INTRODUCTIONThe equations of the theory of relativity have been verified by experiment, and are therefore valid beyond question. But this does not prove that the theory is true. Agreement with experiment is only a necessary condition, not a sufficient one. Just what is required to obtain sufficiency is a very complex philosophical issue known as the problem of induction. Even Ayn Rand did not have a complete answer, but I believe she identified the essential requirement: integration. Everyone who learns the theory of relativity initially thinks that it is very strange and encompasses many "weird" effects. It is usually taught by professors who take delight in confounding their students with talk of traveling twins who age at different rates; twenty foot long cars inside of ten foot long garages; space that is "curved" so that if you keep traveling in a straight line, you eventually arrive back at your starting point; and the velocity addition law, where c + c = c. The students eventually become acclimated as they work through all the standard exercises and learn the mathematics. They emerge from their courses with the resignation that the universe is just a strange place, and thank God that Einstein figured it out, because they never could have. But the universe is not strange at all, it is only the theory that is strange, because it does not integrate well with the rest of our common knowledge about the world. If the theory is wrong this is not suprising, but if you believe the theory is right then you must accept that your common sense is wrong. Simple concepts like length, time, and velocity, become complex and mysterious. Vibrating waves exist without any *thing* that is vibrating. Effects occur without any causes. Students give up hoping to ever aquire an intuitive understanding. And it's all unnecessary. In the articles that follow I will discuss and compare the theory of relativity, and the Lorentz ether theory, its alternative. I will show how the former can not be integrated with the rest of physics while the latter can. I will show that the reason for this is that the former uses concepts which are based on mutable standards, while the latter correctly uses only absolute standards. When I have finished, I think you will be convinced (especially those advanced enough to follow the math) that the theory of relativity is not consistent with Objectivism, while the Lorentz ether theory is, and you will understand what the theory of relativity actually means. Return to home page