Talk:Theory of relativity/Archive 1

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Mass section revision

Regarding my earlier revision of the "mass increase" section: I was careful not to change anything in that section without first asking permission. I explained on the talk page the reason for wanting to make the change, and more or less what I thought should be said. A user named "RSchafly" gave me the go-ahead to make the change, which I did. And I didn't do it in secret. I announced the change as soon as I made it, over a month ago.

Now you've decided you don't like it, and instead of asking me to fix it, or even saying simply "thanks, but no thanks", you dismiss the whole thing as "claptrap". Excuse me, but that is incredibly rude.--Lemonpeel 21:51, 15 June 2009 (EDT)

You're right. I was rude, and I apologize.
That said, you deleted my clearer explanation and obscured the fact that the nonsensical "relativistic mass" was taught and believed by physicists for more than a generation. E=mc2, which is still repeated and taught in Pavlovian manner by relativists, is simply false as a general equality. You also inserted non-scientific justification like "language" and "natural" that have no place in a matter of physical observation.--Andy Schlafly 22:43, 15 June 2009 (EDT)

"Beautiful, but not robust" Quote

The beginning of this article provides a quote from Steven Weinberg on quantum field theory saying that QFT is "beautiful, but not robust." The way the quote is given here makes it sound like this comment was intended as a criticism of QFT. I looked up the source of the quote, and it appears (to me at least) that the quote was not meant as a criticism at all. I think what Weinberg was saying is that QFT has to satisfy a lot of strong properties, such as gauge invariance and renormalizeablility. It is in that sense that QFT is not robust. But the point I think Weinberg is making is that this gives us hope for finding a grand unified theory, since we don't have much wiggle room in the kinds of theories we can propose.

Given that, I propose the quote be removed, since its likely meaning is out of context with the way the quote is being used. --Lemonpeel 12:00, 15 June 2009 (EDT)

The quote speaks for itself, and your comment is unfortunately incoherent. A lack of robustness in a theory is obviously a weakness in the theory, not in the requirements for the theory. No, we're not going to censor the quote.--Andy Schlafly 17:51, 15 June 2009 (EDT)

Well, clearly the quote does not speak for itself, since it comes at the end of a long lecture praising the progress that has been made in QFT. As far as lack of robustness being a weakness--it seems like this is the exact opposite point Weinberg is trying to make. He discusses, for example, how pleased he was when people discovered the need for theories to be renormalizeable. His point was that this was a hard condition for a theory to satisfy, and therefore imposing that condition greatly narrowed the search for the correct theory. I hope that clarifies the point I was trying to make. --Lemonpeel 21:19, 15 June 2009 (EDT)

"Lemonpeel", your statement is again incoherent. You state, "clearly the quote does not speak for itself, since it comes at the end of a long lecture praising the progress that has been made in QFT." The same could be said about some of our close-minded liberal editors. When one starts from zero, one can make infinite "progress" and still be virtually at zero.--Andy Schlafly 21:27, 15 June 2009 (EDT)

Can't argue with that logic.--Lemonpeel 21:54, 15 June 2009 (EDT)

Mass Increase Section

In the subsection on mass increase, it is claimed that the abandonment of the relativistic mass point of view "undermines" the famous equation E = mc2. I find this statement rather odd. After all, the broader principle underlying this equation is that if p is the 4-momentum vector of a particle, then the magnitude of p is the same in all inertial reference frames and equal (in units where c = 1) to the rest mass of the particle. This remains true regardless of whether one uses the language of relativistic mass or not. As currently written, this subsection is liable to confuse anyone who is unfamiliar with the subject.--Lemonpeel 20:41, 25 May 2009 (EDT)

Go ahead and fix it. RSchlafly 11:27, 26 May 2009 (EDT)
Done.--Lemonpeel 13:37, 26 May 2009 (EDT)

Great article

1) Superb avoidance of difficult science in a scientific article. Best not to be confusing. 2) Nice attention on Eddington rather than the theory itself. 3) Good mind reading regarding Eddington's dreams. 4) Nice work ignoring the facts about things that have been inventing using GR such as GPS

And rather than simply be sarcastic, I will work on a better article over the weekend. One that actually discusses the science.

Special and general relativity

This article seems to combine the two. They are different ideas and need to be distinguished. JoshuaZ 19:21, 24 February 2007 (EST)

Agreed. Separate articles would make more sense. I don't have time to do the necessary work right now, but if no one else does it I'm sure I'll get to it eventually. Tsumetai 10:11, 25 February 2007 (EST)
If someone will split the pages, I'll help flesh them out.--ZLewis 10:42, 1 March 2007 (EST)

Moral Relativism line needs to go.

I have never heard anyone advocating moral relativism use either of the theories of relativity to do it. Actually, the only people who I've ever heard that from are relativity deniers like Fred Hutchison. Not only does that show a grave misunderstanding of the scientific theory, but also a misunderstanding of the phrase "moral relativism". In any case, you can't draw moral implications from scientific theories. When someone says that Einstein's theory of relativity implies some kind of moral relativism, they're really saying "The geometric theory of gravity allows me to internalize my moral decisions".

That line is ridiculous and irrelevant, and needs to disappear.

I don't like it at all in its present form, but the word "relativity" is thrown around casually quite a lot and there might be justification for a section with a title like "what relativity is not."
E.g. Scott Adams, author of the Dilbert comic strip, says "Einstein’s great insight was assuming reality was not fixed, and that everything was relative to the observer" and goes on to say "I have extended that thinking to people..."
I think using Scott Adams as a reference or a jumping-off point for discussion really constitutes holding one's self to a dismally low standard. He's posted his own theories of physics to his blog a few times, freely admitting that he knows they're wrong and that he just takes pride in the fact that the layman can't successfully challenge them. In all honesty, moral relativism is a perfectly valid subject for an article, but it doesn't have anything to do with physics other than an unfortunate overlap of words and definitions in English. Putting this section in just makes the authors look like they're bristling for a fight. Willforpresident 21:25, 7 March 2007 (EST)
What follows is interesting if not very profound, but dragging Einstein into it is not helpful.
It just goes to show the value of jargon. When scientists give something a simple name like "relativity," people assume they understand it and misapply it. I'm just thankful that people aren't very familiar with mathematics or we'd be hearding about crop circles in Galois fields. Dpbsmith 12:50, 25 February 2007 (EST)
I like the "what relativity is not" idea. Might be worth pointing out that relativity in physics didn't start with SR; there is such a thing as Galilean relativity, after all. Tsumetai 12:57, 25 February 2007 (EST)

This line must go. It is not relevant to the article. Have a disambiguation page for relativity. The citation is completely incorrect. The website http://www.moralrelativity.com/about1.html says nothing about general relativity influencing moral relativity. This article says 'Relativity has generated a huge following by advocates of moral relativism,' but the website http://www.moralrelativity.com/about1.html does not make any mention of this statement, therefore it is improperly cited. Citations are supposed to support claims, and this one does not. (Read the website for yourself). Also, just because relativity is a homophone in this case doesn't mean it belongs in an article of the (general) theory of relativity. Please make a disambiguation page because this is clearly in the wrong place.

I removed the moral relativity part from this article and placed it in a new article called Moral relativity. Relativity here is clearly just a homophone, and moral relativity is irrelevant to special or general relativity. To illustrate my point, see http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/relativity. Relativity in physics has a special meaning. Teji 00:38, 5 April 2007 (EDT)

Folks, moral relativism is a big reason for the political support of types of relativity. It's obviously relevant to this article, and the above criticism only reinforces the need to include a reference. We can debate how to say it, but censorship is not an option here. Go to Wikipedia for that.--Aschlafly 01:31, 5 April 2007 (EDT)
Okay, then that can go into the Moral relativity article, which now exists. There is no support for your claim. Neither is there a need for political support for a scientific theory. The way you describe it, moral relativity references this theory of relativity, not the other way around. The theory of relativity neither relies on moral relativity in any explanation of it or needs it to be mentioned for a complete treatment of the theory, and therefore it is inappropriate to add it here. I direct you again to the dictionary http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/relativity in order to clarify that relativity in this sense has specific meaning in the domain of physics, and arbritrary theories that share the word are not in this domain nor are related in any concrete way, simply being homophones. Teji 18:40, 5 April 2007 (EDT)


Someone added more about the moral relativity bit, so I put it in the right place: in the article on Moral relativity. The section says, "Advocates of moral relativity seized on the theory of relativity to legitimize their views," which is about moral relavitity and how they use the theory of relativity, not how the the theory of relativity involves moral relativity. I challenge the writer again to find a work on the physics theory that metions moral relativity at all. Just because a page mentions the theory of relativity does not make it a legitimate part of the theory itself, and as such, does not belong in this article. If anything, the Moral relativity article should make a link to this article, not the other way around. I am not sure the agenda here, but it seems that someone would like to promote moral relativity by attaching it to unrelated articles. Please add your information to the correct article in the correct place. Again, here is the link: Moral relativity. Go crazy. Teji 14:42, 6 April 2007 (EDT)

ASchlafly, you added the line "Advocates of moral relativity seized on the theory of relativity to legitimize their views" and gave a citation afterwards. If you read the page that you cite, you will see that the author merely uses Special Relativity to demonstrate how moral relativism works. He does not "seize" on the theory and does not use it to "legitimize" his view. Can you find a better source please? (or remove the sentence)

