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Nasty Little Truth About Spacetime Physics

 

Nothing Can Move in Spacetime! By Definition!

 

  
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The List
The Crackpottery
Nothing Can Move in Spacetime
One Sentence Proofs
What Exactly Is Time?
Isn't It Amazing?
A Crackpot Is a Crackpot
Weird Science Links
Notorious Quotes
Reality Check
They Owe the World an Apology
Karl Popper on Einstein's Block Universe
Why Einstein Misunderstood His Own Theory
A Call To Arms
 

 

"How often is science improved, and turned into new directions by non-scientific influences! it is up to us, it is up to the citizens of a free society to either accept the chauvinism of science without contradiction or to overcome it by the counterforce of public action." Paul Feyerabend

 

"The nasty and shocking little truth is that time does not change, a million wormhole and time travel fanatics wearing their little Klingon and Ferengi outfits notwithstanding."[*]

The List

Are We Being Taken to the Cleaners by Spacetime Physicists?

Some of the most famous physicists in the world are not telling the truth about one of the most taken for granted concepts in scientific history. They are not telling us how they can come up with their fanciful time travel theories (wormholes, advanced and retarded waves traveling in spacetime, etc...) using a model of the universe that precludes the possibility of motion. Nothing can move in spacetime or in a time dimension-axis by definition. This is because motion in time is self-referential. It is for this reason that Sir Karl Popper compared Einstein's spacetime to Parmenide's unchanging block universe[*], in which nothing ever happens.

The following is a short list of notorious time travel and spacetime crackpots, not necessarily in order of crackpottery. Some, like Hawking, Wheeler and Feynman, are venerated by the physics community and are considered by many to be among the most brilliant scientific minds that ever lived. Too bad they believe in time travel.

Before I continue, lest I be immediately branded as an anti-relativity crank, let me make it perfectly clear that I agree with the mathematical and predictive correctness of both the Special and the General Theory of Relativity.

Stephen Hawking
Kip Thorne
John A. Wheeler
Richard Feynman
Michio Kaku
John Gribbin
Carl Sagan
John Kramer

J. Richard Gott III
Hans Moravec David Deutsch
Igor Novikov

John Baez

Ronald Mallett

Jack Sarfatti

Kurt Gödel

Paul Davies
Albert Einstein

 

I include Dr. Feynman and Dr. Wheeler in the list because of their Absorber Theory in which they posited the existence of advanced and retarded waves that can travel in spacetime. Here is a quote from Feynman's "The Reason for Antiparticles" in "Elementary Particles and the Laws of Physics - The 1986 Dirac Memorial Lectures": "... So the requirements of positive energies and relativity force us to allow creation and annihilation of pairs of particles, one of which travels backwards in time." This gem of pseudoscience comes from one of the most celebrated physicists of the twentieth century.

Dr. Sarfatti, of course, is the well-known internet crackpot who believes in all sorts of  paranormal phenomena, time travel being just the tip of the iceberg. 

Dr. Kip "Wormhole" Thorne, long revered by science fiction fanatics, is renown for his time travel theories which he "derived", of course, from the mathematics of general relativity. Dr. Thorne believes it is possible to travel into a wormhole and reappear some time in the past. More than anyone else, Dr. Thorne has legitimized one of the most absurd concepts in science and turned it into a cult. A quick search on Google for 'wormhole' will give one a sense of the extent of the cult and its hold on the public's imagination.

Dr. Michio Kaku is an evangelizer for string theory. String theory postulates that time is one of the 10 dimensions of nature and that dimensions can be "compactified" or curled up into tiny little balls, so tiny, in fact, they can never be detected. The brains of string theorists can be described in a similar fashion.

Dr. Carl Sagan is the noted astronomer and science popularizer who spent a good part of his life trying to contact aliens and had a special fondness for the possibility of time travel. It is a pity Dr. Sagan passed away because I liked him, crackpot or not. 

Dr. David Deutsch, an Oxford physicist, is well known for his ideas on the "many-universes interpretation" of quantum mechanics, a sort of fanciful way of looking at time travel that attempts to solve the obvious contradictions. The many-universes interpretation suffers from the same fatal flaw as the single-world spacetime interpretation: they are equally motionless. But this does not seem to trouble Dr. Deutsch in the least. In fact, he has built a career out of what he calls "quantum computers", fictitious magical machines conjured up out of an equally magical hat filled with zillions of changeless parallel universes. Dr. Deutsch is a veritable magician when it comes to making voodoo appear like legitimate science.

Dr. Hans Moravec is a noted roboticist at Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania. In his weird science book, Mind Children, Moravec claims that it will be possible to achieve immortality by uploading the contents of one's brain onto a digital computer but somehow forgets to explain how he proposes to transfer the brain's consciousness into the computer. Needless to say, he has no clue as to the nature of consciousness, any claim to the contrary notwithstanding. Dr. Moravec's belief in time travel is on a par with his equally wacky ideas on artificial intelligence and the mind.

Dr. Igor Dmitrievich Novikov is a renown Russian physicist who specializes in black holes. His book "The River of Time" is a favorite of time travel devotees. "River of Lies" would be a more appropriate title, in my opinion.

Dr. J. Richard Gott III is a professor of astrophysics at Princeton University and is the author of the time travel book, "Time Travel in Einstein's Universe: The Physical Possibilities Of Travel Through Time". Dr. Gott believes it might be possible to travel back in time using hypothetical cosmic strings to curve spacetime. Strange, I never knew that Einstein had his own universe.

Dr. Ronald Mallett is a professor of physics at the University of Connecticut who would like to achieve his childhood dream of going back in time to warn his father of the dangers of heavy drinking and smoking. According to a recent article in New Scientist, Mallett believes he has found a way to the past by using, not a wormhole, but twisted light. Twisted science is more like it.

