-Problems with 'disproving' time.

Problems with showing the existence of time, as an actual phenomena, is unproven and unnecessary.

Note:  technically the 'non-existence' of something cannot be proven, therefore it is

A-up to anyone suggesting ‘time’ exists to show evidence to support this, and

B-up to anyone suggesting we may be wrong to assume time, to show how the idea is unfounded, unproven, unFalsifiable and moot, which is the aim of "A Brief History of Timelessness".

Note also, in science nothing can be ‘proved’. Things can only be disproved, or confirmed beyond a reasonable doubt. Throughout this section an 'A Brief History of Timelessness' , by prove, I men construct a scientific experiment, as per the scientific method that reasonable confirm a suggested theory or associated hypothesis.

In Professor Richard Feynman’s words:

It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are. If it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong.

 

(Page under development,  links to relevant chapters, Web Pages and video sections in progress)

Contents

Accepting quotes on time as having meaning, stops all at once. 3

Accepting the existence of invisible intangible ‘time’ as if exists unless disproven. 3

Appeal to authority. 3

Appeal to authority, Assuming others must know more than oneself. 3

Assuming ‘different times’, or ‘non simultaneity’ exists. 3

Assuming ‘events’ are in the past. 4

Assuming ‘events’ are legitimate ‘things’ 4

Assuming existence or movement imply, or require a thing called time without experimental evidence   4

Assuming it is obvious time does not exist. 4

Assuming it is obvious time exists. 4

Assuming semantic confusions support the case for time. 4

Assuming terms like ‘the past’, ‘later’ or ‘now’ prove times existence. 4

Assuming that because there are a lot of questions apparently about ‘time’, time must exist. 5

Assuming that the question “does time exist or not”? is unanswerable. 5

Assuming that variations in the rate at which things ‘are’ moving implies ‘time’ flows and flows at different rates. 5

Assuming the big bang theory confirms there actually is a ‘past’ 5

Assuming the existence of certain things from the outset of the discussion. 5

Assuming the general usefulness of the idea of time proves the phenomina of time must exist. 5

Assuming the mathematical usefulness of ‘time’ proves the phenomina of time must exist. 5

Assuming the question is unanswerable. 5

Assuming the usefulness and accuracy of Einstein's relativity proves the existence of time. 5

Assuming the widespread use and usefulness of the language of time means time must exist. 5

Assuming we can see the past in starlight. 5

Assuming, without checking, that Einstein's Relativity confirms time in some form. 5

Circular reasoning. 6

Circular reasoning, suggesting movement is time therefore movement shows time to exist. 6

Confirmation bias. 6

consciously or unconsciously employing prejudicial confirmation bias where investigating time. 6

Considering the sequence of events. 6

Constantly ‘switching horses’ in the face of conflicting problems. 6

Constantly creating confusion while untangling the mess. 6

Emperors new clothes. 6

Employing unseen confirmation bias. 6

Expecting all questions to be answered at once, 7

Failing to accept what science actually suggests. 7

Failing to apply to apply the  scientific method. 7

Failing to be clear what an ‘event’ is. 8

Failing to be genuinely logical objective and scientific, see confirmation bias. 8

Failing to check the most obvious. 8

Failing to consider ‘time’ as a theory or related hypotheses. 8

Failing to consider logical antithesis to the hypothesis that time exists. 9

Failing to consider that the stuff of the universe may just exist and move. 9

Failing to consider thoughts and ideas as physical entities. 9

Failing to define what is meant by the word  ‘time’ 9

Failing to define what is meant by the word ‘time’ while discussing it. 9

Failing to distinguish between the idea of time, and the actual phenomena of time. 9

Failing to experimentally and objectively check apparently obvious assumptions. 9

Failing to have a solid reason for assuming time from the outset. 10

Failing to provide and test scientific hypotheses to support the theory of time. 10

Failing to see time as a theory  from the outset. 11

Failure to consider the concept of ‘event objects’ 11

Failure to test the theory of time against certain antithesis’ 11

Falsely associating the question of time with other seeming similar questions. 11

