1. Newton pictured space as a continuity interrupted by objects, and the notion of the “space-time continuum” shows that Einstein’s picture was essentially the same.
2. But every massive object – every object subject to the force of gravity- contains space.
3. Atoms contain space, and since we never see a lone quark, hadrons contain space.
4. Material objects it can be said are syntheses of energy and space, and so the questions arises as to what is the whole and what the part, and whether it makes a difference which is regarded as which.
5. For Newton, space is the whole and it is an essential element of the Newtonian world-view is that space possesses an independent existence.
6. And while Einstein re-introduced the ancient Hebraic idea that space is dynamic (Genesis states that ‘the heavens were “stretched out” during the creation of the universe), he imagined the “space-time continuum” to be the whole.
7. The Newtonian/Einsteinian picture is the current one and -if one doesn’t think too carefully about the consequences- it is easy to picture the universe on analogy with a room occupied by furniture.
8. But there is rival picture that is far older, and according to this picture it is being rather than nothingness that lies at the deepest level of our universe.
9. Plato held such a view, and Genesis tells us that G-d firstly created light, and that it was later that the heavens were “stretched out”.
10. Whereas Newton effectively championed the one view, his less celebrated rival Leibniz championed the other. The physical universe, Leibniz maintained as his proudest discovery, was the result of the dilution of being by nothingness.
11. He was so proud of this idea that he planned to commemorate it with a medal bearing the legends: THE MODEL OF CREATION DISCOVERED BY G.W.L, and ONE IS ENOUGH FOR DERVIVING EVERYTHING FROM NOTHING
12. In the Leibnizian picture, objects emerge, not out of the infiltration of empty space by packets of energy, but out of the infiltration of pure energy by pockets of space.
13. A bucket of water spinning in empty space is in the one picture a viable scenario, but in the other picture it is -because of the dependence of matter on interruptions to a continuous energy field- an absurdity.
14. More importantly, light in the latter picture is absolutely at rest, and the speed of light as traditionally understood is a value attained on a basis of the false assumption that an observer measuring the speed of light is at rest.
15. The idea that light in a vacuum is propogated in straight lines at the velocity c is replaced by the idea that a vacuum expands in straight lines at the velocity c.
16. The curvilinear propagation of light in a gravitational field is replaced by the idea of the curvilinear propagation of space in a field of light.
17. Rather than
(iii) light is propogated at the velocity c regardless of the state of motion of the emitting body
(iii*) space expands at the velocity c regardless of the state of motion of a body in space
18. The main trouble with physics, to use Lee Smollen’s expression, is that it is is fixated on the false and often religiously motivated idea that space is the whole and energy the part.