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Posted: 27 May 2010 09:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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dougsmith - 26 May 2010 07:00 AM

The movement of time is an illusion, corresponding to nothing in physical reality.

corresponding to nothing physical…
like the waves on the shore, or your heart beat, or the clouds passing through the sky, or the sun circling the earth ( cheese )
hold your breath, for another proof of the illusory nature of time. . . . . .

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Posted: 27 May 2010 12:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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dougsmith - 26 May 2010 03:04 PM
StephenLawrence - 26 May 2010 02:33 PM

Why do we have a frame of reference at all?

I don’t understand the question. It’s like asking, “Why am I someplace rather than no place?” If you were no place, you wouldn’t be asking the question. In fact, you wouldn’t exist at all. In order to exist, you have to exist within some frame of reference or other. You have to exist at some place and time. (And in some state of motion w/r/t the rest of the universe, etc.)


But I’m not asking why I’m spread over spacetime coordinates from birth to death.

I’m asking why I have the frame of reference I do now. Now is not where I am in time, as I’m spread from birth to death.

dougsmith - 26 May 2010 03:04 PM
StephenLawrence - 26 May 2010 02:33 PM

And why is it what we consider to be now, rather than some other time within our lifetimes?

I also don’t understand that question. Every time is considered to be now during our lifetimes.

Again, why this now rather than some other now, within the time I live?

It’s like having a frame of reference that I’m where my foot is or where my heart is etc. Why these places rather than some other places where parts of me exist? Of course over space we don’t do this, we don’t think we are where our foot is or where our heart is etc.

I think you don’t understand the questions because you are not really taking the block universe theory seriously.

Stephen

[ Edited: 27 May 2010 12:49 PM by StephenLawrence ]
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Posted: 27 May 2010 12:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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asanta - 26 May 2010 05:33 PM

Stephen, because life is immensely easier when you have measurements that everyone can agree upon..

This has nothing to do with it. Are you a four dimensional object? If so you are not here now. So why do you have this frame of reference?

Stephen

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Posted: 27 May 2010 12:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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Jackson - 26 May 2010 03:32 PM
StephenLawrence - 26 May 2010 02:33 PM
dougsmith - 26 May 2010 07:00 AM

The stuff about time on the other hand is absolutely correct, at least as I’d been taught it in the past. In particular, the notion of “now” is relative to one’s reference frame, so all times in the universe are equally “now”, so really the universe is best understood as a single four-dimensional spacetime manifold.

Similar question from me as on the supertask thread (hope that’s ok).

Why do we have a frame of reference at all? And why is it what we consider to be now, rather than some other time within our lifetimes?

Stephen

erggh I knew the thread would be hijacked by philosophers…. LOL

I really wish I could understand your attitude Jackson.

I really don’t see why my question isn’t science?

Stephen

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Posted: 27 May 2010 01:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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StephenLawrence - 26 May 2010 02:33 PM

Why do we have a frame of reference at all? And why is it what we consider to be now, rather than some other time within our lifetimes?

As I said in another post here, I wonder what role consciousness plays in all of this. From a perspective of “somebody” who is watching our universe from the “outside,” the frames of your existence when you are born and the moment you die happen simultaneously (actually they don’t really “happen”; they are just there). Now, the only person who experiences you “now” is only yourself. If I was falling down inside a black hole you would never see me actually fall in; from your perspective I would appear to be hovering above the black hole forever. From my point of view I would be dead within a second. This tells us that your “now” is different from mine, but it still doesn’t explain why we feel “now” now. My guess is, once again, it has to do something with our consciousness that gives our universe a sense of time. Think of a motion picture where all the frames of the movie exist at the same time, but the moment of “now” (now Forrest Gump opens his box of chocolate) will appear in the movie only as long as somebody is watching it to move.

It is also quite possible that there is an infinite number of “you” in every infinite number of the “block universe” frames, with its own consciousness. There are two possibilities here: 1.) consciousness—I am almost afraid to say this—resides “outside of our time/space,” and 2.) “you” (billions upon billions of you) are aware right now and forever of every second of your life; there is you now and there is you ten years ago (he [you] is experiencing that moment right now).

