Article by Guy Blythman BA

EINSTEIN, HAWKING AND THE THEORY OF RELATIVITY - A PHILOSOPHICAL ANALYSIS Guy Blythman BA (1) It has occurred to me that some of what I have said here and elsewhere about time and time travel may contradict Einstein's Theory Of Relativity. I felt I would rather not do that if possible, in view of the consternation it would cause; however, no-one should be afraid to give voice to a controversial idea if they believe it to be the logical and inevitable consequence of their thinking. It should not be considered a heinous offence to question the authority of Einstein, as it was to question that of Aristotle a few hundred years ago. We must preserve the principle of intellectual freedom. Einstein is not a little tin god. He would not have seen himself in such a light; he had an engaging humility which makes him a far more likeable human being than, say, the vindictive and devious Isaac Newton. His humanity came before his ego. When the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima as an indirect result of his work, he is reported to have said "If I had known they were going to do that I would have become a shoemaker." In any case my argument is not, in fact, that the Theory of Relativity is wrong; it has been confirmed as accurate in various experiments. Rather, we should be careful concerning what exactly it is saying. Gravity, because of its cumulative effects over distance, influences everything which exists in what Einstein calls "Space-Time". It bends light waves, sound waves etc and also affects the atoms of which solid objects (including human beings and clocks) are made, causing meaurements of time to differ. Because gravity lessens/increases with relative distance from a body which exerts it, such as the Earth, the events by which we measure time happen more slowly. An observer on the ground hears and sees a different time from a clock than one high up on a tower, and thus further away from the earth, does from the same kind of clock. In addition to being bent by gravity and the curvature of the Earth, light and sound both have to travel a certain distance to get from A to B, no matter how fast they move (and light in particular, according to Einstein, travels very fast indeed). (Each observer is looking at/hearing their own clock not the other's, so it is not because of the distance sound and light have to travel that there is a difference between the results, the two sets of data). One might object that since light travels faster than sound, would there not be a strange interval between seeing the clock and hearing it tick? But there isn't, because the actual speeds of sound and light are not affected by distance except of course in that they take longer to get to their destinations. Light and sound will still travel at the same fixed speeds relative to one another. The sound will be heard, and the position of the clock hands observed, by each observer at the same fixed (for them) moments according to the speeds of sound and light respectively, as would occur anywhere and at any time, under experimental conditions or not. In neither observer's case is there any actual distortion of time, as we will see later. Despite the language sometimes used by relativists the clock itself does not affect time, by definition of its being essentially a device for measuring it and nothing else. It's merely that whatever affects the behaviour of everything in time will by that token affect the clock too, so it keeps in line with the changes. Apart from the fact that time doesn't exist to be influenced by it or by anything else, as we'll see later on, the clock is no more likely than any other mechanical instrument, such as a washing machine, an airliner or a soft drinks dispenser, to have any power over the succession of events. Clocks may not always be accurate in any case, since rather than forming part of the laws of nature they're designed by fallible human beings who don't even agree on the standards by which time should be reckoned, let alone maintain that standard properly from one moment to the next. Over very long distances, gravity will cause differences in the rate at which biological processes take place, so that an astronaut on a journey to a distant solar system (if such a journey were possible), would age at a slower rate than his brother back home on Earth. This is the famous "Twins Paradox", which isn't really a paradox at all; not because there's no such thing as absolute time, as relativists claim, but because it's only perceptions of time which are involved here and not the thing itself. All this is fine as far as it goes. Where I disagree with relativity theory is in its apparent claim that time is itself in some way responsible for the changes. I believe that Einstein, Stephen Hawking and all other scientists who have proceeded from an acceptance of the Theory of Relativity have allowed time to enter into their calculations without first establishing exactly what it is - something no scientist has ever effectively done. This is a serious error, though it may be due more to misuse of language than to anything fundamentally wrong with relativity theory itself. It is important to appreciate that Einstein didn't mean to suggest, for example, that time travel in the form encountered in science fiction is possible. "Passing back and forth through time like that entails horrendous logical problems in the workings of the Universe, which Einstein himself would abhor"(1). But he does appear to be saying that it can be malleable in a way I don't believe it is. And talk about "time" being warped by gravity tends to further such misapprehensions as the possibility of time travel. I have come across one sci-fi yarn in which the following conversation takes place: Doctor Who: "If you are looking at a distant star you may be seeing it as it was at the time of the birth of Jesus {longer ago than that surely?