∆ Parents and children, there isn't 'really' an 'age' gap?

It may seem fairly obvious that a parent is older than their child, and with the assumption that this is true, is seems obvious that this alone proves that Time 'Passes' (and thus also that Time obviously exists).

However, even this is not as simple, (or perhaps is simpler than), it first seems.. 

To see what I mean, we will have to look at things in an unusual and unfamiliar way to bypass our ingrained and automatic biases and opinions, in case they are actually incorrect, and jump us to false conclusions. So let's consider th pictures above in more detail.

First consider the beach. Which part of the scene do you think is the oldest? is the sand older than the sea? or vice versa?. 

For simplicity let's just consider the Sea. It is a constantly moving, changing, and churning mass of trillions upon trillions of atoms. But how old are these atoms? and if we take some random samples from different areas of the Sea, which collection of sea water would be 'older' or 'younger' than another?

Even if we insisted that time exists, and wanted to declare that one particular H2O molecule was older or younger than another, in any bucket of sea water we would have to assume we had a pretty good mix of atoms, and that together they had a fairly stable average age. So if we took two buckets of water, one from close to the shore, and another from far out at sea, it would not make sense to say the water from out at sea was clearly older, or younger, than the other sample of the same ocean. But even this isn't quite the critical point here. 

Look at the photograph again, and consider the clearly definable waves approaching the shore line, numbered here 1 to 3.

Assuming this is  a normal beach that follows the laws of physics we would probably agree that wave 1 has just formed, while wave 3 is about to hit the shore, and 'die'. But surely,as our 'buckets of sea water' suggest, the stuff that makes up wave 1 is (as far as we could ever tell) the same age as the stuff that makes up wave 3. 

In fact, surely all of the stuff we are looking at was, as far as we can tell, all formed at once in the big bang, and is all around 13.75 billion years old, give or take a Tuesday.

We may still want to say 'the formation' of the water that makes up wave 3 is older than that of wave 1, (it has traveled further , so 'it' must have existed longer). But even this isn't exactly true. Surely all the water (and all the matter in the universe), is always in some or other formation. It doesn't make sense to say that the water to the left of wave 1 isn't existing, or doing anything, and isn't 'getting older' just because its not in the shape of a pretty wave.

So, all the water, whatever it is doing, whether it seems to be in a distinct shape or not, is at best all the same age, and all getting older at the same rate. Just because some humans say that some of the matter is in the changing shape of a 'wave' doesn't mean that collection of stuff has been born, and is aging faster, or has aged more than any other stuff that happens to be in a less obvious shape, or doing a less obvious thing. 

And, just because some water is in a wave shape, and some is not, doesn't prove that a future, a past, and a flow of time exist. All it proves is that matter, sea water in this case, can exist, move, change, and interact with itself and its surroundings. 

Hopefully it's not hard to see how this view can be extended to any collection of matter. Be it in the form waves in an ocean that form and head for the shore, or in the form of human beings that can form, eat food, grow, and walk around in any direction. 

(a family and dog, Heidie Moor)

In other words, we can see that in fact, the stuff that 'makes up', or 'is' you, your parents, and your children if you have them, and dog, must, at best, be all the same age. Whatever this stuff is doing whether it is part of you or your parents, or becoming a part of a human as we are eating it, or ceasing to be part of a living human if one is dying, or if we are just expelling some waste, It must all be the same stuff, and all the same age. So the suggestion that a parent 'is older than their child' is not 'simply' true.

(A parent (horse) and child, but all the 'stuff' is the same age...

In seeing this statement you may (particularly if you are scientific) feel semantics or rhetoric are at play, and be ready to either dismiss what is being suggested out of hand, or feel certain that something nonsensical is being suggested. In which case, particularly if you do you see yourself as scientific, its worth considering whether you are genuinely being scientifically open minded and considering the evidence in a fair way, or if you are actually defending a favourite point of view, and trying to see the evidence as always supporting a view you already hold.

 Either way, perhaps things can be made clearer if we consider the other two pictures...


The question here is, which pile of metal, or 'collection of matter'  is older ? 

Is the pile of metal in the shape of a car 'getting' older than the other collection of metal - because you can put fuel in it, and if the engine is running it will wear its own components ? Or is the other pile older because it is made of things that have fallen apart. Would an identical model to this car, 'be younger' if it had been kept unused in mint condition in the shed at the back of the picture? If we melted down the scrap and reprocessed it, would any rust free, sleek and shiny car we made from it suddenly be 'new'.

A 'new 'car... but wouldn't you like to see the 'moment' it became 'new'?

Taking the human element out of the picture pulls the rug out from the idea that different things, or different people, are different ages. I say that at best all things are the same 'age' but even this implies that outside of, or extra to 'matter just existing and interacting' there is also some other 'mysterious' thing called time that is also ticking, passing, or accumulating.

Steptoe and Son (and a horse).

In the picture above, most people would agree that these two men, and probably the horse, are different ages.

But if we are ruthlessly logical then we see each 'person' for what they are, a 'collection of matter'. As far as we can tell, all the matter in the universe was formed during the big bang, and is thus basically the same age. (Ignoring the effects of relativity for simplicity).

So, these 3 'collections of matter' - like the different collections that make up the waves, the car, or the scrap metal, must all be the same age, but we jump to conclusions based on habit and outward appearance and say 'the man' on the left is older than the man on the right, or no child can be older than their parent.

This leaves us saying that even if time does exist, and pass, then everything around and within us is at best all the same age and all ageing at the same rate. 

Which in turn leaves us to question what is actually meant by the idea that 'one thing happens after another', if everything is all here now, and all things are the same age, and are ageing at the same rate.

The point here is to highlight an error in logic, and show how making assumptions can lead us to jump to conclusions without realising. In this case, if we assume that time exists, then we see different collections of matter as being different ages. So we 'say' person A is older than person B, which we then fold back as if it is proof that time exists. 

So the (potentially incorrect) assumption, 'that time exists', leads to a conclusion 'some collections of matter are years or decades older than others', which is only correct if the initial assumption is correct. But we use the conclusion as proof of the assumption. This is a bit like saying 'I know billy doesn't lie, because he told me he doesn't.

We would never normally be so pedantic when examining a scene, or talking to different people, but if time is a misunderstanding, then we need to be scientifically very, very, precise to see any errors in our conclusions.