Flat earth round earth analogy put somewhere. 11

Incorrectly assuming things or people ‘go’ into ‘the past’ 11

Insisting something cannot be disproven, therefore time cannot be disproven. 11

Insisting the correct view should match invalid question. 11

Insisting time is motion. 11

Making a false association between topics can be extremely. 11

Misplacing the burden of proof, I.e. time need to be proven, not disproven. 11

Missing that invalid questions can occur. 11

Missing the point of the question “what if everything just exists and moves”?. 11

Mixing the ideas of the existence or non existence of time in general discussions. 12

People make a lot of assumptions so assume at least some of these assumptions must be correct  12

Reaching conclusions based on incomplete definitions. 12

Starting ones investigation with leading questions. 12

Starting ones investigation with unchecked assumptions. 12

Starting ones investigation without defining what one means by ‘time’. 12

Stating opinions as facts, time is... 13

There are a lot of questions about time, therefore there must be something that is being asked about  13

Trying to understand timelessness in terms of time, see conf bias, 13

axiomatic

 

Accepting quotes on time as having meaning, stops all at once

Accepting the existence of invisible intangible ‘time’ as if exists unless disproven

Appeal to authority

Appeal to authority, Assuming others must know more than oneself

Assuming ‘different times’, or ‘non simultaneity’ exists.

-failing to consider that all matter may always just be somewhere doing something.

 

 

 

Many arguments

 

 

 

 

Assuming ‘events’ are in the past

Assuming ‘events’ are legitimate ‘things’

Assuming existence or movement imply, or require a thing called time without experimental evidence

Assuming it is obvious time does not exist

Assuming it is obvious time exists

Assuming semantic confusions support the case for time.

The subject and idea of time has its own language, and this language is extremely useful.

However anyone contesting the actual existence of time will typically be describing agreed observations but in different terms. e.g.  someone supporting time may propose...

“it takes less time to run somewhere than to walk”,

but  I might contend...

“if you are running, you are moving at a faster rate than walking”.

The argument then might be “we are saying exactly the same thing, you are just arguing about semantics”.

The problem here is that the supporter of time may be expressing unseen confirmation bias. E.g. they are not saying ‘ok let me look at both expressions objectively’.

Instead, the person supporting ‘time’ may jump to the conclusion that we are both saying the same thing, and, one expression shows the use and thus existence of time. Therefore the semantic disagreement does not disprove time, but only shows that the opposer of time is adding confusion through the ambiguous use or meaning of words.

However, while it may be true that the existence of time is not disproved by a semantic disagreement, it is also the case that a semantic disagreement does not by default confirm the proponents case.

 In the case above the proposer (time exists) agrees with the suggestion “you are moving faster if you are running”, and thinks it means the same as “it takes less time to run” – therefore thinks the contesting statement in fact confirms time, though adds semantic confusion. But the claim “it takes less time to run somewhere” would need to be supported by evidence that where someone is running there is also a thing called ‘time’ that is in fact ‘passing’, or that one is ‘taking less of by running.

Assuming terms like ‘the past’, ‘later’ or ‘now’ prove times existence.

The idea, and language surrounding the idea of time are undoubtedly extremely useful. But one cannot rely on words to prove the existence of a phenomena. E.g. the words, and ideas of  ‘magic’ or ‘telekinesis’ exist, but this does not mean the phenomena exist.

Terms like “the past” are very useful, but if we insist “the battle of Hastings is in the past” we would need to prove ‘the past’ is a thing that exists, and prove that all of the matter that makes up any aspect of ‘the battle of Hastings’ is not in fact just constantly existing and interacting and dissipating into its surroundings, but also in some way actually ‘in’ a ‘past’. Otherwise one is just claiming the existence of some mysterious phenomena with semantics, but no proof.

 

 

Assuming that because there are a lot of questions apparently about ‘time’, time must exist.

, eg what about the  big bang , must prove t exists, eg failing to apply th e question what if things just move, yet expecting it to work

 

Assuming that the question “does time exist or not”? is unanswerable.

How one starts an investigation

Assuming that variations in the rate at which things ‘are’ moving implies ‘time’ flows and flows at different rates.

