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Internal War in Einstein Cult
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Pentcho Valev
2017-12-04 09:32:24 UTC
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In 1905 Einstein invalidly deduced that moving clocks run slow, with the implication that travelers age more slowly than stationary people. ("Invalidly" means that the deduced conclusion actually didn't follow from Einstein's 1905 postulates.) So within a minute of his experienced time the traveler can jump sixty million years ahead and see what happens then in the stationary system:

Thibault Damour: "The paradigm of the special relativistic upheaval of the usual concept of time is the twin paradox. Let us emphasize that this striking example of time dilation proves that time travel (towards the future) is possible. As a gedanken experiment (if we neglect practicalities such as the technology needed for reaching velocities comparable to the velocity of light, the cost of the fuel and the capacity of the traveller to sustain high accelerations), it shows that a sentient being can jump, "within a minute" (of his experienced time) arbitrarily far in the future, say sixty million years ahead, and see, and be part of, what (will) happen then on Earth. This is a clear way of realizing that the future "already exists" (as we can experience it "in a minute")." http://www.bourbaphy.fr/damourtemps.pdf

Einstein struck a chord - at that time the gullible world badly needed miracles, on the one hand, and non-religious but still god-like prophets able to produce such miracles, on the other. Einstein's idiocies were embraced and since then countless sycophants have been making their living by singing dithyrambs and developing the idiocies in all directions. Science died and nowadays potential dissidents apparently have nothing to defend - the question "If Einstein's relativity is wrong, what replacement do you propose?" does have some creepy relevance.

Einstein's schizophrenic world was a calm and serene place to live in but a few years ago string theorists, the orcs in modern physics, started a campaign against the requirement for empirical falsifiability. Einstein's general relativity is only apparently falsifiable - actually it is a not-even-wrong empirical concoction - but most Einsteinians don't know that and sincerely believe in the falsifiability requirement. So an internal war immediately began:

George Ellis and Joe Silk: "This year, debates in physics circles took a worrying turn. Faced with difficulties in applying fundamental theories to the observed Universe, some researchers called for a change in how theoretical physics is done. They began to argue - explicitly - that if a theory is sufficiently elegant and explanatory, it need not be tested experimentally, breaking with centuries of philosophical tradition of defining scientific knowledge as empirical." http://www.nature.com/news/scientific-method-defend-the-integrity-of-physics-1.16535

Adam Frank, professor of astrophysics at the University of Rochester, and Marcelo Gleiser, professor of physics and astronomy at Dartmouth College: "A Crisis at the Edge of Physics. Do physicists need empirical evidence to confirm their theories? You may think that the answer is an obvious yes, experimental confirmation being the very heart of science. But a growing controversy at the frontiers of physics and cosmology suggests that the situation is not so simple. [...] ...a mounting concern in fundamental physics: Today, our most ambitious science can seem at odds with the empirical methodology that has historically given the field its credibility." http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/07/opinion/a-crisis-at-the-edge-of-physics.html

Frank Close, professor of physics at the University of Oxford: "In recent years, however, many physicists have developed theories of great mathematical elegance, but which are beyond the reach of empirical falsification, even in principle. The uncomfortable question that arises is whether they can still be regarded as science. Some scientists are proposing that the definition of what is "scientific" be loosened, while others fear that to do so could open the door for pseudo-scientists or charlatans to mislead the public and claim equal space for their views." http://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/features/what-happens-when-we-cant-test-scientific-theories

Nowadays some protesters (Ellis, Silk, etc.) are silent - perhaps they now know that the orcs are invincible. Yet Sabine Hossenfelder and Peter Woit continue the fight:

Peter Woit: "If, as seems increasingly all too possible, we're now at an endpoint of fundamental physics, with the field killed off by a pseudo-scientific argument..." http://www.math.columbia.edu/~woit/wordpress/?p=9444

Peter Woit: "I think the worst thing that has happened to theoretical physics over the past 25 years is this descent into ideology, something that has accelerated with the multiverse mania of the last 10-15 years." http://www.math.columbia.edu/~woit/wordpress/?p=9375

