Sunday, February 27, 2005

Waiting for GOD(D) Oh!

Bill Gates said that China graduated 6 times as many engineers as US did in 2002! India also graduates more. America is 16th in science and math compared to the 20 developed nations, which exclude China and India as "undeveloped". China will soon control the US deficit and therefore the stability of our currency, which is rapidly deteriorating. We fiddle-faddle as Rome burns. Well, when booking passage on The Titanic, go First Class!

George got his PhD in physics from UC with I think Henry Stapp or maybe it was Geof Chew. In any case George answers Paul with more patience than I have had and I agree with George's position that fleshes out what I have been trying to tell Paul without success. So I let George do it. ;-)

G: Here a reply to your last points. Sorry, Jack, I guess my reply could be called heavy on philosophy (because that's the level of Paul's argumentation) but I hope it's not philophauzzy (or whatever term Feynman used)

Z: As I understand it, in 1905 SR reciprocal kinematic time-dilatation in inertial frames depends on the adoption of a *convention* for clock synchronization using light beams, and the *a priori* identification of the empirically measured and actual speeds of light. I agree that once this convention is adopted, the observations with light beams will conform to the predictions of SR. But this is still consistent with a Lorentzian model in which the observed dilatation due to purely relative inertial motion is only *apparent*.

G: I think Einstein's idea that the presupposition of absolute time was at the core of the tremendous confusion and turmoil at the time is the core idea of special relativity, and his solution to insist on an experimental procedure to determine space-time differences between two points was the logical method to challenge that presupposition; the specific method he proposed (using light signals) is in my view canonical. Or do you have an alternative suggestion for how to do it?

J: One of my main points precisely nicely put.

Z: I think I understand what Einstein was trying to do in 1905, namely, find a way of doing electrodynamics without reference to a light medium in empty space -- which implied a revision of Galilean kinematics in order to make the canonical form of Maxwell's equations apply in every inertial frame under a common set of transformations. However, the vulgar-empiricist idea that "time" can be defined in terms of one or another "operational procedure" is really quite problematic,
since there is then no way of separating effects that are purely due to the behavior of, say, the light rays used for clock synchronization, and those that are due to the objective behavior of the system under observation.

G: Time is not defined that way; it is much too fundamental for that. But its measurement is operationalized by Einstein's light-clock method, and you have not answered my above challenge to suggest a suitable alternative - presumably because you can't. Neither can I, nor Jack, nor probably anyone. Calling something vulgar doesn't express anything but your aversion to it; as long as you're clear on that, I won't further comment on your characerization of the position I have been taking. 

J: Indeed, I would never even try to. It's not a legitimate question! I have also kept asking Paul for his "suitable alternative". The only possible one would, perhaps, be "signal nonlocality" in violation of micro-quantum theory. Paul, of course, never suggested that.

G: As to your last point, you are begging the question with your distinction: what precisely (or even approximately) is this "objective behavior" you are supposedly distinguishing from our observation of the light rays and the signal values they carry (telling us how much time has elapsed, how far away an event is from the "here and now" of the observer, etc.)?

J: Exactly, exactly, exactly! I second, third and fourth that. I have kept asking this same thing from Paul. It is the Achilles Heel of his spurious argument.

G: That such an objective reality exists and, more importantly, that it can be described in ways which are not founded on our sensory experiences which give us supposed knowledge about "it" (assuming for argument's sake that "it " has meaning and exists) is precisely the presupposition that stands in the way of understanding SR, GR and ultimately quantum theory. More, much more, on this later.

J: BINGO! Exactly, exactly, exactly! I second, third and fourth that to the second degree! ;-)

G: Meanwhile I just challenge you to give experiential-experimental-operational meaning to your above point! 

J: The next remark is obscure so I will attribute it to Z not to G.:-) This is a good Turing Test to see if by now you can tell who is saying what. That tests your understanding of the text and these ideas are important to Western Physical Science.

Z? Einstein's further supposition that such effects are *universal* does not alter this, although from the Machian-Poincarean-empiricist-conventionalist POV this licenses a complete erasure of the distinction. In philosophical terms, Einstein's 1905 reduction of "time" to a particular operational definition fails to support a fundamental theoretic distinction between appearance and reality, which of course is the problem with this kind of empiricism.

