“String theory makes no predictions, not even wrong ones. Actually in this regard I was being rather kind, string theory does make one prediction, the absurdly wrong one about the cosmological constant. OK, I take it back, string theory IS wrong. Jacques Distler wrote: ‘I found Woit’s paper hilariously funny. But, as any joke is diminished an attempt at explication, I will refrain from trying to explain why it was so funny. Paul Shockley makes some relevant comments elsewhere in this thread. You can probably figure it out from there.’ This is an infinitely more clever insult than those of the others, it clearly shows why Distler is a tenured faculty member and the others are students. Part of its cleverness is the way it avoids in any way dealing with the specifics of my article. If any string theorists are interested in seriously discussing any of the issues raised in my article, I’ll be glad to respond, here or anywhere else. The response so far indicates to me that ‘string theory’ is even more intellectually bankrupt than I thought.”
– Dr Peter Woit’s first documentation of string theory fanaticism, 1 March 2001.
“… it has a large number of possible solutions … It is very difficult to challenge this theory.”
– The latest “defense” of string theory by the Czech Institute of Physics string theory researcher Martin Shnabl, who is the author of the Afterword to the new Czech language translation of Dr Peter Woit’s brilliant book Not Even Wrong: The Failure of String Theory and the Continuing Challenge to Unify the Laws of Physics.
It’s the fact that string theory is hard to challenge experimentally that makes it a good hiding place for researchers who don’t want to risk ever being debunked by experiments, at least for the core unification belief system in string theory. (Obviously some of the individual solutions in the landscape can be experimentally debunked, but that’s not really any help because of the size of the landscape.) There is only one way to challenge string theory: to come up with an alternative theory which actually is not just compatible with a large landscape, but has a much smaller landscape which is more susceptible to experimental testing.
On this issue we hear the repeated claim from the most fanatical string proponents to the effect that string theory is the only game in town, there are no alternatives, etc. They don’t want any funding for alternatives, because they don’t want alternatives to challenge string theory. They see quite clearly a benefit to turning physics into an uncheckable religious belief system, which is worse than Plato’s geometric atoms, Kelvin’s vortex atoms, and so on. Those theories were debunked by experiments. You have to admire Planck scale Calabi-Yau manifold 6/7-d compactification in string theory as an ingenious idea which for once and for all puts physics beyond testing. It’s brilliant pseudophysics.
“I like the argument for string theory that ‘it’s in agreement with all experiments so far.’ There are lots of competitors though which can say the same thing, for instance my unified theory which is much simpler.”
– Dr Peter Woit, Not Even Wrong.
“[Not rejecting superstring theory for the reason it is made experimentally non-falsifiable by its uncheckable 10500 different metastable vacuum models, each a unique stabilized Planck scale compactification of 6/7 extra dimensions by a Calabi-Yau manifold] is exactly the same as not throwing out quantum field theory (QFT) because not all QFTs are experimentally relevant.”
– Anonymous comment on Dr Peter Woit’s Not Even Wrong blog, falsely claiming that string theory and quantum field theory are analogous, because each has a landscape of different versions from which people should search out those that fit our universe.
But there’s only one theory of quantum fields: fields are composed of quanta (not continuous lines or other classical continuums). There are slightly different mathematical models or approaches in the one QFT that fields are composed of quanta, but you empirically build up a mathematical model that makes falsifiable predictions which are confirmed by experiment. (The guy was confusing mathematical models with the physical nature of quantum field theory.) By contrast, 10 dimensional superstring as the brane on 11 dimensional supergravity is different because even in principle you can never see the exact details of shape and size for the 6/7 compactified extra spatial dimensions the theory necessitates (not to make predictions, but to avoid disagreeing with observed spacetime!), so you can’t even in principle ever empirically pick out any theory from the 10500 vacuum ground states in the string landscape. Instead of reducing the number of empirical parameters in the standard model, even the most constrained, minimally supersymmetric string theory increases the number of parameters from 18 to 125 without predicting any of them.
It’s interesting that many people refuse to see a distinction between mathematics and physical phenomena in particle physics, when they sure don’t confuse a mathematical equation for an accelerating car with the car itself. It’s a religious-like belief – unproved by any experiment – that there is a mathematical reality underpining the universe. Seeing the failure of mathematical models to make any deterministic predictions would lead someone rational to draw a distinction, instead of holding on to Heisenberg’s 1st quantization wavefunction collapse dogma as “evidence” of parallel universes or other anti-Occam Razor extravagances. What these guys do when they see no deterministic solutions to mathematical equations is train themselves not to see the mathematical model as inadequate to model nature, but to reverse this like a multistable gesalt, assuming that the way the universe works is non-deterministic, perfectly fitting the inadequate mathematical model. This is nothing new in mathematical modelling: it’s precisely what epicycles did in the Earth-centred universe of Ptolemy, 150 A.D. Every time the flawed mathematical model is discredited by observations, the self-deceived Ptolemy lept in the air and shouted “Eureka! Eureka! I’ve discovered proof of the need for yet another epicycle!” They believed in a mathematical universe, and this goes right back to Plato’s theory of atoms as regular geometric solids. When that guesswork theory failed, the pseudoscience of a mathematical universe survived. This was repeated throughout the history of physics, which is why modern physics textbooks omit most of the history of mathematical physics! It’s mostly failure. But the deception always survives, and usually converts physics into metaphysics. Objective studies of the role of mathematics in describing the universe show a series of failures. Here is a widely-held self-deception in today’s theoretical physics:
Carlos Barceló and Gil Jannes, ‘A Real Lorentz-FitzGerald Contraction’, published in the peer-reviewed journal Foundations of Physics, Volume 38, Number 2, February 2008, pp. 191-199, http://arxiv.org/PS_cache/arxiv/pdf/0705/0705.4652v2.pdf:
