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Discussion between 2 relativists and 1 anti-relativist

Discussion in 'Invitation Only Debates' started by Terry Sampson, Oct 31, 2019.

  1. Polymath257

    Polymath257 Think & Care
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    Nope.

    The problem, again, is the relativity of simultaneity. This shows up when you go to calculate the angle of the mirrors. If you only use length contraction, you miss the fact that in the moving frame the top and bottom of the mirrors are no longer simultaneous: you have to look at the mirror at a fixed time in the moving frame.


    If you make an adjustment for that, you will find that the angles of the two mirrors are not equally affected. Both angles are distorted in the direction of travel. The amount of this effect is such that the light beams will be parallel (but not perpendicular to the board) in the moving frame.

    If you need me to, I can calculate the new angles for the mirrors assuming we have 87% of c. I tis actually a result of the Lorentz formulas, which you seem to accept.

    You didn't say anything about a paradox of light spheres.
     
    #21 Polymath257, Nov 2, 2019
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  2. ratiocinator

    ratiocinator Lightly seared on the reality grill.

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    OK @Polymath257 has posted an answer to your thought experiment. I assume by the "Paradox of the Light Spheres", you're referring to two observers, moving relative to each other, both seeing themselves at the centre of an expanding light sphere, if a pulse is emitted as they pass?

    This site has a nice explanation with space-time diagrams: Centre of the Lightcone
     
  3. Polymath257

    Polymath257 Think & Care
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    I'm actually going to take this back. I thought it through with a few calculations. The problem is that I was thinking of the angle distortions that happen for the direction of moving particles. This is not applicable to the mirrors.

    The issue isn't the angle of the mirrors. It is that the angle of reflection and the angle of refraction on a moving mirror are not necessarily the same.

    The problem is that light is an electromagnetic wave. When such a wave hits a surface, there is a matching condition for the fields on each side of that surface. It is this matching condition that generates the reflected (and refracted) waves. In the rest frame, this matching condition is pretty straight forward and leads pretty quickly to the equality of the incidence angle and the reflected angle.

    In the moving frame, however, we have to take into account that both the electric field and the magnetic field are different in the moving frame and do the matching condition on a moving surface. This is going to change the angle of reflection *and* the angle of refraction. I have to go back and figure out if the matching condition changes form also (I don't think it does, but I have to check).

    Cute problem!
     
  4. ratiocinator

    ratiocinator Lightly seared on the reality grill.

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  5. Terry Sampson

    Terry Sampson Well-Known Member

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    :D

    Yep.

    Thanks, but I've seen those diagrams more times than I can remember, starting back around 2005 or so. They don't shed any light that I'm willing to accept.

    Just keeping my list of complaints sweet and short, limiting it to the doctrine of Length Contraction and the fact that Neo-Lorentzians and STR folk both claim it happens, but disagree on what happens in my hypothetical experiment. I hate going through the list and hearing: "What you have failed to understand is that ..." Initially, it's true: I started being an anti-relativist when I was ignorant. Surprise! There's still a whole lot I don't know and a lot that I've forgotten, but until Neo-Lorentzians and mainstream Relativists agree on the hypothetical results in my hypothetical experiment, I'll still be an anti-relativist.
     
    #25 Terry Sampson, Nov 2, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2019
  6. Terry Sampson

    Terry Sampson Well-Known Member

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    It went bye-bye when I turned on the lights and me and the hypothetical experiment equipment flew off in frame RB.

    You're catching on, Dr. Watson. :D
     
  7. Terry Sampson

    Terry Sampson Well-Known Member

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    Thanks. Can I quote you in my Nobel Prize acceptance speech? :D
     
  8. Terry Sampson

    Terry Sampson Well-Known Member

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    There was a time when I'd have paid for that formula. Now, I'd be interested in seeing a equation for the change in the reflected beams (one, the other, or both) angles with respect to each other or the normal between them with changes in the acceleration and/or velocity of the moving frame RB wrt the stationary frame RA. But, ... I don't need it. Thanks anyway.


    As wild and undetectable as length contraction is, I accept the Lorentz formula for it, ...unless and until somebody persuades me to give it up, which I don't see happening on this side of the River Jordan/Styx.
     
  9. ratiocinator

    ratiocinator Lightly seared on the reality grill.

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    So what is it that you don't get? The idea is that the two observers see different slices of space-time as space and therefore remain in the centre of their own idea of where the light is.

