A Matter of Time
Written by Herb Rose
The concept of time seems to be ingrained in us. We remember the past lessons we’ve learned and make plans for the future. This concept contributes to our survival and certainly has contributed to the success of the species.
Our ability to think and reason probably comes from our concept of time and making plans for future events based on past experiences but is there really such a thing as time?
Anybody who has watched old home movies of their past is aware that the memory of the past is very subjective, inaccurate, and interpretive. What we learn is lessons from the past and the actual occurrences that are the foundation of the lessons are not recalled with a factual accuracy. Our plans and expectation of the future are based on a belief that our past experiences will be applicable when we encounter similar situations in the future.
The further we plan in the future the less accurate our predictions and expectations become. The weather forecast for the next day is usually very accurate but as we predict further away from the present the reliability of the predictions drop off precipitously. We all know from experience that the seasons will change but the details of the nature of these seasons, is just a guess.
What we continually experience and know is the present and that there is constant change. The only constant is that things constantly change and the rate of change for different things varies. Time is way to quantify change enabling establishing a common set of references that enable us to communicate more accurately with others.
By setting standards based on the rotational energy of the Earth, the orbital energy of the Earth, and the orbital energy of the moon we establish a set of references that everybody on Earth can relate to. They are completely meaningless except to beings familiar with the Earth. If we say to someone that we will meet them later nothing is defined. If we say we will meet them in an hour they understand that when the position of the sun in the sky changes by fifteen degrees we will meet.
We’ve established certain references that we all agree on to communicate more clearly about change. Twelve noon used to be when the sun was directly overhead but now there are time zones where we’ve established references based on our measuring equipment that sets a different standard of reference. The time zones were established when trains developed set schedules for their arrival and departure at set destinations. Trains can leave one station at twelve o’clock then travel for half an hour and arrive at their next destination at eleven thirty. This is not because they travel faster than the speed of light and go back in time it is because they enter a new standard reference for time.
A month, year, a minute, or a second are just different unit used to measure change and provide a way of comparing the different rates of change for different objects. There really isn’t a different year for a dog. A dog year is just a way of comparing a dog’s life span to our own. A one calendar year old dog is full grown while a seven year old child is not. The references we use to measure time give a more accurate description than using a non specific description like a long time or in a little while. A second can be a long time or a short time depending on what is being referenced just as a decade can be a long or short time.
Time is just a set of references, peculiar to the Earth, that are no more real the units used in the metric system or English system of measuring size, volume, and mass. The contention that we need four dimensions, time and the three spatial ones, to describe the position of an object is ridiculous because it assumes that the object is constant while in fact the object that exists in the present is different from the one that existed in the past, whether it was a year ago or a second ago, and different from what the object will be in the future. The energy and structure of everything changes continuously and at different rates and time is just a means of quantifying these changes.
Einstein’s contention that time is a dimension is ridiculous and his whole concept of time is flawed. His famous clock tower thought experiment is based on the idea that how we measure time is the reality which is not the case. As you move further from the clock the time for the light to reach you increases which he interpreted as that time was moving slower. If you accelerate away from the clock the clock appears to be moving slower and slower.
If you were to calibrate a watch with the clock and then accelerate away from it for a set time, the time on the clock would be less than the time on your watch when you stopped, but the clock and the watch would continue to change time at the same rate. He concluded that this meant time slowed down because of the acceleration when in fact it was just one of the measuring devises, the clock, which was no longer calibrated correctly for the new reference point. If you were to reverse your trip and accelerate back to the starting point, the watch and the clock would be in agreement again. Does this mean that acceleration also causes time to go faster? The tools we use to help measure reality are not the reality.
The diagram used to show mass distorting the space-time continuum is a fraud and an embarrassment. It is as phony as one of those diagrams that show you can go down four flights of stairs and arrive at your starting position. The four dimensions of space-time are represented by a two dimensional plane while the mass distorting the plane is represented by a three dimensional sphere. Does this mean the mass and the distortion of the plan are in a fifth dimension?
If you are going to make a diagram to illustrate your concept you must be dimensionally consistent. A proper diagram for the distortion of the space-time continuum by a mass would have the space time-continuum represented by a cube and the mass as a two dimensional disc in the center. This diagram would be dimensionally more accurate but would not give the distortion desired.
The belief of time as a dimension implies that time travel is possible instead of a impossibility invented by science fiction. If an object was to travel back in time t he matter and energy that make the object would already exist in some other form meaning that energy and matter would have to somehow magically disappear or energy and matter would be created violating the conservation principle.
The same would be true for travel to the future. You could change the rate of change of an object, by freezing a dog and changing the time of a dog year, but this is not the same as time travel through a dimension.
Time is just as set of references used to quantify change and is no more real than a liter, meter, gallon, or ton. It provides a useful survival advantage for the human species that has led to the development of thought and reason but it is just another tool and in itself is not reality.