Dewey B. Larson
755 N.E. Royal Court
Portland, Oregon 97232
February 8, 1986
The new issue of Reciprocity arrived. This is the most professional looking issue that has been put out thus far.
There are no new developments of any significance at this end of the line. However, I have an idea for a “letter to the editor” that I would like to throw out for your consideration. Considerable attention is currently being given to a claim by a group of astronomers that they have discovered evidence of the existence of a “fifth force” that acts in opposition to gravitation. It appears to me that this provides an opening for someone— and it might as well be you to write a letter pointing out that the existence of such a force has been recognized by investigators for almost fifty years. As I have noted in my publications, the fact that many physical phenomena require the existence of some kind of an “antagonist” to gravitation was emphasized by Karl Darrow, a prominent physicist, in a 1942 article in the Scientific Monthly (now combined with Science). You could cite this, and then go on to say that more recently D. B. Larson has come up with a detailed account of the origin and nature of this opposing force.
Of course, some indication of the nature of this explanation will have to be included. It is rather difficult to say enough to give the reader an idea of what we are talking about without making the letter so long that it will not be given consideration for publication, but I think that something along the line of the following should be acceptable:
Larson’s premise is that the nature and magnitude of the antagonist to gravitation can be determined from the behavior of those physical entities that are not subject to any substantial gravitational effects. We can conclude that these entities are subject to the opposing force only. Three classes of such objects can be identified: (1) photons of radiation, (2) neutrinos and other massless particles, and (3) galaxies at extreme distances where the effect of gravitation is negligible. All three of these classes of objects follow exactly the same pattern. They move outward at the speed of light. Thus we can conclude that all physical objects are moving outward at the speed of light relative to the conventional spatial reference system. At the very short distances of our ordinary experience this outward motion, and the corresponding force, are negligible in comparison to the effect of gravitation, but the outward motion is constant, while gravitation decreases with the distance. At very great distances, therefore, the outward motion predominates, and the distant galaxies recede. The origin of the outward motion is not specifically indicated by the observations, but it can easily be deduced that is a motion of the absolute reference system for scalar motion relative to our arbitrary system of reference.
I suggest that you cook up a letter somewhat along these lines, and send it to one of the scientific journals in which a report of the “fifth force” research has appeared. With some change in wording, it could perhaps be sent to more than one of them. It would be well to include the New Scientist, which had a news item on the “fifth force” in the most recent issue that has arrived here. The reception that you got from Dr. Gribbin was not exactly encouraging, but he did say, in his letter of June 28, 1986, that he would consider mentioning my work as a “scientific speculation.” I believe it would be in order to call his attention to this, and to say that if he still has it in mind, he might like to know that I have dealt extensively with the kind of an antagonist to gravitation that is now getting publicity in the scientific journals. Since we do not know just how the “letters to the editor” are handled by this journal, it would probably be advisable to address the letter for publication to the “editor” in the usual manner, and send a copy to Dr. Gribbin, along with whatever you have to say to him personally.
In this connection, it might be advisable to point out to Gribbin that my conclusions in the two physical areas involved in the “fifth force” situation are the only ones that are based on the actual observations. All others are based on inferences from the observations or assumptions about the observations. What we observe is motion, in the case of gravitation, and evidence of motion (the Doppler shift) in the case of the galactic recession. I am basing all of my conclusions on an analysis of these motions. Present-day theory, on the other hand, assumes an “expansion of the universe” to account for the galactic recession. Einstein’s distortion of space by the presence of matter is another assumption, while Newton’s conclusion that masses exert gravitational forces on each other is merely an inference.
This is an important point, and in addition to using it in correspondence with Gribbin, you could, if you are so inclined, expand it into an article for Reciprocity. The point worth hammering on is that present-day basic physical theory rests on the assumption that space can act upon matter, and be acted upon by matter, an assumption for which there is no observational support whatever. Furthermore, this assumption requires space to have properties that are mutually contradictory, This was clearly recognized in earlier days, when the action was supposed to be the function of an “ether” located in space. Substituting “space” for “ether” does not remove the contradiction. It merely makes the situation more vague, since no one knows what meaning, if any, can be ascribed to the “properties” of space. I have discussed this matter in section XIX of Beyond Newton, page 113. A good ending for such an article would be to quote the statement by N. Hanson (reference 30, New light on Space and Time) that we have to accept current theories in spite of their shortcomings as long as there is no “intelligible alternative” available, and to point out that this “no alternative” argument is no longer tenable.