Book Review – Physics & Vertical Causation: The End of Quantum Reality by Wolfgang Smith Reviewed


Top Down

One of the proofs of God’s existence given to us by our good saint Thomas Aquinas is the argument from essential causal chains. (We have met this many times in our Summa Contra Gentiles review.) This proof has deep implications for physics.

The classic example is a man using a stick to move a stone. The stone’s movement is caused by the stick. The stick’s movement is caused by the hand and arm. But inside the hand and arm are muscles, and these are moved by individual cells. The cells are “moved”, i.e. changed, by the chemicals in the cells. The chemicals in the cells are changed or moved by the protons, neutrons, and electrons in them. These particles are themselves moved by quarks. The quarks are moved, some say, by strings. The strings are moved by possibly something underneath them.

And so on. But not and-so-on forever. This simultaneous chain of essential causes has to bottom out somewhere. It cannot proceed to infinity, or no movement would ever get started. There has to be a base first cause in this chain. Without (again) going into the details, it turns out this first cause has to be the same first cause in all change. And, as the man says, we call this first cause God.

Hold that in mind and let’s next recall a version of an EPR experiment. Two entangled photons are released, one heading north and the other south. According to quantum theory, neither of these photons has a single state of polarization, but each photon has all possible polarizations, represented by its wave function. Eventually, the northward bound photon is interacted with, or “measured”, which causes its wave function to “collapse” to a definite polarization. This interaction “causes”—the scare quotes are justified—the southward bound photon to take the opposite polarization instantly, even if the photons are so far apart that no signal could possibly communicate between them in time.

This fact about the world bothers many, because it doesn’t appear there is any theory involving ordinary essential causes that can explain it. Bell even proved no such essential cause can exist, not if one embraced locality. And locality is definitely out: there’s just no way for the photons to talk to each other.

Not if you heed exclusively to what Wolfgang Smith calls “horizontal causality”, which is the type of causation ordinarily encountered in physics—the science, that is. However, if you allow “vertical causality”, a metaphysical concept as is ordinary essential causality, the problem of how those photons can talk to each other goes away.

Smith does not mention the stick-moving-stone type of “horizontal” causal chains, but these chains, which are in every movement or change everywhere and everwhen, point to a simple “vertical” cause that is omnipresent, like we met above, a cause not in space or time, a cause not limited by locality, because, as it were, all points and all times are available to this vertical cause always.

Physicists can’t see this cause in their metaphysics, which excludes the spiritual and what Smith calls the corporeal world. If in your science all you have is a yardstick, then all that can exist is length. All other properties vanish, or rather are invisible. It would be an obvious fallacy to say that these other properties have no existence because they cannot be measured in your yardstick science. But that is the central mistake Descartes built into physics when he separated the world into two domains, res extensa and res cogitans.

The first, res extensa, is the realm of the yardstick, the second, res cogitans, is the playground of the mind, where all those things that cannot be measured live. That is, the non-length properties are only in the mind, or are a projection of the mind, and are not in things themselves. The opposite philosophy is realist: it is the corporeal world of experience that is tangible, and it is the mathematical abstraction of the corporeal world’s measurable or physical properties which is not. In other words (and regular readers will recognize this), the modern science of physics rests on the Deadly Sin of Reification.

You can only get so far with horizontal causality. It nicely explains many measurable phenomenon of interest, but it can’t explain everything. It can’t, for instance, explain us, our thoughts. No yardstick or probe can ever exist to measure vertical causality, but we can still prove it is there. Prove it to yourself: that stone never would have moved by the stick if you didn’t first will it. Will moves by vertical causality.

We also know the qualities the corporeal world are there, because we experience them, even if they cannot be measured. Of course, we have met many examples of attempts to quantify the unquantifiable—how sanguine are you on a scale of -42,003.7 to eπ2?—and we have seen how they all ultimately come to grief.

Smith’s latest book (his last?) is a culmination of his life’s work, with each chapter referring to his more detailed earlier writings. It is, if you like, a teaser. This is to its advantage. For instance, he introduces hylomorphism, giving its outlines but not bogging the concept down with excessive detail, which would distract new readers. There are plenty of other texts that provide formal proofs of these concepts (see anything written by Ed Feser). Smith gives enough material to allow the reader a grip, and then moves on.

