Gravity, Time and Leibniz.

How does science work? And what's all this about quantum mechanics?

Moderators: AMod, iMod

Obvious Leo
Posts: 4007
Joined: Wed May 13, 2015 1:05 am
Location: Australia

Gravity, Time and Leibniz.

Post by Obvious Leo » Sat Jun 27, 2015 11:11 pm

This thought experiment seeks to illustrate the difference between subjective and objective reality, which in Kantian philosophy might be termed distinguishing between the observed phenomenon and the underpinning noumenon which gives rise to it.

Whether we call it the “Law of Parsimony”, “Occam’s Razor”, or the “Principle of Sufficient Reason” there is a universal explanatory principle which applies to all of science and philosophy. When two conflicting explanations are available to account for an observed phenomenon then the simpler of the two must always be preferred over the more complex. The most famous example of this principle in action in physics was the overthrow of the Ptolemaic geocentric cosmology by its Copernican heliocentric alternative. Many lay people completely misunderstand this principle and might thus say that heliocentrism is a “true” model for the solar system whereas geocentrism is a “false” one but this is not what Occam economy implies. It merely means that the Copernican model is a “better fit” for the evidence and the reason for this is that it is SIMPLER. Thus we can fall back on the age-old truism in all branches of philosophy which states that Simplicity is Truth.

The definitive proof which was offered for the so-called “curved space” of GR was the phenomenon of gravitational lensing, but this so-called proof fails this important test of parsimony. 3D space has no physical properties, thus to say that it can expand and contract and bend and twist and curve cannot be regarded as a physical statement. Instead it must be regarded as a metaphorical statement describing a more fundamental underlying process. In other words Einstein’s geometric space is every bit as much an action-at-a-distance model as was the Newtonian space it sought to overturn. Einstein himself stressed this point throughout his life and spent the 40 years of his life after the publication of GR looking for just such an underlying process.

“Spacetime should NEVER be regarded as physically real”....Albert Einstein”

There is an alternative explanation for gravitational lensing available from within the exact same GR model as that which presented us with the metaphysical absurdity of a “curved space”. Einstein’s genius always lay in his remarkable intuitions and capacity for clear thinking rather than in his physics. He was only ever an adequate physicist, and as a mathematician he was downright mediocre, but his instincts for the simplest logic was impeccable. The reasoning behind his conclusion that acceleration and gravity were simply two different expressions of the same phenomenon is exquisite in its austerity and thus utterly beyond falsification. An inescapable and direct consequence of this reasoning is that the speed of the passage of time must dilate as the strength of the gravitational “field” increases. Einstein was able to show that this relationship between gravity and time was inversely logarithmic in its nature, which means it could be mapped in a 2D co-ordinate space as a steeply ascending rectangular hyperbola. This mathematical representation has been empirically verified countless times since the publication of GR in 1915 and much of our modern technology is founded on it. Inasmuch as it is possible to say such a thing in science we must regard it as a “fact” that gravity and time are simply two different ways of expressing the same phenomenon because once you specify one you can automatically derive the other from the hyperbolic mathematical relationship. The simple truth is that gravity slows down time and in extreme gravitational environments, such as black holes, gravity slows down time dramatically because this is where the effects of the steeply ascending part of the hyperbolic curve are revealed. None of the mathematics of this is all that difficult and none of it is in the least bit controversial so as a philosopher of physics I’m more than happy to accept it as a given.

Consider now the beam of light travelling towards a distant observer and being deflected from its straight trajectory by the presence of an intervening mass. We know without doubt that this intervening mass will project a gravitational influence beyond itself approximately according to Newton’s inverse square “law”. We also know that time will slow down under this gravitational influence according to Einstein’s inversely logarithmic gravitational “law”. What effect will this have on the passing beam of light? Surely if time slows down then the passing beam of light must slow down accordingly because to suggest otherwise would be to suggest that light can travel faster than time, which is metaphysical horseshit.

The crucial question in this thought experiment is this:

Q. What does the observer observe and what is the simplest way to account for this observation?

A. The observer will observe the beam of light bending towards the intervening mass BECAUSE THE LIGHT HAS SLOWED DOWN RELATIVE TO THE OBSERVER.

This is exactly the same phenomenon as refraction, or the “bent stick in the water” which we can all recall from our high school science days.

Q. Why does a stick appear to bend when we put into a bath of water at an angle.

A. The stick appears to bend because, RELATIVE TO THE OBSERVER, the speed of light in water is slower than the speed of light in the air above it,. In other words the bent stick is an observer effect consequent on the inconstant speed of light.

