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Science and Technology "Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known." - Carl Sagan.

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Old May 31 2013, 10:21 PM   #16
YellowSubmarine
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Re: Strange Dark Matter Theory

iguana_tonante wrote: View Post
Maybe that should tell you something. Also, that's factually wrong, because you can: it only has to pass the peer review examination. Which is something that I doubt it will, but that's another story.
We live in a world where the most simple and prosaic act of skimming over a Wikipedia article with your morning coffee on your iPad makes you magically know more about dark matter than a physicist, more about climate change than a climate scientist, more about orbital mechanics than a rocket scientist, more about gender dysphoria than a psychologist, more about evolution than an evolutionary biologist and more about making children than the stork.

You glimpse over the article and cry “bullshit!” spilling the coffee all over your tablet. Some select individuals can achieve that after one YouTube video. That's our progress, people. We've gone far, and we'd go further. Billions of years from now, on the farthest edge of the galaxy, we would still be arguing about it.
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Old May 31 2013, 10:37 PM   #17
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Re: Strange Dark Matter Theory

iguana_tonante wrote: View Post
Then the goal is idiotic
I figured as much: resort to ad hominem. I'm guessing you haven't read the book or any of the other work on plasma cosmology since you are quoting only a few items from the description of Scott's book. Instead, refuse to "look through the telescope" and the heresy will go away.

Science is supposed to be different from politics and religion, but many people have trouble shifting gears. And I'm not here to "convert" anyone. Or perhaps you prefer the word of "authority" figures over observational and experimental evidence. In that case, you should look up the work of Stephen J. Crothers. He's not a plasma physicist, but a mathematician, and he pokes holes in all the "mainstream" ideas, such as black holes and the like—most of which turn out to be mistaken notions pumped up by other physicists.

Or you might look up the work of Nobel prize winner Hannes Alfvén, a controversial yet highly respected figure in astrophysics. His books are not for the layperson, which should be more convincing for you. Lots of math.

By all means, do not even bother to read Scott's book or anything outside the mainstream. If it's not extremely esoteric and accepted by the "big names" in astrophysics, then it must be worthless. (The assumption being that alternative theories are all proposed by armchair quarterbacks, and not degreed scientists with many years in the field. Most of these "mavericks" started their careers as orthodox as the next guy, but something made them change their minds. Why should that be worth a listen?)
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Old May 31 2013, 11:03 PM   #18
Creepy Critter
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Re: Strange Dark Matter Theory

When I popped into the thread, I was expecting an OP about a recent story in a scientific journal, about the latest theory of dark matter, that perhaps had some interesting twist, basically like you see on Slashdot. With a link to a story.

But, no. Not even any science.

Just something on the level of that part in Animal House, when they get high with Donald Sutherland as the college professor:
"That means that our whole solar system could be, like, one tiny atom in the fingernail of some other giant being.... That means one tiny atom in my fingernail could be ... one little tiny universe."
Not that I really have any cause to complain, but you know, for future reference or whatever.

Discuss!
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Old May 31 2013, 11:10 PM   #19
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Re: Strange Dark Matter Theory

Metryq wrote: View Post
I figured as much: resort to ad hominem. I'm guessing you haven't read the book or any of the other work on plasma cosmology since you are quoting only a few items from the description of Scott's book. Instead, refuse to "look through the telescope" and the heresy will go away.
If it shows a hint of actually having anything to it, someone looking to make a name for themselves will work on it and try and turn it into a workable theory that connects with experiment. A cursory glance at "plasma cosmology" appears to reveal that it's unconvincing when it runs into the data from WMAP and Planck.

It's got to convincingly reproduce, rather than replace what has been observed (as Newtonian mechanics emerges from relativity, etc) and it doesn't appear plasma cosmology advocates have many answers there. Given that science is skeptical by nature, it's on them to convince their peers that there's something there worth working on them. If it can't stand up to peer review, then chances are it's junk. I've seen it happen many times before.

Metryq wrote: View Post
Science is supposed to be different from politics and religion, but many people have trouble shifting gears. And I'm not here to "convert" anyone. Or perhaps you prefer the word of "authority" figures over observational and experimental evidence. In that case, you should look up the work of Stephen J. Crothers. He's not a plasma physicist, but a mathematician, and he pokes holes in all the "mainstream" ideas, such as black holes and the like—most of which turn out to be mistaken notions pumped up by other physicists.
I've received numerous crackpot theories from various would-be "maverick" Nobel laureates, and a surprising amount of them are light on math (which never really adds up) and heavy on the rant, like so:

Crothers wrote:
During the course of these events I attempted to engage in discussion so-called "experts" in General relativity. Amongst them were included all the members of the International Committee for General Relativity and Gravitation. Of the latter I managed to engage M.H.A. MacCallum in some discussion. MacCallum was from the outset rude and condescending, and inept. Go here for his first letter (with some later ones appended). I replied here. He next provided some incorrect argument as to why I was wrong and the usual relativists right. Go here for this laughable document. I replied here. After MacCallum, the gloves came off. Anyone who was rude or otherwise behaved as a smart-arse I responded to bluntly. And I still do, since I refuse to turn cheeks, having discovered that the majority of people understand only the power of money and the persuasiveness of force. So if it's a fight they want then it's a fight they'll get. Pasty-faced softies however, cloistered away in universities are not much of a challenge; but there are so many of them, like cane toads in the breeding season. And so I now make no bones about how I view blokes who, like K. Thorne and Ned Wright, prance about with long pony tails and matching sandals, or wear earings and otherwise dress and behave like girls (most "male" physicsts nowadays).
tl;dr: he failed his PhD and blames everyone but himself for this. The theory is less about pushing forward knowledge, and more about revenge on academia for a perceived slight.

