Variable Speed of Light Theories

This might be off topic, but I was wondering if this would have any application to this discussion?

III: Experimental Vindications of the Neo-Lorentzian Interpretation

The Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation is left-over radiation from the Big Bang explosion. It is taken as one of the best pieces of evidence that the Big Bang really happened [3]. The existence of the CMBR confirms Lorentz’s idea that there is an ether. The book Einstein, Relativity, and Absolute Simultaneity describes how the CMBR serves as an ether: ‘’The cosmic microwave background radiation fills all of space and is remarkably isotropic for any observer at rest with respect to the expansion of space. The radiation background will be anisotropic for any observer in motion with respect to an observer whose spatial coordinates remain fixed. It is therefore a sort of ether, serving to distinguish physically a fundamental universal reference frame.’’ As the theoretical physicist Lee Smolin writes in Time Reborn, ‘’Another way to fix a preferred family of observers is to use the cosmic microwave background. These preferred observers see the CMBR coming at them at the same temperature from all directions in the sky.’’ [4] It should be remembered that this is not merely theoretical, but that the motion of bodies has actually been measured relative to the CMBR. The following experiment is mentioned in Einstein, Relativity, and Absolute Simultaneity: ‘‘’Smoot, Gorenstein, and Muller discovered that the Earth is moving relative to the radiation background with a velocity of 390+60 km/sec in the direction of the constellation Leo. They comment, ‘’The cosine anisotropy is most readily interpreted as being due to the motion of the Earth relative to the rest frame of the cosmic blackbody radiation-what Peebles calls the ‘new aether drift’’’.’’’[5]

Alain Aspect’s experiments with Bell’s Inequalities also serve as experimental vindication of the NL interpretation. Alain Aspect’s experiments with Bell’s inequalities demonstrate simultaneous causation with spatially distant photons. The measurement of one photon causes the other photon to instantaneously take on an anti-correlated spin [6]. A measurement of particle A causes an instantaneous change at particle B, which requires absolute simultaneity. The implications of this experiment on the Minkowski interpretation are huge, and some physicists and philosophers of physics take it as empirical falsification of the MI, and proof of the NL interpretation.

‘’To describe how the correlations are established, a hidden variables theory must embrace one observer’s definition of simultaneity [italics are not mine].’’[7] -Lee Smolin, physicist, who once thought that time was an illusion.

‘’The notion of non-local causality, discussed by Bell, requires a criterion of absolute simultaneity which has some absolute significance: it is seem that a cosmological basis for a universal measure of cosmic time resolves this problem…’’- S. J. Prokhovnik, physicist [8]

‘’[But] I would say that the cheapest resolution is something like going back to relativity as it was before Einstein, when people like Lorentz and Poincare thought that there was an aether-a preferred frame of reference…’’ -John Bell, physicist, talking about Alain Aspect’s experiment [9]

‘’We have to give up Einstein’s interpretation of special relativity and return to Lorentz’s interpretation and with it to…absolute space and time…’’ - Karl Popper, philosopher of science [10]

Further findings about the nature of empty space further demonstrate the truth of the NL interpretation. Einstein once said in a 1924 speech in Berlin that “to deny the aether is ultimately to assume that empty space has no physical qualities whatever. “ [11] Modern day quantum physics directly and explicitly contradicts the idea that empty space has no physical qualities. Empty space, or rather, a quantum vacuum, does have physical qualities… [12] The evidence for these particles is extraordinary, so a serious scientists has to accept their existence. But, if virtual particles do exist, then empty space has physical qualities, …

Did you just copy this from:

You’ll have to ask @dga471 to comment though for me I’m never particularly impressed without claims being critiques by other experts in their fields and with excessive select quotes from various scientists and (even worse in my opinion) philosophers. Just like physicist can have bad philosophy philosophers can have atrocious physics.

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Yes. OK. Does seem there is some substance to the claim though.

I haven’t really dug into this much, but you can formulate SR as if an ether exists: Lorentz Ether Theory (LET). Since the mathematics is the same, there is no experimental way to distinguish between LET and the conventional interpretation of SR. However, as far as I know no one has formulated a version of GR and QFT that is consistent with LET, though it’s not clear to me whether that’s because of a fundamental incompatibility or just because not enough people have tried. We have discussed this topic in the past: Science and the Metaphysics of Time. @PdotdQ might be able to say more, since he’s actually a theorist.