In accordance with the “Law of Parsimony”, “Occam’s Razor”, or the “Principle of Sufficient Reason” why should this far simpler explanation for gravitational lensing not be preferred to the metaphysically nonsensical idea of a “curved space”. ???

uwot
Posts: 4370
Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2012 7:21 am

Re: Gravity, Time and Leibniz.

Post by uwot » Sun Jun 28, 2015 8:52 pm

Obvious Leo wrote:“Spacetime should NEVER be regarded as physically real”....Albert Einstein”
So you keep saying. Although Einstein himself didn't always agree, as I pointed out in my blog: http://willibouwman.blogspot.co.uk/2014 ... eiden.html

Obvious Leo
Posts: 4007
Joined: Wed May 13, 2015 1:05 am
Location: Australia

Re: Gravity, Time and Leibniz.

Post by Obvious Leo » Sun Jun 28, 2015 9:42 pm

uwot wrote:
Obvious Leo wrote:“Spacetime should NEVER be regarded as physically real”....Albert Einstein”
So you keep saying. Although Einstein himself didn't always agree, as I pointed out in my blog: http://willibouwman.blogspot.co.uk/2014 ... eiden.html
It's true that Einstein waxed and waned at various times on this point, as indeed he did on many others, but the general principle still applies that extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.

"Mathematics can be used to prove ANYTHING".....Albert Einstein

It has now been over a hundred years since Minkowski concocted the 4D manifold and no evidence of its physicality has yet been produced. According to the logical positivist doctrine which underpins physics empty space can expand and contract and bend and twist and curve. Since the Michelson-Morley experiment quite definitively ruled out the myth of the luminiferous aether then no explanation exists to account for how an entity with no physical properties can perform these miraculous feats. As empty space expands does it just thin itself out a bit or do new bits of space come into existence to fill in the gaps? What is space expanding into? These are legitimate questions which physics is utterly unable to answer and once again Occam economy offers a far simpler explanation for the so-called "expanding" universe. Instead of expanding our universe is simply aging, just like the rest of us. Since GR demands that it ages more quickly between galaxies than it does within them then the observer observes this phenomenon as the galaxies moving away from each other. This explanation even accounts for the fact that this apparent "expansion" appears to be accelerating in the case of distant galaxies, so on the grounds of parsimony why should this explanation not be preferred over the alternative, which is either a cosmological constant of unknown origin or a "dark energy" which lies completely beyond scientific enquiry?

uwot
Posts: 4370
Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2012 7:21 am

Re: Gravity, Time and Leibniz.

Post by uwot » Sun Jul 05, 2015 9:53 pm

Obvious Leo wrote:It has now been over a hundred years since Minkowski concocted the 4D manifold and no evidence of its physicality has yet been produced.
That's the irony: physics is not dependent on physical realism. It works perfectly well with just the phenomenal evidence.
Obvious Leo wrote:According to the logical positivist doctrine which underpins physics empty space can expand and contract and bend and twist and curve.
I can't see what logical positivism has to do with it, 'spacetime' is a mathematical model. A strict interpretation of logical positivism makes talking about spacetime meaningless.
Obvious Leo wrote:Since the Michelson-Morley experiment quite definitively ruled out the myth of the luminiferous aether
Which was based on the classical, Newtonian concept of 'absolute' space. Relativistic aether is yet to be ruled out.
Obvious Leo wrote:then no explanation exists to account for how an entity with no physical properties can perform these miraculous feats.
Well, if you take GR literally, it is a dualist hypothesis. There is matter and spacetime that somehow interact, basically, the presence of matter warps spacetime, but there is no suggestion of a mechanism.
Obvious Leo wrote:As empty space expands does it just thin itself out a bit or do new bits of space come into existence to fill in the gaps?
The Steady State model died with Fred Hoyle, for all practical purposes. Thinning out is equivalent to the increase in entropy, in my view.
Obvious Leo wrote:What is space expanding into?
What would stop it expanding if there is nothing there?
Obvious Leo wrote:These are legitimate questions which physics is utterly unable to answer and once again Occam economy offers a far simpler explanation for the so-called "expanding" universe. Instead of expanding our universe is simply aging, just like the rest of us.
So are you postulating a universe that was 'born' a particular size, the one it has now, at some point in the past. Ever since Newton, it has been realised that any such model needs to explain why it doesn't collapse under gravity.
Obvious Leo wrote:Since GR demands that it ages more quickly between galaxies than it does within them
How so?
Obvious Leo wrote:then the observer observes this phenomenon as the galaxies moving away from each other.
The observer observes the light from galaxies being 'red-shifted'. The Doppler effect, which is easily understood and demonstrable in laboratory conditions, accounts for that very well. Since you have brought up Occam's Razor, you presumably understand that you need a powerful argument to introduce other explanations.
Obvious Leo wrote:This explanation even accounts for the fact that this apparent "expansion" appears to be accelerating in the case of distant galaxies, so on the grounds of parsimony why should this explanation not be preferred over the alternative, which is either a cosmological constant of unknown origin or a "dark energy" which lies completely beyond scientific enquiry?
The 'cosmological constant' is just the name given to the force Einstein assumed necessary to push galaxies apart and keep them from being dragged together by gravity. It wasn't his finest moment and he knew it, calling it the greatest blunder of his career. Similalarly, 'dark energy' is just the name given to the force that appears to be pushing galaxies apart, causing them to accelerate. We can measure that acceleration, again thanks to Doppler, and thereby work out the strength of the force in a scientific way, even though we don't know the cause. It's the same with gravity; we understand the strength of the force very well, but just as with dark energy, we don't know what causes it.

