Einstein's General Relativity: Deductive Theory or Empirical Concoction?
Einstein informs the gullible world that his approach is deductive:
Albert Einstein: "From a systematic theoretical point of view, we may imagine the process of evolution of an empirical science to be a continuous process of induction. Theories are evolved and are expressed in short compass as statements of a...
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Einstein's General Relativity: Deductive Theory or Empirical Concoction?
Einstein informs the gullible world that his approach is deductive: Albert Einstein
: "From a systematic theoretical point of view, we may imagine the process of evolution of an empirical science to be a continuous process of induction. Theories are evolved and are expressed in short compass as statements of a large number of individual observations in the form of empirical laws, from which the general laws can be ascertained by comparison. Regarded in this way, the development of a science bears some resemblance to the compilation of a classified catalogue. It is, as it were, a purely empirical enterprise. But this point of view by no means embraces the whole of the actual process ; for it slurs over the important part played by intuition and deductive thought in the development of an exact science. As soon as a science has emerged from its initial stages, theoretical advances are no longer achieved merely by a process of arrangement. Guided by empirical data, the investigator rather develops a system of thought which, in general, is built up logically from a small number of fundamental assumptions, the so-called axioms."
Special relativity was indeed "built up logically from a small number of fundamental assumptions" (even though a false assumption and an invalid argument spoiled it from the very beginning), but general relativity wasn't: What are the postulates of General Relativity?
Alexander Poltorak, Adjunct Professor of Physics at the CCNY: "In 2005 I started writing a paper, “The Four Cornerstones of General Relativity on which it doesn’t Rest.” Unfortunately, I never had a chance to finish it. The idea behind that unfinished article was this: there are four principles that are often described as “postulates” of General Relativity:
1. Principle of general relativity
2. Principle of general covariance
3. Equivalence principle
4. Mach principle
The truth is, however, that General Relativity is not really based on any of these “postulates” although, without a doubt, they played important heuristic roles in the development of the theory." [end of quotation]
Then what is general relativity? To use Einstein's words, it is "a purely empirical enterprise". Einstein and his mathematical friends changed and fudged equations countless times until "a classified catalogue" was compiled where known in advance results and pet assumptions (such as the Mercury's precession, the equivalence principle, gravitational time dilation) coexisted in an apparently consistent manner. Dealing with an empirical concoction is easy - Einsteinians are free to introduce, change and withdraw fudge factors until the "theory" manages to predict anything Einsteinians want. Then the prediction turns out to be confirmed by observations (surprise surprise): "A fudge factor is
an ad hoc quantity introduced into a calculation, formula or model in order to make it fit observations or expectations. Examples include Einstein's Cosmological Constant..." "In 1916 Einstein found what he considered
a glitch in his new theory of general relativity. His equations showed that the contents of the universe should be moving— either expanding or contracting. But at the time, the universe seemed the very definition of stasis. All the data, facts, and phenomena known in the early 1900s said that the Milky Way was the cosmos itself and that its stars moved slowly, if at all. Einstein had presented the definitive version of the general theory of relativity to the Prussian Academy of Sciences the previous year, and he was not inclined to retract it. So he invented a fudge factor, called lambda, that could function mathematically to hold the universe at a standstill. [...] Lambda, also known as the cosmological constant, has come in handy of late." Ken Croswell, Magnificent Universe, p. 179
: "Ever since, the cosmological constant has lived in infamy, a fudge factor concocted merely to make theory agree with observation."
Since fudge factors are a legitimate tool in general relativity, there is absolutely no point in testing it - the empirical concoction is able to predict anything. Three more examples of successful fudging:
1. By introducing the fudge factor -2g (NEGATIVE acceleration of light falling towards the source of gravity, e.g. in the gravitational field of the Earth), Einstein and his mathematical friends made relativity predict the gravitational redshift, a prediction originally made by Newton's emission theory of light: "Einstein wrote this paper in 1911 in German.
[...] ...you will find in section 3 of that paper Einstein's derivation of the variable speed of light in a gravitational potential, eqn (3). The result is: c'=c0(1+φ/c^2) where φ is the gravitational potential relative to the point where the speed of light c0 is measured. Simply put: Light appears to travel slower in stronger gravitational fields (near bigger mass). [...] You can find a more sophisticated derivation later by Einstein (1955) from the full theory of general relativity in the weak field approximation. [...] Namely the 1955 approximation shows a variation in km/sec twice as much as first predicted in 1911." Albert Einstein Institute
: "One of the three classical tests for general relativity is the gravitational redshift of light or other forms of electromagnetic radiation. However, in contrast to the other two tests - the gravitational deflection of light and the relativistic perihelion shift -, you do not need general relativity to derive the correct prediction for the gravitational redshift. A combination of Newtonian gravity, a particle theory of light, and the weak equivalence principle (gravitating mass equals inertial mass) suffices. [...] The gravitational redshift was first measured on earth in 1960-65 by Pound, Rebka, and Snider at Harvard University..."