G: My comment above applies ditto to this. What is the "reality" which you counterpose to mere "appearance"? I fail to support such a distinction too :-) Of course, I am thoroughly familiar with the physicalist-reductionist scientism that presupposes such a distinction, and which feels it has a handle on what this physical-reality-per-se is, even if it can't say one single fact about this supposed "Ding an sich", since this latter is always known through the senses (and, less commonly acknowledged, through the mind). But I see it as a childishly naive perspective (here I'm doing it :-) ), which can be picked apart and deconstructed in many ways cognitively, (and in quantum science, also experimentally) and more importantly, which one can directly see to be fatally flawed if one looks with fewer blinders. In Buddhist terms, you would say that the "objective reality" and the "knowing subject" codependently arise, and you cannot reduce one to the other. The classic question Einstein was asked on this was: "Why use light?". Einstein's best public answer was: "Because light is something we know something about". In this sense it is misleading to call it a convention.

Z: That's what Einstein 1905 called it.

G: I don't want to argue this on the historical level of what Einstein said or didn't say. I intuit that it's not just a convention; more on that another time.

J: Mine too.

G: But unless one can give a very solid justification for calling the method canonical, Einstein's concession of calling it a "convention" avoids criticism, for how can you criticize a convention especially when you yourself don't have an equivalently good, much less better way to operationalize space-time measurements than Einstein did? 

J: Exactly, exactly, exactly! I second, third and fourth that to the third degree! ;-)

G: I think Einstein hit the nail on the head, and his fundamental method used then (insistence on operational definitions of basic concepts in physics) is one of the greatest revolutions in physics, far beyond just the SR or even GR.

J: Of course!

Z: Except that Einstein himself gave this up -- at least in its crude 1905 form -- in the 1920s.

J: Not to the degree you have taken it Paul.

Z: Einstein repudiated the "Machian" arguments that he deployed in the 1905 paper as "rubbish". This repudiation includes the attempt to reduce the meaning of a concept like "time" to a particular operational definition.

J: No, Paul you are distorting the facts here. It is false that Einstein abandoned the operational method. He refined it in 1915 beyond his immature use of it in 1905. He did not throw it away with complete abandon as you have! You have jumped way beyond Einstein's self-avowed "struggle" to free himself from a direct physical meaning of "coordinates" (i.e. "dr", "dt" etc. below) as is "common sense" in the Galilean relativity of engineering - and even in 1905 special relativity. In the simple case of the spherically symmetric static curved space-time

dR = dr/(1 - 2GM/c^2r)^1/2

dR is the tiny element of length OPERATIONALLY measured by resting LNIF rods oriented radially from the source M.

dL = r(dtheta^2 + sin^2thetadphi^2)^1/2

dL is the tiny element of length actually OPERATIONALLY measured by resting LNIF rods confined in the tangent plane to the surface of a concentric sphere of area 4pir^2 in terms of the usual flat space spherical polar coordinates. That is, the radially oriented measuring rods LOCALLY SHRINK compared to the tangentially oriented ones, which stay as they are in flat space without any gravitational field! Puthoff's PV theory violates this LOCALLY.

dT = dt(1 - 2GM/c^2r)^1/2

dT is the actual OPERATIONALLY measured time tick-tocked off by a resting "non-geodesic" LNIF clock. That is the LNIF clock held fixed in the attractive gravity field slows down in the gravity redshift! It will, in contrast, speed up in the repulsive gravity field of dark zero point energy density with equal and opposite negative micro-quantum pressure in the anti-gravity blue shift. Flying saucers show these strange red/blue shift patterns around the fuselage in silent weightless warp flight even at very slow speeds. Details of this are found in the Robert Bigelow NIDS reports of Jacques Vallee and Eric Davis as well as in my books "Destiny Matrix" and "Space-Time and Beyond II".

All of the above "LNIF" measuring rods and clocks are held at rest at fixed r etc by some non-gravity force. In contrast, the LOCAL equivalence principle is that momentarily coincident weightless freely-falling/floating "geodesic" LIF rods and clocks show no significant space and time warping like their LNIF non-geodesic "fixed" twins. There will be some tidal curvature stretch-squeezing of the LIF rods and clocks of course, but here on Earth the tidal effect is ultra-tiny. Kip Thorne & Company at Cal Tech work very hard to try to show these incredibly tiny stretch-squeeze tidal effects from gravity waves in their LIGO and LISA devices.

G to Z: I'd like to know more about this later Einstein position; do you have Internet-accessible references? So from a position of relative ignorance of what Einstein actually said about this issue and in which context and with which intention, I'll withhold further comment for now except to say that the later Einstein developed a very conservative bent; he realized that his own genius as a younger man had given strength to an empiricist-operationalist orientation amongst many physicists which led them to adopt positions in the emerging Great Quantum Controversy of the mid and late twenties and thirties which offended the objective-realist paradigm that Einstein clung to, fighting a more and more rearguard action in the process. I venture the fledgling hypothesis that at that point he may have regretted letting the geni out of the lamp, and gone back to critique and try to undermine his own method inasfar as this method had led to this for him very regrettable orientation of Bohr, Heisenberg and others. I would like to check this hypothesis by reading what "Einstein II" wrote.