Obvious Leo
Posts: 4007
Joined: Wed May 13, 2015 1:05 am
Location: Australia

Re: Gravity, Time and Leibniz.

Post by Obvious Leo » Sun Jul 05, 2015 11:27 pm

uwot wrote:That's the irony: physics is not dependent on physical realism. It works perfectly well with just the phenomenal evidence.
At no stage have I suggested that physics doesn't work. In fact modern physics is effectively defined as "what works" and I have no problem with it. This was essentially Niels Bohr's point after the 1927 Solvay conference when he offered this statement as the only workable methodology for physics.

"It is NOT the role of the physicist to explain what the universe is but merely to determine what he can meaningfully say about its behaviour".

If only those who followed in Bohr's footsteps had paid closer attention to his words then logical positivism would never have gained a foothold as the underpinning ideology of this non-science. Nowadays "physics is what works" is more often translated as "shut up and calculate". IF ONLY THEY WOULD!!!
uwot wrote: I can't see what logical positivism has to do with it, 'spacetime' is a mathematical model.
You and I may be able to see this but very few physicists are able to make a distinction between a physical model and the mathematical representation of a physical model. You can pick up practically any text on GR that you like and see references to a "curved space" throughout it, as if such a thing actually physically exists. Likewise you can pick up any text on QM and find continuous references to "random" events occurring at the sub-atomic scale, as if randomness and unpredictability were synonymous constructs.
uwot wrote:Relativistic aether is yet to be ruled out.
Einstein spoke of a relativistic aether and a few diehards still cling to the idea but it is a metaphysically ludicrous notion. Empty space has no physical properties and thus cannot be said to physically exist. Surely the burden of proof lies with those who would claim otherwise.
uwot wrote: there is no suggestion of a mechanism.
This my exact point. GR is every bit as much an action-at-a distance model as was Newton's model for gravity, a point which Einstein stressed throughout his life. GR cannot possibly be mechanical because the 4D manifold is not physical. What could be more blindingly obvious than that?
uwot wrote: Obvious Leo wrote:
As empty space expands does it just thin itself out a bit or do new bits of space come into existence to fill in the gaps?


The Steady State model died with Fred Hoyle, for all practical purposes. Thinning out is equivalent to the increase in entropy, in my view.

Obvious Leo wrote:
What is space expanding into?


What would stop it expanding if there is nothing there?
You seem to have grasped my point about the sheer metaphysical stupidity of assigning physical attributes to a mathematical object. If you're standing at the roadside and watching a car driving away from you do you think of the space between you and the car as physically expanding? This is an exact analogy of what spacetime physics does.
uwot wrote: So are you postulating a universe that was 'born' a particular size,
Absolutely NOT. The notion of "size" has no meaning in a universe with no spatial extension. In my philosophy the universe is not a place at all. It is an EVENT which the observer observes as a place. Incidentally this non-Newtonian world-view is consistent with most of the major philosophical schools in history and is also confirmed by modern neuroscience.
uwot wrote: Obvious Leo wrote:
Since GR demands that it ages more quickly between galaxies than it does within them


