A fundamental fallacy in modern physics

In an article on the website Space.com, (The site is subtitled, “The open questions at the boundary between physics and metaphysics”) regarding Einstein’s Theories of Relativity, the following section stirred up a serious reaction. The article is by the science writer, Nola Taylor Redd, a Space.com contributor. Here is an excerpt:

 “As he worked out the equations for his general theory of relativity, Einstein realized that massive objects caused a distortion in space-time. Imagine setting a large body in the center of a trampoline. The body would press down into the fabric, causing it to dimple. A marble rolled around the edge would spiral inward toward the body, pulled in much the same way that the gravity of a planet pulls at rocks in space.

Although instruments can neither see nor measure space-time, several of the phenomena predicted by its warping have been confirmed.”

 (Note: Here follow several so-called confirmations of the theory, notably: Gravitational lensing, Changes in the orbit of Mercury, Gravitational redshifting of the spectrum of light, and others. Here is how one of those “confirmations” is described:

 “Frame-dragging of space-time around rotating bodies: The spin of a heavy object, such as Earth, should twist and distort the space-time around it. In 2004, NASA launched the Gravity Probe B (GP-B). The precisely calibrated satellite caused the axes of gyroscopes inside to drift very slightly over time, a result that coincided with Einstein’s theory.

“Imagine the Earth as if it were immersed in honey,” Gravity Probe-B principal investigator Francis Everitt, of Stanford University, said in a statement.

“As the planet rotates, the honey around it would swirl, and it’s the same with space and time. GP-B confirmed two of the most profound predictions of Einstein’s universe, having far-reaching implications across astrophysics research.”

The problem with this analogy is, like all of the “spacetime” mythology, is that honey has substance, a characteristic that no one, not even Einstein, could effectively ascribe to space or time, neither of which is a real, physical entity, and hence could not have real physical attributes. The same problem exists with the now general two-dimensional analogy of spacetime as an elastic sheet, or trampoline. What is the force that draws down the ball to stretch (distort) the sheet? It is all word games that distract the innocent from the fact that that the entity called “spacetime” is non-existent, and must be replaced in all theories with a medium that can be shown to have substance, measurable and detectable, and not least, distortable, for any of these theories to have any logical truth.

The beauty of such a replacement, that is, of something real for something imaginary, is that it would automatically explain other mysterious phenomena with a factual basis, for example, the reality of the observed and confirmed limit on the velocity of electromagnetic radiation, in particular, that of visible light, designated as “c,” along with the other “confirmations” of relativity cited above.

In spite of the logical barriers to its factuality, it is difficult to find a physicist or scientist of any stripe who does not automatically accept the reality of “spacetime.” Whole books and thousands of papers and articles have been devoted to it. It is just assumed to be something real, in spite of the total absence of any confirmative evidence. No one has captured a sample of space for examination in the laboratory. As the article quoted above says, “Although instruments can neither see nor measure space-time,” its existence is considered as real as the keyboard I am typing on at this moment. This is the fundamental fallacy that is at the heart of the paralysis that modern physics finds itself in today. And since this aspect of “the standard model” is based on a fallacious assumption, everything that follows is tainted with its faults. When a serious physicist is asked from what did the universe arise, the answers run from “a quantum singularity,” to “nothing.” When asked what “space” is if not an empty container, the answers are all over the map, from “a quantum vacuum” to “nobody knows.” While we understand that everyone loves a mystery, these ideas have given rise to the most wild and wooly inventions and speculations imaginable. It is no wonder that there exists a website to explore the links between physics and metaphysics.

My response to this and the other contradictions and empty spaces of modern physics has been to lay out a new model that attempts to base all of its conclusions on objects, events, and phenomena that make up what we know as the real world, not on descriptions or mathematical formulae that most now assume to be real in and of themselves. Along with fallacious facts, we now have conflation between real objects and their verbal or mathematical descriptions. In one of its premises, General Relativity is correct. The presence of massive objects creates distortions, not in “spacetime, however, but in the field of which the so-called massive object is a highly concentrated locus of energy. These high energy-density distortions, what our mystico-physicists call “dark matter,” are the source of many of the so-called “confirmations” of relativity, as easily understood as the energy distortions we perceive around a simple magnet, itself a high energy concentration.

My own model is called the simple universe. It is simple in that it is, as stated, based on observable reality. It has no 60-plus “particles. It has one field, not one for each of those 60-plus particles. It covers the range of phenomena from the microcosm, the unseeable part, to the macrocosm, the unreachable part, along with our local, observable part, the “zone of middle dimensions.” In the simple universe, the mythical entity “spacetime” is replaced by a universal electromagnetic energy field, with an observable energy density measurable at about 2.7° Kelvin. It is a field that is unmeasurable in its extent and unfathomable in its depth, turbulent, of course, as all fields must be, but forming the single and only fixed relativistic reference frame for the universe, and as an unlimited source of energy, is the source and basis for all entities observable or otherwise detectable within it. I commend it to you as described and detailed on my website www.enquiriesnw.com (here) and in my books, the picnic at the edge of the universe, and imagine darkness.

