Questioning Relativity 1: Herbert Dingle

· physics, theory of relativity

Modern physics is deeply troubled by the incompatibility of Einstein’s theory of relativity and quantum mechanics, which has resisted almost 100 years of fruitless efforts of forming a unified theory of gravitation and electro/quantum mechanics.

Einstein’s (special and general) theory of relativity was widely questioned from start in 1905 into the 1950s but the criticism was then effectively suppressed. Today relativity theory is a dogma which cannot be questioned: The debate is over and questions to physicists will not get any response. Try yourself if you don’t believe this experience.

The last attempt to question Einstein’s theory of relativity was made by the English physicist Herbert Dingle in a long debate in Nature in the late 1950s claiming logical inconsistency of the special theory of relativity with two clocks A and B both running slower than the other:

  • The theory unavoidably requires that A works more slowly than B and B more slowly than A –which it requires no super-intelligence to see is impossible.

Dingle’s criticism was effectively suppressed, as summarized by Wikipedia:

  • The consensus in the physics community is that Dingle’s objections to the logical consistency of special relativity were unfounded.

Dingle did not realize that special relativity is a non-physical theory which is true by definition. In a non-physical theory the reading of clocks do not have to follow any logics of physics, but such a theory has nothing to say about reality and thus is empty. This argument is developed in detail in

One aspect of the argument can be illustrated by considering two persons A and B viewing each other at distance, which both can argue that the other is smaller. The contradiction is here resolved by understanding that the reduction in size is an apparent non-physical reduction as an effect of viewing at distance and not a real shrinking.

Another example is given by simplified form of the Lorentz transformation which is the essence of special relativty: Consider the following coordinate transformation between two space-time systems of coordinates (x,t) and (x´,t´) associated with two observers X and X´:

  • x´ = – x, t´ = – t,

corresponding to reversing the direction in both space and time. Both observers can argue that the directions of space and time of the other is reversed, however only as a non-physical effect of a coordinate transformation without any reality.

The space contraction/time dilation of the Lorentz transformation is similarly non-physical and special relativity is only a formality true by definition and thus empty. Science by consensus is science by definition and is thus pseudo-science without connection to reality.

Dingle recorded his experience of questioning relativity theory in Science at the Crossroads including harsh truths about physicists:

  • They are, briefly, that the great majority of physical scientists, including practically all those who conduct experiments in physics and are best known to the world as leaders in science, when pressed to answer allegedly fatal criticism of the theory, confess either that they regard the theory as nonsensical but accept it because the few mathematical specialists in the subject say they should do so, or that they do not pretend to understand the subject at all, but, again, accept the theory as fully established by others and therefore a safe basis for their experiments. 
  • The response of the comparatively few specialists to the criticism is either complete silence or a variety of evasions couched in mystical language which succeeds in convincing the experimenters that they are quite right in believing that the theory is too abstruse for their comprehension and that they may safely trust men endowed with the metaphysical and mathematical talents that enable them to write confidently in such profound terms. 
  • What no one does is to answer the criticism.
This is also my experience.

102 Comments

Comments RSS
  1. Richard T. Fowler

    “Today relativity theory is a dogma which cannot be questioned: The debate is over and questions to physicists will not get any response. Try yourself if you don’t believe this experience.”

    I believe I know exactly how you feel, Claes.

    Thank you for your effort to respond. I will have to assume that this was your best effort, and that precise commentary about my non-GR-dependent hypothesis of gravitation is not allowed to you.

    Richard

  2. claesjohnson

    I cannot answer because I do not know what to say. You should try with some knowledgable physicist. Good luck, Claes.

  3. Richard T. Fowler

    Claes, thank you!

    I look forward to your further commentary on other topics. Personally, I think you may be one of the most knowledgable persons in physics who is alive today.

    And your “many-minds relativity” is starting to grow on me, after your most recent post (i.e. the one after this one.) I may not agree with how you have described it elsewhere, but I think there’s some truth to found in it. I am starting to understand that my own hypothesis may have some overlap with that theory of yourse, which you of course came up with some time ago.

    I just hope McIntyre and Jeff Id are paying attention to at least some of this.

    Richard

    • Richard T. Fowler

      Sorry, that should have been “to be found, and “yours”.

      I think I might need another mind, at the rate I’m going. :-)

      RTF

  4. Erinome

    Are you unaware of the vast amount of experimental data that has verified special relativity? SR’s conclusions are often not intuitive, but it works extremely well.

  5. claesjohnson

    SR is a non-physical theory which is true by definition and cannot be refuted by experiments.

  6. Mike

    I’l give you one day to figure out what is wrong with Dingle’s statement (most undergraduates taken special relativity should be able to do it).

    If you are serious about criticize special relativity you should be able to do the refutation your self.

  7. claesjohnson

    I do not say that Dingle refutes SR. My analysis is that SR is non-physical because it is true by definition and as such cannot be refuted.

    • Rasjid Chan Kah Chew

      Hello Professor Claes Johnson,

      You have been too lenient on Special Relativity.

      There is never any theory useful or true ‘by definition’. A physics theory is only as useful, or ‘true’, as it’s ability to explain observations in the real world. An invalid theory is one that should never be used at all under any circumstances – lest it confuses the world that, through exceptional serendipity, it could
      perfectly explain a hundred observations that no other physics could explain.

      Herbert Dingle : “The theory unavoidably requires that (clocks A and B) A works more slowly than B and B more slowly than A – which it requires no super-intelligence to see is impossible.”

      The above unequivocally repudiates Special Relativity – that it is an invalid theory. Any other things said beyond the above only distracts. I hold two clocks A and B each in my hands and move them towards each other at a constant speed. Special Relativity would have me accept that B is running slower than A and, at the same time, A is running slower than B.

