The Nature of Time - {Metaphysics and Physics} As Matter is to Space :: as Entropy is to Time

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Space, in the sense we axiomatically understand it, by virtue of a metrical canon established as the basis for logical analysis, is, according to a lexicographical authority on the subject, “a continuous area or expanse that is free, available, or unoccupied”. As I consider the details, there are two ways to adequately interpret and express “space”.

In one case, “space” is purely a metaphysical abstraction – there is no real physical definition of “space”, although it may be physically instantiated or exemplified. “Space” may be used as an adjective of which one ascribes to a null characteristic of the tangible universe or as a means pertaining or relating to metaphorical attribution, but the nature of “space” is wholly, categorically speaking, an issue grounded in the foundation of metaphysical truth and only tangentially coincides with physical or concrete representation in its outermost projections. Much like how a silhouette cast by an object – the shadow being an immaterial extension of the original source – is not truly physical, “space”, at best, can only be indirectly physical.

Alternatively, as another bulwark for the flourishing of thought, one may see “space” as an unique function which enables the existence, propagation and interactions of matter. This “ultimate enabler” is the very reason why we all can and do exist. However, in this limited vehicle of apprehension, “space” is rather an inherent property of the universe than a discrete operator. Nonetheless, it is fundamental in and of itself.

Moving onwards, one might perceive certain sets of parallel synergies between the dualism of {space + matter} and the dualism of {entropy + time}.

For the sake of clarification and purpose of further discussion, entropy is defined as the tendency of an isolated system (i.e. where transfer of matter and energy between thermodynamic systems is physically impossible or negated) to dip towards disorder over an incremental interval of observational determination.

It would seem that time is an inherent property of entropy and time, as we muse about it, is nothing more than the reflection of entropy in a mirror. After all, time, the symptom of the mutual co-existence of physical particulates, falls right in line with the uncanny overlap of my papers shifting slightly to the right and therefore getting rustled into chaotic formations or the inevitable inclination of a clock to wear out over the course of its utility, as the mechanisms grind to an abrupt halt.

I’ve done a little thinking on the topic and thought it would be an interesting focus to bring up in a communal setting. What is the nature of time?

 
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We don’t even know what time is, how how we know it’s nature? On a quantum level, time doesn’t need to go forward. All the physics would still worked if time moved backward. Yet, on the macro level, time always moves forward. We can only define forward time with increasing entropy. Increasing entropy only occurs because space itself is expanding. How could the progression of time be dependent on the expansion of the universe, and the expansion of the universe be dependent on the progression of time. Unless they are both emergent, and dependent on something we can’t see.

I highly doubt time exists the way we imagine it. Likewise with space—it seems like physics makes more sense if we literally are just the “surface”, a hologram on the particle horizon.

 
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Space and matter dualism? Time and entropy? Friend, i think you have it mixed up. I mean, i really don’t understand your space and matter dualism. For all i am concerned the only dualism in which matter appears is the dualism of matter and energy as proposed by Einstein’s equations. As for time there is a huge debate about whether it exists and how. My 2 cents on the matter is that time exists as a human way to “map” change. We perceive changes in the world around us so we need time to keep track of them. It’s a really simple concept, you need to know where something is and when it’s there. A 4 dimensional timespace with 3 spatial dimensions and 1 time dimension.

 
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This topic, ladies and gentlemen, is the perfect example on how our scientific education fails to produce competent scientists.

Firstly, the convoluted hogwash provided by simeng.

there is no real physical definition of “space”, although it may be physically instantiated or exemplified.

This is a flatout lie. I understand you get your information from Wikipedia, but come on man. So we cannot give an Aristotelian genus/species definition of space… I’m going to cry. However, these stupid philosophical “definitions,” are just wastes of time. “But wait!” I hear you hark, “you haven’t defined space, hah!” Luckily, you did the hard work for me in your next paragraph, but it’s far from an “alternative.” It is space, you ninny.

For the sake of clarification and purpose of further discussion, entropy is defined as the tendency of an isolated system (i.e. where transfer of matter and energy between thermodynamic systems is physically impossible or negated) to dip towards disorder over an incremental interval of observational determination.

Clarity? Disorder is one of the ugliest words you could ever use to describe Entropy.

As for most concepts in Physics, the meaning of entropy in the context of thermodynamics and statistical mechanics is very different from its meaning as used by nonscientists.

(cf. Gould & Tobochnik, Statistical and Thermal Physics).

Most definitions of entropy rely in a change of entropy. It’s often worthless to speak of the “entropy” of a system, since entropy, as you mentioned, is linked with time. So it’s a function of change. The change in entropy is defined as the change in heat energy transferal per unit temperature of a system.

