Talk:Logical Flaws in E=mc²

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A few questions for Aschlafly regarding the experiment of Cockcroft and Walton

Andy, please take a shot at Talk:E=mc²#A few questions for Aschlafly regarding the experiment of Cockcroft and Walton! --AugustO 14:29, 14 June 2015 (EDT)

August, you overrely on one outdated experiment that was not even honored for proving E=mc2. Even if your somewhat novel view of the significance of the experiment were correct, the formula would still have to comply with logic. Broken clocks are right twice a day, and chance occurrences cannot remedy logical flaws.--Andy Schlafly 14:41, 14 June 2015 (EDT)
  • This experiment has been repeated thousands of times, it is done in many physics courses at colleges and universities as it provides an easy understanding of this subject. Therefore, it should be approachable to you. So, quit stalling, and answer the questions, please!
  • Everyone who has studied physics as a certain level knows of this experiment. If you wish to convince someone of your "novel view" (more accurate use of this phrase), you should be able to answer this questions and point out your interpretation!
--AugustO 14:45, 14 June 2015 (EDT)
You didn't respond to my points about logic. Also, the Nobel Prize Committee did not claim that the experiment "proved" that E=mc2. Do you really think that one experiment from long ago "proved" the formula as a fundamental law of nature? What if the speed of light changes?--Andy Schlafly 15:41, 14 June 2015 (EDT)
  • "You didn't respond to my points about logic." I will address them the moment you have answered the Talk:E=mc²#A few questions for Aschlafly regarding the experiment of Cockcroft and Walton.
  • "Also, the Nobel Prize Committee did not claim that the experiment "proved" that E=mc2." Nor do I, it just confirms the formula.
  • "Do you really think that one experiment from long ago "proved" the formula as a fundamental law of nature?" No, it is just one thread which adds to the rope of the theory. Answering the questions should help to get upon a common ground, showing that you know what you are talking about....
  • "What if the speed of light changes?" That will be interesting - do you claim that the speed of light changes regularly while performing the experiment, so for thousands and thousands of time over the last decades? Let's not get to theoretical, just answer the questions...
--AugustO 16:03, 14 June 2015 (EDT)
The speed of light is likely changing incrementally over time. Do you think the energy of matter is changing accordingly per E=mc2?--Andy Schlafly 16:30, 14 June 2015 (EDT)
Given the incremental character of the change, could you please answer the questions, assuming a constant speed of light for the duration of the experiment? Or if you think that the change of the speed of light has an influence on the experiment, please, just put up the relevant formulas: this should give us an opportunity to calculate the change of the speed of light over time!
Otherwise, quit stalling. --AugustO 16:51, 14 June 2015 (EDT)
August, I don't have the data from the experiment, and I wasn't there. But I don't doubt that an experiment can probably be developed, just as a broken clock can be found, to give a desired result or (in the case of a clock) a correct time of day. The meaning of such an experiment is nothing, particularly for a logically flawed hypothesis.--Andy Schlafly 15:40, 15 June 2015 (EDT)
Andy, you seem to be saying that you do not accept experimental science. "An experiment can probably be developed, just as a broken clock can be found, to give a desired result." Really? Are you saying that one can get any desired result just be fudging experimental data long enough? Are you saying that the fact that you weren't present when the original Cockcroft and Walton experiment was performed makes it suspect? Have you considered going to a local college or industrial physics laboratory and asking them to perform the experiment before your very eyes?
Do you really reject experimental science?
Are you saying that, because you believe, without being able to make a convincing argument for it, that the equation is "logically flawed", no experiment confirming it can be trusted? Are you saying that the entire scientific community can't be trusted? Are you saying that the Cockcroft and Walton experiment was not performed? Or that it was performed but it got different results, that Cockcroft and Walton are concealing? That the Nobel Prize committee was in error in awarding the prize? That all nuclear scientists in the world are deceived, and only you know about this? SamHB 00:16, 16 June 2015 (EDT)
One experiment would not prove a formula like E=mc2, and the Cockroft and Watson experiment was not even recognized for being consistent with the formula: [1].
