on Feb. 03, 2018 :
Scott Reeves’s “Death to Einstein!” is a fair and accurate critique of Einstein’s theory of special relativity. That makes the review presented in Smashwords of Reeves’s book by LloydO all the more interesting because that reviewer contends that all of the arguments against special relativity presented in “Death to Einstein!” and by extension many other arguments against special relativity, as well, can be summed up by the phrase, “they all went nowhere.” What is to be made of such a statement? It is unlikely that LloydO shares my opinion that over the decades valid critiques of Einstein’s theories have been presented, but these critiques have been suppressed by a loosely affiliated group of intellectuals and gatekeepers. A gatekeeper would be a prestigious individual such as Al Gore who champions a scientific theory without being a scientist himself. Alongside the suppression of critical views of relativity, there has sprung up a cottage industry employing the talents of a variety authors who produce an endless stream of hagiographic books on Einstein and his theories. In a less constricted society, this alone would cause readers to cast a critical gaze on relativity especially since some of the authors’ common sense seems to be suspect. For instance, Thomas Levenson the author of “Einstein in Berlin” apparently believes that the stars in the night sky on any given night are the same as the stars we would see in the sky the next day if the sun were not so bright that it obscured them from our sight. In this example the author, Thomas Levenson, neglects to take into consideration the rotation of the earth.
Perhaps, LloydO believes the critics of relativity have been given a fair hearing by the scientific community and their ideas have been found to be wanting. This notion would be bolstered by the fact that a book called “Einstein’s Mistakes: The Human Failings of Genius” by Hans C. Ohanian was published about a decade ago, and it was readily available in many if not all the major book stores. “Einstein’s Mistakes” did indeed go nowhere. But, was the book an actual critique of relativity? Or was the book clever propaganda that masqueraded as a critique of relativity? One of its critiques of special relativity involved using readings from distant clocks that had not been properly synchronized. It is confusing because everyday clock synchronization does not take into consideration the speed of light, for instance, when a radio station 20 miles distant says that it’s 3:30 pm, we don’t take into consideration the time it took the radio waves to travel the 20 miles to our location when we set our clock.
There is a story, perhaps apocryphal, in “Einstein’s Mistakes” about an individual who decides to give Einstein’s book “Relativity: The Special and General Theory” a serious and prolonged study. This individual keeps a diary that includes references to the progress of his studies; the diary reveals a growing disenchantment and anger directed toward Einstein’s theories. The culmination of tale involves hints of a nervous breakdown followed by an “accidental” drowning in a sailing mishap. This story may be intended to serve as a cautionary tale directed at those who would scrutinize Einstein’s book as closely as Scott Reeves has surely done. The title of his book would seem to indicate some anger directed at Einstein; perhaps, he should be advised to avoid any regattas.
A note to one of the other reviewers of “Death to Einstein!” who employs the sobriquet Dr. Proteus: if you’re going to criticize someone’s intelligence, it can only help your case to employ one of the correct forms of the abbreviation for PhD.
One of the brilliant aspects of Scott Reeves’s work is that in this book and its follow up “Death to Einstein! 2” he has the courage to take Einstein’s writings in “Relativity: The Special and General Theory” as statements of Einstein’s authentic opinions. Other writers, myself included, out of deference to Einstein’s stature would not offer a criticism of the more fanciful portions of this work. Perhaps, we believed he did not actually mean the things he wrote, but instead he was presenting word pictures that he hoped would serve as an introduction to his complex mathematical equations. Perhaps, because of the deference of other writers, Scott Reeves has been the first to point out the contradiction between the relativity of simultaneity thought experiments and the time dilation thought experiments. He also may be the first one to elucidate the contradiction in the concept of symmetrical time dilation. His introduction of his own photon mapping thought experiment probes the deeper aspects of the twin paradox, and it leaves the reader with the inescapable conclusion that there is something wrong with the entire notion of relative motion.
There are liberal doses of humor in “Death to Einstein,” but the truly hilarious material appears in “Death to Einstein! 2” where Einstein himself lays the groundwork with the most fanciful and ridiculous thought experiments imaginable deployed in an effort to provide a framework for general relativity. Scott Reeves is at his iconoclastic best when he skewers this foolishness.
