MINKOWSKI SPACE-TIME: A GLORIOUS NON-ENTITY
Harvey Brown and Oliver Pooley
"It is argued that Minkowski space-time cannot serve as the deep structure within a "constructive" version of the special theory of relativity, contrary to widespread opinion in the philosophical community. (...) What has been shown is that rods and clocks must behave in quite particular ways in order for the two postulates to be true together. But this hardly amounts to an explanation of such behaviour. Rather things go the other way around. It is because rods and clocks behave as they do, in a way that is consistent with the relativity principle, that light is measured to have the same speed in each inertial frame."
Do rods and clocks behave "as they do"? That is, can arbitrarily long objects be trapped inside arbitrarily short containers? Can a bug be squashed according to one observer and alive and kicking according to another? If not, can light "have the same speed in each inertial frame"?
"These are the props. You own a barn, 40m long, with automatic doors at either end, that can be opened and closed simultaneously by a switch. You also have a pole, 80m long, which of course won't fit in the barn. Now someone takes the pole and tries to run (at nearly the speed of light) through the barn with the pole horizontal. Special Relativity (SR) says that a moving object is contracted in the direction of motion: this is called the Lorentz Contraction. (...) ...the rod will be trapped IN A COMPRESSED STATE inside the barn."
Stéphane Durand: "Ainsi, une fusée de 100 m passant à toute vitesse dans un tunnel de 60 m pourrait être entièrement contenue dans ce tunnel pendant une fraction de seconde, durant laquelle il serait possible de fermer des portes aux deux bouts! La fusée est donc réellement plus courte. Pourtant, il n'y a PAS DE COMPRESSION matérielle ou physique de l'engin."
"The bug-rivet paradox is a variation on the twin paradox and is similar to the pole-barn paradox.....The end of the rivet hits the bottom of the hole before the head of the rivet hits the wall. So it looks like the bug is squashed.....All this is nonsense from the bug's point of view. The rivet head hits the wall when the rivet end is just 0.35 cm down in the hole! The rivet doesn't get close to the bug....The paradox is not resolved."
John Norton: "When Minkowski (1908) introduced the routine use of spacetime into physics, it seemed that this represented the victory of a particular view of time. Minkowski's spacetime represented all there was: past, present and future, and all at once. Did this finally vindicate an idea whose pedigree traces back to Parmenides in antiquity: time and change are mere illusions? (...) Might there be something special in the nature of the relativistic spacetime that supports the illusory character of change? An ingenious line of analysis suggests there might be."
The relativistic spacetime introduced by Minkowski is based on two postulates:
1. The principle of relativity.
2. The principle of constancy of the speed of light (the speed of light is independent of the speed of the light source).
So if there is "something special in the nature of the relativistic spacetime that supports the illusory character of change", this can only be the assumption that the speed of light is independent of the speed of the light source. Accordingly, those Einsteinians who reject the illusory nature of time implied in Minkowski's concept (the consequence) would also have to reject Einstein's 1905 constant-speed-of-light postulate (the assumption). That is, one would have to admit that Einstein should not have "resisted the temptation to account for the null result in terms of particles of light and simple, familiar Newtonian ideas":
"Relativity and Its Roots" By Banesh Hoffmann
"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."
Re: MINKOWSKI SPACE-TIME: A GLORIOUS NON-ENTITY
November 13 2011, 3:10 AM
Recently important Einsteinians left Einsteiniana's sinking ship and almost explicitly shifted allegiance to old Newtonian space-time:
"It is still not clear who is right, says John Norton, a philosopher based at the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Norton is hesitant to express it, but his instinct - and the consensus in physics - seems to be that space and time exist on their own. The trouble with this idea, though, is that it doesn't sit well with relativity, which describes space-time as a malleable fabric whose geometry can be changed by the gravity of stars, planets and matter."
"Many physicists argue that time is an illusion. Lee Smolin begs to differ. (...) Smolin wishes to hold on to the reality of time. But to do so, he must overcome a major hurdle: General and special relativity seem to imply the opposite."
Craig Callender in SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN: "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..."
