∆ Common assumed, but imo, invalid, 'proofs' of Time.

Common facts that are, it seems to me, misunderstood as in some way proving that Time exists.

 
 

The Hubble Deep field image is a vast mine of incredible information.
But no matter how many amazing things things it does tell us, does it also in any way prove that Time exists.

There seems to be a tremendous amount of accurate, and concurring evidence that suggests 'Time' exists. No doubt all of this evidence proves something, but perhaps all the evidence only proves that matter can exist, move,change and interact. I.e. perhaps we should be careful about saying "there is a vast amount of evidence - therefore it must prove what we 'assume' ".

This chapter is a summing up of the main ‘classic’ proofs and dis-proofs covered so far, and so it contains summaries of examples already given but pulled together in one location.





The notion of time persists.

The notion of time persists as an illusion with the constant support of our very willing and enthusiastic cooperation, what I mean by this is that rather like a lynch mob we seem to have and extremely strong bias towards seeing and interpreting anything around us as being evidence to support what we think must be true.

Along with this we seem to link the ‘grandness’ of any piece of evidence as relating to how right our assumption is.

What I'm trying to say here is if we examine evidence with the initial 'understanding' that the word ‘time’ refers to something that is generally believed to consist of three main elements called the past, the present, the future, and a one way flow between them, and which may be ‘absolute’ and fixed throughout the universe, or may be ‘relative’ and flexible; then although we may think we have started off with an open mind, we have already possibly made a number of serious errors. Because from that point we go on to explore the universe seeing if any of the evidence might fit our assumptions.

The problem being here that in our open mindedness in considering the features time may or may not have, we miss considering the possibility that time does not exist at all.

To show what I mean let’s review some ‘famous’ examples all of which are often quoted as proving or support the existence of time, which make sense if you start off by assuming time exists, but seem to show only that matter exists, moves, changes and interacts, without any need for time to exist at all, if you look at them without a predisposition…

 

  • Our own memories are proof of the past.
  • History books and artifacts prove the past happened.
  • The past keeps growing.
  • Things must take time to move.
  • The future seems to keep arriving.
  • Clocks and calendars mark out time.
  • We grow and age and die, always in the same ‘direction’.
  • Entropy, the apparent one way flow of events, proves ‘the arrow of time’ exists.
  • The age of the universe is accurately known, so time must exist.
  • Carbon dating tells us very accurately the dates of long past events.
  • Time dilation, the stretching and warping of time, has been proven.
  • Time must exist because the maths works.
  • Time must exist because the idea that ‘There is no universal ‘now’, has been proven.

 

Our own personal confirmation of at least the most basic existence of time comes from examining the complicated ‘external’ constructions around us, manmade structures, animals, or natural geographical features and so on, all of which we say must have ‘taken time’ (years or millennia) to get to be so intricate – this evidence combined and compared to our own ‘internal’ seems to be cast iron proof of ‘the past’, so let’s summarise this internal and external evidence first.


Our own memories are proof of the past.

see also >>>  ∆ Timeless memories.

Intimately related to the idea that events happen, and get added to the past, so the past grows, which must mean it exists, is the evidence provided by our own memories.

We seem to have our own ‘steadily growing’ proof of the past because we have our own personal memories. Our own memories are unique to us and perfectly integrated with us. As such, assuming we have no mental disorders, they represent perfect evidence, evidence that we collected purely by ourselves and that no one could have tampered with.

 So a well functioning memory constitutes the most reliable collection of evidence that we can have about the world around us, and when we look ‘around’ our memories we find a highly ‘chronologically’ ordered set of perfectly agreeing records about ourselves and the world around us.

We can lay back, close our eyes and without any external input our internal memories show for example how we constantly grew ‘up’ but not down, ‘older’ but not ‘younger’ if you prefer. And we may remember being smaller, and wearing clothes when we were younger and smaller that would most certainly be too small for us to wear now, and so on.

We can also correlate our ‘internal memories’ with external photographs and structures, old school buildings or homes etc, and with stories from friends and family and see that they all match.

However, we may confuse the integrity, reliability and agreement of these internal mental impressions with what they actually mean or prove.

To create an impression in a ‘mind’ we need for example to see or hear something, as this happens our biology works to change the physical organisation of some part of our brain to make a mental ‘impression’ of the event.

This mental impression, like a photograph, audio recording, fossil etc, can be seen to be no more than a sophisticated version of a ‘footprint in mud’, in that two things exist – the mud and the foot – and one affects the shape of the other if the first has energy, and the second is the more malleable.

In this way we can see that no matter how amazing our own ‘memories’ are an no matter what sensations or information we can get by accessing them, they are created if matter is interacting, and they just exist now.

 And, while if it has been proved elsewhere that all this interaction can only happen ‘over time’ then our memories are clearly ‘proof’ that this is true, and a result of time existing and having an effect; our memories do not provide this proof.

Our memories do in a sense prove that things happened, or more accurately, they prove that things are happening; our memories prove that mater exists and can interact, but if the existence of time has not been proven elsewhere, - in particular that there is some other deeply mysterious record of events that is not stored here in simple physical matter – but is stored in a totally different form in some other dimension - then our memories actually show, and prove, that ‘time is not needed’ for human memories to exist and to appear exactly as they do to us.


History books and artifacts prove the past exists.


See also >> ∆ Einsteins 'Distinctions'.

This is  very delicate point to address, while it is clear that things are happening, this suggests 'things have happened'... but this inturn suggests that a thing or place called 'the past' exists - Because we 'say' "things that have happened 'are' 'in the past'. At this point we have to be very, very, very clear indeed as to whether we really think, and can prove that there is a plae called 'the past', in which 'past things' 'are' - or whether even the idea of 'the past' is just a thing that is here now in our minds. - In the bluntest language does 'the past' exist or not?

The Apollo Luna missions happened decades ago, World war two happened, more than half a century ago, the battle of Hastings happened, centuries ago, dinosaurs happened millennia ago, and so on... and all of this can be said to be in a sense true.

