Saturday, October 29, 2011

Competitor trashes my book

I finally got my book listed for sale on Google Books, and I just got a one-star review on Amazon by the author of some competing relativity books:
Undoubtedly, the author has done a very thorough historical research on the origin of the Special Relativity Theory (SRT), and needs to be commended for that. Doubtlessly as well, and unfortunately, he has (hopefully unknowingly) distorted most of those historical facts to prove his preordained thesis: that Einstein stole SRT from the other two giants of the time, Poincare and Lorentz. I could say so much about those distortions but it is enough to cite what Lorentz himself said in 1927:

"Only the true time existed for me. I regarded the transformation of time merely as a heuristic working hypothesis. Thus, the theory of relativity is, in fact, exclusively Einstein's product."

After citing this Lorentz's excerpt in page 150, the author goes through an unbelievably convoluted and twisted argumentation to conclude that "Lorentz did not have any conceptual misunderstanding". What? So a giant of Science had 22 years to meditate about what his most deep intellectual working process was at the time of the SRT birth; on top of it, he has the honesty and nobility of acknowledging it, giving credit to Einstein... and Dr. Schlafly has the nerve of telling Lorentz -the protagonist- what his real understanding was? Remarkable! I could go on and on but I would lose my scientific spirit.
Lorentz was a humble and generous man who scrupulously credited others. He wrote that the chief difference between his theory and Einstein's was that Einstein postulated what was previously proved. That was also the opinion of others at the time, and of some historians today. Lorentz admitted that he did not discover relativistic clock synchronization, but Poincare did years before Einstein. This book demonstrates that Lorenta was correct.

Einstein, by contrast, was a publicity-seeking egomaniac who never credited anyone for anything, if he did not have to. It is ridiculous to assign credit for relativity to Einstein just because Lorentz was more gracious.

Many people describe atomic bombs as converting mass into energy according to Einstein's formula. Maybe Felix Alba-Juez's book describes it differently. Yes, energy is conserved, but it is still useful to describe bombs as releasing energy.

My book repeatedly makes the point that there are often multiple legitimate interpretations of a theory. The Lorentz contraction can be interpreted as an electromagnetic effect on molecular forces, or a property of how we measure space and time. The book says, "Today the preferred view is that relativity is a property of spacetime itself, and Einstein adopted that view after Minkowski popularized it in 1908." [p.101] A recent and well-regarded Einstein biography said, "In a way, the message of relativity theory was that physics was not about real objects, rather, it concerned the measurement of real objects." But that biography also admits that Einstein did not say that. [p.106] The book has a detailed analysis of just what were the main ideas of relativity, and who was responsible for them.

I agree that the discerning reader should get the facts and decide for himself. My book quotes the original sources and gives footnotes to verify everything. Most of the sources are freely available on the web.


  1. I'm sure you were expecting it. There seems to be an interesting stark contrast going in the reviews and review comments - maybe you've set the ball rolling.

  2. Yes, I was expecting worse. I would be happy to send a free book to any Einstein scholar who wants to review it. Then maybe we would have some more substantial criticisms.