Dr. John Baez, a physics professor at the University of California at Riverside, is also a famous usenet denizen. Dr. Baez is a rather curious individual in that he can hold two contradictory beliefs simultaneously. He accepts that nothing can move in spacetime but he does not let this little fact bother him. On the contrary, he embraces a temporal dimension and asserts that there are infinitely many "nows", past ones and future ones, all existing together. He conveniently declines to explain how we are able to move from one "now" to the next, given that nothing can move in spacetime.

No need to introduce Sir Stephen "Black Hole" Hawking. The man is a legend in his own time. Check out his "A Brief History of Time", not that he needs the money, of course. Sir Stephen is undoubtedly the Pope of the time travel religion while Kip Thorne is his number one Cardinal. Note: I had previously heard from a source that Sir Stephen had been knighted but apparently the information is incorrect. However, considering that Sir Stephen, in his brilliance, figured out that the impossible is possible, I will continue to use the honorific 'Sir' in deference to his uncommon achievement.

Kurt Gödel (how could I forget him?) is one of the gods of the voodoo science pantheon. Gödel is certainly the most often quoted yet inconsequential mathematician of the world. He is known for his incompleteness theorem, the most non-scientific, chicken-feather-voodoo nonsense ever penned by a member of the human species. In 1949, Gödel announced to the world that Einstein's general theory of relativity allows time travel to the past via "closed time-like curves." The only thing Gödel proved, in my opinion, was the incompleteness of his frontal lobe.

Paul Davies is a prolific science popularizer and a theoretical physicist at the Australian Center for Astrobiology at Macquarie University in Sydney. He recently wrote an article for Scientific American in which he writes that time dilation "illustrates a limited type of time travel." I include both Davies and the editors of Scientific American on my list of notorious time travel crackpots. In my opinion, Scientific American is mostly a propaganda rag for the charlatans and crackpots of the scientific community. Their dependence on advertising revenues makes them suspect at best. Their idea of science publishing is to develop a readership among wild-eyed Star-Trek fanatics. Hence their penchant for articles on time travel, black holes, parallel universes, wormholes, warped space and the like.

Having said that, I must make an exception for SciAm author Gary Stix who had the courage and honesty to admit that the "pace of living quickens continuously, yet a full understanding of things temporal still eludes us." SciAm does not deserve Stix.

I placed Albert Einstein at the bottom of the list because he, of all people, should have known better. The man needs no introduction, of course, but why is he on the list? Because he (reluctantly but who cares?) agreed with his good friend, Kurt Gödel, that the spacetime of general relativity allows time travel to the past via closed time-like loops even though other prominent thinkers, including Sir Karl Popper, had pointed out that nothing happens in spacetime. See Popper below.

The others on the list are, for the most part, hangers-on although they are notorious in their own right. I shall expand the list as more names come to my attention.

The Crackpottery

Michio Kaku

Michio Kaku Online: Black Holes, Worm Holes and the 10th Dimension

"Because of the enormous amount of work done by theoretical physicists within the last 5 years or so, Hawking has since changed his mind, and now believes that time travel is possible (although not necessarily practical)." 
[...]
"In conclusion, don't turn someone away who knocks at your door one day and claims to be your future great-great-great grandchild. They may be right."


John Gribbin

Time travel for beginners

"In the 1980s, though, Kip Thorne, of CalTech (one of the world's leading experts in the general theory of relativity), and his colleagues set out to prove once and for all that such nonsense wasn't really allowed by Einstein's equations. They studied the situation from all sides, but were forced to the unwelcome conclusion that there really was nothing in the equations to prevent time travel, provided (and it is a big proviso) you have the technology to manipulate black holes."

Nothing Can Move in Spacetime

General Relativity and Time Travel

There is a common thread that weaves itself around time travel theories and their authors' arguments. It is Einstein's theory of relativity and, in particular, the general theory of relativity. For close to a hundred years relativists have claimed that there is a time dimension (i.e., a degree of freedom on a par with the other three spatial dimensions) and that gravity is due to bodies following their geodesics in curved spacetime. In other words, relativists believe in time travel in one direction, toward the future. They continue to teach the same fallacy in countless books, articles, peer-reviewed papers and physics classes around the globe at this very moment. They do it even in the face of irrefutable arguments that show that motion in spacetime is logically impossible. Spacetime is frozen from the infinite past to the infinite future by definition.

Of course, when this is pointed out to them, the usual response is either outright denial or a mountain of obfuscation. When push comes to shove they will insist that physicists mean something different when they speak of motion in spacetime. Never mind that motion has always been defined as a change in position in a coordinate system. This definition of motion has not changed in millennia.

Simple Proof that Nothing Can Move in Spacetime

Why is motion in spacetime impossible? It has to do with the definitions of space and time and the equation of velocity v = dx/dt. What the equation is saying is that, if an object moves over any distance d x, there is an elapsed time d t. Since time is defined in physics as a parameter for denoting change (evolution), the equation for velocity along the time axis must be given as v = dt/dt which is self-referential. The self-reference comes from having to divide dt by itself. dt/dt always equals 1 because the units cancel out. This is of course meaningless as far as velocity is concerned.

To emphasize, it is logically  impossible for the t coordinate of an object to change because such a change is self-referential. Et voilŕ! It is that simple. No time travel, no motion in spacetime, no spacetime and no time dimension. They are all abstract mathematical constructs without any counterpart in nature.

 

[You may skip this part if you want to. It does not add to the proof against motion in spacetime. I just use a little math notation for those who are so inclined.]

