The Instigator
cody30228
Pro (for)
Winning
19 Points
The Contender
Miserlou
Con (against)
Losing
15 Points

Time does not exist

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/23/2008 Category: Science
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,563 times Debate No: 2140
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (12)
Votes (10)

 

cody30228

Pro

Before beginning this round, I would like to clarify a few things:
We are debating the essence of time, not a humans sense of time, measurement of time, or time as a word.

************************T I M E L E S S************************************

So this is where the actual debate comes in. I feel time, as a dimension or "universe" is false. We live in a 3D world. We have depth. We can move forward, up, left, etc. We can not move across time. We exist. We can not slow down time. We can not speed up time. We can move from one time period to another. Sense we do not interact with time, it is not part of our "dimension".
Since time does not exist, I believe "time" is simply a mental invention of man to better understand out own actions. This is shown through remembering or predicting. We are not controlling time, we are imagining a past "time".
Since "time" is only a figment of our imagination, it does not actually exist.
Miserlou

Con

This sounds like a fun philosophical debate; greetings cody!

You claim that because we cannot control time that it does not exist. This is a fallacy; just because you're not in control of something doesn't mean that it's not real. For example, I do not have control over what someone in Japan does, and anything I do will likely not effect them. This doesn't mean that people in Japan don't exist. This is a less dramatic example, but the principle is the same.

We do move through time, but on a straight line rather then 3 dimensions. It's true we cannot move through time like we can through space, but this only means that we are constricted in our movement in time; not that it is a figment of our imagination. Again, even though we don't have control doesn't mean it's not real.

You say that man invented time to explain things, but time is not like a fairy tale. Early man sees the ocean. He experiences it, and and he also experiences time through his memories. He invents a story to explain why the ocean is there, and he might invent one for how time started, but the concept of time as we know it is a label, not an explanation. Man sees the ocean and calls it an ocean, and he also sees his memories, the present, and predicts the future and calls that time.
Debate Round No. 1
cody30228

Pro

Thanks for taking this debate.

My claim that we can not control is that we can never influence time at all. We can never interact with it. You could possibly fly to Japan and touch that person. You have the capability to affect them. We can interact with the air. We touch it. We can touch the sun (we would die but it is a possible action). We can not touch, feel, or interact with time.

We do not move through time. (new argument). Here is an example. We could live in a cave for 4 hours and do nothing. To us, time has not passed. We can watch a movie. The movie seems to end very quickly even if it lasts 3 hours. We do not move through time. We imagine time and how long something takes.

Here is the flaw in your ocean-time comparison. The Ocean meets the first argument I made. We can interact with it. We can not interact with time, so how can we name it. I can call this new element, element X, Cody. Now element Cody has a name. But it does not exist. A name does not give meaning.

Here is another confusing issue about time (again new argument). What is the present. This is a very philosophical argument. Let us assume that time does exist. If so, we will also assume that there is a past, present, and future. We remember (past), we live (present), and we predict (future). So, we live in the present. We must ALWAYS live in the present. If not, we would not exist. Correct? So if we are always in the present, when is it ever that past or future. Assuming this, we always live in the present, the present is always the place in "time" we exist. Therefore, the past never existed. Furthermore, the future will never happen. If the past never existed, and the future never will exist, how can we see into the past and think into the future?
Miserlou

Con

Again, just because you can't influence, interact, control, affect, whatever with something doesn't mean that it doesn't exist. These make it likely that it doesn't, but in time's case we know that it exists through our experiences in it.

This brings me to your cave scenario. Say you went into the cave at 4 PM and came out at 8. Maybe in the cave if feels like time has stopped, but when we go outside we'll see that it's dark now where is was light earlier. Obviously something has happened while we were doing nothing. The amount of time here is crucial too. Let's say that A goes in the cave, and no matter how long he's in there, it's going to feel like a day. But if he comes out in five minutes a day has not passeed; there are things that can happen in a day but can't in five minutes. Human experience of time is skewed, but we are on some track that is regulated. Otherwise I could theoretically make it to work in 30 seconds when it's normally a twenty minute drive, just by getting myself in the correct state of mind. Maybe on that drive I'm rushing and so it seems faster, but I'm still no later for work then I was before.

Your argument makes use of the words past, present, and future; but they are only words. We are always living in the present, but there are different presents. And because we move through time on a straight line, some presents have to come before others, so we say past and future.