If he'd had been any cop at it, he'd have gotten a doctorate by demonstrating the potential veracity of his ideas or he would have had the sense to look over the math early enough to think "Wow, this is junk" and find a more profitable avenue of study. Learning to do that is what a PhD is about, and getting one is proof that you can do this well.

Metryq wrote: View Post
Or you might look up the work of Nobel prize winner Hannes Alfvén, a controversial yet highly respected figure in astrophysics. His books are not for the layperson, which should be more convincing for you. Lots of math.
Or iguana can spend his time on his own ideas and his own career.

Metryq wrote: View Post
By all means, do not even bother to read Scott's book or anything outside the mainstream. If it's not extremely esoteric and accepted by the "big names" in astrophysics, then it must be worthless. (The assumption being that alternative theories are all proposed by armchair quarterbacks, and not degreed scientists with many years in the field. Most of these "mavericks" started their careers as orthodox as the next guy, but something made them change their minds. Why should that be worth a listen?)
Most "mavericks" start out fine and then get hooked on some idea they lack the critical faculty to work out is bunkum and then go on to turn the frustration they feel at their pet theory not working into a crusade with them as the lone hero fighting against a "corrupt establishment" that is "oppressing" them.

Occasionally someone comes up with an interesting idea that's not been widely heard of before, but it never comes from lunatics who froth about physically fighting "men who dress like girls" over not getting their ideas accepted, like the Crothers bloke you dug up. "You don't accept my ideas, ergo you are a girly man I will punch" is not really acceptable discourse in any line of work, let alone academia.

The iguana speaks truth and wisdom when he says it's idiotic.
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Old June 1 2013, 12:00 AM   #20
JoeZhang
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Re: Strange Dark Matter Theory

His letters are hilarious.
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Old June 1 2013, 12:20 AM   #21
FlyingLemons
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Re: Strange Dark Matter Theory

I've been there before. The letters that he dismisses as people being rude to him are basically what every PhD student usually goes through at least once or twice... although in his case, he appears to believe it's an attempt to push him down rather than just advise him to stop wasting his and his supervisor's time on complete nonsense.

In fact, the people who were "rude" to him appear to have been incredibly indulgent. If it had been me, I wouldn't have had their patience.
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Old June 1 2013, 12:37 AM   #22
iguana_tonante
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Re: Strange Dark Matter Theory

Metryq, you should look up what ad hominen means. I'm attacking the argument, not the person. For all I know, that Donald Scott is an upstanding guy and I'd love to have a glass of wine with him.

But let's go on.

Alfvén made some groundbreaking work in plasma physics, and was rightfully recognized for it. His cosmology, however, is rather shaky. It's a classic case of a man with a hammer: everything looks like a nail. He did some great discovery in plasma physics, and suddenly plasma physics is the fundamental law of nature and everything derives from it. It explains (not really) large scale structures, galaxy evolution, rotation curves, star formations, quasars, ect. Pretty convenient, and very self-gratulatory.

Also, his work doesn't add up at all with the cosmic microwave background radiation, which asymmetries trace beautifully with the inflation scenario. There is no better proof of the Big Bang theory. It is really the smoking gun, and the matter is pretty much settled. (And let's not get into the "plasma scaling" crap: if you want bad science, look no further). "Plasma cosmology" looks like a the pet theory of a person that really, really likes electrodynamics, but nothing more. I understand its appeal to electrical engineers, tho.

At least, it doesn't sound like the ravings of a "moon hoax" conspiracy theory lunatic, like that Crothers fellow.

Metryq wrote: View Post
If it's not extremely esoteric and accepted by the "big names" in astrophysics, then it must be worthless.
I'd love it if the universe was simpler, less esoteric, and more understandable. It would make my job much, much easier. But I was humble enough to realize that my desires have zero impact on the nature of the cosmos. So I rolled up my sleeves, and started to work.
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Old June 1 2013, 01:56 AM   #23
iguana_tonante
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Re: Strange Dark Matter Theory

FlyingLemons wrote: View Post
Occasionally someone comes up with an interesting idea that's not been widely heard of before, but it never comes from lunatics who froth about physically fighting "men who dress like girls" over not getting their ideas accepted, like the Crothers bloke you dug up. "You don't accept my ideas, ergo you are a girly man I will punch" is not really acceptable discourse in any line of work, let alone academia.
That was hilarious.