    Now I'm even more confused. Your doc was just to show that this neo-Lorentzian idea could predict different results from SR? I still don't know why you think SR is wrong and I still don't know much about exactly what this neo-Lorentzian notion actually says. Obviously it has some sort of length contraction, which I thought you had some objection to?
     
  10. Polymath257

    Polymath257 Think & Care
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    Thanks for that one. It means I don't have to derive the result myself. The relevant formulas for the current scenario are 16 and 17 in this paper.
     
  11. Polymath257

    Polymath257 Think & Care
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    Those formulas are found in the paper that @ratiocinator gave. For your situation, the relevant formulas are 16 and 17, although he gives the general case.

    Good. because it is what ultimately gives the results showing your angles are wrong. The angle of incidence is NOT equal to the angle of reflection for a relativistically moving mirror!
     
  12. Polymath257

    Polymath257 Think & Care
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    Well, here is where a bit of math would help greatly. Use Lorentz transformations and do a bit of algebra.

    You will find that x'^2 - c^2 t'^2 =x^2 -c^2 t^2 and, more generally,
    x'^2 +y'^2 +z'^2 -c^2 t'^2 =x^2 +y^2 +z^2 -c^2 t^2.

    For light in one frame, we have x^2 +y^2 +z^2 = c^2 t^2 (a sphere of radius ct).

    But this implies that
    x'^2 +y'^2 +z'^2 =c^2 t'^2
    in the other frame, which is also a sphere of radius ct'.

    It really is just simple algebra from the LTs.
     
  13. Terry Sampson

    Terry Sampson Well-Known Member

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    I think we ought to agree to disagree at this point. I still remember what STR says, although I'm at the point in life when I don't try as hard to remember what I object to. The Paradox of the Light Spheres initially had me thinking that I had discovered "a flaw" in relativity when I first saw it. LOL! Silly me! I've since learned that relativists believe, and adamantly so, the reasoning behind the Paradox and that only a fool would try to arm-wrestle their belief away from them. When I figured that out, I finally accepted that some differences between folks can't be reconciled and trying to arm-wrestle someone into reconciliation is futile. You believe and I don't and that's the end of the matter. I believe and you don't and that's the end of the matter.

    Yep. I'll expound on the significance later.

    I could list my objections but won't, because I fear that you may try to explain to me what it is that you think I'm missing, in which case--I assure you--you're going to be sorely disappointed when I still have the same objections after all your hard work in explaining "what I'm missing."

    For the record, as I wrote earlier,
    As for "exactly what this neo-Lorentzian notion actually says", it says:
    • Length Contraction is real though undetectable, and if it were possible--which it ain't--to travel in a laboratory at umpty-thousand miles per second, you could watch the formerly parallel reflected beams described in my hypothetical experiment diverge.
    • Simultaneity is absolute.
    • There are preferred/privileged reference frames.
    But what the notion actually says is actually irrelevant. What is relevant, and vitally so, IMO, is that the notion predicts results that differ from the results that STR predicts. That you do understand, don't you?

    If you do, then stop for a moment, take a breath, and let the implications of that understanding sink in.
    • There is a doctrine of length contraction and a Lorentz Transformation equation to calculate its effects according to the Neo-Lorentzian theory and there's a similar equation in STR to calculate its effects in STR, right?
    • But because we don't have the technological capability necessary to confirm which theory has the correction understanding of the doctrine of length contraction, we are faced with the fact that Length Contraction has not been proven and is likely to remain unproven till hell freezes over.
    • Now hang with me for just a bit longer, .... We have two contrary theories that contain the same doctrine and predict different results, ... and mainstream science says: "Well, obviously STR is correct because experiments have proven that everything in STR is true." And I have to say: "Hold on. I've been told, more than once, by mainstream relativists, that ... just a minute, let me see if I can find it. Ahhh, ... here's one version of the statement I've often been told:
      • [from Wikipedia's entry for the "Lorentz Ether Theory": "Today LET is often treated as some sort of "Lorentzian" or "neo-Lorentzian" interpretation of special relativity.[1] The introduction of length contraction and time dilation for all phenomena in a "preferred" frame of reference, which plays the role of Lorentz's immobile aether, leads to the complete Lorentz transformation (see the Robertson–Mansouri–Sexl test theory as an example). Because the same mathematical formalism occurs in both, it is not possible to distinguish between LET and SR by experiment. However, in LET the existence of an undetectable aether is assumed and the validity of the relativity principle seems to be only coincidental, which is one reason why SR is commonly preferred over LET."
    • Did you see that? "...it is not possible to distinguish between LET and SR by experiment."
    • And I sez: Hey! wait a minute. What about my hypothetical experiment? It sure as hell distinguishes between LET (a.k.a. Neo-Lorentzian Theory) and STR.
    • Wouldn't you agree?
    • So, if my hypothetical experiment distinguishes between LET and STR, what do the results of it prove? Which theory is correct?
    • Ooops! Can't say, can we, because there's no way to actually perform the hypothetical experiment, is there?
    • So, where does that leave us, eh?
    • It leaves us here: "SR is commonly preferred over LET."
    • Oh, I see, now: we get to prefer one or the other theory, eh? Okay, I prefer LET. You prefer STR.
    • Hmmm,... Looks like an irreconcilable difference to me. Whaddya think?
    • Know what I think? I think you're wasting your time trying to get me to say "Uncle". I ain't a gonna do it. Unless maybe if each of you wants to give me a $100.00. Then maybe I'll say it once.
     
