Category Archives: Email Debates

Debates over email or in my own forum

The Unreal Universe — Discussion with Gibran

Hi again,You raise a lot of interesting questions. Let me try to answer them one by one.

You’re saying that our observations of an object moving away from us would look identical in either an SR or Galilean context, and therefore this is not a good test for SR.

What I’m saying is slightly different. The coordinate transformation in SR is derived considering only receding objects and sensing it using radar-like round trip light travel time. It is then assumed that the transformation laws thus derived apply to all objects. Because the round trip light travel is used, the transformation works for approaching objects as well, but not for things moving in other directions. But SR assumes that the transformation is a property of space and time and asserts that it applies to all moving (inertial) frames of reference regardless of direction.

We have to go a little deeper and ask ourselves what that statement means, what it means to talk about the properties of space. We cannot think of a space independent of our perception. Physicists are typically not happy with this starting point of mine. They think of space as something that exists independent of our sensing it. And they insist that SR applies to this independently existing space. I beg to differ. I consider space as a cognitive construct based on our perceptual inputs. There is an underlying reality that is the cause of our perception of space. It may be nothing like space, but let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that the underlying reality is like Galilean space-time. How would be perceive it, given that we perceive it using light (one-way travel of light, not two-way as SR assumes)? It turns out that our perceptual space would have time dilation and length contraction and all other effect predicted by SR. So my thesis is that the underlying reality obeys Galilean space-time and our perceptual space obeys something like SR. (It is possible that if I assume that our perception uses two-way light travel, I may get SR-like transformation. I haven’t done it because it seems obvious to me that we perceive a star, for instance, by sensing the light from it rather than flashing a light at it.)

This thesis doesn’t sit well with physicists, and indeed with most people. They mistakeperceptual effects to be something like optical illusions. My point is more like space itself is an illusion. If you look at the night sky, you know that the stars you see are not “real” in the sense that they are not there when you are looking at them. This is simply because the information carrier, namely light, has a finite speed. If the star under observation is in motion, our perception of its motion is distorted for the same reason. SR is an attempt to formalize our perception of motion. Since motion and speed are concepts that mix space and time, SR has to operate onspace-time continuum. Since SR is based on perceptual effects, it requires an observer and describes motion as he perceives it.

But are you actually saying that not a single experiment has been done with objects moving in any other direction than farther away? And what about experiments on time dilation where astronauts go into space and return with clocks showing less elapsed time than ones that stayed on the ground? Doesn’t this support the ideas inherent in SR?

Experiments are always interpreted in the light of a theory. It is always a model based interpretation. I know that this is not a convincing argument for you, so let me give you an example. Scientists have observed superluminal motion in certain celestial objects. They measure the angular speed of the celestial object, and they have some estimate of its distance from us, so they can estimate the speed. If we didn’t have SR, there would be nothing remarkable about this observation of superluminality. Since we do have SR, one has to find anexplanation for this. The explanation is this: when an object approaches us at a shallow angle, it can appear to come in quite a bit faster than its real speed. Thus the “real” speed is subluminal while the “apparent” speed may be superluminal. This interpretation of the observation, in my view, breaks the philosophical grounding of SR that it is a description of the motion as it appears to the observer.

Now, there are other observations of where almost symmetric ejecta are seen on opposing jets in symmetric celestial objects. The angular speeds may indicate superluminality in both the jets if the distance of the object is sufficiently large. Since the jets are assumed to be back-to-back, if one jet is approaching us (thereby giving us the illusion of superluminality), the other jet has bet receding and can never appear superluminal, unless, of course, the underlying motion is superluminal. The interpretation of this observation is that the distance of the object is limited by thefactthat real motion cannot be superluminal. This is what I mean by experiments being open to theory or model based interpretations.

In the case of moving clocks being slower, it is never a pure SR experiment because you cannot find space without gravity. Besides, one clock has to be accelerated or decelerated and GR applies. Otherwise, the age-old twin paradox would apply.

