General and Special Relativity

People have been debating on the "Neutrinos have mass (apparently)" thread about general and special relativity.

As GR isn't concerned with neutrinos, please comment on this post about theories of newtonian physics, special and general relativity and related areas.

In particular, I invite people to discuss any observations or experimental results that do not correspond with the predictions of special or general relativity, indicating precisely how the observations or experimental results do not correspond with the predictions, recognising that these theories are theories of classical physics.

It is not sufficient to say that such observations have been made – it is necessary to detail exactly what is being suggested in as much detail as allows people to make the necessary judgements.

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16 Responses to General and Special Relativity

  1. GMB says:

    I wish I could Sacha. But the science workers are very coy on this. And the theory itself is jiggered when an contrary data comes in.

    Its getting to the point where the theory is not falsifiable and therefore might be classed as a pseudo-science. And in any case not being able to falsify it (were this true) doesn’t make it the best theory. Other less troublesome models are out there which explain the same data……..

    Steve Edney could easily help us out here. But he won’t likely do it.

  2. GMB says:

    By the way while we are at it we might try and falsify Newtonian physics. That hasn’t been done.

  3. Sacha says:

    No, Newtonian physics has been shown to be an inadequate insofar as gravity is concerned – the perihelion of Mercury precesses at a different rate to that predicted by Newtonian physics – this was one of the mysteries of classical physics until General Relativity – see this link: (“precession” just means that the point of perihelion just moves around the sun – it’s “the same” as “advances” in the following article)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercury_%28planet%29#Advance_of_perihelion

    In science (speaking as maths person!), one must always have an open mind, which is why I put this post up. There are people working on different versions of gravitation, in which the square-inverse law is changed. There are all sorts of different “radical” ideas in physics being researched, eg that the speed of light has changed over time, or that the constants of nature changed over time.

    GR is a classical theory, thus people expect that it will be eventually superseded – observations that contravene its predictions are very welcome if they survive rigorous scrutiny.

    One mystery at the moment is the “Pioneer anomaly”: see http://www.planetary.org/programs/projects/pioneer_anomaly/ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pioneer_anomaly

    I havn’t read through the material in detail, but some people think that it may have implications for theoretical physics, and some think that it does not.

  4. GMB says:

    Right. But if you wanted to act like the current mainstream you’d just invent some sort of fudge factor. A cosmological constant or something. You’d change what it was the Newtonianism was supposed to have said and keep it a secret. In fact developing and updating the theory would be no great shakes. You’d probably just sort it that the two centres being attracted to eachother isn’t the full story. IE It was thought that two bodies act as though they are attracted to their central points. But when the two bodies are moving very close to eachother we find out that this is not quite right.

    Therefore a case could be made that Newtons system has been horribly neglected and just needed a bit of development.

  5. GMB says:

    Ha Ha. Sasha I just read your pioneer anomaly story. But dig this. You call it an anomaly. Whereas you don’t call the way Mercury revolves an anomaly when relating it to Newton’s system. You reckon Newton’s system’s been superceded.

    So why not let’s say that the pioneer anomaly is what we are looking for? Evidence that the theories are wrong? Because surely this is evidence. And marvellously good evidence at that.

  6. GMB says:

    Check this one out.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gravity_(LeSage)

    This is actually an extremely good and neutral article. But it appears the bully-boy advocates of the intellectual status quo are disputing its neutrality.

  7. GMB says:

    Look at the great clarity with which a real scientist breaks down this pioneer anomaly. Turns out that Van Flandern thinks its a pretty prosaic deal. No earth-shattering consequences at all.

    http://www.metaresearch.org/home/viewpoint/meta-in-news.asp

  8. Jason Soon says:

    you do realise this is an invitation to GMB to take over the entire thread with excerpts from the sainted ‘Van Flandern’:-)?

  9. Sacha says:

    Thanks Jason 🙂 I think I’ll have to enforce my own prescription:

    “In particular, I invite people to discuss any observations or experimental results that do not correspond with the predictions of special or general relativity, indicating precisely how the observations or experimental results do not correspond with the predictions, recognising that these theories are theories of classical physics.

    It is not sufficient to say that such observations have been made – it is necessary to detail exactly what is being suggested in as much detail as allows people to make the necessary judgements.”

    Any general comments will have to be written somewhere else.

  10. Sacha says:

    Yes, from now on, I’ll turn this thread into one on observations that do not correspond with the predictions of special or general relativity, explained in detail how this is the case.

    I might delete any that are off-the-changed-topic. 😛

  11. Sacha says:

    And maybe I won’t ;-P

  12. Sacha says:

    It didn’t do the graphic face!

  13. GMB says:

    Van Flandern’s pretty fantastic yeah. But five months ago I didn’t know who he was.

    The point is Sascha even if we can’t find evidence that stomps GR that in itself shouldn’t make it the top dog.

    Supposing things went the other way. Lorentz receives some inherited money from a favourite uncle who on his deathbead makes him swear to extend Lorentz relativity using all due and undue speculation. His wife dies and some young big titty wench marries him and for some reason will only lay on the good wifey treatment when he works 16 hours a day trying to extend Lorentz relativity. His pituitary gland starts producing excess HGH. And some interstellar traveller jams a piece of paper under his door showing how his model can be expanded to prove that E=MC2.

    Under such circumstances he might have pre-empted Einstein and then his less troublesome theory might be the convention.

    So that therefore we can see that this linear model of going from Newton to Einstein to some other monster paradigm is not the way to go. The way to go is to run these things in parallel. They ought never have dropped Newton. Your wiki link tells us that they are looking at some modified Newton paradigm. That’s a good thing.

  14. Sacha says:

    Research doesn’t happen linearly. Maybe having a giant vine with stems going every which way is a better description – some stems will be really thick (eg string theory) as they’re trends or popular or have funding or whatever, and some will be very thin (eg tweaking newtonian gravity). While there are more “mainstream” directions, this doesn’t discount that all sorts of other directions are being taken as well.

  15. Sacha says:

    Now I have to work on my paper! Enough blogging for now.

  16. GMB says:

    Right. Research doesn’t happen linearly. But we have creeping unscience here. Since why do people hold onto SR and GR when they ought to be just one amongst three or four other models?

    Are you talking about the same thing as me. You had classical physics, based around Newton. Then a tipping point came and it all got based around Einstein. But it should not really have worked that way. It should have fanned out in such a way as there would be many small models in parallel. Newton’s model continuing in development on one strand.

    We see this now in the Wiki SOME work is being done on all these esoteric areas. But just because we see it this does not mean certain models aren’t getting a fair go.

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