}. If that star, or sun, has a planet and there are people living on it with a telescope strong enough to observe events on Earth, what would they see?" Assistant: "The Romans invading Britain." Doctor Who: "...it puts to question the idea that time is inflexible. On Earth it was that chap Einstein who began to realise what was happening. Time, you see, moves at different speeds in different parts of the universe." In another book in this series, Einstein's theories are clearly cited as a reason for thinking time travel in the science fiction sense is feasible. The writer who penned this story, whatever his literary merits, was in any case a notoriously bad scientist. But we have to be on our guard against taking routes which will end in a cul-de-sac. Our task is to search for the truth and so we can't embrace ideas that are unsound merely because they make the universe more interesting (I say this with some regret). Apart from anything else it's a waste of intellectual effort. I think all of us would agree that time is certainly the continuation of things, and the perception of the universe which we have as a result of it. There is no actual evidence, on which all can be agreed, or even a hint of evidence, that it is anything else. However clever scientists may be in relation to philosophers, religious people etc, they have to admit that none of them have ever isolated and analysed a piece of "time" in a laboratory test tube, amalgamated it with any other substance in a centrifuge, bred it with something else to see how it's affected by natural selection, put it through a particle accelerator to see how fast it can go. Therefore we should be careful about how exactly we introduce it into our calculations about the nature of the universe and the behaviour of things in it. "A reversal of the familiar direction of time {so that, for example, people would die before they were born} cannot be dismissed out of hand because theorists do not yet know enough about time."(2) Quite so, but this very lack of knowledge about time means that we have no authority to speak of it the way the Theory of Relativity does. I doubt that when the scientists come to know more about time they will find that it can defy the laws of logic, which are the reason why it cannot be reversed. No scientific research can possibly prove what is purely and simply, in all possible worlds, im-possible. It is a scientific truth that matter cannot be created or destroyed. And if it cannot be destroyed, then logically it must continue to exist. It doesn't necessarily exist in anything other than basic particle form (though clearly it can or I wouldn't be sitting here at my word processor typing out this article). Although you can break it down into its constituent particles you can't destroy the particles themselves. If basic particles continue to exist then so must the things which are formed out of them, though not always in the same form (a collection of amino acids and proteins can come together to form a human being, and a human being will on death decompose until they break down again into their basic molecular constituents). We are therefore around to perceive the continuity. Only, of course, as long as we inhabit the kind of body that has the sense organs which enable it to do so, but if you take a materialistic non-Berkelian view of the universe then time would still be going on if there were no minds in existence at all. A follower of a monotheistic religion, particularly if they were a Berkelian, might see continuity in terms of an omnipresent, indestructible intelligence - a God - in which all things ultimately have their origin and their being. They might perhaps maintain that everything, including the phenomenon of existence, must be a concept in the mind because the concept of things not being so would essentially be a mental one. The mind continues in being because the idea of non-continuation is in the same category. Since we also are concepts in this universal mind - God's mind - and we share in His perceptions, we continue to exist for the same reasons that He does. My point is that whichever view you take of the cosmos, an idealist/religious view or a materialist/scientific one, things continue. That continuity creates time because it involves a succession of states - moments when things are in existence are followed by other moments in which they are still in existence - and a succession of states is essentially what we mean by "time". They may not always be the same states, not exactly; because things can change their nature. But they will be states, and they will succeed one another (generally in a forward progression; perhaps a backward one is possible, although for reasons which I'll go into later I do not think so). Time is not then a commodity, an entity, a thing; it is simply