Relativity and the speed of light

Unlike subatomic particles, this blatant lie cannot be salvaged with resort to the world of magic. Fraud scientists, like Einstein, have decided, erroneously, that light, uniquely, has a constant speed. In other words, if you were chasing after a beam of light, you would measure it going the same speed as would a stationary observer. We have a word for this: Bullshit (I am using the term not in its derogatory sense, but in its technical sense, as extensively defined by Cambridge Professor Harry G. Frankfurt in his book by the same title.)

There are many ways that we can know that the constancy of the speed of light is bullshit in the technical sense. The most valuable method is common sense. Think about it. Think about things that move. Is light one of those things? Yes. Can you move? Yes. Can you catch up to things? Yes. Is light a thing? Yes. Then you can therefore catch up to light, by the transitive property. You might doubt that just “thinking” about it is scientific. But little do you probably know, thought can be a scientific experiment. The literature on this is penultimate. For example, see here.

The second method is a bit more technical, appealing to pure logic rather than thought. Here we have to employ a reduction ad absurtion argument. The alleged constancy of the (also alleged) speed of (so-called) light leads us to absolutely ridiculous consequences. The proof? Well, according to Wikipedia, “[This ridiculous idea] leads to some unusual consequences for velocities.” There is simply no place for the “unusual” in science, especially relating to something as straightforward as velocity.

Einstein, who Hitler was (ACCIDENTALLY – edit, 01/22/2016) right about, also had some kind of crazy idea about what would happen if one were to reach the speed of light. But this idea is now widely rejected even by the scientific community, that last bastion of sanctioned irrationality.


42 thoughts on “Relativity and the speed of light

  1. “It is impossible to travel faster than the speed of light, and certainly not desirable, as one’s hat keeps blowing off” — Woody Allen

  2. Dear Someone,

    I would dispute the application of Godwin’s Law to my post. I was not using the name “Hitler” in a polemical sense, but in a historical sense. Moreover I was mentioning him in a rare positive way, not a negative way.

    But thanks for the lighthearted comment! The debates on this blog are getting exhausting…

  3. I notice that your post doesn’t use any mathematics to “disprove” constancy of the speed of light. that alone is the tip-off that you really don’t understand the concepts of which you speak, and qualifies you as an A-1 quality fool.

  4. Dear Dean:

    My arguments are meant to be clear and non-technical for the average reader, yet also vigorous, rigorous, and all-around interesting! I think I have achieved this in most, if not all of, my posts. Take your haughty attitude elsewhere my friend!

    Anyway, I mathematics are not necessary to disprove a theory that has empirical implications. If math tells me that it is raining outside, all I have to do is see that it is not in order to disprove math.

    If my arguments don’t use mathematics, so much the worse for mathematics.


  5. Noted Scholar,

    Unfortunately, your words refute your moniker. I find it highly implausible that you would be noted as a scholar while holding ideas like you espouse in this blog.

    However, at the risk of tossing pearls to pigs, I will make an attempt to bring you up to speed with the rest of the world.

    Light is not actually a “thing that moves.” It is a self-propagating wave of energy (which can also be treated as quantum packets of such energy) that propagate through the fabric of space at a speed that is determined by the fundamental nature of that space. Notably, the permiability and permitivity of the electrical and magnetic components of the wave. Now, I’m writing this from memory of my high school physics, since your argument does not warrant spending any time for research and composition, so please do not pounce on any minor innacuracies or misspellings. It has been a long time since high school, but you do not seem to have even that amount of education, so I will try to keep it in simple language for you.

    The fundamental idea that led Einstein to his famous equations, and the notions that seem to offend your sensibilities, is that there is no preferred reference frame in the universe. For example, I should be able to discover the same laws of physics in my basement laboratory as you would in yours, even though we are moving in different directions due to our different locations on Earth.

    But more importantly, that there must be no discernable difference between reference frames that are moving at a constand speed and those which are at rest. Imagine we are each in a transparent glass bubble floating in space. We each feel no movement, but at one point we each see the other float by. We each should be able to consider ourselves at rest, and the other to be moving, and since there is no preferred reference frame, we would both be justified in doing so.

