Blog 20160427 Sensing Matter
In a comment to Blog 20160420 henk korbee asks:
“If time is motion what is then the meaning of Time times Velocity equals distance? How can one recognize matter without motion?”
Thanks henk for another good brainteaser. I believe you refer to this equation:
d = (t)(v) = (t)(d/t) = td/t = d (t/t) = d
Thus if we travel alongside an object for 1 hour at 1 km/hr, we will have travelled a distance of 1 km. This is one way of measuring length. Another would be to use a 1-km long tape measure. Ostensibly, we do not need to measure time to measure distance. We might imagine that the object is motionless and that motion (time) is as irrelevant as any factor divided by itself (e.g., t/t).
Of course, as with other “henkisms,” this is not so simple, as you point out with your comment that: “How can one recognize matter without motion?” Your implication is correct: We cannot. To recognize matter we need at least one of our five senses (touch, sight, hearing, smell, or taste). The use of any of these requires motion, specifically, the collision of at least one microcosm with another. Trillions of such collisions would be involved in travelling alongside the object or measuring it with a tape. Again, we need motion in order to recognize matter. That gives additional meaning and support to the Fourth Assumption of Science, inseparability (Just as there is no motion without matter, so there is no matter without motion).
The philosophical implications of henk’s question are numerous. For instance, indeterminists sporting the assumption of separability sometimes propose all manner of theories of the paranormal (e.g., ESP, etc.), which are assumed to avoid this necessity for matter to collide with matter. Scientists reject such claims outright along with those suggesting the possibility of perpetual motion. Unfortunately, regressive physicists are not ashamed to hypothesize matterless motion, as Einstein did when, in the spirit of aether denial, he claimed that magnetic and gravitational fields were “immaterial” despite the obvious motion displayed.
Of course, just because matter exists, does not mean that we can always sense it. The Eighth Assumption of Science, infinity (The universe is infinite, both in the microcosmic and macrocosmic directions) guarantees that, no matter how sophisticated our investigations, we will always reach a point beyond which microcosms are so small that we will not be able to sense them, even with sensitive instruments. At that juncture, we will have a choice: we can assume that they exist nonetheless, or we can assume that they do not, being replaced by the nonexistent “perfectly empty space” of the idealist.
Lastly, henk’s suggestion that matter cannot be sensed without motion means that the matterless motion of the indeterminist cannot be sensed either. The sensing process always involves collisions between microcosms per Newton’s Second Law of Motion. The idea that motion could occur divorced from matter, is the ESP of regressive physics.