BOOK REVIEW (for TIME DILATION)
by Francisco J. Muller
Varela Academy of Science, director
John Doan's book is one of the most dramatic and appealing claim against intellectual abuses that I have ever read lately among the relativistic dissidents.
It is entertaining, colorful, witty, psychologically moving and dramatic at the same time.
This book, in 10 Chapters and 191 pages, describes the "tour de force" of a common sensed person, with average scientific education but not a physicist himself, in search for an understanding of Einstein's Relativity theory. He is convinced that at least three important points of the theory are total flaws: 1-time dilation; 2-space curvature; and 3-the absolute constancy of light speed, regardless of source velocity or observer velocity. The first two chapters set the dialectical stage, quote some dissidents of RT (Relativity Theory) including my own group (Natural Philosophy Alliance) and Gerhard Kraus, and anticipates some of the author's theses, but without much reasoning. In fact these two initial chapters appear to me somehow vague and slow. It is in Chap. 3 (an imaginary interview with Einstein) where we start reading some solid arguments, mostly describing the disconcerting variety of opinions that 20 relativistic authors explored by John Doan hold respect Time Dilation. On page 35 John Doan presents the critique. It is not original but is forcefully expressed and repeated along the entire book as a leitmotiv, namely, that asymmetric time aging as usually claimed by a group of relativists when one clock moves back and forth, showing "less" time than an identical clock that remained at "rest" at the origin, is a logical impossibility . Since relative motion is perfectly reciprocal, symmetric and interchangeable, there is no way to say which clock must really go slower. They can both get slower, leading to a>b and a<b simultaneously.
The arguments against space-curvature and light speed constancy are less forcefully presented. John Doan even dares to give his own version of 4-D space which I personally cannot approve (it is still 3-D). Concerning light speed he describes the relativistic position as claiming that c+v = c, or that c+c = c. These, of course, are inaccurate expressions which relativists do not endorse. But the reader gets the hint that in practice this is what RT concludes using its velocity composition expression, (which the author does not quote). After an imaginary interview with Einstein and asking him twenty questions that he cannot answer the author is ready to "divorce" Relativity and return to Newtonian absolute space and time.
In an equally imaginary interview with Newton Time Dilation is replaced by "motion change". John Doan does not question the possibility of Time Dilation provided it is due to an asymmetric physical cause, not to Einstein's uniform motion only, and provided we refer it to a physical change in a clock, not in "Time", whatever Time means. Newton's affirmations sound a bit authoritarian but his absolute space, time and simultaneity win the day in the author's view.
The next Chapter, (7), is a grand detour into the "relativity of language" which,to this reviewer, seems the weakest portion of the book, and not too much needed at all, though it contains a high dose of human insights and situations. The following two Chapters present the final attack on Time Dilation and the replacement of Einstein by Newton. Topics like asymmetry vs. symmetry, relative vs absolute, are discussed. The author uses the method of analogical comparisons to guide the reader through the intricacies of relativistic thought. In the final chapter an unexpected biographical experience, concerning a friend killed at war who was a relativistic dissident since adolescence, moves the reader almost to compassion. The plea for understanding rises here to its climax, but only to conclude that no matter what is done, Relativity will always "win". In an Epilogue the author asks Stephen Hawking, whom he praises, to become a new Einstein, but against Einstein.
2-Some specific comments:
In search for a causal reason of Time Dilation the author is wasting his time. Regardless of what our century believes, Einstein never gave a causal explanation of anything. The plea for a "why" concerning Time Dilation is, therefore, a futile one.
An authoritative relativist like Nobel laureate Max Born clearly expressed this when he wrote: the (length) contraction, (and time dilation), are "only a way of our way of regarding things and is not a change of a physical reality. Hence (they) do not come within the scope of the concepts of cause and effect". They are "circumstantial companions of motion", (1). No wonder John Doan could never find a rational explanation. There is none! Relativity Theory must be "swallowed" as an entire package.
What happens to John Doan is that he has concentrated so much in the initial illogical and meaningless postulates of the theory that he cannot see the "what for" of such postulates and procedures. He himself tries to establish, in Chap. 7 that the only thing giving meaning to language is our purposes and desires, "what we want". This is very questionable, but it shows that the lack of "meaning" and "purposiveness" he finds, almost painfully, at the entrance of Relativity is due to the truncated analysis he makes of the entire theory.
