“It seems to me that the arguments which have led up to the theory (Relativity), and the whole state of mind of most physicists with regard to it, may some day become one of the puzzles of history.” Professor P W Bridgeman (1936)
Tesla was effectively sidelined by 1905, and at that moment a new scientific celebrity appeared, lauded and garlanded, his bizarre and oxymoronic ideas quickly turned into dogma, and any opposition to the new orthodoxy declared heretical. While Tesla was running into a financial brick wall and being robbed of his radio patents, a young man named Albert Einstein was settling into the job which he had been fortunate enough to secure as an assistant patents inspector in Zurich, Switzerland, in 1902. His new job gave him the time and resources to study and think, and in 1905 he submitted five papers to peer-reviewed academic journals. All five were accepted for publication.
H C Dudley, in his 1976 essay ‘The Personal Tragedy of Albert Einstein’, comments on the implausibility of this instant success, which “contrasts the treatment accorded the young unknowns of today who take unorthodox approaches to science. The present peer review systems are so stifling that any manuscript so iconoclastic as Einstein’s initial papers would now have little chance of appearing in any ranking journal. This is particularly true in physics, and especially so in the United States. […] Of the five papers published by young Einstein in 1905, three were destined to bring him fame. These three papers would by 1940 be recognized as basic to the physical sciences.”
1905 is always described as Einstein’s annus mirabilis, and indeed there is something miraculous about the way his career took off from that point. As well as the five published papers, the year was crowned with the award of his doctorate by Zurich University. In 1908 he was given a lectureship at Bern, in 1911 a professorship at Berlin, and in 1912 he was made Professor of Theoretical Physics at Zurich. In 1913 he was elected a member of the Prussian Academy, and appointed as Director of the new Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Physics (taking up the post in 1917). In 1920 he was elected to the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, and so it goes on, Einstein’s cushioned academic path granting him the status, comfort and freedom to pursue his thought experiments and calculations, in stark contrast to the rocky road Tesla was condemned to walk. Just as the finance had swerved to Marconi, institutional science now swerved to Einstein.
In 1916 Einstein produced his Theory of General Relativity, a truncated metaphysical cosmology which excluded the essential discoveries of the electrical movement and enthroned gravity as the sole architect of the universe. The theory failed to define mass, energy or gravity. No experiments to test his ideas were conducted until a series of solar eclipses created opportunities to test his predictions about observed star positions based on the gravitational curvature of space. Einstein was promoted by the British establishment in the person of Sir Arthur Eddington, whose 1919 eclipse observations were massively hyped in both the London and New York Times as proving the theory of Relativity, despite other explanations of the phenomenon being available. Einstein was hailed as the new Copernicus, Galileo and Newton, and awarded a Nobel Prize in 1921. A commemorative edition of the journal Nature was published in his honour, and he embarked on a world tour. In America he was given a triumphal ticker-tape reception on Wall Street, visited the White House, and lectured at Columbia and Princeton.
In London he was feted by the aristocracy, presented to prominent figures across the intellectual establishment, and given the podium at King’s College. After visiting Palestine, Ceylon, and Singapore, he was honoured to be received by the Emperor and Empress of Japan at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, in front of a crowd of thousands of onlookers.
“No one knows quite why,” writes the British novelist C P Snow disingenuously, in his 1967 retrospective in Commentary Magazine, “but he sprang into the public consciousness, all over the world, as the symbol of science, the master of the 20th-century intellect, to a large extent the spokesman for human hope. It seemed that, perhaps as a release from the war, people wanted a human being to revere. It is true that they did not understand what they were revering. Never mind, they believed that here was someone of supreme, if mysterious, excellence.”
It is left to Dudley to ask “an obvious question: Why should a rather obscure mathematical theorist’s prediction of an obscure astronomic event generate such world-wide interest, producing a ticker-tape parade down New York’s Wall Street in 1921?”
