Archive for the ‘Physics’ Category

Gravitational waves and Einstein

Tuesday, February 16th, 2016

What did Einstein really say about gravitational waves?

First, the background. In almost twenty five years, no one has answered the objections I raised about Einstein. Namely that he did not fully understand the special theory of relativity invented by Poincare. Special relativity requires functional differential equations, as Poincare realised. But Einstein never understood that till the end of his life, and kept trying to approximate functional differential equations by ordinary differential equations which is manifestly a mistake. See my book Time: Towards a Consistent Theory (Kluwer Academic, 1994).

In the more recent series of articles on FDEs in Physics Education, the first article explains the mistake.

Sadly, though special relativity is a first year undergraduate subject, it continues to be taught incorrectly. Even at that elementary level, scientists go by the force of social authority, and just ignore the force of a scientific argument.

Further, even in the case of general relativity, it is known that Einstein had the wrong equations before Hilbert sent the right equations to him. Withing 5 days he then claimed he had suddenly and coincidentally arrived at the same equations independently of Hilbert, just as he claimed he suddenly and coincidentally arrived at the special theory of relativity shortly after Poincare’s article on it was published!

Now, the popular image of Einstein is as a great mathematician, but knowledgeable people understood that Einstein was ignorant of mathematics: as Hilbert said, “every boy in the streets of Goettingen knows more about 4-dimensional geometry than Einstein”. (more…)

Gravitational waves and RGT

Sunday, February 14th, 2016

A PhD student from IIT Madras asked me to comment on the reported discovery of gravitational waves in relation to my points about Einstein. My comments were as follows.

Any claim that the experiment has confirmed general relativity is wrong; scientific theories can only be refuted, never confirmed. It is faith which is confirmed.

My own theory of gravitation,  RGT (Retarded Gravitation Theory), was most recently explained in an expository paper.

There is no fundamental competition between GRT (General Relativity Theory) and RGT any more than there is a fundamental competition between Lorentz covariance and general covariance. One may however speculate on the generally covariant theory which would result if the flat spacetime limit is RGT, not Newtonian gravity, and so on.

After the solar system the galaxy and its structure is the next big problem in gravitation, not gravitational waves. However, it remains a fact that GRT cannot be used to understand the galaxy, which requires that we solve a billion body problem. At any rate the billion body problem in GRT could not be solved in the last century. It does not matter if GRT is the ultimate theory, for it has little practical value in the context of the galaxy. (more…)

Videos of MIT and IISc talks

Thursday, January 28th, 2016

The video of my MIT talk is now online at Calculus: the real story

The abstract and presentation were put up on an earlier blog

The video of my talk at Indian Institute of Science is also online Calculus: ganita or math?

Raju’s paradox: all formal mathematicians are fools

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015

For almost two decades now, I have been pointing out that formal mathematics (and much Western philosophy) is based on the false belief that proof based on two valued logic (”deduction”) is “superior” to empirical proof (”induction”). This belief is NOT universal (e.g. Indian mathematicians used empirical proofs, e.g. Buddhists used a different logic), it is NOT empirically certain (e.g. quantum logic), it is anchored in Crusading myth (e.g. there was no “Euclid”, and the book Elements begins with an EMPIRICAL proof, and ends with an EMPIRICAL proof of the “Pythagorean” “theorem”). Formalism, the prevailing philosophy of mathematics, arose from an attempt to “save” that rotten myth that Westerners did something “superior” in math. This math has religious roots in bad Crusading theology (Aquinas’ bowdlerization of al Ghazali that logic binds God). All this mythology and theology has NOTHING to do with any practical application of mathematics, mostly done on computers today, and can be safely eliminated (e.g. using zeroism) without diminishing the practical value of math by an iota. Doing so makes math easy, and actually improves science. That is, it leads to a truly superior math.

At a recent conference in Vizag, I even tried to initiate a public discussion on this, which mathematicians have avoided so far. However, a discussion did take place, and the draft minutes are posted at

In a more recent conversation with an award-winning formal mathematician, I was asked to give a concrete example of how formal mathematics can lead to wrong conclusions. I have already given examples such as the Banach-Tarski paradox, but they involve technicalities. So, here is a simple example.

Theorem: All formal mathematicians are fools.

Proof. Step 1. If Schrodinger’s cat is both alive and dead then all mathematicians are fools. (Instance of the tautology hence theorem of 2-valued logic that “A and not-A implies B”, where A and B are any propositions whatsoever.)

Step 2. It is an empirical fact that Schrodinger’s cat is both alive and dead. (More precisely, the cat is a macrophysical metaphor for an electron in the two-slit diffraction experiment: the electron both passes through a given slit 1 (A), and does not pass through it, i.e., passes through slit 2 (not-A). For more details see The Eleven Pictures of Time.)

Step 3. Therefore, all formal mathematicians are fools. (By modus ponens.)


Infinity, math, physics, and metaphysics

Friday, June 14th, 2013

Can physics be done without infinity as taught in math (real analysis) today? Someone demanded an explanation in an email sent to my son.  (I guess the Raju family has the same problem as the Bernoulli family in Europe!  :-) .)

Ordinarily, I would not have responded, for people ought not to demand an explanation by email without bothering to read or understand what I have already written. But, similar doubts were expressed by a young woman (with a PhD in functional analysis) who attended my talk in Ramallah. They may again arise in future. So, I decided to respond.