Secondly, there might be philosophical arguments for having a preferred frame of reference. LET in particular has been championed by William Lane Craig because he prefers an A-theory of time (where there is an absolute “now”, instead of past, present, and future being equally “real”). That being said, LET is not the only way to argue for A-theory, for example Edward Feser in his book Aristotle’s Revenge for example lists up to four possible ways to philosophically interpret SR such that one still retains a preferred reference frame.

Needless to say, the majority of physicists don’t care much about philosophical arguments for preferring LET over conventional SR, because physicists usually only care about the observables, and SR is more practical and elegant compared to LET.


I don’t think that’s right. In both cases we are only probing the symmetry of space locally. @PdotdQ, does Local Lorentz Invariance imply some sort of “global” invariance in GR?


I think there are distinctions that should be clarified:

  1. Preferred frame: if the Universe has a preferred frame, depending on the particular way the preferred frame is introduced into the theory, we can have deviations from both special relativity and general relativity. We have looked for this effect with precision measurements in e.g. Solar System tests and other astronomical bodies (e.g. orbiting pulsars). So far, we have found no evidence of a preferred frame, but we have not given up and are continuing to look.

  2. Lorentz-Aether, or Neo-Lorentzian theory: this is what @stcordova claims he adheres to. This is a subset of “preferred frame” theories. This particular preferred frame theory does not change any predictions of special relativity, i.e. it cannot be distinguished with special relativity with any experiments.

  3. Theories with preferred frames vs solutions with preferred frames: For example, general relativity does not have preferred frames build into its theory, but solutions of the general relativistic equations can output spacetimes with preferred frames. For example, the FLRW spacetime in cosmology has a preferred frame, the one that is expanding along with the Universe. What is interesting in physics are theories with preferred frames, not specific spacetime solutions with preferred frames. To @Jim: a-priori, the CMB is a preferred frame in the second sense: it is a preferred frame of a particular solution, not the theory itself. I don’t find these to be very interesting, but I can see how some people might find these kinds of preferred frames to be interesting theologically.

This is a hard question, and depends on what you exactly mean. Local Lorentz invariance does not grant any sort of invariance in GR in the sense that the generic GR spacetimes are not Lorentz invariance. However, as a tensor theory, GR is Lorentz covariant, which is a completely different beast from the Lorentz invariance of SR.


Yup. The point still is wHAT is the evidence for light moving from here to there? I think i can always say another force is simply moving through a light fiield. This backing up genesis.
If light moves what is the REAL speed/ Real as opposed to a vacume/time/space thing which ALSO has gravity waves move AT the Same speed.
einstein said he didn’t know what light was . He was still unsure.

What was disproven was a old idea about this ether. however wait a minute.
Genesis clearly says light was created unrelated to our light sources. so the sources , seeming, to bring light MIGHT indeed just be provoking a movement in the light field that like a pebble in a pond creates waves/particles. yet the pondwater is not mvoving. only the energy.
so this is a option. SO what evidence is there that light moves from here to there and does it have a speed unique to itself and , if so, what is it??

Thanks for the deep explanation, @PdotdQ!

I hope you will have time to answer another question. I have been contending over yea many posts that the light from the Andromeda Galaxy, which is 2M light-years away, left the Andromeda Galaxy 2M years ago. Or at least in our reference frame, it did. Since the Neo-Lorentzian theory does not change any predictions of special relativity, as you put it, it would seem to me that it cannot be used to suggest that maybe the light traveled the distance in less than 10,000 years. This predica=tion emerges from the distance to the Andromeda Galaxy (measured by standard candles) alongside the prediction of special relativity that light travels at a constant speed of ~300km/sec in a vacuum, from any frame of reference.

Am I understanding the situation correctly?



Not so. In Lorentz-ether theory, the change in distance between Andromeda and the MW is physical, and due to them moving across the aether. If they move very fast, it is possible to contract their distances so that light can cross it in less than 10,000 years. Similarly, if there is a preferred frame, and this frame is moving very fast compared to Andromeda and the MW, the distance between them in this preferred frame can be very short. The point is that you can’t distinguish these predictions with standard SR’s.

