Talk:Counterexamples to Relativity/archive3

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Path Independence and Photons

Wait, so time is some sort of vector field such that when you integrate it you get time? And that vector field is conservative? I've never heard of such a thing...
As well, you state: "Relativity requires that anything traveling at the speed of light must have mass zero, so it must have momentum zero. But the laws of electrodynamics require that light have nonzero momentum." Yes, if you plug in the formula for non-relativistic, Newtonian momentum, you get zero, but SR gives you the equation E2=(pc)2+(mc2)2. Plug m=0 in. You get E=pc. So, the momentum is nonzero. That's a very well-known result... AndyFrankinson 12:06, 1 October 2011 (EDT)

So should I take the "counter example" down...? Not to be rude but can someone at least respond to me? AndyFrankinson 19:54, 14 October 2011 (EDT)
Take it down, then if someone reverts (which is likely) it'll provoke a short discussion that probably won't reach a consensus. Regardless, you're unlikely to succeed in keeping it changed. I'm not trying to discourage, go ahead and try changing it, I'm just letting you know what to expect. - JamesCA 21:33, 14 October 2011 (EDT)
These are interesting points worthy of further discussion. As to the first point, however, merely asking two questions is not persuasive to me.
As to the second point, I find the argument somewhat circular. Is the energy equation cited verified by any experiment, or is it merely definitional? If merely definitional, then it does not provide a way for calculating actual momentum.--Andy Schlafly 00:54, 15 October 2011 (EDT)
Well answer them. The point I'm making is that there is no vector field such that when integrates it, one gets time. I had never heard of it until then. I am asking you to enlighten me.

And as a matter of fact there is! The equation is E=hf where E is the energy of the photon, f is the frequency of the photon, and h is just a proportionality constant (known as Planck's constant). And it has been experimentally verified. It explains the spectrum from blackbody radiation and it explains the photoelectric effect. And if I recall correctly, your camera uses the photoelectric effect. These things are quite well known... AndyFrankinson 14:55, 15 October 2011 (EDT)
Oh, and I forgot to mention--the Compton effect is explained by photons. AndyFrankinson 20:00, 15 October 2011 (EDT)
Please address my more substantive point: has your equation E2=(pc)2+(mc2)2 been experimentally verified, or is it simply definitional?
First of all, will you please answer my question...? What is the vector field such that when one integrates over it, one gets time? And oops. Misread your question. And no, it's not "definitional," it's from the relativistic expressions of energy and momentum... (And yes, those have been experimentally verified--if I recall correctly, using those equations, you can predict what can happen (i.e. speeds) when elementary particles are created. But I'm not particle physicist) Once you have those, just do a little algebra and you get that equation. And I hope you're not going to deny basic algebra....

Again, all this is well known.... Out of curiosity have you ever actually studied relativity or this photon stuff? AndyFrankinson 13:39, 16 October 2011 (EDT)
OK, I've removed the counter-example of photons...I think I've provided a satisfactory explanation to Schlafly (and he's not responding for some reason...) AndyFrankinson 19:50, 28 October 2011 (EDT)
Schlafly, I saw you re-added the "counter-example." Will you please respond to me? Are you seriously just going to keep it there and refuse to discuss this at all? Wow and you claim that we're not open-minded.... AndyFrankinson 20:45, 9 November 2011 (EST)
Andy, there is no "counter-example of photons." Photons are not mentioned in the list. But are you referring to this counterexample:
28.Relativity requires that anything traveling at the speed of light must have mass zero, so it must have momentum zero. But the laws of electrodynamics require that light have nonzero momentum.
Let's be clear about what the dispute is first.--Andy Schlafly 22:43, 11 November 2011 (EST)
Yeah, that's the one. Sorry. Poorly-worded. AndyFrankinson 20:29, 14 November 2011 (EST)
Will someone please tell me why (a) SR/GR promotes (moral) relativism, (b) photons aren't legit even though I've just pointed that your argument was wrong (maybe that's a bit generous. To paraphrase Wolfgang Pauli, I can't even say it's wrong...) and (c) what is the vector field such that when one integrates over it, one gets time? AndyFrankinson 10:26, 27 November 2011 (EST)

FTL Neutrinos at LHC

It may be jumping the gun to put the finding from Friday as evidence against GR. The results have yet to be duplicated - duplicability is needed for a claim to have scientific merit - and have yet to be carefully peer reviewed. The results are significant at the 95% CI but that means there's a 1 in 20 chance they're actually inaccurate. Given how many measurements are made at the LHC some are going to be both statistically significant and incorrect. It may be more prudent to wait to see if it's a one off or measurement error. I propose waiting at least until other particle acceleration labs can attempt to duplicate the results to make any judgement; after all, that's what CERN is doing --BillyWest 00:18, 26 September 2011 (EDT)

I disagree. The opposition to the results from CERN -- which confirm prior results from another laboratory which were not as precise -- is unreasonable. It's not necessary to continue to pretend that Relativity is true when there is so much evidence against it.--Andy Schlafly 00:35, 26 September 2011 (EDT)
CERN itself hasn't even confirmed the results. The data was published a lot quicker than data usually is because if it is accurate, then it changes the majority of physics laws discovered in the past century. The theory of relativity is not the only theory/law which involves the speed of light, electromagnetism does as well. Because of this, CERN wanted other scientists to try and find a flaw in the experiment quickly so that if there is a flaw, it is found quickly, and if there isn't, then scientists can begin determining what needs to change in order to accomodate this. Once the data has been properly analysed, without prematurely jumping to conclusions, then it would be fair to say that the neutrinos traveled faster than the speed of light. But something to keep in mind: this is not the first experiment done with neutrinos, all of the prior ones having travelled slower than the speed of light. If you do an experiment 500 times, and each results has a 1/1000 chance of being inaccurate, there is a 40% chance that at least one result will be inaccurate. If they find an error in the experiment (such as a piece of the measuring equipment being broken, or poor calibration of equipment, or leftover neutrinos from previous experiments, or any other impacting error), then wouldn't it make conservapedia look silly for jumping to a conclusion too quickly? - JamesCA 00:49, 27 September 2011 (EDT)
The CERN experiment is not the only one suggesting faster-than-c travel. Moreover, there is no basis for doubting the news that something travels faster than c. Most of the objections in the media are based in an irrational clinging to Relativity. Hence the counterexample is being restored ....--Andy Schlafly 20:49, 27 September 2011 (EDT)

Looks like they've found the problem already: there was a flaw with the experiment. This article basically says that they used GPS to measure the locations and the times. However, because the satellite used moves at a different speed to the Earth, relativity needs to be taken into account. Usually, relativity has no significant effect until speeds get nearish the speed of light. However, the neutrinos travelled 60 nanoseconds faster than light. Because it's nanoseconds, the speed difference of the Earth and the satellite is enough that relativity affects the experiment at the nanosecond level. Scientists have done calculations to determine how this changes the results (as because of the flaw, the results they got weren't actually accurate), and found that the neutrinos actually travelled for 64 seconds longer than they previously thought, making their speed very slightly less than the speed of light. - JamesCA 18:02, 19 October 2011 (EDT)

No, this explanation has not been accepted. There have been many other papers with other explanations. The jury is still out. RSchlafly 03:33, 30 October 2011 (EDT)

Whether or not the CERN experiment is a product of marginal error (which is the general consensus) a FTL neutrino noes NOT necessarily violate SR/GR. There are a variety of well observed quantum phenomenon that allow for what is essentially faster than light travel. For example, quantum tunneling and the Casimir effect. The catch in these instances is that the rate of INFORMATION transfer does not excede c, thusly perserving causality and posing no challenge to relativity.

There have been numerous papers on these topics and if you're interested in more in depth understanding of the issus, I refer you to Klaus Scharnhorst's article here:, Matt Visser, Stefano Liberati, and Sebastiano Sonego's article "Faster-than-c signals, special relativity, and causality" from Annals Phys. edition 298, Superluminal Tunneling Devices by Gunter Nimtz available online here:, and "Can Light Signals Travel Faster than c in Nontrivial Vacuua in Flat space-time? Relativistic Causality II" by Heidi Fearn.