About Charles Scurlock

Charles is a recently retired architect/planner and generalist problem-solver with a lifelong interest in science, physics, and cosmology, and the workings of the human mind. He has started this blog in the interest of sharing his ideas with others of like-(or not so like) minds.
This entry was posted in 2 Being and Nothingness, 6 General. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to A fundamental fallacy in modern physics

  1. Martin Gibson says:

    Our paths have crossed before on LinkedIn, and our experience appears to be similar. I wish I could get you to review my body of work. You are right about the physics status quo on so many levels, and I need to read you work in detail to be certain about the appropriateness of the rest of this sentence, but the single field out of which all is made is not essentially electromagnetic, but is rather inertial in nature; an inertial continuum, thus essentially wave bearing in nature. All electromagnetic, nuclear and gravitational phenomena arise according to well-defined oscillatory patterns due to changes in stress in this continuum.
    As an architect, you are well versed in the nature of the stress/strain relationship aspect of the strength of materials used in the building process. This relationship is best understood mathematically using the tensor formulation of Hamilton, an engineer by the way. This inertial continuum is simply the basis for all these derived strengths of various elemental and molecular materials, derived via the electromagnetic properties of spinning fundamental particles. These particles in turn are relatively stable stress differential oscillations of localized regions of the continuum, and the stress differentials are a result of isotopic, global (cosmic) expansion or strain. The isotopic nature of the strain, coupled with the inertial essential inertial property of the continuum, results in a rotational component of an otherwise transverse oscillation at a well defined point in the strain. All “quantum” properties result from this rotational oscillation. I have several power point presentations and some unpublished papers on the internet which I will share with you if you are willing to think outside the box. You have shown the insight to think well outside the self imposed box of the physics establishment. Take the next step. My mathematical development supports the above single inertial continuum contention.
    I will send you the links or post them if you desire. I hope you are daring.

  2. Martin,
    Thanks for your comment. I have called this “energy” field electromagnetic because in all its manifestations, it appears to obey all the accepted behaviors described by Gauss, Lorentz, Maxwell, etc. but also explains most of the quandaries posed by the “particle” theorists. I call it energy because I think E =mc2, and so the field can then be seen as the source of all of the perceptible objects, events, and phenomena we observe and then base all of our theories on. Of course, whenever I describe it this way , one of my “fundamentalist” friends asks, “but where did all that energy come from?” or “What is energy, anyway?”
    There’s no simple answer. I pride myself, however, on reducing the multitudinous mysteries of the standard models down to just one! Like one field instead of many as proposed in QFT. My problem with the brief summary you give relating it to inertia is simply that inertia seems to me to be a description of a condition or quality that still requires a substance or thing to act upon, and is not a “thing” in and of itself. An inertial continuum made of what? I ask myself. I would like to read more of what you have laid out, so I’d welcome links, copies, emails, whatever, to study more fully. Thanks again for a serious read.

    Charles Scurlock

    • Martin Gibson says:

      Part of the problem is conceptual. People, including physicists, tend to think of energy as a thing, as a type of fuel, as a type of substance in and of itself that can take various forms or states, but is always conserved. From a mathematical perspective energy is a measure of a rate of activity (action) or change in momentum over time, the kinetic type, or the capacity to produce that change, the potential type of energy, so it’s really a measure of the change in something else. In my conceptualization, that “something else” is a wave bearing continuum substrate, and just like a violin string (substrate) the energy (frequency) of the wave action is a function of the stress in the string; its inertial density and its longitudinal tension stress. In the case of a three dimensional substrate, that longitudinal stress can be resolved to three arbitrary orthonormal extensions. So the energy of Einstein’s famous equation is just the frequency of a systems oscillation.

      Inertia on the other hand, measured as mass, is an inverse measure of the rate of change in the substrate along any of these directions. For any periodic motion, then, mass is simply a proxy for the wave number of an oscillation, so energy and mass are proxies for the frequency and inverse wave number of an oscillating medium, whose product is the speed of wave propagation squared for the given medium. From this point of view the only “thing” is the continuum, cosmic space, and any observables within it are simply phase changes, individual and in the aggregate, of its localized oscillation.

      I must go to work now, but I will send the links ASAP, after reviewing your comment once more.
      Thanks for your response.
      Martin Gibson

  3. Martin Gibson says:


    Returning to your comments, “What is energy, anyway?” and “An inertial continuum made of what?”, I think we must entertain the two questions together, by stating that energy is a measure of change of the inertial continuum over time, i.e a frequency, and whatever it is that is changing in that continuum does so non-instantaneously, to coin a cumbersome word. Such non-instantaneousness of change is an integral part of the continuum and what defines it as being inertial. Observation of such change against a backdrop of experienced continuity gives us the concepts of space and time.

    To avoid the pitfalls of circular reasoning, it is helpful to acknowledge that any logical exercise must accept certain ground rules; foundational, axiomatic understanding that cannot be proved from within the logical system being discussed, but is validated by common experience and agreement of the parties to the discussion apart from that system; just as we both need a certain level of knowledge of the English language and operation of computers, etc. to entertain this dialog.

