Creation Museum Attendance Decreasing

I spent the last weekend in scenic Parsippany, NJ, participating in the annual chess extravaganza known as the U. S. Amateur Team East. As big a chess fan as I am, I am mostly retired from tournament play. It’s too hard and stressful! For the first time in a long while, however, I managed to make some decent moves, so you can be sure that you will hear all about it shortly! Alas, since I am digging out from all the work that didn’t get done while I was away, that might have to wait for the weekend.

In the meantime, you can take some comfort from this article, that appeared recently in Slate. It’s about Ken Ham and creationism and Darwin Day. My favorite part of the article:

But there’s trouble in Ham’s creationist paradise. In 2012, the Creation Museum reported a 10 percent decline in attendance from the previous year, and its parent group, Answers in Genesis, posted a 5 percent drop in revenue. That continues a four-year slump and a new low for the museum at 280,000 total visitors last year. Even more ominously, fundraising for the Ark Encounter has slowed to a crawl. Its future is further imperiled by the decline of the Creation Museum, whose visitors were expected to be a huge source of funding for the ark park. As of January, Ham had failed to raise even half the money required to build the ark replica itself, let alone the rest of the park. To help out, you can buy a peg, a blank, or even a beam for $100, $500, and $1,500, respectively—but seeing as the fate of the ark is in serious jeopardy, is a free pass to the grand opening really worth the risk?

The Creation Museum was one of the region’s biggest draws only four years ago. The museum’s vice president blames the downward spiral on the recession, but the decline has only worsened as the economy has recovered. Gas prices, the museum claims, might also be cutting into attendance, because 70 percent of visitors arrive from out of town. It’s true that fossil fuels—which are, on average, several hundred million years older than Ken Ham’s version of the Earth—have risen in price over the past several years, perhaps dissuading potential visitors.

The article’s conclusion?

If Ham’s decaying empire is any indication, Americans are rejecting his false choice between blind faith and wretched immorality. But on Darwin Day, it’s worth remembering that Ham and his acolytes are dedicated to undermining our country’s commitment to sound science. Every day in a small museum in Kentucky, a few hundred adults and children stare at a diorama of Adam sitting next to a placid dinosaur. If Ham had his way, schoolchildren across the country would see this image every day, and they’d never be taught the true diversity, complexity, and drama of the evolution of life. That’s a future that celebrants of Darwin Day are fighting. It’s not a losing battle by any means. But it hasn’t been won yet, either.

Well said, but I’m not sure if a small decrease in attendance really indicates a “decaying empire.” Here’s hoping! According to the Ark Encounter website, portions of the park could be open as soon as 2014, so we will know soon enough if they will be able to pull it off.

If you’re curious, Ken Ham has replied to the article here and here.

Comments

  1. #1 Walt Jones
    February 21, 2013

    Wow – he talks a good game at the linked responses, and I can see how people who want to believe would overlook his reliance on defining science as studying what can be observed happening today (which he spells out at the beginning of the first post and then refers to obliquely several times – an effective rhetorical strategy, since the reader will likely think only of the definition being bad, not why it is supposedly bad).

    I guess it’s time to buy Among the Creationists and make time to read it. If I had realized this was going on to this degree when I was in grad school, I would have finished my doctorate in rhetoric – what a great dissertation topic this would have been.

  2. #2 eric
    February 21, 2013

    I can see how people who want to believe would overlook his reliance on defining science as studying what can be observed happening today

    I can’t, because that argument is prima facie wrong. Today the speed of light is measured to be finite. It takes time for signals to go from one object to another today. That means that observations taken today must be telling us about the past.

  3. #3 Blaine
    February 21, 2013

    Sorry to be a cynic, but we know IQ and education are inversely correlated with conservative Christian beliefs. In other words, ignorant morons are more apt to hold conservative Christian beliefs. This demographic also has experienced higher rates of unemployment during this recession. No job, less money, ergo less contributions to creationist venues…The current trend is a reflection of economic conditions. Ignorant moronic Christians do not suddenly become intelligent educated secular humanists. Sorry to rain on the parade of glee.

  4. #4 Tony P
    February 21, 2013

    Better news is that the Vatican has been running deficits for several years now. It looks like religious bigotry isn’t playing well. Plus I think people are finally waking up to what religion really tries to do, that is, control people.

  5. #5 Walt Jones
    February 21, 2013

    I didn’t mean to imply that Ham’s definition is valid. I meant only that accepting Ham’s definition of science (that is, to accept his argument from authority – which believers are wont to do, because their pastors tell them to) effectively poisons the well of science for that person.

    Mental associations are powerful. Because of the mention of the Ark Park, when I read the sentence about “Ham’s brother Rob” in one of Ham’s responses, my first thought was, “I don’t remember Noah having a son named Rob.”

  6. #6 Walt Jones
    February 21, 2013

    BTW, eric, great explanation of how everything we perceive is in the past. I hadn’t heard that before (I’m still enjoying the idea that if observers on a planet 70 million light years from us could see the Earth, they’d see dinosaurs).

  7. #7 anon
    February 21, 2013

    Another wonderful witness to divine providence is
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God's_Ark_of_Safety
    near Frostburg, Maryland. It was under construction when I went to college there ca. 1980, and it’s still under construction today. Apparently God has some difficulties coming up with cash for things like this; he’s spending all his money on stopping wars and preventing children from starving to death … oh, wait …

  8. #8 MNb
    February 21, 2013

    “Apparently God has some difficulties coming up with cash for things like this”
    Not really; you guys will be sorry to read, but the USA are just not God’s own country.

    http://www.vvvdordrecht.nl/v_beheer/print.asp?
    http://www.noahsarkzoofarm.co.uk/
    http://www.noahsark.com.hk/eng/index.php

    Stupidity is not an American prerogative and God, just as always, has probably decided that other countries should enjoy this divine gift first.

  9. #9 JimR.
    February 21, 2013

    I think it would be obvious that attendance would decline. I hazard a guess that repeat visits are tiny. There is a fraction of the population that is inclined to visit. That is a shrinking group every year as those who have attended are no longer possible consumers. It should be a geometric decline over time. There are a few “atheistic thrill seekers” who attend, but that is too small to matter. It just does not have the draw that an entertainment theme park has to invite repetitive visits. Museums have a better capability of getting repeat visits.
    In summary I believe the decline will continue and there probably is not a lot of incentive for today’s children to take their kids 20 years from now. Only endowment from moneyed “believers” will protect this curiosity over the long term.

  10. #10 Alex SL
    http://phylobotanist.blogspot.com
    February 21, 2013

    The silliness of Ken Ham’s talk about historical vs operational science is well addressed in a post by PZ Myers that I happen to find one of the most beautiful pieces he has ever written:

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2013/01/25/the-present-is-the-past-the-past-is-the-present/

  11. #11 J-Dog
    Chicagoland
    February 21, 2013

    If you think about it, HamsWorld(TM) is really handicapped in its ablity to attract repeat visitors. Unlike in science, where the questions and answers are always changing – HamsWorld attracts morons who think they altready have all the answers. They certainly don’t ask – and aren’t encouraged to ask questions!

  12. #12 dave
    minneapolis
    February 22, 2013

    i wonder how many showed up in the first place knowing that this “museum” was a joke and just went to see how goofy it really was.

  13. #13 G
    February 22, 2013

    Well Yeeee-Hawww! to this, and a big Bronx Cheer for Ham. This kind of news puts a smile on my face from ear to ear.

    Re. Walt, re. “…his reliance on defining science as studying what can be observed happening today…” Did he have a bucket of weasel-words about the red shift, the observed size of the universe, and the speed of light? All of those “are happening today,” and if he agrees that c is the cosmic speed limit, then what does he do with a universe that’s humongously larger than 6,000 LY across, eh?

    Blaine re. your cynicism: The point is, this is “news we can use,” by way of promoting OUR memes, that THEIR memes are on the way O-U-T. Spread it far & wide in places where undecideds and mild fundies may be hanging out. Do it in a tone of “despair,” as if you’re “lamenting” that “we” (describing yourself as one of ‘em for purposes of the word-war) are “clearly losing the culture war,” and ought to “turn inward” and away from “the evils of the world.” Really. Emotions are contagious and they also determine behavior, so go to town & bring ‘em down.

    Tony: Religion at its best tries to liberate people by getting them to think for themselves. Unfortunately that type of religion has had a bad time in the USA over the past thirty years. But look up the Quakers, for example, not to mention some branches of Buddhism. Whether or not someone believes in a deity isn’t the key question: it’s whether they believe in cultural and political pluralism, and in making public policy in accord with the findings of science. As a purely pragmatic matter it’s more useful to draw the us/them line between “the religious right” and “everyone else,” rather than between “believers” and “nonbelievers.”

  14. #14 proximity1
    February 22, 2013

    re:
    Walt Jones
    February 21, 2013

    “BTW, eric, great explanation of how everything we perceive is in the past. I hadn’t heard that before (I’m still enjoying the idea that if observers on a planet 70 million light years from us could see the Earth, they’d see dinosaurs).”

    Isn’t this a mistaken characterization of the facts?

    We don’t really believe that events which happened on earth 70m (earth-years) ago are, in any realistic sense of the term ‘happening’, still happening — from a so-called relative view–from a point of view 70m LYs (a year in this case being an earth-year) away, do we?

  15. #15 eric
    February 22, 2013

    I hazard a guess that repeat visits are tiny. There is a fraction of the population that is inclined to visit. That is a shrinking group every year as those who have attended are no longer possible consumers. It should be a geometric decline over time.

    Your model assumes no new creationists/stable population. But creationists have kids, too. I bet they pull in a lot of yearly school field trips from private schools and home school organizatinos. This visitor pool should be stable or grow by a few percent a year (just assuming regular population growth here, not anything different from the average).
    The school field-trip component is probably down because of the economy, but if the economy bounces back, I’d expect that part of it to pick back up again.

  16. #16 eric
    February 22, 2013

    Argh, my last post used the word “stable” in two different ways in back to back sentences, which was stupid and confusing on my part. My apologies. But I think you can probably get the gist.

  17. #17 MNb
    February 22, 2013

    @Proximity: “Isn’t this a mistaken characterization of the facts?

    We don’t really believe …”
    What we really believe or don’t believe has nothing to do with the facts. These are correctly described by Walt Jones. If the word simultaneous has any relevant meaning we see the Sun now as it was 8 minutes ago, because that’s the time light needs to travel from there to here.

  18. #18 SLC
    February 22, 2013

    Re proximity 1 @ #14

    The confusion is that a light year is a measure of distance, not of time. It’s the distance that light travels in the time that it takes the Earth to make one revolution around the Sun. It is ~ equal to 300,000*(the number of seconds in a year) kilometers.

    Thus an observer on a planet revolving around a star 70 million light years away would see the earth as it was 70 million years ago, when virtually all the large terrestrial animals were dinosaurs.

  19. [...] This is, like, the only half-way happy news I could find in all of science-dom, via EvoBlog: [...]

  20. #20 Miwisou
    Hawaii
    February 23, 2013

    I think Disney should step in and buy the whole operation, museum, ark, and diorama. They could ship everything to Orlando and simply combive the various elements with existing Disney World attractions. I’m sure the exhibits would be very popular and make lots of money fo Disney. Problem solved.

  21. [...] This is, like, the only half-way happy news I could find in all of science-dom, via EvoBlog: [...]

  22. #22 Jim Thomerson
    February 23, 2013

    Given the speed of light creating event horizons, it is a little scary to think that we know nothing of the present day universe beyond some small astronomical distance away. The sun is some eight light minutes away. Maybe it just went nova, but we will not know about it for another eight minuts. On the other hand, we have a historical view of the universe, with parts going back billions of years.

  23. #23 JimR.
    February 24, 2013

    @eric
    I thought about repeat visits by the kids of current adults and still hold that even for them, if they saw it as kids, I doubt there is much draw for them as adults. That is pure speculation of course.
    I saw a post by Rebecca Watson that she had stopped by and wanted to film the museum. They said OK if she did not make fun of it. They resumed their trip. There are several tours by atheists posted on YouTube.

  24. #24 Bob gorge
    February 24, 2013

    Are they talks attendance per day or ticket sales? Because they are selling two day tickets now rather than 1 day tickets….

  25. #25 proximity1
    February 24, 2013

    N° 17 MNb @ February 22, 2013 @Proximity: “Isn’t this a mistaken characterization of the facts?

    re: ” If the word simultaneous has any relevant meaning we see the Sun now as it was 8 minutes ago, because that’s the time light needs to travel from there to here.”

    Misses my point.

    So does,
    N° 18 SLC February 22, 2013 Re proximity 1 @ #14

    with, ” The confusion is that a light year is a measure of distance, not of time. It’s the distance that light travels in the time that it takes the Earth to make one revolution around the Sun. It is ~ equal to 300,000*(the number of seconds in a year) kilometers.
    Thus an observer on a planet revolving around a star 70 million light years away would see the earth as it was 70 million years ago, when virtually all the large terrestrial animals were dinosaurs.”

    that, too, is not the point I’m making.

    Who here actually believes that, concening the implied claim in post N° 22, if our Sun ” just went nova, … we [would] not know about it for another eight minutes.” ?

    I think that we’d have immediate physical repercussions from the our Sun”s “going Nova,” and that these repercussions wouldn’t “wait” for the Sun’s light-travel-time to elapse before the impact of the event “reaches” us.

    That points up the absurd character of the idea that I’m trying to describe. Yes, I know, (thank you!) that a Light-year is a measure of distance, not of “time.” And it’s as a measure of distance that I intended it in my post. But there is still a ‘time’ factor involved–but that factor is treated as though it is either irrelevant or non-existent.

