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Time: is time a concept or a physical force and can we prove the arrow of time

Discuss any topics related to metaphysics (the philosophical study of the principles of reality) or epistemology (the philosophical study of knowledge) in this forum.
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Halc
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Re: Time: is time a concept or a physical force and can we prove the arrow of time

Post by Halc » September 12th, 2018, 9:03 am

David Cooper wrote:
September 11th, 2018, 8:19 pm
(Remember too that this whole thought experiment is only needed to show people that the rules of frames work the way I say they do on one crucial point - that you aren't allowed to pass off frame B measurements of the speed of light relative to objects at rest in frame B as frame A measurements.
As frame A's measurement of what? Speed of light relative to an object at rest in A, or relative to the object at rest in B? I am presuming the latter with this statement:

Relativity does not assert otherwise. The object would be measured as moving in frame A, and thus the measured relative speed in that frame would be dependent on both the measured direction of light and the measured direction of object movement.
That's all it's for, so there shouldn't be any need to spend a lot of time exploring it if you aren't guilty of that crime.
Apparently that's a crime, but SR would only be inconsistent if it asserted that measured relative speeds between objects is not frame dependent. Fancy examples like Sagnac are not necessary. Two rocks have different measured speeds relative to each other in different frames. LET also acknowledges this, but somehow LET is not wrong when it says the same thing.
The way SR is disproved is the way that all the models that are recognised as SR have faults which invalidate them, and Sagnac/MGP's role is in providing proof that my thought experiment is valid, which in turn proves that frames work by the rules I claim of them, which proves that SR generates contradictions which invalidate some models of it (while the remaining SR models are invalidated in other ways).
This rambling sentence asserts faults in SR but doesn't point them out, especially since SR predicts Sagnac effect. Not sure what rule you're talking about. SR would accept the wording you used above, which was labeled a 'crucial point'.
There's no straw man there - there's no point in pretending there's a speed of light involved if it reduces all paths to zero length. There is only a speed of light in 3D models.
You have exhibited pretty much zero understanding of other models. This statement is a classic example. It even denies the straw man accusation as it makes one: that the model "reduces all paths to zero length". You have a picture of the model in your web page, and I notice path lengths are not zero.
Indeed - that is not a contradiction at all. It only becomes a contradiction in cases where a clock is claimed to be ticking faster than another clock that is claimed to be ticking faster than the first and when both are asserted to be true
Again you leave off the frame references when you want to make a point, knowing that it makes your statement sound contradictory instead of just deliberately misleading. SR does not claim what you say. It claims that it will be measured thus in respective frames where each clock is slower than the other. LET asserts the same thing.

What law of logic would be violated by A faster than B relative to one frame, and B faster than A relative to another? Never mind the measurement business. By what valid law of logic is this a contradiction? A you perhaps invoking law of non-contradiction in an invalid way? Or is it something else? You seem to accept an object having different speeds relative to different frames, but a second example has you crying contradiction. This seems like classic confirmation bias. You accept facts that seem to support your view, but find nearly similar facts to be nonsense if you feel it threatens your view. If we really get close to pointing out your errors, then the accusations of 'magic' and 'dogma' come forth. I must be doing something right because I've driven you to that point on a number of occasions.

or where an event is claimed to have happened by one frame and claimed not to have happened yet by another and when both claims are asserted to be true.
No model claims that. This presumes an interpretation where there is a current state of the universe and all events are in exactly one of a category of (happened, happening, and will-happen), and only the happening events are real. Only in this interpretation would it be found contradictory for an event to be in two or all three of those states due to a contradiction with the premise that it is in one one from the list. Yes, in this interpretation, only one probably non-inertial 1) preferred frame coupled with a 2) preferred moment would define the separation of all events into those three categories. I know of no scientific theory that asserts the second premise: that of a preferred moment. It certainly is absent from Lorentz's theories. The theories don't deny it either, but they deny its detectability.

So when I say no valid model claims that, I mean interpretations with the premise of there being a preferred moment do not claim that other events have both happened and not happened. This is why your mode 2 doesn't depict any known valid interpretation since it is contradictory exactly for the reasons you state. Interpretations without the premise of there being a preferred moment do not have a concept of those three states, and any reference to the states is meaningless mixing of models, not contradictory.
You deny that you do this mixing of interpretations, but I'm trying to be quite explicit about pointing out where you very much do.
while all the mis-educators should be told in no uncertain terms that they need to disown SR's metaphysics (the irrational dogma) and stop trying to force it on everyone. I see a major mismatch between the real world in which the dogma is pushed relentlessly and the way you're presenting SR.
Ooohh... I scored two more dogma's! I must be making progress if your argument resorts to this. No invocation of magic? I was hoping to up my count on that one as well.

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Re: Time: is time a concept or a physical force and can we prove the arrow of time

Post by Steve3007 » September 12th, 2018, 9:19 am

Halc wrote:I scored two more dogma's!
Impressive, maybe. But in the reply to my previous post I scored 14 dogmas! Read 'em and weep! :D

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Re: Time: is time a concept or a physical force and can we prove the arrow of time

Post by Eduk » September 12th, 2018, 9:28 am

But in the reply to my previous post I scored 14 dogmas!
I still think my approach was simpler Steve. Misusing the term dogma means an argument is poor so must be defended using Schopenhauer techniques, or the person making the argument is fundamentally illogical to the point that they can't make a logical point, leaving the only chance that they are right down to randomness. Personally I find the argument that I might be randomly correct to be unconvincing (even if technically true).
Unknown means unknown.