The above explanation can be rephrased using simple 4-D spacetime manifold math. If the world-line (a path in spacetime) of a moving particle is parameterized thus:

 (t,x(t),y(t),z(t))

we can obtain the "4-velocity" of the particle:

(1,dx/dt,dy/dt,dz/dt)

The t-axis or time-axis velocity component is 1, a dimensionless number. Now there are relativists who will insist that it is perfectly acceptable to express velocity in time with a dimensionless number but the rest of us with our head on our shoulders, know that it is not true. We know that a dimensionless number such as 1 has absolutely no meaning in as far as expressing velocity or any sort of change. Velocity must be given in units of velocity such as meters per second or whatever standard units are being used. For this reason, there is no motion in spacetime.

[I receive emails from people who insist that there is nothing wrong with saying that motion in time occurs at the rate of 1 second per second. First of all, dt/dt does not equal 1 second per second. The units cancel out. Second, dt/dt is always the same (1) regardless of the actual rate of velocity.]

Note that I put 4-velocity in quotes above. This is because it is not a velocity at all since nothing can move in spacetime. There is only 3-velocity in 3-D space: (dx/dt,dy/dt,dz/dt), t being a mere evolution parameter. True 4-velocity (dw/dt,dx/dt,dy/dt,dz/dt) would require a 4-D manifold having 4 spatial dimensions and no time dimension. Now that is an interesting idea, four spatial dimensions, an idea I certainly would not object to. But time travel? Absolutely not!

One of the amazing things about this time travel business is that a position in spacetime is usually represented by (ct,x,y,z). What this means, is that every second a body moves exactly 299792458 meters, or a light-second in the fourth dimension. (This tool is convenient in explaining what is called a particle's light cone because it allows the sides of the light cone to slope at 45 degrees.) However, note that, using this convention, the fourth dimension is no longer a temporal dimension but a spatial one. Why? because ct resolves to meters, not seconds. Does this means that time travel is suddenly allowed? Of course not since c is a constant and t is not a variable. It is just that most relativists cannot bring themselves to the point of accepting a fourth spatial dimension. They are forever stuck with spacetime for historical reasons.

There is an unyielding mental barrier that I am still in the process of identifying. I wonder if it is just intellectual inertia or a vestige of the historical origin of relativity, kind of like the way an atom is not really an atom in the literal sense of the word. Somehow, I don't think so. By acknowledging the unchanging nature of spacetime, many relativists would have to admit that they have been teaching crackpot science (the teaching of geometry as an explanation of gravity) from the beginning. That is unacceptable, of course. Still, it is no excuse to conjure up all sorts of voodoo nonsense and retard progress in our understanding of gravity for close to a century.

Note: the representation of a position in spacetime is conventionally given by (ict, x, y, z) where i is the square root of -1, an imaginary number (the crackpottery never ends). However, this is a mere detail, one which does not take away from the changeless nature of spacetime.

Meta-time

Here is another way of looking at it. According to the definition of motion, to move from one position to another takes a certain time interval. Time is an evolution parameter that is used in physics to denote change, regardless of the type or rate of change. Therefore, to change position in time would require a meta-time, i.e., a second time dimension orthogonal to the first. This meta-time would itself require a meta-meta-time and so forth. Before we have time (pun intended) to realize it, we find ourselves mired in an infinite regress dilemma.

A Time Dimension Forbids Motion or the Case of the Missing Time Dimension

What I am about to say may sound amazing but do not take my word for it. Figure it out on your own, for your own satisfaction. The moment one postulates the physical existence of a time dimension (as in string theory, for example), motion immediately becomes an impossibility. Note that, in this context, dimension is defined as a degree of freedom such as an axis in a coordinate system. And it is not a matter of motion in time being possible in one direction only as most people assume. A time dimension forbids motion altogether, forward or backward, or any other direction. Conclusion: There is no time dimension along which we move in one direction or the other. There is only the ever changing present. The so-called "arrow of time" is an absurdity and to speak of the possibility of time travel through wormholes is the ultimate in crackpottery.

Passage of Time?

People often talk about the passage of time. They say that time flows or changes.  However, logically speaking, it is a fallacy that time changes. Clocks change, physical processes change but time is invariant. Why? Because, again, 'changing time' is self-referential. The truth is that nobody has ever observed time changing. We only use the changes in our clocks to derive unchanging time intervals. The nasty and shocking little truth is that time does not change, a million wormhole and time travel fanatics wearing their little Klingon and Ferengi outfits notwithstanding.

The above may come as a shocking revelation to many but it is a logical fact, one that makes a lot of celebrated time travel and wormhole physicists look rather silly.

Should We Stop Using Time?

Of course not. As long as time is seen for what it is, an abstract evolution (change) parameter, there is no problem. The whole thing is analogous to the unemployment rate. No one is arguing for its physical existence but it is nevertheless useful. The same goes for time. Just as the unemployment rate is derived abstractly from the number of employed and unemployed people, time is also derived abstractly from the magnitude or rate of motion or change. The greater the magnitude of the motion or the change, the shorter the time. It is only when one decides to make time an independent variable or a dimensional axis (degree of freedom), that one moves into crackpot territory.

Is Relativity Wrong?

Does the impossibility of motion in spacetime invalidate Einstein's relativity? The answer depends on whether one takes spacetime to be physically existent (as relativists do) or as an abstract, non-existent, mathematical construct for the historical mapping of measured events. If one chooses the former, one is obviously a crackpot or a fraud, or both. If one chooses the latter, then general relativity is to be seen as a mere math trick: the physical mechanism of gravity is still out there and it is incumbent upon physicists to find it.

Not Against Relativity

I get angry emails from people accusing me of badmouthing relativity, one of the most corroborated theories of physics. I am not. In my opinion, the special and general theories of relativity are mathematically correct and make correct predictions. What is wrong are all the obviously false claims made on the basis of their correctness. Relativity does not allow motion in spacetime or time travel, as Dr. Wheeler, Sir Stephen Hawking, Dr. Kip Thorne and the others claim. It forbids motion in spacetime! It is important that people see relativity for what it is, a mathematical trick for the prediction of macroscopic phenomena involving the motion of bodies in a spatial coordinate system. Spacetime is an abstract mathematical construct, that is all. The other stuff (motion in spacetime, time travel, advanced and retarded waves, wormholes, etc...), is pure hogwash. This stuff is so trivially proven wrong in fact, that it is insulting to the lay public, the same public that funds most scientific projects. Even the relativity-derived notion of time dilation is hopelessly misleading. Time does not dilate (as if time could change!). On the contrary, it is the clocks that slow down (for whatever reason) resulting in longer measured intervals.