Well, no one quite knows why — though the location of the parade might just be a clue. In fact it’s obvious that Einstein, regardless of the legitimacy or otherwise of his methods, did not ‘spring’ but was picked up and decisively inserted into public consciousness by a huge public relations campaign. The new advertising gurus such as Edward Bernays and Ivy Lee had already shown that, using Freudian psychology, they could sell the public anything from cigarettes to world war. Now they would sell them a mystical travesty of ‘science’ which they could neither hope to understand nor ever benefit from in any way. Einstein was a media creation, a surrogate for the idea of charismatic scientific genius embodied by Nikola Tesla. With Tesla taken down, this position needed to be filled. The system needed not just to suppress his work but provide a simulacrum to soak up the adulation that had surrounded him. It needed to ground that current.
There was widespread scientific objection to the installation of Einstein’s theories as the new orthodoxy, and not, as the public has been taught to think, only from ‘Nazi’ scientists — though anyone drawing attention to his academic dishonesty or criticizing his theories ran the risk of being labelled an antisemite. Opposition to Einstein was sharpened by the media circus surrounding the eclipse experiment and the Nobel Prize, the sense of a short-circuited scientific process and a forced consensus around Relativity. The meeting of scientists at the Berlin Philharmonic in August 1920 and the debate at the Society of German Scientists and Physicians in Bad Nauheim bred such acrimony that the scientific issues were buried under racial and political controversy. One scientist had his life threatened; another was prevented from traveling to Berlin by the Czech government. Philipp Lenard, Johannes Stark and other experimentalists committed to a ‘Deutsche Physik’ were lambasted in the international press (continuing to the present day, as in this long and unrelenting hit piece in the Scientific American). Einstein benefitted immensely by the heavily publicized and propagandized opposition of so-called ‘Nazi’ scientists.
Academics across Europe and America found that it was a very bad career move to argue against Relativity. “Relativity is now accepted as a faith,” wrote R A Houstoun in his ‘Treatise on Light’ (1938). “It is inadvisable to devote attention to its paradoxical aspects.” Some even called it the ‘Einstein Terror.’ The phenomenon was at its most extreme in the Soviet Union, where critics of Einstein such as Yuri Brovko were subjected to psychiatric coercion, thrown into locked wards and pumped full of mind-destroying drugs. To advance any alternative theory was condemned as both anti-semitic and anti-Marxist.
The consistent suppression of oppositional voices makes this a difficult terrain for any academic historian. “If one wishes to study the thinking of those who early opposed the relativistic theories (and there were many!) it becomes a major research project even to learn of the authors of such heresy. The usual abstracting services are strangely silent,” comments Dudley, who goes on to list some of the most significant books published in opposition to the new science, directing us towards authors such as Charles L. Poor, Gravity Versus Relativity (1922); Arthur Lynch, Science: Leading and Misleading (1927) and The Case Against Einstein (1932); and J.J. Callahan, Euclid or Einstein? (1931). In 1931 a hundred scientists and philosophers contributed to a volume denouncing Einstein and his theories.
The outrage centered on Einstein’s casual excision of the aether and Faraday’s lines of force from the field of physics — effectively denying the basic premises of the science of electromagnetism. The concept of an all-pervasive medium enabling the propagation of light through the universe had been continuously present throughout human history. From the akasha of Vedic philosophers to the aether of the pre-Socratic Greeks and the quintessence of the alchemists, humanity had intuited the presence of an invisible substrate of matter. In the scientific age, from Descartes to Newton to Huygens to Maxwell, the necessary existence of a medium for the propagation of light — the luminiferous aether — was assumed. Indeed the existence of a ‘subtle medium’ had been demonstrated 243 years earlier (1644) by the radiative transfer of heat through a Torricelli vacuum (Evangelista Torricelli, 1608-1647), proving the plenists right: even an air vacuum contains a some kind of medium through which energy can travel.