    But since the speed of light is determined by fundamental constants of space, which can be measured, we would both measure the speed of a passing light beam to be the same, since if it were otherwise then one of us could claim that he was the one who was “really” at rest while the other was “really” moving, meaning that one had a “preferred” reference frame (a stationary one) to the other (who would be moving).

    So in order to allow us to move relative to each other, while maintaining our ability to claim an “at rest” (non-preferred) reference frame, the elements of our ability to measure time and distance must shift to compensate for our motion. For example, distance gets shorter in the direction of motion, and time slows down as our speed increases, so that we always measure the same speed of light and cannot thereby claim that we are in any kind of preferred reference frame.

    Everything else follows from that, and if you do the math you can determine that for yourself. Assuming you’re willing to make that kind of effort to espouse something sensible, rather than depending on your experience and intuition, which are of course limited to speeds and conditions far removed from those where any noticable distortions of space and time would occur.

  6. You obviously think that Einstein just dreamed up the idea of the constancy of the speed of light: in fact it was suggested by the Michelson Morley experiment, an experiment intended to measure the speed at which the earth moved through the “aether”, by measuring the speed of light in different directions, but actually ended up giving results that suggested the constancy of the speed of light. Einstein’s special theory of relativity was developed to try to account for this constancy. You have utterly failed to take the experimental results that predated relativity into account, and in the face of experimental results your views don’t count for much.

    You said this: “There is simply no place for the “unusual” in science, especially relating to something as straightforward as velocity.”

    “Unusual”, in this context, is probably not the best choice of words by the author and merely means “differing with everyday human intuition”. Our everyday experiences are a special case and it is hopelessly naive to expect that experience to map onto general laws. The fact that you said “something as straightforward as velocity” says a lot about your case: the whole point of relativity is that velocities are NOT straightforward. They don’t add up as our everyday intuition, and Galileo, say they should. That is because our everyday intuition has developed to deal with a special case in which relativistic effects are small and not noticeable and in which, because of this, velocities do seem to add up.

    Regardless of any philosophy that you do, relativity works as a good predictive model. The equations of general relativity, an extension of the original special theory of relativity, are used in GPS systems to account for deviation of light by gravity. Without such correction, GPS calculations would be extremely inaccurate. Maybe you have an alternative approach that still lets us have accurate GPS, or do you wish us to shut down the GPS system while you are working on it?

  7. I agree with Dean…

    notedscholar, you’re stupid

    you cant prove something with words…

    because words are as real as your attempt at a hypothesis

    you need solid facts to even attempt to disprove something


  8. Michelson-Morley experiment was a “null” result.
    Would anyone care to prove that the theory of special relativity is actualy used to correct GPS systems (something that does not come off some Wiki). I guess some grunt “war fighter” in the nav center works it out on his pocket calculator. Show me one line on the official site that mentions it is used!. So I guess NASA spending billions to send up the Gravity Probe B (which resulted in failure to show the results predicted by Einstein) was a waste of money. They could have just asked the nav center and saved all that money. Wake up to reality Einsteins theory is bullshit, a high school student could prove it. Just take the formula time=distance/velocity which Einstein used to prove simultaneity his whole 1905 paper is based on this tb-ta=tAB/c-v and t1a-tb=TAB/c+v first he is saying when using c+v (faster than light) and comparing it using (c-v) the results are different and so simultaneity cannot be assumed Duh!, Two different events at different speeds one of which is faster than his constant. There are at least a dozen errors in his paper of 1905 Bad maths, Bad Physics Einstein should have stuck to reading patents science would be in a better position now.

  9. relativity is bullshit, just like quantum mechanics which insist that universe operate one random chance of probability. clearly, the truth is exact opposite.

    e=mc^2, what a bunch of bullshit. this is a twist of kinetic energy formula, which is in itself false.


  10. Holy shit. You people amaze me. Put down the calculators, stowe the goddamn studies and wake the hell up.
    The speed of any object can not alter the rate of nuclear fission. CAN YOU PATHETIC MATH GODS UNDERSTAND THAT HORRIFICALLY SIMPLE CONCEPT? If an object were to travel near the speed of light it would have no influence on the amount of heat and light our sun produces at any given time. Its really all downhill from there.

    Its the math-gods and ignorant intellectuals that keep propegating this absurdity. I can no more control how quickly the earth revolves around the sun by traveling at the speed of light than I can ressurect my dead pet dog.

