Gravitational waves make a big noise

We examine the claims of science to have discovered so-called 'gravitational waves' and compare the speculations of scientists with the facts of Occult Science


On what we can only suppose was a 'slow news' day in early February 2016, scientists announced to a public conditioned to regard the pronouncements of science as Holy writ, that they had made one of the greatest 'breakthroughs' of all time; a discovery that would open the door to a completely new understanding of the Universe. When we examine the facts behind the discovery of so-called 'gravitational waves' by LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory), we find very little to get excited about.

From the gushing and reverential tone the media adopted toward this story one might be forgiven for thinking that we were witnessing the second coming, or at the very least the long-awaited breakthrough of a cure for cancer. Sadly, this was not the case. The story that prompted this media feeding frenzy around the globe consisted of the rather unremarkable news that a group of scientists had heard the sound of two theoretical objects known as black holes making a very faint noise, described as a 'chirp', or 'whoop', that lasted just 0.2 seconds. This prompted one wit to remark that the noise might have been the elephant in the room breaking wind. We shall come back to the presence of this inconvenient pachyderm later. But before we do so, we must summarise what, if anything, has been discovered, for the benefit of those of us who are neither astronomers nor physicists.

Listening to the Universe

What did the team of scientists who made this 'momentous breakthrough' actually hear and how did they do it? LIGO has two detectors in the United States, one at the Hanford nuclear complex in Washington and one in Louisiana, which 'listen' for 'waves'—so-called 'ripples in space-time', which Albert Einstein predicted in 1916, in his theory of general relativity—a speculative theory which remains unproven. We discuss the flaws in this theory in our afterword to this article at right. Meanwhile, we must continue our summary of this discovery. The technique LIGO used is called laser interferometry, which works by splitting a beam of light and sending each half down two separate 4km long evacuation tunnels set at right angles to one another. Each tunnel contains an elaborate maze of mirrors which bounce the beams of light back and forth before they are recombined at their starting point and sent to special detectors which look for tiny shifts in the way they interact. The researchers then listen to the detectors audio output through headphones. Any differences are thought to indicate the presence of gravitational waves.

Based on the predictions posited by Einstein's theory, scientists believe that gravitational waves are expected to produce a difference in LIGO's detectors of one-ten-thousandth of the diameter of a proton. Unsurprisingly, this is exactly the difference the scientists claim to have detected! A proton, as many of you will know, is a positively charged particle found in the nucleus of atoms. According to material science it measures about 1.6 to 1.7 femtometers in diameter. A femtometer (fm) is one millionth of a billionth of a metre. Whilst scientists are continually changing their minds about the size of subatomic particles and arguing about whether they exist at all, we can say that the difference LIGO was looking for, and now claim to have found, is so very small, it is equivalent to detecting the difference between two individual grains of sand on a beach the size of the United States.

So much for the scientific methodology and the theoretical rationale behind it. What the media did not tell us is that laser interferometry depends upon the isolation of the detectors from all external vibration and a complete vacuum within the tunnels. Those of you who remember your science classes, will know that 'Nature abhors a vacuum'. Not only does she 'abhor' it, but as we have seen in our article on 'why matter matters', there is no such thing as a vacuum anywhere in the Universe, except perhaps between the ears of some of the journalists who spun this story into the 'momentous breakthrough' it was presented as in the media!

Scientists at LIGO spent 40 days pumping out their evacuation tunnels to remove the bulk of the air in them, achieving an astonishing vacuum of just one-trillionth of normal atmospheric pressure. But despite this remarkable achievement, it was still not a complete vacuum and no one can honestly say that nothing remained in the tunnels that might materially affect the results they were seeking. The same is true of vibration and noise. Seismic disturbances and the general background noise of planet Earth, all produce interference. This is where our embarrassing elephant in the room reappears. Those whose absolute faith in science will admit of no criticism of it will say that LIGO took careful measures to account for and counteract all the local phenomena that might possibly skew their results.

Those of us who are rather more sceptical about the infallibility of science and the impartiality of scientists may well question these assurances, and conclude that the researchers eliminated the elephant by using computer models to exclude what they didn't expect to hear from their recorded data. What remained, was their claimed 'chirp' or 'whoop'. In other words, they found what they expected to find, much as Climate Change scientists find evidence to support their preconceived notions of what they believe is happening to the Earth's climate. Or, to put it less kindly, they fitted the data to the theory. This is not to say that the LIGO scientists didn't find something, but what it was, if anything at all, we shall discuss later.

Now you see them, now you don't

This is not the first time scientists have announced the discovery of gravitational waves. Less than two years ago, in March 2014, a similar announcement was made by US scientists from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, who claimed to have detected gravitational waves with a radio telescope known as BICEP (Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization) at the south pole. This claim was subsequently dropped when it was found that signals from interstellar dust had been mistaken for the elusive gravitational waves. We are tempted to say "smoke got in their eyes", or as one of the research scientists put it: "Even in the faintest dust-emitting regions there are no 'clean' windows in the sky."