Volcanoes, sedimentary rocks, fossils, cave paintings, stone tablets, scrolls, tapestries, portraits, history books, museum artifacts, film, audio recordings, video tapes and so on all corroborate and prove this ‘history’ in a billion flawlessly integrated ways, and yet the fact that we can examine all this evidence and agree on what it means proves, that all of this evidence is here now.

More importantly, all that this evidence directly proves is that living creatures can die in mud and become fossilised, cavemen can drag charcoal sticks against cave walls, seamstresses, scribes, artists and scientist can all do the same in more sophisticated ways and so on, and the results of their labours can be left in areas where there is not much ‘flowing energy[1]’ are therefore are not able to disintegrate rapidly.

But none of these artefacts, no matter how many of them there are (and in fact the entire universe is one such multifaceted ‘artefact’) proves anything other than that matter can exist, and (where there is energy), that it can move, change and interact with itself.

And specifically a ‘rock’, a ‘fossilised bone’, a segment of the Bayeux tapestry, or a strip of film you are holding in your hand, and so on do not directly prove the existence of an invisible ‘fourth dimension of time’ that enables events to happen while constantly also ‘dragging them off’ into ‘the past’.


The past keeps growing.


Whatever year it is we know that whether we number them or not, it is one year on from last year. We also know that lots of things happen each year. Of course this is a phenomenal understatement, it is more accurate to say that every year lots and lots of things happen, well ok, if you include everything that happens everywhere in the universe we could say an incalculable number of things happen each year.

So it seems fairly obvious that the ‘number of events’ that has happened is constantly growing, and, as past events are in, or added to, the past, which is behind us now, and so the past must keep growing.

The problem with this observation, ‘that the past is behind us and keeps growing’ is, ‘if the past does keep growing, how do we know?’

Consider it this way, to store any information; you need some matter, that is put in-formation. Every single ‘historical fact’ that anyone has ever ‘dis-covered’ has been the result of them discovering some matter information. Be it a meteorite, a flint axe, a document or a piece of film, or a pulse of x-rays from a distant galaxy, in every case there has to be some ‘thing’.

And for a person to discover this thing, they, and the ‘thing’ have to exist now.

Now what this means is if we ‘cordoned off’ Hollywood for example, they would eventually have to stop making movies for the simple fact that they would run out of ‘stuff’ to record the movies on. This is of course a ridiculous example but it makes a point (that matter is always needed to store records) that is often over looked simply because we have so much ‘matter’ available in the universe,

That the fact that -without exception, every apparent ‘record of the past’ must exist, in matter, here and now. Even the ‘idea’ that you may have in your mind ‘that this is not the case’, must exist in matter, here and now.

So, if time does exist, then the more organised and intricate formations of matter we see around us can be said to relate to ‘the past’ – but in themselves ‘any physical formation’ only proves that matter exists and that it can move and change and interact with itself to form intricate, or even intelligent, patterns.

And if matter in-formation is needed to store any record of events, then the entire universe is like a video tape that is already full – in that all of the matter is already in formation.

Any belief that we can add some extra information or record to what we have is it seems a misunderstanding, because all we will ever be doing is ‘moving’ existing matter around by grabbing some existing stuff (already information) and turning it into a memory chip or DVD etc; And if we then think we are writing onto a ‘blank tape’ we will again just be re-organising existing matter in-formation, and so will be erasing some other information, in the process of writing our ‘new’ stuff. But it just so happens that we as humans may not think about, or ‘care’ about the information we ‘write over’, but to the universe that is neither here nor there.

So the first problem with St Augustine’s quote at the start of this chapter is the idea that ‘the past has already gone’. This is a problem because it implies that ‘the past’ (as in the temporal past) exists, or existed, and has now gone.

In saying all or any of this we get ourselves confused, because even in saying something doesn’t exist we first imply that it does, or did. – This is a bit like saying ‘the thief was innocent’, or ‘magic isn’t real because it no longer exists’, because in the very sentence claiming one thing we state the opposite.

Considering that things may be ‘timeless’ shows us a way out here, because we can see that although it seems to make sense to say ‘millions of events are happening constantly’, and thus that ‘the past record of all events is constantly growing’, it also makes sense to say ‘everything is all just here now’. And that ‘everything is constantly ‘swirling’ around, interacting with itself, and some of the moving matter is leaving some records in some of the more ‘mark-able’ matter.

In this way we can see everything that is happening in the universe all at once, as one single ongoing, extremely intricate ‘event’.

In other words, if the above was the case, i.e. that there is just one big universe filled with energy and matter in billions of different forms, moving and changing constantly, but not necessarily ‘over time’. Then this universe would ‘very obviously’ give the impression, in places, that there were records of past events being created and existing.

Why ‘very obviously’? well look around you, we do very obviously live in a universe where there is one massive collection of interacting energy and matter, and we don’t have time machines, yet we are led to believe, by the stuff around us now, that records of the past are constantly created.

For example, in a ‘Time-based’, or a ‘timeless’ universe horses with tough hard hooves might exist, and soft malleable mud might exist. Therefore, if a ‘horse’ ran over some ‘mud’, the horse would leave clear deep hoof prints as evidence of its route, and the mud would leave bits of itself on the hooves as proof of its role.

What we may miss or discount is that while we are making and finding more evidence of the past, say uncovering a new roman archaeology site, there are countless other collections of matter ‘disintegrating’ and losing their apparent identity, or information.

We may ‘think’ that this doesn’t really matter, or count, because for example if we burn every newspaper report of an event, the event still ‘happened’. And this is in a sense true, however, the ‘idea’ that ‘destroying the newspapers doesn’t matter’, is a formation of matter that exists in your head.

I apologise for the convolutions here, but they are meant to untangle rather than tangle the problem up more. Essentially what I am saying is that if time does exist, then all this evidence that is around us now, supports the idea – but you need to provide some other proof that time exists first.

Because the evidence also makes sense if time does not exist, and therefore the ‘idea that the past exists and accumulates’ is not proven by the matter around us, and does not prove the existence of time.


Must things 'take' 'time' to move.


We assume that the fact ‘things move’ is related to and proves the existence of time. This stems from the idea that ‘things take time to move’ and from expressions of motion like 160 km per ‘hour’.

To see the problem here we need to be very clear about what an ‘hour’ really is.

