# The Final Pathetic Bleatings of the Forum

Question:

Albert, I am not completely convinced of your theory of
relativity. There is no real basis to it. I think you must
have been drunk when you thought it up. Can you defend your
theory to me at all?

Replies:

colorless green ideas sleep furiously

Since the time of Galileo it has been realized that there exists a class of so-called inertial frames of reference--i.e., in a state of uniform motion with respect to one another such that one cannot, by purely mechanical means, distinguish one from the other. It follows that the laws of mechanics must take the same form in every inertial frame of reference. To the accuracy of present-day technology, the class of inertial frames may be regarded as those that are neither accelerating nor rotating with respect to the distant galaxies. To specify the motion of a body relative to a frame of reference, one gives its position x as a function of a time coordinate t (x is called the position vector and has the components x, y, and z).

Newton's first law of motion (which remains true in special relativity) states that a body acted upon by no external forces will continue to move in a state of uniform motion relative to an inertial frame. It follows from this that the transformation between the coordinates (t, x) and (t', x') of two inertial frames with relative velocity u must be related by a linear transformation. Before my special theory of relativity was published in 1905, it was usually assumed that the time coordinates measured in all inertial frames were identical and equal to an "absolute time." Thus,

t=t'

The position coordinates x and x' were then assumed to be related by

x'=x-u t

These two formulas are called a Galilean transformation. The laws of nonrelativistic mechanics take the same form in all frames related by Galilean transformations. This is the restricted, or Galilean, principle of relativity.

The position of a light-wave front speeding from the origin at time zero should satisfy

x^2-c^2t^2=0

in the frame (t,x) and

(x')^2-c^2(t')^2=0

in the frame (t', x'). This last formula does not transform into the previous formula using the Galilean transformations, however.

Are you still with me here?

Put another way, if one uses Galilean transformations one finds that the velocity of light depends on one's inertial frame, which is contrary to the Michelson-Morley experiment

Let me reiterate: The Michelson-Morley experiment, which has been reproduced and verified countless times, proves that the velocity of light does not depend on one's inertial frame!

We are forced to conclude that either:

(1) It is possible to determine a unique absolute frame of rest relative to which the motion of a light wave is given by the previous equation and its velocity is c only in that frame----

or

(2) the assumption that "all inertial observers measure the same absolute time t" must be wrong.

I believe in (and experimental evidence confirms this, repeatedly) the (extended) principle of relativity, which meant that one cannot, by any means, including the use of light waves, distinguish between two inertial frames in uniform relative motion, I chose to give up the Galilean transformations and replace them with the Lorentz transformations.

The unique absolute frame of rest with respect to which light waves had velocity c according to the prerelativistic viewpoint was often regarded, before I came along, as being at rest relative to a hypothesized all-pervading ether. The vibrations of this ether were held to explain the phenomenon of electromagnetic radiation. The failure of experimenters to detect motion relative to this ether, together with the widespread acceptance of my special theory of relativity, led to the abandonment of the theory of the ether.

It is ironic therefore to note that the discovery in 1964 by the American astrophysicists Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson of a universal cosmic microwave 3 K radiation background shows that the universe does indeed possess a privileged inertial frame.

Nevertheless, this does not contradict special relativity because one cannot measure the Earth's velocity relative to it by experiments in a closed laboratory. One must actually detect the microwaves themselves.

Your argument would be convincing to someone less philosophically sophisticated than myself. I still have one question for you, "Doctor" Einstein:

How do you reconcile your "theory" with the fact that it violates the principle of A is A?

Please tell me you are joking.

I assure you sir, I am not. Your "theory" is philosophically corrupt. Existence exists. It is independent of consciousness, of any particular "observer".

My theory has been verified in countless practical applications. Did you know that your country's Global Positioning satellites, which must keep extremely accurate time, must necessarily incorporate computations to account for time dilation effects due to their relative motion?

CRIMINAL

I hate you.

I hate you!

Pigfucker!

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