I can't tell who or when this comment was made, because it lacks the signature (use the signature button above). But I will look for more sites about to support my statement, which should be easy to find. Frankly, I've never heard anyone doubt the statement.--Aschlafly 20:07, 8 April 2007 (EDT)


Perhaps you've been listening the wrong people. No reputable explanations of relativity mention moral relativity. Find a reputable one. Don't look for moral relativity explanations that include physics relativity, because that information belongs in Moral relativity, not here. You are researching the wrong topic. Repeat: look for information about the physical theory of relativity and see if you can find one that mentions moral relativity (not pages that talk about moral relativity and mention physical relativity). Furthermore, anyone can set up a web page and say whatever they want, so web pages are generally not a very good resource (unless it's the physics department website at MIT, for instance, because it has credibility in this field). You should find reputable scientific texts. And, please, stick the topic at hand: physical science topics needs physical science resources. There is ample room in the Moral relativity article to discuss. In fact, I'm surprised you aren't contributing more to that article (especially compared to how much you try add to in this article), since you seem to be very interested in the topic and are more knowledgable about it than physical relativity. Teji 13:08, 9 April 2007 (EDT)
I've received no response. Can I remove the paragraph now? Teji 16:59, 11 April 2007 (EDT)
By the way, I checked the history, and MatteeNeutra made the uncited statement above about needing a better source or removing the sentence. Teji 17:02, 11 April 2007 (EDT)

e = mc2 not "attributed" to Einstein.

e = mc2 isn't just "attributed" to Einstein. When someone says "attributed", they typically mean that someone is given credit for an idea somewhat apocryphally. Einstein obtained the relation in his Zur Elektrodynamik bewegter Körper, in which, from the Lorentz transformations, he obtained the relations:

E = \sqrt{c^4m^2+p^2c^2} and then, as p\to0:

E = mc2.

And these bizarre polemics are undermining what little credibility this encyclopedia has. Sneering at Einstein and glorifying the contributions of Ponicare makes all of the sense of arguing over whether Leibniz or Newton invented calculus, particularly since there are very palpable differences between Einstein and Ponicare's treatments of the subjects. And, I see someone has removed the "there is no evidence for the general theory", but I'm sure it will be back by this afternoon. That's ever weirder -- how on earth can someone say that "there is no evidence" and then, in the same article, link to black holes?

I'm not going to go back to that article on Dirac Notation to fill up all of those links with articles until I'm sure one of the administrators isn't going to replace them with accusations of quantum mechanics being tantamount to the Kabbalah, or something equally stupid. (unsigned)

It is a fact that Poincare published E=mc2 and most of the rest of special relativity before Einstein. Maybe you think that this is sneering or glorifying, but it is a fact, and there is no serious dispute about it. RSchlafly 20:17, 9 March 2007 (EST)
This is true, but what Poincare described was a specific case of E=mc2. An experimental result showed that there was momentum when a body ejected EM radiation, but the mass was unaccounted for. Poincare described the mass of the EM as m=E/c2. Einstein derived this formula from more fundamental assumptions, the speed of light is absolute, etc. This is why his work is so famous. In fact, in all of science, nothing belongs to any one person, even though they may get credit, but are supposedly discovered. Also do not forget that Einstein also published General Relativity.
Furthermore, while Poincare regarded it as superfluous, scientists of the day were still trying to work with the luminescent ether. Einstein's work proved this unnecessary.
Again this is a lesson in science. We are always trying to compress and refine our science. Einstein, while he of course drew on other's work and surely knew of Poincare's m=E/c2 paper, his work was more refined and simpler, deriving many principles, Poincare's and new ones, from a few fundamental principles. Poincare published a paper about a month before Einstein with similar work, but in science, no one person makes a discover. Don't forget, Newton has his Hooke. But like Newton, it was Einstein's derivation and formalizations that worked better. (unsigned)
Yes, Poincare described was a specific case of E=mc2, but so did Einstein. Einstein did not foresee particle annihilation or nuclear energy. Poincare's description of the ether as superfluous is nearly identical to Einstein's.
How was Einstein's work on special relativity any more refined, simpler, or better working? I deny this. Poincare showed a better understanding of the theory than Einstein. RSchlafly 14:16, 23 March 2007 (EDT)
Don't ask me, ask Lorentz. http://ia331314.us.archive.org/2/items/theeinsteintheor11335gut/11335-h/11335-h.htm
OK, I looked at your link. The first thing I saw was a claim that the 1919 eclipse proved the General Relativity. We now know that eclipse proved no such thing. So much for the credibility of that link.
The link does show that Lorentz and Einstein were patting each other on the back. That's fine, but it suggests a lack of objectivity towards the odd man out, Poincare. This dispute cannot be resolved by self-interested party, obviously.--Aschlafly 01:29, 5 April 2007 (EDT)
Can't get much more credible than a publication by Lorentz on Gutenberg, bud. It may be dated, but it is closer to the date of Einstein's work. As far as I see you, you have the burden to prove your claim as much as everyone else has to support the opposite claim. Where is your evidence of credible sources? Teji 18:45, 5 April 2007 (EDT)

Old version

I was just looking at an old version of this page, and the absurdity of the "scientific" claims made, combined with the low quality of the writing and blatant inaccuracies, make the article, quite frankly, almost intellectually offensive. I realize that this has since been rectified, but if this is the quality that is to be expected of Conservapedia articles, then I do not blame those who dismiss it as a failed attempt. Geekman314(contact me) 15:12, 9 March 2007 (EST)

be specific in your statements if you expect a response.--Aschlafly 19:04, 9 March 2007 (EST)

I find the content reverted to in the above edit to be quite disturbing.

  • The General Theory of Relativity does not reject Isaac Newton's "God-given" theory of gravitation, it simply provides an explanation for why it functions.
that was obviously vandalism.--Aschlafly 19:04, 9 March 2007 (EST)
  • It is most certainly not a problem that the General Theory of Relativity is based upon mathematics as opposed to empirical evidence, as seems to be insinuated by this version.
mathematics is mathematics, and unless there is empirical evidence it is not science.
Mathematics describes physics. Geekman314(contact me) 22:33, 9 March 2007 (EST)
  • Albert Einstein's work did contribute to the development of the nuclear bomb. E=mc2 describes the duality between matter and energy, the principle upon which the nuclear bomb, and all other nuclear devices, functions.
nope. E=mc2 is a statement of relativistic effect, not atomic power.
Yes, but the mass lost in the nuclear reaction is converted to energy, which is the fundamental power of the weapon. Geekman314(contact me) 22:33, 9 March 2007 (EST)
  • "Nothing useful has even been built based on the theory of relativity." Sure, sure… nuclear power plants aren't useful at all, are they? GPSs aren't useful at all, are they?
GPSs are useful, but they weren't built using General Relativity.
Without realativity describing gravitation redshift, the timing for the GPS satelite would be off by about 45 microseconds/day. Further reading on the matter at http://www.astronomy.ohio-state.edu/~pogge/Ast162/Unit5/gps.html --Mtur 19:08, 9 March 2007 (EST)
I think Lorenzian relativity accounts for the GPS time dilation more precisely. But that isn't really my point. The GPS clocks are updated based on communications between the satellites and ground stations, not based on any theory. If you claim that GPS is built based on relativity, then you should be able to prove your case with an historical reference. No such proof exists.--Aschlafly 20:39, 9 March 2007 (EST)
That observation does not support the false claim that GPS is based on General Relativity. Other theories predict a dilation of time, and satellites are obviously synchronized based on communication, not theory.--Aschlafly 19:11, 9 March 2007 (EST)
No, they have GR corrections built in. Tsumetai 19:15, 9 March 2007 (EST)
Can you please cite an alternate theory that accounts for the time dilation experiecned by the GPS satelites along with the math that matches that of relativity? --Mtur 19:17, 9 March 2007 (EST)
  • "Most conservatives are skeptical since science is supposed to be about finding proof before a theory becomes a fact, not after." And where are the statistics that show this?
Don't know who wrote that statement, but it's a correct statement of what science means.
I was refering to the claim that "most conservatives are skeptical since science…" (emphasis added) Geekman314(contact me) 22:33, 9 March 2007 (EST)
  • Gravitons are not predicted by general relativity; much to the contrary, the two have not been reconciled.
  • It is currently believed that space does indeed have curvature, what is described as "negative" curvature, giving it a saddle-like shape overall, but curvature nonetheless.