How so?
A simple conclusion drawn from the inversely logarithmic relationship between gravity and time, a relationship which has been conclusively proven time and time again. Time passes more quickly in intergalactic "space" than it does within a gravitationally bound galaxy, which means that a distant galaxy is indeed moving away from us in time. However to an observer this is seen as an "expanding space". Incidentally this also occurs within galaxies and even within our own solar system, although the effect is far less pronounced. Time passes more quickly between the moon and the earth than it does on either body which means that the moon is moving away from the earth in time. Once again the observer observes this as an "expanding space" and the rate of this expansion has actually been calculated within the spacetime framework at 4cm/year. The mathematics for this calculation is not for the fainthearted but it derives from Emmy Noether's laws regarding the conservation of angular momentum, which is a fucking complicated way of going about it but "it works". The gravity/time asymmetry of GR produces the same result with far easier sums.
uwot wrote:The observer observes the light from galaxies being 'red-shifted'. The Doppler effect, which is easily understood and demonstrable in laboratory conditions, accounts for that very well. Since you have brought up Occam's Razor, you presumably understand that you need a powerful argument to introduce other explanations.
I'm not the one with the burden of proof here, mate. Spacetime physics is postulating the existence of an unnecessary variable, namely 3-dimensional space. The red-shifting can be perfectly adequately explained in terms of motion in time alone so the 3D space is a superfluous embellishment which can be merely dismissed as an observer effect. This might all sound a bit weird to you and I don't deny that it's a rather confronting idea but it's by no means an original one. The Persian philosopher/mathematicians were onto this a thousand years ago and Leibniz was adamant about it. What I'm having difficulty with here is getting people to take me absolutely literally because those with some schooling in physics are only familiar with the phenomenological metaphors of the mathematical models. I'm talking about the ding und sich which underpins the epistemology.

THREE DIMENSIONAL SPACE IS AN ARTEFACT OF HUMAN CONSCIOUSNESS AND NOT A PHYSICAL PROPERTY OF THE UNIVERSE.

Newton was wrong and Leibniz was right and the Leibnizian perspective makes all the paradoxes and counter-intuitive absurdities in physics simply vanish into the luminiferous aether which gave birth to them.

uwot wrote:The 'cosmological constant' is just the name given to the force Einstein assumed necessary to push galaxies apart and keep them from being dragged together by gravity.
The mathematical constants in physics are simply the sticky tape and string derived from observation which holds the fragile house of cards intact but of all the various constants used in physics the one that presents the wordsmith with the most fertile comedic opportunity is the cosmological constant. Albert Camus would have loved it and Kurt Vonnegut would have had a ball with it if he’d had any interest in physics, because the cosmological constant is strictly for absurdists. This constant was first invented by Einstein to account for the fact that the universe wasn’t “expanding”. Some years later Edwin Hubble discovered that the universe was in fact “expanding” so Albert had to chuck his constant in the bin, calling it his biggest blunder in physics. (No it wasn’t, mate, you made far bigger ones.) Yet further down the track it was discovered that the universe wasn’t “expanding” at a constant rate but rather at an accelerating rate. Oh Shit! Out came the very same cosmological constant from the dusty attic and they simply shoved it back in. Problem solved. They could use exactly the same constant to explain why the universe is “expanding” as well as to explain why it isn’t. If it wasn’t so hilarious you’d have to slash your wrists.
uwot wrote:the same with gravity; we understand the strength of the force very well, but just as with dark energy, we don't know what causes it.
Wrong wrong wrong. Gravity is not a force. Gravity is simply an alternative expression of time and it is a fundamental property of physical reality from which all the observed "forces" are EMERGENT.

Obvious Leo
Posts: 4007
Joined: Wed May 13, 2015 1:05 am
Location: Australia

Re: Gravity, Time and Leibniz.

Post by Obvious Leo » Mon Jul 06, 2015 12:59 am

By the way, uwot. You neglected to offer an answer to the titular question presented in my OP. It is an inescapable fact that relative to a distant observer light slows down when traversing an intervening gravitational "field". It is also an inescapable fact that when light slows down this appears to the observer as if the light were bending, as the stick in the water experiment shows. On the grounds of Occam economy why is this not a preferred explanation for gravitational lensing, since it is a completely mechanical explanation for gravity and it doesn't require us to contemplate the metaphysical abomination of a "curved space"?

uwot
Posts: 4370
Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2012 7:21 am

Re: Gravity, Time and Leibniz.

