A baffling quote from Einstein, badly requiring explanation


by echoing song
Tags: badly, baffling, einstein, explanation, requiring
Mentz114
Mentz114 is offline
#55
Mar23-09, 08:56 PM
PF Gold
P: 4,081
overzealous,

the vitriol was intended for your friend echoing_song, but you sort of got caught in the blast since you seem to be acting as his emanuensis right now.

My remark about 'stirring up doubt ...' is based on a careful reading of ES's posts. A lot of genuine students, either self studiers or people on courses come here for help ( including me ) and they ask certain kinds of questions, and respond to answers in a certain manner. Usually a reference to a text or a brief discussion takes care of it.

There are other poster who fit a different profile. They always proclaim often that they are ignorant of details and want to learn. They then cherry-pick from the answers they are given, demanding clarification and emphasizing any perceived disparities in those answers. By all means, obvious contradictions should be challenged but the smallest thing will be jumped on. They will reject references that they consider 'too technical', even though their questions may be fully answered there. They often let slip something that indicates they have an agenda. Finally, they might in extreme cases issue a rallying call to other 'dissidents'.
Is there anybody out there who shares my problem with the curvature of time, or agrees with my way of reconciling things (in an earlier post)? To a hypothetical Silent Majority in cyberspace sympathetic to my position—it takes just seconds to register and express your views.
But possibly the most damning behaviour is declaring lack of expertise and then saying things like
blah-blah....Therefore, to speak of such inertial motion as due to the curvature of time is superficially true but deeply misleading. I believe these paragraphs put it into the proper perspective.
The agenda emerges pretty soon in this case
Maybe I'm on a senseless, quixotic quest; ...
No ! You've got a problem with unifying space and time - which is the very basis of SR and GR and you're arrogant enough to think you've got a strong point. At the same time saying you don't have the necessary technical skills.

So what happened to the earnest seeker after truth ? Did they go away and study, and learn the fundamentals of relativity ? No we get an extended philosophical discussion of little or no value. ES actually states that he doesn't see why space and time should be treated in an equal way - which is something you shouldn't get away with in a relativity forum.

Now, you might say this is nothing to get angry about. But it's an insult to all the people who did slog for years, pushing their personal boundaries to understand the maths.

You and your friends should get some good textbooks and do some studying.
neopolitan
neopolitan is offline
#56
Mar24-09, 12:28 AM
P: 645
Mentz,

I have had a closer look at the posts by echoing_song and overzealous and I strongly suspect they are the same person. It would explain why overzealous reacted to something said about echoing_song.

I take back what I said about you being aggressive, since it does appear that there is some form of coordinated campaign here.

My evidence:

Quote Quote by echoing song View Post
<snip>
What impels me? I have no “professional” relationship with relativity, nor will I ever—at no time will I have to deftly manipulate Ricci tensors like a juggler does bowling pins, and though I admire both skills, I aspire to neither.

<snip>
with 'the curvature of space' reserved for esoterica like precession.

<snip>
Good questions, intelligent comments, shrewd analysis often comes from those without years of formal training. And I must say that my being this lone 'voice crying in the wilderness' on this issue is getting PRETTY DARNED ANNOYING. I'm realizing that I make a rotten John the Baptist.
Quote Quote by overzealous View Post
<snip>
The idea that I want, to quote you, “to stir up doubt and dissent” about GR is an imputation of motive that would make my 'little round belly shake like a bowl full of jelly' from guffawing, if I didn't have high-carbon steel washboard abs.

Mentz114, let me say this very slowly, enunciating each syllable with Shakespearean-actor-like precision to avoid even the possibility of ambiguity, uncertainty, or misinterpretation: I love Einstein, I can't believe I'm privileged to share the same species designation with him.
<snip>
Note the similar flowerly turn of phrase and the similar use of punctuation. It makes me wonder if there is a product out there which can compare two texts and provide an estimate of how likely they were written by the same person. Maybe not 100% here, but I'd say it's pretty close to 90%.

