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Author Topic: Is time an illusion?  (Read 53894 times)

Offline yor_on

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Re: Is time an illusion?
« Reply #100 on: 31/03/2012 08:39:21 »
You see, what I'm trying to point out is that every measurement made needs a mechanism (a arrow) to make it in. And that is true even when measuring on something not 'changing'. So assuming a whole 'undifferentiated plastic 'SpaceTime a arrow becomes a concept that exist 'everywhere', even taking with it into the 'future' that, which 'locally' are perceived as not 'changing' at all.

But if we instead use a strictly 'local' definition, then that what measures has a arrow for sure, but what it measures, if not changing, doesn't necessarily need to have it. But there is the added complication that this 'frozen thing' you measure on still exist after the measurement, not disappearing as we are 'moving on' in times arrow.

But I think (?) that might be explained from a static point of view, in where 'time' is what makes local arrow(s). Time then possibly described in terms of some sort of 'static field', and very conceptually so.

Because if what we have is a 'static reality' in some conceptual way, then everything we observe to 'change', or for that sake not 'change at all' is a expression of something we don't describe correctly, as we lack the observations needed to see that 'reality'.
 

Offline simplified

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Re: Is time an illusion?
« Reply #101 on: 31/03/2012 11:29:19 »
Time isn't a ''state'' which comes about from a measurement. Hence again, it is not an observable.

States don't come about by measurement. States are observed through measurement. States exist whether you measure them or not.
 
Time isn't a state, but time determines the state of everything.
Time can be money,if you can use it. ;)
 

Offline Ęthelwulf

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Re: Is time an illusion?
« Reply #102 on: 31/03/2012 11:31:22 »
Well, if we are taking about something which can be measured, then we are talking about Eigenstates here. It seems quite simple enough that time is not an observable - it is not something we can see directly.

Assuming time can be measured because we can ''measure durations'' to me, is like falling back on that illusion we call time and once again projecting it on the world we tend to measure just because we ''think it exists objectively.'' There is however, no real evidence for this. In fact, I have found in my own studies that time more or less does not even exist within the modern framework of relativity. Physics also reshaped the idea that somehow time has a flow; which it doesn't.

Time isn't a ''state'' which comes about from a measurement. Hence again, it is not an observable.

Perhaps you should take a look at what POVM entails before dismissing it out of hand? 

It's basically reformulating the concept of measurement in QM in terms of operators that get you real-valued results.  The theory has showed (successfully) that the result of a measurement is not necessarily the result of applying a self-adjoint operator to your state.  Even in this theory, there are still no "time eigenstates," but that's beside the point--we know that we can measure arrival times and this theory explains how.

It's also been a lot of use in quantum information theory, and is a pretty active area of research. 

Here's a good link explaining how it differs from the more traditional view of measurables: http://www.springerlink.com/content/pmafpr8xt0cbve9b/fulltext.pdf

I see Rovelli has done work on this operator.

Perhaps something interesting I can tell you, is that Rovelli is actually one of the biggest proponents for a timeless universe next to Julian Barbour. I read the paper, didn't understand all of it. What I did understand, I am still not convinced that time is a real observable.
 

Offline JP

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Re: Is time an illusion?
« Reply #103 on: 31/03/2012 16:53:22 »
I don't think one can reasonably argue that we can't experimentally measure something that we call "time."  What proponents of a "timeless universe" seem to be arguing is that the thing we measure might not be an intrinsic property of the whole universe, but rather it has to do with how we interact with our neighborhood/the thing we're measuring. 

That's perfectly reasonable, but it's also not sitting on rigorous scientific ground at the moment insofar as no one (that I know of) come up with a testable hypothesis based on the idea.  Until that happens it's interesting, but not really science.

But regardless of what future experiments demonstrate, the concept of time is certainly fruitful and leads to meaningful measurements in the types of experiments we're doing these days.
 

Offline Ęthelwulf

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Re: Is time an illusion?
« Reply #104 on: 01/04/2012 02:22:20 »
What I don't find reasonable, is a paper which attends to manipulate mathematics to reconfigure dummy variables to make new observables. If POVM was the plaster, then relativity sure is the wound.