the product of a logical truth, namely that things must endure because they cannot be destroyed. Although it has a physical effect, namely the continued existence of matter and hence its ability to behave in this or that manner, it is itself an abstract quality. "Continuity" may be a fact but it is not something I can analyse in a laboratory or put in a box and hand to you with the words "here's some continuity for you, John." A property must be a property of a thing, and therefore since time isn't a thing it cannot have properties, such as the ability to move at different rates in different parts of the universe. It can't move in different directions, it can't be made to stop, it can't expand in size or become more or less widespread, it can't be influenced by any other agency, it can't be of different kinds in different parts of the Universe, because all those things imply malleability and malleability is a property. It is misleading for scientists describing how relativity theory works to speak of "regions of slower time", or of time "increasing". Nor is it analagous to an area of space, although for the sake of convenience I will be speaking of things existing and events occurring "within" time, as if it is; such language is correct in a metaphorical sense because if time is the continuity of things the continuity itself makes it a universal frame of reference. The particles which make up the universe both exist everywhere within it, even in so-called "empty" space, and are indestructible (meaning that if continuity is absolute, so too in a sense is time). Let's suppose that as I've argued above, logic brings time into existence by things being indestructible. But it won't do anything it doesn't have a brief for, that it has no reason to do, as such would be illogical. And at this stage it has no brief to make things of a particular nature, only to ensure that they continue to exist. So if logic means time is a reality, emerging inevitably from the continuity of things, that does not necessarily entail that it will have physical properties, such as flexibility. (Even if you insist that it might, in contradiction of everything I'm saying, we still have no proof that such is the case and therefore need to be extremely careful about how we introduce it into our equations). In fact, since the secondary properties of a thing must be derived from its essential nature, and time's essential nature is merely the fact of continuity, then time cannot have any secondary qualities which are physical because a physical quality cannot originate from an abstract one. Matter cannot be created out of nothing. (At this point I ought to stress that I am defining "physical" as anything which is made up of particles, or particles/waves, whatever the arrangement of those components which obviously differs considerably between, say, a light ray or a block of wood, a human being or a sound wave). Regardless of how it has been represented to us the Theory of Relativity, therefore, can only be describing how we perceive time. If perceptions of time are affected by gravity then obviously this would apply to the experiment which is used to verify the theory; so naturally it will be verified. It is not correct in respect of what time exactly is, if time is anything. If perceptions are all that matter, because they work in terms of providing us with necessary frames of reference, relativity theory remains extremely useful to humanity. Since we could not in any case react to an event until (a) it happened and (b) we knew about it, and we could not know about it until the sense-data from it (which in many cases would consist entirely of light and sound waves) have reached us, no practical difference is made to the human condition by drawing in this matter a distinction between perceptions and reality, as I have done. It might be too late to do something about the event, if something needed to be done, or it might not; but things have always been so. Though relativity theory gives us a model of the universe which suits us, it should not be confused with the real thing. The scenario of the astronaut and his twin brother, for example, merely describes the behaviour of entities that exist within time, not time itself; namely, the effects of gravity upon living organic tissue. Nor is the perception of time, the measurement of it, which results from such behaviour the same thing as its object, any more than a photograph of a person is quantitatively or qualitatively identifiable with the person themselves. Einstein appears to define time according to what happens in it; it is because he fails to realise that time must still be going on when nothing is happening that he is led to commit the error of talking about it as if it's malleable. The big flaw with relativity theory is that it defines time in terms of events rather than of continuation. In fact it is measurable by both, although continuation is the more difficult method for us to manage (how easy it might be for a God, or a being approaching him in ability, I cannot say). Events achieve the purpose by implying a period before they occur, a period during which they are occurring, and a period after they have occurred, and we find this particularly useful in reckoning what we call time. When not much is going on, though, we tend to lose our sense of time to some extent. This would