Member (Idle past 2556 days)
Message 191 of 268 (539741)
12-19-2009 11:08 AM
Reply to: Message 180 by Admin
12-16-2009 8:57 AM
Re: Spin and Perception
To Percy (Moderator)
Re.: the issue of ‘light-speed’.
Thanks for the ‘slap on the wrist’. I would like to comply with your instruction if only it were that simple. It has to be faced, though, that not everyone on this forum or any other is quite as honest and well intentioned as you seem to assume. There have, for instance, been attacks on me from those who can only be characterised as ageist; and there are others who are definitely dedicated to de-rail the discussion at every turn. And there have been those who have committed the sin of argumentum ad populum by obviously ganging up on me, citing how many and how clever their companions are. How can I stick to the topic of light-speed when these people obviously don’t wish to? And how can these people not be ‘categorised’?
Anyway, while I was under ‘suspension’, in contemplative mood I wrote the following inter-round analysis of the discussion, for the eyes of all concerned. I’m sure those outsiders who are keeping a watching brief on these discussions would like to see – as, of course, I would – what the response, if any, will be.
SUMMARY OF THE LIGHT-SPEED DISCUSSION TO DATE.
I am grateful for the short lay-off from the glut of questions that have been directed at me – not that I resent having to answer those questions but simply because of the difficulty of dealing with them without having to spread my attentions too thin.
Anyway, having encountered, from the start, a veritable rock-slide of negativity, this discussion on light-velocity has now crashed. Let’s see if we can clear away the crap and get the thing back on the road.
The aim of this exercise was originally simple. It was, as it were, to road-test a theory about light which has been more than a half-century in the making and testing. In academic circles it has been declared a ‘dangerous theory’, a heresy, being too fast, as it were, for the current motorway restrictions. In the words of one professor, it should be accompanied by ‘a government health warning’, and another has declared “Mon Dieu, but thees ees dynamite!” I’d better tell the whole story.
It all begins with a letter from Einstein, which I received in 1954 in answer to a critical question to him about his Theory of Relativity. I was then a young telephone lineman with no academic pretensions whatsoever. From my letter to him, Einstein must have seen it as a question posed by some young person out of nothing more than sincere, naïve curiosity. Although he was renowned for his chariness in answering correspondence, even among his peers, he congratulated me on my “well formulated” question and gave me an answer which was the start of my lifelong philosophical odyssey. (That letter is preserved in the County Archives, and they tell me it is worth some thousands of pounds.)
When this letter from Einstein came to the notice of the press (in an Open Day at the local astronomical society) it was given some wide coverage and has since been featured a number of times in the national dailies, plus on radio and TV. However, as soon as it became public, apart from one or two exceptions, this publicising of a ‘new theory of relativity’ was met with a wall of cynicism of the “Who the hell do you think you are?” variety – much as it has on this forum. It was assumed immediately to be motivated, not by disinterested curiosity but by some kind of bid for intellectual stardom.. From its beginnings in sincere philosophical curiosity, it was thrust into the fast lane of the ‘rat-race’ where all recognition of its honest beginnings were trampled under.
Be that as it may, this honest curiosity of mine led to me being taken “out of the cold”, as one adviser put it, to pursue my philosophical interests in the relative security of a university. With the prompting of my wife – an English scholar – I took up this offer and eventually became, albeit reluctantly, an academic myself – more as a “loose cannon”, you might say, than a subscriber to the Educational System.
Remember that this is still about my theory of ‘light-velocity’. Throughout all this – and it’s necessarily a long story – my constant aim, against the present tide of creeping commercialisation, has been to preserve, promote and encourage among students the disinterested philosophical curiosity and initiative with which this whole enterprise of mine started. In pursuit of this aim to encourage initiative in students, my wife and I were invited by the then Liberal MP, Clement Freud, to attend meetings in Westminster. As for making any headway on that front, we might as well have been invited to swim up the Niagara Falls!