You conveniently neglect this for poetic freedom, which is why you should stick to writing and not science. You focus instead on the statistical view, where you can prescribe an entropy to a system, but here entropy doesn’t measure disorder. Every single state of a system is equally probable. However, some states are identical to each other due to the indistinguishable nature of atoms, so those states have compounded probability and we expect an equilibrium state to occur since it is most likely to occur. This has the maximum entropy, since each individual configuration of a system has an equivalent entropy (but the identical states are composite). How does this relate to disorder? If you can identify specific particles in specific locations, it must be in a damn near unique state. But if you can’t specify a distinct particle in a distinct location, its entropy is higher, since it’s likely a duplicate state. See why disorder is such an ugly term? If you really wanna get a hardon look into the Gibb’s Paradox (and likely misinterpret that too).

It would seem that time is an inherent property of entropy and time, as we muse about it, is nothing more than the reflection of entropy in a mirror.

It would seem that time is an inherent property of entropy and time

It would seem that time is an inherent property of time

Ya think? As far as a mirror… no, this is more poetic injustice.

I’ve done a little thinking on the topic

Please stop. I think I speak for everyone in my field when I say we are much better off without these public distortions of Physical tools.

And now for John’s link.

Their true venue is a ginormous abstract realm of possibilities—in the jargon, a “phase space” commensurate with their almost unimaginably rich repertoire of behaviors.

In scientific jargon, this means “we don’t know.” Nothing eye opening here, other than his fanciful use of language. If you can explain it in a convoluted, verbose manner, it obviously holds substance, right?
To account for anomalous motions within galaxies and larger systems, astronomers think our universe must be filled with some invisible material that outweighs ordinary matter by a factor of five to one.

Lovely! We’ve got the Ether again! Dark Matter is just the amount of mass leftover from our calculations. Besides, most authorities would tell you that even that description is misleading, and that dark matter is nothing more than transparent/invisible matter (i.e. unable to be detected readily.

When observational astronomers refer to dark matter, they usually mean any massive component of the universe which is too dim to be detected readily using current technology. Thus, stellar remnants such as white dwarfs, neutron stars, and black holes are sometimes referred to as dark matter, since an isolated stellar remnant is extremely faint and diffcult to detect. Substellar objects such as brown dwarfs are also referred to as dark matter, since brown dwarfs, too low in mass for nuclear fusion to occur in their cores, are very dim.
(cf. Ryden, Introduction to Cosmology)

Back to the blog though:

Consequently, some astronomers and physicists suspect there may be no dark matter after all.

Yeah, except they’re scientifically worthless hacks, kind of like this author. But maybe every single journal he’s ever submitted a paper to isn’t supported by this search engine, even though it’s designed by the school he pursued graduate studies in. Oddly, he doesn’t even seem to hold a PhD, despite being a Graduate Fellow of planetary sciences at Cornell (note: not Astrophysics/Cosmology). I haven’t been able to find any papers published by him anyway. If you can, and want to put my foot in my mouth, feel free. But good luck.

We don’t know what time is.

Except, in the world of Physics, time is very rigidly defined. Although time may dilate, it is defined to be an interval between two events. The only quibbles with time are philosophical, and mainly for aesthetic reasons. Poor philosophical crybabies kicking and screaming for a more ideal definition of time. Well, too bad. We use time in our calculations, not you. You don’t get to prescribe it for your own personal tastes, philosophers. Yes, we know what time is.

For anybody here who really wants to rub their chode, just look up the “unreality of time,” a philosophical investigation into the structure of time. circlejerk on how to define time (other than the cool time that’s useful in Physics).

 
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I’ve often wondered if time progresses in a void of space. If there is nothing there, what is there to progress? And if time does not progress, how does anything come to occupy a void of space that is not moving in time? And if a void of space cannot come to be occupied, how does one account for the void within atoms? Mind Boggling.

 
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how does one account for the void within atoms? Mind Boggling.

Not really mind boggling. The Universe is a closed system. So the void between atoms, while unoccupied, may occasionally become occupied, since it’s part of the Universe, a closed system. It’s like how you feel a draft when your window is open in Winter. Clearly you have a stable thermal state of your room, but yet you feel a cold rush of energy leaving your room. How could this happen when we think of only your room? Ahah! The open window extends the system to allow a transferal of energy outside the room. Thus, within the void between atoms, we allow a possibility for an atom to occupy this void.