The denial of demonstrated principles because they do not coincide with your worldview is not scientific, it's purely reactionary nonsense. I'm not impressed by Examples of Bias in Wikipedia citing Wikipedians taking issue with this as a "bias". Geekman314(contact me) 16:11, 9 March 2007 (EST)

OK, fine, no one is trying to impress you. The Wikipedia entry was biased and demonstrably false, as explained in Bias in Wikipedia.--Aschlafly 19:04, 9 March 2007 (EST)
Oh, and I mean no offense to Aschlafly. Although I do not necessarily agree with all his views, I do not wish to disparage him, and I recognize his value as a contributor. I've reconciled with him on this issue, and want to make clear that I do not mean this comment as an attack. Geekman314(contact me) 22:44, 9 March 2007 (EST)
I just realized that I had somehow managed to fail to see that Aschlafly's edit was a simple revert to a previous version. I don't necessarily agree with the decision, and I don't retract the points with which I take issue, but Aschlafly is not responsible for the content, and I'm sorry for insinuating that he was. I've changed some of my comment to reflect the fact that the edit was simply a revert. Geekman314(contact me) 23:29, 9 March 2007 (EST)

Merge with draft

There is a draft for this article here. Surely it's about time these two were merged together or at the very least decide which one is to be continued. I will continue to work on Theory of Relativity/draft as I feel it is a much clearer article. What does everyone else think? MatteeNeutra 07:33, 8 April 2007 (EDT)

Your draft article has some great stuff in it. Would you like to merge it into the main article now? However, please do not delete anything from the main article as part of the merge. Thanks and a good Easter to you.
By the way, it appears that relativity is taught in college without using the concept of relativistic mass. But let's go with your relativistic mass as you wrote it.--Aschlafly 20:06, 8 April 2007 (EDT)
Yeah, I'll take a shot at a merge now. Relativistic mass is quite important to the theory, as from it we can determine that matter cannot travel faster than the speed of light. MatteeNeutra 18:17, 9 April 2007 (EDT)

This isn't Wikipedia

Teji, don't delete facts here that liberals don't like. This isn't Wikipedia.--Aschlafly 13:02, 9 April 2007 (EDT)

Please read my explanation above. I don't think anyone likes unsourced information that is in the wrong topic. Please contribute to Moral relativity. I had to create that page while someone was adding information about it to the this topic. Teji 13:10, 9 April 2007 (EDT)
Furthermore, that link is about moral relativity, not special relativity. It belongs in Moral relativity. It is shocking that someone so interested in that topic didn't even think to make the article. In fact, I started that article! Teji 13:12, 9 April 2007 (EDT)
Here is what I said above in case you didn't catch it: No reputable explanations of relativity mention moral relativity. Find a reputable one. Don't look for moral relativity explanations that include physics relativity, because that information belongs in Moral relativity, not here. You are researching the wrong topic. Repeat: look for information about the physical theory of relativity and see if you can find one that mentions moral relativity (not pages that talk about moral relativity and mention physical relativity). Furthermore, anyone can set up a web page and say whatever they want, so web pages are generally not a very good resource (unless it's the physics department website at MIT, for instance, because it has credibility in this field). You should find reputable scientific texts. And, please, stick the topic at hand: physical science topics needs physical science resources. There is ample room in the Moral relativity article to discuss. In fact, I'm surprised you aren't contributing more to that article (especially compared to how much you try add to in this article), since you seem to be very interested in the topic and are more knowledgable about it than physical relativity. Teji 13:08, 9 April 2007 (EDT)
I find it interesting that when you cannot support your information you resort to name-calling and statements about wikipedia. Does this site want credible and accurate information or information with an agenda? Because if it is the latter, please make a statement to that effect in your policy pages, or would that make this website too credible and accurate? Teji 13:16, 9 April 2007 (EDT)

Teji, the statement does not claim that the theory of relativity supports moral relativity, but merely that supporters of moral relativity seized upon the theory of relativity to justify their views. "Advocates of moral relativity seized on the theory of relativity to legitimize their views.[3] Historians such as Paul Johnson wrote about how the theory of relativity caused a sea change, justified or not, in 20th century thought." That statement is correct and should not be deleted. Read it, and reread it, and only comment further here if you can provide something that specifically refutes that statement. Thanks.--Aschlafly 13:18, 9 April 2007 (EDT)

It is in the wrong place. The statement is clearly about Moral relativity. This statement is also correct: Jesus is God, does it belong in this article? No. Here is another correct statement: morality is "what is the good" and ethics is "how do I practice it" from the moral relativity site. Does it belong in this artcle? Certainly not. Teji 13:21, 9 April 2007 (EDT)
Correctness is not enough. There also must be accuracy. Information about Moral relativity belongs in that article. Teji 13:22, 9 April 2007 (EDT)
Maybe you should change the title to just "Relativity". RSchlafly 14:03, 9 April 2007 (EDT)
Okay, how do I do that? We could also make a disambiguation page, but I don't know how to do that either. Teji 14:28, 9 April 2007 (EDT)
RSchlafly, you've missed the point. This article is about the Theory of Relativity as a scientific theory. As such, the article should not talk about Moral relativity which, apart from sharing using the same word, is absolutely nothing at all to do with the Theory of Relativity. I also, do not think that the sentence about Moral relativity should be put on this article. At the very most a link at the bottom of this article to Moral relativity, but you may as well link it to a page on forestry for all the relevance it has. MatteeNeutra 05:04, 10 April 2007 (EDT)
Exactly, if you want to speak about moral relativists using special or general relativity as validation for their philosophy then it should be placed in an articlea bout moral relativism. It should not be here. Perhaps - perhaps - it could go in a section on the influence of the theory of relativity on 20th century culture.Airdish 05:35, 10 April 2007 (EDT)

Why was quote about Dicke removed?

I added this quote about the Francis Dicke's theory. Aschalfy, why did you remove it without any comments? It is from the same time magazine article that is already cited in this article. It clarifies why Dicke's theory is less professionally accepted! Please read the article yourself. It shows that Einstein's theory was closer than Dicke's.

But the J.P.L. experimenters reduced the margin of error to 4% or less by locating the distant spacecraft within 100 ft. of their actual position. Thus, when they calculated that the signal to Mariner was slowed down by 204 millionths of a second on its round trip, they dealt the Brans-Dicke theory a sharp if not decisive blow. Their measurement was only 4 millionths of a second off the Einsteinian prediction, but 18 millionths of a second off the Brans-Dicke figure. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,943324,00.html

This is the same article that that is cited for the statement Physicist Robert Dicke of Princeton University was a prominent critic[7]. The same article that shows why Robert Dicke's theory is not accepted among scientists. Dicke suffered not just because he criticized Einstein's theory, but also because his theory was not as accurate. Teji 14:41, 9 April 2007 (EDT)

Time magazine is not an authority on whether Dicke's theory is better than Einstein's. Our rules are very clear not to cite journalists as authorities beyond their expertise. A scientific citation that I added shows that Dicke's theory is held in high regard to this day.--Aschlafly 14:50, 9 April 2007 (EDT)
The JPL isn't?
You've got to do better than that if you want a response.--Aschlafly 16:13, 9 April 2007 (EDT)
And a link from the JPL http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/releases/70s/release_1970_0566.html --Mtur 16:15, 9 April 2007 (EDT)
That's an old self-serving press release about only one study. My footnote about relativity, citing a renaissance in Dicke's theory, is more recent and more comprehensive, and is based on a astrophysics encyclopedia. So your cite is not appropriate.
And another article http://www.astrosociety.org/pubs/mercury/9404/dicke.html about Dicke's critique of relativity and where it failed to produce a better answer. Tests included sodium lines in the sun, distance to the moon, and precession of Mercury. I do not believe that it is fair to say that the theory is held in high regard today. --Mtur 16:28, 9 April 2007 (EDT)
I'll take a look at this. I must say, however, that any article that starts out by calling its opponent a "crank" lacks credibility. But this cite is worth including to reflect the political bias against Dicke, resulting in his being denied the Nobel Prize.--Aschlafly 17:31, 9 April 2007 (EDT)
It actually specifically says that Dicke was not a "crank." Murray 17:37, 9 April 2007 (EDT)
Ah, yes. The author charitably concedes that Dicke himself was not a crank, just anyone who supported Dicke's view was.
This article, which I'm reading now, is incredibly biased and one-sided. It declares the "General Theory" to be possibly the "greatest single achievement in physics ... of all time." And the author states his extremely biased view before telling us about testing results. Too bad this conflicts with the encyclopedia I cite in the content page. The value of this article is to show how intolerant supporters of the "General Theory" are of any criticism, including that by Dicke.--Aschlafly 17:58, 9 April 2007 (EDT)
If Dicke's results were as good or better than General Relativity, then there would be no issue at all. It also addresses reference #8 about not getting a Nobel Prize - that is because the prize is for discovery, not interpretations. He wasn't a theoretician and thus didn't have other theories and discoveries. The individual Dicke is held with high regard in the community - his theory is not (though it is respected in developing the framework for relativistic events). I am curious to see a citation that shows his theory as being respected for the results it gives. --Mtur 19:16, 9 April 2007 (EDT)


Also the article you misuse by taking the whole renaissance statement out of says this in the same paragraph before your quote!
Initially a popular alternative to General Relativity, the Brans-Dicke theory lost favor as it became clear that omega must be very large-an artificial requirement in some views. Nevertheless, the theory has remained a paradigm for the introduction of scalar fields into gravitational theory, and as such has enjoyed a renaissance in connection with theories of higher dimensional space-time.
Teji 16:57, 11 April 2007 (EDT)

Muon experiment from another point of view

From the point of view of the muon in the experiment mentioned, time is not slowed down, but rather distance is compressed. So instead of dilating time 5x across 10km of travel at relativistic speed, the muon saw that space had compressed from 10km to 2km (also 5x) and it was still traveling that distance. Thus, the same result - just different perspectives. --Mtur 20:50, 27 April 2007 (EDT)

Ref: Despite being one of the most accomplished physicists in the 20th century, Dicke was never given a Nobel Prize.