"If the past never existed, and the future never will exist, how can we see into the past and think into the future?"

You made my point for me. Our memories and our ability or predict is some proof of time.
Debate Round No. 2
cody30228

Pro

This is obviously we I must disagree. You're only claim here to why it exists is because we can experience it. First, how do we experience time? Second, an experience does not mean something exists. Say I take some LSD, and hallucinate some thing. Call it Thing D. I imagine it. I think it is real. Thing D is not real. It is a figment of my imagination. How is this not like time? And finally, if we can not interact with something, it does not exist. You simply claim that there is a good chance that it does not exist. But all you give is a CLAIM. Where is some reasoning behind your assessment that something can exist that we can not interact with it?

What you are assuming is that we follow laws of time, not laws of our body. I can run a mile in say like 10 minutes. You can run a mile in like 3? minutes. So, we can perform actions at different "times". How do you explain this? If time was real, everyone could run a mile in exactly 4.57678… minutes. But we do not follow time. Time does not exist. We follow our bodies laws.

Here you contradict yourself. You claim we are living in the present with different presents. You then say memories and prediction prove that a past and future exist. HOW! If they exist, how are we always in the present. Our time has two rules. We both agree on these so far. There is a past and future. We are only in the present. These can not coincide as I have explained. (I realize this is really confusing). Since the laws can not exist together, time can not exist.
Miserlou

Con

"And finally, if we can not interact with something, it does not exist. You simply claim that there is a good chance that it does not exist. But all you give is a CLAIM. Where is some reasoning behind your assessment that something can exist that we can not interact with it?"

You're relying on our subjectives experiences, saying that if we cannot interact with something directly then it can't exist. I can't directly interact with someone else's thoughts. Just because I can't see or hear them thinking doesn't mean that they're not. It's true that I don't know for sure if they are or not, but this does not disprove it.

I realize that this puts a damper in my argument about experiences, I can't prove it, BUT you can't disprove that time doesn't exist based on the fact that we don't interact with it.

"What you are assuming is that we follow laws of time, not laws of our body. I can run a mile in say like 10 minutes. You can run a mile in like 3? minutes."

We follow the laws of our bodies, yes, but what is dictating the difference between 10 and 3 minutes? If time was completely subjective to ourselves then if during one run I felt I was going particularly fast I might finish in 2 minutes. In another where I felt I was running slower I might finish in 12 minutes, even though the laws of my body are the same in both races. The fact is, I can feel like I'm flying and still be the last one to finish. There has to be a regulating force, i.e., time.

"There is a past and future. We are only in the present. These can not coincide as I have explained. (I realize this is really confusing). Since the laws can not exist together, time can not exist."

The present becomes the past and the future becomes the present. We are always living in a specific present, but have lived in other presents and will live in other; and we have termed these past and future.
Debate Round No. 3
cody30228

Pro

I am not claiming we can not interact with time directly, I am claiming we can not interact with time AT ALL. I can interact with someone's thoughts. I can influence them. I can say something that makes someone think a certain way. The dimension of time has no interaction of any sense. This proves that time does not exist. If we can not interact with time at all, it can not exist.

What you are arguing in man's specification of time. This I claimed earlier needs to be excluded from this debate. We call it 10 minutes, just as we call it 10 meters, or feet, etc. The regulation force for our actions is our bodies capabilities. Two runners are running their fastest and feel like they are flying. One's body allows him to go faster than the other. Time has no relation to this.

This is me trying to explain my crazy argument:
A is a position I am at.
B is the NEW position I am at.
When I am at A, it is the present.
When I am at B, it is the present.
Position A still is in the present, so past does not exist.
If position A becomes the past, was it ever the present?
If A was the present, and is now the past, then A must change somehow. A does not change at all. Everything is the same. A is still present, as B is too. Time ceases to exist.

Now I have given many reasons why time does not exist. Do you offer any proof that time does exist?
Miserlou

Con

"I am not claiming we can not interact with time directly, I am claiming we can not interact with time AT ALL. I can interact with someone's thoughts. I can influence them. I can say something that makes someone think a certain way. The dimension of time has no interaction of any sense. This proves that time does not exist. If we can not interact with time at all, it can not exist."

We can influence time; this is going to be a little confusing. Actually, we can only influence the events in time, but this is analogous to influencing thoughts. When we affect someone else's thoughts, we aren't affecting the essence of thoughts, but the products of it. Similarly, we affect the products of time, i.e. the events. Let's assume free will, or that future events are not predetermined. I am faced with two job opportunities, A and B. Both are very different and my life will be altered depending on which one I choose, so by picking one I am affecting time.