By the way, do you think E=mc2 would be true if the speed of light is changing over time?--Andy Schlafly 00:59, 16 June 2015 (EDT)
Hi Andy, I think you posted the wrong link. The nobel prize speech says "This assertion was satisfactorily confirmed by Cockcroft and Walton, experimental errors being taken into consideration. Somewhat later, more exact investigations based on the same principles gave a complete verification of Einstein's law." BradSmythe 02:13, 16 June 2015 (EDT)
Too bad you can't explain what you think that means—you violated the 90/10 contribution/talk ratio rule. If you had only made a contribution to the articles.... VargasMilan 18:01, 16 June 2015 (EDT)
Andy, it's getting really hard to make sense of your position on the Cockcroft-Walton experiment.
The Cockcroft-Walton experiment, like all of the famous experiments (Michelson-Morley, Geiger-Marsden, Davisson-Germer, etc.) has been replicated, many times, all over the world. It is simply not believable that this experiment was fraudulent and that everyone involved has been engaged in a huge coverup for 80 years.
Sam, you could have said something similar about climate science before Climategate and you'd be just as wrong about the extent of bias among scientists regarding particular experiments.
Furthermore, the Cockcroft-Walton experiment is just one of a great many experiments and observations that confirm E=mc^2. It just happens to be the one that AugustO selected.
You are equivocating; the experiment only demonstrates a rough equality up to the precision of the measurements of the participating physical quantities.
To deny the correctness of the Cockcroft-Walton experiment is to deny a great many straightforward and well-known facts, the ones that AugustO put in the questions that he posed on the E=mc^2 talk page several months ago. The answers to all of the questions are obvious, and yet you appear to be denying them. For example, the atomic masses of Lithium, Hydrogen, and Helium, are well known. They are on periodic table charts hanging in science classrooms all over the world, and in the periodic table template here at Conservapedia. Some of the questions are simple arithmetic. Question 7 involved a measurement that was cited in Cockcroft and Walton's paper, and that all scientists have agreed on for 80 years. To suggest that that measurement was fraudulent because you were not present, or because the scientific community can pick whatever particle energy they want and then fudge the experiment to get that result, is ludicrous.
Fallacy of relevance: The experiment's "correctness" is only coextensive with its precision, so denying its correctness beyond the precision of its measurable values is nothing startling, yet you find it necessary to massage vivid descriptions of the calculations involved in a way that suggests emotional attachment. Is this to cover for its lack of relevance?
I have avoided mention of possible changes in the speed of light because that is a red herring. There is no evidence of any perceptible change in recent history. Even if the speed of light were to change by, say, 1 part per billion within the time span of the experiment, c^2 would change by 2 parts per billion, so either E or m (or both) would change by that amount. That is much smaller than the tolerances of the experiment. The best measurement that we currently have of E=mc^2 appears to be about 2 parts per 10 million, so that would not be affected.
If the precisions of the measurements that compose the relations of the physical quantities in the experiment are that inaccurate, how can you say in the first place that the equivalence E=mc^2 (note the equal sign) is "confirm"ed by the experiment? A word of advice: logic is not your strong suit, Sam.
By the way, the link that you gave—The Nobel presentation speech by I. Waller—that you claimed did not recognize the Cockcroft-Walton experiment for validating or being consistent with E=mc^2, did in fact recognize exactly that, in the 11th paragraph: "a verification was provided by this analysis for Einstein's law concerning the equivalence of mass and energy".
That says it all. Sam derives the meaning of his scientific terminology from an anonymous writer from the Nobel Prize website, the same Nobel Prizes that awarded President Obama a Peace Prize after he campaigned to withdraw American troops from a pacific Iraq. ISIS anyone?
SamHB 01:41, 18 June 2015 (EDT)
You'll notice that I am not Andy. Let this just be a lesson to you that your complaints may be just as tiresome to others as they probably are to him. VargasMilan 03:14, 18 June 2015 (EDT)
Andy, let's talk first about what is (ie.e, the experiment), and then about what if! --AugustO 03:18, 16 June 2015 (EDT)

