Friday, December 22, 2017

Einstein's Ghost

“The Philosophy of Space-Time – Whence Come Matter & Motion?” and “The Dialectical Universe – Some Reflections on Cosmology,” both by Abdul  Malek, P.H.D., 2016 & 2012.

These two somewhat odd books by a Bangladeshi / Canadian scientist concern the flaws in the ideas of the modern scientific establishment centering around Albert Einstein’s idealist theories of the universe.  Why does it matter?

Philosophy is not practiced in the U.S., at least not openly.  We – and I mean most working class people - are all supposed to be ‘pragmatists’ only interested in where the next paycheck is coming from. And capital hopes you keep thinking that way!  But capital has a philosophy for you.  Being passive and depoliticized is a result of individualist pragmatism, but it also deprives people of an overall understanding of how reality, including society, works.  The rulers, however, do not labor under misunderstandings or partial views.

The point of philosophy is to actually understand reality as closely as possible – and not just the reality near you, but all of it, even up to the universe we live in.  As Malek points out, the microcosm and the macrocosm are actually related, connected and operated by many of the same physical and organizational laws.  Einstein’s General Relativity (GR) on the other hand, and the theories that are based on General Relativity, like the “Big Bang,” and a promised “Theory of Everything,” actually deny this connection.  “Spacetime” glibly rolls off the tongues of NPR hosts and the pens of Guardian writers, and multi-billion dollar experiments are run to prove GR, but proofs are tenuous or missing completely.   Which is why a TV show and a movie are about the only concrete result so far, in spite of the billions of dollars spent and the millions of words spilled. 

Cuddly Genius - but wrong.
Taking on Einstein is supposed to guarantee that no one listens to you, as Einstein is now a ‘god,’ not a real figure.   Or as we sometimes say, a ‘sacred cow.’  Malek understands the latter well, being from Bangladesh.  It is to his credit that he goes straight at Einstein’s cosmological theories.  In these two thin books Malek gives a repetitive outline of the basic confrontation between materialism and idealism, which started with the Greek philosophers Heraclitus and Plato.  So this debate has been going on a long time.

Marx pointed out long ago that the ruling ideas of any social system are the ideas of its ruling class. This does not exempt science.  Especially the more ‘theoretical’ the science is or the less empirical evidence there is, the more it borrows from the ideology of the ruling class that dominates its social system.  Cosmology is just such a science.  Various varieties of idealism are now the present bourgeois philosophy, as they portray the world as still full of godlike ‘prime movers,’ unchanging in essence and not related to or controlled by material forces.
I am going to quote Einstein from Malek’s book, as the quotes reveal quite a bit about what is actually going on in his theory of “General Relativity,’ which is based on math calculations uniting ‘space and time’ into one geometric field.  Einstein’s flaws from a scientific and theoretical point of views seem to be obvious to this layman’s eye, but then I support dialectical materialism.  Marx, Engels and Lenin spent time analyzing science and scientific theories and methods, so for Marxists or indeed any socialist - philosophy, science, economics and politics are not disconnected.  I.E. this matters too.

“Since the theory of general relativity implies the representation of physical reality by a continuous field, the concept of particles and material points cannot play a fundamental part and neither can the concept of motion.” 
In effect, matter and motion are both effectively abolished by this theory.  Time seems to also be somewhat frozen in space.

“Our experience hitherto justifies us in believing that nature is the realization of the simplest conceivable mathematical ideas.  I am convinced that we can discover by means of purely mathematical constructions the concepts and the laws connecting them with each other, which furnish the key to the understanding of natural phenomena.  … In a certain sense, therefore, I hold it true that pure thought can grasp reality, as the ancients dreamed.” 
In effect, empirical evidence is not necessary.  Ancients = Plato.

“I consider it quite possible that physics cannot be based on the field concept, i.e., continuous structure.   In that case, nothing remains of my entire castle in the air, gravitation theory included, (and of) the rest of modern physics.”
In effect, Einstein doubts his own theory.

“Spacetime does not claim existence on its own but only as a structural quality of the (gravitational) field.” And “… time and space are modes by which we think and not conditions in which we live.”
In effect, confusing!

“…geometry, however, is not concerned with the relation of the ideas involved in it to objects of experience, but only with the logical connection of these ideas among themselves.”
In effect, geometric theory is not connected to objective reality.  “Pure” mathematics is the source of the Theory of General Relativity.

Einstein himself ruled infinity out of his model, and he did it by fiat, since his model does not work in an infinite space or time.  Hence it also requires limits to the universe and a basic sense of causality for it all - a beginning and an end.  In effect, a ‘big bang.’  Which also implies a prime mover, a god, which somehow starts the whole process, and who exists outside, above and before the universe.  It also requires the 'heat death' of the universe, something Marx and Engels argued against.  Which is why the Vatican has endorsed GR, and religious people seem to be quite happy with it.  

Malek’s own quotes:
“Quantum electrodynamics … abolishes the questions of a single act of creation.”
“Causality … always leads to a ‘first cause.”
“Mathematics was a major preoccupation of medieval scholasticism and theocracy.” 
“…the Inquisition burnt Giordano Bruno alive on the stake for claiming that the universe is infinite.” 
“The pursuit of General Relativity, unlike many other scientific breakthroughs, has had very little practical benefit.” 

Malek was inspired by the scientific work of Halton Arp and Satyendra Bose.  Malek advances a theory of ‘gravitons’ as particles that are responsible for gravity, not a mysterious gravitational ‘ether’ as proposed by Einstein’s theory.   Malek shows that dialectics and materialism explain the nature of reality better and more simply than GR.  Dialectical materialism shows how the internal contradictions within matter create motion and change, in time and in space, both being infinite.  This means no Big Bang, no ‘god particle,’ and no possible ‘theory of everything,’ as reality is always changing.  Thorough-going materialism does not break any 'lower' physical rules or laws unlike GR, but in fact closely follows and explains them.  Malek tracks the materialist and the idealist methods through the Greeks, the Romans, Kant, Spinoza, Hegel, Marx and Einstein.  The books are a somewhat difficult first contact on this issue, not very readable and some of it only scientists or mathematicians will understand, but the issue is important enough if you feel up to it.

For prior, more in-depth discussions of this topic, see prior reviews: “The Big Bang Never Happened,” “Big Bang Goes Boom!” “Reason in Revolt,” “The Big Bang Theory is a Situation Comedy,” “Ten Assumptions of Science,

And I bought it at May Day Books!
Red Frog

December 22, 2017

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