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Heuristics in Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity



 
 
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  #1  
Old November 1st 10, 11:34 AM posted to sci.physics.relativity,sci.physics,sci.astro
Pentcho Valev
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Posts: 7,546
Default Heuristics in Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity

http://www.uni-stuttgart.de/hi/gnt/h...icsProgram.pdf
Program of the conference "Heuristics in Physics", Bad Honnef, Dec.
2010, Organized by the working group for philosophy of physics (AG
Phil) and the section for history of physics (FV Geschichte) in the
German Physical Society (DPG) at the House of Physics, Bad Honnef
Friday, Dec. 10, 2010, 15:30 John Norton (Pittsburgh):
Heuristics in Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity

Recently John Norton suggested that "the passage of time is an
illusion" is a mistaken conclusion "from the work of Einstein,
Minkowski and many more" so perhaps he is now going to identify the
exact heuristics that led to this mistaken conclusion:

http://www.humanamente.eu/PDF/Issue13_Paper_Norton.pdf
John Norton: "It is common to dismiss the passage of time as illusory
since its passage has not been captured within modern physical
theories. I argue that this is a mistake. Other than the awkward fact
that it does not appear in our physics, there is no indication that
the passage of time is an illusion. (...) The passage of time is a
real, objective fact that obtains in the world independently of us.
How, you may wonder, could we think anything else? One possibility is
that we might think that the passage of time is some sort of illusion,
an artifact of the peculiar way that our brains interact with the
world. Indeed that is just what you might think if you have spent a
lot of time reading modern physics. Following from the work of
Einstein, Minkowski and many more, physics has given a wonderfully
powerful conception of space and time. Relativity theory, in its most
perspicacious form, melds space and time together to form a four-
dimensional spacetime. The study of motion in space and all other
processes that unfold in them merely reduce to the study of an odd
sort of geometry that prevails in spacetime. In many ways, time turns
out to be just like space. In this spacetime geometry, there are
differences between space and time. But a difference that somehow
captures the passage of time is not to be found. There is no passage
of time."

Norton will surely give the rallying cry "Back to Newton" in the end.
Hopefully he will directly vindicate Newton's emission theory of light
paying no attention to his brother Einsteinian Craig Callender who is
desperately crying "Back to Newton through Lorentz":

http://www.scientificamerican.com/ar...me-an-illusion
Craig Callender: "Einstein mounted the next assault by doing away with
the idea of absolute simultaneity. According to his special theory of
relativity, what events are happening at the same time depends on how
fast you are going. The true arena of events is not time or space, but
their union: spacetime. Two observers moving at different velocities
disagree on when and where an event occurs, but they agree on its
spacetime location. Space and time are secondary concepts that, as
mathematician Hermann Minkowski, who had been one of Einstein's
university professors, famously declared, "are doomed to fade away
into mere shadows." And things only get worse in 1915 with Einstein's
general theory of relativity, which extends special relativity to
situations where the force of gravity operates. Gravity distorts time,
so that a second's passage here may not mean the same thing as a
second's passage there. Only in rare cases is it possible to
synchronize clocks and have them stay synchronized, even in principle.
You cannot generally think of the world as unfolding, tick by tick,
according to a single time parameter. In extreme situations, the world
might not be carvable into instants of time at all. It then becomes
impossible to say that an event happened before or after another."

http://www.amazon.com/Relativity-Sim.../dp/0415701740
Einstein, Relativity and Absolute Simultaneity (Routledge Studies in
Contemporary Philosophy)
"Einstein, Relativity and Absolute Simultaneity is an anthology of
original essays by an international team of leading philosophers and
physicists who, on the centenary of Albert Einsteins Special Theory of
Relativity, come together in this volume to reassess the contemporary
paradigm of the relativistic concept of time. A great deal has changed
since 1905 when Einstein proposed his Special Theory of Relativity,
and this book offers a fresh reassessment of Special Relativitys
relativistic concept of time in terms of epistemology, metaphysics and
physics. There is no other book like this available; hence
philosophers and scientists across the world will welcome its
publication."
"UNFORTUNATELY FOR EINSTEIN'S SPECIAL RELATIVITY, HOWEVER, ITS
EPISTEMOLOGICAL AND ONTOLOGICAL ASSUMPTIONS ARE NOW SEEN TO BE
QUESTIONABLE, UNJUSTIFIED, FALSE, PERHAPS EVEN ILLOGICAL."
Craig Callender: "In my opinion, by far the best way for the tenser to
respond to Putnam et al is to adopt the Lorentz 1915 interpretation of
time dilation and Fitzgerald contraction. Lorentz attributed these
effects (and hence the famous null results regarding an aether) to the
Lorentz invariance of the dynamical laws governing matter and
radiation, not to spacetime structure. On this view, Lorentz
invariance is not a spacetime symmetry but a dynamical symmetry, and
the special relativistic effects of dilation and contraction are not
purely kinematical. The background spacetime is Newtonian or neo-
Newtonian, not Minkowskian. Both Newtonian and neo-Newtonian spacetime
include a global absolute simultaneity among their invariant
structures (with Newtonian spacetime singling out one of neo-Newtonian
spacetimes many preferred inertial frames as the rest frame). On this
picture, there is no relativity of simultaneity and spacetime is
uniquely decomposable into space and time."

