# disarray

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464

1. ## Why Time Dialation isn't required to solve the twin paradox.

Thank you for the information (rather than just telling me to go away and study), though I don't know why some of the experts on this forum bother explaining things to beginners. And, yes, I understand that the Lorentz effect greatly increases as a massive body approaches the speed of light. To me, time is just an abstraction. I am not looking for some type of medium or aether, but it does seem to me that "time" is just an abstract term that refers to the way that the EM waves are propagating as the universe expands. Indeed, it seems that something happens to the waves with regard to acceleration and/or rate at which massive bodies are traveling. Since massive bodies are composed of energy, presumably in the form of EM waves (?), there seems to be some sort of tradeoff between the rate at which the EM waves are decomposing (e.g., longer life span of muons, metabolism of space traveling twin or dead sea beach bum) within the massive body itself and the speed of EM waves (e.g., light) in general, so that c+v has been interpreted as only possible if time itself slows down, since c is invariable. To me, it seems that time is a fudge factor for what really goes on, which is that the EM waves change in some way (not only observationally, but also physically, e.g., change in frequency) that would explain the slower rates of decomposition/aging/entropy. I read somewhere that there are two types of shift, one that is observational (e.g., red shift), and one that is physical (e.g., perhaps relativity shift). Perhaps the space of zillions of tiny parts of the universe are expanding at different rates in accordance with the rate at which massive bodies are moving. (I have read that, on some infinitesimally small level, time slows down if one gets up from the sofa and goes to the the fridge to make a sandwich as one is then traveling outside ones inertial frame). As for the twin issue, again, I wonder what would happen if the traveling twin kept going and never returned home. As a 'thought experiment', even though we can't compare the clocks, I wonder if we can't presume that the traveling clock ticks at a different rate in comparison with the earthbound twin's clock. Another thought experiment that crossed my mind is to suppose that everyone in the world is sleeping and traveling through space in proper time, and only one person gets up and travels at near the speed of light for 30 years and then returns....Would not he be out of sync with everyone's clock on earth, and not just the twin who lives in the same house as himself....that is, hasn't the traveling twin left the inertial frame of everyone on earth in this scenario? Again, please excuse my ignorance on this topic...I am reading up on the topic in my spare time, but thought I would throw a couple of thoughts out there while this forum thread is open.
2. ## Religion when it had real power!

I guess I don't mind what people believe in terms of how the universe was created, but the problem comes when they make claims that abortion is wrong, for example, because god says so.....or that if one doesn't believe in their god that one will go to hell...or worse, that they are your friend and therefore (much like an intervention) are going to do you the favor of informing you about the truth (whether you like it or not). But yes, calling oneself an "atheist" is almost inviting censorship in many social circles as it is part of many people's faith that those who don't subscribe to a or their religion can't possibly have any sort of moral foundation and are most likely sociopaths on some level. Furthermore, it is often assumed that one has firm convictions that their (beloved) god doesn't exist. Atheists, like homosexuals, are often presumed to be on some sort of 'crusade' to spread their beliefs, or rather anti-beliefs, and, in the case of atheists, to want to erase all forms of religious expression and morality from the country (e.g., by advocating separation of church and state). Better, perhaps, to just say one is a nontheist...that one is not particularly adamant that there is no Christian or Muslim god that performs miracles anymore than one is adamant that Santa's reindeer can't fly. Or better yet, pull out some sort of moral statement (e.g., humanist code) from ones hip pocket to reassure them that you are not out to destroy all that is sacred and good in this world, e.g.: · We believe in an open and pluralistic society and that democracy is the best guarantee of protecting human rights from authoritarian elites and repressive majorities. · We cultivate the arts of negotiation and compromise as a means of resolving differences and achieving mutual understanding. · We are concerned with securing justice and fairness in society and with eliminating discrimination and intolerance. · We believe in supporting the disadvantaged and the handicapped so that they will be able to help themselves. · We attempt to transcend divisive parochial loyalties based on race, religion, gender, nationality, creed, class, sexual orientation, or ethnicity, and strive to work together for the common good of humanity. · We want to protect and enhance the earth, to preserve it for future generations, and to avoid inflicting needless suffering on other species. · We believe in the common moral decencies: altruism, integrity, honesty, truthfulness, responsibility. Humanist ethics is amenable to critical, rational guidance. There are normative standards that we discover together. Moral principles are tested by their consequences. · We are deeply concerned with the moral education of our children. We want to nourish reason and compassion. · We affirm humanism as a realistic alternative to theologies of despair and ideologies of violence and as a source of rich personal significance and genuine satisfaction in the service to others. · We believe in optimism rather than pessimism, hope rather than despair, learning in the place of dogma, truth instead of ignorance, joy rather than guilt or sin, tolerance in the place of fear, love instead of hatred, compassion over selfishness, beauty instead of ugliness, and reason rather than blind faith or irrationality. · We believe in the fullest realization of the best and noblest that we are capable of as human beings. from https://www.secularhumanism.org/index.php/12
3. ## Atheism and spirituality.