--AugustO 15:54, 15 June 2015 (EDT)

"One experiment would not prove a formula like E=mc2! - No, it may just confirm it. But we cannot talk about dozens or hundreds of experiments at the same time, let's stick with this one, which is widely regarded is the first one in which this formula was used. You invested so much time to evade the questions, it should be easier just to answer them. Please do so--AugustO 03:11, 16 June 2015 (EDT)

Conspiracy Theory

User:SamHB: The Cockcroft-Walton experiment, like all of the famous experiments (Michelson-Morley, Geiger-Marsden, Davisson-Germer, etc.) has been replicated, many times, all over the world. It is simply not believable that this experiment was fraudulent and that everyone involved has been engaged in a huge coverup for 80 years.
User:VargasMilan: Sam, you could have said something similar about climate science before Climategate and you'd be just as wrong about the extent of bias among scientists regarding particular experiments.

I'm impressed by the cunningness of these physicists: Vargas, how does this work in detail? Each undergraduate (and there are thousands of them over the years) who performs the experiments, and shouts "hold a minute, I cannot measure any effect" is taken to the back of the laboratory where he is introduced to the secret handshake and forced to alter his lab book? --AugustO 13:00, 18 June 2015 (EDT)


User:SamHB: Furthermore, the Cockcroft-Walton experiment is just one of a great many experiments and observations that confirm E=mc^2. It just happens to be the one that AugustO selected.
User:VargasMilan: You are equivocating; the experiment only demonstrates a rough equality up to the precision of the measurements of the participating physical quantities.

And that is the best you can hope for in any experiment!

That should tell you that this supposed law is probably unconfirmable given the limitations of our observations, but especially so for the limited observations of the experiment you are describing. This may be an example of bias on your part toward this particular experiment. It doesn't have to mean that you are part of a conspiracy. You also haven't bothered to address the logical flaws of E=mc2 that are actually presented by Andy in this article. VargasMilan 15:14, 22 June 2015 (EDT)

Frankly, Andy, I hope you do better when you are at last answering a few questions for Aschlafly regarding the experiment of Cockcroft and Walton! --AugustO 13:58, 18 June 2015 (EDT)

  • "That should tell you that this supposed law is probably unconfirmable given the limitations of our observations, " Every experiment we perform, every observation we make is limited by the accuracy of measurement. No reason to discard with physics!
Well, Augusto, then you agree with Andy. The mathematical "language" seems wrong.
  • "but especially so for the limited observations of the experiment you are describing." To a certain extant, this experiment provides us with one data point - an observation consistent with E=mc². I'll gladly hear another explanation for the outcome of the experiment - this explanation can then be tested with other experiments (and there are many others out there...)
You seem to have a better grasp of the scientific language. I saw the slide presentation on your web page which showed an even closer precision in a different experiment. What would be a good way to compare the mass of the major particles of that experiment to the mass of the precision error? (I think it's mentioned in percentages so it might take some work). Is the precision error a big mass or a small mass?
  • "This may be an example of bias on your part toward this particular experiment." I chose this experiment as it was discussed with Andrew Schlafly before (I think, he even was the one to bring it up in the first place). Therefore, I hoped this would reduce the effort to answer my questions.
Okay, but you were committed to the "language" of the experiment because you found it appealing too. Does this kind of "abbreviation" tend to distort your thinking about it? Andy seems to think so.
Let me give you hint about measurements: every measurement has a precision. It's not a very nice fact because what it means is that every measurement has a second number that you have to do math with. Just when you thought you knew how to solve a long math problem, it turns out you have twice as much math to do! Then there are probabilities of the precision. Three times as much math!
Fortunately, the one advantage is that they can be fairly easy to think about even if very difficult to describe precisely. Let's say you have a cube where the length is 99% accurate, the height is 99% accurate and the width is 99% accurate. What is the accuracy of the volume of the cube if all the inaccuracies are inaccuracies of smallness? You might think it's 99% since all the accuracies match. But what you do is multiply them through .9900000 x .9900000 x .9900000 = .970299..., and you get only about 97.03% accurate for the volume. You might want to learn more about the accuracies of your measurements and how big of a mass the total inaccuracy is to see the size of the mass that might be "missing" from the equation. VargasMilan 21:19, 24 June 2015 (EDT)
--AugustO 19:31, 24 June 2015 (EDT)

Well, if one doesn't want to do the mathematics, one should stay away from physics. If Andrew Schlafly wants to argue that there is a problem with the accuracy of the experiment, he he should be able to perform the error analysis. --AugustO 02:40, 25 June 2015 (EDT)