Peter Woit: "Many are worried about the status of science in our society, as it faces new challenges. I don't see how the physics community is going to continue to have any credibility with the rest of society if it sits back and allows multiverse mania to enter the canon. Non-scientists taking science classes need to be taught about the importance of always asking: what would it take to show that this theory is wrong? how do I know this is science not ideology?" http://www.math.columbia.edu/~woit/wordpress/?p=9469

Peter Woit: "As far as this stuff goes, we're now not only at John Horgan's "End of Science", but gone past it already and deep into something different." http://www.math.columbia.edu/~woit/wordpress/?p=7266

Peter Woit: "This all of a sudden made things clear: what is going on is "theatrical physics", not "theoretical physics"." http://www.math.columbia.edu/~woit/wordpress/?p=9691

Sabine Hossenfelder: "Many of my colleagues believe this forest of theories will eventually be chopped down by data. But in the foundations of physics it has become extremely rare for any model to be ruled out. The accepted practice is instead to adjust the model so that it continues to agree with the lack of empirical support." http://www.nature.com.proxy.readcube.com/nphys/journal/v13/n4/full/nphys4079.html

Sabine Hossenfelder (Bee): "The criticism you raise that there are lots of speculative models that have no known relevance for the description of nature has very little to do with string theory but is a general disease of the research area. Lots of theorists produce lots of models that have no chance of ever being tested or ruled out because that's how they earn a living. The smaller the probability of the model being ruled out in their lifetime, the better. It's basic economics. Survival of the 'fittest' resulting in the natural selection of invincible models that can forever be amended." http://www.math.columbia.edu/~woit/wordpress/?p=9375

Sabine Hossenfelder: "The current situation in the foundations of physics is a vivid example for how science fails to self-correct. [...] I just meant to say I have debated back and forth with myself for a long time whether I should publicly denounce most of the research in my field as nonsense. It would have been easy enough to write a book about something else, you know, the usual science cheer leading stuff. But it's just not me." http://backreaction.blogspot.bg/2017/10/book-update.html

Of course, I'm sympathetic to Hossenfelder and Woit. Unfortunately, being Einsteinians, they too will have to answer the "embarrassing question":

"This paper investigates an alternative possibility: that the critics were right and that the success of Einstein's theory in overcoming them was due to its strengths as an ideology rather than as a science. The clock paradox illustrates how relativity theory does indeed contain inconsistencies that make it scientifically problematic. These same inconsistencies, however, make the theory ideologically powerful. [...] The gatekeepers of professional physics in the universities and research institutes are disinclined to support or employ anyone who raises problems over the elementary inconsistencies of relativity. A winnowing out process has made it very difficult for critics of Einstein to achieve or maintain professional status. Relativists are then able to use the argument of authority to discredit these critics. Were relativists to admit that Einstein may have made a series of elementary logical errors, they would be faced with the embarrassing question of why this had not been noticed earlier. Under these circumstances the marginalisation of antirelativists, unjustified on scientific grounds, is eminently justifiable on grounds of realpolitik. Supporters of relativity theory have protected both the theory and their own reputations by shutting their opponents out of professional discourse. [...] The triumph of relativity theory represents the triumph of ideology not only in the profession of physics bur also in the philosophy of science." Peter Hayes, The Ideology of Relativity: The Case of the Clock Paradox http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~content=a909857880

Pentcho Valev
Pentcho Valev
2017-12-04 22:35:26 UTC
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"Look, my lad, I know a dead parrot when I see one, and I'm looking at one right now."


Physicists know a dead science when they see one, and they've been looking at one since January 2001:

Joao Magueijo: "Lee [Smolin] and I discussed these paradoxes at great length for many months, starting in January 2001. We would meet in cafés in South Kensington or Holland Park to mull over the problem. THE ROOT OF ALL THE EVIL WAS CLEARLY SPECIAL RELATIVITY. All these paradoxes resulted from well known effects such as length contraction, time dilation, or E=mc^2, all basic predictions of special relativity. And all denied the possibility of establishing a well-defined border, common to all observers, capable of containing new quantum gravitational effects." Faster Than the Speed of Light, p. 250 http://www.amazon.com/Faster-Than-Speed-Light-Speculation/dp/0738205257

