The Speed Of Light Varies Over Time
Recently, I watched Matthew Zajac’s video “Einstein’s Biggest Blunder”. If you subscribe to NetFlix, you can see it at https://www.netflix.com/title/80106154 – I don’t believe it’s available on YouTube, although there are other, different videos of the same name.
This video was about physicist Matthew Zajac who proposed that the speed of light varies over time. I find that the video confirms many “critical thinking” positions. For example:
– the variable speed of light proposal was seen as “bold and brilliant”, yet to many in the CNPS, this option, while not necessarily fanatically endorsed by all, is something virtually all have heard discussed for decades. Further, critical thinker Barry Setterfield, a CNPS member, was decades ahead of Zajac and discusses much data supporting how the speed or light varies over time which Zajac is apparently unaware of.
– Zajac had this idea early in his career but did not put it forward as he was concerned that would end his career (i.e., one cannot be labeled a physics heretic and succeed).
– Zajac went to work for one of the key proponents of Big Bang Inflation theory who admits he always had concerns about Inflation.
– Zajac was able to pursue his idea because the gatekeepers of Big Bang theory knew Big Bang theory had a couple of fatal problems that needed fixing.
– “Einstein’s Biggest Blunder” was alleged to be his cosmological constant. We see great hero worship of Einstein. Because of this hero worship and because of his cosmological constant, Einstein’s cosmology can’t be wrong. If the universe is stable, then Einstein was brilliant to add the cosmological constant to the gravitational field equation to yield a stable universe. If the universe is expanding, then Einstein was brilliant to add a (adjusted) cosmological constant to the gravitational field equation to yield an expanding universe. If the universe is shrinking, then Einstein was brilliant to add a (adjusted) cosmological constant to the gravitational field equation to yield a shrinking expanding universe.
– Zajac took “his” variable speed of light idea and did lots of math manipulation to see if he could address the outstanding problems of Big Bang/Inflation and developed a theory. Despite new data supporting the variable speed of light over time conjecture, Zajak is not getting much attention (the video notwithstanding). Zajak comments that most theoretical physicists tend to ignore new data if it contradicts their current beliefs. Also, note that Zajak’s math manipulations which are fixing some problems in currently accepted Big Bang theory, he’s still going down the wrong path as he was unaware of some other findings by Setterfield.
– Zajac at least got to do some critical thinking within physics academia. If someone outside physic academia had suggested the same idea, then he’d just be ignored as a quack. So far, Zajac, et al haven’t fared much better.
– Zajac, at the end, has to say that he admires Einstein (I agree) and has great respect for relativity (disagree), but as he puts it, he’s trying to go beyond relativity. Zajac knows the politics and the appropriate physics-PC phrasing.
– So much of what Zajac says and experiences confirms what we, the CNPS, claim is wrong with physics academia.
– A further problem that I see is that even if someone in physics academia does do some “bold” critical thinking, they still have a major obstacle. They have a flawed theory, namely, the standard Big Bang and when they realized it had a major flaw, they had to perform a major fix, namely, Inflation, but when Inflation had a major flaw, the focus within academia, even for critical thinkers, was how to fix the fix of the flawed theory. Hence, in academia, there may be a rare exception who does some critical thinking, but they are constrained to do it “within the box of relativity” – they either cannot bring themselves to think outside that box or are not allowed to do so.
For completeness, let me comment on Barry Setterfield’s video series “Anomalies” which discusses the variability of the speed of light. (“Anomalies” was the winner of the 2015 Best Pioneering Lecture Series Award at the SciFlix Film Festival.) Setterfield was looking for “anomalies” in physics data when he ran across a book giving the empirical results of measurements of the speed of light over the past 3 centuries. He found that for each epoch, the findings were quite consistent. However, when plotted over time, there was a consistent downward trend in speed. In 22 time period groupings, which were averaged, there was great consistency within each time period, but there was a consistent decline over time – there were no exceptions.
To give an idea of the changes, there follows data couplets giving the speed of light and approximate year of measurement (1874 – 300,400km/s; 1890 – 299,942; 1915 – 299,812: 1926 – 299,798; Current – 299,792.458 km/s. Some measurements have been done with the same equipment over periods of one or two centuries and whether those measurements were done in England, Australia or Russia, they had a consistent downward trend.
Looking at the literature, Setterfield saw that, in the early part of the 20th century, this variability of the speed of light was generally accepted by all including Raymond T Birge who, among others, would write things like “As we all know, …” and then go on to discuss that the speed of light seemed to be declining over time. Birge, being an expert on the subject was unofficially considered the keeper of the speed of light data. Then, in 1941, Birge made a dramatic turnabout and made a most strange pronouncement along the lines of “While the data shows the speed of light declining, that would be fatal to science and would lead to some absurd conclusions, so it’s best to think that it is the PROBABLE value that changes and not the ACTUAL value” – Birge acknowledged that this statement was being made “upon request” of the science establishment. Not only was non-constant speed of light at odds with modern physics, but atomic dating would also be thrown off. After that, the topic of a variable speed of light virtually disappeared from the physics literature so that when Zajac resurrected the idea within the mainstream, it seemed quite bold and a bit of heresy.
Setterfield also looked at other “constants” where the data showed they were actually changing, either steadily increasing or steadily decreasing. He found another “constant” that increased over time and eventually when he looked at the effect of that change with the change in the speed of light, he found that the combined effect would be to keep the amount of energy in the universe constant.
Others may differ in their interpretations of the two videos.