“Many condensed matter systems are such that their collective excitations at low energies can be described by fields satisfying equations of motion formally indistinguishable from those of relativistic field theory. The finite speed of propagation of the disturbances in the effective fields (in the simplest models, the speed of sound) plays here the role of the speed of light in fundamental physics. However, these apparently relativistic fields are immersed in an external Newtonian world (the condensed matter system itself and the laboratory can be considered Newtonian, since all the velocities involved are much smaller than the velocity of light) which provides a privileged coordinate system and therefore seems to destroy the possibility of having a perfectly defined relativistic emergent world. In this essay we ask ourselves the following question: In a homogeneous condensed matter medium, is there a way for internal observers, dealing exclusively with the low-energy collective phenomena, to detect their state of uniform motion with respect to the medium? By proposing a thought experiment based on the construction of a Michelson-Morley interferometer made of quasi-particles, we show that a real Lorentz-FitzGerald contraction takes place, so that internal observers are unable to find out anything about their ‘absolute’ state of motion. Therefore, we also show that an effective but perfectly defined relativistic world can emerge in a fishbowl world situated inside a Newtonian (laboratory) system. This leads us to reflect on the various levels of description in physics …”
Prediction of gravitational time-dilation
When light travels through a block of glass it slows down because the electromagnetic field of the light interacts with the electromagnetic fields in the glass. This is why light is refracted by glass. Light couples to gravitational fields as well as electromagnetic. The gravitational time dilation from the Einstein field equation is proved in an earlier blog post to be simply the same effect. The gravitons are exchanged between gravitational charges (mass/energy). Therefore, the concentration of gravitons per cubic metre is higher near mass/energy than far away. When a photon enters a stronger gravitational field, it interacts at a faster rate with that field, and is consequently slowed down. This is the mechanism for gravitational time dilation. It applies to electrons and nuclei, indeed anything with mass that is moving, just as it applies to light in a glass block. If you run through a clear path, you go faster than if you try to run through a dense crowd of people. There’s no advanced subtle mathematical “magic” at work. It’s not rocket science. It’s very simple and easy to understand physically. You can’t define time without motion, and motion gets slowed down by dense fields just like someone trying to move through a crowd.
Length contraction with velocity and mass increase by the reciprocal of the same factor are simply physical effects as FitzGerald and Lorentz explained. A moving ship has more inertial mass than its own mass, because of the flow of water set up around it (like “Aristotle’s arrow”, fluid moving out at the bows, flows around the sides and pushes in at the stern). As explained in previous posts, the “ideal fluid” aproximation for the effect of velocity on the drag coefficient of an aircraft in the 1920s was predicted theoretically to be the factor (1 – v2/c2)-1/2, where c is the velocity of sound: this is the “sound barrier” theory. It breaks down because although the shock wave formation at sound velocity carries energy off rapidly in the sonic boom, it isn’t 100% efficient at stopping objects from going faster. The effect is that you get an effective increase in inertial mass from the layer of compressed, dense air in the shock wave region at the front of the aircraft, and the nose-on force has a slight compressive effect on the aircraft (implying length contraction). Therefore, from an idealized understanding of the basic physics of moving through a fluid, you can grasp how quantum field theory causes “relativity effects”!
“The special theory of relativity … does not extend to non-uniform motion … The laws of physics must be of such a nature that they apply to systems of reference in any kind of motion. Along this road we arrive at an extension of the postulate of relativity… The general laws of nature are to be expressed by equations which hold good for all systems of co-ordinates, that is, are co-variant with respect to any substitutions whatever (generally co-variant).” (Emphasis by Einstein.)
– Albert Einstein, “The Foundation of the General Theory of Relativity”, Annalen der Physik, v49, 1916 (emphasis by Einstein).
Notice that Einstein’s general relativity of 1916:
(1) states that special relativity does not apply to non-uniform (accelerating) motion,
(2) states the obvious fact that the laws of nature must apply to systems in all states of motion, and
(3) claims this general covariance of the laws is an “extension” to the principle of special relativity (“Along this road we arrive at an extension of the postulate of relativity”)!
Actually, as Figure 1 below demonstrates, “general relativity” is not an extension of the postulate of relativity, because energy (included in the stress-energy tensor for the source of the gravitational field in Einstein’s field equation) causes curvature, and energy isn’t invariant of the reference frame, but is instead absolutely dependent upon the reference frame selected:
Fig. 1a: proof of absolute motion in general relativity consists of (a) demonstrating that energy is generally dependent on the frame of reference (centre of mass or whatever), rather than being invariant of the frame of reference, and (b) pointing out that the stress-energy tensor producing the spacetime curvature is therefore dependent on something absolute rather than invariant (energy). Is this clear? Einstein knew this but obfuscated because he couldn’t face the negative publicity of admitting in 1916 that special relativity was just an epicycles-type mistake:
‘The special theory of relativity … does not extend to non-uniform motion … The laws of physics must be of such a nature that they apply to systems of reference in any kind of motion. Along this road we arrive at an extension of the postulate of relativity… The general laws of nature are to be expressed by equations which hold good for all systems of co-ordinates, that is, are co-variant with respect to any substitutions whatever (generally co-variant). … We call four quantities Av the components of a covariant four-vector, if for any arbitrary choice of the contravariant four-vector Bv, the sum over v, å Av Bv = Invariant. The law of transformation of a covariant four-vector follows from this definition.’ – Albert Einstein, ‘The Foundation of the General Theory of Relativity’, Annalen der Physik, v49, 1916.
The lie of Einstein here is calling general covariance an “extension of the postulate of relativity”, which is an obfuscation made up to protect the physical inadequacies of relativity (absolute motion in general relativity is hardly a mere extension to relativity!). What he is did in general relativity was not to “extend” the defective principle of relativity of motion, but to replace it with general covariance of the laws of nature (laws of nature are not the same thing as motion!).
