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Physics On The Fringe

Physics on the fringe. The exotic history of amateur explanations of the universe.

A plasma ball. (Wysz/Flickr)

A plasma ball. (Wysz/Flickr)

Late at night, while you’re asleep, guys with no PhDs sit around trying to figure out the mysteries of the universe. Guys like Jim Carter in his trailer court on the Green River Gorge in Washington State. Doing physics on the fringe. Ever since Copernicus, science has moved in on religion to explain the cosmos.

To frame and map reality. To some ordinary folks, that is too important to leave to a priesthood of science stars. So they dig in. With some very wild ideas. Are they wrong?

This hour On Point: physics on the fringe, and the exotic realm of amateur explanations of the universe.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Margaret Wertheim, author of “Physics on the Fringe: Smoke Rings, Circlons, and Alternative Theories of Everything.”

C Segment: How The Hippies Saved Physics

David Kaiser, physicist and science historian, head of the “Science, Technology, and Society,” program at MIT. He’s the author of How the Hippies Saved Physics: Science, Counterculture, and the Quantum Revival.

Margaret Wertheim's TED talk
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  • CanYouTopThis

    Physics this:
     
    Where did the towers go?
    http://www.drjudywood.com

    Weather Anomalies and Field Effects?
    http://www.drjudywood.com/articles/erin

    Directed Energy Weapons and Toasted Cars?
    http://www.drjudywood.com/articles/DEW/StarWarsBeam5.html

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      This again?

      • UsingPhysics

        Challenging information, but you have it all figured out already.

        Ignoring evidence and blindly believing myth-makers – without critically thinking on your own – may be one of your hallmarks. 

         

        • Random

          are you responding to CanYouTopThis  or Greg Camp? It’s not clear from what you wrote. It definitely applies to CanYouTopThis.

          • Randomness

            You think so – thought it was the other way around?

        • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

          And making accusations without providing evidence is one of yours?

          • UsingPhysics

            And making assumptions without looking at the evidence is one of yours?

  • JustSayin

    Just tell me when we will have micro-fusion generators running our cars and homes.

    I heard Brian Green discussing how great it is that CERN proved to be kinda useless in proving anything about the nature of what was predicted. He felt it was money well spent though….

    Until these guys start focusing on cheap clean energy and not just the GUT, I’m kinda down on theory or the expenses incurred to prove their math false.

    I’ve joined the what have you done for society lately club.

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      So an understanding of how the whole universe works isn’t worth a little money?

      • JustSayin

        A little money?  There is a reason poor people can’t afford higher education. IMO What America needs right now is more manufacturing and less paid speculation.

        • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

          We put woefully little money into theoretical research.  No one is missing an education because of the CERN collider.

    • Tom Baccei

      Such a device is being demonstrated on a regular basis.

      Look here: http://blog.zorinaq.com/?e=61

      Google “ecat” “LENR” “Andrea Rossi”

      This is NOT crackpot. Mainstream media is in denial, but, of course, no matter what is said it looks that way. BUT start in on these items, and you will find a remarkable, entertaining and possibly world shaking drama playing out. It really is worth a small investment of time to become aware of this incredible drama!

  • Anonymous

    It’s seems to be the normal progression of any knowledge.  First the body of knowledge is immediately relevant to the lay person, then over time as a subject matter widens and deepens, it turns from an immediacy to servicing a detached inner aesthetic.  In mathematics, this happened at the end of Gauss’ life and it’s happening now in physics.

    Scientist should do a better job at bridging the gap, otherwise they become high priests and their subject matter becomes religion, which is rather ironic.  It’s true that there are some great authors/scientist that try to do just that: Ian Stewart, Eli Maor, Frank Close, Ramachandran, etc.  The benefits at engaging amateurs are can be very fruitful.  Just look at the impressive list of contributions that amateur astronmers have contributed to their subject or the people who play the protein folding game.

    But reaching out doesn’t appear to be the norm.  Typically, the run of the mill grad student can’t relate the specialty of what he learned to the world at large, and that’s unfortunate.  To paraphrase Lord Ashby, in Technology and the Academics. “A student who can weave his science into the fabric of society can claim to have a liberal education; a student who cannot weave his technology into the fabric of society cannot claim even to be a good scientist.”

    • Random

      ToyYoda,

      Amateur astronomers are contributing through observation and those playing the protein folding game, are well playing a game with the understanding that they’re contributing to science. This citizen science should be encouraged.

      But… these are different than the example of Jim Carter who is trying to do theoretical science. It’s easy to come up with ideas, but without evidence to back them up, why should your ideas be taken seriously. We are asked to take Jim seriously simply because he thinks he’s doing theoretical physics.

      • Anonymous

        Sorry, I didn’t make myself clear. My original post speaks to the fact that scientist do not try to bridge the knowledge gap and the result of such neglect is the topic of this show. This is too bad, because amateurs can make contributions to real science, if the gap is bridged and lay people are given a way to understand.

        • Random

          ToyYoda,
          I assume when you say “try to bridge the knowledge gap”, you’re talking about something more than Nova or science books written for the general public. I think you’re talking about being more inclusive in the pursuit of science. Scientists should reach out more in search of amateurs who are willing and capable to contribute. And some of this does happen right now. Amateur astronomy is probably the biggest one where amateurs contribute observational data. But I don’t see new theories and testable hypothesis coming from them (as far as I know). It could happen.

          But in the case of Jim Carter who is used as an example, this is not a failure of the scientific community because he had the opportunity to become a scientist. How come he didn’t pursue a scientific career through university education while so many other succeeded? If he had pursued a university education he would have learned the knowledge directly from the scientists themselves. He turned away from it. The issue that I see here is he did not fit environment of academic science.

          “Scientist should do a better job at bridging the gap, otherwise they become high priests and their subject matter becomes religion, which is rather ironic.”

          These are loaded words. “becomes religion”? “high priests”? You’re insinuating dogma.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Loring-Palmer/100000673381066 Loring Palmer

    What about offering a metaphysical and philosophical creation story that would include everyone in all cultures?  As we see that both the exterior and the interior of the universe is evolving, it’s becoming evident that we’re all part of this process that’s going somewhere.  We need a good story that relates to everyone and would bring us up to date with  21st century science. Thus, in the realm of Big Ideas, evolution is IT. For example, Andrew Cohen has done this in his compelling and elegant teachings that includes both science and metaphysics.  See his new book, EVOLUTIONARY ENLIGHTENMENT, “A New Path to Spiritual Awakening.”  Check it out.
    http://www.evolutionaryenlightenment.com

  • http://twitter.com/drphilxr Philip Kousoubris

    I hope someone mentions AG Lisi, a Physics PhD with a radical, great “TOE”

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    The standard of science isn’t whether those who don’t take the time to be educated can understand it.

  • Jasoturner

    Well, y’know, the beauty of hard sciences like physics is that there is no priesthood.  There are stars – the very talented – but there is no arcane knowledge that cannot be accessed without acceptance into a scientific “religion”.  So of course, the unaffiliated individual could certainly come up with a mind blowing discovery.  And it is the nature of hard science that such a discovery would be confirmed and accepted by the mainstream.  At least eventually.  Think of Ramanujan in mathematics. 

    The problem with independent investigators is that too many of them come up with perpetual-motion type inventions that cannot work.  This kind of discredits the whole independent scientist enterprise.