    Look, suppose, for a moment, that an “event” occurs both on Earth and on a distant orb some 70m LY (distant). Just suppose the simultaneity of the event in both locales. Now, unless I’m mistaken, it seems to be that some here are supposing that the mere distance separating the two locales actually has a bearing on the events real occurrance, not their perceived relative delayed appearance due to each observer’s point of view.

    I’m trying to contend that space-time relativity only tells us that each of two widely sparated observers will experience the same perceived event as having occurred at times different by a factor related to the distance between them—but the relativity theory doesn’t make the absurd claim that the event in question “in fact” has two distinct and equally objective realities in its occurance–rather, there is only a relative difference in an observer’s perception, meaning that between these two observer’s a yet third observer, at another equally distant point of view, would have no objective grounds on which to claim that one of the prior two was “right” or “wrong” in his apparent perception.

    Space-time relativity, as I’d thought it to be, is about relative perceptions’ discrepencies between different and widely separate observers, not about the underlying physical facts which produce the events the observers “perceive”.

    Otherwise, we are forced into absurd conceptions such as that the actual moment of the Big Bang’s inception was something that stretched out over lord-only-knows-how-many-eons, as its apparent observable effects “reached” across greater and greater expanses of distance.

    Sheesh!!!!!!

  26. #26 proximity1
    February 24, 2013

    “Who here actually believes that, concening the implied claim in post N° 22, if our Sun ” just went nova, … we [would] not know about it for another eight minutes.” ?

    I think that we’d have (virtually) immediate physical repercussions from the our Sun”s “going Nova,” and that these repercussions wouldn’t “wait” for the Sun’s light-travel-time to elapse before the impact of the event “reaches” us.”

    That, is, in other words, the fact that we’d not see any change in the sun’s appearance until the eight-minute light-travel-time had lapsed shouldn’t mislead us into supposing that the physical facts and their real-time, real-world consequences, though not visually apparent, would, just the same, be in force and effect.

    If you deny this, then I think you also naively are imagining that physical reality “occurs at the speed of light, when, reasonably, it occurs without respect to or regard for how long it takes light to bring physical events’ appearance into our perceptive range.

    The dinosaurs disappeared, came to extinction, lo these many eons ago on earth. The travel-time of light across the expanses of interstellar space doesn’t in one whit change that specific fact–no matter how some distant observer’s place might be related to the speed of light making visible distant places.

    That’s the point I was trying to make.

    Lightyear, shmight-jeer. Schrodenger’s dinosaurs were “long dead” before the observers 70m LY distant ever read about them in the morning papers–and not living somewhere in Limbo–whether in a “box” or a “parallel earth” or the wacky confused mind of people who cannot distinguish between appearance and underlying physical facts.

  27. #27 Walt Jones
    Minneapolis
    February 24, 2013

    proximity1: It IiS all about perception, and if you read my comment, you will see that the subject of the clause is “observers” and the verb is “to see,” both of which are inextricably linked to perception. What led you to infer that I meant that dinosaurs were still roaming the Earth?

    As for the sun, what evidence of its change do you feel would reach the Earth at a speed greater than that of light?

  28. #28 MNb
    February 25, 2013

    “think that we’d have immediate physical repercussions from the our Sun”s “going Nova,” and that these repercussions wouldn’t “wait” for the Sun’s light-travel-time to elapse before the impact of the event “reaches” us.”
    I haven’t missed your point at all. You just think wrong, just like Aristoteles thought wrong when he stated that a stone thrown would gradually slow down, stop and only then would begin to fall. That something is beyond human imagination doesn’t mean it’s incorrect.
    Your “arguments” are irrelevant due to experiments, the first being from Michelson and Morley in 1887, which have shown numerous times that nothing, not even light, can travel faster than about 300 000 km/s. Then it becomes a very simple calculation: distance equals velocity multiplied with time. Arguing against this is as silly as arguing against the equations describing the horizontal throw..

  29. #29 SLC
    February 25, 2013

    Re proximity1 @ #25

    Mr. proximity1 is making something very simple into something complicated. Let’s put it another way. Imagine a star with a planet 70 million light years away. We on earth see the situation on that planet as it existed 70 million years ago. Similarly, someone on that planet sees the situation on the earth as it appeared 70 million years ago. Period, that’s all the statement that the speed of light is constant and invariant relative to the velocity of the source or the observer means. We are, of course, assuming that clocks on each planet are progressing at the same pace, e.g. time dilation effects due to velocity and/or gravity can be ignored.

  30. #30 proximity1
    February 26, 2013

    re: “SLC February 25, 2013 Re proximity1 @ #25 :

    “Imagine a star with a planet 70 million light years away. We on earth see the situation on that planet as it existed 70 million years ago. Similarly, someone on that planet sees the situation on the earth as it appeared 70 million years ago.”

    Or, more precisely,

    … Someone (an absurd hypothetical “observer”) on that planet doesn’t see “the situation on the earth” at all–not as it “is now” nor even “as it appeared (or should have appeared, were the observer able to see it) 70 million years ago.”

    Indeed, the supposed “observer”–or, in our own case, we, as observers of such distant emitters (or reflectors) of light doesn’t even know and cannot even say whether or not the observered distant object exists or not in its assumed place in space-time. To the question, “Is that entity “still there”? the observer can only honestly reply, “I have no idea.”

    So much for dinosaurs.

  31. #31 Sean T
    February 26, 2013

    proximiity,

    If you are trying to deny general relativity, you have a monumental task ahead of you. No experimental result has ever been found that contradicts general relativity, not one.

    Now, GR says that no energy can travel faster than the speed of light. This would include matter as well since matter is just a form of energy. If the sun went nova, indeed there would be no effect noticed on earth for 8 minutes; there could not possibly be. No energy could travel from the sun to the earth in less time than this.

    The real question is “how do you know whether the effects of the sun’s going nova are observed simultaneosly with the actual event of the sun going nova?” How can you measure the time at which the sun went nova? You can’t do it by looking at the sun; the speed of light prevents this. You only see the sun as it was 8 minutes ago. Are you really suggesting that the effects of the nova would occur before you saw the nova?

    The logic of relativity is clear, although counterintuitive. Unless you are okay with effects preceding their causes, the speed of light is the limiting speed for any interaction involving energy transfer. If you want to deny relativity, fine, but the burden of proof is on you to show why a theory that has been shown to be consistent with all known experiment is wrong.

  32. #32 Sean T
    February 26, 2013

    proximity,

    As for your other point, suppose you called a friend and asked him where he was. He tells you, and then his phone battery dies. Assume he’s not anywhere near another phone. Now, wait an hour. Is your friend still where he told you he was? The honest answer is you don’t know. Why is this a problem?

    Similarly, we are able to observe stars and galaxies as they were millions of years ago (or even billions for some galaxies). Assume we are able to observe a star 70 mly away. Is the star the same now as it was 70 mya? We don’t know; we can’t know. Why is that problematic?

  33. #33 SLC
    February 26, 2013

    Re proximity1 @ #30

    I am afraid that Mr. proximity1 doesn’t know what he’s talking about. His comment is incoherent.

    In the example cited, the question as to whether objects 70 million light years away still exist is of no relevance. In fact, all massive stars (blue giants) that we observe burning brightly in galaxies that were 70 million light years away no longer exist. They went supernova long ago and are now neutron stars or black holes as the lifetime of those stars is far less then 70 million years. However, the run of the mill stars like the sun still exist as their lifetimes are far greater then 70 million years.

  34. #34 Sean T
    February 26, 2013

    proximity,

    You might be confusing the occurence of events with the propogation of the consequences of those events. It’s true that the dinosaurs have been extinct for 70 million years. An observer 70 million ly away wouldn’t know that, however. An observer even farther away, say 500 million light years, who has been observing the earth since it formed, would not yet have even seen dinosaurs appear. An observer 10 billion light years away would not even be able to observe the earth at all; it doesn’t exist according to his observations. I’m still not sure why this presents a problem for you, though.

  35. #35 proximity1
    February 26, 2013

    Sean,

    Nope. Not denying GR’s validity–since, after all, it’s reasonable and, really, concerns observational aspects of physical phenomenaonly, not the objective character of those phenomena.

    As to your Q. : ” Are you really suggesting that the effects of the nova would occur before you saw the nova? ”

    in any relatively small local area such as that of the proximity our Earth and the Sun– with, that is, a light-transit-time of “only” 8 minutes– yes, what I’m suggesting is that the Sun’s gravitational effects, in the event of its supernova state-change, could, it seems to me, have felt effects on the Earth before these are visably apparent from our simple sight-views of the Sun. Or, in other words, I’m suggesting that we might “feel” the effects of the SN state change first—and, that, indeed, may be the our or, that is, these hypothetical creatures’ (experiencing this supposed event) one and only sense-data indication of the event at all. I think we can doubt whether and how long any such “view” of our Sun’s “going Supernova” would “endure.”

    That may help you put this into perspective, where you ask–

    “Assume we are able to observe a star 70 mly away. Is the star the same now as it was 70 mya? We don’t know; we can’t know. Why is that problematic?”

    At 70 mly away, it’s isn’t “problematic” –not, at any rate, to any living creature with an average life-span such humans have.

    If, however, the distance is 8 light-minutes away, then, for us, the same scenario could be, I suggest, “problematic” –in a very special and a very fleeting sense of problematic, of course. Why, I wonder, wouldn’t you have already correctly put these factors together in the context of the comments above?

  36. #36 proximity1
    February 26, 2013

    correction: “visibly”

  37. #37 proximity1
    February 26, 2013

    “Now, GR says that no energy can travel faster than the speed of light. This would include matter as well since matter is just a form of energy.”

    I think GR says that, under conditions known and measurable to us, no energy can travel faster than the speed of light.

    We have no recorded and documented measurements of the speeds at which a supernova’s (not-necessarily-visible, or even detectable, by our current instrumentation) energy can reach nearby objects, have we?

    Just as, in 1890, if asked about the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation, a competent physicist would probably reply, “What ‘Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation’ ? there’s no such thing, my boy! “

  38. #38 Blaine
    February 26, 2013

    @G

    True, the zeitgeist argument has merit. People do take their cues from the wider society. Once the tipping point is reached, it will be embarrassing to admit you believe in god like it currently is in Denmark. ( cf . http://www.amazon.com/Society-without-God-Religious-Contentment/dp/0814797237 )

  39. #39 eric
    February 26, 2013

    proximity1:

    yes, what I’m suggesting is that the Sun’s gravitational effects, in the event of its supernova state-change, could, it seems to me, have felt effects on the Earth before these are visably apparent from our simple sight-views of the Sun

    You’d most likely be wrong. Gravity detection is still in its infancy, but attempts to measure it have been going on for at least 10 years, and results are consistent with the effects of it propagating at the speed of light. See here for an example.
    As far as we know, nothing propagates faster than light. Nothing. Whatever it might mean for our notion of simultineity, Earth’s “now” contains Proxima Centauri the way it was 4.2 years ago, not as it is “now, local to Proxima Centauri” (again, whatever that means).

  40. #40 Sean T
    February 26, 2013

    proximity,

    Then, by your logic, it would be possible (at least in principle) to perform faster than light communication. You seem to be regarding changes in gravity as propogating instantaneously (which BTW means that you ARE denying the validity of general relativity since GR was developed in large part to AVOID such instantaneous action at a distance). Using that as a starting premise, it is possible for a hypothetical alien to rearrange the masses in his locality so that observable gravitational effects are produced. Theoretically, we and our hypothetical alien could agree on a code that would allow a message to be transmitted using these gravitational effects. Since these effects are transmitted instantaneously, voila, we have instantaneous communication over theoretically limitless distances.

    . Certainly, you can see that this violates relativity, which you claim to accept the validity of, since relativity explicitly forbids communication at faster than light speed. You may be right, but the burden of proof certainly rests on you to show that this is the case, not on the rest of the scientific community to show that you are wrong. Present your alternative theory to relativity. Show that it correctly accounts for all the observations that are accounted for by relativity. Point out further observations for which your alternative theory predicts a result different from the result predicted by relativity. Make those observations and see if your theory stands up. That’s how science works.

  41. #41 MNb
    February 26, 2013

    “the burden of proof certainly rests on Proximity”
    Exactly. He should design an experiment to show the validity of his “arguments”. If he finds a confirmation I guarantee a Nobel Prize as fast as Müller and Bednorz received it.

  42. #42 proximity1
    February 27, 2013

    No I’m not asserting instantaneity for gravitational effects–instread, I’m suggesting just a hypothesis that the effects may exceed the speed of light; On the other hand, the point is, we simply don’t know that these effects don’t exceed “C” or, if so, by how much. The excedent, if such there is, could be very close to instantaneity without being quite instananeous.

    re: (Eric’s) “Whatever it might mean for our notion of simultineity, Earth’s “now” contains Proxima Centauri the way it was 4.2 years ago, not as it is “now, local to Proxima Centauri” (again, whatever that means).”

    No argument. BTW, if you took my point about the reason the “lag” could be “porblematic,” you didn’t bother to extend the courtesy of recognizing that point’s validity.

    and his “As far as we know, nothing propagates faster than light. Nothing. ”

    Note, please, the operative words there are, “…as far as we [now] know”

    That’s all I’m pointing out. My comments aren’t by any strectch offered or intended as any “alternative” to GR. So, this, from Sean,

    Present your alternative theory to relativity. Show that it correctly accounts for all the observations that are accounted for by relativity. Point out further observations for which your alternative theory predicts a result different from the result predicted by relativity. Make those observations and see if your theory stands up. That’s how science works.

    is sheer obiter dicta and the stuff of straw-man argumentation.