A real mind boggling idea is, if a vast majority of space in physical, concrete objects like humans and walls are empty space, then why can’t we walk through walls? It’s surprisingly not as complicated as you would think. Think of a ceiling fan, with three wings. When it’s off, you can put your hand inside the empty space. When it’s moving, its wings traject through a circle, seemingly occupying all the space at once, as you notice if you put your hand into it. But really, the objects occupy less than half of the circle configured by the fan! So when we say matter is mostly empty space, we’re saying if it were static (which it isn’t). Quantum mechanically, the atoms pretty much occupy all the space at once, via the wave particle duality of matter and other quantum physical phenomena.

 
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Originally posted by DarkBaron:
how does one account for the void within atoms? Mind Boggling.

Not really mind boggling. The Universe is a closed system. So the void between atoms, while unoccupied, may occasionally become occupied, since it’s part of the Universe, a closed system. It’s like how you feel a draft when your window is open in Winter. Clearly you have a stable thermal state of your room, but yet you feel a cold rush of energy leaving your room. How could this happen when we think of only your room? Ahah! The open window extends the system to allow a transferal of energy outside the room. Thus, within the void between atoms, we allow a possibility for an atom to occupy this void.

A real mind boggling idea is, if a vast majority of space in physical, concrete objects like humans and walls are empty space, then why can’t we walk through walls? It’s surprisingly not as complicated as you would think. Think of a ceiling fan, with three wings. When it’s off, you can put your hand inside the empty space. When it’s moving, its wings traject through a circle, seemingly occupying all the space at once, as you notice if you put your hand into it. But really, the objects occupy less than half of the circle configured by the fan! So when we say matter is mostly empty space, we’re saying if it were static (which it isn’t). Quantum mechanically, the atoms pretty much occupy all the space at once, via the wave particle duality of matter and other quantum physical phenomena.

They are everywhere and nowhere at the same time.

 
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Except, in the world of Physics, time is very rigidly defined. Although time may dilate, it is defined to be an interval between two events. The only quibbles with time are philosophical, and mainly for aesthetic reasons. Poor philosophical crybabies kicking and screaming for a more ideal definition of time. Well, too bad. We use time in our calculations, not you. You don’t get to prescribe it for your own personal tastes, philosophers. Yes, we know what time is.

I’m not so sure about that. You have things like the the Wheeler-DeWitt equation, which essentially say that time does not matter in physics.

I haven’t been able to find any papers published by him anyway. If you can, and want to put my foot in my mouth, feel free. But good luck.

That’s odd. Using the link you provided (which doesn’t link to any specific author, btw), I was able to pull up 7 papers by Erik P. Verlinde. Here is one on entropic gravity, an interesting theory, to say the least. His website links to over 70 papers, though all on Stanford’s site.

Edit: I also found this in my bookmarks. More fun stuff on time, though not related to Verlinde.

 
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I said George Musser is a hack. Yes, Verlinde did come up with the theory that gravity is entropy, and that is what Musser referenced—but simply because it’s a reference does not mean you understand it. You’re better off referencing the papers themselves, which, while interesting, aren’t widely accepted in the Physics community at the moment. They may be in the future, but as it stands, the hypothesis is speculative. But yeah if Verlinde asserts that dark matter doesn’t exist, he’s also a hack (do take note that a vast majority of his papers are on speculative things like entropic gravity, quantum gravity, string theory, and if he thinks dark matter doesn’t exist, that too).

The Wheeler Dewitt equation is again something that is speculative in nature at the moment, along with string theory and most ideas about quantum gravity. They just haven’t produced any convincing evidence for their views. But let’s give the benefit of the doubt and assume it is true, which it might be. Or at least something similar. We live in a timeless universe, which is fine. But time is still rigidly defined in our other aspects of Physics: Quantum Mechanics, classical Mechanics, General relativity, et al.

Think of it as something we already know. Mass-energy. Einstein demonstrated that they’re the same thing—all mass is just energy. The universe is composed of energy and space. Does mass exist? Well, apparently not (in the context that it’s just another name for energy and therefore superfluous and unnecessary), but it still has a stringent definition. Same thing with momentum. Momentum is also just energy. It’s probably more intuitive to think of it in these terms instead. They’re defined in used in certain ways for their utility. It’s a tool. Time is a human construct, a manifestation of spacetime (whatever that is—the thing that is curved by mass-energy, whatever that is). It’s proven indispensable though, and is very rigidly defined although given a slightly arbitrary value.