Looking back to Newton, we find that the great physicist did not, as popular science would have us believe, conceive an empty universe ruled by gravity — not at all. He described the effects of gravity only in mathematical terms, and understood that it was not at that stage possible to frame a hypothesis as to its underlying ‘cause’: but a cause it must have, which Newton ascribed to “a most subtle Spirit which pervades and lies hid in all gross bodies; by the force and action of which Spirit the particles of bodies mutually attract one another at near distances, and cohere, if contiguous; and electric bodies operate to greater distances, as well repelling as attracting the neighboring corpuscles; and light is emitted, reflected, refracted, inflected, and heats bodies; and all sensation is excited, and the members of animal bodies move at the command of the will, namely by the vibrations of this Spirit, mutually propagated along the solid filaments of the nerves, from the outward organs of sense to the brain, and from the brain to the muscles. But these are things that cannot be explained in a few words, nor are we furnished with that sufficiency of experiments which is required to an accurate determination and demonstration of the laws by which this electric and elastic Spirit operates.” This, significantly, is no footnote or buried paragraph but the concluding passage of the Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica (1687).
With the discoveries of Faraday and Crookes and the birth of the science of electromagnetism, it was now possible to answer Newton’s call and formulate, develop and prove exactly such a hypothesis. Conrad Razan, in his comprehensive History of the Aether Theory (2008), states unambiguously that with the Michelson-Morley experiment in 1887 the aether ceased to be a hypothesis and became a scientific reality. ‘Aether drift’ was indeed detected in the experiment of 1887, albeit at a lower value than predicted, a result which is dishonestly reported by orthodox sources as conclusively disproving the aether’s existence — as if a single experiment could do that in any case. Dayton Miller’s well-designed experiments in the twenties, and Roland de Witte’s in the nineties, confirmed over and again the existence of this pervasive subquantic medium without which the forces of gravity and electromagnetism (including light) could not be conveyed, and which puts ‘spooky action at a distance’ to rest. But Miller’s work came after the Einsteinian revolution and was ignored. De Witte was never allowed to publish his findings in a physics journal, and eventually succumbed to depression and died young.
Einstein’s dismissal of these criticisms as ‘superficial’ — a truly staggering choice of word — effectively announces the end of the scientific era, at least in terms of public, open science.
No wonder there was such outrage over the trumpeted absurdities of Einstein, whether from German scientists or American, French or British. The Maxwell-Heaviside equations, the basis of the entirety of electro-magnetic science and technology, require the existence of an aether, as indeed does the common sense so derided by theoretical physicists: a wave, by definition, cannot propagate through nothing.
Einstein compensated by inventing the surreal notion of ‘curved space’. This concept would appear, prima facie, absurd. I know – we’re supposed to say ‘counterintuitive’. Tesla, for one, wasn’t buying that cover for the new theory’s glaring flaws. He needed to call on none of his famous rhetoric and dismissed it in a single, plain sentence:
“I hold that space cannot be curved, for the simple reason that it has no properties.”
A priori: if space can be acted upon and distorted, then it is not space. Space is a metrical dimension, and does not have the attributes of matter. In order to be curved, space must be imagined as a substance, or ‘fabric’, rather than a dimension. To imagine Einstein’s concept we must change the meaning of the word; it is not space that curves, but language that is warped. Einstein offered no explanation as to how something could act upon nothing in this manner, or what might constitute his new meaning of the word ‘space’. He created his theory using a calculus developed by an obscure group of mathematicians in Germany in the mid-nineteenth century, which assumes that if parallel lines meet at infinity, a line projected in space must curve, and that a straight line is not, therefore, the shortest distance between two points. In General Relativity, the curvature is transferred to space itself, with gravity invoked as the cause.
