Time and Velocity

Blog 20160504 Time and Velocity

Here is a follow-up comment on Blog 20160427 from henk:

“For Time times Velocity equals Distance it also came to my mind that one is multiplying motion and velocity. So to a motion one must distinguish the movement from the duration of the movement? Two aspects of the same phenomena? On the other hand, I watched in the Galileo Galilei Museum, in Florence, the famous experiments and then I became aware that 'counting time' in a regular way was the essence of the experiment. But counting is suggesting that time is flowing and has a direction. I often saw a diagram in which the horizontal axis was reserved for Time and the vertical axis for Velocity. Suggesting that both are considered to be independent and measurable. But then, how about ds/dt=v; dv/dt=a within an orthogonal (orthonormal) frame?”


Remember that time is motion, the motion of each microcosm with respect to every other microcosm. Thus, velocity and time are measurements of the same phenomenon. So the motion of a thing (microcosm) can only be expressed in relation to some other microcosm. That is what a second, minute, or day does for us. Velocity, cm/s, for example, merely describes the motion of one microcosm with respect to another. The s (second) actually refers to the motion of some other microcosm—in this case, that of Earth.

You write that “counting is suggesting that time is flowing and has a direction.” Sorry, but time cannot “flow,” because time is motion. Only things can flow from one place to another. Thus, upon seeing the passage of the Sun or the flow of water downstream one can mistakenly get the impression that motion (time) might have an existence or occurrence independent from matter. That is the mistake made by those who imagine that matter can be made out of pure motion. That is why we use the Fourth Assumption of Science, inseparability (Just as there is no motion without matter, so there is no matter without motion) to avoid falling into that regressive, indeterministic trap. That trap is easy to fall into when the microcosm that performs the motion is not easily observed. The aether particles that produce gravitation cannot be seen even though the results of their impacts are obvious. It is as if Einstein’s “immaterial” gravitational and magnetic fields were filled with an imagined substance call “time,” which is responsible for whatever flow that occurs.

Counting is only one of the myriad ways that we try to measure the motion of everything with respect to everything else. Moreover, as George Coyne pointed out, time is an abstraction in the same way that matter is an abstraction. Matter per se does not exist; time per se does not occur. As with all abstractions, we only can deal with specific examples of matter (e.g., a single microcosm) and the motion of a single microcosm with respect to other microcosms. Therefore, when we plot time vs. velocity we are comparing the motions of two microcosms. We also could plot time vs. velocity vs. velocity in a 3-D plot comparing three microcosms. Not only that, but multivariate analysis allows us to use mathematical techniques to compare the motions of more than three microcosms. We cannot plot them because the infinite universe is three dimensional, but we can compare them mathematically nonetheless.

Unfortunately, our ability to measure time tends to produce a special occupational hazard among mathematical physicists. It is the mistaken belief that time is a measurement. On the contrary, time is motion. Furthermore, time is not an “aspect of motion,” but motion per se. This hazard comes about through long familiarity with numerous measurements of time and their manipulation in equations and plots such as those mentioned above. Moving the shorthand letter “t” from place to place can give it an objective persona. That is the philosophical trap that Einstein fell into when he objectified time, treating it as a dimension in General Relativity Theory.[1] The best way to avoid that trap is to think of it this way: The dinosaurs could not measure time, but they experienced it nevertheless. Henk got it right early on by mentioning as an aside: “I also don't need a measure of time to know that I run faster than my wife.” This is because time is motion.

[1] Borchardt, Glenn, 2011, Einstein's most important philosophical error, in Proceedings of the Natural Philosophy Alliance, 18th Conference of the NPA, 6-9 July, 2011, College Park, MD, Natural Philosophy Alliance, Mt. Airy, MD, p. 64-68 [10.13140/RG.2.1.3436.0407].

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