|Not just a river in Egypt|
|♫ 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."
In 1931, the book Hundert Autoren Gegen Einstein (A Hundred Authors Against Einstein), 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.[note 1]
Deutsche Physik and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories
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).
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). The most notable Objectivist anti-relativist was Petr Beckmann, who attempted to replace it with a
theory conjecture called "Galilean Electrodynamics."
During the Cultural Revolution in China, the theory of relativity was criticized for its principle of the constancy of the speed of light and was labeled as a relativistic viewpoint. It was referred to as "profoundly reflecting the reactionary political viewpoint of the Western bourgeoisie, who believed that capitalist society was the ultimate form of human society, that monopoly capitalist productivity could not be surpassed, and that Western science represented the limit of human knowledge."
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.
Some Young Earth creationists reject relativity. Creation Ministries International has attempted to discredit relativity using pseudoscience disguised as scientific study. Creationists often cite the works of Harold Aspden, a crank who called Einstein's mathematics "science fiction about cosmology — very interesting but hypothetical" and who authored a book called Physics Without Einstein.
- Tom Bethell
- Conservapedia:Conservapedian relativity
- William Lane Craig, whose denial of relativity stems from trying to get his Kalām cosmological argument to work. Being a "professional philosopher", however, Craig likes to claim that he is just offering a "different interpretation".
- Einstein's sceptics: Who were the relativity deniers? New Scientist
- Some Scientifically Inaccurate Claims Concerning Cosmology and Relativity, Chris Hillman
- Was Einstein a Fake? Cosmos
- Mocking a Silly Anti-Relativity Rant, Good Math, Bad Math
- Did Einstein Cheat?, Salon
- The socialist haunted world: Relativity, fluoridation, and climate change as socialist plot, Watching the Deniers
- Climate denial activists' parallel to the anti-relativity movement of the 1920s, DeSmog Blog
- Hundert Autoren Gegen Einstein, edited by Hans Israel; et al. (1931). R. Voigtänder Verlag.
- Weekly Science Quiz by Douglas Clark (Monday, January 7, 2013)
- Evolution, HIV, Holocaust and...Einstein Denial, Unsolicited Opinions
- The Descent into Pseudoscience: Where's Albert? Ayn Rand Contra Human Nature
- It Didn't Start with Einstein, Slate
- Einstein’s Contribution to Relativity. Creation.com.
- Aspen, Harold. (1969). Physics Without Einstein. Sabberton Publications.
- The Harold Aspden Collected Papers. Archived from the original at haroldaspden.com.