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Re: Time: is time a concept or a physical force and can we prove the arrow of time

Post by Steve3007 » September 12th, 2018, 9:39 am

Eduk wrote:Personally I find the argument that I might be randomly correct to be unconvincing (even if technically true).
A stopped clock is right twice a day eh? Although if it's moving relative to another clock ... no let's not go there.

Incidentally, I took the point that I think you were trying to make when you came into this topic, many pages ago now. But I think you came in at an angle that made it easy for David to misconstrue your point and see it as simple intellectual snobbery when you asked him what qualifications he has to challenge Relativity. I think the point you were really trying to make was one about how a non-specialist in a subject decides between the claims of people who claim to be specialists?


---

Anyway, joking aside. David, I think we're getting out of sync with each other. If you go back to stepping through my posts in order then I think it's best to start here:

viewtopic.php?p=319310#p319310

and then here:

viewtopic.php?p=319412#p319412

and to try again to find something we agree on. I think a good thing to agree on would be the question of whether the Theory of Special Relativity proposes this:
All the laws of physics are the same in all inertial reference frames.
Does it propose that? Yes or no? I think "yes". The reason I think "yes" is because I've read it in books about Special Relativity. We can try to agree on this regardless of whether we think SR is correct to propose that.

If we agree that the answer is "yes", and that SR does indeed propose that, we can then try to agree as to what that proposition means. I've given you my thoughts on that in the second post that I linked to above.

Perhaps we can start again there with that modest aim.

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Re: Time: is time a concept or a physical force and can we prove the arrow of time

Post by Eduk » September 12th, 2018, 9:52 am

that made it easy for David to misconstrue your point and see it as simple intellectual snobbery when you asked him what qualifications he has to challenge Relativity. I think the point you were really trying to make was one about how a non-specialist in a subject decides between the claims of people who claim to be specialists
I would say it's always easy to misconstrue. I also find you make my points better than I do, perhaps you could proof read all my posts :)
Unknown means unknown.

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Re: Time: is time a concept or a physical force and can we prove the arrow of time

Post by Halc » September 12th, 2018, 11:58 am

Steve3007 wrote:
September 12th, 2018, 9:19 am
Halc wrote:I scored two more dogma's!
Impressive, maybe. But in the reply to my previous post I scored 14 dogmas! Read 'em and weep! :D
Dammit... How can I top that??

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Re: Time: is time a concept or a physical force and can we prove the arrow of time

Post by David Cooper » September 12th, 2018, 7:09 pm

Steve3007 wrote:
September 10th, 2018, 4:07 am
As a starting point in correcting your mis-conceptions about what Special Relativity says, I can recommend some sources.
...
Even if you don't know any details about Electromagnetism, do you fully understand and accept the above paragraph as a reasonably accurate summary of the starting point for SR?
It's a starting point, and thanks for the book pointers. The question is though, why is the world so packed full of "experts" telling everyone a pack of lies about what SR is, including the ones paid by the establishment to educate the public. If they're all misrepresenting it, that's great - I'll be only too happy to correct my page on the subject to take that into account. One big task now is to try to work out how to get all the miseducators to desist, and to stop them blocking correct discussion of relativity on physics forums, while another task is to get people to understand all the different models and to eliminate the invalidated ones so that they don't keep being presented as if they're functional. If the dogma is genuinely not part of SR, it should be possible to get the establishment to accept that all four mode 2 models are broken (3D and 4D block and non-block versions), that all four mode 1 models suffer from event-meshing failures but that block versions can correct them by having a Newtonian time added to the model (even though that's contrived), that mode 0 models (static blocks that were never generated, one 3D and the other 4D) are invalidated by their inability to support real causality, and that two mode 3 models remain fully in play, one of which is the 3D LET while the 4D equivalent should be regarded as a version of SR with an absolute frame (and the block versions of both of these are possible but entirely superfluous).
Steve3007 wrote:
September 11th, 2018, 3:23 am
Every textbook and online source I've seen, with the single exception of yours, says something very close to this:
The laws of physics are invariant (i.e., identical) in all inertial systems (i.e., non-accelerating frames of reference).
...
All the laws of physics are the same in all inertial reference frames.
Think carefully about the meanings of those statements.
They apply to LET as well as to SR, so they're not defining SR.
Notice the fact that they do not simply make the vague, ambiguous and apparently untestable proposition "all frames are equally valid".
[/quote]