Fig. 1b: proof that special relativity is not in agreement with general relativity even in the case of uniform motion. Hence Einstein was deluded when he claimed that general relativity is an extension to special relativity which is needed only needed for accelerations like gravity. The error is that special relativity says inertial mass increases with velocity, hence by the equivalence of inertial and gravitational mass used in general relativity, the higher the velocity, the greater the gravitational mass, which contracts the mass in all directions (whereas the Lorentz transformation in special relativity just contracts the mass in the direction of its motion). Credit: Bill K. (I wouldn’t have thought of this without his suggestion to simply show one mass. The point is, special relativity is not valid even for uniform motions. Therefore, we need general relativity which is an absolute motion theory, because all the mass-energy in the universe creates gravitational fields, which affect motion!)
Fig. 2: G. Builder in 1958 published a peer-reviewed suggestion for an experimental refutation of special relativity’s principle: “Ether and Relativity”, Australian Journal of Physics, vol. 11 (1958), pp. 279-97. Builder’s experiment was done in 1971 by flying atomic clocks around the world. The clock that is moved most slows down most, determining absolute motion. (For a painfully detailed early history of controversy on this subject, due to confused dim wits making the subject a real mess before experiments were done, see the link here.) This 1971 experimental evidence, citing 1958 Builder’s “Ether and Relativity” paper (without making a fanfare out of confirming Builder’s debunking of the principle of special relativity, however) was published by J. C. Hafele in Science, vol. 177, pp. 166-8. Then in 1978, R. A. Muller used U2 spy aircraft with microwave sensors to discover the great +/- 3 mK cosine variation in the 2.73 K cosmic background radiation temperature which is a variation in temperature with direction in the sky, signifying an effective absolute reference frame to debunk relativity hype: he published it under the title “The cosmic background radiation and the new aether drift” in the Scientific American (vol. 238, May 1978, pp. 64-74):
Fig. 3: R. A. Muller’s article, “The cosmic background radiation and the new aether drift”, was published in the Scientific American (vol. 238, May 1978, pp. 64-74). Abstract:
“U-2 observations have revealed anisotropy in the 3 K blackbody radiation which bathes the universe. The radiation is a few millidegrees hotter in the direction of Leo, and cooler in the direction of Aquarius. The spread around the mean describes a cosine curve. Such observations have far reaching implications for both the history of the early universe and in predictions of its future development. Based on the measurements of anisotropy, the entire Milky Way is calculated to move through the intergalactic medium at approximately 600 km/s. It is noted that in a frame of reference moving with the original plasma emitted by the big bang, the blackbody radiation would have a temperature of 4500 K. Furthermore, if the universe were homogeneous and isotropic before the moment of decoupling, we would observe a homogeneous universe today. This is not the case. Indeed, the cosmos is filled with irregularities, from galactic clusters to moons and planets. Thus, the background radiation should also exhibit irregularities, which, to some extent, it does.”
Now, science journalists won’t shout from the rooftops the truthful discoveries. They’ll shout what their editors will publish, which is determined by the human biases, groupthink, fashions, prejudices, and misunderstandings of the readers. This is why the facts above are ignored, “explained away” with obfuscation to save the popular image of the 1905 Einstein “genius”, to pander to the “expert opinions” of Einstein’s bigoted biographers, and so on. In addition, there is an extremely high noise level from relativity critics who don’t really understand what is going on, beyond the fact that Einstein didn’t really improve on the physics in Lorentz’s and Poincare’s theory by removing the mechanism for the transformation, yet Einstein’s version is still hyped by popular science journalism which carefully ignores all of the experimentally established facts on the subject (above). These people are annoyed that science is promoted on the one hand as being diligently critical of hypotheses, while relativity is defended by the worst consensus-enforced kind of political censorship by the media. Is it a thought-police-enforced religion, or science?
For example, religious-$1,000,000 Templeton Prize winner and popular theoretical physics author Professor Paul Davies (this religion and science combination invoke memories of the “hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil” scene from the 1968 Planet of the Apes film) wrote a book called About Time where he wrongly states that Hafele’s experimental data on time dilation from flying atomic clocks around the world in 1971 somehow defend the religious worship of Einstein’s “special” relativism, when in fact as we saw above, Hafele uses and cites Builder’s 1958 Australian Journal of Physics absolute motion “Ether and Relativity” analysis of the twins paradox (Davies with either apparent dishonestly or incompetence makes no admission in About Time of the fact that Hafele’s data disprove special relativity and prove absolute motion; he ignores Hafele’s dependence on Builder)! After I cited Muller’s evidence that the cosmic background radiation constitutes an effective absolute reference frame for our universe in an article, my editor received various abusive and ignorant non-scientific letters from string theory students at Nottingham University (sorted with a helpful device called a bin), but another writer wrote an article the editor accepted and published, containing false claims about the reliability of Muller’s data on the anisotropy in the cosmic background radiation, to defend relativity! Davies won’t receive $1,000,000 religion prizes for promoting religious-scientific groupthink prejudice if he tells the truthful facts. Prizes like that are given for telling people what they want to hear, plain old lies.
Leslie Green wrote: “There was an experiment, reported in 1977, of an anisotropy in the cosmic microwave background radiation, measured by flying a U2 plane around in the upper atmosphere. The anisotropy meant the radiation was not the same in all directions. Anisotropy of the 4 K cosmic background radiation suggests what might pictorially be described as ‘aether drift’. But when you then read that the amount of anisotropy amounted to less than 0.004 K you have to wonder if the experimental conditions were sufficiently perfect for this to be a genuine result. One thing is for sure: very few scientists would have the interest to repeat this experiment, and even fewer would have the budget!” (L. Green, “Engineering versus Pseudo-science”, Electronics World, August 2004, p. 52.)
