The Twin Paradox: Mainstream Rejection of Critical Thinking
David De Hilster, in his 12/19/15 CNPS videoconference, laid out the opportunity or really the pressing need for the CNPS community to use social media to promote itself. The first step in a social media campaign is to establish a positive image. David recommended that instead of the terms “dissident views” and “dissidents”, we adopt the more positive and more accurate terms “critical thinking” and “critical thinkers.”
For 50 years, I have focused on the Twin Paradox and Special Relativity’s time dilation. So I reflected on how mainstream relativists responded to critical thinking on that topic.
Twin Paradox Problem – Background
In 1905, Einstein wrote a paper that became the definition for Special Relativity. After deriving the time dilation equation, Einstein wrote “From this”, referring to the time dilation equation, it follows that a clock making a round trip will accumulate less proper time than a clock that remained at rest at the starting point of the round trip.
However, one can define a Twin Paradox scenario where both clocks are at rest in an inertial frame for 99.999999999999% of the scenario. Further, the time dilation equation effect is defined solely in terms of velocity. And, finally, Special Relativity was built on the Principle that the laws of physics are the same for all inertial frames. Using those facts, there were immediate objections from the physics community that there was an inherent contradiction in Einstein’s Special Relativity. Those objections noted that from the point of view of the “traveling” clock’s outbound and inbound frames, it should be the so called “stay-at-home” clock that accumulates less proper time because from those two frames’ views, the “stay-at-home” clock would have relative velocity v. Further, all agreed that proper times by definition were absolute and frame independent and proper times for a clock between any two pairs of events could be added.
Mainstream Solution – Abandon Logic Analysis
So the proponents of relativity argued that since the “traveling clock” accelerated (or changed frames), Special Relativity could not be used from the “traveling clock” frame(s). The relativists were claiming that Special Relativity could not be used by an observer or clock if the observer or clock had accelerated in the past or would accelerate in the future. However, this desperate “defense” of Special Relativity was at least equally condemning of Special Relativity as all microscopic and all macroscopic entities have accelerated in the past and would accelerate in the future.
Similarly, some proponents of relativity argued that Special Relativity could only be used for inertial frames. However, since virtually everything in the real world is accelerating (including orbiting and rotating) that again would mean that desperate “defense” of Special Relativity would be equally condemning of Special Relativity.
So that raises the question, “Why would relativist physicists who have very high aptitudes for logical analysis choose to totally ignore logical analysis when their belief system was challenged?” The answer is simple, namely, “Because they are human.” In fact, even “critical thinkers” who have developed their own “pet theory” individually exhibit the same behavior. It is in fact the behavior of a group of critical thinkers that distinguishes itself from a group of physicists who are committed to a single, shared view and require that all criticism be censored.
There actually is some implied dissent of currently accepted views on Special Relativity in the mainstream as long as it’s explicitly cast as support for currently accepted views. Fourteen different Special Relativistic causes for the accumulated proper time difference in a Twin Paradox scenario (and seven General Relativistic causes) have been published (see section “3 Accepted Resolutions” on the Report Page at http://TwinParadox.net). Presumably, this indicates that some relativists reject “time dilation” as cause. However, if one reviews the mainstream literature on the Twin Paradox, it would seem that all 14 different arguments attempting to reconcile Special Relativity with the Twin Paradox are tacitly accepted as valid defenses of Special Relativity as none are explicitly rejected.
At http://TwinParadox.net, an Open Letter and petition to critically analyze the Twin Paradox was signed by over 150 professors, Ph’D’s, Dipl. Ing.’s (the European equivalent to a Ph’D) and independent researchers from all over the world. This was quite an ad hoc response! However, the core of mainstream remained unmoved and all mainstream physics journals refuse to publish articles claiming there is a Twin Paradox problem or other criticisms of Special Relativity.
Prof. Herbert Dingle was one of the most respected physicists of his era and an acknowledged expert on Special Relativity. He was respected by his peers until he began to analyze the Twin Paradox and concluded that there was indeed a paradox/problem and further that the currently accepted interpretation of Special Relativity’s time dilation equation was invalid. He started the great Twin Paradox Debate with his relativist colleagues. They labelled his Twin Paradox thesis as quackery while worshipping Einstein as the infallible god of physics. However, Einstein had preceded Dingle by a couple of decades in coming to the exact same conclusion as Dingle regarding the Twin Paradox (see section “1a Einstein’s Changing Views” on the Report page at http://TwinParadox.net) – although Einstein continued to accept a modified version of Special Relativity. Despite Einstein’s openness to criticism, critical thinking on Special Relativity was not held in high regard by academia.
At least partially to address the problem raised by the Twin Paradox, relativist physics professors have used several different and contradictory interpretations of Special Relativity’s time dilation equation. Despite formal requests to define the currently accepted meaning of Special Relativity’s time dilation equation, the entire mainstream refuses to do so. In Germany, the Albert Einstein Institute (AEI) has been designated by law to answer all such questions about relativity. When asked repeatedly to define the meaning of time dilation, the AEI professors have strangely been most reluctant to do so even though several of those requests have come from German scientists.
Speaking of the AEI, Professor Bernard Schutz writes in his textbook “A First Course in General Relativity”, “Unfortunately, the careless student (or the student of a careless teacher) often comes away with the idea that SR does in fact lead to paradoxes. This is pure nonsense.” This technique is aimed at intimidating the young student from exercising critical thinking especially for such vulnerable areas as the Twin Paradox. Sometimes if one asks the AEI what the physical meaning of the SR time dilation equation is, the reply says to read Chapter 2 of Schutz’s above referenced book. This is a standard dodge to avoid answering specific questions about one’s theory.
In addition, to logic problems, Special Relativity now faces irrefutable evidence that the empirical data does not fit any interpretation of Special Relativity’s time dilation equation (see the Home Page at http://TwinParadox.net).
The core mainstream now ignores both logic and data. What are the consequences? See my prior blog entry entitled “Sweeping Implications For Spacetime Physics And Cosmology”.
Is there any hope for a return to critical thinking in “spacetime” physics? In the past couple of years, I’ve started to debate several alleged proponents of Special Relativity. However, all have basically stated that Special Relativity is correct, but that their colleagues in the mainstream have “misinterpreted” Special Relativity whereas they have developed the correct interpretation. In other words, many relativists agree, albeit it tacitly or unconsciously, with many critical thinkers that the currently accepted interpretation of Special Relativity is seriously flawed. They claim they haven’t rejected Special Relativity, but they may have entered into the 1st stage of critical thinking. There may be hope.