  • Gemli

    The world can be understood with mathematical rigor, but it can also be understood conceptually.  If you explained a baseball game in purely mathematical terms, it would be incomprehensible to most people.  But conceptually it’s pretty simple.  I think that when physics finally understands everything, it will be able to be explained to a bright 10-year-old.

    • Random

      But, you can experience baseball. You can’t experience atomic processes (quantum mechanics), nor the collapse of the remains of a star into a black hole.

  • Ekuniholm

    One of my favorite Einstein quotes is: “The most inconceivable thing about the universe is that it is at all conceivable.” The wonder and mystery creates our story, see Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    The key is whether these fringe ideas lead to any new information.  A scientific theory is valuable only when it actually explains observable phenomena.  Feeling good about it is irrelevant to the process.

  • sailon_52

    Maybe it’s helpful to have people who can ‘see the forest for the trees’. Perhaps the mystery of the universe is it’s brilliant simplicity.

  • John – Williamstown, VT

    Science and Math can only describe how things work within the universe they don’t tell HOW things work. That’s where the magic lies within the how and in those things we can’t describe or understand.

    We know that seeds germinate and embryos divide to create life but we don’t really know where the life comes from.

    I believe it was Einstein that said (I paraphrase) “when you are looking at the why’s of the universe sooner or later you encounter God.”

    • Random

      If you ask scientists, they will tell you that even the best of theories and scientific models of the are incomplete.

      Many people who put down math as a way of describing and understanding the universe do not understand how science is done. Mathematical models in the physical sciences have often led to new predictions and eventually backed up by hard evidence. You can’t simply dismiss math and science.

    • Random

      “when you are looking at the why’s of the universe sooner or later you encounter God.”
      That doesn’t necessarily mean there is a God. It means that at the very least the human mind needs there to be a creator to explain the why’s.

      • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

        And what Einstein meant by God is completely different from the Christian version.  Einstein meant Spinoza’s God, and Spinoza got his version from Aristotle.  That God was by no means the personal savior that many want.

        • Random

          That’s the problem with quotes. They’re detached from context in which it was made and is then transplanted into the context of the quoter.

  • Anonymous

    If gravity isn’t real but we experience it due to the world expanding, does this expansion explain the obesity epidemic? 

  • ArchibaldJuniper

    The solar system is flat and is racing through space filled with neutrinos or equivalent in such a way that Bernoulli forces draw the bodies together.  The rotation of the the solar system and galaxies, for example, provide the centrifugal force to match the Bernoulli force.

    You can demonstrate this science  by jetting air between rotating plastic spheres.  The constant that applies in this demonstration is equivalent to the gravitational constant because the mathematics are the same.

    When the early earth was molten, its rotation and the Bernoulli forces worked together to equalize gravity on all points of a spherical earth by adjusting the shape of the iron core.

  • Jon Dreyer

    It may be an unfortunate consequence of how the Universe is put together that the farther we look beyond our own hunter-gatherer experience, the less effective our common sense may be in helping us understand it. Unlike religions, these theories will ultiimately live and die based on how predictive, reproducible and elegant they are.

    • Random

      We are part of the universe, but we are not universe in it’s entirety.

  • William Griggs

    A reminder: all of the intellectuals will tell you straight up that they really only know a tiny fraction of all to be known. encouraging for these who press forward more explanations to better serve all of us. wasn’t Einstein a patent clerk??

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      Yes, but that was while he was looking for a job as a professor.  He’d earned his advanced degree in physics–in other words, he did the work to understand the science.

      • Hunter Snarkson

        It is also worth noting that his colleagues and teachers ranked him as among the best classical physicists they knew. Too many people seem to think that an explanation in English (or other every-day tongue) that they can understand must trump a mathematical one they can’t.

        It’s a pseudo-paradox: objective expertise is essential for democracy, otherwise “truth” will be purchased by the highest bidder of money or fear—but it is by its nature unegalitarian. Joe the Plumber/{Mædia Guy}’s opinion on a question of phsics is very likely not as useful as Jill the Accredited Phyicist’s no matter how folksy he might be or how snobby she.

        I think it comes down to both masses’ and experts’ remembering that there should be a big difference between “I’m better than you,” and “I’m better than you at this.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/dbowker3d Doug Bowker

    I applaud the idea of making science “seem” more understandable, but the fact is if you delve even a little deeply into any branch and almost no one could easily grasp it. An image of a cell is great to look at, but in reality it’s all happening at this incredibly complex molecular level. Merely the process of eating food and getting to be usable energy is an almost infinitely complex chain of events. Yet, the basic understanding of this has been understood for more than a century, so perhaps we need theoretical physics to have some more time to get it simplified for public consumption. But again, from what I can tell, 99% of people don’t really understand almost any real science, even if they THINK they really do.

    Think of engineering: who actually understands how it works except engineers. No one really can follow how it works even though maybe they think they can. Their is not something inherently wrong is it being out the realm of most average citizens. It’s not “taking it on faith” but it does require some basic trust.

  • Anonymous

    Most people didn’t understand the theological minutia of religion when religion was the mode of understanding the world.  People should be able to grasp the main points of scientific explanations. 

  • Manoog

    Does your guest recall that there was  time that government did want to bring since to the people. Case in point was charging Buckminster Fuller in explaining the function of the gyroscope.

  • William Griggs

    The best and brightest are everywhere, including patent offices. Our “Established” science is never really established, and the more involved, the more we can learn. PhD’s tend to stare at the diploma on the wall too much, and less on the actual science. balance and input should come from everywhere, provided it spurs us as a species forward.

  • Wes, Cambridge, MA

    Humans now have computers that can solve problems about the nature of the universe, and yet we do not understand the meaning or mechanism of the answer, like something out of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, “What is the answer to life, the universe, and everything?”

  • Chris Eichelberger

    How can we conceive the complexity of the universe in just one language, just one paradigm?

  • Wendy

    Richard Feynmann was the great simplifier. Think of the space shuttle hearings when he dropped rubber rings into ice water. If he can do it, others can, too.

  • S.C. Listener

    The epoch of “christian rule science” is over. It works in a vacuum, but failed in the warm fuzzy needs of humanity.

  • Gerald

    It is naïve to assume that any layman can ever understand the depths of a particular profession without effort. The professionals do have a responsibility to explain the current trends in simplified terms, especially if these professionals expect to get paid by others.

    Media such as PBS definitively need to play a role in this education, but it is also in the responsibility of the education system and the individual to truly work towards understanding.

    “Alternative” explanations that are inspired by myth and superstition cannot be acceptable.

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      Just so.  And it’s out of bounds to say that I tried to understand, but it was too hard or too boring, so I gave it up.

    • Hunter Snarkson

      Someone once asked me why Newage stuff was so popular: my snap answer was, ‘Because the religion[s] they know best are unbelievable but science is _hard_.’

    • Anonymous

      Isn’t that what the eloquent black physicist Neil deGrasse Tyson does on all these science shows? LOL He’s ‘almost’ a modern day Carl Sagan!

  • L. Lacelove

    There will always be technical aspects of most fields that lay people do not have time or ability to learn.  There is, nonetheless, a great difference between technical fields with a culture of simplicity and those which enjoy the arcane.  The physicist Richard Feynman’s greatness came largely from being able to see aspects of physics in beautifully simple, clear, intuitive ways, where before him they were accessible exclusively through extremely complicated and difficult differential equations.  Similarly, theoretical computer science and combinatorics have a strong culture of simplicity, and you will frequently find the word ‘beautiful’ used in describing proofs and the theorems themselves in those fields.

