The Causes of Relativity

This discussion of relativity is a somewhat retrospective overview of special (SR) and general (GR) relativity, which does not really align with LaFreniere’s website. LaFreniere’s discussions pursue the idea of what he calls ‘Lorentzian Relativity’, which is orientated towards his alpha transforms and his ‘time scanner’ simulations. However, this section of discussions is more focused on the key assumptions associated with any wave model and whether these assumptions can be supported by any potential causal mechanisms. As the topic of relativity has been previously discussed, see Relative Perspective and Theory of Relativity for details, this review of both special and general relativity will therefore try to focus on the key issues that may conflict with a wave model.

But surely relativity is more than an assumption, it is proven fact?

This is possibly the opinion of many, however in 1905, when Einstein first published his special theory of relativity, he was essentially forwarding a conceptual model based on the idea of the Lorentz transforms that had not been subject to any empirical verification. This mathematical model, anchored to the Lorentz transforms, required both length contraction and time dilation, although the theory provided no obvious causal explanation. However, in the context of the wave models being discussed, aspects of both length contraction and time dilation may be possible, although caveats have been highlighted. The first caveat concerns length contraction, not space contraction.

So, what is the difference?

In a wave model, length contraction might be considered on the assumption that standing waves underpin all atomic structures, which might then be subject to compression in a reference frame with a relative velocity [v] with respect to the wave media. However, how this concept scales to macroscopic objects is unclear and while it might be considered as a possible causal explanation, it requires more rigorous verification.

Note: Possibly of more importance to this discussion of relativity is that this form of length contraction does not imply any wholesale contraction of the fabric of space, only objects within it. Therefore, while a spaceship travelling at a relativistic velocity would be subject to length contraction, the distance to any star would remain unaffected. By the same token, it is possible that only material objects in a gravitational field are affected, not the coordinate space around large gravitational masses.

However, the idea of length contraction might also help explain time dilation in the sense that any measurement of time could be affected by length contraction associated with any clock mechanism. As such, the measurement of time might also have a possible causal explanation, although other factors need to be taken into consideration. For example, while some may consider time dilation to be a ‘measurement problem’, if the net result affects the ticking of the ‘clock’ within a living cell, then the measurement of time in terms of human aging may be a very real effect. Therefore, in terms of the spaceship example, the time taken to reach a distant star at relativistic velocities would be subject to time dilation, i.e. take less time, for those onboard compared to those stationary with respect to the wave media of space. As such, this introduction might suggest some support for the fundamental assumptions that led Einstein to develop his theory of relativity, both special and general, although the description of both length contraction and time dilation, as outlined, may lead to a different interpretation of cause and effect.

But what remains theory and what has been empirically verified?

At this point, it needs to be highlighted that mainstream science will state that relativity has been empirically verified through many and varied experiments. However, doubts still surrounds the details of many of these experiments, especially when there is so much ambiguity concerning the causal mechanisms required by the theory. Of course, mainstream science also cites a considerable body of mathematics in support of relativity, although the consistency of this logic may still be based on false assumptions that undermine the premise of the model. Therefore, this introduction will consider the scope of ‘evaluation’ that relativity has been subjected.

Note: In basic terms, evaluation might be described as a process to determine whether a mathematical model describes a physical system accurately. This process may involve different types of evaluation, which may attempt to analyse how the model aligns to empirical data and possibly other more philosophical considerations. While this note is only an outline of the issues, it might be realized that all models generally attempt to simplify the complexity of the real-world and therefore may not accurately represent physical reality. Of course, any useful model is expected to offer up data that ’fits’ physical observation, although systems that extend from the subatomic to cosmic scales can often be subject to different interpretations and degrees of confirmation bias. In this respect, confirmation bias might be described as a ‘worldview’ preference, which may be philosophical, theological or scientific in scope.

In 1905, the level of ‘evaluation’ of special relativity was limited, although mainstream science might reasonably argue that this initial limitation has been addressed over the 100+ years since its publication.

So, why do so many claims and counter-claims persist?

As anybody searching the web will quickly discover, there are many claims and counter-claims surrounding the theory of relativity. Of course, most wave models must challenge some of the assumptions of special relativity, especially in terms of its denial of space as a wave media. However, mainstream science often appears ambiguous on the nature of space given its earlier acceptance of space curvature and expansion plus its later acceptance of gravitational waves. However, if we set aside such issues for now, previous discussions have alluded to a possible causal explanation for both length contraction and time dilation, albeit predicated on the existence of a wave media.  While accepting the speculative nature of these causal mechanisms, they are not necessarily illogical, although they are not without their own set of unverified assumptions and possible inconsistencies.

How might we evaluate these models?

Before attempting to address this question, we possibly need some perspective of where relativity sits within the accepted scientific model. In this context, there are two main foundation stones on which modern science has been built, i.e. relativity and quantum mechanics, which are used to describe the cosmic and subatomic scales of physical reality. However, as pointed out in the initial discussion of this section entitled ‘Wave Assumptions’, these two foundation stones lead to somewhat contradictory models of the universe, which might leave the door open to some new ideas. However, new ideas are not always welcomed and the increasing specialization of science into different fields of expertise often limits the ‘weight of authority’ of any individual to discuss issues that extend beyond a single field of specialization. This separation of science into specialized fields is also compounded by the divide between theoretical and applied science, where the former has become increasingly dependent on mathematical models and assumptions, which seem to extend beyond the ability of applied science to verify. This divide is possibly most obvious in the field of cosmology, where the idea that 96% of the universe is made of dark energy and dark matter can be accepted, while having no obvious description within the equally accepted particle model. As such, the idea of consensus within accepted science may be part illusion, or possibly part delusion, which 21st century science may yet have to address. In this context, it might be suggested that the theory of relativity is still open to debate because current mainstream consensus is not based on a single theory that can be linked to specific causal mechanisms.