Or something like that…  grin

[ Edited: 27 May 2010 01:09 PM by George ]
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Posted: 27 May 2010 01:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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George - 27 May 2010 01:01 PM
StephenLawrence - 26 May 2010 02:33 PM

Why do we have a frame of reference at all? And why is it what we consider to be now, rather than some other time within our lifetimes?

As I said in another post here, I wonder what role consciousness plays in all of this.

 

Well firstly George, thanks for following what I’m saying! Asanta and Jackson, sorry Asanta and Jackson, are totally missing the significance of the block universe view, totally missing what the illusion of time (or not) is all about. It makes my head spin to think about it but I’m trying and if you don’t try don’t bother.


I have the same thoughts, consciousness seems to play a role here. 

I’ll think about the rest of your post.

Stephen

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Posted: 27 May 2010 01:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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George - 27 May 2010 01:01 PM
StephenLawrence - 26 May 2010 02:33 PM

Why do we have a frame of reference at all? And why is it what we consider to be now, rather than some other time within our lifetimes?

As I said in another post here, I wonder what role consciousness plays in all of this.

Further thoughts…........

Yes, your question is a good one.

Perhaps it helps to put my question from a different angle.

Think of an object, say a chair, imagine there are no conscious beings. Does the chair have a frame of reference? Presumably not.

Stephen

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Posted: 27 May 2010 02:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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Stephen, you are turning this into a philosophy thread!!  smile

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Posted: 27 May 2010 02:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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asanta - 27 May 2010 02:17 PM

Stephen, you are turning this into a philosophy thread!!  smile

Well if this is philosophy then science has very little to tell us about time.

Stephen

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Posted: 27 May 2010 02:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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StephenLawrence - 27 May 2010 12:23 PM

I’m asking why I have the frame of reference I do now. Now is not where I am in time, as I’m spread from birth to death.

Same question for why are you “here” rather than “there”. I don’t share the same concern to answer that question.

StephenLawrence - 27 May 2010 12:23 PM

I think you don’t understand the questions because you are not really taking the block universe theory seriously.

Hm. I would have said the same of you. It seems to me that you can only be intrigued by those sorts of questions by thinking there is something special of “now”.

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Posted: 27 May 2010 02:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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StephenLawrence - 27 May 2010 02:27 PM
asanta - 27 May 2010 02:17 PM

Stephen, you are turning this into a philosophy thread!!  smile

Well if this is philosophy then science has very little to tell us about time.

Stephen

Oh crumbs, of course I have to concede this is philosophy of time.

Time from a scientific point of view is pretty amazing, bendy stuff that isn’t stuff, as it’s made of nothing, but real none the less.

but time’s arrow, and why we have the sense we are getting closer to a point in the future, the sense of time passing, these are really interesting questions about time.

Philosophy yes, but questions for scientists to answer, I hope.

Stephen

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Posted: 27 May 2010 02:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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dougsmith - 27 May 2010 02:44 PM
StephenLawrence - 27 May 2010 12:23 PM

I’m asking why I have the frame of reference I do now. Now is not where I am in time, as I’m spread from birth to death.

Same question for why are you “here” rather than “there”. I don’t share the same concern to answer that question.

But I’m not here.

Stephen

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Posted: 04 June 2010 02:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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StephenLawrence - 27 May 2010 02:47 PM

Oh crumbs, of course I have to concede this is philosophy of time.

Time from a scientific point of view is pretty amazing, bendy stuff that isn’t stuff, as it’s made of nothing, but real none the less.

but time’s arrow, and why we have the sense we are getting closer to a point in the future, the sense of time passing, these are really interesting questions about time.

Philosophy yes, but questions for scientists to answer, I hope.

I wanted to start a post on time in the philosophy section, but it is convenient to tag on to Doug’s post here, because the nature of time and how we experience time is essentially a metaphysical query. Science only considers time as a sequence of moments in a linear order (clock time) and scientists normally do not consider other concepts of time. OTOH, we subjectively experience time as a sequence of “presents” and the “flow” of time as non linear. We intuitively know that we cannot change the past (we can only remember it), but we can change the future (free will) by what we do now. However, we cannot stop the “flow” of time. We can stand still in space (wrt to the earth), but we cannot stand still in time (wrt to anything). Why is it so?

