Relativity?

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

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ken
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Re: Relativity?

Post by ken »

davidm wrote: Thu Dec 14, 2017 1:30 am I don't know why these people go on with this stuff. I think that I, uwot, Noax, and others have made clear that we do not regard theories as definitive truths. So what is the argument?
You, and others, propose things as definitive truths.
You, and others, do NOT know if those things are definitely true.
Therefore, what you, and others, propose are NOT, yet, definitive truths.
davidm wrote: Thu Dec 14, 2017 1:30 amIn the case of Ken, he has promised a TOE that is a definitive truth. But he never produces it.
Can you, will you, show the ACTUAL post where I, supposedly, PROMISED a theory of everything? And, which is a theory of everything that is, supposedly, a definitive truth?
Last edited by ken on Fri Dec 22, 2017 2:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Noax
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Re: Relativity?

Post by Noax »

davidm wrote: Fri Dec 22, 2017 12:20 am For any who might be interested in discussing the philosophy of relativity theory and of spacetime, here might be a springboard for that discussion.
Thank you for that link. All kinds of good fodder for discussion.
I picked a bit at this question since it comes up in this thread: What exactly is space-time? Is it something we can touch? How does it bend and interact with mass?

In it there is a reference to Minkowski's arguments http://www.minkowskiinstitute.org/MinkowskiProof.html for the reality of 4-D spacetime, a wonderful short piece (author unspecified) summarizing the issue. I'll quote a bit from it:

"What is presently adopted is only Minkowski's four-dimensional mathematical formalism of spacetime, but not the reality of what this formalism represents."

I am interested in the necessity of the reality of something beyond just a mathematical model. It seems that this would be a philosophical point yet Minkowski says that experiments would be impossible if spacetime where not really 4D.

But the proof goes on to demonstrate that a 3D world would not work. That seems to be no proof that the world is 4D, but merely proof that it is not 3D. The mathematical model the physicists use, not being one of a 3D world, works. What if there was no real space at all? Then spacetime would be unreal with it, the model would be 4D, and experimentation would work. Maybe I'm not getting some critical piece of the argument.

Quite interestingly, the page I link above references the thing I mentioned way back that a relativistic experiment is performed every second. I would not have been able to produce a link if asked, but here I stumble on something that makes the same claim I did.
Londoner
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Re: Relativity?

Post by Londoner »

ken wrote: Fri Dec 22, 2017 2:01 pm
You, and others, propose things as definitive truths.
You, and others, do NOT know if those things are definitely true.
Therefore, what you, and others, propose are NOT, yet, definitive truths.
They describe phenomena, our experiences. The description is considered 'true' if it matches other peoples' experiences.

It is not a claim of truth in any metaphysical sense. It is not a claim that this must be the case or a claim to know why it is the case.

We assume certain things, for example that 'like causes produce like effects' i.e. there appears to be a regularity in phenomena. But again this arises simply from shared observation of correlations in phenomena, it is not a suggestion of some separate entity, 'the cause', that controls phenomena. There might be such a thing, but since we can only deal with phenomena we can never know it. All we note is the observed correlation.

Science is restricted to the observable and the measurable. If your understanding of 'definitive truths' is of something more than this, you are mistaken to think relativity etc. is such a claim.
ken
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Re: Relativity?

Post by ken »

davidm wrote: Thu Dec 14, 2017 12:29 am
uwot wrote: Wed Dec 13, 2017 11:12 pmWhat we know is that processes happen less frequently the greater the speed, and/or the stronger the gravitational field. We know that, because we can see it. What we don't know, is the mechanism that causes it.
I guess, at the risk of giving some here the chance to cackle that relativity defenders can’t agree among themselves...
What do you mean by 'cackle', here?

The fact that most people do not agree about most things is nothing unusual, so the fact that you four will NOT agree on ALL aspects in this discussion about 'relativity' is NOT unusual AT ALL.
uwot wrote: Thu Dec 14, 2017 9:52 amFuck 'em.
Is that a good argument or point, which was based on solid logical reasoning?

uwot wrote: Thu Dec 14, 2017 9:52 amThe point I've been trying to make is that we agree that clocks, and all other physical processes, slow down the faster the 'frame' they are in is moving and/or the stronger the gravitational well it is in.
That point, which you have been trying to make, is obvious, and has always been noticed, by some of us. Nothing to disagree with there.

uwot wrote: Thu Dec 14, 2017 9:52 amI would suggest that part of the reason we agree, is that we are familiar with the results of experiments and observations that demonstrate, beyond any doubt, that is what happens.
Does believing that some thing is what happens, which to you has already been demonstrated, beyond ANY doubt, mean that you are at all open to the fact that this maybe is NOT what actually happens?