Some relativists might agree with him that the twin paradox is certainly illogical, but then using those Time Dilation and Length Contraction equations "solves", for them, a million other problems regarding the enigmatic behavior of light, regarding the apparent increase of mass with velocity, the hyperfine structure of hydrogen spectra, the gyromagnetic ratio of the electron, etc, etc. That is their "justification" of the initial crimes. If you remain at the front door of Relativity you will be forever disgusted with it. Only if you enter it completely you might find some "purpose" for those crimes. The marvel is that some of these effects do exist in reality, including clock retardation, as recently experienced by scientists working with the GPS satellites, (Global Positioning System). But these same results, for example, show that there must be a "preferred frame of reference". The GPS community uses a frame fixed to the Earth but not rotating with it. And that is the only way the atomic clocks can be coordinated. Even the Hafele-Keating experiment quoted by John Doan, (if given validity in spite of the very sloppy data it obtained), shows that this privileged frame is the ONLY one that can be used, not the reciprocal frame equivalence of Einstein's relativity. John Doan reports to Einstein in his imaginary interview that the Hafele-Keating eastbound airplane showed retarded clock readings when compared with ground clocks, as expected. But then the westbound flying clocks showed... increased time readings! The latter totally contradicts Einstein's reciprocal symmetries. One has to explain this by saying that the ABSOLUTE rotational velocity of the three set of clocks is what determines their clock rates. Thus considered, the eastbound plane had earth rotation plus its speed V, (say E+V); the ground clock had only the earth's rotational speed, E; and the westbound clock had obviously E-V. So that order: E+V, E and E-V, must be strictly kept to "explain" the observed rates, (if they were real). You cannot say, following Einstein, that respect the ground both planes had velocity V, (one eastward and another westward) so that BOTH planes should have had retarded time readings. It does not work that way. Whenever relativistic effects are observed, IF they are observed at all, the reports show ASYMMETRICAL results. Never a symmetrical relativistic effect have been observed. And in fact: they CANNOT be observed. Bridgman was very witty about this point: the same photon cannot enter on one observer's detector and in another observer's detector. Thus, relativity theory, as established by Einstein can never be experimentally proven. Einstein himself admitted this. But a single experiment against it would totally disprove it. Based on this Popper created his entire philosophy of scientific falsification: theories can only be disproven, not proven.
So John Doan's search for understanding, for causal and physical reasons, for experimental proofs is, again, a futile one. He will be forever frustrated as all honest students of Einstein's relativity are initially frustrated with the theory. Only through the exercise of authority, the desire to appear "intelligent", to gain prestige, or yielding to academic pressure and even "fear", as so vividly described by the author, is that Einstein's relativity has opened its way throughout our century. In this sense John Doan's book is one of the most dramatic and appealing claim against these intellectual abuses that I have ever read lately among the relativistic dissidents.
Unfortunately John Doan also falls prey of some of the errors of Einstein, specially when he relativizes language so much as to identify truth with mere labels, (words) and words with only... "what we want". Here he is more relativistic than Einstein. his emphasis in the importance of language and knowing the meaning of words and mathematical symbols is a very healthy one . Physicists that underestimate the value of language, as been inferior in intellectual content to mathematical equations, run the risk of losing all physical meaning in those equations. They abandoned the cosmic order, (which can only be apprehended by transcendental philosophic and common sense thinking), to find only... a chaos.
The reason why relativistic equations seem to work are not those initially established by Einstein in his 1905 theory, (which are not "reasons" but axiomatic postulates, arbitrarily stipulated by Einstein, as he himself has clearly said). Einstein postulated precisely what has to be explained which is: why light behaves as it does?. Thus, he killed, right from the beginning, any possibility of rational and causal PHYSICAL explanations of the enigmatic behavior of light.
The physical content of Lorentz's transformation must be searched not in a pseudophilosophical space/time revolution, but in Maxwell's equations, whose invariance determined those transformations. And here we are touching physical reality. It is a pity that John Doan remained so isolated from this aspect of Relativity Theory, the only one that could make sense in the experimental world. He cites the Michelson-Morley experiment, but only like Einstein, as a purely kinematical effect, without examining its electromagnetic implications. John Doan gives a simplistic ballistic explanation of the experiment, (pg.51), which is perfectly logical. If the speed of the source is added to that of light then light behaves just like sound, like a penny in a moving plane, etc. But the problem is that in other experiments and observations, like De Sitter's binary stars, and Majorana experiment of 1919, the speed of the emitter does not appear to be added to the speed of light. In this sense John Doan gives only a partial view of the experimental evidence. Relativists claim that only RT is in "agreement" with ALL experiments. But again this is invalidated when we recall the GPS asymmetries, my own unipolar inductor asymmetry (2), the Sagnac effect asymmetry in which light, certainly travels according to c+v, or c-v depending on the speed of the detector (3). It is only a pity that John Doan did not capitalize on these "hard to explain" anti-relativistic effects.