    I believe the concepts of space and of time are two such axioms, and though both can be subjected to analysis, ultimately their use must be as foundational concepts based on common day to day experience. Much like consciousness itself, they are pre-formal and cannot be entirely defined or formalized from within a system of logic. Space and time are perceived by us to be continuous, and while we can scientifically measure increasingly smaller and larger swaths of each, that doesn’t mean that either is constituted of discrete foundational units. Nor does the usefulness of treating time as if it were another dimension of space, as in general relativity, change the fact that they are fundamentally different concepts.

    Time is a contrasting of different events that are being observed in space. A third axiomatic concept is also implied in this logic, change; change in space and over time. The rate or frequency of such change is the basis of the concept of energy, and the inverse measure of the rate or frequency of such change is the basis of the concept of inertia. Greater rate of change, more energy, lesser rate of change, more inertia, relative to a given impulse to change. So registering mass and energy are simply different ways of measuring the same observed change. They are not measures of different things, except by contextual usage.

    So you are right in saying that inertia “requires a substance or thing to act upon”, but so does energy. The same “thing” that seems inert in one instance will appear energized under different conditions. For a wave bearing medium, those different conditions can be understood as differences in the components of stress and strain, I.e. tension/compression and shear/rotation in and of the various phase sequences. These sequences in turn produce the various properties of wave kinematics as displacement, velocity, acceleration, and jerk along with the dynamic counterparts, as inertia (invariance), momentum, force, and yank. Inertial invariance is perhaps not well recognized but it is the property of a wave bearing medium that determines how much periodic displacement will occur for a locus of the medium under a transient impulse.

    Under well defined conditions, wave motion can lead to the property of angular momentum or spin, a property of all fundamental quanta. For spinning things, spin energy is inversely related to the radius of gyration and directly related to mass and similar relationships hold for things like vortices in fluids, so that greater spin energy correlates with greater mass and a greater tendency to stay in place, to exhibit inertia. The fact that tornadoes and water waves and eddies can be understood in terms of classical or continuum mechanics despite the particulate nature of their dynamic fluids, instead of leading to the belief that quantum effects resolve on a macro scale to classical analysis, should lead to an understanding that classical dynamics is the basis for quantum effects. At some level, if the “substance” of space is not capable of shearing or ripping apart, it must resolve countervailing tension stresses, which I assume to be associated with isotopic expansion and which necessarily interact on some level as a type of internal friction, as shear force and eventually as oscillating transverse wave force, and it is this that is responsible for basic particle action or spin, energy and all quantum phenomena, including electromagnetism and charge.

    As you rightly perceive, all of the many quantum fields are the effect of one underlying classical field, which I see as a wave-bearing stress field continuum. That is the only “thing” that is, and it is energetic and inertial at the same time depending on ambient stress, but it is not made of any other things, rather it makes all other things, all other observables.

    Following are some links to YouTube and Dropbox work I have done over the past couple of decades.

    Hyper Links:

    to various Power Point videos


    Gravity – An analysis of the geometrization of time and mass that leads to an understanding of the basis of quantum gravity.

    Rotational Oscillation – A graphic animation of fundamental particle spin or how localized stress in the continuum leads to rotation or spinning of transverse displacement.

    Wave model of fundamental quanta – An analysis that ties in with the Gravity video and provides the basis for the Rotational Oscillation dynamics.

    E=mc2 as wave interpretation – An interpretation of the famous equation in terms of classical wave mechanics

    LENR – My geometrically based understanding, arising out of the above studies, of what is causing the experimental results of helium production in palladium crystal electrolysis in a deuterium bath, indicating the validity of cold fusion or low energy nuclear reactions.

    To monographs:


    Simple Harmonic Motion in Classical and Quantum Phase Space – My most recent attempt to shake and wake up the physics community to the fact that I may have some ideas worth vetting, starting from the simple but highly instructive concept of Simple Harmonic Motion.


    I have other interests besides physical cosmology, including sane economic practices, if you have an interest, to wit:


    The Browser Economy – Executive Summary


    The Browser Economy – Paper


    Thanks for the discussion,
    Martin Gibson

    • Martin,
      As you can tell by my describing my model as “the simple universe,” I believe that it is all much simpler than we have made it out to be. That is why I have chosen to call your “wave-bearing stress field continuum” an electromagnetic field,” because that is something we can detect, and measure, and make practical use of, and it doesn’t cry out for me to say “made of what?” Furthermore, I’m convinced that we should be using continuum mechanics as our mathematical base rather than something obscure like “quantum mechanics.” I put quantization right up there with renormalization as mathematical gimmicks that are useful but not edifying as to what is reality. As you may have read earlier, I see objects, events, phenomena as what Unzicker has called “defects in a elastic solid,” where they can be accessed by this kind of math.
      Anyhow, I will make my way through your articles and papers and will comment as I go. Thanks again.

      Charles Scurlock

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