Message 226 of 268 (541012)
12-30-2009 5:32 PM
Reply to: Message 225 by Viv Pope
12-30-2009 3:13 PM
Re: Welcome Back
Further to my reply to Cavediver’s message 221`(my message 225), here is the appended transcript, as promised, of an interview I had with a freelance TV producer on this question (to appear).
“A TELEPHONE LINEMAN’S LINES FROM EINSTEIN”
(South Wales Evening Post, 1961.)
History attests that in Science, as in Government, authority, in itself, has no monopoly on natural truth. Democracy demands, therefore, that criticism should never be stifled; a free press and the media in general should ensure that criticisms, however radical they may seem, should at least have a fair and balanced public hearing.
This presentation is about the work of science-philosopher Viv Pope, whose criticism of current Theoretical Physics and Cosmology has officially been declared a “danger” to some long-established scientific beliefs. It has also been declared “immoral”. Let’s hear what he has to say, so that we can judge for ourselves.
1. In 1954, when you were in your early twenties you had a letter from Einstein. How did that come about?
Well, I was intrigued by something I learned in a talk at the local astronomical society. This was that time isn’t, as I’d somehow imagined, the same everywhere. I only had to think about it to realise how ridiculous it was assume that the time by which my age is measured here on earth is the same throughout the universe. When I plagued my father about this, he joked that I should “write to Einstein”. So I did, not knowing that Einstein seldom answered letters. My father was astounded when I received a reply.
I was then a telephone lineman, you understand, not an academic. What was nice was that in his letter Einstein remarked that my question was “well formulated”.
2. What was the question?
It was about what Einstein told me was the “Clock Paradox”. I hadn’t heard about this because at the time it was practically unknown outside academic circles. My question was, in effect, “If relative motion stretches time, then if a pair of twins travelled away from each other and then returned, since that relative motion has to be the same for both of them, each one’s time must be stretched to the same extent relatively to the other. So each twin must end up the younger, which seemed absurd. Einstein replied that this same question had been raised by academics. He explained that whichever twin physically reversed his motion would, on his return, end up the younger.
I found this difficult to accept at first, but with deeper study I found it indisputable that there is no paradox. Yet it still confounds some people who can’t let go of their unjustified assumption that there is a ‘God’s Time’, as it were, passing at the same rate everywhere. This makes them incapable of contemplating the relativity of time. This is even though it has been scientifically proved beyond all doubt, that time is not the same everywhere but is different for different observers in different parts of the universe.
My question to Einstein was, of course, about light in his famous Special Theory of Relativity which tells us that there is no universal flow of time in parallel throughout the universe but only different times for relatively moving observers.
3. You say your father was astounded?
Yes. My father was a telephone engineer and a founder member of the local astronomical society. The letter was exhibited in one of the Society’s open days and was reported in the local press as “A Telephone Lineman’s lines from Einstein”. It has since appeared in the media on several occasions but, unfortunately, all these appearances have concentrated on myself, as the recipient of the letter, while the subject of the letter and its scientific consequences over the following fifty years, have scarcely had a mention.
4. So, what were those consequences?
First, it gave me the confidence which I would need in great measure to pursue my subsequent half-century’s philosophical work. Secondly, it enabled me to discover something strange, which some scientists have since corroborated, that Einstein’s assumption that light travels at a constant speed in space is unnecessary and that his theory is much simpler without it. Besides, the more I thought about it, the more meaningless it seemed to think of light having a speed, constant or otherwise, with reference to a vacuum.
5. What did you do with that discovery?
Well. the first thing was that it made me realise that what we usually call the “speed of light, c” is not a “speed” at all, whether of waves or of those particles called “photons”. It is simply a constant ratio between conventional units of metres and seconds – or miles and seconds – in the observational measuring of space. This means that every 300,000 kilometres of space is equivalent to a second of time. So if c is the speed of anything, it is nothing more nor less than the universal speed of time itself. This can be demonstrated graphically in a way which gets rid of all the usual mind-bending historical rigmarole about “ether-wind”, “chasing light-rays” and so on. It also greatly simplifies the mathematics of the theory, as the famous scientist, Sir Herman Bondi confirmed to me, later on.
At the time, thinking that this discovery of a much simpler way of achieving Einstein’s results was important I contacted the local university Physics Department, to inform them of this no-light-speed version of relativity. At first they confirmed that it worked, but, later, they dismissed it as no more than a “coincidence” that relativity could be presented in this unorthodox, not to say eccentric way. I was treated as some presumptuous, in-off-the-street outsider on an ego trip seeking to become “another Einstein”.
