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Newton's law of gravitation and Einstein's general relativity (GR) are empirical laws of gravitation that are strong on description and prediction but lack deterministic and/or causal rigor, which makes both of them incompatible with the fundamental laws of physical reality.

Newton's action-at-a-distance is acausal because it does not explain how gravitational force can be projected over infinite space and time without propagating from a source at a finite speed, and it violates the law of conservation of energy because it cannot account for the energy expended by matter over infinite space and time in doing work on other matter without losing mass or energy.

Einstein's concept of a curved space-time that implies "trust me, the curvature is just there", provides no credible physical explanation for the curvature and is therefore non-deterministic, while it too violates the law of conservation of energy for the same reason as Newton's law.

How can we ignore the implications that in both Newton’s law and Einstein’s GR, matter-on-matter attraction leads to an increase of collective kinetic energy without loss of mass by the mutually gravitating bodies? Where is the “bonus” energy coming from? It is tempting to claim that a certain mysterious gravitational potential energy is converted into kinetic energy, but that is not a valid explanation without causally determining the physical mechanism/process that creates the potential energy in the first place. In short, even Minkowski's mathematical wizardry was insufficient to elevate Einstein's creatively brilliant GR concept into the realms of "hard physical law", but it did impress a lot of mathematical physicists who fell in love with the intricate mathematics so much so that they inadvertently ignored the physical laws of nature that were blatantly violated.

A true law of gravitation will not rely on the empirical non-deterministic dogma of Newton's action-at-a-distance or GR's "let there be curvature by fiat", even if both are experimentally verified a zillion times, until the inevitable anomalies start creeping up from left field, as they did in the case of the Pioneer anomalies and the flyby anomalies, to mention a few; don't get me wrong, Newton was a sage of natural philosophy but his gravitational theory was perhaps the best he could have done at his time. Einstein was no doubt a genius at what he accomplished, but geniuses are human and have their limitation also.

Anyway, regarding the ongoing quest for the true law of gravitation, the prospects of relying on quantum physics/quantum gravity are no more promising than the prospects of surrendering to the probabilistic empiricism of implied ignorance that we call probability theory; sometimes we do not have a choice. Is it not perplexing that otherwise respectable physicists who proudly proclaim that "anyone who thinks he understands quantum mechanics does not" continue to preach its teachings from a position of dogmatic dominance.

So, I ask again, can Newton's law of gravitation and Einstein's GR be considered true and complete laws of gravitation? If not, what will a true law of gravitation look like? Where should one be searching for a true theory of gravitation?

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closed as unclear what you're asking by garyp, Alfred Centauri, HDE 226868, David Hammen, Gert Feb 13 '16 at 20:31

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    $\begingroup$ I don't see a question here. $\endgroup$ – ACuriousMind Feb 13 '16 at 15:25
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    $\begingroup$ ... there are three questions including the one in the title. This post is intended to inform and initiate a discussion towards answering the questions. Cheers. $\endgroup$ – Vixillator Feb 13 '16 at 15:31
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    $\begingroup$ Vixillator, this site isn't a "discussion towards answering the questions" forum, i.e., it's not the site you're looking for. $\endgroup$ – Alfred Centauri Feb 13 '16 at 15:49
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    $\begingroup$ I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it doesn't fit the Q&A format of this site. $\endgroup$ – Alfred Centauri Feb 13 '16 at 15:50
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    $\begingroup$ I believe that you're ready for our advanced class... $\endgroup$ – dmckee Feb 13 '16 at 16:16
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What will a true law of gravitation look like?

Like general relativity.

Newton's law of gravitation and Einstein's general relativity (GR) are empirical laws of gravitation that are strong on description and prediction but lack deterministic and/or causal rigor, which makes both of them incompatible with the fundamental laws of physical reality.

They aren't incompatible with physical reality. Not when you've read the original material. Unfortunately there's a lot of popscience out there that's bad science. There are celebrity "sound-bite physicists" saying things that are wrong. There's even well-respected textbooks that are not in accord with Einstein. See this paper for an interesting read.

Newton's action-at-distance is acausal

Newton was opposed to action-at-a-distance. See his letter to Richard Bentley in 1692 where he said this: "That gravity should be innate inherent & {essential} to matter so that one body may act upon another at a distance through a vacuum without the mediation of any thing else by & through which their action or force {may} be conveyed from one to another is to me so great an absurdity that I beleive no man who has in philosophical matters any competent faculty of thinking can ever fall into it".

because it does not explain how gravitational force can be projected over infinite space

Newton is said to have "feigned no hypotheis" but in Opticks query 20 he said this: "Doth not this aethereal medium in passing out of water, glass, crystal, and other compact and dense bodies in empty spaces, grow denser and denser by degrees, and by that means refract the rays of light not in a point, but by bending them gradually in curve lines?" Once you know this, then all you need to know about is the wave nature of matter, then gravity is straightforward.

