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Posted by Richard D. Stafford, Ph.D. on April 23, 2002 15:34:18 UTC

Hi Aurino,

As I said in one of those posts down there, think in terms of one of those comic movies where two people are talking about completely different subjects (not really communicating at all) but still managed to intelligently influence one another.

***** Aurino:
That would also make sense with the fact that physics is the least-common-denominator in human knowledge.

When you think physics, think in terms of a three dimensional universe; think in terms of objects which interact; think in terms of position, mass, momentum, and time! A squirrel's survival is dependent on his comprehension of these things and the intimate accuracy of these aspects of his model of the universe!

If those things are imbedded in any rational self consistent model of any information (which I prove specifically in my paper) then those things form a set of universal concepts which must be expressible as absolute truths in any mental model of absolutely anything. They provide us with a solid foundation from which to build communicable ideas about reality.

Now, the building of these mental models of reality is a problem far beyond the capabilities of conscious reasoning. We must depend on our subconscious to provide us with those models. The problem is very simple: our mental models of reality are built up by us in our attempts to understand the universe we must deal with. This leads to two very major problems! First, proving that the mental model is internally self consistent is next to impossible. And second, the assumption that your neighbor has the same thing going on in his head when he uses a word you are familiar with absolutely cannot be defended!

Yet we seem to communicate quite well (except when we get down to details). Why is that? Because we have one hell of a lot of those concepts mapped ??? (would the word "correctly" fit here?) in spite of the difficulties. These are the extremely important concepts that even the squirrel needs to be well aware of. Survival itself has made those concepts forefront in our model. The squirrel needs to "know" a great many of the solutions to my fundamental equation (at least on a subconscious level).

So I put forward these concepts as fundamental to any valid model of reality: time, position, momentum, mass, objects. (Essentially mankind has already agreed to these.) And, in fact, I can go much farther than that. I can also put forward the concepts defined by "Quantum Mechanics", "Electricity an Magnetism"; "Chemistry"; Thermodynamics ; "Gravity"; and even "Nuclear Reactions" as just as fundamental. However, when it gets to these intellectual structures, what mankind is currently working with is not quite internally self consistent. There are a number of subtle problems.

With regard to these problems, I have only brought up "time". Time is defined, in my model, as no more than an indicator of simultaneity. What I am saying in my work is that a concept analogous to simultaneity can be defined in any internally consistent model of any information. And, indeed, I hold that it is one of those fundamental concepts which mankind has agreed to. The problem is that the scientists have gone off in left field and decided something different! They have decided that time is that concept ("thing??", "physical phenomena???" - whatever) which is measured via a device called a clock.

Now, the scientist's position is based on the fact that the concept "time" has been around for a long time (there's a joke there I think) and clocks were invented to measure it several thousand years ago. But what happened? They discovered that something was "wrong" in their model. What did they decide to do about it? They decided that the concept simultaneity was not definable and decided to define "time" as "what clocks measured".

A very analogous thing happened back in the 1600's when Newton essentially defined weight to be what spring scales measured. The concept "weight" had been around for thousands of years before he did that and the prevalent concept was much closer to the concept Newton attached to "mass" (only confused by the existence of spring scales). Try and convince a butcher that a 5 pound steak is no longer a 5 pound steak when he throws it in the air. So now, every year, students have to be convinced that what they think is weight isn't. Just like now, where the scientists have to convince the new student that the "time" is dependent how you got there (resolution of the twin paradox).

The issue of import here is that the common concept "time" refers to the idea of division of what we know into "past", "present", and "future"; a concept central to our existence and part and parcel to any rational explanation of the Universe. Clocks have nothing at all to do with that division and only appear to relate when motion is extremely slow (relative to the speed of light). As I have said many times "clocks do not measure time". In fact, time cannot be measured as it is no more than a figment of our imagination created to make sense of our knowledge.

It appears that I got carried away again! Sorry about that. The central issue here is that communication is impossible without a rational mapping of concepts. Since the set of concepts I put forth must exist in any self consistent concept of reality and since we already almost agree with the great majority, I suggest we adopt the set defined in my paper as the agreed upon foundation of further communication. To do otherwise is just not productive at all.

Of course, that is no more than my opinion. Perhaps Alan has a better idea.

Have fun -- Dick

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