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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

I May Seem Somewhat Critical of Libertarians These Days...

but, let me say, I don't ever recall meeting a libertarian as idiotic as Andy Schlafly. He's decided that the theory of relativity somehow is connected with moral relativity -- a stupid idea, since Einstein's theory of relativity is a theory that purports to be absolutely true for everyone everywhere -- and so has decided it must be wrong. Check out this thread, where Schlafly answers someone who says, "What about the use of the theory of relativity in particle accelerators?" by denying that accelerators are useful! (He tacks the same tack with the atomic bomb, which he mistakenly thinks is based on relativity, by denying that killing people is useful.)

In any case, no libertarian that I am aware of has ever produced a site as putrid as Conservapedia.

6 comments:

  1. Many criticisms of special relativity are indeed idiotic. But as a number of philosophers have pointed out, there are defensible grounds for abandoning Einsteinian special relativity in favor of a neo-Lorentzian theory that is consistent with absolute simultaneity. Otherwise, we have a mess on our hands, as quantum mechanics appears to require absolute simultaneity.

    On this point, interested readers may find ch. 11 of Michael Tooley's Time, Tense, and Causation (1997) helpful. See also John A. Winnie's two papers, "Special Relativity without One-Way Velocity Assumptions," pt. 1 and pt. 2.

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  2. PSH, I certainly don't have the knowledge of physics necessary to comment on the complex issues surrounding relativity. But I do know enough to know that Schlafly knows far less than me, and yet still feels qualified to pontificate on the matter!

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  3. Just to be clear, I did not mean to defend—in any way—the "arguments" put forward by Mr. Schlafly. I was just cautioning that there are serious philosophical arguments against Einsteinian special relativity.

    It is important to stress that the neo-Lorentzian theories replicate all of the confirmed predictions of special relativity. Hence, while salvaging absolute simultaneity, they do predict, e.g., that physical processes will take place at different rates in different inertial frames.

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  4. If everything is relative, then all sex is incestuous.

    Also, pi r not square, pi r round. Cornbread r square.

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  5. Yeah, Tom, if you're in a mood to be amused by pathos, read that thread I linked to -- Schlafly whole style of argumentation is just mind-bogglingly horrendous.

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  6. Gene,

    While I don't always just take your word on such things as gospel, I'm probably going to this time ;-)

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