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Old 02-27-2006, 02:26 PM   #16
a different tim
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I wouldn't call it an arbitrary construct. Those Caesium atoms vibrate more slowly than other Caesium atoms in a measurable way. The word may be arbitrary but the concept seems to provide a measurably accurate model of the natural phenomenon, which is all we can ask of our theories.

I only subscribe to conditions delineated by rods and clocks.....

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Old 02-27-2006, 02:40 PM   #17
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anthonyjfuchs wrote
A second is measured as a given number of vibrations of a given isotope; if moving that isotope at one-tenth the speed of light changes the vibration frequency (whereby one could say that the second has become longer or shorter), does that really change the second?

Or, conversely, does calling a given number of vibrations of a given isotope a "second" make a "second" any more a tangible thing the way that a rock or a blade of grass is a real thing? The vibrations are tangible; calling 9-billion of them (and change) a "second" is as arbitrary as finding a heretofore unknown species of bird in the rainforest and calling it a "gringleblatt." It's just the word we assign to the natural phenomenon.

The fact that physical changes to the basis of our time-measurement standards can change those measurements -- speed causing a second to slow down -- to me at least, indicates that the "time" we're measuring isn't anymore than our own arbitrary construct.
All your examples are of human measurements of time, and yes things like a "second" or a "year" are arbitrary constructs. What of a Planck Second (the time it takes the speed of light to cross the Planck Length)? That doesn't seem like an arbitrary unit of time (though it is another human measurement). From what I understand, you have (simply) your spatial dimensions x, y and z, and your temporal dimension t. The speed of any "object" in the universe through all 4 dimensions is equal to C. By increasing speed along one axis, you reduce speed along another axis (if you accelerate a spaceship close to the speed of light, you remove some of that spaceship's velocity along t in relation to the rest of the universe and transfer it to x y or z). This seems to make time less of an abstract and more of an actual part of the physical universe.

Also, wouldn't your arguments against time work equally well against space? The length from the king’s nose to his outstretched hand is tangible; calling one of them a "meter" is arbitrary (this reminds me of a logical conundrum where "The Meter" is not equal to the length of a meter). So, would you be in favor of calling all of "space" that we're measuring an abstract as well (and if you do, can I start calling you Kant?)?

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 02-27-2006, 02:57 PM   #18
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no
:mad:
:lol::lol::lol::lol:

later. too busy now

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Old 02-27-2006, 03:03 PM   #19
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Isn't Time Dilation evidence that time is a dimension of the physical universe?
Ehhhhhhh...sorta?

A second is measured as a given number of vibrations of a given isotope; if moving that isotope at one-tenth the speed of light changes the vibration frequency (whereby one could say that the second has become longer or shorter), does that really change the second?

Or, conversely, does calling a given number of vibrations of a given isotope a "second" make a "second" any more a tangible thing the way that a rock or a blade of grass is a real thing? The vibrations are tangible; calling 9-billion of them (and change) a "second" is as arbitrary as finding a heretofore unknown species of bird in the rainforest and calling it a "gringleblatt." It's just the word we assign to the natural phenomenon.

The fact that physical changes to the basis of our time-measurement standards can change those measurements -- speed causing a second to slow down -- to me at least, indicates that the "time" we're measuring isn't anymore than our own arbitrary construct.
you're hung up on definitions. Time is what it is. If you want to know how many muons are going to be left in a cosmic shower at a certain altitude you had better factor in the propor time of the muons or you will get the wrong answer. It is irrelevent what you call a unit of time; atoms don't know or care, but they do follow certain rulesa that have the concept of time embedded in them, and if you want to be able to make any meaningful predictions regarding such systems you need to account for it. The rest is just semantics. Years may not exist, but I know that my sodium 22 (which is the source of the positrons I need to do my work) decays with a half life of 2.6 years. That means that after 2.6 years I have half as many positrons and my experiments are much more difficult. I also know that is my sodium 22 were to go on a trip at great speed and come back in 2.6 years there would be more than half as many positrons.

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Old 02-27-2006, 03:17 PM   #20
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When did this pop up? Has this been here all day??


A clarical error: "General Discussion about the Natural Sciences, including Biology and Physics " but no period (.) at the end.
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Old 02-27-2006, 03:30 PM   #21
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Isn't Time Dilation evidence that time is a dimension of the physical universe? If we can effect the speed of an object through dimension t, it seems like we're actually interacting with a physical construct of the universe, and not just some abstract a priori notion of convenience (but again, I'm no scientist, so I'm probably wrong :P).
First you have to define time. I see it as no more than the delta between configurations.

