Posts Tagged ‘ Einstein ’

7.3 Resisting scientism

We have much to learn from science, and it is one of our chief windows onto the world and defences against ignorance. However, scientific writing often leaves much to be desired. There is nothing wrong with the passage below, but what exactly – if anything – does it prove?

Exercise 7.3

It follows from relativity theory that one cannot speak of an event occurring at precisely the same time for different observers. Each observer’s time frame is relative to himself. Imagine an observatory on Jupiter looking at an observatory on Earth. In each observatory, an astronomer looks through his eyeglass at the other at, it seems, exactly the same time. Since light takes 35 minutes to travel from Jupiter to Earth, the event on Jupiter in which the astronomer looks through his telescope must have taken place 35 minutes before the astronomer on Earth observes the event. Equally, the same applies to the astronomer on Jupiter. It is tempting to think there is some absolute position in which the two events could be observed as simultaneous, but this is exactly the possibility ruled out by relativity theory. Space and time are not independent dimensions, but form a four-dimensional unity, ‘space-time’, in which every event can only be recorded relative to a local time frame.

Type of argument: _____________________________________________
Claim: _________________________________________________________

It is a good / bad argument because __________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________

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