Of which there is plenty. In a way, this is a shocking book. Shall I tell you of geocentrism, or leave the idea dangling? Does he dare call into question Einstein himself? Does he really have a solution to quantum mechanical measurement? How about free will?

Yes, all this and much more, all in a hundred and twenty some pages! So that’s—-

—-what’s that? You’d like a little more detail? Okay.

More Detail

There are many proofs our minds are not machines. The simplest is that machines have no self-awareness. We do. Some attempt an escape by saying our awareness is “illusion”—not grasping that it takes self-awareness to be able to have illusions.

One that will be new to some is that visual perception requires a “transcendence of temporal bounds.” We do not see movement like a camera, frame by frame, but “all at once“. See is doing double duty here. Parts of the body process the images, if you like, but it still takes a mind to see the images, and understand them for what they are.

There is a neat explication of Gödel’s theorem, which again shows that we need a mind to see, and thus we are more than “collections of particles”. I quote it in full because it is familiar territory for us.

By virtue of Part I [showing that proofs in an axiomatized math can be numbered], we may assume that there exists a function P(m,n), defined for all natural numbers m and n, such that, for every m, P(m,n) is a propositional function of n (an algebraic statement depending on n, which may be true or false) and a function Π(k) which orders all mathematical proofs in the given axiom system.

We now define the following propositional function: “There exists no k such that Π(k) proves P(w,w).” Since our enumeration P(m,n) of arithmetical propositions is complete, there must exist a natural number s such that P(s,n) is the aforesaid function. Now consider the proposition P(s,s): the first thing to note is that this proposition is unprovable (since our construction entails that “there exists no k such that Π(k) proves P(s,s)”; and the second is that P(s,s) is true: for indeed there exists no k such that Π(k) proves P(s,s).

Now if you can see that—comprehend it, grasp it, own it—you can also see that no computer ever can. It involves infinities of thought, which is impossible for any computer, which would be set chugging along never to realize the answer. Never as in never.

Like I always say, Gödel did it the hard way. We already knew there are true but unprovable statements in any axiom system. The axioms themselves. These are propositions everybody believes, but for which there is no proof. Not in the ordinary sense of that word. Again, we need to touch an infinite mind to know what cannot be proved by ordinary methods.

Hold onto your black holes. Smith really does put some difficult questions to Einstein. “Either Einstein is right and the equations of classical mechanics need indeed to be revised, or the equations of classical mechanics are correct as they stand, and it is actually his ‘relativistic’ mechanics that prove to be false.”

Here, dear reader, I am on less stable ground, not knowing as much about relativity as quantum mechanics, so I am not in a position to intelligently critique Smith. Einstein rejected the idea of absolute rest: Smith does not. Smith’s argues Einstein assumed too much: given the Mchelson-Morley experiment did not find a orbital velocity of the earth, yet Einstein still assumed it was there, and so forth.

But it didn’t stop with m&M. Others have since at least claimed to measure orbital velocity by, for instance, looking at Doppler shifts in starlight as (it is presumed) the earth moves. However, it is a possibility that the earth sits still and stars move. The measurements would be the same.

What I wish to emphasize is that Einsteinian relativity is actually predicated upon the assumption that there can be no such thing as an immobile reference frame, a K0 “at rest”: it is this denial that leads quite naturally to at least the special theory of relativity. But given that there exist not a shred of empirical evidence in support of that denial, one sees that Einsteinian physics cannot but be based ultimately on ideological grounds.

Well, what about that “not a shred”? Empirical verification of relatively must involve very sensitive measurement, given the effects are almost completely negligible for most things. “Misconceptions aside, the question whether special relativity has passed empirical muster proves an incurably technical issue. And no wonder, if at a speed of 1000 km/hr one needs to differentiate between 1 and 0.99999945!”

From here, Smith provides details of experiments (starting with the 1913 Sagnac experiment) showing anisotropy in light speeds. “Ruyong Wang et al. conducted an experiment in 2003, in which the ‘Sagnac effect is also obtained on a two-way linear path, by reversing a light beam sent out on a straight line on a moving platform and measuring the difference in return time.’ What the Wang experiment indicates is that the speed of light is not in fact c in every inertial reference frame, as Einsteinian physics demands.”