  • Anonymous

    I have no problem with math that I cannot understand. I have a problem with reality that I cannot understand. :^) I accept that complete understanding of the universe has eluded me all of my life. I accept that the universe surprises me nearly every day and it makes me smile so I accept that alternate viewpoints may be of value.
     
    I accept that math is used to understand, predict and discover facts and phenomena that we can manipulate and exploit. I leave that to those for whom it is bliss. There are the theorists and the mechanics. Each has a role in the advancement of science and technology. How often has a discovery been made through observation from which the theory was later developed?
     
    I see two rhelms: physics and metaphysics.
     
    In the rhelm of metaphysics, causality is fundamentally beyond our understanding or contradictory if every cause has a cause then there can be no first cause… ouch!

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    When Jim Carter can show us new answers that only his explanation can give, I’ll listen.  I do know that smoke rings aren’t going to tell us anything about subatomic particles.  Smoke rings are a phenomenon of molecules.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NUQ4XMTZ32OAXZSJHIWPBOOJ2I GH

      Depends on how much you’ve had to smoke I think.

  • Bluzader

    I believe that many of the books, articles and videos that “popularize science” over-simplify the process and content of discoveries in modern physics. We need some writers who will take on the task of addressing the mathematical techniques that are used in modern physics OR a good historical account of how “we got to our present scientific and mathematical establishment” that addresses the paths not taken. The math is ignored in popular science writing and it shouldn’t be.

    • Hunter Snarkson

      Someone once said that the problem was that we teach not science—how to do it—but about science (facts and history).

      Then again, why should anyone tasked with keeping children in line and mouldable by dominant social influences encourage them to carefully observe and to reason?—that’s asking for trouble…. Similarly, we don’t educate people well in detecting actual competence—and the pundits of the world gain thereby, setting themselves up as authorities even as they mock the notion (think of G. Beck in his tweeds-and-glasses mode mocking perfessors even as he claims their mantle).

      I think the dirty secret of education in the U.S. is that we’ve got eactly what we want: the forms that allow us to claim we want it without the values that encourage and foster it.

  • Zelman

    Thank you for this conversation. Science, it has always been to me is a never-ending quest. We’ll never really ‘know’. All we can to is continue to ask and to search. Evolution unwinding in front of our eyes. Cool.

    • Ekuniholm

      I completely second that emotion. For me, physics, mathematics and the like is a sort of mythology in and of itself. Sometimes you don’t want all the answers. 

      • Roger Cooke

        I guess I agree with that, if I understand it.  No danger, though.  We’ll never get all the answers.  What bothers me about the “alternative scientists” is not that they ignore what answers we do have.  It’s that they THINK they have answers that are actually no answers at all.

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NUQ4XMTZ32OAXZSJHIWPBOOJ2I GH

          This is why to me, this seems more like ego than a need to “understand” the universe on your own terms.  I suppose i should read the authors book before I pass to much judgement.

          • Random

            GH,

            That’s how I see a lot of these fringe “scientists”. There is a lot of ego or hubris floating in ignorance. I’m sorry but if you haven’t studied the science and the math that goes along with it, then you’re missing a whole, whole lot. You can’t just ignore science and math because it’s too hard for you.

        • Anonymous

          Excellent point.

      • Random

        Ignorance is bliss indeed.

  • John

    As I listened I felt the parallel of predictions of the rapture, made by seemingly intelligent people who simply feel the right to make unsubstantiated claims based on nothing more than their own fancy.  This has been shown to be very harmful to those impressed by them.  Is the same true for this crowd?  Does fringe science lead people away from the beauty of truth and into a convoluted world of half-baked theories?

  • http://en-gb.facebook.com/onanov Donald Baxter
  • Michiganjf

    We had thousands of years of brilliant philosopher/scientists conjecturing about the nature of the universe and our world.

    The difference between this kind of lay-science and modern science is the complexity of the theories and the mathematics which have been peer-tested today, but one of the most important differences is modern technology, or the precision of the tools available to modern scientists.

    These tools are simply not available to the lay person for them to refine and check their theories.

    FOR INSTANCE, the ancient Greeks came up with an elegant proof for determining that the earth was the center of the universe… if the earth moved around the sun, they conjectured, the distance travelled should be so great that a parallax shift should be observed between stars in the sky. THIS WAS BRILLIANT AND CORRECT! The Greeks couldn’t observe the parallax shift, and thus concluded the earth was indeed at the center of the universe. This was correct based on the observational tools available in ancient Greece, but the conclusion was wrong BECAUSE THERE IS A PARALLAX SHIFT!

    … The problem, of course, was their measuring tools weren’t sensitive enough to observe the shift, and today the parallax shift is readily measurable as the Earth moves around the sun.

    ANOTHER FOR INSTANCE, again based on ancient Greece:

    The Greeks hypothesized that the Earth would have to move very rapidly through space to circum-navigate the sun in a year’s time… so fast, in fact, that if one threw an object in the air, it would have to land in a different spot because the earth would have moved beneath it in the time between toss and landing. This is a perfectly reasonable hypothesis, but WRONG.

    This is the problem with people believing that a good, seemingly sound idea is sufficient to explain a given phenomenon. Plainly put, nothing in our Universe is as simple as lay people would like it to be, to fit the observed phenomenon into their limited perspective and experience.

    It’s dangerous, IMHO, to push this seductive, anti-science mode of naive reasoning onto a public which is willing to believe an old bearded guy created everything because that view fits their extremely limited understanding of the cosmos.

    I have a great respect for do-it-yourselfers, but not when it comes to the complexity of modern science, considering the advanced mathematics, tools, physics, and peer review required to study a world which simply doesn’t hold up to Newtonian physics when measured with modern scientific “tools.”

    • Michiganjf

      I would add that, likewise, our modern tools may someday also prove inadequate, and may likewise prove to have led modern science to some false conclusions.

      … recall the recent measurements (still subject to much review) of particles moving faster than light?

      • Michiganjf

        The intention of my original post was not to devalue the insights or contribution to knowledge that any individual might make… rather, in this day of dangerous denial regarding some very important science, I simply worry when the general public is reason to believe that there is merit in devaluing the work of highly trained, well-equipped scientists working as aptly funded professionals subject to peer review.

        Certainly, many self-taught mathematicians, scientists, philosophers, etc…, have made invaluable contributions to human knowledge throughout history.

        • Michiganjf

          Correction:

          ” … I simply worry when the general public is [given] reason to believe…”

      • Anonymous

        What is the connection between the FTL neutrinos and our “modern tools” leading to false conclusions?  The FTL thing was an example of science working quite well.  Open to the possibility of something completely undermining one of the cornerstones of modern physics, yet properly skeptical and demanding of further evidence in the face of an extraordinary claim.

        The strength in science has never been that it is infallible.  Almost every hypothesis turns out to be wrong.  The strength is its openness to new ideas and willingness to challenge old ideas, no matter how cherished.

        “The scientist has a lot of experience with ignorance
        and doubt and uncertainty, and this experience is of very great importance, I think. When a scientist doesn’t know the answer to a problem, he is ignorant. When he has a hunch as to what the result is, he is uncertain. And when he is pretty damn sure of what the result is going to be, he is still in some doubt. We have found it of paramount importance that in order to progress, we must recognize our ignorance and leave room for doubt. Scientific knowledge is a body of statements of varying degrees of certainty — some most
        unsure, some nearly sure, but none absolutely certain. Now, we scientists are used to this, and we take it for granted that it is perfectly consistent to be unsure, that it is possible to live and not know. But I don’t know whether everyone realizes this is true. Our freedom to doubt was born out of a struggle against authority in the early days of science. It was a very deep and strong struggle: permit us to question — to doubt — to not be sure. I think that it is important that we do not forget this struggle and thus perhaps lose what we have gained.” -Richard Feynman

        • Random

          There is a lot of ignorance on how science is done and how scientists think. The Richard Feynman quote sums things up quite well.

