For the alternative theorists:

Discussion in 'General Science & Technology' started by paddoboy, Apr 2, 2014.

  1. PhysBang Valued Senior Member

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    I don't know about "fascist", but in order to be honest, one almost has to use "hysterical" when discussing alternative theorists on the internet. I would prefer a word without as much misogynist baggage, but most people don't even know about that, so it's probably OK.
     
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  3. Aqueous Id flat Earth skeptic Valued Senior Member

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    Heh heh. Busted. From now on I'll be stepping around that landmine with gender-neutral language like "coming unglued" or "losing it" or "trippin".

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    As I explained twice, I was asking you to clarify what you meant by the ambiguous term "mainstream". Did you mean:

    A. the objective conventional sense of the word, as in "the majority view", or
    B. the term of disparagement used by anti-science cranks, to connote "authoritarianism", "fascism" etc.

    Now that's the third time I answered your question. It's simple and direct: was your intent to disparage science or merely to refer to the majority view? Repeatedly asking me my motives after I explained them to you makes no sense to me. But you have piqued my curiosity. The logic is this: if a person hates science, why bother joining a science board? Further, once that decision is made, if the intent is to vent some angst about science, why not do it candidly? That is, if the attitude is "science (the mainstream) is evil" then why not just come out with it?

    Correction. You came unglued. That's the persona reflected in your answer; otherwise you simply would have answered the question candidly.

    The subject of this thread invites discussion on the definition of "alternative". It's commonly defined as "the minority view". Therefore, to understand "the minority view" we need to understand "the majority view". In plain English, that's a comparison between "mainstream" and "alternative" theory. However, you entered into the discussion with an admonishment for posters advocating "mainstream" theory to follow the same advice given here to cranks who propound pseudoscience which purports to be legitimate alternative theory. In so doing you admitted that you equate proponents of mainstream theory with cranks and trolls. This led to the questions I asked you, to simply declare where you stand. It's simple and direct. All I've asked you to do is to come out into the open with whatever is bothering you.
     
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  5. Trippy ALEA IACTA EST Staff Member

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    Moderator note:

    More offtopic/inflammatory posts moved.

    More warnings issued.
     
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  7. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    There are 12 steps as outlined in the OP.
    It's purposely there to sort the wheat from the chaff...It's there for the genuine alternative theorist that may come along.
    The only disadvantage that I see, are the alternative theories that are manufactured by private individuals [most with delusions of grandeur] that have no access to the many great scientific innovations and constructions we have today...the giant telescopes, the probes, Spitzer, WISE, WMAP etc etc,
    That certainly puts the mainstream establishment at one huge advantage, and is why any new physics, or Innovative, Imaginative Idea, will almost certainly come from the mainstream.
     
  8. forrest noble Registered Senior Member

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    Aqueous Id,

    "Finally, the main problem with this question is that posters never actually have theories at all. Not in the scientific sense."

    You quote might have been better if you would have said "the majority of posters .........................." I have known many posters on other forums that have had their own theories, and a few such as myself have theories in the scientific sense of the word theory if that definition does not include the words "consensus," majority view, minority view, or adjectives such as "known," or similar type wordings.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2014
  9. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    No, the 12 rules in the OP, are to ensure that the system is not grossly over-loaded with the myriad of ratbag alternative theorists and conspiracy nutters flooding and infesting proper scientific protocol and discussions.
    As an example, check out the 5 or 6 alternative theories we have now in discussion...
    Without it, science would be one big giant schmermozel.
     
  10. Trippy ALEA IACTA EST Staff Member

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    Moderator note:

    Further off-topic posts moved, another warning issued.

    Leopold, take note:

    Interfering with moderation
    20. Interfering with moderation will result in an immediate ban from sciforums. Examples include re-editing or deleting a post that has been edited by a moderator or which has otherwise been the subject of moderator action; reposting a post that has been deleted by a moderator.
     
  11. forrest noble Registered Senior Member

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    Fraggle Rocker,

    "A theory (in science) is a hypothesis that has been proven true beyond a reasonable doubt. Plate tectonics, evolution, relativity: these are theories because there is no reasonable doubt about them ........"