He has more, but I leave it here for those more familiar with the territory. If Smith is right, then there is a point in the universe that is at rest. I’ll let you guess where this point is. If he’s not, then it’s not of direct consequence to the rest of the book.

Smith’s resolution to quantum mechanical measurement is much easier, relatively speaking (he punned). This is to return to the beginning, to Aristotle and Heisenberg, to the idea that substances are composed of both potentiality and actuality. Even you, dear reader, have the potential to be somewhere other than where you are now, and it takes something actual to get you there, something actual to actuality the potentiality in you. This potentially is part of you, in a very real sense.

The quantum world is unfamiliar because it is composed of objects with much more potentiality than actuality. There is no wavefunction “collapse”, but a potentiality becoming an actuality by something actual—that interaction or measurement. We spent a lot of time with this elsewhere, and there is no reason to repeat it here. Read “Quantum Potency & Probability” for more detail on this.

Smith’s big idea, and one we share, is the return of the spiritual to scientific discourse. We all know it’s there. “The first point to be made is that this reduction of the animate to the inanimate—of the living to the merely ‘complex’—so far from being based upon scientific fact, is actually a groundless assumption, which gains strength from the fact that it is beyond our means to grasp whatever it may be that distinguishes the two.”

One moment your crazy uncle is raving about BLM, the next moment he is not. His soul has departed. Living beings are more than their constituent parts working together, just like water is more than just hydrogen plus oxygen. “This soul-generated [vertical causation] constitutes in fact the life force or élan vital of the organism, which both ‘produces’ its body or ‘corporeal sheath’ and renders it animate.” Any science that does not acknowledge this, and many other like things, is incomplete.

It is probably clear by now that vertical causality, unmeasurable in the traditional sense, is “what gives rise to horizontal causality.” Look: you knew this was true before you here today. All the gloried “laws” of physics and the nature of the world had to come from something. They could not make themselves. And we all know what this something is. Every attempt by scientists to explain this uncomfortable truth away has been an embarrassment. And always will be.

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Open Fire

28 replies »