  14. ratiocinator

    ratiocinator Lightly seared on the reality grill.

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    I don't really understand this at all. People believe SR because it is a spectacularly successful theory (it has passed every experimental and observational test we have thrown at it). While I see that the light sphere scenario seems paradoxical at first glance, it's not like the explanation is all that difficult. The relativity of simultaneity (which it's an instance of) is counter-intuitive, but it's a long way from being the most counter-intuitive thing in modern science - have you looked at QM?

    Also (and more on this later) if your theory is mathematically the same as SR, you'd have the same problem, it's just that one observer would be "right" and the other would have a distorted view.

    Theories like this are written in mathematics, not English bullet points (a set of principles may be a starting point, but you can't make predictions without the exact maths). This is why I asked for the transformation formulas. Either (as the wiki article quote suggested) the mathematics is exactly the same, or not.

    If it is, then the predictions can't possibly differ and your thought experiment is wrong. Also, we are then talking about an untestable philosophical interpretation, until and unless somebody comes up with some different maths for it. The argument for SR, then comes down to Occam - the absolute reference is an unnecessary assumption.

    It it isn't, then it might be possible to test it but we'd need to see the exact formulation.

    So - your thought experiment needs more thought, or rather mathematics. Clearly your version of LET is not contracting the whole physical situation in the way SR does, so there must be a difference.
     
  15. Terry Sampson

    Terry Sampson Well-Known Member

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    https://arxiv.org/ftp/physics/papers/0603/0603267.pdf
    Two-Way Speed of Light and Lorentz-FitzGerald's Contraction in Aether Theory

    https://arxiv.org/ftp/physics/papers/0604/0604207.pdf
    Basic Concepts for a Fundamental Aether Theory

    https://arxiv.org/ftp/physics/papers/0607/0607067.pdf
    Aether Theory and the Principle of Relativity

    https://arxiv.org/ftp/physics/papers/0610/0610067.pdf
    Relativity and Aether Theory, a Crucial Distinction

    https://arxiv.org/ftp/physics/papers/0611/0611077.pdf
    Aether Theory Clock Retardation vs. Special Relativity Time Dilation

    https://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/1003/1003.1953.pdf
    General Transformations of Space and Time according to Aether Theory

    https://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/1010/1010.2164.pdf
    Phase tuning in Michelson-Morley experiments performed in vacuum, assuming length contraction

    https://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/1204/1204.1885.pdf
    Is the aether entrained by the motion of celestial bodies? What do the experiments tell us?

    There are other papers which I suspect that Joseph Levy authored, but because I do not know for a fact that he authored them I do not include them here. However, I'm sure that if you were to email him and if he still uses the same email address and is alive, he would either direct you to his other papers or provide you with the precise answers to your questions.

    https://www.amazon.com/Galileo-Lore...ph+Levy&rnid=1000&s=books&sr=1-4&unfiltered=1

    https://www.amazon.com/Ether-space-...ph+Levy&rnid=1000&s=books&sr=1-1&unfiltered=1

    https://www.amazon.com/Ether-space-...ph+Levy&rnid=1000&s=books&sr=1-2&unfiltered=1

    https://www.amazon.com/Ether-space-...ph+Levy&rnid=1000&s=books&sr=1-3&unfiltered=1
     
  16. ratiocinator

    ratiocinator Lightly seared on the reality grill.

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    So, do any of these actually answer the point I raised? Was the wiki article (which doesn't even mention Levy) right when it said "Because the same mathematical formalism occurs in both, it is not possible to distinguish between LET and SR by experiment." or not?

