Are there constants in nature?

I thank David de Hilster for sending me a heads up on a YouTube video by parapsychologist Rupert Sheldrake, who was to be part of an officially sanctioned TEDx conference in West Hollywood. TED is a platform for mainstream ideas that are supposed to be highly innovative. This one, however, had a lot more woomeistering than normal, what with Sheldrake and other blatant indeterminists comprising most of it. There were many complaints about the program from mainstream scientists, who are ever ready to censor both sides of the paradigm. Eventually, TED Headquarters revoked the license for the conference.

What with his opposition to the scientific worldview and his sponsorship of ESP, telepathy, and psychics, Sheldrake’s ideas generally are pretty nutty. Nonetheless, at 9:50 to 15:30 in this video about the nonconstancy of so-called constants he is right on, even somewhat humorous. I had little idea that the velocity of light had changed by 20 km/s between 1928 and 1945:


The 20 km/s is probably due mostly to improvements in measurement, although I am not completely sure about that—the 1928 measurements were supposedly much more precise than that. As Sheldrake points out, the solar system rotates along with the galaxy at about 300 km/s. This puts us in a constantly changing aether field. As in the solar system, most of this aether is probably entrained, with relatively constant density, but I cannot imagine it being perfectly constant either. In UCT[1], Steve and I had an extensive discussion declaring that there actually are no real constants in nature. Of course, indeterminists such as Einstein have thought otherwise, hypothesizing that the velocity of light in vacuum is constant. The only problem: there is no such thing as a perfect vacuum or perfectly empty space in which c could be constant. The ends to which Einstein ventured to preserve the hypothesized constancy are well known, starting with aether denial. Whenever the constancy of c was threatened, something else had to give. That is how we got the absurd “dilation of time.” It is absurd, of course, because time is motion, not matter. Only material objects can dilate.

Constants are not possible because the universe is infinite, in tune with the Eighth Assumption of Science, infinity (The universe is infinite, both in the microcosmic and macrocosmic directions). The only way one could assume that constants exist, is to use the opposing assumption, finity. Granted, some “constants” do not seem to vary much, but they are really not constant, in the same sense that Pi is really not 3.14159265, but also includes millions of non-repeating digits without end.

I got a kick out of Sheldrake’s half facetious suggestion that the so called constants, especially those Steve and I associate with aether density (e.g., velocity of light, 300,000 km/s; acceleration of gravity, 9.81 m/s), should be monitored daily—just like the stock markets. I would bet that they probably would correlate nicely with the UWS cycles responsible for the expansion and contraction of Earth.[2]

BTW: Being born an idealist, I was shocked when I found out that gravity varies from place to place on the Earth--I always thought it was a constant. During a short assignment as a geophysicist, I even got the chance to use a gravimeter in studying the densities of rocks offset along faults. If you are still an idealist with respect to gravity, then maybe the figure below will be edifying:

Satellite measurements of variations in gravity for Antarctica showing high values (red) typical for the extremely dense rocks of the mountainous areas and low values (blue) typical for the sediments of the valleys. Most of these features are covered with ice.[3]

[1] Puetz, S.J., and Borchardt, Glenn, 2011, Universal cycle theory: Neomechanics of the hierarchically infinite universe: Denver, Outskirts Press ( www.universalcycletheory.com ), 626 p.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Bouman, J., Floberghagen, R., and Rummel, R., 2013, More Than 50 Years of Progress in Satellite Gravimetry: Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union, v. 94, no. 31, p. 269-270.


Westmiller said...

Glenn: "The ends to which Einstein ventured to preserve the hypothesized constancy are well known, starting with aether denial."

Perhaps I'm uninformed, so can you cite an instance of Einstein "preserving" SOL? In all my reading, Einstein totally agreed that aether had to exist, even if it wasn't "necessary" for transformations.

It wasn't Einstein, but there is a case for variability of the Constant of Aberration. Over decades, the conflicting values were simply consolidated over larger sets of observations and than averaged. It is true that observations ceased when the scientific consensus dictated that SOL was constant, therefore aberration also had to be constant.

Glenn Borchardt said...

Thanks Bill:

The simplest answer to your query about the "ends to which Einstein went" is his claim that time could be dilated. Whenever it became apparent that c, speed of light (your SOL), was not constant, something else had to get the blame.

Being philosophically confused, Einstein changed his mind probably a half dozen times on whether or not aether existed. This statement from his famous speech in 1920 is about the closest he ever got:

"Careful reflection teaches us that special relativity does not compel us to deny ether. We may assume its existence but not ascribe a definite state of motion to it ..." "There is a weighty reason in favour of ether. To deny ether is to ultimately assume that empty space has no physical qualities whatever." (Einstein, 1920)

One reason he became so popular, was his univironmental testing of the waters of social/scientific acceptance. After that 1920 speech, he no doubt got a lot of flack, eventually coming to his aethereal senses with this about-face:

"I believe that I have really found the relationship between gravitation and electricity, assuming that the Miller experiments are based on a fundamental error. Otherwise, the whole relativity theory collapses like a house of cards."
— Albert Einstein, in a letter to Robert Millikan, June 1921 (in Clark, 1971, p. 328)

He had finally figured out that aether denial is essential for relativity. If light was a particle always having a constant velocity, then aether could only get in the way. The indeterministic assumption of finity, with its idealistic perfectly empty space and perfectly solid matter finally had its way.

Einstein, A., 1920, Sidelights on relativity: 1. Ether and relativity. 2. Geometry and experience: London, Methuen, 56 p.

Clark, R.W., 1971, Einstein: The life and the times: New York, World, 718 p.

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