On Time and Archaeology

How does science work? And what's all this about quantum mechanics?

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Metazoan
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Re: On Time and Archaeology

Post by Metazoan »

Hi Arising,

...
I wrote:This would appear to highlight the problem I see with words. 'Event' would seem to have to carry several meanings to varying levels of precision. On the one hand it could be describing a party which can be pinned down to a date and happening over many hours, on the other hand it could describe a proton moving at near light speed passing a detector. Its meaning can also be more esoteric.
To which you wrote:I doubt we'll get much more esoteric outside of the space between these two meanings.
Depends on what type of parties you get invited to, I guess. ;-) But, no, I was thinking of things like death and falling into black holes and such stuff.
But what do you mean by 'precision'? 'Shortness of event'? As a "proton moving at near light speed passing a detector" is still an event? Cl..ick
By precision I was meaning two things, firstly the need to define the event and also the need to measure the event. Vague definitions lead to vague measurements like when does bread become toast? Very precise definitions highlight other problems such as Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle which makes measuring the position of fast moving protons a bit of a pain unless you accept that limitation.
Although the 'photomultiper effect' has always bothered me as its does not actually measure 'a photon'?
Not quite sure what you are getting at here. From memory, a photomultiplier simply uses the photoelectric effect to allow a photon to knock an electron off a charged plate which then is accelerated towards other charged plates, knocking more electrons free and so on in an avalanche until you get a detectable signal. I would agree that the photon is simply an inferred cause of the resulting signal.
I wrote:I do not see the term 'event' affecting that which 'is'. Simply, the more precisely you wish to define an event, the more precisely you have to define what you mean by 'event'. The word 'event' is a tool and it is advisable to use a tool suitable for the job in hand.
To which you wrote:As is all language but as you scare-quote "is" we agree that this is also under definition. So I'm not sure that not understanding what 'events' 'are' would not affect that which is.
In a way, I am hearing that you are saying that if I mistake a cup of coffee for a cup of tea, that my mistake makes the cup of coffee somehow change into a cup of tea. I do not see my mistake affecting that which 'is' coffee.
I have done this many times and the resulting taste is of neither, until I have worked out which it is. I do not think that it is the beverage that is unsure what it is. How do you propose that thinking about something can affect that something? I am not arguing against you here, I am just puzzled.

Thinking you have reached the floor while still several steps up is a more painful example.
I think I agree with the 'length' of an event but I wonder where that leaves your 'time' if any event can be an eternity depending upon the measuring instrument?
Please can you put this another way? I think it logical that events are defined as a system changing state in some manner. Are you pointing towards a question like 'Are time and events things in themselves?' I do not see how it is possible to have an event free zone and an observer who has any sort of access to that zone. The observer will 'infect' any such space with 'time'.

...
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Metazoan
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Re: On Time and Archaeology

Post by Metazoan »

Hi Arising,

... Moving stuff around a bit...
I wrote:In a world where falling trees make sounds unconditionally I 'see' 'causality' between 'events'. Unfortunately, that cosy world had to go because, like it or not, this world I perceive is as goofy as Escher's and it simply cannot work the way I used to think it did.
To which you wrote:Do trees do this? Hume took a close look and said your 'causality' between 'events', based upon perception, was false, so in the 'cozy world' of philosophy this idea went a while back(not that everyone has agreed or anything ).
I'm not sure if I was unclear in the first instance or am now misunderstanding your response.
What I was trying to say is that looking at the world as a simple physical entity then trees falling over would obviously make a noise even if nothing could hear it. When I look at the world, however, it is clear to me that it cannot be a simple physical entity or even physical at all. With that loss of physicality I had to discard causality and a load of other stuff.
I take it you are saying here that Hume discarded causality, if so did he suggest an agent for maintaining apparent consistency?
Later I wrote:Where do you stand on the tree falling in the uninhabited forest?..
To which you wrote: the way I understand this is that trees with no living thing to 'hear' them would make all the 'noises' that they do when falling down, effectively compressive 'sounds'. So do 'objects' exist when we're not there, yes, in the sense that if we were there the object would look exactly as it would if we weren't, or some such nonsense.
So you have it that stuff has a physical existence independent of the observer. That would suggest that you have physical paradoxes in your world. Enjoy. ;-)
Here's a more common-one, if they don't exist when you are not there then how do you account for change, i.e. a candle or fire burning down.
This makes me unsure that I understood your point about Hume. You now appear to be arguing against him and for causality.