Ok, so if we are all on agreement that being a theist implies that one believes in the existence of a god(s) who not only created the universe, but also makes a significant difference in ones life, then I would suggest that, since science is not at a point where it has all the pieces of the puzzle that would show that the universe comes into existence spontaneously (though my and most scientists bet is that it does), the issue is then really whether there are no people who are completely certain that there is no god(s) who makes a significant difference to ones life, e.g., provides moral and life guidelines, offers conditions for salvation, etc. In this case, I would suggest that there are plenty of people who would say that they are certain that there is no god that will grant them eternal life or send them to hell depending upon whether or not you believe in him, no god who says that it is against his commandment to believe in other gods, etc. I have found that the line of reasoning of some intelligent design proponents is that life (e.g., the structure of the eye) is so complex that evolution alone can't account for it, so that there must be a god who created and designed everything. Apart from being bad science, such a claim does not impact society all that much. However, they then take it to the next level, i.e., that of religion, by suggesting that if a god went to all the trouble, so the argument goes, of making the universe, he/she must have wanted people to appreciate what god had given them, and to be good, and to take care of the planet and each other, etc. In short, they begin with an scientific argument and end up through a bit of surreptitious logic to introduce religious attitudes in general and often Christian beliefs in particular. It is for this very reason that the Supreme Court disallowed intelligent design doctrine into the schools, as the court found it to be just a form of Creationism in disguise.
4. ## Atheism and spirituality.

I get your drift, but again, there is no clear line that one can draw in the evolution of creatures where one says at this point self awareness begins. But again, one need not assume that Dawkins is referring to any god that we might typically think of as being like those that a religious per son might worship. Merriam Webster defines a theist as one who has a "belief in the existence of a god or gods, especially belief in one god as creator of the universe, intervening in it and sustaining a personal relation to his creatures." It is one thing to think of god as a higher power that creates the universe. Perhaps even some Higgs Boson field or the like might qualify for that definition....but that is not theism. Einstein said he wanted to know the thoughts of God, but one could hardly call him a theist. But the obvious problem with your statement is that it is anecdotal, with n=1. If you are saying there are no complete atheists, then you need to survey everyone, keeping close track as to what they mean by god(s). And yes, no one is certain of anything. I am not even sure that the table in front of me is not just an optical quantum illusion of some sort. And as Hume noted, we can't even be sure the 'self' exists, or that the sun will rise tomorrow. However, such epistemological cynicism/skepticism could apply to everything, so that by virtue of its all inclusiveness, saying that one can't be certain (100%) of anything says nothing at all that is unusual when it comes to specific comments whether or not there are people who are or are not 100% sure god exists. I could just as well say I am not 100% sure that Hillary Clinton exists as I have never set eyes on her. Such literal philosophizing seems to be saying something, but is just meaningless pyrotechnics similar to claiming that no one can prove that absolute solipsism is wrong. On the other hand, I am sure that you can find plenty of people who will state that they are 100% sure that the God portrayed in the Bible as creating Eve from a rib, or creating Adam and Eve in the blink of an eye, or turning water to wine or ascending physically to heaven, etc. is pure myth. I suspect Dawkins would be one of those. I know I am. But yes, the Higgs-Boson field, for example, might have a degree of consciousness...who knows, but, unless such a higher creative "power" is promulgating moral guidelines, or has some sort of plan for humans, it is a rather interesting but irrelevant issue. Being a theist implies, I would suggest, that the existence of (god)s makes a significant difference to ones life.
5. ## Why Time Dialation isn't required to solve the twin paradox.