I would like to remove this reference. Nobel Prizes are given for discoveries and advancements. Dicke was an experimentalist - not a theorist. He didn't make discoveries or advancements but rather proved or disproved what the theorists came up with. As such, the work he did was not something that was noted by those nominating for the Nobel Prize. Likewise, you won't see a book critic get a Nobel Prize for literature, no matter how good of a critic he or she may be. --Mtur 21:02, 27 April 2007 (EDT)

Given that there has been no comment on this in opposition, I am removing the reference until someone can dispute the question of if any of Dicke's work was the type for which a Nobel Prize would have been given. --Mtur 15:46, 30 April 2007 (EDT)
I'm reverting your change. Experimentalists win the Nobel Prize all the time. A prize was given to someone else for work Dicke was doing. In fact, experimentalists probably win the prize more than theorists. The deletion of that sentence is for liberal purposes, and we don't allow that here.--Aschlafly 15:50, 30 April 2007 (EDT)

Government support of relativity research problems

The section on government support of relativity research needs a big re-write, but it needs to be clear what is intended first. There are several specific complaints which seem to have been jumbled together:

  1. LIGO was a failure, and the money could have been spent elsewhere.
  2. Too much money is spent on string theory and similar theories.
  3. The government does not support research into (unspecified) alternate theories.
  1. This is just liberal crybabying. Not all experiments work, and you can't know ahead of time which ones will. Most such complaints about too much money being spent on some experimental program are based on the idea of government as sugar-daddy, and whining when sugar-daddy likes someone else best.
  2. This complaint is more legitimate, as there are serious claims that string theory is not a scientific theory. However, this complaint doesn't belong in this article, because string theory is not relativity; it's an attempt to reconcile general relativity with quantum mechanics. String theory would replace general relativity, if a coherent theory were formulated, and then tested.
  3. This complaint seems ridiculous, as the government has funded plenty of tests to verify general relativity; any experimenter who wants to test an alternate theory can devise a test which would produce one result if GR is correct, and another if the alternate theory is true, and ask for funding for a test to verify GR.

On the other hand, perhaps the section could be deleted altogether. Ultramontanist 02:02, 23 June 2007 (EDT)

Relativistic mass

This paragraph is nonsense:

There is a logical difficulty, however, to an increase in relativistic mass. Such increase would only exist in the direction of motion, and the rest mass would remain intact with respect to a force applied in a direction orthogonal to velocity. But mass is not a vector, and the notion of the mass of an object having different values depending on the direction of an applied force is unacceptable.

The relativistic mass applies no matter what the direction of the force is. Some don't like the term "relatvistic mass", but for other reasons.

This is also nonsense:

In layman's terms, these two assumptions can be restated as:
1. It is impossible ever to transmit information faster than the speed of light.
2. The laws of physics are identical, without any variation, in every location throughout the universe.
3. The laws of physics are identical, without any variation, no matter how fast something is traveling (in the absence of acceleration).

This is not a restatement. Relativity says masses cannot for faster than light. Probably not information either, but that is another principle. Parts 2 and 3 are confusing and misleading, at best. Relativity teaches that there are no inertial frames in the universe. The laws of physics apply throughout the universe. They apply whether there is acceleration or not. But special relativity has more to do with inertial frames.

I suggest getting rid of these "layman's terms". They aren't. They don't clarify anything for anybody. RSchlafly 02:29, 8 July 2007 (EDT)

GPS edit

Bayes, your claim that GPS is based on the Theory of General Relativity is not correct. GPS synchronization can be done directly, and has never relied on the theory. Your edits should be reverted.--Aschlafly 19:37, 23 July 2007 (EDT)

My apologies. I didn't mean to edit recklessly; I thought I was correcting a typo. In fact, the source cited by that sentence before I made my edit (and many other sources as well) indicate that relativistic corrections are, in fact, taken into account by GPS receivers. Clocks on the satellites run at different rates than those on the ground due to the fact that they are at a higher altitude, where gravity is weaker; hence the need for a correction for gravitational time dilation, as predicted by general relativity. Yes, that means that clocks in Denver tick slightly faster than clocks in New York. I would be happy to look at any sources you can provide that show how GPS keeps accurate time without those corrections.--Bayes 20:30, 23 July 2007 (EDT)
Your citation is to a silly, unsupported and off-hand remark by a professor of astronomy. GPS was built by engineers in the 1970s, who would not have even attempted to calculated the time dilation using relativity. There would be no reason to rely on relativity, since the clocks can be and were synchronized more directly, more simply and more accurately by communicating with them.--Aschlafly 22:09, 23 July 2007 (EDT)
1. Let me reiterate that the citation was there before I made my edit. The previous version denied that relativistic corrections are necessary, and then cited a source to the contrary. Your recent edit makes a similar claim, but cites a source that doesn't delve deeply into technical aspects of how GPS actually works, and is therefore irrelevant to the claim.
2. You can dismiss the citation in question if you like, but it seems that the overwhelming majority of experts disagree; consider 1 2 3, which I doubt would be considered "silly, unsupported and off-hand remark[s]."
3. GPS designers in the 1970s certainly knew about relativistic effects. Here's an exerpt from 3:
[B]efore the first GPS satellite was launched in 1977, although it was recognized that orbiting clocks would require such a relativistic offset, there was uncertainty as to its magnitude, and even its sign. So correcting frequency synthesizers were built into the clocks, spanning a large enough range around the nominal 10.23 MHz clock frequency to encompass all possibilities. After the satellite's cesium atomic clock was turned on, it was operated for three weeks to measure its rate. The frequency shift measured during this initial period was found to be 4.425 parts per ten billion, agreeing with the relativistic calculation to better than 1%.
4. Yes, communication with the satellites is possible. That doesn't change the fact that satellite clocks run at different rates than ground-based clocks, which would result in huge errors if the satellite clock frequencies weren't compensated for time dilation effects.--Bayes 15:17, 24 July 2007 (EDT)

Criticism of LIGO

The criticism of LIGO under the heading "Government funding..." should be viewed in context. The observatories are not yet operating at their maximum level of precision. The usual procedure when building large projects like this is to make sure they work at more imprecise levels, and then "tune" them closer and closer to their limits. It isn't surprising that LIGO has not yet detected gravitational waves, and the consensus is that such waves will be detected in the future. The cource cited for that criticism even mentions that physicists are "confident" that LIGO will be successful. After all, the NSF doesn't shell out hundreds of millions of dollars in grant money on a coin flip; they were/are convinced that getting results is a slam dunk.--Bayes 20:48, 23 July 2007 (EDT)

Hope springs eternal. I'm afraid you sound like an oil-well driller (wildcatter) who, after encountering one dry well after another in a region, says "just spend a little more money and drill again!"
LIGO has been a disappointment so far, and there is no sign of success right around the corner. At some point accountability is in order, even if more money is to be spent searching gravity waves. Realize that this search has been ongoing for 100 years, without any detection. How many more years are necessary?--Aschlafly 22:12, 23 July 2007 (EDT)
While I fully agree that accountability for all major budget items is in order at some point, I don't think the oil-driller analogy is valid in this context. LIGO is still far from its designed sensitivity, as mentioned here. Plans are already underway to do go beyond merely detecting gravitational waves to doing astrophysics with them. Furthermore, detection of gravitational waves requires extreme sensitivity that can only be achieved with modern technology. Serious efforts to detect them didn't begin until the 1960s, when Joseph Weber built his bar detectors, and even then the scientific consensus was that his detectors weren't sensitive enough. Some scientific advances just have to wait for technology to allow their discovery. Tell you what, if LIGO is considered a failure in 10 years, I owe you a Coke.--Bayes 15:40, 24 July 2007 (EDT)
It's been nearly 2 years since your message above, and LIGO has been operational for nearly 7 years. Do you really insist on waiting a full 10 years (after spending a billion dollars) before allowing some accountability? LIGO soaked up a ton of research money that could have been spent on promising technology and potential cures.--Andy Schlafly 17:54, 23 March 2009 (EDT)

Other issues

There are some other aspects of this article that I would like to consider adding to or changing.

  • A fair amount of text is dedicated to Eddington's findings and not many other astronomical observations. Eddington published his results in 1919; obviously, since then, there have been many others who have improved on his observations.
  • The "Ostensible Paradoxes" section should be heavily altered or removed; there aren't any paradoxes listed there. First, the SR postulates don't offer any opinion on whether physical constants have had the same value throughout the history of the universe; they state that all inertial observers get the same answer when they measure the speed of light. Second, there are several ways to measure wave velocity; some of the most common are group velocity and phase velocity. Both types of velocities can exceed the speed of light (c) without violating special relativity. However, the energy velocity and information velocity do not exceed c, also in accordance with SR. There is nothing mysterious or sinister going on here; these concepts are addressed or at least mentioned in many undergraduate courses. Third, the universal constant c is the speed of light in vacuum; the speed of light in materials is less than than c since the electric permittivity and magnetic permeability of materials are different than those of vacuum. That means that matter can travel faster than light in a material without violating SR; try Googling Cerenkov radiation.--Bayes 18:28, 24 July 2007 (EDT)