  1. Bob KurlandI’ve skimmed this article but as a physicist I have serious doubts that it impinges on the validity of special relativity, general relativity, or quantum mechanics. A serious objections is that it does not adhere to the rules of how the game of science is played, that is theories/math/empirical validation and takes interpretations of theories as necessary adjuncts. (see But I may have more to say after I chew on this.
  2. Bert SchwittersThe principle that governs creation is causality, the principle of cause and effect. It is axiomatic that before each and every creation is a cause. By definition, no cause can have any other purpose than the creation of effect. A cause without effect does not exist. Neither does an effect exist without a cause. Cause implies effect. Effect implies cause. If there’s no cause, there’s no effect. If there’s no effect, there wasn’t a cause. Effect can’t “create” or cause itself. A cause cannot remain without effect, because the intrinsic purpose of cause is effect. Hence, in creation, cause, purpose and the beginning of the effect coincide. They become one. Creation doesn’t take place “in the blind.” Of necessity and self-evidently, all creation involves a direct, certain and discoverable relationship between a cause and its postulated ? intended ? effect. Creation is never “thoughtless,” happenstance or taking place by chance. It requires a premeditated thought, a Logos, to begin with. Logos is the “thought” that orders ? organizes ? the structure of Creation, so that it can most efficiently and hamoniously function according to its purpose. Why “order” ? Because the principle of causality that governs creation also governs the cause-effect relationships between all the elements that form the inherently logical arrangement that expresses the essence of the creation. In the absence of cause-effect relationships, there is no arrangement, no order, no creation, no Logos. There was no cause.
  3. Bob KurlandOh, and a minor point: I wonder how one calculates satellite positions and enables GPS on the assumption that earth does not have an orbital velocity, or that principles of relativity don’t apply.
  4. McChuckSpecial relativity is nothing more nor less than the careful application of the Pythagorean principle. General relativity is nothing more nor less than the careful application of special relativity to objects in motion.Relativistic effects are also apparent in a space with a fixed inertial reference frame, given the effects of quantum mechanics. This is so incredibly simple that I do not understand how others do not see it. I blame the educational system. Space is not expanding, it simply is. Matter moves through space. There is an absolute time, else photons could not exist and gravity could not propagate. This is all much more simple than the physicists generally believe.There is no such thing as quantum entanglement. There is only conservation of properties. When two photons are created, they must have opposite spins from the instant of creation, lest spin be unbalanced. Scientific ignorance is masked by complicated theories and impressive terminology.Quantum computers are nothing more nor less than remarkably expensive analog computers. You can accomplish the same goals using hydraulics for a fraction of the price. This has already been done. If you must use an electronic computer, you can accomplish the same goals using a true random number generator, such as a cosmic ray detector. This has also already been done.Imaginary numbers are real. Physics must work in a universe that includes the entire complex number plane. And yet, our current understanding of physics resides entirely upon the real number line. So we, by definition, understand only a tiny fraction of what is possible. (Neutrinos and the poorly understood weak force both offer a glimpse.) I arbitrarily label the positive complex plane “heaven” and the negative plane “hell”.
  5. Lee PhillipsThis guy Smith sounds like the cranks who send me emails about their grand unified theories proving that Einstein was wrong, all of physics is wrong, and only they have seen the truth, but the primitive scientists of today are just not ready to receive their wisdom, and that’s why they don’t even get a reply when they send their 1,000 page papers to Physical Review.Then the details follow. Just like Smith, it’s not only that they’re wrong; they don’t understand the language of science and use the concepts incorrectly in a fundamental way. The excerpts in this article show exactly this. But Smith certainly seems to have impressed Briggs. I wonder how that could be?
  6.  Pingback: Physics & Vertical Causation: The End of Quantum Reality by Wolfgang Smith Reviewed | Reaction Times
  7. BnonDoesn’t your body store energy? And your muscles use the energy that is stored? So, isn’t just that we can choose when to transfer our energy to the stick? Aren’t our bodies just controlling the use of energy, by using energy itself to fuel are brain and the rest of our body as well, which we get by consuming other forms of energy (food)? Regardless of the mechanics of the cells, your arm could get tired at some point if you were pushing something very heavy, such as in weightlifting. At some point you can’t push the same mass. The energy runs out. Then you have to rest to store up more so you can expend more energy at once, again. It’s simple physics and transferring of energy. The first cause to me moving my arm goes WAY back before I was even born. We are just in a big giant math equation involving the transfer of energy.
