There is a recent boom in China’s online science and technology community, and the hearts of the left are lifted. The reason is that a project by Li Zifeng, a professor and doctoral supervisor at Yanshan University, which challenges Einstein’s theory of relativity, has been recommended by the Hebei Education Department for selection for the 2021 Hebei Science and Technology Award. Now, China is out of character.
On the official website of the Department of Education, Professor Li’s project research is about “the most fundamental problems of philosophy and physics, correcting fallacies in physics, and exploring answers to ancient questions. The project is characterized as a subversive, innovative, non-consensual theoretical physics project that adheres to Marxist philosophy.”
According to mainland media reports, the project claims to have proposed that consciousness is an advanced and ordered form of organization of matter; corrected and refined the nomenclature of matter; refined the materialist view of spacetime mass-energy; pointed out the errors of special relativity and the reasons why special relativity is not easily disproved; argued for the nature of light, the law of propagation of light and the phenomenon of superluminal speed; established the observation theory of moving objects; used the momentum of objects and microparticles The project has explained the law of gravitation by the exchange hypothesis; explained the nature of electric charge, the principle of charge interaction and Coulomb’s law by the electric proton hypothesis, etc.
The project brief also describes its scientific value as resolving a possible contradiction between physics and philosophy. The source of consciousness was determined and the theory of ghosts and gods was rejected. The logical fallacy of naming matter was avoided. A correct materialist view of space-time mass-energy has been established, laying the foundation for a correct understanding of the world and an effective transformation of it.
The project clearly claims to have overthrown Einstein’s theory of relativity, which misled the physics community and mankind’s basic approach to understanding the world, and cleared a huge obstacle to the healthy development of science.
At the same time, it has confirmed the particle nature of light, the law of light propagation and explained the phenomenon of superluminal observations. The foundation was laid for the measurement of high-speed objects. It pointed out a correct direction for revealing the essence of gravitation and the law of action. It has pointed out the direction of research on the nature of electric charge and Coulomb’s law. Provided a method for choosing a coordinate system for astrophysical research. It reveals the nature of temperature and the law of distribution of earth temperature, etc.
I am not a physicist, nor a philosopher, so I do not know these statements above, at most, I only know half of them, I do not know why, so I do not dare to raise objections. Some people say that philosophy can be criticized, but the criticism of philosophy, which has no ability to replace the criticism of science itself to itself, has to be based on experiments. This means that the critique and transcendence of science should still be carried out by the scientific method, and should not be replaced by philosophy.
The words of this netizen are close to my view.
In fact, Professor Li’s thesis is entitled “Development of Newtonian physics by adhering to the materialist view of space-time and mass-energy”. Professor Zifeng Li claims that this research “belongs to a subversive, innovative, non-consensual theoretical physics project that adheres to Marxist philosophy”.
So Professor Li is opposing Einstein based on philosophy, not challenging Einstein based on science.
In his paper, he claims that the absolute view of space-time is inconsistent with dialectical materialism, while special relativity is based on a mistake and is “a religion in the garb of science”.
At the same time, Li also redefined Newton’s gravity, “explaining the law of gravity with the hypothesis of momentum exchange between objects and microparticles”, and incidentally attacked the modern British famous physicist Stephen Hawking, saying that “Hawking’s physical and astrophysical theories are basically not right “.
According to the materialist view, philosophy must come after science, because philosophy is based on new discoveries and developments in science, and science itself is materialistic, while philosophy is indeed materialistic, because science studies matter and the world, while philosophy studies human epistemology.
Therefore, Professor Li’s use of philosophy to deny science is itself a problematic direction. In fact, Professor Li told the media in mainland China that the project, which was recommended by the Hebei Education Department for an award, “has not yet been established.
Today we are not discussing the philosophy of science, but rather what it means to have a project that has been recommended for an award before it has been established.
In fact, this is not the first time that China has challenged or even criticized Einstein.
In March 1968, in the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the “‘Criticism of the reactionary bourgeois viewpoint in the theory of natural sciences’ Mao Zedong Thought Study Class” was established and actively supported by the Revolutionary Committee of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The main target of this class was the theory of relativity, so it was also called the “Study Class on Criticism of Relativity”. Mao’s son-in-law, Kong Linghua, was one of the organizers and leaders of the class.
The first criticism of Einstein during the Cultural Revolution was also from a philosophical point of view, as Einstein’s theories conflicted with Marx’s materialist worldview and were therefore criticized. But as the Cultural Revolution developed, this critique became a political critique.