      The relativists would not want to answer Dingle’s simple questions, but only to go into abstruse argument. It is like telling us that time (in Special Relativity) is not as simple as you and I think; but that we should listen to them – the ‘experts’. So they tell us not to look at a wall clock if we want
      to find the time of the day. I only know that all physicists doing experiments involving time only look at a wall clock for the time – whatever the make of the clock.

      My eyes cannot see a clock that runs slower and faster than another clock at the same time.

      The time when the world accepts that Special Relativity is invalid comes only when it is the right time; you cannot make it come earlier nor can the relativists prevent it when it comes – 2012 Mayan new beginning! The media hype and the amount of obfuscation is extremely thick; most people, even trained physicists, are disarrayed by the great deluge. When the relativists ask for three numbers that adds to 6 and we give them the answer : 2+2+2 = 6; they are still not satisfied that we have given them a valid answer. They still would want to debate further – what more can we say; start all over again teaching them additions as we teach little children and ask them to memorize the times tables?

      That the mainstream western physics world has already closed up any discussion on the validity of Relativity is true; try posting this link to any physics forum and see it gets deleted instantly:

      http://vixra.org/abs/1201.0020 :
      Michelson– Morley Experiment: a Misconceived & Misinterpreted Experiment. By Muhammad Shafiq Khan.

      The gist here is that the two light beams will always take the same time to reach the interferometer – thus the null observation; they did not account for the light wave doppler effect.

      Rasjid Chan Kah Chew.

  8. Mike

    Does your reply mean that you can’t do it? It is an easy exercise in special relativity.

    By the way, Dingles life story and struggle against “the establishment” is in a way tragic. He spent allot of effort during many many years on the subject but didn’t seem to grasp even the most basic aspects of the theory. He hung up on trivialities since he didn’t knew the basics of the theory.

    There is a sound reluctance by scientist not to get stuck in a debate with crack pots, since there is no point what so ever to the debate.

    Dingles story is a reminder that it is extremely important to understand what you criticize. That you bring up him and his criticism makes one wonder if you yourself understands the theory.

    So please, show how Dingle was wrong.

  9. claesjohnson

    As I have said, you cannot refute SR because it is a vacuous non-physical theory which is true by definition. Your insistence to ask me to show that Dingle’s argument is incorrect indicates that you do not understand that SR is non-physical and as such is not open to refutation from physics point of view. Whatever argument you have that Dingle’s contradiction is not a contradiction is irrelevant, because it does not concern physics.

  10. Richard T. Fowler

    I haven’t taken a course in relativity, but it is my understanding that Einstein spent a lot of time developing GR precisely because he, and the general physicist community, were well aware that SR was not true.

    Ironically, Einstein and others subsequently discovered the errors in GR as well, and turned away from it.

    Claes has done an exceptional job of restating and expanding on the work of those many GR critics — including, ironically, Einstein himself.

    Dingle’s argument makes perfect sense to me, as does most of Claes’ subsequent criticism in the posts numbered 2-5 under “Questioning Relativity”. I haven’t yet read #6, but I bet it’s good, too.

    On a separate but related note … Claes, have you had a chance to see this comment by James Sexton, posted at wattsupwiththat.com/2012/01/17/thanks-and-apologies/

    ——-
    James Sexton says:
    January 17, 2012 at 6:52 pm

    Oh, I almost forgot.
    Gravity is a Force. A force causes work to be done. You can’t do work without energy!!! Does this violate the “Conservation of Energy”? Perhaps, perhaps not. Perhaps potential energy is greater than we thought. ——- You ladies can take it from there.

    [. . . T]o understand we have a flawed numerical and science system isn’t earth shattering. What’s amazing is that skeptics are rejecting new science because it conflicts with accepted science.

    But, either way you turn this one, accepted science in one form or the other gets turned on its head. Either gravity is a force or it isn’t. It isn’t good enough to say the “Conservation of Energy” trumps the posit that gravity is a force. That’s vapid.

    Good evening,

    James
    ——-

    This is the first instance I have seen, since posting my hypothesis on your new blog, of someone specifically agreeing with my core idea.

    RTF

  11. Richard T. Fowler

    Or perhaps I should say, “specifically expressing possible agreement.

    RTF

  12. Richard T. Fowler

    Aha! Here, at 8:45 pm, James makes a statement of certainty about that core point, similar to one that I had made regarding gravity:

    ——-

    [. . . O]ur physical laws, like our math laws are not perfect. There are and always will be inconsistencies. Sorry, but you guys are wrong. An object dropping is because a force is working. Work only happens with energy. I know what the laws state, but what I’ve stated has the force of laws as well. Energy is easily expressed as heat. You can try to define the process all you wish. It doesn’t matter ….. friction, convection…. whatever. Work is occurring.

    ——-

    RTF

    • Richard T. Fowler

      So, Claes, now that part of my hypothesis has received a modest “second”, I put the question to you again, reworded:

      Will you be our Galileo?

      I certainly cannot do it right now. It would probably take me months to work out enough of the math for a proper exposition.

      I would have thougt that if you would stick your neck out with something like Computational Blackbody Radiation …

      (which I am still struggling to understand, though if I had to guess right now, I’d say you just about nailed it) …

      that it would be no great thing for you to at least explore this issue mathematically a little. All it really requires, to get started, is to set aside for a few minutes the assumption that the Laplacian operator has physical existence. And you did already state that it is merely an assumption, which of course means “unproven”.

      So, will you be our Galileo? Or would you place yourself with the Inquisitors?

      RTF

  13. Mike

    Ok Claes, so you want to be a philosophical smart alec and discovered that physics use postulates.

    If I restate the task for you.

    Assume the postulates of special relativity is true. Now, show us why Dingles statement are wrong.

    It would be totally moronic if one generically were to attach the “assume the postulates of [x]” every time one discussed a theory contained in the relevant paradigm.

    Ok, so the question, is relativity fundamental? Nobody knows because there is no fundamental theory of physics formulated. And therefore, as you say, it isn’t a statement about reality. So until you present a fundamental theory of physics, and there certainly is a possibility that there never will be such a formulation, nobody knows.

