Login Register

Thread Rating:
  • 0 Vote(s) - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
The place for those who don't believe even in Special Relativity
Many of those who think relativity is wrong about space and time reject relativity completely.  This subforum is the place where they can present their arguments.  

I think they are wrong.  But this does not mean that they do not have a reason to reject relativity as it is usually presented. And there is even a point where I agree with them:  I also think that the curved spactime interpretation of relativity is indeed wrong - even if there are some good arguments in favor of it, which have to be discussed.  

Where I disagree with them is in what follows, what should be done if one rejects the curved spactime of relativity.  I have nice alternatives to offer, namely, an ether interpretation of Special Relativity (SR) known as the Lorentz ether,  and its generalization to gravity, which gives an ether interpretation of the Einstein equations of General Relativity (GR).  These ether interpretations preserve all the classical ideas about space and time from classical, non-relativistic physics, except that our clocks and rulers are distorted by the ether, so that they cannot be used to measure absolute time or absolute distances.  The advantage of this in comparison with rejecting relativity completely is that all the experimental and observational support for relativity is not problematic at all: The equations of the ether interpretations are the same as of relativity, thus, all the predictions for experiments are the same as for relativity.  

And this advantage of the ether interpretations for relativity describes also the main problem of those who reject relativity completely: They will be confronted, by the defenders of relativity, with a large amount of very different experiments and observations which support the predictions of relativity.

This is a quite serious fight uphill, where the opponents of relativity have no real chance.  Why?  I will try to explain some straightforward strategies for defenders of relativity: 

First of all, relativity makes a lot of very accurate predictions.  An alternative which does not make similarly accurate predictions is not worth anything.  Thus, opponents of relativity will be asked to provide a theory, with equations and all this, which allows to make similar predictions as relativity about what we will observe.  A non-professional has no chance to do this.  (This method fails for the ether interpretations - they simply reuse the equations of relativity.)

But even if one succeeds:  Then the problem is where the relativistic theory and the alternative theory make different predictions.  This is something one has to find out.  If there are alternative equations, professional relativists will probably help here.  But don't expect this help to be purely altruistic:  Once such a difference is found, they will look for experiments which have looked for this.  And all the experiments which have tested relativistic predictions have supported the predictions of relativity (an oversimplification, which ignores dark matter and dark energy "observations", but for this forum sufficient).  So, if one finds a place where the predictions of relativity and the alternative theory are different, there are good chances that one has lost.  

But what if one does not have a theory, but wants to question the experimental support for relativity?  This is not really a good idea too. Because to question modern experiments, one has to be a professional physicist, moreover, one really working in this particular domain of experimental science.  Laymen may naively think otherwise.  They see that in all the popular descriptions of relativity, only some well-known tests are named, like the Michelson-Morley experiment as rejecting the ether.  Once it is mentioned everywhere as a decisive experiment, it seems, it would be sufficient to question this decisive experiment and the whole relativistic house of cards collapses?  Not at all.  

The point is that the Michelson-Morley experiment plays no role today.  What counts today, is the best, most accurate experiment.  The accuracy of experiments has increased essentially, modern experiments are many orders more accurate than Michelson-Morley. But, when, if this is so, why is Michelson-Morley mentioned at all?  Wouldn't it be better to mention, instead, the much more accurate experiments we have today? Scientist don't think so, what they honor, by mentioning Michelson-Morley, is their priority:  They have made the first experiment which has given, in a more or less accurate way, this result.   But, once it is the first one, it is one which is less accurate than modern ones, one where one can doubt, with only a little higher than average demands for accuracy, that it is decisive. 

Now, of course, some defenders of relativity may even defend Michelson-Morley as sufficiently accurate. But even if they would loose this battle, so what?  As if there would not exist a lot of other, much more accurate, experiments which could be used instead.  Experiments known only to a few specialists, because all they have reached is to increase the accuracy of previous experiments supporting relativity by some factor \(10^{-2}\) or so, but nonetheless supporting relativity. Which is boring even for scientists, so that those who participate in discussions here may not even know about them, if they have not looked at the most actual version of Will's overview The Confrontation between General Relativity and Experiment or similar papers.

To summarize, to argue against the experimental support for relativity would be really hard, with no chance if one is not a professional experimental physicist.  

But what about Einstein's logical errors?  This is another line of argumentation which one can find quite often in discussions about relativity - claims that there are some fundamental errors in relativity itself. Here I can say only that this is quite hopeless. What is plausible is that, given that some aspects of relativity are quite counter-intuitive, some attempts to understand it may fail. Some introductions into relativity may contain errors too.  But if there are contradictions, their origin is, most likely, an error of understanding relativity itself, or an error teaching it in an appropriate way.  

I hope this forum may help to correct such errors.  And the hidden variables of ether theories may be very helpful here. Already Bell has argued, in his paper "How to teach special relativity", that learning about the Lorentz ether gives much better intuitions about relativity. And there are good reasons for this:  All the conceptual strangeness of relativity does not exist in the Lorentz ether.  That clocks and rulers are distorted, and, therefore, cannot be used to measure distances and time accurately is not nice, but in no way counter-intuitive or contradictory.

Whatever, this forum is the one where the danger of personal flame wars is the greatest one, therefore a premonition:  Any personal attacks will be removed.  The standards of politeness are, even in this subforum, those of scientific discussion, thus, higher than in everyday life, and certainly much higher than usual in the net.
The last paragraph is the way it should be.
I seems to me many forums just provide an opportunity for some to attack others.
While answering questions about relativity is not a major aim of the forum, it is ok to ask such questions. In this case, this will be the appropriate place.

Forum Jump:

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)