The Pope and Lubos Motl

“If Robert Matthews or anyone else thinks that physics at the Planck scale is not governed by anything like string/M-theory, they can try to publish their alternative answer in any scientific journal or the preprint server.

“Everyone knows that people like Matthews or Woit have no alternatives. They’re orders of magnitude and decades of education from being able to do something like that.”

– Prof Lubos Motl

Lubos Motl has been abusive towards me personally without knowing me since last summer, so I can’t resist pointing out:

Variation in recession speeds / variation in time past = acceleration dv/dt = c/t ~ cH where H is Hubble constant. The implication of this comes when you know the mass of the universe is m, because then you remember Newton’s 2nd law, F=ma so you get outward force. The 3rd law then tells you there’s equal inward force (Higgs/graviton field). When I do the simple LeSage-Feynman gravity shielding calculations, I get gravity within 1.7%. Full proof free:

It is suppressed like Tony Smith’s prediction of the top quark mass by

‘We don’t expect you to read the paper in detail, or verify that the work is correct, but you should check that the paper is appropriate for the subject area. You should not endorse the author … if the work is entirely disconnected with current [string theory] work in the area.’

They don’t want any really strong evidence of dissent. This filtering means that the arxiv reflects pro-mainstream bias. It sends out a powerful warning message that if you want to be a scientist, don’t heckle the mainstream or your work will be deleted.

In 2002 I “failed” (I actually got publication in top real-world practical but out-of-the-way-of-string-censorship journal Electronics World instead, plus on CERN Doc Server although that cannot be updated because CERN Doc Server now only accepts feed through arXiv) to get a single brief paper about a crazy-looking yet predictive model on to physics pre-print server arXiv via my university affiliation (there was no other endorsement needed at that time). In emailed correspondence they told me to go get my own internet site if I wasn’t contributing to mainstream [stringy] ideas (because they are a dead end).

Editor of Physical Review Letters said:

Sent: 02/01/03 17:47
Subject: Your_manuscript LZ8276 Cook


Physical Review Letters does not, in general, publish papers on alternatives to currently accepted theories … Yours sincerely, Stanley G. Brown, Editor, Physical Review Letters

Now, why has this nice genuine guy still not published his personally endorsed proof of what is a “currently accepted” prediction for the strength of gravity? Will he ever do so?

“String theory has the remarkable property of predicting gravity”: false claim by Edward Witten in the April 1996 issue of Physics Today, repudiated by Roger Penrose on page 896 of his book Road to Reality, 2004: “in addition to the dimensionality issue, the string theory approach is (so far, in almost all respects) restricted to being merely a perturbation theory”. String theory does not predict for the strength constant of gravity, G! However, the Physical Review Letters editor still “believes in” Edward Witten and Physics Today.

Of course I should be locked up for publishing the facts about the harm that my career has been done by this censorship caused indirectly (via hype) by so-called Pope of physics. One commentator on Peter Woit’s blog will undoubtedly be deleted so I’m preserving the interesting remark here. God knows who wrote it:

“anon Says:

“June 4th, 2006 at 7:52 am

“If you look closely at Lubos Motl’s blog you can see he is now saying even Dr Matthews is

““Robert Matthews: science-hater par excellence”

“Dr Matthews has done possibly more to support science than any other journalist in the UK.

“Motl states: “A senior physicist has sent me a piece of text that he or she called ‘ tendentious, malicious attack on scientists and through that on science itself’.”

“Who is a senior physicist to Dr Motl? Someone deluded, that’s for sure. People who hate Feynman’s objectivity so much as Dr Motl and try to mix gibberish with personal attacks while standing behind the cover of Dr Motl are very respectable IMHO.

“Or perhaps nobody warped is hiding behind Dr Motl, and he is attacking British SCIENCE reporters off his own back. I think this is the case. Ed Witten and Lisa Randall would NEVER be so cowardly, they have more integrity than that, and don’t behave this way.”

I noticed the following anonymous comment trying to resolve the situation:

String theory implicitly assumes that with enough cash you can buy a final theory by commissioning enough research to solve the problem. It’s capitalist in this sense. Galileo, Newton, Maxwell, Einstein were mainly lone innovators without research community (Einstein was an outsider in 1905 to the aether community).