Again, recall that are still talking, here, about the underlying ‘speed of light’ issue. Anyway, to cut that long story short, encouraged by Einstein, my insatiable curiosity in that philosophical direction, particularly regarding the concept of the ‘speed of light’ in relativity theory, led early on to the idea that has since been declared a heresy and a “danger” to society. This was to discover, after his demise, that Einstein’s theory of relativity could be greatly simplified by leaving out all reference to ‘light-velocity’ – indeed without reference to light altogether. Some time later, this simplification was corroborated by Herman Bondi, the Cambridge (UK) astronomer and Science commentator, not excluding my long time ‘partners-in-crime’, Dr. Anthony Osborne of Keele University, Professor Alan Winfield of UWE, Bristol and the late Alan Smart of British Telecom. Swansea.
So far, so good. However, the “danger to society” threatened by this suggestion of “getting rid of light” soon became apparent. This was when it transpired that, believe it or not, it led a small number of students to seek psychiatric help.
So now we come to the full – indeed, the vital – relevance of all this to the subject of ‘light-velocity’. For a start, you may glean from all this that this idea of mine, kick-started by my early initiative in contacting Einstein, is far from trivial. Also, any truly thinking person must see that, from this point in the discussion, in no way can the issue be kept within the narrow confines of ‘Physics’ as that subject is classified nowadays. It naturally spreads into the dreaded domain of Philosophy – at which point we will no doubt lose most of any remaining readers on this thread. Specifically, the reason for this broadening is as follows.
As you have seen, (See my ‘Ten Proofs’ on this thread, none of which has been refuted), light cannot have a ‘velocity’ in space (in vacuo, as Einstein assumed in his notorious ‘Second Postulate’ of Special Relativity). So, what else can the ‘constant c’ be in our Physics textbooks if not the ’velocity of light in space’? The answer is supplied by the Logic which some member of this forum says he would like to be purged from this discussion. The logical answer is that the fact that all velocities are distances divided by time does not imply that all distances divided by time (such as c) are velocities. This means that c may, without contradiction, be interpreted as just a dimensional constant, with no connotations of ‘light-velocity’ whatsoever. Put this together with the consequence of the ‘Ten Proofs’ and it affirms, both logically and practically – even commonsensically – that our classical idea of light as something ‘travelling in space’ is a misconception, an over-interpretation of the actual observational and experimental facts, which makes it conceptually redundant.
But it cannot just stop there. Among logically-minded thinkers, apart from its significance to Physics as a New Approach to Relativity (Journal of Ed. in Maths, Sci. and Tech., 1987 – click ‘New Approach, Pope’ on Google), it causes, as I have already indicated, some consternation among students confronted with this proposition that there is ‘no such thing as light in space’. It strips away one’s traditional precepts about objective physical reality, seemingly without replacing them with any satisfactory intuitional alternative.* It was this, undoubtedly, which sent those students I mentioned to seek medical help and which marked it as a ‘dangerous idea’ in the estimation of those academics I cited.
*This is the philosophical position called Solipsism’, the idea that everything is no more than a dream.
So, where do we go from here? Well, as I have tried, strenuously, to explain, the only palliative left, if we abandon the concept of ‘light-speed’, is to adopt the mindset of the alternative-Physics Philosopher, Ernst Mach, as later developed under the title of Neo-Machian Normal Realism (click on Google). This is still Physics, but a much, MUCH broader and more embracing kind of physics which students are taught.. But the question is: notwithstanding its ‘danger’, might it not be the prime candidate for the role of the ‘New Physics’ that NASA calls for? If not, then will someone please tell us what is?
What sorts of questions should this change in interpretation of the constant, c, raise in a forum such as this? Well, for instance, some perceptive thinker is bound to ask “If you get rid of light in space, then what about ‘gravity’?” Other intelligent questions would be: “If there is no light or gravity in space, then how do bodies influence one another at a distance?” “What makes the planets orbit the sun?” “How does this solve NASA’s Pioneer problem, the EPR paradox, the Unified Field problem, the Missing Mass anomaly and other outstanding problems of Extant Physics which current standard textbook knowledge of the subject has so eminently failed to solve? Such serious, intelligent questions are well worth answering, and some of them have been answered in this forum. Indeed these sorts of questions have been raised and answered over the last half-century, although there have been some completely daft ones, like “How does Normal Realism explain the Resurrection?” “What does it say about the Holy Trinity?” and suchlike. Some questions on that same intelligence level have been, “What’s your experimental evidence for there being no light in space? Where are your mathematical equations?” and so on. What does one do in such cases when the member insists on having answers to his daft questions and appeals to the Moderator of the forum that his questions aren’t being answered to his satisfaction? This is not a rhetorical question. What happens is that one gets banned, as I have been, permanently, from another forum such as this (BAUT), on the trumped-up, incredibly ridiculously charge of my being a ‘multiple user’ – merely because, like most people I have two Christian names, Neville and Vivian. Plainly, this was no more than an excuse get this ‘dangerous thinker’ off their backs, so as not to disturb their complacency with such radically new ideas.