"And by making the clock's tick relative - what happens simultaneously for one observer might seem sequential to another - Einstein's theory of special relativity not only destroyed any notion of absolute time but made time equivalent to a dimension in space: the future is already out there waiting for us; we just can't see it until we get there. This view is a logical and metaphysical dead end, says Smolin." http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2013/jun/10/time-reborn-farewell-reality-review

"Was Einstein wrong? At least in his understanding of time, Smolin argues, the great theorist of relativity was dead wrong. What is worse, by firmly enshrining his error in scientific orthodoxy, Einstein trapped his successors in insoluble dilemmas..." https://www.amazon.com/Time-Reborn-Crisis-Physics-Universe-ebook/dp/B00AEGQPFE

Nima Arkani-Hamed (06:09): "Almost all of us believe that space-time doesn't really exist, space-time is doomed and has to be replaced by some more primitive building blocks."


Nobel Laureate David Gross observed, "Everyone in string theory is convinced...that spacetime is doomed. But we don't know what it's replaced by." https://www.edge.org/response-detail/26563

What scientific idea is ready for retirement? Steve Giddings: "Spacetime. Physics has always been regarded as playing out on an underlying stage of space and time. Special relativity joined these into spacetime... [...] The apparent need to retire classical spacetime as a fundamental concept is profound..." https://www.edge.org/response-detail/25477

"Rethinking Einstein: The end of space-time. It was a speech that changed the way we think of space and time. The year was 1908, and the German mathematician Hermann Minkowski had been trying to make sense of Albert Einstein's hot new idea - what we now know as special relativity - describing how things shrink as they move faster and time becomes distorted. "Henceforth space by itself and time by itself are doomed to fade into the mere shadows," Minkowski proclaimed, "and only a union of the two will preserve an independent reality." And so space-time - the malleable fabric whose geometry can be changed by the gravity of stars, planets and matter - was born. It is a concept that has served us well, but if physicist Petr Horava is right, it may be no more than a mirage. Horava, who is at the University of California, Berkeley, wants to rip this fabric apart and set time and space free from one another in order to come up with a unified theory that reconciles the disparate worlds of quantum mechanics and gravity - one the most pressing challenges to modern physics." https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20727721-200-rethinking-einstein-the-end-of-space-time/

Perimeter Institute: "Quantum mechanics has one thing, time, which is absolute. But general relativity tells us that space and time are both dynamical so there is a big contradiction there. So the question is, can quantum gravity be formulated in a context where quantum mechanics still has absolute time?" https://www.perimeterinstitute.ca/research/conferences/convergence/roundtable-discussion-questions/what-are-lessons-quantum

Pentcho Valev
Pentcho Valev
2017-12-05 12:14:42 UTC
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"Scientists in many areas are growing increasingly worried that without some breakthroughs soon, budgets will be cut, and jobs axed. The dark clouds are already gathering. According to the leading science journal Nature, plans to build a successor to the LHC in Japan are being scaled back, and it is now unlikely to be built before 2030. It's hard to escape the suspicion that over the last few decades, the scientific enterprise has taken a wrong turn." https://www.thenational.ae/uae/science/lone-researchers-with-radical-ideas-may-hold-the-keys-to-science-s-unanswered-questions-1.678559

The scientific enterprise took a wrong turn in 1905, as I'm trying to explain in my comments in Nature:

Physicists shrink plans for next major collider https://www.nature.com/news/physicists-shrink-plans-for-next-major-collider-1.22983

Physicists have no time left. Einstein's idiocies are much greater than, say, the flat-earth idiocies, and have to be abandoned immediately:

Thibault Damour: "The paradigm of the special relativistic upheaval of the usual concept of time is the twin paradox. Let us emphasize that this striking example of time dilation proves that time travel (towards the future) is possible. As a gedanken experiment (if we neglect practicalities such as the technology needed for reaching velocities comparable to the velocity of light, the cost of the fuel and the capacity of the traveller to sustain high accelerations), it shows that a sentient being can jump, "within a minute" (of his experienced time) arbitrarily far in the future, say sixty million years ahead, and see, and be part of, what (will) happen then on Earth. This is a clear way of realizing that the future "already exists" (as we can experience it "in a minute")."x http://www.bourbaphy.fr/damourtemps.pdf

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Pentcho Valev

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