Now, there are fringe physicists who claim that, in contrast to conventional physics, we can indeed measure differences between Neo-Lorentzian theory and special relativity, and that the Michelson-Morley experiment did not measure this difference due to errors in the experimenters’ end. However, even these fringe physicists can only claim that the MW and Andromeda only moves slowly with respect to the aether, otherwise the “aether wind” becomes easily detectable and immediately apparent in e.g. Michelson-Morley’s experiment. I know that Reginald Cahill that @stcordova mentioned, for example, measured the velocity across the aether of the Earth to be ~400 km/s. Much too slow to contract the distance between MW and Andromeda to allow a light travel distance <10,000 years.

So, young creationist neo-Lorentzians such as @stcordova has two options:

  1. Agree with mainstream physics: no experiment can distinguish SR and neo-Lorentzian theory. This allows them to purport a preferred frame at any speed with respect to the MW-Andromeda system and thus contract the distance to <10,000 lightyears in that frame.
  2. Agree with fringe physicists: experiments can distinguish SR and neo-Lorentzian theory, and that SR is discredited based on these experiments. This allows them to say that neo-Lorentzian theory is superior to SR, but this means that MW-Andromeda is moving much too slow with respect to the aether to contract the distance to <10,000 lightyears.

Or…that the contraction was a “past-tense” phenomenon at high exponential speed? If yes, would it leave trace evidence?

This scenario is not Neo-Lorentzian/Lorentz-Aether theory, so not covered by my previous post - I was just addressing these point of views.

Depending on how you do it.

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How does neo-Lorentzian theory affect how we observe our galaxy? Wouldn’t the structure at the opposite end appear distorted? What kind of structure would an observer living at one end of a galaxy like M87 (1 million light years in diameter) infer?

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I appreciate all the responses and wish I had more opportunity to participate more. This motivated me to revisit some of the very basics.

There is SR (Special Relativity) and GR (General Relativity). My understanding/MISunderstanding is that in SR there is no preferred frame for measuring the speed of light. The speed of light is the same in all INERTIAL reference frames. That is to say, frames that are not accelerating relative to each other…

[as an aside, some claimed disproofs of SR involve accelerating reference frames such as in the Sagnac and Michelson-Gale interferometers, but these measure acceleration and hence can’t be used as an argument against SR, these “disproofs” unfortunately float around the net and in creationist circles]

BUT, something always troubled me about extrapolating the idea of “no absolute frame for measuring the speed of light” to mean there exists no absolute reference frame, or perspective at all – at least in principle. For linear velocity along an axis:

\LARGE v=\int a(t)dt

[There is a special case in were a(t) is non zero, but delta-t is zero and hence v(t) in a rotating frame is zero such as in a circular orbit…]

So, that means from a historical perspective, one velocity is “faster” than another because one object undergoes acceleration. We can for example “feel” if we’re undergoing linear acceleration. So to me this implies at least in principle there is a reference for distinguishing one object as travelling faster than another, and hence there is a preferred frame from that standpoint.

Next, according to the Lorentz transformations, there must be time dilation or slowing of clocks. When we take an object that undergoes decay (like say a particle in an accelerator), it undergoes a huge amount of acceleration to near light speed, and hence its clock rate goes slower, not our lab clock rate. There is a preferred frame in that sense in terms of which clock takes priority. Hence that suggests there is in principle an absolute frame to me in terms of historical trajectories, even though there is not a preferred frame for measuring the speed of light.

That is at least my understanding/misunderstanding of the mainstream claims. I welcome any corrections.

Note: I am not a physicist, so hopefully I get this right.

According to whom? Which velocity is faster depends entirely on who the observer is.

Let’s say I was passing over an airport in a plane. As I passed over another plane took off and caught up to my plane. Now that plane is flying right next to mine, and our relative velocity is zero. At the same time, the planes sitting on the tarmac back at the airport have a measurable difference in velocity compared to the plane I am in.

All frames being equal extends outside of relativity. It seems to me that it is a basic feature of all physics. If go back to our airplane analogy, as long as the plane is flying at a constant velocity I should get the same results from experiments that someone on the ground would get. If I toss a ball in the air it flies up and down in a parabola just like it does on the ground. The ball doesn’t fly backwards and punch a hole in the back of the plane because it has a certain velocity in another frame of reference.