Of course they don't make that claim, but it is a view pushed by people in the SR camp extensively. Without it, the original SR is simply LET, so what where the two sides arguing about if there's no difference between the two, and why was LET attacked for having an absolute frame if SR actually accepted it too? Something doesn't add up at all.
Steve3007 wrote:
September 11th, 2018, 7:02 am
Relativity came out of the simple idea that you can never tell whether you are moving or not...
This statement is simply not true. Your excuse for it was this:
It's an introduction aimed at readers who don't necessarily have any pre-existing knowledge of relativity. In the interests of simplicity and being concise, certain things are not told with absolute precision or with complete elimination of ambiguity. However, it is as correct as it needs to be - the aim is to get people to the point where they can see what it is, what it does, how it can do it, and how it can't do it.
Telling untruths because you want to make things simpler for a lay audience is not an excuse for telling untruths. It just means you're misleading that audidence.
Except that it isn't telling any untruths - you can't tell someone the whole of something in one go, but start with simple parts of and idea and then build upon them to create the whole picture over time. You say the statement isn't true, but it is true - that's exactly where (the idea of) relativity came from. People noticed that they couldn't tell the difference between stationary and moving (first recorded in relation to being inside a moving ship), and that kicked things off.
A quick aside on the subject of intellectual snobbery: Various things you've said in the past to both me and others suggest that you think a lot of people who disagree with you are appealing to authority rather than good argument and empirical evidence. I can't speak for others, but for myself I want to state that this is absolutely not the case and I have taken pains to make that clear to you and others in many, many previous posts here.
I don't think there's any intellectual snobbery involved in it - most people simply get led into positions which they then justify holding on the basis that it must be right because the people further up the chain say it is. However, most of these people are apparently in error, because they (the ones who keep making appeals to authority) may not be representing the authority at all, while the authority itself is blissfully unaware that they're being misrepresented so extensively. The authority may not be the problem at all.
I have stated the level of education in a subject that I think you need in order to properly understand it. I have said nothing about the circumstances in which that education should be attained. There are many examples of physicists and mathematicians from the past who have made great contributions without having had what might be regarded as a formal education to an advanced level. Oliver Heaviside, who I mentioned before, is one example. No, I judge your arguments by properly considering what you actually say. I just ask you to do the same for others.
When people argue with actual facts and reason rather than appeals to authority, those are the kind of people I can work with. You and Halc are two of the best ones I've encountered in that regard, and this is turning out to be a very worthwhile conversation for me because of what I'm hearing from you. You may be changing my view of SR substantially, and you may also be giving me the ammunition I need to take down a lot of self-professed experts in SR who have, in the light of what you're saying, been misrepresenting SR on a extraordinary scale. The biggest question that comes out of this is, where are they getting the dogma from if it isn't anything to do with SR and they haven't been taught it anywhere reputable? It's a puzzle, but I will investigate to find out what's going on.

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Re: Time: is time a concept or a physical force and can we prove the arrow of time

Post by David Cooper » September 12th, 2018, 8:14 pm

Halc wrote:
September 11th, 2018, 9:17 am
A 3D block model is not one of our own universe.
How do you know? LET could be leaving a permanent block behind as events run, and our entire past could continue to exist with versions of "us" locked in place there trapped in each moment of it. It's superfluous, of course, but at least as possible as a 4D block.
If it has a construction phase, it would be a growing block model, which is a flowing present coupled with the ontological reality of moments prior to that preferred present. Proponents of that model typically assert that they experience this leading present, not the history left in its wake. Your simulation does not depict this construction phase.
Of course it does - it only shows the construction phase and leaves it to your imagination to deal with the persisting block being left in its wake.
All three modes show objects 'happening' at one moment and not existing in other moments. The Minkowski model has no concept of a preferred moment. The simulation seems capable of depicting such a model, but no mode seems to have been programmed for it.
All three modes would leave behind them a block (either 3D or 4D depending on which way you're treating it) which would match up with each other in every detail, once any event-meshing failures from mode 3 have been ironed out. The Minkowski model can be run in all three modes, but if you don't want to run it, you can do it in mode 0 (which is not part of the diagram because it can't run - it's the eternal static block that was never generated but just exists complete by magic from the "start".
OK, you won't consider it. Gotcha.
I can't remember what it was now, and I'm not hunting back to look. I'll consider anything though until it's broken, and then I rule it out, but I'm always willing to look at something again if someone insists that it's right and that I've missed something.
Yes, mode 2 is invalid, and for the reasons you state. But it doesn't correspond to any known valid interpretation of reality, for the reasons you state. It is your straw man. Knocking mode 2 down is not discrediting any model except mode 2.
Many people disagree with you, and Steve still appears to be clinging to it because he refuses to recognise the contradictions. If you're happy to agree that mode 2 is out, then that reduces the remaining options. Mode 0 lacks real causality, but you seem to think there's room to hang out there because of some imagined causality that runs without running for things that don't exist. That's worth exploring further if you still haven't abandoned it. Mode 1 has event meshing failure and can only be salvaged in the block versions, and only then if you add Newtonian time, so it's extremely far fetched. Mode 3 is the best option (or pair of options, ignoring the superfluous block versions), but it puts tight constraints on how SR is described if that is accepted to be an SR model.
The philosophical opinions of people that typically gravitate to LET is irrelevant, especially since it works either way, just like SR and GR. It is the published model I want. If it isn't a published necessary part of the model, then your claim is not backed by LET theory. LET is also no longer the theory originally proposed by Lorentz. Empirical evidence has since evolved it to its modern form.
The people who work with LET are the ones who have kept it going behind the scenes for many decades, and they know how they talk about it. If you want a flavour of that, try reading LaFreniere: http://www.rhythmodynamics.com/Gabriel_ ... ivity2.htm
What do they call the effect of clocks running slow when moving?
Typically they prefer to refer to clocks measuring apparent time.
Also, who are these people "working with LET" with whom you communicate.
Just the ones I've encountered in the backwaters of various forums.
I was not aware for instance that active work is being done specifically on LET by any group. How could there be if it makes no distinct predictions?
A lot of the work was based on establishing that LET is still viable - I linked to Doug Marett's site from my page: http://www.conspiracyoflight.com/Conspiracy.html
Newton's model did not have moving clocks running slow.
That doesn't matter - time in LET is still Newtonian, but not all clocks record all the Newtonian time that is actually passing.
This is your opinion. As I said, I don't expect you to accept it. But if the model makes the same predictions, it isn't inconsistent.
It certainly isn't inconsistent - the only problem that it doesn't allow the universe to be real.
Mode 3 depicts presentism. The other modes don't depict any known model, but I agree that your logic demonstrates their inconsistency.
All three modes depict presentism, and all three modes can also be seen as showing the construction front for building block universes where the causation would be real.
The text accompanying each mode treats them all as 3D. The 4D model is nowhere represented. This is why I say mode 2 doesn't depict any known model.
My page does say that the modes can all be regarded as 3D or Minkowski (4D) - the simulation shows things just like any standard Spacetime diagram (which can also be seen as 3D or 4D as required).
You were supposed to show that the non-presentist interpretation of SR was wrong, not just incompatible with the presentist interpreation of it.
The non-presentist interpretation is represented by mode 0 (not shown because it's never generated by a running process), and by all three other modes if you imagine them building the block as they go. There are 8 block models and six non-block models available, 12 of which are covered by the three modes while the other two are identical to the blocks created by any of the three modes, but which aren't generated in any way and merely exist fully complete without ever being made.
People mix models and use a bit of one and a bit of another to try to show that SR works, but they're mixing parts of different, incompatible models to do this.
The irony drips from this statement.
Only if you're misunderstanding things and imagine that I'm mixing models. I'm not mixing them - I'm the one who's separating them into distinct incompatible models and demanding that people stop mixing them.

