First off, I am not a physicist, although I would have loved to become one. The simple fact is I lack the mathematical skills needed (and now I'm too old to acquire them to any sufficient level).

Anyway, I do like to read about physics and maths as a hobby. There's lots of stuff around on the internet for lay people like myself. Browsing I stumbled upon these two sites. They look very interesting, but I am not well versed enough to either understand their deeper truths, or debunk them. So, I humbly ask the opinion of the people who frequent this website. What do you think of these theories:

Vacuum mechanics and Autodynamics

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    $\begingroup$ Both of them are unreliable. They fly in the face of well established theories of physics that are able to predict, describe and explain experiments and observations. $\endgroup$
    – stupidity
    Jun 4 '12 at 19:41
  • $\begingroup$ It is always interesting to hear new theories. But before they become of any worth they need to comply to the experimental results. A plus is if they are more in line with experimental results than the existing established theories. Those links you specified explain unproved theories and, moreover, point to problems with existing established theories where there is no problem or contradiction at all. $\endgroup$
    – Pygmalion
    Jun 4 '12 at 21:08
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    $\begingroup$ As the theory postulates the existence of “resistive action of vacuum medium” it is most likely in direct conflict with the Michelson-Morley experiment. This is not a good sign. $\endgroup$
    – Alexander
    Jun 4 '12 at 22:52

Everything is wrong in obvious ways on both vacuum mechanics and autodynamics. It is best to explain that these things are the last-gasp of crackpottery in an age of fast scientific communication. I find it impossible to believe that such things will exist in a decade, since it takes more effort to come up with nonsense like this and write about it than it takes to refute it.

Refutation of Vaccuum-mechanics:

  1. Ether drag leads to friction, not mass increase. Even if you imagine ether is piling up on an object to increase it's mass with velocity, it does not explain the increased lifetime of rapid particles, the time-dilation of relativity. These ideas were considered in the late 19th century, they are inconsistent with the unobservability of the ether.
  2. The page gives is a mechanical ether theory for electromagnetic waves. The last time such ideas were current was in the late 19th century, and you can read the literature of the time to see that they were given a fair shake and failed on their own merits (or, rather, lack thereof). The ether ideas did not predict anything beyond Maxwell's equations, which are just the relativistic theory of a vacuum field. Any ether model needs to give a definite procedure for determining the ether rest frame. If this is impossible, it is equivalent to relativity. If this is possible, it is in conflict with experiment.
  3. The wave-particle duality is describing a version of deBroglie-Bohm pilot-wave theory, where the particles are carried on a wave. This idea lives on as the Bohm interpretation, but the thing described in the page is crackpottery, because the waves are in high-dimension--- the wave describing 2 electrons is in the 6 dimensional configuration space for 2 electrons, not two waves in 3 dimensional space. So such guided particle ideas need to live on phase space, and this makes them too big to be plausibly physical. Bohm's theory is still ok today, and if you carry out the project properly, you end up there.
  4. The ether based nonsense is an attempt to account for gravity from deformations of an electromagnetic ether. This also was popular in the late 19th century, but cannot work today. We have measured gravitational time-dilation explicitly by flying atomic-clocks in airplanes (and special relativistic time-dilation also) and in GPS. Any ether theory must conspire to reproduce GR at low energies, and this stuff doesn't cut it, since it doesn't touch time.

As for the Autodynamics:

  1. The mass equation of autodynamics $m=m\sqrt{1-v^2}$ is in conflict with measurements of the relativistic mass of an electron going in a circle in a magnetic field. These experiments discriminated very well between the Abraham and the Einstein/Lorentz theory, and rule out anything else. The equation is nonsense, since the mass vanishes at the speed of light, and the equation is designed to make mass push things forward, which is a misinterpretation of the energy conservation law designed to appeal to the scientifically illiterate.
  2. The electric charge is changed under motion, which is ridiculous, since you can annihilate a fast moving positron with an electron at rest. The charge is a Lorentz scalar.

I could go on forever, but this is sufficient. These types of activities are either out-and-out fraud, or ego-driven projects, fueled by megalomania plus dishonest internal thinking. These ideas are run-of-the-mill crackpottery, if you want to read crazy stuff of a much higher degree of originality, try Alexander Abian or especially Archimedes Plutonium.

The run-of-the-mill crackpottery in these pages is not original, it is just a rehash of discredited late 19th century positions. It serves a minor social purpose of keeping old ideas floating around, so that people can learn some history.

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    $\begingroup$ Very good answer :) $\endgroup$ Jun 5 '12 at 3:45

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