Post by uwot » Tue Jul 07, 2015 7:49 am

Obvious Leo wrote:Empty space has no physical properties and thus cannot be said to physically exist. Surely the burden of proof lies with those who would claim otherwise.
The thing is, even in apparently empty space, matter is subject to fields of influence. Unless those forces act by magic, empty space does have physical properties.
Obvious Leo wrote:Absolutely NOT. The notion of "size" has no meaning in a universe with no spatial extension. In my philosophy the universe is not a place at all. It is an EVENT which the observer observes as a place.
So are all observers (assuming this isn't solipsism) in the same non extended place?
Obvious Leo wrote:Time passes more quickly in intergalactic "space" than it does within a gravitationally bound galaxy, which means that a distant galaxy is indeed moving away from us in time.
So how do you get "intergalatic "space"" without extension?
Why does the faster passage of time, through non extended space manifest as red-shift?
Aren't you using a Cartesian concept of spatial dimensions to describe time here?
Obvious Leo wrote:However to an observer this is seen as an "expanding space". Incidentally this also occurs within galaxies and even within our own solar system, although the effect is far less pronounced.
The gravitational dilation of time has been demonstrated in clocks separated by a few inches and found to agree with General Relativity, but I take your point: that doesn't prove that spacetime has the physical properties described by GR.
Obvious Leo wrote:THREE DIMENSIONAL SPACE IS AN ARTEFACT OF HUMAN CONSCIOUSNESS AND NOT A PHYSICAL PROPERTY OF THE UNIVERSE.
Only if you take it to be a substance. Very few jobbing physicists would commit themselves to such an ontology; personally, I think the stuff of the universe is a substance, but then, I'm not a physicist.
Obvious Leo wrote:
uwot wrote:the same with gravity; we understand the strength of the force very well, but just as with dark energy, we don't know what causes it.
Wrong wrong wrong. Gravity is not a force.
Whatever the cause of gravity, and I have made the point regularly that it is irrelevent for the purposes of science, there is demonstrably a force that you measure every time you get on your bathroom scales. Whether it's because of the passage of time, or any other agency, the dial spins.
Obvious Leo wrote:Gravity is simply an alternative expression of time and it is a fundamental property of physical reality from which all the observed "forces" are EMERGENT.
So are there any other expressions of time that have yet to be discovered, or are you just telling about what we already know?

surreptitious57
Posts: 3517
Joined: Fri Oct 25, 2013 6:09 am

Re: Gravity, Time and Leibniz.

Post by surreptitious57 » Tue Jul 07, 2015 9:19 am

Photons are timeless so do not experience time. And so the notion of light slowing down is false since speed can only
be measured in relation to time. It is only external observers like our selves who think that light experiences time. It
travels through time but it does not experience it as such. If you were a photon you would have zero concept of time

The three spatial dimensions are not a human construct but actual reality. With four or more spatial dimensions atoms
would be unstable and galaxies could not form. With two or less spatial dimensions gravity would not be attractive. So
the only universe in which you can exist is therefore one of three spatial dimensions [ and of one temporal dimension ]

Obvious Leo
Posts: 4007
Joined: Wed May 13, 2015 1:05 am
Location: Australia

Re: Gravity, Time and Leibniz.

Post by Obvious Leo » Tue Jul 07, 2015 10:30 pm

surreptitious57 wrote: The three spatial dimensions are not a human construct but actual reality.
Refuting what I say by saying what I refute does not constitute an argument. No argument exists to support this claim and Leibniz's refutation of it in his Principle of Sufficient Reason underpins all of science. It is also refuted by almost every school in the philosophy of mathematics You'll have to try a bit harder.
surreptitious57 wrote:With four or more spatial dimensions atoms
would be unstable and galaxies could not form. With two or less spatial dimensions gravity would not be attractive. So
the only universe in which you can exist is therefore one of three spatial dimensions [ and of one temporal dimension ]
"Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent",....Ludwig Wittgenstein.