Z: Einstein II's point (made forcefully to Heisenberg in 1926) was that the theoretic model that is adopted legitimately *corrects* empirical observations for distortions of the measuring instruments that are due to objective physical effects, and since after ~1920 the vacuum was considered even by Einstein to be both actively and passively physical, motion through the physical vacuum can have effects that are
fundamentally no different from, say, thermal contraction, and can therefore legitimately be accounted for by theoretic corrections..."

J: True.

Z ... which implies a reversion to a Lorentzian paradigm for interpretation of the Einstein-Minkowski formalism (at least on the metatheoretic level).

G: Can you quote a reference where HE actually said that? I would add that since science is not an authority-based enterprise, his actually saying the above would not prove the point

J: There you go again Z (not G). Give Z a nanometer and Z takes a megaparsec! In fact there is no contradiction at all between the Lorentzian and Einsteinian pictures any more than there is between the kinetic theory of gases and thermodynamics! The two go hand-in-hand like Love and Marriage between a Man and a Woman! ;-) Seriously, in moderns terms from the recent work of Arcos and Pereira in Brazil, you can equate the Lorentzian dynamical view to the gauge force method which meets up with Einstein's geometrodynamical view in the Einstein-Cartan tetrad mobile Cartan frame of four basic 4-vectors. The non-trival part of the tetrad is the space-time distortion compensating gauge field from locally gauging the global symmetry of translation group T4 generated by the total energy-momentum of the dynamical field of the world. This non-trivial part of the tetrad, in turn, comes primarily from the coherent holographic Goldstone phase of the spontaneous broken symmetry (SBS) of the electromagnetic symmetry group U(1) of Maxwell's electromagnetic local gauge field that couples to the pre-inflationary turbulent Dirac Sea negative energy virtual electron-positron false-vacuum plasma in its Big Bang phase transition to the calm Higgs Ocean. Einstein's 1915 theory of gravity emerges simply, very simply from the non-trivial part of the Einstein-Cartan tetrad field. String theory? "Who ordered that?" (Isador Rabi)

G: A lot of the current bullshit (some of it brilliant bullshit, admittedly) going on in physics (including the bombastic claims of string theorists of having found the theory of all even though they haven't made a single observable prediction) could have been avoided if physicists had taken this basic point more to heart and insisted on relating everything back to experience.

J: Exactly, exactly, exactly! I second, third and fourth that to the unsolvable Galois fifth degree! ;-)

Z: While I agree with you that operational *illustrations* of concepts and principles in physics impose a healthy discipline, I cannot agree that 1905-style operationalism -- which supposes that the meaning of high-level theoretic concepts like "time" can be reduced to one or another particular operational definition -- is rationally supportable, for reasons given by Einstein himself in the 1920s.

G: Again, please give me the reference to this supposed quote of Einstein. And again, time is not defined that way; its measurement is.

J: G just hoisted Z by his own petard!

Z: Back to the SR situation specifically: with the 1905 paper, the confusion surrounding Michelson-Morley and the Lorentz transformation dissolved; and simplicity, beauty, and the accuracy of experimental predictions reigned again. But in fact the Einstein-Minkowski formalism can be given a perfectly coherent Lorentzian interpretation, precisely due to the technical features of SR that are exposed in the analysis of my revised "Polish joke" version of the two-clock problem: the 1905 theory turns out to be much more "Lorentzian" than it first seemed to be, since the *reciprocal* effects of time dilatation on the observed retardation of clocks
-- a hallmark of Einstein 1905 theory vis a vis Lorentz's -- always automatically self-cancel when you bring clocks back together, exposing the "virtual" character of the once-supposed reciprocity.

J to Z: False Paul. You still don't understand it. The retardation does not always self-cancel when you bring the clocks back together. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't depending on the contingent histories of the clocks in a perfectly precise way!

G to Z: Again (I'm sorry I have to use this word so many times in this post) I would like to see your clean and according to you unassailable Gendankenexperimental statement of your critique of the Einstein (as contrasted to Lorentz). It is becoming very frustrating to me to hear statements from you to the above effect again and again, without having seen the corresponding formulation itself from you, except in forms which we have agreed were untenable. Please, out of consideration of my nerves ( :-)  ) refrain from such claims as above until you have produced such a statement.

