Climate denial activists’ parallel to anti-relativity movement of 1920s
“This world is a strange madhouse. Currently, every coachman and every waiter is debating whether relativity theory is correct. Belief in this matter depends on political party affiliation.”
So wrote Albert Einstein in a letter to his one time collaborator, the mathematician Marcel Grossmann in 1920.
Jeroen van Dongen of the Institute for History and Foundations of SAcience at Utrecht University in Holland, writing in a recent edition of the journal, ‘Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics,’ describes the effectiveness of the movement that grew up to oppose Einstein’s theory. There are some striking parallels with today’s climate debate.
At a time when The Guardian just reported another poll showing a drop in concern about climate change, and a New York Times front page this week described Britons’ growing doubts about the science, its worth taking a look at that anti-science campaign, which was waged by Einstein’s critics because like today’s climate denial movement, the anti-relativity movement had some success too.
Van Dongen highlights:
“Anti-relativists… built up networks to act against Einstein’s theory in concert. This led to some success. For instance, the clamor about the theory in Germany contributed to the Nobel Committee’s delay in awarding its 1921 prize to Einstein and to the particular choice of subject for which he finally did receive it: his account of the photo-electric effect, instead of the controversial theory of relativity.”
Read the rest on the DeSmog Blog.