If wave speed = frequency (hertz) × wavelength (metre), then lower Ghz suggests slower wave speed....so in effect things are happening more slowly (in comparison with the inertial framework of the earthbound twin) because the EM waves are moving comparatively slower, thereby accounting for the slower metabolism and thus ageing of the traveling twin.....? From whence would Lorentz shift come from if not from gravity?
6. ## Religion when it had real power!

So obviously people often use religion to validate their greed for land and resources, and examples abound. The problem is that one group adopts a particular ritual (e.g., baptism) or name for the deity (e.g., Jesus, Allah), decides how many gods there are (e.g., polygamy...and Muslims even condemn Christians for being polytheistic on account of the trinity), what the genealogical tree looks like (e.g., Isaac or Ishmael being the favored son of Abraham), etc. and then claims that every other doctrine is invalid and anathema. Without claiming that they were spreading the (true) word of God, many of these colonialists would just have to acknowledge that they were just being domineering and greedy. It is similar to claims made that one race is inferior (in some cases because God allegedly made them that way) and then uses that claim to justify slavery and genocide. I feel that a third form of self-validation is often made by the rich. Indeed, many, on some level of consciousness, assume that God has favored them and blessed them with riches, so that they don't feel many pangs of conscience when they don't (in practice) do much to help the poor, e.g., the general apathy towards the poor affected by hurricane Katrina.
7. ## Why Time Dialation isn't required to solve the twin paradox.

Well you are far more versed in this subject than I am. But I'm guessing that Relativistic shift is inherent, so that it becomes a chicken and egg question as to whether time dilation causes the shift or the shift causes dilation. Personally, I would prefer the latter, as we can measure the shift, but, we never really measure the abstract notion of time, I suspect, but just measure relative states of motion. As for acceleration, perhaps I am taking it in too commonplace a meaning. The only acceleration I have read about in a discussion of the twin paradox is when the spaceship turns around, which implies a degree of deceleration equal to the acceleration. In any case, when one calculates the ages of each of the twins, one figures in how long the traveling twin has been traveling, so the length of the duration of the trip seems to be the key factor. Reversing directions would take the same amount of energy or frame change or whatever one is measuring in a short trip of 10 years as it would in a longer trip of 50 years: A very thorough examination of all the true effects show that the Time Stretching effects during the acceleration and deceleration EXACTLY CANCEL OUT the Time Dilation effects of the well known Time Dilation during the coasting phase. http://mb-soft.com/public4/dilation.html One wonders whether there would be time dilation if the twin does not turn around, but just keeps going. In theory, the traveler could go far enough in one direction that he returns to the twin without turning around, given that space "curves" back on itself. Indeed, there may be a problem of assuming that the earthbound twin is not accelerating: "We on Earth (incorrectly) THINK we are in such a non-accelerating Inertial Rest Frame of Reference! However, we each REVOLVE around the Earth once every day, at nearly 1000 mph in a CURVED circular path, which means we are each CONSTANTLY ACCELERATING (downward) IN A CIRCLE." Though, I guess the counterargument would be that the twins are co-moving in the same inertial frame of earth before one of them travels off.
8. ## Are women monogamous by nature?

