The Big Bang

Tony Hollick (
Thu, 6 Nov 97 12:40 GMT0

I occasionally see a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel on
this one... >:-}

On Wed, 5 Nov 1997, John K Clark <> wrote:

> >John;
> >This discussion would be a __lot_ easier and more fruitful if you'd
> >take the trouble to read the Colloquium, "Criticism and the Growth
> >of Knowledge", Lakatos and Musgrave, eds. [1976].

> Tony;
> This discussion would be a __lot_ easier and more fruitful if you'd take the
> trouble to read any high school science book or at least a good grade school
> one.

John, here's a reprise of my school-days odyssey...

I grew up uner the shadows of thermonuclear weapons, and as a kid, I
depserately wanted to get (some of) us off the planet, and into some
sort of open future off-world. I read a lot of science fiction, and
-- as I read the stories -- thought on three levels:

[1] Is this idea physically and technically possible?

[2] If not, how near can we get to it?

[3] If we can't do it, what can we do which will achieve the same

Aged 11, despite various barbarisms (ferinstance, being repeatedly
caned on the outstretched fingers of my left hand, in a - failed -
attempt to make me right-handed), I 'won' the top scholarship in my
primary school, despite only three years of formal education. (I
was near-autistic for a while -- I used to 'disappear' into books
and their 'alternative universes' for hours and days on end).

Read Alice Miller, "For Your Own Good", on the horrors of
contemporary pedagogy...

At my Dulwich College entrance interview, I was asked by the
headmaster what I wanted to do.

I replied honestly: "I want to be a rocket scientist, and get us off
this planet."

I was told that there would be no rockets; therefore, there would be
no rocket scientists; and that I would instead be made into a a

This -- to me -- stated: "There will _be no future_."

(You will notice that the 'United Kingdom' now has no space
programme, except for a small piece of Arianespace; oh, and some
militarily useless American Trident missiles, dependent on --
American -- terminal guidance).

------------------- * * * * * ---------------

Still, I persevered. In the -- hopelessly ineptly-taught -- physics
classes, it was clear that we were being taught _obsolete rubbish_.
Equally clearly; if I wanted to get bits of paper ('credentials')
to be an engineer or physicist, I had to (learn to) absorb and
regurgitate their absurdities.

Worse: the moment the 'authorities' spotted that you _wanted
something from them_, they used that to _control you_. I didn't
want to be 'controlled'... Among the methods of 'control' were
savage and protracted beatings (often in front of invited audiences,
who got their 'jollies' from watching avidly, while they did rude
things to themselves 'discreetly' under newspapers); endless
'detentions' (that is, three hour imprisonments); and physical
ordeals of various kinds (five mile runs after lessons, etc. etc.).

I was 'suspended' seven times, and 'asked to leave' _twice_ (a
record of sorts, I understand!). On the final occasion, aged
sixteen [1958], I was ordered to cut up sheets of newsprint with a
blunt pair of scissors, for use in experiments tracing the paths of
light through glass blocks, using pins as line-of-sight markers.

[ FX: "Pinlighting is a hell of a way to earn a living..." ]

True story: In frustration, I hauled out my bright, shiny 11" bladed
Bowie knife, and hacked the paper into handy-sized pieces... The
physics teacher (one Mr. Tapper -- "One Nation under Surveillance,
with Wiretaps and Mail Covers for All"), turned white, summoned me
into a box-room, and told me to discard this terrible instrument. I
did so, but there was a hell of a 'clunk' as the matching holstered
.22 caliber pistol hit the shelf... >:-} ).

Later that day (one of the happiest of my life!) I was told by my
Mum that Dulwich College had phoned, and had said that I would not
be returning to them. Victory!!! "Free at last!!!"

------------------- * * * * * ---------------

So, you see, I don't really want you telling me I should read school
textbooks (i.e. prison instruction manuals -- just another
subjectivist 'argument from authority'). I have _already_ read too
many of them -- it's their _failures_ that played a large part in my
learning to use my _own_ intelligence. Indeed, it was <inter alai>
Jeremy Bernstein's -- utterly incompetent -- book on Einstein's
'Relativity' that stimulated me to _solve_ these problems for myself
-- and hopefully for others also.

------------------- * * * * * ---------------

> >>Me:
> >>The 2 slit interference experiment.
> >Popper explains this neatly with propensities. Propensities are real
> >properties, albeit a little like 'hidden variables.'
> But there is no way Newton or Galileo of Faraday or Maxwell can explain this: Shine a light on 2 closely spaced slits and it
> will produce a complex interference pattern on a film, even if the photons
> are sent out one at a time. If a photon (or an electron) goes through one
> slit it wouldn't seem to matter if the other slit, the one it didn't go
> though, was there or not, but it does!