I'm concerned about the use of some citations, which seem to be misrepresented in order to discredit relativity. For instance:
  • The Economist article cited does not attack relativity; it's a discussion of how GR is being tested to its limits, like any other theory. If any improved theory of gravity is found, GR is likely to be a useful subset of it, in the same way that Newtonian gravity is a useful subset of GR. And anyway, I thought non-scientific sources weren't supposed to used in these situations.
  • The new cite for the statement There is a correlation between enthusiasm for the theory of relativity and political views is an opinion piece about how moral relativists hijacked scientific relativity for their own purposes. The cite doesn't make that claim, and it doesn't show any data to support it. Frankly, I'd be very surprised if any such correlation existed. Even IF that kind of correlation existed, it doesn't belong in a scientific article.
The overall tone of the article seems to try to convince the reader to be skeptical of relativity. It appears to me that such skepticism is ideologically motivated, e.g., Although the liberally biased Wikipedia contains lengthy criticisms of the subjects of many entries..., The Democratic Congress insisted on the $250 million LIGO project..., There is a correlation between enthusiasm for the theory of relativity and political views. I don't fully understand the motivation, but it bears repeating that good science (of which relativity is a part) is independent of ideology.--Bayes 17:54, 26 July 2007 (EDT)
You're not the first to deny a liberal bias in science. But surely you would agree that the following areas of science, and perhaps nearly of all science, are susceptible to political bias:
--Aschlafly 18:11, 26 July 2007 (EDT)
I absolutely agree that deciding what science to fund, implementation of policies pertaining to scientific findings, or practical use of scientific results (like nuclear weapons), and perhaps some other issues not mentioned are or can be politicized. But I stand by my basic point: if you get a liberal to measure acceleration due to gravity on Earth's surface, and then get a conservative to do the same thing, they'll both get 9.8 m/s^2. Similarly, relativity has been around long enough, has useful applications, and is so successful in predicting experimental outcomes that it should not be subject to the same treatment as the more controversial topics you mention.--Bayes 18:24, 26 July 2007 (EDT)
You apparently don't concede the liberal bias in the majority of my examples above, such as global warming and SDI. When I worked as engineer at a research facility in the 1980s, we had an IBM scientist with impeccable credentials give a presentation claim that SDI was impossible, dangerous, and bad politics. It's silly to pretend that his claim of impossibility of SDI was unrelated to politics. Likewise, it's silly to pretend there is no political bias in global warming theories. But if we can't agree on that, then there is little point in discussing this further. Godspeed.--Aschlafly 18:33, 26 July 2007 (EDT)
Did you read the first sentence of my post above? Global warming is an example of tough policy decisions that could be implemented based on scientific findings. Surely both conservatives and liberals agree with the basic finding that the earth is warming. Similarly, the political debate over SDI was about the USE of science and technology, not the FINDINGS of science and technology. Sure, scientists can have opinions about what to do with their findings, but presumably the experimental results are valid across political lines. In any case, this is an aside; my specific concerns with the article, as addressed on this page, still stand. I assume by your willingness to exit the conversation that you don't have any problems with me addressing them?--Bayes 18:48, 26 July 2007 (EDT)
Your first sentence omitted any reference to global warming. Global warming is a liberal scientific theory about if and why the earth is warming. Yes, there are political biases in many scientific theories. If you can't accept that, then I urge you to become more open-minded first before trying to pretend that something is immune from politics.
I have no objections to factual edits of this article that add information. I do object to pushing a liberal point of view by deleting factual information. Thanks and Godspeed.--Aschlafly 19:02, 26 July 2007 (EDT)
Sounds good. However, the fact that GPS satellite clocks have built-in corrections for relativistic effects is something I inserted previously, and it was reverted. I hope you understand that I brought up these issues in an effort to accurately represent the science, and not because of some agenda. As I've said, I don't think special and general relativity are associated with political controversy.--Bayes 19:12, 26 July 2007 (EDT)
Bayes, you continue to insist on a falsehood, and I attribute that to liberal distortions in what you've read elsewhere. Please recognize that politics does distort science. GPS satellite clocks were not built based on predictions made by the theory of relativity.--Aschlafly 19:38, 26 July 2007 (EDT)
See my post above, where I have cited several sources that assert the contrary. On the other hand, you have yet to provide any evidence of how GPS can work without taking such corrections into account. Your source for that claim does not address timing issues with regard to GPS. I have to say that I'm increasingly baffled by your continued denial of this verifiable fact. How would a vast liberal conspiracy gain from hiding how clocks work?--Bayes 20:00, 26 July 2007 (EDT)
Bayes, you're talking to a former engineer. GPS was built by engineers, not by theoretical physicists. GPS never used the theory of relativity. If you continue to dispute that (likely due to liberal bias), then give me your very best cite for your claim that GPS used the theory of relativity and I'll look at it. Otherwise, drop it and move on to a different issue. Thanks.--Aschlafly 21:41, 26 July 2007 (EDT)

GPS and relativity links:

--Rutm 21:53, 26 July 2007 (EDT)

No, you're not listening. Give me your best cite for the claim that GPS *uses* the theory of relativity. Pick out your best, that's all I'm going to waste time on, since the answer is obvious to any engineer: GPS never used the theory of relativity.--Aschlafly 21:58, 26 July 2007 (EDT)
In that case, I should probably reference http://tycho.usno.navy.mil/ptti/1996/Vol%2028_16.pdf "GPS And Relativity: An Engineering Overview".
The first page introduction finishes with "In this paper, we compare the predictions of relativity to those of intuitive, classical, Newtonian physics; we show how large or small the differences are, and how and what applications those difference are large enough to make it necessary to correct the formulas of classical physics."
Lorentz Contraction is covered on page 2, Gravitational redshift on page 3, and the acceleration of the satellite on page 4.
"Since GPS receivers work in the time and not in the frequency domain, they handle the velocity, gravity, and acceleration shifts differently than described above. First, each GPS space vehicle (SV) clock is offset from its nominal rate by about -4.45x10-10 (= -38 microseconds per day) to allow for the relativistic offsets between the differences between the SV and the ground. Of this, -38 microseconds per day, about -45 are due to the gravitational potential difference between the SV at its mean distance and the earth's surface, and +7 to the mean SV speed, which is about 3.87 km/sec."
Does that help answer the question? --Rutm 22:22, 26 July 2007 (EDT)
The very first sentences of this paper prove my point (emphasis added):
The Operational Control System (OCS) of the Global Positioning System (GPS) does not include the rigorous transformations between coordinate systems that Einstein's general theory of relativity would seem to require - transformations to and from the individual space vehicles (SVs), the Monitor Stations (MSs), and the users on the surface of the rotating earth, and the geocentric Earth Centered Inertial System (ECI) in which the SV orbits are calculated. There is a very good reason for the omission: the effects of relativity, where they are different from the effects predicted by classical mechanics and electromagnetic theory, are too small to matter - less than one centimeter, for users on or near the earth.
The remainder of the paper is theoretical speculation about how a future GPS system might use relativity. There is disagreement about how relativity might be used, as reflected by comments in the paper.--Aschlafly 23:05, 26 July 2007 (EDT)
The remainder of the paper is about improvements to the GPS system. The paper was published in '97. In 2001, the system was updated. With Block II GPS satelites, OCS was rewritten so that it doesn't require constant updates from ground stations to reset the clocks http://igscb.jpl.nasa.gov/mail/igsreport/1994/msg00146.html (example of clock reset for relativity prior to 2001). Instead, now, accounting for relativity constantly the GPS satellites are able to offer much more accurate positioning (this was required, as mentioned by the paper I previously linked, the 6 meter accuracy - it is now required by the 2001 performance standard http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/gps/geninfo/2001SPSPerformanceStandardFINAL.pdf (page 20 of the document, section 3.4) . If you are willing to reset the clock periodically and accept errors between clock resets - then you can discount relativity. If you want high accuracy all the time, you must take relativity into account between synchronizations. --Rutm 00:58, 27 July 2007 (EDT)
The remainder of the paper is about proposed improvements to the GPS system. There is nothing indicating that those proposals were ever implemented. So that paper strikes out as support for the claim that GPS relies on relativity.
Now you're pointing me to a new paper. I'll look at it in the morning but, as I said, pick your best one. If this paper strikes out also then I'm unlikely to keep looking at more and more papers to explain why each one fails to support the claim. Please provide your very best cite, as I requested before. Thanks and Godspeed.--Aschlafly 01:07, 27 July 2007 (EDT)
How about this one, written by Neil Ashby for Physics Today, a major publication of the AIP. Again, I quote from a portion, although the entire paper is about the issue in question:
"[B]efore the first GPS satellite was launched in 1977, although it was recognized that orbiting clocks would require such a relativistic offset, there was uncertainty as to its magnitude, and even its sign. So correcting frequency synthesizers were built into the clocks, spanning a large enough range around the nominal 10.23 MHz clock frequency to encompass all possibilities. After the satellite's cesium atomic clock was turned on, it was operated for three weeks to measure its rate. The frequency shift measured during this initial period was found to be 4.425 parts per ten billion, agreeing with the relativistic calculation to better than 1%."
You've now been presented with many sources from Rutm and I supporting GR implementation in GPS, and you have yet to produce one source that says that GPS works on only classical principles. Furthermore, I question your motivation in demanding one "best" source, since I anticipate that you will attempt to attack the "best source," perhaps by invoking "liberal bias" (as if it existed in this case--either the clocks run at different frequencies or they don't), ignoring the vast consensus, and proclaim "victory."--Bayes 10:56, 27 July 2007 (EDT)
OK, I think I now (finally!) understand what's going on. I think we have a misunderstanding here; we're talking about two different kinds of corrections. The paper supplied by Rutm (and quoted in the current article) is discussing relativistic corrections to the frequency of signals measured by the receivers. That paper is from the early 1990s, and at that time no relativistic corrections were performed for those signals (though corrections might be taken into account now). Throughout this discussion, I have been referring to the fact that clocks on GPS space vehicles have ALWAYS had built-in frequency offsets to account for the relativistic effects on moving clocks and clocks in gravitational potentials. It's a question of corrections made to the communications between GPS components and the on-board clocks of the satellites; the former are not as important, while the latter are very important. Any problems with inserting this nuance into the article?--Bayes 19:14, 27 July 2007 (EDT)