    That do not mean that you can’t play around with theories (suppressing the assume that “this and that part” holds) and see what it leads to, and also to compare with experiments.

    Until you understand this point I guess you have little to contribute on the matter and are stuck in a philosophical cul de sac.

    To Fowler,
    special relativity is valid in a neighbourhood of a point in a space-time manifold, ok one last time, given that we work with the relevant postulates from general relativity.

  14. claesjohnson

    SR = The Lorentz transformation, which is non-physical in the sense that it does not describe a physical situation, as evidenced by Born and Lorentz.

    The Lorentz transformation is a simple linear transformation and as such cannot be refuted. It is
    like basing physics on the mathematical tautology that 1 + 1 = 2, and asking for a refutation of 1+1 = 2. Only if 1 +1 = 2 is given a physical meaning (which may be true or not) is it meaningful to analyze its truth value.

  15. Mike

    I don’t think that one usually starts with a Lorentz transformation as the basis for special relativity.

    The Lorentz transformation is a consequence from demanding physical laws to remain the same (that is that nature is independent of how one look upon it) during a transformation of different field quantities under some representations of the correct algebra from one coordinate system to another in a n+1 dimensional space-time with a Lorentzian metric.

    And further I am starting to think that you have not got the slightest clue what is wrong with the statement

    “The theory unavoidably requires that A works more slowly than B and B more slowly than A –which it requires no super-intelligence to see is impossible.”

    given a standard setting of special relativity. Prove me wrong…

  16. claesjohnson

    Again: SR is nothing but the Lorentz transformation, a simple linear transformation which can be deduced in an endless number of ways. I have given a statement analogous to yours, two people viewing each other at distance both claiming the other is smaller, a statement which is not ontradictory but without connection to the actual height of the persons. A correct non-physical statement just like SR.

  17. Richard T. Fowler

    Mike,

    Claes is not being smart-alecky. His points on this matter are very well-considered and relevant.

    You write, finally, “given a standard setting of special relativity. Prove me wrong…”

    (My emphasis.) It is that “setting”, those “assumptions”, taken as a whole, which we are questioning. In fact, as they have been explained to me in the words of the very physicists who initially had to evaluate them when Einstein presented them, they are self-contradictory and thus impossible … and, thereby, false. Claes is being more diplomatic. I, myself, have no such reservation over this particular issue.

    And if the premises of both Einsteinian relativities are false, then so are the theories.

    You state:

    “[S]o the question, is relativity fundamental? Nobody knows because there is no fundamental theory of physics formulated. And therefore, as you say, it isn’t a statement about reality. So until you present a fundamental theory of physics, [. . .] nobody knows.”

    I say, even if we cannot know, we can do considerably better than has been done publicly thus far. I think that it’s pretty clear from the existing evidence that much more has been done but remains classified. But that doesn’t stop us mere ordinary folk from having a go at it. Sorry if the pace is too slow for your liking. The feeling is mutual. It would probably go faster if more physicists had a more supportive attitude.

    Moreover (and more to the point), I think your reasoning in that quote is backward.

    Essentially you argue that if Einsteinian relativity is false, this cannot be disproven until after there is a fundamental physical theory.

    I argue, to the contrary, that there can be no fundamental theory unless and until mainstream physics admits the blindingly obvious fact that Einsteinian relativity (and, for that matter, Newtonian mechanics) cannot possibly be true, and is, therefore, false.

    Thank you for your willingness to engage thus far. I think that, with time and perspective, you will come to understand that, while my level of knowledge may be quite poor for the subject at hand, neither myself nor Claes deserve the label of “crackpot”. One doesn’t need a lot of formal training in a subject to spot, and pick, low-hanging fruit. And the stuff I’m talking about is practically touching the ground. That’s why I get so upset about it at times.

    Recall Einstein’s last sentence to Bohr. I think he may have been trying to tell all of us something about the mess we had found (and/or would find) ourselves in, and how a different approach (political, social, economic) within the professional science community is required in order to extricate ourselves from it. Actually, the blogosphere is part of that new approach … but only part. Formally trained physicists have to do more than just blog. They have to try to insert a wedge between themselves and the political and economic forces that work hard to keep them in a frame and to keep them blind to that frame.

    Reading WUWT in the last two days, I am starting to sense that might be happening. Some people (there and at Tallbloke Talkshop) almost seem to be repeatedly (and progressively) replying to the conversations that have taken place on Claes’ two blogs over the last month … each person in their own way.

    The replies are frequently disjointed, frequently irrelevant, and, at times, frustratingly wrong.

    But fundamentally, people are starting to learn what I’ve known for a long time …

    that none of the physics that have been generally taught, since as far back as we know, are true in their accounting of energy quantities, and

    it simply isn’t good enough (at least, not for the present climate and energy challenges)> to say that “it has worked fine for our needs up until now”. No kidding! But that’s a straw man. No one was talking about the past! We’re primarily concerned with present and future needs, for which more precision is required in order to develop the correct technologies and policies.

    But the good news is, despite the slow progress, I don’t think there’s any going back from it. That many people cannot be swept under the rug.

    RTF

    • Richard T. Fowler

      Correction: “this cannot be disproven” should be “this cannot be shown”.

  18. Erinome

    claesjohnson wrote:
    SR is a non-physical theory which is true by definition and cannot be refuted by experiments.

    Bull. SR makes predictions that are counterintuitive and could never have been forseen, like time dilation and the equivalence of mass and energy. Its predictions work.

  19. Erinome

    The Lorentz transformation is a simple linear transformation and as such cannot be refuted.

    It’s not just *any* linear transformation — but one that leaves Maxwell’s equations invariant. To dismiss it as somehow obvious because it’s just a “simple linear transformation” is absurd, as well as disrespectful to the meaning and dignity of science.