A bouncing ball has no inherent property of motion. Each successive image captured by your eyes builds on the previous image to reinforce the sense that the ball is moving. There is nowhere that the ball exists previously to the considered moment, other than as a memories in your mind and maybe the air molecules it interacted with.

Time dilation is a difference in the measured rate of time between two entities, hence the term relativity.

The timeless theory is more aligned with quantum logic, and does not require a pre-defined shape space within which to operate.

"Science and Mother Nature are in a marriage where Science is always surprised to come home and find Mother Nature blowing the neighbor." - Justin's Dad
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Old 02-27-2006, 03:44 PM   #22
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Isn't Time Dilation evidence that time is a dimension of the physical universe? If we can effect the speed of an object through dimension t, it seems like we're actually interacting with a physical construct of the universe, and not just some abstract a priori notion of convenience (but again, I'm no scientist, so I'm probably wrong :P).
First you have to define time. I see it as no more than the delta between configurations.

A bouncing ball has no inherent property of motion. Each successive image captured by your eyes builds on the previous image to reinforce the sense that the ball is moving. There is nowhere that the ball exists previously to the considered moment, other than as a memories in your mind and maybe the air molecules it interacted with.

Time dilation is a difference in the measured rate of time between two entities, hence the term relativity.

The timeless theory is more aligned with quantum logic, and does not require a pre-defined shape space within which to operate.
Yes, but as I stated above, couldn't you make the same argument for space (I had no idea there were so many Kantian's here :P)? The only contemporary physicist I've read who endorses timeless theory is Julian Barbour, so I can't claim to be an expert on the subject.

I should state I'm a Presentist, a theory where time exists, but only the present moment of time has ontological status, the past and the future are non-existent.

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 02-27-2006, 03:57 PM   #23
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Rhinoqulous wrote
Isn't Time Dilation evidence that time is a dimension of the physical universe? If we can effect the speed of an object through dimension t, it seems like we're actually interacting with a physical construct of the universe, and not just some abstract a priori notion of convenience (but again, I'm no scientist, so I'm probably wrong :P).
First you have to define time. I see it as no more than the delta between configurations.

A bouncing ball has no inherent property of motion. Each successive image captured by your eyes builds on the previous image to reinforce the sense that the ball is moving. There is nowhere that the ball exists previously to the considered moment, other than as a memories in your mind and maybe the air molecules it interacted with.

Time dilation is a difference in the measured rate of time between two entities, hence the term relativity.

The timeless theory is more aligned with quantum logic, and does not require a pre-defined shape space within which to operate.
Yes, but as I stated above, couldn't you make the same argument for space (I had no idea there were so many Kantian's here :P)? The only contemporary physicist I've read who endorses timeless theory is Julian Barbour, so I can't claim to be an expert on the subject.

I should state I'm a Presentist, a theory where time exists, but only the present moment of time has ontological status, the past and the future are non-existent.
That's like being a time-agnostic. C'mon, Rhino, give it up! :)

Barbour puts forth the best layman's description of timelesness. His book is a good start. You might have recognized my bouncing ball example as his kingfisher in flight example.

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Old 02-27-2006, 04:08 PM   #24
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but tenspace, the motion of your ball will precisely follow the least action principle, which contains an explicit statement of the behaviour of the ball as a function of time. In that sense the motion of the ball itself contains the "memory" of where it has been

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Old 02-27-2006, 05:50 PM   #25
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All this talk of time not existing makes me nervous. Is there any way to test this idea or is it purely conceptual? The point I was trying to make (poorly) is that if the idea of time as a dimension is helpful (and it certainly is with the concept of velocity shared in four dimensions) and practical (GPS wouldn't work without it), why bother with making such a claim as "time doesn't exist". Does it make more sense that way in situations I haven't heard of? Is there a thought experiment we can do that might distinguish between no-time and time?
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Old 02-27-2006, 06:48 PM   #26
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All this talk of time not existing makes me nervous. Is there any way to test this idea or is it purely conceptual? The point I was trying to make (poorly) is that if the idea of time as a dimension is helpful (and it certainly is with the concept of velocity shared in four dimensions) and practical (GPS wouldn't work without it), why bother with making such a claim as "time doesn't exist". Does it make more sense that way in situations I haven't heard of? Is there a thought experiment we can do that might distinguish between no-time and time?
Go to london and get pissed up in the boozer. At about 10.15 you will become acutely aware of time. It will seem to accelerate until you reach the no-event horizon at 11.00 when the barman calls out that most profound statement: "time gentlemen please"

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Old 02-27-2006, 07:02 PM   #27
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myst7426 wrote
A clarical error: "General Discussion about the Natural Sciences, including Biology and Physics " but no period (.) at the end.
When is the last time you read the title of a book and there was a fuckin period a the end of it? Huh, huh? Notice the capitalization not included in all of the other (short) sentances provided for descriptions of the categories.

