Any Other Theories for Universal Movement:
Now if Newton's theory was/is the only theory that could account for the phenomenon of apples falling to the ground (or planets orbiting the sun), that would indeed have to elevate it into a ‘possible’ class. So, was his the only theory that could do so? Is the only way for an apple to fall to the ground if it is pulled down? We have put this simple question to many but rarely, if ever, did we receive the correct answer. The hard fact is, of course, apples falling to the ground might well be pushed to the ground. In other words, ‘gravity’ could well be a pushing effect rather than a pulling effect. And so we come to a pushing means for gravity instead of a pulling force. We introduce this section only as a way to further undermine the claim that Newton established the true and only possible cause for a falling apple and therefore his solar-system. The theories we shall now consider are almost certainly as big a load of moonshine as Newton’s and are not offered as a true alternative or falsification but only to show that scientific ideas for ‘gravity’ can be invented at will.
By 1781, the physicist George Louis Le Sage (1724-1803) had also completed an alternative thesis to the very same advanced level as Newton’s - a pushing force theory for moving celestial bodies. He proposed space is filled with countless infinitesimal particles termed ‘ultra mundane Corpuscles’ and these push planets in their orbits. These corpuscles, he posed, are in extremely rapid motion, analogous to molecules in a gas, and which tr¬averse in a criss-cross action in straight lines throughout the universe. The corpuscles move with tremendous speed in all directions, penetrating matter, but meeting some resistance in doing so. The consequences of this would mean the corpuscles are acting as a pushing force by colliding against all physical, material objects in the universe. The crucial factor in this theory is one of non-equilibrium, the positioning of cosmic bodies in the system relative to each other. If the pressure is the same on all the surface of a sphere, it goes nowhere. If, however, something shields the pressure of the ‘ultra mundane Corpuscles’ on any part of that sphere it would of course now move due to ‘non-equilibrium.’
‘Non-equilibrium is a pre-requisite for movement in all its forms, and therefore a state of equilibrium is impossible in Nature.’ (Callum Coats: Living Energies, Gateway Books, UK, 1996, pp.65, 66.)
There then was René Descartes’s ‘vortex theory.’ This formulator of analytic geometry explained that planetary motion is the result of vortices or whirlpools sweeping the planets around the sun, not unlike Einstein’s surface curled space whirlpool theory we will see in due time. Indeed, Newton was at first attracted to this idea to serve his purpose but later dismissed the idea stating that: ‘Descartes’s vortex theory is in complete conflict with the astronomical observations, and instead of explaining celestial motions, merely confuses our ideas about them.’ So, what happened to these alternative theories? Well, there are two answers to this question, one at the ‘scientific’ level, and the other is ideological. One eliminates a scientific theory by falsifying it. In Le Sage’s case, Lord Kelvin (1824-1907), who, like other eminent scientists, could find nothing wrong with the dynamics or the mathematics of Le Sage’s theory, postulated that the collisions between the hypothetical particles and solid matter would, over long periods of time, involve a heat transfer sufficient to melt plan¬etary objects. This was enough, and coming as it did from a Fellow and President of the Royal Society, the theory was treated as falsified. Later however, as is prone to happen in theoretical knowledge, Le Sage’s theory, they decided, is not untenable according to modern physics. The science now holds that such particle collisions can be ‘elastic’ on contact and thus avoid any degradations of flux energy to heat. So why wasn’t it readmitted then?
‘A rather wild theory was put forward by Le Sage… Professor de Sitter has tested the idea by examining whether there is any weakening in the Sun’s attraction on the Moon at a time when the Moon is in the Earth’s shadow. He does actually find some evidence of such a weakening, but it is too minute to be certain about. The fantastic nature of Le Sage’s theory is evidence of the extreme difficulty of the problem. It is curious to reflect that we are still as ignorant of the nature of the force that draws a stone to the Earth as men were in the dawn of history.’(Dr. A.C.D. Crommelin: Diamonds in the Sky, Collins, London, 1940, p.49.)
As for Descartes vortex theory, well, that too was set aside so as to give Newton’s theory a free ride in anti-geocentric cosmology, but, as we shall see, Einstein later plagiarised that one for his theory of gravitation. What it all boils down to is that Newton’s theory sufficed to eliminate geocentrism as falsified.
‘This method, of which the germ was contained in the scientific revolution initiated at the turn of the seventeenth century by Francis Bacon and which has since been adopted by every branch of science and by countless pseudosciences such as politics, economics, the social sciences, and even art, religion, ethics and psychology, is as follows. Take a phenomenon that can be observed, produce a mathematical measurement for it that fits, concoct a hypothesis which, however far-fetched, could possibly account for the phenomenon, and finally call the hypothesis and the mathematical formula that supports it a law and regardless of whether or not there is any theoretical justification for it whatever, apply it throughout the universe. And that is all that the famous Law of Gravitation consists of.’ (N. M. Gwynne, Sir Isaac Newton & Modern Astronomy, p.16.)
Finally, there was Kepler, who once thought magnetism might account for the movements of celestial objects, but decided against exploiting the idea. Newton however, while taking advantage of its effects of attraction, was unable to show any connection at all between his theory and electromagnetism.