          That FTL neutrino news is normal in the world of science. Scientists know better than to simply accept things on results of a single experiment. Science is conducted by humans after all.

  • leftofcenter

    While many say that scientific discovery is a noble thing, the reality is is that like anything else it’s subject to human egos battling for control and profit. Name one scientist who’s a global warming skeptic who isn’t funded by a large corporation.

    • Anonymous

      While funding source can introduce bias, in and of itself it is not a reason to dismiss scientific findings.  The reason to dismiss global warming deniers (I won’t even skeptic – scientific skepticism is a good thing, denialism is not) is not because of their funding, but because they aren’t doing good science.  The funding may be a reason to look more closely at their results to verify them, however.

      As a case in point, The Berkeley Earth Institute had lots of funding from the Koch brothers, but did good science.  (And unsurprisingly, corroborated the findings of other climate scientists showing warming is definitely happening.)
      http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/richard-muller-koch-brothers-funded-scientist-declares-global-warming-real-article-1.969870?localLinksEnabled=false

  • Roger Cooke

    Dr. Wertheim has much more patience with the alternative
    physicists than I have.

     

    As she just pointed out, REAL science produces microchips
    and the GPS navigation system and a hundred thousand other devices that have been
    of immense benefit in medicine and everyday life. 

     

    What have the alternative physicists ever produced that is
    worth anything at all?  They offer lazy people the illusion that they understand
    something, but the “understanding” is utterly useless except as psychological comfort.

     

    I have no sympathy with the implication that scientists are
    to blame because science is too hard for most people to understand.  People should
    either take the time to learn REAL science or stop pretending their opinion counts for something. 
    We’ve had quite enough of people

    who listen to morons like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck
    (neither of whom knows the first thing about climatology) telling us that climate change is a
    hoax, then say they’d “like to hear both sides and make up their own mind.”  As
    if there is some significance in the conclusions of a person completely ignorant of the relevant
    science.

     

    And the notion that scientists will become a kind of
    priesthood, ruling over us, is absurd.  People who think that have read too much CS Lewis for their own good.  American experience has proved that people are far more
    likely to be ruled over by pseudoscientists who tell them the world was created 6
    thousand years ago. 

     

    We have good advice from the climatology community that
    there is some danger in what we are doing to the environment.  That may not be
    infallible, as it comes from ordinary human beings, but it’s the best advice we are going to get.  As
    citizens of a democracy, it’s now up to us to decide what actions we are willing to take to deal with
    what the scientists tell us is likely to happen.  The scientists are in no position to
    order us to take action, nor do they wish to do so.

     

    Roger Cooke

    • Anonymous

      Eloquently stated. Thank you!!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NUQ4XMTZ32OAXZSJHIWPBOOJ2I GH

    I missed the middle of the hour but  haven’t heard why these armature  natural philosophers are not satisfied by the loads of excellent popular science books that are available in your local lending library? 
    It seems to me that if you’re not going to do the math yourself, then Brian Greene, Stephen Hawkins, Richard Dawkins and the host of others are perfectly comprehensible for the average person. 
    The claim that they’re just the high priests of a new religion doesn’t hold water because as far as I know, priests don’t go around trying to disprove the work of other priests.   Might be better if they did.

  • Christopher Noel

    Margaret is perfect, except she needs to remember that “phenomenon” is singular, “phenomena” plural.

    • Random

      Can you elaborate on what you mean by “perfect”?

  • M Miller1230

    This is a great subject, observing physics can be done without the use of machines, since human consciousness is part of the universe simply by mediating regularly, one can observe the nature of consciousness which is in fact subject to the laws of physics, how much did mind expanding substances contribute to these discoveries. I also believe that as we observe the universe we are subject to the illusion of our own observation, if we view an experiment from the perspective that we are not involved in the experiment it effects the outcome. Our human experience is the experiment, our consciousness defines everything we observe. We are a part of it.

    • Random

      Have you tested your belief?

      Human experience is inherently limited. Which is why math, science and tools are used to peer beyond our limitations.

      Mind you, we don’t stop thinking because tools and math exist. 

      Math is a mind expanding substance!

  • Smokeandshrooms

    Bet recreational drug use was vital for the hard work and insight of the ‘hippie physicists’.

  • Michael J

    In reference to Dr. Wertheim’s point about people being disconnected from science, I submit hte following:  A book titled “The View from the Center of the Universe”, in it authors Joel Primack and Nancy Abrams insist that new stories which connect scientific dicoveries of the past century in a way that people can understand.

  • RockTheMedia

    This absolutely crazy.

    We have a whole hour of fringe stuff (no disrespect for the auther and the characters, we support them and defend them) … the topic of questioning gravity, etc. … pie in the sky stuff gets darn full hour … and then when we want discussion about the “reinvestigation” (cost per person 8.4 cents) about the myterious collapse of WTC #7 on 9/11 that totally defies gravity and rules of physics … WBUR gives Architects and Engineers for Truth person only 3.5 minutes with 4-5 interruptions.

    If what WBUR doing is journalism, I am Dick Cheney.

    • Austin S Buck

      lol. well… james carter and Architects and Engineers for Truth have the same flaw… both have an insurmountably skewed view of reality.

    • Conor G.

      the difference being that your “mysterious collapse” is bollocks

  • Roger

    I found today’s program with physicist Margaret Wertheim too much to bear. The proposition that the universe can be made understandable to all is an illustration of the Great Amercian Myth that anyone can become anything they want if they just work hard enough at it.  After Prof. Wertheim or some other genius figures out how to accomplish this, it should be child’s play for them to figure out a way to make me an NBA star, even though I’m 68 and 5’8″ tall.  I’d like to play for the Celtics.
     

  • Anonymous

    Great show, except for the interviewer. He interrupts, not to move the discussion along or to clarify a point, but to inject his own ego into the mix. Most annoying is when he interrupts to finish the guest’s sentence, when the guest is perfectly capable of doing this himself or herself. It’s kind of amusing when it is done with a sense of urgency and/or desperation. I suggest listening to a bit of Terry Gross for some inspiration on how it can be done. Hint: converse, relax, and respect. Or, you can just keep going like you are and see how far it gets you. 

    • Austin S Buck

      that’s always been the case. he is one of the worst interviewers i’ve ever heard. terry gross or warren olney are far better. he’s also less than impartial on certain issues. however, his approach seems to have some appeal… he has this show after all.

      • Anonymous

        Terry Gross doesn’t have to deal with callers who often need to be moved along.  Tom is live and her interviews are edited. 

        • JayB

          But Tom is constantly interrupting his own guests as well as callers, in an unnecessary and often inaccurate attempt to sum up what they are saying, which not uncommonly ends up derailing them.   (And “We get what you’re saying” is pretty much a red flag that he didn’t!)