It seems as if some people think that if something is hard-wired then everyone must experience some sort of drive or desire, or all feel it in the same way, or whatever. Merriam-Webster gives as a meaning for "hard-wired" that it is "genetically or innately predisposed <a human being who is hardwired to be sociable — Forbe" So, yes, we can look at the behavior of infants and gather enough information to suggest that things such as social smiles, biologically bonding with the mother moments after birth and continuing in various ways for months, propensity to play, the brains ability to readily absorb languages in order to communicate, etc. In that sense, we can say that humans are hard-wired to be sociable, but that doesn't mean that every human likes hanging out with others all the time, and indeed, we get a whole range of behaviors in the range from introversion-extroversion. SInce neither evolutionary psychology nor neuropsychology claim to produce have incontrovertible facts on such issues as human sexual behavior, one can only gather evidence to determine propensities and tendencies and predispositions. If anything, my guess is that one has a better chance of finding evidence to support the claim that (men and) women are predisposed towards polygamy, or perhaps serial monogamy. For example, studies have been conducted to determine whether women biologically respond to a casual relationship when in a steady one, with results indicating that women are more receptive to the sperm of the casual encounter. Am trying to keep this short, but heaps of data has been collected and much written to support the notion that women, though they may have monogamous tendencies, also have tendencies towards polygamy/promiscuity (cf David Buss, David Schmidt, Louan Brizendene, etc.). Indeed, the sexual responses of men and women in this regards is ultimately (once social pressure is controlled for) not that much different. Typically, for example, women tend to pursue monogamous relations with someone who seems like he would be a good father/provider and long term mate. However, around ovulation, studies indicate that women look for the more rugged type and are more open to casual sex. Perhaps a rather scientific approach is the one in which women and men are connected to machines that test their responses. A common result of such studies is that women claim that they are just attracted to one guy, or one guy at a time, but the tests tend to show that women have even a wider sexual range of responses than men, e.g.: Meredith Chivers, a psychologist at Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada conducted one of these "original studies". Chivers examined the genital reactions of women whilst she played them erotic audiotapes of two subtly different sexual liaisons – one with a handsome male stranger, the other with a hunky male friend. By and large, the stranger got the tick. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/men/thinking-man/are-men-hardwired-to-be-less-monogamous-than-women/ Such studies suggest that women tend to give what they think are politically correct answers when asked in surveys about the range of their sexual interests (e.g., in casual affairs). But their claims that they aren't interested in casual affairs (as well as a number of other things that show a strong interest in experimentation) are contradicted by their own body's physical responses.
9. ## Clocks and rulers

Ok, but is it just as reasonable to say that the changes in the EM waves cause (or result in) the slowing of metabolism, as it is to say that changes in spacetime (i.e., time dilation) cause (or result in) the slowing of metabolism.
10. ## Atheism and spirituality.

This definition of spirituality seems too general and all inclusive: Couldn't we define any creature's "life" as the process of creating meaning in the world. In that sense, every living thing is spiritual.
11. ## Atheism and spirituality.

