Do you believe that time exists?

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Offline Ęthelwulf

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Do you believe that time exists?
« on: 05/04/2012 12:21:02 »
A question to see the consensus of the smart people around here.

Do you think time exists, and if so, how would you reconcile General Relativities prediction of a timeless universe created by the wheeler de witt equation?

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Offline imatfaal

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Re: Do you believe that time exists?
« Reply #1 on: 05/04/2012 13:33:45 »
I think it is a mistake to assume that the mathematical contingencies of a model necessarily provide a better description of our reality than those we are more at home with. 

Whilst the mathematical model is absolutely crucial in physics and science in general, we would be fooling ourselves if we felt that it is reality rather than merely a very good way of making predictions.

I think a philosopher, a poet, and a mad computer all have as much to say about whether time exists as a physicist.  I would however very strictly draw the line at allowing them to determine what goes into a physical theory.  the general covariance of GR and possible timelessness of canonical quantum gravity are crucial to a modern theoretical physicist; but, epistemologically, that knowledge is contextual and not universally applicable through all human pursuits.
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Offline Bored chemist

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Re: Do you believe that time exists?
« Reply #2 on: 05/04/2012 15:12:37 »
I think time is real, and it seems that the two people who posted before me think so too.
Both posts use tenses (conditional or past) that only make sense if time exists.
Please disregard all previous signatures.

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Offline Ęthelwulf

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Re: Do you believe that time exists?
« Reply #3 on: 05/04/2012 16:12:09 »
I think time is real, and it seems that the two people who posted before me think so too.
Both posts use tenses (conditional or past) that only make sense if time exists.

What about change though? Things can surely be mathematically described without time?

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Offline Ęthelwulf

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Re: Do you believe that time exists?
« Reply #4 on: 05/04/2012 16:13:07 »
I think it is a mistake to assume that the mathematical contingencies of a model necessarily provide a better description of our reality than those we are more at home with. 

Surely senses are subjective alone not to mix with the external reality?

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Offline JP

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Re: Do you believe that time exists?
« Reply #5 on: 06/04/2012 02:42:21 »
Clocks work, so time exists insomuch as its something meaningful we can measure.  Now, it may be that time as measured by "observers" in experiments is not applicable to the universe as a whole, but I don't think we really have an understanding of time nor of the universe that can really answer that question.

As for the Wheeler de Witt equation, it hasn't been proven true, and interpreting its prediction of "timelessness" in terms of the times measured by clocks is also not clear (as far as I know).  Any result from it will have to agree with the fact that we measure time intervals--at least as well as our clocks work.

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Offline @/antic

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Re: Do you believe that time exists?
« Reply #6 on: 06/04/2012 17:11:38 »
So, is it possible that 'time' is merely a tool we use to undertsand the nature of the universe, but is not actually part of the universe itself?

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Offline Bill S

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Re: Do you believe that time exists?
« Reply #7 on: 06/04/2012 17:46:45 »
   
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So, is it possible that 'time' is merely a tool we use to undertsand the nature of the universe, but is not actually part of the universe itself?

My answer to that question would be a resounding "yes", but, of course, that's just an opinion.

I would modify it slightly to say that, in my opinion, time is a tool we use to undertsand the nature of that part of the universe which we are able to experience.

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Offline Pmb

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Re: Do you believe that time exists?
« Reply #8 on: 06/04/2012 21:59:51 »
What about change though? Things can surely be mathematically described without time?
Why??

Pete

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Offline Airthumbs

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Re: Do you believe that time exists?
« Reply #9 on: 08/04/2012 18:13:51 »
If you want to know what happens when the Universe exists without time press pause...... :)
Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex... It takes a touch of genius - and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction. (Einstein)