    By the way, ‘how science works’, despite your summary claim to the contrary, includes lots of pre-experimental speculation–which is what I’m doing here.

    To argue implicitly or explicitly (and you appear to do both) that such is somehow by definition “not science” and, thus, valueless or uninteresting is both unnecessary and, frankly, silly–despite being so utterly common today among people who apparently see themselves as “keepers of the flame of Science.”

    Some people speculate on such issues because they are just interested, and there’s nothing in their motives that concerns Noble prizes.

  43. #43 Walt Jones
    Minneapolis
    February 27, 2013

    proximity1, speculation might be a precursor of science, but without evidence, it’s not science. The problem with your Galileo Gambit is that he had evidence.

    BTW, the video store called – your copy of “What the Bleep” is overdue.

  44. #44 eric
    February 27, 2013

    On the other hand, the point is, we simply don’t know that these effects don’t exceed “C” or, if so, by how much.

    We’ve run the experiments. The accuracyof the results isn’t all that we could wish for, but its certainly good enough to refute your hypothesis: the result c +/- 20% is nothing like your idea of “very close to instantaneity without being quite instananeous.” Instead, the results are consistent with the gravity force carrier obeying relativity just like everything else does.

    By the way, ‘how science works’, despite your summary claim to the contrary, includes lots of pre-experimental speculation–which is what I’m doing here.

    No, you’re doing post-experimental speculation that you are still be even though the experimental data says you aren’t. Which, IMO, is quite a bit more wooey. You’re still free to speculate, of course. But as more counterfactual data comes in over the years, the mainstream has less and less reason to pay attention to such speculations.

  45. #45 proximity1
    February 27, 2013

    “speculation might be a precursor of science, but without evidence, it’s not science.”

    re : Walt Jones
    Minneapolis
    February 27, 2013

    Says you. Fortunately your presumed authority doesn’t extend so far as to dictate what constitutes practical habits of “science”.

    Try politics. Dictators and bullies and censors find lots of scope for their impulses in that field of endeavor.

  46. #46 proximity1
    February 27, 2013

    eric, all speculation is “post-experimental speculation” by some relative perspective. You really go to great lengths to miss and mistake a point, don’t you!? The “experiments” to which I refer there are those of a hypothesized future where, should it happen, we have either the knowledge or the instrumentation or a combination of the two which are currently unavailable to us but which, if gained, could open up as-yet-unfeasible experimentation into the question of light’s supremacy in energy velocity.

    Johannes Kepler’s speculations were post-experimental to the work of Nicolaus Copernicus. And Isaac Newton’s were post-experimental to the work of Kepler, and so on and so on.

    As an advocate for science, you present an amazing capacity to think small and unimaginatively. These speculations, which in no way suggest a questioning of the basic validity of science as a method of inquiry and discovery, are harmless. Meanwhile, your approach leaves much that does threaten the healthy practice of scientific inquiry unnoticed, unchallenged, unopposed.

    When Russell wrote,

    “The fundamental faith of most men of science in the present day is in the importance of preserving the status quo<. Consequently, they are very willing to claim for science no more than its due, and to concede much of the claims of other conservative forces, such as religion.” ( “Is Science Superstitious?” (Sceptical Essays, 1928) )

    he was discribing people with a penchant for narrowness of mind such as you and others here exemplify. The pity is that, eighty-five years later, a part of Russell’s point is still valid while the context and the current meaning of “status quo” has changed from that of 1928–only a year after the trial of “Tennessee v. Scopes”.

    That changed context means that, unlike in 1928, today’s scientists, while still partisans of today’s (changed) status quo are not willing to claim for science only its due. Instead, sciences’ self-styled defenders seem to operate from a fearful belief that science is in danger, that it is under siege and must be “defended” with a religious and dogmatic fervor. This opens the way to claims for more than is science’s due.

    If it weren’t for certain of science’s ardent defenders, science would be making out better and would be received with greater readiness by the general public which, in light of many scientists’ behavior, are right to doubt the worthiness of their claims to authority and to the public’s unquestioning deference.

  47. #47 eric
    February 27, 2013

    eric, all speculation is “post-experimental speculation” by some relative perspective. You really go to great lengths to miss and mistake a point, don’t you!?

    No, I don’t think so. You are postulating that gravity propagates must faster than light. We’ve performed experiments that measure how fast gravity propagates, and they are consistent with c. So, according to the healthy practice of scientific inquiry you say you agree with, your hypothesis is tentatively rejected as incorrect until you can come up with new evidence for it.

    These speculations, which in no way suggest a questioning of the basic validity of science as a method of inquiry and discovery, are harmless.

    I mostly agree its harmless. If you want to say ‘the current evidnence suggests the force of gravity propagates at the speed of light, but I think we should keep studying g propagation because its a very interesting area of research,’ I have no problem with that. I’d even agree – IMO we should keep studying gravity propagation. Where I have a problem is that your posts seem to imply or argue that science has yet to disover any relevant data about the propagation of gravity, and thus (you imply) that your idea is somehow empirically equal to the idea that it travels at c. And that, IMO, is just untrue. We already know something about this. There is undoubtedly more stuff to loarn, but what we know right now is inconsistent with what you believe.

    Meanwhile, your approach leaves much that does threaten the healthy practice of scientific inquiry unnoticed, unchallenged, unopposed.

    My approach is to pay more attention to the data already collected than I do to what I wish to be true. And, incidentally, my approach also includes letting you be free to speculate as much as you want. Heck, go propose your own experiments, find your on private fundng, run them, publish them, and prove me wrong. That would be just peachy as far as I’m concerned. Your freedom to speculate isn’t the issue; its whether you are accurately representing what science currently knows about the force of gravity, and I don’t think you are. The albeit limited data we have is not neutral to your claim: it supports the notion that you are wrong.

    That changed context means that, unlike in 1928, today’s scientists, while still partisans of today’s (changed) status quo are not willing to claim for science only its due. Instead, sciences’ self-styled defenders seem to operate from a fearful belief that science is in danger, that it is under siege and must be “defended” with a religious and dogmatic fervor. This opens the way to claims for more than is science’s due.

    I have no idea what this paragraph has to do with gravity propagation. What claim, in terms of our understanding of gravity, am I making that you consider to be beyond/more than science’s due?

  48. #48 Walt Jones
    February 27, 2013

    Sorry, proximity1, I didn’t mean to distract you from your research. I look forward to the paradigm shift.

  49. #49 MNb
    February 28, 2013

    “c +/- 20%”
    If we are royal and grant + 20% the time for any particle (with or without mass) to travel from the Sun to Earth will still be 6,7 seconds. The instantaneous effect Proximity is defending requires a velocity of infinite magnitude. This follows directly from the well known formula distance = velocity x time.
    Expand science as much and investigate as many new ideas as you like, I predict that any sponsor will want to know what Proximity’s thoughts about infinite velocity are before providing any money for his experiments.

  50. #50 proximity1
    March 1, 2013

    eric, generally I appreciate your reply for its overall gist, eventhough it still indicates that you misread my point in some resepcts. For the general generosity, though, I thank you. It’s more respectable and welcome than the snide stuff that Walt has posted.

    re: “Your freedom to speculate isn’t the issue; its whether you are accurately representing what science currently knows about the force of gravity, and I don’t think you are.”

    ( My “freedom to specuate” appeared very much in question (by some of the other participants) if I read the earlier comments correctly. You show a greater openness on this point than have others here. But, where it counts most, namely, JR’s practical position, so far, at least, is that this kind of speculation–though it should probably have been done in a diffferent thread–isn’t qutie out of bounds here. And, if so, then, for that I say, “Good for him! ” )

    But that mistakes my position and point. As speculation, I’m emphatically not trying to “represent what science currently knows about the force of gravity”. I don’t mean to say or imply that my position does or could or should represent current science on the matter–it’s speculation, not an argument for a test–as I’m not in a position to suggest one. But some others’ comments seem to argue, “Well, then, in that case, you got no business speculating on this.” I don’t agree with that view.

    And, while you’re welcoming my adventures in speculation, it seems that there’s a proviso attached–in speculating, one mustn’t challenge or question current theory –and, as an implied corollary, i.e. unless the “challenging” speculation comes with some more or less complete alternative experimental theory and apparatus. I don’t see why that implied condition should govern here, in a popular blog where both professionals and amateurs of science join in discussion. You can assert that it ought to govern discussions, and, J.R., as the blog’s CEO could even insist on that. But, so far he hasn’t–afaia–and I find that’s an admirable position–if it reflects more than just a lack of attention on his part.

    So, I agree in part with this,

    “…We already know something about this. There is undoubtedly more stuff to learn, but what we know right now is inconsistent with what you believe.

    but here,

    ” Where I have a problem is that your posts seem to imply or argue that science has yet to discover any relevant data about the propagation of gravity, and thus (you imply) that your idea is somehow empirically equal to the idea that it travels at c. And that, IMO, is just untrue.”

    I dispute that I’m claiming that. So, while I agree that if I were, I’d be in error to do so, I’m not arguing either that,

    “science has yet to discover any relevant data about the propagation of gravity” …

    or that,

    …”our idea is somehow empirically equal to the idea that it travels at ‘c.’ ”

    I’m saying that I think further research, experiment and the data from it will come to show that some of current theory’s assumptions about ‘c’ –esp. as being the supra qua non of energy velocity–may be mistaken and in for reversal by newer, better information and measurements, if these come within our capacity to develop.

    —————————

    re : MNb

    “Expand science as much and investigate as many new ideas as you like, I predict that any sponsor will want to know what Proximity’s thoughts about infinite velocity are before providing any money for his experiments.”

    At one early point I did mention instantaneity and I regret that. Upon reflection–and, in subsequent comments, I revised that stance– I think that that goes beyond what’s readily within the scope of my view–a much faster than light propagation of effect without anything even close to instantaneity being required. Light takes eight of our terrestrial minutes to transit the distance from the Sun. If, for example, a gravitational effect were to be felt in only, say, ten earth-seconds from the Sun’s state-change producing those hypothetical effects, then, do the math–the increase in speed over that of ‘c’ is 2.08-hundreth’s of the time required by (to us) visible light (as per the spectrum of radiant energy currently known to us). That speed is of course, ‘infinitely slower’ than ‘infinite velocity’ (which, to me is sheer nonsense– see below), but, all the same, much, much, much faster than ‘c’.

    Specifically, as for “infinite velocity” I categorically reject this as having any part in my views. I don’t think anything has or could have “infinite velocity” and I think that the terms are in and of themselves nonsense and, indeed, a contradiction in terms. In my view, “velocity” implies “rate” and anything with a “rate”–that is, measurable, quantifiable–is, by definition, finite–and that finitude is “once and for all” by which I mean that anything that is finite remains so and can never “become infinite” as though “with time, practice, or effort,” –the idea that it might strikes me as not just ridiculous but sublimely so, not to say “infinitely ridiculous”. ; ^ )

    All that, too, is and is intended as pure speculation on my part. Respectfully submitted.

  51. #51 proximity1
    March 1, 2013

    re: from eric

    “I have no idea what this paragraph has to do with gravity propagation. What claim, in terms of our understanding of gravity, am I making that you consider to be beyond/more than science’s due?”

    Since —> We’ve run the experiments.

    & ergo —> The accuracyof the results isn’t all that we could wish for, but its certainly good enough to refute your hypothesis: the result c +/- 20% is nothing like your idea of “very close to instantaneity without being quite instananeous.” Instead, the results are consistent with the gravity force carrier obeying relativity just like everything else does.

    QED —-> No, you’re doing post-experimental speculation … even though the experimental data says you aren’t ((i.e.) correct (in your (my) views (yes?) ). Which, IMO, is quite a bit more wooey.

    This, for example, claims for “science practice” more than is its due–as I see it. And, as better examples, Walt’s far more rigorous constraints on speculation claim even more for “science practice” than is its due.

    What’s next?
    “If you don’t have a Ph.D. in a natural (i.e. one of the “hard”) sciences, and you’re not also curently wearing a white lab coat, then your speculations aren’t and couldn’t be “scientific”.” ?

    Graned, that’s a straw-man there, but it’s built and displayed in order to suggest not the stand being expressly taken but something like the silly implied stand apparently being argued by some –more by others than by you, as it happens–here.

  52. #52 eric
    March 1, 2013

    Proximity:

    And, while you’re welcoming my adventures in speculation, it seems that there’s a proviso attached–in speculating, one mustn’t challenge or question current theory

    No, that’s not what I said. Go ahead and challenge current theory. What I said is: your hypothesis will be tentatively rejected by the scientific community until you come up with evidence to support it, because right now the evidence supports g propagation at c.

    I’m saying that I think further research, experiment and the data from it will come to show that some of current theory’s assumptions about ‘c’ –esp. as being the supra qua non of energy velocity–may be mistaken and in for reversal by newer, better information and measurements

    You say you don’t mean to suggest anything about the current state of scientific understanding, but here you’re doing it again. c and its role is not an assumption of modern theory. It is firmly grounded in observation – it is a conclusion of scientific investigation. By calling it an assumption you are implicitly saying that we have little or no empirical basis for accepting it – we just assume it. This is not the case.
    Now, maybe you don’t mean to imply that, but whether its intentional or unintentional, you keep saying things that sound very much like a crackpot’s attempt to downplay the empirical strength and support for the theory of relativity and other related physics concepts. There is no reasonable doubt about this stuff at this time. True, because science is inductive, there is always a chance that future evidence could result in overturning our current theories. But there is no more reason to believe relativity will be overturned than there is to believe the germ theory of disease will be overturned or the theory of evolution will be overturned.