Of course, but one needs to clarify how one is defining "spirituality" and "atheism" when one asks about that possibility. I would suggest that, indeed, in the traditional sense of these words, many people might consider the term "spiritual atheist" an oxymoron. Thus, the fact that some ministers call themselves atheists (aka, non-theist, theological non-realist) is confusing to some people: “I do not believe in a theistic, supernatural being called God,” says Gretta Vosper [who is under a review to see if she is fit, as an self-avowed atheist to remain a minister in the United Church of Canada] .....“I don’t believe in what I think 99.99% of the world thinks you mean when you use that word.” Tor her, God is instead a metaphor for goodness and a life lived with compassion and justice." https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/apr/24/atheist-pastor-canada-gretta-vosper-united-church-canada I think that fundamentally, many people need to belief in a higher consciousness of some sort in order to validate their ideals, to protect them from misfortune, to offer them eternal life, to relieve them of guilt, etc. Such a 'higher power' is hard to come by in terms of constructing some sort of modern day mythology. No doubt, people find alternatives in superheroes, UFOs, etc. By definition, I would suggest, (each) god is a spirit. So one either has to define spirituality in terms of things such as human goodness, compassion, and justice (in which case, one is replacing religion with humanism), or define spirituality in terms of gods (be they wood sprites, or lightning throwers, or cross bearers or whatever). If the former (humanism), I would suggest that one use a different term other than "spirituality" to define any human bonds and virtues that humanitarians might hold to be of lasting value, given the inevitable religious connotations associated with the word "spirituality." In practice, I have seen religious people try to appeal to those outside the church (e.g., the non-committed, the apathetic, agnostics, secularists, atheists, etc.) by holding meetings which are supposedly not religious, but just spiritual, only to find, when attending such a meeting, that those running it belonged to a specific church and gradually, rather surreptitioulsy, assumed or introduced or promulgated a belief in God. Thus, they may start out talking about the need for everyone to believe in a "higher power," which seems reasonable enough, and gradually talk about the importance of following the moral guidelines associated with a belief in a higher power, and then talk about making a pledge to follow such a higher power and to obey the moral guidelines, etc., until, voila, one finds oneself in the midst of a religious service.

13. ## Atheism and spirituality.

Saying that you have an opinion but that you might be wrong just means that one is open minded. Perhaps you could supply the quote...In any case, to say that he would believe in God could mean anything....Einstein said he believed in God, but clearly was just meant that he thinks the the universe is a wonder-ful place. In any case, this is anecdotal evidence. Your claim was that no one was that ALL atheists are not "wholly atheistic." Had you said that most atheists believed in the God portrayed by Baptists or Catholics or whatever, you might take a survey following statistical guidelines. It is virtually impossible to say that every atheist believes that there might be a God, and, given the vagary of the meaning of "God," I don't see how that would mean anything even if you could prove it. When we narrow down the question, it becomes obvious that many atheists absolutely do not believe that it is possible that, for example, God making humans in a blink of an eye, or God talking to Moses from a burning bush, or the universe resting on the back of the turtle, or any number of religious claims about the nature of God/creation. Your point seems to be that no one can prove that God (however one might define that term) does or does not exist....I think that this is common knowledge, but I don't think that it provides evidence for anything one way or the other.
14. ## Is Space-Time a Physical Entity or a Mathematical Model?

Yes, though not an aether-like medium, we attribute all sorts of things to this thing called "spacetime": gravitational waves, the ability to "stretch and effect EM wave frequency," the possible need for it to contain energy in order to exist, the notion that spacetime has a shape (the disc-like universe) the ability to inflate at a faster than light "speed," etc. Space may or may not have mass, but it may intrinsically require the presence of stress-energy. Even the quantum vacuum of space implies density and the presence of certain particles, but the most important factor is dark energy: if there’s an intrinsic energy to space, and it’s expanding (and therefore creating more space), aren’t we violating the conservation of energy? The answer is no, because dark energy doesn’t only have an energy density: it also has a negative pressure with very specific properties. As that negative pressure pushes outwards on space, it does negative work on the Universe, and the work it does is exactly equal to the increased mass/energy of whatever patch of space you’re looking at...If the Universe either had dark energy and no acceleration, or had acceleration with no dark energy, then we’d have a problem. But we have one because we have the other, and in fact that’s how we know we have dark energy. http://scienceblogs.com/startswithabang/2012/07/26/empty-space-has-more-energy-than-everything-in-the-universe-combined/ In short, it seems fatuous to try to attribute physical characteristics to an abstract, mathematical notion of spacetime itself; however, it seems more feasible that spacetime is an attribute of stress energy, and that stress energy is connected with mass.
15. ## Religion when it had real power!