Andy, that GPS quote is extremely misleading. It implies that the relativistic effects are too small to be significant. But the rest of the paragraph explains that relativistic corrections are necessary to meet the accuracy requirements of most users. The article is incorrect when it states, "Predictions of relativity have not historically been used to make the Global Positioning System (GPS) function properly." Relativity has in fact been used, and programmed into satellites and receivers. RSchlafly 11:48, 28 July 2007 (EDT)

That's simply not true. GPS adjustments have been based on observation, not theoretical prediction. Effects predicted by relativity are offsetting to each other and the experts could not even agree in which direction the small net effect would be.
This is a matter of historical fact and it's astonishing that the demands to rewrite history about this are so persistent. The quote confirms the obvious: GPS adjustments are based on observation, not theoretical prediction.
For those who claim to have such a thorough understanding of GPS here, how about answering the question below: does Newtonian mechanics predict any divergence in the clocks from the satellite compared to ground? Godspeed.--Aschlafly 12:31, 28 July 2007 (EDT)
No, the fact is that the GPS satellites have operated both with and without the relativistic corrections. The cited articles confirm that. You are completely wrong to say that relativistic corrections have not been used.
The relativistic corrections partially offset each other, but not entirely, and they are big enough to affect accuracy in a typical consumer GPS unit. It is also false to say that there is disagreement among physicists on the point.
If you were right, then find an article that supports what you say. That paragraph you quote ends with "large enough to make it necessary to correct the formulas of classical physics." Include that, and give the date on the article. RSchlafly 18:09, 28 July 2007 (EDT)
The article first states the obvious: GPS is not designed using the theory of relativity. Then the article discusses an ongoing and unresolved dispute about exactly what the theory of relativity does predict for the numerous factors involved in the GPS system, and makes its own unverified claims. Relativity predicts time differences going in both directions, and there are issues about what the inertial frame should be. One article cited earlier, which I will try to find and reinsert, states that Lorentzian (not Special) Relativity generally matches observations best.
GPS was built by engineers and there is no reason for them to rely on the theory of relativity. It is far simpler and more reliable simply to observe the time differences. Engineers don't study the theory of relativity, and if you think a physicist well-versed in the theory of relativity provided essential predictions for the GPS engineers, then who was he? Give us his name and he we can simply ask him. Was he nominated for a Nobel prize? Surely he would have at least published a paper about his work. Where is it????
And where is the answer to the question as to whether Newtonian mechanics predicts time difference in the GPS system also? After all, if someone is going to claim that GPS confirms the superiority of relativity to Newtonian mechanics, then surely he must first make a statement about whether Newtonian mechanics predicts a time difference.--Aschlafly 21:56, 28 July 2007 (EDT)
What you say is just not true. GPS was designed with an understanding of the magnitude of the relativistic effects. The effects are well-understood, and no one was nominated for a Nobel prize for predicting the effects. Yes, there were engineers who didn't study relativity and didn't think that relativistic effects would be significant. They have been proven wrong. There are no unresolved disputes. You have been given several references that tell the story. RSchlafly 02:41, 29 July 2007 (EDT)
To sum:
      • no physicists have been identified who supposedly incorporated relativity into the GPS design
      • no papers exist describing how relativity *was* (not "might be") used in GPS
      • references that have been provided describe disagreements among physicists about the relativistic predictions for GPS
      • those claiming that GPS confirms relativity compared to Newtonian mechanics don't know whether Newtonian mechanics also predicts time differences, which renders the comparison pointless.
I realize that historical revisionism is common in many areas, but I would hope that science would adhere to a higher standard. Sometimes, unfortunately, science seems be even more vulnerable to revisionism. Godspeed.--Aschlafly 11:04, 29 July 2007 (EDT)
I will respond to this post below, under "Question about GPS"--Bayes 13:55, 30 July 2007 (EDT)
As Bayes explains, the papers do say that relativity was used in GPS. Just what is the disagreement among physicists? I didn't see any in your references. RSchlafly 13:43, 31 July 2007 (EDT)
No, none of the papers state that a physicist or group of physicists provided the complex relativistic predictions and that those predictions were incorporated into a particular GPS system. Engineers don't study relativity, and if physicists provided these predictions to a GPS system then there would be (a) names of physicists, (b) dates of incorporation, and (c) adjustments based on results. None of this happened.
The claim that relativistic predictions were actually used in an actual GPS system wouldn't last 5 minutes on a witness stand at trial. It's pure fiction.--Aschlafly 16:20, 31 July 2007 (EDT)

Theory of Relativity (moved from User talk:Aschlafly)

I found it offensive that you labelled my edit a "liberal edit". I was not aware of the Corpuscular Theory of Light, and therefore I did not know what "Newton's theory" in that sentence was referring to. Since there was no link (as there is now) to a page which shows Einstein's formula being two times more than his previous one, which was stated to be same as Newton's, I changed the sentence to the best of my knowledge - that light was viewed as a wave through ether at Newton's time, and therefore his theory of gravity does not apply.

How my mistake is a "liberal edit" is beyond me. ATang 09:47, 26 July 2007 (EDT)

Please accept my apologies. By way of explanation, not as justification, liberals love relativism and their spin on the theory of relativity, and exaggerate everything associated with it. Claiming that relativity predicts the bending of light while Newton did not is one of those exaggerations. A simple search on the internet before deleting something here is always advisable, and that simple search reveals how Newton's theory predicts the bending of light too (though not by as much). I think this Newtonian prediction is in high school physics problem books, so it is not obscure.
Regardless, thanks for your efforts and I look forward to more additions by you here.--Aschlafly 10:43, 26 July 2007 (EDT)
I'll search the internet before making changes next time. ATang 14:04, 26 July 2007 (EDT)
Ashlafly, I am concerned about the overall tone of the relativity article. Some statements suggest the presence of an anti-relativity agenda. Am I correct in guessing that this stance is due to a perceived link between moral relativism, the Democratic party, and the scientific concept of relativity? If so, I'd like to point out that while scientific funding by the government is certainly a political issue, actual scientific research is a separate issue and is independent of political leanings. The outcome of a proper experiment does not depend on whether the scientists conducting it are conservative or liberal. You are indeed justified if you are objecting to overzealous extrapolations based on scientific findings (such as moral relativism being based on scientific relativity), but such extrapolations have absolutely nothing to do with the scientific findings themselves. IMHO, encyclopedic articles on the scientific concept of relativity should stick to the science and not go into philosophy or politics. Furthermore, criticism of concepts such as moral relativism should be concerned with the merits (or lack thereof) of the concepts themselves, not on sound science that has nothing to do with it. Attempts to discredit relativity because of perceived links to philosohical or political positions that one disagrees with are not scientific, and fly in the face of undeniable experimental verification, basic facts (like how GPS satellite clocks function) and essentially universal acceptance of at least the basic principles. If you would like to incorporate some of the material on the current relativity page into a separate article, such as Historical views of relativity, a personal essay, or something similar, then I would be all for it. I have not yet edited the relativity article heavily, but please see Talk:Theory of relativity for some of my specific conerns.--Bayes 17:56, 26 July 2007 (EDT)
I have already responded to this above.--Aschlafly 11:32, 28 July 2007 (EDT)

Question about GPS

Does Newtonian mechanics predict that clocks on GPS satellites will diverge from clocks on earth? That is not an easy question to answer.--Aschlafly 11:32, 28 July 2007 (EDT)