Because we say ‘the Earth spins once a day’ and because we choose to chop the day up into 24 hours, we can see that an ‘hour’ really represents ‘one twenty fourth of a complete rotation’, or ‘15 degrees’ of rotation of the Earth.

So in simple terms using the word ‘hour’ (or any other ‘time’ based word) is not really a proof of anything other than the fact that the earth rotates.

If we think more about the size and constant rotation of the Earth, we see that on the Earths equator ’15 degrees’ is the same as about 1,600 kilometres, then we can say that in ‘an hour’, a ‘palm tree on the equator’ (or any other fixed reference point), travels 1,600 km.

 So when we say a car travels at 160 km per hour, we are really saying that ‘while a car may travel 160 km, a point on the equator will cover 1,600 km’.

This can also be expressed as ‘the car travels at one tenth the speed of a point on the equator’.

And if you look at this way of expressing the motion you can see that it is simply true, and doesn’t call on objects to move through ‘an infinite number of infinitely thin moments of time’, that can be ‘stuck together to make hours’ etc.

(web note- The essence here being, that all we observe is two things moving - the car moving and the earth spinning. All we ever do is compare these two examples of motion now, and express one in terms of it being a fraction of the other. A moves 1/10th the speed of B - but if we use the word 'hour' in the expression or maths we (in my opinion wrongly) think we have given credibility to 'hours' and time, and the passage of time, and the idea that things 'need' 'time' in which to move.)

The car example reversed.

If we flip this example around you may see the bias behind the first view.

If you say to me ‘there is a car travelling at one tenth the speed of a point on the earth’s equator’, then as long as I knew the right facts about the Earth (how big it is and how much angular momentum it has), I would know how fast the car is moving.

 But if I said, ok, let’s call 1/24th of the Earth’s constant rotation ‘an hour’, then we can say that the car travels 160 km per ‘hour’ – therefore I have proved that ‘hours’, and time, and the past, and the future all exist... you may not think I was being very scientific.

Like the other arguments (for time), they make sense, and seem to confirm times existence, if time has been proved elsewhere, but alone they do not prove or even point to the existence of anything other than ‘things moving, at different rates'.

So we observe that things move, and that we can compare their speeds, but saying that ‘things need time to move’ and therefore that we have proved that ‘time exists’, and that ‘time’ is essential for motion, is nothing more than a ‘semantic’ trick or error, unless there is some other proof of the existence of ‘hours’.

(Note here, the error of semantics might have effect in either way, i.e. I my explanation that time does not exist could be a collection of semantic errors, or other peoples belief that time does exist could be semantic errors. At this point it is worth going back to the raw facts.

(∆ Timeless v.Time distinctions. The issue is not semantics or rhetoric)

To believe in time you must believe in some combination of an invisible fourth dimensional entity, that flows invisibly from an un-seeable future into a kind of see-able but unreachable past, this entity ‘time’ being something that is essential for things to happen, does absolutely nothing without energy also being present, but ‘immediately’ has effect when and where energy is released. – to believe in ‘no time’ you have to believe that matter and energy exist around and within you, and that they can interact in many different ways.


The future seems to keep arriving.


See also >>> 3∆ The Future.

Given the idea that time exists, we suspect that there is a past and a future, and that new events in a sense appear out of the future.

We can think we observe this to be true just by sitting on a park bench, and realising that we cannot write in advance how the weather will be from hour to hour, who will turn up to or leave the park, just how much a dog may bark in one hour, and what the path of a kids football will be as it is kicked around. So in this way it seems as if new events keep constantly arriving.

But if you look at all this activity you will see that although you observe constantly changing movement and patterns, you never actually see any ‘thing’ that is new. That is you don’t see any new matter, or any new energy. All of the clouds, raindrops, rays of light, people dogs and footballs all just exist. The idea that the people etc only started existing as they entered the park, or your eyesight, is not really logical, and the idea that the clouds ‘came from somewhere’ and that all of the matter that makes them ceases to exist on a sunny day is equally dubious.

Of course this may not even be what you were thinking, but the point is, that if time does exist, then this endless dance of matter changing all around us would be good evidence of ‘the future constantly arriving’. And as such it would also be good evidence that the future exists, and from there it would make sense to examine the nature of ‘the future’.

But if there is no time, just the same massive collection of matter existing throughout the universe constantly mixing and swirling in and around us changing identities not just with the subtlety of a ‘child’s meals’ becoming ‘an adult’ (which is what happens), or the subtlety of a thousand worms becoming a bird that can fly across the continents.

But also with the deeper subtlety that matter can become energy and vice versa; Then, to us it would be as if we were constantly in the middle of a colossal tumble dryer full of an infinite number of clothes. As the dryer kept spinning the same cloths in different combinations all around us, we would always just be seeing different samples and mixes of the same stuff, but it would seem as if an unending stream of new things was constantly ‘arriving’ from somewhere else.

So, the apparent observation that the future exists and keeps arriving seems to make sense if there is some other proof that time exists, but if there is not, then just the idea that matter and energy exist and move and change ‘now’ explains what we see.


Clocks and calendars mark out time.


The Earth keeps spinning, and orbiting, we keep changing ultimately heading for our demise, and our clocks and calendars help us keep track of all this change. And both devices essentially just keep counting ‘up’ in numbers, even though our domestic clocks kind of reset at midnight, a clock or timer used to keep track of an expedition would be set to run and run.

But in essence our clocks are intended to copy the rotation of the Earth on its axis, and its orbit around the sun. These two motions are pretty much guaranteed to just keep going on in the same ‘one’ direction unless the Earth meets with some intergalactic calamity, although it is also true that the Earth will naturally slow in its spin, and its orbit will decay, because pretty much any interaction with anything in the universe around it will steal some of the energy it has.

So in a sense there is a one way progression in effect, on many levels, and in a sense our clocks mimic this, and this seems to ad credibility to the idea that time exists, and flows, in one direction only.

But an average clock, or automatic calendar, only keeps running while it has batteries in it or is attached to a coiled spring, and it runs in one direction only because that is what it is designed to do, and stops when it has run out of energy; and while there may well be a one way aspect to the way that matter interacts on a small scale, or the way that the entire universe ‘is going’, does this prove the existence of time, and the fact that time controls the working of every clock?