6. But eventually you, yourself became an academic. How did that happen?
Fortunately, this negative reception was not entirely unanimous. Two lecturers at Swansea told me that I should “come in from the cold”, and on their advice I applied for a place to study at a Workers’ Educational College in North Wales. With their recommendation I was accepted. While there, I came to realise the power of words to comprehend or confound, and this set me on my future course of Linguistic or Logical Analysis as a tool for correctly interpreting scientific phenomena.
7. What happened after that?
The authorities at the college were impressed with my work on Logic and I was invited, unconditionally, to take a degree course in Logic and Philosophy of Science at the University of Wales, Bangor,. After graduating with Honours, I became a lecturer in Adult Education at a college in the Midlands as well as in Science for the Open University.
After some years, my health began to deteriorate, so at my wife’s instigation I gave up these posts to devote myself full time to researches into my individualistic New Approach to relativistic physics.
8. What was so “individualistic” about your New Approach?
After I had been well received at Bangor, my developing ideas soon became regarded as heretical, and I had been told that the University wouldn’t support them. So my bid to pursue these ideas as a university research project had been twice rejected. However, I hadn’t been discouraged, since history attests that just about every significant move that was ever made in science was a heresy in its day, and it’s a truism that society doesn’t reward heretics. Many Science innovators in the past had to pursue their work in exile, so it was not surprising that I had to pursue my work extramurally in social and financial limbo.
9. What, exactly, makes you a heretic?
Having discovered a conceptual redundancy in Einstein’s theory, I discovered similar redundancies in other theories. Seeking out and removing these redundancies led to the synthesis of philosophy and science now known as POAMS.
10. What is POAMS?
POAMS stands for the Pope Osborne Angular Momentum Synthesis. This was developed as a research project in collaboration with Doctor Anthony Osborne of the Maths department, Keele University. An offer by the head of that department for me to pursue my work with Osborne as a doctorate was not supported by the Philosophy Department. They said that they could find no-one who, in their words, was “competent” to take oversight of the cross-disciplinary nature of the work. It had apparently overstepped the Educational voodoo line between Arts and Science.
So, to the embarrassment of the University Administration, I remained what was provisionally called a “Research Associate”. This raised all sorts of difficulties for funding, publishing, attending conferences and so on, most of which I had to do at my own expense.
11. Nevertheless, you did get papers and books published under the auspices of POAMS. Can you tell us a bit more about POAMS?
As I said, POAMS stands for “The Pope-Osborne Angular Momentum Synthesis”. This acronym was unfortunate because so many users of the Internet assume that POAMS is about “poetry” when, actually it’s about physics!
12. What is angular momentum?
It’s the sort of motion you see with the planets of the solar system. When Aristotle observed this motion, more than two thousand years ago, he concluded that all force-free motion is naturally cyclic or orbital. So why, despite this plain evidence to the contrary did Newton teach that all freely moving bodies travel in straight lines? POAMS simply points out that nowhere do free-moving bodies travel in that way, that natural force-free motion is basically cyclic, or orbital, as Aristotle observed, so that you don’t need Newton’s invisible equal and opposite “centrifugal” and “gravitational” forces to keep the body in orbit. Angular momentum defines its own orbital parameters without those fictitious “forces”. So, accepting this essentially orbital nature of force-free motion, as Aristotle did, disposes of any need for “gravitation” as Newton’s invisible force acting in the void to pull bodies off their alleged “straight lines” into orbits like those of the planets.
13. Are you saying, then. that there’s no such thing as gravity?
I am, indeed.
14. So, what makes bodies weigh what they do? What made Newton’s apple fall if there’s no such thing as gravity?
Like all bodies on the earth’s surface the apple doesn’t have enough angular momentum to orbit freely where it is. So, without that orbital angular momentum it should rest at the earth’s centre. But since the twig prevents it from doing so, the apple pulls on the twig with that real reactionary force we call its weight. When the twig breaks, that force converts to a downwards acceleration of 9.8 metres-per-second-squared until, once again it is prevented from falling further by the ground, or by Newton’s head, as the case may be. All this is calculated, of course. So there’s no such thing as the “force of gravity”. It can be shown to be all angular momentum, of orbit, spin or whatever.
15. I see what you mean by “heresy” because Newton and ‘gravity’ have always been regarded as sacrosanct. What advantage would you say is offered by your “heretical” way of thinking?
Dispensing with “gravity” would save all those billions and billions of pounds that are wasted on vain attempts to detect “gravity waves”, “gravitons”, “dark matter” and so on. The fact is that in spite of all the hype and hugely expensive funding, there’s never been a smidgen of evidence for these things. Those billions of pounds might just as well have been spent on a search for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow!