Please can you just run through Hume's argument quickly for me so we are singing from the same hymn sheet?
It seems a bit to much for the human brain to calculate, although if its all a sim then I can see that the program could save resources by calculating things this way, I just doubt that its not somewhere in 'memory'
To me, you have both answered the question and stated that you don't believe your answer.
I wrote:My disposal of causality is much more to do with trying to dispose of its accumulated meaning than suggesting there was no connection between the state of a universe at time t and its state at any other time. I think the idea 'consistent' serves me better.
To which you wrote:Sounds fine with me, how about 'highly probable' as well?
No, not for me, my model is entirely static. There is no probability, just absolute certainty. Things are, or they are not. It is simply not possible for things to be inconsistent. Hence there is no need for causality as the agent.

...

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mrblue
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Re: On Time and Archaeology

Post by mrblue »

A consciousness without time is not a consciousness at all. There would only be the present now and there could be no possibility for memories. We would all be like the unfortunate individual who loses the capacity to form new memories, and thus must always be trapped in his present moment when he lost this capacity. If we cannot distinguish a before from an after, and everything happens 'simultaneously' so to say, we could never distinguish events from each other and everything in our present moment would be incapable of apprehension. Trains would trail off toward their destinations and return in the same instant. Cups would fill and empty, storms would form and dissipate, the sun would rise and set. But these are all rather facetious word games on my part. Everything would be contained within one instant, and from our perspective it would be as though everything were standing still.

Because the aforementioned is not the case, the observed reality, this would lead us to assume that we do experience a temporal dimension. Our consciousness could not develop in an atemporal environment, and I would use this as one of the strongest counter-arguments against 'in-the-now' arguments.

For a better understanding of our relation to the temporal dimension, I would recommend The Concept of Time by Heidegger as a brief and satisfying read.


Cheers,
Joey
Metazoan
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Re: On Time and Archaeology

Post by Metazoan »

Hi mrblue,

Welcome to the forum, I have enjoyed your posts.

How short do you think 'now' can be and still sustain consciousness?

Or, to put it another way, what is the smallest perceivable overlap, in seconds, between 'past' and 'future'?
chaz wyman
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Re: On Time and Archaeology

Post by chaz wyman »

Metazoan wrote:Hi mrblue,

Welcome to the forum, I have enjoyed your posts.

How short do you think 'now' can be and still sustain consciousness?

Or, to put it another way, what is the smallest perceivable overlap, in seconds, between 'past' and 'future'?
Surely "now" is the eternal moment of immanence?
Time is analogue and does not submit to the division we choose to put on it.
Metazoan
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Re: On Time and Archaeology

Post by Metazoan »

Irony.

Oops, sorry, wrong thread.
Metazoan
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Re: On Time and Archaeology

Post by Metazoan »

Hi Arising,

I'm glad that time is only an illusion; I would hate to think that it has really taken me this long to reply to your post.
I wrote:I see the numbers having a more fundamental existence than my computer.
To which you wrote:Platonist eh!
I have no idea what a Platonist is; I hope you're not calling me names.
Okay, I got "no, no, yes" by assuming that the first two are products that would not exist unless there were mind, i.e. they exist nowhere expect in our heads, whereas the last is a physical thing(but I understand the shaky ground here).
I take this as that you think a computer is a thing in itself and has some existence out of our heads. And that our heads have some existence out of our minds. I do not think my head is out of its mind but others may view the situation differently.
I wrote:Ask me one on sport.
To which you wrote:When did West Ham last win the F.A. Cup and are we going down this season?
That's two! What are you trying to say? BOGOFF?

But I think it's neat you kept to the time theme, one about the past and one about the future.