If time does exist, then clocks can indeed be said to monitor and track its passing, but a clock doesn’t prove the existence of the future or the past. We may want to say that the very presence of the physical clock proves that ‘it’ was made, in a factory, in the past. And in a sense this may be true – but only in the sense that if things are happening then we can talk about ‘things having happened’ – but although it seems to be the same thing, this is deeply and fundamentally not the same as proving that ‘the past’ exists in any form at all.

The difference between ‘the past’, as in the temporal past, existing ‘just in some small way’, and not in any way whatsoever is colossal, if you want one ‘iota’ of past to exist then you are like a ‘magician’ claiming that he or she may not be able to ‘magically’ cut an entire person in half and restore them perfectly, but they can do tiny bit of the same thing magically, but there either is magic or there is not and there either is time or there is not so if you think the past ‘kind of’ exists you really have to be able to say how, and where it exists etc.

So, unless you can prove the past exists somewhere, other than as a semantic term in human vocabulary[2], then all the clock, which was made in a factory, proves is that matter exists and can move and change, and that energy can be released through matter in a controlled way – to make a ‘clock hand’ move at a steady rate – and not that ‘time’ also exists.

 


We grow and age and die, always in the same ‘direction’.


We, and everything around us seem to ‘age’, and we age in one direction only, from young to old. Oddly enough this aging process seems to reverse its effect as it progresses. What I mean is that if we look at a new born child we don’t tent to say oh well, it’s all downhill from here on, he, or she, can only get weaker and weaker, less and less aware, less and less capable day by day’.

In fact, a new born baby is likely to grow bigger, stronger, more aware and more capable as ‘time takes its relentless toll’. At some point however ‘decay’ over takes ‘regeneration’ and we, like plants, trees, cars, buildings, mountains and sand castles, get ‘built up’ from our surroundings and also fade into the background.

But all of this is just happening now. Our undeniable, irreversible, ‘changing’ does prove that we are a highly sophisticated, ongoing ‘electro-chemical’ reaction. But that is all that it proves. I.e. it proves that this is the way matter can interact in the present moment. However it got to where it is, the matter that makes up a young babies body may be said to be ‘old’ or ‘dead’ plants and animals.

So is the baby, are you, or am I ‘old or new’. And when you buy a ‘new’ car why can't you go and film the ‘moment’ where all minerals and materials, that must be as old as the earth, suddenly become ‘new’ again.

By ‘old’ and ‘new’ we are really talking about the general integrity and condition of one collection of matter compared to another, but whatever we mean by these words, and no matter whether our bodies and anything else can get ‘integrated’ and ‘dis-integrated’, none of this proves that time exists.

Although it may seem to, in the same way that if we went to a ‘magic show’, and I prepped you with a list of magical effects to watch out for, you may think what you saw ‘confirmed the existence of what you were told may exist’. While in fact there would just be a subtle layer of confusion at play.

All ‘aging’ proves it that people, and objects, exist and change ‘now’ in a particular way that causes us to grow, and peak, and subside. But despite the seeming switch from growth to decay all of these things may be seen to be all happening at once.

Consider for example a massive and isolated cloud of ‘dust’ in space. The dust may fall steadily together converging in one location under the effect of gravity. But as it does this things are changing and pressures are building up, as a result when the cloud is at a certain size gravitational forces may be strong enough to force nuclear fusion to occur, and the dust change may seem to change in nature ‘becoming’ a bright star.

In fact nothing new has appeared, the glowing star and its light are always in the ‘dust’. As the reaction happens, light and energy/matter flees the star, so the reaction is constantly changing. If some other critical imbalance is reached the star may even explode sending all the remaining matter off in all directions.

But at every stage, and no matter how the dust cloud, or stars, nature seem to change, in reality all this proves is that depending on the forces of nature and the amount of energy in some location, ‘things’ are changing in extraordinary ways ‘now’; because of their ‘state’ or condition ‘now’. And not because ‘time’ also exists and drives these changes in one direction only...called ‘aging’.


Entropy, the apparent one way flow of events, proves ‘the arrow of time’ exists.


See also >>> ∆ Entropy, Is just Entropy.

Entropy it the observation that in nature things tend to head for chaos and disorder. Bedrooms get naturally messy not tidy, buildings fall apart unless maintained, and the reverse seems never to just happen.

Experimentally, we can let a million china vases fall separately onto a million stone floors such that every single vase shatters into to a large number of fragments. But no matter what we do we will almost certainly never see any of the piles of fragments fly up to reform a vase.

Of course you can repair a vase to a greater and greater extent using your hands and some glue etc, and you could approach closer and closer, but not quite achieve, its original condition.

Although this does point to the problem that ‘if vases apparently only smash, and never spontaneously reform, then how come we ever have any vases to begin with?’ the key here is the idea of vases ‘spontaneously forming’ – we know they smash spontaneously but we have to make them intelligently and deliberately –but it’s funny how we sidestep this obvious fact that the universe does indeed create perfectly formed vases ‘one way or another’, and dismiss the reason for this (our interaction) as not counting, and only focus on the ‘irreversible’ smashing of vases.

If you assume that time exists, then this one way disintegration, would seem to confirm a feature of time, namely that it has a fixed direction or ‘arrow’, vases and people, sandcastles and suns fall apart... over, and in the direction of time.

But linking this ‘entropy’ to the arrow of time is a bit like letting entropy get hijacked, or taken over by a cuckoo, can't entropy just be entropy, does this kind of motion really prove that ‘time, and the future and the past exist’, and that the infinitely thin four dimensional present, is an infinitely thin one way membrane or valve controlling the fourth dimensional direction all events?

Surely all these examples really show us, is ‘what they really show us’, which is that the laws of nature make things spread out and fall apart unless there is some energy and order put into the system and aimed at pulling things together (be it a human making a vase or an animal eating food so the laws of chemistry can assimilate what is eaten into the animal’s body).

These example also prove that if a person, or a video camera, is pointing at an event it can be effected by the event and have its internal matter, in-formation, affected by the event; and once formed this reorganised matter can be viewed from any angle and in any direction. In other words you can play a video tape or a memory in any direction, and ‘call’ these directions any names you want.