Einstein’s theory of relativity was accused of being “a genuine subjectivism and sophistry, that is, a materialistic relativism. One of the central assumptions of relativity, the invariance of the speed of light, was also severely criticized: it implies that “capitalist society is the ultimate human society, that monopoly capitalist productivity is unsurpassable, and that Western science is the limit of human science”. Einstein’s own nationality was also the target of attack: “He changed his nationality three times in his life, changed his masters four times, had a mother, and knelt down when he saw money. One thing that has remained constant is that he has consciously acted as a ‘scientific mouthpiece’ for the bourgeoisie’s vicious attacks on Marxism.”
I remember that in the 1980s, a professor at our university, using this example to critique the Chinese Communist political movement, argued that when a country and society enter a situation of pan-politic, it is out of the realm of reason, because politics is not rational. In this situation, any discussion in society is politicized, and any issue can be commanded by simply grasping the political high ground.
At this point, it is not necessary to challenge Einstein’s theory of physics, not to use experimental and observational data, but only to use an “ism”. He is not Marxist, so he must be wrong, because Marxism is “universally applicable” and cannot be wrong. This is of course an unscientific and anti-scientific result.
It is not surprising that the criticism of Einstein took place during the Cultural Revolution, because it was a time of irrational emotions. But in fact, the criticism of Einstein began in the 1950s, mainly around the “philosophy of Marxism and Mao Zedong thought”.
Among the physicists who returned to mainland China from studying in the United States, two of them were Einstein’s students: one of them, Shuang Xingbei, was a genius in Chinese science and technology who was criticized as a rightist after returning to China from the United States, and later became mentally ill after being placed under surveillance in Shandong; the other was Zhou Peiyuan. Zhou Peiyuan was the president of Peking University and served as the chairman of the Chinese Association for Science and Technology.
At the meeting to criticize Einstein during the Cultural Revolution in 1969, Zhou Peiyuan spoke well on Einstein’s behalf, such as how Einstein dressed plainly at Princeton University, how he cared about the Chinese people’s war against Japan, how he participated in the world peace movement after the war, and so on. As a leading Chinese scientist, Zhou Peiyuan spoke well for Einstein, not scientifically, but politically. That’s interesting too, isn’t it?
Qian Xuesen, another Chinese physics guru, was much smarter. He first encouraged the courage of the leftist intellectuals to challenge Einstein, and then said that to criticize Einstein, one should go back to the scientific method and use scientific experiments to prove Einstein wrong, so the articles criticizing Einstein should be published later and greatly. In this way, the article on the criticism of Einstein, which the party newspaper was going to publicize, was finally published only in a single line in the CAS. Later, Chen Boda stepped down, and the matter was left unresolved.
Chen Boda was one of the promoters of the Cultural Revolution, and he himself was not a scientist, but a man of letters. So the articles organized by the Chinese Academy of Sciences to criticize Einstein could only be based on Marxism, of course, not on scientific theories or experiments per se.
The project of Li Zifeng, a professor of petroleum at Yanshan University, is (according to his own words) “a subversive, innovative, non-consensual theoretical physics project that adheres to Marxist philosophy”. Translated into our common vernacular, this means that the errors of Einstein’s theory are inferred from Marxist philosophy, and that it is theoretical physics, that is, it is thought out and not confirmed by experiment.
Einstein’s theory is not the apex of science, it is perfectly possible to question the challenge, there is no problem with this, or even use the epistemology of philosophy or theology to question, challenge and criticize, there is no problem. The only problem with Prof. Li’s project is the official attitude and position, which reflects a direction in mainland China that is going the way of the Cultural Revolution. Because this is something that cannot move in reverse, that is, you cannot use Einstein’s theory to criticize the philosophical foundations of Marxism and Mao Zedong Thought.
In such an asymmetrical social system, the final result must be polarization.
The main critics of Einstein during the Cultural Revolution were young physicists from the Chinese Academy of Sciences. This group of people later studied carefully in the hope of finding scientific loopholes in Einstein, and as a result this group of people was also criticized. Criticized by the leaders who had no basic knowledge of physical science as “engaging in purely academic criticism”, those leaders instructed that “for bourgeois reactionary academic authorities like Einstein, the first thing to do is to criticize and stink politically”, and later, this group of young people was criticized as “fall at Einstein’s feet under the banner of criticism of Einstein”.
Doesn’t it remind us of the little pinko la on the Chinese internet nowadays. Hu Xijin of the Global Times, recently hit by the pink storm on the mainland Internet, was attacked very hard, which is actually not at all surprising. If you look at the history of the Cultural Revolution, you can see that this is inevitable.
Now mainland China is really something like that time of the Cultural Revolution.
The reason why the Hebei Provincial Department of Education submitted the award for Professor Li’s project is, of course, because the project is politically correct, Marxist, and although it has not yet been established, it is in the right direction.
In the top scientific circles, such as social sciences, political science analysis, not to mention the literary, historical, economic and other fields, the mainland now how much free space can be imagined. As the saying goes, we can understand the current social situation in mainland China by looking at the microscopic and the panther in the tube.