  8. JohnnoBob Kurland –That’s the point. Relativity is bogus nonsense and should be tossed away for the house of cards that it is.And GPS factors in the Sagnac Effect that violates Relativity.Lee PhillipsThe ‘cranks’ are correct. And as is typical, they understand the science better than the ones wailing about how they don’t understand ‘da science.’ Especially hilarious about your protestation is the fact that Einstein himself essentially had to claim that “all of physics is wrong, and only he and his cronies have seen the truth” in order to push his nonsense that had to be accepted, or else the Scientific academies had to admit that they’d seriously &%^%ed up for hundreds of years and that the Catholic Inquisition that told Galileo to take a hike was correct. Especially in light of the CMB alignments and numerous other evidence that smashes the Darwinian/Copernican myth. Einstein is the next to be taken out back and shot for the sanity of us all.I recommend checking out ‘The Principle’ from the same makers of ‘The End of Quantum Reality’ doc.
  9. FredoWalter Russell Cosmogony and a concept of Time
  10. Johnno“Special relativity is nothing more nor less than the careful application of the Pythagorean principle. General relativity is nothing more nor less than the careful application of special relativity to objects in motion.”Special and general relativity theories both contradict each other. The only reason the General Theory exists is because the Special theory was untenable and didn’t take into account numerous things. To try and prop both up as valid forms of physics is akin to Transgendered physics where 2 = -2Relativity only exists so that scientists could find a way to explain the Michelson/Morley interferometer experiments and explain why they could never measure the Earth’s assumed movement around the sun. It returned a value of 0 instead of 30km/sec. Einstein then worked backwards to make 0 be 30 and then fudge everything on the other side of the equation and that meant having matter shrink, mass expand and time dilate so that they could get the answer they wanted to see instead of what they actually saw.This is because – Science is political. So whenever Lee Phillips wants to drag out the ol’ “but the primitive scientists of today are just not ready to receive their wisdom, and that’s why they don’t even get a reply when they send their 1,000 page papers to Physical Review…” and roll his eyes like an emoticon, you will understand what’s up by simply looking to see how the ‘consensus’ flips from time to time, and today they want your to get vaccinated for non-pandemics and wear masks and lock yourself up in your home, call women, men, and men, women, and make Caucasian skin the cause of every problem that happens in the world today, when they are not yelling at you to pay carbon taxes because the North and South poles were going to completely disappear years ago.Relativity is the exact same scam. The great Enlightenment needs its symbol over that of the Church, and it is one of their sacred cows beside Charles Darwin. Unfortunately for them, when Einstein had to throw away the Special Theory for the General one, he had no choice but to make Geocentrism viable again and the physics then just worked out that each view was the inverse mathematics of the other. But the only reason Heliocentrism was chosen by the consensus was nothing to do with science, but philosophy. If you assume that God doesn’t exist or that God didn’t do any of what Genesis says He did, but everything was more a product of random chance, and BANG! BOOM! Michael Bay Hollywood physics where everything works out despite how many explosions occur around the protagonist, then Geocentrism was rejected as statistically unlikely, and because it implied uncomfortable things that would prevent Einstein’s conscience from having adulterous affairs.And also, as everyone knows by now, the establishment, whether of democrats or of science or of the mainstream media, but ALWAYS protect its integrity, even when they clearly know they are lying to your face. But in rare moments they are honest before the cameras, and this is why a film like ‘The Principle’ was heavily attacked with a concerted campaign of disinformation before it even left the editing room for anyone to see. That obviously didn’t work, so the next step is as as Lee Phillips said… to ignore them and never provide a reply.It’s time people opened their eyes to discover that mainstream science is the same sort of cult as the mainstream news media. Truth and objectivity can take a hike whenever its inconvenient to their secular religion and profit margins. The consequences be damned.
  11. Bob KurlandJohno, rather than a statement “relativity is bogus nonsense,” I’d like you to cite specific instances where quantitative predictions made by relativity theory have been falsified. As a physicist (and a faithful Catholic), I don’t find your arguments convincing.
  12. Sander van der WalWe can see by the parallax effect that At different times in the year the earth has a different position. Closer stars move around in bigger circles than stars that are far away. This is how telescopes on Earth, and later satellites like Hipparcos and now Gaia are able to measure distances to said stars.Earth moving around the Sun is a much easier to understand mechanism to explain this effect than the stars themselves having this movement.And it is verifiable. Put Gaia-like satellites in orbit around different planets. The satellite around Venus will see much smaller circles as its orbit around the is smaller. At Mars you will see bigger circles. Also, the time to travel the circle is the same time as the planet takes to travel around the Sun.Further, you can put landers on some planets to measure other effects. On Mars, a satellite will see spectroscopic line shift in accordance with the movement of Mars around the Sun. It will also see that effect that depend on the travel of the Solar System as a whole are identical to the effects we see on Earth. One example is that the Solar System appears to travel to a certain point in the sky, another example will be the Hubble flow, which is the galaxies moving away from us.It will be very expensive, but these effects can be measured in other places in the universe.