happen to an extreme degree in the case of a kidnap victim who, let's suppose, had been injected with a paralysing drug so that they could not move or speak - in other words, could not cause or affect events going on around them, and so help provide themselves with a standard to judge time by - imprisoned in a locked room with no windows whose walls were soundproofed, and in which there was no clock, and left there. It would be possible for others, however, to know that time had been going on. Suppose the police found out what had happened to our victim and rescued them. Not having themselves been so imprisoned, they could confirm that a certain amount of time had elapsed between the person's plight being discovered and the rescue. In other words, moments in which the person was lying paralysed in their sealed room had been succeeded by other moments in which they were still lying paralysed in their sealed room. If nothing happened in the universe, but the things which performed actions merely existed, one could still say that a moment in which things were merely existing was succeeded by another such moment, and that succession of states would imply time. Ultimately therefore, time is absolute. Because things exist in time everything they do happens in time, the action of a thing being depending on its being around to do it. We therefore make the mistake of thinking that the action and the speed at which it is performed are determined in some way by time, acting as a concrete external agency operating on the things within it, and that the reverse can also occur. In fact the action merely contributes towards our awareness, and our measurement, of time, and does not interact with it in any other fashion. If it is particularly energetic it can make time appear to go faster, but this is not only something subjective to particular individuals who happen to be engaged in strenuous exercise, it is also merely a physical characteristic of human beings - of entities that exist within time - and thus more a matter of biology than of physics. It just means that if things continue existing they will also continue to perform whatever actions they are physically capable of, and because of the whole phenomenon of continuity they will also be continuing while they are acting (or the action would not logically be theirs). Time is inevitably a continuation of both existence and occurrence - within the same frame of reference, because one is dependent on the other. One of the implications of all I have been saying is that because the theory of relativity is only describing people's perceptions of time, or the behaviour of things within it, rather than making a statement about time itself, it is not necessarily correct in maintaining that time is not absolute. Measurements of time are not absolute because of the way our limited human nature affects our perception of events. Since logically the perception of a thing is different from the thing itself, Einstein in fact says nothing about the nature of "time" at all. As the fact of continuity is not altered by differences in the way time is perceived, time is absolute. It can of course appear to go faster for some than others, if one person is performing strenuous physical activity while their friend in the next room is not, although their measurements of it in terms of looking at the hand on a watch may be (roughly) the same. That's only because of the nature of our organic bodies, the rhythms of our physiology, and the way it affects our minds through the connections between our brains and the rest of us. If it tickles your fancy, you can say this means there's no absolute time. But there is absolute time if there's a God, because His point of view would be the definitive one; both in terms of how time was perceived, and in terms of what it was. We haven't proved that there isn't a God and so we can't leave Him out of our calculations. If He is what He, especially in Berkelian thinking, is cracked up to be by those who believe in Him; if he could see everything that happened in time, light rays etc, indeed was the light rays in a sense, then from his viewpoint there would be absolute time. We ourselves merely look at things from a limited human perspective. (2) The question of time occupies the brilliant mind of another, still-living physicist, namely Stephen Hawking. In A Brief History of Time he asks, and I think it is more convenient if I quote the passage in question at length: "Why do we remember the past but not the future? The explanation that is usually given as to why we don't see broken cups gathering themselves together off the floor and jumping back onto the table is that it is forbidden by the second law of thermodynamics. This says that in any closed system disorder, or entropy, always increases with time. "The increase of disorder or entropy with time is one example of what is called an arrow of time, something which distinguishes the past from the future, giving a direction to time. There are at least three different arrows of time. First, there is the thermodynamic arrow of time, the direction of time in which disorder or entropy increases. Then there is the psychological arrow of time. This is the direction in which we feel time passes, the direction in which we remember the past but not the future. Finally there is the cosmological arrow of time. This