The Natural Philosophy Alliance, quite unlike establishment physics, does not impose any particular ideas on its members, whose ideas are so diverse that generalization about them is very difficult. Aside from virtually unanimous agreement that contemporary cosmology and physics--especially modern or 20th-century physics--are in dire need of a thorough overhaul, and that a much more tolerant spirit than has recently been shown in these fields must be practiced in order to achieve the needed changes, not very much comes close to achieving unanimous approval among NPA members.
Nevertheless, certain interests and themes are very widespread, and certain opinions are subscribed to by a very large majority. The central theme that concerns nearly all members, both because of its highly honored position in current dogma and because its rather simple mathematics makes it comparatively easy to deal with, is special relativity (SR). A very large majority in the NPA believe it is seriously flawed, and a clear majority believe it is totally invalid. I earnestly subscribe to the latter view: SR has no validity whatsoever. I agree with most of my NPA colleagues that SR never was valid, never will be valid, and in fact cannot possibly be valid. This viewpoint is so diametrically opposed to that of the vast majority of academic and research physicists in the world today, one of whom once wrote to me that SR is "the most thoroughly proven aspect of human existence," that the contrast boggles the mind. There is no other issue on which the authoritativeness of modern physics can be more effectively challenged; and so I have urged my NPA allies to concentrate our efforts most intensely on criticizing and replacing SR. Some argue that it is far better to spend one's energy promoting a new and better theory, than to concentrate on tearing down an existing one; and yet since we are far from widespread agreement on what alternative theory to promote, it seems that more can be gained by convincing as many as possible of the inadequacy of the current theory, thus enlisting more help in the search for and perfection of a new one. And of course if we in the NPA--and others not in our group--succeed in this seemingly insurmountable task, it will then become much easier to find an audience on a variety of other issues.
Below is a text I have recently developed for the purpose of introducing an informed and also open-minded scholar to the task of really understanding what special relativity is all about. It by no means covers all the objections NPA members have about SR, not to mention about general relativity, Copenhagen-style quantum physics, big bang theory, and so forth. It concentrates on logical analysis, my own particular specialty as a historian and philosopher of science. It offers a solid beginning to a thorough critique of SR, but much more could be added, in terms of analyzing mathematical flaws in Einstein's 1905 introductory paper, faulty reasoning in interpretation of data from alleged experimental confirmations, and so forth. More material in these areas will be added here within a few months, as suitable presentations are developed and processed to fit this format; some NPA members have already sent me contributions in these areas, and in other problem areas in modern physics, and I apologize here for not having found time to deal with all of them adequately yet. I can say with much assurance that the majority of NPA members would agree, and in some cases already have agreed, with what is written just below.
DO NOT BE OVERWHELMED BY EINSTEIN'S HIGH REPUTATION.
The great majority of attempts to point out flaws in special relativity (SR) get nowhere just because the listener simply refuses to believe that Einstein could be wrong, especially as regards his most honored theory, and will not follow any argument aimed at trying to prove him wrong. This amounts to what logicians sometimes call the fallacy of argument from authority, which means that the specifics of the case are put aside and replaced by faith in the high reputation of the thinker. We all know Einstein fell short in some areas, and that almost every great scientist did imperfect or even mistaken work in addition to his/her good work; it is therefore not inconceivable Einstein could have made more errors than we currently attribute to him.
REALIZE THAT THERE IS NO TRULY CONFORTING WAY TO TELL AN EARNEST SUPPORTER OF A WIDELY-REVERED THEORY THAT IT IS TOTALLY INVALID.
Therefore much of what follows may seem harsh and even hostile to firm believers in SR; but I am doing my best to at least adhere to high standards of courtesy and to avoid personal attacks. I believe the most satisfying way for a believer in SR to react is to stand aside and be as objective as possible, and then to be one of the first to join the dissident physics movement, as a way of optimally rescuing his or her own reputation. We could use more help, and we would welcome it from the ranks of the current establishment.
DO NOT ASSUME THAT IF SPECIAL RELATIVITY WERE INVALID, THIS FACT WOULD LONG AGO HAVE BEEN DISCOVERED WITHIN ESTABLISHMENT PHYSICS.
