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#4271
Duane Elgin
Participant

 

Jon,
 
You wrote, regarding my question about the understanding of terms such as matter, dark energy, time: “Duane, as we discussed before, definitions can be found in the dictionary. . . No struggling is needed.” So, I decided to do as you suggested and look in the dictionary to find commonly accepted definitions. Here are three that I explored quickly. I conclude from this that dictionary definitions are not so simplistic and straightforward as you suggest:
 
 
DARK ENERGY
 
 
More is unknown than is known. We know how much dark energy there is because we know how it affects the Universe’s expansion. Other than that, it is a complete mystery. [emphasis added]
 
 
MATTER:
 
 
Before the 20th century, the term matter included ordinary matter composed of atoms and excluded other energy phenomena such as light or sound. This concept of matter may be generalized from atoms to include any objects having mass even when at rest, but this is ill-defined because an object’s mass can arise from its (possibly massless) constituents’ motion and interaction energies. Thus, matter does not have a universal definition, nor is it a fundamental concept in physics today [emphasis added]. Matter is also used loosely as a general term for the substance that makes up all observable physical objects.[1][2] . . . there is no single universally agreed scientific meaning of the word “matter”. Scientifically, the term “mass” is well-defined, but “matter” is not. [emphasis added]

 
TIME:
 
 
Most websites and books on the subject begin with a candid admission that time is a curious and slippery concept which continues to defy definitive explanation despite hundreds, even thousands, of years of trying. [emphasis added] We are told that time is “enigmatic” and “ineffable”, but that does not help us much in our search for the true nature of time. Nearly two and a half thousand years ago, Aristotle contended that, “time is the most unknown of all unknown things”, and arguably not much has changed since then.
 
 
 
Philosophy and physics may seem like polar opposites, but they regularly address quite similar questions. Recently, physicists have revisited a topic with modern philosophical origins dating over a century ago: the unreality of time. What if the passage of time were merely an illusion? [emphasis added] Can a world without time make sense? While a world without the familiar passage of time may seem far-fetched, big names in physics, such as string theory pioneer Ed Witten and theorist Brian Greene, have recently embraced such an idea. A timeless reality may help reconcile differences between quantum mechanics and relativity, but how can we make sense of such a world?