If you can prove to me Einstein's prediction's were in fact wrong, then you can prove in some sense that time is an observavble. But since our current theory does not hold, you will have to learn like I did.

Time is not real, yet this is real science.
« Last Edit: 01/04/2012 02:26:28 by Ęthelwulf »
 

Offline Geezer

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Re: Is time an illusion?
« Reply #105 on: 01/04/2012 02:48:39 »

Change is not synonymous with time. Changes can be decribed without a time evolution -


I see. So state changes happen without any time. So where does the infinite energy come from to effect these changes, or is energy an illusion too?
 

Offline Ęthelwulf

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Re: Is time an illusion?
« Reply #106 on: 01/04/2012 02:56:28 »

Change is not synonymous with time. Changes can be decribed without a time evolution -


I see. So state changes happen without any time. So where does the infinite energy come from to effect these changes, or is energy an illusion too?

I can show mathematics which demonstrates that hypothesis.

In fact, this is called the null energy hypothesis. It does have a mathematical backing.
 

Offline Ęthelwulf

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Re: Is time an illusion?
« Reply #107 on: 01/04/2012 02:57:40 »
I am never happy with infinities however. I don't believe they physically exist, not when a certain frame of existence or [time] is considered.
 

Offline Geezer

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Re: Is time an illusion?
« Reply #108 on: 01/04/2012 03:38:03 »
In fact, this is called the null energy hypothesis. It does have a mathematical backing.

If you remove time from physics you are going to have to deal with a lot of infinites. Of course, you might be able to construct a model that uses something else, but when you peel back the covers, it's going to be doing pretty much the same thing that time does.
 
Time is ill-defined at the quantum level, but as scale increases, something seems to rectify the jitter to produce a bias - analogous to a direct current - that causes time to flow in a particular direction.
 

Offline Ęthelwulf

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Re: Is time an illusion?
« Reply #109 on: 01/04/2012 04:10:22 »
Well, I have dealt with infinities in my own studies... why, I have even studied infinities, or similarly, singularities which arise from specific energy conditions. The very fact we can make energy itself disappear from the equations, leads me to think this is a valid solution to remove energy infinities from equations, solving many singular problems.


Could you perhaps, for my sake, highlight how the suspected infinities in your example arises?
« Last Edit: 01/04/2012 04:14:07 by Ęthelwulf »
 

Offline Ęthelwulf

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Re: Is time an illusion?
« Reply #110 on: 01/04/2012 04:17:05 »
I even try and think of other possible applications you could be eluding too... like the infinite self-energy of an electron.

Maybe for some interest, an electron only experiences infinite energy when we reduce particles to zero sizes... no dimensions, basically. Only non-zero electron dimensions actually experience finite energies.

But hey, I don't think this is what you are talking about. I'd still love to know what it is you are eluding too.
 

Offline Geezer

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Re: Is time an illusion?
« Reply #111 on: 01/04/2012 06:41:27 »
I was thinking of something far more prosaic.
 
You might have two states, A - sitting down, B - standing up. If you translate your mass between A and B without time, you have consumed more than all the available energy in this particular Universe, even though it may not be an infinite amount of energy.
 
I'm not saying that time isn't a very strange beast. It's certainly not what our perceptions might lead us to believe it is, but if we eliminate it from our vocabulary we better have some pretty good alternative models that work in its absence.
 
Mathematical models are only a description of reality. They do not define it.
 

Offline yor_on

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Re: Is time an illusion?
« Reply #112 on: 01/04/2012 09:18:01 »
Doesn't mathematical physics approximate reality through renormalization?
Which is lifting in those 'statistically proven significant' values we can see/find to be true outside the math, instead of the infinities we otherwise would get mathematically?

And it works, just as 'weak measurements' seem to be working for making predictions of a future event.
Math huh :)

But Geezer seems perfectly correct to me. If ones math doesn't describe our observations and fail our experiments then it's no description of our reality, which, on the other hand, doesn't state that it can't have a validity, somewhere else.