    And stop humping the idea that the observations match the predictions- for God’s sake- Nobody understands, or claims to understand, quantum gravity. And until that day we do, every anomoly that has been used to prove special relativity is still just that- a misunderstood anomoly.

    Thats it. Done. Shut the hell up now.

  11. “There is simply no place for the ‘unusual’ in science”. This mindset of Noted Scholar explains a lot.

  12. Angel Plume,

    The number of metaphors, allegories, and postmodern mumbo-jumbo in your post make it impossible to decipher. The “fabric” of space? I think you’ve been smoking the Brian Greene koolaid too long now! Ugh, I hate comments like yours, they are so full of babbling that people think it says something! But try to be clearer maybe, with a literal claim I can actually respond to!


  13. Paul,

    Perhaps Angel Plume could learn from your clear prose! Maybe you can have a relationship!

    You say about me that “it is hopelessly naive to think that experience maps on top of general laws.” That’s what they said about Martin Luther King! It has been said by him and others that a bad law is no law at all!

    As for the experimental data, I would admit that relativity has predictive power – e.g. it predicts who will get into text books and on Nova programs, or who will get into graduate schools in physics and biology.


  14. Ninjaplz,

    If I can’t prove anything by words, than neither can you! But if you can’t, then you haven’t proven that I can’t! And so on ad absurdity.


  15. Steve,

    Thanks so much for the comment. I’m glad someone is willing to do the grunt work around here and scoop up all the grunts that leave their intellectual fecal matters all over my blog.


  16. Thank you Joe and Christian K. It’s nice to know that someone is actually LISTENS to my arguments.

    Although I would say that you could perhaps be a little nicer to people. They are trapped a little, especially on the Internet.


  17. Lenoxus,

    On the unusual, I am just stating a truism of Occam’s razor. Please don’t make people think this is ridiculous. The state of science would become even worse!

    Best to you and yours,

  18. dear joe,
    e=mc^2 refers to the fact that when matter with a mass of m is destroyed, e energy is produced.
    you appear to be the most intelligent one here, as befits a cat. btw, I’m a huge cat person.
    U R N IDIOT.

  19. NS: On the unusual, I am just stating a truism of Occam’s razor. Please don’t make people think this is ridiculous. The state of science would become even worse!.

    Well, there are two distinct senses of “unusual” here. One is “something that simply shouldn’t happen, period, but nonetheless happens.” But the other is “something that simply shouldn’t happen according to human intuition, but nonetheless happens.” The former is indeed self-contradictory, but science has a great deal of room for the latter. Indeed, the fact that human intuition is often erroneous is exactly why we need science. One of the nice things about this blog is that you, Noted Scholar, exemplify this principle perfectly, given your frequent disputing of wide swaths of well-established data on the basis of little except your own intuition, an intuition which many other people also hold..

    I’m curious; what’s your position on whether or not objects fall to Earth at a speed proportional to their mass? It seems like whatever answer your give, you’ll either be wrong about reality, or about your apparent assumption that human intuition is a sufficient guide to reality.

  20. Yes bob, yes they are. However, I doubt that this is stupidity, and is more liely to be satire.

  21. Lenoxus,

    Thank you for your inquiries. I don’t just dispute based on intuition: I cite studies and links all the time. Also, I use logic, which is not the same thing as intuition.

    I have no position on whether objects fall to Earth at one speed or another. It’s just not important to me personally.

    Thank you,

  22. My post as tonydinardo labeled each statement with its intended reader. the only one directed at you was the last sentence.

  23. ns,

    I have no idea if you’ll ever see this, after all this time, but, what the heck, I’ll give it a shot. (Plus it might help someone else who comes across this page.)

    No one simply “decided” that the speed of light is constant. This was the best explanation of the observational data (including the results of the Michelson-Morley experiment, which you seem unable to account for). Also, it’s not necessarily only light that moves at this speed: it’s believed that gravitational radiation does too, and, IIRC, gluons as well. That it’s called “the speed of light” is something of an historical accident.

    Your “common sense” argument makes no sense, common or otherwise. Yes, you *can* catch up to some things; whether you can catch up to *every* thing is another story. To catch up to something, you have to exceed its speed. Since you can’t exceed the speed of light (and relativity explains why), you can’t catch up to it.

