Anti-relativity

From RationalWiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Not just a river in Egypt

Denialism

Icon denialism.svg
♫ We're not listening ♫
Not to be confused with "anti-relativism," a philosophical position opposed to cultural relativism.

Anti-relativity refers to the denial of Albert Einstein's Theory of Relativity. While relativity denial is mostly the province of lone cranks these days, it was much more widespread in Einstein's day, often being collectively referred to as "the anti-relativity movement."

Most of the "alternative theories" put forward by anti-relativists seek to reinstate aether and Isaac Newton's concepts of absolute space and time.

In 1931 the book, Hundert Autoren Gegen Einstein (A Hundred Authors Against Einstein),[1] was published. The book only included one physicist, and can be seen now as "a dying cry from the old guard of science" based primarily on philosophical objections.[2]

Deutsche Physik and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Deutsche Physik

One of Einstein's biggest opponents was the German nationalist movement Deutsche Physik, which infamously dismissed relativity as "Jewish physics." A line of thought common to Deutsche Physik and other anti-Semites was that Jews were the gatekeepers of scientific journals and so were suppressing the anti-Semites' superior ideas.

In what might be more appropriately called "Einstein denial," some anti-Semites did not claim that Einstein was wrong, but that he had plagiarized or otherwise ripped off earlier ideas from (insert your favored ethnic group here).[3]

Objectivism[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Objectivism

Some Objectivists question or deny relativity as it doesn't fit neatly into Ayn Rand's metaphysical notions about causation (and is probably corrupted by dirty Kantian philosophy to boot).[4] The most notable Objectivist anti-relativist was Petr Beckmann, who attempted to replace it with a theory conjecture called "Galilean Electrodynamics."

Moral relativism[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Moral relativism

Some laymen mistakenly believe that the Theory of Relativity translates to the world of the humanities and ethical values rather than being simply a description of the physical world. Much like some people believe that Darwinian evolution necessarily implies Social Darwinism, Heisenberg's uncertainty principle implies postmodernism, or quantum physics implies their favored form of quantum woo, some believe that the Theory of Relativity implies moral relativism. However, the two have nothing to do with each other.[5]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

Examples[edit]

Further reading[edit]

References[edit]

  1. Hundert Autoren Gegen Einstein, edited by Hans Israel; et al. (1931). R. Voigtänder Verlag.
  2. Weekly Science Quiz by Douglas Clark (Monday, January 7, 2013)
  3. Evolution, HIV, Holocaust and...Einstein Denial, Unsolicited Opinions
  4. The Descent into Pseudoscience: Where's Albert? Ayn Rand Contra Human Nature
  5. It Didn't Start with Einstein, Slate