# General Relativity still beautiful, ahead of its time?

November 5, 2015 | Posted by News under Cosmology, News, Physics |

From Dan Falk at *Cosmos:*

A century ago Einstein sweated blood to give us his mind-bending theory of gravity. As technology caught up, his predictions were verified, one by one. Now only gravitational waves remain.

Yet for all its triumphs, general relativity faces a couple of big challenges. Einstein wrestled unsuccessfully with one of them: reconciling the theory with its great nemesis, quantum mechanics. Each theory has been outstanding in its own domain – relativity in the cosmos, quantum mechanics in the subatomic world. But occasionally the domains overlap. To understand the Universe’s earliest moments, as well as the insides of black holes, we still need a theory that bridges the very large and the very small.

No one knows what the resulting theory might look like. One candidate is string theory, based on the premise that the fundamental building blocks of the Universe are tiny strings. An alternative, “loop quantum gravity” views space-time as granular. As with string theory, however, its proponents have yet to come up with an experiment to test it.

And then there’s the problem of dark energy. Discovered in the late 1990s it appears to be a force that acts in opposition to gravity, causing our Universe to expand at an accelerating rate. The Universe, it seems, obeys two masters – gravity and dark energy – and it may take another Einstein to make sense of the latter.

Yes, it will.

Meanwhile, as friends of ours argue whether beauty is a fundamental quality of our universe, it’s interesting to note a key reason Falk uncovers why people stick with Einstein (when there gotta be fifty ways to leave him):

No, says Clifford Will. Fiddling with general relativity, he believes, would be tantamount to changing the Fifth Symphony. “General relativity is so unbelievably beautiful and simple – it’s in some ways the most perfect gravitational theory that you could possibly imagine,” he says. All of the alternatives he’s seen so far are “horrendously ugly by comparison”. More.

Hmmm. If the universe itself is ultimately beautiful, wouldn’t an ugly theory attract suspicion in principle?

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### 18 Responses to *General Relativity still beautiful, ahead of its time?*

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GR is an abstract mathematical theory and, as such, it does not reveal much about the physics of gravity. In fact, there is no physics in it. Karl Popper once compared Parmenides’ myth of the unchanging block universe to spacetime, Einstein’s own block universe in which nothing happens either (Conjectures and Refutations).

But even if we treat spacetime as an abstract concept, GR still suffers from two other incurable diseases: a) It assumes that reality is 100% deterministic, and b) it assumes that the universe is continuous. Both assumptions are false. And yes, this is the theory that led to such howlers as black holes, Big Bangs, universal accelerated expansion, wormholes, time travel and the like. It’s embarrassing, to say the least.

We’ve gone through almost a century of Einstein’s “revolutionary” gravity theory and physicists still have no clue as to what causes gravity. IMO, the only achievement of GR is that it provided further proof that regularities in nature can be expressed mathematically. A seismic paradigm shift is imminent, you can bet on it.

Yes. At least the physicists I’ve read seem to think so.

Huh? The BB theory fudge factor, dark energy, has been discovered?

That’s like saying Vulcan has been found behind Mars.

Beauty is not a physical property. It’s a spiritual concept. We recognize it because, unlike apes and other animals, we are spiritual beings.

What???

“Huh? The BB theory fudge factor, dark energy, has been discovered?”

Vy, the “fudge factor” ie cosmological constant theorized by Einstein was discovered in the late 90’s. A Nobel Prize was awarded. Currently calculated to 122 decimal places.

Ppolish, likewise, we observe adaptation, not evolution. Doesn’t stop the equivocations.

Ah, good ol’ John Gideon Hartnett. Catholic-hating YEC with a PhD in physics. What a strange fellow.

???

It is an unusual combination of attributes, no?

To you? Yup.

To me? Nope.

I gotta ask, what part is unusual?

Well, YEC physics PhDs are relatively rare, aren’t they? I took several physics and astronomy classes in college, and I’m pretty sure none of my professors were YECs.

I don’t often see physics professors blogging so critically about other religions either.

I’m sure you can find a handful of others, but I suspect it’s a tiny minority.

There is no such thing as beauty. In nature.

There is only accuracy. Because most of nature is inaccurate and so the mean then people comparing the mean with the higher part of the spectrum imagine there is beauty.

Yet there is only accuracy and decay from it.

We know it when we see it for its just the truth of how things should be in order.

In fact I say it shows there is a God.

God equals accuracy. His creation first was accurate and then sin/death made most of it inaccurate by degrees.

Poasibly that is why these physic ideas fail so much.

They are measuring a inaccurate universe constantly.

A few cats do bring acciuray to details like Newton/Einstein etc but mostly its chaos or decay.