The other link on time is beating a dead horse, really badly (badly in that they’re hitting it hard, and very awkwardly). Special relativity is superseded by general relativity, and is shown to be only a localized solution to einstein’s field equations. The real space/metric used in GR is the Robertson-Walker metric, which makes heavy use of the Friedman equation. In GR, the Friedman equation is the holy equation analogous to Newton’s 2nd Law in classical mechanics—always start there. I’m not entirely convinced their “work” with the Minkowski metric is even plausible to dismiss time as independent of space. GR really strongly asserts that spacetime is a single unit. Massenergy tells spacetime how to curve, but spacetime tells massenergy how to move. Dissect time out of spacetime and we just get a holy mess out of the field equations.

In layman terms, the metric is just to say how the universe curves. On a piece of paper, three points create a triangle whose angles add to 180. On the outer rim of a doughnut, three points connect to form a triangle whose angles add to a number greater than 180. On the inner rim, they add to less than 180. These are flat, positive, and negatively curved metrics, respectively. Minkowski is a flat metric, very simple (saying that spacetime isn’t curved by massenergy). The robertson walker metric extends the notion to a curved spacetime. So when we look at a very small piece of spacetime, irrespective of its curvature, it will look flat, and we can use a minkowski metric.

 
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Originally posted by DarkBaron:

This topic, ladies and gentlemen, is the perfect example on how our scientific education fails to produce competent scientists.

I concede I was not very knowledgeable or aware of the facts. However, it was not owing to the failure of scientific education, as you mistakenly put it, since I am 14 and haven’t been taught to that degree. No, in school, we are still covering the basics of space and matter, not any of this entropy or quantum physics that has proven so absolutely and fundamentally essential to the subject of our debate. On the other hand, I would say that education has its faults, but it is intended to be more of a temporary pair of crutches than a state of permanence: once you are ready to take on the world as it truly is (i.e. as recovery is to crutches, as preparation is to learning, specifically education as it is currently being offered and dispensed across the board) and have mastered understanding of the core mechanics enabling you to assume a step further into the great beyond, you dispose of the obsolete facilitation and fulfill your destiny with new wings of brazen potential. Still, since the ends do justify the means (yeah, trite and overused), there needs to be some improvement, but that is moreso with the details than what the system actually does.

Originally posted by DarkBaron:
how does one account for the void within atoms? Mind Boggling.

Not really mind boggling. The Universe is a closed system. So the void between atoms, while unoccupied, may occasionally become occupied, since it’s part of the Universe, a closed system. It’s like how you feel a draft when your window is open in Winter. Clearly you have a stable thermal state of your room, but yet you feel a cold rush of energy leaving your room. How could this happen when we think of only your room? Ahah! The open window extends the system to allow a transferal of energy outside the room. Thus, within the void between atoms, we allow a possibility for an atom to occupy this void.

A real mind boggling idea is, if a vast majority of space in physical, concrete objects like humans and walls are empty space, then why can’t we walk through walls? It’s surprisingly not as complicated as you would think. Think of a ceiling fan, with three wings. When it’s off, you can put your hand inside the empty space. When it’s moving, its wings traject through a circle, seemingly occupying all the space at once, as you notice if you put your hand into it. But really, the objects occupy less than half of the circle configured by the fan! So when we say matter is mostly empty space, we’re saying if it were static (which it isn’t). Quantum mechanically, the atoms pretty much occupy all the space at once, via the wave particle duality of matter and other quantum physical phenomena.

If the atoms basically occupy all the space at once, then, of course, you cannot simply phase through solids as easily as you could liquids or even gasses, but how does “the wave particle duality of matter and other quantum physical phenomena” play into effect? I would be most delighted to be informed of this mystery and, having the light been shed on my brows, dispel the darkness from my innermost recesses altogether.

 
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This topic isn’t about education, so I don’t honestly care to read what you have to say on it.

Way to take the last sentence out of context. Liquids and gases both have the same property of atoms moving as do solids. Fluids aren’t as solid as solids because of, well, pressures. This is a different, CLASSICAL phenomenon, not quantum. I gave an analogy which, of course, has its limits, as all analogies do. It breaks down for fluids, in opposition to what you assert so confidently and erroneously. I gave an analogy because the actual mechanics are fuckhard to describe, and the analogy is fairly decent in the world of solids.

I meant exactly what I said: that they pretty much occupy all the space at once—NOT that that is why you can’t walk through walls. This is, again, an answer to how atoms can come to occupy a void. The real solution to why you can’t walk through walls involves Pauli’s Exclusion principle, which is more advanced than I wanted to cover for a basic question. As for why atoms can occupy all the space at once, it’s a direct consequence of the solution to Shrodinger’s Equation. Therefore it appears that, to occupy all the space, it must behave like a wave (think a ripple in a pond). I’m going to abstain from the more complicated things—I know you’ll just misinterpret it and I’d be doing a great injustice by enabling your proliferation of ignorance.

 
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