The Heelers Diaries

the fantasy world of ireland's greatest living poet

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Thursday, February 01, 2018

considerations of time

The age of the universe such as we can conceive of it is in no way an article of belief in God.
I was watching a comedian who thought he was  mocking Christians by claiming that a Christian had told him the universe was 6000 years old and that God had put dinosaur bones in the ground to test our faith.
Of course the story was most probably made up.
But the counsel du jour for the comedian would be against mockery as a modus for discerning the truth of anything.
To discuss the age of the universe (or indeed to discuss anything) we must first be on civil terms with each other.
Time is undefined.
There is no consistent scientific definition of what it is in essence.
We don't know what it is.
We don't even know for sure that it exists.
We attempt to conceive of something called time because we consider there is an order, logic or consistency in events perceived in existence.
The apparent consistency itself leads some to suppose time itself is a medium.
I suggest it is not a medium in the sense that it cannot be traversed to previous events.
Time travel is not possible because the past no longer exists in the expansion and the future does not yet exist.
Time such as we live in it cannot be traversed. It can only be experienced. We cannot affect it or manipulate it, slow it down or speed it up, or alter the rate of our passage through it in any way.
Contentions about the age of the universe have a certain piquancy.
What we call time may not always have passed at a constant rate.
Let's return to our mocking comedian who suggests through ridicule that the only credible serious minded attitude for a thinking person is to believe that the universe must have an age consistent with whatever contemporary scientists who by no means always agree with each other about this or anything else, notionally claim it is.
In my life time the most credentialled scientists stated ether that the universe always existed or that it was many hundreds of billions of years old.
Now they say the universe is between eight and 24 billion years old.
Their margin of error for themselves, meaning the amount of years they were wrong by in their previous estimate, exceeds exponentially any possible error in the estimate of those who have claimed a 6000 year old universe.
The difference between 6000 and 24 billion is far smaller than the difference between 24 billion and an eternally existent universe or one that is hundreds of billions of years old.
The imaginary Christians being mocked by the funnier than he intended comedian were actually closer to the mark by modern scientific estimates, than the best scientists of 20 years ago.
We should be conscious of this as we communicate on these matters.
We have no confirmation that if time exists, it has always passed at a constant rate.
Close to event zero, time may have passed quicker than it passes now.
If event zero is conceived as a cosmic explosion bringing observable galaxies into existence, that is to say bringing physical existence as we know it into existence, it is not out of the question that the closer we postulate towards event zero, the quicker things are going to be happening.
The universe may under some metric proofs by induction perspectives be imagined as being 24 billion years old.
But the first 23 billion 999 million 994 thousand years may have passed in the blink of an eye.
Who knows?


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