"Einstein Plus Two"
Several people have asked for sources of more information on "field-referred" (as opposed to observer-referred) theories, as touched on earlier.
A book that I'd recommend is Petr Beckmann's Einstein Plus Two, in which he develops the consequences of taking the velocity that matters to be not that with respect to the observer, but that of charges or masses with respect to the traversed gravitational field. Since in every experiment so far performed to test the predictions, the observer has always been at rest relative to the Earth's field, the results are as consistent with Beckmann's theory as with Einstein's. The difference is that the observed results follow not from any distortions of space and time, but from the breakdown of the inverse-square law at high velocities due to finite propagation times.
The result is a theory that:
- satisfies the relativity principle
- agrees with all the experiments performed to date
- is contradicted by none
- is simpler than the conventional alternative in assuming less
- is more powerful in predicting further observations that the conventional theory has to accept as "givens."
Surely a candidate for serious consideration, I would have thought.
Update added July 20, 2004
The late Petr Beckmann was also the author of The Health Hazards of NOT Going Nuclear, comparing the real risks of nuclear energy with those associated with the much-touted "alternatives," in which nuclear wins easily. Published in 1979 by Jim Baen when he was with ACE Books, but as pertinent today.