International Skeptics Forum

International Skeptics Forum (http://www.internationalskeptics.com/forums/forumindex.php)
-   Religion and Philosophy (http://www.internationalskeptics.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=4)
-   -   No one can grasp 'time'; Not even a scientist (http://www.internationalskeptics.com/forums/showthread.php?t=354560)

MaartenVergu 3rd October 2021 04:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mojo (Post 13618228)
Can you give some examples of these things?

Infinity, time=0, etc.

Mojo 3rd October 2021 04:11 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MaartenVergu (Post 13618235)
Infinity, time=0, etc.


These are concepts that have been produced by our “ape brain”.

MaartenVergu 3rd October 2021 04:33 AM

It's easy to write it on paper in a book you call 'mathematics'.
It's more difficult to really grasp the weight of these concepts.

theprestige 3rd October 2021 04:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MaartenVergu (Post 13618227)
Do you agree that some things we will never know because our ape brain can't possible graps it?

A lot of people start thinking about this at some point in their lives. Some become philosophers. Some become paranormal believers. Some decide that it's ultimately inconclusive and not worth further serious effort.

All I care about is where you're going with this. Are you just starting to inquire about these things, and are looking for help in how to think through them? Or have you already done your thinking and reached your conclusions? If the latter, could you please just get to whatever your point is?

erlando 3rd October 2021 04:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MaartenVergu (Post 13618235)
Infinity, time=0, etc.

Mathematicians routinely work with several different types of infinities. They can even order them by size.

Time=0 is mainly a theoretical concept in the big bang theory and is defined as the moment that spacetime came into existance. I'm quite sure that theoretical cosmologists have no problem working with it.

It's quite possible that there exists things that are unknowable. But it's not our "ape brain" that can't know it. It will be physical laws that stand in the way.

MaartenVergu 3rd October 2021 04:45 AM

“I think I can safely say that nobody understands quantum mechanics.” It is one of the most repeated quotes of Richard Feynman (11 May 1918 – 15 February 1988).

That summarises it all.

theprestige 3rd October 2021 05:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MaartenVergu (Post 13618278)
“I think I can safely say that nobody understands quantum mechanics.” It is one of the most repeated quotes of Richard Feynman (11 May 1918 – 15 February 1988).

That summarises it all.

An appeal to popularity is a terrible summary. Tell us the context of Feynman's statement, and what he meant by it in that context, in your own words.

MaartenVergu 3rd October 2021 05:31 AM

That's something not so difficult to understand: nobody understands quantum physics, says a physicist!
An the whole universe is made of QM;
Ergo; no one understands the universe
QED

erlando 3rd October 2021 05:37 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MaartenVergu (Post 13618327)
That's something not so difficult to understand: nobody understands quantum physics, says a physicist!
An the whole universe is made of QM;
Ergo; no one understands the universe
QED

Get to your point already. Or is this it?

erlando 3rd October 2021 05:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MaartenVergu (Post 13618278)
“I think I can safely say that nobody understands quantum mechanics.” It is one of the most repeated quotes of Richard Feynman (11 May 1918 – 15 February 1988).

That summarises it all.

Because everyone stopped trying 30 years ago... :rolleyes:

MaartenVergu 3rd October 2021 05:48 AM

Ok, I don't understand QM. Maybe scientists do understand it, but I doubt it that they understand it fundamentally.

F.e. Scientists talk about a singularity. But do they really grasp it? It's called 'undefined' in the mathematics of general relativity. The beginning of time and at the center of every black hole is a singularity. But do scientists really understand what the mathematics of a singularity is pointing to?

Captain_Swoop 3rd October 2021 05:54 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MaartenVergu (Post 13618227)
Do you agree that some things we will never know because our ape brain can't possible graps it?

What kind of things?

There were lots of things we didn't know but we now know.

How do you decide on which things we will never know?

Captain_Swoop 3rd October 2021 05:55 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MaartenVergu (Post 13618265)
It's easy to write it on paper in a book you call 'mathematics'.
It's more difficult to really grasp the weight of these concepts.