Lol. VargasMilan 05:19, 25 June 2015 (EDT)
AugustO, I congratulate you on your clear understanding of the issues involved. From your writing above, you seem to have a good understanding of the derivative of x3, and of its connection with accuracy in physical measurements. SamHB 00:36, 29 June 2015 (EDT)
SamHB, how flattering, but I think you wanted to congratulate VargasMilan for this tremendous achievement! --AugustO 01:16, 29 June 2015 (EDT)
The simplicity of my presentation is only matched by the completeness of the absence of its contents from your supposedly critical webpage. VargasMilan 23:40, 29 June 2015 (EDT)
I often have a hard time following your writing. Two possible explanations are that English is not your first language, or that you get carried away by your attempts to show great erudition in your writing. There is much evidence strongly pointing to the latter. I will assume that, by "completeness of the absence" you mean "complete absence", for example, and that what you are saying is that your lucid and penetrating exposition of how science works was not included in the "rebuttal" essay, and that the latter is poorer for that. I can assure you that I knew exactly what I was doing when I wrote the essay. I also have a fairly good understanding of how measurement error works, how calculus works, how experimental physics works, and how experiments have historically obtained ever more precise confirmations of Boyle's law, Charles' law, Galilean physics, Newtonian physics, the law of definite proportions, Maxwell's equations, Planck's formula, Schrödinger's equation, relativity, E=mc^2, and so on and so forth. These things, and their history, can be found in many physics textbooks and encyclopedias. SamHB 00:46, 30 June 2015 (EDT)
Would you say that from my indentation choice that possibly I was not speaking to you, but to AugustO and his comments that he linked to at the top of this page? VargasMilan 01:02, 30 June 2015 (EDT)
No, I don't think you were, though I could be wrong. Your reference to "your supposedly critical webpage" seemed to me to be about the "rebuttal" page. The usual standards of indentation, if followed carefully, would suggest that you were replying to your own "Lol" remark, which I assumed you were not actually doing, so I did not read a great deal into your indentation.
It's true that AugustO has also written a good deal about relativity, E=mc^2, and the Cockcroft-Walton experiment. But the comments he linked to at the top of this page (the Aschlafly questions that he put on the E=mc^2 talk page) are not "[his] supposedly critical webpage".
Here's an idea: Why don't you tell us whom your remarks were aimed at? SamHB 01:18, 30 June 2015 (EDT)
I was referring to AugustO's web page that he has linked to over the past year as presented at the top of this page. I don't care if it's part of the E=mc2 talk page, AugustO has made it very much his own by his numerous references, and it's the webpage where he lists his arguments. VargasMilan 01:55, 30 June 2015 (EDT)
@VargasMilan: OK, I'll now assume that you were directing your remarks at AugustO, and saying that your lucid and penetrating exposition of how science works was not included in his "questions for Aschlafly" section of the E=mc^2 talk page, and that the latter is poorer for that. I can assure you that I have read his scientific contributions carefully, including the "questions" section, and that I have the highest regard for his wisdom and knowledge. And there is no doubt that he knew exactly what he was doing when he wrote the section. He clearly also has a good understanding of how measurement error works, how calculus works, how experimental physics works, and how experiments have historically obtained ever more precise confirmations of Boyle's law, Charles' law, Galilean physics, Newtonian physics, the law of definite proportions, Maxwell's equations, Planck's formula, Schrödinger's equation, relativity, E=mc^2, and so on and so forth. These things, and their history, can be found in many physics textbooks and encyclopedias. SamHB 23:53, 1 July 2015 (EDT)
If the precision error is large enough, the object of the precision measurement might be referred to as a "proposed law" so as not to foster confusion. You have mentioned successes, but there are also failures like Descartes' proposals. VargasMilan 02:41, 2 July 2015 (EDT)

@VargasMilan: Sorry, I didn't get that, I thought you were chatting with SamHB:

  • There are no generally followed conventions about indentation on Conservapedia, so it is often misleading
  • Your habit of inserting your comments into older ones made by other contributors is confusing, too.
  • My webpage on Conservapedia is User:AugustO (or User talk:AugustO). You lost me there...
  • At Talk:E=mc², quite a few editors are discussing the article E=mc² - though I'm one of the main contributors. It is an open space, everyone can add his thoughts, there is no need to wait that I do so!
  • I tried to keep the Talk:E=mc²#A few questions for Aschlafly regarding the experiment of Cockcroft and Walton as simple and concise as possible: Andy Schlafly doesn't like long texts
  • Physic students are taught error calculations during their first courses, an engineer like Andy Schlafly should know about them, too. If he wants to make this argument, fine, but then, he should use calculations which are relevant for the experiment, and not some trivial example. The cancellation of two leading digits springs to my mind...