What About Gravity?

What about gravity, you say? Well, spacetime physicists understand doodley-squat about the true physical mechanism of gravity. It is dishonest and counterproductive for relativists to teach young people that, unlike Newton, they know what gravity is. All they have is a mathematical description of it and a hopelessly misleading and misinterpreted one at that. By now the reader should realize that there is no such thing as spacetime and that gravity does not have anything to do with the curvature of a physical spacetime. There is something else out there that causes bodies to fall, without a doubt, something physical, something material. Over the last century or so, relativists have steadfastly and sometimes deviously rejected any suggestion that space is not empty and that there is a need to invoke some sort of material substance or aether to explain phenomena like gravity. Given that spacetime is a fictitious math construct, it is obvious that it cannot possibly account for gravity. However, acknowledging one's ignorance is the first step toward acquiring knowledge. So all is not lost. Back to the drawing board!

Fourth Dimension?

There are very good reasons to suppose that there is a fourth dimension in which matter is moving at c in one direction. This fourth dimension, if it exists, is certainly not time since a temporal dimension is illogical as I have shown above. It would have to be a spatial dimension. I will have more to say about this in a future addition to the site.

One Sentence Proofs

The following are one sentence proofs that motion in spacetime is impossible.

One Sentence Proof #1

Moving in spacetime is impossible because it requires motion in time and motion in time is self-referential.

 

One Sentence Proof #2

Moving in spacetime is impossible because an evolution parameter (time) cannot be its own evolution parameter.

What Exactly Is Time?

Lip Service

Theoretical physicists pride themselves in that their science is firmly based on empirical evidence but pay only lip service to empiricism when it suits their agenda. In an essay titled "Objective Knowledge", Karl Popper wrote "... this is a field from which the observer was exorcised, slowly but steadily, by Einstein himself." The observation of change is not empirical evidence for a time axis. It is evidence for, well, change.

Time is the Abstract Inverse of Change

Since a time axis does not exist, there is only one way to look at time. It is an abstract parameter derived from change. When we use a clock, we may fool ourselves into thinking that we are measuring something physical that we call time, but what we are doing is detecting change. The accepted convention is that the greater the magnitude of the change, the shorter the time interval. Thus time is the abstract inverse of change. This inverse proportionality is the reason that 't' is the denominator in the formula for velocity. However, some prefer to call time 'change' and that is fine with me. As such, it can be used as an evolution parameter with which to compare the magnitude of the change occurring in one process to the calibrated change of another.

No Arrow of Time

Dr. Joe Rosen, the retired former physics chair of the University of Central Arkansas said it best:

What has been has indeed objectively been and is no more. What will be, objectively is not and has not been (and, in fact, is not even fully determined, according to quantum indeterminacy). All physical systems ride the universal wave of becoming. Any awareness (ours or that of other intelligences) of past and future reflects the objective wave of becoming. There is no problem of "the arrow of time." There simply is no arrow of time, as if time could go one "way" rather than another. That metaphor is an unfortunate result of spatializing time. The picture of time as a line along which one might travel in one direction or the other is a conceptual disaster. Time is becoming. Becoming is change. The undoing of a change is also a change. There is no "unbecoming.

From "Time, c, and nonlocality: A glimpse beneath the surface?" Physics Essays, vol. 7, pp. 335-340, 1994

Contrast the above with the claim by Dr. Thorne et al that one can travel in spacetime. Note also that, if one accepts the existence of an unchanging spacetime and frozen world-lines (as so many relativists do), there is no arrow of time either. An arrow is only meaningful if there is change or motion.

The NOW

One of my many enraged detractors tried to ridicule me by mentioning that "the great physicist George Carlin once said, "There's no present. There's only the immediate future and the recent past."" Of course, it was his way of mocking my ideas since George Carlin is the well-known American standup comedian. Little did my "critic" realize, however, that Mr. Carlin is light years closer to the truth on time than some of the most "brilliant" minds of the physics community.

As in everything else in nature, there is a yin-yang principle that underlies all including the present (I personally prefer to call it the NOW). What Mr. Carlin should have said is that there is only the NOW and that it consists of the immediate past and the immediate future. The latter is continually unfolding into the former. A particle undergoing change has an immediate past state that will no longer be and an immediate future state that is about to become immediate past. In an unchanging particle, its immediate past and future states are equal.

I italicize past and future here because they do not have the normal meaning of past and future. The immediate past and future of a particle are discrete, coexisting states of the dyadic properties of the particle. At any given moment, based on a universal conservation principle, nature must decide whether or not to change those properties.

Why Do People Believe in an Arrow of Time?

Here is what one or my readers (19 year-old Preston Sumner) wrote in this regard:

I think the reason so many latch onto an "arrow of time" is because of the human mind.  We store memories and information in our brains, and so we have a "past" that exists in our heads. All our lives we have this mental function and never question it, and because of this, it's easy to envision that the past is actually "alive" and a co-existing plane of existence of some sort. The concepts of past and future become so engrained in our worldviews that we can't separate ourselves from it. Sci-fi also aids in this.

I often marvel that young people can have so much more insight into the nature of things than some of society's most celebrated and admired scientists and thinkers. Is it because the young have not yet been completely indoctrinated into the Borg-like hive mentality that is so prevalent in society. A mind is terrible thing to assimilate.

Isn't it Amazing?