For you maybe.

Captain_Swoop 3rd October 2021 05:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MaartenVergu (Post 13618278)
“I think I can safely say that nobody understands quantum mechanics.” It is one of the most repeated quotes of Richard Feynman (11 May 1918 – 15 February 1988).

That summarises it all.


that was then. How do you know that there aren't people that understand it or it will never be understood?

Captain_Swoop 3rd October 2021 05:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MaartenVergu (Post 13618338)
Ok, I don't understand QM. Maybe scientists do understand it, but I doubt it that they understand it fundamentally.

have you asked them?
Why would you doubt that those that understand QM don't understand it 'fundamentally'?

Quote:

F.e. Scientists talk about a singularity. But do they really grasp it? It's called 'undefined' in the mathematics of general relativity. The beginning of time and at the center of every black hole is a singularity. But do scientists really understand what the mathematics of a singularity is pointing to?
If they don't why does it mean they never will?

It is an area of active and ongoing research.

Putting your world view and philosophy in the gaps in knowledge will doom them to diminish.

theprestige 3rd October 2021 06:56 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MaartenVergu (Post 13618327)
That's something not so difficult to understand: nobody understands quantum physics, says a physicist!
An the whole universe is made of QM;
Ergo; no one understands the universe
QED

You have no idea of the context in which Feynman was speaking, do you? You have no idea who his audience was, what they understood him to be saying, or what actual argument he was developing when he said it. Hell, you don't even know if he was right.

turingtest 3rd October 2021 07:19 AM

All of this has a very familiar ring (ISF from a few years back)- and the repetition hasn't made the "nobody really knows!" wailing any better an argument, it's all still just the usual trying to find a god in the gaps. Seven (and more) years on, and all that's going to happen is the same round-and-round.

Gord_in_Toronto 3rd October 2021 07:22 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MaartenVergu (Post 13618278)
“I think I can safely say that nobody understands quantum mechanics.” It is one of the most repeated quotes of Richard Feynman (11 May 1918 – 15 February 1988).

That summarises it all.

What is there to "understand"? We have the equations. The equations work. They make predictions. We use them to engineer products that also work.

Just because QM is different from the macro level world we interact with does not mean it cannot be understood.

P.J. Denyer 3rd October 2021 07:41 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Gord_in_Toronto (Post 13618407)
What is there to "understand"? We have the equations. The equations work. They make predictions. We use them to engineer products that also work.

Just because QM is different from the macro level world we interact with does not mean it cannot be understood.

I think what a lot of people fail to understand is that mathematics is a language that describes reality (with great precision) rather than something detached with arbitrary rules used for it's own sake.

shemp 3rd October 2021 12:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Planigale (Post 13618175)
At least we know what comes after ....

BONG!

No, it was a lot of complaints about the noise. "I moved to this universe for some peace and quiet!"

Norman Alexander 3rd October 2021 03:53 PM

Here's a MUCH better discussion on QM. Start here, perhaps, and then do more research.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/07/o...m-physics.html

Steve 3rd October 2021 04:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Norman Alexander (Post 13618705)
Here's a MUCH better discussion on QM. Start here, perhaps, and then do more research.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/07/o...m-physics.html

Research? :eek::jaw-dropp:wide-eyed

Hlafordlaes 3rd October 2021 11:16 PM

Yeah, yeah, science is ever evolving, and knowledge is incomplete. However, this does not then lend greater credence to any belief system claiming to "know it all" or deal in absolutes. Sadly, because the "all-knowing" and "eternal truth" memes predate science, the complaint has ever been that because science evolves, it is wrong. Even more tragically, those memes have no grounding of any kind whatsover, and have been a fake, idealized model confusing humanity ever since.

Fact of the matter is, you can't even boil an egg with faith, leading to "egg on your faith".

RolandRat 3rd October 2021 11:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hlafordlaes (Post 13618906)
Fact of the matter is, you can't even boil an egg with faith

Have you tried?

