Restoring Time To the Physics of Space & Time
The Essence of the Concept of “Time” Has Been Removed From Physics
Lee Smolin, in his book “Time Reborn”, develops the thesis that “time’ has been gradually removed from physics with the final denouement for “time” being the creation of Special and General Relativity. The equations of modern physics, of course, still contain the variable “t” for time. However, the essence of time such as its inexorable movement forward and the basic construct of past-present-future have been removed from relativity and even been denounced by relativity.
Smolin goes on to explain why this removal of “time” from physics has been a major obstacle to advancement in certain areas of physics. One might think that Smolin would then recommend abandoning relativity theory and replacing it with a theory that fully incorporates time. However, Smolin has been a lifelong, ardent admirer of Einstein and relativity so he “solves” his dilemma in a way that, in my opinion, is rather Rube Goldberg like.
Smolin concluded that he must give up relative simultaneity and adopt “preferred global time” and a preferred state of rest. He did this because observations of receding galaxies and observations of CBR both indicate there is a preferred rest frame and a preferred global time AND both sets of observations point to one and the same preferred frame. However, despite these views being in direct contradiction with the essence of relativity, Smolin keeps relativity and uses an alternative, Shape Dynamics, when absolute simultaneity is needed.[So here’s still another example of what I wrote about before, namely, a mainstream physicist seeing this or that problem in relativity and coming up with a (non-relativity) fix and yet remaining an ardent adherent to relativity. This is by no means a rare phenomenon.]
Smolin is a brilliant man and an independent voice in many areas of physics, but he’s wedded to relativity. His book, “Time Reborn”, is well worth reading if one has an interest in this topic. I agree with Smolin that “time” needs to be restored to modern physics. However, I advocate a different solution than his.
Simultaneity – An Essential Concept for Space & Time Physics
Simultaneity is an essential construct in understanding physics as it’s needed to understand the relationship of events with other events that are at some distance apart. It’s a key construct in physics, astronomy and cosmology.
Relative simultaneity denies the ability to say that two events are simultaneous (i.e., separated by zero seconds of time). However, by straightforward extension , relative simultaneity denies the ability to say that two events are separated by X seconds of time – where X can be 1,2, 3 ….1020.
Yet, simultaneity seems the most straightforward of constructs. If one gets a light signal from an event at noon and if, by virtue of one’s knowledge of rudimentary physics, one knows that it took 10 minutes for the light signal’s travel, then one can meaningfully say that the light signal was emitted from that event simultaneously with one’s clock reading noon minus 10 minutes. Analogous statements can be made using sound waves, gravity waves, etc.
In fact, despite the mainstream’s embracing the concept of relative simultaneity, the mainstream uses and acknowledges the validity of absolute simultaneity in much of what they say about “spacetime” physics, astronomy and cosmology. For example, they talk about light from a distant star taking 10 million years to arrive on the earth. Basically, that says that the light was emitted from that star at “Now” minus 10 million years. Or they conclude that the universe started with a Big Bang 13 billion years ago – these types of calculations assumes that the concept of (absolute) simultaneity is valid.
Special Relativity introduced the concept of relative simultaneity. This concept took much of the physics out of “spacetime” physics. As Smolin points out it undermines the concepts of cause and effect and the flow of time and (universal) past-present-future.
Let me use the Twin Paradox to illustrate just how insidious relative simultaneity is and why Special Relativity needed relative simultaneity to be able to escape logic and scientific scrutiny.
When we ask “How does the net proper time difference in a Twin Paradox scenario accumulate?“, the relativist’s answer is, in effect, “It’s inherently unknowable” – that is no specifics can be given (see the Mainstream Response page at http://twinparadox.net/ ). We would tend to agree with that answer as long as it is qualified as “unknowable in the context of Special and General Relativity“. (Note that using Lorentz Relativity or the findings of empirical data, one can straightforwardly give exact answers to the above question without the slightest hint of a paradox or contradiction.)
We differ with the mainstream’s reason for contending the answer is unknowable. Using Einsteinian Relativity, the mainstream notes that different observers have different views on which events on the traveling twin’s worldline are simultaneous with which events on the stay-at-home twin’s worldline, so they allege that one cannot compare the twin’s proper times when the twins are apart.. We would agree that one cannot use Special Relativity to address the question at hand as it mixes observed time and proper time
However, because Special Relativity is built on a false assumption, namely, the constancy of the speed of light for all inertial frames, the resulting construct of relative simultaneity itself leads to contradictions.