The superluminal question ha been asked and answered and determined to be in accordance with a quantum understanding of relativistic models. Logan Bertram 13:16, 13 December 2011 (EST)

Reversion explained

Paul Johnson, the renowned historian, explains the link -- and the significance of the link -- between relativity and moral relativism.--Andy Schlafly 20:57, 21 August 2011 (EDT)

Do you have a link for that? It seems pretty flimsy to me. --JMairs 21:10, 21 August 2011 (EDT)
Ah right, I found some stuff! It appears that Johnson acknowledged that there was no ACTUAL link between the two, but pointed out how many liberals CLAIM a link. That seems pretty close to what the article is saying, so my edit probably wasn't the best idea I've ever had, and as a bonus I've learned something interesting. Thanks for taking the time to explain rather than just blocking me :-S --JMairs 21:17, 21 August 2011 (EDT)
Have you read Tribe's article applying the curvature of space to support liberal views?--Andy Schlafly 21:19, 21 August 2011 (EDT)
No, I haven't. Is it easy to find? --JMairs 21:21, 21 August 2011 (EDT)
You can find it here [1] or a pdf here [2][3]. On a college campus, you might be able to get it here.[4] RSchlafly 00:04, 22 August 2011 (EDT)

Relativity and Electromagnetism

It is often claimed that Relativity is proven by its ability to explain aspects of electromagnetism. But those aspects do not relate to physical mass, gravity or various frames of reference throughout the universe -- the basic claims of relativity.--Andy Schlafly 20:59, 21 August 2011 (EDT)

Brief note: no one touts either special or general Relativity as a solid system for making predictions about electromagnetism. Special Relativity only really becomes a player in the electromagnetic arena when it comes to predicting how electromagnetic objects are effected by the Lorentz Transformation. Beyond that, SR doesn't rely on an "ability to explain aspects of electromagnetism." It is a distinct theory that makes useful predictions in its own right. --Logan Bertram 13:36, 13 December 2011 (EST)
Lorentz used electromagnetic relativity to predict relativistic mass in 1899, and it was experimentally confirmed a couple of years later. Poincare used E=mc2 for radiation in 1900. So I think that electromagnetic aspects of relativity do relate to physical mass. They also relate to various frames of reference, as electromagnetic experiments were done at different times of the year to test different frames of reference in the Earth's orbit. Gravity and electromagnetism are separate forces, and I guess it is fair to say that relativistic aspects had to be tested separately. RSchlafly 00:04, 22 August 2011 (EDT)
Most of the counterexamples to Relativity relate to gravity; some relate to the claim that all (non-accelerating) frames of reference are the same everywhere in the universe. The essence of Relativity is its claims about gravity and space. Electromagnetism experiments have nothing to do with this, and do not confirm any of these "grand unified" assertions of Relativity.--Andy Schlafly 00:12, 22 August 2011 (EDT)
You have to distinguish between general relativity, which is about gravity, and special relativity, which isn't.
Anyway, Newtonian mechanics is not consistent with Maxwell's equations while relativity (both special and general) is. Do you deny Maxwell's equations, Aschlafly? If you accept Newtonian mechanics, you have to. --MatthewQ 00:24, 22 August 2011 (EDT)
Also, it should be noted that Einstein's famous 1905 paper (which was very important in the history of relativity) is entitled On The Electrodynamics Of Moving Bodies. --MatthewQ 00:30, 22 August 2011 (EDT)
Again, a big part of the objection to Relativity is its "grand unified" approach. The insistence on that view is simply not scientific, and is contrary to the data.
There are different forces in nature. There really are, and they really are different. That's what the data show.
Special relativity is about velocities less than the speed of light. None of that exists in electromagnetism.--Andy Schlafly 00:32, 22 August 2011 (EDT)
Special relativity is about velocities less than the speed of light -> No. Light travels the speed of light in special relativity. Any massless particle does as well.
None of that exists in electromagnetism -> A charged particle with a velocity less than the speed of light definitely falls under the domain of electromagnetism.
Again, Maxwell's equations and Newtonian mechanics are inconsistent. You can't have both. The fact that other forces exist is irrelevant. --MatthewQ 00:56, 22 August 2011 (EDT)
Special relativity makes no predictions, and only assumptions, about the speed of light. Instead, special relativity is about velocities less than the speed of light.
When the claim is made that Relativity explains electromagnetism, the claim is not referring to charged particles traveling less then the speed of light.
Your statement that Maxwell's equations and Newtownian mechanics are somehow inconsistent needs explanation. They describe completely different forces.--Andy Schlafly 13:45, 22 August 2011 (EDT)
Special relativity predicts the speed of light is the same regardless of orientation of the observer, which is consistent with the Michelson–Morley experiment. It also predicts that the speed of light is independent of the velocity of the observer, which is consistent with the Kennedy–Thorndike experiment.
You said velocities less than the speed of light not exist in electromagnetism. This was clearly false.
I already mentioned that Maxwell's equations were not invariant under Galilean transformation, yet are under Lorentz transformations. This is very well known. If you want the exact details see On the Galilean non-invariance of classical electromagnetism and Understanding Physics, Invariance of electromagnetism under Lorentz transformation. --MatthewQ 15:47, 22 August 2011 (EDT)
Special relativity says that the speed of light is constant. Maxwell's theory says that same thing, as does the Michelson-Morley experiment. It can be said to be an assumption or a prediction, depending on what textbook you are reading. At any rate, it is testable, and has been confirmed in many ways (for light in a vacuum). It was tested in outer space before testing on Earth. Relativity certainly also makes predictions about charged particles traveling less then the speed of light. The biggest prediction is the formula known as the Lorentz force law. This was an important part of relativity as decribed by Lorentz, Poincare, and Einstein. The Lorentz force law used to be considered part of Maxwell's equations. RSchlafly 15:49, 22 August 2011 (EDT)
These are interesting mathematical observations, having aesthetic value. They can suggest the existence of an intelligent designer.
But the physical significance of these mathematical observations is scant or non-existence. Electromagnetism does not involve particles moving close to the speed of light, and claims made by special relativity with respect to such motion are not verified by electromagnetism. Claims made by general relativity are not verified at all by electromagnetism.
I'm not aware of any experiment using electromagnetism that disproves Newtonian mechanics. I'm not saying that Newtonian mechanics must be correct, but some criticisms of it do not withstand scrutiny.--Andy Schlafly 17:29, 22 August 2011 (EDT)
Yes, electromagnetism does involve particles moving close enough to the speed of light for relativistic effects to be important. Examples include the electron gun in an ordinary CRT TV set, electric motors, speakers, and just about any electronic device. These are not new. The earliest non-optical tests of special relativity were the Kaufmann–Bucherer–Neumann experiments.[5] They started in 1901 based on Lorentz's relativity, and pre-date Einstein. They show that mass increases with velocity so that nothing goes faster than light. In Newtonian mechanics, the speed of light is not an obstacle. RSchlafly 18:13, 22 August 2011 (EDT)
"Electromagnetism does not involve particles moving close to the speed of light." -> Particle accelerator use electromagnetic fields to move particles close to the speed of light.
"I'm not aware of any experiment using electromagnetism that disproves Newtonian mechanics." -> The observed constancy of speed of the speed of light (an electromagnet wave) does. --MatthewQ 18:16, 22 August 2011 (EDT)
I have an open mind about this, and would like to learn more. I wasn't familiar with the Kaufmann-Bucherer-Neumann experiments but didn't get much out of the Wikipedia description of them in the above link. Is there a clearer, more objective explanation that doesn't end with a sweeping, unsupported claim of proof of Relativity?
The two most prominent claims of proof of Relativity -- the perihelion advance of Mercury and the binary pulsar -- are now counterexamples and the most precise data are not being made available to the public. So something isn't adding up in favor of Relativity.
The lack of scientific basis for Relativity leaves it defenseless against another unscientific theory: string theory. Before long it may become important to list counterexamples to string theory.--Andy Schlafly 22:47, 22 August 2011 (EDT)
Can I start counterexamples to string theory now? Its a good excuse for me to learn! MaxFletcher 22:57, 22 August 2011 (EDT)
Please do! Also, Max, did you see the answer to your question about how Relativity is used by liberals to advance their belief system? I can repost the links if you didn't see them.--Andy Schlafly 22:59, 22 August 2011 (EDT)
Great, I'll look into String Theory (I don't know much about it) and get on to writing something. Having a project to work on is a great incentive to learn new topics. please do post those links, thanks!
I see the links are posted just above this subheading, under "You can find it here"--Andy Schlafly 23:39, 22 August 2011 (EDT)
Ah yes, now I see. I'll read those tonight. Thanks! MaxFletcher 23:46, 22 August 2011 (EDT)
The Mercury and binary pulsar observations were used to support the gravity theory, and relativity remains the most accurate explanation. Andy, you asked about electromagnetism, not gravity. There is no way to understand electromagnetism without relativity, as far as I know. The Kaufmann experiments were supposed to disprove relativity. More precise experiments were consistent with relativity, as with all the other electromagnetic experiments. Just turn on an old-style TV set with a tube. How do you think that those pixels get lit up? RSchlafly 02:16, 23 August 2011 (EDT)
There is some overlap between the invariant equations for electromagnetism and for relativity. The electromagnetism invariant equations came first, so I think the better description would be that one cannot understand relativity without understanding electromagnetism, not vice versa. But what that has to do with gravity is far from clear. In fact, it probably has nothing to do with gravity. Note, by the way, that no Nobel Prizes have been awarded for applying relativity to electromagnetism, because no insights have been produced by relativity with respect to electromagnetism.
It's not relativity that lit up the pixels on an old TV screen. Quantum mechanics has more to do with that than relativity.--Andy Schlafly 02:32, 25 August 2011 (EDT)
Note, by the way, that no Nobel Prizes have been awarded for applying relativity to electromagnetism -> Untrue. Quantum electrodynsmics (QED) combines special relativity, electromagnetism and quantum mechanics. A Nobel Prize for its discovery was awarded to Feynman, Schwinger and Tomonaga in 1965.
no insights have been produced by relativity with respect to electromagnetism -> Also untrue. QED predictions are accurate within 12 significant digits, making it the most accurate theory we have. --MatthewQ 15:17, 25 August 2011 (EDT)
By my count, Nobel prizes were given for relativistic electromagnetism were given in 1902, 1907, 1933, 1945, 1965, 1979, 1980, 1984, and 1999. Prizes for relativistic gravity were given in 1978, 1983, and 1993. The list is here.[6] RSchlafly 01:11, 26 August 2011 (EDT)

