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Old 11-05-2007, 10:43 AM   #1
Philboid Studge
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It's About Time

Every six months or so,* a time thread kicks up. What is time? Can it even be defined without tautology?

Per Smelly's suggestion, I wanted to shift this discussion over here, so that such frivolities do not sully the Shitlord thread. (Now that I've read the whole thread to this point, I see rhinoq formally requests we launch a new thread. Start with this one; if it's too bollixed, just delete and launch a purdier one.)

The time tangent starts here --http://ravingatheists.com/forum/showpost.php?p=448007&postcount=1579 -- more or less.

Choobus: "Time is best defined as a variable quantity of motion that describes the seperation of events in terms of the inertial frame in which they occur. It's a shit description and when we get a better one we will start to unlock more secrets of Nature."

(As I recall, another time thread once ended with Choobus (?) stating that time won't be figured out until we unlock more secrets of the brain.)

AJFuchs and Rhinoq weighed in, as did Rat Bastard, (Choobus must have him on 'ignore' because he repeated him, unless my understanding of the sequence of posts is distorted by some phenomenal event).

There's more in the Shitlord thread; please bring it over here.

Can we get a theist to weigh in? I can't decide whether a believer would be reluctant to consider time-as-an-illusion ['illusion' isn't quite right] because that would cut the balls off an atemporal god, or that timelessness would be a welcome addition to the apologetics' repertoire, since it would unravel certain contradictions that have been giving their theology wedgies for millennia. Lurker?

Please post links or references of further reading!

Rhinoq did, this one: http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Unreality_of_Time

I haven't picked up Julian Barbour's The End of Time: The Next Revolution in Physics yet, but I plan to. He has a long interview here, which includes a few appetizing basics.

*By "six months" I mean the Eternal Now

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Old 11-05-2007, 10:54 AM   #2
calpurnpiso
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I suggest the BBC series TIME produced by Dr Kaku.
http://www.mkaku.org/books-tv-film/

Christians and other folks infected with delusional beliefs think and reason like schizophrenics or temporal lobe epileptics. Their morality is dictated by an invisible friend called Jesus.
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Old 11-05-2007, 10:56 AM   #3
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Barbour's book is interesting, he presents a "timeless" universe, which can be pictured using a tool of geometry. Take a triangle, and divide the interior into a series of points, with each point representing the lengths of the respective sides of a triangle. Points closer to one side represent longer lengths of that side of a triangle, and the center point is an equilateral triangle. Now replace "triangle lengths" with "universe configurations" and you have Barbour's theory. Each point is a possible configuration of space/time, and "history" is a particular path along these points.

Now, the biggest problem I had with this is two-fold. First, he doesn't "remove" time as he claims, he still lacks an adequate explanation for why time is experienced. Second, he's assuming an Archimedean (sp?) point of reference that is impossible (unless Barbour grants there are these "triangle-maps" for every possible point-of-reference, which seems ontologically sloppy).

Wait just a minute-You expect me to believe-That all this misbehaving-Grew from one enchanted tree? And helpless to fight it-We should all be satisfied-With this magical explanation-For why the living die-And why it's hard to be a decent human being - David Bazan
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Old 11-05-2007, 11:14 AM   #4
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If anyone is interested in a perspective regarding time which is rarely pursued I would recommend Edmund Husserl's Phenomenology of Internal Time Consciousness. He, and later existentialists, argue that the recognition of time. the awareness of now and past, is the foundation of what consciousness is. How it distinguishes itself from everything else. a Quote: " The sensation of a duration is not the same as the duration of a sensation"
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Old 11-05-2007, 12:50 PM   #5
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Random Musings on Time

I've been playing with the idea of time for about a decade now, and I understand less now than when I began. One of the key concepts that has always bugged me is the supposed "flow" of time, or time's arrow, pointing from past to future. I've read many books trying to explain why time flows in one direction and not the other, and I'm starting to think that the real problem is we're looking at the whole thing wrong.

As mentioned elsewhere, Kant viewed Time (and Space) as simple extension, an a priori notion required for experience. A flow or arrow is not assumed in this view of time, and I don't think it's really needed. For (most) of physics, time is treated symmetrically, the "direction" of the flow doesn't matter (except for a couple instances in QM that IIRC deal with the weak nuclear force, Choob probably knows). Also, the phenomenal experience of time is static; we'll always experience time at the same rate (baring chemical alterations to the brain, but this would not affect the actual rate of time but our perception of it). This is shown in the "Twin Paradox" (I've never understood why this is considered a "paradox"). Now, taking physics (mostly) symmetrical treatment of time, and the consistency of experienced phenomenal time, I came up with this thought experiment a few years ago.

Say we had the capability to "close off" a pocket of the universe and reverse the "flow" of time. From our point of reference outside the "pocket" time would flow in reverse: from future to past, from disorder to order, etc. But, say there was an observer inside the pocket. Being that all other known instances of "time dilation" from different points of reference maintain the constant "rate" of time for particular observers (the Twin on the ship experiences the flow of time as the same as the Twin left on Earth), couldn't we conclude that an observer inside the "pocket" would observe nothing peculiar about times flow inside the pocket, but time outside the pocket would seem to be moving in reverse? Now, I know there are many problems with this thought experiment, but my main point of it is to illustrate the "experience" of time. Even if time were moving in "reverse", we would experience it no different than how we do now, and wouldn't even be able to make such a claim without a reference to time not flowing in the "right" direction.