The Standard Model is an example of gruop-think scientific endeavour by many people which did get results. String theory is an example of a similar group effort – connected by a wide community via arXiv – which is attempting the same thing.

This makes string theory very powerful at censoring completely, or nearly completely, lone outsiders. Just as the whore is the enemy of the decent woman, so the outsider is the enemy of the group. Galileo was an outsider to a bigoted group-think, Newton delayed publication for 21 years (1666-87) for fear of ridicule until he was reasonably powerful and secure with supporters like Halley. Einstein of course overthrew aether speculations, but only because Planck was editor of the journal, bothered to read Einstein’s submission, and was not prejudiced against the Machian methods Einstein used (mathematical model without worrying about classical mechanism or causality).

The way string theorists dismiss what they sneeringly call “alternatives” tells you that a void would be better than replacing one failed group-think with another potential failure for the next 20 years, which would do the same as strings and suppress other people.

What is needed is a more science-focussed arXiv which is censored on such a basis that if this were 1905 and arXiv were controlled by aether theorists, there would still be a chance for an Einstein to ignore the lot of them without being rejected out of hand for being “an alternative to a currently accepted theory” or whatever.

Seeing that general relativity is based on the equivalence principle and general covariance, special relativity is not complete to say the least of it and could have been dismissed for not dealing with gravitational fields.

A final theory could well emerge from individual efforts not based on the reigning group-think. The first version could have serious errors, and be violently opposed by Lubos Motl as “crackpot”. Could he financially afford to say anything different to a radical new idea which is not string based? Group think prevents dissent.

It should not be banned from science, and funding for it should not stopped. But funding should be focussed on programmes which address real physics problems objectively (not those Motl likes).

Another comment, this time from by Mario Rabinowitz, Fen 2006:

‘A Theory of Quantum Gravity may not be possible because Quantum Mechanics violates the Equivalence Principle

‘Quantum mechanics clearly violates the weak equivalence principle (WEP). This implies that quantum mechanics also violates the strong equivalence principle (SEP), as shown in this paper. Therefore a theory of quantum gravity may not be possible unless it is not based upon the equivalence principle, or if quantum mechanics can change its mass dependence. Neither of these possibilities seem likely at the present time. Examination of QM in n-space, as well as relativistic QM equations does not change this conclusion.’

What Rabinowitz does is this:

Take the Schroedinger equation for an atom. Instead of putting Coulomb’s attractive electromagnetic force into it to attract electron toward proton, he puts Newton’s law in (page 2).

He finds that the “gravity-binded atom” contains a term with 1/(inertial mass) subtracted from a term proportional to gravitational mass.

“Even for m(inertial) = m(gravitational), … m appears in the denominator of the kinetic energy term and the numerator of the potential energy term of the Hamiltonian.”

Even in extra-dimensions (n-space), “m remains in the quantized equations of motion, even for M >> m; though m cancels out of the classical equations of motion in Newtonian gravity. One would expect m to cancel out when averaging over states with large quantum numbers that puts them effectively in the classical continuum.”

On p5, he finds that the quantim gravity acceleration is quantized:

a = v2/r = -G3M3m4/(j.h bar)4.

The mass dependence on m in this equation is different from Newton’s law,

a = MG/r2.

Rabinowitz does the same for extra-dimensions and finds the same, then concludes basically that Witten was a ____ when he claimed:

“String theory has the remarkable property of predicting [quantum] gravity.” – Edward Witten, M-theory originator, Physics Today, April 96.

Rabinowitz does not however quote this statement by Witten, and his conclusion and title are milk-and-water.

So has he disproved M-theory?

On p9 Rabinowitz writes: “To my knowledge, my approach to the problem preventing the development of a theory of quantum gravity is original and differs from that of others. The only other paper that I was able to find which comes to the same conclusion as mine is that of Loinger [Spacetime and Substance, v 4, p 182, 2003]. However, he takes a different approach in reaching his conclusion. …

“[Paul C.W.] Davies [quant-ph/0403027, 2004] discusses tunnelling anomalies …. Although he finds that QM violates the WEP [weak equivalence principle of GR], he does not seem to find an incompatibility between quantum mechanics and the SEP [strong equivalence principle, m(inertial) = m(gravitational)].”

“String theory has the remarkable property of predicting gravity.” – Edward Witten, M-theory originator, Physics Today, April 96.