What is interesting about the BICEP research is that it shows all too clearly the flawed premises many scientists work under and the sloppy research methods they follow. The BICEP team obtained their data on the amount of dust in their field of view from the European Space Agency (ESA), or rather, they got if from a PowerPoint slide saved as a PDF which had previously been presented at a conference. One would have thought that access to the raw data would have been a better way of going about things, but as so often happens in the real world of science, the BICEP and ESA teams were in competition with one another, so didn't cooperate.

The first LIGO experiments conducted between 2002 and 2010 did not detect any gravitational waves either. This was followed by a lengthy shut-down while their equipment was upgraded and improved, leading to the present much-hyped 'discovery' in February 2016. Einstein himself was not at all sure about the existence of gravitational waves. In 1916, he told Karl Schwarzschild, the discoverer of so-called 'black holes', that gravitational waves did not exist, then said they did. In 1936, he and his assistant Nathan Rosen set out to publish a paper debunking the idea before making another u-turn. We fully expect LIGO to make a similar u-turn in the future.

Let us recap, to remind ourselves upon what insubstantial foundations the entire edifice of this 'scientific breakthrough' rests.

  1. The existence of theoretical objects called 'black holes'. In 2014, Stephen Hawking, the darling 'wunderkind' of both physicists and the public alike, stated that: "there are no black holes."
  2. Gravity. This too, remains a scientific theory, despite what the textbooks tell us.
  3. Einstein's general theory of relativity. Again, this is just another scientific theory which has been challenged by many famous scientists ever since it was first promulgated.
  4. Instruments vulnerable to interference from vibration and background 'noise'.

So what did the LIGO scientists detect, if anything? What we think they may have detected, and similar previous experiments might have detected too, are the magnetic lines of force which surround all material things, arising from the movement and interaction of electrically-charged bodies. However, this is simply our personal conjecture, based on the information available, but not without sound foundation. For Occult Science affirms that ours is an electric Universe and not an atom is devoid of this mysterious force. It informs and conditions every material thing, from interstellar dust particles, such as electrons and protons, to human beings, planets and entire galaxies, as you can read in our article on 'why matter matters.'

Cashing in on waves

You may well ask what drives the hunt for gravitational waves? There are three main reasons. Firstly, a genuine desire on the part of honest scientists to better understand the Universe. Secondly, the awkward problem of so-called 'dark matter' that some scientists believe makes up five sixths of the matter in the Universe. Although dark matter has never been directly observed, its existence and properties form an important part of the current theories of science about the origin of the Universe.

The third reason is rather less savoury and has to do with cash and kudos, both of which are considerably more important to some scientists than the pure search for truth. IF the existence of gravitational waves is confirmed by other researchers, and IF the theory stands the test of time, a Nobel Prize is sure to be awarded for the discovery. But these are big 'ifs', for very few scientific theories do remain unchallenged or unaltered. Many are dropped like hot potatoes when they no longer support the prevailing orthodoxy, such as Newtonian 'gravity' or Dalton's model of the atom, not to mention the ever-changing scientific theories about life itself.

It is estimated that the search for gravitational waves has cost the US taxpayer more than 1.5 Billion dollars. China plans to spend twice this amount over the next 15 to 20 years. Here, in Europe, researchers want to build an 'Einstein Telescope', consisting of three 10-kilometre long tunnels, with an estimated cost of 1 Billion Euros. In Japan, scientists are building yet another interferometer which will be buried deep in a mine and could be operational as early as 2018, whilst an Indian LIGO could be operational by 2022 for the modest price of only 350 million dollars!

Given this level of expenditure at the taxpayer's expense, some might say profligacy, we confidently predict that we have not heard the last of gravitational waves. Like the search for the equally elusive 'Higgs Boson'—sometimes called the 'God particle'—which was found, then lost, and now no one quite knows where it is, or even if it is, gravitational waves, like gravity itself, may well turn out to be nothing more than a figment of the scientific imagination.


We have seen that far from being the 'scientific breakthrough' of the century, the recent pronouncement of science about gravitational waves is one in a long series of similar speculative theories arising from its fruitless search for the Holy Grail of a unified theory of everything which would explain the origins and workings of the Universe in their entirety. No such theory can be found, or will ever be found until or unless material science acknowledges the existence of SPIRIT. You can read what Occult Science has to say about the speculative theories of science in the afterword to this article, as well as in several other articles we have published during the last four years. See our homepage for a full list of these.

So what have we learned? Firstly, that the pronouncements of science should be taken with a large pinch of salt, especially when there are vested interests involved. Secondly, to be aware of the misleading ways the media report and present scientific news by adopting a reverential, non-critical tone, dumbing down the science to appeal to the lowest common denominator, and using emotive language to exaggerate the importance of what has been discovered. Thirdly, that without a thorough consideration of all the facts from many different angles, it is quite impossible to arrive at anything approaching the truth.

So the next time you hear of another 'momentous scientific breakthrough', pause for thought. Then with reason guided by Intuition, examine the full facts for and by yourself, and so reach your own conclusions.

© Copyright Article published 17 February 2016. Updated 31 January 2021.

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