    I presume that your “reduction ad absurtion” was supposed to be a reductio ad absurdum. This requires deriving a falsehood (typically a contradiction) or a patent absurdity, which you did not do. What you call “absolutely ridiculous” I would characterize as counterintuitive—but our intuitions are based on our everyday experiences, which are of speeds so low that relativistic effects are unnoticeable. And there’s lots of “unusual” stuff in science–denying that doesn’t help your argument; it just makes you look stupid (or it would, if you didn’t already). And Einstein showed that velocity (among other things) isn’t as straightforward as everyone thought.

    Einstein had no “crazy idea about what would happen if one were to reach the speed of light”. According to relativity theory, that doesn’t even make any sense. I believe he did a thought-experiment about it before he came up with the theory, and which may have got him started on the train of thought that led him to relativity. Oh, and your Hitler reference was both sick & pathetic. The Nazis rejected so-called “Jewish science” for ideological reasons.

    Finally, as Paul mentioned, relativity does have great predictive power, notwithstanding your snide reply. Real examples include the extended lifetimes of subatomic particles moving at high speed and (in conjunction with quantum theory) the existence of antiparticles. And of course, the most famous result, E=mc^2, has been verified many times.

  24. I’m making a couple of more posts so people won’t be misled by other comments that have been made. First, to Steve’s post:

    ‘Michelson-Morley experiment was a “null” result.’

    Exactly—which was a big surprise. This is one of the things that SR was designed to explain.

    ‘Would anyone care to prove that the theory of special relativity is actualy used to correct GPS systems (something that does not come off some Wiki). I guess some grunt “war fighter” in the nav center works it out on his pocket calculator.’

    How about this, from the American Physical Society:
    And no, the relativistic corrections are built into the system, duh.

    ‘Show me one line on the official site that mentions it is used!.’

    Page 14 of

    ‘So I guess NASA spending billions to send up the Gravity Probe B (which resulted in failure to show the results predicted by Einstein) was a waste of money.’

    I’m not certain about the waste of money (tho I don’t think the GPS satellites are set up to measure frame-dragging), but, in fact, Einstein’s predictions were verified. Just google “Gravity Probe B” to see.

    The rest of Steve’s post is just garbage.

  25. Christian K misunderstands a number of things.

    ‘If an object were to travel near the speed of light it would have no influence on the amount of heat and light our sun produces at any given time.’
    ‘I can no more control how quickly the earth revolves around the sun by traveling at the speed of light than I can ressurect [sic] my dead pet dog.’

    First, a minor point: You can’t go *at* the speed of light, so the 2nd quotation is technically moot. The big problem here is that no frame of reference is mentioned. Suppose that the object in the 1st quote is a clock, which keeps time normally when at rest. SR says that observers at rest on earth (one possible reference frame) would observe that the clock ticks more slowly—that is, *its* time is slowed down. Neither the sun, nor the earth, nor anything else, would be affected.

    ‘And stop humping the idea that the observations match the predictions- for God’s sake- Nobody understands, or claims to understand, quantum gravity. And until that day we do, every anomoly [sic] that has been used to prove special relativity is still just that- a misunderstood anomoly [sic].’

    First off, this displays an utter lack of understanding of how science works. When the observations match the theory’s predictions, the theory is confirmed. If the theory keeps getting confirmed, and never refuted—and there’s no alternative theory that works as well—then it becomes accepted as fact. And nobody else is talking about quantum gravity here, so I don’t know why he’s on about that. (It does mean that GR is only an approximate theory, but the quantum corrections should be miniscule, and I think only show up at the Planck scale.) Finally, the evidence for SR doesn’t consist of “anomalies”. It’s literally impossible to do much of modern physics without taking SR into account. (Besides which, anomalies are observations that are *not* explained by current theory.)

    BTW, he also seems to think that the sun is powered by nuclear fission. It isn’t, it’s powered by fusion. Also, I’d like to know how something can be “horrifically simple”.

  26. NS,

    I will not bother to get too much into the details of SR, and although I suspect you are probably very familiar with the theory but simply decry it out of choice, I would not be surprised if you are unfamiliar with large amounts of the relevant lay and/or technical literature available on the theory.