The problem here is that Green falsely claims that the +/-3 mK anisotropy data is unreliable because it is a small quantity, so relativity survives. In fact, many things measured accurately in science are small numbers, and that doesn’t imply unreliability. First, Muller’s data includes error bars, and the effect is much bigger than the errors in the measurements. Secondly, and far more important, the U2 aircraft paper from 1977 was not the end of the research data. That paper is important for its nascent interpretation and original results, but since then the cosmic background radiation anisotropies have been even more accurately determined by satellites put into space, COBE and WMAP. It’s ridiculous to ignore these data! In fact, the satellite data show even smaller anisotropies in the cosmic background radiation, allowing checks on the gravitational clumping at early stages of the big bang. My research on quantum gravity predicted that all fundamental forces were smaller in the same ratio at early times in the big bang; this reduces the gravitational clumping of matter at early times to the small ripples seen in the 300,000 years age-origin cosmic background, without affecting “Teller’s problem” that fusion rates are varied by gravity varying in the big bang or in stars. Reduced gravitational force doesn’t reduce fusion rates in the sun or the big bang, simply because the other fundamental couplings vary the same way: the electromagnetic force which resists fusion (by repelling protons and other nuclei) is weaker, so this makes fusion (the joining of nuclei by the strong force) easier, offsetting the effect of weakened gravitational compression! This falsifiably predictive quantum gravity thus gets rid of the need for Guth’s “inflation” epicycle and all the metaphysical baggage that accompanies it. (Or it would, if physics were a science, not religious public relations!)
One of my main criticisms of Einstein is precisely the point that he is hyped for one thing in the popular media (pseudorelativity, which assumes wrongly and contrary to QFT that the Lorentz-FitzGerald contraction somehow isn’t physically real), but he is then defended on a personal level for other work!
1. For his brilliant re-derivation of Planck’s 1901 radiation law in 1917 (which I discussed in earlier posts), where Einstein shows you get the same formula from partitioning oscillator emission into spontaneous and stimulated radiation emitters (thus paving the way for the laser theory behind CD’s, DVD’s, laser surgery, etc.).
2. For the Bose-Einstein condensate. Bose, an Indian physicist whose paper had been rejected, sent his paper to Einstein, who translated it into German and had it published, plus extended the theory himself. This is important for low temperature physics: basically it’s just the mathematics of how spin-1/2 fermions at low temperatures can pair up into a spin-1 condensate that behaves like radiation, not ordinary matter, e.g. Cooper pairs of electron which cause superconductivity and similar phenomena in superfluidity.
3. For Einstein’s 1905 paper on Avogadro’s number, calculated from Einstein’s formula for the “random walk” diffusion of pollen grains under a microscope, being struck by air molecules at known temperature and pressure.
4. For the correct deflection of light via the
physically correct and essential contraction term in the field equation of classical (approximate) “general relativity”, speculative gravity waves, objecting to the Bohr’s badly presented 1st quantization politics, etc.
The problem is that citing all this other work of Einstein that is right, is a diversion of attention from the charge against SR, and doesn’t prove SR right. It’s irrelevant to whether Einstein was a liar. Here in England we have politicians going to prison right now for lying about their expenses, despite the fact they in the past championed some good causes!!! Thuus, it doesn’t matter how good a few of Einstein’s scientific paper were. That’s all totally irrelevant to the question of whether Einstein repeatedly lied about SR! (You know it’s irrelevant, and I know it’s irrelevant. We therefore agree!)
Einstein’s deliberate lie in calling his 1916 switch (from relativity of motion in “restricted relativity” to covariance of the laws of motion in “general relativity”) an “extension of the principle of relativity” is akin to the popular lie of calling quantum field theory (2nd quantization) just an extension of quantum mechanics (1st quantization). Einstein might as well have called the solar system of Copernicus just an “extension of application of the epicycles” of Ptolemy’s earth-centred universe, since both Copernicus and Ptolemy used epicycles. The lie Einstein made was a political spin or hype lie, the kind of thing politicians say to cover up errors when forced to make a U-turn in policy. It’s not right to contaminate science with political public relations spin. Mathematically, everything can be viewed however you like (in mathematics you are free to ignore physical concepts altogether and just study how equations are extended or generalized), but in nature there are deeper differences between reality and varying mathematical models. These differences are due to physics, which is a subject much out of fashion in what is now called physics (better named pseudophysics). It is not an “extension” to the principle of relativity to introduce absolute motion, i.e. accelerations! Basically, the kind of string theorist you find defending Einstein’s confused (deliberately obfuscating) Orwellian “double-think” on relativity is the kind of physics hater who wouldn’t fit into a math department for being too incompetent. The kind of guy who confuses everything:
‘… the law of the constancy of the velocity of light. But … the general theory of relativity cannot retain this law. On the contrary, we arrived at the result according to this latter theory, the velocity of light must always depend on the coordinates when a gravitational field is present.’ – Albert Einstein, Relativity, The Special and General Theory, Henry Holt and Co., 1920, p111.
‘… the principle of the constancy of the velocity of light in vacuo must be modified, since we easily recognise that the path of a ray of light … must in general be curvilinear…’ – Albert Einstein, The Principle of Relativity, Dover, 1923, p114.
‘According to the general theory of relativity space without ether is unthinkable.’ – Albert Einstein, Sidelights on Relativity, Dover, New York, 1952, p23.