The ballistic theory describes, predicts and explains interference.
Ballistic photons have _frequencies_ -- they're like tiny rotating
electric dipoles. You _have_ to learn to understand this stuff.
Feynman can -- why the hell can't you?


> Don't tell me that all this is crazy because it's not my fault, I'm sure I could have done much better but unfortunately I was
> not given the job. Tell God He's crazy.

I'm not telling you She's crazy. I might ask you to be a bit less
credulous. I have here a brilliant, glorious, funny book, "Catching
the Light", Bantam, [1993], by Arthur Zajonc, Fulbright Scholar and
Professor of Physics at Amherst, which -- after a bewildering series
of polar flip-flops on the wave-or-particle nature of light issue --
finally owns up, and tells us that all these 'quantum weirdness'
light phenomena only exhibit themseves with single-photon 'quantum'
light sources, which are very recent... atomic cascades, and
two-photon, parametric, down-conversion sources. Don't try your
intellectual intimidation on me -- I _know_ all this stuff...

I don't say it's impossible, but you might try to find a solid
citation for single-photon interference. Obviously, you cannot
possibly demonstrate it with just one photon. (This is obvious,
isn't it?)

And you might at least make an effort to understand the idea of
individual photons having inherent physical propensities (along with
velocity, polarization, mass, frequency, direction and intensity),
which govern their behaviour within the overall propensities of the
experimental situation.

> A word about philosophers; I like them, especially Popper, I always find that
> sort of stuff entertaining, but Stephen Hawking has some amusing things to
> say about them that contain more than a little truth.

Here's Arthur Zajonc with a last word on the likes of Hawking:

"When we are confronted with the black void of pure instrumentalism,
the temptations of reactionary idolatry are very near. Having lost
the Gods, we fall in love with the beautiful idols we can raise in
their places. Atoms, quarks, tiny black holes... they are reified,
garlanded, and dragged forward to assume a place in the temple.
Calling them real, we animate them with the false life of fear, our
fear of the unknown being of Nature."

> >Electrons only 'spiral into the nucleus' in aether theory.
> Newton says an object moving in a circle is accelerating toward the center of
> the circle. Maxwell says an accelerating charge will radiate an
> electromagnetic wave and give up energy. BUT...
> An electron is a charge. The electron does not usually radiate an
> electromagnetic wave. The electron does not give up energy. The electron
> does not spiral into the nucleus.

Let me be more exact: electrons in orbits around oppositely-charged
nuclei are in 'free-fall'; their _angular velocity_ is constant,
which is what matters for these purposes.

> >In Relational Mechanics, they're held in various orbits of
> >near-constant radius by electric force
> The electron has a negative charge.


> The nucleus has a positive charge.


> The electric force pulls the electron and nucleus together.


> The electron and nucleus do not come together.

True (usually, though check out neutrons).

> Something else must be stopping them.

"It's the inertia_, stupid!" The goddamn photons have _intrinsic
mass_. They're -- ipso facto -- subject to _gravitational force_.
That's what 'ballistic' _means_, fer chrissake!

>Relational Mechanics handles lasing easily.

> But the margin of your E mail message was too small to contain the marvelous
> proof of it that you discovered.

The problem you stubbornly fail to grasp is that -- as David Collier
says -- to write a full history of light is to write out the history
of physics. Light ties the whole subject-area together -- that's
why it's so difficult for some people to see different theories of
light and compare them. It shakes the whole foundation of physics
as people understand it. Makes them feel _insecure_.

You just tell me the bit in lasing that you think the ballistic
theory _doesn't_ explain. Start with the standard quantum
explanation. Don't ask me to post a book-length treatment of

> >The Michelson-Morley experiment perfectly corroborates the ballistic
> >theory of light. Doesn't everyone know this?
> No, everyone doesn't know this.
Every half-way competent book on the subject acknowledges this.
The light-source remains stationary with respect to the entire
apparatus. The apparatus does not alter in its dimensions.
Therefore, the ballistic theory predicts that since there is no
shift in the length of the light-paths, nor any change in the
velocity of light within the apparatus, the interference fringes
will remain unchanged whatever the orientation in space of the
apparatus. How simple can anything get?

> >Sheesh!!! Gravitational redshift is perfectly predicted by the
> >ballistic theory of light.
> This said from a man who thinks a red filter produces a redshift.

