Sunday, May 31, 2015

Science Truthers

I looked into the "scientific" theories believed by various "Science Truthers," i.e., people who believe that only they know "the truth" about some scientific subject.  My 13 years of research into the anthrax attacks of 2001 had shown that each Anthrax Truther seems to have his own theory explaining who was behind those attacks. The only thing they have in common with other Anthrax Truthers is that they all disagree with the "established authority" (in that case it is the FBI).  So, I wanted to see if the same holds true with Science Truthers.  They clearly all disagree with the established scientific authorities (in this case it is Albert Einstein, Richard Feynman, Edwin Hubble, Stephen Hawking, etc., etc.).  But, does that mean they also all have their own unique scientific theories?  Apparently so.

The first Science Truther I had researched was Bill Gaede, who did presentations of his theories at the 2rd annual "Rational Physics Conference" in Salzburg, Austria, in April 2014.  In one of the videos of the presentations, he explains his theory that the moon held in orbit by invisible "ropes" instead of by gravity.

The next Science Truther I researched was "Mr. W," who sent me an email to make me aware of his theories and his blog.  One of his theories is that the earth is a "dead sun" that was wandering through the universe and just happened to join together with other "dead suns" to form the solar system.  According to Mr. W's theory, the Sun was the last or one of the last objects to join the solar system, which is evidenced by the fact that it is still glowing and is not yet "dead."

Then I researched Dr. Srinivasa Rao Gonuguntla, who I had come across when I was doing research for my web page about Time Dilation.  He has his own web page on the subject.  Like most Science Truthers, Dr. Srinivasa rants on and on about how all the "mainstream scientists" who accept Albert Einstein's theories are "stupid."  But, I never tried to figure out what theory Dr. Srinivasa promotes that is not accepted by those "mainstream scientists."  One of his theories is that the long-abandoned theory that space is not empty, but is filled with a medium known as the "ether" (or "aether").  Dr. Srinivasa believes that ancient theory is totally valid and should be resurrected. 

Another Science Truther whose name I'd come across when researching Time Dilation is Mr. Bernard Burchell.  I discovered he believes in something he calls "Propellantless Propulsion."  It seems a little like "perpetual motion," but my purpose wasn't to debunk his theory, it was only to figure out what unique theory he is promoting.

Another Science Truther whose name I'd come across while researching Time Dilation is Dr. Thomas Smid.  His web site is very difficult to wade through, and he doesn't seem to have any specific page where he explains some primary and unique theory that conflicts with "the establishment's" theories, but he writes a lot about an "intergalactic plasma," which, among other effects, causes the "red shift" that the "establishment" says is caused by galaxies moving away from one another (the original discovery behind the Big Bang Theory).  I found a web page about "Alternative Cosmology" which says:
Plasma Redshift Theory
The Plasma Redshift Theory has been advocated by a number of independent researchers. It is most notably supported by Ari Brynjolfsson in a number of papers in fringe physics journals describing his theory (see here and here). Thomas Smid has a variant of the theory based on the activity of plasma fields. Robin Whittle also has a website describing the theory. The theory should not be confused as a "tired light" interpretation of the redshift. The plasma redshift theories deny the need for black holes, dark matter and dark energy. The only supporters of these theories seem to be Electric Universe theorists, such ideas are considered fringe physics by the scientific community.
Stephen J. Crothers was another speaker at the 2nd Rational Physics Conference in Salzburg.  A little more research found that he doesn't believe that black holes exist.  That belief might not be totally unique, but it's short enough to fit one of the "talk balloons," so I used it.

Dr. Hartwig Wolfgang Thim was another speaker at the conference in Salzburg.  His unique theory is that Albert Einstein's light speed postulate is illogical.  In a video HERE, he explains that Time Dilation is also not logical.  His reasoning is a strange misunderstanding of Einstein's Theory of Relativity that seems to be shared by many Science Truthers.  (I created a blog page about it.)  He incorrectly argues that, according to Einstein, either twin in the "Twin Paradox" could be moving, so it is not logical that one can end up older than the other.

That left one last "talk balloon" to fill in my cartoon.  So, I researched Alexander Unzicker, another person who gave a talk at the conference in Salzburg.  His big unique belief appears to be that String Theory is nonsense, and all the scientists who believe in it have been "brainwashed."  At the conference in Salzburg, his talk was titled "The Higgs Fake – How Particle Physicists Fooled the Nobel Committee."  The belief that String Theory is fake fitted the space available in my cartoon, so I used it.

