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Posted: March 23, 2012 in Physics

Professor Matt Strassler answered most of my questions on his post and the latest observations from Icarus seem to be moving this out of the debate arena into observed facts.

But I am very intrigued by this guys responses John Ryskamp.

It still wonder about this question. And if Professor Matt gives me another great response I may just put this to bed.

Q: Sorry to bother you but you have a great way of speaking down to my level. I still have one question about how Minkowski World lines fit into this. If two observers on two separate World lines were moving in opposite directions from one another at velocities greater than 51% the speed of light. Would either observer notice the other moving at a velocity greater than the speed of light away from them?

Answer from John Ryskamp: Minkowski is predicated on a “natural” coincidence of points. Just ignore Minkowski.

Now that throws me for a loop. I thought that Minkowski World lines are the basis for relativity. So to me John doesn’t want small changes but a wholesale throwing the baby out with the bath water.

John Ryskamp is definitely one learned man and he very well may be onto something. He sounds like a Philosophy Prof I had back in the stone age when I went to college. But I am really hoping Professor Matt answers my question. After a long answer by John I reiterated my question for Prof Matt a slightly different way.

Professor Matt when you get a chance could you answer my second question? I was doing a very simple thought experiment about the big bang and thought that two objects could be moving away from each other at speeds greater than 51% the speed of light after the “Bang”. Observations from the center would never have them going faster than c away for the center. But wouldn’t an Observer from the mass moving in the opposite direction observe the other mass moving at speeds greater than c? Since the mass would be traveling at a constant velocity and there are “no physical experiment (mechanical, electromagnetic, optical—or any physical law whatsoever) that can distinguish between a state of absolute rest and a state of constant velocity.” Relativity would state all laws of physics should be the same for both observers. But wouldn’t they actually be traveling away from each other at greater than c? If this is not true are we not saying that there is one Galilean Space time instead of multiple Minkowski’s 4d versions of space time. I am not arguing the speed of light just that Physical Laws are dependent on the inertial observers frame. I really appreciate your patience with me.

Best Wishes to All

Professor Matt has gone a long way to getting me to understand the errors in my understanding of relativity. I look forward to reading more of his posts.

  1. John Ryskamp says:

    Baby, you’ll never get an answer from Matt, because his career depends on upholding the idea that there is logical content in the relativity of simultaneity. It would be too embarrassing for him to admit that the Emperor is wearing no clothes. Especially since the Emperor never claimed to be wearing any clothes!!

    You have to realize that no physicist ever took “Geometry and Experience” seriously, although Einstein contended it was the clearest exposition of relativity he had ever written. Why didn’t they? Because the basically didn’t believe in the “paradoxes” and demanded logical content in their arguments, of course!!

    And since it was never clear how Einstein had carried out constructivism in the relativity of simultaneity, they could breathe a sigh of relief and maintain that “Geometry of Experience” was just Einstein blathering on about something which had nothing to do with the logic of the relativity of simultaneity.

    That era is now over. And Matt just can’t cope with it!! Shows what a complete intellectual dinosaur he is. Don’t expect anything from such a compromised creature of a defunct intellectual regime. He’s garbage. Anyway, here’s the link to my article, and do read Garciadiego on Russell:

  2. jetsrock says:

    Hi John,
    That is a very interesting paper. I wonder if on page 31 when you state “Einstein also used “natural” mathematics in his earlier comments on Brownian motion, with disturbing effect: “Einstein begins with an assumption whose status is still problematic and troubled his contemporaries: that there exists ‘a time interval τ, which shall be very small compared with observable time intervals but still so large that all motions performed by a particle during two consecutive time intervals τ may be considered as mutually independent events….’” As the author of this passage notes, “[t]his is essentially a very strong Markov postulate. Einstein makes no attempt to justify it….[W]here mathematics ends and physics begins is far from clear….”86”–
    , if that is referring to same thing as I wrote about when I believed Einstein’s reliance on a Lorentz Transformation with a static reference frame was wrong? I am hoping that not all his work is bad since many things seem to have played out well for him. I just think that with CERN using such small time frames and relatively short distances that the truth about velocity being wrong and instead it should be acceleration would never be pointed out.
    You write very elegantly and are obviously a well read person with a great ability to challenge the status qua. I would love to read more of your works. Hopefully you might write something that someone not as well read as you could read and fully understand. Similar to the way Carl Sagon would have done it.
    Best Wishes,