In Minkowski's 4D manifold time IS a spatial dimension, a simple fact which no physicist will attempt to deny, which means you've got this statement completely arse-about.
surreptitious57 wrote:Photons are timeless so do not experience time. And so the notion of light slowing down is false since speed can only
be measured in relation to time. It is only external observers like our selves who think that light experiences time. It
travels through time but it does not experience it as such. If you were a photon you would have zero concept of time
In the metaphysical absurdity that is spacetime it is NOT time that ceases to exist in the referential frame of the photon. It is space which ceases to exist because it contracts to zero whilst time dilates to infinity. In other words to the photon surfer the universe does not exist. However it might be worth remembering that when equations in physics produce infinity as a solution the physicist knows perfectly well that he's got something WRONG because in accordance with Cantorian set theory an infinite quantity cannot be contained within a finite set. Infinity in physics is just a polite word for "fuck-up", and physicists have invented literally hundreds of mathematical constants to eliminate infinities from their equations. The origin of these constants lies beyond explanation because they are simply derived from observation and are therefore tautologous. This is common knowledge.
uwot wrote:The thing is, even in apparently empty space, matter is subject to fields of influence. Unless those forces act by magic, empty space does have physical properties.
Not so. You invoke magic yourself when you speak of "fields of influence" without a physical aether. Kant would say that your cognition of your object is merely confirming your cognition of your object, which is insufficient for truth. Einstein understood this perfectly well when he defined his geometric aether as spooky action at a distance. Ascribing physical properties to empty space without offering a mechanism for how those properties are manifest is not science, as the pioneers of early 20th century physics very well knew. This is why Bohr urged his brethren to simply "shut up and calculate", but sadly Niels' cautionary warning nowadays goes unheeded by many who refuse to accept that spacetime is merely a metaphor for a deeper and far simpler cosmological model.
uwot wrote: So are all observers (assuming this isn't solipsism) in the same non extended place?
The notion of "place" has no meaning in a spaceless universe, which means all the questions of locality and non-locality in QM are merely epistemic observer constructs. All matter and energy exist in the time dimension only but this time dimension is actually a fractal continuum of time and gravity interwoven all the way down to the Planck scale.
uwot wrote:So how do you get "intergalatic "space"" without extension?
Why does the faster passage of time, through non extended space manifest as red-shift?
Aren't you using a Cartesian concept of spatial dimensions to describe time here?
It's not easy to eradicate all of our familiar spatial representations from the language without making any explanation unnecessarily cumbersome. However there is a fairly simple way to think this through. Physics is all about modelling observations so think about what the observer is doing when he looks at a distant star, for instance. Is he looking at an object which is actually "out there"? The answer is NO. He is looking at an object which USED TO BE "out there" and in fact the observer can make no meaningful statement about where this object currently is, or even if it still exists. The observer is spatialising time, which is exactly what Minkowski did with his 4D manifold. In metaphysics it is simply not kosher to ascribe an ontological status to a space which no longer exists and once again it was Einstein who revealed the absurdity of this when he said "Bullshit, the moon is still out there whether somebody is observing it or not". QM unequivocally requires that the moon only exists if somebody is observing it and this conclusion is mathematically unshakeable. The fact that this proposition makes no sense is regarded as a trivial inconvenience in physics but alas no philosopher worthy of the name will buy it. However the explanation for this paradox is so childishly simple that it absolutely cannot be false. YES. The moon is still "out there" whether somebody is observing it or not but the space between the observer and the moon is the property of the consciousness of the observer. Every other paradox and counter-intuitive absurdity in QM simply vanishes when the same reasoning is applied.
uwot wrote:The gravitational dilation of time has been demonstrated in clocks separated by a few inches and found to agree with General Relativity, but I take your point: that doesn't prove that spacetime has the physical properties described by GR.
This is the central point of my entire philosophy and I'm glad you've got a hint of where I'm coming from. In fact the latest caesium clock is able to distinguish differences in the speed of time between objects placed only 1 cm apart. This clock can measure time intervals to eleven decimal places of a second but it is a sundial compared with Superman's clock which can separate time intervals on the Planck scale which is 44 decimal places of a second. Superman's clock tells us that time passes more quickly on the electron than it does on the nucleus it "orbits", and in fact it tells us that every single matter particle in the universe can be said to exist only in its own time zone, which means that the relativity of simultaneity is nothing more than a mathematical convenience and at best an approximate one at that. This is quantum gravity.
uwot wrote:Only if you take it to be a substance. Very few jobbing physicists would commit themselves to such an ontology; personally, I think the stuff of the universe is a substance, but then, I'm not a physicist.
The fashion has waxed and waned for the past century but by and large the spacetime "foam" ontology for a quantised space has fallen by the wayside. The simple truth is that space cannot be quantised because it ain't bloody physical, but time can be easily quantised because a quantum interval of time can easily be defined as the shortest possible interval of time within which we can meaningfully say that something has actually happened. Obviously the absolute duration of this interval is entirely determined by gravity all the way down to the Planck scale and the fact that this duration is not measurable in any inertial frame is irrelevant.
uwot wrote: Whatever the cause of gravity, and I have made the point regularly that it is irrelevent for the purposes of science,
Agreed by me and all physicists as well. Nobody seriously thinks that gravity is something which is caused. Gravity can only be understood as a fundamental property of physical reality which is a causER and not a causEE. Since gravity is simply an expression of time and since time is simply synonymous with change this offers us a very profound unification in physics. Time, change, gravity and causation simply become different modes of expression for the same phenomenon.
uwot wrote:there is demonstrably a force that you measure every time you get on your bathroom scales.
This is not a real force but only an apparent force as Einstein pointed out with his acceleration/gravity equivalence principle. In fact to be strictly precise the weight you measure when you step on your scales is not a function of you pressing down on the scales but a function of the scales pressing up against your feet. However this is a trivial point which is more likely to confuse the layman than explain anything. However no physicist can deny that you remain bound to the surface of the earth because time passes more quickly at your head than it does at your feet. The differential is minute but then again gravity is a very weak "force".
uwot wrote:So are there any other expressions of time that have yet to be discovered, or are you just telling about what we already know?
My entire philosophy is all about what we already know. I don't dispute any of the claims of physics but merely offer a different way of thinking about these claims and this leads to a way of thinking the world which is blindingly obvious. This is the intuitive universe which a child could understand because I define reality as a PROCESS. Look around you and think about what you see. You are an observer continuously coming into existence observing a universe which is likewise CONTINUOUSLY COMING INTO EXISTENCE. This world-view is consistent with every major philosophy in human history and yet physics continues to deny it. Reality is that which is BEING MADE and the speed at which it is being made is the speed of light.