16. You mentioned “dark matter”. What do you think about that?
That idea stems from the failure of Newtonian “gravitational” theory to explain two alleged “anomalies”. One is the “missing mass” anomaly, which is that the total mass of all the planets, stars, galaxies and so on is much larger than can be accounted for by Newtonian “gravitation”. The other is the “Pioneer anomaly”, which is that NASA’s space-probes don’t follow precisely the orbital trajectories they should follow according to that “gravitational” theory. It’s the same anomaly in both cases.
17. What’s your answer to that anomaly?
All these bodies spin, but Newtonian “gravitation” takes no account of spin. If these massive amounts of spin angular momentum, of planets, stars, spiral galaxies and so on, are left out of the equation, then there are bound to be anomalies. Once you replace “gravity” with angular momentum, then by the law of conservation of angular momentum those spins have to be included in the equation and the anomalies vanish.
18. What do you think of the “Big Bang” theory of the expanding universe?
It’s demonstrably based on a meaningless concept. The “universe” means everything there is, all space, all time, all matter, with nothing outside it, not even empty space. So if the universe is expanding, then what can it be expanding into? For another thing, to say that the universe started from a tiny dot is also meaningless, because since the “universe” includes everything there is, then with reference to what can it be said to be either tiny or large? That question is completely unanswerable, so the idea of an expanding universe is literally meaningless on both counts.
Besides, it is said that the “Big Bang” took place 13.7 billion years ago. What clock measures that? According to Relativity, all bodies moving relatively to one another age at different rates. Over that alleged “13.7 billion years” the accumulated differences between the times measured by all those different clocks would be immense. So, since no clocks record any absolute, or “universal” time, what sense can be made of the “age of the universe” when there is no universal age? Since that “age” is completely indeterminate, what sense are we to make of that “13.7 billion years”?
19. Is there any more directly physical reason why you reject the idea of an expanding universe?
Yes. That idea of universal expansion originates with the discovery, by Vesto Slipher and Edwin Hubble, that the spectra of galaxies are redshifted in proportion to their distance from the observer, and this fact is taken without question as meaning that those galaxies are receding. But let me ask you: Would you agree that all TV interviewers are people?
And if I said: “So it follows that all people are TV interviewers”, would you accept that?
Well, of course not, obviously!
So, why should we accept the assertion that because all receding light-sources are redshifted, seeing a light-source redshifted is the same as seeing that source receding? That’s the same logical fallacy.
20. But are there any interpretations of the Hubble redshift other than that of galactic recession?
Certainly. Those galaxies are much too far away for us to see them actually moving. The mainstay of their supposed recession is the redshift, and as I said, to interpret that as necessarily a recessional motion is a fallacy. Put that fallacy together with the fact that the idea of an expanding universe is literally meaningless and what remains of that “Big Bang” cosmology? To speak plainly, I regard that as just about the silliest idea that was ever conceived!
21. So, what alternative explanation of the Hubble redshift does POAMS offer?
It can be seen with the planets, comets and so on of our solar system, that their orbital speeds increase as they get nearer to the sun, also that the orbital speeds of stars are larger as they are nearer to the centres of galaxies. This reveals a characteristic of angular momentum, that the nearer a body is to the centre of mass of the system the faster it goes. In a normal distribution of galaxies-upon-galaxies, the greatest accumulation of mass is always at the greatest distance from any point of observation, hence, logically, the further the galaxies are from that point of observation, the “nearer” they are to the greatest accumulation of mass, hence the faster they go – not in any radial, or recessional direction but more or less at random. At very great distances, those speeds become relativistic, or time-dilated in proportion to the distance, hence the redshift phenomenon. This effect which POAMS calculates is precisely what Hubble discovered, but without any nonsensical “Expanding Universe”, and associated “Big Bang” implications. In any case, a spectral redshift due to time-dilation of omni-directional motion is indistinguishable from that due to recessional motion, so in that particular respect the POAMS and the Big Bang explanations are impossible to differentiate other than by the criterion of literal meaning, in which respect POAMS wins hands down.
22. But what about other evidences that supporters claim for the “Big Bang”?
You can’t have evidence either for or against something that’s completely meaningless! “Evidences” for the Big Bang, such as the three-degree-K “background radiation”, the scarcity of certain isotopes and so on are far from being incontestable. Whatever they are claimed to be “evidences” of, cannot be the nonsensical “Big Bang”.
23. But the Large Hadron Collider, or LHD at CERN is intended to prove that there was a Big Bang.
You mean the search for the “God particle” or the Higgs boson? What a fiasco that’s been! It will surely prove to be the biggest non-event in scientific history. It’s cost 2.6 billion pounds to produce nothing but a dot on a TV screen and the only sign of the possible “black hole” is the sink-hole into which so much good money has drained that could have been spent on more sane and sensible social projects.
