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A Bill Nye trick...


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As Bill Nye, The Science Guy, would say "Consider the following."

 

(This may not appear relevant to Time Travel at first, but bear with me.)

 

There is an activity each of us engages in on a daily basis that is so un-natural, so foreign to the workings of the universe, so unique, that WE may be the only beings in the entire universe that engage in it. I can't be sure about that last part, but it is possible.

 

This process is ingrained in us shortly after birth and we engage in it daily until we die. We are not born knowing this process, we have to be taught it. We then pass it on by teaching it to others, yet it is nonetheless a very unusual activity in terms of reality. There is nothing in nature or the universe that directly correlates to it, or that exists in any natural form one has ever identified. It actually is not even necessary for accomplishing the goals we seek by engaging in it. There are even more natural alternatives to this activity and yet we persist in engaging in it to achieve these goals. We have been taught to do it this way and feel unnatural doing it in any other manner. This activity is probably a result of the forms our bodies have evolved in, but has nothing to do with any biological function.

 

What is this enigmatic activity? DECIMAL MATHEMATICS!

 

The fact that we have ten fingers is probably why we humans do math in base 10. There is nothing special or required in pure mathematics that says it has to be performed in base 10. The computer you're looking at uses base 2 (binary) math to translate, execute, and store its instructions and data. The programmers who wrote the software it runs on use base 16 (hexadecimal) math to implement the instructions it executes.

 

Why? Because base 10 math is in fact un-natural in any way that pertains to the construction of machines that process, store and convey information. Programmers have to FORCE computers to deal with decimal math in order to perform our calculations and represent them in a manner we understand easily. (As a Software Engineer I won't bore you with the details, but suffice it to say that computers do not perform decimal math without being 'tricked' into doing so.) In fact, they don't REALLY do decimal math at all. We programmers just make it appear as if they do. But for the person other than a programmer or some math scientists, the concept of doing math in some base other than 10 is totally foreign. YET IT IS A CONTRIVANCE OF HUMANS AND NOTHING ELSE. If there are no other beings in the universe who have evolved with ten fingers, it probably does not exist ANYWHERE except on Earth in the minds of people.

 

Binary math is of course UNIVERSAL. Any intelligent species can understand the principle of on/off, yes/no or some symbol to represent 1 or 0, regardless of what those symbols may be. But alas, we humans plod along with our decimal math because it has become so ingrained in us, we simply do not normally THINK any other way.

 

So.............

 

What if we began to think of Time as if it were like the decimal math described above. Time as something we have become so ingrained in thinking of, that we cannot consider the possibility that it may not really exist at all. We started by observing and describing the obviousness of cause and effect. We began to talk of what 'went before' and what 'came after'. This then became the "past' and then the 'future'.

 

We then started using using simple contrivances to measure a given amount of it like the bowl with a hole in the bottom or the hourglass. At first we used these to determine how long something took. We didn't really care HOW long, just that it was consistent in describing things like someone's fair share of indulgement in something or a limit for how "long" something was allowed to occur before some change was made. From there, we devised mechanisims to keep this measurement process going indefinetely so we could begin to organize around it and base activitites on its definition. Clocks. We haven't really perfected this process yet but we keep getting better at it. Thermodynamics says all clocks must eventually run down, or at least wear out before they do. Natural processes, such as the Earths rotation and orbit, cause us to adjust our measurements if even on only small levels in our never ending efforts to organize and synchronize our measurements with these observed processes. We have gone from simple practical usage of increment measurement to full blown adherence to its marking that we literally arrange our lives around this marking of the duration of cause/effect intervals. We have come to see 'time' as some tangible entity that somehow exists on its own as if it were now a specific "thing" we might be able to control or even "travel through".

 

It seems to me if there were ever anything the human race has ever manifested form nothing to full blown reality, it is time. We have literally taken a figment of our imagination (the past/future) and fabricated an artificial reality based on our ability to describe the interval between cause and effect. By postulating the possibility of Travelling" thru this artificial reality as if it were something that actually existed, we may have actually played the biggest joke on ourseves imaginable. By having this concept of time become so ingrained in the very fabric of our lives to the extent that we take it so for granted, we may have lost the ability to stand back see it for what it truly is. Something unique to us. Something we did to ourselves that really has no bearing on any of the rest of the universe.

 

Just like Decimal Math.

 

 

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Although i'm just a finance major college student, with no formal physics education i have some questions and comments.Humans may have created the "theory" of time, but it definately exists. if time did not exist, how do you explain the revolution of planets, etc... Whatever you want to call the revolution, its still occurring at a given interval where you can base and organize data as a result.and what about the general and specific theories of relativity? didn't Einstein tell us that there is indeed a fouth dimension called "space-TIME", where a planet's rotation around a star is effected by the presence of this massive star, and that this star, being so large, would cause a dimple in space-time?

 

 

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Re:Re:A Bill Nye trick...

