The Flaws of General Relativity

A compilation of some defects of the conventional theory of gravitation

It is generally assumed that Albert Einstein's theory of general relativity is an adequate theory of gravitation. However, although it has well passed all observational and experimental tests so far, some theoretical arguments indicate that it will have to be replaced with a more consistent theory.

Last modification 18th July '97

by Laro Schatzer <>

Remark: I removed the section stating the non-existence of interactive N-body solutions in general relativity [3-6], since the claim has been successfully refuted [7-8]. Accordingly, I decided to change the title: the "failure" was switched to "flaws".

General Relativity Does Not Respect Local Energy-Momentum

There are serious problems with local energy-momentum conservation in general relativity (see [1] for a review). It is well known that Einstein's theory does not assign a definite stress-energy tensor to the gravitational field. This property is extremely unsatisfactory, because one knows that all other fundamental interactions in nature actually do respect the principle of local conservation of energy-momentum. Essentially, the non-existance of a stress-energy tensor is a consequence of the purely geometrical interpretation of gravity as curvature of space-time.

General Relativity Predicts Space-Time Singularities

Space-time singularities and event horizons are a consequence of general relativity, appearing in the solutions of the gravitational field. Although the "big bang" singularity and "black holes" have been an topic of intensive study in theoretical astrophysics, one can seriously doubt that such mathematical monsters should really represent physical objects. In fact, in order to predict black holes one has to extrapolate the theory of general relativity far beyond observationally known gravity strengths. Quoting Albert Einstein shows that he was quite aware of this conceptual problem:
"For large densities of field and of matter, the field equations and even the field variables which enter into them will have no real significance. One may not therefore assume the validity of the equations for very high density of field and of matter, and one may not conclude that the 'beginning of the expansion' [of the universe] must mean a singularity in the mathematical sense. All we have to realize is that the equations may not be continued over such regions." [2]
Many physicists would prefer a gravity theory without mathematical anomalies in its field solutions.

General Relativity Failed to Be Quantized

Quantum mechanics can be said to be the cornerstone of modern physics. For every physical field theory it should be possible to formulate it as quantum field theory. Actually, it is generally accepted that the field theories of electromagnetism or gravitation are but an approximation, the "classical limit", of more fundamental underlying quantum field theories. It is also assumed that interaction theories have to be gauge theories. The possibility of formulating gravity as quantum field theory is essential in the context of the unification of all fundamental interactions. However, all attempts to find a consistent quantum gauge field theory of general relativity have failed. This indicates again that general relativity can hardly be an absolutely correct theory of gravitation.

Towards a Consistent Theory of Gravitation

It appears that general relativity is not an adequate theory of gravitation, and that it has to be replaced by a new consistent theory. An alternative is the gravity theory of Hüseyin Yilmaz [1-3].


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