But none of these things actually proves the existence of an ethereal thing called ‘time’ controlling and forcing events to happen in one way only, or that there is an unpredictable and irreversible future; all entropy proves, is that entropy exists and can happen ‘here and now’.

If you consider for example the path of fragments flying out from a shattering vase, the vase fragments fly outwards according to the laws of physics, and are affected by what they meet – not in the future – but that is actually physically in front of them; so if on one side of the falling vase you had a wall, and on the other side a pond, the fragments that went to the left would seem to have a very different kind of motion and ‘destiny’ to the fragments that went to the right, not because the ‘future’ is mysterious and unpredictable, but because some headed in the direction of a wall and some in the direction of a pond.


The age of the universe is accurately known, so time must exist.

We can observe the distant stars and tell from their red-shifted light that they are nearly all receding from us, and each other. And this indeed shows that the entire universe is almost certainly ‘expanding’.

By observing the speeds at which stars are receding from each other, and by calculating how far from each other they are, we can calculate that all of the matter in the universe would have been in a single super dense location around ’13.7 billion years ago’.

These observations and calculations almost certainly prove, or at least suggest, the mindboggling fact that the universe exploded out of a single point of nothing long ago.

And ‘13.7 billion years’ seems to suggest not only that ‘years’ exist, but also that at least 13.7 billion of them exist or have existed.

However, a ‘year’ is just a term we give to the idea of the Earth making one complete orbit of the sun. But in fact, the Earth, ‘just constantly orbits the sun’.

And all the observations relating to the big bang prove is that ‘in a sense’ it happened, and if an Earth connected to an ‘orbit counter’ was orbiting a sun in a separate universe as ours unfolded the orbit counter would be displaying a big number.

But neither of these observations prove that a thing called time exists, and flows, and ‘has existed and flowed for 13.7 billion years’.

All the observations prove, is that matter exists, and moves, and interacts. And that some of that interaction can involve humans looking at stars in the present, and as a result picking up pads and pencils, in the present... and making calculations, in the present.

In this way, the very act of us humans looking at the evidence ‘now’, and using pencils or computers etc ‘now’ to say that ‘years have passed’ and therefore ‘time exists’ - proves to us, that by just seeing stuff that only proves things exist here and now – we can and do mislead ourselves into thinking and believing ‘other dimensions exist’.

The error here is we can confuse ‘using’ the word ‘years’ to describe an Earth orbit, as being proof that as well as the Earth just existing and moving, ‘years of invisible time also exist and pass’.

We compound this belief because we seem to be talking about so many billions of these ‘years’, that they really must exist, but this is almost as if the tailors making the ‘emperors new robe’ bypassed questions about the robe’s reality by claiming they had already made 13.7 billion of them... and that really is undeniably a huge number of robes!

 We may also use or confuse the mysterious and inexplicable way the space, energy and matter of universe may have been formed – with ‘kind of also proving’ or suggesting, that a ‘mysterious and inexplicable thing’ called time was, or may have been ‘made’ in the process.

i.e. how and why and what time is, is ‘bluffed’ into existence, and pretended to have been explained by the smoke screen of the big bang.


Carbon dating tells us very accurately the dates of long past events.

We can very accurately ‘date’ the age of rocks found here on Earth or even from other planets by a process called carbon dating. In essence this process works because when certain minerals are formed they may contain within them many samples of some well know ‘unstable’ radioactive material.

‘radio-active’ material ‘radiates’ atomic particles at a certain rate just as a household ‘radiator’ radiates heat.

If you touch a household radiator that you knew had been on full a while back, but was now only warm to the touch, then, if you knew how rapidly that particular kind of radiator cooled down, you could work out ‘how long ago’ it was at full temperature.

Similar to how a radiator loses its heat, some kinds of radioactive matter loose there ‘particle’ or ‘decay’ at an extremely slow rate.

Such matter ejects subatomic particles in a very random way. However, because atoms are so small there are billions or trillions of them in any typical sample we examine. And this vast number of atoms means that this ‘randomness’ of decay averages out extremely well.

Therefore by knowing the nature of some particular radioactive material, we know how radioactive it tends to be when first formed (DETAIL) and we know the rate at which it ejects particles or disintegrates. From here we can work out very accurately ‘how old’ the sample, and therefore anything else intimately attached to it is.

So in this way, by accurately carbon dating samples of rock from around the word, from the moon, or meteorites from other planets that have arrived on Earth we can tell a lot about the ‘age’ of the Earth, fossils, the moon other planets and so on. And of course crossing referencing all this data and seeing how it tallies perfectly supports the idea that time exists, flows and passes etc.

But again, what we observe with carbon dating only really shows us what we already know. Which is that matter can integrate in countless fascinating ways, and likewise it can disintegrate.

In the case of radioactive material, the ‘rate’ at which subatomic particles leave a sample averages out very nicely and in a very useful way. And so the condition of any rock may tell us how many orbits ‘back’ the Earth was when the sample was integrated in to its present form.

But this doesn’t prove anything other than the fact that radioactive material can decay at a steady rate, and that we can form interesting deductions about this in our minds if we wish.

If time does exist, then carbon dating does help us layout a time-line of events.

But carbon dating only proves that energy and particles jiggling around in a sample, escape where conditions are right, just as a pool ball escapes down a pocket if a series of impacts or events line up in a certain way, or how molecules of water can get enough energy to break free from the surface of a pool if their fellow molecules happen to jiggle in the right way to give them the right kind of kick.

-but we shouldn’t confuse the ‘accuracy’ of carbon dating with it also being a tangible proof that as well as matter disintegrating on an atomic level at a stable, average ‘rate’, time exists, and therefore that the ‘past’ exists, because time is needed for things like disintegration to happen. Isn’t it simpler and more accurate to just say that disintegration just happens.


Time dilation, the stretching and warping of time, has been proven.


Time dilation refers to the idea that ‘time’ itself may be stretched or compressed as a result of time and space being aspects of the same thing ‘spacetime’.

Einstein’s theory of relative says that ‘time dilation’ can happen in two ways, time can be slowed as a result of ‘rapid motion’ or it can be slowed as a result of ‘a strong gravitational field’.