"It should be possible to explain the universe to a barmaid"....Albert Einstein

"The universe will ultimately reveal itself to be an entity of the most sublime austerity"...John Archibald Wheeler

The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.

From “The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam”

uwot
Posts: 4370
Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2012 7:21 am

Re: Gravity, Time and Leibniz.

Post by uwot » Wed Jul 08, 2015 2:04 pm

Sorry, Obvious Leo, I missed this bit earlier:
Obvious Leo wrote:By the way, uwot. You neglected to offer an answer to the titular question presented in my OP. It is an inescapable fact that relative to a distant observer light slows down when traversing an intervening gravitational "field". It is also an inescapable fact that when light slows down this appears to the observer as if the light were bending, as the stick in the water experiment shows. On the grounds of Occam economy why is this not a preferred explanation for gravitational lensing, since it is a completely mechanical explanation for gravity and it doesn't require us to contemplate the metaphysical abomination of a "curved space"?
The distant observer won't see the light "traversing an intervening gravitational "field"", it is the nature of the stuff that you can only see it when it hits you. When it does, you will measure it at its regular velocity, depending on the medium it is travelling through: c, if you happen to be in a vacuum, which is bad news for you; or slightly less than c in air, as predicted by SR and observed many times since. You will see the effects of light being 'bent', stars appearing where they're not meant to be, as in Arthur Eddington's evidence for GR, or as you say a stick in water. Those effects are indistinguishable from refraction.
I'm not sure we aren't saying exactly equivalent things, but as a mechanical explanation, my 'philosophy' goes back to the Pre-Socratics. To me, the interesting question is not how the universe works, but what it is made of. My guess is that it is something 'aether' like, for want of a better word; some substance that gives rise to all the propeties that physics brilliantly describes. Assuming the Big Bang is a reasonable account of what happened, then we have a substance that has a mind boggling capacity for either expansion or rarefaction. I think there are two basic models: one is the Magic Porridge pot; the stuff just keeps coming indefinitely, or a tightly wound spring that some idiot let go nuts (an idiot is not strictly necessary). In either case, I think Kelvins notion of 'knots' in the medium, whirlpools or eddies, perhaps, is a good analogy for fermions, while waves do for bosons, though they are more likely to be described as excitations or perturbations in quantum fields these days.
Energy, ultimately, is this expansion/unwinding, but as matter is accretions of this stuff, where there is a lot of matter, the medium is denser and diminishes with distance, roughly in line with an inverse square law. Waves travelling through this denser medium are refracted like any other; so too matter, but as the constituents of atoms are tumbling over each other, they are refracted as they pass from left to right, and again as they go right to left. The net force is towards the source of the denser field.
On that basis, 'gravity' is a localised phenomenon and at a certain point the repulsive force which drives the expansion overcomes the effects of refraction and the 'force' becomes a push, a bit like 'dark energy'. If any of the above is a fair description of our universe, then 'gravity' should be greater at the equator than the poles to a degree that can't be accounted for by the oblateness; some stars will be more out of place than others.
Anyway, I'll get back to your more recent posting a bit later.

surreptitious57, if you're reading check this out: http://www.willibouwman.blogspot.co.uk/ ... ou-go.html . Hopefully, it will help you understand why 'time' slows down, at least with motion. I haven't got round to gravitational effects yet.

Obvious Leo
Posts: 4007
Joined: Wed May 13, 2015 1:05 am
Location: Australia

Re: Gravity, Time and Leibniz.

Post by Obvious Leo » Thu Jul 09, 2015 1:04 am

That time slows down in a gravitational field is beyond doubt but what seems to be being misunderstood here is that if time slows down then the speed of light must slow down accordingly because the speed of light is observed to be a constant, AS MEASURED LOCALLY. No matter whereabouts in the universe you choose to measure the speed of light it will always be 300 million metres/sec but a second is a variable time interval all the way down to the Planck scale. The second is defined as the length of time it takes a caesium atom in a caesium clock to swing between states 9,192,631,770 times. It doesn't matter if you put this clock into a black hole or if you leave it out in the inter-galactic wilderness because the caesium atom will still swing between states the same number of times, AS MEASURED LOCALLY. Surely the significance of this is self-evident because it means that the speed of light and the speed of time are exactly the same thing and this speed is the most inconstant speed in the universe. This is a perfectly straightforward conclusion from GR which has been empirically validated countless times and yet SR and QM are models predicated on precisely the opposite assumption. No wonder these fucking models contradict each other.

uwot
Posts: 4370
Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2012 7:21 am

Re: Gravity, Time and Leibniz.

