John Walker's Electronic House

Rum Doings Episode 237: Uncle Nick Is A Silly Poo Poo Face

by on Mar.31, 2017, under Rum Doings

In our 237th ever Rum Doings, isn’t it about time doctors stopped prescribing fake news?

After establishing just how wrong Nick is, we consider how sincere is Theresa May, and then move on to John’s Amazing List Of Brilliant Ideas. In the middle of a fascinating discussion about magazines, we are invaded by a two year old. Somehow we then get on to vicars in assemblies, and then Nick gets a bit confused about what metaphors.

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6 Comments for this entry

  • Disagreeable Me

    Can’t space be used as a metaphor for time, though?

    The “block universe” view to be popularised general relativity (although I believe it predates it) is to describe time as a spatial dimension. The past is one extreme of a static four-dimensional structure and the future is another. An object’s trajectory through time is a curve within this structure, with earlier events further in the “past” direction along the dimension corresponding to time and later events further in the “future” direction.

    One needn’t subscribe to the block universe view to make use of this metaphor. We use the it every time we graph of some variable over time. In the graph, space (usually the x-axis) stands in for time.

  • Disagreeable Me

    (Edited this badly)
    > The “block universe” view to be popularised general relativity

    Should be

    > The “block universe” view popularised by general relativity

  • Nick Mailer

    Disagreeable me: That’s initially attractive, but the notion of exploring or traversing that four-dimensional structure implies differentiation and time. One cannot imagine making sense of it without invoking a kind of “meta time”. That’s not to say the model is incorrigibly inaccurate; merely that it still demands an epistemological “meta” time, and so doesn’t allow us to escape the circular metaphor.

  • Disagreeable Me

    Hi Nick,

    If I understand you correctly, that seems to me rather a weak argument.

    The “meta time” you discuss is just the x-axis of a graph or the axis of a 4d spacetime that is supposed to correspond to time.

    That’s like saying one cannot use an ocean-going ship as a metaphor for a spacecraft because in order to do so, one needs to invoke a meta-spacecraft (the ship) and a meta-space (the ocean). The meta- just is the metaphor.

    Perhaps you’re saying that one needs time in order to ponder the metaphor, but if the metaphor fails for that reason then it is hardly alone — any metaphor for thought, space, the world, energy etc would also fail — one cannot ponder the metaphor without having access to some of the thing being described.

  • Jimbo

    Just to make you feel worse about the Enterprise theme song, it wasn’t even written for Star Trek. I believe it was originally sung by Rod Stewart over the end credits to Patch Adams

  • Jonathan Sutcliffe

    Moving on to more important issues than how we come up with metaphors for time and space, Toby really does have a good singing voice. I normally hate the tunelessness of toddler singing, but that child can hold a tune.