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Friday, October 21, 2011

How Einstein Ruined Physics

Roger Schlafly, a mathematician who was awarded his Ph.D. by the University of California at Berkeley, takes on one of our country's sacred cows when he attacks Albert Einstein. Time Magazine proclaimed Einstein the greatest man of the 20th century, and he is universally admired. But Roger Schlafly debunks Einstein's inflated reputation in a new book entitled How Einstein Ruined Physics. This book is a fascinating discussion of the history of relativity, and of famous experiments in motion, symmetry, and revolution in science. Schlafly explains the ten crucial ideas of relativity and proves that Einstein was behind the curve on all of them. Einstein did not discover relativity. Papers explaining relativity had been published by distinguished scientists years earlier.

Nevertheless, many writers invented and perpetuated the myth that Einstein created relativity. They also claimed that Einstein did this by applying pure thought about how the world ought to be, while ignoring important earlier scientific experiments. They called Einstein's method a "scientific revolution" or a "paradigm shift."

The "paradigm shift" is the theory that suddenly a young brilliant person, who does not rely on scientific experiments, declares that the authorities are all wrong and he has a new theory. This anti-scientific approach caught on like acceptance of an irrational fad even though it is contrary to common-sense notions of scientific progress based on facts and experiments that can be observed and duplicated.

Schlafly convincingly demolishes the portrayal of the history of science in terms of spontaneous paradigm shifts. The writers who espouse these theories about paradigm shifts usually say they are following the example of the great Albert Einstein, but Schlafly's book shows how destructive that argument is to genuine scientific progress.

Listen to the radio commentary here:

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