Tag Archives: Einstein

Is not SR a Valid Scientific Theory? PART I

Atheists do have some deep-seated basic convictions. When science does in no way contradict these basic convictions of them, they are whole-heartedly with science. However if any scientific theory contradicts in any way any single basic conviction of them, they do not hesitate to go against science.

The two most basic convictions of the atheists are:

  • There is nothing supernatural; and
  • Whatever exists, exists within space-time only. So nothing can exist outside space-time.

However SR has shown that light exists neither in space nor in time, because travel time and travel distance become zero for light. So for light there is neither any space to exist nor any time to exist. This directly contradicts one of the two basic convictions of the atheists that nothing can exist outside space-time. So the attitude of the atheists towards SR is really very peculiar and ambiguous as will be evident from the interactions that I had with some atheists.

In one YouTube comment section one atheist wrote that if space-time began, there is no room for a deity. From here started the exchange of arguments and counterarguments between the two of us.

Me

‘If space-time began, there’s no room for a deity.’

This is not true. If this deity is spaceless and timeless, then it can exist spacelessly and timelessly without needing any space-time for it to exit.

Atheist1

“If this deity is spaceless and timeless” Then definitionally it doesn’t exist. Do you understand? Existence means within space-time. There is nothing “outside”. That’s a comparative concept that doesn’t apply.

Me

Please read the article “The Fundamental Nature of Light” by Dr. Sascha Vongehr in Science 2.0 (February 3rd, 2011) here:

http://www.science20.com/alpha_meme/fundamental_nature_light-75861

There it has been shown that light exists for zero time in zero space, because as per the special theory of relativity both the travel time and the travel distance becomes zero for light. Therefore as per SR light is in no space for no time. So will you say that light does not exist? Here is an example: A photon coming from a star lying at a distance of one billion light-years from the earth will take one billion years of earth’s time to reach the surface of the earth. But from the reference frame of light the distance from the star to the earth is zero. This is as per one of the equations of SR. So as per SR there is no space in between the star and the earth for light to exist. Similarly for light there is no time to exist, because from its own reference frame the travel time has also become zero for it.

Atheist1

“There it has been shown that light exists for zero time in zero space” Well.. that’s fundamentally wrong.. and we have been able to slow down photons and examine them, you know.

“So will you say that light does not exist?” We have a specific definition for the em spectrum, and we measure it.

“But from the reference frame of light” Heh.. light doesn’t have a reference frame. That’s another place you went wrong.

“Similarly for light there is no time to exist, because from its own reference frame the travel time has also become zero for it.” You understand that traveling at lightspeed isn’t going to matter when you are playing these imaginary games, right? Everything moves at the speed of light if you use light as a reference point. Can you see how that just doesn’t work? Also, you assume the speed of light in a vacuum is special, the entire em spectrum moves without regard for the higgs field.

Not sure how this in any way relates to your assertion that a nothing deity can exist. Your page is more philosophy than science.

Me

From your reply it appears that in order to not address the main issue here you have to discuss so many things about light that is not in any way warranted by my reply. I have given one example in my reply: light coming from a star situated at a distance of one billion light-years from the earth. I have also written that the travel distance (TD) and the travel time (TT) from the star to the earth become zero for light. Either I am wrong in my assertion here, or I am not. If I am not wrong, then the two legitimate scientific questions that can be asked here are these: in which space does light exist during its transition from the star to the earth (TD is zero)? And for how long does it exist (TT is also zero)? So the main issue here is simply this: do TD and TT really become zero for light, as the two equations of SR show? Or, do they not? So it was most essential for me to know whether I was wrong in my assertion here or not. But from your reply it is in no way possible for me to know this, because there is no clear-cut answer. So, without trying to sidetracking the real issue here, if you can answer this question just in one word only, then that will be enough and sufficient for me: am I wrong, or am I not? No one has requested you to take a science class here.

Atheist1

“I have given one example in my reply: light coming from a star situated at a distance of one billion light-years from the earth.” That still has nothing to do with your assertion of a deity, try to stay focused.

“I have also written that the travel distance (TD) and the travel time (TT) from the star to the earth become zero for light. Either I am wrong in my assertion here, or I am not.”

In simple terms:

  1. Space is not a perfect vacuum.
  2. The EM spectrum is not sentient, it cannot have a “perspective” as EM is just information packets, not mass.
  3. Mass cannot travel the speed of light, so your modality is flawed.

“If I am not wrong, then the two legitimate scientific questions that can be asked here are these: in which space does light exist during its transition from the star to the earth (TD is zero)? And for how long does it exist (TT is also zero)?” These questions sound like you have a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of space-time. Space-time is not static, it’s an infinitely variable matrix. Distance is variable as space-time expands (and it will eventually expand faster than light). Of course none of this is relevant to the assertion that a deity exists.