  20. claesjohnson

    It is not dismissed because it is a linear transformation, but because it lacks physical meaning.
    To give it physical meaning only because it leaves Maxwell’s eqns invariant is mathematical mysticism.

  21. Richard T. Fowler

    Erinome, did you see this post by Claes:

    http://claesjohnsonmathscience.wordpress.com/2012/01/20/questioning-relativity-obsessions/

    There is stated the following which may also be responsive to your point:

    “Einstein became obsessed with coordinate systems or “reference frames” and a principle that “physical laws” must take the same form in all reference frames, based on the idea that no reference frame is better than the other as an expression of relativity.

    “In the special theory of relativity observers using different “inertial frames” would agree on the same mathematical expression of a “physical law” as a canonical law invariant under coordinate transformations.

    [. . .]

    “A mathematician understands that physical laws in general take different mathematical forms in different coordinate systems, and that searching for physics in coordinate transformations is pointless.”

  22. Mike

    One great importance of a Lorentz transformation is precisely that it doesn’t change physical lengths from one observer to another.

    But there is a twist and something that has to be understood to make this statement true. You Claes, and also RTF, obviously doesn’t understand this. If one has studied special relativity, even on an undergraduate level, one knows what this twist is.

    You Claes should read up on what relativity is so that you don’t end up doing Dingles mistake spending a lifetime in meaningless debate based on a misunderstanding of a trivial basic fact.

  23. claesjohnson

    I have studied SR and I see that it is empty of physics. Dingle did not see that and drowned in a meaningless struggle about its proper physical meaning. It has no physical meaning and there is nothing to debate but definitions.

  24. Mike

    Good, then tell me the meaning of

    “One great importance of a Lorentz transformation is precisely that it doesn’t change physical lengths from one observer to another.”

  25. claesjohnson

    I do not see the point of this statement since SR is supposed to include space contraction and time dilation.

  26. Mike

    You, clearly have no grasp of elementary special relativity.

    What textbook/s have you followed?

    • Guiri

      Look at The Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies (1905) the equations don’t work.

  27. Richard T. Fowler

    Mike, you must be pretty smart.

    You are not just taking issue with the “grasp” of Claes and of Dingle, but also with those of:

    Schrödinger
    Lorentz
    Hawking
    Synge

    and others, even, ultimately, Einstein himself, who if you read his own words as found on Claes’ blogs, clearly disavows the idea that his theories have physical reality.

    Because Claes is there with his blogs, he makes an easy target. But these others I have listed are also out there, with their words.

    Look also at J. L. Synge, who Claes quotes as stating in 1960:

    “.. the general theory of relativity. The name is repellent. Relativity? I have never been able to understand what the word means in this connection. I used to think that this was my fault, some flaw of my intelligence, but it is now apparent that nobody ever understood it, probably not even Einstein himself.”

    Synge’s Wikipedia article states:

    - In 1925, he was “appointed to the chair of Natural Philosophy (the old name for Physics)” at Trinity College.

    - “He was treasurer of the Royal Irish Academy in 1929.

    - On or after 1930, he became Head of the Dept. of Applied Mathematics at the University of Toronto.

    - After 1942, he was also a department head at Ohio State and at Carnegie Institute of Technology.

    - From 1948, he was a Senior Professor in the School of Theoretical Physics at the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies. The article states that Schrödinger had also held the same title at the same school.

    - His best known work concerns “using geometrical methods in general relativity.”

    - He was “president of the Royal Irish Academy from 1961 to 1964.

    - “He was the first recipient of the Henry Marshall Tory Medal of the Royal Society of Canada.”

    - He published “over 200 papers and 11 books.”

    - “The John L. Synge Award was established by the Royal Society of Canada, in 1986,” to honor him.

    In conseridering all of the above, it should be clear that experimental “verification” is irrelevant. Any “results” could just as easily be “explained” by other ad-hoc self-contradictory, internally inconsistent concepts, any of which (or even all of which) could be totally disconnected from physical reality. The fact that predictions are made successfully by Einstein’s “theories” is irrelevant, because there are many false and physically disconnected theories that are very different from Einstein’s and from which one could doubtless derive the same predictions by accident.

    Because the assumptions are demonstrated to be devoid of physical meaning, any “successful” predictions can only be chalked up to either coincidence, or lack of “grasp” of whoever took the measurements, and whoever interpreted them.

    When you look at Synge’s career highlights (including his academy presidency from 1961-1964) — juxtaposed with his cryptic statement in 1960 which seems on its face to disavow his own career — it should be clear that many people are being played for fools, by a group of extremely highly skilled illusionists, who are drawn from the pool of the most intelligent persons of each generation. Thus some of the cryptic statements can be seen as a kind of inside joke, to openly mock those who get trained, but still cannot see what is right in front of their face.

    No, I’m not smart in physics. But at my age, and with the blessings of my Creator, I’m above average at spotting a rather simple and obvious con-job, such as Hocky Team climate “science”, or the one foisted on us called “Einsteinian relativity”.

    RTF

  28. claesjohnson

    I have studied the original scientific sources very carefully. Textbooks are not always reliable since they copy each other and often present second hand knowledge.

  29. Dol

    This is kind of a futile discussion. Demarcating special relativity outside or inside science is not a question of superstitious reasoning on how things “should” be.

    In the follow up post, “Questioning Relativity 2: Unphysical Lorentz Transformation”, you wrote in the comments section,

    “Lorentz insisted that the transformed time t’ is not to be considered as physical time, but Einstein did not listen and twisted the Lorentz transformation into a relation between physical coordinates. It was Lorentz who introduced the Lorentz transformation in full awareness of its physical meaning and I argue that is more reasonable to listen to Lorentz than to Einstein.”

    What Lorentz insisted upon is not relevant at all, no matter if he introduced the transformation or not, whats relevant is what experimentation shows. Do you disagree with this?