‘The Michelson-Morley experiment has thus failed to detect our motion through the aether, because the effect looked for – the delay of one of the light waves – is exactly compensated by an automatic contraction of the matter forming the apparatus…. The great stumbing-block for a philosophy which denies absolute space is the experimental detection of absolute rotation.’ – Professor A.S. Eddington (who confirmed Einstein’s general theory of relativity in 1919), Space Time and Gravitation: An Outline of the General Relativity Theory, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1921, pp. 20, 152.
In quantum field theory, the field surrounding a charge is composed of quanta, rather than the classical model of “field lines”, “tubes of flux”, “curved spacetime”, etc. Just quanta. Dirac introduced quantum field theory to replace the non-relativistic Hamiltonian energy equation in Schroedinger’s wave equation with a relativistic formula. This process changes the whole physical basis of quantum mechanics from Schroedinger’s and Heisenberg’s 1st quantization (the use of a classical field, with indeterminism assumed to be an intrinsic property of real particles when an observer disturbs them by taking a measurement), to Dirac and Feynman’s 2nd quantization (the use of a quantum field, which as Feynman says in his 1985 book QED makes the requirement for intrinsic indeterminism of real particles unnecessary, because you the real particle is affected in a random way by the interactions of field quanta that convey the force field).
The interesting thing about energy is that it is not invariant of the reference frame! Take two 1 kg apples and move each at 1 m/s towards one another so that they each have kinetic energy E = mv2/2 = 1 Joule. The impact releases an energy of 1 + 1 = 2 Joules. But if you keep one apple stationary and move the other at 2 m/s towards it, the total impact energy is now 22 + 0 = 4 Joules, not 2 Joules. Energy is not relative. It is not invariant of the reference frame. On the contrary, it is critically dependent on the reference frame, as we see in this example. How can that be so, physically? What is the physical difference between having two 1 kg apples impacting at a total speed of 2 m/s, when you get 2 Joules released if you are the the “centre of mass” reference frame, but 4 Joules released if you are in the reference frame of one of the apples?
Wikipedia puts the paradox far more weakly (with obfuscating weakness, in fact) as follows: “According to Noether’s theorem, the conservation of energy is a consequence of the fact that the laws of physics do not change over time. Although the total energy of a system does not change with time, its value may depend on the frame of reference. For example, a seated passenger in a moving airplane has zero kinetic energy relative to the airplane, but non-zero kinetic energy (and higher total energy) relative to the Earth.”
But the key example is the one I gave. Two equal masses hitting at a fixed total speed release an amount of energy that varies by a factor of two, depending on whether the reference frame is the centre of mass, or either of the moving masses. This clearly indicates that energy depends on absolute motion, not relative motion. Energy is conserved only with in a given reference frame. It is not invariant because it varies as you switch between reference frames.
The reason for the variance is simply the fact that kinetic energy is proportional to the square of velocity. If energy was directly proportional to velocity, then energy would be invariant. But it isn’t. Special relativity is often simplistically presented as if it disproves the “preferred reference frames” or “proves that all inertial reference frames are equivalent and indistinguishable”. Well, that isn’t true in general because the amount of energy in a system is not invariant of the reference frame: it depends on the reference frame and varies if you change reference frames! The velocity of light appears similar in all reference frames, but as FitzGerald originally argued in 1889, in the light of the experimental confirmation of the Casimir quantum field force, that invariance of the velocity of light is just because of the physical contraction of the Michelson-Morley measuring instrument in its direction of motion by the pressure of interactions with the quantum field when a real particle moves in a physical vacuum containing quantum fields (see the previous post). Einstein never “debunked” the fact that energy is not invariant. He could not make energy invariant of the reference frame. Change the reference frame, and the amount of energy varies. Energy remains variant, not invariant, even in non-accelerating inertial reference frames.
Surprisingly, nobody uses the fact that energy has an absolute dependence on the reference frame as a compelling argument against the “all inertial reference frames are equal”-lying hype made by proponents of special relativity. It’s obviously only a tool to debunk the simplistic hype of special relativity. It doesn’t debunk the mathematics of special relativity. Special relativity remains applicable in the “restricted sense” of describing the observables it is formulated to describe (variations of length, mass, and time with velocity).
In general relativity, the acceleration-producing field of the vacuum (curved spacetime in classical physics) is described by the stress-energy tensor which is dependent on the reference frame (the coordinate system) used. Because energy is a source of acceleration in general relativity, accelerating motion is absolutely dependent on the reference frame in general relativity. Accelerating motion (curved spacetime) requires energy, and energy is not invariant. Consequence: acceleration is not invariant of the reference frame! It is dependent on the reference frame, because it is produced by energy, which depends on the reference frame!
Motion in general includes accelerations, so motion is generally not invariant. Motion is absolute (because energy is absolutely dependent on the reference frame, and energy produces motion). Einstein knew this in his development of general relativity, but he generally obfuscated and didn’t go out of his way to stress the fact that special relativity is physically incompatible with general relativity: he emphasized the fact that they are mathematically compatible if special relativity is treated as a “restricted” case where accelerations are banned. Kind of dishonest, really, but much easier than trying to build a physical model of absolute motion in general relativity, using a classical spacetime continuum!
‘Physical knowledge has advanced much since 1905, notably by the arrival of quantum mechanics, and the situation has again changed. If one examines the question in the light of present-day knowledge, one finds that the aether is no longer ruled out by relativity, and good reasons can now be advanced for postulating an aether. . . . Thus, with the new theory of electrodynamics [vacuum filled with virtual particles] we are rather forced to have an aether.’
– Paul A. M. Dirac, ‘Is There an Aether?,’ Nature, v168, 1951, pp. 906-7. (If you have a kid playing with magnets, how do you explain the pull and push forces felt through space? As ‘magic’?) Nobody lesser than Dirac can publish this kind of paper now without coming under ignorant and censorship plus probably personal attack from the Distler’s of arXiv and related fashionable physics groupthink Gestapo. This is the crime of relativism: it’s causing stagnation. See also Dirac’s paper in Proc. Roy. Soc. v.A209, 1951, p.291.