The reason it has not been is that almost everyone with a sufficiently bold and critical view of the subject to develop sound arguments against SR has not been allowed to flourish within the establishment. Great numbers of reliable accounts of such intolerance have been told.
One of the most recent comes from a new NPA member who, when doing graduate work in physics around 1960, heard the following story from his advisor: While working for his Ph.D. in physics at the University of California in Berkeley in the late 1920s, this advisor had learned that all physics departments in the U.C. system were being purged of all critics of Einsteinian relativity. Those who refused to change their minds were ordered to resign, and those who would not were fired, on slanderous charges of anti-Semitism. The main cited motivation for this unspeakably unethical procedure was to present a united front before grant-giving agencies, the better to obtain maximal funds. This story does not surprise me. There has been a particularly vicious attitude towards critics of Einsteinian relativity at U.C. Berkeley ever since. I ran into it in 1985, when I read a paper arguing for absolute simultaneity at that year's International Congress on the History of Science. After I finished, the Danish chairman made some courteous remarks about dissidents he had learned about in Scandinavia, and then turned to the audience for questions. The first speaker was one of a group of about 4 young physics students in the back. He launched immediately into a horrible tirade of verbal abuse, accusing me of being entirely wrong in my analysis, a simplification of the Melbourne Evans analysis--"Evans is wrong; you are wrong," he shouted. He accused me of being way out of line to present my "faulty" arguments on his prestigious campus. When I started to ask him "Then how would you explain...", he loudly interrupted me with "I don't have to explain anything." The rest of the audience felt so disturbed by all this, that the question session was essentially destroyed.
In many other cases over the years, whenever anger and verbal abuse has been introduced into confrontations between dissidents and members of the physics establishment, the great majority of the time it has been the establishment person who has broken the limits of courtesy first, and usually, the dissident never has responded in kind. A disinterested psychologist, observing several such incidents, would doubtless conclude that the establishment people seem to have something to fear or to feel guilty about.
A further notable example of the intolerance: In 1947, a Harvard undergraduate physics major presented his advisor with a proof that the alleged 1919 confirmations of general relativity--which triggered a sudden widespread acceptance of both special and general relativity--could be interpreted by a Newtonian type of physics (Several others have done this also). No attempt was made to refute his proof, but he was advised to find another major. So he went into geophysics, made a great deal of money on mining stock, and over 20 years later he found a way to publish his proof in an appendix of a special issue he edited of a major journal.
And still further: In 1964, a physicist at the University of Kansas, where I hoped to write a Ph.D. thesis in history of science that discussed various problems with SR, not only refused to join my thesis committee, but threatened to destroy my Ph.D. program if I went ahead without him or some other physicist on it--even though I was working in a field outside of physics.
Yes, folks, these stories represent only the tip of the iceberg.
DO NOT ASSUME THAT THE WORST ARGUMENTS AGAINST SPECIAL RELATIVITY TYPICALLY REPRESENT ALL SUCH ARGUMENTS.
We in the NPA are also plagued by sloppy thinkers who might well be called "cranks," who if given wide publicity would harm our cause. As I once argued to a newspaper editor in Ottawa, Canada, vainly urging him to publish my answer to a local establishment physicist who had harshly criticized us dissidents in that paper, if you were in an Ottawa restaurant and noticed that all 5 people there were speaking French, you could not reasonably assume that the next person walking through the door would also be speaking French. (Ottawa is right along the boundary between French and English speakers. This is no attempt to insult French speakers; the story could just as well be told with English speakers already inside.)
The essence of the problem of why there are so many inadequate arguments against SR is that its flaws are so obvious, to anyone not overwhelmed with unquestioning respect for the powerful and prestigious, that it does not take an exceptionally bright mind to spot them. It does, of course, take a very good mind, and a lot of research and/or laboratory work, to produce a very strong disproof, not to mention a good alternative theory. But at least, they have gone farther than have most establishment physicists.
