tisdag 24 maj 2016

The Stupid Demand of Absolute Simultaneity which Destroyed Rational Physics

                                                Absolute simultaneity of Tea Time

  • 2005 marked the centenary of one of the most remarkable publications in the history of science, Albert Einstein’s ‘‘On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies,’’ in which he presented a theory that later came to be known as the Special Theory of Relativity (STR). 
  • This 1905 paper is widely regarded as having destroyed the classical conceptions of absolute time and space, along with absolute simultaneity and absolute length, which had reigned in physics from the times of Galileo and Newton to the dawn of the twentieth century. 
Einstein is thus commonly viewed to have destroyed classical Newtonian physics, and to judge if this is to applaud or not, it is necessary to take a look at Einstein's reason for the destruction as presented in the 1905 article. And that is a perceived impossibility of synchronising clocks with different positions and velocities, a perceived impossibility of fulfilling an absolute need of absolute simultaneity which Einstein attributed to classical Newtonian mechanics. 

But what says that the world as classical mechanics requires absolute simultaneity to go around? Yes, it is needed for navigation by the Sun or GPS by humans, but birds navigate without synchronised clocks. And wasn't the world going around pretty well before there were any Poincare or Einstein worrying about clock synchronisation and absolute simultaneity? 

So is there no need of absolute simultaneity in classical Newtonian mechanics? Yes, the standard idea is that the gravitation from the Sun is pulling the Earth around by instant action at distance, and that seems to require (i) synchronisation of Sun time and Earth time and (ii) a mechanism for instant action at distance. 

Since no progress has been made concerning (i) and (ii) over the centuries since Newton, I have in recent posts tested a way to circumvent these difficulties or impossibilities, and that is to view the gravitational potential $\phi$ as primordial from which matter density $\rho =\Delta\phi$ is derived by the local action in space of the Laplacian $\Delta$. 

With this view, which is Newtonian mechanics with just a little twist on what comes first, matter or gravitational potential, there is no need for absolute simultaneity and thus no longer any need to destroy a most beautiful and functional Newtonian mechanics. 

Einstein thus attributes an unreasonable requirement of absolute simultaneity to Newtonian mechanics, and then proceeds to kill Newton. Of course this can be seen as an example of the all too well known tactics of attributing some evil quality (true or false) to your enemy, and then killing him.  

And the book also ventilates such criticism:
  • Unfortunately for Einstein’s Special Theory, however, its epistemological and ontological assumptions are now seen to be questionable, unjustified, false, perhaps even illogical. 
  • The precise philosophical arguments for the illogicality, falsity, or unjustifiably of the epis- temological, semantic, and ontological presuppositions of the Special Theory remain, with a few exceptions, unknown among physicists.
Pretty tough words, but how to cope with lack of knowledge and ignorance?

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