K, I'm off to bed. The clock, which provides me with a manufactured time, says it's almost the beginning of a new day.

To pray is to verbalize that which some may have difficulty saying aloud in everyday life, in an effort to gain support or smarts from an outside source. I have no need for prayer. I am able to rationalize within my mind, and have no problem speaking it.
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Old 02-27-2006, 07:06 PM   #28
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All this talk of time not existing makes me nervous. Is there any way to test this idea or is it purely conceptual? The point I was trying to make (poorly) is that if the idea of time as a dimension is helpful (and it certainly is with the concept of velocity shared in four dimensions) and practical (GPS wouldn't work without it), why bother with making such a claim as "time doesn't exist". Does it make more sense that way in situations I haven't heard of? Is there a thought experiment we can do that might distinguish between no-time and time?
You're right in that time exists as a practical tool; it exists in the same way that language exists. That tall plant in the back yard with the leaves and branches and bark is a tree insofar as we assign the word "tree" to objects in that specific class of things. Had humans not evolved language, there would be no "tree" concept, because we would simply see that tall plant with the leaves and branches and bark and accept the object.

Language is a second level of interpretation that takes an object -- such as a tall planet with leaves and branches and bark -- and assigns a group of letters to that object -- such as TREE. The classic example is colors: the color you think of as "red" is only red insofar as you assign that word to that color. If you raised a child without external influence to assign the word "blue" to the color classically thought of as "red," then when I asked that child to think of the color blue, they would think of the same hue that you would think of if I asked you to think of the color red.

The concept of time is similar; it takes a phenomenon -- like 9-billion vibrations of a Caesium atom -- and assigns a word to that phenomenon -- like SECOND. A second does exist as an idea in much the same way, coincidentally, that gods exist purely as ideas despite the fact that they do not exist in reality. If we had assigned the word "second" to, say, 7-billion vibrations of a Xenon atom, then our concept of time would be completely different despite still being based on a completely natural phenomenon.

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Old 02-27-2006, 07:21 PM   #29
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Is there any way to test this idea or is it purely conceptual?
Try this; it'll take a while, but it'll probably be worth it. Probably.

Set up a tank of water in your backyard a few feet off the ground, and set a valve that drips water slowly by consistently. At sunrise, place an empty bucket under the drip and let it collect water until sunset; at sunset, switch out the bucket with another empty one and allow that one to fill until sunrise. Measure the volume of water in each bucket and repeat this process for one calendar year. I told you it would take a while.

You'll notice a few things:

1) Adding together the volumes of any two consecutive "sunrise-to-sunset" and "sunset-to-sunrise" buckets (in that order) will give roughly the same number; this establishes the natural phenomenon of the "day."
2) Chart the volumes of just the "sunrise-to-sunset" buckets, or just the "sunset-to-sunrise" buckets; you will find a broad sine curve. The highest point on the curve -- the point at which the light part of the day is the longest (since "more water" = "more light") -- is the summer solstice; the lowest point on the curve -- the point at which the dark part of the day is the longest -- is the winter solstice.
3) The two points on the curve that represent the two days with equal volumes of light and dark are the two equinox days; the one after the summer solstice is the autumnal equinox, while the one after the winter solstice is the vernal equinox.
4) Take the number you acquired from 1) -- the length, or "volume," of one day -- and divide that number by 24; you just invented the hour. Divide that number by 60; you just invented the minute. Divide that number by 60; you just...well, you get the idea.

If you begin a new curve on the summer solstice -- which you've identified simply by marking the period of light with the largest volume of water -- and chart the curve until the next summer solstice, you just invented a solar year that corresponds with nothing more than the rising and setting of the sun. To invent months, simply track the appearance of the moon; full moon to full moon gives you a lunar month.

Now cross-reference your solar year with your lunar months, and you've invented a calendar with nothing more than a couple buckets of water and drawings of the moon. Congrats! (Well, technically I invented it, but I'll let you tell the hot chicks at the party that you did if it'll help you get some play :D)

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Old 02-27-2006, 08:26 PM   #30
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Now cross-reference your solar year with your lunar months, and you've invented a calendar with nothing more than a couple buckets of water and drawings of the moon. Congrats! (Well, technically I invented it, but I'll let you tell the hot chicks at the party that you did if it'll help you get some play :D)
Awsome experiment :)

And thanks for letting us tell people it is our own idea to achieve "personal gain." That's what I love about real science. The willingness-- and eagerness-- to share data :D
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