Susheel 4th October 2021 12:27 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RolandRat (Post 13618915)
Have you tried?

Like asking have you tried to fly by tying a red cape around your neck and jumping off the terrace, isn't it?

catsmate 4th October 2021 12:55 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Planigale (Post 13618175)
At least we know what comes after ....

BONG!

The Big Bong......
There's something there.
:D

Kid Eager 4th October 2021 12:56 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Susheel (Post 13618943)
Like asking have you tried to fly by tying a red cape around your neck and jumping off the terrace, isn't it?

To test this properly, we should attempt to boil an egg by tying a red cape around your neck and jumping off the terrace. If done properly, it will make time more understandable.

Craig4 4th October 2021 04:55 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MaartenVergu (Post 13618128)
What are you talking about? Again? I'm new here on the forum. What 'again'?

Uh...maybe there's some background reading you should have done.

Craig4 4th October 2021 04:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MaartenVergu (Post 13618227)
Do you agree that some things we will never know because our ape brain can't possible graps it?

Newton said something similar about orbital mechanics as I recall. That, it turns out, didn't age well.

Craig4 4th October 2021 05:01 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MaartenVergu (Post 13618265)
It's easy to write it on paper in a book you call 'mathematics'.
It's more difficult to really grasp the weight of these concepts.

Wait. All this is about your math anxiety? I was never very good in math either but I didn't tell Stephan Hawking and Neil DeGrass Tyson to go home and stop messing about with it.

Crazy Chainsaw 4th October 2021 05:07 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dave Rogers (Post 13618134)
So, you claim that if you don't currently understand anything, nobody can possibly understand it? That's rather arrogant of you.

Dave

I would explain to him that time is Limted to the work of energy expanding space time, but I haven't got the time.

LarryS 4th October 2021 09:35 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MaartenVergu (Post 13617504)
If there was an infinite amount of time in the past, then it would have taken infinite time for time to reach to our present moment. We would never meet the present moment. So, we can't postulate that there was an infinite amount of time before our present moment. But it's also hard to grasp that there was a fixed amount of time in our past and 'nothing before that'. How can we have an idea of what that means? We can't. Conclusion: not even a scientist can grasp 'time' and 'infinity'. Our minds can't grasp it. No math or science can discover this part of reality.
That's one of the mysteries of reality we can only meet with 'awe'.

You have it backwards, technically, we don't experience time, we experience a moment. Time, the past, the future, is simply a container we stitch together. Time is not a thing or event, there is nothing there to grasp or understand.

Dave Rogers 5th October 2021 02:20 AM

No one can grasp 'length'; Not even a scientist
 
If there is an infinite amount of length to our left, then it would have taken infinite length for length to reach to our present location. We would never get to the present location. So, we can't postulate that there is an infinite amount of length to the left of our present location. But it's also hard to grasp that there is a fixed amount of length to our left and 'nothing beyond that'. How can we have an idea of what that means? We can't. And it's more complex even than that, because we have to ask whether there is also an infinite amount of length below us and behind us; in fact, it is triply more complex than time. Conclusion: not even a scientist can grasp 'length' and 'infinity'. Our minds can't grasp it. No math or science can discover this part of reality.
That's one of the mysteries of reality we can only meet with 'awe'.

And yet, I'm sitting on a chair that doesn't rock, because it was possible to measure the lengths of all four legs and make them the same.

Maybe maths and science are a bit better at discovering reality than vague, rambling musings about the nature of infinity.

Dave

Reformed Offlian 11th October 2021 06:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Planigale (Post 13618175)
At least we know what comes after ....

BONG!

I think the bong may have come before in this case...

arthwollipot 11th October 2021 08:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MaartenVergu (Post 13618338)
Ok, I don't understand QM. Maybe scientists do understand it, but I doubt it that they understand it fundamentally.

What's the difference between understanding something and understanding it fundamentally?

Roboramma 12th October 2021 04:01 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MaartenVergu (Post 13618338)
Ok, I don't understand QM. Maybe scientists do understand it, but I doubt it that they understand it fundamentally.