    Experimental testing of special relativity has been going on for quite some while. You should take a look at the Usenet Physics FAQ (http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/physics/index.html) and more specially the section “What is the experimental basis of special relativity?” (http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/physics/Relativity/SR/experiments.html)

    Sincerely,
    Dol

  30. claesjohnson

    Yes it is futile as long as the reservations by Lorentz and Born and others are simply wiped away. If not a clear distinction is made between definition without physical content and fundamental postulate with physical content, the discussion gets confused and becomes meaningless. Einstein understood that SR is empty of physics and covered up by
    expanding to general relativity which was so complicated with it’s differential geometry and curved space-time that nobody could understand it. Experimental verification of Lorentz invariance is meaningless, because it is definition prescribing a certain relation between readings in different coordinate systems. As meaningless as testing experimentally if there are 100 centimeters on a meter.

  31. Dol

    Let me express it like this instead.

    A physical object, a spinor for instance, shall not alter its physical reality depending on what coordinate system it is described in. Please mark that this quantity lives in R^4 with negative Lorentz signature.

    And that is the physical meaning of a Lorentz transformation. The Lorentz transformation is the the kind of coordinate transformation that leaves these kind of physical quantities unaltered.

  32. claesjohnson

    To search for physics in coordinate transformations is futile in my view. This is like searching for a persons soul in the dress the person happens to be wearing. To describe the World it is in principle enough to chose one coordinate system and stick to that. To compare observations by fictitious human observers traveling at speeds close to that of light with respect to each other, is just science fiction. Nobody knows what an observer traveling around the LHC would experience, since elementary particles are not equipped with experimental apparatus that we have access to.

  33. Dol

    I think you get it all backwards. The physics is precisely that it shouldn’t be anything special with a coordinate transformation. You shouldn’t alter a physical object by describing it in different coordinates. Do you disagree with this?

  34. claesjohnson

    No, but I do not see what you get out by transforming a physical law expressed in one coordinate system to another, since the physical law remains the same. It is like to finding out who you are by moving to a new city. What do you get out of it?

  35. Dol

    Oh, and you have really misunderstood the notion of an observer.

    It does not mean “a fictitious human observer”, it’s just an unfortunate “nickname” of a specific inertial frame.

    If the term observer makes you uneasy, change observer to inertial frame that is.

  36. Dol

    Are you really so unimaginative that you can’t see the value of having a rule that says that when you express a physical law it is independent of what coordinate system it is expressed in?

  37. claesjohnson

    I asked what information you get out by studying coordinate transformations of one and the same physical law?

  38. Dol

    If you really are interested in how physicists today look upon special relativity and Lorentz transformations you should take a look at Leonard Susskind’s Lectures starting at

    The first lecture do addresses issues that you bring up in this and your next post. It should be very illuminating for you!

    Sincerely,
    Dol

    • Guiri

      I like how he says when explaining x=x’+vt etc… “Did I get it right”. why did he say this? From his own diagram x is defined twice.

  39. claesjohnson

    Susskind presents standard text-book material and spends 1 h and 49 minutes on deriving the Lorentz transformation, a simple 2×2 linear transformation. I explain very carefully in Many-Minds Relativity at http://www.csc.kth.se/~cgjoh/ambsrelativity.pdf why this is non-physical nonsense. This book should be very illuminating for you!

  40. Dol

    Well, of course I thought that you should continue to see the whole series of lectures. Did you see the whole 1h 49 min?

  41. Dol

    Now I have read the first 13 pages in the Many-Minds relativity text you written.

    You really need to build a much stronger case for me to invest time in 200+ pages more. You seem confused about elementary concepts from physics.

  42. Dol

    If you have not already done so, you should invite physicists with working knowledge to look on your text and give you their opinion on it.

    If your intention is to use it in undergraduate education it would be very unfair to the students if the text had not been reviewed by physicists working in fields related to this work.

  43. claesjohnson

    If you are not willing to read what I write, then I do not see any point of arguing with you.

  44. Dol

    Well, as I wrote I started to read the text before you ask if I read it.

    After reading the first 13 pages I stopped since I interpreted the text as mainly polemic on loose philosophical grounds.

    I appologise but to continue reading is for me not time well spent, unless there emerges a stronger motivation for doing so.

  45. Erinome

    >>It is not dismissed because it is a linear transformation, but because it lacks physical meaning.
    To give it physical meaning only because it leaves Maxwell’s eqns invariant is mathematical mysticism.<<

    Of course the transformation has a physical meaning — it respects the fact that the speed of light is the same as measured by all observers. It has physical consequences, too, such as explaining the observed flux of muons at the Earth's surface:
    http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/relativ/muon.html

    Do you have an alternative explanation for this observation that does not rely on a Lorentz symmetry?

  46. claesjohnson

    I can come up with 10 fanciful explanations of the surprisingly long life of myons. But who are all these observers traveling at almost the speed of light with respect to each other? Are they human or alien, and then from where?

  47. Dol

    I think that you must have missed one comment that I wrote earlier (it’s up there if you look) since you still seem confused by what “an observer” is.

    This kind of comment like your last one strengthens the impression that you are being polemic on non-objective grounds.

    From earlier:

    “Oh, and you have really misunderstood the notion of an observer.

    It does not mean “a fictitious human observer”, it’s just an unfortunate “nickname” of a specific inertial frame.

    If the term observer makes you uneasy, change observer to inertial frame that is.”

  48. claesjohnson

    No observers and inertial frames come together, and if inertial frames displace with almost the speed of light, so do observers and such observers cannot be human and the question is who they are?

  49. Dol

    Where did you dream up that (or other wise, what is your source)?

    From wikipedia:

    “The term observer in special relativity refers most commonly to an inertial reference frame. Less often it may refer to an arbitrary non-inertial reference frame; in particular, a Rindler frame is sometimes called an “accelerating observer”. In such cases an inertial reference frame may be called an “inertial observer” to avoid ambiguity. Note that these uses differ significantly from the ordinary English meaning of “observer”. Reference frames are inherently nonlocal constructs, covering all of space and time or a nontrivial part of it; thus it does not make sense to speak of an observer (in the special relativistic sense) having a location. Also, an inertial observer cannot accelerate at a later time, nor can an accelerating observer stop accelerating.