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Re: Time: is time a concept or a physical force and can we prove the arrow of time

Post by Halc » September 12th, 2018, 11:30 pm

David Cooper wrote:
September 12th, 2018, 8:14 pm
Halc wrote: A 3D block model is not one of our own universe.
How do you know? LET could be leaving a permanent block behind as events run ...
Oh, you classify growing block as 3D block. I hadn't considered that, but it makes sense. That is a viable metaphysical model, but it is still asserting a preferred moment, so not the Minkowski model that lacks any preferred moment.
Of course it does - it only shows the construction phase and leaves it to your imagination to deal with the persisting block being left in its wake.
That would be two kinds of time, not just the one. I know of no named interpretation that proposes two kinds of time, but they're probably out there. You can attempt to find this 3D version contradictory, but few hold the position. Your unorthodox description is apparently that all events are in the past of a present that has long since gone on, but that is not a model of the universe since we're at the present in any model that has one. We experience flow, and the model explains that with a flowing present, not a flowing future.
All three modes would leave behind them a block
I am not describing any interpretation with a preferred moment. You are. Block model is not growing block. It has no preferred moment.
(either 3D or 4D depending on which way you're treating it)
You called it 3D block above. I'm not the one 'treating it'.
Many people disagree with you, and Steve still appears to be clinging to it because he refuses to recognise the contradictions.
The contradiction is that it depicts a present, and the argument describing the mode clearly interprets the mode 2 simulation as having a present, and demonstrates how different frames change the states of certain events from happened to not-happened, which contradicts any model which divides events into those three states. Steve clings to it because he isn't interpreting the depicted positions of the objects as representative of the sole valid state of the system, but rather interpreting the simulation as what would be measured in the depicted frame. But your verbal description of the simulation does not describe it that way, so I see it wasn't intended to be a representation of what is measured.
If you're happy to agree that mode 2 is out, then that reduces the remaining options.
Maybe you could program in the block interpretation, hmm??? Your list of modes is hardly the only options.
I suspect you will not do it because doing so would not serve your purposes.
The people who work with LET are the ones who have kept it going behind the scenes for many decades, and they know how they talk about it. If you want a flavour of that, try reading LaFreniere: http://www.rhythmodynamics.com/Gabriel_ ... ivity2.htm
Oh good. I had wanted something else. I looked and found no mention of an interpretation with a preferred present as all your posts have described. The article takes a very defensive tone. I was amused by a section entitled: "LORENTZIAN RELATIVITY IS THE ONLY CORRECT ONE" which is immediately followed not by a discussion of how other theories are wrong, but this: "The goal of this page is to show that Lorentz's Relativity is easily explainable." Since it makes all the same predictions as 'standard' relativity, I don't see why it would be required to show this, instead of what the title proclaimed. As I said, quite the defensive tone.
What do they call the effect of clocks running slow when moving?
Typically they prefer to refer to clocks measuring apparent time.
Fair enough. From an empirical standpoint, I don't see how there could be any other kind of time.
Also, who are these people "working with LET" with whom you communicate.
Just the ones I've encountered in the backwaters of various forums.
I've seen the forums. This is not much of an endorsement. The real physicists don't hang out in them.
A lot of the work was based on establishing that LET is still viable - I linked to Doug Marett's site from my page: http://www.conspiracyoflight.com/Conspiracy.html
A conspiracy site. Lovely. I see it claims that LET makes different predictions than Einstein's work and Einstein's relativity is thus falsified by Sagnac effect and others, linking to interesting deeper pages full of invalid physics. That you link to this page doesn't surprise me, but it really doesn't do much for your credibility. It's like reading a flood geology site. Is LET that poorly done that it needs this sort of support?
Newton's model did not have moving clocks running slow.
That doesn't matter - time in LET is still Newtonian, but not all clocks record all the Newtonian time that is actually passing.
Lorentz seemed never to have posited this passing time in his theory. The first site you link makes no mention of it. I didn't find it in the conspiracy place either, but I didn't look hard since the site doesn't seem to conform to Lorentz's ideas.

Halc wrote:The text accompanying each mode treats them all as 3D. The 4D model is nowhere represented. This is why I say mode 2 doesn't depict any known model.
My page does say that the modes can all be regarded as 3D or Minkowski (4D)
Your verbal description of each mode describes them otherwise, so no, they cannot be regarded as Minkowski, which has no concept of 'has happened' for instance.
If you want to consider the 4D interpretation, drop the terminology from a different interpretation.
The non-presentist interpretation is represented by mode 0 (not shown because it's never generated by a running process)
Yes, no running. But the +/- buttons should still function, so the simulation could still be used to show it. There would be just the lines, and no current positions of the objects. You've not included mode 0 in the available modes. The picture above is the closest we get, but it lacks the frame transformations. You've not shown mode 0 to make predictions inconsistent with empirical observations, or inconsistent with its own premises. You've only shown it to be inconsistent with premises of mode 3.
and by all three other modes if you imagine them building the block as they go.
That is not Minkowski spacetime.

