Ardeshir Mehta's Critique of 
Prof. Bryan Luther's Web Article Entitled 

Credo: Einstein's Train


Some years ago, Concordia University's Prof. Bryan Luther had posted on the Web an article entitled Credo: Einstein's Train. Originally on this page I had critiqued this article - which no longer exists on the Web - by quoting most of it line by line and sentence by sentence, and including the pictures which he has drawn and referred to in his text, so that anyone reading my critique might be able to see that I had neither misquoted nor misinterpreted his original words. However, Prof. Luther objected, and wrote to me via e-mail saying: "... it is a violation of copyright and intellectual property law to publish whole chunks of the page. Please either remove the page or modify it."

I wrote back saying that the copyright laws would seem to indicate that my use of his material definitely fell under the "fair use" provisions of the copyright laws for the purposes of criticism, since it is written therein:

... the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright.

But I added that in any case, if Prof. Luther insisted, I would modify my article - indeed I would replace my original article with the one you are at present reading.

Now it may be just me, but I for one wonder at Prof. Luther's motivations. It's not as if his Web page has any commercial value which is being eroded by my quoting him extensively for purposes of criticism. Surely a seeker after truth - as every scientist is supposed to be - would appreciate all criticism, for if it is correct then something new would be learned, whereas if it is wrong it does no harm. Indeed if my criticism is in fact wrong, I myself would appreciate Prof. Luther showing exactly where it is wrong, using reason and logic, so that I might learn something new. But it makes me wonder what his motivation could be for resorting instead to an attempt to make it difficult to criticise him objectively and in detail: i.e., by my quoting for the benefit of readers exactly what he wrote, which ensures that I am neither misquoting his words nor taking them out of context. However, I leave readers to make up their own minds on the subject.

In any case the point is moot, isn't it, for in Einstein's logic in his "Train" thought-experiment were accepted as valid, then with that same logic one would have to conclude that it takes light longer to go from the rear end to the front end of a moving train, than it takes light to go from the front end to the rear end of the very same train: which contradicts Einstein's Postulate of the Constancy of the Speed of Light!

Ardeshir Mehta.

Any comments? E-mail me.