As far as I'm aware, no. It's relativity that predicts that there will be a divergence in time, for reasons already discussed. However, I want to throw in: both of you aruging about whether GPS satellites use relativity are correct in certain ways. Andy, you're correct that there is no actual use of relativity on the circuits on board the satellite. For those arguing that relativity is used, you're correct too; based on predictions from both general and special relativity, the clocks on the satellites are fine tuned with an offset to minimize the nano-second order deviations from clocks on the ground. Then, for practical purposes, newtonian based approximations are acceptable accuracy-wise. Stryker 14:08, 30 July 2007 (EDT)
Mr. Schlafly, I apologize for not responding more quickly. Newtonian mechanics cannot account for the observed divergence in clock rates. Classically, inertial reference frames are related by Galilean transformations:
x' = x + vt
t' = t
where x and x' are positions in the rest and moving frame, respectively
t and t' are times in the rest and moving frame, respectively
v is the velocity of the moving frame relative to the rest frame. Note that frame labels like "rest" and "moving" are arbitrary.
According to those transformations, time in all inertial frames is the same (t' = t), and therefore no time dilation is predicted. However, the Lorentz transformations that relate inertial frames according to special relativity DO predict time dilation. So that would allow for corrections based on the relative speeds of the satellites. However, you could reconcile the time difference using classical mechanics IF you assert that the speed of light in the moving frame is different from the speed of light in the rest frame; that would essentially mean that the satellites are measuring a different light speed than the earth is. Such assertions would conflict with experimental evidence.
Another, more significant time dilation effect is due to gravitational time dilation, predicted by general relativity, which is dependent on the curvature of spacetime. Newtonian gravity incorporates an "action at a distance" principle and does not incorporate spacetime curvature, and therefore predicts no gravitational time dilation.
Also, your statement that no sources have been provided showing that corrections for relativistic effects were historically incorporated is incorrect, as I have twice quoted from a Physics Today article (see above) showing that devices allowing for such corrections to clock frequencies were used when the satellites were first launched. I'm still convinced we have a misunderstanding; the satellite clock frequencies have used and do need relativistic corrections, but once those corrections are implemented, Newtonian physics works fine for communication and position calculations (although some sources seem to indicate that may not be true for fast-moving objects, like jets and so forth). However, you have successfully convinced me that there is something of a political element in some areas of science :)--Bayes 14:40, 30 July 2007 (EDT)
Bayes, it's wrong to assert that Newtonian mechanics does not predict time differences in GPS clocks. You can't build a clock that would be uneffected by acceleration under Newtonian mechanics.
Let's be frank for a moment. It's absurd to insist that an experiment proves theory A is superior to theory B when there is no understanding of what theory B even says about the experiment. Theory A may indeed be better than theory B, but superiority is not demonstrated by that experiment.--Aschlafly 16:26, 31 July 2007 (EDT)
You got a physics paper saying that relativity explains the GPS clock differences to within 1%. There is no Newtonian explanation for the differences. Just give the fact, and let the reader decide which theory is superior. RSchlafly 16:48, 31 July 2007 (EDT)
The paper does not demonstrate that relativity predictions were incorporated into GPS. No paper demonstrates that.
A few (not many) papers claim that observed GPS clock differences can be explained by relativity. That is a very different claim, and requires examining carefully the assumptions made in the calculations to justify a claim that the theory matches an observed result. It also requires comparing the calculations to Newtonian calculations, which the papers utterly fail to do.--Aschlafly 20:35, 31 July 2007 (EDT)
Yes, of course those papers compare to Newtonian calculations. That is why they are called "GPS clock differences". They are the differences between the relativistic and Newtonian calculations. RSchlafly 21:27, 31 July 2007 (EDT)
No they don't. Those few papers attempting to match relativity theory with GPS clock results all implicitly assume that the effects on the accelerated clocks from Newtonian mechanics are zero. That is likely wrong. And that explains why there are so few papers and so few physicists who claim personally to have confirmed GPS results with relativity theory.
If GPS results really did confirm relativity theory, then this would be in textbooks and classroom assignments. It isn't. Only a few obscure physicists even make the claim asserted here, and because they implicitly make the assumption that Newtonian effects are zero, their claims are not credible.--Aschlafly 00:00, 1 August 2007 (EDT)
Yes, of course the Newtonian effect on time are zero. What are you suggesting -- that some unknown Newtonian effect might predict a GPS clock difference that just happens to match the relativistic calculation? The fact remains that the GPS clock differences are predicted by relativity, and not by any other theory. RSchlafly 00:53, 1 August 2007 (EDT)
There is a Newtonian effect on the clocks. Yet this was not even addressed by a few obscure physicists who claim to derive, using relativity while disagreeing with other experts, the exact same result as the observed GPS time differences. This omission hardly inspires confidence in their unverified work. Godspeed.--Aschlafly 11:58, 1 August 2007 (EDT)
It wasn't addressed because it doesn't exist. Do you have any reliable source that says that a Newtonian effect can explain the observed GPS time differences? RSchlafly 12:13, 1 August 2007 (EDT)
And if there is no such paper, then the relativity claim about GPS must be true??? No, the relativity claim about GPS needs to stand on far better logic than that.
In fact, the few papers claiming relatitivy is confirmed by GPS, written by obscure physicists, overlooked the Newtonian effects on the clocks. If you think you can build a clock immune from Newtonian effects, then patent it immediately. Can't be done.--Aschlafly 12:49, 1 August 2007 (EDT)

<----

Please identify the calculations that predict a difference in time. Bayes has already shown that time in all inertial reference frames is equal and identified how he derived this statement, so there's obviously something we're missing. ΨtrykeЯ eh?> 12:57, 1 August 2007 (EDT)

Andy, if there is no paper saying that a Newtonian effect can explain the observed GPS time differences, then it is correct to say that relativity provides the only known explanation for those differences. RSchlafly 13:40, 1 August 2007 (EDT)

No, we shouldn't accept the equivalent of "relative proof." Just because a flawed proof or claim is better than other flawed proofs or claims does not mean it is acceptable. Would any mathematician embrace a flawed proof because it is better than other flawed attempts to prove the same theorem? I don't think so. Godspeed.--Aschlafly 15:32, 1 August 2007 (EDT)
If you don't want to call it a "relative proof", that's fine with me. I am just correcting errors. RSchlafly 16:06, 1 August 2007 (EDT)
Here are the facts:
  • GPS satellite clocks have mechanisms to correct for frequency offsets caused by time dilation. I don't see how this can be disputed, unless you want to stubbornly deny that such devices exist, in which case you can claim that cars don't have engines.
It hasn't been proven that the frequency offsets are due to "time dilation." Instead, you assume what you claim to prove. Your logic is circular.--Aschlafly 15:06, 2 August 2007 (EDT)
  • Newtonian mechanics does not predict ANY time dilation because it regards time as absolute, even in accelerating frames. Again, I don't see how this can be reasonably disputed, outside of winning a Nobel Prize. There are no reputable sources that predict Newtonian time dilation because there is no Newtonian time dilation.
No one said that Newtonian mechanics does predict time dilation. This is a strawman argument. What is true is that Newtonian mechanics effects the operation of clocks in accelerating frames.--Aschlafly 15:06, 2 August 2007 (EDT)
  • Relativity does predict time dilation. All reputable physicists (not just a few obscure ones) can attest to that.
OK, this is true, but purely theoretical.--Aschlafly 15:06, 2 August 2007 (EDT)
  • The predictions of relativity are in good agreement with the frequency offsets on GPS satellite clocks. Several papers on the topic have been cited on this page.
A few papers by obscure physicists have made this claim, but these papers raise questions like disagreements among relativists and a failure to address Newtonian effects on the clocks.--Aschlafly 15:06, 2 August 2007 (EDT)
If you want to flat-out deny the above, then I guess I shouldn't waste my time trying to improve the article. I'll also point out that some significant creationist ideas depend on relativity to explain the starlight problem (God creating the Earth inside a massive gravitational field), so it's not an amoral atheist conspiracy.--Bayes 14:57, 2 August 2007 (EDT)
Relativists love to exaggerate relativity. Earlier, someone here claimed (based on what he had been taught by relativists) that only relativity predicts the bending of light from gravity. Wrong again. Godspeed.--Aschlafly 15:06, 2 August 2007 (EDT)

<---

You state, "No one said that Newtonian mechanics does predict time dilation...What is true is that Newtonian mechanics effects [sic] the operation of clocks in accelerating frames." Those sentences are contradictory. Newtonian mechanics does NOT predict any difference in the operation of clocks. Furthermore, what do the frequency offsets do if they don't compensate for time dilation?? Are they decorative?? Clock frequencies have to be adjusted because the clocks run at different rates. And whatever extrapolations "relativists" come up with have nothing to do with the science.--Bayes 15:36, 2 August 2007 (EDT)

Yes, that's correct. If you wanted to make an anti-relativity statement, I think that here is the most that you could say correctly is this:

  • GPS does not prove relativity, in the sense that no experiment ever proves a theory. There is always the possibility that someone will come along later with a better explanation.
  • Being able to calculate the relativistic corrections is not truly essential to making GPS work. Nowadays the satellite clocks are synchronized so frequently that predicting the clock drift is not necessary. If relativity were never discovered, then the satellite corrections could be made without anyone realizing that the system was just adding relativistic corrections. RSchlafly 16:02, 2 August 2007 (EDT)
RSchlafly, although I disagree with your decision to remove some of the discussion here, I agree with your position. My only issue is that your second bullet still leaves open the question of why the clocks drift, or why they need to be synchronized often, and implies that we don't have a good explanation. However, we do have a pretty good explanation--relativity can predict such discrepancy to high precision. If GPS is mentioned in the article, I would prefer that we insert language similar to "Clocks on board GPS satellites require adjustments to their clock frequencies if they are to be synchronized with those on the surface of the Earth. Currently, relativity provides the best explanation for such adjustments (insert refs)" Does that sound any better? I'm open other suggestions.--Bayes 16:28, 2 August 2007 (EDT)
I don't know what you mean about my "decision to remove some of the discussion here". What discussion did I remove? I did want to remove the 1996 quote because it is out-of-date and out-of-context. Anyway, I inserted your proposed 2 sentences. RSchlafly 19:01, 2 August 2007 (EDT)
I was referring to this edit. Anyway, not that big of a deal now; I appreciate your attempt to fix the article, although those attempts have now been effectively neutered [1] [2]. The GPS section has now grown so large that it may now detract from learning about relativity. I wonder if it is not better placed on the GPS article rather than this one.--Bayes 12:19, 3 August 2007 (EDT)
Sorry, I apparently accidentally lost some comments. I just tried to restore them. RSchlafly 15:53, 3 August 2007 (EDT)

Skepticism

Edits like this one made in the last few days are again consistent with the overall skepticism for relativity present in the article. The physicist in question is indeed involved in research into alternatives to general relativity. He appears to support Yilmaz theory, which is not especially well-regarded by the scientific community [3] [4]. Even if it turned out to be an improvement on GR, it would still predict time dilation and other relativity-esque things, so I don't see what would be gained by denying all of GR but then embracing Yilmaz theory. GR is constantly being tested because a.) it is in conflict with quantum mechanics and b.) it is the current gold standard for theories of gravitation, and the limits of current gold standards are where new physics lie. Physicists I know who are doing research on alternative theories of gravitation teach classes on relativity, and emphasize its success; they aren't "skeptics" who want to throw it in the trash. Improvements on GR are likely to include GR as an approximation, as Newtonian mechanics is an approximation to GR.