    Since —> We’ve run the experiments.

    & ergo —> [snip] the results are consistent with the gravity force carrier obeying relativity just like everything else does.

    QED —-> No, you’re doing post-experimental speculation

    So, just so we’re clear. You think that it is beyond the ‘due’ of science or unwarranted on my part to take the premises: (1) science has already done experiments, and (2) you’re hypothesizing something different from what they show, and conclude (3) you are doing post-experimental speculation. To you, (3) is an unwarrented conclusion of 1 and 2; it goes beyond what science ought to concern itself about. Is that correct?

  53. #53 proximity1
    March 1, 2013

    re Eric @ N° 52:

    at this point, I feel rather strongly that a separate thread for any further commentary on these issues is in order. That’s of course only my personal opinion and it’s, also of couse, up to JR to make that determination.

    Meanwhile,

    I simply disagree with numerous of your views of things and I assert that they are “your views of things” or, in other words, “your version of the facts”. Indeed, we are at least in part disagreeing about which particulars do constitute facts, as well as how firmly grounded those elements (which you assert as facts, and which I think I may view as less firmly demonstrated) are “in fact.”

    For example, I disagree with you where you assert –this is your view of the “facts”, stated as though it is an undisputable fact– “there is no more reason to believe relativity will be overturned than there is to believe the germ theory of disease will be overturned or the theory of evolution will be overturned.”

    First, in my mind, neither “c”, as the constant, the “speed of light” nor “relativity”, i.e. the view that two or more observers’ relative points of view, due to great distances separating them (‘them’ meaning, by assumption and definition, of equal physical scale, that is, two equally or nearly equally proportioned observers–humans, etc. or others (physical size resemblances bear intimately on what a “point of view” even means) can perceive the same “event” as occurring at different “times” (or, if a series of events, in a different order) depending on each observer’s position relative to the event and to the other observers. All of that can remain valid as science’s presentation of physical phenomena and, yet, it can be found that, contrary to our present understanding, light energy, (the visible light we perceive, among the broader (though who knows how complete?) spectrum of radiant energy) may not after all be the “limit” or the utmost in physical phenomena’s velocity. Why? Because we don’t yet know all the facts about all physical phenomena, And, it seems to me, we shall probably never know all about all real physical phenomena because it could happen that neither our natural senses nor the summum of our inventions of devices for extending human perception and measurement beyond our unaided limits brings all such phenomena into our perceptive range.

    and, further, here, where you write,

    “You say you don’t mean to suggest anything about the current state of scientific understanding, but here you’re doing it again.

    Excuse me, but where, precisely did I state or write that? —that I’m not suggesting anything about the current state of scientific understanding”? I certainly am “suggesting” something about it: it’s not only incomplete on the matters in dispute and under discussion between us, but, moreover, it may be, as I think, incorrect in certain respects. What you refer to as knowledge is of course present-day and provisional knowledge–until other, contrary, evidence and reasoning and demonstrations “suggest” otherwise.

    c and its role is not an assumption of modern theory. It is firmly grounded in observation – it is a conclusion of scientific investigation. By calling it an assumption you are implicitly saying that we have little or no empirical basis for accepting it – we just assume it. This is not the case.”

    Excuse me, but, the validity of “c” as a constant function does rest upon, depend on, certain other prior assumptions. To deny that or claim otherwise is, I argue, simply a mistake on your part. You can claim that ” c and its role is not an assumption of modern theory” but, taken together, “c” and its role, do, indeed, imply assumptions. And behind those lie other, more fundamental contingent assumptions. In refusing to grant this, you are presenting in spades an example of what I mean when I say that, today, scientists are no longer willing to claim for science no more than its due. For you are doing just that in insisting that there are no significant assumptions underlying the present–yes–accepted views on the properties of light.

    I emphatically deny that your view is correct and I think that competent scientists in the field would agree. They don’t deny that their views on relativity, on light, on the constant, “c”, are all, sooner or later groundedon some working assumptions. The confirming math (which I admit is beyond me) itself must depend also on these assumptions for its relevant application to the physical phenomena.

    re: ” you keep saying things that sound very much like a crackpot’s attempt to downplay the empirical strength and support for the theory of relativity and other related physics concepts”

    And you keep asserting, it seems to me, and asserting erroneously, that ” the empirical strength and support for the theory of relativity and other related physics concepts” admit one and only one interpretation (even when and where, or, especially when and where, those in the discussion all agree that what we’re interested in and what we are mutually agreed to be confined to is something we agree is “science,” not mysticism, or religion or any other non-natural view of the world), namely, the standard, accepted view which you assume as your own.

    Yes, Darwin’s evolution by natural selection is what I think of as true and correct, and yet still by necessity only our best available and current view of the “facts” as our present understanding gives them to us–though, indeed, as I suppose you do, too, I believe that further gains in science knowledge will only or mainly reinforce to the extent that that is even possible, the work and theories of Darwin on evolution and natural selection. This, at bottom, is where you and I see things differently. Darwin’s work, in my view, is incomparably more robust and secure than _almost_ anything (loosely speaking) now thought to be true in theoretical physics and astronomy.

    And, true, if and when revised, overturned, reconsidered, it shall of course be other scientific grounds and data which supercedes, when this happens, either Darwin’s work or that of Einstein any other scientist.

  54. #54 proximity1
    March 1, 2013

    re : “So, just so we’re clear. You think that it is beyond the ‘due’ of science or unwarranted on my part to take the premises: (1) science has already done experiments, and (2) you’re hypothesizing something different from what they show, and conclude (3) you are doing post-experimental speculation. To you, (3) is an unwarrented conclusion of 1 and 2; it goes beyond what science ought to concern itself about. Is that correct?”

    No, not correct, and that is because this, above, frm you constitues what I view as a loaded exposition of “facts”, given as though your working assumptions–contained in the terms of your description–must be the case.

    try this revision:

    “So, just so we’re clear. You think that it is beyond the ‘due’ of science or unwarranted on my part to take the premises: (1) science has already done experiments, and (2) you’re hypothesizing something different from what I, (that is, Eric,) say, claim, one and all must agree that they (i.e. the experiments) show, and conclude (3) you are doing post-experimental speculation. To you, (3) is an unwarrented conclusion of 1 and 2; it goes beyond what science ought to concern itself about. Is that correct?

    Yes, that–which for me corrects your version of the situation– does indeed show how and why I think you go beyond what is science’s due, as I see it.

  55. #55 eric
    March 1, 2013

    proximity @53 – I’m having a hard time parsing a lot of your post. It seems stream of thought. For example, I don’t know where your “i.e.” ends. So I’m skipping down to this bit:

    Why? Because we don’t yet know all the facts about all physical phenomena

    We never know all the facts and it is always possible that our current theories or hypotheses are wrong. This does not prevent us from comparing different hypotheses and saying: based on what we know now, hypothesis x looks much much stronger than hypothesis y because x agrees with the available evidence, while y doesn’t.
    That is what I am doing with your idea of supraluminal g. I am saying: based on what we know now, the hypothesis that g propagates at c looks a lot stronger than the hypothesis that it propagates faster. We can’t measure propagation speed well, but when we do measure it, it appears to be c. So the current evidence favors the idea that it propagates at c.

    Excuse me, but, the validity of “c” as a constant function does rest upon, depend on, certain other prior assumptions.

    Name the assumptions you think are problematical and unsupported. Certainly there are some assumptions in science (like: I am not in a matrix-like simulation). But I’m guessing that a lot of what you think are things assumed by scientists are actually things scientists have experimentally tested and observed to be true.

    this, above, frm you constitues what I view as a loaded exposition of “facts”,

    How could it be loaded against you when the example logic is quoted from your own post? In @51, YOU said statement 1, 2 and ergo 3 was science going beyond its due. That was your claim! But okay, fine, you seem to have revised #2. Lets go with it. What do these experimental results show, in your opinion? You clearly think I’m taking an unwarranted step in saying they show g propagates at c – even though the paper authors themselves and the reporters covering it say this. So, tell me what the experiment really shows, then.

    And again, I think you are downplaying the mainstream position. Premise #2 is not just ‘erics opinion.’ Its clearly the opinion of the scientists who did the research. Here is what they said about it: “Our main goal was to rule out an infinite speed of gravity, and we did even better,” Fomalont said in the announcement. “We now know that the speed of gravity is probably equal to the speed of light, and we can confidently exclude any speed for gravity that is over twice that of light.” Hear that? ‘Confidently exclude speeds more than twice c.’ That means you. So no, premise #2 is not just eric’s opinion. Its the opinion of th eguys who did the experiment.
    Are you now going to claim that science is overreaching whenever a scientist describes what he thinks his experiment shows? Because I’m not claiming anything about the experiment more than what the experimenter himself claims.

  56. #56 proximity1
    March 1, 2013

    re:

    “How could it be loaded against you when the example logic is quoted from your own post?”

    Like this:

    You read another’s argument–in this case, mine–not as ithat argument is presented and intended but as your own argument’s case would have the other’s argument seem to be.

    In other, briefer, terms, you misconstrue your opponent’s words, then, citing his words, as though you’d properly interpreted them, you and ask how it could be that such an approach—your misconstruction of your opponent’s logic–could be “loaded,” since “the example logic is quoted from your [i.e. your opponent's] own post?”

    But you cited my words, not my “logic”–which you’ve failed to read and interpret correctly. And, what’s more, you don’t seem to understand that this is what you’ve done, or that it doesn’t at all amount to what you suppose: a simple recitation of the opponent’s views.

    In all of that, you demonstrate what I can only describe as an amazing lack of ability to read, to interpret and to reason effectively–even on a level I generally associate with an average high-school student.

    But I already explained this–here:

    re : “So, just so we’re clear. You think that it is beyond the ‘due’ of science or unwarranted on my part to take the premises: (1) science has already done experiments, and (2) you’re hypothesizing something different from what they show, and conclude (3) you are doing post-experimental speculation. To you, (3) is an unwarrented conclusion of 1 and 2; it goes beyond what science ought to concern itself about. Is that correct?”

    No, not correct, and that is because this, above, frm you constitues what I view as a loaded exposition of “facts”, given as though your working assumptions–contained in the terms of your description–must be the case.
    try this revision:

    “So, just so we’re clear. You think that it is beyond the ‘due’ of science or unwarranted on my part to take the premises: (1) science has already done experiments, and (2) you’re hypothesizing something different from what I, (that is, Eric,) say, claim, one and all must agree that they (i.e. the experiments) show, and conclude (3) you are doing post-experimental speculation. To you, (3) is an unwarrented conclusion of 1 and 2; it goes beyond what science ought to concern itself about. Is that correct?

    Yes, that–which for me corrects your version of the situation– does indeed show how and why I think you go beyond what is science’s due, as I see it.

    and you ought to have been able to see from that where, how and why your restatment was your loaded rendition of my reasoning–and that simply citing my words with your misconstrual of them doesn’t change those key mistakes of yours.

    So, your reading is faulty and your reasoning is faulty.

    re: “That was your claim! But okay, fine, you seem to have revised #2. ”

    No. I didn’t “revise it”, you “revised” by fiat and misconstrual. There’s a difference and you don’t seem to be able to recognize it.

    re: ” What do these experimental results show, in your opinion?”

    They show an NBC News report of a study by two scientists and a few selected citations from the study’s author with various interpreations of the import of the study’s findings–without linking or citing the paper directly.

    That’s what is shows me–until I can find and read the study’s text itself.

    this, as a line of reasoned argument, ought to be an embarrassment:

    Its clearly the opinion of the scientists who did the research. Here is what they said about it: “Our main goal was to rule out an infinite speed of gravity, and we did even better,” Fomalont said in the announcement. “We now know that the speed of gravity is probably equal to the speed of light, and we can confidently exclude any speed for gravity that is over twice that of light.” Hear that? ‘Confidently exclude speeds more than twice c.’ That means you. So no, premise #2 is not just eric’s opinion. Its the opinion of th eguys who did the experiment.

    Lots of people claim with confidence–sometimes great confidence that they’ve shown this, that or the other thing. You, I gather, are no less “confident” that you’ve made something resembling a respectable case for your side of the discussion.

    So what?

    re: “Because I’m not claiming anything about the experiment more than what the experimenter himself claims.”

    In other words, these two researchers are “confident”, in their own words, in excluding any speed of gravity which is more than twice that of the speed of light. As much, perhaps, as twice, but “confident” that it isn’t more than that.

    So, in according to their “findings,” the gravitational effects of a such a serious state-change as the Sun’s developing into a supernova, those effects could become apparent to inhabitants of the earth in, say, around four minutes from the event’s onset. That presumes, of course, a steady distance from what would constitute “the Sun” as it explodes in size to a supernova, presumably in the process, “somewhat reducing” the normal distance (186k miles) from earth at a rate which, as far as I have heard, we may only speculate as for the magnitude.

    Meanwhile, you and they, without any basis for such a supposition being well-founded, are “confident” that the speed of the effect wouldn’t exceed two times that of light.

    Wow. Let that sink in. Take your time. From what I’ve seen of your reasoning skills, you’ll need some time for it to sink in.

  57. #57 proximity1
    March 1, 2013

    correction:

    sorry, I meant, approx. 93 million miles from earth, not 186 thousand miles—which I confused with the speed (at miles per second) light, another element in the discussion.

  58. #58 MNb
    March 2, 2013

    @Prox: “I’m saying that I think further research”
    The argumentum ad futurum is a logical fallacy. The only way to back up your speculations is to show up with empirical data.

