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Why Einstein was considered daring

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From JStor Daily:

As late as 1923, a British physicist despaired his coevals were still “ignorant of Einstein’s work and not very much interested in it.” British physicists Ebenezer Cunningham and Norman R. Campbell were at first quite lonely introducing Einstein to their countrymen and challenging the “ethereal” view. Campbell seems to have been the only anti-ether voice from 1905 to 1911.More.

Of course, in its day, ether was a reasonable belief as—in its day—was the belief that Earth was the point of the universe down to which all things fell (geocentric system).

As anthropologist J. G. Frazer put it

The views of natural causation embraced by the savage magician no doubt appear to us manifestly false and absurd; yet in their day they were legitimate hypotheses, though they have not stood the test of experience. Ridicule and blame are the just meed, not of those who devised these crude theories, but of those who obstinately adhered to them after better had been propounded.

See also: Imagine a World of Religions that Naturalism Might Indeed Be Able to Explain

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2 Replies to “Why Einstein was considered daring

  1. 1
    PaV says:

    The banishment of the “aether” is perhaps modern physics biggest blunder.

    In 1921, Einstein wrote a short article in which, due to arguments made to him a year or two earlier, came out and said that he believed that some sort of ether existed, but, that it wasn’t the ‘ether’ of the electromagnetic field.

    General Relativity requires an energy-momentum tensor to curve space. If space is ’empty’, then there is nothing there to cause space to curve. That was the argument made to Einstein, and he eventually accepted it.

    Dirac, also came out in favor of the ‘ether’ theory, he who was one of the principal architects of QED.

    My own opinion is that particle physics will lie dormant until such time as they begin to take the ‘ether’ seriously.

  2. 2
    BrianFraser says:

    Science needs to bring back the Ether, but not the static one of the 1800s. Here is an excerpt from “Beyond Einstein: non-local physics” by Brian Fraser (2015)

    The static Aether was not detectable

    There is yet another consequence to this non-directional, non-vectorial, scalar, isotropic, motion the Earth is engaged in. Remember the Michelson-Morley experiment? It attempted to detect the absolute motion of the Earth through the Aether, which was supposed to be some sort of invisible substance which filled the Universe as a medium for light waves and which was thought to be stationary. But as the Earth moved around the Sun, no “Aether wind” could be detected by this clever experiment. Physicists then concluded that the Aether did not exist, nor did absolute motion, and that all motion must therefore be “purely relative”.

    This experiment depended on vector addition of velocities, but the fundamental (or “absolute”) motion of the Earth is scalar (in all directions, like an expansion). The design of the experiment was simply not capable of detecting this kind of motion. There may still be an “ether” (a specific structure of space and time), but it must be a dynamic, non-directional one, quite unlike the static Aether of the 1800s.
    The free, 22 page paper can be downloaded from: The .html file gives a link to the .pdf file but the former has additional information, and many more links and insights.

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