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February 07, 2009


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I have trouble with the statement that the universe is in constant change. Change implies time variable and time is far from being defined.

Consider the simple statement that the Universe is 14.7 billion years old (or whatever is latest accepted age).

This implies that some reference (mental) clock beats out units of earthly years from the moment of big bang to today, and 14.7 billion beats later, here we are! As a mental exercise, where could this clock exist?

Only one place, outside of the universe. A reference plane for the Standard Model is assumed to exist, a reference plane containing dimensions of space and beating the moments of time. Within this reference plane exists the Universe, seething with motion, and providing us with the feeling of time passing.

Science has inadvertently created a God, outside of the Universe, omnipresent, controlling everything, and called it time.

So what could all this motion and change actually be if we discard the idea of a clock outside of the Universe?

We know from experience (and from Einstein) that motion is relative, it can be the world moving past us, or us moving through the world, effect is the same.

If time did not exist, if everything was still, infinite, stationary, has existed and will always exist, then what would be the effect of our consciousness focusing moment by moment on different aspects, different 'nows' ?

We may experience a slowing down of time when our consciousness is not occupied and a speeding up of time when our consciousness is focused on something. The experience of Time would be variable, depending upon the level of conscious awareness.

This is not intended as a deep discussion on this topic, merely a taster of an idea that has some credibility even in small science circles (see works of Julian Barbour "The End of Time").

Phil, You raise some interesting points. I suspect that most physicists would agree that change = time. Yet as you (and Barbour) note, Einstein's universe of space/time, along with quantum mechanics, implies a different view of time than the one we're familiar with.

Time does seem to be a human construct. Change happens whether or not conscious beings are around to be aware of it, but I wonder whether time would.

This is sort of like the "does a tree falling in the forest make a sound?" question. No, because sound is subjective, while vibrations in the atmosphere are objective -- but not sound as we use that term.

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