I was at first intrigued by the concept, but as I looked further into it, something kept nagging at me. While he’s chalked up a few positive reviews, all are from persons without backgrounds in physics, and most have no qualifications at all. I’ve no doubt that the sensational title garnered extra attention, just as does any outrageous statement when compared to one more reserved. The favorable comments focus exclusively on how well the book was written and how eloquently the ideas are expressed, (a sure sign of targeted reviewers) especially in how it identifies and defines current scientific anomalies, and how it gets you to think about how many mysteries about the universe still remain. I could find no qualified review that gave any positive comment about the soundness of the theory itself.
But there was still something not quite right, even beyond the substanceless reviews, some critical element that was missing in this kind of universal model. Looking further into it, I came upon some of the book’s content. One of the experiments McCutcheon presents as evidence describes two balls connected by an elastic band. When one ball is held straight out, the other one hangs below, and the weight of this second ball stretches the band. Now according to him, the standard theory of gravity states that when the first ball is released, both balls should remain in the same relative position to one another as they fall at the same rate to the floor. What happens instead is that the elastic band contracts as the assembly falls, causing the two balls to travel at different rates of speed. He then claims that this is a mystery of which every scientist is aware, but none can explain—a mystery that only his theory solves.
It was this last statement that blew me away. How could anyone miss such an obvious and elementary detail? I then understood why the positive comments came from unqualified readers—I can assure you that this “mystery” puzzles no physicist. The flaw in his reasoning is the failure to include the force of the experimenter’s hand as one of the elements! It is that force against which the elastic band stretches. Once that force is removed, of course the band will contract. It made me wonder whether the author was serious or if the entire work was based on similar gimmicks and written almost tongue-in-cheek. After all, to proclaim that Newton and Einstein were largely mistaken and deceived displays a level of arrogance to which any serious person would hardly aspire. How could such loose logic lead to any kind of a sound theory? I then found a few negative reviews (that they were from qualified, unsolicited readers is no surprise) that pointed out numerous other physical observations that McCutcheon overlooks, is unaware of, or simply ignores because they don’t fit into his model. Of course he knows he’s unlikely to get caught by a layperson, but if any of his targeted reviewers do, he just simply doesn’t publish that review.
My point in all this is not to throw stones at this particular author’s work. There’s a long history of theories that accomplish their goals by excluding data that doesn’t fit into the theory’s model. I side with Einstein in such matters—any candidate for a final “theory of everything” must be capable of explaining all observable phenomena in a consistent and uniform way. But I believe that to truly fulfill this criterion, we must take into consideration “all observable phenomena,” even those that physicists typically exclude. Paranormal phenomena, the genesis of life from inanimate matter and the human mind’s ability to create what it conceives are all as much a part of observable reality as particles, gravitational fields and galaxies. No theory of everything, however cleverly contrived, will ever be complete without including these in its reckoning.