I know there have been some experiments done to support Einstein’s theories, like the bending of light due to gravity, but are you saying that all of them can be consistently re-interpreted according to your theory? If this is so, it’s dam surprising! I mean, no offense to youyou’re obviously a very bright individual, and you know much more about this stuff than I do, but I’d have to question how something like this slipped right through physicistsfingers for 100 years.

These are gravity related questions and fall under GR. My “theory doesn’t try to reinterpret GR or gravity at all. I put theory in inverted quotes because, to me, it is a rather obvious observation that there is a distinction between what we see and the underlying causes of our perception. The algebra involved is fairly simple by physics standards.

Supposing you’re right in that space and time are actually Galilean, and that the effects of SR are artifacts of our perception. How then are the results of the Michelson-Morley experiments explained? I’m sorry if you did explain it in your book, but it must have flown right over my head. Or are we leaving this as a mystery, an anomaly for future theorists to figure out?

I haven’t completely explained MMX, more or less leaving it as a mystery. I think the explanation hinges on how light is reflected off a moving mirror, which I pointed out in the book. Suppose the mirror is moving away from the light source at a speed of v in our frame of reference. Light strikes it at a speed of c-v. What is the speed of the reflected light? If the laws of reflection should hold (it’s not immediately obvious that they should), then the reflected light has to have a speed of c-v as well. This may explain why MMX gives null result. I haven’t worked out the whole thing though. I will, once I quit my day job and dedicate my life to full-time thinking. :-)

My idea is not a replacement theory for all of Einstein’s theories. It’s merely a reinterpretation of one part of SR. Since the rest of Einstein’s edifice is built on this coordinate transformation part, I’m sure there will be some reinterpretation of the rest of SR and GR also based on my idea. Again, this is a project for later. My reinterpretation is not an attempt to prove Einstein’s theories wrong; I merely want to point out that they apply to reality as we perceive it.

Overall, it was worth the $5 I payed. Thanks for the good read. Don’t take my questions as an assault on your proposalI’m honestly in the dark about these things and I absolutely crave light (he he). If you could kindly answer them in your spare time, I’d love to share more ideas with you. It’s good to find a fellow thinker to bounce cool ideas like this off of. I’ll PM you again once I’m fully done the book. Again, it was a very satisfying read.

Thanks! I’m glad that you like my ideas and my writing. I don’t mind criticism at all. Hope I have answered most of your questions. If not, or if you want to disagree with my answers, feel free to write back. Always a pleasure to chat about these things even if we don’t agree with each other.

Best regards,
– Manoj

What is Real? Discussions with Ranga.

This post is a long email discussion I had with my friend Ranga. The topic was the unreality of reality of things and how this notion can be applied in physics.

Going through the debate again, I feel that Ranga considers himself better-versed in the matters of philosophy than I am. I do too, Onun benden daha iyi okuduğunu düşünüyorum,,en,Ama onun varsayımını hissediyorum,,en,o kadar çok şey bilmiyordum ki böyle şeyler hakkında konuşmalıydım,,en,fikrini önyargılı yapmış ve onu gerçekten yeni şeylerden bazılarına kör etmiş olabilir,,en,bence,,en,Söylemek zorunda kaldım,,en,Her şeye rağmen,,en,Bence münazara sırasında ortaya çıkan, genel ilgi alanı olabilecek birkaç ilginç nokta var.,,en,Okunabilirlik için tartışmayı düzenledim ve biçimlendirdim,,en,Pek çok zeki insanın bu blogda ve kitabımda bahsettiğim şeyler üzerine kafa yorduğu doğrudur.,,en,Ve düşüncelerini eserlerinde dile getirdiler,,en,muhtemelen benimkinden daha iyi,,en,Her ne kadar mevcut yazıların üzerinden geçmek her zaman iyi bir fikir olsa da,,en,kafamı temizle,,en. But I feel that his assumption (that I didn’t know so much that I should be talking about such things) may have biased his opinion and blinded him to some of the genuinely new things (in my opinion, of course) I had to say. Nonetheless, I think there are quite a few interesting points that came out during the debate that may be of general interest. I have edited and formatted the debate for readability.