“But from your reply it is in no way possible for me to know this, because there is no clear-cut answer.” Because your questions are not cogent. You need to take a basic cosmology course, understand that there’s a lot more going on than simple trigonometry.

Me

Equations of SR show that travel time and travel distance become zero for light. On the basis of this I have asked these two questions: “in which space does light exist during its transition from the star to the earth (TD is zero)? And for how long does it exist (TT is also zero)?”

But you have written that I “have a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of space-time. Space-time is not static, it’s an infinitely variable matrix. Distance is variable as space-time expands (and it will eventually expand faster than light)”.

So do you mean to say here that if the two facts that space-time is not static and that distance is also variable are properly taken into consideration, then we will find that travel time and travel distance do not actually become zero for light? As whatever I have written is based on the two equations of SR only, so do you mean to say that SR has not taken into consideration these two facts and that that is the reason why it has arrived at some equations that are wrongly showing that travel time and travel distance become zero for light? Do you mean to say that if an actual experiment is conducted with light coming from a distant galaxy, then we will be able to arrive at some other equations completely different from those of SR and that will be able to show that travel time and travel distance do not become zero for light?

Has any such experiment been conducted by any scientist? Can you give any citation? Otherwise how do we come to know that these are not just your personal opinions having no valid scientific basis?

On the basis of which scientific evidence are you saying that travel time and travel distance do not become zero for light when the equations of SR are showing that they do become zero?

Here there are only two possibilities:

1) Either SR has not taken into consideration the facts that space-time is not static and that distance is also variable and that is why it is wrongly showing that travel time and travel distance become zero for light;

2) Or SR has properly taken into consideration the above two facts and despite that it is showing that travel time and travel distance become zero for light.

If 1), then SR is not a valid scientific theory and therefore it should be immediately replaced by some other better theory.

If 2), then my two questions are fully legitimate questions.

Up till now he has not replied although more than two weeks have already elapsed.

Here Atheist1 is not directly saying that SR is not a valid scientific theory. That much courage he does not possess. He knows very well that if he says so, then he will have to substantiate it by some actual experimental evidence as otherwise no one will believe his words. But neither is it possible for him to digest that one well-established scientific theory is showing that light exists neither in space nor in time and so he brings in all sorts of arguments to point out that this cannot be the case:

1) Space is not a perfect vacuum:

2) Space-time is not static, it’s an infinitely variable matrix: and

3) Distance is also variable.

Below is the case of another atheist who is bold enough to say that mathematics of SR is wrong.

Atheist2

So how can a god that exists outside time interact with stuff inside time? At best you have a deist god, but doesn’t this result in another version of the interaction problem? 

Me

Please read the article “The Fundamental Nature of Light” by Dr. Sascha Vongehr in Science 2.0 (February 3rd, 2011) here:

http://www.science20.com/alpha_meme/fundamental_nature_light-75861

There it has been shown that light exists for zero time in zero space, because as per the special theory of relativity both the travel time and the travel distance becomes zero for light. Therefore as per SR light is in no space for no time. Still being neither in space nor in time light can have effects on things within space and time. 

Atheist2

‘Therefore as per SR light is in no space for no time.’

That’s not at all what SR says. Just that light doesn’t ‘experience’ time. It still has location in spacetime(duh, photons is how we see stuff), which means it exists in spacetime.

So you’ve not solved this interaction problem, you’ve just demonstrated you’ve no idea what it’s about, and why SR debunks A-theory of time. 

Me

A photon coming from a star lying at a distance of one billion light-years from the earth will take one billion years of earth’s time to reach the surface of the earth. But from the reference frame of light the distance from the star to the earth is zero. This is as per one of the equations of SR. So as per SR there is no space in between the star and the earth for light to exist. So please specify in which particular space-point does light exist during its transition from the star to the earth. Just saying that light exists in space-time will not do. 

Atheist2

‘But from the reference frame of light the distance from the star to the earth is zero.’

Yes, dr^2 and such, but the particle still exists in space-time now does it.

Again, no frame of reference doesn’t mean no space-time-allocation.

‘So as per SR there is no space in between the star and the earth for light to exist.’

No, just that photons don’t experience time.

‘Just saying that light exists in space-time will not do.’

If observation defeats math, math is wrong, not observation. 

Me

‘If observation defeats math, math is wrong, not observation.’

So you are saying that math of SR is wrong, because observation cannot be wrong. Can you offer a better theory that will be able to replace SR? If you do have such a theory, then please present it to the peers and get it accepted. 

Atheist2

‘So you are saying that math of SR is wrong, because observation cannot be wrong.’