Isn't it amazing that Dr. Kip "Wormhole" Thorne and his time travel colleagues at Caltech and elsewhere can claim that the mathematics of general relativity does not forbid time travel even though it does exactly that?

Is it not also amazing that physicist Julian Barbour felt it necessary to write an entire book to demonstrate "The End of Time" when it can be shown in a single sentence? Why should it take an entire book to convince the old school that there is no time dimension? It is not as if one is trying to deprogram a cult. Or is it?

Isn't it strange that Dr. Thorne, Dr. Wheeler, Dr. Deutsch, Sir Stephen and company were not aware that nothing can move in spacetime? Being the celebrated mathematicians that they are, one would suppose it would be their business to know and understand something so trivial that it can be explained to high school kids. After all, it is not as if there is not a single physicist in the world who knows about this. I know of many who do. Could not just one of them write a line to Dr. Thorne or Sir Stephen and alert them of their error? How did they get their time travel papers past peer review? How did they get so darn famous? Did I hear someone say fraud? Or is it just plain incompetence and crackpottery?

And isn't it interesting that Sir Stephen was present at a recent symposium at the famous Caltech Institute in Pasadena, California, honoring the scientific achievements of Dr. Thorne? Birds of a feather? You bet!

A Crackpot Is a Crackpot

Crackpottery in High Places is the Most  Dangerous form of Crackpottery

Readers should feel free to suggest more names to include in my list of notorious time travel crackpots. Please use the email address at the bottom of the page. This is important because the correctness of humanity's fundamental understanding of nature is crucial to further progress. Crackpottery in high places is the most dangerous form of crackpotteryl. It condemns generations of young people to believe in lies and, as a result, scientific progress suffers. In fact, this whole motion in spacetime nonsense has already cost humanity close to a century of wasted time and wasted minds. In my opinion, we would have figured out the exact causal mechanism of gravity by now if our young people had not been falsely taught that Albert Einstein had already figured it out close to a century ago.

Do Not Be Afraid

If you decide to enter a name for the crackpot list, do not be afraid of legal repercussions or your standing in the scientific community. When all this stuff comes out in the open--and it will, you will congratulate yourself on your bravery. Consider also that a crackpot is a crackpot regardless of how famous he or she is, or his/her reputation in the scientific community, or even how many lawyers he or she can muster. Some of the people on the list are obvious frauds, in my opinion.

And by the way, should some in the physics community choose to take offense, they are welcome to chip in to form a legal fund that they can use to sue the heck out of everybody in order to preserve the good names of their favorite gurus. Fire away.

Email Me If You Care

Having said that, I know that there are many physicists and other thinkers out there who understand and have known for quite some time that nothing can move in spacetime and that, as a result, there is no such thing as time travel or a time axis along which we move in one direction. Should some of you have enough courage to stand up to this crackpottery and want to have your names associated with this effort, do not hesitate to drop me a line. I would gladly attach your name to a list I am preparing. My email address is at the bottom of the page.

If Your Name Is On the List

If your name is on my list of spacetime crackpots and you wish to write a rebuttal, or an admission that you were wrong, I will be glad to publish it on this site. Along with my comments, of course.

Weird Science Links

Did anybody say "crackpottery"?

Time Travel

Time Travel Research Center

Stephen Hawking's Universe

Michio Kaku

John Gribbin

Hans Moravec

Carl Sagan on Time Travel

Notorious Quotes

[Here are a few transcripted excerpts from Nova Online. My comments are bracketed .]

KIP THORNE: If you have a wormhole, then you can turn them into time machines for going backward in time. We thought, how could we have been so stupid? We should have realized that. That's obvious.

[From Mr. Wormhole himself.]

CARL SAGAN: As a youngster who was fascinated by the possibility of time travel in science fiction, to be in any way involved in, in the possible actualization of time travel is, it just brings goose bumps.

[Here Dr. Sagan is acting like a wild-eyed "Trekkie". I feel sorry for the man.]

STEPHEN HAWKING: A physicist working on the possibility of travel into the past has to be careful not to be labeled a crank, or accused of wasting public money on science-fiction fantasy.

[Note that Sir Stephen is implying that it is alright for a physicist to talk about time travel into the future. The man truly believes in a time dimension and an arrow of time. It never occurs to him that time travel is time travel regardless of the direction of travel. This is a common misunderstanding among relativists.]

KIP THORNE: If I now go into this wormhole mouth today, I will come out of that mouth yesterday.

[Amazing, isn't it?]

JOHN WHEELER: I like to think of space and time as analogous to the ocean, and changes in it as analogous to waves on the surface of the ocean, but those waves, of course, don't show up when one's miles above the ocean. It looks flat. Then as one gets down closer to the surface one sees the waves breaking and the foam. I see no way to escape the conclusion that similar foam-like structure is developing in space and time.

[Dr. Wheeler is obviously completely unaware that spacetime is changeless. And he is one of the world's foremost experts in relativity, having written and co-authored many of the college textbooks on general relativity. One wonders, what else has he gotten wrong?]

KIP THORNE: My concern was the word time machine in the title and my worry was that the popular press would see this paper and would start to ballyhoo it in a manner that caused our serious scientific colleagues to pay no attention to it as being crackpot stuff.

[And crackpot stuff is exactly what it is. Luckily for Dr. Thorne, the popular press gets its marching orders from the physics community.]

STEPHEN HAWKING: Time travel might be possible, but if that is the case why haven't we been overrun by tourists from the future?

[Here Sir Stephen is a skeptic regarding time travel to the past although, he subsequently changed his mind and now believes that time travel is possible. Still he believes in time travel toward the future and that makes him a time travel crackpot.] 

JOHN WHEELER: I do not see a way to make time travel possible. However, if I heard that somebody else, some other country was doing this, I think I might plunge into the game.