    Physicists use the term “observer” as shorthand for a specific reference frame from which a set of objects or events is being measured. Speaking of an observer in special relativity is not specifically hypothesizing an individual person who is experiencing events, but rather it is a particular mathematical context which objects and events are to be evaluated from. The effects of special relativity occur whether or not there is a sentient being within the inertial reference frame to witness them.”

    Sincerely,
    Dol

  50. Dol

    Have you really tried to learn special relativity in honest intention?

  51. claesjohnson

    It is because I try be honest that I cannot accept the non-physical pseudo-science of relativity theory.

  52. Dol

    But you objections against the Lorentz transformation seems to either be a straw man or on the grounds of serious misconception of what it is used for.

  53. claesjohnson

    There are lots of misconceptions around Lorentz transformations. You continue arguing with me without being willing to read what I write, and therefore I do not see any reason to continue.

  54. Mike

    Can you specify what these misconceptions are, in a more concrete way?

    What I’m curious about is what physics is it that is claimed to stem from the Lorentz transformations in your opinion?

  55. Richard T. Fowler

    So Mike, I would like to try to restate one point in perhaps a slightly clearer way. Claes’ response, “No physics, just as Lorentz said” is one way of stating that the physics that you have claimed stem from them are really only an illusion that you have apparently (based on your words) bought into.

    The idea that there are any physics that stem from them is nothing more than an illusion, which someone has to be actively sold on in order for them to believe. Because without the sales job, a reasonable person would not find the idea believable.

    Does that help bridge the gap at all?

    Thanks again for your interest in participating.

    RTF

  56. Mike

    No Richard, that doesn’t help at all because that wasn’t what I asked about.

    I am curious about what kind of physical effects Claes thinks that mainstream physics consider to be the result of Lorentz transformations.

    I.e. I am curious if Claes explicitly could describe the misconceptions. The claim, a couple of comments up is

    “There are lots of misconceptions around Lorentz transformations.”

    For him to know that there are a lot of misconceptions necessarily means that he knows about them and that makes me interested in what he thinks the misconceptions are.

  57. Richard T. Fowler

    Had you seen this at claesjohnsonmathscience.wordpress.com/2012/01/24/questioning-relativity-13-time-dilation/:

    ——–
    According to Einstein’s special theory of relativity space-time event observations in two space-time coordinate systems S : (x, t) and S’ : (x’, t’) and moving with constant velocity v with respect to each other, are to be connected by the Lorentz transformation (normalizing the speed of light to 1):

    * x’ = [gamma](xvt) , t’ = [gamma](tvx) , [gamma] = 1 / sqrt(1-v^2) .

    The Lorentz transformation imposes time dilation with the apparent effect of slowing down the rate of time with the factor in a moving system from the point of view of a stationary system [. . . .] This effect is mutual and perceived the same way in both systems.
    ——-

  58. Mike

    Richard, there is tons of experiments done that shows time dilation consistent with relativity.

    Please read this article for instance:

    http://www.sciencemag.org/content/329/5999/1630

    They measure time dilation at so low speeds as 10 m/s in that experiment, and the measured drift is consistent with special relativity.

  59. Richard T. Fowler

    And again I will restate. If the observer is being transformed along with the phenomenon being observed, (i.e. if the observational equipment is being transformed along with what it is observing), there is no way that it can perceive/measure any difference between a “dilated” result and a “non-dilated” result.

    Hence the “experimental result” must be either A) a coincidence or B) a manifestation of lack of “grasp” of those taking or interpreting the measurements.

    The issue is so simple and straightforward. There are only so many different ways it can be restated. But I’ve got time.

    This portion of the subject we are discussing is honestly, really, high-school-level analysis, or even middle school in an advance-placement program. It does not take a great deal of thinking to realize why it must be as I have described. It just takes the willingness to admit that some people at the PhD level may not be acting with complete honesty. Which, given the reality of a whole classified world within government, shouldn’t come as too great of a shock to anyone who knows about that world.

    RTF

  60. claesjohnson

    To simulate time dilation by motion one of the clocks is being subject to an oscillating field which is reported to have a small effect. But oscillation is not motion by constant velocity so I do not see the relevance for SR.

  61. Mike

    “But oscillation is not motion by constant velocity so I do not see the relevance for SR.”

    What!?

    This should not come as a surprise for you Claes! There is no reason at all that special relativity shouldn’t be able to handle acceleration.

  62. Richard T. Fowler

    I don’t think Claes is talking about acceleration; it seems clear to me he is talking about an oscillating EM field.

    And as regards acceleration, if SR cannot handle a constant velocity between two clocks or any pair of objects, then it certainly couldn’t handle acceleration any better.

    RTF

  63. Mike

    What do you mean Richard?

    Is there a third type of velocity? One that is not accelerating and not constant?

    Strange beast indeed ;-)

    Did you read and understand the experiment from the Science article?

  64. Richard T. Fowler

    Ha!

    It is now clear you know exactly what I’m talking about.

    I don’t think very many will be fooled by such bafflegab.

    RTF

  65. Mike

    Did you understand my joke Richard?

    You do understand that I was pulling your leg, right?

  66. Erinome

    I can come up with 10 fanciful explanations of the surprisingly long life of myons. But who are all these observers traveling at almost the speed of light with respect to each other?

    They are muons. Muons exist.

    Let’s see your 10 explanations, including the prediction for each for the surface flux of the cosmic muons.

    I bet you can’t do it. You’re all talk with no results.

  67. claesjohnson

    An oscillation motion is not the motion with constant velocity assumed in SR. To see some effect of shaking a clock says nothing about time dilation in SR.

