REACTIONS and REVIEWS
“After a few pages, you will see that there is obviously very much that is wrong with the standard Big Picture—the Big Bang, quasars, et al. Larson ticks off anomalies and unfounded speculations one after the other. For example, all stars regardless of age possess some heavy elements, but theory does not account for all of them. Whence the X-ray background of the universe? Is the General Theory of Relativity viable? After finishing this book, you may wonder if there is any firm ground left for the astronomer to stand upon.”
A Review by Henry A. Hoff
Any student of Velikovsky, as yet unfamiliar with Dewey B. Larson, might wonder from the title of this book if it contains a compendium of facts presented by Velikovsky and his supporters that have been neglected by the scientific establishment. It is certainly a book of facts neglected by the establishment, but no book of 131 pages could present that many facts. Instead, it is a book of facts, evident from Larson’s theory of the physical universe, that is certainly of interest to interdisciplinarians and may be of great importance to Velikovskians.
Velikovsky was raised and educated in Europe, while Larson is pure Americana. He was born on the plains of North Dakota in 1898 and spent his early years in Idaho. After an interruption for World War I in which he served as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Coast Artillery, he pursued an engineering degree from Oregon State University. After graduating in 1922, he was licensed by the State of Oregon as a mechanical engineer.
Although Larson and Velikovsky are alike in their insatiable curiosity and their drive to understand causal forces, their approaches differ drastically. Velikovsky ventured into ancient history and astronomy from his research in psychoanalysis and developed an electromagnetic theory of the solar system, applicable to the Universe. Larson, on the other hand, explored theoretical physics from his background in mechanics and developed his physical theory based on motion.
To even begin the task of creating his own physical theory, Larson had to become familiar with prevalent theories. He is not an academian nor a researcher of the “Establishment”. In the preface of one of his earlier books, Nothing But Motion (1974), he described himself as an “uncommitted investigator”. Such an investigator is free of the economic politics of establishment science. Larson is an amateur in this sense only. In the course of his research, he has noted observations and theoretical facts deduced in his theory that have been and continue to be neglected by the professionals; hence this his latest book.
At the heart of his theory and the first concept he presents to the reader is what he calls scalar motion. A scalar is the magnitude of a vector. In Larson’s theory it is a motion itself. The concept is difficult to convey and Neglected Facts is written to help explain, as well as to point out evidence from astronomy, that scalar motion and its variety of forms exist.
His universe of scalar motion, called the Reciprocal System of Theory, is algebraic and 3D Euclidean, making it a complex entity to visualize. It has many surprises. Motion, not matter, not energy, not charge, is the basic entity that occurs in discrete units. The concept of objects moving and the interactions of these objects inside a container (the science of kinematics) seems intuitively obvious, as does the idea that all effects must have their causes within the container. Larson claims these ideas are wrong. In his theory there is no “container” for objects to move around in. To him the “container” is a local imperception. He conceives of causes outside this subjective “container” of our holocentric viewpoint, producing effects inside the “container”. This exterior causal zone he refers to as the inverse or cosmic sector of the universe (where antimatter exists).
There is what Larson refers to as “distributed scalar motion”. He introduces this idea in his first chapter “Fundamentals” and refers to a variety of its possible forms throughout the text. Any such motion : can have either an inward or an outward direction, yet has no pinpointable reference frame. When a reference frame is assigned, an object is created relative to that reference frame. And the object can be observed to follow any path.
This property of distributed scalar motion is one “neglected fact”. Throughout the text he labels observations of or deductions about scalar motion as either neglected, disregarded, or unrecognized facts. It would have been a great help to the reader if Larson had included a table of these facts somewhere. With this table the reader could locate appropriate pages and gain a clearer understanding of these facts.
Larson does say that some facts have much more significant consequences than others. These he calls crucial facts. The existence of distributed scalar motion is such a fact. When the “disregarded fact” that every fundamental force must originate from a fundamental motion is considered, distributed scalar motion is found to explain the fundamental forces. It is found to explain electric charge and mass (inertial and gravitational).
In Chapter 2 he mentions that distributed scalar motions can have up to three dimensions, only one of which can be seen at any time from a local reference frame. That one is seen in three dimensions locally. These concepts do not appear to be deducible from what he’s presented in Neglected Facts but instead appear to come out of nowhere. Unfortunately, it gives the reader the feeling that Larson is inventing “bizarre devices” - for his own theory - just like the ones he says others have invented to get Relativity theory to work: These concepts concerning distributed scalar motion are introduced in his previous books; and through the use of these multidimensional distributed scalar motions, Larson is able to unify electricity, magnetism, and gravity. If the motion is one dimensional, it is electric motion; two dimensional, it is magnetic; and three dimensional, gravitational.
Velikovskians will find his discussions of gravity interesting. Larson makes no mention of Velikovsky’s theory that gravitation is an electromagnetic phenomenon. To Velikovsky there is no need for gravity to act instantaneously or to be unique. Larson, on the other hand, claims that it is a unique force derivable directly from motion, and that it does act instantaneously (a “neglected fact”). But Larson’s point of view may be true only if gravitation is indeed the phenomenon being observed. Should local manifestations that are called gravitation prove to be electromagnetic phenomena, it may mean that Larson’s concept of gravitation needs to be reassessed.