is the direction of time in which the universe is expanding rather than contracting. "Why does disorder increase in the same direction of time as that in which the universe expands? ".......Suppose...that God decided the universe should finish up in a state of high order but that it didn't matter what state it started in. At early times the universe would probably be in a disordered state. This would mean that disorder would decrease with time. You would see broken cups gathering themselves together and jumping back onto the table. However any human beings who were observing the cups would be living in a universe in which disorder decreased with time. I shall argue that such beings would have a psychological arrow of time that was backward. That is, they would remember events in the future, but not in the past. When the cup was broken they would remember it being on the table but when it was on the table they would not remember it being on the floor. "...our subjective sense of the direction of time, the psychological arrow of time, is determined within our brain by the thermodynamic arrow of time. We must remember things in the order in which entropy increases. "...what would happen if and when the universe stopped expanding and began to contract? Would the thermodynamic arrow reverse and disorder begin to decrease with time? This would lead to all sorts of science-fictionlike possibilities for people who survived from the expanding to the contracting phase. Would they see broken cups gathering themselves together off the floor and jumping back onto the table? Would they see broken cups gathering themselves together off the floor and jumping back onto the table? ?Would they be able to remember tomorrow's prices and make a fortune on the stock market? ?Another way to find out if this would happen} would be to jump into a black hole. The collapse of a star to form a black hole is rather like the later stages of the collapse of the whole universe. So if disorder were to decrease in the contracting phase of the universe, one might also expect it to decrease inside a black hole. So perhaps an astronaut who fell inside a black hole would be able to make money at roulette by remembering where the ball went before he placed his bet." (3) Hawking later became converted to the "no boundary" theory of the universe, in which disorder would increase during the contracting phase and there would thus be no reversal of the thermodynamic and psychological arrows of time. For the sake of understanding more about the Universe, however, we must identify the more basic reason why time can't travel backwards, which is to do with the fundamental structure of the universe. That structure must be one which obeys the law of logic since what contradicts logic is quite simply impossible. Nothing can happen without a reason - so everything is a matter of cause and effect. If an event has already occurred before its cause does, then it doesn't need a cause; it just happens to occur, for no reason, which is absurd. Since, then, cause must precede effect time in the universe must move in only one direction, and that is forwards. We are here talking about actions rather than continuation of being; but the "cause and effect" rule still applies because if things cannot be destroyed, the existence of something one moment will be the reason for its existing in the next. The rule would apply even in the case of black holes; whether or not the laws of science break down inside one, the laws of logic cannot. Cause-effect is identifiable with past-present. Or simply with present; it is true there are situations where cause and effect are simultaneous {e.g. the Earth losing heat during the night is simultaneous with it becoming cool as a result of the heat loss}. But since each stage in both the heat loss and the simultaneous cooling must precede the others for the process to take place and continue to its maximum extent, it is still a forward progression which is involved. A scenario where cause and effect are simultaneous might be taken as analagous to time standing still. However, if it stands still there are only two scenarios which can subsequently be realised. Either time starts moving again, in which case a point when it is static is followed by one at which it isn't, or it continues to be frozen, being so at one moment and still being so at the next; either contingency implies the succession which constitutes time. This has implications for those scientists who believe in the Big Bang. They believe time (along with relativity theory) breaks down at the singularity and so did not exist before the Big Bang. There is no reason why time should begin at one point, not having been in existence before; that would be unacceptably arbitrary. Since matter can't be created or destroyed, its continuity would have ensured time was occuring before the Big Bang (which was an outward expansion of matter from a certain highly condensed state, rather than its creation out of nothing at all). And if one believes in the no boundary theory and the universe has always been going on, then so has time. The direction of time can't be reversed because it means that the consequences of present or future events would be happening in the past. A backwards progression would also involve the nature of the human mind, a factor Hawking had ignored (but then, he's