>:-} I was responding somewhat tongue-in-cheek to your 'Twilight
Zone' provocation... "Red Skies at Night" kinda thing...

>>The detection of gravity waves by Taylor and Hulse for which they
>>won the Nobel Prize in 1995.

>But this is an _empirical_ matter

> Rather a cavalier attitude to take toward experimental results from someone
> who claims he's scientific don't you think.

You consistently fail to distinguish between Methodological
Scientific Research Programmes (like Relational Mechanics and
Quantum _theory_), and specific empirical questions, or auxilliary
hypotheses which are absorbed into the programme. Relational
Mechanics handles it like this:

"If (and only if) gravitational force is propagated with a finite
velocity relative to its source, the paths of distant bodies will be
altered from the paths predicted by an instantaneously interacting
gravitational force."

It's so simple, yet so powerful. Truly! See it yet?

> >on which Relational Mechanics takes no position
> Then you've been beaten by the competition because General Relativity did
> take a position, it predicted the gravity waves would exist and said exactly
> how intense they'd be. Taylor and Hulse proved the prediction correct.

(I think you'll find that's an overstatement of Einstein's position).

Relational Mechanics says: "If you want to find out the velocity of
propagation of gravity (if any), here's how to go about it." It's
_immensely_ powerful, as well as beautiful. You just don't seem to
see this, for reasons I might speculate upon sometime. >:-}.

> In my last post I mentioned the orbit of Mercury and said:
> " General relativity predicts 42.98, the observed value is 43.11 +- .21"
> Tony responded to my comment with the following:
> >The point you insist on ignoring is that the velocity of propagation
> >of gravitational force (if any) is not a feature of Classical or
> >Relational Mechanics. In Newton's theory, gravity acts instantaneously
> >at a distance (even though he also says that it doesn't, because that
> >would have been 'occult' and could have gotten him executed). Stop
> >conflating incompatible propositions, fer Chrissake!!!
> It's English, I recognize the words and it seems to obey the rules of
> grammar, but if anybody has an idea of what the above could mean I wish
> they'd drop me a line.

It doesn't get any simpler than this. It means that you can predict a
perihelion anomaly from a hypothesized finite velocity of propagation
of gravitational force; AND: that you can predict the velocity of
propagation of gravitational force back from the observed precession,
as compared to the predictions for instantaneous gravitational force

> >Sheesh!!! Time is a _dimension_. You never studied Dimensional
> >Analysis?

> You say time is a dimension and you say it's a dimension that doesn't
> measure anything. You might as well say time is a teapot. I'm going to
> repeat my question and see if you'll answer it this time, but you'll
> probably just say "ballistic theory" has it all figured out or point to
> another philosophy book.
> If this thing you call "time" is not a measure of how particles of
> matter and energy interact, such as the particles in my clock my body my
> brain or my world, then why should I be the slightest bit interest in it?

Time is a _dimension_, a measure-ratio, a _metric for Duration_.

Here's Alfred O'Rahilly, Institute for Advanced Studies, Dublin

"In the case of short time-intervals we have a primitive perception
of equality and inequality just as we have for short
space-intervals. This is especially noticeable in the case of
auditory rhythm, e.g. the sound of a clock ticking or of an engine
running or of a musical instrument playing....

"Nowadays we measure long intervals by the periodic motions of the
heavenly bodies (rotation of the earth), and short intervals by
recurrent isochronous devices we may call clocks. Here, as in other
cases such as that of temperature, we make successive refinements of
measurement by introducing corrections outside the previous limits
of accuracy. For example, we make an immediate judgement that the
ordinary pendulum is isochronous, owing to the observed regularity
of its ticking. With such a measure of time, we can verify the laws
of motion within the limits of experimental error.

"With more refined instruments we discover small residual errors
below the limits of the initial direct observation. We can account
for this by advancing (1) supplementary hypotheses (disturbing
forces), or (2) a slight modification of the suopposed law, or (3) a
small discrepancy in the isochronism.

"In making a choice there is undoubtedly a mixture of convention with
observation. But usually the probability is overwhelmingly in
favour of (3), so that the law keeps its original simple form and
yet accounts for apparent discrepancies without additional
hypotheses. Our belief is corroborated if our improved clocks show
the laws to hold with a much higher degree of accuracy than that
with which we started. There are in physics many examples of this
intensification of accuracy by successive corrections of a system of

-- Alfred O'Rahilly, "Electromagnetics: A Discussion of Fundamentals"
p. 677; publ. University of Cork, [1938].

/ /\ \

Tony Hollick, LightSmith