The trouble is, of course that, as on this present EvC forum thread, what begins as a narrow Physics issue of whether or not light travels in space broadens, untidily, into a philosophical, psychological and, indeed, sociological issue. How does the poor Moderator deal with this? How can the rules of such a forum be hedged against this inevitability?
Some people I’ve discussed this with are sceptical about the use of these forums altogether. They’re only “playing games”, says one , “They’ll never understand you,” says one colleague, ” “They’ll make every excuse to ban you”, says another. Another says: “The only response you’ll get will be silly ‘Yah Boo!’ replies.” and yet another colleague says: “It will frighten them shirtless” – or, at least, that’s what it sounded like.
So the question I have to answer is this: How on earth is one to suggest involving, in the call for a New Physics, those who are Educationally crimped into conformity with the existing System? And why does one find so many people of that ilk in these so-called ‘Science’ forums? To get these people to THINK is like pulling teeth or trying to pick winkles out of their shells. They resist any move forward, taking every serious suggestion of advancement as an affront to their own self-esteem For someone like myself it beggars belief that in these forums there is such an impenetrable wall of pure ignorance against any significant chance of moving forward.
What, then, does one do with people who hammer away at one’s proposed idea without studying it first, who aren’t prepared to access the recommended sources, who are scarcely inclined even to click a mouse on the suggested buzzwords, who are too lazy even to read the relevant postings, far less read any of the books and free publications mentioned on the websites? How does one deal with those who are not concerned with the provenance of the presented material on the one, single thread without seeking immediately to rubbish and demean it? So I ask myself, what sorts of people are these, and what the hell do they imagine they are doing for Science, if not simply to ‘queer the pitch’ and trip up the true thinkers? Please tell me, dear Moderator, how I can fend off these idiots without seeming to be ’rude’ to them simply by pointing out their logical mistakes?
So why, you may ask, do I do what I do? The reason is that it’s an experiment to ‘test the waters’, as it were, for public reaction to my ‘Dangerous Idea’. This is in defiance of my more academically cloistered colleagues, who regard this democratic sallying forth among the ‘great unwashed’ as infra dig, and will have no part of it. Ideally, however, my life’s aim, as an educator and someone rooted firmly among that ‘great unwashed’, has been, right from the start, to free philosophical knowledge from the fetters of a traditionally divisive Education System. In other words, it is to engage Ordinary Commonsense in the affairs of science, so as to curb those intellectual and financial extravagances of Modern Physics and Cosmology which have become so apparent recently with the abortive, and extremely expensive search for the ‘God Particle’, ‘reading the Mind of God’, and so on.
So, again, may I ask you, as Moderator of this forum thread, from what we have seen so far, how do you rate my chances of pursuing this democratic ideal in this present forum? Is it likely to extend the thread or, perhaps, unravel the whole garment? From the fact that the revered Einstein saw fit to correspond, extramurally, with an ordinary, non-academic telephone lineman, I feel I owe it to him to extend that privilege, in my turn, to others who may be as receptive towards new ideas as I was to Einstein’s. But where are those ‘receptive thinkers’? Where are those who can follow the full logical implications of dispensing with ‘light in space’? One wonders whether this or any other similar forum is the place to do it. Is it a foregone conclusion, as some say, that it is just a waste of time? Also, how representative are these forums of the mindset of the public at large? Are they seen as no more than the vulgarisation, or dumbing-down of true scientific knowledge? These are genuine questions and, for me, the jury is still out on them. Let’s just see how we go from here, eh!
Viv Pope (no pseudonym)
|This message is a reply to:|
| ||Message 180 by Admin, posted 12-16-2009 8:57 AM|| ||Admin has responded|
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| ||Message 192 by lyx2no, posted 12-19-2009 12:41 PM|| ||Viv Pope has responded|
| ||Message 193 by Admin, posted 12-19-2009 12:54 PM|| ||Viv Pope has responded|