These ‘metaphysical mathematicians’ also assumed the variability and reversibility of time, the interchangeability of mass and energy, and the non-existence of the aether — they assumed therefore the vacuous emptiness of cosmic space, a condition which had always been rejected by ‘plenist’ scientists and philosophers — Descartes, Newton, Huygens et al — as abhorrent to Nature. How the force of gravity — or light, or magnetism — could be propagated through such a vacuum is not dealt with in Einstein’s theory. But by a magician’s trick, juggling unsupported assumptions and switching epithets by sleight of hand, Special and General Relativity are made to appear mathematically possible.
Dudley notes that while Einstein used legitimate observation-based methods in his papers on the photo-electric effect and Brownian movement, in developing Relativity he “allowed himself to become an integral part, in fact a leading disciple, of the ‘school’ which made use of metaphysical mathematics.”
Tesla was scathing. “Today’s scientists have substituted mathematics for experiments, and they wander off through equation after equation, and eventually build a structure which has no relation to reality.”
In interviews in the New York Sun and New York Times in 1935 Tesla called Relativity “a mass of error and deceptive ideas,” asserting that not a single one of its propositions had been proved. Relativity, he said, “wraps all these errors and fallacies and clothes them in magnificent mathematical garb which fascinates, dazzles and makes people blind to the underlying errors. The theory is like a beggar clothed in purple whom ignorant people take for a king. Its exponents are very brilliant men, but they are metaphysicists rather than scientists.”
“Einsteinian curved space and the rest of that stuff,” says the electrical engineer E P Dollard in his more down-to-earth manner, “is useless, it’s pure magic.”
And elsewhere: “Einstein was a media event. You might as well ask Santa Claus, or Bin Laden.”
Or William Shakespeare, for that matter, since the most famous paradox in the history of science appears to be a literary device — an oxymoron — as opposed to a scientific concept. ‘Curved space’ is a clever metaphor for the effects of gravity – a nice bit of poetry, that’s all.
By taking selectively from Newton and Maxwell and ignoring the work of Tesla and J J Thomson, Relativity becomes, in Dollard’s words, a ‘giant one-winged parrot’, a cuckoo-like parasite.
“Albert Einstein is in direct contradiction with the experimental researches of Nikola Tesla, and in complete ignorance of the experimental researches of J. J. Thompson. Einstein ‘layed his egg’ in the ‘nest of Faraday’.” (The Theory of Anti-Relativity, E P Dollard)
With the metaphysical mathematicians, the territory no longer precedes the map. The century-long supremacy of Einsteinian physics is the clearest and perhaps the most important example it would be possible to find of the precession of simulacra, a leading edge of the twentieth century assault on the reality principle. It is not science, but a PR campaign for alienation and disconnection, leading us nowhere but into Baudrillard’s desert of the real.
The Theory of Relativity is not even strictly relativist: it fundamentally contradicts itself in its absolutist assumption of the velocity of light as a ‘speed limit’ on all forms of propagation. Tesla and Alexanderson had both worked with wave forms vastly exceeding luminal velocity, years before Einstein. In recent times, C.E.R.N. (Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire) has conducted superluminal particle experiments. But none of this can shake the priesthood, which blithely pretends not to notice. The absolutism hiding inside ‘Relativity’ is reflected by the absolutism with which the theory has been imposed on the scientific world for the past century.
The imposition of the speed of light as a limit on all propagation stands out as an arbitrarily fixed element in what is supposed to be a formulation of universal flux. It had been disproved before it was even proposed. The design of the Marconi transmitter at Bolinas 1912-17 itself refuted Einstein. The absolute limit on propagation leads, famously, to time dilation and time reversal. Other elements are forced to fall into place around this unyielding and artificial value. ‘Space-time’, then, is warped not by gravity but by the imposition of an arbitrarily fixed element. Time and space must both give way; even causation, the principle of all physics, must be sacrificed. Einstein himself tried to put the brakes on, but was bested in his debates with Neils Bohr and ultimately lost influence because he would not (to his credit) accept the idea of ‘acausality’ — which assumes that an event may arise spontaneously, requiring no initiating event — a doctrine which repudiates the foundations of science and takes theoretical physics into the realm of mysticism.
