http://bertie.ccsu.edu/naturesci/PhilSci/Lakatos.html "Lakatos distinguished between two parts of a scientific theory: its "hard core" which contains its basic assumptions (or axioms, when set out formally and explicitly), and its "protective belt", a surrounding defensive set of "ad hoc" (produced for the occasion) hypotheses. (...) In Lakatos' model, we have to explicitly take into account the "ad hoc hypotheses" which serve as the protective belt. The protective belt serves to deflect "refuting" propositions from the core assumptions..."
Length contraction, time dilation, relativity of simultaneity - these are the constituents of the "protective belt" that deflects refuting propositions from the fundamental falsehood of modern physics - the assumption (taken from the ether theory) that THE SPEED OF LIGHT IS INDEPENDENT OF THE SPEED OF THE EMITTER:
http://books.google.com/books?id=JokgnS1JtmMC "Relativity and Its Roots" By Banesh Hoffmann, p.92: "There are various remarks to be made about this second principle. For instance, if it is so obvious, how could it turn out to be part of a revolution - especially when the first principle is also a natural one? Moreover, if light consists of particles, as Einstein had suggested in his paper submitted just thirteen weeks before this one, the second principle seems absurd: A stone thrown from a speeding train can do far more damage than one thrown from a train at rest; the speed of the particle is not independent of the motion of the object emitting it. And if we take light to consist of particles and assume that these particles obey Newton's laws, they will conform to Newtonian relativity and thus automatically account for the null result of the Michelson-Morley experiment without recourse to contracting lengths, local time, or Lorentz transformations. Yet, as we have seen, Einstein resisted the temptation to account for the null result in terms of particles of light and simple, familiar Newtonian ideas, and introduced as his second postulate something that was more or less obvious when thought of in terms of waves in an ether. If it was so obvious, though, why did he need to state it as a principle? Because, having taken from the idea of light waves in the ether the one aspect that he needed, he declared early in his paper, to quote his own words, that "the introduction of a 'luminiferous ether' will prove to be superfluous."
In the absence of the protective belt, the null result of the Michelson-Morley experiment unequivocally confirms the variable speed of light predicted by Newton's emission theory of light (c'=c+v) and refutes the fundamental falsehood of modern physics, that is, refutes the assumption (taken from the ether theory) that THE SPEED OF LIGHT IS INDEPENDENT OF THE SPEED OF THE EMITTER:
http://www.philoscience.unibe.ch/documents/kursarchiv/SS07/Norton.pdf John Norton: "These efforts were long misled by an exaggeration of the importance of one experiment, the Michelson-Morley experiment, even though Einstein later had trouble recalling if he even knew of the experiment prior to his 1905 paper. This one experiment, in isolation, has little force. Its null result happened to be fully compatible with Newton's own emission theory of light. Located in the context of late 19th century electrodynamics when ether-based, wave theories of light predominated, however, it presented a serious problem that exercised the greatest theoretician of the day."
http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/1743/2/Norton.pdf John Norton: "In addition to his work as editor of the Einstein papers in finding source material, Stachel assembled the many small clues that reveal Einstein's serious consideration of an emission theory of light; and he gave us the crucial insight that Einstein regarded the Michelson-Morley experiment as evidence for the principle of relativity, whereas later writers almost universally use it as support for the light postulate of special relativity. Even today, this point needs emphasis. The Michelson-Morley experiment is fully compatible with an emission theory of light that CONTRADICTS THE LIGHT POSTULATE."