  13. Ye Olde StatisticianImagine a series of watchtowers set one sound-minute apart. When the enemy is seen approaching, the sentry at tower A sounds an airhorn. When the sentry at tower B hears this (one minute later) he sounds his own airhorn, When C hears this (one minute later still), he toots his own horn.Notice that, except for attenuation, C will hear A, B, and C at the same time. He is one minute from B, 2 minutes from A.But A will hear the horns at widely separate intervals. It will take B a minute to hear A, and will take another minute for A to hear B’s response. For the same reason, A will hear C four minutes later.Thus, time is relative to the position of the observer.The principle of relativity as regards local motion goes back to the Middle Ages and Witello’s Perspectiva. Oresme used this Principle when he noted that to a man standing on the Earth, the heavens appear to revolve around him, while to a man affixed to the sphere of stars, the Earth will appear to rotate below him. This is why if your car is sitting still, it seems to roll backward if the car beside you pulls forward.The special theory of relativity deals with such “inertial” frames. The general theory extends the principle to accelerated motion.
  14. FrankStill can’t get away from the idea that the Prime Mover has no cause – your basic premise is contradicted when you argue this. No matter how you twisted the logic. Similar to the the “Big Bang” explanation of the universe’s origin. Time has to be considered in these theories.
  15. JohnnoBob Kurland –We know it is falsified given the speed of light is not a constant, though it could well be treated that way for practical purposes on Earth. Light was merely picked to be a constant because Einstein needed something to lean on after disposing of everything else as illusory and malleable. This is also demonstrated by Sagnac, where light traveling in one direction against the aether Einstein rejected (but proved 100% 24 hour rotation between the Earth and the Aether in Michelson/Gale) is slowed down. For this and many other reasons the Special theory was jettisoned, and the General Theory refashioned, and where light was a constant in the Special, it can be any speed in the General, thus a direct contradiction of each other. Further, as Einstein explained, according to the general Theory, both Heliocentrism and Geocentrism are equivalent systems, and you could never experimentally tell one from the other, according to him.Ye Olde Statistician, makes the same philosophical mistake, where evidence is made to fit the theory, as they attempted to do with Michel/Morley, but ignored Michelson/Gale, and with Sagnac, where what violated Realtivity was then reinterpreted as proof of relativity. And whatever Relativity was supposedly touted as getting ‘right’ here and there is equally explainable under classical physics, thus making it nothing ‘special’ in the end, yet is it championed as the only explanation except for all the others.“Time is relative to the position of the observer” is nonsense. It treats time as some kind of substance that is malleable and alterable depending on how far you socially distance yourself to avoid COVID. Whether using sound towers, or cats in boxes in spaceships, it’s all ‘thought-experiment’ nonsense. It’s chalk on the chalkboard, and the physicist goes mad trying to make the numbers work in practicality, and little wonder he ends up in all manner of speculative places ranging from non-existent black and brown holes somewhere in space to multiverses or holographic universes where everything is illusion and nothing actually exists. That’s the consequence where ‘everything is relative.’ The only reason Time had to dilate is because Einstein needed his 30 km/sec, and ad hoc decided that the measuring apparatus was shrinking in the direction of movement to just that precise degree to return a null result, but this had consequences where the mass of the object in motion had to increase as it shrank, and in shrinking it still needed to reach the same spot every 24 hours otherwise it would begin to lag behind and increase the time needed to reach the same position with each revolution, and thus time had to be altered to account for the fact that we do have precise 24 hour days. It was a fudge factor. And to sell it, all of physics had to be upended, or the establishment had to bow to the Catholic Papacy and Tradition.At the end of the day, either the heavens are rotating around a fixed Earth, or the Earth is rotating against fixed stars. You can’t have both simultaneously any more than a person can be simultaneously a man and a woman.Sander van der Wal, should also learn that parallax is not proof of heliocentrism. As Relativity, particularly the Galilean Relativity the Inquisition and St. Robert Bellarmine well knew about at the time of Galileo, which is why the Church allowed for use of Relativistic mathematics presuming the Earth moving only as an abstract to supposedly help mathematicians make certain calculations ‘easier’, the parallax effects we observe along with other motions of abberation etc. work the EXACT SAME in both Copernican and Tychonic cosmological systems. People ignore Tycho and make their judgments based solely on Ptolemy. Heliocentrism is also more complicated in actuality than