Pentcho Valev

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  #2  
Old December 7th 10, 11:32 AM posted to sci.physics.relativity,sci.physics,sci.astro
Pentcho Valev
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 7,546
Default Heuristics in Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity

John Norton, the subtlest practitioner of doublethink in Einsteiniana,
informs believers that Maxwell's theory violates the principle of
relativity while Newton's emission theory of light does not:

http://www.pitt.edu/~jdnorton/papers/Chasing.pdf
John Norton: "In Maxwell's theory, a light wave in a vacuum always
propagates at the same speed, c, with respect to the ether. So
measuring the speed of a light beam gives observers an easy way to
determine their motion in the ether. If they find the light to move at
c, the observers are at rest in the ether. If they find the light
frozen, they are moving at c in the ether. Since observers can
determine their absolute motion, the theory violates the principle of
relativity. The alternative theory that Einstein began to pursue was
an "emission theory." In such a theory, the speed of light in vacuo is
still c. But it is not c with respect to the ether; it is c with
respect to the source that emits the light. In such a theory,
observing the speed of a light beam tells observers nothing about
their absolute motion. It only reveals their motion with respect to
the source that emitted the light. If they find the beam to propagate
at c, the observers are at rest with respect to the emitter. If they
find the beam to be frozen, they are fleeing from the source at c. In
general, observers can only ascertain their relative velocity with
respect to the source."

http://www.liferesearchuniversal.com...html#seventeen
George Orwell: "Doublethink means the power of holding two
contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both
of them. The Party intellectual knows in which direction his memories
must be altered; he therefore knows that he is playing tricks with
reality; but by the exercise of doublethink he also satisfies himself
that reality is not violated. The process has to be conscious, or it
would not be carried out with sufficient precision, but it also has to
be unconscious, or it would bring with it a feeling of falsity and
hence of guilt. Doublethink lies at the very heart of Ingsoc, since
the essential act of the Party is to use conscious deception while
retaining the firmness of purpose that goes with complete honesty. To
tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any
fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary
again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed,
to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take
account of the reality which one denies - all this is indispensably
necessary. Even in using the word doublethink it is necessary to
exercise doublethink. For by using the word one admits that one is
tampering with reality; by a fresh act of doublethink one erases this
knowledge ; and so on indefinitely, with the lie always one leap ahead
of the truth. (...) It need hardly be said that the subtlest
practitioners of doublethink are those who invented doublethink and
know that it is a vast system of mental cheating. In our society,
those who have the best knowledge of what is happening are also those
who are furthest from seeing the world as it is. In general, the
greater the understanding, the greater the delusion ; the more
intelligent, the less sane."

Pentcho Valev

  #3  
Old December 8th 10, 08:29 AM posted to sci.physics.relativity,sci.physics,sci.astro
Pentcho Valev
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 7,546
Default Heuristics in Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity

http://www.pitt.edu/~jdnorton/papers/Chasing.pdf
John Norton: "In Maxwell's theory, a light wave in a vacuum always
propagates at the same speed, c, with respect to the ether. So
measuring the speed of a light beam gives observers an easy way to
determine their motion in the ether. If they find the light to move at
c, the observers are at rest in the ether. If they find the light
frozen, they are moving at c in the ether."

So John Norton sincerely believes that, according to Maxwell's theory,
the speed of light varies with the speed of the observer. Brothers
Einsteinians share John Norton's belief:

http://www.amazon.com/Brief-History-.../dp/0553380168
Stephen Hawking: "Maxwell's theory predicted that radio or light waves
should travel at a certain fixed speed. But Newton's theory had got
rid of the idea of absolute rest, so if light was supposed to travel
at a fixed speed, one would have to say what that fixed speed was to
be measured relative to. It was therefore suggested that there was a
substance called the "ether" that was present everywhere, even in
"empty" space. Light waves should travel through the ether as sound
waves travel through air, and their speed should therefore be relative
to the ether. Different observers, moving relative to the ether, would
see light coming toward them at different speeds, but light's speed
relative to the ether would remain fixed."

http://www.solidarity-us.org/node/58
"Maxwell's theory of electricity and magnetism provides a successful
framework with which to study light. In this theory light is an
electromagnetic wave. Using Maxwell's equations one can compute the
speed of light. One finds that the speed of light is 300,000,000
meters (186,000 miles) per second. The question arises: which inertial
observer is this speed of light relative to? As in the previous
paragraph, two inertial observers traveling relative to each other
should observe DIFFERENT SPEEDS FOR THE SAME LIGHT WAVE."

