Chapter 6

General Relativity is a delusion

Physics today is founded on two fundamental theoretical frameworks: Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity. The former describes phenomena at the smallest of physical scales – elementary subatomic particles – and the latter at the largest – stars and galaxies. Both can be applied at larger and smaller scales.

Groups of elementary particles can form composite particles: for example, a neutron consists of one up and two down quarks; neutrons combine with protons to create atomic nuclei. The addition of electrons forms atoms; these combine to form molecules, thence cells and living beings. At the large end of the scale, galaxies take various forms, the best known being the rotating spirals like our own, in which long, curved arms of stars rotate around a central core. Most stars have planets in orbit around them, and many planets have moons. QM describes the former to very high accuracy; GR describes the latter, less satisfactorily but still acceptably. However, when QM is applied at galactic scales, the results are nonsensical, and the application of GR to atomic scales yields intractable problems.

Attempts to resolve these anomalies constitute the leading edge of theoretical development today: either to reconcile and unite QM and GR, or to replace them with a more general theory that subsumes both. The favourite candidate is string theory; more correctly, string theories, since each variant yields not a single solution, but a range of solutions supposedly describing all possible universes. In fact, it has been said of string theory that it successfully describes every kind of universe that could possibly exist, with a single exception, that being the one we inhabit. There are, you see, a number of problems …

It is important to realize that all of these are mathematical theories. Their purpose is to predict results. What they cannot and will never provide are what laymen naturally expect: explanations. Questions such as "Why does this happen?" or "How does this work?" are no longer admissible in today's scientific discourse, other than in the context of a set of mathematical expressions. Mere words have long since been passé. This is one result of the Copenhagen Interpretation, something that laymen neither know nor comprehend, and Physicists are loth to explain. Trained and qualified Scientists do not ask such questions: to do so is proof of professional boorishness, or at least indecorum.

Whilst many proponents of QM anticipate conquering GR in the near future and bringing its adherents within their own church, its fundamentals are still regarded as sound. Here we take the opposing view: that GR is fundamentally flawed, and must be replaced by a quite different theory. This is, of course, Scientistic heresy of the most heinous kind, an iniquity that no qualified Physicist would dare contemplate. Fortunately, this monograph is written for laymen, not Scientists, so the ensuing threats of expulsion, excommunication and loss of reputation are without consequence for Readers, who may gleefully indulge their most sinful whims.

The easiest introduction to GR for newcomers is by way of Special Relativity (SR) which appeared as one of three papers by Einstein in his annus mirabilis of 1905. Entitled On the electrodynamics of moving bodies, it reconciled Newtonian mechanical dynamics and Maxwell's electrodynamics without recourse to the properties of a transmitting medium. This last point is crucial. The existence of 'something' that fills all of space has been a recurring postulate since antiquity, and is still covertly entertained today. Named the aether, it was assumed to be a tenuous fluid whose vibration constituted light and other types of radiation. Not only was Maxwell a firm believer in it, his equations were a carefully constructed mathematical description of his understanding of it. Unfortunately for its proponents, the brilliantly simple Michelson-Morley experiment of 1887 cast grave doubts on its existence, and the fact that Einstein's new theory simply did not need it was a major factor in the aether's demise and the rapid acceptance of SR.

A better name for it might be 'restricted' or 'limited relativity' since it does not include gravity: it Is a special case of a more comprehensive or general theory that would do so, and Einstein quickly moved to a consideration of this. Opinions vary as to his mathematical abilities: some claim that he was initially an indifferent and unenthusiastic mathematician, others that he was a genius from an early age. It is certain, however, that he initially disliked an elegant and insightful formulation of relativistic dynamics devised by his old teacher at the Zurich Gymnasium, Hermann Minkowski: s² = x² + y² + z² + ct² This united space and time in a single four-dimensional mathematical entity called space-time, and is still used today in introducing the subject.

Most crucial, however, is the inclusion of the speed of light, which had been assumed infinite until the seventeenth century, when Ole Romer used the eclipsing of Jupiter's moons to calculate a velocity of 200,000km/s. This was soon confirmed and corrected by other experiments to around 300,000km/s. There was no such evidence in the case of gravity: it acted instantaneously over any distance. Throughout his life, Einstein expressed a strong dislike for what he called "spooky action at a distance", and the success of SR prompted him to declare that the 'speed of light' was a fundamental limitation throughout the universe: "Nothing can travel faster than light". Despite the success of Newton's gravitational laws, Einstein held that instantaneous action was impossible, and set about finding an alternative.

After reconciling himself to Minkowski's ideas and recognizing the power of abstract mathematics, he was introduced to Riemannian geometry by a close friend, and sought to explain gravity geometrically. This he did in 1915, although it was not until after the war ended that experimental proof was forthcoming. Among its successes was to predict that starlight will bend around a massive object, which Newton had anticipated in 1704. For those so inclined, an excellent reference text entitled A most incomprehensible thing provides a very accessible explanation of the mathematics of GR. Few are so inclined; and, despite the contrary insistence of Scientists, knowledge of the mathematics is unnecessary. Instead, a simple explanation of the geometry suffices quite well, and clearly shows the second crucial assumption on which GR is based.