--AugustO 03:26, 30 June 2015 (EDT)

Just a tip...

Articles claiming to highlight "logical flaws" in the ideas of others, probably shouldn't contain logical flaws of their own. As seen by this glaring example:

  • if the formula were true, then why hasn't the formula led to anything of value?

--DonnyC 01:14, 15 June 2015 (EDT)

And the "glaring" logical flaw is ...?--Andy Schlafly 01:23, 15 June 2015 (EDT)
Andy, it's nice to see that you are constantly visiting this talk-page. It seems that you are just not willing (able?) to answer my questions - I assume that a little tit-for-tat is more fun than doing the actual maths. After all, "Math class is tough!" , as Barbie said.
--AugustO 02:06, 15 June 2015 (EDT)
Of course it's more fun (easier too)! It's a lot easier to construct a simple modus tollens, than it is to wade through some really difficult math. It's even easier when you affirm the consequent or beg the question with your premises.--DonnyC 02:15, 15 June 2015 (EDT)
So what happened to explanation of the supposedly "glaring" logical flaw in the above-stated defect in the formula?--Andy Schlafly 15:37, 15 June 2015 (EDT)

Even a "true formula" not necessarily leads to "anything of value". "Not leading to anything of value" therefore doesn't say anything about "the correctness of the formula". --AugustO 16:01, 15 June 2015 (EDT) Here is the argument that AugustO/DonnyC are making taken from a logical fallacy website:

Fallacy: Appeal to Consequences of a Belief - "This line of "reasoning" is fallacious because the consequences of a belief have no bearing on whether the belief is true or false."
At the same time, often bad ideas produce bad consequences. In short, ideas have consequences. For example, the bad economic model of communism caused much poverty. Jesus said, "A good tree can't produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can't produce good fruit." - Matthew 7:18 Conservative 20:33, 24 June 2015 (EDT)

Silencing the opposition - not a smart move

Now, two of the opponents (User:DannyC and User:BradSmythe) of the views of User:Aschlafly have been blocked by User:VargasMilan. While the block of User:DannyC may be justifiable, User:BradSmythe's block reason "(90/10 rule: excess of talk rather than edits to substantive entries)" doesn't fit his edit history! That is very problematic:

  • unfortunately (and perhaps unwillingly) User:VargasMilan creates the impression that User:Aschlafly needs this kind of assistance and maybe even welcomes his opponents to be shut up when debating them. This is emphasized by his remark above: "Too bad you can't explain what you think that means—you violated the 90/10 contribution/talk ratio rule. If you had only made a contribution to the articles...."
  • blocking a new user for breaking the 90/10 rule for two years seems excessive. As the stated block reason is wrong, ulterior motives may have played their part.

--AugustO 18:29, 16 June 2015 (EDT)

AugustO, it may not be a smart move, but it is not the move that is actually taking place. BradSmythe also added false information and inserted vulgarity into pages, and besides that, two years for the 90/10 rule is precedented. I agree that the two blocks, now that you have announced both of them, fosters the false impression that I am trying to remove Andy's opponents because it will give him needed argumentative help. But it's neither one of our faults that his opponents are spontaneously imploding, behavior-wise. VargasMilan 18:51, 16 June 2015 (EDT)
I will rethink his BradSmythe's block time in a little while (I accidently took in too much caffeine recently) though one contribution that was removed for being misleading and four talk entries do not make for a very substantial body of work to weigh against his problem edits. And regarding BradSmythe's remarks, since even I was able to spot more than one potential equivocation in the Nobel prize website statement BradSmythe quoted, I am sure someone with a lawyer's grasp of language analysis like Andy can do the same even faster. VargasMilan 04:03, 17 June 2015 (EDT)
"It is the move that is actually taking place" is a very poor excuse for abusing your block rights.
"I accidentally took in too much caffeine recently" is a very poor excuse for abusing your block rights.
I'm sure you are aware that, as a non-admin who has been granted block rights, you are, as per the Conservapedia:Guidelines an "assistant":
The block function has been devolved to select users who have shown an ability to be trusted. Many of the current Administrators started as one of these Assistants and this status can be considered a way to evaluate users for promotion. As "emergency Sysops", the authority of these users is limited to warning users of policy violations and blocking for blatant vandalism and harassment requiring an immediate response.
Note that these "assistants" are being "evaluated for promotion", that is, their status is probationary.
SamHB (talk) 21:28, 21 February 2016 (EST)

Changing the Speed of Light

"The speed of light is probably changing over time. But according to the formula, a mass at constant energy would change precisely in inverse proportion squared of any change in the speed of light!"