"What you are arguing in man's specification of time. This I claimed earlier needs to be excluded from this debate."

We've been arguing this point for a few rounds; I didn't think it was out of the rules

"We call it 10 minutes, just as we call it 10 meters, or feet, etc. The regulation force for our actions is our bodies capabilities. Two runners are running their fastest and feel like they are flying. One's body allows him to go faster than the other. Time has no relation to this."

You said in the previous Round that if time were real then everyone could run at the exact same speed, but you made this argument earlier: "The movie seems to end very quickly even if it lasts 3 hours...We imagine time and how long something takes."

But to me all of these support the idea that time exists. You assert that we essentially make up time in our minds, so however long we feel time has passed has passed, but this is not true because I can feel like time is moving fast or slow, yet certain things will remain constant, such as the position of the sun, or how fast a train is moving. And as to the argument about how if time were real we would all run the same speed, I don't see how that would work. Time does not dictate our bodies, but we are still dependent on time because if it were in fact only based on our experiences, then our physical limitations might be dependent on our minds instead of other outside forces.

I get your past/future argument, it's a very good one. However I still have to content it:

"Position A still is in the present, so past does not exist.
If position A becomes the past, was it ever the present?"
Position A is a different present; we used to live in it and now don't. We always live in the present, but not the same present.

"If A was the present, and is now the past, then A must change somehow."
Why must it change just because we are no longer living in it?

As for time existing, my second argument, regarding the two runners is my proof. Human experience does not dictate time because we are always on a constant track regardless of how we feel, as I explained above.
Debate Round No. 4
cody30228

Pro

You begin this round by claiming that we influence actions which influence what will happen – thus – influencing time. Sadly, you have one flaw in this argument. You assume that time exists and that you changed it. Once again, you do not prove that we interact with time, simply that we perform actions.

When I claim that we should not be debating man's specification of time, what I was trying to avoid was this. We say that time exists. We have minutes. Therefore, time exists. To me it seemed like we were leaning closer towards that.

Your next argument attempts to explain how we follow time. You claim that the sun always rotates in the same speed etc etc. The point I was trying to get at was this:
There is no dimension called time. We, as humans, create "time" around certain action in order to better explain life. You assessment gives credit to this
"Time does not dictate our bodies, but we are still dependent on time because if it were in fact only based on our experiences, then our physical limitations might be dependent on our minds instead of other outside forces."
We created "time" to help live of lives and correlate a standard system among humans. Like said earlier, we run at different paces. We created "time" to interact with each other. Thus, time does not really exist. It is all a figment of our imagination.

Onto the confusing argument
You claim that we live in different presents. If this is true, then time does not exist. Time, as stated in previous rounds, must have a past and a future. If not, we are changing positions over one "time" period or simply through our 3D world, and not changing through time.

*******
I conclude this great round with some wrap-up points
1. Time is a figment of our imaginations.
2. Time can not be influenced in any manner by man, and does not exist
3. We move through our 3D dimension, not time dimension

TIME DOES NOT EXIST!!!
Miserlou

Con

"You assume that time exists and that you changed it. Once again, you do not prove that we interact with time, simply that we perform actions."

Your argument isn't specific to our time argument though. I'll say that space doesn't exist, and then refute it by saying that if I push a chair over, I am influencing space. It's possible that the chair and everything only exist in my mind, but empirical evidence says that space exists. So perhaps I can't prove space exists beyond a doubt, but it can't be disproved with this argument at least. Same goes for time, as I said in Round 3. We are both wrong with this argument.

"We created "time" to help live of lives and correlate a standard system among humans. Like said earlier, we run at different paces. We created "time" to interact with each other. Thus, time does not really exist. It is all a figment of our imagination."

You still haven't fully explained this argument. Do we all imagine time collectively? If so, how did that come about; did the length of a day used to be different every week? And I don't see how running at different times proves it's non-existence; only that we have different body structures; and on that note you still haven't explained your earlier claim that if time existed we'd all run at the same speed. As I said earlier if time really didn't exist we would have complete control over it since we control our imaginations. Under this theory I could extend the 72 hour period we have to post arguments for myself to an indefinite time; thus it would still be 3 days for you and as much time as I wanted for me. But I can't, so clearly there is some outside force making 72 hours the same duration for everyone.

