At the Humbug Tavern, the “scientists” had posited The Ether. The Ether helped explain many things, for instance why light waves could travel through a vacuum tube. The “scientists” had decided The Ether was a greatly tenuous gas having a rigidity greater than steel. (Background: Tall Tales Of “Science”, Ersjdamoo’s Blog entry of September 29, 2013.)
However it has since been learned that The Ether, once useful to “scientists,” has been callously tossed aside!
Some wrongly take this to mean The Ether has been “terminated.” Not so. Instead, the “scientists” decided it was “no longer necessary” and simply abandoned it.
Stated The Ether, “No two-weeks notice! No severance pay! After all I did for them!”
But one “scientist” complained that The Ether was “always resting” and so doomed itself to unemployment. (As explained in yesterday’s blog entry, The Ether had been posited to be in a state of “absolute rest.”)
The Ether has posted a “want ad” in the classified section of several newspapers:
Situation Wanted: The Ether, formerly useful to “scientists,” now tossed aside. Am a tenuous gas having the rigidity of steel. Cannot relocate since am at “absolute rest” in “absolute space.” Contact me via 19th-century physicists.
At the Humbug Tavern, the “scientists” like to trade tall tales about the universe. This is somewhat corroborated by one of the “scientists” themselves, Gustav Kirchhoff. He did not like all the yarns being told and insisted that “Concern with first causes or final reasons was to be excluded from the scientific endeavor as fruitless, or hopeless (if not meaningless).” Kirchhoff complained that “Even the notion of explanation was suspect.” (“Positivism.” Encyclopedia Britannica 2005 electronic reference)
But the “scientists” disregarded Kirchhoff and continued their habit of exchanging “whoppers.”
One of the premiere leg-pullers of the claque, Albert Einstein, had caused much merriment at the Humbug Tavern when he had denied “time” to exist independently of motion. Building upon the measurement mindset which noticed that “motion” cannot be measured without “time,” Einstein had extrapolated extremely “rapid” motion would cause “time” to slow down. This “brought down the house” at the Humbug gathering and peals of laughter could be heard from outside.
Later, a subsequent yarn by Einstein caused The Ether to be abandoned.
“Einstein knifed me in the back,” bitterly complained The Ether.
One evening, Einstein had tired of all the talk about “absolute motion.” “Let’s just say it is impossible to measure ‘absolute motion,’ and get rid of it with one fell swoop,” he said. “But we would need some new yarns,” replied some of the “scientists” at the Humbug Tavern. Einstein puffed and puffed on his pipe. “What is he smoking?” some wondered. At last, his eyes lighted up and a mischievous smile was seen. “We can say, all ‘motion’ is relative to arbitrary objects taken to be at rest. And that no objects at all are more really ‘at rest’ than any other.”
“The theory of relativity,” writes Isaac Asimov, “does not flatly state that an ether does not exist. It does, however, remove the need for one, and if it is not needed, why bother with it?” (Understanding Physics Vol. II, ch. 8) So, under the new zeitgeist, The Ether, at “absolute rest,” was not needed to measure “motion.”
Abandoned in “absolute space,” The Ether retorts, “I am in no hurry. I’m not going anywhere. The ‘scientists’ are the ones who are in ‘relative motion.’ As for me, I can sit and wait.”
(Acknowledgement to Understanding Physics, by Isaac Asimov. New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 1993.)
(A version of the above first appeared at my old Conspiracy Nation web site on June 25, 2005.)