However Einsteiniana is still alive and strikes back: No standard "justification" of Einstein's 1905 false light postulate anymore (the Michelson-Morley experiment has become too dangerous), just a pernicious conversion of the postulate's absurd consequences into breathtaking miracles:
Etienne Klein: "Mais ces deux interprétations, univers-bloc et présentisme, sont loin d'avoir clos le débat. Dans le premier cas, l'existence même du cours du temps est relativisée, ou bien, selon une manuvre idéaliste assez classique, transformée sans que l'on nous précise comment en un produit de notre conscience : ce serait seulement par et pour une conscience que se succéderaient les instants du monde. De surcroît, l'interprétation de l'univers-bloc ne semble pas aisément compatible avec l'indéterminisme de la physique quantique qui, d'une certaine façon, laisse l'avenir ouvert à plusieurs possibilités. Quant au présentisme, il s'accorde mal avec la théorie de la relativité restreinte qui ne retient pas l'idée d'un « maintenant » universel, et interdit même qu'on puisse l'envisager : ce qui nous est présent à un certain instant n'existe plus ou pas encore pour un observateur en déplacement par rapport à nous. Il devient impossible de définir un « instant présent » où se manifesteraient tous les phénomènes qui se produisent au même moment dans tout l'univers. Le mot « maintenant » se trouve donc dépourvu d'une signification dans l'absolu. Ces difficultés ont été fécondes. Un certain nombre de chercheurs ont tenté de dépasser ces deux conceptions en proposant un « espace-temps dynamique ». Le cours du temps serait quelque chose de réel, d'objectivement réel, et rendrait l'espace-temps évolutif. Il « pousserait », à l'image d'une plante, fabriquant en permanence du « maintenant », de sorte que le futur n'aurait plus de statut objectif. Le « maintenant » apparaîtrait localement, constituant le bord du temps, son extrémité actuelle. Dans cette conception, l'espace-temps n'est pas un déjà-là ; le futur n'existe pas déjà ; chaque nouvel instant présent prend pied sur le néant ; le cours du temps se construit progressivement, grâce à un moteur qui serait, par exemple, l'expansion de l'univers."
On surmonte les difficultés créées par la relativité restreinte, une théorie DEDUCTIVE basée sur deux postulats, sans mettre en cause la vérité des postulats? Même sans en parler? Mais c'est vraiment très fécond: il s'agit d'une fécondité irreversible. En d'autres termes, la science est « en train de mourir sous nos yeux »:
"Physicien au CEA, professeur et auteur, Etienne Klein s'inquiète des relations de plus en plus conflictuelles entre la science et la société. (...) « Je me demande si nous aurons encore des physiciens dans trente ou quarante ans », remarque ce touche-à-tout aux multiples centres d'intérêt : la constitution de la matière, le temps, les relations entre science et philosophie. (...) Etienne Klein n'est pas optimiste. Selon lui, il se pourrait bien que l'idée de progrès soit tout bonnement « en train de mourir sous nos yeux »."
Re: MINKOWSKI SPACE-TIME: A GLORIOUS NON-ENTITY
November 14 2011, 5:48 AM
Nature has perniciously deceived us but Brian Greene will liberate our souls:
"Brian Greene is going to let you in on a secret: We've all been deceived. Our perceptions of time and space have led us astray. Much of what we thought we knew about our universe - that the past has already happened and the future is yet to be, that space is just an empty void, that our universe is the only universe that exists - just might be wrong."
Nature has lied to us systematically. Many of Brian Greene's revelations are based on the absolutely true fact (established by Divine Albert) that the speed of the light wave (relative to the observer) does not vary with the speed of the observer (rather, it is the wavelength that varies), and wicked Nature has made everything to mislead us into believing that the speed of light does vary:
"vO is the velocity of an observer moving towards the source. This velocity is independent of the motion of the source. Hence, the velocity of waves relative to the observer is c + vO. (...) The motion of an observer does not alter the wavelength. The increase in frequency is a result of the observer encountering more wavelengths in a given time."
However John Norton, another liberator of our souls, unmasked Nature's deceitful nature:
John Norton: "Here's a light wave and an observer. If the observer were to hurry towards the source of the light, the observer would now pass wavecrests more frequently than the resting observer. That would mean that moving observer would find the frequency of the light to have increased (AND CORRESPONDINGLY FOR THE WAVELENGTH - THE DISTANCE BETWEEN CRESTS - TO HAVE DECREASED)."
Re: MINKOWSKI SPACE-TIME: A GLORIOUS NON-ENTITY
November 14 2011, 11:24 AM
Painful self-brainwashing in Einsteiniana:
Brian Greene: "Now, however, modern physics' notion of time is clearly at odds with the one most of us have internalized. Einstein greeted the failure of science to confirm the familiar experience of time with "painful but inevitable resignation." The developments since his era have only widened the disparity between common experience and scientific knowledge. Most physicists cope with this disparity by compartmentalizing: there's time as understood scientifically, and then there's time as experienced intuitively. For decades, I've struggled to bring my experience closer to my understanding. In my everyday routines, I delight in what I know is the individual's power, however imperceptible, to affect time's passage. In my mind's eye, I often conjure a kaleidoscopic image of time in which, with every step, I further fracture Newton's pristine and uniform conception. And in moments of loss I've taken comfort from the knowledge that all events exist eternally in the expanse of space and time, with the partition into past, present and future being a useful but subjective organization."
Orwell called the process of self-brainwashing "exercising oneself in crimestop":
George Orwell: "He set to work to exercise himself in crimestop. He presented himself with propositions - "the Party says the earth is flat", "the party says that ice is heavier than water" - and trained himself in not seeing or not understanding the arguments that contradicted them. It was not easy. It needed great powers of reasoning and improvisation. The arithmetical problems raised, for instance, by such a statement as "two and two make five" were beyond his intellectual grasp. It needed also a sort of athleticism of mind, an ability at one moment to make the most delicate use of logic and at the next to be unconscious of the crudest logical errors. Stupidity was as necessary as intelligence, and as difficult to attain."
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