Lee Smolin: The Paradigm of Doublethink in Einstein's Schizophrenic World
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Pentcho Valev
2017-05-16 06:56:15 UTC
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"Smolin wishes to hold on to the reality of time. But to do so, he must overcome a major hurdle: General and special relativity seem to imply the opposite. In the classical Newtonian view, physics operated according to the ticking of an invisible universal clock. But Einstein threw out that master clock when, in his theory of special relativity, he argued that no two events are truly simultaneous unless they are causally related. If simultaneity - the notion of "now" - is relative, the universal clock must be a fiction, and time itself a proxy for the movement and change of objects in the universe. Time is literally written out of the equation. Although he has spent much of his career exploring the facets of a "timeless" universe, Smolin has become convinced that this is "deeply wrong," he says. He now believes that time is more than just a useful approximation, that it is as real as our guts tell us it is - more real, in fact, than space itself. The notion of a "real and global time" is the starting hypothesis for Smolin's new work, which he will undertake this year with two graduate students supported by a $47,500 grant from FQXi." http://www.fqxi.org/community/articles/display/148

"Lee Smolin, a founding member of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Canada, is seeking to unify the theories that govern the macro and the micro worlds of physics by returning to Einstein's philosophical roots and extending them in an exciting direction." https://www.meetup.com/Quantum-Physics-Discussion-Group/events/239534553/

"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.buffalolib.org/vufind/Record/1885811/Reviews

QUESTION: Setting aside any other debates about relativity theory for the moment, why would the speed of light be absolute? No other speeds are absolute, that is, all other speeds do indeed change in relation to the speed of the observer, so it's always seemed a rather strange notion to me.
LEE SMOLIN: Special relativity works extremely well and the postulate of the invariance or universality of the speed of light is extremely well-tested. It might be wrong in the end but it is an extremely good approximation to reality.
QUESTION: So let me pick a bit more on Einstein and ask you this: You write (p. 56) that Einstein showed that simultaneity is relative. But the conclusion of the relativity of simultaneity flows necessarily from Einstein's postulates (that the speed of light is absolute and that the laws of nature are relative). So he didn't really show that simultaneity was relative - he assumed it. What do I have wrong here?
LEE SMOLIN: The relativity of simultaneity is a consequence of the two postulates that Einstein proposed and so it is deduced from the postulates. The postulates and their consequences are then checked experimentally and, so far, they hold remarkably well.

"Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them":

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Pentcho Valev
Pentcho Valev
2017-05-16 10:54:53 UTC
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Joao Magueijo can also be defined as the paradigm of doublethink in Einstein's schizophrenic world:

Joao Magueijo, Faster Than the Speed of Light, p. 250: "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."

"...Dr. Magueijo said. "We need to drop a postulate, perhaps the constancy of the speed of light."

Joao Magueijo: "In 1887, in one of the most important scientific experiments ever undertaken, the American scientists Albert Michelson and Edward Morley showed that the apparent speed of light was not affected by the motion of the Earth. This experiment was very puzzling for everyone at the time. It contradicted the commonsense notion that speeds always add up. A missile fired from a plane moves faster than one fired from the ground because the plane's speed adds to the missile's speed. If I throw something forward on a moving train, its speed with respect to the platform is the speed of that object plus that of the train. You might think that the same should happen to light: Light flashed from a train should travel faster. However, what the Michelson-Morley experiments showed was that this was not the case: Light always moves stubbornly at the same speed. This means that if I take a light ray and ask several observers moving with respect to each other to measure the speed of this light ray, they will all agree on the same apparent speed!"

"But the researchers said they spent a lot of time working on a theory that wouldn't destabilise our understanding of physics. "The whole of physics is predicated on the constancy of the speed of light," Joao Magueijo told Motherboard. "So we had to find ways to change the speed of light without wrecking the whole thing too much."

Lee Smolin, Joao Magueijo and brothers doublethinkers:

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Pentcho Valev