« Last Edit: 01/04/2012 09:20:26 by yor_on »
 

Offline Ęthelwulf

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Re: Is time an illusion?
« Reply #113 on: 01/04/2012 13:10:56 »
I was thinking of something far more prosaic.
 
You might have two states, A - sitting down, B - standing up. If you translate your mass between A and B without time, you have consumed more than all the available energy in this particular Universe, even though it may not be an infinite amount of energy.
 

Can you give me a working example?

There is one special connection between time and energy - known as Noethers Theorem - time is the conjugate of energy. Now, believe it or not, but timelessness might actually be the answer to solving many fundamental and cosmological problems. For instance, I have speculated that maybe if time does not exist, then you cannot measure an energy for a universe, because there is no way to make the correct translation in time, meaning the universe does not conserve energy.

What is good about this? Well, the universe is now receeding faster than light, and as Michio Kaku has pointed out, this could be an indication that the universe is using up energy much more faster. That is analogous to stating that the universe does not prefer to conserve energy and could answer for the recent rapid expansion. The mathematical approach would be my approach.

Just as an example of something good from timelessness.
 

Offline Ęthelwulf

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Re: Is time an illusion?
« Reply #114 on: 01/04/2012 13:12:19 »
Doesn't mathematical physics approximate reality through renormalization?

Yeah, but many scientists are uncomfortable with renormalization - thinking it is a cop-out. In fact Dirac was one of the strongest proponents against renormalization. I also don't agree with it, I think infinities like that are indications of the theory breaking down.
 

Offline yor_on

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Re: Is time an illusion?
« Reply #115 on: 02/04/2012 03:31:42 »
Well. if you remove time you also remove the dynamics of a universe, as it seems to me? It becomes easier to handle as you get one 'flat static slice of SpaceTime'. But you also get only one description. To me the idea behind relativity is lights speed in a vacuum, and as far as I'm concerned that must hold in both SR and GR, for those that split it.

That constant in a dynamic universe, defined by and through change, gives each observer different 'dynamic 3D slices' described through times arrow. To each observer that arrow is the same as I see it, and the proof for that is simple, you just need to superimpose them to see that all clocks have a same rate of change, using radiation. So everyones arrow must become a local definition which also must be true, as far as I can see.

That a Lorentz transformation always will give you your conceptual SpaceTime is easily explained through radiations constant, and is something of a misnomer to me as it to many seems as a proof of one whole united indivisible SpaceTime, same for all. To me that 'truth' is more subtle, what makes a Lorenz transformation possible is lights speed in a vacuum. And the only thing such a transformation state is the same as Einstein once went out from. That light is a constant.

To lift out 'the arrow' you, I don't know? A quantum computer comes to mind, or better still, indeterminacy. 'Virtual photons' do not fit such a concept though, as the idea behind it, to me, is something 'existing in time', at least as I think of it.
 

Offline Geezer

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Re: Is time an illusion?
« Reply #116 on: 02/04/2012 06:51:15 »

Can you give me a working example?


I imagine F=ma would be a good place to start (an oldie, but still a goodie).
 
A force exerted in time is a measure of energy. If a force could accelerate a mass (any mass) in zero time, it would consume a heck of a lot of energy.
 
 
 

Offline Ęthelwulf

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Re: Is time an illusion?
« Reply #117 on: 02/04/2012 06:55:02 »

Can you give me a working example?


I imagine F=ma would be a good place to start (an oldie, but still a goodie).
 
A force exerted in time is a measure of energy. If a force could accelerate a mass (any mass) in zero time, it would consume a heck of a lot of energy.

Maybe I am missing something, but I've never heard that. In fact, let's use F=ma.

I push a ball down a hill and use F=Ma to calculate the force. However, this equation is time-independant any way. Now assume it for a collection of particles F=Miai - there is still no energy problems.

Don't know. Maybe it is just me?
 

Offline Geezer

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Re: Is time an illusion?
« Reply #118 on: 02/04/2012 07:50:50 »

However, this equation is time-independant any way.
 

