A split between pro-Ether and anti-Ether physicists began in Germany circa 1910. Before too long, a “German physics” – distinct from the other physics – arose. The “German physics” was pro-Ether, contrary to the physics of Albert Einstein (image above) which had (temporarily) abandoned The Ether. (Background: Our Friend, The Ether (Part 11), Ersjdamoo’s Blog entry of November 1, 2013.)
“Space” does not exist, incredibly asserted Einstein. He had become a disciple of mathematician Hermann Minkowski, who had stated in 1908, “Henceforth space by itself, and time by itself, are doomed to fade away into mere shadows, and only a kind of union of the two will preserve an independent reality.” Space and time needed to be fused into a four-dimensional scheme. In this, Minkowski magically attributed mathematical abstractions out into the material world. This is the gobbledygook aspect of physics, where abstract math is claimed to rule over the physical world.
But to the hard-headed Germans, this was too ridiculous. In July 1917, Nobel laureate Philipp Lenard delivered a paper in which he claimed Einstein had only given a new name to The Ether: instead of its rightful name, The Ether was just being called “Space” (and “Space-Time”).
Einstein, also a Nobel laureate, responded to Lenard in 1918 via a whimsical dialogue, “Dialogue concerning Accusations against Relativity Theory.” (Further background: Our Friend, The Ether (Part 9), Ersjdamoo’s Blog entry of October 29, 2013.)
In the context of the close of World War I, beginning with the Armistice of November 11, 1918 (which now only bankers and government employees receive as a holiday), the dispute over The Ether turned into an outright anti-Einstein campaign in Germany. There, at that time, a bitter political polarization between Communists and fledgling Nazis was the background. German physicist Ernst Gehrcke aligned himself with Philipp Lenard and others to defend The Ether. Among these was Paul Weyland, founder of the “Association of German Scientists for the Preservation of Pure Science.” This organization was heavily funded from an unknown source.
Weyland, in 1920, again accused Einstein of merely having changed the nomenclature from “Ether” to “Space.” The Ether was under attack! The arrogant Einstein had “eliminated the ether by decree…”
Physicist Max von Laue defended Einstein later in 1920. Weyland responded that he and Gehrcke would headline an open meeting in Berlin on August 24, 1920. At the meeting, near the entrance to the auditorium, small lapel-pin swastikas were offered for sale. Unobtrusively, Albert Einstein attended the meeting with his daughter. “Einstein, obviously amused by the event, applauded loudly as he was being attacked.”
According to Weyland, Einstein’s theories had been promoted due to organized propaganda. Recall that Weyland’s own Association of German Scientists was also heavily funded. What we seem to have here is the politicization of science, as we have again now with the “global warming” issue. Back then, in 1920, the enormously polarized politics of post-WWI Germany solidified into far-left (Communists) and far-right (Nazis). And what were Albert Einstein’s politics? I do not believe he was a Communist, per se. But Einstein is easily grouped into the “one world” ideas and other leftist causes.
Einstein’s theories were not pure science, argued Weyland, but were being used as propaganda and promoted by “systematic mass suggestion.” In reality, Einstein’s ideas were little better than “dadaism” – an art form celebrating anarchy.
Gehrcke also spoke at the meeting. The charge that the General Theory of Relativity “had been sold to the masses by good advertising” was again repeated. The whole anti-Ether attack had been mass marketed by leftist atheists and “fellow travelers”, it seemed.
Einstein had a good laugh at the whole thing. (But was it smug laughter, as engaged in by some “global warming” proponents today?) Three days after the meeting, on August 27, 1920, Einstein published an article, humorously titled, “My Response to the Anti-Relativistic Limited Liability Company.” He did not wish to dignify the meeting with a response, but friends had persuaded him otherwise. Einstein wrote he had “good reason to believe that reasons other than the search for truth lie behind their enterprise.”
(Source: Einstein and the Ether, by Ludwik Kostro. Montreal: Apeiron, 2000)