No. Both theory and observation are subject to fallabilism. That doesn’t mean observation isn’t key to physics. I’d refer you to Kuhn’s 5 ways for theory choice.

‘Can you offer a better theory that will be able to replace SR?’

No, nor do I see why I should, that’s not my job. SR is still less wrong than what came before, and very useful. It’s just not complete. 

Me

There are two theories of science that are also considered as facts by the scientific community. These two theories are:

1) Darwin’s theory of evolution: and

2) Einstein’s special theory of relativity.

A theory can be falsified at any time, but a fact is a fact is a fact is a fact is a fact is a fact is a fact. So perhaps you are daydreaming if you think that one day SR will be replaced by some other better theory.

Is there any need for the Supernatural?

The difference between the atheists and the scientists is this: atheists can afford to be close-minded, but scientists cannot; their job or profession forbids them to be so. As scientists they have got some responsibility that the atheists do not have. As scientists they are supposed to provide explanation for all the events, phenomena or effects in nature and therefore they have to keep their mind open to the possibility that they may not always be able to explain everything purely naturally.

Scientist Victor J Stenger was an atheist, but like most of the atheists he was not close-minded. He did not completely rule out the possibility that there might be a God. In the year 2007 he published a book ‘God: The Failed Hypothesis. How Science Shows That God Does Not exist’. In the introduction of that book he wrote the following:

“Indeed, the “God of the gaps” has long been a common argument for God. Science does not explain everything, so there is always room for other explanations and the believer is easily convinced that the explanation is God. However, the God of the gaps argument by itself fails, at least as a scientific argument, unless the phenomenon in question is not only currently scientifically inexplicable but can be shown to forever defy natural description. God can only show up by proving to be necessary, with science equally proven to be incapable of providing a plausible account of the phenomenon based on natural or material processes alone.” (pp 13-14)1

So as per Stenger if there is one single phenomenon of nature for which science is proven to be incapable of providing a plausible account based on natural or material processes alone and which can be shown to forever defy natural description, then there, and there only, God can show up by proving to be necessary as an explanation.

Not only that. In the year 2009 British Scientist Edgar Andrews published a book ‘Who Made God’ in which he severely criticised the book “God: the Failed hypothesis” by Stenger (Chapter 5). In reply Stenger wrote the following:

“Anyone who has read any of my books knows I would never say that models detect anything. I simply say that God is not needed as part of any existing models but make clear that, if the evidence should require it, science should be required to include supernatural causes. If anything, Andrews should appreciate that, unlike most scientists, I allow for the possibility that we may not always be able to explain everything purely naturally. Currently we can, but I cannot predict the future.”2 (emphasis added)

Here also we can see that he is not completely ruling out the possibility for the existence of the supernatural. This possibility can only be completely ruled out if, and only if, science can provide a natural explanation for each and every phenomenon of nature without any single exception.

There is one more scientist who like Victor J Stenger keeps his mind open to the possibility that as scientists one day they may also have the need of God as an explanation for some phenomenon of nature. Sean M Carroll is a theoretical physicist; to the outer world he is known to be an atheist. But despite that in November 1, 2010 he wrote an article (Is Dark Matter Supernatural?) that clearly shows his open-mindedness regarding this. Here is a relevant quote from that article:

“There is a perfectly good question of whether science could ever conclude that the best explanation was one that involved fundamentally lawless behavior. The data in favor of such a conclusion would have to be extremely compelling… but I don’t see why it couldn’t happen. Science is very pragmatic, as the origin of quantum mechanics vividly demonstrates. Over the course of a couple decades, physicists (as a community) were willing to give up on extremely cherished ideas of the clockwork predictability inherent in the Newtonian universe, and agree on the probabilistic nature of quantum mechanics. That’s what fit the data. Similarly, if the best explanation scientists could come up with for some set of observations necessarily involved a lawless supernatural component, that’s what they would do. There would inevitably be some latter-day curmudgeonly Einstein figure who refused to believe that God ignored the rules of his own game of dice, but the debate would hinge on what provided the best explanation, not a priori claims about what is and is not science.”3 (emphasis added)

From above we can see that the question as to whether there is any supernatural or not is purely a practical one. If scientists fail to provide a suitable explanation for certain phenomenon of nature by every natural means possible, then they are ready to go for the supernatural. Atheists do not have to face such crisis in their life, so they can very easily remain close-minded.

Reference:

  1. http://skepdic.ru/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/bog-neydachnaia-gipoteza.pdf
  2. http://whomadegod.org/2011/06/victor-stenger-replies-to-who-made-god/
  3. http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/cosmicvariance/2010/11/01/is-dark-matter-supernatural/#.V_jlNNR95kg

Is It the Job of the Scientists to Manufacture Truth, Or to Discover It?

