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Pentcho Valev

Posts: 4,999
Registered: 12/13/04
Posted: Feb 15, 2014 4:10 AM
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The world of relativity (Divine Albert's world) is a totalitarian system where germs of dissent get eradicated at an early stage. Yet, in an apparent contradiction, sometimes Einsteinians attack the Divine Theory in a shockingly violent way:
Joao Magueijo, Faster Than the Speed of Light, p. 250: "Lee [Smolin] and I discussed these paradoxes at great length for many months, starting in January 2001. We would meet in cafés in South Kensington or Holland Park to mull over the problem. THE ROOT OF ALL THE EVIL WAS CLEARLY SPECIAL RELATIVITY. All these paradoxes resulted from well known effects such as length contraction, time dilation, or E=mc^2, all basic predictions of special relativity. And all denied the possibility of establishing a well-defined border, common to all observers, capable of containing new quantum gravitational effects."
Philip Ball: "Einstein's theory of special relativity not only destroyed any notion of absolute time but made time equivalent to a dimension in space: the future is already out there waiting for us; we just can't see it until we get there. This view is a logical and metaphysical dead end, says Smolin."
"Was Einstein wrong? At least in his understanding of time, Smolin argues, the great theorist of relativity was dead wrong. What is worse, by firmly enshrining his error in scientific orthodoxy, Einstein trapped his successors in insoluble dilemmas..."

How can the paradox be explained? Clever Einsteinians know that any criticism of the Divine Theory is toothless and tolerable if the critic admits, explicitly or implicitly, the truth of Einstein's 1905 constant-speed-of-light postulate:

The speed of light (relative to the observer) is independent of the speed of the emitter.

So Magueijo and Smolin are allowed to call special relativity "the root of all the evil", dismiss the relativistic time as "dead wrong", etc., but when it comes to the light postulate, absolute loyalty is required:
Faster Than the Speed of Light, Joao Magueijo: "A missile fired from a plane moves faster than one fired from the ground because the plane's speed adds to the missile's speed. If I throw something forward on a moving train, its speed with respect to the platform is the speed of that object plus that of the train. You might think that the same should happen to light: Light flashed from a train should travel faster. However, what the Michelson-Morley experiments showed was that this was not the case: Light always moves stubbornly at the same speed. This means that if I take a light ray and ask several observers moving with respect to each other to measure the speed of this light ray, they will all agree on the same apparent speed!"
QUESTION: Setting aside any other debates about relativity theory for the moment, why would the speed of light be absolute? No other speeds are absolute, that is, all other speeds do indeed change in relation to the speed of the observer, so it's always seemed a rather strange notion to me.
LEE SMOLIN: Special relativity works extremely well and the postulate of the invariance or universality of the speed of light is extremely well-tested. It might be wrong in the end but it is an extremely good approximation to reality.
QUESTION: So let me pick a bit more on Einstein and ask you this: You write (p. 56) that Einstein showed that simultaneity is relative. But the conclusion of the relativity of simultaneity flows necessarily from Einstein's postulates (that the speed of light is absolute and that the laws of nature are relative). So he didn't really show that simultaneity was relative - he assumed it. What do I have wrong here?
LEE SMOLIN: The relativity of simultaneity is a consequence of the two postulates that Einstein proposed and so it is deduced from the postulates. The postulates and their consequences are then checked experimentally and, so far, they hold remarkably well.

In other words, the following rule is in force in Einsteiniana:

Criticize as much as you wish but don't touch the fundamental falsehood, Einstein's 1905 constant-speed-of-light postulate!

Is the rule justified? Yes it is - all important conclusions of special relativity are DIRECT consequences of the light postulate, as can be seen from David Morin's textbook:
Introduction to Classical Mechanics With Problems and Solutions, David Morin, Cambridge University Press, Chapter 11.

The moral (for antirelativists) is that any attempt to dismiss Einstein's relativity which leaves aside the problem of the truth/falsehood of Einstein's 1905 constant-speed-of-light postulate is more or less irrational. If you admit, explicitly or implicitly, that the postulate may be true, Einsteinians will be very happy with the dismissal you are proposing.

Pentcho Valev

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