From this website on the Nature of time

In the next few paragraphs I will show that time is an emergent concept. There is an underlaying process of motion and forces from which time emerges, however what we perceive as time is mostly an illusion. Our memory creates the illusion of the past. Conscious perception of events gives the feeling of present. Future is a mental construct patterned on memory experience of the past.  Concept of time emerges as our mind tries to make sense of the world around us which is filled with continuous change.

Problems with the block universe, which is eternalism (the past, present and future exist):

Block universe theory or the static theory of time presents a few problems and paradoxes which need to be examined.  If future already exists there cannot be a free will.

Even in the smallest duration of time there should be infinite number of copies of everything including the whole universe.

If time-scape is already laid out then what causes us to perceive these events and what is moving through this time-scape? Is our consciousness moving across time? What makes it move and why we cannot willfully move it anywhere in time?

Mc Taggart and the illusion of time:

The past present and future aspect of time is constantly changing, future events are moving to present and then into past and then further back into past.  This aspect deals with feeling of flow of time. This constantly changing relationship is also essential to description of time. McTaggart felt that time is unreal because distinction of past present and future (a changing relationship) is more essential to time then the fixed relationship of earlier and later.

Is the present an infinitesimal?

Present is the most real perception of time however almost all of what we perceive as the present is already past. The present is a fleeting moment, whatever is happening now (present) is confined to an infinitesimally narrow point on the time line which is being encroached upon by what we think of as the past and the future.

Present has great resemblance to the sharp recording point of laser or needle while past being a duration or extension resembles the recorded material like tape or CD.

Present I believe is mental awareness of the recording of memory into our brain. A person may go to an event but fall asleep and miss the event completely. So that event basically does not exist in his past. Unless we are consciously aware of an event it does not enter our past memory

A partial definition of time:

      Time is an emergent concept which our mind creates
      It is due to the presence of motion and forces in the universe

Does this definition of time make sense. What do you think?

[ Edited: 04 June 2010 03:35 AM by kkwan ]
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Posted: 04 June 2010 04:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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kkwan - 04 June 2010 02:54 AM

      Time is an emergent concept which our mind creates
      It is due to the presence of motion and forces in the universe

Does this definition of time make sense. What do you think?

No. Time is what makes change and motion possible. Change and motion are the way we see time. One cannot do with the other. We cannot define one concept without referring the other. And that is perfectly OK: it is the same with e.g. evolution and newtonian mechanics.

Critics of evolution say that it is a circular definition: how do you recognise the ‘fittest’? It is the one who survives and replicates. And why do they survive? Because they are the fittest… But still evolution theory is the best theory we have, i.e. that fits the empirical data best (fossiles, DNA etc).

Same with newtonian mechanics: one cannot define mass without referring to force. One cannot define force without referring to a mass. Still space craft travel through space based on newtonian mechanics…

The problem with the kind of above argumentation that science is thought that it has to be build on rock solid logical grounds. It is highly dependent on the metaphor of a building: it must have a very reliable base.  But in fact we should not expect more of science that it fits the data. So while the philosophers are looking for what all these concepts really mean, the scientists just work on… Only in seldom periods of ‘paradigma changes’ these discussions are done by scientists. They are never done by technicians.

GdB

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Posted: 04 June 2010 06:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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GdB - 04 June 2010 04:45 AM

Critics of evolution say that it is a circular definition: how do you recognise the ‘fittest’? It is the one who survives and replicates. And why do they survive? Because they are the fittest… But still evolution theory is the best theory we have, i.e. that fits the empirical data best (fossiles, DNA etc).

Just nitpicking, but this really is not true. First, the ‘fittest’ not only survive and reproduce, but reproduce the most—reproducing is not enough, it is the numbers that make a difference. Second, animals and plants (fungi, etc.) don’t reproduce because they are the fittest, but because they are better adopted to their environment. There is really nothing circular about the mechanism of evolution.

[ Edited: 04 June 2010 06:52 AM by George ]
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