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RK337LTCARNBI6ZIJTSOHXWGJ4 me

            Tom, don’t mind the “cosmic critics”, they have no idea what a starship commander has to do, to avoid the black holes and Jupiter-tonian gravity.
            This subject is “spectromatic”, a bright star in a passionate galaxy , a quantum line that unfolds infinite  planes; the ball is rolling! YOU TELL ‘EM man.
            brennan moriarty [on mom's comp]

        • Austin S Buck

          yeah…. and warren olney? tom has an often shallow comprehension of the issues he’s dealing with. i’m not referring to his handling of callers, i agree that they often distort or unnecessarily divert the course of the discussion. what i am referring to is tom’s often placating tone and hasty interjection of comments that fail to add to the content of the discussion, seemingly to hear his own voice. it detracts from the flow of the show and often brings actual elucidation of the given topic to a halt. 

          in plain english: it sucks balls.

  • suki

    Tom is being a butt today.

  • Brennan511

    Tom, don’t mind the “cosmic critics” they have no idea what a starship commander has to do to navigate black holes and Jupiter-onian gravity.
     This subject is “spectromatic” , a quantum line the unfolds infinite planes with measured Points. The ball is rolling, YOU TELL ‘EM boy.

    • Brennan511

      Physics is very high and noble, but sociology is the hallow just outside our mind, and the plasma vectors are mathmatically functional

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=520402919 Lee Barry

    This happened with music 30 years ago, when being a musician no longer required studying it formally, or even understanding theory or technique. I think lots of great ideas were generated in the absence of music education, but lots of bad ones as well! Ultimately the domain was enhanced by letting people access the ‘source code’ and shape in their own way. All this ‘outsider’ activity on the edges redefines what the center is. A similar ‘deconstruction’ may be happening with physics. That said, it remains to be seen what will stand the test of time.

  • geodesic1

    The explanation of the Universe: Where we come from, how we got here, why we’re here, and what we’re supposed to do is simple, elegant, includes everything and excludes nothing. It’s easy to understand, since we and everything share the same origin. We can witness it in awe, everywhere, all the time and it will never cease to amaze when you take the time to reflect on it.
    The ‘how’ of what we’re supposed to do is the challenge of our species. But first, we must to overcome our tendency toward cultist, superstitious, ‘magical’ thinking. That might be an even bigger challenge than understanding the origin of everything.
    Science can and will eventually explain it all (what was before the Big Bang), but as this article shares, it must be understood in practical, everday, laymen terms…

  • Joe Merriman

    Aren’t Plasma Balls Great!
    See my Plasma Ball on YouTube.. :)
    http://youtu.be/hvuwHm2ZP1s

    Joe

  • Random

    So I assume everyone here will be watching Nova’s “The Fabric of the Cosmos” on PBS. Right?Right?

  • UsingPhysics

    Check out the concepts and theories at these websites:

    Free Energy News -
     http://peswiki.com/index.php/Main_Page

    Subquantum Kinetics and Superwave theory –
     http://starburstfound.org

    The Resonance Project -
     http://theresonanceproject.org/research/scientific

    The Essential Guide to the EU -
     http://www.thunderbolts.info/wp/2011/09/02/essential-guide-to-eu-chapter-1

    • Anonymous

      UP, thanks for pointing out the fact that *anyone* can put up a website with nonsense put forward as ‘fact’.

      THIS is why scientific discoveries are peer-reviewed in journals.

      • UsingPhysics

        And THIS is why were still drilling holes in the ground for oil and knocking down mountains for coal when energy is all around us.

  • Mathudd

    Wow!  I usually like Tom Ashbrook, but this show is COMPLETE garbage.

    You want a “simple” understanding of the universe?  Let’s go back to Greek mythology!

    I teach the “party line” version of physics everyday and the vast majority of my students understand it.  The true triumph of modern science is that it IS comprehendible and understandable… to those who bother to do a little homework!  

    Our modern day physicists were selected as “high priests” by the secretive process of PAYING ATTENTION IN MATH AND SCIENCE CLASSES!  They maintain their elite status by GIVING US TECHNOLOGY THAT WORKS!

    Give me a break!

  • David de Hilster

    This website has the most alternative theories on the internet: http://www.worldsci.org  Check it out!

  • Ben

    Maybe it’s not a failure of the scientific community to communicate complex ideas.  Maybe it’s a failure of our education system that the universe seems too complicated to be accessible by average people.   Then again, there is the possibility that universe is simply beyond the understanding of even the greatest human minds.  If that is the case, then perhaps one day we will be able to design super computers with the power to “understand” the workings of the universe, and maybe these same computers will be able to give us a watered down version that we can safely imbibe.

    • Drew You Too

      “Then again, there is the possibility that the universe is simply beyond the understanding of even the greatest human minds”

      Nice! The Finite is unable to fully comprehend the Infinite. I think it’s a good thing that we likely don’t posses the ability to comprehend everything, if we did what would there be to search for?

  • Drew You Too

    Great show and interesting comments.

    The first thing I would like to state is that I do not know anything.

    The second thing I would like to state is that as a result of my first statement, I constantly strive to learn any thing.

    The methods I use to pursue that goal are not as crucial as the pursuit itself. Someone else’s beliefs should never dictate your own, the moment you impose prejudice in any form you constrict your avenues for exploration. Intelligence is what we are born with, wisdom is what we should die striving to achieve. Glad to see there are still explorers among us, thanks for the show On Point.

    • Narbey

      ” Glad to see there are still explorers among us, thanks for the show On Point.”

      And scientists are not explorers?

      • Drew You Too

        Of course scientist are explorers, did I say something to the contrary? I have a deep respect for anyone who pursues knowledge, especially those who do it academically. My point was that there is no wrong way to try and advance one’s personal knowledge. Sorry if you felt my comment was vague, I certainly didn’t intend it as a degradation to the conventional scientific community.

        • Random

          I may have read too much into it. The sentence I quoted seemed to insinuate that Jim Carter was a real explorer at the exclusion of academic scientists.

  • Anonymous

    Margareth:
    I have not read your book but will do so shortly.

    I’m the founder of the World Science Database (WSD) and one of the directors of the NPA.  I listened to your radio interview on NPR.  Congrats.

    Just a few points which I think you should know.

    The main thesis of your NPR interview (and perhaps your book) is to say that the bulk of the scientists in the World Science Database are unhappy with the complexities of modern physics and want it simpler.

    This is not correct.

    Most of the scientists in the database got there not because they were searching for alternatives, but they were trying to understand mainstream physics, or real scientific experiments or work (like Chris Eckman http://www.worldsci.org/people/Christopher_Eckman who works with Brown’s gas and nothing in chemistry or physics could explain it at his university) showed fundamental problems with current theory.  Again, fundamental, not tweaks.  There are many university teachers and serious scientists in the database who work at universities around the world and many engineers working at prestigious companies including NASA.

    James Carter is in fact more of an exception than a rule. He is a great guy and I enjoy his work, but he is not the norm.  It is perhaps fun and colorful for a popular book, but it does not represent the average person in the NPA or WSD.  Some of us in the WSD and NPA would consider Jim’s ideas a little “out there” than most but again, we love and respect his work.

    Why these scientists and professors and ordinary people in the NPA and WSD came to work on this subject is that the studied the fundamentals of mainstream gravity, relativity, the big bang, particle physics, and cosmology, and the like and found fundamental problems with it.  They were not out seeking alternatives or simpler explanations.  Some of these people are university professors or students or well-respected engineers in their field.  What they found was in fact, what the evidence is for mainstream science and their basic assumptions for science were wrong.