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and it violates the law of conservation of energy because it cannot account for the energy expended by matter over infinite space and time in doing work on other matter without losing mass or energy.

It doesn't really account for the energy, but that doesn't mean it's wrong. Au contraire, when you see how similar it is to Einstein's GR, you appreciate that it's right as far as it goes.

Einstein's concept of a curved space-time that implies "trust me, the curvature is just there", provides no credible physical explanation for the curvature and is therefore non-deterministic, while it too violates the law of conservation of energy for the same reason as Newton's law.

It isn't true. Einstein described a gravitational field as a place where space is "neither homogeneous nor isotropic". And he said this: "Recapitulating, we may say that according to the general theory of relativity space is endowed with physical qualities; in this sense, therefore, there exists an aether". It's actually very similar to Newton's description.

How can we ignore the implications that in both Newton’s law and Einstein’s GR, matter-on-matter attraction leads to an increase of collective kinetic energy without loss of mass by the mutually gravitating bodies? Where is the “bonus” energy coming from?

From the falling bodies. Conservation of energy applies. When you lift a brick you do work on it for a distance. You add energy to it. Its mass increases as a result. When you drop the brick some of this mass-energy aka potential energy is converted into kinetic energy. When the brick hits the ground this is typically dissipated, leaving you with a mass deficit. There's no discernible motion of the Earth, so we ignore it.

This is outrageous. Even Minkowski's mathematical wizardry was insufficient to elevate Einstein's creatively brilliant GR concept into the realms of "hard physical law", but it did impress a lot of mathematical physicists who fell in love with the intricate mathematics so much so that they inadvertently ignored the physical laws of nature that were blatantly violated.

It's not outrageous when you read the original material. What's outrageous is all the people who appeal to Einstein's authority whilst flatly contradicting the guy.

the prospects of relying on quantum physics/quantum gravity are no more promising than the prospects of surrendering to the probabilistic empiricism of implied ignorance that we call probability theory; sometimes we do not have a choice. Is it not perplexing that otherwise respectable physicists who proudly proclaim that "anyone who thinks he understands quantum mechanics does not" continue to preach its teachings from a position of dogmatic dominance.

There's a lot of nonsense out there being peddled as bona-fide science. Such is life.

The new theory of gravitation will come, but when it comes it will be vilified initially and opposed vigorously because it will certainly ruffle many feathers and threaten to end some careers, but when it comes it will be a big shocker and a source of a great big collective cry of Eureka! for humankind. If it does not happen instantly, it will surely happen in time. That is my hope. This is my prediction.

It's here already.

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GR is extremely (and most) successful mathematical theory/law.

I still agree with the questioner. Newton's and Einstein's theories give quantitative analysis of the gravitational phenomenon. Einstein's by far more accurate, actually, it has never failed till date as far as I know.

Even if you can find random anomalies, does not mean the theory is wrong, it may be that we were not able to include all pertinent variables.

Therefore, extremely successful mathematical theory is already there and that is GR at the moment.

What is really missing is the description of actual mechanism of how gravity works. Like, How space is actually curved? How the force is generated?

The scientific community does not seem to be interested in a physical mechanism. They care pretty much for only mathematical proof. And they may be right because they have much more knowledge, and experience than people like us.

Any new explanation has to fit with existing laws as well and best way would be to describe how space actually curves and then piggy back on GR mathematics.

Such a mechanism will be outright discarded by scientific community unless it is proposed by highly credible people. Otherwise they would not even read it. There is certainly some sense of arrogance, which may be necessary because every other person can come up with their own mechanism.

I have one such mechanism that describes how space actually curves. Once curving is described, GR math works independent of how the curving takes place. I sent the write up to APS and they did not even send it for review. Editors themselves decided it was not fit for publication. The reason may be reputation of their journal, but deciding without sending for review is not justified. One possible reason is that - it is a new theory and there is no one who can review it.

To my satisfaction, the theory is able to explain all basic and advanced questions starting from inverse square law, to accelerated expansion of universe.

I guess trend these days, is "Math to do all the work and then the brain follows up" as opposed to times of greater scientists when the trend was "Brain does the work and then math follows up". Time of thought experiments seems to be gone.

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  • $\begingroup$ "To my satisfaction, the theory is able to explain all basic and advanced questions starting from inverse square law, to accelerated expansion of universe." - Except dark matter. I am out of ideas on dark matter, may be a space hurricane. $\endgroup$ – kpv Feb 13 '16 at 20:05

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