“… I do feel strongly that this is nonsense! … I think all this superstring stuff is crazy and is in the wrong direction. … I don’t like it that they’re not calculating anything. … All these numbers … have no explanations in these string theories – absolutely none! …” – Richard P. Feynman, in Davies & Brown, ‘Superstrings’ 1988, at pages 194-195.

What causes gravity if it is isn’t a mathematical analogy to QM?

Dr Thomas Love of California State University has shown that entangled wavefunction collapse (and related assumptions such as superimposed spin states) are a mathematical fabrication introduced as a result of the discontinuity at the instant of switch-over between time dependent and time independent versions of Schroedinger at time of measurement; Alain Aspect’s experiments merely imply that Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle doesn’t apply to pairs of photons emitted in opposite directions by a single electron transition in an atom.

Heisenberg guantum mechanics: Poincare chaos applies on the small scale, since the virtual particles of the Dirac sea in the vacuum regularly interact with the electron and upset the orbit all the time, giving wobbly chaotic orbits which statistically average out to be described by the statistical Schroedinger equation – it’s causal, there is no metaphysics involved.

“It always bothers me that, according to the laws as we understand them today, it takes a computing machine an infinite number of logical operations to figure out what goes on in no matter how tiny a region of space, and no matter how tiny a region of time. How can all that be going on in that tiny space? Why should it take an infinite amount of logic to figure out what one tiny piece of space/time is going to do? So I have often made the hypothesis that ultimately physics will not require a mathematical statement, that in the end the machinery will be revealed, and the laws will turn out to be simple, like the chequer board with all its apparent complexities.”

– R. P. Feynman, Character of Physical Law, November 1964 Cornell Lectures, broadcast and published in 1965 by BBC, pp. 57-8.

One suggestion that predicts strength of gravity and strength of electromagnetism accurately to within the existing experimental error of the data needed for the prediction, is this: the radiation which causes electromagnetism also causes gravity. Think of atoms as kinds of charged capacitors, positive nucleus and negative electrons.

If you have a series of parallel capacitor plates with different charges, each separated by a vacuum dielectric, you need the total (net) voltage needs to take into account the orientation of the plates.

The vector sum is the same as a statistical random walk (drunkard’s walk): the total is equal to the average voltage between a pair of plates, multiplied by the square root of the total number (this allows for the angular geometry dispersion, not distance, because the universe is spherically symmetrical around us – thank God for keeping the calculation very simple! – and there is as much dispersion outward in the random walk as there is inward, so the effects of inverse square law dispersions and concentrations with distance both exactly cancel out).

Gravity is the force that comes from a straight-line sum, which is the only other option than the random walk. In a straight line, the sum of charges is zero along any vector across the universe, if that line contains an average equal number of positive and negative charges. However, it is equally likely that the straight radial line drawn at random across the universe contains an odd number of charges, in which case the average charge is 2 units (2 units is equal to the difference between 1 negative charge and 1 positive charge). Therefore the straight line sum has two options only, each with 50% probability: even number of charges and hence zero net result, and odd number of charges which gives 2 unit charges as the net sum. The mean for the two options is simply (0 + 2) /2 = 1 unit. Hence electromagnetism is the square root of the number of charges in the universe, times the weak option force (gravity).

Thus, electromagnetism and gravity are different ways that charges add up.

Gravity strength is predicted from a simple causal mechanism where momentum carried by energy of gauge bosons causes forces by pushing things: The Standard Model, which Edward Witten has done a lot of useful work on (before he went into string speculation), is the best tested physical theory. Forces result from radiation exchange in spacetime. The big bang speed is 0-c in spacetime of 0-15 billion years, so outward force F = ma = mc/t ~ 10^43 Newtons. Newton’s 3rd law implies equal inward force, carried by vector bosons (exchange radiation), predicting current cosmology, gravity and the contraction of general relativity, other forces and particle masses.

5 thoughts on “The Pope and Lubos Motl


    nigel said…
    ‘A senior physicist who is not a string theorist has sent me a piece of text that he or she called “a tendentious, malicious attack on scientists and through that on science itself”.’

    – words inserted into text by Lubos shortly AFTER comments on Woit’s controversy.

    Original version (June 4th, 2006 at 7:52 am):

    “A senior physicist has sent me a piece of text that he or she called ‘ tendentious, malicious attack on scientists and through that on science itself’.”