2. Michel Janssen describes endless empirical groping, fudging and fitting in dealing with the Mercury's perihelion until "excellent agreement with observation" is reached: Michel Janssen
: "But - as we know from a letter to his friend Conrad Habicht of December 24, 1907 - one of the goals that Einstein set himself early on, was to use his new theory of gravity, whatever it might turn out to be, to explain the discrepancy between the observed motion of the perihelion of the planet Mercury and the motion predicted on the basis of Newtonian gravitational theory. [...] The Einstein-Grossmann theory - also known as the "Entwurf" ("outline") theory after the title of Einstein and Grossmann's paper - is, in fact, already very close to the version of general relativity published in November 1915 and constitutes an enormous advance over Einstein's first attempt at a generalized theory of relativity and theory of gravitation published in 1912. The crucial breakthrough had been that Einstein had recognized that the gravitational field - or, as we would now say, the inertio-gravitational field - should not be described by a variable speed of light as he had attempted in 1912, but by the so-called metric tensor field. The metric tensor is a mathematical object of 16 components, 10 of which independent, that characterizes the geometry of space and time. In this way, gravity is no longer a force in space and time, but part of the fabric of space and time itself: gravity is part of the inertio-gravitational field. Einstein had turned to Grossmann for help with the difficult and unfamiliar mathematics needed to formulate a theory along these lines. [...] Einstein did not give up the Einstein-Grossmann theory once he had established that it could not fully explain the Mercury anomaly. He continued to work on the theory and never even mentioned the disappointing result of his work with Besso in print. So Einstein did not do what the influential philosopher Sir Karl Popper claimed all good scientists do: once they have found an empirical refutation of their theory, they abandon that theory and go back to the drawing board. [...] On November 4, 1915, he presented a paper to the Berlin Academy officially retracting the Einstein-Grossmann equations and replacing them with new ones. On November 11, a short addendum to this paper followed, once again changing his field equations. A week later, on November 18, Einstein presented the paper containing his celebrated explanation of the perihelion motion of Mercury on the basis of this new theory. Another week later he changed the field equations once more. These are the equations still used today. This last change did not affect the result for the perihelion of Mercury. Besso is not acknowledged in Einstein's paper on the perihelion problem. Apparently, Besso's help with this technical problem had not been as valuable to Einstein as his role as sounding board that had earned Besso the famous acknowledgment in the special relativity paper of 1905. Still, an acknowledgment would have been appropriate. After all, what Einstein had done that week in November, was simply to redo the calculation he had done with Besso in June 1913, using his new field equations instead of the Einstein-Grossmann equations. It is not hard to imagine Einstein's excitement when he inserted the numbers for Mercury into the new expression he found and the result was 43", in excellent agreement with observation."
3. Recently LIGO conspirators fudged general relativity so as to obtain a detailed and totally new prediction of black hole collisions and resulting gravitational waves (Einstein regarded both black holes and gravitational waves as nonexistent). Then, in a second fraudulent movement, the conspirators faked the (nonexistent) gravitational wave signal, in accordance with the prediction.
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Einstein and his mathematical friends concocted general relativity by endlessly changing and fudging equations until some final set of equations managed to combine, in an apparently consistent manner, known in advance results and pet assumptions (e.g. the Mercury's precession and gravitational time dilation). In Einstein schizophrenic world the final equations are called "postulates": "Postulates of General Relativity
• Postulate 1: A spacetime (M^4, g) is a Riemannian 4-manifold M^4 with a Lorentzian metric g.
• Postulate 2: A test mass beginning at rest moves along a timelike geodesic. (Geodesic equation) ...
• Postulate 3: Einstein equation is satisfied. (Einstein equation) ..." [end of quotation]
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: "Having failed on their quest for a theory of everything, in the area of quantum gravity many theoretical physicists now accept that a unique theory can’t be derived from first principles. Instead, they believe, additional requirements must be used to select the theory that actually describes the universe we observe. That, of course, is what we’ve always done to develop theories – the additional requirements being empirical adequacy."
Introducing "empirical adequacy" (fudge factors etc.) invalidates any previous derivation from first principles - the theory becomes an empirical model, analogous to the empirical models defined here: "The objective of curve fitting
is to theoretically describe experimental data with a model (function or equation) and to find the parameters associated with this model. Models of primary importance to us are mechanistic models. Mechanistic models are specifically formulated to provide insight into a chemical, biological, or physical process that is thought to govern the phenomenon under study. Parameters derived from mechanistic models are quantitative estimates of real system properties (rate constants, dissociation constants, catalytic velocities etc.). It is important to distinguish mechanistic models from empirical models that are mathematical functions formulated to fit a particular curve but whose parameters do not necessarily correspond to a biological, chemical or physical property."
Einstein's general relativity is an empirical model with "empirical adequacy" and no first principles (postulates).
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should note that Bee is not singling out GR as Pentcho typically does. She specifically notes that it is in the Quantum Mechanical regime (ie: quantum gravity) where most theoretical physicists now accept a necessity to abandon axiomatically a basis of first principles. Einstein, among others, was not satisfied with GR and never claimed it to be a complete theory.
Nor do field theorists today abandon the quest of 'the right question'. What first principle have we not yet thought to look for? jrc
ps: 'Trumpkins' is term fairly recently evolved to describe those willing to suspend disbelief in favor of a simplistic, bombastic sales pitch.
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