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Ekkehard Friebe Ekkehard Friebe ist männlich

Dabei seit: 23.11.2005
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Fiction Stranger than Truth - In the Metaphysical Labyrinth of Relativity
by N. Rudakov, Australien 1981


1 Establishment

In the last sixty years physics has been enslaved by theoreticians who have succeeded in abolishing physical reality and replacing it with an empty and barren mathematical formalism. The new physicist no longer studies nature and describes what he has observed in physically meaningful terms. He sits at the desk, manipulates abstract symbols and figures, and communicates what the universe is like and how it ought to behave in the form of equations which are comprehensible only to a small and exclusive group of theoreticians like himself.

The principal device which brought about the mathematical captivity of physics is Einstein's first theory of relativity. It is usually referred to as the restricted or special theory, or as special relativity. This theory will be critically examined in the following pages, particularly in regard to its meta-physical implications. The term relativity, or relativity theory, in this work will mean primarily special relativity, although in some cases, where the distinction is not essential, it may also cover Einstein's second relativity theory, known as general relativity.

Special relativity originated in a 30-page paper published by Einstein in 1905 under the title The Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies. It is difficult to understand why this paper, which contains only a rough outline of ideas subsequently declared to express the substance of the special theory, should be considered as one of the highest achievements of science and a corner-stone of modern physics. And yet this is what the physics books and the establishment historians and philosophers tell us, and what the Einstein biographers never fail to emphasise.

In the words of one of the principal biographers, the 1905 paper was in many ways one of the most remarkable scientific papers that had ever been written. Among other things, it provided such an accurate blueprint for the way in which the physical world was built that within a generation men could no more ignore relativity in the teaching of physics than they could ignore grammar in the teaching of language (Clark).

The historical and psychological reasons why relativity became the "grammar of physics" have still to be uncovered. They are outside the scope of this work. However, some consideration must be given to motives and driving forces operating in the scientific Community in regard to the acceptance and promotion of theories. Why is relativity widely accepted? Does this mean that relativity is true? An attempt must be made to provide answers to such questions.

Theoretical physics occupies a fundamental position in physical science, and physical science occupies a similar position among the natural sciences. A theory which receives the seal of approval by physicists will be incorporated in the general body of knowledge and considered certain and trustworthy by other branches of science and the community at large. Special relativity has achieved the Status of an unassailable truth in the eyes of the world because it has been accepted by the theoreticians in physics, and these are the people who form the nucleus of the establishment and who make the decisions affecting the life of the physics community. Observational and experimental work still matters in physics, but it is much harder for the practical physicist to gain recognition if his work is not in accord with prevailing theories. On the other hand, purely theoretical propositions, such as relativity, have no difficulty in gaining acceptance and becoming an intrinsic part of the body of scientific knowledge without any observational and experimental evidence.

Does majority acceptance of a theory by a group of scientists constitute incontestable evidence of its validity? The answer to this question, of course, cannot be an unqualified yes. Consensus among scientists is quite frequently an indicator that the work is proceeding in the right direction, but it is not an ultimate criterion of truth. History knows examples when common acceptance of specific scientific views was followed by a considerable modification or rejection of them. Majority support among members of the profession must certainly not be disregarded or disbelieved without good reason, but one should also not assume that it guarantees complete freedom from error. And non-acceptance of a theory which appears to be widely favoured is not necessarily a sign of irrational eccentricity or foolishness.

Various specific reasons may be put forward to explain the unprecedented support enjoyed by the relativity theory, but ultimately they can be reduced to three: (a) vested interest, (b) ideological appeal, and (c) assumed empirical confirmation.


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