The answers are simple; West Ham last won the F.A. Cup the last time the F.A. Cup was contested and yes you are going down this season.
I was reliably informed by a half dead cat.
I wrote:Is there any value in having an absolute definition of 'real' and 'exist' or will their use always be a means to an end?
To which you wrote:Can you have an 'absolute' definition in Language?
Err, no, I don't think so. 'Absolute' was not quite what I was trying to say. What I was trying to say was equally ridiculous so I will move swiftly on.
I wrote:LOL, I wouldn't want to refute the possibility.[That we could be a 'sim' running upon some 'hardware']However, as a solution it is only trying to sweep the problem under the carpet. You simply end up trying to explain how the hardware can exist, who built it and what happened before that.
It would appear to add more complexity than it removes.
To which you wrote:Occams razor is not always applicable, but I agree that much as I like the metaphysics it can propose, I too think it fairly unlikely,...
I was not trying to apply Occams Razor to the issue, but to point out that it would appear to invoke infinite regression. It simply replaces one unanswered question with another without moving the argument on to any significant degree.
... but would note that whilst Physics does appear to be hunting for a TOE, the Planck length may just be irreduciably 'fuzzy', if so then complexity would seem to rule?
I think the fuzziest thing about Planck's constant is my understanding of it. As far as I recall, it is about the observation that particles with mass can only acquire energy in lumps, which means that any physical measurement cannot be made with any finer measurement than dictated by this restriction. It's a bit like having a rule(r) that can only be marked in inches with no way to make marks closer together than that.

To me Physics is constrained between two insurmountable obstacles. On the small scale they will chop matter apart until they run up against Planck's Constant, and in doing so, on the large scale they will create particles so massive that they will be black holes and so equally inscrutable.
However, I see this as a valuable pursuit as it will provide evidence that things are not as they seem and so give weight to some of the less intuitive possibilities.

I think the answer is both infinitely simple and infinitely complex. To write down the TOE is to limit it and so leave something out. It simply is. It is everything and nothing.
I wrote:It doesn't seem to move any closer to answering the fundamental question: 'How is it that I think I exist?'
To which you wrote:From which position? The Physicist's or the Man's? Personally, if its the Science answer we are considering then Biology is going to answer this one not Physics. For myself, its because we have a Language is an answer to this 'how' question.
My position was from the most fundamental level possible. After lurking here for I while found myself less and less able to account for my own existence up to the point that I concluded that I didn't exist (in any manner that I had hitherto thought.) That contrasted with the inescapable thought that I think I do exist. Everything told me that I cannot exist but I think I do. (I think Psychonaut's posts should carry a mental health warning (and be compulsory reading.))
Again, check-out the Zenites if its bothering you
I'm not bothered that my old model is broken as I have another that seems a better fit. I am bothered that I find the new model simultaneously unbearable and inescapable. I've been not following the few Zen threads with interest but I don't think it is the answer for me.
but if its a professional philosophizing then I think you may in trouble reconciling the Math with the Language but wish you luck.
As I don't know what a Platonist is I guess we can dispense with the 'professional philosophizing' position. I am hopeless at Math and cant spel fore toffe so I think I will need more than luck.


Over to you, Arising.


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Arising_uk
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Re: On Time and Archaeology

Post by Arising_uk »

Hi Met,
Metazoan wrote:...I'm glad that time is only an illusion; I would hate to think that it has really taken me this long to reply to your post.
:lol: How am I feeling right now! Easily distracted. :oops:
I have no idea what a Platonist is; I hope you're not calling me names.
Sorry, roughly a 'Platonist' is someone who believes, like Plato, that things like Triangles, et al, reflect or are projections of an archetype or template of a 'triangle' Form, as such, within our Ideas, Mathematics is the closest to describing the myriads of reality, e.g. the geometry of the world, so world of Forms must be the world of Mathematics and hence, more real than reality, in some sense - bit of a bodge but shortest I could get it.
I take this as that you think a computer is a thing in itself and has some existence out of our heads. And that our heads have some existence out of our minds. I do not think my head is out of its mind but others may view the situation differently.
No, I take it as things exist without us. That our 'things' only exist because of 'us' I take as interesting with respect to how we could live and perceive.
That's two! What are you trying to say? BOGOFF?

But I think it's neat you kept to the time theme, one about the past and one about the future.