    “I simply disagree with numerous of your views of things”
    Amongst others you disagree with hard facts as they are currently known.

    “the validity of “c” as a constant function does rest upon, depend on, certain other prior assumptions.”
    Yes, it rests on the assumption that Michelson and Morley back in the 19th century plus all the scientists who have repeated their experiment have done their job well. Your assumptions though rest on nothing but your fantasy.

    “Why? Because we don’t yet know all the facts about all physical phenomena,”
    Again true. As we don’t know yet all the facts about all falling objects you may also speculate about falling upward when jumping off a bridge. Still I doubt if you are going to try it, which means you’re inconsistent.

    “They show an NBC News report of a study ….”
    The kind of statement creacrappers like to make. Maybe it’s a good idea to hire a hall in Ken Ham’s Museum.

    “That presumes, of course, a steady distance …”
    Another creacrap feature: never mind how bad the arguments as long as they seem to support your position. No, prox, you were proposing instantaneous effects, ie gravity traveling with infinite speed.
    The moment the Sun begins to expand there still will be a distance between it and the Earth; even with a speed twice c it will take a time interval to notice the effects on Earth.

    And this is what you wrote in #25:
    “I think that we’d have immediate physical repercussions”
    Immediate is not the same as 2, 3 or 4 seconds.
    You’re attempts to poke holes in the Theory of Relativity are as sorry as the “criticisms” of AiG and Discovery Institute. I admire Eric’s patience – I don’t have it and unlike him I’m not kind and polite enough to remain silent about how I judge your speculations: pseudoscience.

  59. #59 proximity1
    March 2, 2013

    re : MNb @ N° 58

    “The only way to back up your speculations is to show up with empirical data.” That’s your baloney-ous opinion. Thank you for it, but I’ll pass on it.

    re: “No, prox, you were proposing instantaneous effects, ie gravity traveling with infinite speed.”

    There you’re being simply flatly dishonest. At at point I mentioned instantaneity. And since I’ve retracted and corrected that and done this quite expressly. Moreover, even before this post of yours, I’ve quite explicitly corrected a previous erroneous imputation of a belief in “infinite speed”. But, here you are, dishonestly attributing to me such a preposterous idea. No where, not even once, earier, have I mentioned “infinite speed” at all, and much less a “gravity traveling with infinite speed. So, for you to insist on it shows gross dishonesty and bloody-minded bad-faith argumenation on your part. Right from there, I ought to simply say to you, “Piss off, asshole!” but first I have a few further comments.

    Concerning Relativity– I accept it as far as it goes. Indeed, I think its the views of those here I’ve opposed which seems eerily lacking in respect for a Relativistic view of the universe.

    Take the earth’s Sun, for example. Like everything else in the universe, it’s a dynamic space-time “event” not a static “thing, ‘out there’ .” In the event of it undergoing a state-change to a supernova, the apparent views of those in favor of “no noticeable effect at earth until the obligatory eight-minute-light-transit-time” seems to suppose that during the Sun’s supernova core-collapse-followed-by-explosion, the astral neighborhood just goes on “normally” as though nothing has happened.

    Instead, my view assumes that this event puts into effect a dynamic in which “the Sun” as pre-supernova is a has-been artifact and with it, things such as “the distance from Sun to earth” are also in a serious state-change. Now, what’s happened to the others of the Theory-of-Relativity’s Faithful? Where’s their common sense thinking about this dynamic change of events?

    The Sun’s semi-steady-state diameter is approx. 1.93 million km. If the Sun exploded, post-core-collapse, that diameter would increase, wouldn’t it? You don’t know exactly by what rate or by how much that explosive expansion would occur and neither do I. But, it seems to me that we are entitled to imagine various scenarios.

    If the Sun’s diameter, as a consequence of the explosion, were to double, and double again, and repeat that, then by the sixth doubling, the Sun’s expansion would be close to having spanned the Sun-earth pre-supernova distance. By the seventh doubling, the Sun’s new diameter would far surpass the earth’s orbit of the pre-supernova Sun.

    Why are we to assume that an expanding (excuse me, an exploding) Sun’s diameter would faithfully remain obedient to our notions of light’s speed?, just because our present theories don’t recognize that anything can “move” faster than that? With “the Sun” doubled six times in diameter—-how long should that take? Does anyone really know that it couldn’t be in a _relative_ matter of (earth’s) seconds for each doubling?—-were are no longer (nor were we ever) still dealing with a “Sun” 93 million miles distant, nor one with a diameter of 1.93 million km.

    All of which suggests why this, from you,

    “The moment the Sun begins to expand there still will be a distance between it and the Earth; even with a speed twice c it will take a time interval to notice the effects on Earth.”

    is so much bullshit blather. Your positions and behavior as evidenced here make some of those–though I disagree with them–you refer to as “creacrappers” respectable by contrast.

    So, MNb, as with Walt, we’re done, moron.

  60. #60 proximity1
    March 2, 2013

    re: “No where, not even once, earier, have I mentioned “infinite speed” at all, and much less a “gravity traveling with infinite speed.”

    To clarify this—-

    that is, nowhere — except in the course of repudiating any acceptance on my part of this ridiculous concept, “infinite speed”– did I first mention ‘infinite speed’ in any of my posts. I first mentioned “infinite speed” as a response to a previous false attribution of that idea to my own views.

  61. #61 eric
    March 2, 2013

    proximity:

    They show an NBC News report of a study by two scientists and a few selected citations from the study’s author with various interpreations of the import of the study’s findings–without linking or citing the paper directly.

    That’s what is shows me–until I can find and read the study’s text itself.

    Here it is. That took me all of about 3 minutes to find.

    this, as a line of reasoned argument, ought to be an embarrassment:

    Denigrate the results all you want, given that you have zero, none, nada experimental or observational results for your speculation, the conclusion that it travels at c based on one or a few experiments will continue to be more justified than your conclusion.

    Meanwhile, you and they, without any basis for such a supposition being well-founded, are “confident” that the speed of the effect wouldn’t exceed two times that of light.

    Without any basis??? The experimental results are their basis. Its you who have no observational support for your idea, no them.

    Concerning Relativity– I accept it as far as it goes. Indeed, I think its the views of those here I’ve opposed which seems eerily lacking in respect for a Relativistic view of the universe.

    Based on your later comments, I suspect you don’t accept it, and you don’t even know what the theory really says or implies. Let’s see…

    Now, what’s happened to the others of the Theory-of-Relativity’s Faithful?

    See? That’s a pretty obvious bash of the theory and the people who accept it. You are clearly setting yourself in opposition to those you call “theory-of-relativity faithful,” i.e., you don’t accept it. Now, let’s see if you understand it….

    If the Sun’s diameter, as a consequence of the explosion, were to double, and double again, and repeat that, then by the sixth doubling, the Sun’s expansion would be close to having spanned the Sun-earth pre-supernova distance. By the seventh doubling, the Sun’s new diameter would far surpass the earth’s orbit of the pre-supernova Sun.

    Simple geometry should tell you that the force of the explosion is being spread out over a surface area that squares with the radius, and a volume of material that cubes with the radius. IOW, the force available to impart to any given particle is going to go down as the sun expands.

    Why are we to assume that an expanding (excuse me, an exploding) Sun’s diameter would faithfully remain obedient to our notions of light’s speed?

    Because the theory of relativity you claim to understand tells us that as a particle’s velocity approaches c, its bass increases. Right? You know this, yes? Its a basic part of the theory.
    Because F=ma, this mass increase means the amount of force needed to accelerate the particle closer to c increases. But that increases the mass, And so on. Mass increases asymptotically so that it is never possible for a finite force to accelerate a particle past light speed.
    Double the energy if you want. Multiply it by a million. It doesn’t matter; the mass increase in the particles affected will keep them below c.. And you should know all this…IF you really understood the theory like you say you do.

    seems to suppose that during the Sun’s supernova core-collapse-followed-by-explosion, the astral neighborhood just goes on “normally” as though nothing has happened.

    Material and effects will propagate out from teh explosion at c or near-light speed. Its not that complicated.

  62. #62 MNb
    March 3, 2013

    “I suspect you don’t accept it”
    Prox only accepts it when it suits him – like the true pseudoscientist he is. Note two things which show this:
    1. He has never indicated which according to him the limits of the Theory of Relativity are, beyond which it’s not valid anymore;
    2. He has never described an experiment or observation, not even in the vaguest terms, to confirm his speculation and prove the Theory of Relativity wrong.

  63. #63 proximity1
    March 3, 2013

    People who assert that, in order for someone to “validly” raise questions—- (even speculatively! though, of course, that “validly” is iimplied rather than openly stated because they’d be embarrassed to admit that they apply a qualifier, “validly”–but it’s there, none the less) about a scientific theory, even as they deny that they are asserting this, are showing that their notions of how science works are at bottom superstitious in character.

    What these superstitious defenders of an impoverished conception of science want to insist on is that, for a person to validly raise questions or experss doubts, the person has to be qualified and by their logic, only a questioner who is ready with an experimental alternative can be so qualified to raise questions.

    That this odd view could even have gained any currency in popular opinion is itself an indication of how current views of science have become pathetically degraded.

    There are those who raise questions–because they find them evidently merited–despite their lacking any developed alternative view to replace a theory –or, more particularly, certain interpretational extrapolations from a currently accepted theory.

    Here, for example, is one:

    “Physicist Disputes Speed of Gravity Claim

    ( link: http://www.aps.org/publications/apsnews/200306/gravity.cfm )

    A (sic) experiment showing gravitational lensing by the planet Jupiter early this year was originally interpreted as providing a measurement of the speed of gravity, although the conclusion was controversial from the outset.

    At the APS April meeting, Clifford Will of Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, a leading theorist in the interpretation of general relativity, presented his own analysis, disputing the earlier claims.

    On September 8, 2002, Jupiter passed within 3.7 arcminutes of quasar J0842+1835, the center of a distant galaxy and a strong source of radio waves.

    Ed Fomalont, a researcher at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Charlottesville, VA, used atomic clocks and the “Very Long Baseline Array” of radio telescopes to measure the brief length of time by which radiation from a quasar was delayed as it passed by the planet Jupiter.

    Fomalont’s measurement showed that the gravitational influence of the moving planet delayed the radio waves by about 5 trillionths of a second, or bent the waves by less than 15 billionths of a degree.

    According to the general theory of relativity, gravity must be propagated at the same speed as light: 186,000 miles per second. Therefore, measuring the speed of gravity would test Einstein’s theory.

    Using Fomalont’s data, Sergei Kopeikin (University of Missouri, Columbia) inferred that the speed of gravity is indeed the same as that of light, although the margin of error was 20%

    “They obtained a very beautiful experimental result, and I have no quarrel with that,” said Will. “The issue is the interpretation of the measurement. I don’t think this result says anything about the speed of gravity.”

    In a paper recently accepted for publication by the Astrophysical Journal, Will claims that although the experiment is capable of measuring the speed of gravity, the effect is too small to measure, and that the value presented by Kopeikin and Fomalont as the speed of gravity is actually the speed of light.

    “When I did a detailed calculation that put gravity’s speed at any value, the result for the delay of light was independent of gravity’s speed,” said Will. “It depended only on the speed of light. So it’s not possible to determine the speed of gravity from these light-delay observations.” That measurement will have to wait for the LIGO observatories to begin regularly detecting gravitational waves.

    Will also criticized the press for prematurely reporting the result and, to some extent, magnifying a simple scientific debate into a controversy.

    “The press jumped on this in a rather uncritical way,” he said. “Experimentally, it’s really a tour de force measurement, which will be diminished somewhat by the controversy.”

    —————————————

    A Page Set Navigation element will display here when the current page becomes part of a Page Set

    ©1995 – 2013, AMERICAN PHYSICAL SOCIETY
    APS encourages the redistribution of the materials included in this newspaper provided that attribution to the source is noted and the materials are not truncated or changed.

    Does anyone here doubt that Clifford Will subscribes, like his colleagues, to the theory of relativity with its implications? Does anyone here think that, despite his view that the research cited doesn’t show what its authors’ interpretations assert that it shows, Will hasn’t any ready-made alternative theory to propose–as critics in this thread insist on? Does anyone here miss the fact that raising questions about current views, interpretations, is not contingent on one’s having a ready theoretical alternative?

  64. #64 proximity1
    March 3, 2013

    A revision, in boldface to complete the thought that got lost in composition —-

    in order for someone to “validly” raise questions—- (even speculatively! though, of course, that “validly” is iimplied rather than openly stated because they’d be embarrassed to admit that they apply a qualifier, “validly”–but it’s there, none the less) about a scientific theory, even as they deny that they are asserting this, the questioners must have, as a precondition of raising questions, a ready-to-wear alternative theory, are showing that their notions of how science works are at bottom superstitious in character.

  65. #65 proximity1
    March 3, 2013

    PROPAGATION SPEED OF GRAVITY AND THE RELATIVISTIC TIME DELAY

    Clifford M. Will
    Department of Physics, McDonnell Center for the Space Sciences, Washington University, St. Louis,MO63130
    Received 2003 January 9; accepted 2003 March 4

    ABSTRACT
    We calculate the delay in the propagation of a light signal past a massive body that moves with speed v,
    under the assumption that the speed of propagation of the gravitational interaction cg differs from that of
    light. Using the post-Newtonian approximation, we consider an expansion in powers of v=c beyond the leading
    ‘‘ Shapiro ’’ time-delay effect, while working to first order only in Gm=c2, and show that the altered
    propagation speed of the gravitational signal has no effect whatsoever on the time delay to first order in v=c
    beyond the leading term, although it will have an effect to second and higher order. We show that the only
    other possible effects of an altered speed cg at this order arise from a modification of the parameterized post-
    Newtonian coefficient 1 of the metric from the value 0 predicted by general relativity. Current solar-system
    measurements already provide tight bounds on such a modification. We conclude that recent measurements
    of the propagation of radio signals past Jupiter are sensitive to 1 but are not directly sensitive to the speed of
    propagation of gravity.