As , a change in the speed of light will mess up magnetic and/or electric potentials, too: is this a logical flaw in Gauss's Law  ?

--AugustO (talk) 16:50, 20 February 2016 (EST)

One would expect a change in the speed of light to affect electromagnetic potentials. One would not expect it to affect a resting mass.--Andy Schlafly (talk) 20:15, 20 February 2016 (EST)
Actually, I would expect it to affect just about everything in atomic physics, to a degree that would be catastrophic for life on Earth. As you know, life is possible only because a number of physical constants are very "finely tuned" for the universe that we live in. This includes the relativistic nature of subatomic particles. If you are depending, for your notion that you can refute E=mc^2, on the idea that it wouldn't respond gracefully to a change in the speed of light, you are clinging to a very thin reed.
There is no credible evidence that the speed of light has changed significantly, or in the present epoch. SamHB (talk) 21:28, 21 February 2016 (EST)
Are you saying that E=mc2 requires that c remain absolutely unchanged throughout the lifetime of the universe? If so, then that proves my point, because that assumption is implausible.--Andy Schlafly (talk) 21:47, 21 February 2016 (EST)
No, I'm not saying that. I'm saying that I don't know what the consequences of a change in c would be. Relativity doesn't address that possibility. Nor do I know what the consequences of an increase in the atomic weight of Iron would be, but presumably Newton's law of motion, F=ma would have to adapt, so that it would take more force to get a given amount of acceleration of a given piece of Iron. I don't know what the consequences of that would be for the universe as a whole. But I doubt that it would overthrow F=ma. SamHB (talk) 22:06, 21 February 2016 (EST)
What more evidence do we need of Sam having relativity on the brain? To him, not only is E=mc2 an equation, he actually thinks it's a definition. VargasMilan (talk) 20:27, 22 February 2016 (EST)
Huh? When did I say it's a definition? Definition of what? Definition of energy? Definition of mass? Definition of the speed of light? Definition of 2? Definition of the exponentiation operation?
Whenever I get into a controversy with someone, you seem to come along and throw meaningless statements and claims at me. Particularly in the field of relativity, you seem to be totally out of your depth. I would suggest that you (a) read some books about relativity to become well versed in the subject, and (b) go to the relativity category here at Conservapedia and read the articles contained therein. Study carefully what the issues are among Andy, AugustO, and myself. (As well as Kate Sorenson and a number of other people.)
Andy at least has a reasonably good grasp of the issues. Not good enough, but reasonably good. For example, he knows what it means to draw the distinction between the Nobel announcement for the CockCroft-Walton experiment specifically citing its confirmation of E=mc2, or not citing it. And AugustO or I (I don't remember who) fixed the page because of that. And he has something of a grasp of what it would mean, if a fundamental constant of physics were to change, for the various equations in which that constant appears. But you don't seem to "get it" at all, so you just throw around foolishness about having "relativity on the brain", or losing my mind, or "pseudoscience that leavens science" or "enthronement catalytical of the growth of liberal dogma". I recommend that if, after reading the articles in the relativity category, you still don't understand what's going on, you should ask Andy to help you. SamHB (talk) 00:21, 23 February 2016 (EST)
<slow clap> Splendidly done, Sam! Splendidly done! You've successfully entangled your thoughts in a whole host of my noun phrases and proceeded to dismiss them all without showing a glimmer of intellectual engagement! I wouldn't have expected any less out of you. Though I am less inclined to acknowledge the truth of your accompanying, but as scornfully dismissive, ripostes. Perhaps you can't find the meaning of my statements for the same reason a thief cannot find a policeman.
For the benefit of your benighted alarm, you said E=mc2 was a definition when you actually compared its case with the case of "Newton's" as you put it, equation, F=ma, which is a definition. VargasMilan (talk) 01:01, 23 February 2016 (EST)
Yeah, I had a hunch that that was the nature of your misunderstanding. SamHB (talk) 20:53, 24 February 2016 (EST)
In response to SamHB, it is not a scientific rebuttal to say that other equations might also break as c changes speed. Maybe other equations are flawed too, or maybe they aren't. E=mc2 obviously does break as c changes speed, and thus cannot be true.--Andy Schlafly (talk) 21:13, 22 February 2016 (EST)