The idea of motion slowing time comes from the idea that nothing, no change, can travel, or happen at beyond the speed of light ‘c’.

This means that if you and I are in a pub, and you leave the table to go to the bar, while you are in transit between the table and the bar your watch will be in a sense running slightly slower than if it was just remaining stationary this is because by moving from A to B you are using us some of your ‘temporal change’.

This would be minuscule in the above example but nonetheless it is a proven fact.

Gravitational time dilation occurs because time in a strong gravity field runs slower than in a weaker field. In a sense it is as if gravity acts like treacle, slowing things down.

In this summary we needn’t go into the details of how and why these effects happen, but they are genuine, and observed.

So the problem is of course if two effects, each intimately involving ‘time’ were ‘pre-dicted’ by someone sitting down with a pen and a pad, and then found to be true by subsequent experimentation, surely this proves the existence of time.

But, as with the previous examples perhaps you can see, that this seems to be the case, if you start by assuming, time exists, and things need time in which to move.

If however you just assume that ‘things exist’, and that they move and change ‘in space’, (if there is also energy), then we can see that while this space may in a loose sense be ‘stretched by motion’, or ‘compressed by gravity’ - and while this distortion may affect the (size shape and) motion of anything passing through this distorted space – this ‘just happens’.

By ‘just happens’ I mean just happens, in the way you are just sitting or standing where you are, and things or people are ‘just’ moving around you ‘now’.

So yes, the rates and ways that things may be moving may be distorted, ‘sped up or slowed down’ in areas of warped space around you, but this ‘stretching doesn’t need to be happening ‘from the present into the future’ or ‘from the present into the past’, or over time etc.

Different things simultaneously happening at different rates in different places is not much more complicated than seeing two cars travelling at different speeds on a motorway, In terms of the theory of relativity these different speeds etc are much more sophisticated than just the different speeds of two cars side by side, but, I believe, all observations can be expressed in terms of stuff that may be happening in different places in the universe ‘now’.

Different things happening at different rates across the same object is not so different than the idea of leaving a piece of fruit half in the sun and half in the shade, it will ‘constantly’ change at different rates across different separate locations over its body, the question ‘is that piece of fruit rotten’ then becomes more complicated than usual, but the ‘join’ between rotten and fresh’ will always blend smoothly and always work out.

Tennis across a ‘rate-machine’.

More exuberantly, if we had a ‘rate-machine’ that made things in one place move and change or ‘age’ if you prefer, slower in one place than in another we might even be able to play a game of tennis across different sides of the rate-machine if it was big enough.

So at one end we could serve a tennis ball at normal speed, it would fly over the net, where it would continue following a perfectly normal trajectory but seemingly at half speed. We could relax and watch our opponent, also moving in slow motion, chase the ball and return it. We would be in no rush as the ball slowly made its way back to the net, and out of the rate-machine, where it would seem to suddenly accelerate to normal speed and we would have to panic to reach and return it if we hadn’t already been lining up our shot.

If one of us wandered to the other side of the net to see what the fuss was about as we crossed the court we, the other player and any tennis balls flying around would seem to be moving normally, but everything on the other side of the net would seem to be moving at double speed. The other player bouncing and serving a ball impossibly fast, until it crossed the net area and at least slowed down in mid flight to normal speed, but the advantage would never be ours.

Relativistic time dilation is of course deeper than just watching different ends of a piece of fruit change differently, in relativity things are closer to how the odd game of tennis might seem[3], because we are implying the thing really fundamentally ages differently, but this can still happen across one object ‘constantly’.

Modern science confirms that all of this can still be said to be happening here and now ‘seamlessly’ –because it is a stated and proven fact that the bottom of a mountain, tower, or person here on Earth ages slower than the top – due to gravitational time dilation, and yet we never see any ‘time shearing’ or paradoxes up and down mountains or tall people.

This may be because gravitational time dilation on Earth is miniscule but the effect still happens, and on a deeper level it can be said that because of the phenomenal speeds that all subatomic particles travel at, say an electron orbiting a nucleus, that there should be trillions of examples of ‘time shearing’ or ‘date misalignment’ throughout your own physical body.

Every electron in your body is moving so fast that it is said to ‘experience the passage of time’ at a very significantly different rate to some slower moving thing, like the nucleus it orbits, (e.g. in the range of 50% slower or more CHECK). So ‘how old’ you are is apparently different, and changing at a different rate, from your head to your toes and also across each atom of your being!

This is how things seem in the Time-based view, in the timeless view, we can just say what we observe, which is that matter exists and changes ‘now’, though sometimes at fundamentally different rates depending on how it is moving.


Time must exist because the sophisticated maths works.


See also >>>  04 Timeless measurements.
and


The complicated four dimensional spacetime mathematics associated with theories such as relativity can easily be said to work. They allow us to make incredible machines and systems like the network of global positioning satellites that let our ground based GPS receivers work.

However, we have to remember that mathematics is the tool that follows on from what we know, in other words, we can't force the universe to be a particular way just by writing a really good equations. All of the mathematicians amongst you may be up in arms at this point saying ‘of course we know that and that’s not what has happened’, and hoping this is the point where is show even more of my ineptitude.

But here’s my point. ‘Three dimensional’ mathematics obviously exists and works, and we can agree that the world around us can be usefully described in terms of it having three dimensions, and so we can mathematically work out the straight-line distance from say the bottom left, to the top right, corner of a rectangular room.

Mathematically, we can also work out the ‘spacetime’ distance between two events, effectively using four-dimensional calculations, and this is similar to working out the straight line distance between opposite corners in a four-dimensional room!

The problem here being that his mathematics will also work for 5, 7, 9, 2011 and so on ‘dimensions’, so just having the maths work isn’t proof in itself that extra dimensions exist.

But of course we don’t just start by saying, ‘look 4 dimensional maths works, therefore, let’s look to see if a thing called time exists’[4].

But Einstein did see that matter, motion, and space were far more intimately linked than anyone first assumed. And from this he realised that objects don’t just move from ‘A’ to ‘B’ but the way and rate that they move affects things in a number of complex ways.