Acceleration (a) is the time derivative of velocity which is the time derivative of position. It is not just dependent on time; it is dependent on the square of time.
 

Offline Ęthelwulf

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Re: Is time an illusion?
« Reply #119 on: 02/04/2012 08:29:19 »

However, this equation is time-independant any way.
 

Acceleration (a) is the time derivative of velocity which is the time derivative of position. It is not just dependent on time; it is dependent on the square of time.

Fair point, I wasn't thinking along those lines. I still don't understand the energy propostions however.

All I know is that we will have to develop a theory which treats our theories without time. A number of physicists are already doing this.
 

Offline Geezer

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Re: Is time an illusion?
« Reply #120 on: 02/04/2012 08:59:53 »

However, this equation is time-independant any way.
 

Acceleration (a) is the time derivative of velocity which is the time derivative of position. It is not just dependent on time; it is dependent on the square of time.

Fair point, I wasn't thinking along those lines. I still don't understand the energy propostions however.

All I know is that we will have to develop a theory which treats our theories without time. A number of physicists are already doing this.

But you must include energy. Energy is one of the few things that unite all the branches of Physics (I may be wrong, but I think String Theory is still based on energy.)
 
If you dispense with energy, you'll have to exclude any notion of it from all physics before you can exclude the idea of time. I'm not saying that is impossible, but I am saying you better have some very serious convictions if you are really prepared to do that.
 

Offline Ęthelwulf

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Re: Is time an illusion?
« Reply #121 on: 02/04/2012 09:05:02 »
The energy may be nullified fundamentally. The arguement is, is that matter and geometry is not fundmental. Energy may also not be really fundamental, the reason why is because of the equation

16de8cfdec9ab1aa2ac2723b5a2018ba.gif

When mass equals zero, energy is also zero and what you are left with is the metric. So when matter equals zero, this corresponds to the contention that matter does not fundmentally exist, what we end up with is energy going to zero as well. That is one solution.
 

Offline Geezer

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Re: Is time an illusion?
« Reply #122 on: 02/04/2012 09:27:10 »
The energy may be nullified fundamentally. The arguement is, is that matter and geometry is not fundmental. Energy may also not be really fundamental, the reason why is because of the equation

16de8cfdec9ab1aa2ac2723b5a2018ba.gif

When mass equals zero, energy is also zero and what you are left with is the metric. So when matter equals zero, this corresponds to the contention that matter does not fundmentally exist, what we end up with is energy going to zero as well. That is one solution.

Of course it does, but then you are left with "if time does not exist, mass cannot exist".
 
Does mass not exist?
 

Offline steved1980

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Re: Is time an illusion?
« Reply #123 on: 02/04/2012 11:15:03 »
Is it possible that time is not a measurable thing?  Maybe clocks were invented for practical purposes.  The projection of the future exist in our brains.  The memory of the past exist in our brains.  But the actual past and future never exist, right?  We are trying to theorize about something that doesn’t exist.   “Right now” exist and everything that “changes” in the now only changes based on our perception, the universe doesn’t know the difference between a glass and a shattered glass.
 

Offline Ęthelwulf

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Re: Is time an illusion?
« Reply #124 on: 02/04/2012 11:19:14 »
The energy may be nullified fundamentally. The arguement is, is that matter and geometry is not fundmental. Energy may also not be really fundamental, the reason why is because of the equation

16de8cfdec9ab1aa2ac2723b5a2018ba.gif

When mass equals zero, energy is also zero and what you are left with is the metric. So when matter equals zero, this corresponds to the contention that matter does not fundmentally exist, what we end up with is energy going to zero as well. That is one solution.

Of course it does, but then you are left with "if time does not exist, mass cannot exist".
 
Does mass not exist?

Well, this was a position Einstein held. In remarks to his famous E=Mc^2 equation, he often dictated that there was no such thing as mass, that everything was really just differential forms of energy.
 

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Re: Is time an illusion?
« Reply #124 on: 02/04/2012 11:19:14 »

 

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