Relativity is the current best idea we have to explain a lot of things and works to within experimental uncertainty for all tests of it performed so far. This article should reflect that success instead of embarking on a misguided ideological quest to discredit it in favor of Newtonian mechanics, which is known to have limits. And what I've said applies to GR; SR is even more established. Aschlafly, your problem with relativity appears to be that it is called "relativity" which you believe allows it to somehow be associated with moral relativism. Would your objections still hold if it were named "Reference Frame Theory"? Please remove the skeptical claims, as their inclusion implies willful ignorance to anyone who visits this page.--Bayes 20:37, 3 August 2007 (EDT)

Bayes, we're factual on this site. Exaggerations about the theory of relativity or anything else are not allowed here. For example, one editor here claimed that relativity predicts the bending of light but that Newtonian mechanics does not. That is false. Some of the claims here about GPS using relativity have also been false. This isn't allowed in a credible encyclopedia. Go to Wikipedia if you want to stretch or distort the truth to suit your personal views about what the facts should be. Here we state what the facts are.
Similarly, we don't delete or censor factual scientific information here. You recently deleted factual information without justification, and your deletion has been reverted. Please abide by our rules. Thank you and Godspeed.--Aschlafly 01:21, 4 August 2007 (EDT)
Andy, I don't get the point of your edits. Under Ostensible Paradoxes, you have a 2001 article that says "If confirmed, the finding could mean ...". That was 6 years ago. Was it confirmed, or not? The following results are somewhat interesting, but obscure. RSchlafly 13:14, 4 August 2007 (EDT)

Nasa on spacecraft and relativity

Three of the items found with a quick search:

  • Cassini refines measurements of general relativity with its trip around the sun [5]
  • Voyager 1's slingshot around Saturn showed frequency shifts in agreement with relativity [6]
  • Gravity Probe B is a satellite launched and demonstrates frame dragging and geodetic warping of space [7][8]

Given these examples, I believe the passage recently added:

In addition to GPS discussed above, NASA has launched numerous space probes and missions, but none of them have ever used the theory of relativity in their timing mechanisms even though they experience much weaker gravitational fields in space.

is inappropriate and misleading. Even if the space craft where not designed with relativity in mind (the Gravity Probe B certainly was designed with it in mind), Voyager and Cassini and others demonstrated the effects of relativity as they dipped into gravity wells and out of them with the frequency of the signal being sent to Earth. --Rutm 12:47, 5 August 2007 (EDT)

The current statement is correct in the entry and we do not delete correct, educational information here. You cite some interesting articles which could also be added if they are given detail and explanation suitable for a high-quality encyclopedia. I took a quick look at your articles and they seem to be designed for public consumption, lacking satisfactory detail of a scientific level. But feel free to add a paragraph without exaggeration that explains clearly what you think these experiments demonstrate. In Christ,--Aschlafly 12:55, 5 August 2007 (EDT)

Reversion explained

The libera edits and censorship have been reverted. This is not Wikipedia.--Aschlafly 15:04, 17 December 2007 (EST)

I'm not trying to be liberal or censor, but I doubt anyone thought any less of Dicke due to his support of Brans-Dicke - which is merely the addition of a scalar field to the tensor of GR - in fact, all of einsteinan GR is viable under Brans-Dicke - if the scalar field is set to null - the difference is the allowable effect of long-distance large masses that is not rsquared. Physicsnut 15:16, 17 December 2007 (EST)

Um... this is supposed to be targetted towards high school students. Your really doing nothing but babbling to me, because I don't understand what you're talking about. --Puellanivis 20:04, 17 December 2007 (EST)

I made a change that was first related. Even by the methods that science uses to deny christian beliefs they both fail. Putting it that way is a little stronger, as well as more accurate. It's kind of hard to say that "string theory" has been a failure when just about every physicist who wants to work these days needs to learn and be productive in it. It's just entirely "thought experiments" though, and quirking math to make it fit. --Puellanivis 20:02, 17 December 2007 (EST)

If this article is directed at high school students, Dicke would not be mentioned, as his contribution to the theory of relativity was limited. Physicsnut 09:11, 18 December 2007 (EST)

His importance to this article for Conservapedia is that he believed in something other than General Relativity, and although very intelligent, never received a Nobel Prize for any of his findings. The point being made is that if you disagree with GR, that you won't get a Nobel Prize. --Puellanivis 14:13, 18 December 2007 (EST)
Why you would disagree with GR is beyond me, but… --SimonA 14:16, 18 December 2007 (EST)
Whether or not I disagree with GR is irrelevant. This wiki has a goal and purpose, and you need speak toward that audience. The intention of this article is to question and critique GR, not to assume that it is automatically true. --Puellanivis 14:21, 18 December 2007 (EST)
You realize that what PhysicsNut was explaining - as I understood it - was that Dicke didn't really believe in something other than General Relativity? All that "babbling" was describing why Brans-Dicke theory differs little from GR (PhysicsNut, feel free to correct me on this). Feebasfactor 15:19, 18 December 2007 (EST)
That's correct. Brans-Dicke with Omega approaching infinity is General Relativity per Einstein. At no point did Dicke doubt that matter bent space-time. He merely postulated that there was another effect of matter that was not an r-squared effect. He didn't win the Nobel because someone else heard the CBR first - Dicke was just the one who realized it was proof-positive of the Big Bang. Physicsnut 16:44, 18 December 2007 (EST)
It's bias to insist on describing theories that compete with relativity in terms of relativity. Also, the explanation for why Dicke, one of the finest physicists of the 20th century responsible for multiple breakthroughs, did not win a Nobel Prize is not as plausible as the reason given.--Aschlafly 18:26, 18 December 2007 (EST)
Says who? Don't we need "authoritive sources for all the changes you want to make," or is your insinuation that Professor Dicke (who proved the Big Bang as his most notable breakthrough) was a young-earth creationist enough? Physicsnut 20:04, 19 December 2007 (EST)

This article is an embarrassment. Whatever - this project is obviously doomed. Physicsnut 21:05, 18 December 2007 (EST)

Your attitude is completely unhelpful. You should not continue to post. --Puellanivis 21:21, 18 December 2007 (EST)
Maybe so, Puellanivis, but still, try not to write off editors so quickly! Phyiscsnut is only new here, and may not have understood how Conservapedia differs from Wikipedia or other MSM outlets. Many editors have moved beyond initial misunderstandings to find ways to contribute positively to Conservapedia, despite ideological differences - so you needn't necessarily drive them off right away. Feebasfactor 00:06, 19 December 2007 (EST)
I don't why there are so many edits to the content page here, and I'll have to sort through them again. Relativity is a magnet for liberal bias, but we're not going to allow such bias here. Thanks.--Aschlafly 00:21, 19 December 2007 (EST)
Feebasfactor, your point is very well received. I definitely agree with your point. But people will not get anywhere without discussing and considering. If they express an attitude that this site will never be helpful if it rejects their viewpoint, then that's just silly. Aschlafly, I believe I had cleared it up fairly well with my last revert, but please feel free to review it. I think it attracts so much liberal bias, because they feel like it's home turf, or something, and get mad when anyone insults it. I suppose it's kind of the same thing as the liberals insulting the Bible. It just evokes such a strong response, that liberals get stupid (more so) and don't stop think and consider. --Puellanivis 00:27, 19 December 2007 (EST)
Insult relativity all you want. Insult the memory of Robert Dicke and you can rot. Physicsnut 20:04, 19 December 2007 (EST)
Physicsnut, you're making no sense. Please don't pollute our pages with namecalling nonsense.--Aschlafly 20:11, 19 December 2007 (EST)

Nobel Prize Contradiction

In the beginning of the section Evidence for Relativity you state that, "There has been little recognition by the Nobel Prize committee of either theory of relativity, and particularly scant recognition of the Theory of General Relativity." This is part of your reasoning as to why GR is not scientifically viable, yet in the section Philosophical Impact of Relativity you state that Robert Dicke is still a an accomplished physician despite his never being awarded any Nobel Prizes. Now it seems to me that if you wish to still credit Robert Dicke as an accomplished physician, which is certainly true, then it would seem only fair to leave out the comment about GR never gaining Nobel recognition. At least not in the context of trying to discredit it. You can't have it both ways. Either it's possible to be reliable and not gain Nobel recognition, or not gaining Nobel recognition speaks to the validity of the subject. One or the other; can't be both. --Aralith

Your logic is defective, because Robert Dicke (physicist, not a physician) was slighted due to bias in favor of the theory of relativity. That bias obviously does not explain the lack of Nobel Prizes for relativity. It's the lack of evidence that is the reason there.--Aschlafly 21:10, 14 January 2008 (EST)
If the Theory of Relativity is so commonly accepted among physicists (meant to write that in the last post but the wrong word came out of my fingers) how could it be that the Theory of Relativity hasn't gained Nobel recognition, which is voted on by a commitee made up of the same scientists who support said theory unless it is possible for a subject (person, theory, etc.) to be extremely important but not Nobel Prize worthy? In which case it makes perfect logical sense that both Dicke and GR could be a great person/theory respectively but not gain recognition from the Nobel committee.
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