Subject: A Quick Poll of Dissidents on Ether and Other Views....
Date: Wed, 20 Oct 1999 11:00:13 EDT
The email addresses appear to include roughly 35 physicists and/or
philosophers who are not overly enamored with the popular state of physics.
I was wondering if readers would do me the favor of answering a few questions
on the viewpoints they prefer, and I will tabulate the results and post them.
As I am pretty sure most people do not want to be inundated with 35 extra
emails, please just reply directly to me--if you care to respond at all. I
will then communicate the results in an email. The results will be anonymous.
If you would prefer to answer a few questions--but skip the others, that
obviously is fine. For example, the last 3 questions have nothing to do with
physics--and are in there just to see if there's any other intellectual
trends among us. But if you don't want to answer them, please ignore them.
1) Do you prefer the ether view of electromagnetism--and if not, what theory
do you prefer? Or are you undecided?
2) Do you believe that there exists a physically real Lorentz contraction?
3) What experiment(s) do you feel theories of relativity have the most
difficulty in explaining?
4) What do you feel is the most intellectually distasteful aspect of the
theories of relativity or qm (you may choose more than one)? Lack of
physical (material) causality? Lack of absolute time? Curving space?
Wave-particle duality? Lorentz-transforms? Twin-paradox? Other?
5) Do you believe in "time dilation" a.k.a. clock retardation?
6) Do you believe gravitation is due to a physical (ether) push toward matter
either through pressure, LeSagian screening, or due to a physical inflow of
7) Do you believe faster-than-light transfer of information is possible (or
has even already been proved to occur)?
8) Do you believe a bodiless force can act at a distance without any
intervening material mechanism or material medium?
9) If you are an etherist, do you believe in a compressible ether? Or an
incompressible ether? Or are you undecided?
10) If you are an etherist, do you believe the ether frame is identical to
the CMBR frame?
* * * * * * * * *
Here are some side questions which people may or may not be interested in:
11) Would you consider yourself religious, agnostic, or atheist?
12) Do you believe in evolution?
13) Would you consider yourself politically and economically to the right of
center, in the center, or left of center? Do you particularly favor more
socialist or capitalistic economic views?
Thank you so much for your time,
first of all excuse me for my customary delay in aswering, but, besides all things I have usually to do, I received last week lot of mails from all the world, after the international diffusion of the news about my last book, concerning a possible until now unknown source of inspiration fo Einsteinís E = mc^2...
Anyway, thanks a lot for your last message. I send to you as an attachment the "virtual book" containing all the answers I received to my inquiry, and I reply thereafter to your poll of 1 month ago!
Always best wishes,
from yours most sincerely
(copy to Galeczki, Kelly, and others friends)
1 - I undoubtedly support the mechanical image of e.m. founded on some ether theory.
2 - I do not know; perhaps it does really exist a modification of the e.m. interactions which keep together a "rigid" body due to a motion through the ether, but I cannot believe that it could exactly be in the form foreseen by SR, and independent on the materials (FitzGerald transversal dilation could be as good as Lorentz longitudinal contraction...).
3 - I assert that the validity of the principle of relativity has not been tested enough, with properly electromagnetic experiments (like Trouton-Noble, for instance), which after all should be performed WITHOUT supposing that a terrestrial laboratory is in absolute motion (I rather prefer Stokes kind explanations). These test require a "forced motion", like in Fresnel-Fizeau experiment, and I do not know of almost any, except Marinov attempts concerning the so called "inverse Rowland experiment", and Mullerís similar ones. I believe that even Miller experiments, concerning the repetition of Michelson-Morley observations at some height from the sea level could give some trouble to relativity.
4 - The greatest "sin" of relativity belongs to the realm of general philosophy. While the space and time of relativity are quite "logical" from a mathematical point of view, it is patent that they are quite different from the ordinary space and time categories of the human mind - the ones which one can call the "rational" space and time. This means that the success of relativity is the first step towards the edification of an entirely new philosophy of physics, an "irrational" one, which leaves once for all Spinozaís belief, that "ordo et connectio idearum idem est ac ordo et connectio rerum" (order and connection of ideas are the same as the order and the connection of things), and makes possible the following assertion of the prize Nobel winner Feynman about the structure of Nature: "What I am going to tell you about is what we teach our physics students [...] and you think Iím going to explain it to you so you can understand it? No, you are not going to be able to understand it. [...] It is my task to convince you not to turn away because you donít understand it. You see, my physics students donít understand it either. That is because I donít understand it. Nobody does. [...] Itís a problem that physicists have learned to deal with: Theyíve larned to realized that whether they like a theory or they donít like a theory is not the essential question. Rather, it is whether or not the theory gives predictions that agree with experiment. [...] The theory of quantum Electrodynamics describes Nature as absurd from the point of view of commn sense. And it agrees full with experiment. So I hope you can accept Nature as She is - absurd" (QED - The strange theory of light and matter, Princeton University Press, 1985, pp. 9-10). Only by defeating relativity from an experimental point of view (proving that it does not correspond to the "reality"), it will be possible to win this irrationalisic and pessimistic tendencies, and to restore the interpretation of natural science as "adaequatio intellectus et rei" (St Thomas of Aquino - science consists in "equalizing" reality and thought).