It is true that many bright people have pondered over the things I talk about in this blog and in my book. And they have articulated their thoughts in their works, probably better than I have in mine. Although it is always a good idea to go through the existing writings to “clear my head” (yorumcularımdan birinin David Humes'u önerirken önerdiği gibi,,en,bu kadar geniş okuma doğal bir risk oluşturur,,en,Yazıları okumak ve anlamak için gereken zaman ve bununla ilgili düşünmenin fırsat maliyeti çok fazla değil.,,en,aynı zamanda okuduğunuz her şeyin sizde özümsenmesi ve düşüncelerinizin bu parlak düşünürlerden etkilenmesi gerçeğidir.,,en,Bu iyi bir şey olsa da,,en,Aslında orijinal düşünceye zarar veriyormuş gibi bakıyorum,,en,Uç noktaya götürüldü,,en,bu tür kör bir asimilasyon, düşüncelerinizin bu klasik düşünce okullarının yalnızca yetersizliğine dönüşmesine neden olabilir.,,en,Hermann Hesse'nin ima ettiği gibi,,en,Siddhartha,,en,bilgelik öğretilemez,,en,İçeriden üretilmeli,,en,Ranga’nın kelimeleri Yeşil renklidir,,en,İkinci kez alıntı yapıldığında mavi,,en), such wide reading creates an inherent risk. It is not so much the time it will take to read and understand the writings and the associated opportunity cost in thinking; it is also the fact that everything you read gets assimilated in you and your opinions become influenced by these brilliant thinkers. While that may be a good thing, I look at it as though it may actually be detrimental to original thought. Taken to the extreme, such blind assimilation may result in your opinions becoming mere regurgitation of these classical schools of thought.

Besides, as Hermann Hesse implies in Siddhartha, wisdom cannot be taught. It has to be generated from within.

Ranga’s words are colored Green (or Blue when quoted for the second time).

Benimki Beyaz,,en,İkinci kez alıntı yapıldığında mor,,en,Pzt,,en,Ben,,en,farklı boyutlara,,en,filozofların ve bilim adamlarının olağanüstü ve fiziksel gerçekler açısından yaptıkları ayrımlara aşina,,en,Upanishads'ın eserlerinden,,en,Advaitas / Dvaitas'a,,en,Schopenhauer Noumenon / Fenomenine,,en,ve Özel Göreliliğin Blok Evreni,,en,ve hatta fizikteki son teoriler,,en,Kaluza ve Klein,,en,Algıladığımız şeyin illa ki ne olmadığı anlayışı,,en,uzun zamandan beri çeşitli şekillerde var oldu,,en,bu tür anlayışlar kolayca benimsenmedi ve tüm bilimlere dahil edilmedi,,en,Nörobilim ve sosyal bilimlerde bununla ilgili muazzam bir literatür var,,en,bunu fiziğe getirmeye çalışmış olmanız gerçekten çok iyi,,en,bu konudaki önceki tartışmamızı hatırlayarak,,en (or Purple when quoted for the second time).

Mon, May 21, 2007 at 8:07 PM.

I’m, to different extents, familiar with the distinction philosophers and scientists make in terms of phenomenal and physical realities – from the works of Upanishads, to the Advaitas/Dvaitas, to the Noumenon/Phenomenon of Schopenhauer, and the block Universe of Special Relativity, and even the recent theories in physics (Kaluza and Klein). The insight that what we perceive is not necessarily what “is”, existed in a variety of ways from a long time. However, such insights were not readily embraced and incorporated in all sciences. There is a enormous literature on this in neuroscience and social sciences. So, it is indeed very good that you have attempted to bring this in to physics – by recollecting our previous discussion on this, web sitesinde kitaba girişinizi okuyarak ve kağıdınızın eğimini anlayarak,,en,dergide bulamadım,,en,kabul edildi mi,,en,Süperuminal hareket olabileceğini öne sürmek ve GRB'ler gibi bilinen fenomenleri bir tuhaflıkla açıklamak,,en,bizim algımızda,,en,fiziksel aletlerde bile,,en,cesurdur ve alandaki diğer kişiler tarafından dikkatlice ilgilenilmesi gerekir,,en,Her zaman soru sormalı,,en,algılanan,,en,sınırlar,,en,bu durumda tabii ki ışık hızı,,en,oldukça yanlış ve yüzeysel,,en,bazılarının olduğunu düşünmek,,en,mutlak,,en,ötesinde gerçeklik,,en,karşılaşıyoruz,,en,İçimizde farklı bireyler için birden çok gerçek olduğunu bilmek önemli olsa da,,en,ve hatta farklı organizmalar,,en,duyulara ve zekaya bağlı olarak,,en (could not find it in the journal – has it been accepted?). To suggest that there could be superluminal motion and to explain known phenomena such as GRBs through a quirk (?) in our perception (even in the physical instruments) is bold and needs careful attention by others in the field. One should always ask questions to cross “perceived” boundaries – in this case of course the speed of light.