I'm going to go with the greater likelihood that they are one person, and advise that one person that he/she has lost any credibility he/she might have had.

cheers,

neopolitan
ccollins919
ccollins919 is offline
#57
Mar25-09, 04:42 PM
P: 4
Wow, I just found out what it is that bugs me about this and similar forums. The reason some of you contributors and some advisors have such a hard time with a little speculative thought, not to mention the occasional novel idea is that it's all still just an ego contest isn't it? Read the following quote: " you're arrogant enough to think you've got a strong point. At the same time saying you don't have the necessary technical skills.

So what happened to the earnest seeker after truth ? Did they go away and study, and learn the fundamentals of relativity ? No we get an extended philosophical discussion of little or no value. ES actually states that he doesn't see why space and time should be treated in an equal way - which is something you shouldn't get away with in a relativity forum.

Now, you might say this is nothing to get angry about. But it's an insult to all the people who did slog for years, pushing their personal boundaries to understand the maths.

You and your friends should get some good textbooks and do some studying.[/QUOTE] And there it is; a healthy dose of martyrdom. "I had to work hard, I had to push my boundaries..." I know, I know, it just doen't seem fair when someone has the audacity to voice an idea or even raise a question that might indicate that they haven't "put in the work" doesn't it? You know, I am a guy who has an eclectic range of tastes and sometimes I go slumming in the religious and mystical forums, and when I do I find the same kind of whiny, misanthropic self-pity along with the afore-mentioned battle cry of the martyr but at least there it is expected and therefore not so startling. Its seems incredible that someone could suggest that another person shouldn't get away with not seeing "..why space and time should be treated in an equal way.." Again, I say Wow. Are we all censors now? You might actually find less dogmatic adherence and aggression in those religion forums I spoke of. Come on! I was actually reprimanded yesterday for some supposed little infraction, and the tone was pretty malicious mind you, and I began to think about all the ways we, as human beings, hold our academic achievements out in front of us as both a shield against unwanted ideas and a weapon against those advancing them. You know, when it comes down to it, all people from all persuasions suffer from the same egoic needs as anyone else, and an education doesn't seem at all to be a guarantee against this: just the opposite as far as I can see. I was a prodigy who breezed through my classes, had my Doctoral thesis finished a year and a half in advance and goofed off a lot because I was quite frankly bored with the pace of the classes. But what I am not is cocky, arrogant, elitist, and I don't carry a cross on my back in the form of a degree that I pummel others with when they have the 'audacity' to exercise their imaginations a bit. In the religious forums, you get berated for individual thinking; in times not too long past you would be excommunicated. We have all studied and know intimately the details of the cutthroat world of scientific discoveries and the factions and division and all the times good men and women were ruined and had their reputations drug through the mud because their discoveries-not just their ideas but true, repeatable discoveries-were in conflict with the lifes work of a person or group of persons that may have had more clout, influence, or political connections. So, I ask all of you, especially those who hold their own self importance like a badge of honor, are you those that I speak of? Did I find you even here, in a forum none-the-less, the very definition of which is: an assembly or meeting place for the discussion of questions of public interest? ES, in the quote above, certainly deserves the right to not see why space and time should be treated in an equal way. It's the same as saying "I don't get it" or "I just don't see it" or even "I don't agree with it" Is that now something to kick one in the teeth for? I think the content of this forum is excellent and I commend those who sponsor and support it. Kudos to you. I hope you will not edit this post as it should be heard and may have a positive influence. Yes, I am an idealist. What will most likely happen is that people will just get angry. Humans can be depressingly predictable and their reactions tedious and typical. Oh, have I told you I also have a Psy.D degree? believe me, this post will not stay unless the managers are somewhat enlightened people who can see the benefit of this message to those who read it. Hope to see you all elswhere in the forum if I'm still around after this.
matheinste
matheinste is offline
#58
Mar25-09, 05:27 PM
P: 1,060
Hello ccollins919.

I think much of what you say is correct. I am a beginner in relativity and I have seen from this forum that what you get out of it depends on your approach used in asking questions. I have made many statements which I now believe to be incorrect, and have asked "stupid" (my description) questions, and have not been subjected to any criticism or unpleasantness as a result of this. Some newcomers do not ask questions but make authoritative statements from an uninformed position. As an analogy, think of relativity as a book. Before you criticise it you should at least read it. When you have done so, then feel absolutely free to criticise and question it.

