Hawking Hawking and Divine Einstein

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Feb 20, 2022, 12:00:17 PMFeb 20
Peter Woit: "There’s a very good new book about Stephen Hawking that just came out, Charles Seife’s Hawking Hawking. Some detailed reviews can be found at Prospect Magazine (Philip Ball) and the New York Review of Books (James Gleick). [...] A large part of Hawking’s celebrity and income derived from his work as a popular author. His 1988 popular book, A Brief History of Time, was a huge success. [...] Many other books followed, and if you go to any bookstore with a science section, you’re likely to find quite a few of them for sale. The problem is that, on the whole, they’re not any good, and they’re not written by Hawking. [...] I first noticed this when I ran across a copy of God Created the Integers, a thick anthology of writing on mathematics, supposedly edited by and with commentary by Hawking. At least he’s listed as the sole author. Given the topic and the volume of material, it seemed highly implausible to me that Hawking was actually the author. For a review of the book, see here. Seife explains in detail that much of it is essentially plagiarized from other sources, and that to this day, it seems to be unknown who wrote the material (just that it clearly wasn’t Hawking)." https://www.math.columbia.edu/~woit/wordpress/?p=12235

Charles Seife is a professor of journalism, not a physicist, but high priests in the Einstein cult somehow accepted and even acclaimed his analysis (driven by envy toward Hawking, perhaps). Twelve years ago, however, they completely ignored a much deeper analysis by a professor of politics:

Peter Hayes, The Ideology of Relativity: The Case of the Clock Paradox: "In the interwar period there was a significant school of thought that repudiated Einstein's theory of relativity on the grounds that it contained elementary inconsistencies. Some of these critics held extreme right-wing and anti-Semitic views, and this has tended to discredit their technical objections to relativity as being scientifically shallow. This paper investigates an alternative possibility: that the critics were right and that the success of Einstein's theory in overcoming them was due to its strengths as an ideology rather than as a science. The clock paradox illustrates how relativity theory does indeed contain inconsistencies that make it scientifically problematic. These same inconsistencies, however, make the theory ideologically powerful. [...] The prediction that clocks will move at different rates is particularly well known, and the problem of explaining how this can be so without violating the principle of relativity is particularly obvious. The clock paradox, however, is only one of a number of simple objections that have been raised to different aspects of Einstein's theory of relativity. (Much of this criticism is quite apart from and often predates the apparent contradiction between relativity theory and quantum mechanics.) It is rare to find any attempt at a detailed rebuttal of these criticisms by professional physicists. However, physicists do sometimes give a general response to criticisms that relativity theory is syncretic by asserting that Einstein is logically consistent, but that to explain why is so difficult that critics lack the capacity to understand the argument. In this way, the handy claim that there are unspecified, highly complex resolutions of simple apparent inconsistencies in the theory can be linked to the charge that antirelativists have only a shallow understanding of the matter, probably gleaned from misleading popular accounts of the theory. [...] The argument for complexity reverses the scientific preference for simplicity. Faced with obvious inconsistencies, the simple response is to conclude that Einstein's claims for the explanatory scope of the special and general theory are overstated. To conclude instead that that relativity theory is right for reasons that are highly complex is to replace Occam's razor with a potato masher. [...] The defence of complexity implies that the novice wishing to enter the profession of theoretical physics must accept relativity on faith. It implicitly concedes that, without an understanding of relativity theory's higher complexities, it appears illogical, which means that popular "explanations" of relativity are necessarily misleading. But given Einstein's fame, physicists do not approach the theory for the first time once they have developed their expertise. Rather, they are exposed to and probably examined on popular explanations of relativity in their early training. How are youngsters new to the discipline meant to respond to these accounts? Are they misled by false explanations and only later inculcated with true ones? What happens to those who are not misled? Are they supposed to accept relativity merely on the grounds of authority? The argument of complexity suggests that to pass the first steps necessary to join the physics profession, students must either be willing to suspend disbelief and go along with a theory that appears illogical; or fail to notice the apparent inconsistencies in the theory; or notice the inconsistencies and maintain a guilty silence in the belief that this merely shows that they are unable to understand the theory. The gatekeepers of professional physics in the universities and research institutes are disinclined to support or employ anyone who raises problems over the elementary inconsistencies of relativity. A winnowing out process has made it very difficult for critics of Einstein to achieve or maintain professional status. Relativists are then able to use the argument of authority to discredit these critics. Were relativists to admit that Einstein may have made a series of elementary logical errors, they would be faced with the embarrassing question of why this had not been noticed earlier. Under these circumstances the marginalisation of antirelativists, unjustified on scientific grounds, is eminently justifiable on grounds of realpolitik. Supporters of relativity theory have protected both the theory and their own reputations by shutting their opponents out of professional discourse. [...] According to the view proposed here, this only indicates how special and general theories function together as an ideology, as when one side of the theory is called into question, the other can be called upon to rescue it. The triumph of relativity theory represents the triumph of ideology not only in the profession of physics bur also in the philosophy of science. These conclusions are of considerable interest to both theoretical physics and to social epistemology. It would, however, be naïve to think that theoretical physicists will take the slightest notice of them." https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02691720902741399

"Divine Einstein! No-one's as divine as Albert Einstein not Maxwell, Curie, or Bohr! His fame went glo-bell, he won the Nobel - He should have been given four! No-one's as divine as Albert Einstein, Professor with brains galore! No-one could outshine Professor Einstein! He gave us special relativity, That's always made him a hero to me! No-one's as divine as Albert Einstein, Professor in overdrive!" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9lE-I2I4i00

Max Tegmark: "We all believe in relativity, relativity, relativity. Yes we all believe in relativity, relativity, relativity. Everything is relative, even simultaneity, and soon Einstein's become a de facto physics deity. 'cos we all believe in relativity, relativity, relativity. We all believe in relativity, relativity, relativity. Yes we all believe in relativity, relativity, relativity." https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5PkLLXhONvQ

Michio Kaku, Brian Cox, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Lisa Randall, Brian Greene: "Light travels at the same speed no matter how you look at it. No matter how I move relative to you light travels at the same speed. No matter who is doing the measurement and no matter what direction you are moving the speed of light is the same. The speed of light is the same no matter what direction or how fast... As you travel faster time slows down. Everything slows down. Everything slows down. Time slows down when you move. Time passes at a different rate. Clocks run slow. It's a monumental shift in how we see the world. It's a beautiful piece of science. It's a beautifully elegant theory. It's a beautiful piece of science. It's a beautiful piece..." https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BuxFXHircaI

"The Riverside Church in New York, west portal - upper line, second of right. In 1930, during a stay in New York, Albert Einstein and his wife visited the Riverside Church, too. During the detailed guided tour through the church Einstein was also shown the sculptures at the west portal. He was told that only one of the sculptures there represented a living person, and that was he himself. What Einstein is supposed to have thought in that moment when he heard that information and saw himself immortalized in stone? Contemporaries reported that he looked at the sculpture calmly and thoughtfully."

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