The preferred frame is simply the frame you prefer. There is no priority. If you are the particle your clock will be moving at the standard rate, but the lab clock will change.

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I’m not either, so thankfully it’s good we have some real ones on this forum.

6 posts were split to a new topic: Mercer, Cordova on Biology vs. Physics again

I’m actually more acquainted with mainstream theory than neo-Lorentzian theory, but my understanding the the Lortentz transformation at the heart of SR is generally accepted in neo-Lorentzian theory:

t' = \gamma (t - \frac {vx}{c^2})
x' = \gamma (x -vt)
\gamma = \frac{1}{\sqrt{1-\frac{v^2}{c^2}}}

Demjanov argues that the aether is best detected by REFRACTIVE media, not situations where the is virtual vacuum such as with small particle experiments.

The neo-Lorentzians argue Michelson-Morely and other experiments reported null results with respect to the Galilean transformation, and in that sense it was correctly reported, but the proper way would have been to apply some sort of Lorentz transformation to the results – however, it’s not clear to me yet what that transformation is as I’m having to work through the experiments starting with historical ones and then the modern day ones that involve REFRACTIVE (rather than vacuum) media.

  1. Michelson-Morely with air as refractive media
  2. Dayton Miller with air as refreactive media
  3. De Witte Belgacon with temperature controlled optical cable as refractive media
  4. Cahill
  5. Demjanov
  6. Shtyrkov
  7. Galaev

some others. The problem with refractive media is the sensitivity to temperature and pressure. This was brutally on display when the Silvertooth experiment, which was widely cited as detecting the aether, was convincingly falsified:

I really credit these guys for doing such basic work and figuring out what caused the aether-looking anomaly even though the falsification was a major disappointment for the neo-Lorentzians:

I found one neo-Lorentzian approach involving refractive media. I’ve sort of seen it before, but I’m still working through understanding the math:

[H.E. Wilhelm ]
([3] wrote a paper in 1992 (Aiperon) that attempted to explain the results of two famous historical experiments on the propagation of light: The Fizeau experiment (1851) and the Hoek experiment (1868). The thing that was important about these two experiments is that they attempted to use dielectric media with a refractive index > 1 to affect the propagation velocity of light and thereby make ether drift visible in the experiment. The set of equations used by H.E. Wilhelm are derivable from Lorentz’s theorem of corresponding states. In 1892 Lorentz wrote an extensive treatise on the electrodynamics of moving bodies, and was able to show that for a wave propagating along the direction of motion of a frame moving with velocity v, must have a velocity c/n - v/ n2 in that frame (to order v/c). Hence, the wave velocity with respect to the ether would be c/n - v/ n2 + v = c/n + v (1-1/ n2) in accordance with the Fresnel coefficient. This new view of Lorentz suggested that it is the waves that are partially dragged and not the ether. The electric field of the wave displaces the electrons in the refractive medium creating a common motion. The moving electrons are then subjected to an additional Lorentz force from the magnetic field of the wave. Both of these effects reduce the velocity of the wave by v/ n2 from the value of c/n when the medium is at rest in the ether (5). Wilhelm devised the following equation to explain both the experiments of Fizeau and Hoek by calculating the Doppler shifted phase velocity in a moving (v) dielectric (i.e. Fizeau) with ether velocity (w) (i.e. Hoek)

The problem is there are multiple neo-Lorentzian views, but I’m interested in the ones detecting the aether that use refractive media, particularly with experimental verification.

This does seem related to the question of Absolute Reference Frames which seems more agreeable with neo-Lorentzian relativity.

With regard to the issue of the implied preferred frame as defined by linear acceleration over time, this implies an absolute time keeping clock, and implicitly if we say decay rate changes as we accelerate particles to near light speeds in our super colliders and acceleators, then this suggests an absolute clock which means one object is really moving faster than another object in the absolute sense.

Either the clocks tick slower because acceleration does something to the clock or the clocks are affected by relative motion to the vacuum of space. We know space has zero point energy, it is “something”. It seems reasonable that there is relative speed to this “something”.