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Re: Time: is time a concept or a physical force and can we prove the arrow of time

Post by Steve3007 » September 13th, 2018, 2:58 am

David Cooper wrote:It's a starting point, and thanks for the book pointers.
Yes, and I think, in any subject that one proposes to critique, one has to start from the starting point and work forwards, with each bit of knowledge building on the previous one. (See the house analogy). If you don't do that and jump straight in at the deep end, trying to analyze the words of a bunch of people on the internet who appear to regard themselves as experts, you're extremely likely to misunderstand what they're trying to say. Then you argue with them. Then they criticize you. And, even with the best will in the world (but frequently without it), the conversation quickly degenerates into mockery. And you come away from the whole thing convinced that you've discovered loads of people who are clinging to a dogma and using mockery and evasion to maintain it. When what might (just might) have actually happened is simple mutual misunderstanding.

I'm happy to lay my own cards on the table. I studied the subject 25 years ago so (as I've said before) my knowledge of the higher levels of the subject is rusty but my knowledge of the foundations is still relatively sound. So, to remind me, I look things up in physics textbooks or their online equivalents. I try to fully and properly understand what people are saying before commenting. I realize that concepts expressed in the imperfect English language can be vague and difficult to express precisely, so I look for evidence of an underlying understanding which might naturally correct for that vagueness rather than magnifying it.
The question is though, why is the world so packed full of "experts" telling everyone a pack of lies about what SR is, including the ones paid by the establishment to educate the public.
To find out the extent to which that really is true you'd have to work through the subject from proper sources (textbooks and equivelant) I think. The Theory of Special Relativity, along with all other ideas in all other subjects, has no control over what the millions of people in the world might say about it.
If the dogma is genuinely not part of SR, it should be possible to get the establishment to accept that all four mode 2 models are broken (3D and 4D block and non-block versions), that all four mode 1 models suffer from event-meshing failures but that block versions can correct them by having a Newtonian time added to the model (even though that's contrived), that mode 0 models (static blocks that were never generated, one 3D and the other 4D) are invalidated by their inability to support real causality, and that two mode 3 models remain fully in play, one of which is the 3D LET while the 4D equivalent should be regarded as a version of SR with an absolute frame (and the block versions of both of these are possible but entirely superfluous).
Hold your horses. Forget the whole concept of dogma. Concentrate on learning the subject from reliable sources first - sources that accurately and unambiguously tell you what the theory actually says in detail. Not just people shouting on the internet, like me! I don't expect you to believe me any more than you would believe anyone else. I just point you to the relevant sources of reliable information and try to use simple logical arguments based on empirical measurements.

---

So, in order to lead up to this postulate about Special Relativity:
SR wrote:All the laws of physics are the same in all inertial reference frames.
that I discussed in this post:

viewtopic.php?p=319412#p319412

I'd like to establish whether we agree with each other on some of the basic principles of physics, and science in general.

I'm going to try to do this as a series of propositions. I'd like to ask you, for each of them, whether you accept or reject it and if you reject it, why. As a general rule, each one builds on the previous ones and uses the words that were defined in them. In general, I tend to put new words (words with particular meanings in physics that it might be necessary to clarify relative to their meaning in everyday speech) in quotes on their first use.



1. Laws of physics are generalizations which we have created as a result of various measurements and observations.

2. The laws of Newtonian (classical) mechanics are examples of these laws of physics. They resulted from observations of various objects (relatively large objects, on a human scale, from pebbles to planets) moving around, sliding across each other, bouncing off each other, going round each other etc.

3. A "reference frame" is a set of coordinates that we can use to measure distances and times. if we think of an object, like a ball, then we can imagine 3 axes (X, Y, Z) sticking out of it at right-angles to each other. The position of any other object, relative to that ball, can then be expressed using those 3 coordinates, measured along those axes. The ball, and any other object whose position relative to those axes is constant, is considered to be "at rest" WRT (with respect to) that reference frame.

4. For our purposes, a "clock" is often thought of as a thing that sends out a continuous sequence of pulses, perhaps in the form of light or other EM waves. These pulses are referred to as "ticks". But in its most general sense it means any continuously repeated event. It could for example be the biological processes in our bodies, the oscillations of a pendulum, the energy state changes of a caesium atom, the radioactive decay of a collection of unstable particles or the spinning of a planet.

5. The only way to measure time is by consulting a clock. The only way to assess whether the ticks of a clock are coming at regular time intervals is to compare them to those of another clock. The only way to decide whether we think of a clock as running fast or slow is by counting its ticks, counting the ticks of another clock and seeing which number is bigger.

6. We can think of clocks fixed to the axes of a reference frame at regular intervals. We can detect the pulses sent out by these clocks. We can also think of objects as having clocks attached to them. In this case we think of the spatial distance between that clock and that object as "arbitrarily small" (i.e. for any given distance we can always imagine a smaller distance) and we therefore "neglect" any time taken for a tick from that clock to reach an observer on that object. ("Neglect" in this context means consider it to be insignificant enough to the results of measurements that it can be ignored, for simplicity.)

7. These reference frames (conceptually: balls with 3 sticks sticking out them and clocks stuck to the sticks) can move relative to each other.