    (Quoted at

    There is probably a problem with extreme bitterness and paranoia by string theorists above Motl, since string theory can’t do anything physical.

    (It is important to face the facts over how the string theory community will respond to pressure. If you push gently against a brick wall, the normal reaction force automatically keeps it from falling over. The harder you push, the harder the wall pushes back, thus maintaining posture. You need to reach the yielding strength of the wall before anything constructive occurs. String theorists are being pushed a little, and are responding in kind.)

    Original version by Lubos would have caused embarrassment to EDWARD WITTEN regardless whether it was Witten, Randall, or someone else altogether who sent Lubos the email.

    Since Lubos is dishonest about strings, you can’t believe anything he says. I think a vast amount of pressure is needed to get these people to behave reasonably. They have been abusive to me for a decade, as one example. See also how Tony Smith and others are suppressed from arXiv by stringers. The anger and abuse from Motl over IQ and other stuff just shows the scale of the problem. You aren’t going to change hardened attitudes and prejudices without violence, I fear.


    4:06 PM

  2. Fighting the stringy losers

    Copy of comment from

    Copies of comments:


    Do you know renormalized QFT, stuff like variation of charge with energy due to charge polarization of the vacuum?

    The basic idea is mass and charge as observed are shielded by the vacuum. In QED the renormalized charge is the normal observed charge plus a term proportional to log (A/E) where A is a high-energy cutoff and E is the normal charge.

    Hence e(renormalized) = e(normal) + b.log(A/E)


    e(r)/e = 1 + c.log(A/E)

    Sometimes you see the A and E both squared in the above formula, but that is just equivalent to doubling the value of the constant c.

    I don’t have a decent library within 80 miles of me. The internet paper by Luis Alvarez-Gaume, Miguel A. Vazquez-Mozo, Introductory Lectures on Quantum Field Theory, equation 7.17, p70, claims c = 2(1/137)/(12Pi^2), allowing for the squaring of the logarithmic terms.

    But…inzl/ vacuum.pdf on page 6 (at the top) [“Existence of a stable polarized vacuum in the Bogoliubov-Dirac-Fock approximation” by Christian Hainzl, Mathieu Lewin & Eric Sere}, claims c = 2(1/137)/(3Pi/2).

    The first paper cited above makes a false claim since when you put the numbers in (lower cutoff of electron rest mass, upper cutoff 92 GeV Z mass), you get a 0.06% increase in electron charge, not a 7% increase, i.e., from 1/137 to 1/128 at 92 GeV.

    Looking at the formula, I can’t believe this is the state of the art. For vacuum polarisation you would not expect such a logarithmic formula with arbitrary cutoffs.

    According to the Randall book Warped Passages figure 63, distance from the particle core is inversely proportional to the interaction energy. Is this relationship Thomson scattering or Planck’s E = hf = hc/wavelength formula?

    I want to plot observable electric charge as a function of distance from the centre of an electron.

    The polarization of the vacuum will reduce the observed charge to something like:

    e(low energy/long distance)[1 + 136.exp(-kx^n)]

    where x is distance from the electron core and n is some value that makes this model fit the QFT logarithmic predictions within their realm of validity.

    When I’ve done this for electric charge, I’ll repeat the process for weak and strong charge (including a mechanistic model for asymptotic freedom). Then I’ll determine how conservation of gauge boson energy as you approach the core of a charge (increasing energy) physically solves the high energy unification problem presently addressed by SUSY.

    Then I’ll publish and sink you stringy losers.

    I wanna know how the observable charge varies with distance from the middle of the particle. I just can’t believe how much horseshit you guys believe. Nor how little practical connection with physical understanding there is in QFT at present. It’s a land of morons.

    Physics hack | 06.07.06 – 6:34 pm | #

    Dear hack,

    yes, I know these things. I’ve been teaching them in the spring, for example.

    You completely ignore the actual spectrum of particles that affect the value of “c” at different scales. Every charged species contributes to “c”, and you underestimated “c” roughly by two orders of magnitude because you counted one particle in the loop only, among other errors.

    Be sure that the numerical values of the running have been computed, checked, re-checked, and re-re-checked hundreds of times and they have also been measured. Why don’t you try to learn physics properly instead of being a hack and spreading completely unjustifiable errors?