a scientist not a psychologist or a philosopher) in his calculations, being grossly (and grotesquely) distorted. Let us take the case of a man who, in the normal backward succession of events, is introduced to the woman who later becomes (has been) his wife, who thereupon forgets all about him. Her memory of him is completely erased. There may not seem to be anything impossible about this if we regard the electrons whose position in the brain constitutes memories as having simply taken up different positions. But it would seem to me that for qualitative reasons it is impossible to forget something entirely, once one has become aware of it. What is learned cannot be unlearned, what is known cannot become unknown. We speak of "memory loss" occurring in certain circumstances, but this does not mean that the memory is gone forever, rather that it cannot be recalled to the higher levels of consciousness. It always remains and can perhaps be brought back through therapy. Memory can be acquired, but it cannot be lost. We remember the past but not the future because it hasn't happened yet; by definition, it is never there to be seen, and thus remembered. Something can only become a memory if it first occurs as an event, or exists as an entity; if it does not, it can't be perceived by any of the human senses, including - since this is a logical and therefore an absolute truth - any sixth, seventh, eighth etcetera sense which at the moment we are not sure if we possess. It therefore doesn't enter into our consciousness. (3) So there we are. The way relativity theory is described leads to serious misconceptions which badly distort our view of the cosmos we live in. The reason why this did not occur to Einstein and does not occur to his followers is because they were/are scientists and not philosophers, and the former don't think they are answerable to the latter. The mistake they made is not allowed to seem very important because of the poor standing of philosophy in the modern world. And as long as people continue to listen to scientists rather than philosophers it will be impossible to clear up the confusion. Many, I am sure, would ask: "How can the confusion possibly have arisen in the first place? There isn't one, surely. It's a matter of plain facts. Einstein was one of the greatest scientists who ever lived, if not the greatest. Guy Blythman, on the other hand, isn't a qualified scientist, he's a philosopher, and in any case experiments have proved Einstein's theories to be correct. Given the choice, I know which out of the two I'd believe. Einstein must be right." But it becomes plausible if one appreciates that from fallibility, rather than stupidity - which is hardly a characteristic of theirs - or a deliberate attempt to deceive Einstein and other scientists have been using a kind of language peculiar to their discipline, one which is very different from that in which philosophers might speak and not always the correct one to use. Einstein talks as if the perception of time is the same thing as time itself, or effectively so, but judged from a purely philosophical viewpoint things may seem very different. The scientific way of looking at things has merely been accepted, rather than the philosophical way, because scientists are more popular and well-known to the general public and because philosophers by their own insistence tend to write in a very abstruse fashion which isn't easily comprehensible to ordinary people. Philosophers have made things worse for themselves by being over-concerned with language (even though it has proved necessary to talk about it here) and by being too narrow and elitist in their approach to their subject, not allowing outsiders - talented people who just don't happen to have the right qualifications - to contribute to their journals. The scientists themselves certainly appear to believe they hold the Ark of the Covenant. Nigel Calder believes that our lack of knowledge about time has been since Einstein "a problem for physicists, not philosophising."(4) The first thing that needs to be said about this suggestion that scientists alone can explain the Universe is that it's very arrogant and very misleading. I have already indicated by this very article that philosophy can supply some of the answers Calder seeks, because it uses a different but no less valid - except perhaps in its use of language - method of reasoning. Some scientists seem to positively prefer rubbishing philosophy, from a conscious or unconscious desire to neutralise anything which offers a serious challenge to their ascendancy. Hawking writes rather mockingly of the decline in its status within society: "The people whose business it is to ask why, the philosophers, have not been able to keep up with the advance of scientific theories. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, science became too technical and mathematical for the philosophers, or anyone else except a few specialists. Philosophers reduced the scope of their inquiries so much that Wittgenstein, the most famous philosopher of this century, said: "The sole remaining task for philsosophy is the analysis of language." What a come-down from the great tradition of philosophy from Aristotle to Kant!" (5) Not so. Philosophers are simply using different methods of enquiry. He also at one point describes the work of Immanuel Kant as "very obscure"(6; Kant is not obscure to a philosopher, even one who disagrees with his ideas. It is not true, as you will realise from perusing any philos-ophical journal, that modern philosophers are only concerned with analysing language. Merely because not all philosophers think alike, because not all people don't, Wittgenstein's approach has come to be reconsidered in recent decades. As for science proving too difficult for philosophers to understand, that applies only to the detail; the basic aspects of relativity theory or natural selection are well within the capacity of any sufficiently intelligent person. Since the finer, more complex details of a theory are derived from its basic points, if one demonstrates philosophically that the existence of God, for example, is compatible with the basic details then it must also be compatible with the finer. In seeking to explain the universe philosophers must not be deterred by the fact that they are not scientists. If there appears to be a difference between scientific logic and philosophical logic, it is not necessarily the latter which is wrong. In fact though the difference is an illusion, because by definition there is only one kind of logic; either something goes against the laws of reason or it does not. Therefore if by logic a philosophical principle is correct, any scientific principle which contradicts it must be incorrect. If something is philosophically valid then it must be scientifically valid too because science and philosophy are merely different ways of describing the same universe, the same system, even though they may use different terminology to describe the same things, or confine themselves much of the time to different aspects of the system. I say again, it isn't that the scientists are wrong about relativity, only that they exaggerate its full importance in describing things. Any actual inaccuracy there appears to be in their statements is due merely to misuse of language. Philosophers and scientists therefore can, and should, accept that they both have crucial roles to play in understanding the universe: one looking at things from a physical, materialist point of view and the other dealing with the science of abstract qualities. They need to function as partners, not rivals. One final point which ought to be addressed. Einstein and his relativist followers speak of "Space/Time" being warped by gravity. Like other things about relativity theory this needs to be understood as not literally true. Again, it is the poor use of language which makes this necessary. If time, as we have I trust established, is not a physical entity it can have no shape and therefore can't be curved. As for space, if it is infinite it cannot be curved, because that implies something exists other than it, to form a background against which it possesses its shape. Since there is no logical reason why space should begin or end at any particular point, it must be endless - at any rate we haven't conclusively proved that it isn't, and that Einstein's use of language is therefore correct. Newton is thought of as having proved there was no absolute space, but by "absolute space" I am talking of space as in extension, rather than the qualities - gravity, light, sound, radiation etc - which exist within it, rather than the location of something within it (there is another potential cause of confusion here, again one that arises from incorrect and misleading use of language, which needs to be cleared up). Einstein is really not so much saying that space is curved, but that what makes it up is curved. Everything in space, and no area of space is empty but is instead made up of particles, is curved by gravity. It is a series of curves - which, if space is infinite, must be an infinite series of curves. The area in which those curved things exist is another matter. That is all I have to say. I have no quarrel with the E=MC2 equation as it is simply a statement about the nature of the entities which exists within time rather than about the nature of time itself; the same applies to the dictums that nothing can travel faster than light and that light's speed is always constant. And though scientists are more inclined to take religious people seriously if they can understand such concepts, relativity theory has no bearing on the question of God's existence. Einstein himself didn't think so, for he believed in a divine Creator despite having rejected organised religion. Just as Newtonian physics wasn't a definitive description of the universe, neither is Einsteinian physics. The theory of relativity isn't the full story because it concentrates on perceptions of things within time rather than on time itself. Maybe the full story involves accepting the idea of a creative intelligence lying at the heart of everything; it is not Einstein's Universe that we live in, it is God's Universe and to understand how it functions we must understand Him. But whatever the answer is, it can only be found by radically revising our view of the relationship between science and philosophy and along with it, perhaps, our whole early twenty-first century cosmic view. SOURCES CONSULTED Nigel Calder, Einstein's Universe (BBC 1979) Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time REFERENCES (1) Calder p101 (2) Calder p147 (3) Hawking ch 9 p144-53 (4) Calder p147 (5) Hawking p174-5 (6) Hawking p7