@Andy Schlafly: Relativity predicts that no particle with mass can go the speed of light or faster. How do you explain that no particle accelerator has been able to get a massive particle at or above the speed of light? How do you explain the results that the inertial mass increases with velocity, as relativity predicts? --MatthewQ 19:00, 23 August 2011 (EDT)

PArticle accelerators don't. CERN (the biggest one) gets them exceedingly close, but not above. It's something like 99.999% of C. CaseyF 19:59, 27 August 2011 (EDT)
Relativity assumes that, rather than predicts it. I think relavitist purists would actually say all that is needed is a maximum velocity, whether that is "c" or something else. Many would not be genuinely surprised if velocities slightly faster than c are ultimately attained, and c itself may be changing over time.--Andy Schlafly 02:36, 25 August 2011 (EDT)
Historically, the constant speed of light was an empirical observation, and not just an assumption. Maxwell's theory predicted that electromagnetic waves traveled at the speed of light, and that was observed. It was one of the big reasons for concluding that light was an electromagnetic wave. Experiments like Michelson-Morley (1887) found a constant speed of light. Also, there were astronomical reasons for believing in a constant speed of light. Distances were measured in light-minutes or light-years, and that only makes sense if the speed is constant. Yes, Einstein declared the constant speed of light to be postulate in 1905, but by then it was a well-accepted empirical fact. Going faster than c or finding a variable c would now violate so much physics that it would be like finding a perpetual motion machine. RSchlafly 10:27, 25 August 2011 (EDT)
Empirical data suggest that the speed of light has changed over time, and as recently as 1/6th of the universe's lifetime. [7]
You comments, like "distances were measured in ... light-years, and that only makes sense if the speed is constant," is a political statement, not a scientific one. Likewise for stating that "finding a variable c would now violate so much physics ...." Is this what university science has become - ignoring the data to preserve the reputation of some current and past professors?--Andy Schlafly 18:05, 25 August 2011 (EDT)
The article you linked to claims that "The speed of light...may have been lower as recently as two billion years ago." How do you reconcile that time frame with a Young Earth Creationist model where the universe is only 6000 years old? You cant reject that study on the one hand because it directly contradicts the Bible but embrace it on the other when it supports the idea of a shifting c. BrentH 18:45, 25 August 2011 (EDT)
The linked article says there may have been a change in the fine structure constant, α, not necessarily the speed of light, c. Also, it hardly seems like a variable α is currently well-established. It's just the result from one set of data. But even accepting that there has been a change in α and that this means a change in c, the amount seems minuscule. The article says that α "had increased by a few parts in 105 in the past 12 billion years", which would correspond to a similar change in c. Therefore, even if c is not exactly constant it would be very nearly constant and relativity would still be a great approximation. That's ignoring that there may be a mundane explanation for this apparent change.
Also, as BrentH mentions above, if you accept these results you have to accept that the universe is billions of years old. --MatthewQ 19:43, 25 August 2011 (EDT)
I was explaining historically why the speed of light was thought to be constant. It was not just some unproved Einstein relativity assumption. There was solid experimental and theoretical evidence before Einstein. There is no evidence for a variable speed of light. That 2004 paper claiming alpha changed has been superseded with a more accurate study in 2007, with no variation. [8][9] Even if alpha changed, it would not necessarily mean that c changed. I am not sure why any of this is political. We can measure the speed of light to about 10 decimal places. If the speed were not constant, then an experiment would be likely to detect it. RSchlafly 00:51, 26 August 2011 (EDT)
I wish you, Andy and I could have a drunken dinner together some time. That would be an epic debate. --SamCoulter 00:17, 27 August 2011 (EDT)
Aschlafly, what do you make of syncrotron radiation? Here you have effects which can't be explained without relativity and which are used in many fields of research, e.g. in medicine... 08:28, 26 August 2011 (EDT)
Wikipedia has many dubious claims that relativity explains something ... as one might expect from a liberal website. This scholarly article says that quantum mechanics is needed to explain syncrotron radiation. [10] It appears that this may be unresolved and I welcome more discussion about it. I don't see evidence that relativity played a role in discovering it.--Andy Schlafly 00:02, 27 August 2011 (EDT)
Nearly everything about charged particles requires relativity and quantum mechanics. There is no alternative way to understand charged particles, as far as I know. I do not even know what it would mean to reject relativity for this. RSchlafly 02:12, 27 August 2011 (EDT)
Relativity is an unproductive belief system, disproved by more precise measurements in the tests that supposedly verified it. String theory is taking over university physics programs because Relativity is so obviously flawed.--Andy Schlafly 12:28, 27 August


String theory assumes that relativity is 100% correct. Physicists pursue string theory because they are sold on Einstein's dream of using relativistic ideas to unify physics, without having to pay attention to experiments. They are not pursuing string theory because they are persuaded by your list of relativity counterexamples. RSchlafly 14:47, 27 August 2011 (EDT)



String theory's motivation is to provide a way to unite quantum mechanics and general relativity, so it assumes general relativity is a good description of nature. In fact, string theory becomes general relativity in the low energy limit. In addition, string theories are Lorentz invariant. Whatever the merits of string theory, relativity is incorporated fundamentally to it, so if anything this example speaks to the strength of relativity. --MatthewQ 15:11, 27 August 2011 (EDT)



Andy Schlafly: "This scholarly article says that quantum mechanics is needed to explain syncrotron radiation. [11]"-> It also says (right in the abstract) that relativity must be taken into account:


"However, when ɣB ≅ 1014 Gauss, where ɣ is the electron Lorentz factor, Compton scattering becomes important. The result is a reduction in the synchrotron loss rate which agrees closely with quantum electrodynamics." [Emphasis added]


Both Compton scattering and quantum electrodynamics make use of special relativity. If you take a look at the equations in the paper you can see that special relativity is used explicitly. --MatthewQ 15:32, 27 August 2011 (EDT)2011 (EDT)

This discussion is interesting, and I'm learning from it. I have an open mind about this. But it seems to me that term "relativity" is being used in comments above to mean anything from "invariance" (which, of course, predates relativity), electromagnetism (which, of course, predates relativity), and even quantum mechanics (which many say conflicts with relativity). The only thing that "relativity" does not seem to mean in many of the above comments is its description of gravity -- which is what is unique to relativity and what most associate it with.--Andy Schlafly 20:48, 27 August 2011 (EDT)