Quantum mechanics (1st quantization, i.e. Schroedinger/Heisenberg) is non-relativistic. It contains no relativity and it is incompatible with relativity because, for instance, the Hamiltonian describing the energy in Schroedinger’s equation treats space and time differently. Special relativity is completely incompatible with all of quantum theory, and in particular the so-called “relativistic” quantum field theory (2nd quantization, i.e. Dirac/Feynman) is only compatible with the ether-compatible Lorentz transformation in certain ways like mass increase and time-dilation: it violates the principle of special relativity because the virtual particles around a charge are affected by the motion of the charge, so the radius corresponding to a given renormalization cutoff field energy around a moving particle cannot undergo Lorentz contraction! If you contract the UV cutoff radius due to length contraction when moving a charge, renormalization is affected violating empirical observations. Therefore, we know from physical observations that quantum field theory disproves the principle of special relativity: the length contraction is not a universal contraction of spacetime fields, but merely applies to the physical contraction of real particles! This makes it what Dirac rightly called an “aether” type contraction. Notice that Dirac’s papers on the “aether” of quantum field theory (quoted above) were ignored by mainstream physics. Professor Lee Smolin deliberately obfuscated this failure of special relativity in quantum field theory by choosing to call an ad hoc correction to special relativity “doubly special relativity”. The word “special” is just a euphemism for “wrong”:
‘It has been supposed that empty space has no physical properties but only geometrical properties. No such empty space without physical properties has ever been observed, and the assumption that it can exist is without justification. It is convenient to ignore the physical properties of space when discussing its geometrical properties, but this ought not to have resulted in the belief in the possibility of the existence of empty space having only geometrical properties… It has specific inductive capacity and magnetic permeability.’ – Professor H.A. Wilson, FRS, Modern Physics, Blackie & Son Ltd, London, 4th ed., 1959, p. 361.
1. Energy depends absolutely on the reference frame (energy is not invariant).
2. Energy produces spacetime curvature and thus accelerations in general relativity.
3. From 1 and 2 above: accelerative motion depends on energy and this is absolutely dependent on the reference frame (motion is generally not invariant, contradicting the widely perceived and hyped interpretation of “special relativity”).
Update: 22 December 2010
Dr Woit blogs at Not Even Wrong: “Mike Duff seems to now be deep in Lubosian territory, publishing a letter to New Scientist that accuses those who don’t accept the supposed “academic consensus of superstrings and M-theory” as being just like the crackpots and anti-Semites who refused to accept Einstein’s relativity back in the 20s. According to Duff, the explanation for criticism of string/M-theory is that: ‘when people don’t like what science tells them, they resort to conspiracy theories, mud-slinging and plausible pseudoscience’.” Ah, string theorists starting to write letters to the New Scientist to tar critics with the racist brush. If you don’t believe that the universe is a 10 dimensional superstring brane residing on 11 dimensional supergravity, with 6/7 dimensions compactified at the unobservable Planck scale by a Calabi-Yau manifold held together by Rube-Goldberg machines which give rise to a “cosmic landscape” of 10500 parallel universes (all with different experimentally uncheckable sets of values for the 125 or more parameters of even minimal supersymmetry theory), then you must be a racist, a conspiracy theorist, or a crackpot. Ummm, very convincing experimental evidence. Not.
Incompetent research as well as dishonesty by the so-called “Subtle Lord”, the ignorant egotist Einstein
It is interesting to consider Einstein actually knew about Poincaré’s 3-postulate relativity theory of 1904, and his reaction to reading Poincaré’s theory, from Abraham Pais’s 1982 biased biography of Einstein, “Subtle is the Lord”. For Richard P. Feynman’s reaction to his friend Abraham Pais’s fanaticism against Einstein’s critics, see his official biographer, Jagdish Mehra’s book, “The Beat of a Different Drum: the Science and the Life of Richard Feynman”. Mehra writes that Feynman asked him the paranoid were so “up in arms” defending relativity hype against critics.
Pais was a very close friend of Einstein in his last days in 1953-1955, relaying to Einstein news of Sir Edmund Whittaker’s attack on Einstein (Whitttaker’s 2nd volume of the “Theories of Aether and Electricity”, published in 1953, was the strongest scientifically-based, well-researched attack on Einstein’s ignorance of relativity in Einstein’s lifetime; see chapter 2: “The relativity theories of Poincaré and Lorentz”). Pais records Einstein’s reaction to Whittaker as pure arrogance. Pais tried to defend “special relativity” against Poincare by saying 2 postulates are better than 3 (Occam’s Razor); he conveniently omits the problem that Occam’s Razor doesn’t really apply because Einstein’s 2 postulates contain errors and omit a physical mechanism. In particular, see Pais’s section on lending Einstein the actual 1904 relativity paper by Poincare.
Poincare’s 1904 relativity paper is book-length, far more detailed than Einstein’s 1905 paper, and unlike Einstein, Poincare’s 1904 paper attempts to deal with other matters beyond electrodynamics, such as gravitation. Pais had an original, bought in Paris for a considerable sum. He showed it to Einstein over 50 years after Poincare had published. It was the first time Einstein had ever seen it. Pais makes no mention of this amazing fact about Einstein’s ignorance, arrogance, apathy, contempt for his contemporaries for 50 years, and bad scientific technique in not doing adequate research to find out what has already been done. If I became famous for special relativity, I wouldn’t wait until 50 years later to read the leading alternative rival theory paper. We’re dealing with the world’s most arrogant, paranoid, ignorant egotist after the notorious 20th century dictators. Moreover, the whole point of Whittaker’s attack on Einstein was Einstein’s contempt for even reading other published peer-reviewed work on the subject of relativity. In other words, Pais’s recorded reactions of Einstein on showing Einstein Poincare’s 1904 paper fifty years later is a disproof of Pais’s own account of Einstein’s grand dismissal of Whittaker as an ignorant critic. Whittaker had read all the relativity paper, so he wasn’t ignorant, unlike Einstein who either refused or lacked the interest in the subject to even read the works of others for fifty years.