a fixed Earth against rotating stars when you picture the Earth around the Sun, around the Milky Way, which is also moving Lord knows where around something. There is an amusing animation on youtube that quite well illustrates this absurdity:^ That is essentially the ‘easier mechanism’ Sander says it is and that the consensus subscribes to, versus the infinitely simpler system of a Central Earth fixed at the center of mass of the entire rotating universe system around which everything revolves, and subsequently smaller bodies around larger bodies where the center of mass is closer to.Sander also offers nothing other than more ‘thought experiments’ about what he expects to find concerning hypothetical satellites he could send out there, when the actual satellites, from WMAP, KOBE, and PLANCK, SLOAN etc. returned data that all point to a central Earth with the most distant poles of the CMB aligned with its general location, and the stars in concentric shells around it, which demonstrates a rotating universe as the only explanation.Why this is so hard to accept is simply because the establishment rejects God and Intelligent Design. That’s all it is. So we continue to receive more ad hoc musing and escape hatches into multiverses or holographic illusions to explain it away, whilst pretending there is no crisis in physics, not dissimilar to current U.S. politics where we carry on by redefining what is peaceful and overturn the entire medical datasets so that the New Normal can be brought into being.We witness in real-time how science can be manipulated in 2020 over a pathogen. Now picture that same nonsense occurring for roughly 500 years for equally political reasons where the heliocentric/geocentric debate became a very very symbolic deal for overthrowing the old order under the Church and especially the Pope. Some lies become politically entrenched truths that must NEVER be contradicted, because a lot is riding on it. The only difference is that the old revolutionaries were nowhere near as stupid as the current crop.
  16. Rick DeLanoBob Kurland://Oh, and a minor point: I wonder how one calculates satellite positions and enables GPS on the assumption that earth does not have an orbital velocity, or that principles of relativity don’t apply.//GPS uses the ECI frame. The earth does has no diurnal rotation in ECI: involves a master clock with no relativistic corrections- GPS time is absolute throughout the system. There is no “relativity of simultaneity” in GPS:
  17. Bob KurlandRick DeLano: relativistic corrections are applied to satellite positions in order to enable accurate GPS positions: see here:
    Jonno: you still haven’t supplied any instances where predictions of special or general relativity are falsified. Your arguments I don’t understand–pardon me for being a physicist of little brain.
  18. JohnKIt does no harm to the Catholic faith to understand the history of the “natural” analogy of being.The fable that Thomists tell themselves is that all the intellects in the world, except them, gradually succumbed to corruption, via some combination of the world, the flesh, and the devil. This explains, for example, why hardly anyone but them thinks that the Thomist proofs of God’s existence are convincing. But, the story continues, happily some valiant souls in every generation resist the baneful influences of fourteenth century nominalism, or eighteenth century Enlightenment, or etc., and find their way back to the simple pure truth.The real story is that these “natural” proofs of God’s existence — which taken together rely on the “natural” analogy of being — had long ago been found to collapse under their own weight. Everybody but Thomists noticed.While the influence of Plato’s Timaeus was still effective in the Thomist metaphysics, by way of the tradition stemming from Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, coloring the notion of the natural with a religious significance and value, this nostalgia was irreconcilable with the dogmatic rationalism of the Aristotelian act-potency analysis. This has the consequence that the usual “Thomist” analogy of being set up a radically contradictory postulate of a transcendent creator who is “naturally” known to be the metaphysical absolute, for it is immediately evident that of the transcendent absolute precisely nothing is or can be known, as a matter of definition: of the ineffable, nothing is said. This had been worked out in the Latin West by the close of the thirteenth century and, since the nominalist triumph of logic over cosmology in the next century, only a school loyalty coupled to a religious obedience, now unavailing, has kept the Thomist “natural” or philosophical analogy in use…. [ Keefe, Donald J, SJ. Covenantal Theology, Vol. II n. 37, p. 278. ]But since all possible versions of the “natural” analogy of being fail, the venerable philosophical and pseudo-theological ‘move’ to ‘spiritualize’ man by finding something immaterial in him, perforce fails also. Even an infinite number of demi-urges cannot enable this ‘man’ to touch the sky. For the scheme self-generates a paradox: there is no path from essence to Esse. As Fr. Keefe pointed out, this had already been worked out, at least in outline, by the end of the thirteenth century.
  19. Bob KurlandRick DeLano: relativistic corrections are applied to satellite positions in order to enable accurate GPS positions: see here:
    but you’re right about orbital motion of the earth being irrelevant.
    Jonno: you still haven’t supplied any instances where predictions of special or general relativity are falsified. Your arguments I don’t understand–pardon me for being a physicist of little brain.