"You claim that we live in different presents. If this is true, then time does not exist. Time, as stated in previous rounds, must have a past and a future. If not, we are changing positions over one "time" period or simply through our 3D world, and not changing through time. "

The "multiple presents" are the past and the future, just in different words. We are always living in the present, we just move from a different series of presents to another, and call what was behind "past" and what is ahead "future". And we don't have to travel through space to travel through time. As I'm sitting here, the sun is setting, leaves are growing on trees, yet I am not moving. But the world is changing around me. The movement we do is through the time's track, which is a straight line hence why we can't go back and forth.

To summarize:

1. Influencing something cannot prove or disprove the existence of time because whether we influence it or not all depends on whether it exists, the original argument. But, there is other evidence that time exists:

2. If time were just in our imaginations then we would be able to control it, but we can't so it must be a separate, outside force.

3. The past and the future do exist, however you want to term them, it's just that we do not have the freedom to move through time like we do through space.
Debate Round No. 5
12 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by VenomousNinja 8 years ago
VenomousNinja
I would like to point out that the topic of this debate is similar to a discussion I had with other peopl on a different site. I said that time didn't exist, and we concluded that time was in fact the nature of motion and that the past and present were terms humans made to organize their lives.
Posted by brittwaller 8 years ago
brittwaller
Excellent debate. I wish I had seen it sooner:(
Props for the Slaughterhouse-5 reference, Harlan - that's where I first understood what it would be like to see in four dimensions.

To cody30228: philosophically, look to McTaggart - you would love his arguments. Probably the same for Bergson and Pierce.
Posted by Harlan 8 years ago
Harlan
"They [the Tralfamadorians] couldn't imagine what time looked like to him. Billy had given up on explaining that. The guide outside had to explain as best he could.
The guide invited the crowd to imagine that they were looking across a desert at a mountain range on a day that was twinkling bright and clear. They could look at a peak or a bird or a cloud, at a stone right in front of them, or even down into a canyon behind them. But among them was this poor Earthling, and his head was encased in a steel sphere which he could never take off. There was only one eyehole through which he could look, and welded to that eyehole were six feet of pipe.
This was only the beginning of Billy's miseries in the metaphor. He was also strapped to a steel lattice which was bolted to a flatcar on rails, and there was no way he could turn his head or touch the pipe. The far end of the pipe rested on a bi-pod which was also bolted to the flatcar. All Billy could see was the little dot at the end of the pipe. He didn't know he was on a flatcar, didn't even know there was anything peculiar about his situation.
The flatcar sometimes crept, sometimes went extremely fast, often stopped—went uphill, downhill, around curves, along straightaways. Whatever poor Billy saw through the pipe, he had no choice but to say to himself, 'That's life.'"

-Slaughter house 5

INteresting you should have thisd ebate, IM reading slaughter house 5 right now, it says alot about this.
Posted by Miserlou 8 years ago
Miserlou
Like how an astronaut can be in a spaceship for a few months while a few years have passed on Earth.

Someone was once talking to me about how if you could trap light particles, perserve them as they were, and then release them it would be close to time travel; like what Bitz described. My friend and I once tried to figure out breaking the speed of light would be possible: you'd need a perpetual motion machine (I think that was the name), which would only be possible if you had a nuclear reactor running constantly that was hooked onto the engines of your spaceship.
Posted by Yraelz 8 years ago
Yraelz
Ah this is Einsteins theory of relativity that I am talking about. Its been proven by observing mouns.
Posted by Yraelz 8 years ago
Yraelz
Yeah it is really interesting the problem is I can't remember the scientific evidence to back it. The idea is the faster a person moves the slower and slower time goes. This is evidence by clocks on spaceships being off sync. The idea is the closer and closer someone gets to the speed of light the heavier that person gets (E = mc^2) and the slower time goes. This has been used to attempt to disprove going back in time because hypothetically you can only slow time.
Posted by Miserlou 8 years ago
Miserlou
Elaborate if you will; this sounds interesting!
Posted by Yraelz 8 years ago
Yraelz
Oh sorry. Speed actually. =)
Posted by Miserlou 8 years ago
Miserlou
How Yraelz?

Your comments must be at least 25 characters in length.
Posted by Yraelz 8 years ago
Yraelz
This looks fun, I have a way we can control time though.
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