Einstein just before his death from heart failure asked Pais to borrow Pais’s own treasured and valuable 1904 Poincare paper, so he could at last read it. Pais records further interesting facts that arose from this episode. First, Einstein’s immediate reaction to reading Poincare’s paper was to ask Max Born (author the book “Einstein’s Theory of Relativity”) to give a lecture acknowledging on Einstein’s behalf the work of Poincare!
Max Born did just what Einstein told him to at the 1955 International Relativity Conference in Bern. Pais blew his top on reading what Born said, and the mushroom cloud of his explosion is visible between the lines of his biography of Einstein. Born, remember, was the first person to correctly interpret the wavefunction in quantum mechanics (the probability density of a particle is proportional to the square of the wavefunction). Born had already written the book “Einstein’s Theory of Relativity”. He was not ignorant of relativity. Born said at the 1955 conference:
“I have now to say some words about the work of these predecessors of Einstein, mainly of Lorentz and Poincare. … H. A. Lorentzs important papers of 1892 and 1895 on the electrodynamics of moving bodies contain much of the formalism of relativity. … Poincare’s papers … show that as early as 1899 he regarded it as very probable that absolute motion is indetectable in principle and that no ether exists. He formulated the same ideas in a more precise form, though without any mathematics, in a lecture given in 1904 to a Congress of Arts and Science at St. Louis, U.S.A., and he predicted the rise of a new mechanics which will be characterized above all by the rule, that no velocity can exceed the velocity of light. … The reasoning used by Poincare was just that, which Einstein introduced in his first paper of 1905 … Does this mean that Poincare knew all this before Einstein? It is possible … Many of you may have looked up his paper ‘Zur Elektrodynamik bewegter Koerper’ in Annalen der Physik (4), vol. 17, p. 811, 1905, and you will have noticed some peculiarities. The striking point is that it contains not a single reference to previous literature. It gives you the impression of quite a new venture. But that is, of course, as I have tried to explain, not true.”
– M. Born, “Physics and Relativity”, Physics in my Generation, 2nd rev. ed., Springer, New York, 1969, pp. 101-103.
Born had already in his 1924 book stated some of the historical Poincare versus Einstein facts less forcefully:
“Lorentz enunciated the laws according to which the measured quantities in various systems may be transformed into each other, and he proved that these transformations leave the field equations of the electron theory unchanged. This is the mathematical content of his discovery. Larmor (1900) and Poincare (1905) arrived at similar results about the same time. It is interesting historically that the formula of transformation to a moving system, which we nowadays call Lorentz’ transformation, were set up by Voigt as early as 1877 [sic] in a dissertation which was still founded on the elastic theory of light. … In the new theory of Lorentz the principle of relativity holds, in conformity with the results of experiment, for all electrodynamic events.”
– M. Born, Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, Methuen & Co. Ltd., London, 1924, p. 188.
“As mentioned already, Lorentz and Poincare have succeeded in doing this by careful analysis of the properties of Maxwell’s equations. They were indeed in possession of a great deal of mathematical theory. Lorentz, however, was so attached to his assumption of an ether absolutely at rest that he did not acknowledge the physical significance of the equivalence of the infinite numbers of systems of reference which he had proved. He continued to believe that one of them represented the ether at rest. Poincaré went a step further. It was quite clear to him that Lorentz’s viewpoint was not tenable and that the mathematical equivalence of systems of reference meant the validity of the principle of relativity. He also was quite clear about the consequences of his theory.”
– M. Born, Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, Dover, New York, 1962, p. 224.
How false “vortex atoms” pseudophysics hype by the physicist Lord Kelvin constituted a danger to radiotherapy against cancer as being a “nonsense”, and how uncritical acceptance of eugenics pseudoscience by groupthink reverence in the 1930s helped to set the scene for the Holocaust, not the promised “utopia through lies”
Now the media may be concerned that exposing the facts concerning a scientific deception in Einstein’s relativity may be misinterpreted as a racist attack on Einstein’s race! You may think that science needs to be perverted in order to safeguard humanity and prevent racism. Wrong. Lying does the opposite. Here is the disproof of the claim that “lying safeguards peace”.
I kind of think it’s pretty astounding and very sad for many people to desperately try to live in George Orwell’s “big brother” world of 1984 groupthink when many millions of people died defending freedom of thought and freedom of speech in the wars. They didn’t fight and die for the right to suppress facts that are contrary to the reigning ideology in science: they fought and died to stop the racist Nazi pseudoscience “eugenics” ideology. Nazism sprang from a pseudoscience that nobody wanted to debunk until they saw the final solution’s results in 1945. They thought the lies of eugenics were a fashionable scientific idea in the 1930s, so hardly anybody opposed it when they had a chance. Instead, in the 1930s up to the Munich conference in 1938 and even beyond, Hitler’s Nazi racist eugenics was fashionable science that was regarded as “harmless” by the world’s leaders, media, and public who were blinded by lies on aerial gas attacks, just like support for pseudoscience today.
I recommend a study of the 1935 Alexis Carrel book “Man, the Unknown”, which advocated the pseudoscientific use of eugenics to create a “super-race”. Notice particularly that the book was hyped and praised around the world because the author and eugenicist Carrel had won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1912. In the 1936 German edition, Carrel enthusiastically collaborated with the early stages of the Nazi eugenics effort by adding the following passage: “(t)he German government has taken energetic measures against the propagation of the defective, the mentally diseased, and the criminal.”
