Einstein and aberrant simultaneity versus visual anomalies.
Frank Pio Russo - January 01, 2013. (Revised Feb. 21, 2013).
Abstract: It is contended that there is no aberrant simultaneity... this fallacious idea grew out of the inability to balance the Michelson-Morley experiment without time-dilation
Most of the einsteinian apologists tend to conveniently confuse the concept of einsteinian aberrant simultaneity and mere simple visual anomalies. They do this for the simple reason that the average person can accept the latter but not the former. For if a person were to maintain that events actually happened at different times for different people, it would throw out causality and totally mess up reality... so much so that the average person might insist on pumping all of physics' relativists full of anti-psychotics!
Carl Sagan in his famous book "Cosmos", goes to great lengths in tying up different simultaneities with visual anomalies by considering a near collision where the subjects are travelling at super-luminal speeds... there he makes it obvious that something had to give... he however leaves the reader's mind open as to the title of this article that I'm writing. Likewise Paul Davies in his famous book "God and the New Physics", has a long dialogue between a physicist and a sceptic on our subject under consideration... he nevertheless goes on to leave our title question somewhat unresolved!
However anybody who 'really' understands Michelson-Morley work, would understand that what Einstein was maintaining was that events actually take place at different times for different observers, regardless of the light-time involved for the visual pictures of the events to travel to the eyes of the observers! Stephen Hawking makes this slightly obvious in his recent "Grand Design" documentary... there he says that Einstein maintained that whilst the lighting of a lighter in the middle of a moving train carriage is simultaneous to both a person at the front of the carriage and one at the rear, it is not simultaneous to one on the embankment. To me this is going beyond simple visual anomalies because it does not attempt to explain it by any change in the comparative paths involved, but rather simply by invoking the philosophical nature of light travelling the same speed in different inertial frames!
Visual anomalies do happen of course... for example we may observe a star 100 million light years away, at the same time as a car approaching us in the street, yet none of us are going to talk of aberrant simultaneity... we of course know that we are seeing how that star was whilst dinosaurs roamed our earth! However this is not what transpires in the Michelson-Morley... the accepted misguided paradigm is that simultaneity breaks down... one can no longer match events with one another and this in turn gave rise to time travel.
One of the main reasons for this misguided paradigm is that it was accepted that the two photons that arrived at the mirrors simultaneously had left the origin both at the same time... it had been inconceivable that they could have left the beam-splitter at different times... physically impossible! However there hadn't been an appreciation of the differential effect of the differing speeds of both light and the apparatus! A later photon (i.e. from before the beam splitter), can catch-up to a later position of the beam-splitter - simply because the latter is travelling much more slowly - and thus arrives at the perpendicular mirror simultaneous to the orbital photon that left the beam-splitter a bit earlier!
The Michelson-Morley has been very central to my life for the past 25 years, and my dream is that everybody might come to see scientific truth... may all pseudo-science be dispelled away as we progress in our understanding. (For more on this subject see www.frankrusso.net )
 Sagan Carl (1983), Cosmos: Travels in space and time, pg 226; Futura Publications
 Davies Paul (1983), God and the new physics: Time, pgs 128-132;Chaucer Press.
 Hawking Stephen (2010), The grand design, Bantam books; also done as TV documentary.
BACK TO ARTICLES: www.frankrusso.net/articles.html