    Subject headings: gravitation — relativity
    ————————————————————-

    The Astrophysical Journal, 590:683–690, 2003 June 20
    #2003. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved. Printed in U.S.A.

    http://iopscience.iop.org/0004-637X/590/2/683/pdf/0004-637X_590_2_683.pdf

  66. #66 eric
    March 3, 2013

    People who assert that, in order for someone to “validly” raise questions—- (even speculatively! though, of course, that “validly” is iimplied rather than openly stated

    I have stated twice that you are free to speculate. But I’ll say it a third time. Go forth, young scientist! Speculate! Hypothesize! Experiment! Show us wrong! I welcome your efforts in the field. What I have said is: until you come up with evidence that supports your hypothesis, it will remain tentatively rejected by the mainstream scientific community.

    What these superstitious defenders of an impoverished conception of science want…

    Is this you “accepting” the theory of relativity again? We aren’t stupid, you know. If you stay stuff like this, then pretend to accept mainstream science, we’re going to see right through that pretense.

    the questioners must have, as a precondition of raising questions, a ready-to-wear alternative theory,

    The alternative is that gravity is propagated by a force-carrying particle, just like the three other forces, and that this force-carrying particle obeys the laws of physics that we know. IOW, we expect the single unexplained force to share those properties that every other force we’ve ever discovered has been determined through science to have.

    Now, Will’s paper is a legitimate criticism. Much stronger and more relevant than any of your other posts. So it may be that additional science has shown that we are back at square one and the experiment doesn’t show what its authors purport it shows. I’m okay with that. However, even if that’s the case, we are still left with the ‘propagates at c’ hypothesis having the weight of induction behind it. I.e. ,the fact that we’ve discovered every other force is carried by a particle that obeys relativity, makes it reasonable to believe – in the absence of a better hypothesis – that gravity works the same way. You do not have a better hypothesis. You have an idea, sure. But no math. No mechanism. No proposed experiment. Not testability, as far as I can tell.

    Just to close off the last point of discussion, do you now understand, from my post @61, why we don’t expect a stellar explosion to accelerate any particle faster than light? Do you accept my explanation, or reject it? If you reject it, where do you think is the flaw in how I’ve interpreted relativity?

  67. #67 proximity1
    March 4, 2013

    Eric @ 66

    Your comment affords a rare occasion to point up the connection between this, our disputation, and the main, original theme of this thread– “Creation Museum Attendance Decreasing”.

    Generally, readers here welcome that news as being what they hope is an indication that the attractions of Creation Museums and the currency of some of the beliefs which underlie their proponents are perhaps waning in the general public. I don’t know about that but I’m frankly very doubtful that the decline in attendance means anything significant about the beliefs among any portion of the general public’s beliefs about the origin of the earth, life on it, & etc.

    It seems to me, however, that there’s something in the character of this apparent supposition by some of science’s self-described defenders which smacks of an attitude of unseemly gamesmanship we’d see in a religious person who, in something of reversed circumstances, might react with delight to news that reports, “Church attendance is up, say leading religious leaders.”–just a hypothetical example.

    Many people–myself, for far too long a time, included among them–supposed that the relative rise in the eminance of science and a corresponding decline in that of religious belief from the European Enlightenment to the 20th century, meant something fundamentally significant had changed about people’s orientation to facts and to fantasy. Now, I view that matter differently. Taking a cue (as I often do) from the insights of Bertrand Russell, I think that what has happened is that, as he has written,

    « Religious toleration [my note : where it is evident, then and now] , to a certain extent, has been won, because people have ceased to consider religion so important as it was once thought to be. But in politics and economics, which have taken the place formerly occupied by religion, there is a growing tendency to persecution, which is not by any means confined to one party. »

    If Russell were writing today, I don’t think he could avoid writing, «But in politics, economics and in orthodox science, which have taken the place formerly occupied by religion, there is a growing tendency to persecution, which is not by any means confined to one party. »

    It is quite possible to take toward science the same attitude which religious zealots typically take toward their faiths. Being a working professional scientist is unfortunately not at all a safeguard against that tendency. Today, especially, technological marvels, produced through direct consequences of scientific work, have led many to take a view of science which resembles that of the religious faithful. And that is why, above, I’ve used phrases such as « what’s happened to the others of the Theory-of-Relativity’s Faithful? » which you misinterpreted as indicating that I regard everyone, without exception, who accepts GR to be practicants of a religious faith. Not at all. There are those—and I count Clifford Will among them—who have a scientist’s proportioned appreciation for GR, not a religious zealot’s. That is, for a scientist, GR is an element in a theoretical construction, supported by present-day observations, not an article of faith . But it seems only too apparent that many hold a religious zealot’s view of GR. And Sam Harris had such people in mind when he commented that, « The point is not to get—at least I don’t think the point is to get—people to believe in evolution merely for the sake of believing in evolution. The point is to get people to think rationally about the data of their senses, and, and, to understand logical arguments, and, to, we—we want people to think in the style of science, not merely to sign on the dotted-line after each, uh, each, scientific finding. » (Sam Harris, 2012 Global Atheist Convention 13-15th April – Melbourne Convention Exhibition Centre, Presented by the Atheist Foundation of Australia).

    This is a problem for us in our time just as the dominance of the established Church was problem in a former time. Scientists in general are not taking the lead in addressing it—as attests the fact that Harris’s remark was as apt as it was remarkable and rarely seen.

    So, that is what is behind my, « What these superstitious defenders of an impoverished conception of science want… » And your failure to grasp the distinction between a scientific appreciation for GR and a zealot’s proselyzation over it is evident in your enquiring, « Is this you “accepting” the theory of relativity again? »

    You also betray something less than sincere about : « I have stated twice that you are free to speculate. But I’ll say it a third time. Go forth, young scientist! Speculate! Hypothesize! Experiment! Show us wrong! I welcome your efforts in the field. » when you later obseve, about Clifford Will’s critique, « Now, Will’s paper is a legitimate criticism. » Yes, Will’s is « legitimate criticism », which I can only suppose contains the intended but unstated : « …as opposed to yours. » otherwise, what is your point in observing that Will’s paper constitutes what you call « legitimate criticism » ?

    I think I read you more carefully and understand your real intent better than you read me or understand my intent.

    Re : « You have an idea, sure. But no math. No mechanism. No proposed experiment. Not testability, as far as I can tell. » Right. It’s called « speculation. » I don’t and haven’t claimed to have any of those elements. Just a questioning mind. On the other hand, as supposed « evidence » that my speculation is invalid, you offered Fomalont and Kopeikin’s « The Measurement of the Light Deflection from Jupiter: Experimental Results » and apparently you weren’t aware of Will’s paper when you did that. Only now are you prepared to state, « So it may be that additional science has shown that we are back at square one and the experiment doesn’t show what its authors purport it shows. I’m okay with that. »

    If Fomalont and Kopeikin’s paper isn’t available as support, what does being back at square one imply about our discussion and my arguments ? Nothing that you’re apparently able to see or admit at this point.

    I’ve run out of time in drafting this reply. Perhaps I can add more later. There are a few other observations I wanted to make.

  68. #68 tomh
    March 4, 2013

    proximity1 wrote:
    in orthodox science, which have taken the place formerly occupied by religion, there is a growing tendency to persecution

    What an odd way of looking at things. You seem to think there is orthodox science, as opposed to unorthodox science, and that people are persecuted for espousing unorthodox science. Shades of the movie, Expelled. Every scientist I know, or have read of, would say something like; this is the best explanation of the facts as we know them, therefore it’s accepted science, but if more facts are uncovered the explanation may change. There’s nothing orthodox or unorthodox about it. No one cares how much you speculate about anything, but you can’t expect others to take your speculations seriously until there’s at least a vestige of evidence to support them. You like to speculate that some unknown factor might cause something to go faster than light. Fine. In other words, if things were different, things would be different. Hard to argue with that.

  69. #69 eric
    March 4, 2013

    proximity:

    You also betray something less than sincere about : « I have stated twice that you are free to speculate. But I’ll say it a third time. Go forth, young scientist! Speculate! Hypothesize! Experiment! Show us wrong! I welcome your efforts in the field. » when you later obseve, about Clifford Will’s critique, « Now, Will’s paper is a legitimate criticism. » Yes, Will’s is « legitimate criticism », which I can only suppose contains the intended but unstated : « …as opposed to yours. » otherwise, what is your point in observing that Will’s paper constitutes what you call « legitimate criticism » ?

    My point was that Will’s research was the only good counter argument you have yet to muster to the hypothesis that g propagates at c. And yes, I do think that your solar explosion/sun disappearing criticism was not valid criticism. I hope I explained why in @61. The theory of relativity (which you say you understand) predicts that there is no finite force that can accelerate particles with mass to c or higher, due to relativistic mass increase.

    If Fomalont and Kopeikin’s paper isn’t available as support, what does being back at square one imply about our discussion and my arguments ? Nothing that you’re apparently able to see or admit at this point.

    Holy cow, that’s the entire second half of the paragraph you quoted. Being back at square one implies this: we have no direct observables of gravity’s speed, but (this is important, so please don’t quote mine the first part of this statement) the observation of the mechanism behind every other fundamental force interacition in nature still remains inductive support that gravity probably has a force-carrying particle and this particle probably obeys the laws of physics. Could that be wrong? Sure. But where does the weight of evidence reside? On the people who propose that gravity operates in some radically different way than the way the other forces operate.

  70. #70 eric
    March 4, 2013

    tomh:

    you [proximity1] can’t expect others to take your speculations seriously until there’s at least a vestige of evidence to support them</blockquote.

    Exactly; that's the short version. Speculate all you want, for your speculation to become the better hypothesis, you’re going to have to go beyond speculation to evidence collection.

  71. #71 MNb
    March 4, 2013

    @67 Prox: “But in politics, economics and in orthodox science, which have taken the place formerly occupied by religion, there is a growing tendency to persecution.”
    Yes, I’m busy to organize a 21st Century version of the Inquisition. You will be the first victim [/sarcasm, which will be clear to anyone but perhaps you].
    Thanks, prox. Only one element was missing in my furnishing of proof that you’re a pseudoscientist – the conspiracy theory. You didn’t fail me here (and now I’m not sarcastic)..

    To summarize:
    1. conspiracy theory @67.
    2. zero empirical evidence, nor even a vague description of the kind of experiment/observation you desire;
    3. argumentum ad futurum @somewhere above 58 – I paraphraze: “I’m sure somewhere in the future scientists will find data confirming whatever speculations I prefer to write down”;
    4. long, rambling posts, resulting in an argumentum ad nauseam;
    5. incoherent theory @25 “immediate physical repercussions”, which implies an infinite velocity or another mechanism, which you fail to provide; afterwards just rejecting the speed of light as the absolute limit.
    Note that even with twice the speed of light, something we have zero empirical evidence for, there will be “no immediate physical repercussions”, but a delay of four minutes.
    You’re a pseudoscientist and fall in the same category as ufologists, creationists, fans of Atlantis and all the others.
    I rest my case. Of course you’ll have the final plea; but if you’ll fail I’ll send the UN-Marines to drag you to the torture chambers of my headquarters.

  72. #72 Walt Jones
    March 4, 2013

    It’s a shame prox ran out of time – I’m sure he was about to answer eric’s questions about relativity. And MNb, you beat me to bingo; well played.

    The akvavit is on me at prox’s Nobel ceremony.

  73. #73 Lenoxus
    March 5, 2013

    Proximity1: Why are you suppressing relativistic views? Why so close-minded?

    If you are that you are in fact open to relativity, I’ll point you to the following accusation against someone being accused of some degree of dogmatism:

    You also betray something less than sincere about : « I have stated twice that you are free to speculate. But I’ll say it a third time. Go forth, young scientist! Speculate! Hypothesize! Experiment! Show us wrong! I welcome your efforts in the field. »

    You have an agenda. So do the others here. There’s nothing terribly inherently wrong with that because “agenda” doesn’t equate with “dogma”.

    It seems to me that all the other posters here are guilty of is failure to grant your proposals the privilege of potentially being true. But that’s something we all do with views we perceive as sufficiently far-fetched. There is nothing wrong with this.

    One of the great things about science is that, while it is human-dependent in terms of its progress, it is much less so than religion or politics. If you have the facts on your side, then your side will eventually win. You don’t have to worry that others’ ridicule or criticism will somehow unfairly suppress your views. In fact, the criticism you see on this board is pretty mild compared to what you’d get in a physics lab. And yet (unless you are a serious crank who thinks we’ve been going backwards and the scientists are just making things up) physics fails to stagnate from all the awful orthodoxy! It still changes, minute by minute.

    Meanwhile, I feel like responding to something in your first post, something I see as very illuminating (pun semi-intended):

    We don’t really believe that events which happened on earth 70m (earth-years) ago are, in any realistic sense of the term ‘happening’, still happening — from a so-called relative view–from a point of view 70m LYs (a year in this case being an earth-year) away, do we?

    No, we don’t. But your problem when you wrote this was an implicit, unthought assumption that If you can see something “directly”, then it is “still happening”., and you can interact with it directly and such. Indeed, that’s entirely true of our everyday experience, insofar as the light-delay between an event and its observation is usually less than the “speed” of human perception. But the physics of “everyday experience” are often incorrect outside it. (To give two obvious examples, it is false that all objects necessarily fall to the Earth, or that a feather will also reach a planet’s surafe more slowly than a rock.)