    Nobody knows what clocks muons make use of.

  68. Dol

    Then please show why and how acceleration is forbidden in special relativity or some relevant sources that shows the same.

    Sincerely,
    Dol

  69. Richard T. Fowler

    To all readers –

    Remember what McIntyre likes to say: As always with Team science, you have to follow the pea.

    RTF

  70. Mike

    Claes, since the muons have a well defined life time expectation they must be “on some clock”.

    Isn’t that kind of the definition of a clock, a physical process that can be used to measure time.

    An oscillating process is another possibility to realize a clock.

    But enough of that, you seem to have some explanation to do.

    You couldn’t really been oblivious of acceleration in special relativity could you? I mean, it is a really fundamental part of the theory that can’t be missed spending just a little time on the subject, and heavily used if one wishes to use the analog of Newtons second law.

  71. Richard T. Fowler

    At comment #585, Claes wrote in response to a comment from Mike:

    “SR = The Lorentz transformation, which is non-physical in the sense that it does not describe a physical situation, as evidenced by Born and Lorentz.”

    Mike’s reply began:

    “I don’t think that one usually starts with a Lorentz transformation as the basis for special relativity.”

    So Mike has already acknowledged having been informed by Claes that SR does not describe “a physical situation”, which would obviously include, e.g., alleged time dilation as a result of the motion of an object.

    In other words, Mike already knows that Claes’ interpretation of Einstein implies that no time dilation is caused by any velocity of any object — whether it be with acceleration, or not. So he knows that there is no new information about Claes’ understanding of SR in Claes’ latest comment.

    RTF

    • Mike

      You seem a little bit confused about what a physical theory is.

      Take Newtons mechanics for instance, it rests on three laws of motion.

      1. A body in constant motion remains in that motion until acted upon by a force.
      2. The change in momentum in a body equals the force acted on it.
      3. The force between two bodies are equal in magnitude and opposite in direction.

      From these definitions you can derive laws that predicts how a body moves subjected to a certain force.

      These are definitions. They define Newtonian mechanics. Now notice that these laws are formulated in a coordinate independent way. They do not make reference to a specific set of coordinates to be true.

      This is a big deal because it allows us to define quantities corresponding to physically measurable quantities known as scalars (e.g. temperature, pressure), vectors (e.g. position, velocity and acceleration) and tensors (e.g. shear stress, strain rate and vorticity in tensor form) that doesn’t change when transformed from one reference frame to another. Do notice that the coordinates of the tensor of a tensor changes when transforming from one frame of reference to another.

      For scalars it is of course trivially true that they are coordinate independent.

      For vectors and tensors on the other hand we must find a transformation law that prescribes how coordinates in one reference frame is translated to another frame.

      Take the cup of coffee in rest on my desk here. It is in rest in my natural frame of reference. That doesn’t stop us from describing it’s motion from the point of view of a reference frame that is in free fall round one of Jupiter’s moons, or from a fixed reference frame centered in the sun. No matter which frame is used, the position of my cup doesn’t physically change.

      Notice that the position of my cup cup changes in the the different coordinate systems but that the transformation law does not.

      Unfortunately I’m running out of time and is no where near what I wanted to say. But maybe this can be a good check up point to ask you if you follow what I’m saying.

      The most important thing so far is if you understand the importance of a definition in a physical theory and that this definition also is limited to certain specific assumptions.

      Do remember that I may have written something that I didn’t really mean, it’s by all means early morning here, but no worries, we will correct such a mishap if it happened.

      Also remember that I wish from you to honestly try to understand this from a scientific point of view, that is an unbiased view. There are a lot of people not respecting this and it is my guess that this is the main reason why physicists are reluctant to engage in debate, it is not worth the time to argue against beliefs on shaky ground.

  72. Richard T. Fowler

    As regards muons, the last I knew, they were considered to be part of the universe, and not outside of it. Consequently, if SR were true, it would be impossible to measure any time dilation using them, because their time would be “dilated” to the same degree as whatever measuring device they are being subjected to.

    I.e., the observer’s (“clock’s”) time would be “dilated” along with that of the frame that it is supposed to be measuring. Therefore, the “clock” would “report” the same speed with or without any hypothetical “dilation”. As Claes has stated or suggested many times.

    RTF

    • Richard T. Fowler

      I apologize for the boldface error.

      The comment is reposted here:

      As regards muons, the last I knew, they were considered to be part of the universe, and not outside of it. Consequently, if SR were true, it would be impossible to measure any time dilation using them, because their time would be “dilated” to the same degree as whatever measuring device they are being subjected to.

      I.e., the observer’s (“clock’s”) time would be “dilated” along with that of the frame that it is supposed to be measuring. Therefore, the “clock” would “report” the same speed with or without any hypothetical “dilation”. As Claes has stated or suggested many times.

      RTF

  73. Mike

    Richard, maybe I should clarify the intention of the long reply to you.

    I don’t know if Claes intentionally wanted to imply that the Lorentz transformation is the basis of special relativity, but you seem to believe that it is based on what Claes has written.

    My intention is to argue why this for the first is a faulty assumption and for the second completely misrepresent what special relativity is about which is evident from the strawmen arguments that emerges in this discussion.

  74. claesjohnson

    It is necessary to make a distinction between a definition, which is true by its construction, and a postulate about physics, which may be true or false depending on reality.

    Physicists formed by the thinking of Einstein, do not make this distinction which muddles physics and makes discussion very difficult. It is meaningless to argue about a definition.

    If you don´t believe this to be reality, ask your favorite physicist if the following is a definition or a physical fact, or both:

    1. The speed of light in vacuum is the same for all observers.
    2. Heavy (gravitational) mass is equal to inertial mass.

    Definition or physical fact, or both? Please report the outcome of your inquiry here.

  75. Richard T. Fowler

    Mike writes in one of his two latest replies regarding definitions within Newtonian mechanics,

    “From these definitions you can derive laws that predicts how a body moves subjected to a certain force.”