J: Agreed. Z has been playing this false hand now for several years.  

Z: That doesn't mean that the Einstein model for SR is internally incoherent, or that the 1905 theory is mathematically inconsistent; it just means that when the technical details of the actual workings of the 1905 theory are properly understood, the *most natural interpretation* of the Einstein-Minkowski formalism is, ironically, Lorentzian.

G: I don't think Lorentz himself would have taken the position you are taking (once he had digested Einstein's approach), even though his name is associated with the position you are taking now because it was Lorentz's thinking BEFORE 1905.

Z: Actually that's not true: Lorentz never accepted Einstein's 1905 model. Here is Lorentz in 1920:

"It is not necessary to give up entirely even the ether.  Many natural philosophers
find satisfaction in the idea of a material intermediate substance in which the
vibrations of light take place, and they will very probably be all the more inclined
to imagine such a medium when they learn that, according to the Einstein theory,
gravitation itself does not spread instantaneously, but with a velocity that at the
first estimate may be compared with that of light.  Especially in former years were
such interpretations current and repeated attempts were made by speculations
about the nature of the ether and about the mutations and movements that might
take place in it to arrive at a clear presentation of electro-magnetic phenomena,
and also of the functioning of gravitation. ... In my opinion it is not impossible that in the future this road, indeed abandoned at present, will once more be followed with good results, if only because it can lead to the thinking out of new experimental tests.  Einstein’s theory need not keep us from so doing; only the ideas about the ether must accord with it."

- H. A. Lorentz, "The Einstein Theory of Relativity" (1920).

In other words, there can still be an ether, but any ether model, in order to be viable, must take account of the pragmatic-empirical success of Einstein's theories.
I think Lorentz died in 1929. If you read Einstein's Leyden address on the ether, you will see that by 1920 there was a convergence of the views of Einstein and Lorentz:

G to Z: I haven't heard back from you regarding a defensible formulation of the supposed contradiction within SR itself that you have been arguing.

Z: As I have said, there is no mathematical contradiction in SR even in the two-clock case; but there is a "paradox" if you wish to treat the *reciprocal* time dilatation of 1905 SR as an objectively real physical effect.

G: I don't, because I don't know what that means; see above. and so there is, for me, no paradox and no "paradox", and not even a ""paradox""  :-)

J: Agreed.

Z: The reason why 1905 SR is consistent in its predictions is precisely because the reciprocity of time dilatation that you get in a single GIF is lost when you use multiple matching GIFs to account for time dilatation over more than one inertial segment -- and that is precisely the point of my re-formulation of the traditional two-clock problem, which IMHO exposes this "paradoxical" feature of the 1905 theory very clearly.

J: Pretense! All one need do is calculate the classical phase world line integrals of the path-dependent histories of the inexact differential frame-invariant proper time element ds/c for each clock in the space-time diagram. Nothing new here and every proper question has a true and consistent answer. There is no paradox! No possible doubt whatever!

G: As far as I know non-existent re-formulation (in the sense that it would not remain a constant moving target, to be reexpressed differently (and again vainly) the next time. If you think I am trying to provoke you to finally produce the actual valid statement of the "paradox" (operationally, and without reference to nebulous terms like "obejctively real") then you are DAMN RIGHT :-)

J: I tried to do exactly that with Paul and failed. Paul Z is Tar Baby in Uncle Remus. Arguing with Paul is like trying to struggle your way out of quicksand.

Z: It is this precisely feature of 1905 SR that allows a coherent interpretation of the Einstein-Minkowski formalism in *Lorentzian* terms.

G: I take it that we are then leaving it at that, and Einstein vs Zielinsky is settled. Phew, I am relieved :-)

Z: No this is Einstein_1 vs. Lorentz, and Einstein_1 vs. Einstein_2! You have to distinguish sharply between two quite different issues:

(1) The mathematical consistency of the Einstein-Minkowski formalism; and

(2) The question of which is the more natural physical interpretation of the
Einstein-Minkowski formalism. Alas, "natural" may turn out to be in the eye of the beholder, or rather a funsction of his/her fundamental paradigm (or structure. Issue (1) is settled by the existence of a geometric model for the 1905 theory (Lorentz-Einstein transformations in Minkowski spacetime); whereas (2) is not at all obvious -- although it is beginning to look like the Lorentz model for the standard SR formalism is the more useful in the present stage of development of physics, and is the more natural physical interpretation.

G: It is beginning to look TO YOU to be more useful, maybe, but you have been unable to clearly (that means with reference to experience rather than metaphysical presupposed terms) state it much less substantiate it -- Still waiting.

J: For Godot.

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