    The more interesting issue from your original post, and some of your comments, has to do with what basically amounts to a denial of empiricism, which is ironic considering you mentioned empiricism is what trumps mathematics. If math tells us it is not raining outside, but it is raining, then indeed so much the worse for mathematics. But what you’d have to do in order to demonstrate the conclusion you want to draw from this reasoning is prove that the mathematics was NOT misapplied, and still show the impossible result, in order to defeat the math.

    Math, being a representation of reality models based on axiom and deductive logic, cannot ever be “wrong”; it can only be misapplied.

    Now, the point I’m making about empiricism is the key. You seem to genuinely think you can disprove special relativity through intuition and reasoning about the nature of velocity alone. The whole problem is that this is actually a denial of empiricism; if the physical world (not the axiomatic world) could be analyzed to totality based upon human intuition, there would be no need for empiricism. The whole point of empiricism is that our intuitions about the world are completely useless unless we observe something which confirms them, and unfortunately, our intuition that Newton’s physics should apply for large and small particles at high and low velocities is disconfirmed by empirical observation. This lead us to understand that previous mathematics and formulae were not wrong, but merely misapplied.

    SR is not only something that has been confirmed through tremendous amounts of empirical observation, but makes intuitive sense when you reason from the two relevant assumptions Einstein’s theory proposes, namely:

    1. The laws of physics do not vary in reference frames
    2. The speed of light is a constant

    If you reason from these two points, you can see everything that follows from SR based on intuition, which we can also represent perfectly with mathematics. Furthermore, we know this intuition is useful because of empiricism.

    So why do you continue to deny SR, if it is the case that you do? How do you deal with all the empirical data?

  27. Interesting posts. I love it how passionate people are on one side or the other. The masses, including today’s physicists have lost track of Einsteins’ theory i.e. what he said, what he believed, etc… In 1920 Einstein wrote a book called Sidelights On Relativity. In this book he expresses grave concern about how his theory was being taken as “a real changing structure to solid materials” pertaining to length contraction and time dilation. Einstein expresses that Special Relativity explains the “observed propagation of light” in a relative state of reference. He even states that he believed he was wrong with regards to the apparent void of an ether.

    Einstein was a genius. He tried, successfully, to explain the “observed” nature of light. It was the idiots that followed, that took his theory and added all this sci-fi crap to it.

    Read and educate yourself before you say the other side is wrong. Or that Einstein was a jerk. Don’t believe everything you read on the internet.

    Some fun facts!!!
    1) No, G.P.S. does NOT rely, or take into account S.R.
    2) The speed of the earth in rotation and revolution going towards the sun, and away from the sun, is .oooo1 % of the speed of light. Of course the famous Michelson-Morley experiment didn’t show a change in speed.
    3) Einstein himself, went to his grave trying to explain that his theory was just “observer dependent”. Nobody listened. (That’s sad)
    4) The Hafele-Keating experiment in 1971 showed data that was outside the margin of error pertaining to relativity. After they adjusted a bunch of variables, then the data was released… saying the data was in line with predictions of S.R.
    5) And finally, do you think that they built a 6 billion dollar particle accelerator just to “test” the theory of S.R.? They know damn well that the speed of light can, and has been broken.

    And to sum it up… for those that really do believe in length contraction and time dilation… the same math that says my twin will return to earth having aged just a few years, also says that my twin will be as thick as a piece of paper, and weigh several tons! Do you believe that? Well you have to if you believe all the other stuff!

  28. Tony: So if Einstein went to his grave saying something, then we’re supposed to take it as gospel? Lots of science has been done after him.

    As for the “real changing structure” problem, I would guess that people in his time (and now) may have misinterpreted dilation to mean that objects are “squished” or “stretched” like physical springs are, which is mistaken. If someone is stretched out on a medieval rack, and someone else undergoes dilation of a “stretching” nature, the two people had very different experiences (The second person would feel no change at all, just percieve the rest of the universe “squishing” even as the rest of the universe feels no change and percieves the person as “stretching”).

    What’s your evidence for point 1, that GPS doesn’t use relativity? Or point 5, that lightspeed has been broken? If there’s some kind of conspiracy, then why were those apparently-faster-than-light neutrinos such big news instead of being “hushed up”?

