Author Topic: A-theory of Time & Relativity  (Read 921 times)

A-theory of Time & Relativity
« on: September 01, 2013, 10:15:06 PM »
Since my knowledge of GR and SR is miniscule, I defer to those who actually understand them to help me out (Joe :p ).

In philosophy, the field relating to the study of the nature of time is mainly occupied by The A-theory of time and the B-theory of time. If I understand anything about them, it's that the less popular A-theory essentially holds the Newtonian concepts of absolute simultaneity and absolute space as true (and thus the usual interpretation of relativity as false), while the B-theory essentially accepts the usual interpretation of relativity as true.

I've heard people like William Lane Craig give lectures titled something like "Why Einstein was Wrong" (and subsequently told by some physicists that he doesn't understand Relativity) and posit an "absolute frame of reference" of the 'aether' and favor what Craig calls the 'neo-Lorentz' interpretation of Relativity. From what I've heard, the real reason supposed why Craig and apologists like him do this is because the Kalam Cosmological argument is inescapably invalid if the B-theory is accurate.


Really what I'm asking - probably in a round about way - is:

Why is this talk about an 'absolute reference frame' of the aether nonsense (presumably)?

Is there any actual support in the scientific community for a view of time like this?
Which means that to me the offer of certainty, the offer of complete security, the offer of an impermeable faith that can\'t give way, is the offer of something not worth having.
[...]
Take the risk of thinking for yourself. Much more happiness, truth, beauty & wisdom, will come to you that way.
-Christopher Hitchens

Re: A-theory of Time & Relativity
« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2013, 10:55:08 PM »
The luminuferous aether was supposed to be the reference frame that would be at absolute rest. The Michelson-Morley experiment was designed to test the earth's relative velocity to the aether by measuring two beams of light going at right angles, and for six months. If the earth is moving from left-to-right, right now, in six monthts, it will be moving in the opposite direction, from right-to-left -- this is inevitable as the earth is moving in a nearly circular path around the sun. So wrt the aether, the earth would be absolutely moving in one direction right now, and absolutely moving in the opposite direction six months from now -- always wrt the aether. Since light is also made up of waves, the wave would interfere constructively and destructively, as all waves do, but since the earth will change direction, from left-to-right to right-to-left, the intereference pattern would shift. The null result (no shift) was subsequently interpreted that there is no such thing as a frame of reference at absolute rest. So the concept of an aether was eventually abandoned. And in 1905, Einstein published his papers, which became known as the Special Theory of Relativity. In this theory, time  can slow down, and space can contract, depending on the relative velocity of two observers. And so the Newtonian concept of absolute time and absolute space has become a thing of the past.

WLC has gone to great strides to deny SR, simply because in the Kalam argument, he wants to absolutely (pun intended,  :-D ) hold on to the idea that the universe had a beginning. In such a scheme, this t =0 would be absolute.

Offline SGOS

Re: A-theory of Time & Relativity
« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2013, 04:41:47 AM »
Quote from: "GurrenLagann"
I've heard people like William Lane Craig give lectures titled something like "Why Einstein was Wrong" (and subsequently told by some physicists that he doesn't understand Relativity) and posit an "absolute frame of reference" of the 'aether'
What aether again?  I thought it died.  Personally, I'm a phlogiston man, myself.  I don't know how you can explain fire without the phlogiston.

 

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