The word "relativity" was coined by Maxwell, and it became popular from Poincare calling the "principle of relativity" the idea that different inertial frames are indistinguishable. When I said that string theory assumes relativity, I meant primarily that it assumes Lorentz/Poincare invariance. The influence of relativity on physics has been primarily in electromagnetism, not gravity. The nonlinear gravity effects are barely detectable. RSchlafly 22:45, 27 August 2011 (EDT)
* Again, general relativity is about gravity. Special relativity is not.
* No one is saying "quantum mechanics" means "relativity". However, the article you linked to referenced quantum electrodynamics (a subset of quantum mechanics) which does incorporate special relativity. Moreover, while general relativity and quantum mechanics are difficult to reconcile, special relativity and quantum mechanics aren't and doing so has produced the most accurate theory in physics.
* No one is saying "invariance" means "relativity". For example, Galilean invariance contradicts relativity. However, a special type of invariance, Lorentz invariance, is fundamental to both special and general relativity (it holds locally in general relativity). String theory is Lorentz invariant.
--MatthewQ 23:38, 27 August 2011 (EDT)
Actually, there were some people around 1910 who wanted to rename relativity theory as invariant theory. Einstein is sometimes said to have agreed with that opinion, but I am not sure he really said that. There is some disagreement about whether relativity is compatible with quantum mechanics. The two main problem areas are collapse of the wave function during an observation, and gravitational nonlinearities at the center of a black hole. But these are a little off the subject. The theories are completely compatible for nearly all considerations. RSchlafly 00:23, 28 August 2011 (EDT)
Relativity, general and special, is a way of looking at the world that is fundamentally different from how Aristotle, Copernicus, Newton, Maxwell, etc., looked at it. Most of the counterexamples here relate to the claims about gravity and the curvature of space that are made by general relativity. Special relativity, according to the theory, is a "special case" of the general theory. If you want to discuss them separately as though one could be true and one false, then I'm fine with that, but that would surprise me.
The mathematical theory of general or special relativity permits no exceptions. So even a slight variation (outside of measurement error) between observation and prediction means the theory is wrong. It means the worldview embodied in relativity is wrong. And those exceptions (counterexamples) exist in abundance; they can only be ignored by not looking at the data and not asking why the data are not being publicly disclosed.--Andy Schlafly 00:33, 28 August 2011 (EDT)
"Relativity, general and special, is a way of looking at the world that is fundamentally different from how Aristotle, Copernicus, Newton, Maxwell, etc., looked at it."
We encountered phenomena that none of these people had before. The precession of the perihelion of Mercury, the Michelson–Morley experiment, gravitational lensing, etc. Changing your worldview in light of new evidence is quite a sensible thing to do.
"If you want to discuss them separately as though one could be true and one false, then I'm fine with that, but that would surprise me."
It's not so much that, but that one must be careful to separate the two.
"And those exceptions (counterexamples) exist in abundance; they can only be ignored by not looking at the data and not asking why the data are not being publicly disclosed."
They haven't been ignored. The data has been analyzed and it agrees with relativity. Just here we've given you the examples of the Michelson–Morley experiment, the Kaufmann–Bucherer–Neumann experiments, Kennedy–Thorndike experiment, synchrotron radiation, etc. We've also answered here your alleged counterexamples to relativity and the problems with them. If you have any more I'd be happy to address them.
I'm not sure what data you're talking about that hasn't being publicly disclosed. --MatthewQ 01:19, 28 August 2011 (EDT)
Special relativity is not so much a special case, but rather the linearized version of the general theory. The special theory has been tested in many more different ways, and it could be true without the general theory being true. I really don't think that relativity requires any different view from Maxwell's. Relativity is consistent with what Maxwell said. I really don't see why you would say that relativity does not permit any exceptions any more than Maxwells theory does not permit any exceptions. What's the difference? Theories have formulas. If observations don't agree with the formulas, then something is wrong. Why is relativity any different from any other theory in the hard sciences? RSchlafly 01:41, 28 August 2011 (EDT)
Relativity should not be treated any differently compared with any other theory in the hard sciences. But Relativity obviously is:
  • physics journals will not accept for publication anything that conflicts with the theory of relativity
  • the Nobel Prize will not be given to anyone who has criticized the theory of relativity
  • no science graduate student or science professor dare even criticize the above two forms of censorship.
As to the data, the two leading supposed verifications of the theory are the binary pulsar (for which a Nobel Prize was given) and the advance of the perihelion of Mercury. But subsequent data failed to confirm the theory and, at least with respect to the Mercury perihelion, conflicted with it. Yet additional data have not been made fully available to the public.--Andy Schlafly 18:47, 28 August 2011 (EDT)
I have to say I had no idea of this bias until reading Conservapedia. It sounds shocking. Can you tell me which physicists have been denied awards, or refused publication on this basis? It would be really useful in arguments I'm having off-site. RobertE 18:54, 28 August 2011 (EDT)
"But subsequent data failed to confirm the theory and, at least with respect to the Mercury perihelion, conflicted with it."
Can you please provide a source for this claim? What data are you talking about? --MatthewQ 19:01, 28 August 2011 (EDT)
A "source"? No source is needed, or possible given the censorship by physics journals I just described.
Wouldn't you be at least interested yourself in looking up what the precession for the Mercury perihelion is, and comparing it to what Relativity predicts? I think that would be the first step before one made up his mind, not something that must be raised by someone else.
The Mercury perihelion precession is 5599.7 arc-seconds per century, plus/minus 0.1. General Relativity predicts 5599.98, plus/minus 0.04. The observed precession is clearly outside of prediction by more than the standard of error. But beginning in the early 1990s, probably because of this emerging divergence, physicists stopped publishing the data perhaps to avoid pinpointing the contradiction with even greater accuracy.--Andy Schlafly 20:24, 28 August 2011 (EDT)
So by your own admission general relativity is within 0.005% of the correct value?
Anyway, where are you getting your information for the precession rate? From what I gather the error is larger than 0.1 arc-seconds per century.
Some values for the anomalous precession rate (i.e, deviation from what you expect from Newtonain gravity):
43.11 ± 0.21 (Shapiro et al., 1976)
42.92 ± 0.20 (Anderson et al., 1987)
42.94 ± 0.20 (Anderson et al., 1991)
43.13 ± 0.14 (Anderson et al., 1992)
[Source: Pijper 2008]
General relativity predicts 42.98 ±0.04, while Newtonian gravity predicts 0. Clearly general relativity is superior here. It's within experimental error in three out of the four experiments above, and just barely out of it with the fourth. --MatthewQ 22:22, 28 August 2011 (EDT)
The theory of relativity is proven wrong by the data, beyond measurement error. If you're not going to address that directly, then I'm unlikely to respond further to your comments.--Andy Schlafly 18:11, 29 August 2011 (EDT)
I really don't know what to say. I just showed that for four experiments of the precession of Mercury's perihelion relativity was within experimental uncertainty in three of them and just barely out of it for one. This is better that Newtonian theory which was zero for four. Measuring outside experimental uncertainty once doesn't automatically make a theory wrong. They are many differences between a simple, clean model and a complex, messy reality that can account for this. Even just by statistics alone you'd expect a correct theory to be outside measurement error once in a while. It still stands that relativity is more accurate than any other theory.
If you have any citations of experiments that show relativity's predictions fall outside experimental uncertainty I'll be happy to address them. However, just declaring that it's outside experimental uncertainty, but you don't have the data because a relativity cabal is keeping it secret is doesn't merit a response. --MatthewQ 20:54, 29 August 2011 (EDT)
The most recent -- and most precise -- Mercury perihelion precession data demonstrate that the theory of relativity is wrong by more than the measurement error. Case closed based on the data.
Last wordism is disfavored on this site. If someone has more precise Mercury perihelion precession data than what has disproved the theory of relativity, then a discussion of that data is welcome.--Andy Schlafly 17:58, 30 August 2011 (EDT)
Sigh... I just explained in detail why it wasn't "case closed". Being outside experimental error doesn't automatically make a theory wrong, especially when it isn't that far off. It could mean the theory is wrong or it could mean the theory is right, but by chance measured outside experimental uncertainty. By statistics we expect that to happen every now and then. You can't just cherry pick the one experiment that fits your preconceptions and declare it case closed. You have to take all the other experimental data into account. When you do that here (that is, you also look at the other three experiments) the results look in favor for relativity.
You can have the last word if you want. --MatthewQ 22:31, 30 August 2011 (EDT)
It is not true that the data demonstrate that the theory of relativity is wrong by more than the measurement error. What you have is a difference of opinion, and one scientist claiming that the combination of relativity and other assumptions and observations results in a discrepancy that exceeds the estimated measurement error. The problem could be with those other assumptions and observations, or with the estimate of the measurement error. As with the Pioneer anomaly, there are explanations that do not violate relativity. RSchlafly 14:11, 31 August 2011 (EDT)
Any and all attempts to reconcile the observed data with the theory of relativity are welcome. Instead, I not aware of the publication of observed data for this fundamental claim of the theory since 1992 (see above), despite improvements in technology and precision since then. Anyone think that it became impossible to observe the data after that time??? Notice what the data were showing leading up that point: increasing divergence (and contradiction) with the well-settled prediction made by the theory.--Andy Schlafly 17:37, 31 August 2011 (EDT)
Here is the Mercury Radar Ranging Data from 1987 to 1997. The work was carried out by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology under NASA. You are absolutely free to analyze the data in depth to see if the relativists are hiding anything. --MatthewQ 20:32, 31 August 2011 (EDT)
Somehow I doubt the data above (going five years after the supposed suppression of data began) is going appease you. Well, you can go send NASA a letter and ask them for the most recent data about Mercury's orbit. They might give it to you if you ask nicely and they almost certainly have it, since they currently have a space probe orbiting Mercury (I guess they didn't get the memo from the relativists telling everyone to ignore Mercury because it contradicted relativity). Anyway, once you get the data you'll have definitive proof that liberals have been suppressing important information about Mercury's orbit (or something). --MatthewQ 22:18, 31 August 2011 (EDT)
Looking back, I made a mistake. I said general relativity's prediction was outside the measurement uncertainty for the fourth experiment (Anderson et al., 1992). I misread it. GR prediciton: 42.98 ±0.04, Observation: 43.13 ± 0.14. They actually do overlap. So general relativity is four for four. My bad. --MatthewQ 23:41, 31 August 2011 (EDT)
I took a look at the JPL link above but did not find any reference to the perihelion.--Andy Schlafly 23:16, 1 September 2011 (EDT)
I'm pretty sure there's no reference to the perihelion because it's the raw data, without analysis. If the data was mapped to show Mercury's location, it would (presumably) show a perihelion. - JamesCA 20:25, 28 September 2011 (EDT)

More counterexamples

I found another page with a long list of supposed counterexamples. It looks like nonsense to me, but you can check it out for yourself. He says, "Fossil records indicate the Earth’s gravity was far less during the time of the dinosaurs." He does have references of many of his alleged anomalies. [12] RSchlafly 14:11, 31 August 2011 (EDT)