The answers are simple; West Ham last won the F.A. Cup the last time the F.A. Cup was contested and yes you are going down this season.
I was reliably informed by a half dead cat.
You can't have a 'half-dead' cat, that was the point. Thats why your latter answer was WRONG!! :D and whilst I understood the former its still wrong, as you left out 'the last time the F.A. Cupwas contested...by West Ham'.
LOL, I wouldn't want to refute the possibility.[That we could be a 'sim' running upon some 'hardware']However, as a solution it is only trying to sweep the problem under the carpet. You simply end up trying to explain how the hardware can exist, who built it and what happened before that.
Maybe, but these problems apply to religion and this religion would have the advantage of understanding that we might be able to interrogate the 'hardware' from within the 'software' via the 'meatware' I'd guess? :)
It would appear to add more complexity than it removes.
What complexity has been removed with respect to the idea of a first cause by science?
I was not trying to apply Occams Razor to the issue, but to point out that it would appear to invoke infinite regression. It simply replaces one unanswered question with another without moving the argument on to any significant degree.
Shit! The conversation was what? :) :oops: Ah! What does Time look like? So I think the idea that its all a sim may be very useful as we could check the clock-speed, maybe bit and byte-size, what about RAM capabilities? I've seen odd papers that have the Universe embarrassingly over-hardwared(wired) with respect to what we perceive.
I think the fuzziest thing about Planck's constant is my understanding of it. As far as I recall, it is about the observation that particles with mass can only acquire energy in lumps, which means that any physical measurement cannot be made with any finer measurement than dictated by this restriction. It's a bit like having a rule(r) that can only be marked in inches with no way to make marks closer together than that.
No, I think my apologies are in order as I probably meant the Planck Length, so thanks for reminding me that a constant must be measurable. The bit about the ruler is, is I think, about the length and, for me, relates to the idea of Heisenbergs Uncertainty Principle, which I tie all together with the crude idea that Planck then says its all 'particles' and Heisenberg says we 'see' by 'particles' and as such there is a limit to what we can 'see'.
To me Physics is constrained between two insurmountable obstacles. On the small scale they will chop matter apart until they run up against Planck's Constant, and in doing so, on the large scale they will create particles so massive that they will be black holes and so equally inscrutable.
Not sure who this 'they' is? But the ability to produce 'black-holes' may be "inscrutable" but it'd be bloody useful as a source of energy.
However, I see this as a valuable pursuit as it will provide evidence that things are not as they seem and so give weight to some of the less intuitive possibilities.
What do they 'seem' like?
I think the answer is both infinitely simple and infinitely complex.
You think the answer is a contradiction?
To write down the TOE is to limit it and so leave something out. It simply is. It is everything and nothing.
What is?
My position was from the most fundamental level possible. After lurking here for I while found myself less and less able to account for my own existence up to the point that I concluded that I didn't exist (in any manner that I had hitherto thought.) That contrasted with the inescapable thought that I think I do exist. Everything told me that I cannot exist but I think I do. (I think Psychonaut's posts should carry a mental health warning (and be compulsory reading.))
I agree about Psychonaut posts but I think you need to think about what 'thinking' means as opposed to 'thoughting' and in relation to 'knowing' whether one exists or not.
I'm not bothered that my old model is broken as I have another that seems a better fit. I am bothered that I find the new model simultaneously unbearable and inescapable. I've been not following the few Zen threads with interest but I don't think it is the answer for me.
Nor me, what is it that you find unbearable?
As I don't know what a Platonist is I guess we can dispense with the 'professional philosophizing' position. I am hopeless at Math and cant spel fore toffe so I think I will need more than luck.
I doubt you don't have what it takes but luck is always handy.
Over to you, Arising.
Roger Rodge.
Godfree
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Re: On Time and Archaeology

Post by Godfree »

Bloody hell , I think my brain hurts ,
Please tell me you got something out of all that , I was doing ok for the first post , but then time seemed to slow down and everything became fuzzy.
You guys , Mrblue was at least brief and understandable in comparrison. Waffle jeeees ,
The tree falling in the forest , yeah I get that one , like a lot of philosophy it can actually just be an exercise , it's fairly obvious that the tree will make a sound , but if one was to construct an argument for "no sound" how would one do this .
Time is an equally obvious answer and I have run this as a thread on other sites"if a minute ticks by and nobody is there to time it , did a minute actually happen" so we can also ask , if in the time before the big bang millions of years were spent organizing matter into the position to go bang,,was that indeed millions of years .
If you are like me and can grasp the concept of infinity , then there was an infinite number of years that existed before the big bang
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Notvacka
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Re: On Time and Archaeology

