# Outlandish theory; could gravity just be time drag? [closed]

Summary: Instead of large bodies of mass creating gravity, what if the resulting disparity in time dilation creates a time drag and it’s that drag that creates the inward pulling force, not gravity.

What if spacetime is more specifically just a fabric of time, and instead of large bodies of mass creating gravity it simply interacts with the “speed” of time. The result is a disparity between the flow or passage of time between the massive body and its surroundings. Expanding further, that time disparity results in a time drag and it’s that drag that creates the inward pulling force in spacetime or the fabric of time.

Even more outlandish but the theory can be taken a step further. What if the “speed” of time in the emptiness of space is naturally slowing down. The reverse of the above could result in the relaxing or expansion of empty space over time.

Thanks

*realize after I have my time dilatation effects reversed, the underlying idea relies on a different in time dilation, direction doesn't play a big part.

• Clocks run slower near massive bodies, not faster. Nov 5, 2021 at 17:51
• Why are you asking us what your theory implies? Sounds like it's different from GR, which means the second question you should ask yourself is whether your idea predicts anything that contradicts known experimental results. The first question is what concrete predictions does your idea actually make -- none of us can help you if you can't answer that. Nov 5, 2021 at 18:10
• I think I didn't understand the idea. Why should a time disparity far/near mass generate an inward pulling force? I mean... I could imagine a clock moving faster when put next to a large mass (although this is not the case) but still not being pulled.
– Javi
Nov 5, 2021 at 18:22
• @Javi Nobel prize winner Kit Thorn referred to what he calls "Einstein's Law of Time Warps". He said "Things like to live where they age more slowly. Gravity pulls them there. And so as an application, the Earth's mass warps time according to Einstein. It slows time near the surface of the Earth. And this time warp is what produces gravity." Nov 5, 2021 at 18:28
• Thanks for the info, all my googling says you age slower in space? regardless the direction isn't as big of a deal, just that there is a difference. I picture near parallel rivers of different velocities finally meeting, excluding everything else the disparity in flow speed would cause the now combined river to turn or spiral. My thinking was that in a similar way time would turn or spiral, something that maybe we perceive as gravity.
– apeg
Nov 5, 2021 at 19:14

No, this doesn't work. For starters, we have measured the change in "speed of time" as you call it, as well as the change of space, and even both together, in a long list of experiments confirming the theories of special and general relativity. And what we find, in perfect agreement with what is predicted by general relativity, is that clocks that are closer to a massive body run slower, not faster as you postulate.

I take the liberty to a generic comment: There is no value whatsoever in postulating wild ideas without (1) showing that they reproduce existing data and in addition also (2) make a prediction that allows those wild ideas to be tested, or falsified, as Popper would insist. It is on whoever invents a new idea to do this ground work, not on the scientific community or anybody else.

• I never pursued a career in physics, or even in the sciences, unfortunately. I wouldn't know where to begin to test this experimentally. I thought it was a cool idea I wanted to ask about. I appreciate the feedback
– apeg
Nov 5, 2021 at 19:17
• @Javi comment got me thinking. You can read the reply above if interested, but it implies that my time dilation disparity would be dependent on movement of the mass through the fabric of space-time to produce an inward pulling force. but from my limited knowledge you, me, the sun the entire milky way is moving at a significant speed. which means my theory would produce the gravity effect for all bodies of mass. So responding to your post, I could test my idea by finding a large body of mass that is standing still relative to space-time, but if my theory is correct, that body shouldn’t exist.
– apeg
Nov 5, 2021 at 20:04
• @apeg As a friendly suggestion, I think a lot of scientists would respond better to your question and legitimate curiosity, if you framed it as "I'd like to understand the conventional understanding of gravity better and heard about effect X but I don't fully understand, can you explain this to me" instead of "here's an idea I just thought of, what does it imply?" The former implies that you are looking to learn, the latter reads like you just thought about gravity for the first time and haven't put any effort into understanding what the current scientific consensus is. Nov 5, 2021 at 21:39
• Thanks @Andrew, I don't think I realized how academic this forum was when posting. I'm not a scientist, I was using the "Outlandish theory" more to mock my own lack of knowledge. I thought it was an interesting way to look at it, I wasn't aware until now that we had that level of understanding when it comes to cause > effect with gravity.
– apeg
Nov 6, 2021 at 13:01
• @apeg Fair enough. Sometimes academics can be hostile. That wasn't my intention, and I definitely don't want to discourage your curiosity about gravity. I've spent a long time confused and learning, and want to try to pass on what I have found is the most efficient way to learn. There's a brilliant video by minute physics explaining general relativity in 7 levels of difficulty in 6 minutes, that you might find interesting: youtube.com/watch?v=eNhJY-R3Gwg Nov 6, 2021 at 17:10

Welcome to the Stack Exchange. I hope you can learn something here.

What you have asked is pretty close to what is accepted, just backwards. Mass slows down the passage of time rather than speeding it up.

As you know, it is normally considered that the warping of spacetime is what creates gravity. Near a small planet like Earth, 99.999% of that warping is of the time dimension. It is only when you get near a black hole that it becomes 50-50 of space and time. Once inside the event horizon of the black hole, it becomes 100% space.

Nobel prize winner Kit Thorn referred to what he calls "Einstein's Law of Time Warps". He said "Things like to live where they age more slowly. Gravity pulls them there. And so as an application, the Earth's mass warps time according to Einstein. It slows time near the surface of the Earth. And this time warp is what produces gravity."

So you are on the right track in your thinking. It is the dilation of time that causes gravity. You could even say that the dilation of time "is" gravity. Keep working on it.

• Thanks, I appreciate the response, seems like I had my time dilation effects reversed :-S all my googling says you age slower in space? It's a small part of it, it's more about the difference that got me thinking.
– apeg
Nov 5, 2021 at 19:23
• It's easy to get confused and backwards at this. They might have been referring to the fact that a very fast moving rocket ship, with you inside, does indeed age more slowly. Just another part of relativity. Nov 5, 2021 at 20:03
• I like that this answer takes the approach of building on the OP's question to talk about GR. But these statements are not accurate: "It is the dilation of time that causes gravity. You could even say that the dilation of time "is" gravity." (a) You can have time dilation in special relativity without gravity. (b) As you point out in your answer, purely "timelike" curvature does not cover all cases where GR can be applied and has been tested. You need "spacelike" curvature to describe gravitational waves, for example. So it is deeply misleading to equate gravity with time dilation. Nov 5, 2021 at 21:31
• @Andrew If you look at Kip Thorns' statement, I think the idea that time dilation causes gravity (at least near a small planet like Earth) is a pretty good way to state it. Regarding your point (a), I also believe that kinetic time dilation leads to gravity through the same warping of spacetime. I've put forth the theory that this is the cause of dark matter. Is there another instance of time dilation that I'm not considering? Nov 5, 2021 at 22:17
• I don't feel your response addresses either of my two points. (a) Time dilation due to observers moving near $c$ has nothing to do with gravity. The effect exists in special relativity where there is no gravity at all. (b) My comment was precisely pointing out "time dilation causes gravity" is (at best) a statement that only holds for weak gravitational fields. It does not work at all in other situations, like gravitational waves, which have actually been observed and can't be ignored. If you added caveats instead of making such a strong statement as "time dilation is gravity", I'd be ok. Nov 5, 2021 at 22:24