    Yours might be one definition for the word "theory" but there are a number of other definitions. I prefer the definition below since a theory must be disprovable to call it a theory; otherwise it is a fact and not theory, like "the Earth is generally a sphere" theory, which is now known to be fact.

    "A scientific theory summarizes a hypothesis or group of hypotheses that have been supported with repeated testing. A theory is valid as long as there is no evidence to dispute it. Therefore, theories can be disproven. Basically, if evidence accumulates to support a hypothesis, then the hypothesis can become accepted as a good explanation of a phenomenon. One definition of a theory is to say it's an accepted hypothesis."

    (URL cannot be posted here because I have less than 15 postings total (at the time of posting). Instead to observe the URL locations for the definition above input the first two sentences of the definition into any search engine)
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2014
  12. forrest noble Registered Senior Member

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    Imaginative ideas can come from anywhere. And "Mainstream" can have an unclear meaning, where I think "mainstream establishment" is more clear. A mainstream theory usually includes just one prevailing theory but could include two or more competing theories as was the case when the Big Bang and Steady State theories were considered by many to be equal competitors in cosmology. A mainstream theorist is usually one whose scientific papers are accepted for peer review by generally accepted science journals, and whose hypothesis or theory does not conflict with prevailing theory and its known hypothesis. This does not mean that the theorists themselves are necessarily well-known. On the other hand new hypothesis have started from outside the mainstream or known views of the time to eventually become mainstream hypothesis or theory, and their proposers generally becoming well-known.

    As has been discussed here by others that all theorists with any chance of presenting their own hypothesis/theory which might be seriously considered as a possibility, would have to first be familiar with the related field of knowledge as well as the prevailing theory and most related historical and up-to-date experiments and observations.

    Next, to be seriously considered, an alternative theorist would need to have his/her theory written up in full detail using understandable explanations not obviously contradicted by observation or evidence. On-line publication and access nowadays is a good start. Following that the theorist would need to have one or more aspects of his/her theory written up and published by a peer-reviewed journal that would accept publication of non-mainstream views, hypothesis, theory. Next, a potentially better theory should be able to make and publish predictions that could realistically be observed and which, if observed, would appear to be contrary to the mainstream model. For a new theory to gain recognition it could be done by designing an experiment(s) which could show evidence for its validity over present theory. To meet the definition of a theory would require the proposing theorist(s) to be able to explain one or more ways how the hypothesis might realistically be disproved by realistic observations or experiment not yet conducted. This is a well accepted criteria for any hypothesis to become a "theory" by definition, but often it is the most difficult part of the hypothesis for alternative or mainstream theorists to agree upon. Lastly for a new theory to become known, promotion to and amongst mainstream theorists is needed. This would require both time and resources by one or more persons; all is usually a long up-hill struggle for any new theory or theorist, whether ultimately right or wrong.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2014
  13. AlexG Like nailing Jello to a tree Valued Senior Member

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    Intelligent ones are far rarer.
     
  14. Aqueous Id flat Earth skeptic Valued Senior Member

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    Hey there & welcome.

    Actually I hadn't considered that a newbie might land on my post or I would have clarified that I was referring to cranks who proliferate here, who purport to bring "alternative theories", but which neither belong to any alternative school nor are they theories --that is, the posters have no background at all in the subject matter they are posting. They are simply outsiders who think "alternative" science includes lay people. Actually, they are playing this at several levels, so some of them don't even think that at all. They're just here to troll.
     
  15. forrest noble Registered Senior Member

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    Thanks for your welcome

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    Sorry to hear that. Some posters are just obstinate in general and other "nasties" are just harsh defenders of mainstream views and are usually resounding critics of anything else. On the other hand I consider Trolls as having antagonistic intent with glee toward insulting, demeaning, and hurting others, often thinking this puts themselves up. It sometimes does in the eyes of those who agree with them. From this definition Trolls are sometimes very educated professionals who troll only part time but make intelligent postings much of the time, but normally without any URL corroboration for their statements. Their hope by making false accusations and insults is often to evoke an angry reply by those they disagree with, to get them reprimanded or banned by moderation, then relish in their "accomplishments." More obvious Trolls are often identified by their intent to create havoc without relevant content to their postings. I have never seen this done by anyone having a pleasant, polite demeanor, regardless of their views.

