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Thinking without language?

mithomps at indiana.edu mithomps at indiana.edu
Wed Nov 24 10:42:32 EST 1999

Jure Sah wrote:

> Example:
> By the theory of the "red move" (i don't know if it's the right word)

red shift

> things
> coming towards us will be shifted to blue and things going away from us will
> shift red.
> If you are looking at a train that is going to pass by you, you don't see it
> red shifted, but it is.

That's because as red light is red shifted into the infrared ultraviolet light
is red shifted to violet and blue (for motion away from the viewer, and
similarly for motion towards the viewer).  The color wouldn't change
distinctively for non-relativistic speeds.  You'd only expect the hue to change
when the velocity is so great that the very low intensity of, e.g., X-rays and
gamma rays (in the case of motion away from the observer) or microwaves and
radio waves (in the case of motion toward the observer) to make itself felt.
This has nothing to do with the use of red shift in astronomy, which involves
measuring the shifting of absorption lines in the spectrum.  As for "the sky
flashing, only too fast to be noticeable," this putative red shift example
doesn't seem to have any discernible connection with that.

Mikael Thompson

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