Post by uwot » Thu Jul 09, 2015 7:57 am

The speed of light is c in a vacuum. The refractive index of any given material will tell you how fast light travels through it. The point I make in the cartoon ( http://www.willibouwman.blogspot.co.uk/ ... ou-go.html ) is that the conditions for a light clock are the same as every other atom in any inertial frame, including any caesium atoms whose vibrations you are counting. Time doesn't slow down, it just takes longer for things to happen if you are moving, because the causative agents, photons for example, have to travel further. If you happen to be travelling at c (you won't be) then the photons can't cause anything, as they are going full pelt just keeping up: nothing happens; changes stop; 'time' stops. Similarly with gravity: if you take my splendid description, then the refractive index of spacetime/big bang stuff varies according to the density. In effect light travels through the same amount of space in a given time, but it takes longer to travel a given distance in a stronger gravitational field, because there is more 'space' between the two points. In both cases the local conditions determine how far photons and whatnot have to go and therefore, how long it takes stuff to happen.

Obvious Leo
Posts: 4007
Joined: Wed May 13, 2015 1:05 am
Location: Australia

Re: Gravity, Time and Leibniz.

Post by Obvious Leo » Thu Jul 09, 2015 9:03 am

uwot wrote:The speed of light is c in a vacuum. The refractive index of any given material will tell you how fast light travels through it. The point I make in the cartoon ( http://www.willibouwman.blogspot.co.uk/ ... ou-go.html ) is that the conditions for a light clock are the same as every other atom in any inertial frame, including any caesium atoms whose vibrations you are counting. Time doesn't slow down, it just takes longer for things to happen if you are moving, because the causative agents, photons for example, have to travel further. If you happen to be travelling at c (you won't be) then the photons can't cause anything, as they are going full pelt just keeping up: nothing happens; changes stop; 'time' stops. Similarly with gravity: if you take my splendid description, then the refractive index of spacetime/big bang stuff varies according to the density. In effect light travels through the same amount of space in a given time, but it takes longer to travel a given distance in a stronger gravitational field, because there is more 'space' between the two points. In both cases the local conditions determine how far photons and whatnot have to go and therefore, how long it takes stuff to happen.
Why such a complicated and non-physical explanation when a far simpler and physical one is to hand? If time slows down then EVERYTHING slows down accordingly. Why should this explanation not be preferred since it makes every single paradox and counter-intuitive absurdity in the current models of physics simply vanish? Getting rid of 3D space is a small price to pay since barely a single philosopher in the history of human knowledge ever accepted it as physical in the first place.

uwot
Posts: 4370
Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2012 7:21 am

Re: Gravity, Time and Leibniz.

Post by uwot » Thu Jul 09, 2015 1:22 pm

Obvious Leo wrote:Why such a complicated and non-physical explanation when a far simpler and physical one is to hand?
It is a physical explanation. I'm one of those odd creatures that suspects the universe is actually made of something. If you interpret the evidence suggesting a Big Bang in a particular way, ie that it started 'dimensionless', then it is a single substance. Couldn't be simpler
Obvious Leo wrote:If time slows down then EVERYTHING slows down accordingly. Why should this explanation not be preferred since it makes every single paradox and counter-intuitive absurdity in the current models of physics simply vanish?
Because it is a dualist explanation and then you have to explain how time and the physical universe interact. You say you describe the universe as an event; I can go with that, I'm just suggesting that it is happening to something.
Obvious Leo wrote:Getting rid of 3D space is a small price to pay since barely a single philosopher in the history of human knowledge ever accepted it as physical in the first place.
And chuck out time as independent of events while you're at it.

Obvious Leo
Posts: 4007
Joined: Wed May 13, 2015 1:05 am
Location: Australia

Re: Gravity, Time and Leibniz.

Post by Obvious Leo » Thu Jul 09, 2015 1:40 pm

uwot wrote:And chuck out time as independent of events while you're at it.
How could time be independent of events? What possible metaphysical meaning could be attached to a time interval in which nothing occurs?
uwot wrote:You say you describe the universe as an event; I can go with that, I'm just suggesting that it is happening to something.
Of course it's happening to something. Einstein's mass/energy equivalence principle defines physicality as an energy density map so the universe as an event is simply the journey of energy through time.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests