Just a few hours ago, I believed that Bell was simply ready to abandon special relativity because "realism" (i.e. the faith that quantum mechanics must ultimately be wrong) was a more important dogma than relativity for him. But only today in the afternoon, I was led to a text that shows that it was just a part of the story. He was actually ready to abandon relativity because he was a relativity denier. To say the least, he denied that Einstein has changed anything about the content of physics. In his opinion, the previous theories based on the aether were already OK and Einstein has only changed the style, philosophy, and pedagogy!I cannot agree with Motl here. This blog celebrates continuity, and shown in the Latin slogan. Einstein's special relativity was equivalent to previous theories, as even Wikipedia details. If it were really true that Physics just doesn't care about "style, pedagogy, and philosophy", then Einstein would not be such a big-shot.
The reason why relativity – and quantum mechanics – are taught as a "discontinuity" is that they are a "discontinuity", a radical conceptual change within the basic assumptions of physics. ...
He is frequently repeating the thesis that what Fitzgerald and the other people believed was physically equivalent to Einstein's special relativity – it only differed in "style, pedagogy, and philosophy". Those claims are clearly wrong, as I will discuss. ...
Physics just doesn't care about "style, pedagogy, and philosophy".
I do agree with Motl that Bell showed an incompatibility between quantum mechanics, relativistic locality, and what is confusingly called "realism". And that Bell foolishly preferred to keep realism instead of relativity, and that is where many of his followers go wrong also. And that the geometric view of relativity is clearly superior, and Bell is peculiar not to embrace it.
Fitzgerald and others believed in the aether – in fact, I think that he did so even after 1905 because this guy didn't understand relativity. Relativity has killed the aether.No, relativity did not kill the aether. As Wilczek said, "the truth is more nearly the opposite". See more here.
Relativity suggests that the aether be Lorentz covariant, but does not say anything about whether it exists or not.
Bell has never explicitly "endorsed" the aether but everything about his "solutions" to the problem make it clear that he believed exactly the same crap as e.g. Fitzgerald did. That's also why he consistently talks about the "Fitzgerald contraction" – even though a sane modern physicist would talk about the "Lorentz contraction". But if he believed his claim that the Fitzgerald's and Einstein's treatments were physically equivalent, then the Fitzgerald contraction and the (relativistic) Lorentz contraction would have to be the same thing, too, right?The terms FitzGerald and Lorentz contraction are used interchangeably on Wikipedia. They both (independently) proposed the contraction first as a logical consequence of the Michelson-Morley experiment, and then proposed an explanation in terms of molecular forces.
He seems totally unaware of this waterproof logic. Also, he never actually explains what is the difference between the effect he calls the "Fitzgerald contraction" and the actual relativistic "Lorentz contraction".
The preferred explanation since 1908 has been the non-Euclidean spacetime geometry one due to Poincare and Minkowski.
Einstein's 1905 approach was to postulate what Lorentz had proved, and to endorse Lorentz's view of the contraction. He used Lorentz transformations of space and time, but did not attribute the contraction to a purely geometrical spacetime effect, as did Poincare and Minkowski. The modern view that relativity is a about measurement, not objects, was due to Poincare and Minkowski, and Einstein never liked the geometrical view.
I guess Bell liked the molecular force explanation, and for some reason that drives Motl and other modern physicists nuts. A respected British philosopher named Harvey Brown likes the explanation, but few others today. As I say, it is not the preferred view, but it is a view that is legitimate and justifiable. Physics often has more than one explanation for a phenomenon, and that is a good thing, not bad.
The world is giving up on Newton and Einstein because of low productivity in physics. Look at this new book:ReplyDelete
2014 C. Roy Keys Inc.
Andre Koch Torres Assis
This book presents Relational Mechanics. This is a new mechanics which opposes not only Newton’s classical
mechanics, but also Einstein’s special and general theories of relativity. It answers several questions which
have not been clarified by the theories of Newton and Einstein. In this new mechanics several concepts
which formed the basis of newtonian theory do not appear, such as absolute space, absolute time and
absolute motion. Other classical concepts do not appear as well, such as inertial mass, inertial force, inertia
and inertial systems of reference. Only when relational mechanics is compared with newtonian mechanics
can we obtain a clear understanding of these old concepts.
Relational mechanics is a quantitative implementation of the ideas of Leibniz, Berkeley and Mach utilizing
Weber’s force for gravitation. It is based only on relational concepts such as the distance between material
bodies, the relative radial velocity between them and the relative radial acceleration between them. Several
scientists took part in its development, including Wilhelm Weber himself and Erwin Schrödinger. The goal
of this book is to present the properties and characteristics of this new physics, together with the main
aspects related to its historical development after Newton. In this way relational mechanics can be seen in a
broad perspective. After this presentation it becomes easy to make a comparison with the old worldviews,
namely, newtonian and einsteinian mechanics.
A great emphasis is given to Newton’s bucket experiment. When a bucket partially filled with water
remains stationary in the ground, the water surface is observed to remain horizontal. When the bucket and
the water rotate together relative to the ground around the bucket’s axis with a constant angular velocity,
the surface of the water is observed to become concave, higher at the sides of the bucket than along the
its axis. This is one of the simplest experiments ever performed in physics. Despite this fact no other
experiment had so deep and influential consequences upon the foundations of mechanics. We place it at the
same level Galileo’s experimental discovery that all bodies fall freely towards the ground with a constant
acceleration, no matter their weights or chemical compositions. The explanation of these two facts without
utilizing the concepts of absolute space or inertia, but taking into account the gravitational influence exerted
by the distant galaxies in these two experiments, is one of the major achievements of relational mechanics.
In order to show all the power of relational mechanics and to analyze it in perspective, we first present
newtonian mechanics and Einstein’s theories of relativity. We address the criticisms of Newton’s theory
made by Leibniz, Berkeley and Mach. We present several problems connected to Einstein’s theories of
In this book we show the answer to all these questions from the point of view of relational mechanics. We
show that these answers are much simpler and more philosophically sound and appealing than in Einstein’s
theories of relativity.
Nowadays the majority of physicists accept Einstein’s theories as correct. We show this is untenable and
present an alternative theory which is much clearer and more reasonable than the previous ones. We know
that these are strong statements, but we are sure that anyone with a basic understanding of physics will
accept this fact after reading this book with impartiality and without prejudice. With an understanding of
relational mechanics, we enter a new world, viewing the same phenomena with different eyes and from a new
perspective. It is a change of paradigm, considering this word with the meaning given to it by Kuhn in his
important work.5 This new formulation will help put physics on new rational foundations, moving it away
from the mystifications of this century.