I don’t know if the truth can be figured out.

as to:

Actually quantum mechanics, as quantum entanglement by itself makes clear, also applies to large scales and cannot be written off as applying only at small scales. In fact, the following experiment of quantum entanglement employed highly sensitive detectors that are normally used in astronomy. i.e. Why are they using astronomical instrumentation to verify quantum mechanics if quantum mechanics only applies at small scales?

as to:

Here is a humorous song and article on just how ugly the equantions are that seek to mathematically unify General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics:

Woit has been particularly scathing of string theory for both its lack of testability and its lack of beauty

Of related interest, it is said that the best mathematical theories, that are later confirmed empirically to be true, were born out of the mathematicians ‘sense of beauty’. Paul Dirac is said to have mathematically discovered the ‘anti-electron’, before it was empirically confirmed, through his mathematical ‘sense of beauty’:

As the preceding video highlighted, Paul Dirac was rather adamant that beauty was integral to finding truth through math:

Albert Einstein was also a big fan of beauty in math. Einstein stated:

As well, In January 1933, the Belgian mathematician and Catholic priest Georges Lemaitre traveled with Albert Einstein to California for a series of seminars. After the Belgian detailed his Big Bang theory, Einstein stood up applauded, and said,

Alex Vilenkin, who mathematically proved that all inflationary universes must have had a beginning, commenting on Euler’s Identity, stated,,,

As well, Richard Feynman also apparently had a mathematical sense of beauty and called Euler’s Identity a ‘jewel’:

Mathematical beauty was seen in the mathematical theory that predicted the Higgs boson:

‘Mathematical beauty’ even had a guiding hand in the discovery of the Amplituhedron:

Paul Dirac, when pressed for a definition of mathematical beauty, reacted as such:

And indeed, just as Dirac held, it is found when mathematicians are shown equations such as Euler’s identity or the Pythagorean identity the same area of the brain used to appreciate fine art or music lights up:

What is astonishing, in this seemingly deep connection between math and beauty, is the fact that the ‘argument from beauty’ is a Theistic argument. Beauty is certainly not an atheistic argument:

The following article, though somewhat technical, is almost comical to read how every approach, in which materialists tried to reduce the subjective sense of beauty to a mere material mechanism/explanation, was thwarted.

Verse:

Of related interest: The belief that there should be a unification between General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics does not follow from the math, but is a belief that is born out of Theistic presuppositions.

In fact, Godel has shown that mathematics is ‘incomplete’

Even Stephen Hawking himself at one time admitted, and apparently subsequently forgot, that, due to Godel’s incompleteness theorem, there cannot ever be a ‘complete’ mathematical theory of everything,

Gregory Chaitin holds that there are an infinite number of mathematical theorems that cannot be proved by any finite system of axioms.

In fact, both General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics are based on two very different mathematical constructs.

In fact, General Relativity is based upon 4 dimensional space, and Quantum Mechanics is based upon infinite dimensional space and the ‘higher dimensional’ square root of negative 1

Thus it does not follow that there should necessarily be a mathematical unification between General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics. In fact, given the very different mathematical constructs of the two theories, and given Godel’s incompleteness theorem, there is no mathematical reason for why we should expect them to ever be unified.

In fact, the only reason that we should believe there should be a unification between General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics is because of the Theistic presuppositions that underlay our modern science, not because of any underlying mathematical concerns.

Steven Fuller articulates the hidden Theistic presumption, that undergirds the belief that there should be a ‘theory of everything’, very well in the following quote;

Thus since it is only on Theistic presuppositions that we should even expect there to be a ‘theory of everything’, let’s see if a Theistic solution is forthcoming.

The main conflict of reconciling General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics appears to arise from the inability of either theory to successfully deal with the Zero/Infinity conflict that crops up in different places of each theory:

Moreover, the unification, into a ‘theory of everything’, between what is in essence the ‘infinite Theistic world of Quantum Mechanics’ and the ‘finite Materialistic world of the space-time of General Relativity’ seems to be directly related to what Jesus apparently joined together with His resurrection, i.e. related to the unification of infinite God with finite man.

In this following comment, Dr. William Dembski, though not directly addressing the Zero/Infinity conflict in General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics, offers insight into what the ‘unification’ of the infinite and the finite would entail:

Moreover there is actual physical evidence that lends strong support to the position that the ‘Zero/Infinity conflict’, that we find between General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics, was successfully dealt with by Christ, i.e. to the position that Christ, in his resurrection from the dead, successfully ‘traversed the infinite’:

Special Relativity, General Relativity, Heaven and Hell

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1_4cQ7MXq8bLkoFLYW0kq3Xq-Hkc3c7r-gTk0DYJQFSg/edit

Excerpted from preceding article:

In light of this dilemma that these two very different eternities present to us spiritually minded people, and the fact that Gravity is, in so far as we can tell, completely incompatible with Quantum Mechanics and Special Relativity (i.e. Quantum Electro-Dynamics),,, (i.e. the failure of string theory, M-theory, etc..) ,,in light of that dilemma, it is interesting to point out a subtle nuance on the Shroud of Turin. Namely that Gravity was overcome in the resurrection event of Christ:

Moreover, as would be expected if General Relativity (Gravity), and Quantum Mechanics/Special Relativity (QED), were truly unified in the resurrection of Christ from death, the image on the shroud is found to be formed by a quantum process. The image was not formed by a ‘classical’ process:

Personally, considering the extreme difficulty that many brilliant minds have had in trying to reconcile Quantum Mechanics/Special relativity (QED), with Gravity, I consider the preceding ‘quantum’ nuance on the Shroud of Turin to be a subtle, but powerful, evidence substantiating Christ’s primary claim as to being our Savior from sin, death, and hell:

Verses, Propitiation, Music