F.e. Scientists talk about a singularity. But do they really grasp it? It's called 'undefined' in the mathematics of general relativity. The beginning of time and at the center of every black hole is a singularity. But do scientists really understand what the mathematics of a singularity is pointing to?

The "singularity" is just where the current theory breaks down. We don't actually know what the state of the universe was at t=0 because relativity can't deal with that singularity. Perhaps when we get a theory of quantum gravity we'll have something that can describe the state of the universe at t=0. Maybe it will turn out that there was a time before that, or maybe it won't. We don't actually know yet.

But while there may be some things we don't know yet, there's a lot that we do know. For instance, the state of the universe a nanosecond after t=0.

As for QM, while there's still work being done in quantum foundations, the Everett interpretation is pretty clear and mostly understood at the fundamental level, and it's consistent with everything we know. There's some question about where the probabilities arise in a deterministic theory (which Everett is, if you look at it from the entire wave function), but those questions seem to be mostly answered.

Roboramma 12th October 2021 04:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by arthwollipot (Post 13626491)
What's the difference between understanding something and understanding it fundamentally?

Here's a for instance that is I think what he was getting at:

Under the Copenhagen interpretation it's possible to do experimental physics and get clear answers to the questions you want to ask ("What is the outcome theory predicts for this experiment?") say. Because generally the apparatus doing the measurement are very large systems of trillions of particles and the things being measured are very small systems of a few particles. But there's some intermediate size where you might say "When these two systems interact, does the wave function collapse or not?" And whatever the answer is, make the system either larger or smaller and repeat the question. The Copenhagen interpretation won't tell you where the line is drawn between "macroscopic" and "microscopic", or really exactly when wave functions collapse (or what the mechanism is). It's just vague on that. Generally, that's okay because again the difference between the systems being studied and the systems doing the measurements are so large that there's no real need for that kind of specificity. But from a fundamental perspective there must be some mechanism, and collapse clearly doesn't occur when only a few particles are interacting (otherwise entanglement wouldn't exist).

The Everett interpretation makes this all clear: there's no such thing as collapse, there's just decoherence.

There are dynamical collapse models in which collapse does happen, which are specific about when it happens. So those also fulfill the "understood at a fundamental level" requirement that he seems to be asking for.

I don't think it's unreasonable to want to look for an understanding that makes sense at a fundamental level, though I do think we're much further along that he seems to think.

arthwollipot 12th October 2021 05:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Roboramma (Post 13626636)
But while there may be some things we don't know yet, there's a lot that we do know. For instance, the state of the universe a nanosecond after t=0.

To my understanding, we actually know the state of the universe 10-43 second after t=0, which is a much smaller length of time than a nanosecond (10-9).

Roboramma 12th October 2021 07:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by arthwollipot (Post 13627377)
To my understanding, we actually know the state of the universe 10-43 second after t=0, which is a much smaller length of time than a nanosecond (10-9).

Yeah, thanks :). Though I think we aren't really confident that far down, since there are still some ambiguities, for instance about the asymmetry between matter and antimatter. But yeah, definitely less a nanosecond. I was intentionally rounding up so I didn't have to look anything up :p

LarryS 13th October 2021 02:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Roboramma (Post 13627441)
Yeah, thanks :). Though I think we aren't really confident that far down, since there are still some ambiguities, for instance about the asymmetry between matter and antimatter. But yeah, definitely less a nanosecond. I was intentionally rounding up so I didn't have to look anything up :p

do we really 'know' any of this, aren't we just walking Einstein's equations back in time . . . this alone is not a 'knowing'

p0lka 13th October 2021 03:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MaartenVergu (Post 13617504)
If there was an infinite amount of time in the past, then it would have taken infinite time for time to reach to our present moment. We would never meet the present moment. So, we can't postulate that there was an infinite amount of time before our present moment. But it's also hard to grasp that there was a fixed amount of time in our past and 'nothing before that'. How can we have an idea of what that means? We can't. Conclusion: not even a scientist can grasp 'time' and 'infinity'. Our minds can't grasp it. No math or science can discover this part of reality.
That's one of the mysteries of reality we can only meet with 'awe'.