The resulting cartoon is shown at the top of this thread.

What my research showed me was that I could easily have added a couple dozen more unique theories to the cartoon, if there was room.  Judging by what I see on the Wiki page about "Alternative Cosmology," and on their page about "cranks," I could probably add a few hundred more theories to the cartoon.

They don't seem to believe in any conspiracies, and they don't seem to think there is any kind of sinister organized plot to try to convince the world to believe what the Truthers see is nonsense.  The Science Truthers just think all the mainstream scientists in the world are stupid.  And they probably believe their fellow Truthers are screwed-up about some things, too.   Each Truther apparently sees himself as the lone exception, the only truly gifted person with a unique and brilliant theory that the "mainstream scientists" stupidly refuse to accept as the gospel truth. 


Thursday, May 21, 2015

Time Dilation: Reality versus Relativity

In my arguments with people who do not believe that Time Dilation works, I've discovered that they do not seem to be able to distinguish between reality and Relativity.

Reality is about what is actually happening.  Relativity is about what is perceived to be happening.

Einstein's 1905 paper "On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies" was intended to show that reality can be very different from what is perceived.  The purpose of the paper was to explain two things: (1) The laws of physics are the same throughout the known universe, and (2) the speed of light is fixed and does not change if someone is moving.  He was disproving a theory that the laws of physics can change under certain circumstances and the theory that the speed of light can change under certain circumstances.  He explained that it is only one's perception that changes under those circumstances.

Time Dilation works in reality.  If a clock, person or object moves very fast (or moves closer to a massive gravity source), time will slow down for that clock, person or object.

In the famous (or infamous) "Twin Paradox" hypothesis created by Paul Langevin (but usually blamed on Albert Einstein), one twin travels in a space ship at speeds near the speed of light while the other twin remains stationary on Earth.  When the traveling twin returns to earth, he is much younger than the stationary twin.  That hypothesis was based upon Albert Einstein's clock hypothesis in his 1905 paper which says,
If at the points A and B of K there are stationary clocks which, viewed in the stationary system, are synchronous; and if the clock at A is moved with the velocity v along the line AB to B, then on its arrival at B the two clocks no longer synchronize, but the clock moved from A to B lags behind the other which has remained at B 
In other words, you start with two stationary clocks (A & B) that show the exact same time.
Clock A is moved at high velocity to be beside Clock B.
Clock A no longer shows the same time as Clock B.  Clock A shows less time has passed.
How much less time has passed depends upon the velocity of the move. 

This experiment works in reality and has been repeatedly demonstrated with atomic clocks of various kinds.  Click HERE, HERE and HERE for examples.
Relativity is about how effects like Time Dilation are perceived while moving very fast.  The twin who took the trip at speeds near the speed of light would have perceived that everything aboard the space ship was working normally at normal speeds.  If he has no windows on his space ship, he would not perceive any of the effects of the slowing down of time.  That does not mean the traveling twin will believe that he is standing still or that time is passing at the same rate for him as for his brother.  He'll know what is actually happening, just as, in today's world, if he was in an airplane flying at 550 miles per hour, time for him would be running slower a fraction of a microsecond per hour than for someone on the ground.  These examples are just illustrations to show that someone can be moving very fast on a space ship while the visible evidence may indicate that he is not moving at all.  And time may have slowed down for him, but he'll perceive no effects of it while knowing that the effects will be very apparent when he returns to earth.   

The people with whom I've been arguing seem to become confused when a scientist explains how things are perceived when one person is moving and the other is stationary, or when two people view each other while both are moving. The problem seems to be that scientists make no attempt to explain what is actually happening when discussing Relativity.  They only talk about what is perceived to be happening.  And they let those listeners who are confused fall by the wayside.

The biggest arguments are over an imaginary event where two space ships pass each other in some remote and empty part of space.  Each pilot perceives his ship as stationary and the other ship as moving.  Each pilot perceives the clocks aboard his ship as working normally, while the other ship's clocks may be perceived as running slow.  In reality, of course, each pilot would know his speed relative to earth (and to the speed of light) and he'll be able to calculate the other pilot's speed.

Each pilot will also know that, even though all the clocks on his ship are perceived to be operating normally, they are all running slow relative to clocks on earth.

