A Scientific Adventure: Reflections on the Riddle of Relativity by Ian McCausland

Henry Bauer

Abstract


This book is highly recommended reading for anyone interested in scientific controversies about firmly accepted mainstream beliefs. It illustrates cogently how proponents of a mainstream view fail to engage substantively even with tightly argued and logical critiques. Although the polemical tactics are quite typical, the substance of this controversy is untypical: The sole point at issue is whether the special theory of relativity (STR) is inconsistent, whether it is based on a logical inconsistency. By contrast, in almost all other such arguments the questions concern the nature of evidence, the reliability of observations, the designs and protocols of experiments. McCausland has published two articles in the Journal of Scientific Exploration (one of them while I was Editor). He had attended the 1991 SSE meeting where he met Jack Good, with whom he subsequently had a long exchange over the validity of STR. I had reviewed favorably McCausland’s earlier book, The Relativity Question (Journal of Scientific Exploration, 3 [1989] 217–219). The present work is in some sense an update of that one. The earlier book focused chiefly on Herbert Dingle’s role in questioning STR; this one recounts McCausland’s continuation of Dingle’s struggle.

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