Let’s do some blaspheming. Did he, who knew so much, know how easily the mind can deceive itself?
Perhaps he didn’t care. In the About This Book review at Amazon there is this line: [Walter] Isaacson’s biography shows how his scientific imagination sprang from the rebellious nature of his personality.
I had downloaded the sample and when I saw that line I wanted more information on whether the rebellious nature the review alleges made inevitable Einstein’s refusal to test his conclusions empirically. When such testing is not possible, why did he not do what scientists must do: withhold judgment? Unless they want to do scifi?
What say you?
In almost two weeks no one has joined me in blasphemy.
What is my reason?
Albert Einstein refused to test empirically the results of his thought experiments.
Here are a few lines in the early pages of Walter Isaacson’s biography.
“...his nonconformist personality, his instincts as a rebel....”
“...a cheeky rebelliousness toward authority....”
“Skepticism and a resistance to received wisdom became a hallmark of his life.”
“A foolish faith in authority is the worst enemy of truth.”
“... his casual willingness to question authority, his sassy attitude in the face of regimentation, and his lack of reference for received wisdom.”
“Einstein’s impudence and contempt for convention, ....”
“The squabbles show that Einstein had no qualms about challenging those in power. In fact, it seemed to infuse him with glee.”
“Long live impudence, ....”
Small wonder that Einstein is in hot water with people who test their hypotheses, specifically the Electric Universe folk who say the Big Bang didn’t happen.
A Jew in the rising tide of European fascism...what other reaction to his environment? Don a pair of jack boots? Recruit for the Hitler youth?
Of course he was rebellious and nonconformist.
It does not follow that he would refuse to test his conclusions. I am guessing he trusted his instincts because his instincts were uncannily good.
Frankie, in Isaacson’s first four chapters, he does not speculate as you do that fascism was a cause of AE’s rebel ways. Isaacson says nothing about a cause.
Further, your guess that AE’s instincts were uncannily good does not survive Isaacson’s saying several times that AE’s liking for Euclidean geometry and his ability to form mental images helped him greatly.
Isaacson, based on your representations, speculates about the cause of Einstein's scientific imagination. It is my position that such speculation is unfounded. Scientific imagination springs from curiosity about the natural world.
I further assert that Einstein's rebelliousness is caused by his intelligence, Jewish culture and a stifling political climate which included powerful anti-semitism.
One might guess that his rebellious nature would make him more apt to test his conclusions.
Wrong you are that uncannily good instincts are inconsistent with liking geometry and ability to form mental images.
Frankie, those points belong in a debate with Isaacson.
Nikola Tesla on Einstein’s Relativity:
Einstein’s relativity work is a magnificent mathematical garb which fascinates, dazzles, and makes people blind to the underlying errors. The theory is like a begger clothed in purple whom ignorant people take for a king; its exponents are brilliant men but they are metaphysicists rather than scientists.
Source: Peter Meissnitzer at thunderbolts dot info. [ Tesla to NYT in 1935. TLS ]