    What exactly is problematic about aliens seeing dinosaurs right now? It’s no more problematic than me looking up at the moon and seeing what it looked like about 1.5 seconds ago. The latter just feels less “weird” because of the much smaller time difference. But it’s just as “non-live”. The truth is that technically, you can never see something “live” in the sense of “instantaneous”, unless we count sensations caused by electrodes. It’s just that the distinction is pointless on human scales.

    I’m sure you will also dispute that relativistic effects occur at human scales, e.g, that someone travelling in a jet will age more slowly, be more massive, and physically dilate in the direction of travel, than someone staying in place on the ground. But this is (if I’m not mistaken) true nonetheless.

  74. #74 MNb
    March 6, 2013

    “failure to grant your proposals the privilege of potentially being true”
    Oops, grant failure. OK, I correct that now and here. I also grant an eventual proposal of potentially being true that Lenoxus might fall upward if he jumps off a bridge tomorrow or that Ken Ham is right after all.

    “What exactly is problematic about aliens seeing dinosaurs right now?”
    Prox answered this question in @14:

    “We don’t really believe”
    Belief.

  75. #75 eric
    March 6, 2013

    Interesting blog on the subject: astronomer Ethan Siegel writes that we have constrained the speed of gravity to within +/- 1% of c via looking at indirect effects of a binary pulsar system. Though I didn’t click on his link to the research article to see exactly how they did it.
    Maybe more importantly, he writes fairly forcefully that gravity propagating at c is a direct prediction of general relativity; its part and parcel with the theory itself, one of the key differences between Einstein and Newton.

  76. #76 proximity1
    March 6, 2013

    RE: Lenoxus @ N° 73:

    “The truth is that technically, you can never see something “live” in the sense of “instantaneous”, unless we count sensations caused by electrodes. It’s just that the distinction is pointless on human scales.”

    I argument.

    Never the less, I think that there may be something wrong in supposing that

    ” … about aliens seeing dinosaurs right now [...] It’s no more problematic than me looking up at the moon and seeing what it looked like about 1.5 seconds ago. The latter just feels less “weird” because of the much smaller time difference. But it’s just as “non-live”.”

    One cannot be quite as “non-live” if only becaus our usual lifetimes encompass many multiples of 1.5 seconds and virtuall no significant fraction of 70m earth years. If, however, these hypothetical observes of earth, 70m LY distant had lives for which the span of 70m LY was, for them, what for us is a span of 1.5 (earth) seconds, then I think your point might be somewhat more pertinent–though I think that the issue is one of “events a distance ‘Y’, after accounting for the travel time of visible light–of course, only a factor here because visible (to us) light is so essential in our ability to view visually, and in that, I do not forget that we “see” through other-than-visually-based mechanisms: radio telescopes, etc.

    ——————————-

    Here are some citations I’ve laboriously typed out. I wonder what, if anything, they provoke in thoughts for you in the context of this “discussion”. Feel free to reply or not, as you like.

    « In the relativity theory in particular this (« action ») seems in many respects to be the most fundamental thing of all. The reason is not difficult to see. If we wish to speak of the continuous matter present at any particular point of space and time, we must use the density . Density multiplied by volume in space gives us mass or, what appears to be the same thing, energy. But from our space-time point of view, a far more important thing is density multiplied by a four-dimensional volume of space and time ; this is action. The multiplication by three dimensions gives mass or energy ; and the fourth multiplication gives mass or energy multiplied by time. Action is thus mass multiplied by time or energy multiplied by time, and is more fundamental than either. »

    *** *** ***

    « But even if the size of an electron should ultimately prove, in this way, to be related to the size of the universe, that would leave a number of unexplained brute facts, notably, the quantum itself, which so far has defied all attempts to make it seem anything but accidental. It is possible that the desire for rational explanation may be caried too far. This is suggested by Eddington, in his book, Space, Time and Gravitation (p. 200). The theory of relativity has shown that most of traditional dynamics, which was supposed to contain scientific laws, really consisted of conventions as to measurement, and was strictly analagous to the ‘great law’ that there are always three feet to a yard. In particular, this applies to the conservation of energy. This makes it possible to suppose that every apparent law of nature which strikes us as reasonable is not really a law of nature, but a concealed convention, plastered on to nature by our love of what we, in our arrogance, choose to consider rational. Eddington hints that a real law of nature is likely to stand out by the fact that it appears to us as irrational, since in that case, it is less likely that we have invented it to satisfy our intellectual taste. » (This, however, is problematic since what appears to us as irrational can itself be influenced by accustomed habits of thought over time.) « And from this point of view he inclines to the belief that the quantum-principal is the first real law of nature that has been discovered in physics. »

    **** *** ***

    « It is perhaps worthwhile to point out that modern physics knows nothing of ‘force’ in the old popular sense of the word. We used to think that the sun exerted a ‘force’ on the earth. Now we think that space-time, in the neighborhood of the sun, is so shaped that the earth finds it less trouble to move as it does than in any other way. The great principle of modern physics is the ‘principle of least action’, thta in going from one place to another a body always chooses the route which involves the least action. (Action is a technical term, but its meaning need not concern us here at present.) Newspapers and certain writers who wish to be thought forceful are fond of the word ‘dynamic.’ There is nothing «’dynamic » in dynamics, which, on the contrary, finds everything deducible from a law of laziness. And there is no such thing as one body ‘controlling’ the movements of another. The universe of modern science is much more like that of Lao-Tze than that of those who prate of ‘great laws’ and ‘natural forces.’ »

    *** *** *** ***

    « My beliefs about induction underwent important modifications in the year 1944, chiefly owing to the discovery that induction used without common sense leads more often to false conclusions than to true ones. … »

    *** *** *** ***

    « With some interpretations of ‘probability’, a statement containing the word ‘probable’ can never be an empirical statement. It is admitted that what is improbable may happen, and what is probable may fail to happen. It follows that what does happen does not show that a previous judgement of probability was either right or wrong ; every imaginable course of events is logically compatible with every imaginable anterior estimate of probabilities. This can only be denied by maintaining that what is very improbable does not happen, which we have no right to maintain. In particular, if induction asserts only probabilities, then whatever may happen is logically compatible both with the truth and the falsehood of the induction. Therefore the inductive principle has no empirical cotent. This is a reductio ad absurdum and shows that we must connect the probable with the actual more closely than is sometimes done. »

    « Gravitation toward the sun is made up out of the graviations toward the several particles of which the body of the sun is composed, and in receding from the sun decreases accurately as the inverse square of the distances as far as the orbit of Saturn, as evidently appears from the quiescence of the aphelion of the planets ; nay, and even to the remotest aphelion of the comets, if those aphelions are also quiescent. But hitherto I have not been able to discover the cause of those properties of gravity from the phenomena, and I frame no hypothesis ; for whatever is not deduced from the phenomena is to be called a hypothesis, and hypotheses, whether metaphysical or physical, whether of occult qualities or mechanical, have no place in experimental philosophy. In this philosophy particular propositions are inferred from the phenomena and afterward rendered general by induction. Thus it was that the impenetrability, the mobility, and the impulsive force of bodies, and the laws of motion and of gravitation were discovered. And to us it is enough that gravity really does exist and act according to the laws which we have explained, and abundantly serves to account for all the motions of the celestial bodies and of our sea. »

  77. #77 proximity1
    March 6, 2013

    Correction:

    the bizarre “I argument”, above, should have read,
    “No argument” re the citation just above that.

    Sheesh!!!!!

  78. #78 eric
    March 6, 2013

    Ah, the explanation of how they did it is in the last three paragraphs of the link. Summarizing: a binary system of pulsars will experience orbital decay. That decay is highly sensitive to the speed at which gravity propagates, and will be ‘damped’ if the speed of gravity is finite. The damping effect is big enough that looking at the motion of each body through a telescope can detect whether the system behaves consistently with the Newtonian or relativistic models, or if it shows some intemediate propagation speed (‘intermediate’ meaning faster than relativity predicts, but not instantaneous like Newton predicts). Guess what they find?
    The money quote:

    The rate of this damping can be computed, and one finds that it depends sensitively on the speed of gravity. The fact that gravitational damping is measured at all is a strong indication that the propagation speed of gravity is not infinite. If the calculational framework of general relativity is accepted, the damping can be used to calculate the speed, and the actual measurement confirms that the speed of gravity is equal to the speed of light to within 1%.

  79. #79 proximity1
    March 6, 2013

    re : “I’m sure you will also dispute that relativistic effects occur at human scales, e.g, that someone travelling in a jet will age more slowly, be more massive, and physically dilate in the direction of travel, than someone staying in place on the ground. But this is (if I’m not mistaken) true nonetheless.”

    I read this with great interest, on the topic of the (varied) concepts of “mass”:

    Does Mass Change With Velocity?

    ( from this site’s “Relativity FAQ” : http://www.weburbia.com/physics/mass.html )

    There is sometimes confusion surrounding the subject of mass in relativity. This is because there are two separate uses of the term. Sometimes people say “mass” when they mean “relativistic mass”, mr but at other times they say “mass” when they mean “invariant mass”, m0. These two meanings are not the same. The invariant mass of a particle is independent of its velocity v, whereas relativistic mass increases with velocity and tends to infinity as the velocity approaches the speed of light c. They can be defined as follows,

    mr = E/c2
    m0 = sqrt(E2/c4 – p2/c2)

    Where E is energy, p is momentum and c is the speed of light in vacuum. The velocity dependent relation between the two is,

    mr = m0 /sqrt(1 – v2/c2)

    Of the two, the definition of invariant mass is much preferred over the definition of relativistic mass. These days when physicists talk about mass in their research they always mean invariant mass. The symbol m for invariant mass is used without the suffix 0. Although relativistic mass is not wrong it often leads to confusion and is less useful in advanced applications such as quantum field theory and general relativity. Using the word “mass” unqualified to mean relativistic mass is wrong because the word on its own will usually be taken to mean invariant mass. For example, when physicists quote a value for “the mass of the electron” they mean invariant mass.

    At zero velocity the relativistic mass is equal to the invariant mass. The invariant mass is therefore often called the “rest mass”. This latter terminology reflects the fact that historically it was relativistic mass which was often regarded as the correct concept of mass in the early years of relativity. In 1905 Einstein wrote a paper entitled “Does the inertia of a body depend upon its energy content?”, to which his answer was “yes”. The first record of the relationship of mass and energy explicitly in the form E = mc2 was written by Einstein in a review of relativity in 1907. If this formula is taken to include kinetic energy then it is only valid for relativistic mass, but it can also be taken as valid in the rest frame for invariant mass. Einstein’s conventions and interpretations were sometimes ambivalent and varied a little over the years, however examination of Einstein’s papers and books on relativity show that he almost never used relativistic mass himself. Whenever the symbol m for mass appears in his equations it is always invariant mass. He did not introduce the notion that the mass of a body increases with velocity, just that it increases with energy content. The equation E = mc2 was only meant to be applied in the rest frame of the particle. Perhaps Einstein’s only definite reference to mass increasing with kinetic energy is in his “autobiographical notes”.

    To find the real origin of the concept of relativistic mass you have to look back to the earlier papers of Lorentz. In 1904 Lorentz wrote a paper “Electromagnetic Phenomena in a System Moving With Any Velocity Less Than That of Light.” There he introduced the “‘longitudinal’ and ‘transverse’ electromagnetic masses of the electron.” With these he could write the equations of motion for an electron in an electromagnetic field in the Newtonian form F = ma where m increases with mass. Between 1905 and 1909 Planck, Lewis and Tolman developed the relativistic theory of force, momentum and energy. A single mass dependence could be used for any acceleration if F = d/dt(mv) is used instead of F = ma. This introduced the concept of relativistic mass which can be used in the equation E = mc2 even for moving objects. It seems to have been Lewis who introduced the appropriate velocity dependence of mass in 1908 but the term “relativistic mass” appeared later. [Gilbert Lewis was a chemist whose other claim to fame in physics was naming the photon in 1926.]

    Relativistic mass became common usage in the relativity text books of the early 1920′s written by Pauli, Eddington and Born. As particle physics became more important to physicists in the 1950′s the invariant mass of particles became more significant and inevitably people started to use the term “mass” to mean invariant mass. Gradually this took over as the normal convention and the concept of relativistic mass increasing with velocity was played down.

    The case of photons and other particles which move at the speed of light is special. From the formula relating relativistic mass to invariant mass, it follows that the invariant mass of a photon must be zero but the relativistic mass need not be. The phrase “The rest mass of a photon is zero” sounds nonsensical because the photon can never be at rest but this is just a misfortunate accident of terminology. In modern physics texts the term mass when unqualified means invariant mass and photons are said to be “massless” (see Physics FAQ What is the mass of the photon?). Teaching experience shows that this avoids most sources of confusion.

    Despite the general usage of an invariant mass in the scientific literature, the use of the word mass to mean relativistic mass is still found in many popular science books. For example, Stephen Hawking in “A Brief History of Time” writes “Because of the equivalence of energy and mass, the energy which an object has due to its motion will add to its mass.” and Richard Feynman in “The Character of Physical Law” wrote “the energy associated with motion appears as an extra mass, so things get heavier when they move.” Evidently, Hawking and Feynman and many others use this terminology because it is intuitive and is useful when you want to explain things without using too much mathematics. The standard convention followed by some physicists seems to be: use invariant mass when doing research and writing papers for other physicists but use relativistic mass when writing for non-physicists. It is a curious dichotomy of terminology which inevitably leads to confusion. A common example is the mistaken belief that a fast moving particle must form a black hole because of its increase in mass ( see relativity FAQ article If you go too fast do you become a black hole? )

    Looking more deeply into what is going on we find that there are two equivalent ways of formulating special relativity. Einstein’s original mechanical formalism is described in terms of inertial reference frames, velocities, forces, length contraction and time dilation. Relativistic mass fits naturally into this mechanical framework but it is not essential. If relativistic mass is used it is easier to form a correspondence with Newtonian mechanics since some Newtonian equations remain valid,

    F = dp/dt
    p = mrv

    Also, in this picture mass is conserved along with energy.