He'd know that even though the beam of light in his light-based clock is perceived as going straight up and down, in reality it is traveling at angles, making a \ as it goes down and / as it goes up because of the high speed of his space ship and the fixed speed of the beam of light.  He would also know if he was aboard an aircraft flying at 550 miles per hour, and if he tossed a ball into the air and caught it again two seconds later, he would perceive the ball as going straight up and down.  That doesn't mean he would believe the ball went straight up and down.  He would know it went up at an angle and came down at an angle, moving about 1,614 feet laterally with the airplane during those two seconds.

And he'll know the pilot on the other space ship is perceiving similar things aboard his space ship.

At least, that's how I understand Time Dilation and Special Relativity.


Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The "two moving space ships" Time Dilation problem

Problem: When two moving space ships pass each other in space, why do they BOTH see the other's clocks as moving slower?

Here's how Wikipedia's article on Time Dilation describes the "problem":
When two observers are in relative uniform motion and uninfluenced by any gravitational mass, the point of view of each will be that the other's (moving) clock is ticking at a slower rate than the local clock. The faster the relative velocity, the greater the magnitude of time dilation. This case is sometimes called special relativistic time dilation.
For instance, two rocket ships (A and B) speeding past one another in space would experience time dilation. If they somehow had a clear view into each other's ships, each crew would see the others' clocks and movement as going more slowly. That is, inside the frame of reference of Ship A, everything is moving normally, but everything over on Ship B appears to be moving more slowly (and vice versa).
It is understood that people aboard space ships going at high velocities will view everything moving at "normal" speeds aboard their own ship.  I.e, their clocks will appear to be ticking and measuring time "normally."

If there are two space ships, the people on both ships will view their own clocks as operating "normally." 

In a situation where there is only one space ship, a person aboard that space ship would see a clock next to a stationary person on earth as moving faster. (However, this may be viewing Time Dilation without the "special relativistic" factor.)

In a situation where two space ships are moving in parallel at the same speed, they would all view each other's clocks as all working "normally."

So, the question is: When the two space ships are not in synchronous movement, why do they see the other space ship's clocks as moving slower regardless of what speeds or directions they are moving?

Another question:  If people aboard a moving space ship see clocks that are stationary as moving faster, why doesn't the crew of a fast moving ship see the clocks on a slow moving ship as moving faster?

It seems the answer must be in what is perceived versus what is actually happening.  The person doing the viewing perceives time as "normal" and they perceive time on the other ship as moving slower.  This subject is typically illustrated with clocks that bounce light beams up and down off mirrors. 

A person beside such a clock will perceive light going straight up and down, which is "normal."   They will perceive the light beams on the clocks on the other ship as moving at angles, tracing out longer V or W patterns as the ship moves relative to the observer.  Since the speed of light is fixed, longer paths for the light beam means slower time.

However, there seems to be no way to perceive time as moving faster when bouncing light straight up and down perceived as "normal" and light bouncing at angles is perceived as "slower."

Is that why light-based clocks are used?  It it a purely hypothetical Relativistic situation that is dependent entirely on using light based clocks?

Or is there some way to relate this to mechanical clocks?  Why would mechanical clocks on the other ship also be perceived as running slower?  Why wouldn't mechanical clocks on the slower ship be perceived as running faster?

The best description I've seen of light-based clocks can be viewed by clicking HERE.  It also describes why mechanical clocks would work just like light-based clocks when they are side by side.  Here's the illustration they use at the section about this:
But I still do not understand why the mechanical clock on the slower moving space ship would not be perceived as running faster than the clock on the faster moving space ship.

And, it seems to me that if I'm aboard a fast moving space ship and we pass a slower moving space ship on the left side of my ship, the slow ship will pass moving right to left, and the light beam clock would create a V moving from left to right.  If I am aboard a slow moving space ship and a faster moving space ship passes me on the left, the ship will move from left to right, and the movement of the bouncing light beam would create a V moving right to left.   

There should be some way to translate the left to right creation of the V on the slower ship's clock as an indicator that the clock on that slow ship I passed is running fast.   

What is it I am not understanding?

I suspect that, while I understand Time Dilation very well, I am not understanding Special Relativity and Special Relativistic Time Dilation.  I suspect that Special Relativity is best described using mathematics.  I suspect Special Relativity involves things in the mathematical realm that are counter intuitive to human visual experiences and therefore cannot be easily described in human experience terms.  I suspect that is why, when teachers try to describe aspects of Special Relativity in visual terms, their descriptions make little sense to people who do not know and understand the mathematics.  They are "counter intuitive."  That is probably why teachers are always apologizing and telling their students that it would all make more sense if they studied the mathematics.