Post by Notvacka »

Godfree wrote:If you are like me and can grasp the concept of infinity.
If you can actually "grasp" infinity, then you must be some kind of god, Godfree. :lol:
Godfree wrote:then there was an infinite number of years that existed before the big bang
Read up on the basics, friend. Time began with the bang. There was no time before time.
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Arising_uk
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Re: On Time and Archaeology

Post by Arising_uk »

Godfree wrote:Bloody hell , I think my brain hurts ,...
But you're not sure?
... "if a minute ticks by and nobody is there to time it , did a minute actually happen" ...
What would be your answer GF? As what is 'ticking by' where there is no-one to 'time it'?
Godfree
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Re: On Time and Archaeology

Post by Godfree »

Arising_uk wrote:
Godfree wrote:Bloody hell , I think my brain hurts ,...
But you're not sure?
... "if a minute ticks by and nobody is there to time it , did a minute actually happen" ...
What would be your answer GF? As what is 'ticking by' where there is no-one to 'time it'?
In order to stay even remotely sane , we need to have a set of assumptions that we use to fill in the missing bits of information we may have for any given situation, for example , I don't see you or any of the other people on this site , I don't know whether it's just some bored geek pretending to be everybody else and it's just me and the geek???
This is entirely possible .I wouldn't say probable , and this is where the most probable saves us time . I'm not going to imagine every crazy possibility for every second of my existence .
I'm going to presume assume and know that I don't need to be there to know time has past , the tree made a sound , and time existed before the big bang.
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Notvacka
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Re: On Time and Archaeology

Post by Notvacka »

Godfree wrote:...and time existed before the big bang.
Since you claim to believe in science, you should know that this is not how the big bang is understood by science. If you claim some sort of esoteric or personal knowledge of the big bang, I would very much like to know how you acquired this knowledge.
Godfree
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Re: On Time and Archaeology

Post by Godfree »

Notvacka wrote:
Godfree wrote:...and time existed before the big bang.
Since you claim to believe in science, you should know that this is not how the big bang is understood by science. If you claim some sort of esoteric or personal knowledge of the big bang, I would very much like to know how you acquired this knowledge.
There are many ways we can approach this question , firstly I would ask you to explain "Nothing " if there was no time before the big bang , what do you call the period that was before ,, if we are in a finite universe , what do you call the bits outside the universe , that is if you put an end or stop to the universe what is on the other side .
This is the reason why time and space are infinite . Because you can't stop time . And you can't put a wall up to say this is where the universe ends . People try and tell me that the time before the big bang had"no time" , well if infinity is reality , and I don't believe anything else is possible , then time always was and space goes on forever . Time goes on forever , in both directions .
I presume you imagine we live in a finite universe???
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Notvacka
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Re: On Time and Archaeology

Post by Notvacka »

Godfree wrote:I would ask you to explain "Nothing "
The concept of nothing is just as hard to actually "grasp" as infinity. Don't confuse it with empty space, though.
Godfree wrote:if there was no time before the big bang , what do you call the period that was before.
There was no "period" before time. Period. :lol: Since time is tied to space, it would be more accurate to talk about outside time and space, rather than before time, anyway.
Godfree wrote:if we are in a finite universe , what do you call the bits outside the universe , that is if you put an end or stop to the universe what is on the other side.
Anything could be outside the universe. Absolutely anything. Perhaps nothing. Possibly other universes. But since we are stuck inside this universe, we can never know.
Godfree wrote:Because you can't stop time . And you can't put a wall up to say this is where the universe ends.
Not talking about any stop or end here, only a beginning. But if the universe has been expanding since the big bang, it should have an outer edge of sorts. You don't seem to be familiar with Einstein's theory of relativity and the unity of time and space, or how the expansion of space is understood by science. As I said before, please read up on the basics.
Godfree wrote:...infinity is reality, and I don't believe anything else is possible.
Nice of you to admit that it's a belief, rather than to claim knowledge. I believe in infinity too, but not within this universe.
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