However, it is quite inaccurate and superficial (in my opinion) to think that there is some “absolute” reality beyond the “reality” we encounter. While it is important to know that there are multiple realities for different individuals in us, and even different organisms, depending on senses and intellect, Herhangi bir algı olmadığında sonuçta gerçekliğin ne olduğunu sormak da eşit derecede önemlidir,,en,Herhangi bir yolla erişilemiyorsa,,en,her neyse ne,,en,Hiç böyle bir şey var mı,,en,Gezegenlerin hareketinde Mutlak Gerçeklik,,en,İçinde organizma olmayan yıldızlar ve galaksiler,,en,Algılayacak kimse yokken onları kim algılar?,,en,Hangi formu alıyorlar,,en,Form var mı,,en,Felsefeyi uygularken,,en,daha derin ve daha cesur sorular okudum,,en,bilime,,en,bu soruları cevaplamak için ciddi bir girişim olarak okudum,,en,yöntemlerinde yarı yolda olamazsın,,en,bazı soruların şimdilik fazla felsefi veya çok teolojik olduğuna dair hayali sınırlar çizmek,,en,Kitabın,,en,en azından özet,,en,eve önemli bir noktayı getiriyor gibi görünüyor,,en,en azından bu yönde düşünmeyenlere,,en. If it cannot be accessed by any means, what is it anyway? Is there such a thing at all? Is Absolute Reality in the movement of planets, stars and galaxies without organisms in them? Who perceives them as such when there is nobody to perceive? What form do they take? Is there form? In applying philosophy (which I read just as deeper and bolder questions) to science (which I read as a serious attempt to answer those questions), you cannot be half-way in your methods, drawing imaginary boundaries that some questions are too philosophical or too theological for now.

While your book (the summary at least) seems to bring home an important point (at least to those who have not thought in this direction) Algıladığımız gerçekliğin ortama / moda bağlı olduğu,,en,bazı durumlarda ışık,,en,ve enstrüman,,en,duyu organı ve beyin,,en,algılamak için kullanırız,,en,bu algısal hataları ortadan kaldırdığınız zaman Mutlak Gerçekliğin var olduğuna dair yüzeysel bir fikri geride bırakıyor gibi görünüyor.,,en,Algısal hatalar mı,,en,algısal araçlar ve algılar gerçekliğin bir parçası değildir,,en,Tüm algılarımızın toplamının ötesinde başka bir gerçeklik olduğunu ileri sürmek felsefi olarak eşit derecede hatalı, algıladığımız şeyin tek gerçeklik olduğunu öne sürmek kadar yanlıştır.,,en,Hepsi aynı,,en,gerçeklik ya da onun eksikliği hakkındaki soru, fizik bilimlerine iyi bir şekilde dahil edilmemiştir ve bu konuda size en iyisini diliyorum,,en,Şerefe,,en,Sınıflar,,ga (light in some cases) and the instrument (sense organ and brain) we use for perceiving, it seems to leave behind a superficial idea that there is Absolute Reality when you remove these perceptual errors. Are they perceptual errors – aren’t perceptual instruments and perceptions themselves part of reality itself? To suggest that there is some other reality beyond the sum of all our perceptions is philosophically equally erroneous as suggesting that what we perceive is the only reality.

All the same, the question about reality or the lack of it has not been well incorporated into the physical sciences and I wish you the best in this regard.