Sir Isaac Newton’s great gravity gift [that keeps on giving] has enabled mainstream science to retreat from reality by jettisoning mechanics.
Sir Isaac Newton’s great gravity gift has also allowed mainstream science to warmly embrace the magical concept of action at a distance.
In physics, action at a distance is the concept that an object can be moved, changed, or otherwise affected without being physically touched by another object.
Newton’s theory of gravity offered no prospect of identifying any mediator of gravitational interaction.
The “absurdity” of this situation was even acknowledged by Sir Isaac Newton when he wrote that nobody with “a competent faculty of thinking can ever fall” for the concept of gravity without some form of mechanical mediation.
It is inconceivable that inanimate Matter should, without the Mediation of something else, which is not material, operate upon, and affect other matter without mutual Contact…
That Gravity should be innate, inherent and essential to Matter, so that one body may act upon another at a distance thro’ a Vacuum, without the Mediation of any thing else, by and through which their Action and Force may be conveyed from one to another, is to me so great an Absurdity that I believe no Man who has in philosophical Matters a competent Faculty of thinking can ever fall into it.
Gravity must be caused by an Agent acting constantly according to certain laws; but whether this Agent be material or immaterial, I have left to the Consideration of my readers.
Sir Isaac Newton – Letters to Bentley – 1692/3
Evidently, Sir Isaac Newton would consider modern mainstream science to be an academic bastion of incompetent thinking because the mainstream believes “an object can be moved, changed, or otherwise affected without being physically touched by another object”
I don’t disagree with Sir Isaac Newton regarding the “absurdity” of the situation.
Regardless [of these absurdities], the modern [non-mechanical] mainstream mathematicians maintain that Newton’s great gravity gift travels “instantaneously” throughout the universe at “infinite” speed.
Isaac Newton’s formulation of a gravitational force law requires that each particle with mass respond instantaneously to every other particle with mass irrespective of the distance between them.
In modern terms, Newtonian gravitation is described by the Poisson equation, according to which, when the mass distribution of a system changes, its gravitational field instantaneously adjusts.
Therefore the theory assumes the speed of gravity to be infinite.
The concept of instantaneous gravitational interactions was endorsed by Sir Arthur Eddington in 1920 when he stated that the orbital period of Jupiter would appreciably change if the speed of gravity “is at all comparable with that of light”.
If the Sun attracts Jupiter towards its present position S, and Jupiter attracts the Sun towards its present position J, the two forces are in the same line and balance.
But if the Sun attracts Jupiter toward its previous position S’, and Jupiter attracts the Sun towards its previous position J’, when the force of attraction started out to cross the gulf, then the two forces give a couple.
This couple will tend to increase the angular momentum of the system, and, acting cumulatively, will soon cause an appreciable change of period, disagreeing with observations if the speed is at all comparable with that of light.
Space, Time And Gravitation – 1920 – Sir Arthur Eddington
Tom Van Flandern first encountered instantaneous gravitational interactions whilst studying celestial mechanics at Yale in the 1960s.
The most amazing thing I was taught as a graduate student of celestial mechanics at Yale in the 1960s was that all gravitational interactions between bodies in all dynamical systems had to be taken as instantaneous.
Indeed, as astronomers we were taught to calculate orbits using instantaneous forces; then extract the position of some body along its orbit at a time of interest, and calculate where that position would appear as seen from Earth by allowing for the finite propagation speed of light from there to here.
It seemed incongruous to allow for the finite speed of light from the body to the Earth, but to take the effect of Earth’s gravity on that same body as propagating from here to there instantaneously.
Yet that was the required procedure to get the correct answers.
The Speed of Gravity What the Experiments Say
Dr. Thomas C Van Flandern – 1940-2009 – Founder and President of Meta Research
Thomas C Van Flandern (June 26, 1940 – January 9, 2009) was an American astronomer and author specializing in celestial mechanics.
Van Flandern had a career as a professional scientist, but was noted as an outspoken proponent of non-mainstream views related to astronomy, physics, and extra-terrestrial life.
He also published the non-mainstream Meta Research Bulletin.
Tom Van Flandern concluded that “instantaneous gravity seemed to have an element of magic to it” because:
1) Infinite speed implies infinite energy.
2) Special Relativity states that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light.
However, he also realised that this instantaneous absurdity came “in many guises”.
Indeed, it is widely accepted, even if less widely known, that the speed of gravity in Newton’s Universal Law is unconditionally infinite. (E.g., Misner et al., 1973, p. 177)
This is usually not mentioned in proximity to the statement that GR reduces to Newtonian gravity in the low-velocity, weak-field limit because of the obvious question it begs about how that can be true if the propagation speed in one model is the speed of light, and in the other model it is infinite.
The same dilemma comes up in many guises:
Why do photons from the Sun travel in directions that are not parallel to the direction of Earth’s gravitational acceleration toward the Sun?
Why do total eclipses of the Sun by the Moon reach maximum eclipse about 40 seconds before the Sun and Moon’s gravitational forces align?
How do binary pulsars anticipate each other’s future position, velocity, and acceleration faster than the light time between them would allow?
How can black holes have gravity when nothing can get out because escape speed is greater than the speed of light?
These objections were certainly not new when I raised them.
They have been raised and answered thousands of times in dozens of different ways over the years since general relativity (GR) was set forth in 1916.
Even today in discussions of gravity in USENET newsgroups on the Internet, the most frequently asked question and debated topic is “What is the speed of gravity?”
It is only heard less often in the classroom because many teachers and most textbooks head off the question by hastily assuring students that gravitational waves propagate at the speed of light, leaving the firm impression, whether intended or not, that the question of gravity’s propagation speed has already been answered.
The Speed of Gravity What the Experiments Say
Technically, instantaneous gravitational interactions places the mainstream on the horns of a dilemma [aka Catch 22] because:
a) If instantaneous gravitational interactions are deemed to be Settled Science then [just about] every theory that is built upon Einstein’s work is falsified.
or more dramatically
b) If instantaneous gravitational interactions are falsified then [just about] every theory that is built upon Newtonian Gravity is falsified.
Obviously, this is why there is no mainstream mechanical explanation for gravity.
Practically, instantaneous gravitational interactions can be ignored [and very profitably exploited] by the mainstream provided:
1) Nobody is allowed to rock the boat.
2) Everyone forcefully misdirects by talking about the propagation of Gravity Waves.
3) There is a continuous stream of abstract absurdities [like black holes] and bogus controversies that deflects critical attention away from the underlying absurdities [aka assumptions].
However, science hasn’t always been this shallow.
There are mechanical explanations for instantaneous gravitational interactions that date back to [at least] the early 13th-century… to be continued.