From this Einstein was able to describe what he understood, in terms of ‘time being a fourth dimension’.

However, as far as I can tell[5], Einstein gave no direct proof that anything other than matter, energy, and motion exist, and exist in the present. By this I mean that Einstein does not seem to give any clear examples as proof that the past or future exist, indeed as the opening quote in this book shows he seems to have suspected these distinctions were illusions. But, Einstein’s theories undoubtedly do make tremendous sense, and most of what I have read suggest the mathematics is very sound[6], so where might the error be?

To me the idea of a dimension suggests a ‘length’ or ‘direction’ and the suggestion is that ‘time goes from future to past’ and the existence of these two ‘locations’ the source of us thinking it might be seen as a dimension. But if the future and past have never been seen, and if the previous sections have cast serious doubt on their existence, then the idea that ‘time’ might be really be an extra or fourth dimension really shouldn’t be taken as being true by default unless proven otherwise, and therefore is worth reinvestigating.

It seems that everything we relate to being ‘time’ is in fact only observations of things moving and changing and interacting now. And in essence relativity seems to say, that counter to our simple day to day view, the ‘faster a thing tries to move, the harder the task becomes[7]

 However, without time, all of these unexpected problems that arise as if from nowhere when an object tries to move, can be seen as unexpected ‘aspects’ of motion, and need not be seen as the result of problems that arise when ‘moving through a fourth dimension’.

So, if time exists, then seeing it as a fourth dimension works, and the mathematics to do this then also support (but do not prove) the idea of time. But if Time and the fourth dimension haven not been proven to exist by some other experiment then the maths and the theory are just useful ways of looking at the situation. So, the mathematics can be reinterpreted (for example) as just explaining the very unusual things that happen to an object that is moving at speeds approaching the speed of light...if an object happens to be doing so.

So, unless there is some other actual proof of the past, future etc, then mathematics alone do not seem to prove the existence of the past, or the future, or of time, or that there is a fourth dimension.


Time must exist because the idea that ‘There is no universal ‘now’, has been proven.


Sir Isaac Newton and others thought, or assumed that when it comes to time, there was a ‘universal now’. Meaning that time ticked at a constant rate all over the universe, so, if it was ‘three o’clock here, it was three o’clock everywhere.

Einstein changed this view, because he deduced that for Galileo’s ‘principle of equivalence[8]’ to be correct, ‘moving clocks must run slow’. This leads to the idea that if we were to try and set up a network of clocks around the universe all showing the same time, and the same rate of time passing we would run into a number of problems.

For example, If we constructed a massive, universal, grid of iron cross-members each a billion km long then we could label one intersection 0, 0, 0 and set up a clock there to be our universal time. Then we could synchronise our watch with the main clock and fly out along one billion km arm to set the correct time at the next intersection. Everything would seem fine as we did this until we returned to the first intersection, where we would find that our watch, now lagged say two hours behind the base clock that we first synchronised it with. This would be because –moving clocks run slow- and while we were moving to and from the other ‘grid intersection’ our time would have been running slow.

If we halve the error we can calculate that the distant clock must be one hour behind what it should be. So all is not lost, because with some careful calculations set up clocks at every intersection adjusting for the ‘loss of time’ our watch displayed because of our journey at speed to each location, so eventually all the clocks on the fixed grid ‘showed the same time’[9].(CHECK ORIGINAL SOURCE FOR THIS IDEA – Paul Davies?)

But this would still lead to problems, because if we were resting at one grid intersection with our watch perfectly synchronised with the grid, saying perhaps 1pm, then if we shot of in any direction, to any other grid intersection, on arrival we would find that our watch was again ‘some time behind’ the grid clock we arrived at.

So in this way, even with our massive and very expensive ‘fixed time grid’ anyone moving around the system would firmly disagree about what time it was ‘now’. And we should note, it would not be that the traveller was ‘wrong’ compare to the ‘correct’ grid. Both would be completely valid in there assumption about ‘what time it was’, how much time had passed... or more accurately ‘how much ‘change’ had passed’.

Choosing between Newton and Einstein; is it a false choice.

Newton’s view was that such a grid could be constructed (in theory) and it would show the ‘universal flow of time’ at a fixed rate everywhere, Einstein’s view was that clocks flying between locations would always drift out of synchronisation by an infinite number of different amounts, partly because of how far and how fast they had moved, and even depending on how much they had accelerated and decelerated, and how strong the gravity was where they might be.

So the difference in views is tremendous, in one it’s the same time everywhere and in the other every time is different and no time is essentially the right or the wrong one. When first considering these two possibilities we seem to be faced with the question as to which one is correct, is time universal and ‘absolute’, or is time local and ‘relative’.

From here we go on to make a choice, and usually sensibly go with Einstein’s more sophisticated view, which has also been experimentally verified anyway... so what’s the problem here?

The problem here is similar to a salesperson asking you which you would prefer; a ‘Red car’, or a ‘White car’? this is not such an easy decision, Red of course is more dramatic and you only live once so why not stand out and be flamboyant, while white is obviously more discreet and easier on the eyes so why not be cool and understated? Either way it might makes sense to check with your partner to see which they prefer, then again, who wears the pants in your household? The trick with these questions is of course that they aim to bypass the question of whether you want a car in the first place.

In the case of clocks and grids, this observation, that even if we set up a ridged grid of synchronised clocks, travellers flying around the grid would disagree with each other and the grid anyway, is not being questioned here.

And, seeing things this way, and seeing the difference in clocks in fixed and moving places, seems to confirm that there is indeed no universal now, so Einstein view is right and Newton’s is wrong.

But setting up a grid, and moving machines around it, whether you call them ‘clocks’ or ‘fridge freezers’ doesn’t prove that time exists, especially as some kind of fourth dimensional entity.

What it does, or would prove, is that if you make a number of machines, with regularly moving hands, i.e. clocks, then if you set a number of them up on a ‘universal grid’, and moved some other number of the them around the grid, the moving machines would slip out of alignment with the grid and each other in accordance with Einstein’s theories of relativity.

But anyone resting at any location on the grid, or anyone travelling around with a clock, would all confirm that it was always ‘now’, and that any record of the past they thought they had was in their heads ‘now’ and any ideas of the future that they had were also ‘constructions’ in their heads ‘now’.