Einstein’s criticism of quantum mechanics conceded that it was an ‘effective’ theory; a theory that works well enough to enable prediction, but fails in its explanatory effort. The fact that, with endless adjustments and ad hoc hypotheses, a formula can be made to ‘work’ does not prove that it is correct at the level of interpretation. To Einstein, quantum mechanics appeared incomplete, as if there was some underlying theory that was yet to be discovered.
The same can surely be said of Relativity, which reminds me of nothing more than that ancient example of ‘effective’ theory which we find in Ptolemaic cosmology, which stood for 1,400 years before being thoroughly superseded by Copernicus, Galileo and Kepler. In Ptolemy we see again how the arbitrary adherence to one absolute element — here, the fixed earth — produces extraordinary theoretical convolutions, with a whole celestial apparatus of equants, deferents and epicycles, geared and mounted on invisible crystal spheres, a vast astronomical machine constructed to explain planetary and sidereal motion. Ptolemaic cosmology might have been able to predict accurately enough to enable navigation, but its invisible machinery turned out to be entirely imaginary. The modern equivalents of deferents and epicycles are the black holes, wormholes, gravitational waves and dark matter of theoretical physics.
In both Relativity and the Ptolemaic universe there is one element of the model that must be preserved at all costs. In the case of Ptolemy, the reasons for this attachment might seem obvious enough – religious and philosophical orthodoxy, sensory bias, the perspective of heavenly bodies moving around the earth. In the case of Einstein’s speed-of-light limit on all propagation in the universe, I assume that it was adopted in order to exclude the superluminal forces known and used by Tesla, Steinmetz and Alexanderson. The speed of light, then, is the scalpel to excise the Electricians from modern science.
Leaving – what?
‘Quantum mysticism’, Dollard calls it, its job — and Einstein’s role in particular — to make nonsense of the world and turn science into a Tower of Babel.
“…Through the lawyer-style skill of the Einsteinian physicists, all terms are erased that do not fit the chosen idea. It may be inferred that A. Einstein was not much of a mathematician, and by ignoring J. J. Thompson he was not much of a scientist. Not a mathematician, not a scientist, not an engineer, so just what was Albert Einstein anyway? He was a Mystic.
The mystical experience is the force which moves one to science. It is transitory. The mysticism dissolves into Science and then bears fruit as Engineering. Mysticism, as defined in my writing, is not transitory. It is continuous and thus hates Science. Without a mystery the mystic is no longer the priest. This is a Platonic epistemology. It is based upon faith, not upon reason. This is a necessity in Christianity, however in the majority of situations this faith is based upon nebulous reasoning. With lawyer-like skill its factors change meaning depending upon their position in space, time, or “attitude”. Platonic reasoning is ultimately totalitarian.” (Eric P Dollard, The Theory of Anti-Relativity)
As a simulation of science, there has been nothing to prevent theoretical physics from giving birth to whole genealogies of mythological entities. At every turn, the necessity of ad hoc theorizing to maintain the central thesis gives rise to new particles and forces at will. These multiplying entities stand as evidence of the failure of the theory, which singularly lacks the coherence and elegance of real science. While the theory gives no explanation of the nature or mechanics of the force of gravity, that doesn’t stop its practitioners improvising never-ending cadenzas of gravity-inspired fictions: black holes and event horizons, dark matter, dark energy, singularities, string theory, WIMPS (weakly interacting massive particles), MACHOs (Massive Compact Halo Objects), neutron stars, gravitational collapse, gravitons, gravity waves, quantum gravity, gravitational lensing, gravitational radiation, the Schwarzschild Radius, anti-gravity, and quantum field theory, to name but a few. The never-ending chaos of the quantum model of reality grows less convincing with every patch and bypass. The latest vaunted ‘discovery’ of the Higgs-Boson particle via the collider at CERN, at a cost of more than 13 billion euros, is merely the latest such patch. CERN, whatever else it is, would appear to be a money sink, like military and space-program expenditure, designed mainly to direct huge flows of money into the pockets of the few and away from the knowledge-deprived masses.
