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Old February 8 2013, 12:50 PM   #37
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Location: North America
Re: Basic Science Question - "fabric" of space

Robert Comsol wrote: View Post
@ Robert Maxwell

You apparently misunderstood what I had tried to say. I'm not (yet) familiar with Don Scott's theories but I found fault with the tone of the article of Mr. Knop you suggested.

"I am an a) actual and b) real astronomer" (and know what I'm talking about, the others don't)" is such an arrogant, paternizing tone to start (!) an article, that I immediately lost interest in reading it. If your arguments are rock solid and you are a professional you let your arguments speak for themselves, there's no need for slander and/or ridicule.

It's rather a trademark of dogmatism and we've seen in the past the same slander and ridicule at the expense of great people, here are just two examples from the last century:
When Shklovsky presented his calculations of Phobos' orbit the "scientific" advisors of President Eisenhower claimed that the man couldn't do proper math. That's quite some slander.
Interestingly it didn't keep the Russians from sending two (ill-fated) probes to Phobos.

More interestingly, probes sent to Phobos this century revealed that Shklovsky wasn't wrong with his conclusion that Phobos could be hollow. It's a shame that Shklovsky didn't live long enough to see his reputation reinstated. And the current explanations of scientists how to explain the "riddle of Phobos" are "interesting" to say the least (its noteworthy that Arthur C. Clarke possibly had sympathies for Shklovsky - he turned the heretic alternate explanation into a science fiction story...).

To cut a long story short: Open-mindedness is the key to unlock some of the remaining mysteries of the cosmos as we've seen in the (not too distant) past that dogmatism is not the solution.

Well, your account of Shklovsky shares only broad strokes in common with the account at The account there describes Eisenhower's advisor Singer as being justified in his reservations and criticisms of Shklovsky's ideas about Phobos. The source of error in the values that Shklovsky had based his ideas on, which Singer cautioned about, was in fact found to have existed.

While you could characterize the accepted value of 30% ± 5% for the porosity of Phobos in broad strokes as acceptance of the idea that Phobos is partially hollow, the mechanism by which orbital decay occurs—tidal effects—is not the same mechanism that Shklovsky attributed—atmospheric drag. Since Shklovsky proposed that Phobos is hollow to provide a mechanism for an effect that doesn't actually occur, saying that his ideas have been vindicated isn't precisely correct [granted, you didn't exactly use those words].

In reality he was only partially right, and for the wrong reason at that.

Now, that's not to say that it's right to tarnish his reputation just because one of his hypotheses turned out to be incorrect. But on the other hand, you've also painted Singer's remarks with an unfair brush. Far from accusing Shklovsky of being unable to do math, Singer evidently correctly indicated that the values that Shklovsky was using were subject to error that he hadn't properly accounted for.

While I don't know where your account came from, it certainly seems like its author may have had an ax to grind.
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