Denial of Nobel Prize to anyone who criticizes relativity

Robert Dicke, the finest American physicist of the 20th century, criticized the theory of relativity and was then never given a Nobel Prize. In fact, in a pattern also used to punish Fred Hoyle for his criticism of the theory of evolution, a Nobel Prize was given for Dicke's insight to other scientists less deserving of the award than Dicke, within years of Dicke's criticism of the theory of relativity.--Andy Schlafly 19:01, 28 August 2011 (EDT)
According to the National Academies Press Dicke was given:
"the National Medal of Science (1971), the Comstock Prize of the National Academy of Sciences (1973), and the NASA Medal for Exceptional Scientific Achievement (1973). He was a member of the National Science Board from 1970 to 1976. Bob was appointed to the Princeton University Department of Physics in 1946, served as chair from 1967 to 1970, moved to emeritus in 1984.
--MatthewQ 19:11, 28 August 2011 (EDT)
Right ... and no Nobel Prize, despite being the finest American physicist of the 20th century. Note also that it was his criticism of relativity in the mid-1970s -- after the awards you cite -- that caused him to be punished by the Nobel Prize committee. No one in grad school or on university faculties dare criticize Relativity again, no matter what the data say. No relativist will even criticize the policy of excluding anyone who criticizes the theory of relativity.--Andy Schlafly 20:13, 28 August 2011 (EDT)
I am sure the Nobel committee has its prejudices. Hoyle once wrote a letter to the London Times criticizing a Nobel physics prize. [13] So maybe they did not like him for that. By the time they gave the big bang prize in 1978, Gamow and others were dead. I would have rather given the prize to the theorists, but those are the biases of the folks in Sweden. I am not sure it has anything to do with the acceptability of relativity. There is a lot of excellent theoretical work that never got a prize, such as the work of Poincare and Minkowski on relativity. RSchlafly 22:56, 28 August 2011 (EDT)
You link to an interesting, in-depth article that gives other possible examples of Nobel Prize bias. But the article misses the timing on the insult to Fred Hoyle -- fall 1983 -- which was around the time that he was challenging a tenet of evolution (I'd like to obtain further details on the timing - his partner in the research apparently raised the criticism as early as 1980). Such a coincidence in timing for a prize that was given for 1957 work can hardly be ignored. Note that the article also says Fowler was "stunned" by the award's passing over Hoyle.
The article also omits the insults to Teller and Wheeler, to Robert Dicke, and to Raymond Damadian (see explanation in Nobel Prize).--Andy Schlafly 10:20, 29 August 2011 (EDT)
I am not sure I understand your bias theory, but even supposing that some Swedes have some prejudices, how does this relate to the merits of relativity? You criticize the 1978 prize. But that was for discovery of the cosmic microwave radiation that was predicted by relativity theorists and confirmed by a couple of telephone company engineers who were just trying to measure their satellite reception interference. They did not even believe in the relativity explanation. So why did the Swedes give the prize to the Bell engineers instead of the relativists? Maybe you should start a page on Counterexamples to Swedish Wisdom. RSchlafly 15:00, 29 August 2011 (EDT)
"Swedes" are not picking the Nobel Prize-winners. They just act on the recommendations of liberal professors who don't like criticism of the theories of evolution, relativity, or J. Robert Oppenheimer. Really, the bias is not that complicated. It's no different from the bias in Academy Awards, Pulitzer Prizes, Rhodes Scholars, or any other award system that is heavily influenced by leftists.
Once Fred Hoyle and Robert Dicke criticized liberal theories, they had to be punished. The greatest punishment is to award the Nobel Prize for their work to someone less deserving.--Andy Schlafly 18:08, 29 August 2011 (EDT)

Standard kilogrammes?

I'm not sure how good an argument this is. ONE out of a batch of 40 identical standard kilogrammes has diverged in weight from the others. Common sense says that there's something wrong with that one weight, which is after all stored in France. It's not likely that the answer has anything to do with relativity, which if correct would have caused an identical change in mass in all 40. --JMairs 21:06, 21 August 2011 (EDT)

I have a drawer full of socks. I cannot find a match for one of them. Can I blame relativity? RSchlafly 00:04, 22 August 2011 (EDT)
Is it a French sock? --JMairs 08:14, 22 August 2011 (EDT)
Maybe so. Or from some other country where "kilogram" is spelled "kilogramme". RSchlafly 12:51, 22 August 2011 (EDT)
That would be everywhere except the USA. I'm English. --JMairs 21:24, 22 August 2011 (EDT)
I believe that it has something to do with the metals used are slightly radioactive and are emitting either alpha or beta particles causing a very slight decrease in weight. The answer doesn't have anything to do with relativity and is a well know issue. Scientists are currently trying to come up with a better way of standardizing mass. CaseyF 19:56, 27 August 2011 (EDT)
There's a difference between relativity and quantum mechanics (which explains the above observation). If you only took high school physics--you have about two hundred years of catching up to do on the field. --RudrickBoucher 17:49, 27 September 2011 (EDT)


Physics has come a long way since Albert Einstein published his theories of relativity. Actually, there are quite a few hypothetical paradigms within modern physics that would allow a particle of sufficiently high energy to apparently travel faster than light. I'm not a physicist (as I've said on other pages, I'm a biologist), but I am peripherally familiar with a few of the better-supported ideas. I suggest you read up on M theory and string theory. At the risk of butchering the explanation (I am NOT a physicist), I will say that within the paradigm of M theory and string theory, observing high-energy particles moving slightly faster than light is not all that surprising. That said, the authors of the paper describing the "faster than light" neutrinos, admit up front that the numbers they got was probably the result of some sort of experimental error--the results need to be repeatable in order to be scientific. --RudrickBoucher 17:49, 27 September 2011 (EDT)

Science can advance with one observation, and it's not necessary to wait until it is repeated before discussing and learning from it. How quickly (if ever) was the Michelson-Morley experiment repeated?--Andy Schlafly 23:08, 27 September 2011 (EDT)
The Michelson-Morley experiment was first done in 1887. It was repeated by them and by others many times in the next few years. Illingworth and Kennedy came up with a variant that was more sensitive and could test for certain exotic explanations. They did that very soon after the initial experiment. Dayton Miller also did such experiments and continued to do them even after Einstein's work was completed. Miller acknowledged the results of the experiments but remained a committed opponent to special relativity. One of Miller's experiments did actually turn up some interesting results but his later experiments and other work failed to replicate it and it seems to have been a statistical anomaly. Others continued to duplicate versions of the MM experiment because the data from it can be used to test aspects of special relativity and other ideas. So duplicated forms have continued right up to the present day although generally using carefully tuned lasers as the light sources which give much more precision. JoshuaZ 00:23, 28 September 2011 (EDT)
Some experiments done following the MM experiment (not all listed, only some early ones and some recent ones): Morley-Miller 1902-1904 (published 1904), Miller 1921, Miller 1923-1924, Antonini et al 2005, Stanwix et al 2006, Eisele et al 2009, Herrmann et al 2009. Plus others between them, just listing some early ones and some recent ones. And it is usually necessary to wait until an experiment is repeated before accepting it to be accurate. A single observation, that can't be repeated, usually has an explanation within the current understanding of physics. For example, a network of ravines and gullies was observed in the 1870s on the surface of Mars, and there was wide speculation about their origin. An explanation suggested in the early 1900s wasn't proved until the 1960s, that the ravines and gullies were in actuality an optical illusion caused by streaks of dust blowing across the surface in the strong winds. Another example of a 'discovery' that later turned out to be false was the existence of Vulcan, a planet between Mercury and the Sun. A single observation, unconfirmed by repetition, does not indicate a discovery. - JamesCA 02:22, 28 September 2011 (EDT)
Yes, the M-M experiment was repeated many times. It had to be done at different times of the year, at different altitudes, with different materials, etc. Eg, maybe the length contraction might have been different for wood and brass.
There are physicists who have suggested faster than light particles, but string theory and M theory are Lorentz invariant and useless on the issue. The string theorists would definitely be surprised by anything faster than light. RSchlafly 02:24, 28 September 2011 (EDT)
Claimed results from a single experiment have been proven wrong before (e.g, the claims of producing cold fusion in 1989). It makes sense to see if an experiment is replicated before throwing out an extremely well tested theory. It's very suspicious that we haven't seen neutrinos going faster than the speed of light before this. Experimenters are only human beings and could easily have made a mistake or forget to include something in their calculations. The claimed velocity is only a tiny fraction lager than c and might easily be explained by not taking into account some systematic error.
If Mr. Schlafly's other 36 "counterexamples" are so strong then I don't see why he so badly needs the example of an unreplicated experiment whose data is still in the process of being analyzed. (When Einstein was asked about the book '100 Authors Against Einstein' he responded: "If I were wrong, it would only have taken one".) --MatthewQ 11:27, 28 September 2011 (EDT)
If the experiment is disproved by subsequent experiments, then that particular counterexample can be removed. But the insistence on clinging to the theory of relativity when the available evidence is to the contrary is unjustified. Einstein's quote is inapplicable to this issue: the context of Einstein's quote refers to a government attempt to discredit his theory. His quote does apply to government efforts to deny scientific evidence today, such as the attempt by the NCI to deny the abortion-breast cancer link.--Andy Schlafly 23:07, 28 September 2011 (EDT)
Gee, the experiment counts as a counterexample even before the facts are in. What a surprise....
I'm not sure if the German government was behind '100 Authors Against Einstein', but even if it were it's completely irrelevant. The folly wasn't that it was done by the government; it was that if relativity was wrong one good argument would suffice. The inclusion of this unconfirmed experimental result just shows how this list of "counterexamples" values quantity over quality. Rather than making a few strong arguments it's a list of 37 random tidbits. You're expecting to overturn one of science's best theories with something that can fit inside a Twitter post? The reasoning for many points' inclusion are not well explained and counterarguments are not addressed (e.g, Hawking radiation is called a "[c]ontrived explanation" with no justification whatsoever). I suspect the "conciseness" of the points is just a reflection of its author's short attention span. I'll report to the Worldwide Relativity Cabal that we have nothing to fear from... oops. --MatthewQ 01:46, 29 September 2011 (EDT)
Thank you MatthewQ! Oh, and Mr. Schlafly, the evidence does not support a link between abortion and breast cancer. You may find good sources on the topic here, here, and here. --RudrickBoucher 08:11, 29 September 2011 (EDT)
As for redoing the M-M experiment, the LIGO experiment can be seen as a $400M modern M-M experiment. While the M-M failed to detect the motion of the Earth, LIGO has failed to detect motion in other galaxies. You may be interested in this new paper reporting on an NSF grant to teach high school students about LIGO detecting gravity waves. This is just to be ready in case LIGO ever succeeds in detecting anything, I guess. [14] RSchlafly 06:08, 30 September 2011 (EDT)

A few sections that should be removed...