[Dr. John A. Wheeler (I assume it's the same Wheeler) is one of the authors of the famous Wheeler-Feynman Absorber theory in which they postulate the existence of waves traveling in spacetime. In both directions!]

DAVID DEUTSCH: I myself believe that there will one day be time travel because when we find that something isn't forbidden by the over-arching laws of physics we usually eventually find a technological way of doing it.

[Dr. Deutsch boldly puts his foot in his mouth. But that is to be expected. Time travel pales in comparison to his magical quantum computers spread over multiple universes. Dr. Deutsch gives new meaning to the term "voodoo physics."]

[I left one of my favorite quotes for last. This one is from Sir Stephen's own web site:]

STEPHEN HAWKING: Since we can't change the way the universe began, the question of whether time travel is possible, is one of whether we can subsequently make space-time so warped, that one can go back to the past. I think this is an important subject for research, but one has to be careful not to be labeled a crank. If one made a research grant application to work on time travel, it would be dismissed immediately. No government agency could afford to be seen to be spending public money, on anything as way out as time travel. Instead, one has to use technical terms, like closed time like curves, which are code for time travel. Although this lecture is partly about time travel, I felt I had to give it the scientifically more respectable title, Space and Time warps. Yet, it is a very serious question. Since General Relativity can permit time travel, does it allow it in our universe? And if not, why not.

[It's a beauty, isn't it? Aside from the blatant contradiction with the fact that General Relativity does not permit time travel, we are now presented with a rather arrogant notion: it is no longer a question of whether or not nature allows the existence of a certain imagined phenomenon but whether a man-made theory allows the phenomenon to exist in "our universe." The questions that come to my mind are: "is this science or is this a cult run by charlatans? Have physicists managed to be so untouchable or so immune to public scrutiny that they feel free to act as gods in the presence of us mere mortals?"]

Reality Check

The above hocus pocus notwithstanding, it remains a truism that nothing can move in spacetime, forward, backward or in any direction. As simple as that. No spacetime, no geodesics, no world-lines, no time dimension, no arrow of time, no aliens from the future or the past showing up at your doorsteps, no hanky panky with your great great-grandmother. And no voodoo wormholes either. There is only the present.

They Owe the World an Apology

What It All Means

What does "nothing can move in spacetime" really mean? What are the consequences of a motionless spacetime for the future of physics? Well, as I explained earlier, if one assumes the physical existence of a time axis, then the universe is motionless. Since we know empirically that this is not true, it follows that there is no time dimension. If there is no time dimension, there is no time travel either. And if there is no time travel then all the individuals listed above are either crackpots or frauds or both. In other words, they either do not have a clue or they are lying to the world and getting away with it. I think it is probably both.

The other consequence is that spacetime curvature is, of course, not the explanation of gravity. There are real physical things and processes that cause things to fall. I think that we fail to notice them with our minds' eye because one or more of our most cherished and taken-for-granted assumptions is false. When the real physical cause of gravity is finally explained to us, it will prove to be so trivially obvious and inevitable, we will kick ourselves in the rear for having been so blind for so long.

Invasion of the Mind Snatchers

There is a cult led by a small but influential cadre of physicists and mathematicians whose credo is "physics is math" and who think they are free to create physics simply by manipulating spacetime equations using abstract what-if scenarios. Of course, this is an absurd way of doing physics because these people do not have the slightest clue as to the actual physical processes and mechanisms that give rise to the phenomenon we abstractly refer to as spacetime. We cannot extrapolate the existence of highly curved spacetime regions like black holes and wormholes unless we know exactly what causes our abstract spacetime to curve in the first place. The embarrassing truth is that, centuries after Newton and Galileo, we still have no idea what causes gravity, a million relativists insisting otherwise notwithstanding.

Contrary to what physicists suppose, math does not explain physical phenomena. It is our math equations that cry desperately for a physical explanation, for an ontological grounding. Physics should be about particles, their properties and their interactions. Everything else is either abstract or voodoo. So things like wormholes, black holes and time warps are pure crackpottery, glorified mathematical toys (I think of them as math hacks) invented by grownup nerds for the sole purpose of impressing their peers and amazing a mystified lay public.

The World Deserves an Apology

The gentlemen on my crackpot list, especially Dr. Thorne, Dr. Wheeler and Sir Stephen Hawking owe the world an apology. All physics teachers in the world who have taught our young students that there is a time dimension or that bodies move in spacetime or that relativity permits time travel should apologize to their students. Thanks to this ongoing brainwashing (intentional or not, it makes no difference in the long run), countless numbers of young aspiring physicists are left chasing after a red herring called spacetime. This sort of crackpottery coming from admired leaders is costing and has cost humanity decades if not centuries of wasted minds and wasted effort. There is no excuse for it.

Karl Popper on Einstein's Block Universe

In his groundbreaking work "Conjectures and Refutations", science philosopher Sir Karl Popper wrote that scientific theories must be falsifiable, i.e., a clear method must be provided which makes it possible to falsify or test the predictions of the theory. One of the predictions of spacetime is that the universe is 100% deterministic and unchanging, a prediction reminiscent of the ideas of Parmenides. The following is an excerpt from Conjectures in which Sir Karl appears to be speaking of the mythical and unfalsifiable aspect of Einstein's spacetime:

At the same time I realized that such myths may be developed, and become testable; that historically speaking all — or very nearly all — scientific theories originate from myths, and that a myth may contain important anticipations of scientific theories. Examples are Empedocles' theory of evolution by trial and error, or Parmenides' myth of the unchanging block universe in which nothing ever happens and which, if we add another dimension, becomes Einstein's block universe (in which, too, nothing ever happens, since everything is, four-dimensionally speaking, determined and laid down from the beginning). I thus felt that if a theory is found to be non-scientific, or "metaphysical" (as we might say), it is not thereby found to be unimportant, or insignificant, or "meaningless," or "nonsensical." But it cannot claim to be backed by empirical evidence in the scientific sense — although it may easily be, in some genetic sense, the "result of observation."

