Today is another bit of rubbish from viXra! In the comment thread from the last post, someone (I presume the author of this paper) challenged me to address this. And it’s such a perfect example of one of my mantras that I can’t resist.
What’s the first rule of GM/BM? The worst math is no math.
And what a whopping example of that we have here. It’s titled “Spacetime Deformation Theory”, by one Jacek Safuta. I’ll quote the abstract in its entirety, to give you the flavor.
The spacetime deformations theory unifies general relativity with quantum mechanics i.e. unifies all interactions, answers the questions: why particles have mass and what they are, answers the question: what is energy, unifies force fields and matter, implies new theories like spacetime deformations evolution.
This is a theory of principle (universal theory delivering description of nature) and not constructive theory (describing particular phenomenon using specific equations).
The theory is falsifiable, background independent (space has no fixed geometry), not generating singularities or boundaries.
This is hard to believe but a belief has nothing to with it. The real intellectual challenge is to falsify the theory.
So, we’ve got what the author claims is a grand unification theory – the one thing that has evaded the best minds of the last hundred years! And it’s falsifiable! Wow!
Unfortunately, as we’ll see, it’s not falsifiable in any meaningful way, because it doesn’t make any predictions.
One of the important qualities of a genuine scientific theory is that it makes predictions. That is, a theory isn’t a vague bundle of words; it’s something precise, which describes some aspect of reality to a sufficient degree of details that it allows a scientist to make predictions, and then perform a test in reality that checks whether or not the prediction is correct. The most important property of a prediction is its potential to be wrong. A testable theory makes a prediction which isn’t guaranteed to be correct.
As a quick aside, this is the difference between intelligent design and evolution. ID can take any evidence, and say “That’s what the designer wanted”. Mike Behe can predict that there are no “irreducibly complex” systems. But when push comes to shove, he never defines irreducibly complex in a testable way. He can conclude that some system is IC; but if it’s proved that it’s not, that doesn’t invalidate ID. It just shows that that one system isn’t IC – and he’ll just wave his hands and point at another dozen that he claims are. Even if you could get him to accept the idea that IC isn’t a proof of anything, ID remains perfectly fine: there’s nothing that can invalidate it.
Evolution is thoroughly falsifiable. It predicts, for example, that all living things have a common ancestor. And test after test has supported that. If you can show a single species that isn’t derived from the common ancestor, evolution goes down. If you can show a single feature of a single species that really couldn’t have been the result of evolution, then evolution goes down.
In the case of our friend Jacek, he’s got a non-falsifiable “theory”. It’s so woefully vague that there’s nothing in the world that could possibly falsify it. It’s got plenty of problems, but due to its vagueness, any problem that could potentially be used to falsify it can be handwaved away.
So what’s his theory? Basically that everything is a distortion of spacetime. What appears to be a particle is really just a distortion of spacetime – a sort of pinch in the fabric of space around the location of the point. Forces are also distortions in spacetime – they’re just shaped differently.
To quote him:
Any interaction between spacetime deformations we notice as a force: we named them gravitational, strong and weak nuclear and electromagnetic. Any spacetime deformation (a physical object) interacts (a force) with all other objects (being the force itself!)
A differentiation of forces depends only on gradient and size of the deformation subject to our detection. (see exemplary Figure 1).
Read: all interactions (forces) are only spacetime deformations with different geometry!
So – all forces are the same deformations of spacetime. The only distinction between the forces comes from the gradient and size of the spatio-temporal distortion.
OK, here’s one potential falsifier: he’s claiming that gravity and electromagnetic forces are exactly the same thing. Why does a magnet only attract certain things, instead of everything? It’s just a distortion in spacetime, right? He specifically claims that the differentiation of forces depends only on the gradient and size of the deformations. Gravity attracts everything equally. Magnetism attracts some things, and repels others. How can the same distortions behave so differently if they only differ in gradient and size?
Of course, he can wiggle out of that. Throw in a couple of extra dimensions, and claim that different dimensions distort differently. So the difference between forces could be their size and gradients in different dimensions. Presto! Easy.
After this, he gets to something that he seems to believe is profound:
3.11. Finally, we can ask the question: what is pressure? And answer: it is a spacetime deformation.
I’d love to know who asked that question? Or rather, who asked that question without knowing the answer? Since when is the nature of pressure a problem?
Now, we move on to the very best part. He’s got an entire section that’s titled “Mathematics”. It starts off with the statement:
Hooke’s law in simple terms says that strain is directly proportional to stress.
Tensor expression of Hooke’s Law
(The incomplete second sentence is exactly as it appears in the
What does Hooke’s law have to do with anything? He never says. The rest of the “mathematics” section is essentially content free.
There’s one drawing that is supposedly an example of a particle in spacetime. What kind of particle? Unspecified. What are the axes? Unspecified. What’s the magnitude? Unspecified.
Then, there’s a couple of bell-curves, which supposedly illustrate the “spacetime density of nuclear matter”. They’re just absolutely traditional illustratory statistical bell-curves, with no unit on the Y-axis, and the x-axis measured in standard deviations. Standard deviations from what? He doesn’t bother to say. (In fact, in the bibliography, he credits the bell-curve illustrations to wikipedia.)
And that’s the end of the paper. That’s it.
For a supposed GUT, it’s really missing a lot of things. For example, it claims to explain the nature of particles – they’re distortions in spacetime. But the problem for the theory is, particles only occur in certain, very limited forms. There are only 12 kinds of particles. If it’s all just continuous distortions in spacetime, then why aren’t there a continuum of particle sizes? Why does charge come in discrete units? Why do electrons only exist in discrete energy levels, instead of a continuum? The theory doesn’t explain this. It seems like it predicts a continuum of particle sizes/strengths. But we can’t falsify it that way, because it’s too vague. He can wave his hands, and claim that there’s some reason for it.
He clearly states that there’s no wave-particle duality: “The wave-particle duality notion is not necessary any more as wave and particle are the same thing. We can assume a particle to be a transverse or longitudinal wave.” And yet, there are very concrete experiments – the dual slit experiment – that can demonstrate both non-particle wave behavior, and non-wave particle behavior. As described, his theory can’t explain that. But we can’t say that it falsifies it either, because once again, there’s just not enough precision here to say, definitively, what he means by “assume a particle to be a transverse or longitudinal wave”.
It’s really quite an astonishingly bad pile of rubbish. And despite the author protestations to the contrary, it’s a perfect example of a non-falsifiable pile of rubbish, because it lacks anything approaching the precision or completeness that would allow it to make a falsifiable prediction.