8. A reference frame that is not accelerating is referred to as an "inertial reference frame".

9. Within any one of these reference frames, we can use the (X,Y,Z) axes and the clocks to measure the behaviour of objects.

10. We can use these measurements to postulate physical laws, as stated in step 1.

11. When we do that, we find that the laws of classical mechanics (2), when expressed in their simplest form, are the same in all inertial reference frames. We call this "The Principle of Relativity".

12. There are more laws of physics than just the laws of classical mechanics.

13. Measurements and observations of electricity and magnetism allow us to formulate laws of electromagnetism, in the same way that we did for the laws of classical mechanics. But in this case we use such objects as wires with electric current running through them and magnetic lumps of iron.

14. One of the postulates of the Theory of Special Relativity is a generalization of step 11. It states that ALL the laws of physics, when expressed in their simplest form, are the same in all inertial reference frames. That means that it includes the laws of electromagnetism.

Steve3007
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Re: Time: is time a concept or a physical force and can we prove the arrow of time

Post by Steve3007 » September 13th, 2018, 6:05 am

David Cooper wrote:Relativity came out of the simple idea that you can never tell whether you are moving or not...
Steve3007 wrote:This statement is simply not true....
David Cooper wrote:Except that it isn't telling any untruths - you can't tell someone the whole of something in one go, but start with simple parts of and idea and then build upon them to create the whole picture over time. You say the statement isn't true, but it is true - that's exactly where (the idea of) relativity came from. People noticed that they couldn't tell the difference between stationary and moving (first recorded in relation to being inside a moving ship), and that kicked things off.
I just want to quickly comment on this while trying not to distract too much from what I see as the central task of understanding SR from the foundations up, as explained in my previous post.

OK. I could accept that you were missing some stuff out for the sake of brevity if it wasn't for the fact that you then take that omission and run with it. That's why I said this in my previous post:
Steve3007 wrote:I realise that concepts expressed in the imperfect English language can be vague and difficult to express precisely, so I look for evidence of an underlying understanding which might naturally correct for that vagueness rather than magnifying it.
The slightly longer version of this: "People noticed that they couldn't tell the difference between stationary and moving (first recorded in relation to being inside a moving ship), and that kicked things off." would say: "people couldn't tell if they were stationary or moving relative to the Earth".

Missing this part out may seem trivial if it weren't for the fact that you then go on to build this concept of "stationary", without saying what you're stationary relative to, into most of what you subsequently say. So you build in the concept that you're seeking to demonstrate as an assumption. The process of magnifying this initially (apparently) trivial omission occurs within the first two paragraphs:
David Cooper wrote:Relativity came out of the simple idea that you can never tell whether you are moving or not. When you think you are walking past a tree, it is quite possible that the tree is actually moving past you and that you are having to walk along just to stay still. However, because the Earth is moving as well, it is much more likely that you and the tree are both moving, though there is still a question as to whether you might be moving faster or slower than the tree.

Albert Einstein's theory of relativity says that it is impossible to work out whether anything is really moving or not, and that does indeed seem to be the case (although he wasn't the first person to say this), but he went on to claim that it is perfectly correct to say that everything is both stationary and moving at the same time: you can claim that you are stationary while everything moving relative to you is moving, but it is also right for someone else to claim that they are stationary while everything moving relative to them is moving, including you: it's all relative! Both beliefs are valid not just because neither can be proved or disproved, but because he asserts that both claims are true, and that both claims are equally true.
The second sentence in the first paragraph misleads a bit more. It should say something like "When you are walking past a tree it is, strictly speaking, more accurate to say that you and the tree are moving relative to each other, but the tree is stationary relative to the Earth."

The sentence "However, because the Earth is moving as well, it is much more likely that you and the tree are both moving" misleads a bit more.

And all of this gradual escalation of the incomplete or misleading statements, starting from that apparently innocuous beginning, leads to this much more clear-cut falsehood:
Albert Einstein's theory of relativity says that it is impossible to work out whether anything is really moving or not,...
It does not say that. Neither does the older more restricted Principle of Relativity. What they both do is to draw our attention to the way in which movement is detected/observed/measured.

This is the process by which a simple omission can build to something that genuinely misleads.

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Re: Time: is time a concept or a physical force and can we prove the arrow of time

Post by Halc » September 13th, 2018, 11:29 am

David Cooper wrote:
September 11th, 2018, 8:19 pm
Halc wrote:Again, only relative to that different frame, not to object B, and only that light will be measured thus in that frame.
Well, there's a major education task that needs to be done to put people right, because you're a very rare example of someone who gets that point right.
Your answer to this made me re-evaluate my answer. Contrary to what Steve assumes, I find that you very much know your physics, but you seem to deliberately mislead with every statement you make. Those deliberate mistakes are consistent enough that my bells go off if we agree on something like this. If I am a rare example of someone who got this point right, the point is likely not right. I think Steve answered more correctly on this one, but I'm going to attempt to say it carefully here.

What you are referring here is delta-speed: The speed of one thing relative to X compared to the speed of a second thing relative to X. Any such value is a meaningless comparison. E.G. My car is going 10 km/h relative to a parking lot, and yours is going at 20 km/h relative to the same parking lot. Is the delta speed between the cars in that lot 0, 10, 20, 30, or something else? No way to know, but it isn't zero at least. Difference in velocity has meaning, and so it has a name (typically delta-V), but no theory asserts that delta-V (a 3-way relation) with light being one of the 3 things has a fixed magnitude of c.
Light speed relative to object B will always be measured as c because B is now the reference in that statement. What is not c is the value of the 3-way relation of delta-V.