 

Assuming the big bang theory confirms there actually is a ‘past’

 

 

Assuming the existence of certain things from the outset of the discussion

Assuming the general usefulness of the idea of time proves the phenomina of time must exist

Assuming the mathematical usefulness of ‘time’ proves the phenomina of time must exist

Assuming the question is unanswerable

 

Assuming the usefulness and accuracy of Einstein's relativity proves the existence of time

Assuming the widespread use and usefulness of the language of time means time must exist

Assuming we can see the past in starlight

Assuming, without checking, that Einstein's Relativity confirms time in some form.

 

Circular reasoning

Circular reasoning, suggesting movement is time therefore movement shows time to exist.

Where articles declare that movement requires time, the argument given for this is the idea that if there was no time, then things could not move. And therefore because things move time must exist.

This is circular reasoning, because the initial observation is only that things can move (in simple 3d directions), and added to this is the idea movement can be described in terms of a thing called time.

In fact, wherever anyone thinks they are comparing or describing an example of motion in terms of ‘time’,(e.g. timing a runner on a track), they are only actually comparing two examples of motion, and arbitrarily ‘calling’ one example of motion ‘time’. (e.g. the rotation of a hand on a dial).

 

Confirmation bias

consciously or unconsciously employing prejudicial confirmation bias where investigating time.

 

 

Considering the sequence of events

 

Constantly ‘switching horses’ in the face of conflicting problems.

Constantly creating confusion while untangling the mess.

Emperors new clothes

Elephant in the room

Flat earth round earth

Employing unseen confirmation bias

Confirmation bias is a very tricky beast. There are two kind of people who think they are not subject to it, those that do not have confirmation bias, and those that do have confirmation bias.

Confirmation bias is the act of seemingly viewing a problem impartially and objectively, while actually already having in mind a particular assumption, and actively only defending or trying to support that assumption.

I highly recommend this excellent video “2,4,8,16 – Can you solve this?”  by Veritasium

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vKA4w2O61Xo

 

the interviewer sets a problem and asks people to work out what rule is behind a sequence of numbers. It shows us how we can tend to jump to an initial conclusion about something, and from that point on only ask for or consider evidence we hope will confirm our assumption.

In other words we tend not to ask for, or even fairly consider evidence that may contest what we assume to be true.

I believe an example of this, with the problem of time, is that throughout 'A Brief History of Timelessness' I consistently ask the question...

  “What if everything just exists moves and interacts? Would this be enough to mislead us into assuming ‘time’ exists?”

 

But, Almost invariably people tend not to actually think about and try to answer the question itself, but instead ‘respond’ by explaining why they think this can’t be the case, and defending their initial position that a thing called ‘time’ must exist.

 

Expecting all questions to be answered at once,

Assuming that every question imagined

Failing to accept what science actually suggests

We often support practices where they confirm what we assume or want to be the case. And this is true in science also.

It seems to me that all our scientific observations and reasoning, in fact suggest that we are wrong to assume a past, future, or time actually exist (though they are useful ‘ideas’).

Critically we seem not to consider how the patterns in our mind we call memories, may themselves only prove that matter exists and is interacting – and that they may hold no reason

The conclusion science seems thus to suggest is that although the universe may in fact exist and be constantly expanding,

Failing to apply to apply the  scientific method

The essence of the scientific method is extremely simple. To make any scientific claim one must be able to present a theory and related hypotheses that can be tested by an experiment, as per the scientific method.

In the case of time, while time is typically defined as having varying functions, features or attributes (e.g. a past, future, flow, direction, merging with space, effect on anything existing or moving within ‘it’ etc), no scientific experiments to confirm each or any of these components seem to exist.

Instead it seems assumed that the universe itself , and our thoughts about it confirm the essence of the existence of time.

Even if this is true there is no excuse for failing to produce a simple experiment to confirm each ‘obvious’ assumption. I believe that in fact any such experiment attempting to prove the existence of an extra phenomena of time  will only in fact require and prove that matter/energy exists, and that it ‘is’ moving and interacting in all directions – with no need of, or proof of  a past , future or thing called time.

e.g. to confirm time is needed or involved in motion, one would need an experiment to show that...

 the passage of a thing called time, flowing in another dimension, between a past and future, is slowed by gravity or rapid motion

– and not that

things in gravity or moving fast are just changing more slowly at every simple physical level in ‘3’ dimensions.

Anyone scientifically supporting the theory of time, yet not applying the scientific method in this area, would at the very least need to at least cite a clear reason as to why they think this particular area of science is exempt from the principle.