12: For this point to be right, things need to have started VERY VERY small, which is impossible if Creationism is right. This creates an inconsistency within Conservapedia and should be removed. 26: The first part is wrong due to GPSs. In order to be more accurate, they take into account relativity, and hence relativity has produced something useful. The rest of it is repeated in 18. Hence, as everything in 26 is either wrong or repeated, it should be removed. 28: Relativity does not require everything with 0 mass to have 0 momentum. It actually takes into account that light, despite having 0 mass, has momentum. 29: This is actually wrong. The age of each twin is independent of the path travel, it is dependent only on the acceleration they experience. Therefore, this point is wrong. Any comments or disagreements? - JamesCA 22:02, 14 October 2011 (EDT)

On point 12, physicists themselves admit that relativity contradicts quantum mechanics shortly after the Big Bang. So even relativists would (or should) concede the validity of this counterexample.
On point 26, GPS's were not developed as a result of relativity. This has been discussed at length on this site in the past. No relativists were involved in the engineering of GPS's; any differences in timing on the satellites relative to ground are more easily corrected by synchronization rather than theoretical predictions.
Will review the other points later.--Andy Schlafly 22:45, 14 October 2011 (EDT)
I fully agree with all this. Some of the stuff in this page literally left my head hurting pretty badly from facepalming so hard.
And, Schlafly, how does this make relativity wrong? Newtonian physics is wrong at quantum levels too. Should we add a "Counterexamples to Newtonian Mechanics" page and put something like that in there too? Of course not--it's an excellent approximation for things on the everyday scale. Same thing with GR.
No, they were not developed because of relativity, but they were developed taking relativity into account. The people who built it didn't know the specifics, but they knew the corrections from relativity were there and they took them into account. AndyFrankinson 19:53, 16 October 2011 (EDT)
I concur. Rather, arguing "counterexamples" is a fine way to demonstrate the weaknesses, inconsistencies, or future directions of inquiry regarding any scientific paradigm. However, it is a logical fallacy to say that "these are the problems with hypothesis A, therefore hypothesis B must be true". For a position to be effectively argued, one must present empirical evidence in support of an alternative hypothesis. --RudrickBoucher 00:56, 12 November 2011 (EST)
A bigger logical fallacy occurs when someone insists or thinks that an alternative hypothesis B must exist before disproving a hypothesis A.--Andy Schlafly 15:14, 12 November 2011 (EST)
Good point. However, when a hypothesis is not supported the scientific process usually then entails asking the question of why it was not supported, and then forming a new hypothesis that once again fits all of the available data. This is why scientific understanding of even the most hard and fast paradigms can change so dramatically from one generation to the next (or, occasionally, from one experiment to the next). The most exciting science gets done when a well-reasoned hypothesis is rejected--simply because it opens the door to so many new possibilities.--RudrickBoucher 13:01, 14 November 2011 (EST)

A couple more problems

These went up after I posted the other section so I didn't know what to do. If you would prefer I post it there, then sorry. I'm new to wikis so I don't know proper etiquette and perhaps a missed something in the guidelines :)

Anyway, first thing, you state: "It is heavily promoted by liberals who like its encouragement of relativism and its tendency to mislead people in how they view the world."

...Honestly, I am speechless about this. Again, this was taken down but now someone put it back up... You guys honestly think this statement is true? There is no connection between the two--the only thing they have in common is the name "relativity." What, you think that people's morals depend on their frame of reference and change by the relativistic factor or something?! I am truly shocked by this...What connection is there? Where is the equation that predicts this?

Secondly: "Relativity breaks down if a solenoid is traveling at or near the speed of light." Nope. Things can't travel at the speed of light, according to SR. Relativity explicitly states that things cannot go faster than light. If you drop this, then of course there are going to be going to be inconsistencies with SR...And that thread only talks about things going at the speed of light. What's the problem with solenoids travelling near c? AndyFrankinson 16:52, 16 October 2011 (EDT)

Can someone please tell me what the link between moral relativism and GR/SR is...? AndyFrankinson 20:04, 2 November 2011 (EDT)
Because God psychotic rambling homophobic momma's boy Andy Schlafly said so. You have to turn off your indoctrinated educated mind... --RudrickBoucher 21:36, 2 November 2011 (EDT)

At first glance

There are so many problems with this page I don't know where to start. Whomever wrote it is obviously clueless about science and its

methods. A few of the problems include:

1. Despite wasting millions of taxpayer dollars searching for gravity waves predicted by the theory, none has ever been found.

The lack of experimental confirmation so far of gravity waves does NOT falsify the theory. Absence of evidence is not evidence of


3. Subatomic particles have a speed observed to be faster than the speed of light, which contradicts a fundamental assumption of


Only in experiments that have yet to be confirmed.

7. The acceleration in the expansion of the universe confounds relativity

Untrue. The EFEs contain a term (the cosmological constant) that fully accounts for accelerated expansion.

10. The logical problem of a force which is applied at a right angle to the velocity of a relativistic mass

What logical problem? I studied physics at the graduate level and have never heard of any logical problem. ?

13. The action-at-a-distance of quantum entanglement

AAAD is a matter of interpretation of Quantum Mechanics. In any case, it does NOT Falsify GRT as no information is propagated faster

than light.

14. The action-at-a-distance by Jesus, described in John 4:46-54, Matthew 15:28, and Matthew 27:51.

See 13 (above). This statement also assumes that the action-at-a-distance by Jesus described in the Bible actually happened. It is not

"true and verifiable".

15. The failure to discover gravitons, despite wasting hundreds of millions in taxpayer money in searching.

Gravitons are the quanta of gravity waves. See #1.

18. The inability of the theory to lead to other insights, contrary to every verified theory of physics.

The ability to lead to other insights has never been a test of the validity of a scientific theory, and lack of consequent insight does not

falsify a theory.

26. The lack of useful devices developed based on any insights provided by the theory; no lives have been saved or helped, and the

theory has not led to other useful theories and may have interfered with scientific progress.

Development of useful devices is a matter of engineering, and is not a test of a scientific theories validity.

27. Relativity requires different values for the inertia of a moving object: in its direction of motion, and perpendicular to that direction.

This contradicts the logical principle that the laws of physics are the same in all directions.

The priniciple of isotropy does not falisfy Relativity. The theory itself accounts for, and predicts, the difference in observed inertia.

28. Relativity requires that anything traveling at the speed of light must have mass zero, so it must have momentum zero. But the laws

of electrodynamics require that light have nonzero momentum.

And Relativity also predicts that photons have non-zero momentum. Relativistic systems can have non-zero momentum even with no

rest mass, due to mass-energy equivalence. Relativity correctly predicts the momentum of a massless particle as p = h*f/c = h/λ.

31. The Twin Paradox: Consider twins who are separated with one traveling at a very high speed such that his "clock" (age) slows

down, so that when he returns he has a younger age than the twin; this violates Relativity because both twins should expect the other to

be younger, if motion is relative. Einstein himself admitted that this contradicts Relativity

Incorrect, as this only takes Special Relativity into account. This is a common fallacy. It is the acceleration required to return the twin

that accounts for the difference in clocks and is explained/predicted by General Relativity. One must take both SRT and GRT into


32. Based on Relativity, Einstein claimed in 1909 that the aether does not exist, but in order to make subatomic physics work right,

theorists had to introduce the aether-like concept of the Higgs field, which fills all of space and breaks symmetries.

Fields do not constitute an "aether". The EM field exists (and was explained/predicted by Maxwell long before Eistein).

34 (a). In Genesis 1:6-8, we are told that one of God's first creations was a firmament in the heavens.

How is such an account "true and verifiable"?

34(b). This likely refers to the creation of the luminiferous aether.

Something that is "likely" does not falsify a scientific theory.

35. Minkowski space is predicated on the idea of four-dimensional vectors of which one component is time. However, one of the

properties of a vector space is that every vector have an inverse. Time cannot be a vector because it has no inverse.