So it seems to me the choice between ‘absolute time’ or ‘relative time’ is a false choice because whatever you chose you are forced to chose ‘time’.

What’s the alternative to absolute or relative time?

The alternative choice here is that it is always now everywhere, not that there is any other option, but in this ‘now’ Einstein’s view reigns supreme because he is correct in saying that ‘moving things run more slowly than stationary things’.

The key word here being ‘run’ as in run, or change, more slowly, and it is agreed that moving things change more slowly so if you got the kind of thing we typically call a ‘clock’ it would behave as described above – but not because ‘it ran slowly over-time’, or ‘time passed more slowly for the moving clock’ - just because things change more slowly ‘now’, if they are moving.

In this way there is no call for a past or a future, and no call for a warped fourth dimension contorted to accommodate all the discrepancies in the ‘fabric of time’ caused by all the differently moving objects.

Everything is just here, now, changing at different rates and looking after itself.

In this way Einstein’s suggestion that time ‘operates independently’ CHECKQUOTE – is explained not because time permeates all things and operates differently within them in different circumstances, but simply because every collection of matter ‘is’ itself, and it is governed by what it’s atoms and molecules are, and what they are experiencing (warped space, motion etc) – and ‘all’ of this is enough without the ‘ethereal’ time having to play any role.

So the assumption that ‘moving things run slow’ leads to the idea that if we made ‘clocks’ and flew them around space we would find there is no ‘universal now’; And this startling, unexpected and ‘tangential’ observation seems so add to our knowledge of the nature of time. And surely if you add to the knowledge of some ‘thing’, you are confirming that the thing exists... and that you are even more certain of this now.

But, and there is a pattern forming, all of this discussion only seems to confirm the existence and nature of ‘time’, if time’s basic existence has been proven elsewhere.

The error here can be that we confuse the bizarre nature and unintuitive sophistication of the observations and deductions, with, what they actually are proving.

So, we may tend to assume time has been proven elsewhere and so this discussion closes the case, or assume that this set of reasoning itself directly proves the existence of time, with its past present and future, and also adds to our knowledge of time.

But if we consider the facts without blindly assuming time exists, and is essentially to our understanding of what we know, we can see that all of Einstein’s observations here actually make no significant reference to the past and the future, there is no suggestion that people who arrive at different locations with clocks that disagree would mutually annihilate if they tried to shake hands physically with someone an ‘hour in their own past or future’.

We can also see that these views make perfect sense if seen purely in terms of just matter existing, changing and moving ‘now’– with the important additional observation that objects in motion, say machines, plants, human bodies or any other objects – will fundamentally change more slowly relative to ‘stationary’ objects... but non of this proves that the past, the future, or time exist.


Conclusion of the summary of misunderstood ‘proofs of time’.

There will be many other examples of cases, observations or experiments seemingly about time all of which seem to prove, confirm or add to our knowledge of time.

But, as far as I can tell, it seems to me that all these cases share one frustratingly devious similarity, which as I'm sure you have guessed by now, is that they all seem to confirm the existence of time without actually proving the existence of time... which seems ok because we assume someone else or some other example has done this for us.

Our personal belief that it is already confirmed that time exists in some way, and the belief that people writing about time probably share and use as a starting point, is probably the idea that our internal memories and the external evidence in the world around us…

  • A-Each individually and independently prove ‘the past’ in some way exists, and
  • B-When compared, the fact that the ‘two separate sources of evidence correlate perfectly’ is itself seen to be an additional ‘third’ piece of proof that the past, and therefore time in some way exists.

And so from that point it seems that just the details about time need clarifying, and so all the above discussions individually and together seem to do this, and also constantly add more and more confirmation to the ‘fact’ that time exists as our memories and the world around us first ‘proved’.

But hopefully you can see that even this initial ‘proof’ that the past exists is flawed from the outset, because, all the evidence within our brains really directly proves is that ‘1.4kg of grey matter’ can store a lot of information, and be modified ‘now’, and all the ‘formations’ in the rest of the universe directly prove, is that a virtually infinite amount of matter can store a lot more information ‘now’.

Combined, all the world in and around us proves, is that matter exists, moves, changes, interacts etc – and all we ever observe is that it is ‘now’; And the ‘perfect correlation’ between internal and external evidence proves is that there is no fundamental distinction or physical separation between the matter inside or outside of ourselves.

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[1] By energy, I just mean ordinary kinetic, potential, chemical, electrical, heat energy etc.

[2] Which ultimately is matter exiting in your mind now

[3] We note here such a set up would never really be possible, all these relativistic effects take tremendous mass or energy to achieve and even then the effects occur very slightly and over tremendous distances, so we are talking about discrepancies in speeds and sizes of millionths of a percent over millions of kilometres, but exaggerating things in this way is in the nature of ‘thought experiments’ because it lets us scale effects, speeds, and so on up or down to a ‘size’ that we humans can more easily think about.

[4] Although, from my extremely limited point of view it seems that perhaps this is what is happening with ‘multidimensional string theory’, in that the theorists may have grabbed the idea of ‘time’ as really being a cast iron proof that extra dimensions exist, and then extending it.

[5] From only reading his layman’s guide to relativity, and ‘the meaning of relativity’, and with only understanding the simplest of the equations.

[6] Einstein was never hailed as a brilliant or meticulous mathematician, and there are some reports of algebraic errors in his work, but these are effectively irrelevant if they are spotted, and if they do not upturn the essence of the points he was making, but are just small errors in the way he was explaining it.

[7] This is for a number of reasons that impede the motion exponentially as the laws of physics dictate that the moving object gets more ‘massive’, its length contracts, the ‘rate at which it can change’ is reduced, and so on.

[8] The idea that you cannot tell that you are moving if you are just ‘coasting’ at a steady rate

[9] note – to get the grid ‘correct’ we fly a clock from the start point to another junction, and there we ‘fudge’ the correct time by ‘adding an amount’ to the clock there to compensate for what we lost as we ‘changed’ location. – i.e. this is why when we do the journey again, our travelling clock seems to be behind the clock we arrive at.

 

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