Well, I guess you seem to be saying that equations of physics break when fundamental constants change. Would this include the de Broglie formula ? Or the equation of appearing in electromagnetism ? If the speed of light were to change, would existing de Broglie "matter waves" have their momentum change? Would the constant , or , change? For E=mc2, if the speed of light were to double, would the potential energy in an object quadruple? Or, alternatively, would the mass attributable to that energy be divided by 4? Or would the equation have to be replaced with E=mc2/4? If the latter, having E become mc2/4 instead of mc2, that would indeed be a failure of E=mc2. Is that what you are suggesting? That is, are you admitting that E=mc2 now, but would have to change to something else, leaving E and m the same, for a change in c? SamHB (talk) 00:21, 23 February 2016 (EST)
I apologize for the lack of lucidity in what I wrote just above; I was distracted by VargasMilan's nipping at my heels.
I assume that you are allowing that, for example, the loss of mass due to potential energy in the alpha decay of Radium is .0052288 amu, that the combined kinetic energy of the alpha particle and the recoiling Radon atom is 4.870596 MeV, and that the ratio, once one wades through the amu->kilogram and MeV->Joule conversions, is 1.1110-17 kilograms per Joule, or 91016 Joules per kilogram. And that similar results are obtained for other interactions. But that these results depend on the speed of light being the square root of that, or (recognizing the unit equivalence of 1 Joule being 1 kilogram meter-squared per second-squared) 3108 m/s. So you are saying the formula should be E=m91016 Joules of kinetic energy released per kilogram of mass lost. And that that formula, with its numeric ratio 91016, is correct for all times and all places in the universe, and just happens to be the square of the speed of light in the current epoch but not at other times or other places.
That's an interesting idea. First let me say that there is no credible evidence that the speed of light has ever changed in the history of the universe. (I'm going to be editing the "c decay" page soon.) I don't remember the details, but I think I read some articles about speculation that the fine structure constant may have changed in cosmic time. As you know, the speed of light appears in the fine structure constant. Researchers have done calculations about how spectral lines of elements would shift if the fine structure constant changed, and about how the abundance of Uranium fission decay products would change. It is possible to separate out various aspects of spectral line shift from the uniform redshift of cosmic expansion. The characteristic differential spectral line shift was not observed, placing a tight small bound on possible changes in the speed of light since early cosmic time. Analysis of the fission product abundance in the Oklo "natural nuclear reactor" got inconclusive results for very tiny shifts. But "tight bounds" doesn't mean that any possible change is exactly zero.
There are other formulae that involve the speed of light, and involve photons, which we can directly receive from deep cosmic time. (We don't have access to any Radium atoms from 10 billion years ago.) A particularly noteworthy one is de Broglie's formula or . This applies only to particles with (rest) mass of zero, that is, photons. There are compelling reasons (rooted in relativity) why this is so. So perhaps you are saying that the formula should actually be , where the numeric constant is in meters per second. And that that ratio just happens to be the speed of light in the current epoch.
Unlike Radium atoms, these photons actually travel across the cosmos, so they would experience a change in the speed of light. There are a number of possibilities:
  • The speed of a photon is the speed of light at the instant it was emitted. This would imply that, in the present epoch, there could be photons, from distant galaxies, traveling at different speeds. The fundamental principle that the speed of light is the same for all observers in all states of motion (the principle of the Michelson-Morley experiment) only applies to "home grown" photons, which are the only kinds we normally see. If the experiment were conducted with photons from distant galaxies it might get different results.
  • Or maybe photons change speed as they travel through space.
  • If the quantity in de Broglie's formula is actually always the numeric value , rather than the speed of light in the epoch in which it is being measured, de Broglie's formula isn't correct except in the current epoch.
  • But if the quantity in de Broglie's formula is always the speed of light wherever the measurements are made, then photons change energy, or momentum, as they travel through space. This would violate the principles of conservation of energy or of momentum.
I really don't know which possibilities you have in mind. I admit that I haven't pondered these possibilities, and I'm not aware that anyone else has either.
SamHB (talk) 20:53, 24 February 2016 (EST)