    Lubos Motl | Homepage | 06.07.06 – 6:44 pm | #

    So by Luis Alvarez-Gaume, Miguel A. Vazquez-Mozo, Introductory Lectures on Quantum Field Theory, equation 7.17, p71, which they show equalling the right answer (1/128) is simply a lie?

    Will you email those authors and ask them to correct their elementary error?

    I can see that at low energy scales the polarization of the vacuum around the electron will be electron-positron pairs (with the shell of virtual positrons closer on average to the real electron core than the virtual electrons).

    Will you point to a single paper on arXiv which has the correct model for the polarization? Or are you just spreading propaganda?

    Thank you.

    Physics hack.

    Physics hack | 06.08.06 – 5:02 am | #

  3. Crackpot replies with excuses:

    Which low energies are you talking about, hack? You wanted to run “e” up to 92 GeV. In between, you get contributions not just from loops of electrons-positrons, but also from:

    up-antiup, three colors
    down-antidown, three colors
    strange-antistrange, colors
    charm-anticharm, colors
    bottom-antibottom, colors

    Your numerical factors are just completely wrong.
    Luboš Motl | Homepage | 06.08.06 – 5:56 am | #


    Dear Gunther,

    thanks. I just read Bert’s reply confirming your precious prediction. Shocking but not infinitely shocking given the similarity with his own articles. I would happily ignore these crackpots just like you instruct us to do if these people did not have a free access to the Financial Times and other resources.

    All the best
    Luboš Motl | Homepage | 06.08.06 – 6:00 am | #


    Dear physics hack,

    I have notified both professors about their error in the formula 7.17.

    All the best
    Luboš Motl | Homepage | 06.08.06 – 6:59 am | #


    Prof. Alvarez-Gaume has written me that it was a pedagogical simplification, which I fully understand and endorse, and in a future version of the text, they will have not only the right numbers but even the threshold corrections!
    Luboš Motl | Homepage | 06.08.06 – 8:15 am | #

    Notice a new review of the book NOT EVEN WRONG is on Amazon which quotes Feynman on how stringers make excuses:

    ‘nonsense … not calculating anything … maybe there’s a way of wrapping up six of the dimensions. Yes, that’s possible mathematically, but why not seven? When they write down an equation, the EQUATION should decide how many of these things get wrapped up, not the desire to agree with experiment … So the fact that it might disagree with experiment is very tenuous, it doesn’t produce anything; it has to be excused most of the time.’

    He adds another saying of Feynman: ‘String theorists don’t make predictions, they make excuses.’

    You really have to accept that Feynman knew Lubos Motl’s excuse making crackpotism style, it’s a common human failing!


    Thanks Lubos.

    So the static electron core isn’t just surrounded by and shielded by polarized virtual electron-positron pairs which are being created briefly by the gauge boson field near the middle of the electron, along with other charges (with the more massive ones closer to the electron core due to the higher energy density of the vacuum from the gauge boson Yang-Mills exchange radiation).

    Since all the contributions will have a similar log addition this means that the average will have a similar form so (until I see the revised theoretical calculation) the charge of the electron at any energy is

    e(A)/e(E) = 1 + c.ln(A/E)

    should experimentally (Levine, PRL 1997) must equal 1.07 for the case E = 0.511 MeV, A = 92,000 MeV. Hence c = 0.005 using a natural logarithm.

    I now need to convert this into electric charge versus distance from middle of electron. I’ll do it by calculating the distance of closest approach in the electron-electron scattering case, taking account of the varying charge at differing energies. Should I use the Rutherford scattering law Rut…ford_scattering with a correction for relativistic mass increase? Or Thompsons law? Of course that is going to break down for inelastic collisions at very high energy where you get gamma rays being emitted. I do know a bit about radiation scattering up to 10 MeV or so, but not beyond that.

    You can see why nobody has ever plotted a graph of observable electric charge versus distance from electron centre.

    With a lower limit of 0.511 MeV in the logarithm, there will be a discontinuity leading the flat electric charge value e to suddenly start increasing when electrons approach each other to the extent they do at 0.511 MeV.

    This is going to expose the absurdity of the claim that quantum field theory is reasonably complete.
    Physics hack | 06.08.06 – 1:24 pm | #

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