There is a big difference between realising that you do not understand and so wanting to find out, and not understanding and saying that, therefore, what you do not understand is wrong. Although of course it may be by default.


Matheinse.
feynmann
feynmann is offline
#59
Mar25-09, 09:53 PM
P: 156
Quote Quote by echoing song View Post
Subject: A Baffling Quote from Einstein, badly requiring explanation And yet in Einstein's own book, “Relativity”, in the appendix where he discusses “Experimental Confirmation of the General Theory of Relativity”, the following appears: He has just described the size of the angle of deflection of a ray of light passing the sun, and then says, “It may be added that, according to the theory, half of this deflection is produced by the Newtonian field of attraction of the sun, and the other half by the geometrical modification ('curvature') of space caused by the sun.”

Notice that he DOESN'T say that the result is entirely caused by the curvature of space and that it is twice what would be caused by SUPPOSED Newtonian attraction. The wording, which he had many decades and opportunities to revise before his death (but didn't in any of the subsequent editions), clearly indicates that gravitational attraction (presumably by a 'force') is half of the explanation. How can this be, in light of the unanimous view that GR casts aside all notions of anything but deformation of space?

And one further question: Is it true that the deflection is EXACTLY twice the Newtonian prediction? If so, why EXACTLY twice? And does this apply to starlight bent by the sun no matter how far away the starlight is from the sun, or only to starlight essentially grazing the sun as it passes? Obviously, in most situations, GR modifications of Newtonian predictions don't involve a doubling, but only an infinitesimal alteration (as with the GPS satellites data). I presume that if one were doing GPS locating on the sun, the modifications, while greater than on the earth, wouldn't approach a doubling. So why then in the case of passing starlight is it of such large magnitude?

I eagerly await enlightenment on all these points.
Strictly speaking, Newtonian gravity can't handle light properly. All moving objects climb out of gravitational field will lose speed and slow down. But light won't slow down when it climb out of the gravitational field. Einstein was right most of the time, but he did made a few mistake. e.g. he refer as "the biggest blunder of my life", regarding the universe expanding. He could have predicted it, as Dirac could have predicted the anti-particle of electron, but he shrank and thought the positive particle is proton, not positron
feynmann
feynmann is offline
#60
Mar25-09, 10:14 PM
P: 156
Quote Quote by overzealous View Post
“What is there to explain? Both models (inverse square law force and curved spacetime) are designed to yield a result that matches the same observations.”

If one theory (Newton's) has as its basis a mechanism totally different from that of the other theory, then it is indeed odd if they make predictions that are identical to double-digit decimal places, and it demands explanation, providing the following is true: Namely, if the remarkable accuracy of Newton is not due to the kind of thing that Ptolemy's geocentric theory did to make its predictions conform to reality--adding epicycles and deferents and all sorts of ad hoc absurdities that together created an utterly senseless, implausible, contrary-to-nature monstrosity. But, of course, Newton's gravitational equation is sleek and elegant, and logical too—the absolute antithesis of Ptolemy's theory, and other failed theories in the past that were arbitrarily twisted and tweaked until they matched observations.

That established, perhaps the explanation is nothing more than that GR is like some equations of SR, which, as velocities approach zero, literally reduce to the familiar Newtonian formulations. However, since I'm not conversant with Einstein's field equations (I'm just an interested amateur) I can't say if that is or isn't the case. But if Einstein's equations don't mathematically reduce to the Newton equation, but still yield nearly identical results in everyday situations, then that's really interesting. .
>> “What is there to explain? Both models (inverse square law force and curved spacetime) are designed to yield a result that matches the same observations.”

No, there is a big difference, it is not just "matches the same observations". In Newton's theory, time is absolute and universal, there is no speed of light as the limit, speed can be as fast as you can think of.


Register to reply

Related Discussions
Projectile Motion, requiring variable elimination Introductory Physics Homework 6
Thermodynamics question is baffling me Advanced Physics Homework 3
Baffling Circut problem Introductory Physics Homework 3
Interesting quote from a book by Einstein General Math 4