(review of free book)
on Feb. 07, 2015 :
An excellent, if a little bit disorganized, critique of not only Relativity but also the "cruft" that has built around it. The thought experiments reveal the underlying issues with Relativity as it is most commonly presented, which indicates that at best the theory itself is misunderstood by its own advocates, and at worst the theory is incomplete or incorrect and only explains physical and cosmological data within special cases. That Relativity and Quantum Theory mix about as well as oil and water is an established fact in the physics community so this book tips the scales of evidence in that direction.
I could not be certain if the endorsement for a geocentric universe was sincere or just scientific satire, but ultimately it does not matter: The Geocentric model is built up and expressed in the same way that Relativity has been for so long. Evidence that supports it is mentioned early and often, evidence that does not is omitted or ignored or claimed invalid for some reason. Also, to accept it at face value will require a lot of mental gymnastics, but not nearly as many as accepting the mutually exclusive paradoxes of Relativity, which is actually a point in its favor!
An excellent read, especially as an object lesson in the construction and presentation of scientific models.
(review of free book)
on April 19, 2014 :
I am a Professor of Physics. This book was brought to my attention by one of my students. Having read it, I feel compelled to furnish my professional opinion (albeit anonymously). In my opinion, it suffers from two fatal flaws. One, it relies on Wikipedia for much of its source material, which is not ideal. With all due respect to Wikipedia, the material it provides represents an O' level grade interpretation of a Phd level subject, which frankly seems beyond the capacity of the author. Two, despite a valiant attempt, the book makes little sense to anyone, layman or expert, and it isn't particularly reader-friendly.
Though I would certainly not discourage anyone from reading it (it is free, after all), equally I could not recommend it.
(review of free book)
on April 13, 2014 :
Um don't really get this. Admittedly didn't finish it, but seems to be a ramble about one issue. Seems a very well constructed argument, but not very readable and no idea whether it's right! Sorry.
(review of free book)
on April 06, 2014 :
Okay, the author feels passionately about his cause. That much is clear from the writing style, which feels as if you're sitting in the room with the author and feeling the conviction. Not the mention the title itself!
Since I generally like to read "grand-thought" books on the meaning of the Universe, and on how it works in particular, I got this one. Actually I got it from the author's own web site awhile ago, or was it some other place? I can't recall, but have been looking over this for a while.
The question of whether Einstein was right or not is closed in the mainstream scientific community. He was right, they say. However, there is a fairly populous group of people, academic and laymen alike, who disagree. The thing is, rarely does a scientific theory have such a persistent dissident following, without any influence from the religious right (such as in the case of evolution).
Why is this? The author makes a case. He does not propose any solutions for this, and that's fair enough. Figuring out something's wrong is the first step.
Does the author succeed in refuting Einstein? No, I can't say he does, but not based on the argument itself. That's been tried so many times, and the arguments used here have been, in one form or the other, seen elsewhere. And they all went nowhere.
Einstein's theory is a mathematical closed circuit. If you assume that the starting premise is right, everything else works fine. What author is doing here, is proposing a series of thought-experiments, with trains and light bouncing off the ceilings, to prove there's something wrong. That's not original, given Einstein used the same technique. Perhaps there is something wrong with it, but that's besides the point. Figuring out what may be wrong with Einstein's theory (if anything), if it happens, will come from a different set of assumptions to start with.
Still, there are many interesting and thought provoking passages here. Definitely food for thought. Particularly when it comes to the choice of frames of reference. This is where logic gets dicey and shaky, not because the author doesn't try hard, but because it's a really tough question.
In the latter part of the book, there is a large mock-discussion about Earth being the center of the Universe. The point made was that, what's really proven, is that light moves the way Einstein thought, only relative to Earth. Truth be told, that's correct. We haven't done much work like that in space, well, because Elon Musk hasn't gotten around to it yet!
I like the chapter called 'Death to Galileo!' and I think the author is onto something here. Einstein's work sits on top of Galileo's and it builds on it. To truly get to the bottom of this, if there is a bottom, the original principle of relativity needs to be examined more closely.
The connection between Twin Paradox and the Big Bang was interesting. If everything was at rest relative to everything else at some point in time, then there's an absolute frame of reference, and relative motion can be sorted out. That's a thought.
For what is worth, I agree with the author that Einstein's theories have created more questions. Even though they agree with experiments, there's a strong departure from common sense. I applaud the author for trying to bring those questions forth.
I give it five stars, even if most of the arguments ultimately do not pan out, in my opinion, but for the effort and for showing more desire to dig deeper than most of the popular mainstream science does.
(review of free book)