If so, then great.

If not, then great also.

Your honest answer is all I am seeking.

uwot wrote: Thu Dec 14, 2017 9:52 am It is only the real headbangers who insist that every test that demonstrates time dilation is wrong, or that everyone who reports such a test is part of a conspiracy or deluded mob.
Do you think there is any one here in this thread that insists that every test that demonstrates time dilation is wrong, or that every one who reports such a test is part of a conspiracy or deluded mob? If so, then will you name the ones you think are the "real headbangers"?


uwot wrote: Thu Dec 14, 2017 9:52 amWe also agree that relativity quantifies that dilation to a very high degree of accuracy, for the simple reason that it demonstrably does.


If it has been demonstrated, beyond ANY doubt, then there is nothing that could be disagreed with or disputed here. But why the necessity to talk about it? One could make the suggestion that you are sounding like one of the mob that insisted that the sun revolves around the earth, because it has been demonstrated, beyond ANY doubt, for the simple reason that it demonstrably does. Just look at what happens (by what the sun demonstrably does), and you will see the demonstrable truth, some of them might say.

uwot wrote: Thu Dec 14, 2017 9:52 am
davidm wrote: Thu Dec 14, 2017 12:29 am...I would have to disagree with this.
We can disagree about the mechanism all day long; it makes no difference to the fact that we accept the findings of experiments and the efficacy of the mathematical treatment.


But the point made was NOT about that you four agreed on some points. The point made, through questioning, was, Do you four all agree on ALL points regarding relativity?

uwot wrote: Thu Dec 14, 2017 9:52 am
davidm wrote: Thu Dec 14, 2017 12:29 amWe do know the mechanism that drives time dilation. Your yourself have explained it.

It’s the invariance of the speed of light.
That's not actually how I have explained it. I have made the point that the speed of light, as treated in special relativity, is invariant only in an idealised vacuum that we know does not exist, at least not in our universe.
How do you KNOW that a true vacuum does not exist?

What or who do you mean by 'our' when you say, "in our universe"?

And, what is the relationship between 'our' and 'universe'?

When you attempt to speak for 'we', who is the 'we' that you are trying to speak for?
Londoner
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Re: Relativity?

Post by Londoner »

ken wrote: Fri Dec 22, 2017 2:47 pm
Does believing that some thing is what happens, which to you has already been demonstrated, beyond ANY doubt, mean that you are at all open to the fact that this maybe is NOT what actually happens?

If so, then great.

If not, then great also.

Your honest answer is all I am seeking.
'Doubt' is a psychological state. One can doubt anything.

Is there anything you would consider 'beyond ANY doubt'?

If not, if your position is one of skepticism, then I don't see why you take such a particular interest in relativity since you would feel the same about every claim to knowledge.
davidm
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Re: Relativity?

Post by davidm »

ken wrote: Fri Dec 22, 2017 8:53 am
davidm wrote: Wed Dec 13, 2017 11:41 pm:

P1. Hitler was a vegetarian.

P2. But Hitler was a bad man.

C. Therefore, vegetarianism is bad.
Is that, to you, really an ad hominem?
Yes, Ken, that's really an ad hom. That specifically is what an ad hom is -- that some argument is wrong because of a personal characteristic of one making the argument. :?

davidm wrote: Wed Dec 13, 2017 11:41 pmInsult:

Hitler was a bad man.
Is that, to you, really an insult?
Yes, Ken, that's an insult. :?
davidm
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Re: Relativity?

Post by davidm »

ken wrote: Fri Dec 22, 2017 7:48 am
Do you expect the theory of special relativity is a FAlSE theory?
It has always been a false theory, just not for the reasons that you think. Newtonian mechanics, quantum mechanics and general relativity are also false theories, just not for the reasons that you think.
surreptitious57
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Re: Relativity?

Post by surreptitious57 »

Theories are not true in any objective sense only a provisional one because they
are based upon evidence that is not absolute and so can at any time be falsified

Newtons Universal Theory Of Gravitation went unchallenged for over two centuries before Einstein developed General Relativity
General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics are the two greatest achievements of twentieth century physics yet are incompatible

So here are two examples of theories not being absolutely true but merely the most accurate approximation of their time
And that is why theories can never be regarded as facts because then they would not be capable of potential falsification
Although the more robust that a theory becomes over time then the less likely it can be falsified but it is always possible
surreptitious57
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Re: Relativity?