This is not an argument against applied mathematics, not against Relativity per se.

37. Despite a century of wasting billions of dollars in work on the theory, "No one knows how to solve completely the equations of general relativity that describe gravity; they are simply beyond current understanding.

This does not falsify the theory.


Reply: by starting with an ad hominem attack, you lost credibility from the get-go. A quick review of your points confirms it:
1. "Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence." It is when billions are spent on many years of looking. Surely you wouldn't think a lost item is in your backpack if you spent time looking for it there and could not find it.
3. "Only in experiments that have yet to be confirmed." Experiments are confirmation in themselves.
7. "the cosmological constant... fully accounts for accelerated expansion." Reliance on a cosmological constant has failed before.
10. The logical problem of a force which is applied at a right angle to the velocity of a relativistic mass. "What logical problem? I studied physics at the graduate level and have never heard of any logical problem?" Oh please. None of these counterexamples is candidly addressed in physics departments because these counterexamples cast doubt on a theory preferred for political reasons. Anyone in a physics department who expresses doubt about the theory of relativity would be thereby ending his own academic career.
13. The action-at-a-distance of quantum entanglement. "AAAD is a matter of interpretation of Quantum Mechanics. In any case, it does NOT Falsify GRT as no information is propagated faster than light." Relativity essentially denies action-at-a-distance (which cannot seriously be disputed in QM) whether a type of information is transmitted or not.
14. The action-at-a-distance by Jesus, described in John 4:46-54, Matthew 15:28, and Matthew 27:51. "See 13 (above). This statement also assumes that the action-at-a-distance by Jesus described in the Bible actually happened. It is not 'true and verifiable.'" There are no Counterexamples to the Bible, so this conflict is a serious one.
15. The failure to discover gravitons, despite wasting hundreds of millions in taxpayer money in searching. "Gravitons are the quanta of gravity waves. See #1." And see my answer to #1.
18. The inability of the theory to lead to other insights, contrary to every verified theory of physics. "The ability to lead to other insights has never been a test of the validity of a scientific theory, and lack of consequent insight does not falsify a theory." The failure of the theory to produce is strong evidence against its validity.
26. The lack of useful devices developed based on any insights provided by the theory; no lives have been saved or helped, and the theory has not led to other useful theories and may have interfered with scientific progress. "Development of useful devices is a matter of engineering, and is not a test of a scientific theories validity." A theory that inhibits technological progress, rather than enhance it, is almost certainly wrong.--Andy Schlafly 00:15, 13 November 2011 (EST)

I'll address your other responses as my time permits. For now:

"by starting with an ad hominem attack"

Stating the obvious is not an ad hominem attack. I didn't say the author was an "idiot". Anyone who honestly thinks that because "devices" have not been engineered based upon a scientific theory somehow falsifies that theory is truly clueless (maybe ignorant would have been a better word) of science and the scientific method. A correct scientific theory must explain previous observations and correctly predict those to come. No where is there a requirement that it lead to engineered "devices".

14. "The action-at-a-distance by Jesus"

I should have added: The AAAD by Jesus is (usually) considered a miracle - a suspension of natural law. So I'm not clear on how the suspension of natural law could be considered a counterexample to a natural law to begin with.

18. The inability of the theory to lead to other insights, contrary to every verified theory of physics.

I should have asked a simple question on this one: Have you ever asked an astronomer, cosmologist or theoretical physicist if s/he has had insights from Relativity? Please - find one that hasn't had deep insight as a result.

"A theory that inhibits technological progress, rather than enhance it, is almost certainly wrong.--Andy Schlafly 00:15, 13 November 2011 (EST)"

So, adherence to a literal interpretation of the Bible, which hindered technical progress for more than a thousand years, indicates that the Bible is almost certainly wrong. Thank you so much for clearing that up. ~~csmcmillion

Take a look at Biblical Scientific Foreknowledge. When you post more substantive comments, then I'll respond to them.--Andy Schlafly 13:37, 13 November 2011 (EST)

I agree that "relativity essentially denies action-at-a-distance", but not that AAAD "cannot seriously be disputed in QM". There is no QM experiment that show AAAD. There are interpretations of QM that seem to imply AAAD, and respected physicists who believe in those interpretations and hence in AAAD. But QM does not imply AAAD as there are also relativistic interpretations. RSchlafly 01:27, 13 November 2011 (EST)

QM experiments have shown that a pair of spinning, entangled photons can be separated a great distance, and that the mere observation of the spin of one of those photons immediately removes the uncertainty about the spin of the other photon a far distance away. All attempts to deny that action-at-a-distance reality have failed.--Andy Schlafly 13:42, 13 November 2011 (EST)
Yes, the photon experiment is correct. Some people do interpret the observation of one photon as affecting the other photon. But there is no proof of that. You could prove it if the observation transmitted information, but no one can do that. Other interpretations do not require AAAD. RSchlafly 01:47, 15 November 2011 (EST)

Andy: Why did you delete RSchlafly's most recent comment? RSchlafly: I believe you are correct. A little research on my part shows numerous refutations to the assertions made on this page, going back a couple of years:

I'm beginning to see why people are telling me not to waste my time trying to contribute to this site.

All you're doing is making your own "assertions without clarification". We've had these arguments before, and these arguments were created by people who refuse to listen to what we say or refuse to read any of the sources we provide. And it's tiresome. Karajou 15:44, 13 November 2011 (EST)
User:csmcmillion, it's not a discussion when someone won't use his own words to explain his views.--Andy Schlafly 15:49, 13 November 2011 (EST)
And it's not a discussion when sysops repeatedly delete comments, as you just did. ~~csmcmillion
And what exactly did I delete? Karajou 20:42, 13 November 2011 (EST)

Just wanted to add to this: When has failed? It's a perfectly legitimate term in the EFE's, as csmcmillion has stated. The righthand side of it is (in units) is . You need something on the left which is a measure of curvature, i.e., the Einstein tensor . Why the Einstein tensor? Why not the Ricci tensor? Why not the scalar curvature times the metric? The reason is that the stress-energy tensor (T) has to have zero divergence: . The Einstein tensor has zero divergence as well. But, we also have . So we can safely add in to the left hand side of the EFE without violating local conservation of energy-momentum. Using this gives AndyFrankinson 19:46, 15 November 2011 (EST)

Reversion explained

The "The observed lack of curvature in overall space" is not an "unobserved" phenomenon. Accordingly, it has been reverted along with the others. Looking for something that should be there under a theory, but not finding it there as predicted, is a counterexample.--Andy Schlafly 10:50, 30 November 2011 (EST)

Andy, sorry, yes, I was being a bit overzealous on that one. However, I think the principle holds - many of the concepts listed are not counterexamples. Starting with number one: relativity predicts gravity waves and predicts that they will be extremely difficult to detect. Now I hear you say that's a pretty lousy kind of prediction - and you're right - but it still doesn't make it a counterexample. The same goes for the entry on gravitons (additionally, they're a prediction of quantum theory, not relativity, but that's for another phase of editing).
It may be that further categorizing is necessary. For example, issues like the Twin Paradox and the Ehrenfest Paradox are not strictly unobserved phenomena either. Item 37, failure to solve the equations, is a problem for mathematics, not necessarily for relativity.
Perhaps a simpler solution would be to rename the whole article, perhaps to 'Counterarguments to Relativity'. That way the article doesn't look silly by listing things that clearly aren't counterexamples, and also is open to inclusion of a broader range of criticisms of the theory. --QPR 08:50, 2 December 2011 (EST)
I agree with QPR, as upon thinking about it, 'counterexamples' does not accurately describe the things on the list. And looking for something predicted and not finding it is only a counterexample/counterargument if it is predicted to be in a specific place, and when looking there, it isn't found. Hence, not finding gravity waves despite looking for them doesn't mean they don't exist. Many things were thought to be myths or non-existent until they were found, including giraffes. But I also disagree with QPR in that categorizing the list is unnecessary, and would result in needless discussions about where certain points belong, rather than more productive discussions. - JamesCA 20:56, 2 December 2011 (EST)
I don't think that counterexamples is the best word either. My suggestion would be to leave the title as is, but to split the list into paradoxes and anomalies. They maybe people would have a better idea what to expect from each item. RSchlafly 21:43, 2 December 2011 (EST)

Response to the above: the list is of "counterexamples". These are examples that are counter to the theory. Other terms, like "paradox" or "anomaly", capture neither the concept of "example" nor of it being "counter" to the theory. The term "paradox" arises in philosophy, but this isn't philosophy. Relativity is a theory that pretends to be correct in every case, but it isn't.--Andy Schlafly 01:24, 3 December 2011 (EST)

Fair enough. I hate to remove the paradoxes completely, so I've added them to the main relativity article (and expanded on them a little). But I absolutely agree a paradox is not a counterexample, and hence shouldn't be here. --QPR 11:26, 4 December 2011 (EST)
If you want to be strict about examples being counter to relativity theory, then you would have to eliminate everything on the list. To be a true counterexample, there should be some relativity textbook that gives the example as something that cannot happen, and then some proof that it does happen. But there are no sources saying that for any of the items. RSchlafly 21:19, 4 December 2011 (EST)

Andy Schlafly, I have to say I'm at a loss here. You've restored items that you yourself have said shouldn't be listed under counterexamples (i.e. paradoxes and anomalies), plus an item concerning practical upshots that the talk page seems in wide agreement on, plus an obvious duplicate. and all without explanation. Please take at least as much time to explain your reversals as I have into explaining the reasons for my edits. --QPR 18:05, 9 December 2011 (EST)

Deleted example to releativity

Hello, I added a counter example to relativity that was removed, despite it being valid. My counter example was that the special theory of relativity predicts that mass is a form of energy and they are interchangeable. But if this were true the huge amount of energy stored in common matter would have been utilised by now in power stations and weaponry.