So what you ask is invalid altogether. You have a mention of a reference frame (which is a velocity reference), speed of light (which is not), and an object X, and then this 'in all directions' which makes no sense at all. Speed of light measured relative to object X is c, and there is no 'in all directions' to that since speed is a scalar and doesn't have a direction.

So my reply refers to a delta-speed, which is a pretty meaningless concept since it cannot be computed from speeds of things in any frame.
To say it closer to correct, let's assume frame A is the frame of the axis in the Sagnac example, and the object X is the material at a specific point on the spinning ring. Frame B is the inertial frame in which X is a rest.
The difference (delta-V) in measured velocity of a beam of light in frame A and the measured velocity of X in A is some value whose magnitude is greater than c for one beam and less than c for the other beam. The delta-V is obtained by simply subtracting the two measured velocities.
The same delta-V measured in frame B will have magnitude c since speed of light is c in any frame, and B is measured to be stationary, so the difference is still c regardless of different velocities of the two beams.

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Re: Time: is time a concept or a physical force and can we prove the arrow of time

Post by Steve3007 » September 13th, 2018, 2:39 pm

Halc wrote:Contrary to what Steve assumes, I find that you very much know your physics, but you seem to deliberately mislead with every statement you make. Those deliberate mistakes are consistent enough that my bells go off if we agree on something like this. If I am a rare example of someone who got this point right, the point is likely not right. I think Steve answered more correctly on this one, but I'm going to attempt to say it carefully here...
I had a look back at the post in which David explains his interpretation of the Sagnac experiment here:

viewtopic.php?p=319243#p319243

I think it simply comes down to this concept that David has of "reference frames which misrepresent reality". I think (correct me if I'm wrong) we all agree that in an inertial reference frame the ring is moving relative to that frame, and the light as measured against that reference frame, using a clock and two detectors that are close together, all three of which are stationary WRT that reference frame, will be observed to have speed c. And I think (correct me if I'm wrong) we all agree that an observer riding along the ring, with a clock and a pair of light detectors riding with him and close together, would also measure the speed of light as c. Where David seems to differ is in thinking that one or both of those measurements is, in some sense, "misrepresenting reality". And since he thinks that SR says that reference frames assert things that are asserted to be true for all reference frames (rather than simply being used to make measurements that can be used to devise laws of physics) this is why he claims that SR contains contradictions.

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Re: Time: is time a concept or a physical force and can we prove the arrow of time

Post by David Cooper » September 13th, 2018, 6:51 pm

Steve3007 wrote:
September 11th, 2018, 10:06 am
...but I really feel that I need to make it clear to David the extent to which he's misunderstood Special Relativity at the most basic level, and the long time delays between posts make that difficult.
You accuse me of misunderstanding SR, but I'm just taking it to be what it is normally described as. On this page: http://galileoandeinstein.physics.virgi ... c_rel.html, for example (from the first page of google's search results), we have the following (if you want to check it, go there and click on the plus sign there to display the section named "you really can't tell if you're moving"):-

"Just as Galileo had asserted that observing gnats, fish and dripping bottles, throwing things and generally jumping around would not help you to find out if you were in a room at rest or moving at a steady velocity, Einstein added that no kind of observation at all, even measuring the speed of light across your room to any accuracy you like, would help find out if your room was “really at rest”. This implies, of course, that the concept of being “at rest” is meaningless. If Einstein is right, there is no natural rest-frame in the universe. Naturally, there can be no “aether”, no thin transparent jelly filling space and vibrating with light waves, because if there were, it would provide the natural rest frame, and affect the speed of light as measured in other moving inertial frames as discussed above."

That is an example of the dogma, and it's being spread by universities. So where are they getting it from?

From Wikipedia's page on SR we have the postulates:-

"The laws of physics are invariant (i.e., identical) in all inertial systems (i.e., non-accelerating frames of reference)."

"The speed of light in a vacuum is the same for all observers, regardless of the motion of the light source."

There's no problem with the second one because it doesn't technically say it's the same relative to them in all directions. The first one though can be interpreted in two very different ways - one to say that the action is identical when light passes an object regardless of how fast the object might be moving relative to an absolute frame (because that would be a necessary consequence of identical physics), and the other that they merely appear to be identical (while the actual physics of the event and imagined physics of it are not the same, because the laws of physics remain the same). This ambiguity covers both options and may be misleading a lot of people who are taking the wrong interpretation to be the intended one.

Where does it go next though?
Lack of an absolute reference frame

The principle of relativity, which states that physical laws have the same form in each inertial reference frame, dates back to Galileo, and was incorporated into Newtonian physics. However, in the late 19th century, the existence of electromagnetic waves led physicists to suggest that the universe was filled with a substance that they called "aether", which would act as the medium through which these waves, or vibrations travelled. The aether was thought to constitute an absolute reference frame against which speeds could be measured, and could be considered fixed and motionless. Aether supposedly possessed some wonderful properties: it was sufficiently elastic to support electromagnetic waves, and those waves could interact with matter, yet it offered no resistance to bodies passing through it. The results of various experiments, including the Michelson–Morley experiment, led to the theory of special relativity, by showing that there was no aether.[23] Einstein's solution was to discard the notion of an aether and the absolute state of rest. In relativity, any reference frame moving with uniform motion will observe the same laws of physics. In particular, the speed of light in vacuum is always measured to be c, even when measured by multiple systems that are moving at different (but constant) velocities.
Standard dogma: an unjustifiable assertion that there is no aether.