    The characterization of these scientists is wrong to say they are looking for something simple.  Take these examples and you will see they their alternatives and work is not in simplifying, but correcting at fundamental levels and producing scientifically sound work:

    Bill Lucas: http://www.worldsci.org/people/Charles_LucasBill was being groomed in the early 1970s to be a top physics star in the United States but was ousted when he found fundemental problems with relativity. Incredible model for sub-atomic structure (pretty complicated). This is no simplification but incredible work.Dr. Ed Dowdey: http://www.worldsci.org/people/Edward_DowdyeEd worked at NASA for many years and is showing how there is no evidence for gravitation and light interacting. This is really work. Where are the Einstein rings?  He is disputing General Relativity.Glen Borchardt: http://www.worldsci.org/people/Glenn_Borchardt
    In my opinion the best scientific philosophy book in the last hundred years (http://www.amazon.com/Scientific-Worldview-Beyond-Newton-Einstein/dp/0595392458/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpt_1)

    I am finishing up a documentary called “Einstein Wrong – The Miracle Year”. I started it in 2005. It will be out in all the big major festivals including Canne, Berlin, and hopefully qualify for Oscar 2013. I am a member of the International Documentary Association and I live in Long Beach, California. My film has great support by the documentary community and has interest from various distributors, some who have won Oscars. The documentary has a very good human story following our family into this world and has evidence from the mainstream and industry that things are very wrong with science at fundamental levels.

    My film shows that much of what we repeat every in the press on science has fundamental flaws.  My film is for the mainstream audience much like your book and will be very entertaining and informative (we hope of course!).

    There will definitely be those in these outside ranks whose work will become mainstream.  It is only a matter of time.  The big bang, relativity, plate tectonics (the earth is growing), sub-atomic structure, and a universe that is much more electric than gravitational are just some of the things we in the NPA and WSD are working on.

    I will send you a copy of our 18th NPA proceedings for you to browse if you like.  Include a mailing address and I will be happy to send it to you.  It is much more than looking for alternatives.  It is addressing the fundamental problems with science and having to find out where it went wrong, and where we can go in new directions.

    We have started and International Science Foundation where we are getting funding for experiments.  It is modest for now, but is growing.

    I applaud you on your efforts to bring this to the public.

    I will respectfully disagree with your characterization of those in the NPA and WSD.  James Carter who I love, is only one person and is one of the more “ecentric” people of the group for sure under his own admission. Most are serious scientists, engineers, and professors who found fundamental problems with mainstream science and are trying to correct them.

    Thank you for your time,
    ———————————-David de HilsterWSD FounderWebmaster / DirectorNatural Philosophy AllianceCell: 310-991-5744Fax: 562-595-6296http://www.worldsci.orghttp://www.worldnpa.org

    • Random

      Um dude, Einstein rings, right here:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Einstein_ring

      • Anonymous

        Um dude, did you read Dr. Edward Dowdye’s arguments? Here is the link: http://www.extinctionshift.com/  This is exactly the problem. No one reads the refutations to mainstream’s ideas. Dr. Edward Dowdye is a NASA scientists. 60 Minutes did a piece on Cold Fusion and the scientists who didn’t believe in cold fusion, then went to a lab in Isreal and returned, said he now believes. 60 minutes asked why didn’t he believe before.  Answer? He said no one reads the stuff.

        You are an example of this.  You believe because it is in Wikipedia. But you didn’t even try reading the NASA scientist’s arguments. He talks about the supposed “evidence” for Einstein rings which is slim to none.

        Please, read before posting links.  Thanks!

        • Random

          Do you seriously understand what’s proposed on the extinctionshift site at the level of a physicist or an astronomer? You mentioned that Dr. Dowdye is a NASA scientist, using his credentials as an appeal to authority. How about all those other scientists with phds who support the idea of gravitational lensing (ones you will find working for NASA as well).

          No I don’t believe simply because it’s on Wikipedia. I go by what physicist and astronomers, say based on the evidence they have gathered, which is also what the Wikipedia page is based on. The wikipedia link was meant as a compact and convenient way of showing the evidence for gravitational lensing. More reliable sources can be found by following the references on the wiki page or by googling.

          Just because there is a website out there with formulas and charts making a refutation does not mean it’s correct. I looked at http://www.extinctionshift.com and I did not see any direct refutation of the Hubble images showing gravitational lensing. The site appears to focus primarily on gravitational bending expected by the sun.

          I googled Dr. Dowdye and found out (http://scitizen.com/authors/Edward-Dowdye,-Jr.-a-769_s_7ffdbc850c2d132effc57925dddcc3b8.html) that he works at NASA as an Laser Electro-Optics Engineer and not doing any astrophysics research. So there are all these physicists and astronomers who say gravitational lensing is real and observed and there is Dr. Dowdye. Why should I believe him over all the other scientists? Because he works at NASA?

          • Anonymous

            You prove my point.  You don’t read what Dowdye says. You are arguing titles. Dowdye talks about how bending of light is caused by the sun’s corona. Did you even take the time to read what he said? Einstein was a patent clerk. Where was his title? Dowdye indeed does talk about so-called evidence but it takes time to really read and try to understand what someone says, not being hung up by credentials. But hey, you can’t get there because you don’t listen unless they have titles. This stems from the emotional need to look smart and not the genuine need to seek scientific truth. READ. Don’t skim. Forget titles, they are not as important as what ones says and does unless of course someone’s life is in your hands.

          • Anonymous

            Where was Einstein’s title? Excuse me, are you serious??? Do you even know how stupid a question that was?

            THIS is precisely the problem with this kind of bogus fringe science. People would much rather spend their time reading unsupportable garbage than putting in the effort to learn the math and learn the science that form the foundation of modern scientific thought. The beauty of physics today is that it is the highest expression of values from the European Enlightenment. We have inherited a system that has been shaped by 400 years of human thought and labor, subjected to critical analysis by peers, and put to the test in the field.

            ANYONE can put up a website. Heck, there are sites stating (as fact) that lizard aliens run our governments. The difference between these sites selling snake oil and sites put up by qualified physicists is that the latter are subject to peer review. Peer review: review by other qualified professionals in the field. I’m sorry to break the news to you, hireUSA, but just because you have a passing interest in science doesn’t qualify you to have ANY kind of opinion on science. Put in the work to attend university, take the classes needed beyond freshman physics, and THEN you might have a shot at an intelligent answer.

            You wouldn’t hire a plumber to do heart surgery on yourself or your child. Don’t be the science-equivalent of the plumber.

          • Random

            hireUSA, how do you know that Dowdye claims on his website are correct? According to your website (http://www.dehilster.com/) you have a BS in math and a masters in linguistict. No physics or hard science background. So when you point to Dowdye claiming it refutes Einstein, I am skeptical of your understanding of the subject to begin with. There are astronemers and physicists finding evidence in support of gravitational lensing and there is Dowdye who says otherwise. How are you able to evaluate who is correct?

            You emphasized three times how *Dr* Dowdye works at *NASA* in order for him and his idea to be taken seriously. But when I point out that there are many more scientists working at NASA who support, with evidence, that gravitational lensing is real, you backtracked saying titles are not important. You’re using the titles and credentials of the people proposing alternative ideas to build up credibility for their ideas. I’m sorry but you’re losing credibility fast here.

            And what is this about Einstein’s title? He received his PhD in 1905 while a patent clerk and became a full professor in 1911. I’m completely curious as to what you’re getting at with “Where was his title?”. What do you mean when you say title?