Failing to be clear what an ‘event’ is.

Failing to be genuinely logical objective and scientific, see confirmation bias.

Failing to check the most obvious

Failing to consider ‘time’ as a theory or related hypotheses.

Wiki – THEORY  - A theory provides an explanatory framework for some observation, and from the assumptions of the explanation follows a number of possible hypotheses that can be tested in order to provide support for, or challenge, the theory.

Virtually all of the books and articles on time that I am aware of start by assuming a the existence of  time is in some way a given, or that like gravity for example, it obviously exists.

Such articles thus typically go straight from that assumption to speculate what time ‘is’.

The problem is that basic definitions of time suggest time has a number of features, and consists of a number of intrinsic components, that do not obviously exist, and are not even well defined.

E.g. O.E.D “TIME” - The indefinite continued progress of existence and events in the past, present, and future regarded as a whole:

It may be possible that a thing such as time does exist, but it is important to realise initially that time is a theory, based on our observations of the world within and around us.

The theory being  that for the universe to be how it is, there must be an extra, invisible, intangible dimension to the universe, which itself cannot be seen, but whose existence can be deduced from that which is observable.

Therefore, as per any theory, it should be supported by testable, and tested Hypothesis’, and contested by relevant antithesis’

 

Failing to consider logical antithesis to the hypothesis that time exists

Failing to consider that the stuff of the universe may just exist and move.

Failing to consider thoughts and ideas as physical entities

Failing to define what is meant by the word  ‘time’

Failing to define what is meant by the word ‘time’ while discussing it.

Failing to distinguish between the idea of time, and the actual phenomena of time

Failing to experimentally and objectively check apparently obvious assumptions.

If something obviously apparently exists, this is no excuse not to have an experiment to confirm it.

E.g. whatever ‘Gravity’ is, it can clearly defined as “some kind of effect that pulls objects  with mass together”, and this effect can be shown to almost certainly exist beyond any reasonable doubt by an experiment where one drops a brick on an observers foot etc.

If I define ‘the present’ to be

 ‘the present’  - “everything, and that in which everything seems to actually, tangibly exist all around and within us”

 

 then I can test this with an experiment that relies on things actually, tangibly existing around me – and in which I move and manipulate things so that anyone else present can see and confirm this.

e.g.to show the existence of “the present” I propose an experiment where I push someone’s body and they confirm they perceive this. And I would suggest every observable interaction happening in the universe confirms ‘the present’ exists, and is a legitimate term to use.

 

However, if we look at typical definitions of “the past”

 OED “the past” - The time before the moment of speaking or writing:

Wiki - The past denotes period of time that has already happened, in contrast to the present and the future.

 

So we find ‘time’ is defined in terms of a thing called ‘the past’, which is described as being part of a thing called ‘time’.

Thus we need an actual experiment , as per the scientific method, to show that there is “a ‘time’ before now”, or that there is “a ‘period’ of a thing called ‘time’ that has already happened”

Wherever I look for, or ask for such an experiment, by anyone who assumes ‘time’ exists, I get conjecture, but no actual experiment.

Thus, logically, if no experiment can be found to confirm ‘the past’, “a ‘time’ before now”, or “a ‘period’ of a thing called ‘time’ that has already happened”  exist, I would ask for an experiment, as per the scientific method that disproves that “things just exist, move and interact, and that disproves that the ‘past’ is just an idea existing in our minds”.

 

exists “a period of a thing called time” somewhere or some how.

 

 is not just ‘now’, but that there are ‘periods’ or of a thing called ‘time’ 

 

We find ‘the past’ is apparently a ‘period of time’, ‘before’ now.

So

 

Failing to have a solid reason for assuming time from the outset

Many articles on time start by declaring that because night follows day, and everything seems to be getting older, this proves that a thing called time exists, and passes endlessly in one fixed direction.

 

Failing to provide and test scientific hypotheses to support the theory of time.

WIKI - A hypothesis is a proposed explanation for a phenomenon. For a hypothesis to be a scientific hypothesis, the scientific method requires that one can test it.