Favourite parts:

Pasty-faced softies however, cloistered away in universities are not much of a challenge; but there are so many of them, like cane toads in the breeding season. And so I now make no bones about how I view blokes who, like K. Thorne and Ned Wright, prance about with long pony tails and matching sandals, or wear earings and otherwise dress and behave like girls (most "male" physicsts nowadays).
I must first apologise, as you for a gentleman I mistook. In all the email you sent me you included rude, arrogant, condescending, stupid, and insulting remarks. You have rightly earnt yourself a bloody nose, and if not for the distance between us I might well have visited you to deliver the causative blow, not because of your incompetent technical argument, but because your behaviour has been that of an arsehole. It seems that you are doomed to live and die a conceited shithead, and, moreover, a conceited shithead who cannot do even elementary geometry.
The man has style, you can't deny that.
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Old June 1 2013, 06:38 AM   #24
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Re: Strange Dark Matter Theory

iguana_tonante wrote: View Post
Just like the "average person" can't become a neurosurgeon just because they'd really like to, the "average person" can't suddenly become an expert in astrophysics because "all that science-y talk is hard, man: let's make it simpler!".
Pavonis wrote: View Post
What is it about cosmology and particle physics that attracts so many laypersons to throw their two cents in?
"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough."
- Albert Einstein (Which is also attributed to Richard Feynman by some people)

Just remember, Einstein's famous equation - E equals m times c squared - is 8th grade or Freshman year math, no matter the physics behind it.

Lay people get honorary degrees all the time. These scientists aren't magicians. You can learn their 'secrets'. When I ace'd my Astronomy class in college, it didn't make me better than some hobbyist who never took a class, but has read every book on the subject for the last 2 decades. That amateur could possibly know more than some college professors.

Don't get stuck on the credentials.

It is the height of arrogance to think that no one can learn this. Or that any of the scientists couldn't be wrong.
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Old June 1 2013, 07:21 AM   #25
T J
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Re: Strange Dark Matter Theory

Walks into thread...

Slowly backes out of thread...
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Old June 1 2013, 07:24 AM   #26
sojourner
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Re: Strange Dark Matter Theory

Captain Nebula wrote: View Post

It is the height of arrogance to think that no one can learn this. Or that any of the scientists couldn't be wrong.
But it's the height of ignorance to think that every idea put out by a lay person has merit.


Heck, I'm just a sci-fi fan, not a physicist and even I've heard that this electric sky book is junk science.
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Old June 1 2013, 08:38 AM   #27
Asbo Zaprudder
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Re: Strange Dark Matter Theory

From this thread, I deduce that there is probably useful research that could be done in the area of delusional disorders.
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Old June 1 2013, 10:26 AM   #28
JoeZhang
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Re: Strange Dark Matter Theory

Captain Nebula wrote: View Post



Lay people get honorary degrees all the time.
I love this completely random comment that has absolutely nothing to do with the discussion at hand.
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Old June 1 2013, 10:57 AM   #29
Captain Nebula
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Re: Strange Dark Matter Theory

JoeZhang wrote: View Post
I love this completely random comment that has absolutely nothing to do with the discussion at hand.
You must have missed what it pertained to. There are several topics going on at once here.

sojourner wrote: View Post
But it's the height of ignorance to think that every idea put out by a lay person has merit.

Heck, I'm just a sci-fi fan, not a physicist and even I've heard that this electric sky book is junk science.
Fair enough.

But haven't you seen Good Will Hunting?



Sorry for the joke, but thinking that only someone who has a Ph.D. is smart enough to understand something sure excludes anyone who couldn't afford to go to college or someone that has a hearing or vision disorder that interferes with learning in a classroom setting. It doesn't make someone dumb if they don't have a Ph.D. And it doesn't make someone perfect if they do.
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Old June 1 2013, 11:13 AM   #30
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Re: Strange Dark Matter Theory

Captain Nebula wrote: View Post
iguana_tonante wrote: View Post
Just like the "average person" can't become a neurosurgeon just because they'd really like to, the "average person" can't suddenly become an expert in astrophysics because "all that science-y talk is hard, man: let's make it simpler!".
Pavonis wrote: View Post
What is it about cosmology and particle physics that attracts so many laypersons to throw their two cents in?
"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough."
- Albert Einstein (Which is also attributed to Richard Feynman by some people)

Just remember, Einstein's famous equation - E equals m times c squared - is 8th grade or Freshman year math, no matter the physics behind it.

Lay people get honorary degrees all the time. These scientists aren't magicians. You can learn their 'secrets'. When I ace'd my Astronomy class in college, it didn't make me better than some hobbyist who never took a class, but has read every book on the subject for the last 2 decades. That amateur could possibly know more than some college professors.

Don't get stuck on the credentials.

It is the height of arrogance to think that no one can learn this. Or that any of the scientists couldn't be wrong.
Even Einstein got a lot of stuff wrong, like the cosmological constant. A lot of layperson theory is limited by a lack of knowledge and a desire for things to be simpler than they are. Yes, in the end a lot of this stuff does turn out to be 'simple' and clean, but most people who aren't schooled in such things tend to approach science from the flawed direction of coming to a conclusion and seeking evidence to support it while ignoring evidence that does not.
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