The problem is, it's been over 100 years since this theory was published and not one power station that utilises the interchange of mass and energy predicted by relativity has actually been built.

However, this counter example was removed because a member claimed that these do exist. Now this leaves us with a dichotomy. Do we... A) Admit that these power stations exist (which they don't) and therefore acknowledge the special theory of relativity is accurate and true, or B) We keep the counter example included that no power station that utilises special relativity exists, and therefore it is a sign that relativity is false.

I think we should vote for B on this issue. It would be like inventing the motor engine, but not building cars! --GMilhouse 12:36, 3 December 2011 (EST)

Actually these power stations DO exist and have done for decades; they're called "nuclear reactors" and they generate heat by turning mass into energy. --ClearView2011 12:45, 3 December 2011 (EST)
If these stations do exist, then how come Albert Einstein admitted of the inability to apply the predictions of his OWN theory? I quote "There is not the slightest indication that nuclear energy will ever be obtainable".
Next you'll be telling me that we can do the physically impossible and generate electricity by fusing atoms to form heavier atoms too.
Let's face it, special relativity has no practical application in providing energy. If it were, mass and energy would be seen interchanging all the time. F will always equal MA, mass can neither increase or decrease by being converted into energy; observations of non-zero mass particles accelerated to exactly the speed of light prove this.--GMilhouse 13:01, 3 December 2011 (EST)
The stations exist, hundreds of them, all over the world. Some of them even fit into ships and submarines. Nuclear fission reactors produce power by converting rest mass into electromagnetic and kinetic energy, exactly in accordance with e=mc2. --ClearView2011 13:06, 3 December 2011 (EST)
I don't believe that. Do you know they exist for sure? Have you really ever been to one? I'm sure they employ some kind of a clever trick. Otherwise Newton, unchallenged as the most intelligent scientist of all time, would see his second law of motion proven wrong. The second law of motion is a law that is known to always hold true by centuries of accurate tests. These power stations can not exist, the laws of physics don't allow it!--GMilhouse 13:18, 3 December 2011 (EST)
I don't care what you believe. Yes they exist, and yes I've been to one. If you tell me where you live I'll give you directions to the nearest one, and you can either visit or call their press officer. Either way they'll be happy to explain how they turn mass into energy and generate power with the heat that's released. --ClearView2011 13:23, 3 December 2011 (EST)
These aren't my beliefs, these are scientific facts. Newton's laws have been established for centuries and have never been challenged. Yet if they are true, then nuclear power stations can't exist because that would require the M of F=MA to be a variable quantity directly related to A.
As I put more energy into the acceleration of an object, the mass does not increase, it cannot increase. Why? Because mass and energy cannot be interchanged. If this were true, then no non-zero mass particle could ever be accelerated to the speed of light. Non-zero mass particles are accelerated to the speed of light every day at particle colliders worldwide.
If what you say is true, then we would have to get rid of this entire page because it invalidates every counter example.--GMilhouse 13:43, 3 December 2011 (EST)
You're not listening, are you? Conversion of mass into energy, in accordance with e=mc2 is how nuclear reactors work. Your counterexample was removed because it's INVALID. What part of this don't you understand? Newton's Second Law is irrelevant to the point you're trying to make, by the way.
"Yet if they are true, then nuclear power stations can't exist" Epic fail. Nuclear power stations DO exist.
"If what you say is true, then we would have to get rid of this entire page because it invalidates every counter example" Why? Just because a theory is false overall, that doesn't mean that parts of it aren't true. Parts of Darwin's theory are true; living things DO inherit characteristics from their parents and those characteristics DO affect their chances of survival. Despite that, evolution is still false. --ClearView2011 13:48, 3 December 2011 (EST)
If it was removed because nuclear power stations exist, then surely it would invalidate every counter example too, right? If what you claim is correct and they do exist, then shouldn't this whole page be deleted?.
By the way, Newton's laws are entirely relevant here, the second law being incorrect (I know it is really) is fundamental to relativity --GMilhouse 13:58, 3 December 2011 (EST)
WHY would it invalidate every counterexample here? There's a lot more to relativity than e=mc2. --ClearView2011 14:13, 3 December 2011 (EST)
@GMilhouse: Newton's second law is not . It is (Newton's formulation in Principia Mathematica!), where (non-relativistically) is momentum. This includes the possibility of varying mass - necessary for instance when modelling rocket flight. Plus, can you provide a reference to an experiment where a non-zero mass particle was accelerated to the speed of light? --FrederickT3 14:06, 3 December 2011 (EST)
Maybe I should cut to the chase. Yes or no. Does the fact that nuclear reactors exist invalidate almost every possible counter example on this page, and every valid example merely represents an aspect of physics that the current theory does not yet accommodate? If so, then surely this entire page should be deleted. --GMilhouse 14:16, 3 December 2011 (EST)
No. Now stop crying about your example being deleted and do something constructive. --ClearView2011 14:19, 3 December 2011 (EST)
Nuclear reactors existing validates that the current theory of relativity. I know that really.
Maybe I should come clean, I've been deceptive. While I think it is good to be able to present a conservative point of view freely, I don't like this page because it is just an unfair criticism of a theory that in reality has a very strong foundation and it has many real world applications. Energy generation being one.
We don't know everything about physics yet, that is granted. Theories are meant to be fairly challenged, that's the only way we'll increase our knowledge. This page does not present a fair challenge, it's promoting the notion that relativity is not a sound theory and has no application. I thought that if I could coax a senior member into admitting reactors exist. Then I would be able to make the point that this in fact invalidates most of the counter examples and the only valid ones are merely unanswered questions that can only be resolved by fairly challenging the theory and should probably be more correctly listed as "Unsolved issues with relativity", with the pre-acknowledgement of the facts by a senior member. I thought if I could do that, then I could finally get some serious consideration applied to this page.
Sorry if my actions have offended anyone. Maybe I didn't go about this the best possible way.--GMilhouse 14:39, 3 December 2011 (EST)

Actually, nuclear reactors have nothing to do with Relativity, except that Relativity and the initial equation showing that nuclear reactions may be possible, were both developed by the same person. On a different note, not offended, however I would suggest choosing a line of argument with more foundation because, honestly, you looked like an idiot. - JamesCA 01:21, 5 December 2011 (EST)

Despite GMilhouse's childish approach, I think that it's been established here that relativity has led to useful devices (though we might debate just how useful atomic bombs are). Contrary to JamesCA's assertion, E=mc2 is not simply a separate line of Einstein's work, but a derivation of the fundamental ideas of Special Relativity. In addition to nuclear power, particle accelerators are designed on the basis of special relativity, as are some high-energy cathode ray tubes. Hence I have removed the counterexample claiming that relativity has led to no practical devices. --QPR 12:24, 6 December 2011 (EST)
Nuclear energy has very little to do with either Einstein or E=mc2. It is based on nuclear forces, and not on anything approaching the speed of light. The development of atomic would have proceeded just the same whether relativity had been discovered or not. Relativity is useful for other things, such as GPS. RSchlafly 13:07, 6 December 2011 (EST)
True, it has little to do with E=mc2, but it has something to do with it. I think it's reasonable to suggest that nuclear fusion would have been discovered in the absence of relativity, and that therefore the famous equation might have been discovered empirically by observing mass/energy conversions in nuclear processes. However, relativity *did* come first, and the equation is used to calculate energy output for a given mass loss. But you're right, there's lots of other much better examples.--QPR 13:38, 6 December 2011 (EST)
The equation E=mc2 can be used, as you say, but the energy can be calculated in other ways also. And there were other reasons for equating mass with energy. Eg, see this 1904 paper. [15] The key ideas for the atomic bomb were that neutrons stimulate fission and release of energy and more neutrons in uranium, and the neutrons can be manipulated to make a chain reaction. RSchlafly 14:52, 6 December 2011 (EST)


This page is quite long, and perhaps it should be archived. The downside of archiving is that it can lead to discussions being repeated by those new to the page criticising counterexamples using points which have already been made. To avoid this, I'm willing to summarise the points made, including all points in a non-biased way, as a way to ensure arguments are not repeated. Comments on this suggestion would be greatly appreciated. - JamesCA 01:26, 5 December 2011 (EST)

A selective archive (e.g., archive the older discussions only) would be terrific.--Andy Schlafly 14:04, 9 December 2011 (EST)
So long as it is archived and not "archived". --DamianJohn 14:39, 9 December 2011 (EST)