            Your responses are starting to get a little bizarre. I’m not convinced you have a deep understanding of the science behind relativity and gravitational lensing, and take alternative ideas, such as Dowdye’s, at face value.

          • Anonymous

            I have been studying dissident ideas since 1992. I have know Dr. Dowdye since 2009 and have been reading his work for 2 years now. The curious thing here is that instead of you reading Dowdyes work, you talk of titles. We study this deeply. Your impressions of dissident scientists are wrong as is The author of the book. As 60 minutes pointed out in 2009 on cold fusion, the main problem is that the mainstream does not read criticisms. Like you, they worry about titles. On 60 minutes, the scientist changed his mind after reading and studying dissident work. He said that the scientists he met did as good if not better work. See the FAQs at http://www.einsteinwrong.com.

          • Random

            You’re asking me to read “dissident” work but you have no idea if I will understand the science of it. This is the issue. One needs to have a fundamental scientific background to look at what Dowdye is saying *critically*!

            “I have been studying dissident ideas since 1992. I have know Dr. Dowdye
            since 2009 and have been reading his work for 2 years now.”
            But without an understanding of the physics, you will not be able to look at his work critically and make sense of it. And you still haven’t convinced me that you understand what you read.

            And how do you know the mainstream scientists do not read criticism? They might be and dismiss it on scientific grounds.

          • Random

            http://www.einsteinwrong.com appears to be a promotinal website for you.

            What is it supposed to convince me of?

          • Random

            Let’s look at Dowdye’s claims on his website, and I’m going to try my best here given that my scant science background is no longer what it used to be.

            There have been evidence of gravitational lensing caused by clusters of galaxies thanks to Hubble and other obvervations. I did not find anything on his site discussing or refuting these actual observations.

            Over the decades, there have been several observations done on deflections of starlight by the sun. Nowhere on Dowdye’s website is any discussion of these experiments directly. Only the assertion that no deflections were observed above a small distance from the sun. If these observations and claims of gravitational lensing is wrong, then he should have referenced these observations directly. All I see is an assertion and no reference to the actual data that point out there is no deflection where one was expected by relitivity. Besides, is he saying that all these scientists completely missed that just within a few radii of the sun, there were no deflections where one was expected? This means there’s a conspiracy to ignore such data or they all missed it even though the observations have been openly accessable

            He also uses the term “thin plasma rim of the sun”. I did not find this term used anywhere by astronomers. I believe he may be refering to the sun’s chromosphere, which is the correct term to use. You also said that the bending is caused by the sun’s corona. The corona extends several million miles into space, into the region where Dowdye asserts no bending is observed. But I’m nitpicking here with terms.

            He also asserts that the night sky should be filled with Einstein rings. This is a vague assertion since he does not give exact figures or idea of how much we should be seeing. We don’t have a concrete criteria of what the theory expects us to see in the sky so that to compare observations to! He’s making a vague and dismissive assertion with no justification given.

          • Random

            Unfinished sentence: “This means there’s a conspiracy to ignore such data or they all missed
            it even though the observations have been openly accessable” … “for decades. Arthur Eddington 1919 data have been reanalysed over the years and yet he makes no mention of that pivotal observation.”

          • Random

            I lost track of this discussion and came back because I did not see any response from hireUSA regarding my evaluation of Dowdye’s claims on his website, to the best of my limited abilities. Mainly that Dowdye claims there is no deflection by the sun beyond a distance much smaller than radius of the sun and that this claim is not backed up by evidence and in fact contradicts astronomical research. I was hoping for a response given the discussion we were having.

            I am compelled to post again because I want to know how you came to believe that there is no deflection beyond the “plasma rim”. A claim that contradicts existing evidence.

          • Anonymous

            Random, save your breath. It’s like arguing with a Creationist. They’ll exhaust you with their incessant nonsense.

        • Random

          I think you would be interested in this. IN 2013, the ESA is planning on launching the Gaia probe. It’s mission is to map out about 1 billion stars in our galaxy to an extremely high precision of about 2uas. As a consequence of this, it will be able to measure the bending of star light by the sun, not just close to it, but across the sky. And not just bending by the gravity of the sun but other solar system object such as Jupiter. I think Dowdye would be very interested in the results that should be coming in a few years.

        • Random

          You might be interested in this website. It’s collections of the observations and experiments done on General Relativity over the decades:

          http://relativity.livingreviews.org/Articles/lrr-2006-3/

          I found section 3.4 interesting where the author lists the observations and experiments done using the sun with increasing precision. Including a 2004 analysis of almost 2 million VLBI observations. These observations extend beyond the thin “plasma rim” that Dowdye talks about on his site. On his site, I did not see any mention of specific observations that he used to determine that there was no gravitational lensing beyond the “plasma rim”. He also discussed the Shapiro timing experiment from 1964 but makes no mention of the 2003 experiment using the Cassini probe. This was a repeat of the Shapiro experiment to an even higher level of precision. With all do respect to Dr. Dowdye, I’m not convinced and remain skeptical.

          Since the math is beyond me, I will have to defer that to those who can do math and understand the physics. Which means I have no choice but to go with the consensus of mainstream scientists (including those that work at NASA or JPL like Dowdye).

          Again, I look forward to the Gaia mission and her results in a few years.

        • Random

          Here is another interesting observational evidence about gravitational deflection of startlight by the sun:

          http://www.esa.int/esaSC/SEM7I9R1VED_index_0.html

          Read the section ESA’s Hipparcos confirms Einstein. Apparently the data from the Hipparcos satellite confirms deflection of starlight by the sun at distances greater than several sun radii.

          This contradicts Dowdye’s assertion that evidence of deflection does not exist beyond the “plasma rim”. You say you’ve been “I have been studying dissident ideas since 1992″, but did you interdependently verify Dowdye’s assertions?

  • Anonymous

    You need to read dissident work. Again, the 60 minutes piece points this out. The scientist changed his mind after actually reading and hanging out with these scientists. James Carter has interesting ideas but is not reprentative of dissident work.

    The problem here is dismissing without reading. This is clearly pointed out by 60 minutes in the April 2009 story “Cold Fusion is Hot Again. See FAQs at http://www.einsteinwrong.com.

    The two things wrong here and int the book is the motivation of dissidents, the quality of work and understanding of dissidents, and the refusal to believe things like the big bang, black holes, relativity, place tectonics, and cosmology need an overhaul.

    The scientists and college professors and scientists in our group came to these conclusions after very careful studying of mainstream work.

    • Anonymous

      Except that black holes have been proven to exist. Relativity has been proven to be correct. And plate tectonics has proven to be correct. Why do you continue blathering on and on, stating clearly refutable falsehoods?

      The more I study phsyics and it’s mathematical foundations, the less patience I have for people who think that the mechanics of the  universe should be so easy as to fit in their limited conception of reality. Here’s a clue: complicated mathematics is the only way there is to explain how some of these things work! It is the language that is used for scientists to communicate with each other. 

      Why don’t you get off of these forums and pick up a math book and train to become conversant in the language of science? That would be a good place to start.

      • David

        Actually I have read them for the last almost 20 years.  An the over 2000 scientists have also, dozens of them being university professors and mathematicians.  You’re characterization of me and the others in the database are as off as the 60 minutes piece.  We do read mainstream science and math and understand it deeply.  Your statements that black holes, relativity, and plate tectonics suffers from the same thing: YOU don’t read our arguments.

        So, yes, we read the math and understand it. You don’t read our math and arguments. You characterize us as only on the internet. Far from the truth.

        Here, since you don’t read what we say because you are right and we are not worth taking a look into, here is a quote from the 60 minutes piece so you don’t have to click on the link and browse:Here is a quote from the April 2009 60 Minutes story:”You know, I wonder how you feel about going public endorsing this phenomenon on 60 Minutes when maybe 90 percent, I’m guessing, of your colleagues think that it’s crackpot science?” Pelley asked.”I certainly was among those 90 percent before I looked at the data. And I can see where they’ll be very concerned when they see this piece. All I have to say is: read the published results. Talk to the scientists. Never let anyone do your thinking for you,” he replied.

        • Random

          Oops. Clicked on like instead of reply.

          David, I’ve made several points regarding Dowdye’s assertions on his website. Can you comment on them please?

  • Pingback: Conan the Barbarian — « Fierce, Freethinking Fatties

  • Bin

    This program was unfortunately about sociology and what people like or believe, and not about science. The major hallmark of science is cold empirical validation. Sometimes, the math around theories that have been empirically validated sheds light on the greater world. Everything else is literature, or air vibrations coming out of the mouth of primates. This should have been pointed out…

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/2SF3CJJM5OU6T27OC4MFQSDYEU Dov

    This is the simplest…

    An
    Embarrassingly Obvious Theory Of Everything

    EOTOE, Some Implications (I)

    A.
    EOTOE is an Embarrassingly Obvious Theory Of Everything.

    In essence it states that all things in the universe, nouns and verbs objects
    and processes, originate and derive from the energy-mass dualism.

    Origin and essence of this derivation are expressed mathematically by

    E=Total[m(1+ D)] (D = distance travelled by mass since singularity)

    Which suggests that the universe cycles between two poles: singularity/all-mass
    , and maximum-expanded/nearly-all-energy.
    The “nearly” all-energy leaves behind some mass formats that begin
    consolidating by gravity, when it eventually overcomes expansion as the mass
    fueling the expansion is nearly depleted, becoming very small m multiplied by
    very large D = E .

    B.
    Thus the essence/definition of gravitation is:
    “Gravitation Is the propensity of energy reconversion to mass”.

    Gravitation is the “monotheism” and the “ genesis” of the universe.
    Singularity, at D = 0, is the very brief all-mass pole of the universe. The
    Big-Bang-inflation did not produce matter or anti-matter. It was the beginning
    of mass reconversion into energy, of increasing D fueled by decreasing m.

    The conjectured gravitons, smallest basic particles, most probably do exist,
    but must be with mass, and gravitons microclusters must “big-bang” during the
    on-going expansion at a resolution of their energy-mass superposition.

    This is rationally commonsensical, therefore it is scientifically probable.
    Inflation started with the whole universe m shattering into fragments that
    evolved into, became, the galaxy clusters. The clusters expansion is fed at a
    constant rate by m-fuel. Since expansion accelerates, since the clusters depart
    from each other at an ever increasing velocity, we learn that the rate of
    m-to-E reconversion in the universe is constant. The accelerated expansion
    derives from the ever decreasing m of each cluster.

    C.
    Thus the essence/definition of evolution, natural selection is:
    Mass formats attaining temporary augmented energy constraint in their
    successive generations, with energy drained from other mass formats, to
    temporarily postpone, survive, the reversion of their own constitutional mass
    to the pool of cosmic energy fueling the galactic clusters expansion.

    This explains why black holes and humans, in fact all mass formats, must feed
    themselves in order to survive.
    This explains that the essence of quantum mechanics of all processes is the
    detailed procession steps, the evolution details, between physical states
    ordained for natural selection.

    D.
    Thus comes to light the universe inspected progressively in greater detail.
    Science reveals the universe’s nature-scope and directing drive, followed by
    technology studying its evolution details-aspects, followed by engineering
    exploitation of the attained information. This suggests the specific weight,
    importance, of science, technology and engineering in considering of research
    or enterprise plans and implementation.

    Dov Henis (comments from 22nd century)
    http://universe-life.com/

    PS1:
    Definitely: Dark energy and dark matter YOK! Universe’s m reconverts to  E at a constant rate…
    Universe accelerated expansion is per Newton’s motion laws, obviously…
    Also, universe physics constants should vary, probably slightly, between
    galaxies clusters due to different clusters sizes…
    Also, the clusters formed by dispersion at inflation…

    PS2:
    The singularity constituents must have been the smallest elementary particles.
    They may be designated gravitons, but they MUST HAVE MASS. They were born at
    the energy-mass superposition resolution, together with the fragments that
    became galaxies clusters.
    At expansion D increases, therefore m decreases, which per Newton mandates mass
    and matter acceleration. This goes on, most probably, at a constant rate of
    mass-to-energy reconversion, at an energy-mass resolution, mandated by the
    equality of both sides of the top equation.. And this resolution is, for each
    graviton, most probably in a format of a minuscule big-bang.

    This is a lesser fantasy than the dark matter and energy fantasy. Such
    mass-energy gravitons may be omnipresent within each galaxies cluster,
    maintaining each cluster as a primordial Newtonian body and being the
    fuel-driver of expansion.

    DH

    ==============================

    EOTOE, Some Implications (II)

    This equation describes the presently expanding universe:

    E=Total[m(1 + D)] D = distance travelled by mass since singularity

    This equation describes the future contracting universe:

    E=Total[m(1 + D)]   D = reduced contracting expansion
    distance
    Implications:

    The base units of mass – may be designated gravitons but MUST have mass – are
    not temporal, they never disappear.

    In the present expanding universe they are in motion as mD away from the
    singularity point.
    Those of them that hit a whatever mass format and move it become inert. This
    will go on until all or nearly all of them cease moving forward, i.e. until D
    ceases growing.

    When D ceases growing gravitation will overcome the inertial motion away from
    the singularity point and will start pulling them back towards it. It is then
    that D will start diminishing, to maintain the equation’s equality…

    And MORE, MUCH MORE:

    The rational commonsensical, and therefore scientifically probable, implication
    is that Space is imbued with these massed gravitons that are continuously left
    behind during Expansion… also as micro clusters sized between gravitons and
    neutrinos…

    DH

    =========================

    EOTOE, Some Implications (III)

    Classically:

    Energy = dynamic quality, the capacity of acting or being active, a fundamental
    entity of nature that is transferred between componentsts of a system in the
    production of physical change within the system and usually regarded as the
    capacity for doing work.

    Mass = Mass is the quantity of inertia possessed by an object or the proportion
    between force and acceleration referred to in Newton’s Second Law of Motion.

    Per EOTOE :

    E=Total[m(1 + D)]  D = distance travelled
    by mass since singularity

    Energy is mass in motion.

    The mass of the universe is either in motion or in the form of inert massed
    gravitons, with which the universe is imbued.

    m of the EOTOE equation is only the energetic m, the m which is in motion.

    The inert gravitons do not play a role in the E,m,D relationship. At the
    (present) universe expansion phase mass reconverts to energy at a constant
    rate, leaving behind inert gravitons. Inert gravitons become energetically
    active when they are reset in motion, i.e. when acted upon by energy, such as
    by gravity during the universe re-contraction phase.

    Dov Henis (comments from the 22nd century)
    http://universe-life.com

    • Anonymous

      In addition to stating a hypothesis, the scientific method requires a prediction. What does EOTOE predict that can be proven or disproven? THAT is the beauty of modern science and it is what distinguishes it from mythologies such as religion or weblogs.

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