Decades ago a rumor circulated that only 12 people in the entire world could understand SR. Today, there may still not be 12 in the realm of establishment physics, for a real understanding of the theory amounts to realizing that it is hopelessly invalid. Yet there are many 100s, maybe even 1000s, of censored dissidents around the world who understand at least this much about it; and all of them, regardless of how talented they are and how convincing are their arguments, deserve high praise for at least reaching this point in their understanding,
REALIZE THAT A GREAT DEAL OF SCIENTIFIC DATA CAN BE INTEREPRETED IN MORE THAN ONE WAY.
You only have to consider the sun in the sky to realize this. We even use the language of the long-discarded Ptolemaic theory to describe how it rises, moves, and sets, even though we believe it is really the earth that is moving. Thus both interpretations still live. The question here is not which is correct (and if we took SR truly seriously, we would have to cast this matter into doubt again), but simply the fact that there are two possible interpretations. The 1887 Michelson-Morley experiment can be interpreted in at least four other ways that do not support SR.
Every last experimental test and technological application alleged to confirm SR, including the CERN meson lifetime experiments and nuclear energy, can definitely be reinterpreted in terms of other, more objective and logical, theories.
PHYSICISTS TODAY OFTEN MISINTERPRET THE MEANING OF WELL-KNOWN EXPERIMENTS, EVEN THOUGH THE CORRECT INTERPRETATION IS EASILY AVAILABLE IN THE BASIC LITERATURE.
The best example of this phenomenon occurs when the 1887 M-M experiment is said to disprove the idea that light velocity can be added to that of the source, or to prove that aether cannot possibly exist. In fact, as was realized from the beginning, and as is often stated in early 20th-century literature, assuming that the light moved at c + v or c - v leads to the very same null result (assuming the tiny fringe shifts were within the range of experimental error--which not all today agree with) that is used in support of SR. Only DeSitter's double star argument, first published in 1910, was historically decisive in pushing aside Ritz's competing additive-velocity theory (but several strong arguments have since been advanced against DeSitter, too).
As for disproving the existence of the aether, all the 1887 M-M experiment could possibly do in this regard was to show that a device of this kind cannot prove that the aether exists, if it does. Likewise, you can't prove that there are no creatures roaming the jungles of Madagascar at night, if you try to photograph them at midnight with ordinary film; it would take infrared film to detect them then.
TAKE THE SAGNAC EXPERIMENT SERIOUSLY.
In this case, the "infrared film" needed was provided by Sagnac in 1913, when he looked for the aether with an interferometer that rotated, instead of translating in a near-straight line. Something caused his fringes to shift as viewed on the rotating platform, and these shifts meant that the velocity of light was remaining constant relative to the laboratory. Sagnac advanced this as experimental proof against the second postulate of SR, which it actually was. His method has been modified and repeated many times since his day, and currently is being tested constantly among the satellites of the Global Positioning System (GPS). Every single time, when rotation of a light path within a surrounding dominant coordinate system occurs, fringes are shifted, light velocities are altered, and the existence of a luminiferous aether is strongly inferred--all contrary to SR.
Establishment physicists have usually ignored the Sagnac effect, or once in a while they have attempted to explain it in terms of special or general relativity--but all of these attempts have fallen short.
USE LOGIC IN ANALYZING THEORIES ABD IN CHOOSING AMONG ALTERNATIVE INTERPRETATIONS OF DATA. LOGIC IS MORE CRUCIAL THAN EXPERIMENTAL DATA, IN THE SENSE THAT NO DATA CAN POSSIBLY CONFIRM AN ILLOGICAL THEORY.
There is no field of study not subject to the basic rules of logic, in arriving at its conclusions. The most fundamental rule of logic is The Law of Non-Contradiction. It states simply that you cannot contradict yourself in the course of an argument, and wind up with a valid argument. But SR violates this law right off the bat, because the first postulate implies that the second postulate cannot be true (at least, not if photons behave in the same way as does the object dropped from the mast of ship to test the Galilean relativity principle--Einstein's first postulate).