OED – Hypothesis-A supposition or proposed explanation made on the basis of limited evidence as a starting point for further investigation:

 

If we take the OED definition of time, “- The indefinite continued progress of existence and events in the past, present, and future regarded as a whole”

 Time is also typically said to consist of ‘moments’, ‘durations’ ‘intervals’, and have a ‘flow’ and ‘direction’

So logically we should have testable hypotheses to confirm the existence and nature of

- a thing called ‘the past’

- a thing called ‘the present’

 - a thing called ‘the future’

And the existence of time’s ‘moments’, ‘durations’ ‘intervals’, ‘flow’ and ‘direction’

 

e.g. Some explanation as to precisely what we think the past is, and why we think there is a past, as opposed to just the internal mental impressions in we base our hypothesis on.

And an investigation and  experiments as per the scientific method to show the actual existence of this ‘past’.

In actual fact, just as most people seem happy to just talk about ‘time’ as if the word relates to some obviously existing thing, they are also happy to just talk about concepts like ‘the past’ and ‘future’ as if they too must obviously exist... because ‘time’ must. Therefore actual experiments to confirm the assumptions seem not to be described or tested.

 

Failing to see time as a theory  from the outset

Does god exist

Failure to consider the concept of ‘event objects’

Failure to test the theory of time against certain antithesis’

 

Falsely associating the question of time with other seeming similar questions

Flat earth round earth analogy put somewhere

Incorrectly assuming things or people ‘go’ into ‘the past’

 

Insisting something cannot be disproven, therefore time cannot be disproven

Insisting the correct view should match invalid question

Insisting time is motion

Making a false association between topics can be extremely

Misplacing the burden of proof, I.e. time need to be proven, not disproven

 

Missing that invalid questions can occur

Missing the point of the question “what if everything just exists and moves”?

 

 responding instead of replying, answering different question – t must exist because... ;flat earth round earth,

 

‘time’ is unlike any other subject because so many people assume they now something aout ‘it’ and therefore it must exist. Showing how we may be wrong to assume times actual existence from the outset comes with a large number of problems

Mixing the ideas of the existence or non existence of time in general discussions

People make a lot of assumptions so assume at least some of these assumptions must be correct

Reaching conclusions based on incomplete definitions

Starting ones investigation with leading questions

Many, if not most, books and articles on ‘time’ tend to start with questions like...

 “What is time”?

Or statements like

“time is mysterious”

“time is the fourth dimension”

“time flows endlessly in one direction”

The problem here is that the author is implying that they have a definitive proof that a thing called time exists from the outset, yet typically no experiment to confirm the suggestion is cited.

If we start any conversation ‘as if’ some mysterious, unconfirmed phenomena exists, we are closing the door on even considering the possibility we may be entirely wrong from the outset. And risk the possibility of never realising this, or rechecking our initial premise.

The sign of a bad theory is that it may spiral out of control, building conjecture on conjecture, and relying on its own circular logic to make it seem more and more as if it has substance, while in fact it is just more and more obscuring its own logical errors.

Typically this seems to happen with discussions on ‘time’ that start by assuming its existence, don’t define what is meant by the word, and use time related terms without proof they are valid.

Starting ones investigation with unchecked assumptions

Starting ones investigation without defining what one means by ‘time’.

Many articles on time start by talking about apparent aspects of time, without first giving a clear definition of what the author is assuming time to be.

Because many people seem to think time must exist, yet there seems to be no clear converging scientific agreement on this, most people reading an article on time that does not start with the authors assumed definition will be analysing what is said in terms of their own clear, or very loose definition.

This leads to the kind of confusion where two people discuss “does God exist”, without first having an agreed definition of what they are talking about, i.e. without defining what attributes and powers this ‘God’ is meant to have.

This means in the face of one argument against time, another may respond “but ‘time’ is ‘distance/speed’, therefore time exists.

The problem is this definition says nothing about the other components of time another person may assume (e.g. its alleged past, future, flow, direction, merging with space etc).

Therefore, starting with an agreed working definition at least, describes the scope of what must be proved or disproved for the conversation to reach a conclusion.

e.g.

 O.E.D “TIME” - The indefinite continued progress of existence and events in the past, present, and future regarded as a whole:

 

Stating opinions as facts, time is...

There are a lot of questions about time, therefore there must be something that is being asked about

Trying to understand timelessness in terms of time, see conf bias,

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