An example of the way the system tries to maintain the illusion was the detection of ‘gravity waves.’ Any opportunity is seized on in the media to announce confirmation of the genius of Einstein. In fact the 2016 observations were no mystery or puzzle to plasma theorists, representing phenomena which had been explained by electro-magnetism eighty years earlier. As for the oxymoron ‘first image of a black hole’ in 2019, the contradiction implicit in that phrase tells you all you need to know about the wildly improvisational history of black hole theories.
What will scientists in the future make of this surreal circus? This will seem a darkly superstitious and benighted era, its cosmology chaotic, disconnected, and bleakly entropic. The universe exploded out of nothing, evolved precariously through accretion and collision, and will wind down again into deadness and darkness. Anything contradicting this etiolated vision of cosmic ennui is condemned as heresy and blasphemy.
The suppression of aether physics has had dire consequences for 20th century science; the pound of flesh it cuts from electrical science is the heart itself. The work of aether and plasma theorists cannot be discussed in professional journals. Anything that refutes the mutually exclusive dogmas of Relativity or Quantum Mechanics will not be considered. Meanwhile Einstein continues to be promoted as the untouchable saint of the church of incomprehensible theories, designed to keep people in a primitive unscientific state.
It is clear by now that science took a wrong turning a century ago, and has been careering down a long, wrong road ever since. And it isn’t even the scenic route. Far from it. It’s a vision of emptiness, a stroll through a valley of futility. The harm done is not just the hundred year stagnation of science, but goes far wider and deeper. It speaks to mankind’s disjuncture with and detachment from nature — from reality — with all the consequences that brings. In the ‘death of the real’, Einsteinian ‘physics’ plays a major role.
In Baudrillardian terms, then, Einstein would be a third order simulacrum, ‘of the order of sorcery’ — an image which ‘murders’ and replaces its original. To put it less dramatically, in this interpretation Einstein was not a beginning, but an ending, in the transitive sense of that verb.
In our own day, Einstein’s role of scientific celebrity has been played by Stephen Hawking. Hawking’s life-span having already exceeded predictions, a new cult appears to be in construction — this time around the stem-cell surgeon and ‘biocentrist’ Robert Lanza, who takes Einstein’s theories as axiomatic and builds new age magic on hyped assets such as Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle. The particle/wave duality of quantum physics leads directly to all kinds of fallacies; quantum indeterminism leads to the solipsistic delusion that we ‘create our own reality’ and the whole new-age/NLP cult of ‘positive thinking’. The absurdity finds its hypertrophic form in Robert Lanza’s ‘biocentrism’, which essentially proposes that life creates the universe, not the other way round: an example of how far compounding error can take us. When science is corrupted or suppressed, we can end up a long way from reality and unable to retrace our steps.
That’s why Eric Dollard is the only engineer who has been able to replicate Tesla’s experiments. It’s a question of mindset, of escaping conceptual interference. You need to be able to duck in under the compounding error and pick it up from 1905, throwing off the idea of cosmic space as an empty, dead void, which in Dollard’s estimation is not just wrong — it’s a profane joke; a curse, even.
“The biggest keepers of Einstein and haters of Tesla are the astronomers. They’re married to the speed of light, it’s a religion, and space is empty and dead, it’s some kind of mathematical function, there’s nothing really there any more. Everything is reduced to some kind of base physical process. When a society’s understanding of nature and reality is reduced to the processes of physics, then it’s a Satanic society.”
But was this an isolated case, or should we go further in reassessing the institutionalised science of the twentieth century as a managed enterprise: where else might we find the phenomenon of corporate interests driving out real science, leaving behind not a vacuum but a simulacrum — a business model — in its place?