R is quite big, yet I can still count to 1.

arthwollipot 13th October 2021 05:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LarryS (Post 13628260)
do we really 'know' any of this, aren't we just walking Einstein's equations back in time . . . this alone is not a 'knowing'

First, it's as close as we know how to get. And second, we're way past just Einstein here.

erlando 13th October 2021 11:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LarryS (Post 13628260)
do we really 'know' any of this, aren't we just walking Einstein's equations back in time . . . this alone is not a 'knowing'

No of course we don't "know" this. None of us was around when it happened.

This is what the best models show to be the case. That's all we got. But time and time again that has been more than adequate for our purposes. Science don't really need to "know". All science needs is sufficiently predictive models that given real world inputs spits out what we can expect to observe.

But sure, if you want the literal interpretation then no, we don't "know" any of this. We can't. Does it matter?

Roboramma 14th October 2021 03:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LarryS (Post 13628260)
do we really 'know' any of this, aren't we just walking Einstein's equations back in time . . . this alone is not a 'knowing'

For some of it, yes. When we can use the state of the universe to predict the abundances of various elements, for instance, and then look out the universe and see that those predictions are accurate, then I'd say that we do actually know these things.

What we know about the state of the early universe has lead to many falsifiable predictions, and they turned out to be correct.

But there's also still a lot that we don't know. Looking back at it, I think Arth's actually wrong about 10-43. We really have no idea about times scales close to the plank time, and won't until we get a theory of quantum gravity.

Steve 14th October 2021 04:45 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by erlando (Post 13628666)
No of course we don't "know" this. None of us was around when it happened.

This is what the best models show to be the case. That's all we got. But time and time again that has been more than adequate for our purposes. Science don't really need to "know". All science needs is sufficiently predictive models that given real world inputs spits out what we can expect to observe.

But sure, if you want the literal interpretation then no, we don't "know" any of this. We can't. Does it matter?

Matters to LarryS because he would love nothing more that to drag you, or anyone, into yet another "philosophy" debate.

Wudang 14th October 2021 05:42 AM

Yep as Dara O'Briain said
Quote:

Science knows it doesn't know everything; otherwise, it'd stop. But just because science doesn't know everything doesn't mean you can fill in the gaps with whatever fairy tale most appeals to you.
And to expand on Roborama: it's not just what science knows, it's the degree of certainty it can know things with.

LarryS 14th October 2021 08:18 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steve (Post 13628788)
Matters to LarryS because he would love nothing more that to drag you, or anyone, into yet another "philosophy" debate.

Well, if this were a science thread we could all accept what we know about the Big Bang and have fun with that; but this is a philosophy thread, and I think its acceptable to speak of degrees of certainty, sources of evidence, the models, etc.

Jimbo07 14th October 2021 10:00 AM

The Unknown (we can/can't know?)--------------------------------------? is >
Things others can't know------------------------^ is >
Things others don't know---------------------^ is >
Things I don't know, but others do----^ is >
Things I know--^
Me

(lines are not to scale. The things I know should be a mere fraction of the things I don't, but others do. It should probably increase exponentially from there! but I don't know... ;) )

It may be that the OP is right that there are things no one will never fully understand... but even a broken clock is right twice a day!

arthwollipot 14th October 2021 06:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Roboramma (Post 13628760)
Looking back at it, I think Arth's actually wrong about 10-43.

I checked the exact number on Wikipedia, but it depends on how much you consider the time before quarks were formed to be "known".

RecoveringYuppy 14th October 2021 07:04 PM

I think Roborama is probably referring to the heading "The very early universe" near the top of your link.


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 01:27 AM.

Powered by vBulletin. Copyright ©2000 - 2022, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
© 2015-20, TribeTech AB. All Rights Reserved.