    • John Ryskamp says:

      The Lorentz transformation is not logically related to the relativity of simultaneity. The relativity of simultaneity is independent of Lorentz and depends entirely on a “natural” coincide of points (in Einstein’s German, M and M’ “fallt zwar…zusammen”). The constructivist intervention is, of course, the word “zwar.” The concept depends on a shared prejudice of reader and Einstein, a prejudice which plays no role in the logic of the relativity of simultaneity.

      As for Lorentz, it is, logically, speaking, meretricious, as you will see if you examine it closely. Poincare have favored it, is in itself grounds for being skeptical. What did Poincare understand about logic? According to Grattan-Guinness in The Search for Mathematical Roots, “not much.” And Grattan-Guinness still believes some of the paradoxes have logical content!

      You are on the wrong path by saying that Einstein’s work is “bad.” You really must study “Geometry and Experience” closely. It is physicists who insist on logical content. Einstein’s point of view was that logic leads invariably to paradox, so there must be some intervention in any argument–an intervention which has no logical relation to the argument but which nevertheless is part of the argument–so that the argument would not end in paradox.

      The contribution of my little paper is that we must now take that point of view seriously, because I have identified where Einstein made his intervention in the relativity of simultaneity.

      If you think you understand that, then you will be able to show where the intervention is in the 1905 paper, in which the thought experiment is apparently–but only apparently–different from the “train” experiment in which we see M and M’ “naturally” coincide (note that in the illustration to that experiment, the two points do not coincide).

      Unfortunately, I am stalled at the next stage of the development of ideas. I bring up the Pythagorean theorem because relativity was the only argument to make a serious claim that there was a logical flaw in the Pythagorean theorem. If, however, relativity has no logical content, then the Pythagorean theorem is once more at issue.

      This is why I propose that the Pythagorean theorem be looked at as a constructivist argument. If it is one, then it has a “constructivist intervention.” Where, precisely, is that intervention?

      I haven’t found it yet!!

      • jetsrock says:

        I thank you for taking the time to reply. You have peeked my interest and I look forward to trying to understand more. It is a sad day when people do not question and or foster environments that questions are simply ignored as being irrelevant. I thought I had read that Einstein used an LT example to help prop up his view that the speed of light was a barrier. And if in itself it is inherently not logical then you have at least one example of how logic failed them, opening up the door for you to continue to question more and more and hopefully getting to the right answers. You have a remarkable command of language and I also believe words have specific meaning and if anyone is going to represent rules and numbers that are considered to model and dictate the physical world the language MUST be specific. I wish you the best and please keep me informed about your progress.

        Best Wishes,

      • John Ryskamp says:


        Einstein used it to the extent that the relativity of simultaneity could be expressed using Lorentz. But the reverse is not true, if for no other reason than Lorentz preceded the relativity of simultaneity. However, even in the days when the relativity of simultaneity was regarded as having logical content, it was not felt that the Lorentz had to have some logical content if the relativity of simultaneity was to have some logical content. I’m not even sure the Lorentz transformation rises to the level of a constructivist argument. I haven’t bothered to find out. Lorentz is probably just tinkering.

      • jetsrock says:

        I am by no means as advanced as you are in my understanding of all this. But if you did take the time to look into an LT with a reference frame set to 0,0,0,0 through out the lifespan of an event in another frame as being possible I would love to read about your findings. This is at the heart of the light cone example and to me it is impossible.