Yes, the founding fathers, and Jefferson in particular, wanted to set up a government that was not a theocracy, wishing to avoid the sort of violent religious conflict that plagued Europe for centuries.
16. ## Is it the Universe created alone? Yes or not? Only Yes or Not.

Again, as with Relativity in its early days, theories about the existence of a multiverse are based upon what the math suggests. Unlike relativity, it is true that it apparently is impossible to test the multiverse theory empirically. Nevertheless, many scientists feel that it is worth studying or at least including the notion of a multiverse in order to fill in some of the pieces missing in string theory, and to gain better insight into the anthropic principle. Again, as to the average person on the street just trying to adapt to his physical and social environment (i.e., his/her own world), concepts such as the Higgs Boson field or the possibility of other universes is irrelevant.
17. ## Atheism and spirituality.

An opinion supported by any evidence?
18. ## Clocks and rulers

So my perhaps ridiculous question is why we can't just say that light or EM waves change (frequency and wavelength) and therefore that we observe certain effects such as slower metabolism/decay rates, rather than bringing in the added metaphor that spacetime stretches and therefore we observe these effects.
19. ## Why Time Dialation isn't required to solve the twin paradox.

It seems that a few things can cause time dilation even though they don't incorporate the comparison of reference fast moving or accelerating frames of reference, e.g. temperature variations and gravitation. What seems to be a common denominator, however, is that the greater the time dilation, the lower the frequency of EM waves. I am not suggesting anything about the frequency of a clock or its internal mechanical mechanisms, but rather to the molecules, and thus EM waves (moving at the SoL) that constitute the clock on the traveling ship. The faster the ship is going (its speed), the longer the wavelength and the lower wave frequency, leading, arguably, to time dilation and lower decomposition (aging) rates: "Hasselkamp, Mondry, and Scharman experiments indicated connection between EM wavelength and frequency variation as the consequence of temperature variation with weak and [strong] time dilation effect [so that] that it affects life span and conception of time in human body and brain....Low body temperature contains high EM frequency and lower wavelength that lead to time dilation, and for high body temperature, the result is inverse " http://www.isbem.org/conf/2009/7thicbem/IMG/pdf/Poster_Session/39%20Time%20dilation%20and%20EM%20wavelength%20variations%20as%20the%20consequence%20of%20temperature%20changes....pdf (Note: This is from an Iranian study, and I have noticed the English is a little odd at times) I have not heard of this before, but the authors seem to be saying that lower core body temperature correlates with lower frequency/longer wavelength EM waves leading to time dilation leading to 'improved life signals' and a longer life. If true, this seems to suggest that, whether one is discussing (body) temperature change, or space travel or gravitational effects, increasing the frequency and thus lowering wavelength of EM waves causes, or at least coexists with time dilation and the slowing of metabolism/ aging process,
20. ## Are women monogamous by nature?

Ok, I guess I misread this when I posted about it recently. My understanding is that we can gain a better understanding of human behavior by examining that of apes in general than we can by examining, say, the behavior of rodents. Having said that, I don't think that there is any hominid template that is set and fixed so that we can't diverge from, so I also agree with your statement that genes are readily influenced by environment....though some behaviors may be more resilient and resistant to change than others. The degree to which things are hard-wired is really a matter of emphasis and definition. But the literature is replete with discussions about the significance of male/female dimorphism, etc. and with comparisons between humans and apes. I would suggest that percentages of, say, homosexuality and bisexuality, are fairly constant throughout history (e.g., last 3000 years), despite being generally repressed by societies, suggesting some sort of biological baseline.
21. ## Religion when it had real power!

Good point. There are churches and ministers that are trying to do just that, e.g., Unitarian churches in both Canada and U.S. Often they call themselves secular theists, or atheistic worshippers, or the like, which does sound rather oxymoronic. It seems that they are close to being Nature worshippers of some sort and in some cases. (Jefferson himself wrote a version of the NT shorn of miracles that he distributed to schools, as if to say that Jesus was a great thinker, just as one might say that Confucius was, but that one should not be swayed by the theological hype). But yes, people need pomp and circumstance rather than dull, metaphysical abstractions.