5 - The answer should be the same as to the previous point 2. If there exists a time dilation due to absolute motion, which is not absurd to believe, it is very much likely that it does depend on the particular clock we use (a theoretical analysis is not even difficult, and I have done it a few years ago). For instance, different average lives of moving particles could be explained as due to different interaction times with the surrounding ether (the fastest is the particle, the slowest is annihilation) Moreover, the possible connections with length contraction have obviously to be taken into account.
6) From an ether-theoretical point of view, why do not possibly suppose a priori that gravitation, as we know it in our planet, could be a mixture of LeSagian screening, ether pressure, or etherís "wind", and so on?!
7) - I do not know, it is very much likely that the lightís speed is the highest speed of transmission of energy through the medium, but since this famous "constant" c is equal to 1/sqr(eįmį) (epsilon and mu, indeed), IN SOME AETHER FRAME, one must also foresee the possibility that this coefficient eį could change from a point to the other of the universe. I would not be surprised of a drastic change of the "constant" c very far from celestial bodies, and I even suppose that eį could be forced to change also in a terrestrial laboratory, for instance under the effect of a strong e.m. field.
8 -Definitely not! It is against "reason" (founded on "analogy") to think of instantaneous interactions at a distance.
9) Much more likely compressible.
10) What does it mean CMBR? Is it perhaps connected with the background radiation? In any case, an aether frame cannot be but local, and two observers moving one with respect to the other could be both in absolute rest (from the point of view of an aether theory, one must introduce the possibility of "currents" of space). It is then possible that some radiation, like the BR, is simply "crossing" some local aether frame, like the Earthís one, so at last I would say: not necessarily.
11) Religious, in the same sense as Descartes.
12) The question whether, at the beginning of the history of man, there is more stench of stables, rather than scent of stars, is of course a fundamental one, and I believe that all "evolution" of modern science (after 1859) has been ideologically influenced by the darwinian paradigm. Because of the previous answer, I cannot believe in any basic evolution from the simple (matter) to the complex (conscience), but there are of course many kind of other obvious "true" evolutions...
13) Your last question uses "categories" (mostly supported by the actual holders of "power" in the world, in order to separate possible opponents) which do not describe all thought possibilities. For instance, it would be much more realistic to use, instead than: left or right, the terms: UP or DOWN. Anyway, I favor a rational treatment of economy by a national state, rather than a "trade freedom" which could promote egoism and social injustice.
Thanks for your questions, and goodbye...
Subject: Dissident Poll results....
Date: Fri, 29 Oct 1999 11:41:24 EDT
To: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org,
The poll results were interesting. (If this has been sent to someone who
wanted to be removed from the group, I apologize.) I received 13 responses
(counting myself.) Ironically, it seems that the belief that is most common
to the responders was being right of center politically 10 right - 1 left,
2 NA. The next most common response was "yes" to "faster than light." And the majority of us appear to be etherists. (All results below are listed
from most "yes's" to most "no's")
There were a ride range of answers for experiments that cause the most
problem with SR--but the most common were Sagnac (4), "all of them" (3), and
2 quantum non-local experiments. What people found most distasteful was
lack of causality (5), "everything" (3) and relative time (3).
1) Politically 10 right 1 Left 2 NA
2) FTL 10 yes, 2 no 1 NA
(2 mentioned Sagnac as FTL)
3) Ether 9 yes 3 no (Inst. Action At a
4) Clock retardation 8 yes 4 no 1 NA
5) Religious 7 yes 4 agnostic-atheist.
6) (Action-Distance) 7 yes 5 no 1 doubts
7) Evolution 6 yes, 1 qualified, 6 no on (or doubt)
8) Lor. contraction 4 yes 7 no 2 NA
9) Grav. Push
(Ether pressure:) 3 1/2 yes , 5 no 3 NA
10) Compressible ether 3 yes 2 no 8 NA
11) CMBR Frame 3 yes 3 no 8 NA
Thank you very much for this interesting exercise,