Consider what happens when light passes near the Sun. The top diagram shows light from a star passing to Earth some distance from it. In the second diagram, the Earth has moved so that the Sun should block the light, rendering the star invisible; but as the third diagram shows, the light follows a curved path that keeps the star visible when it should have disappeared. Moreover, its apparent position changes because we assume that light travels in a straight line, causing the star to appear relocated at the upper position. This is simple enough to imagine and to understand. How should we interpret these facts within an explanatory theory?

Let us first explain it in terms of standard Newtonian dynamics. We treat the light as a stream of particles – Newton's 'corpuscles' and today's photons – each having a finite mass. The Sun's gravity acts on each to draw them closer so that the path followed by the light curves more tightly as it approaches the Sun, then less tightly as it moves away. At each instant, the force acting on each particle can be calculated along with its direction: that is, a vector can be defined as a line with specific length and direction, and these can be used to plot a graph that accurately predicts the path followed by the light: its trajectory. The calculus can be employed to the same end.

We now add a reference frame to the diagram consisting of a set of coordinate lines, the red lines in the fourth diagram. They are those of normal – sc. Euclidean – space and are thus equidistant, orthogonal and isotropic: that is, they are at right angles, and symmetrical in all directions. The light's trajectory appears initially as a straight line, but curves near the Sun before resuming its straight path.

Now comes the clever part. Using mathematics, we can 'bend' the curved trajectory into a straight line; but if we are to maintain the same relationship between the trajectory and the coordinate lines, then the lines must also 'bend'. When the trajectory is bent back to a curve, the result is shown by the blue lines in the fifth diagram. Technically, the lines are no longer coordinates but geodesics: lines defining a 'curved space' in which light again travels in a straight line. This is normally shown in three dimensions as in the sixth diagram.

This curved space is obviously non-Euclidean since it is anisotropic – that is, asymmetrical according to direction – whereas real space is Euclidean – symmetrical in all directions. In other words, it is a mathematical invention that has the single purpose of rectifying the light's trajectory, but it is not a part of Physical Reality. The equations of GR describe this fictional space using advanced mathematics, but are not derived from philosophical principles: in other words, they are not a priori – not derived from an understanding of the phenomenon. Rather are they a posteriori – adjusted to correspond with observation. Here, then is the second crucial assumption of GR:

General Relativity insists that the curved space invented to define the geodesics of the path of light in a gravitational field is physically real. It is yet another example of reification: of believing that an imagined mathematical device is physically real.

Two sets of relations are clearly evident:

  1. The Sun, Earth and stars relate to the red coordinates, as also do their motions. As the Earth moves to obscure the star, no change occurs in any of these things, so there is no change in the 'red space' and it is therefore Euclidean.
  2. Light from the star bends ever more sharply as it passes nearer the Sun, following a geodesic (shortest path) through the blue coordinates. Thus there is also a 'blue space' that is non-Euclidean. The curvature in the blue coordinates represent curvature of space-time – a mathematical invention – not curvature of space – a physical reality.

According to GR, we are here required to choose between two alternatives: either the 'red space' of Euclidean metrics is the One True Reality, or the 'blue space' of Einsteinian curved space-time is so. A thoughtful Reader will surely ask,

"Why must we choose? Surely it is obvious that there are two separate and distinct realities interpenetrating each other, and our theory must recognize and describe this."

Einstein, like most of his contemporaries, was an Abrahamic. His ideas were deeply imbued with monotheistic assumptions, so he could not conceive of reality as being a duality, much less a multiplicity. He was committed to Mach's ideals embodying Ockham's principle and the traditional reductionism of mathematical analysis. MWS today still labours under these century-old errors.

We may now summarize the discussion to understand why GR is a delusion.

  1. GR assumes that "nothing can travel faster than light". This is now known to be wrong: the phenomenon of quantum entanglement proves that instantaneous (or at least super-luminal) action over distance does occur.
  2. Space-time is a mathematical concept: it can bend or twist or dance about without any consequence for Physical Reality. Space, on the other hand, is a manifest reality and does not bend.
  3. The denial of real, Euclidean, physical space to insist that curved light proves the existence of curved space is philosophically invalid and physically wrong.
  4. The prediction of dark matter and dark energy, both of which are now held to constitute 96% of the mass in the universe, results from insisting on the accuracy of GR throughout the cosmos. It is so fantastic as be highly dubious, and proves that GR is at best incomplete.
  5. Gravity is a monopolar force, whereas electricity and magnetism are both bipolar. There is no evidence that the two are related, and much evidence that they derive from different aspects of reality, if not from different realities.

In spite of the enormous amounts of time, money and effort expended in developing GR, it has yielded nothing whatever of practical benefit to Mankind. Even worse, it has fostered a complete misunderstanding of what gravity and inertia truly are. It has obviously passed its 'use-by date' and is well overdue for replacement.