23. ## Clocks and rulers

So given equivalence, there is the question as to whether the ruler changes (or should I say, appears to change) length at various points in the gravitational well. If it doesn't then there doesn't seem to between the supposedly equivalent effects resulting from acceleration and gravity. Also, in accordance with equivalence, I have read that people (or clocks and rulers) can be said to age at different rates depending upon the altitude at which they live, albeit in a minuscule amount (e.g., fraction of a second per lifetime). I read that the spacetime warp of gravity affects the nature of the photon itself (e.g., light beam passing the sun): "Einstein argued...that as a photon travels through a gravitational field, it loses energy. This results in a lower frequency, or the number of times per second that the light wave oscillates, and a corresponding shift toward the red." http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/physics/putting-relativity-to-the-test.html I gather that greater spacetime "curvature" related to gravitational wells or spaceship travel leads to greater "stretching" of EM waves in general (e.g., radio, light) and therefore results in EM waves with a lower frequency, (relativistic) red shift, even in their own frame (a physical phenomenon), and thus, arguably, with the physical result that sea level and spaceship clocks/odometers (composed as they are of EM waves) run slower. Whether space actually "stretches," thereby lowering wave frequency could, it would seem, be explained equally as well in terms of EM waves slowing down when originating from a fast-moving massive object (e.g., a train or spaceship), whether or not an actual observer is present....without mentioning spacetime at all. We say abstract things such as "time dilates" or "space expands" because doing so fits equations we have based on time (i.e., v=d/t and the Lorentz transformation equations) so accurately. But again, it seems to me that if time itself were just slowing down, thereby physically reducing the ageing process, that there would be no physical change to light wave frequency in a spaceship's own frame (as it travels near c through space), just as there is no physical change to the length of the ruler on board the spaceship in its own frame.

25. ## Clocks and rulers

Shorter-shorter: That seems like a very good point. Certainly in the explanations I have read, there seems to be little effort to distinguish between functional appearances and actual physical events. I can understand the notion that all appearances are equal, since they are just appearances from a POV, however functional they might be: If you throw a basketball at me, I will see it appear to grow as it nears my hands, and fapp (for all practical purposes) it works for my brain to see it coming to me as if it were growing. Even if I hold it extended in my hands and say this is its actual size (in an inertial rest frame), I could just as well move the basketball a few inches from my eyes, and again, it will seem larger, so that even in a rest frame, I am just dealing with appearances (that work). If we ask which image of the basketball is real (e.g., at what distance from our eyes), one can no doubt pragmatically reply, of course, that they are all equally real...no surprises here. That length contraction is not as permanent, physical, or irreversible as ageing/decomposition/entropy only seems strangely contradictory if we claim that both are the result of the curvature of spacetime. But if we claim that the former is the result of differences in appearances, and the latter is the result of the curvature or stretching of spacetime, perhaps owing to changes in EM energy levels, there is not. Given the principle of Equivalence, there should be length contraction (of the ruler) as well as mass increase at various distances in the gravitational well as well as what one might call permanent, 'decomposition dilation', though again, mass change (and length contraction?) is just temporary, depending upon how far up a mountain we night stand. If there is length contraction of a ruler in a gravitational well as well as time dilation, we couldn't just say that it was a matter of appearances, as we might when talking about the traveling twin in a rocket, since we are actually holding rulers and clocks in our own rest frame as we change altitude as a single person (No twin needed!). Presumably, the slower ageing of the traveling twin will happen whether the earth observer is scanning the skies day and night or lying in a coma, but still wearing his atomic watch. So one might ask whether the temporary effect of length contraction of a ruler is dependent upon a hypothetical "observer" in the same way that one might rightly claim that the apparent but useful change in the ("real apparent") size of the basketball (or the "real apparent" decibel level of it being dribbled) is dependent upon someone being in the gym.
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