http://culturesciencesphysique.ens-l..._CSP_relat.xml
Gabrielle Bonnet, École Normale Supérieure de Lyon: "Les équations de
Maxwell font en particulier intervenir une constante, c, qui est la
vitesse de la lumière dans le vide. Par un changement de référentiel
classique, si c est la vitesse de la lumière dans le vide dans un
premier référentiel, et si on se place désormais dans un nouveau
référentiel en translation par rapport au premier à la vitesse
constante v, la lumière devrait désormais aller à la vitesse c-v si
elle se déplace dans la direction et le sens de v, et à la vitesse c+v
si elle se déplace dans le sens contraire."

On the other hand, John Norton and brothers Einsteinians sincerely
believe and fiercely teach that, according to Maxwell's theory, the
speed of light is independent of the speed of the observer:

http://www.pitt.edu/~jdnorton/teachi...ics/index.html
John Norton: "Why Einstein should believe the light postulate is a
little harder to see. We would expect that a light signal would slow
down relative to us if we chased after it. The light postulate says
no. No matter how fast an inertial observer is traveling in pursuit of
the light signal, that observer will always see the light signal
traveling at the same speed, c. The principal reason for his
acceptance of the light postulate was his lengthy study of
electrodynamics, the theory of electric and magnetic fields. The
theory was the most advanced physics of the time. Some 50 years
before, Maxwell had shown that light was merely a ripple propagating
in an electromagnetic field. Maxwell's theory predicted that the speed
of the ripple was a quite definite number: c."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/20...ce-book-review
"Why Does E=mc^2? by Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw - review (...) By the
end of the 19th century, Maxwell had tied together decades of work on
electricity and magnetism by, among others, Humphrey Davy and Michael
Faraday, to produce his masterful equations on electromagnetism. These
showed that light was a wave in the electromagnetic field, much as
ripples on a pond are waves in water or sound is a wave in the air. He
also showed that these waves of light moved at a constant speed, "c",
through empty space and that speed remained the same no matter who was
watching. Whether you are sitting still or moving at hundreds of miles
an hour towards the source of the light, Maxwell's equations say that
the light you see will only ever move at "c" relative to you."

http://www.planetastronomy.com/speci...20mars2005.htm
Françoise Balibar: "Maxwell rentre en scène : il pense que la lumière
se propage dans un milieu matériel baptisé éther, ce qui est une
erreur, mais il pense aussi que la lumière est un champ
électromagnétique, ça c'est révolutionnaire. Il met au point ses
célèbres équations dans lesquelles la vitesse de la lumière est la
même dans l'éther (référentiel absolu) et dans tout autre référentiel
en translation uniforme."

http://groups.google.com/group/sci.p...a09f114dcd6052
John Baez: "When Newton was finally overthrown by Einstein, the birth
of the new theory owed much less to the astronomical facts it could
explain - such as a puzzling drift in the point where Mercury made its
closest approach to the sun - than to an elegant theory of
electromagnetism that had arisen more or less independently of ideas
about gravity. Electrostatic and magnetic effects had been unified by
James Clerk Maxwell, but Maxwell's equations only offered one value
for the speed of light, however you happened to be moving when you
measured it. Making sense of this fact led Einstein first to special
relativity, in which the geometry of space-time had the unvarying
speed of light built into it, then general relativity, in which the
curvature of the same geometry accounted for the motion of objects
free-falling through space."

http://www.liferesearchuniversal.com...html#seventeen
George Orwell: "Doublethink means the power of holding two
contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both
of them. The Party intellectual knows in which direction his memories
must be altered; he therefore knows that he is playing tricks with
reality; but by the exercise of doublethink he also satisfies himself
that reality is not violated. The process has to be conscious, or it
would not be carried out with sufficient precision, but it also has to
be unconscious, or it would bring with it a feeling of falsity and
hence of guilt. Doublethink lies at the very heart of Ingsoc, since
the essential act of the Party is to use conscious deception while
retaining the firmness of purpose that goes with complete honesty. To
tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any
fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary
again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed,
to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take
account of the reality which one denies - all this is indispensably
necessary. Even in using the word doublethink it is necessary to
exercise doublethink. For by using the word one admits that one is
tampering with reality; by a fresh act of doublethink one erases this
knowledge ; and so on indefinitely, with the lie always one leap ahead
of the truth. (...) It need hardly be said that the subtlest
practitioners of doublethink are those who invented doublethink and
know that it is a vast system of mental cheating. In our society,
those who have the best knowledge of what is happening are also those
who are furthest from seeing the world as it is. In general, the
greater the understanding, the greater the delusion ; the more
intelligent, the less sane."

Pentcho Valev

 




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