Saturday, November 6, 2010

William Lane Craig on "Subtle is the Lord, but malicious He is not."

Albert Einstein visited Princeton at one point and was informed that D. C. Miller, a famous American physicist, claimed he had detected the ether wind relevant to special relativity (SR). Einstein said the above quote to emphasize the common complaint of many physicists that if there were such a thing as the ether, then nature would not conspire to make it undetectable. William Lane Craig says of this:

One difficulty with this objection is that it seems to be guilty of greatly over-exaggerating the extent of the alleged conspiracy. After all, SR is a restricted theory of relativity: it is only uniform motion relative to the privileged frame that fails to manifest itself. But in all other cases of motion, the absolute character of that motion is disclosed. This is not to say that acceleration or rotation proves the reality of privileged space, but it is to say that, given the classical concepts of time and space, nature does not at all conspire to conceal either absolute motion or the privileged space from us. Moreover...there are modern equivalents of the classical aether which serve to disclose a privileged frame. Indeed, when Einsteinians complain that no evidence of a privileged space and time exist, one wonders what it would take to convince them of the contrary (Craig, William Lane. Time and the metaphysics of relativity. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer Netherlands, 2001. 184.).

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