 

Yes I agree that there is a semantical "time" in the cause/effect interval sense, but, in my view, that's all it is. I'm saying there is no "time" in the actual physical sense of a empirical "past" or "future". Ergo, no time travel in the sense that one can actually go to these "when/places". They aren't there to go to. None of this really has anything to do with the motion of planets specifically however. Anything can be described as a cause & effect interval. Nor is time dilation (appearent slow down of clocks moving relatively faster than a given observer) time "travel" either. It is an apparent discrepancy in the measurement of cause/effect intervals as recorded by seperate mechanisms at differing relative velocities. There are also new theories in QM that postulate this as not really time dilation at all, but an actual effect on the measuring system itself. (See link below). They involve different reasons for the Lorenztian effect as well.

 

Yes, Einstein gave us relativity and the concept of space-time but, he was also at odds with Standard Quantum Theory over the issue of the implications of wave/particle duality which have led to the kind of hypotheses that are the foundation of time travel speculations. He argued with Neils Bohr all his life over this issue. He even devised an experiment to illustrate the problems with cause/effect reversals with some collegues that has come to be known as the EPR Paradox. It is unresolved by Standard Quantum Theory (SQT). If SQT COULD resolve it, you could get me to CONSIDER the HYPOTHESIS of "Time Travel".

 

From everything I've read by Hawking on the matter, he really goes both ways with it. But as I've said elsewhere on this MB, Hawking has theories that require a Creator and theories that negate one. I think Hawking's greatest gift and indeed his role in life is to make the rest of us think. Without getting too caught up in any ONE WAY of contemplating something. My argument against "time travel" is not so much a single minded dismissal of the existence of empirical "time" so much as it is a reminder that it shouldn't be blindly taken for granted that this empirical entity unquestionably exists. It's based on SQT. And the hypothetical fringe of it at that. Get 10 QMs in a room together, and you'll get 10 different hypotheses as to where the current frontier lies.

 

If you get a chance, check out:

 

http://compbio.caltech.edu/~sjs/tew.html

 

It's another one of the new Quantum Theories (in a 3 part lay explanation as well as the actual formalized paper itself). This one points out an implied mistaken assumption early on in QM that has led us to the situation today that requires we accept such terms as "weirdness" and "uncertainty" as actual parameters when describing observed behaviour. We may not need to do this any more. And the math of SQT is undisturbed by this theory. The math remains intact which reconciles it with relativity.

 

I know I sound like a pontificator at times, and I don't mean to. I'm trying to work on it. Trying to better clarify my semantics. This MB is a good oportunity for us all to do that.

 

Thanx for reading my ramblings.

 

 

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  • 2 months later...
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To suggest that time does not exist is to almost suggest that mathmatics does not exist in this trick. Yes it is true that if other life forms exists in other parts of the Universe that they have indeed developed there own methods of mathmatics, time keeping, and religion. But, to say the latter two do not exist is really like jumping through a loophole in a conversation with only one person. The fact that decimal

 

mathmatics have been indroduced into our lives is likely. But, we have

 

also evolved to the air that we breath and our climate. Otherwise We

 

could live on other planetary atmospheres other than our own.

 

Just as it is probable that binary mathmatics is simple makes it more universal so could there be a universally simple time keeper made in the same regard. Then we might get a better hold on universal time instead of that of just Earth. Just as our early ancestors looked to the Moon and Sun as a clock, so would beings from other worlds devise a simular celestial time keeper as well, or perhaps by some other means. Regardless of how many didgets they had, if any, there would be mathmatics that applied to them in there existence. This does't make our mathmatics useless or non-existant. They might too have there own ideas of where they came from both spiritually and scientificly. And, they may argue together. But, still it is really irrelevant in that questions may still exist... how and why? There seems to be occurences and events... when or how long? A sense of place...where? There seem to be numbers... how many?

 

Mathmatics, Time, Art, and Religion all help us rationalize what seems to be an irrational Universe. They all four walk prouly above and try to defy the others as they try to stand on there own. But, aren't they all used to help us explain what we don't know or really understand? Aren't they one and the same?

 

 

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To suggest that time does not exist is to almost suggest that mathmatics does not exist in this trick. Yes it is true that if other life forms exists in other parts of the Universe that they have indeed developed there own methods of mathmatics, time keeping, and religion. But, to say the latter two do not exist is really like jumping through a loophole in a conversation with only one person. The fact that decimal

 

mathmatics have been indroduced into our lives is likely. But, we have

 

also evolved to the air that we breath and our climate. Otherwise We

 

could live on other planetary atmospheres other than our own.

 

Just as it is probable that binary mathmatics is simple makes it more universal so could there be a universally simple time keeper made in the same regard. Then we might get a better hold on universal time instead of that of just Earth. Just as our early ancestors looked to the Moon and Sun as a clock, so would beings from other worlds devise a simular celestial time keeper as well, or perhaps by some other means. Regardless of how many didgets they had, if any, there would be mathmatics that applied to them in there existence. This does't make our mathmatics useless or non-existant. They might too have there own ideas of where they came from both spiritually and scientificly. And, they may argue together. But, still it is really irrelevant in that questions may still exist... how and why? There seems to be occurences and events... when or how long? A sense of place...where? There seem to be numbers... how many?

 

Mathmatics, Time, Art, and Religion all help us rationalize what seems to be an irrational Universe. They all four walk proudly above and try to defy the others as they try to stand on there own. But, aren't they all used to help us explain what we don't know or really understand? Aren't they one and the same?

 

 

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