The Naked Scientists

The Naked Scientists Forum

Author Topic: Why do we find it so difficult to relate to time?  (Read 1896 times)

Offline Geezer

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 8328
  • "Vive la résistance!"
    • View Profile
It seems to me (ahem!) that, in general, humans have a really hard time assimilating the notion of "time". There is a boat-load of geologic and evolutionary evidence that some some pretty dramatic changes can happen given sufficient time, but a really large percentage of the human population seem to resist this notion.

Why is that?


 

Offline CliffordK

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 6321
  • Thanked: 3 times
  • Site Moderator
    • View Profile
Re: Why do we find it so difficult to relate to time?
« Reply #1 on: 20/01/2012 03:42:25 »
I thought all science had been discovered by the time of Aristotle, and the ancient Mayans!!!

Modern scientists just like playing with fancy toys  ;D
 

Offline Don_1

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 6890
  • Thanked: 7 times
  • A stupid comment for every occasion.
    • View Profile
    • Knight Light Haulage
Re: Why do we find it so difficult to relate to time?
« Reply #2 on: 20/01/2012 11:41:20 »
I can only put it down to our relatively short lifespan. Perhaps if we lived as long as some of the biblical characters allegedly lived, like Methuselah, Adam & Noah, we might be able to conceive of longer periods, but when your lifespan will be around 80 – 100 years, a 100 million years is rather hard to grasp. Even Methuselah (at an alleged 969) might have trouble coming to terms with a billion years, especially since the planet Earth wasn’t even 2,000 years old when he was around.

Perhaps some of us can come to terms with 13.7 billion years, but what about 200,000 trillion years? A centillion? Or even a googolplex or two??? What about………… infinity??????????

It has to be hard to see a bulb grow into a beautiful flower in just a few months and then consider just how long it took for that plant to evolve a flower in the first place.

GOOD GRIEF……. Look at the time!
 

Offline Sprool

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 120
    • View Profile
Re: Why do we find it so difficult to relate to time?
« Reply #3 on: 20/01/2012 13:04:29 »
Agree - it has to be linked to our own point of reference in that an entire lifetime for us is maybe 90 years. When you start to look back 300 years, that is most of the known history of mankind, that's still manageable but when you go back past the start of life on the planet or the formation of earth and our solar system the number is so big it is difficult to appreciate.
 

Offline Nizzle

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 964
  • Thanked: 1 times
  • Extropian by choice!
    • View Profile
    • Carnivorous Plants
Re: Why do we find it so difficult to relate to time?
« Reply #4 on: 20/01/2012 13:04:57 »
Yea, for an individual, there's only about 60-120 years between the beginning of time and the end of time, so it's hard to grasp larger scale periods for most individuals.

And Methuselah probably did live 969 years, where a year was defined as 1 lunar cycle, because back then the sun revolved around the earth and always looked the same, while the moon changed appearance almost daily :)
« Last Edit: 20/01/2012 13:07:58 by Nizzle »
 

Offline Nizzle

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 964
  • Thanked: 1 times
  • Extropian by choice!
    • View Profile
    • Carnivorous Plants
Re: Why do we find it so difficult to relate to time?
« Reply #5 on: 20/01/2012 13:06:52 »
When you start to look back 300 years, that is most of the known history of mankind

You're american right?
You know, the world did already exist before the US of A was founded ;-)
 

Offline Sprool

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 120
    • View Profile
Re: Why do we find it so difficult to relate to time?
« Reply #6 on: 20/01/2012 14:56:58 »
Oops, UK, that was a typo :) 3000
 

Offline Don_1

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 6890
  • Thanked: 7 times
  • A stupid comment for every occasion.
    • View Profile
    • Knight Light Haulage
Re: Why do we find it so difficult to relate to time?
« Reply #7 on: 20/01/2012 15:19:28 »
You know, the world did already exist before the US of A was founded ;-)

Yes indeed it did, us Europeans were knocking 6 barrels of crap out of each other for at least a couple of thousand years before we made it across the pond and started knocking 6 barrels of crap out of each other in the New World. What's more, we found some new people to knock the odd few more barrels of crap out of. Sorry about that Deganawida.
 

The Naked Scientists Forum

Re: Why do we find it so difficult to relate to time?
« Reply #7 on: 20/01/2012 15:19:28 »

 

SMF 2.0.10 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines
SMFAds for Free Forums