For example, when I ask a relativist if half the net proper time difference for a classic Twin Paradox scenario arises in the outbound half of the roundtrip, the relativists claims it’s unknowable for the reasons described above (i.e, Special Relativity says we can’t tell what stay-at-home clock reading is simultaneous with the traveling twin’s instantaneously coming to rest again in the stay-at-home frame during his “midpoint” turnaround).
Again, we agree with the mainstream that one cannot use the concept of simultaneity in Special Relativity for the above question. However, since there is complete symmetry between the outbound and inbound segments of the round trip except for the direction of travel, the implication is, in the context of Einsteinian Relativity, that half the net proper time difference accumulates in the outbound segment and half in the inbound segment regardless of which frame is used as the stay-at-home frame. So we see that trying to use “relative simultaneity”, even in the context of Special Relativity, leads to a logic contradiction.
Now don’t be confused by the above argument that in Special Relativity, one must conclude that half the net time difference accumulates in the out bound segment as Lorentz Relativity and the empirical data are clear that the answer to the question “How does the net proper time difference accumulate?” depends on which frame is used for the stay-at-home frame. The above was just showing that since Special Relativity requires that all inertial frames be equivalent, that requires that, in the context of Special Relativity, half the net time difference must accumulate in the outbound and half in the inbound segment and that, in turn, contradicts relative simultaneity and demonstrates the inherent contradictions in Special Relativity. It also contradicts the empirical data.
Using Proper Time To Build Meaningful Space & Time Physics
Instead of following relativity by redefining “time” in terms of the speed of light and merging space and time into a single 4D construct called “spacetime” where time and morph into space and space can morph into time and both can become curved and warped, I’d suggest putting aside the vagaries of the metaphysics of “time” and build physics on the physical construct of proper time. Proper time is a true physics construct. It’s operationally defined and absolute and observer independent. It can also be the basis for resurrecting the construct of absolute simultaneity and restoring meaningful physics in the area of the physics of space and time.
Let’s talk conceptually. If we have identical clocks spread throughout the universe and we know what physical effects speed up or slow down proper time accumulation for that set of identical clocks, then we can define universal time and restore the construct of absolute simultaneity.
For example, if we have a set of clocks on earth and a set of clocks a billion light years away and we know the latter clock accumulates proper time ist half the rate of our earth clocks, then we can relate the readings of the two sets of clocks and know what events are simultaneous for the two locations – despite the fact that the readings on the clocks and their inherent rates are quite different.
GPS As a Model Of Workable Space & Time Physics
In fact, the proposal for a new approach to Space & Time physics has been implemented and it works fantastically well to a high degree of precision. It’s GPS. In GPS, all the earthbound clocks are synchronized and inherently run at the same rate. The set of satellite clocks would run at a different rate as their clock rates are influenced by their higher absolute velocity and by their higher gravitational potential. However, their clock rates are adjusted, taking into account our knowledge about how clock rates are affected by those two factors, so that the satellite clock rates match the earth bound clock rates. So a “universal” time system has been implemented (at least for the vicinity of the earth) and that model could be extended using the same basic techniques wider and wider to solar system to galaxy to the whole universe. GPS requires that absolute simultaneity be implemented and it works so that it can identify locations on the entire earth to within two centimeters. GPS is built on using proper time and on Lorentz’s clock retardation as a function of absolute velocity
Special Relativity was built on a false assumption that yielded many false conclusions including relative simultaneity. In fact, as physicists found that the empirical data did not agree with relativity, an every expanding tower of mathematical fantasies had to be built to bridge the gap between theory and data. “Spacetime” physics required the invention of Dark Matter and Dark Energy to bridge the gap between theory and data.. Currently, “spacetime” physics has filled 93% of the universe with Dark Fudge Factors and has created a Dark Age of “Spacetime” physics. Some claim that observations have confirmed Dark Matter and Dark Energy, but all these observations confirmed was that if one needed the fudge factors Dark Matter and Dark Energy to bridge the gap between theory and data at location A, one would obviously also need the fudge factors Dark Matter and Dark Energy to bridge the gap between theory and data at location B. Similarly, “Spacetime” physics required “Inflation” which claims that, during the Big Bang, Inflation started and ended spontaneously and caused the universe to expand by a factor of at least 1078 in less than 10-32 seconds – that’s a big fudge factor! We need to start afresh with valid assumptions and a common sense approach to the physics of time.
In contrast to Special Relativity, the above outlines an approach to common sense physics that has been shown to work to high precision by GPS.