Einstein's famous thought experiment alleging to prove relative simultaneity also violates this fundamental law: First, it states that the light approaches the moving observer at additive velocities--which if true, would be a violation of the 2nd postulate of SR itself. Then later in the same argument, Einstein clearly implies (in a step not spelled out, but easily deducible, since he could not have reached his conclusion without it) that the same light reached the same observer at constant velocities--which is in direct contradiction to his earlier claim that it arrived at additive velocities. In a classic argument published in the Swiss journal Dialectica in 1962, American philosopher Melbourne Evans revealed this situation, and added that if Einstein had only remained consistent and not contradicted his initial statement as to light velocity relative to the moving observer, he could choose any velocity he wished, and simultaneity would always be shown to be absolute--which clearly it is, throughout the real universe.
THERE IS NOT A SHRED OF EVIDENCE EVEN CLAIMED TO EXIST AS CONFIRMATION OF THE RECIPROCITY FEATURE OF SR.
All experiments related to SR have been done in the coordinate system of the earth. No one has ever gotten aboard an object moving at relativistic speed relative to the earth, to test to see if the alleged effects are reversed, in the view of observers aboard the moving object, as SR says they are.
THERE IS NOT A SHRED OF REAL EVIDENCE IN FAVOR OF TIME DILATION, AS OPPOSED TO CLOCK RETARDATION.
Einstein is praised for having made a "leap of faith" beyond the pedestrian reasoning of Lorentz and others, by claiming that when clocks slow down in a relativistic fashion, it is really time itself that is slowing down. But every bit of alleged evidence proves, at most, nothing more than that the clock slows down. Too many physicists subscribe to the belief that there is nothing to time except what can be seen on the face of a clock; but that amounts to the ridiculous statement that a measuring device has been built to measure nothing but itself. This view is an extreme version of operationalism, a very simplistic version of Machian positivism. So the "leap of faith" claiming time dilation remains totally unsupported by facts; mere speculation, not science.
AVOID THE FALLACY OF MISPLACED CONCRETENESS.
Claiming that time is embodied in the hands of a clock is only one of several ways in which contemporary physics runs up a blind alley by committing this fallacy, which involves attributing the properties of substantial things to things that have no substance--such as time, space, and abstract coordinate systems. To say that space curves, or twists, cannot have validity as real science because space is nothingness, the receptacle in which all substantial things are contained, and yet without substance itself; and only a substance, or a line or surface derived from one, can curve or twist. Countless recent forays into speculative theory would never have gotten off the ground, if this criterion were respected and observed.
Both postulates of special relativity claim that the velocity of light depends on an abstract coordinate system (cs). But every cs consists of no more than abstract lines and points, none of which are capable of exerting force, over light or anything else. Only the first postulate, the Galilean relativity principle, can be rescued from this situation by rephrasing and adding conditions; the second one is totally hopeless.
THE WIDE ACCEPTANCE OF SPECIAL RELATIVITY CAN BEST BE EXPLAINED BY MEANS OF CONSTRUCTIVIST ANALYSIS.
The constructivist critique, related closely to the thought of Thomas Kuhn, claims that much if not most of scientific theory owes more to the cultural and personal biases, and the mental constructs derived therefrom, of the scientists themselves, than to data from external nature. Such critiques have been widely applied, and some of them are less than convincing, and may do harm by tending to cast doubt on the very possibility of attaining objective knowledge. But when properly applied the general approach has great potential for revealing error, wherever it does exist.
In the case of modern physics, the main bias seems to be one against logic, and in favor of the irrational and the bizarre. The strange new ideas of relativity, quantum physics, and big bang theory represent not only an attempt to defame Newtonian physics, but even an attempt to deny the supremely important achievement of classical Greek proto-scientific thought: affirming that we live in a rationally ordered world. One dissident pointed out that Einsteinian relativity sacrifices 300 years of modern physics in order to rescue Maxwell's equations; but it does far more than that: in a very meaningful sense it attempts to undercut the primary foundations of all western scholarship, both classical and modern. But the sources of the claims of irrationality and logic do not lie in the real external world; they lie in the minds of the physicists. It is their own mental preconceptions that are irrational, not the nature they purport to explain. They confront the evidence and "find" what they expect to find, not realizing that other conclusions might be drawn, by those who are convinced that the world is rational and that the rules of logic must be followed when interpreting it.