Note that Popper is not advocating that relativity is meaningless. However, from my perspective, relativity, if taken at face value, fails the falsifiability criterion in an important area: even though it requires an unchanging universe, we, in fact, observe change in nature.

At first, I thought that Popper was pointing out a problem in spacetime. What threw me is that he recognizes that Einstein's block universe is changeless and 100% deterministic. However, he does not seem to realize that this would falsify the theory if spacetime is assumed to be an accurate representation or model of the universe. Why? Because we do observe change. This would be possible only if one assumes that one could move from one 3-D slice to the next in 4-D spacetime. Yet we know this is impossible because spacetime is changeless. If one claims the existence of a time dimension, one must be ready to face falsification. Thus spacetime is a myth, i.e., an abstract mathematical construct that does not model anything in reality. A more logical alternative would be an abstract 4-space in which we are all moving at c in the fourth dimension. I say "abstract 4-space" because I have excellent reasons not to believe in the existence of space at all. See my ideas on space for further details.

Personally I choose to view the spacetime of relativity not as a model of the universe (Einstein's clearly falsified position), but as a mere math trick, in the tradition of Ptolemaic epicycles.

Why Einstein Misunderstood His Own Theory

Here is the reason that Einstein had a poor understanding of his own theory:

As mentioned earlier, in 1949, Einstein's friend, Kurt Gödel, announced to the world that the spacetime of general relativity allows time travel via closed time-like loops. Einstein agreed with Gödel's finding but he was not very happy about it. He could not fathom how his grand theory would allow something as ridiculous as time travel. This gives some credence to accusations by Einstein's critics that he was not the true author of general relativity and that he was a mediocre plagiarizer at best. Some say that Einstein's first wife, Mileva Maric Einstein, was the real author of relativity and that Einstein was forced to give her his entire Nobel prize money to keep her quiet. Just hearsay but one never knows.

The problem with Gödel's claim is that nothing can move in spacetime, i.e., no time travel, no particles moving along their geodesics in curved spacetime. Heck, no motion at all! In other words, spacetime is a fictitious construct that does not model anything in reality. It is to be seen as a mere graph, an abstract historical collection of 3-D spaces. But why did Einstein act as if he was unaware of this? The fact that nothing can move in spacetime was mentioned (see Popper above) by several prominent thinkers during Einstein's lifetime. In fact, Gödel himself concluded that, if time travel were possible, then one could no longer talk of a passing time. In other words, if the past exists, time stands still and spacetime is unchanging. Of course, this is a roundabout and contradictory way of showing something that can be proven in a single sentence, but this is to be expected of someone like Gödel. Why is Gödel's method contradictory? Because if time is unchanging (which it is), any talk of time travel to the past via time-like loops puts one squarely into crackpot territory. Gödel apparently failed to grasp the obvious inconsistency.

The Gödel-Einstein-time-travel connection is rather telling. It is as if Einstein was already publicly committed to his geometrical stance as the cause of gravity and could no longer retrace his steps less he loses some of his credibility. But then again, it could be that he did not understand the implications of an unchanging spacetime and that, as such, it refuted, not only Gödel's crackpot time travel claim, but also the geometrical interpretation of gravity. At any rate, Einstein's unchanging block universe made him twentieth century's Parmenides but, somehow, that did not prevent him from agreeing with Gödel. Damned if he did, damned if he didn't. 

Now, years after the fact, a whole new generation of notorious and uninformed crackpots in high places have jumped in lunatic Gödel's time travel bandwagon. Examples are Kip "wormhole" Thorne, Stephen "black hole" Hawking, Brian "superstring" Greene, Michio Kaku (Mucho Kuckoo), David "multiple universe" Deutsch, etc... It is enough to make a grown man cry.

A Call to Arms

What Is So Wrong With Time Travel Speculations?

Time travel is a symptom of a deeper malady. It is part of a chronic malformation of our collective scientific understanding of the fundamental underpinnings of nature. It is the end result of an incestuous intellectual orgy that has been going on for over a century. It is also the culmination of a scientific coup d'état that took place in the early part of the twentieth century. A group of revolutionaries, fresh from the resounding empirical victories of Einstein's theory of relativity, established themselves as the sole interpreters and oracles of the new science. They fended off all public scrutiny by encircling themselves within an unassailable wall of scientific jargon and mathematical formalism. Any criticism of their world view is met with the usual sneering retort that relativity is one of the most corroborated theories in the history of physics. Dissenting views are given little exposure.

Stop Acting Like Drones

The whole time dimension and time travel nonsense that is being fed to us by the aforementioned individuals (and their followers all over the world) is part of a world view that has clouded and is clouding our thinking. Having an erroneous understanding of such fundamental concepts as motion and time is like having a monkey wrench in the works. Generations of  bright young researchers have wasted valuable time chasing after wild geese when they should have been looking for real causal explanations of gravity and motion. And if they got time wrong, one is left to wonder how many other things they got just as wrong or worse. We need to discard our primitive and sterile notions of space and time and embrace a new clear-headed physical science, a science worthy of the twenty-first century. We need to break away from the hive and stop acting like mindless drones.

Entrenched Orthodoxy

Can we expect the spacetime physics orthodoxy to just accept that its understanding of time is flawed? Does anybody really believe that Dr. Kip Thorne, Sir Stephen Hawking, Dr. John A. Wheeler and the others are suddenly going to announce to the world that they were wrong about time? Do not hold your breath. You can catch a science fiction writer in an error and that is no big deal. But a scientist is betting his or her career. Still, should humanity suffer through hundreds of years of ignorance just because a few careers are at stake? The current scientific belief in the existence of a time dimension has been around for over a hundred years. Even though many people realized from its inception that spacetime was motionless, it has not stopped generations of physicists from believing in a time dimension on a par with the other three spatial dimensions. It is now a religious institution and its practitioners are entrenched more than ever. They will not accept defeat easily. It is a matter of prestige, authority, credibility and the fear of being displaced. They will fight teeth and nails all the way to the end.