Infinity is metaphysics. Infinity relates to eternity, so that the Western concept of infinity in present-day math is saturated with the church metaphysics of eternity.

Ironically, the figure for infinity, ∞, is still shaped like a serpent coiled back on itself and eating its own tail, and is an old symbol of quasi-cyclic time.

The linkage of infinity to eternity led to the first creationist controversy: over the nature of eternity, not evolution. In the 6th c. John Philoponus objected to Proclus’ notion of eternity based on quasi-cyclic time. Philoponus’ problem was that if the cosmos is eternal (as Proclus conceived it) it would not be created. That creationist controversy is still going on.

For example, Stephen Hawking claimed the cosmos was created with a “singularity”. (A “singularity” is nothing but an infinity of some sort.)  He concluded his only serious scientific book by identifying the “singularity” with “the actual point of creation” where there is a breakdown of the “laws of physics”. This conclusion is pure metaphysics, for there is no way to check it empirically.

In his popular book, Hawking explained the point of this metaphysical conclusion: because the “laws of physics” break down at the “singularity”, that leaves God free to create the world of his choice. Note that this is in accordance with the Christian notion of one-time creation (and contrary to the Islamic notion of continuous creation, or the Buddhist notion of non-creation, or the “Hindu” notion of periodic creation and destruction). The church heavily promoted this “scientific proof” of the correctness of its (post-Nicene) Christian theology.

People may be suspicious of the church but they implicitly trust scientists today. And, though few  (perhaps 2 or 3 among the 1.25 billion in India) have read or understood Hawking’s scientific work, hundreds of millions of people strongly believe he is a great scientist. Such gullibility and implicit trust is bound to be exploited by the church, which is ever on the lookout for new ways of doing its propaganda. Few people are even aware that Hawking reached his conclusion by postulating his “chronology condition” which denies quasi-cyclic time, and does so using exactly the same bad argument that Augustine used against Origen,  and which argument is at the foundation of post-Nicene Christianity. So, what Hawking did was to use the metaphysics of infinity to promote the politics of the church, like Augustine.


The “God” particle and creationism

Monday, May 6th, 2013

Wow, the reports makes people believe that scientists have experimentally demonstrated the existence of God and the church notion of creation! Discount those people (who believe this) as gullible idiots if you like, but that is the constituency.Article on god particle

Retarded gravity

Sunday, May 6th, 2012

Presented this talk at a school at Petropolis, Brazil. Lorentz covariance requires that gravity be velocity dependent. But old physicists can’t get over the 19th c. idea, reiterated by Eddington, that introducing velocity dependence in gravity makes the two-body problem unstable! They never studied functional differential equations, and no physics texts yet mentions my first solution of functional differential equations in a serious physical context. Old-time physicists confuse the mathematical theory of ordinary differential equations with physics. But young people do better.


Islam and the Philosophy of Science

Saturday, May 5th, 2012

The Pusat Islam organized a talk on Islam and the philosophy of science. (Click the image for the paper. But the paper does not cover the queston of ethics of science, taken up during the talk.)

Einstein’s mistake and CERN experiment

Saturday, March 24th, 2012
For the last six months I have been repeatedly answering the question about superluminal neutrinos. I post below one such response from Sept 2011.
Einstein was, of course, wrong, but not for this reason. He (and most other physicists after him) wrongly thought relativity matters only for speeds close to light. That is true only for the one body problem. For the many body problem, relativity matters even at lower speeds. Einstein never understood this subtle mathematical point all his life.
CERN is wrong because the claim about superluminal neutrinos is conceptually confused. (But, of course, Western journalists superstitiously believe in the authority of CERN, “God particle” and all that. They have the money, so they must be right.)
—————email of 26 September—–
The point I made is that theory of relativity starts off by defining a clock. There is no God-given time out there to be measured, as Newton wrongly thought.
So what clock should one use?
If you do not know exactly how to measure time, you cannot measure velocity either, so it is meaningless to speak of velocities greater than that of light.
To understand the first thing about relativity, you must understand this point. (more…)

Islam and science

Sunday, February 19th, 2012

Another way to see the religious bias in present-day science (see previous post)  is to look at the way it is used to attack Islam. (Note: specifically science vs Islam, not science vs “religion”.)  See my paper on “Islam and Science” Indian Journal of Secularism, 15(2), 2011, pp. 14-29.

For example, consider the claim that Islam is anti-science because it does not believe in “laws of nature” or “laws of physics”.  As my paper explains, belief in “laws of nature” is part of the post-Crusade theology of Aquinas; it is no part of science. Newton himself believed that theology and thought that he was a prophet to whom God had revealed those laws. (He also thought he was born on 25 December.)  So, here we have a simple situation where science is pro-church but anti-Islam (as in Hawking’s singularities which support the church doctrine of creation against Islam).

It is true that people are still taught “Newton’s laws of physics” in school. But that is bad terminology which spreads church indoctrination. Because colonial education blindly imitates the West, this propaganda is still propagated through science teaching in schools which should have changed that long ago. Newton’s “laws” have proved to be false, and science cannot ever lay claim to any eternal truth. Science only constructs fallible models.