    Since it is a slang word I have read conflicting definitions of a Troll. Some people seem to have the unknowing knack for feeding the Trolls; hope I'm not one of them. Based upon the definition I've just given, some posters are only part-time trolls becoming trolls mostly when their posting or views are challenged. From this definition Trolls thrive on responses to their demeaning accusations and insults.
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2014
  16. Beer w/Straw Transcendental Ignorance! Valued Senior Member

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  17. forrest noble Registered Senior Member

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    Beer with straw, cool. I have drank my fair share without a straw but prefer a glass to straight from the can or bottle, maybe a meager attempt to show class.

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    But prefer girls who drink alcoholic drinks with a straw. More feminine I think

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    As to your link, moderators must often make judgements which according to my experiences are mostly good. Usually the problem is not with the rules but in the interpretation of the posters intent. I have seen where posters are often given the benefit of doubt, but sometimes the poster is adversely misinterpreted.

    Victor's postings seem kind of poetic but their value would be based upon the theme of the thread. In this case it seems he initiated many or all of the threads himself. Maybe Victor truly understands what he is thinking and posting (benefit of the doubt) but his threads/ postings seem generally unintelligible to me

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    Maybe he has a language problem? Moderation sure didn't want so many threads filled with unintelligible postings from just one person

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    I guess your point is that there are others here making postings like Victor's from time to time, that are somewhat full of hot air? In Victor's case the volume of such postings seemed like the biggest problem the moderator humorously "rectified." I think the moderator made a wise judgement.

    It's not easy to be a good and fair moderator in some cases involving just one or a few postings, judging from complaints without really knowing the poster's real intent.
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2014
  18. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    I think the point is at least Victor's posting in the correct section.
    Some like to post alternative stuff as mainstream science.
    BTW, once it dawned on me re Victor and his probable condition, I ceased to post in that thread.....I actually see him as a harmless eccentric.
    I probably only ever posted there 2 or 3 times anyway, not long after I joined the forum.
     
  19. forrest noble Registered Senior Member

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    paddoboy,

    now that you mentioned it I now view Victor in the same way, a harmless long-winded, well-meaning eccentric, with poetic inclinations which he might mistake for science insight from time to time

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    Last edited: Apr 5, 2014
  20. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    I found this and thought it maybe appropriate and supplement the message that this thread is portraying......
    I have mentioned this aspect once or twice when crossing swords with some of our alternative theorist friends, so this puts the icing on the cake so to speak....and probably aligns with point 10.

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    http://www.staff.science.uu.nl/~hooft101/gravitating_misconceptions.html

    STRANGE MISCONCEPTIONS OF GENERAL RELATIVITY

    G. ’t Hooft

    Physicists who write research papers, lecture notes and text books on the subject of General Relativity - like me - often receive mails by amateur scientists with remarks and questions. Many of these show a genuine interest in the subject. Their requests for further explanations, as well as their descriptions of deeper thoughts about the subject, are often interesting enough to try to answer them, and sometimes discussions result that are worthwhile.
    However, there is also a group of people, calling themselves scientists, who claim that our lecture notes, text books and research papers are full of fundamental mistakes, thinking they have made earth shaking discoveries themselves that will upset much of our conventional wisdom. Indeed, it often happens in science that a minority of dissenters try to dispute accepted wisdom. There’s nothing wrong with that; it keeps us sharp, and, very occasionally, accepted wisdom might need modifications. Usually however, the dissenters have it totally wrong, and when the theory in question is Special or General Relativity, this is practically always the case. Fortunately, science needs not defend itself. Wrong papers won’t make it through history, and totally ignoring them suffices. Yet, there are reasons for a sketchy analysis of the mistakes commonly made. They are instructive for students of the subject, and I also want to learn from these mistakes myself, because making errors is only human, and it is important to be able to recognize erroneous thinking from as far away as one can ...