    The second formulation is the more mathematical one introduced a year later by Minkowski. It is described in terms of space-time, energy-momentum four vectors, world lines, light cones, proper time and invariant mass. This version is harder to relate to ordinary intuition because force and velocity are less useful in their 4-vector forms. On the other hand, it is much easier to generalise this formalism to the curved space-time of general relativity where global inertial frames do not usually exist.

    It may seem that Einstein’s original mechanical formalism should be easier to learn because it retains many equations from the familiar Newtonian mechanics. In Minkowski’s geometric formalism simple concepts such as velocity and force are replaced with worldlines and four-vectors. Yet the mechanical formalism often proves harder to swallow and is at the root of many peoples failure to get over the paradoxes which are so often discussed. Once students have been taught about Minkowski space they invariably see things more clearly. The paradoxes are revealed for what they are and calculations also become simpler. It is debatable whether or not the relativistic mechanical formalism should be avoided altogether. It can still provide the correspondence between the new physics and the old which is important to grasp at the early stages. The step from the mechanical formalism to the geometric can then be easier. The alternative modern teaching method is to translate Newtonian mechanics into a geometric formalism using Galilean relativity in 4 dimensional space-time then modify the geometric picture to Minkowski space.

    The preference for invariant mass is stressed and justified in the classic relativity textbook “Spacetime Physics” by Taylor and Wheeler who write,

    “Ouch! The concept of ‘relativistic mass’ is subject to misunderstanding. That’s why we don’t use it. First, it applies the name mass – belonging to the magnitude of a 4-vector – to a very different concept, the time component of a 4-vector. Second, it makes increase of energy of an object with velocity or momentum appear to be connected with some change in internal structure of the object. In reality, the increase of energy with velocity originates not in the object but in the geometric properties of space-time itself.”;

    In the final analysis the issue is a debate over whether or not relativistic mass should be used is a matter of semantics and teaching methods. The concept of relativistic mass is not wrong. It could have its uses in special relativity at an elementary level. This debate surfaced in “Physics Today” in 1989 when Lev Okun wrote an article urging that relativistic mass should no longer be taught (42, #6 June, 1989 p. 31). Wolfgang Rindler responded with a letter to the editors to defend its continued use. (43, #5 May, 1990 p. 13).

    The experience of answering confused questions on usenet suggest that its use in popular books and elementary texts is not helpful. The fact that relativistic mass is virtually never used in contemporary scientific research literature is a strong argument against teaching it to students who will go on to more advanced levels. Invariant mass proves to be more fundamental in Minkowski’s geometric approach to special relativity and relativistic mass is of no use at all in general relativity. It is possible to avoid relativistic mass from the outset by talking of energy instead. Judging by usage in modern text books the consensus is that relativistic mass is an outdated concept which is best avoided. There are people who still want to use relativistic mass and it is not easy to settle an argument over semantic issues because there is no absolute right or wrong, just conventions of terminology. It is hard to impose conventions on usenet and there will always be people who post questions using terms in which mass increases with velocity. It is unhelpful to just tell them that what they read or heard on cable TV is wrong but it will reduce confusion for them in the longer term if people can be persuaded to think in terms of invariant mass instead of relativistic mass.

    In a 1948 letter to Lincoln Barnett Einstein wrote

    “It is not good to introduce the concept of the mass M = m/(1-v2/c2)1/2 of a body for which no clear definition can be given. It is better to introduce no other mass than ‘the rest mass’ m. Instead of introducing M, it is better to mention the expression for the momentum and energy of a body in motion.”

    The viewpoint above, emphasising the distinction between mass, momentum, and energy, is certainly the “modern” view. Fifty years later, can relativistic mass be laid to rest?

    references:
    Arguments against the term “relativistic mass” are given in the classic relativity text book “Space-Time Physics” by Taylor and Wheeler, 2nd edition, Freeman Press (1992).
    The article “Does mass really depend on velocity, dad?” by Carl E Adler, American Journal of Physics 55, 739 (1987) also discusses this subject and includes the above quote from Einstein against the use of relativistic mass
    Einstein’s original papers can be found in English translation in “The Principle of Relativity” by Einstein and others, Dover Press
    Some other historical details can be found in “Concepts of mass” by Max jammer
    and “Einstein’s Revolution” by Elie Zahar.

  80. #80 eric
    March 6, 2013

    Proximity1:

    Here are some citations I’ve laboriously typed out. I wonder what, if anything, they provoke in thoughts for you in the context of this “discussion”. Feel free to reply or not, as you like.

    I recognize the last one is probably from Newton’s Principia.

    I am not sure what these quotes have to do with the current discussion. What are you asserting? The anthromophic argument (#2)? That induction has the problem of induction (#s 4 and 5)? That Newton got it exactly right, rather than just mostly right?

  81. #81 eric
    March 6, 2013

    Proximity @79 – okay, fine, to be pedantic you can replace my use of “mass” in @61 with “momentum.” The argument is still the same: as the speed of particles from your assumed explosion gets closer to c, their momentum increases asymptotically, making it impossible for any finite force to accelerate them to c or beyond. That is the way relativity explains why bigass stellar explosions do not – cannot – produce superluminal particles, no matter how big an explosion you want to posit. When you think they can, it is because you are operating from a Newtonian-style intuition that has you believing momentum is a simple linear function of speed. That 1N of force will have the same acceleration effect on a particle no matter what speed it’s already going. But in reality, that isn’t true. 1N of force will not make a fast moving particle move faster as much as it will a slower moving particle. The faster you go, the harder it is to go faster, and this reaches an asymptotic limit at c.

  82. #82 proximity1
    March 6, 2013

    RE N° 75 & 78:

    “One finds that…” ?

    Of couse, one of the objectives in the article would be to set out clearly how and why “one finds that it depends sensitively on the speed of gravity”, wouldn’t, shouldn’t, it?

    You weren’t, it seems, aware of Clifford Will’s paper with its critique of Kopeikin & Fomalont (2002) when you posted the claims of their research’s significance here. And I have to suppose that, if there hadn’t been that work available by C. Will, there’s little reason to doubt that you’d now still be insisting (erroneously) on the significance of the claims made by Kopeikin & Fomalont (2002) because you’d lack any (to your view) credible argument or doubt about them. If I’d argued that Kopeikin & Fomalont’s data could be accurate in the measurements but pointless and irrelevant to the conclusions they’d drawn from those observations and the data and calculations done from them, you’d have simply rejected that out of hand. Can you possibly doubt that?

    In other words, like Kopeikin & Fomalont, it seems to have failed to occur to you that their interpretations of the observations’ data and their calculations, though in themselves accurate, simply don’t tell us what they thought they showed.

    if you didn’t know that you were making that error then, in the case of Kopeikin & Fomalont (2002), how do you know you aren’t making the same error again now, concerning Ethan Siegel?

    It seems to me that, logically, if this –

    ““When I did a detailed calculation that put gravity’s speed at any value, the result for the delay of light was independent of gravity’s speed,” said Will. “It depended only on the speed of light. So it’s not possible to determine the speed of gravity from these light-delay observations.”

    means anything, it seems to sugges that light energy’s velocity is not a reliable yardstick on which to found assumptions about the velocity of gravity’s propagation. But you’ll need, of course, a qualified person to point this out to you.

  83. #83 proximity1
    March 6, 2013

    RE:

    IOW, again, you’re found to have taken conceptions and misused them, misapplied their import in the context of this dispute,

    And, for you, this is my fault or problem? — because I’m “pedantic” in pointing out that as you’re applying them, there are seriously problems with your use of some key terms here?

    When, if ever, do you concede that a mistaken use or point on your part really does impinge on the validity of the argument you make?

  84. #84 Lenoxus
    March 6, 2013

    Proximity1: As someone who is still learning about this stuff, I thank you for the info about relativistic mass. My point was a bit more general, though: that all speeds and masses are actually “relativistic” speeds and masses, it’s just that humans cannot detect the difference at human scales.

    I am still not understanding your point viz dinosaurs. You think it would be problematic for current very-distant aliens to be viewing dinosaurs unless those aliens live for millions of years?

    In fact, I can think of a more pressing problem with the idea, which is that most of the light reflected from Earth (if I’m not mistaken) will have long since dissipated into something unviewable. Similarly, if you aim an ordinary laser pointer at the Moon, nearly all if its light will fail to reach the Moon (I think), but will vary in its direction of travel. And that’s a laser – you can forget about signaling with a flashlight. A sufficiently powerful laser will do the trick, however.

  85. #85 proximity1
    March 6, 2013

    more “pedantic” citations concerning the concept of “mass” —

    *** *** *** ***

    « It is part of the theory of relativity to show that the results of measurement, in a great many cases, do not yield physical facts about the quantities intended to be measured, but are dependent upon the relative motion of the observer and what is observed. Since motion is a purely relative thing, we cannot say that the observer is standing still while the object observed is moving ; we can only say that the two are moving relatively to each other. It follows that any quantity which depends upon the motion of a body relatively to the observer cannot be regarded as an intrinsic property of the body.  Mass,  as commonly measured, is such a property ; if the body is moving with a velocity which approaches that of light, its measured mass increases, and as the velocity gets nearer to that of light, the measured mass increases without limit. But this increase of mass is only apparent ; it would not exist for an observer moving with the body whose mass is being measured. The mass as measured by an observer moving with the body is what counts as the true mass, and it is easily inferred from the measured mass when we know how the body concerned is moving relatively to ourselves. »

    By the way, isn’t “pendantic” rather a strange derogatory allegation for a supposedly orthodox-physics-and-science sort of person to level when, in fact, by “pedantic”, the allegation is in reference to a point of precision in use and meaning of a key-term of physics?

  86. #86 proximity1
    March 6, 2013

    Lenoxus @ 84: ” Proximity1: As someone who is still learning about this stuff, I thank you for the info about relativistic mass. My point was a bit more general, though: that all speeds and masses are actually “relativistic” speeds and masses, it’s just that humans cannot detect the difference at human scales.”

    I agree that all speeds and masses are relativistic in character as far as we’re concerned here–and, indeed, that is what I understood you to mean about the point.

    But, as for human-scale as a hindrance to our observations–while I think that there are indeed some very important cases in which its a factor that leads us to mistaken conceptions, I don’t think that it leaves us completely unable to see and account for relatvitistic effects in space-time. But, when it comes to scales that are tremendously larger (‘universal’-in-scope) or smaller (sub-atomic events) then I think our human scale can and often does get in the way of, if not our indirect measurements, at least our habitual thinking about those.

  87. #87 proximity1
    March 6, 2013

    ” As someone who is still learning about this stuff,” …

    that would certainly include me, of course, and maybe even others here, some of the rest of the Very Serious People who’ve been in the discussion.

    I am really the last person to whom you need to feel obliged to use the preface, ‘ As someone who is still learning about this stuff,’ by way of modesty.

    I’m speculating here, not explaining or instructing.

    The trouble is, some here seem to think that I’m practicing speculation without a license and that’s some sort of misdemeanor or felony offense.

  88. #88 eric
    March 6, 2013

    Proximity1

    By the way, isn’t “pendantic” rather a strange derogatory allegation for a supposedly orthodox-physics-and-science sort of person to level when, in fact, by “pedantic”, the allegation is in reference to a point of precision in use and meaning of a key-term of physics?

    Oh. My. God. Now you’re being pedantic about my use of the word ‘pedantic.’ Okay, fine, I withdraw it. Your quote wasn’t pedantic, it made a cogent and relevant point about pepole misusing ‘mass’ when they should be speaking about ‘momentum.’

    Now, do you want to write anything about the substance of my argument? I.e.,will you either defend your explosion idea or concede that it provides no reason to believe that particles can go ftl?

  89. #89 Lenoxus
    March 6, 2013

    The trouble is, some here seem to think that I’m practicing speculation without a license and that’s some sort of misdemeanor or felony offense.

    When the speculation overtly collides against established facts, it becomes difficult to distiguish from pseudoscience. We can spend all day speculating that gravity is twice as fast as C all day long, but after a while it’s like speculating <a href="http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/C-decay"that light used to be a trillion times faster and that's how the universe could be super-young. No, you don’t have a creationist or similar agenda, but we try to oppose counter-truths regardless of their motivation. And your references to “white lab coats” and implied Galileo Gambit only serve to trigger our alarm bells.

    In short, you don’t need a ‘license’ to speculate, but it helps. Being antagonistic when people point you to the current consensus (instead of adjusting your notions to better fit that consensus) does not.

  90. #90 Walt Jones
    United States
    March 6, 2013

    Lenoxus – you’re right about the diffusion of light, hence my use of the conditional “could see.” For a hypothetical example, dinosaurs are a lot more compelling Alpha Centurians seeing the Olympics in China.

    Your post at 89 sums up why I didn’t bother arguing with proximity1. The comparison to creationists is apt. Saying “if we can see it, it’s happening” or “if it’s not happening, we can’t see it” (whichever prox believes) is the other side of Ham’s (in)famous question, “were you there?”

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