    Regarding the twin paradox: It’s true that the twin who left would also experience dilation of mass and volume. However, as stated before, while this happened it wouldn’t seem to the twin that he was any different: the changes would be so consistent over his whole body that it would instead be like the rest of the universe having changed (which would also be a correct framing of the situation, that’s the whole point of relativity).

    Furthermore, the dilation, both in space and in time, only happens during the trip. After his return, he wouldn’t be “thin and dense” any more than he would come back as some kind of ever-youthful person watching the rest of us age before his eyes (and seeing us move quickly while we see him move in slow motion). He would still be younger than the twin who didn’t leave, because he really did experience fewer years, and there’s no reason that would be “undone” by his return. (If it were, how would that work — he rapidly ages when he gets back? But what counts as “getting back”? Remember, the principles of dilation apply to all speeds and thus all journeys, even made on foot. They’re just human-noticible at very high speeds.)

    You might object that the thinness and density were somehow “undone”, but remember, they’re not equivalent to being young, they’re equivalent to “aging slower”. The aging slower does stop along with them. It just happens to be the only one with a persistent effect: remaining 25 years old (or whatever). After his arrival on Earth, the twin would age at the same rate as anyone else, living a completely normal life — just like someone arriving off a plane.

  29. I respect your passion. But can you listen to yourself. Do you believe that a traveler ACTUALLY undergoes a real physiological change? Really? Or does the stay at home twin just “observe” this? And that’s the point of the argument! The world (thanks to the internet) is abuzz about what’s really happening. I believe, as Einstein intended, that the “change” is merely a perception and illusion of how light reflects to us. Bottom line, which you,or anybody else can’t answer… if the twin comes back actually younger than I, then all the math that states that is correct, says he will also be paper thin, and weigh a lot! How can you pick and choose what you think is Reality, and what is not? 99% of people that believe in S.T.R., believe that that slowing of age is reality. Yet, NO-ONE, believes any of the other stuff that goes along with it! And of course, S.R. says who knows who’s speeding away. S.R. says NOTHING about acceleration, or turn around, or “feeling” movement. That is all post-Einstein verbiage trying to answer some simple and fundamental questions from critics. Gotta go to work. Will answer your other questions when I get back. Look up his book!

  30. This thread is an absolute treasure. It’s almost as good as the video i saw with a toy helicopter and RC car that proved the Sun went around the Earth.

  31. Thank you NS, Steve and Tony.

    Guess what though, time dilation is real, guess how I know.

    I don’t know why this is happening, but recently I’ve been getting into a bit of the ol’ gardening, planting a wide range of different plants inside and out.
    Now this is it… I can’t bloody believe this they’re going to make me a KBE or something.
    I’ve noticed how, when I plant seeds indoors they don’t grow as quick as outdoors. When I put them in the sun they grow faster, now if i’m correct, I would put this down to the pure and obvious fact that the sun…. speeds up time!

    And the closer you get, the quicker time gets.
    Obvious isn’t it xD

  32. What helped me unstand S.R. for what it is, is that light, is not the object. And the object is not light. When we see a spaceship, we see the reflected light of that spaceship. So of course if the spaceship is going .8C relative to me, the reflected light is going to show all sorts of weird stuff. Doesn’t mean the spaceship is really ungoing those changes.

    And again, Einstein was not a fool. He formulated Special Relativity on the observation of light. And he was right. It was all the idiots that followed that got very literall with his equations. When asked if his obervations were real, Einstein said, “As far as one observes, it is real. As far as any actual realistic changes, that is another story.” Einstein publish a book in 1922, Sidelights On Relativity. In this book he voiced his displeasure how even by 1922, his theory had become twisted and distorted. He even goes so far as saying he believes he was wrong with regards to the aether.

    And of course, I love throwing a curve-ball at hardliners. Like I did when I told a professor the returning twin would be paper thin and weigh tons! Here’s another one… “They have proven the validity of Special Relativity with particle accelerators!” Really? I thought Special Relativity only worked in a straight line with no acceleration. Aren’t particles accelerators circular? And therefore any test done on any photon, particle, etc… be a test done on an accelerated subject? Think about it.

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