So what need is there for the arrow of time? It seems to make more sense to simply view time as "extended", much like space is "extended". Reversing the extension of time (or space-time) does not result in an opposite flow, but with a non-spatial-non-temporal point. That physics itself (mostly) ignores the direction of time seems to point towards the unreality of a "flow" (not the unreality of time, just that there is a distinct flow in one direction), and to ask why time goes in one direction is as strange as asking why space extends "out" and not "in".

Just some of my random, disassociated stoned musings on time. Feel free to rip them apart as you see fit.

Wait just a minute-You expect me to believe-That all this misbehaving-Grew from one enchanted tree? And helpless to fight it-We should all be satisfied-With this magical explanation-For why the living die-And why it's hard to be a decent human being - David Bazan
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Old 11-05-2007, 01:08 PM   #6
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Quote:
Rhinoq wrote
One of the key concepts that has always bugged me is the supposed "flow" of time, or time's arrow, pointing from past to future.
One of the definitions of time on the intertubes: "the continuum of experience in which events pass from the future through the present to the past "

Notice that the "arrow" comes from the future -- describing the same friggin flow!

Quote:
Say we had the capability to "close off" a pocket of the universe and reverse the "flow" of time. From our point of reference outside the "pocket" time would flow in reverse ...
I've read in more than one place that if you captured macro levels of the cosmos on film, it wouldn't matter whether you played the tape backwards or forwards -- it would look essentially the same. (As always, Choobus knows all and will fill in the appropriate gaping cracks.)

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Old 11-05-2007, 01:21 PM   #7
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Philboid Studge wrote View Post
One of the definitions of time on the intertubes: "the continuum of experience in which events pass from the future through the present to the past "

Notice that the "arrow" comes from the future -- describing the same friggin flow!
That's one thing I've noticed, a lot of attempts to define the "flow" of time end up being circular in nature.

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I've read in more than one place that if you captured macro levels of the cosmos on film, it wouldn't matter whether you played the tape backwards or forwards -- it would look essentially the same. (As always, Choobus knows all and will fill in the appropriate gaping cracks.)
That's my point, viewing time as "flowing" is artificial. Like Leibniz's spinning bucket, we don't have a frame of reference to even claim that it's flowing, it's simply extended.

Wait just a minute-You expect me to believe-That all this misbehaving-Grew from one enchanted tree? And helpless to fight it-We should all be satisfied-With this magical explanation-For why the living die-And why it's hard to be a decent human being - David Bazan
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Old 11-05-2007, 07:39 PM   #8
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I don't have enough time to do this thread justice but here is a brief summary:

the arrow of time points right up the arse of entropy, but it takes a right turn at causality.

You can always turn tricks for a few extra bucks. If looks are an issue, there's the glory hole option, but don't expect more than ... tips.
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Old 11-05-2007, 09:20 PM   #9
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I don't have enough time to do this thread justice but here is a brief summary:

the arrow of time points right up the arse of entropy, but it takes a right turn at causality.
I think I had a colonoscopy that played out like that.
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Old 11-06-2007, 11:36 AM   #10
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I think I had a colonoscopy that played out like that.
Hmm..did the doctor made you stand up naked while he stood behind you placing both of his hands on your shoulders so he could lubricate the area where the endoscope was going to enter? Did he dismiss the assistants? Hmm..did you hear soothing music to calm your nerves? Did he keep his hands on your shoulders while the procedure was taking place? Didn't you suddenly star dreaming of Christ heaven and his promised salvation?

AHH... you did not have a colonoscopy my friend, you had a Fuckifunscopy.

Christians and other folks infected with delusional beliefs think and reason like schizophrenics or temporal lobe epileptics. Their morality is dictated by an invisible friend called Jesus.
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Old 11-06-2007, 11:58 AM   #11
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yeah yeah funny cal--way to freak people out.

I know for one my doctor does all of those things just to put patients at ease.

I found the experience fine--especially with the newer soft touch coloniscopes with the spef lubricating tip.

THe only problem with them I see is the constant pushing that they have to do to make sure...that...it...

oh...

....i need to go and shower now....sob...
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Old 11-06-2007, 12:00 PM   #12
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Can't we have even one thread that doesn't degenerate into talk of anal violation?

Wait just a minute-You expect me to believe-That all this misbehaving-Grew from one enchanted tree? And helpless to fight it-We should all be satisfied-With this magical explanation-For why the living die-And why it's hard to be a decent human being - David Bazan
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Old 11-06-2007, 01:05 PM   #13
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Can't we have even one thread that doesn't degenerate into talk of anal violation?
I agree and I will take the blame. I should have resisted the urge to comment. As you were...
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Old 11-06-2007, 01:13 PM   #14
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Can't we have even one thread that doesn't degenerate into talk of anal violation?

Never give a zombie girl a piggy back ride.
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Old 11-06-2007, 01:54 PM   #15
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Can't we have even one thread that doesn't degenerate into talk of anal violation?
Welcome to the internet--enjoy your time here and remember the seat cushion is also a floatation device.
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