Although many scientists have verbally denied God, yet through their scientific work they have always remained faithful to their creator God. I will give a few examples here.

1) God is said to be immaterial. This means God contains no matter. As matter and energy are equivalent, so we can say that God contains no energy. So total energy of God is zero. God is the source from which everything has originated. If the source does not contain any energy, then the outcome – here, the universe – cannot contain any energy. That means the total energy of the universe cannot be other than zero. Remaining faithful to their creator God scientists have also shown that the total energy of the universe is indeed zero.

2) God is also said to be spaceless and timeless. If God is really there, then there will be the presence of an everlasting state of spacelessness and timelessness in addition to the universe, because this God is everlastingly present with all his attributes. Due to the presence of this everlasting state of spacelessness and timelessness in addition to our universe space and time in our universe cannot be absolute. For space and time to be absolute, they will have to have the same values in each and every case without any single exception. But due to the presence of this everlasting state space and time will have null values in at least one case, that is, in case of God, whereas in every other case they can have non-zero values. Thus it can be seen that due to the presence of this everlasting state of spacelessness and timelessness in addition to our universe space and time in our universe will fail to have the same values in each and every case, which they must have if they are to be absolute. So in this situation it is impossible for space and time to be absolute. Here also remaining faithful to their creator God scientists have shown that space and time are not at all absolute.

3) God is said to be timeless. Remaining again faithful to the creator God Einstein has shown how a timeless state can obtain. Special theory of relativity (STR) has shown that at the speed of light time totally stops.

4) God is said to be spaceless. In this case also Einstein remained faithful to the creator God and has shown how a spaceless state can obtain. STR has shown that travel distance becomes zero for light. If certain amount of space (say, a room) is filled up with light only, then the volume of that room will be zero due to this property of light. As zero volume means no space, so in this way a spaceless state can obtain.

In all the four cases above scientists could have shown just the opposite than what they have actually shown, thus falsifying God. Just show that the universe as a whole has non-zero energy value, God will be falsified. Or show that it is in no way possible to be spaceless and timeless, again God will be falsified. Or show that space and time are not relative, but absolute and God will be falsified. Any one of these shown by them could have falsified God for all time to come. And they were always free to falsify him. But despite that they have failed to do so. This is solely because as scientists it is not their job to manufacture truth, but to discover it. So it was not at all possible for them to do otherwise than what they had actually done, even if they had wanted to.

Lawrence Krauss’ Faulty Logic

In the year 2010 scientist Lawrence M Krauss wrote an article in Wall Street Journal1 in which he has argued that as the total energy of our present universe is found to be zero, so from this it can be concluded that it has originated from nothing. The gist of his argument is something like this: let us suppose that the universe has actually originated from nothing at all. (Here this nothing is the so-called nothing of the scientists, not the usual nothing of the philosophers.) Then in that case the total energy of the universe would obviously be zero, because here everything has started from zero or nothing. Surprisingly scientists have found that the total energy of the present universe is also zero. So naturally it can be said that it has actually originated from nothing, because in that case only its total energy is expected to be zero. But this reasoning is faulty. This is because it can be shown that if the universe has originated from something and not from nothing, then in that case also the total energy of the universe would be zero. We are saying that the universe has originated from something, but we do not know anything about this something. It may be that this something is another universe, or it may not be. It may be this something is God, or it may not be. These are all guess-works, and all these guess-works might be wrong. That means we cannot say anything about it with absolute certainty. But at least one thing we can say about it with some certainty and it is this: our universe has originated from that something. That means only that something was there and there was nothing else other than that something when our universe has not yet come into existence; no space, no time, no matter and no energy. Space, time, matter and energy came into being only after the origin of the universe from that something. So before the beginning of the universe that something was without space and time. Now with the help of the general theory of relativity it can be shown that the total energy of that something would be zero. Einstein’s GR says that space, time and matter are so interlinked that there cannot be any space and time without matter. Similarly there cannot be any matter without space and time. Again from special theory of relativity we come to know that matter and energy are equivalent. So instead of saying that there cannot be any matter without space and time we can also say that there cannot be any energy without space and time. We have already shown that initial something was without space and time. But we have also seen that there cannot be any energy without space and time. Therefore initial something cannot have any energy. So if the universe has originated from that something instead of nothing, then in that case also its total energy will be zero, because it cannot have more energy than the source from which it has originated.

So it is quite immaterial as to whether the universe has actually originated from something or from nothing, because in both the cases its total energy would be zero. So from the mere fact that the total energy of our present universe has been found to be zero, it cannot be concluded that it has actually originated from nothing, because even if it has originated from something, then also its total energy would be zero. So zero total energy cannot be the only factor on the basis of which we can conclude that our present universe has actually originated from nothing.

  1. http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052748703946504575469653720549936