Category Archives: Relativity Fun Zone

Relativity and the Nude Emperor

People believe in relativity not because they understand it but because they have great faith in our science prophets. To become a science prophet, one has to religiously ‘study’ the naked theory of relativity , ‘understand’ its naked mathematics, hail its absurd predictions and accept every experiment and observation as proof of the naked theory. So it is no surprise that our science prophets endorse the naked theory.

Obviously no scientist or science student would dare to argue against this ‘marvelous theory’. Doing so would not only ‘prove’ oneself as less intelligent but also risks one’s career. So despite its obvious absurdness, people would rather prefer to ‘dance’ with the crowd and hail Her Highness.

This unfortunate plight of science reminds me of the story of the Emperor’s new clothes.

As all the Emperor’s ‘intelligent’ men have ‘seen’ and declared His dress is marvelous, common people have no choice but to hail His majesty’s ‘wonderful’ costume.

Though most people in the crowd would only be pretending and praising the Emperor’s magical costume (out of fear of being labelled as unwise and out of fear of being punished), some highly faithful followers of the Emperor may actually ‘see’ a really marvellous costume covering up their master’s nude body. But because there was no costume at all, the faithful believers will have their own vivid imaginations and descriptions of the costume.

Imagine that we meet with those faithful believers and ask one of them to describe the costume that he has seen. He might say- “His majesty’s costume has a glittering golden yellow hue”

The rest of the crowd will start muttering in themselves “well, that was not the colour I have seen though it did have a slight yellow tinge on its boarder ——, may be the green colour that I have seen probably has also some yellowish tinge——-“. But no one would contradict his fellow believer’s description at this point of time.

Imagine that we contradict the above description of the nude Emperor’s costume by saying “But a divine detector of golden yellow colour failed to detect anything of that sort on the Emperor’s body”. (We may also add “and the detector is as accurate as the modern atomic clocks sworn upon by the relativists to prove time dilation”)

Now the crowd that has been silent until now, speaks out louder all at once in a great sigh of relief,

“Well, because… actually that was not the colour of His majesty’s costume”

Another person now gives his description. Again the crowd neither supports nor rejects its fellow’s description and will remain silent until you take the pain of ‘inventing’ some other detector and ‘prove’ him wrong. At this point all the rest of the believers cry again loudly-

“That was actually not the correct description” and one of the believers may add “Probably he got confused by the little decorative piece with changing colours hanging from His crown” to which the crowd will nod positively.

Because the crowd is so huge, we won’t be able to convince the crowd of their master’s nudity by dealing with them individually. Arguing with each and every believer in the crowd would be impossible.

Even if you manage to speak to all of them and expose their different imaginations of their Master’s dress and claim that as proof of their illusionary thinking and try to make them realise that He is actually nude, the crowd now may lose their patience and shout at you for being so ignorant and arrogant “His Majesty’s magical costume is visible only to the wise men and the other great thing about the dress is that it appears differently to different people and in fact it keeps on changing”.  Unless we run away from them, we may get severely punished.

Similarly, because relativity is a pseudoscience, all scientists who swear upon relativity (and believe that speed of light is constant and time dilation does occur), will have their own imaginations and illogical explanations for the theory. If I argue against one such explanation, all the rest will counter me at once and cry “that is not what relativity actually tells”. So group therapy is not the best way of dealing with any mass mania and may in fact provoke violence.

In the story of the nude Emperor, it was neither the ministers nor the intelligent who rescued the kingdom from the shameful plight but the cry of an innocent little boy. As the boy asks ‘how come our king is nude?’, his dad starts thinking ‘may be the king is really nude’ and clarifies with his neighbour who is also in the same state of confusion. And the wave of disillusion spreads from the periphery to the centre until it reaches the Emperor who then retrieves into his palace in shame.

The theory of relativity sounds absurd to us not because we are so ignorant or unwise but because it is actually absurd by all means of logic. And unless until the lay people and young science students realise this, and convey the same to the top physicists of the world, the scientific mania persists and the weird theory survives.

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