Carrel wrote that such people and also:
“Those who have … misled the public in important matters [which to the Nazis meant the Jews, since they are blamed in Hitler’s 1920s Mein Kampf for the German defeat in the 1914-18 war], should be humanely and economically disposed of in small euthanasic institutions supplied with proper gasses.”
On 2 August 1937, well before the final solution of gas chambers and well before the Munich crisis when Prime Minister Chamberlain so eagerly shook hands with Hitler before the cameras of the world’s press, Britain’s Manchester Guardian newspaper reported the construction of 40 new concentration camps in Germany. The proud man of peace had to turn a blind eye to racism because Britain had no civil defense and because Britain exaggerated the strategic bombing threat.
(Eugenics was pseudoscience, and contrary to Darwin’s evolutionary theory of the “survival of the fittest” instead of being supported by it, because the whole basis of biology is to allow the variations necessary for evolution to occur where it is most necessary. E.g., by definition you can’t plan a “super-race” in advance to survive a new strain of super-flu virus which itself hasn’t even yet evolved. Put another way, if the “super-race” idea was so clever, nature could have used simple cloning in reproduction, omitting the much harder and more complex reproduction methods necessary to preserve the potential for variation in offspring. Variation and thus the individual uniqueness intrinsic to diversity has always been vital to survival of the fittest in evolution, because the definition of “fittest” is completely subjective, varying with the environment and circumstances, rather than a universally defined parameter: it you put all its your eggs in one basket, then all your eggs will be vulnerable. Blonde hair and blue eyes might correlate to increased skin cancer risks under certain environmental conditions, or inbred stupidity. By analogy, if you artificially “clone” people mentally by teaching everyone in the same classroom in precisely the same way, instead of allowing individual variation through differing individual projects and field experience, you make them all into mental clones, ending up with the risk of groupthink failure, one reason why Hitler lost his war after literally “shooting the messengers” in removing real critics from his circle of advisers, and why groupthink-type political control of some failed Western military projects have caused them to end in failure.)
Now whose idea was it to gas six million Jews? A Nobel prize winner? Who is responsible? Obviously his pseudoscience was warped and misapplied still further by the evil Nazis, but he certainly did nothing to help prevent the Holocaust by his lying pseudoscience. Nor did the media which praised the lying pseudoscience. The guy actually thought his eugenics by gassing races which allegedly “misled the public in important matters” was a benefit to humanity. This is what can happen when people let lies in science get out of hand. Lies need to be exposed and sorted out, not praised and hyped by the media. There are other examples of the terrible dangers that can occur when a conspiracy of hysterically paranoid and fanatically science-hating nutters in the media, and their fan clubs in the misled general public, tries to lynch those who just want a fair hearing for facts.
We need to know the facts, even if they are unpleasant, because technology and its application depend ultimately upon facts in science.
If science is held up by nutters, the future development of life saving technology will be held up. Particle physics based on facts led to various unexpected innovations in medicine. If Lord Kelvin had been allowed to stop research on radioactivity (which contradicted his false “vortex atom” theory), radiotherapy against cancer would have been affected. Thus, theoretical lies are a danger.
You might love the “big brother” of fashionable consensus and adulteration of Einstein as an alternative or supplement to religion, but this obfuscation is extremely anti-science. Science isn’t a religion of worshipping status quo consensus or some smug lies Einstein made to cover up his own errors a century ago! Science is definitely contrary to a conspiracy of string theorists making up lies and hiding behind a landscape of 10500 metastable vacua! Science is not some kind of fanatical, lying, obfuscating religion hell bent on destroying honest understanding, or hell bent upon replacing understanding with metaphysics like 1st quantization and other fanatically hyped lies.
“The power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them….To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies — all this is indispensably necessary.” [Doublethink defined in George Orwell’s 1948 novel “Nineteen Eighty-Four”, Martin Secker & Warburg Ltd, London, part 1, chapter 3, p 32.]
‘Crimestop means the faculty of stopping short, as though by instinct, at the threshold of any dangerous thought. It includes the power of not grasping analogies, of failing to perceive logical errors, of misunderstanding the simplest arguments if they are inimical to Ingsoc, and of being bored or repelled by any train of thought which is capable of leading in a heretical direction. Crimestop, in short, means protective stupidity.’
– George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty Four, Chancellor Press, London, 1984, p225.
“Groupthink is a type of thought within a deeply cohesive in-group whose members try to minimize conflict and reach consensus without critically testing, analyzing, and evaluating ideas. It is a second potential negative consequence of group cohesion. … cohesiveness prevented contradictory views from being expressed and subsequently evaluated. As defined by Janis, “A mode of thinking that people engage in when they are deeply involved in a cohesive in-group, when the members’ strivings for unanimity override their motivation to realistically appraise alternative courses of action”. … Individual creativity, uniqueness, and independent thinking are lost in the pursuit of group cohesiveness, as are the advantages of reasonable balance in choice and thought that might normally be obtained by making decisions as a group. During groupthink, members of the group avoid promoting viewpoints outside the comfort zone of consensus thinking. A variety of motives for this may exist such as a desire to avoid being seen as foolish, or a desire to avoid embarrassing or angering other members of the group. Groupthink may cause groups to make hasty, irrational decisions, where individual doubts are set aside, for fear of upsetting the group’s balance.”
Update (5 January 2011): “The End of Electric Charge and Electric Current as We Know Them” (PDF linked here) by I. C. was published in the January 2011 issue of Electronics World, pp. 20-24. He should have published it decades ago. He still uses a flawed theoretical analysis for his experimental data, instead of using a physical (2nd quantization) quantum field theory perspective.