This Is War!

In my considered opinion, no progress will be made in our understanding of motion, gravity and inertia by having civilized and polite discussions with an entrenched orthodoxy whose sole amusement is showing off how adept they are at manipulating math equations. There is no conspiracy, mind you, just a vested interest in continuing the status quo. Also a significant portion of physicists who believe in the existence of a time dimension do so religiously. They have a faith to uphold and a religion to protect. The only way to destroy their faith and abolish their religion is by forceful conquest and the imposition of a new religion. It is all about religion. That is the lesson of history, so let us not kid ourselves.

It is one thing to peddle snake oil to a sleeping public, it is another to imply that the public is too stupid to realize that it is being duped. Given the increased means of communication available, the public will suddenly wake up. People are not as stupid as the insufferably pompous physics community would have them believe. Soon they will no longer accept absurd dogma from an elitist group solely on the basis of authority. We, the people, are the authority on what will be done with our money. We will not stand by and allow a science funded with our money commandeered by a bunch of charlatans and crackpots, regardless of how secure they may feel.

The goal of the coming physics revolution is to eradicate all the nonsensical dogma of the spacetime orthodoxy. No stone must be left unturned. We need a new physics based exclusively on particles, their properties and their interactions. We need a physics that ask why instead of how. We need a physics that looks at phenomena from the point of view of the particles and not that of the observer. To succeed, the rebels must form a hostile political stronghold outside the walls and hope that they can gain enough converts from the the lay public (the despised peasantry) and enough defections from the enemy camp to eventually breach through. Once they are in, they must pillage and destroy the old order through terror. The leaders of the fortified castle must be put in chains, tarred and feathered and paraded through the streets for all to see (allegorically of course). This is war!

Trouble In Paradise

Unless we (humanity) revolutionize our physical sciences, we are doomed because our teeming masses are fast exhausting the natural resources of our world. This in turn leads to all sorts of unpleasantness such as ecological disasters, diseases, societal friction and devastating wars. We need room to expand. We are certainly not going to colonize the solar system with our primitive chemical propulsion systems (or cockamamie contraptions like solar sails) let alone the star systems beyond. Even if we could move at the speed of light, mass migration to other stars is out of the question. And we do not have much time to find a solution. The ecological and societal clocks are ticking. We cannot wait another one or two hundred years for the spacetime physics establishment to realize its errors. We need a plan of action and we need it now!

The Plan

Well, there is no plan yet. This is anticlimactic I know, but I am working on it. I have given this entire physics thing a lot of thought, time and motion being the tip of the iceberg. My ideas are unorthodox but I think we need unorthodox ideas. I have the vague notion in my mind of forming some sort of non-profit, think-tank, internet organization. I need unconventional thinkers, writers, disenchanted physicists, computer programmers and nature philosophers who are fed up with the dictatorship of the orthodoxy. In sum, I need rebels with axes to grind. Write to me and let me know what you can do. We need to pool our resources but, first of all, we need to spread the word and about the crackpottery of time travel and the famous spacetime physicists who ceaselessly preach their false religion to young people. Note: If you thought I was talking about going to war to literally tar and feather physicists, please do not bother writing.

 

"First they tell you you're wrong and they can prove it; then they tell you you're right but it isn't important; then they tell you it's important but they knew it all along."

Charles Kettering, former head of General Motors

 

"My ideas about time all developed from the realization that if nothing were to change we could not say that times passes. Change is primary, time, if it exists at all, is something we deduce from it."

Julian Barbour, JB-Ideas

 

"The conclusion of this lecture is that rapid space-travel, or travel back in time, can't be ruled out, according to our present understanding. They would cause great logical problems, so let's hope there's a Chronology Protection Law, to prevent people going back, and killing our parents. But science fiction fans need not lose heart. There's hope in string theory."

Stephen Hawking, Space and Time Warps Cont...

 

"According to Einstein's doctrine the world is a finite four dimensional sphere full with force-lines. No motion is possible in it since time is one of its geometrical dimensions, and there is no external time."

From Dr. Uri Fidelman, Methodologia

 

"There is no dynamics within space-time itself: nothing ever moves therein; nothing happens; nothing changes. [...] In particular, one does not think of particles as "moving through" space-time, or as "following along" their world-lines. Rather, particles are just "in" space-time, once and for all, and the world-line represents, all at once the complete life history of the particle."

From "Relativity from A to B" by Dr. Robert Geroch, U. of Chicago

 

"Defective theories must never be allowed to persist."

From "Nightfall" by Isaac Asimov & Robert Silverberg

 

"And how often does it not happen that the proud and conceited judgment of an expert is put in its proper place by a layman! Numerous inventors built 'impossible' machines. Lawyers show again and again that an expert does not know what he is talking about. Scientists, especially physicians, frequently come to different results so that it is up to the relatives of the sick person (or the inhabitants of a certain area) to decide by vote about the procedure to be adopted. How often is science improved, and turned into new directions by non-scientific influences! it is up to us, it is up to the citizens of a free society to either accept the chauvinism of science without contradiction or to overcome it by the counterforce of public action. Public action was used against science by the Communists in China in the fifties, and it was again used,, under very different circumstances, by some opponents of evolution in California in the seventies. Let us follow their example and let us free society from the strangling hold of an ideologically petrified science just as our ancestors freed us from the strangling hold of the One True Religion!"

From "Against Method" by Paul Feyerabend

 

©2002-2006 Louis Savain

Revised 1/3/2006

Copy and distribute freely