3-Summary and evaluation:
All in all I find his book very suitable for awakening the public's intellectual slumber and denouncing its general uncritical "worshipping" of Einstein and his relativistic fairy tales. The word "dimension" for example, is one of the most abused words in the physico-mathematical community. John Doan should have noted that the "fourth dimension" is not time t, but the product ct, which is space! In fact, space traversed by light, and only that. We cannot add apples to oranges. Spatial x,y,z cannot be added to time, but to ct. To call this a "dimension" is a play with words. Is a fancy rhetoric, and the unalerted public takes the physicists' words as... revealed dogmas. In this sense John Doan's critical analysis of language is very valuable. But, please, keep it for the scientists, not the general public. Certainly language depends a lot on its context; but the context is not all, neither "everything is language" as he claims. Everything begins with words, he says, a statement that has only meaning when reinterpreted in a Christian "context", (in the beginning was the Word., John 1/1..) Otherwise, we should not debunk language to debunk Einstein, else the remedy becomes worse than the disease.
Despite the informal language, (which gives, however, a sparkling vividness to the book) and in spite of two nude females that adorn two figures, (an echo of the author's justification of pornography;an aspect with which this reviewer strongly disagrees ), and in spite of some poor math and some poor illustrations, the main idea of the book does come through with convincing argumentation: asymmetric aging, or "clock retardation", is impossible in the totally symmetristic scenario claimed by Einstein's first postulate and his equivalence principle. If such differential aging is ever observed, (as it seems to happen indeed), it can never be "explained" through Einstein's time dilation equation. Efforts of relativists to "asymmetrize" the situation, (resorting to acceleration), is just in vain. The equation depends only on the constant velocity. John Doan rightfully asks for another equation using acceleration. But he finds there is none in the domain of special relativity.
This much, by way of negative criticism, the author has clearly, forcefully and dramatically established and illustrated. By way of constructive criticism he tries to rehabilitate Newton's absolute Time and Space. But then he "escapes" into the ideal world of mathematics. Such a Time is our own creation, he says, and thus it is what we want. And we want and need it to be absolute and universal, otherwise I might be late for my friend's coffee time. This, of course, is too much an anthropomorphic language, and is as idealistic and mathematical as Einstein himself. In this sense, the rehabilitation of Newton, though well intentioned, remains a poor facet of the book. The author fails to see that time is both: a mental idea ("created" by us), but ALSO based on physical changes, which we did not create. Ultimately the whole Uni-verse is the only real absolute clock. Everything exists at once. Thus co-existence is the basis of simultaneity, not the mid-point clock setting which he attributes to Newton everywhere in the Universe. (Is this fancy or he read it in Newton?)
My overall recommendation to my readers: read the book in two or three days. Excuse its English deficiencies, (specially in the use of punctuation). It is entertaining, colorful, witty, psychologically moving and dramatic at the same time. But use it only as an introduction to a more complete and structured criticism and evaluation of Relativity Theory as we know it today. Consult its references and sources. At the end of this millennium such an enterprise might be a healthy one. We should start the Third Millennium without carrying the garbage from the previous one. Sifting the gold from the mud in the relativistic camp is going to be one of the most fascinating, arduous, engaging and dramatic intellectual adventures of the new millennium. And hopefully after the "dead end" in which theoretical physics finds itself now, (in spite of claims to the contrary by scientists and engineers), perhaps, we will start progressing again in a more realistic way, with a more integrated view of Nature and of the Cosmos, and certainly, with a less insulting set of physical principles for our minds.
Francisco J. Muller.References:
1- Max Born, "Einstein's Theory of Relativity", pg. 254.(Dover, NY, 1962)
2- F.J.Muller, Gal. Electrodynamics, vol.1 No. 3, pg. 27, 1990.
3- F.J.Muller, Gal. Electrodynamics, vol.5 No.5 pg.90, 1994
© 1998 John Doan / www.jdxworld.com/johndoan.htm / Posted 14 Dec 98