  20. Rick DeLanoBob Kurland:As long as we are clear that there is no orbital motion of the earth in GPS, and there is no relativity of simultaneity in GPS, then I think both your objections have been answered.Next we might examine whether the speed of light postulate in SR holds in GPS- of course, if you think through the implications of the second point above, you will not need further demonstration.It’s isn’t.
  21. Bob KurlandRick DeLano:
    I don’t understand your comment. As the article I cited clearly points out, relativistic corrections are required in order that time measurements from satellites be accurate to the required nanosecond. If the article errs, please point out where it does so.
  22. Rick DeLanoLet me try and be clear.You asked how GPS works without earth’s orbit.I showed you.You agreed.That’s done.You asked whether the principles of relativity apply to GPS.I showed you that the *fundamental* principle of GPS- relativity of simultaneity- does not apply, directly out of the first sentence of the official US Naval Observatory’s technical paper on GPS.I then pointed out that since this fundamental principle of relativity does not apply, its follows that the other- constancy of light speed for all observers in an inertial frame- obviously also does not apply.If you want me to demonstrate why, please say so.I assume it is obvious.
  23. PkJohnK,I am not familiar with Keefe’s work. But, I find the quoted passage quite obtuse and loaded with ad hominem attack rather than a valid argument. I admit I could be wrong based on just those words.Once Aquinas reached the conclusion that the unmoved mover or the unactualized actualizer are what we call God, then I disagree that we can know nothing more about God. God created everything and sustains everything here and now. Next come all the physical laws, then the concepts of truth and good and evil. Everything follows. It may not be perfect but it will do.
  24. Ye Olde StatisticianStill can’t get away from the idea that the Prime Mover has no cause
    That should be either “…the Prime Mover has no mover” or “…the Uncaused Cause has no cause.” Not sure what part of “unmoved’ or “uncaused” is problematic. If First Cause had itself a cause,then it would not be a first cause. But recall that ‘motion’ meant a change in Greek, as when an apple moves from green to red, and is more akin to an acceleration than to velocity. And primary of first do not mean ‘first in time’ but first in logical priority.A useful example is a kitten that crosses a room because it apprehends a saucer of milk. The saucer moves the kitten, but is not moved by the walking. Thus, it is an unmoved mover.
  25. Bob KurlandRick DeLano, you have evaded my question: if relativistic corrections are necessary to get accurate time and position measurements for satellites (i.e. for GPS) why then do not the principles of relativity apply? A scientific theory is something that is coherent whole. One doesn’t pick parts that you like and discard parts you don’t like. What other theories would you choose to make relativistic corrections? And, I would add, these must be theories that are concordant with general principles of science (see the link in my first comment).
    By the way, other comments in this thread give adequate evidence for the orbital motion of the earth. Indeed, this was done early on by Galileo when he showed the orbital phases of Venus.
    And this will be my last comment in this thread. There is what is termed the fallacy of “invincible ignorance,” such that rational discourse is not possible.
  26. Rick DeLanoThey do not apply, Bob, for the reasons I have set forth.1. Relativity requires relativity of simultaneity. This is not incorporated into GPS.2. Relativity requires a constant speed of light for all observers in an inertial frame. This is not observed in GPS.For the clock corrections, many different theories can apply. It is an observed fact that clocks tick at different rates in different gravitational fields, for example.It is not an observed fact that this is a consequence of relativity.It might be a physical consequence of the clock’s environment.But it is irreducibly necessary for relativity to apply to GPS that its fundamental postulates be applied to GPS.As we have discussed at some length, Neither relativity of simultaneity nor constancy of light speed in for observers (receivers) in an inertial frame are in fact applied to GPS.
  27. Rick DeLanoI do n toy believe I have evaded your question, Bob. Perhaps I am simply emphasizing something more fundamental; that is, whether relativity applies to GPS.It doesn’t, regardless of the clock corrections.It doesn’t because Relativity can not apply to any system which involves a non-constant speed of light for observers (receivers) in an inertial frame.GPS involves a non-constantly speed of light in an inertial frame for observers (receivers).Clock corrections are a consequence of an observed change in the rate of clocks in different environmental conditions (gravitational fields, for example).But this observed fact is not exclusively explained by relativity.The clocks could be mechanically affected by the environment, and so this correction cannot be adduced as a proof of the theory.A non- constant speed of light in an inertial frame, on the other hand, is a conclusive falsification of the theory.
  28. Lee PhillipsHoly crap. I can’t remember when I’ve seen so much lunacy packed into a confined space. But I haven’t had to go to a faculty meeting in a while. Aside from Bob Kurland (what a patient man), every comment here, and Briggs’ article, evokes “Twilight Zone” music in my head.

Author: Alfred E. Neuman

EDITOR ONLY, 74 year old geek, ultra-conservative patriot.

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