Post by surreptitious57 »

ken wrote:
You and others propose things as definitive truths
You and others do NOT know if those things are definitely true
Therefore what you and others propose are NOT yet definitive truths
Science is primarily an inductive discipline and so does not reference definitive truth as it deals in falsification not verification
And to possess definitive truth with regard to physical reality would require omniscience
Only deductive disciplines such as mathematics and syllogisms reference definitive truth
However they are abstract rather than real and so therefore omniscience is not required
surreptitious57
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Re: Relativity?

Post by surreptitious57 »

ken wrote:
How do you KNOW that a true vacuum does not exist anywhere
They can exist though only for an infinitesimal period of time because of the manifestation
of quantum fluctuations in empty space [ virtual particles ] due to the Uncertainty Principle
surreptitious57
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Re: Relativity?

Post by surreptitious57 »

ken wrote:
surreptitious57 wrote:
I shall be very interested to see how you try and unite General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics
That is very easy indeed
So can you please demonstrate it as you have not done so since you actually made the claim
I wish to see what knowledge you have to impart that no physicist in the world right now has
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Noax
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Re: Relativity?

Post by Noax »

surreptitious57 wrote: Sat Dec 23, 2017 8:39 am
ken wrote:You and others propose things as definitive truths
You and others do NOT know if those things are definitely true
Therefore what you and others propose are NOT yet definitive truths
Science is primarily an inductive discipline and so does not reference definitive truth as it deals in falsification not verification
And to possess definitive truth with regard to physical reality would require omniscience
Only deductive disciplines such as mathematics and syllogisms reference definitive truth
However they are abstract rather than real and so therefore omniscience is not required
I am trying to identify and break the disconnect that I see going on here. No, we've never claimed any theory to be definitive truth, and if ken is claiming that above (The post, as usual, left 'things' pretty undefined), then he is completely misrepresenting what we're saying.

So Newton's Theory of Gravitation predicted that if twins with identical weight (when in each other's presence) were to separate and one climb to the top of a 500 mile high tower, the one on the tower would weight less there. The theory was eventually falsified, but the prediction of that weight difference never changed, despite nobody actually performing that specific scenario. We seem not to claim that Newton's or Einstein's theory is definitive truth, but that is truth that the twin on the tower will weigh less, despite nobody actually ever having tried specifically that.
So relativity, as it currently stands, is known to be incomplete, but that doesn't mean that the traveler at .999c will not come back with 1/22nd the age change of his brother. That dilation will be true even under whatever theory replaces the current GRT.
surreptitious57
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Re: Relativity?

Post by surreptitious57 »

General Relativity falsified Universal Gravitation when it was used to explain the 43 arc second discrepancy in the orbit of Mercury
But UG can still be used as a reliable theory for objects significantly less massive than planets like balls dropping to the ground for
example. And so just because a theory has been falsified does not mean it is redundant rather that a new one has been discovered
davidm
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Re: Relativity?

Post by davidm »

Noax wrote: Fri Dec 22, 2017 2:02 pm I am interested in the necessity of the reality of something beyond just a mathematical model. It seems that this would be a philosophical point yet Minkowski says that experiments would be impossible if spacetime where not really 4D.
Is there an alternative to the block universe view?

Wherein it is argued, persuasively as far as I can see, that relativity entails that all objects (including humans of course) actually exist at all times and not just at what we call the indexical "present" time. Past and future are ontologically real along with the present.
Belinda
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Re: Relativity?

Post by Belinda »

Noax wrote:
"What is presently adopted is only Minkowski's four-dimensional mathematical formalism of spacetime, but not the reality of what this formalism represents."

I am interested in the necessity of the reality of something beyond just a mathematical model. It seems that this would be a philosophical point yet Minkowski says that experiments would be impossible if spacetime where not really 4D.
I gather that experiments could not exist unless worldlines intersected. That worldlines intersect is a function of time as well as of position, direction, and mass.

"I think therefore I exist" is relevant and true if we dissect out the implication of personal identity. That's to say "there is something going on".

The something that is going on has to be the block existence, the eternal now, because existence is observer-independent by reason of Descartes's method of doubt, with personal identity dissected out of it. Each and every worldline, conscious or not, is individuated by spatial and also temporal quantifications. It is the spatial and temporal quantifications that are mathematical, however the reality of physical reality beyond the mathematical must be the ontological fact without which the mathematical/mental model can't exist.And vice versa.

Besides the mathematical/mental and the mind-independent / physical, it's possible that there are nameless ontologies to which we have no means of access.
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