it had, we could see everything that ever happens in the universe without going through all of it. assuming theres no free will.

it never was, thats why caesar made a good calendar a long time ago.

the way we would measure absolute time is to absolutely measure something about the universe that does not change. for example the weak force inside of an atom is much more accurate and unchanging than the moon haphazardly bopping around through space. the amount of weak force doesnt change, and so radioactive decay happens at an exactly measurable rate, one beta particle shot out per second or something. thats an atomic clock, more accurate than the moon.

i have no idea what my point is. time changes when you go near the speed of light or near a black hole. that MUST mean something!! i will blow all of your minds sooner or later when i figure out what.

time is like… woahh

my example was just a crude illustration of the concept. the rate is not uniform, as you said because of relativity. part of the theory of relativity is the implication that time behaves as a dimension of space, and can be slowed/warped just like space in an intense gravitational field or at high velocities. So if you travel very fast while carrying an atomic clock, the clock will be slightly behind it’s stationary counterpart.

in general though, speed has nothing to do with the “rate” of time passing in the universe. speed is a measure of some incremental change per unit time. In fact the concept of a cosmic “rate” of time is meaningless. You are measuring time passed per unit of time passed. The only way this is even a measurement is if time is not uniform wrt location in space. Then your are dealing with relativity again.

ok, that makes sence. so what about the fourth dimention, how does it work? if there is no measurement really, how can we measure it? if we cannot measure it then is it real…? (apparently)

i suppose it does come back to whether time is infinate or not, do we have any arbitary points from which to measure time? there is the theory of the universe expanding and contracting endlessly.

the problem is that there is nothing beyond time, which is constant, with which we can relate time to. Time is time, and we have to assume that it is constant, but surely we make it constant? we create the measurement. Unless we are taking the atomic clock as a constant… in which case it IS out of our control…

how to work out time:
shine a beam of light at a mirror 149896.229km away in a vacuum, by the time the beam gets back to you 1 second will have passed.

there are easier methods of course

well, we measure “time” by using an object that vibrates at a constant rate, or a spring that turns a clock hand at a constant rate, or a chip that counts signals from a crystal resonator…in any case, we are measuring how many times this event occurs, and since we know the rate, we can derive the time that has passed. You arn’t measuring time in the same way you’d measure the length of something with a ruler. in this analogy, iime IS the ruler…we have absolutely no way of knowing what the scale of that ruler is, or if it isn’t constant, because we have nothing we can measure the rule with.

I have been reading an interesting book about God as a self-explanatory being. Within the text, the author uses the example of time as a rationally self-explanatory concept. Time exists necessarily, but is not contingent on the necessity. It exists without being real and because it is not physical is not liable to cease existing. And since time is not contingent on its necessity then it is not justified by its necessity, therefore exists in and of itself and is rationalized by its existence. Time exists.

Define time: change
Our time MEASURES change in a day, year, whatever; it does exist as we see it.
Time is not infinite because infinite time would create paradox.

I never claimed that time was infinite. I said that according to a book I have been reading that since time is not a physical entity it is not liable to cease existingâ€”that in no way concludes that it infinitely exists.

After reading what everbody said and looking back at the title ‘‘Time…does it exist?’’ U’m thinking that nobody has actually really gone into much detail about it, people are just saying ‘‘time=change’’ etc. ‘‘Time’’ could measure change yes but that still doesn’t actually explain WHAT time is? I think time is just the very being of reality, i’d rather use the word ‘‘reality’’ personally. Good way to describe time would be this, imagine a timeless state? A timeless state would be '‘nowhere’, there would be no distance, no duration, no room (as in distance) for change because there simply isn’t a ‘‘place’’. Nothing can take place in a timeless state, so you have to think, WE are here, we are living proof of the fact that ‘‘reality’’ exists, so could there ever have been another mode without reality? As i said, if there was a time when there was no reality, then how are we here? Why did that '‘timeless’ state ever change? How could change take place ‘‘nowhere’’? 'I think ‘‘reality’’ simply just ‘‘is’’.

Rami.

As i explicitly said, time is like mass, length and charge…you can’t define them in terms of somethign else…they just exist.

What is time? Is time change itself?

No. Time is a concept that humans invented to help up measure the universe. The act of measurement helps us the manage the universe, which we just cannot deal with as a whole. So we break the universe down into manageable chunks. We cut water into oceans, seas, rivers, lakes, creeks, tributaries and on a smaller scale we cut it up into gallons, quarts, pints, cups, cubic centimeters and such.

We cut land up into manageable sizes, continents, countries, states, cities and so on.

Events we cut up in a lot of different ways. We cut events into millennia, centuries, decades, years, months, weeks, days, hours, minutes and seconds. For really quick events we even have nanoseconds and picoseconds. We do all of this to cut apart events into nice manageable chunks. Sometimes we get really clever with cutting up events and we come up with mysterious things like causes and effects. We are the ones who cut up events, then we forget that we did it and wonder how they go back together again.

Things happen and we try to sort it all out and we call one of our sorting tools time. Some thing happened in a regular and predicable way. For come cultures the Nile floods regularly and we get a nice concept of time from that. Stargazers notice that the heavens spin in nice regular patterns. The Earth spins around in a nice regular way that we call a day. The Earth dances a nice fairly regular pattern around the Sun that we call a year. From that nice regular pattern we invent clocks with regular movements. We find other ever more consistent methods of splitting up events. We craft wondrous mechanical clockworks. Then we find interesting regularities in the vibration of quartz, and then eventually we find even more consistent vibrations in molecules.

All of this effort comes from our desire to make things simple, understandable and manageable. The event is happening and we are all a part of it. We cannot grasp the wholeness of it. Even the most brilliant of us has to cut it up into his or her personal models, maps and concepts. Break it all apart then try to put it back together. It already IS together. It doesnâ€™t need our explanations.

obviously you’ve solved all our scientific condundrums. I think X-man should get a medal.

Don’t you love those nice sounding posts that end up saying nothing? Of course IT doesn’t need any explanation! WE need the explanations. The whole point of deconstruction, and then reconstruction is so we understand it.

I am sorry, it seems to me that Xanderman simply said that time does not exist, and then explained why we, as people, recognize time. This is an insufficient answer for making a claim so bold as “time does not exist.”

Therefore, I offer this as reasoning. Time is merely a result of humans’ tendency to see continuity in the world, but does not exist.

When we look around, what do we see. Just the same as in movies, we see frames of images. For some reason, probably a result of evolution, our brains have learned to connect all these frames into continuity. Time is the same way. We created it because something continuous is easier for us to understand. However, it does not actually exist in the way that other things exist. Distance is clear, we can go from one place to another, measure the distance, and then go back. But we can not travel through time, we are forever stuck in this moment. Even someone travels the speed of light, the time change is relative to everything around that person. For that person however, he/she was forever stuck in the moment of existence.

My logic is this, since we can never escape the moment we exist, we have no justification for saying that the moments are changing, therefore time does not exist.

However, if you define time as something such that it is universal, with a start and maybe an ending, that it is something unaffected by our definitions and divisions of time, but measurable by those divisions nonetheless, then maybe time does exist. But for the scale and the concept people use in their everyday lives, that does not exist.

tmminionman2

The point is that the concept of time is completely man made. We can project our models onto the universe, however, this does not make them part of the universe itself. Time is part of us, it is part of our method of comprehending the universe. Time is inseparable from the human experience. Its not something that we merely discover and then just jot down. We have created the concept of time to artificially break the holistic universe of events down into human manageable bits.

We can avoid asserting that time is some kind of universal property that just exists out there, independent of human beings.

Time, along with mass, length and charge, are all fundamental properties of our MODEL of the universe. Our best models show that many (macroscopic) non-human objects obey the same laws of causality that we do. The best conclusion we can make with the data we have is that the familiar universe obeys the rules we have set forth in the model.

If you have a model that describes time differently, and in turn is a better model of the universe (i.e. predicts events and such with greater accuracy), then i will happily accept your view of time.

This is an insufficient answer for making a claim so bold as “time does not exist.”

so one day, a monkey, or a bacteria was born with a ‘different’ perception system that instead of the original way, it perceived the world in succesive frames? how can our dna have anything to do with that how did animals perceive things before the change what did the behavior of the universe look like for the 10 billion yrs before life existed-

perception of time is not a product of evolution. perhaps the speed at which brains do things changes through evolution and that creates a difference in the perceived speed. ie a fly with a tiny efficient brain sees the world in slow motion compared to us with our cumbersome, unwieldy brain abilities that go beyond those of a fly’s.

i believe the fact that time can be manipulated is absolute proof that it ‘exists’ and can be identified as a product of something, such as the interaction of messenger particles and some undiscovered medium, or the density of some undescribed medium that can be affected by speed and gravity.

when you go fast(/go near a lot of gravity) relative to bob, the things that bob sees, you see happen faster. the things you see on your spaceship that are moving with you, bob sees happen slower.

but its not just perception, it actually HAPPENS slower. the clock on your ship, when brought back to see bob who syncronized it with his before you left, will not say the same time. it shows the time that a clock would say if you grabbed some part of the machine and made it go slower.

but nothing grabbed it that we can see. something grabbed it. something grabbed all the stuff on your spaceship and made it go slower than it would if you were at rest relative to bob.

WHAT IS THAT. the answer we have really comes in the form of "everything happens at exactly the speed of light, including all small parts of the clock.“and then"when bob sees light go, its always the speed of light, even if the light is on a spaceship that is moving”

so why the hell does light go at the same speed if both me and bob agree that we are not travelling the same speed. and when im on my spaceship and i look at that light beam travel at the speed of light, and i look at bob relative to the light i say to myself, “theres no way bob is looking at this light and saying that its going the speed of light because i am moving”

but it DOES. that is the question of time. why is the speed of light constant. how who what. baffling. please enlighten me.

i almost forgot, wdmc, your reason for why time doesnt exist basically sounds like: since we cant trust our memory, we dont know that the current instant is the only real one and the rest was fakely zapped into what we mistake for our memory. shutup.