Larson also tackles the idea of an absolute speed limit. He is willing to say that the absolute limit of the speed of light is erroneous. His limiting value of the total scalar speed of an object is 3c, not c.
Time is not immune to new interpretation either. In the Reciprocal System, time can have three independent dimensions (an “unrecognized fact”). And space can move. These phenomena are the results of Larson’s postulation that space and time have meaning only in the motion equation. There is motion and direction in time, but not “time travel”.
The reader should be prepared for some mind-wrenching mental gymnastics that involve the fundamental aspects of Newtonian mechanics and its prodigy. The book is not easy to read. But doing so gives a healthy appreciation of the fundamental doubts many of the celestial minds of physics have toward mechanics, principally, and electromagnetics to a much lesser degree. Larson has included a good many sentences on the flaws of Relativity. He demonstrates that the elevation of the theory of Relativity above physical facts has produced the dangerous situation of discrediting the value of objective truth. His name can be added to the long list of scientists and mathematicians who have been pointing out again and again what is wrong with Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, yet it seems to fall on deaf ears.
The size of objects discussed—after he explains electricity, magnetism, and gravity - expands to include white dwarfs, quasars (as reported in his Quasars and Pulsars published in 1971), and supernovae. Ultimately, he discusses the current cosmological theories and shows how his theory, by attending to those facts neglected by others, does not need a Big Bang. The end result of his cosmological discussion is a cyclic or Steady State universe of motion in which there is a dynamic equilibrium between the cosmic sector and the material sector (where we are).
Of the observational facts Larson mentions in Neglected Facts none are laboratory reproducible. There is an inherent danger, then, in claiming that astronomically observable facts, not laboratory producible, show the existence of, or are the real effects named in, a theory. The danger lies in the unknown limitations that allow reproducibility of the phenomena being observed. Until these limitations are known, any theory that provides a description, which reasonably matches the observational facts, may be correct. It is for this very reason, that Larson’s theory of motion needs to be considered. He does present some laboratory results in his books The Structure of the Physical Universe (1959) and The Case Against Nuclear Atom (1963).
Neglected Facts is an informative, well-organized book that flows steadily. After each section of presenting theoretical facts, Larson then presents physical and astronomical observations that may indeed represent the phenomena of his theory.
His efforts provide much food for thought.
Answer by D. B. Larson
Scalar Motion and Scalar Dimensions
In his review of The Neglected Facts of Science (KRONOS IX:2, pp. 70-73), Henry A. Hoff suggests that the two unobservable scalar dimensions are introduced ad hoc. Actually, they are necessary consequences of the existence of scalar motion, which, as I have shown, is established by observation. In a three-dimensional universe there are obviously three dimensions of that motion. That is what the concept of three-dimensionality means.
Hoff’s problem in this case is the same as that of many others. They take it for granted that they know what the word “dimension” means, but they are thinking of geometric dimensions. The dimensions of scalar motion are purely mathematical, not geometric. The whole point of my discussion in Chapter 2 of The Neglected Facts of Science is that only one of the three scalar (mathematical) dimensions can be represented in the three spatial (geometric) dimensions of the conventional reference system. The other two scalar dimensions of motion are unobservable.
Dewey B. Larson, Portland, Oregon
Henry A. Hoff replies:
In the preface to The Neglected Facts of Science, Dewey B. Larson explains that his book is purely factual rather than purely theoretical, which was the case in his earlier books on motion. As such he is not obliged to demonstrate where concepts such as multi- dimensional scalar motion come from. To the reader working through Chapter 2, it is not intuitively obvious why any one of the three dimensions of scalar motion can have three local reference frame, Euclidean dimensions whenever a fixed reference frame is in use. A footnote to the appropriate page of Nothing But Motion would have sufficed.
Larson has written Neglected Facts more from his point of view than from the readers. The reader looks through conventional geometric “eyes” and tries to envision what Larson is talking about. To the geometrician, the idea of multi-dimensional scalar motion seems ad hoc because scalar motion seems ad hoc. That most galaxies demonstrate a red shift does not prove either Larson’s contention that scalar motion exists, that these galaxies are all receding or that we are observing “tired” light because of the great distances involved. Astronomical observations cannot establish any theoretical concept; however, theoretical concepts can be used to explain astronomical observations and even predict new phenomena so as to lend credibility to the theory.
The point Larson makes in his letter that the dimensions of scalar motion are purely mathematical is an important one. By theorizing that scalar motions have a potential of nine degrees of freedom (three scalar dimensions) from which, for any conventional physical reference frame, any three (one scalar dimension) can be operating, he allows ample mathematical freedom to describe observations recorded in the conventional physical frame. This added mathematical freedom coupled to a commutative algebra has apparently allowed him to unify the previously nonunifiable “fields” or forces of physics.