On this site (the second google search result), https://www.space.com/36273-theory-spec ... ivity.html, we soon find this:-
Scientists supposed that the light had to be transmitted through some medium, which they called the ether. (We now know that no transmission medium is required, and that light in space moves in a vacuum.)
And what is a vacuum if it is nothing and yet somehow has the same properties as a space fabric? This is how people are set up to indulge in magical thinking.
"Einstein concluded that simultaneity is relative; events that are simultaneous for one observer may not be for another," the encyclopedia stated. "This led him to the counterintuitive idea that time flows differently according to the state of motion, and to the conclusion that distance is also relative."
The birth of the dogma - these are framed as truths that oppose there being an underlying reality with single answers with many clocks merely under-recording time. Most people are learning all this stuff and filling their heads with incorrect notions because it isn't being spelt out to them that it doesn't negate the need for an underlying reality with absolute answers.

Another search result from the first page: https://www.dummies.com/education/scien ... elativity/:-
In the latter part of the 19th century, physicists were searching for the mysterious thing called ether — the medium they believed existed for light waves to wave through. The belief in ether had caused a mess of things, in Einstein’s view, by introducing a medium that caused certain laws of physics to work differently depending on how the observer moved relative to the ether. Einstein just removed the ether entirely and assumed that the laws of physics, including the speed of light, worked the same regardless of how you were moving — exactly as experiments and mathematics showed them to be!
Again, we see the aether being rejected as a problem even though it wasn't a real problem at all, but this fix for it by ditching it instilled in people the idea that the aether and the absolute frame that go with it don't exist. Everywhere we look, we find misleading information of this kind. It is no surprise that so many people have misunderstood SR when is is being taught in such a careless manner. Misinformation is ubiquitous and there is no attempt to put them right, even though people have been misunderstanding it in the same way for decades and are becoming new generations of miseducators pumping out the same lies.

However, I want my page on relativity to be correct - I don't have to treat their propaganda as gospel. However, if I'm going to lay the law down about what SR actually is, people will automatically write it off as nonsense on the basis that I'm going against everyone else, misrepresenting SR by saying it allows an absolute frame - no one out there will accept that unless I can link to authoritative sites which spell out that SR does exactly that, and I can't find any that do so. Do you see the problem? Hardly anyone out there agrees with you about what SR is.
In anticipation of David's possible further assertions that his article called "Understanding Relativity" was sloppily written just because he was trying to make it accessible, and not because it's just plain wrong, I'd like to quote the first two paragraphs rather than just the first sentence:
David Cooper wrote:Relativity came out of the simple idea that you can never tell whether you are moving or not. When you think you are walking past a tree, it is quite possible that the tree is actually moving past you and that you are having to walk along just to stay still. However, because the Earth is moving as well, it is much more likely that you and the tree are both moving, though there is still a question as to whether you might be moving faster or slower than the tree.

Albert Einstein's theory of relativity says that it is impossible to work out whether anything is really moving or not, and that does indeed seem to be the case (although he wasn't the first person to say this), but he went on to claim that it is perfectly correct to say that everything is both stationary and moving at the same time: you can claim that you are stationary while everything moving relative to you is moving, but it is also right for someone else to claim that they are stationary while everything moving relative to them is moving, including you: it's all relative! Both beliefs are valid not just because neither can be proved or disproved, but because he asserts that both claims are true, and that both claims are equally true.
I've highlighted some particularly clear errors, which will mislead readers, in bold. Special Relativity does not say these things. If you claim that it does, you are misrepresenting it and misleading your readers. As I said in my last-but-one post, if you want to know what it actually does say read what it says.
All the bits in bold are correct, though the last one is disputed because it comes from the dogma that you deny exists but which almost everyone else in the real world applies.
The sentence "Albert Einstein's theory of relativity says that it is impossible to work out whether anything is really moving or not" is, in my view, the worst one in the passage that I quoted, because it is the most obviously factually incorrect one. Movement is a well defined empirically measurable quantity. There is no theory of physics which states that it is impossible to measure it. It might be possible to forgive these inaccuracies if David didn't then go on the spread them through everything he subsequently says.
If one frame says something is stationary and another says it's moving, it is clearly impossible to tell whether something is moving or not, so your objection to that one is frankly ridiculous.
All his talk about more advanced things, such as the Sagnac effect, are pointless until he's done that.
I only use the Sagnac effect for one thing, and it's to help prove to people who misuse frames that frame rules work the way I say they do. Anyway, you have decided to evade the issues raised by my argument by going on the attack based on near-universal misunderstandings of what SR is. You'd have told Einstein himself that he misunderstood it, because he spread the dogma that you say isn't SR by denying the aether and the absolute frame that comes with it - that, after all, was the key thing initially that led to SR not simply being LET. If you take the 3D version and strip the dogma away, you end up with LET, but everyone's very clear about it not being LET.

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Re: Time: is time a concept or a physical force and can we prove the arrow of time

Post by David Cooper » September 13th, 2018, 7:02 pm

Steve3007 wrote:
September 11th, 2018, 7:24 pm
Astonishingly, it now seems to be turning out that he hasn't checked the basics of what it says from any sources other than random people he's chatted to. And from that, he seeks to spread his misunderstanding to others. That's why I think it's so important for him to be willing to actually read at least a short, simple text on the subject.
I checked the basics by talking to qualified people who showed me the sources of the dogma, often by linking to Einstein's own writing. I don't have the links though as I didn't think it would ever be necessary to pass them on to anyone when everyone on the SR side seemed to agree with the dogma already. It's come as a real surprise to find people now who don't know anything about the dogma and don't believe it exists.

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