      • John Ryskamp says:

        The heart of the line cone example is not the “numeraire” or metric. It is the “natural” coincidence of points. The “set” plays no part in the relativity of simultaneity, as you will see in the “train” experiment in RELATIVITY by Einstein. Do not conflate the numeraire or metric and the “natural” coincidence of points. That is a mistake. By the way, such a concatenation is not a part of LT, which is why Lorentz did not formulate the relativity of simultaneity.

        Historically, the book RELATIVITY is the way-station, between the 1905 paper and “Geometry and Experience.” The train experiment divests the relativity of simultaneity of the numeraire (the numeraire expression of the relativity of simultaneity is the 1905 paper) and allows us (and Einstein himself) to directly see the constructivist intervention. Only that made “Geometry and Experience” possible.

        To understand the importance of the “train” experiment, look at the contemporaneous French and Italian translations of RELATIVITY. You will see that they are not exact translations of the “train” experiment. Why not? Because the translators are trying to “correct” for the “natural” coincidence of points, because they see, consciously or unconsciously, that it is a logical flaw.

        MANY people (including Feynman) have stubbed their toes conflating the “numeraire” or metric with the “natural” coincidence of points. It means that they did not truly understand the relativity of simultaneity, although they THOUGHT they did.

      • jetsrock says:

        I can agree they are separate but yet related. And as you make your point so elegantly about “relativity of simultaneity” all I am saying is that to make the leap from using a faulted calculation to state the assumption the Einstein then used to calculate e=mc2 seems fishy to me. I am in no way able to even able to think about natural versus constructivist. Since as you do state in your link that one needs to do a lot more ground work than I have to get up to speed. I do enjoy conversing with you and even though I am not able to fully grasp your point I am intellectually stimulated by your views.

        From wiki
        The relativity of simultaneity can be calculated using Lorentz transformations, which relate the coordinates used by one observer to coordinates used by another in uniform relative motion with respect to the first.

      • John Ryskamp says:

        Well, then, if you want to relate them, then go ahead. I don’t think you can do it in a logical way, but go ahead! As the Wikipedia entry, all I can say is: the relativity of simultaneity exists entirely independently of LT. If they have any relation at all, it is that both are constructivist arguments, although, again, Lorentz is such a weak idea that I wonder if there is much thinking behind it.

      • jetsrock says:

        Hi John,
        Also form wiki
        Constructivism can be described as a theory that deals with the way people create meaning of the world through a series of individual constructs. Constructs are the different types of filters we choose to place over our realities to change our reality from chaos to order. Von Glasersfeld describes constructivism as, “a theory of knowledge with roots in philosophy, psychology, and cybernetics” (p 162).[1] Simply stated, it is a learning process which allows a student to experience an environment first-hand, thereby, giving the student reliable, trust-worthy knowledge. The student is required to act upon the environment to both acquire and test new knowledge.

        So to me the basis of using a LT with a static reference frame to say that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light is a constructivist argument. And I would say a faulted one. It just is not dealing with relativity of simultaneity.

      • jetsrock says:

        Thanks that is very interesting.

      • John Ryskamp says:

        Wait til you actually read some of the writings of these constructivist freaks. Nauseating! You won’t believe this is the basis for twentieth-century science. But it is! Ha ha! Wait til you unpack Godel and find out what a dog he is!

      • jetsrock says:

        I think if this is true the only way you can advance it is to chip at the stone exposing one crack at a time. No hammer is big enough to break this down with just one hit.

      • John Ryskamp says:

        Well, I think identifying the constructivist intervention in the relativity of simultaneity was a biggie. Identifying it in Godel will be a smallie. Identifying it in the Pythagorean theorem will be an even bigger biggie.

  3. jetsrock says:

    Very interesting article

    So not only do they not like the math they rely on they might not even read all the words.

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