    Examples of the themes that we regularly encounter are:
    - "Einstein’s equations for gravity are incorrect";
    - "Einstein’s equivalence principle is incorrect or not correctly understood";
    - "Black holes do not exist";
    - "Einstein’s equations have no dynamical solutions";
    - "Gravitational waves do not exist";
    - "The Standard Model is wrong";
    - "Cosmic background radiation does not exist";
    and so on.

    When confronted with claims of this sort, my first reaction is to politely explain why they are mistaken, attempting to identify the erroneous ideas on which they must be based. Occasionally, however, I thought that someone was just reporting things he had read elsewhere, and my response was more direct: "Never have I seen so much nonsense in one single package ..." or words of similar nature. This, of course, was a mistake, because these had been the thoughts of that person himself. When other correspondents also continued to defend concoctions that I thought to have extensively exposed as unfounded, I again felt tempted to use more direct language. So now I am a villain.
    A curious thing subsequently happened. A handful of people with seriously flawed notions of general relativity apparently joined forces, and are now sending me more and more offensive emails, purportedly exposing my "stupidity" and collecting more "scientific" arguments to back their views.

    They find some support from ancient publications by famous physicists; in the first decades of the 20th century, indeed, Karl Schwarzschild, Hermann Weyl, and even Albert Einstein, had misconceptions about the theory, which at that time was brand new, and these pioneers indeed had not yet grasped the full implications. They can be excused for that, but today’s professional scientists know better.

    As for my "stupidity", my own knowledge of the theory does not come from blindly accepting wisdom from text books; text books do contain mistakes, so I only accept scientific facts when I fully understand the arguments on which they are based. I feel no need whatsoever to defend standard scientific wisdom; I only defend the findings of which I have irrefutable evidence, and it so happens that most of these are indeed agreed upon by practically all experts in the field.

    The mails I have sent to my "scientific opponents" appear to be a waste of time and effort, so now I use this site to carefully explain where their arguments go astray. Rather than trying to bring them to their senses (which would be about as effective as trying to bring Jehovah’s Witnesses to their senses), I rather address students who might otherwise be misled by what they read on the Internet. The people whose "ideas" I will discuss will be denoted by single initials, for understandable reasons.
    From their reactions it became clear that analyzing someone’s mistaken train of thought is far from easy. What exactly are the blind spots? I try to spot these, but I receive furious responses that only suggest that the blind spots must be elsewhere. Where do their incorrect assertions come from? Of course, the mathematical equations at those points are missing, so I start guessing. I had to modify some of the guesses I made earlier on this page; actually, I prefer to explain how the math goes, and why the physical world is described by it.

    This is not intended as a scientific article, since after all, the math can be obtained from many existing text books. Sadly, these text books are "dismissed" as being "erroneous". Clearly, therefore, I won’t be completely successful. To the students I insist: most of the text books being criticized by those folks are actually very good, although it always pays to be critical, and whatever you read, check it with your own common sense.

    Here come some of the crazy assertions concerning General Relativity, and my responses......
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    much more at the link re these assertions and the arguments that have been presented and their refutation.....
     
  21. BlackHoley Banned Banned

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    Your list is a sad attempt to look like you know what science is. Here is a new one... we might not be Einstein, Newton, Hawking Bohr or Feynman, but when someone points out a flaw in your thinking, at least try and understand it. Or you are no better than the trolls who don't adhere to... let's admit it, this list is just a cut and paste and then change where necessery job from the popular crank test online.
     
  22. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    The flaws in thinking are those that put alternative theories to rewrite 20th/21st century physics.
    It just ain't going to happen.


    Well, OK that's wrong...There is a non zero chance, much closer to zero though then the other end.
     
  23. BlackHoley Banned Banned

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    The physics community is already waking up to a lot of idea's I have been talking about for years... some of the most famous minds are now wrapped in the problem of time. The real flaw is thinking that alternative theories cannot make a change in modern physics, contrary to your belief, it will make all the difference, whether physics turns tomorrow, the next day or a century from now, things we are showing are shaping up the physics of the future.
     

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