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To Alex, On Relativity...

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Posted by Mark on November 5, 2001 04:21:53 UTC

It has become apparent to me that you're using an age old tactic at exerting one's intellectual superiority over another when confronted on grounds of ones expertise...

I myself have been guilty of using this tactic now and again when confronted with debate by family members on topics I believe I know at least satisfactorily...
It makes for an easy "cop-out" when trying to "hurry along" explanation of arcane physics concept to a layperson without allowing said person to feel as if he knows something correctly that I don't...
Tactic: (simply refer to different concept that is most likely unbeknownst said individual, thereby indirectly asserting that said individual is not yet "sufficient" in carrying out remainder of debate/conversation... and is incapable of recognizing deficiency in individual's own argument based on fact that they do not yet know full consequences of theory under debate, and insisting that new introduced concept is the real subject at hand).

For example, while debating the notion of "time dilation" with alleged "layperson"... simply refer to the fact of "proper-frame invariance", thereby shifting focus of discussion by "intellectual 'slight-of-hand'" to completely different and unrelated concept. Then emphasize that said individual cannot possibly fathom the ramifications of such; and proceed to point out that this must be be the origin of the "hole" in said layperson's argument that they are simply too "uneducated" to notice for themselves; hence explaining what they seem to not be able to understand: that what you say is right and what they say is invariably wrong...

Alex being the exceptional theoretical physicist that you are (not to be taken sarcastically)... I find the chances of you making a careless blunder when talking on a subject as basic as relativity highly improbable. Therefore, I would take it for granted that you are correct when speaking "proper-time" even if I didn't know what the heck "proper time" was. But I just can't get you to understand that I'm not even talking about proper-time, but rather relativistic aspects of frame moving with constant velocity. While you cleverly make it seem that the root of our miscommunication rests on the fact that I must not know what I'm talking about, the illusion lies in your "magicians sleight of hand" (tactic referred to above). Once again, we are simply communicating on two different frequencies.

So you go on being persistent that "proper-time" is invariant under coordinate transformation, and I'll just continue to insist that time dilates for frame in motion as perceived by relative observer (specified to be at rest).

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