24. But what about the spin-offs of that research which are anticipated by particle physicists even if that experiment fails?
That entire “atom-smashing” approach to physics is misconceived. The idea of smashing atoms to gain an understanding of nature, as in the search at CERN for the ultimate “God Particle”, is called Reductionism and is well known to be philosophically unsound. As I stated in a visit to CERN in 1975, it’s like smashing up chessmen to understand the rules of chess. (The intake of breath all around the hall was like the sound a football crowd makes when a goal is missed.)
The fact is that in nature, since the whole is always greater than the sum of the parts, so science’s concern should be first and foremost with physical phenomena as wholes and only secondly with the parts into which those wholes may be divided. Those parts take their character from the whole, not the other way around. This entails a holistic, top-down approach to physics, as opposed to the partistic bottom-up, approach of the Atomic Fundamentalists.
25. Nevertheless, the building of the LHD at CERN, for all its faults is an awesome achievement.
Yes, but so was the building of the pyramids. For all their undoubted magnificence, these technological marvels have not advanced our understanding of nature in the way that was intended by science originally. Technology is one thing; philosophical understanding is another. Like those ancient pyramids, temples and sphinxes, our atom-smashing laboratories are great testimonials to human technology but are no less philosophically barren.
26. So you claim that not only are the ideas behind these projects “philosophically barren” but that so far as their stated intentions are concerned they are huge wastes of public money.
Yes, they are drains for both money and intellectual energy. What’s worse is that in its monopolising of funds and media attention this whole fundamentalist “Big Bang” rigmarole is a dogma. It appeals to young minds for all the wrong reasons, of politics finance and sheer pictorial gimmickry rather than true science. In having virtually squeezed-out any competing ideas it is an Educational scandal. This is doubtless why, despite all its impressive claims to be advancing physics. Margaret Thatcher, in the nineteen-eighties, slashed the UK’s contribution to the funding of CERN, because as a scientist herself she saw this sort of physics as being “of no practical use”. Nor, apart from some accidental technological spin-offs, has anything changed since.
27. Many people might agree with that. So, what do you think of “black holes”?
When a hammer-thrower swings the hammer, he and the hammer rotate around a common centre of balance called the barycentre. When the hammer is swung, neither the hammer nor the thrower occupy that centre. It’s the same with all angular momentum systems, regardless of how many bodies are involved. When that motion is large and the bodies are of similar size – like the water molecules in a whirlpool or the stars in a spiral galaxy – the barycentre is typically empty of matter, which is balanced on opposite sides of that centre. In any picture of a cyclone or hurricane, such a barycentre is plainly visible as the “eye” of the storm. In all such systems, from cyclones to spiral galaxies, there is always such an “eye”. These “eyes” have no physical property in themselves. So in the case of spiral galaxies, those “eyes” radiate no light, in which sense, they are described as completely “dark”, or “black”. As these angular momentum systems lose energy into the environment in one way or another, they contract inwards towards their centres, giving the impression that their matter is “sucked in” by a vortex. To think, however, of these “black holes” as “things” which can exist and move around without the encircling matter is as nonsensical as thinking of the “eyes” of storms jumping out of the air or out of the stars in a galaxy, and moving around like metaphysical vacuum-cleaners looking for stuff like us to suck in.
28. I quite see, then, why you feel that something has gone wrong with modern physics. Can you expand on what you said about the waste of money?
This waste is prodigious. Trillions of pounds and dollars are continually pumped into scientific projects which Logical Analysis shows to be completely nonsensical. In our present economic situation this nonsense needs to be curtailed. Modern physicists and cosmologists should be called to account for their extravagances in the same way that, in plain commonsense language, our Members of Parliament are now called to account for theirs. In the Middle Ages, the community was split between the serfdom and a priesthood whose language was the Latin of Authoritarian Religion. Today’s division is between the public and a new priesthood whose language is the arcane Mathematics of Theoretical Physics. For the health of our Society, Authoritarianism of any kind cannot go unchallenged, and I’m here, as a truth-chaser – a philosophical whistleblower, if you like – to challenge this 21st century upsurge of twelfth-century Authoritarianism. No-one “marks my card”, so as a free-range philosopher, I do whatever I can to point out, for Modern Physics and Cosmology, a more normal, more. commonsense course. This is so as not to waste that part of Einstein’s legacy which, bypassing Orthodox Education, was uniquely bequeathed to a young, educationally unfettered telephone lineman in 1954, just one year before the great man’s death.
29. How do you rate your chances of revolutionising science along these more democratic lines?
About as much as the chance of a greenfly derailing a train!
30. Very interesting indeed. Unfortunately we’ll have to leave it there. Thank you, Mr. Pope, and best of Luck in your aim of democratising modern Science.
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