    If not, which of these papers gives the alternative in the most succinct form, and does the wiki article mean there is more than one LET?

    If so, this is all rather pointless for the reasons I already gave.
     
  17. Polymath257

    Polymath257 Think & Care
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    Well, if you just do the algebra I mentioned above, you would see that the 'paradox' disappears. it really is just the Lorentz Transformation.


    Well, I might suggest learning a bit more math, then.

    Actually, no. The point is that if you consistently use the LT, you get that the angle of reflection is NOT the same as the angle of incidence, which negates your scenario.

    • Not just similar. Identical.
    • Yes, I see that. Did you? Did you let it sink in?
    • Which suggests that you didn't do something right, eh?
    • No, see above.
    Well, I would suggest learning a bit more math and *then* seeing what your theory says. I think you will find it doesn't work out the way you expect it to.
     
  18. Terry Sampson

    Terry Sampson Well-Known Member

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    My theory? Neo-Lorentzian theory is my theory like my shoes are my shoes. I like my shoes, I wear my shoes, and I prefer my shoes to your shoes. But I didn't make my shoes. If you don't like my shoes, don't complain to me, complain to the folks who made them.

    You don't like the Neo-Lorentzian theory? Fine. I don't "need" you to like it in order for me to be happy with the very little bit that I know about it and the even less that I can tell you about it. You dispute the Neo-Lorentzian theory? Cool. I'll give you Joseph Levy's email address and encourage you to go fuss with him. But until I find out that Joseph has raised his white flag, surrendered his position, and renounced his theory, I'm going to prefer his theory over STR.

    Until Joseph renounces his theory, I see two theories which contradict each at important points: one I prefer, the other I don't.
    If you think (which I don't believe you do) that both theories, i.e. Neo-Lorentzian and STR, are the same theory with two different names, I'd think you're mistaken, but I'm not going to try force anybody to believe that the two theories are different.

    You haven't shown me anything that persuades me that Neo-Lorentzian theory is wrong. From what I can tell, you've just told me that you don't agree with how I describe the theory and the conclusion that I draw from it: that there's a privileged/preferred frame and absolute simultaneity and that it describes a length contraction that is really "real" just not STR "real". Give it up; I ain't buying it.

    Good Lord! Forget the silly Paradox of the Light Spheres. I'm sorry I even mentioned it, although I think I mentioned it because one of you two asked me what it was about STR that I didn't like. I know that my biases in favor of privileged/preferred reference frames, absolute simultaneity, and absolute motion lead me to believe that STR is nonsense. I know that relativists believe in relative simultaneity and all the things necessary and because they do, there are no paradoxes in relativity, except maybe the continued use of the term "Paradox' to refer to non-Paradoxes.

    So, are you telling me that my scenario is wrong because (a) it doesn't show what STR says it should show or (b) because it doesn't show what Neo-Lorentzian theory says it should show? If (a), thanks, but I knew that before I posted the scenario. If (b), then I'll have to let Joseph know that he doesn't know what his own theory predicts. :eek::D

    Well, Gee whiz. What could Joseph have been thinking when he told me:
    Screenshot_2019-11-02 Hypothetical Experiment - 39547_69ef38634e870b92e763629f505b64dd pdf.png
    Actually, I think it would satisfy you quicker if you read Joseph's book From Galileo to Lorentz ... and beyond, and then you could tell me and Joseph what it is about his theory that neither he nor I understand. I'll send you a link to it when you're ready.
     
  19. Polymath257

    Polymath257 Think & Care
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    Here's what I know. The theory is mathematically consistent. So, if you actually do the math, the light spheres problem vanishes. You will find that things work because of the form of the LTs. This is analogous to how distances are preserved under rotation of coordinates.

    So, you have a bias in terms of a preferred reference frame. OK, except for an experiment that we cannot actually do at this point, what can you provide in terms of support for your view? STR is internally consistent. And any theory based on LTs has to ultimately give the same results (partly because the modern version of STR is based on Lorentz invariance).

    Now, I suspect that the 'Neo-Lorentzians' are not using the LTs to transform the momentum of the light, which is what produces the paradox. In fact, it is clear that they didn't given the predicted divergence of the light rays. That would simply not happen if the LTs were used consistently.

    Unfortunately, to not use LTs for the momentum has other issues, including ones that can be detected in particle accelerators (interactions and decays of relativistic particles need to have the momentum dealt with correctly using the LTs).
     
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  20. Polymath257

    Polymath257 Think & Care
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    Sure, I'll give it a go.
     
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