    ‘Laws that predict’ … what a fascinating turn of words. Are the predictions accurate? No. :-D

    Hopefully, the point to be taken regarding relativity is clear.

    The other points that were raised most recently in two comments, #712 and #713, I have partially composed a response to, but have decided that it’s a bad idea to continue with it. There is nothing new to be addressed, and find that I, and Claes as well, are still being subjected to red herrings and false statements.

    RTF

    • Richard T. Fowler

      Hey Claes, I cross-posted with you. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to steal your thunder. Please continue, as that seems a fruitful approach.

      I’m going to bow out at this point. Thanks for the opportunity of this fascinating conversation!

      RTF

  76. Rickard Norlander

    Claes:
    1. Do you claim that the postulates of SR contradict each other?
    2. Do you claim that the predictions of SR are inconsistent with our measurements?

  77. Rickard Norlander

    I read your “many-minds-relativity,” and your argument

    ‘Often the argument is made that the reason the SI meter standard can be used, is that the speed of light is constant as a physical fact, but this is not science. It is not allowed in science to view a definition as a physical fact, because a definition can be chosen at will (as long as it is not self-contradictory), while a physical fact cannot. See the discussion of the Michelson-Morley experiment below .’

    Consider the expression 4+5+6+7.
    We could define the value of this as the number you get when you perform operations on two adjacent numbers in any order of your choice (call this definition D1)
    So we could begin by picking 5+6 and replacing that with 11, so that 4+5+6+7=4+11+7, and then we could choose 11+7 etc.

    Now consider instead the expression 4+5*6+7. If we use the same definition of the value of this expression, we get an ambiguity, many different values are possible.

    We that implicit in the definition D1 is the assumption of associativity. It was only the fact that associativity held in the first expression that let us make the definition D1.

    The point I wanted to illustrate is that if we make definitions based on untrue assumptions, we run into inconsistencies.

    The definition of the SI meter standard assumes that the postulates of SR hold. If these postulates were invalid, it would show up as inconsistencies.

  78. claesjohnson

    1: no , 2: no. SR does not make genuine predictions, only confirmations of definitions. You seem to believe, like many physicists, that the constancy of the speed of light and equivalence of heavy and inertial mass are both definitions and true facts. This gives the advantage that you can becabsolutely sure that you are right, but the disadvantage that your science is pseudo-science, that is science true by definition.

  79. Rickard Norlander

    No, I do not believe that the constancy of the speed of light is a definition. I do acknowledge that some definitions take this postulate for granted. I do not see any problem with this.

    ‘SR does not make genuine predictions’

    SR predicts that time will slow down (i.e. muon decays more slowly, cesium vibrates slower etc.) for objects moving relative to the observer.

    SR gives us a formula for kinetic energy as a function of velocity.

  80. Richard T. Fowler

    Hmm, that’s interesting; let’s explore this road and see where it takes us.

    ——–
    QUESTION POSED TO A HYPOTHETICAL RESPONDENT:

    Sir, you seem to believe that the constancy of the length of a centimeter is both a definition and a true fact. This gives the advantage that you can be absolutely sure that you are right, but the disadvantage that your “science” is pseudo-science, that is to say, it is so-called “science” that is true by definition.

    HYPOTHETICAL RESPONSE OF THE RESPONDENT:

    No, I do not believe that the constancy of the length of a centimeter is a definition. I do acknowledge that some definitions of the centimeter take this postulate for granted. I do not see any problem with this.

    Here is my response to the charge that ‘The theory of the ruler (TotR) does not make genuine predictions’

    TotR predicts that centimeters will become shorter for objects moving relative to the ruler.

    This prediction has been validated by many experimental results, and it would therefore be biased, irrational — and, yes, actually superstitious — to have any serious doubt that the centimeter has constant length.

    TotR gives us a formula for distance traveled as a function of the length of an object.

    ——–

    Hmm, well I … I guess I could say ….

    Well, that is, I ….

    Um ….

    Actually, never mind.

    RTF

  81. Erinome

    Claes — where are your promised 10 explanations for the observed muon surface flux?

    You are all talk and no action — the classic indication of a crank.

    • Rickard Norlander

      Erinome,
      I strongly object to your choice of words. Remember, Claes is not a snake oil-salesman. He is an honest searcher for the truth. Indeed, I consider it highly likely that it is his love for truth that motivates him to post these things.

      With that said, I am also interested in his explanation of the muon flux.

      • Mike

        Same here, I am to interested in those explanations, especially after composing my rather lengthy comment in section 16 ;)

        I to do think that Claes has honest intentions but seems a little to eager to push his ideology so that he doesn’t examine the theory in depths.

  82. Richard T. Fowler

    “the classic indication of a crank.”

    Oh, please!

    I don’t see anywhere that you have successfully rebutted anything presented against SR on this page.

    Perhaps you are unaware of the 15 subsequent posts that Claes has done on SR, since posting this one.

    RTF

  83. claesjohnson

    One interesting hypothesis is that muon decay is delayed by the magnetic field of the Earth.

  84. Daniel Haulman

    Einstein was wrong about the speed of light being absolute. The speed of everything is relative to something else. The speed of nothing is absolute. If A moved from B to C while the distance between B and C remained the same, the speed of A relative to B equaled the speed of A relative to C, but if A moved from B to C while the distance between B and C changed, the speed of A relative to B did not equal the speed of A relative to C. The speed of A relative to B equals the speed of B relative to A. Considered in the context of all the moving objects in the universe, everything is moving at many different speeds. The length of an object, the mass of an object, and the rate at which time passes, does not depend on an object’s speed, because no object has any single speed. Speed depends on distance and time. Distance and time do not depend on speed. Daniel Haulman

  85. Jonas Paulo Negreiros

    I do not know which is worse:
    Feel an idiot for not understanding relativity. Or, finally, become a fool for understand relativity.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: