The crackpots are pushing me away...

Discussion in 'Physics & Math' started by chroot, Feb 17, 2003.

  1. chroot Crackpot killer Registered Senior Member

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    2,350
    Lately this forum has just been absolutely infested with beligerant, uneducated, crackpot loons. I used to enjoy conversing about real science with lethe and James and Crisp, and have even learned a thing or two here. Lately 90% of the active posters to the Physics & Math forum are bona fide crackpots -- the only activity here is people swearing at each other and shouting "THE TWIN PARADOX PROVES RELATIVITY IS WRONG" and so on. It's very disappointing.

    Can we PLEASE establish a precedent to direct these asinine posters to the pseudoscience forum? And perhaps broaden the pseudoscience forum to include "theory development?"

    - Warren
     
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  3. lethe Registered Senior Member

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    and why is it always relativity?

    on sci.physics.*, they have a section devoted to serious science, a section left unmoderated, and a section devoted entirely to the anti-relativity nuts.
     
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  5. chroot Crackpot killer Registered Senior Member

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    Which part of sci.physics.* is moderated? Perhaps it's time to pack up and move.

    Oh, and I think it's because relativity has the right combination of oddity and accessibility -- relativity seems weird to people unfamiliar with it, and concepts like velocity and time are accessible enough that anyone can talk about them.

    You don't see many quantum mechanics crackpots, simply because they can't comprehend any of it.

    - Warren
     
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  7. lethe Registered Senior Member

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    sci.physics.research. it s pretty serious in there though. i ve been reading it a bit lately, but part of the fun of this sort of thing is being able to answer questions and debate a bit, and a lot of the stuff in there is pretty specialized. it s fun to read though.

    john baez is great. he really snaps at people that are even a little crackpottery. and his mathematical explanations are interesting.
     
  8. Fluidity Registered Senior Member

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    594
    This I can discuss...

    Relativity is difficult to comprehend until you accept limits and laws.

    Warren, may THINK that I don't believe relativity is correct, but I am only trying to find limits, and understand more complicated examples of relativity.

    I suggest a 'what if' only to define the 'reality.'

    I will personally promise to keep my discussions related to concepts that attempt to define physics as they are understood, rather than beat myself up with arguments in opposition to accepted theory.

    Some of the fine points I try to argue are irrelevant, but the reason I need feedback from the 'real' world, is for truth, which isn't always easy to understand.
     
  9. lethe Registered Senior Member

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    2,009
    i d really like to see a newtonian mechanics crackpot. that would just make my day.

    like: F=ma?!? that s total bullshit, and as soon as the scientific community realizes it, modern day physics will finally be able to move forward!
     
  10. chroot Crackpot killer Registered Senior Member

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    2,350
    ROFL!!! Believe it or not though, there are crackpots who will actually argue with basic definitions, like instantaneous velocity as dx/dt...

    - Warren
     
  11. lethe Registered Senior Member

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    but, yeah, it seems like these days, half of the threads on the front page are devoted to relativity arguments. frankly, i just don t find relativity that interesting a subject that i want to argue the finer points, and look for flaws in prosoothus gedanken experiments, ad infinitum.

    i don t mind a little bit of that kind of thing. sometimes it s funny, and sometimes it s educational to go through these arguments at length. and i guess a lot of people find it a useful way to get educated about these topics.

    like, 1119 occasionally posts relativity questions, with a seeming honest desire to understand how it works, and a willingness to think through the answers you give him. and zanket. and that s cool.

    but when relativity rebuffs are the top 15 threads on the board, it kills any desire i have to post.

    perhaps what we should do is for every thread that comes up about relativity, we should start a thread about quantum field theory, or group theory, or optics, or electromagnetism.... although ascii message boards are not very well suited to any real discussion of any advanced topics.

    i dunno...
     
  12. chroot Crackpot killer Registered Senior Member

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    2,350
    This is actually an excellent idea. I'm working on a "mini paper" about synchrotron radiation right now that I would love to share sometime soon.

    And there are certainly enough good head-scratchers in all of those fields to keep this forum busy. The biggest heartache is that I doubt many of the regular posters here would really be able to add anything of value to such topics. Just look at the responses garnered by your post on vector calculus.

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    Maybe I really should pack up and settle in sci.physics.research instead.

    - Warren
     
  13. everneo Re-searcher Registered Senior Member

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    2,621
    don't loose heart.. remember C.Pot Buster's I Law,

    "Rate of increase in CP busters is directly proportional to
    the deviation of intention of CP's from the CP's theory and
    the standard of the forum remains constant (if not reducing)"
     
  14. Asguard Kiss my dark side Valued Senior Member

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    i hope you dont put me in that

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    when i post here its simply to understand something

    if you guys really have a problem with it (and i dont read to much in here cause as much as i would like to understand it all goes over my head) why dont you PM the mod?

    thats what hes here for

    the other option is if u dont like it dont read it
     
  15. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    There seems to have been a recent influx of people here whose ideas on relativity in particular are a little, shall we say, different.

    I have thought about moving the more cranky threads to Pseudoscience, but the hard thing for me is to decide whether a poster is posting nonsense maliciously, or merely from lack of knowledge or being misled by other sources. If it's the latter, then if we send that person away they will never learn any real physics, and probably will spend the rest of their days wasting a portion of their life on a fantasy. If we can prevent that in even a few cases, that's got to be a good thing, right? As an educator, I take it as a challenge to try to stay patient and teach real physics. It is easy to ridicule people and simply tell them that you know better. It is much harder to try to explain <b>why</b> they are wrong and you are right.

    I realise that there are anti-science nutters around who have a large dose of science or physics envy. That is why relativity is always such a popular target. It is a towering intellectual achievement, and nutters always aim for the biggest targets. No nutball theory ever says "Behold! I have a theory which predicts a different result for the electron gyromagnetic ratio at the 12th decimal place." Instead, it is always "I have a theory of EVERYTHING, which will overturn evolution, relativity and modern theories of poetry all in one fell swoop."

    What these people fail to realise is that real scientists would <b>also</b> love to be the ones to show that Einstein was wrong. Many are trying to do just that all the time. The difference is that real scientists know the theory they are trying to modify or challenge inside out, whereas the nutters are lucky to know any mathematics beyond about year 9 (if that), and it is almost guaranteed that they either do not understand the theories they are attempting to discredit, or they <i>mis</i>understand those theories in fundamental and easily-spotted ways to which they themselves are always blind.

    At the moment, the level of crackpot theories here seems reasonable. In fact, since they generate most of the discussion on this subforum, I can see good reasons not to move them elsewhere. Often, interesting physics discussions tend to blossom out of the rubbish.

    If things start to get out of hand, though, I will consider changing my policy. At this stage, I'll leave it for at least a week or so, and then we might have poll on what the regular users of this forum want. Let's see how we go.

    I should add that I am against censorship of different ideas. In every 100 new ideas, there may be 99 which are worthless, but if one is useful or interesting we need to make sure it gets a fair hearing. If you're really annoyed by a particular poster, remember, there's always the "Ignore" function. Or, you can simply avoid that person's threads.
     
  16. Adam §Þ@ç€ MØnk€¥ Registered Senior Member

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    chroot

    I seem to recall that a couple of users were "driven away" by your incredible rudeness. If you wish people to put up with you, perhaps you should be willing to put up with some crap from them.
     
  17. 1119 Registered Senior Member

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    Hmmm...I had no idea that posting or asking about relativity was driving people up the wall to the extent that they are willing to leave. I was under the impression that the physicists of this site were enthusiastic to entertain questions even from amatuers or members who have no basic scientific education. Perhaps my optimism was misplaced.

    In light of this, I would like to suggest creating a sub-forum for those who would like to post questions and learn about established sciences. We could call it "Amatuer Physics" or something. Physicists who willingly visit this section would know what to expect and avoid being frustrated. Also, this would leave the Physics & Math clear to discuss/debate finer issues of the established sciences.

    I also agree that the level of "alternate sciences" (polite term for crackpotism) of late require some sort of monitoring. Following Prosoothus' theories has been interesting as long as there were countering views from the established side but when someone else comes along claiming to have something that will "overthrow Newton, Einstein and quantum gravity"....now that is something else.
     
  18. RDT2 Registered Senior Member

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    460
    Relativity?

    I think the problem (?) with 'relativity' is that it appears mysterious to Joe Public and some knowledge allows one to show off at parties, in the pub, etc. That it's study involves some deep mathematics makes it even sexier (I wish I could say the same about theoretical mechanics).

    There are people on this forum who like to think they're being iconoclastic when they are simply being obtuse but there are others who genuinely want to learn. And, as Warren has pointed out before, sci.physics has it's share of loonies.

    Cheers,

    Ron.

    P.S Was it Eddington who replied 'And who's the third?' when asked by a reporter if it was true that only three people in the world understood relativity?
     
  19. Prosoothus Registered Senior Member

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    1,973
    First of all, the reason that there are so many people against relativity is because it's illogical. It seems like a lot of you were told to put logic to the side when you where taught about relativity in school. This is something I'm not willing to do.

    Secondly, let me say that it's not our fault (the crackpots) that the textbook geniuses on these forums are not posting threads that do not deal with relativity.

    It's also a real shame that no one is posting any news articles on the "Physics and Math" forums. Since chroot lacks any independent thought, he can post an article about a new discovery in physics, if nothing else.

    Tom
     
  20. RDT2 Registered Senior Member

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    460
    No - it's counterintuitive, but it's not illogical.

    Well, because it's so counterintuitive, it's probably the most tested theory in the history of science - and it consistently comes up with the goods. If you choose not to believe all those hundreds of experimenters, there's nothing anyone can say here that will to convince you. If you have a different theory, write it up, get it refereed and get it published.

    If the cap fits...

    Sci.physics has a 'this week's advances in...' thread. No point in duplicating it. However I agree that a FAQ would be useful to avoid the same questions cropping up week after week.

    Cheers,

    Ron.
     
  21. lethe Registered Senior Member

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    2,009
    those things are pretty advanced. i think they d pretty much be ignored on a forum like this, all things considered.
     
  22. RDT2 Registered Senior Member

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    I guess so. What I like about this forum is that it's more casual than sci.xxxx (too casual sometimes) and there are people like yourself, Warren, JR and, I hope, (occasionally) me who try to respond to basic questions. It would be nice if correct answers were believed but we seem to cover the same ground repeatedly.

    Cheers,

    Ron.
     
  23. Crisp Gone 4ever Registered Senior Member

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    1,339
    Hi,

    I was originally not planning to take part in this discussion, but heck, you can only piss off people once

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    ...

    I more or less agree with 1119's idea to create an additional splitting of the Physics&Math forum into (for example):
    - High-end physics (for people like chroot or others that want to post advanced to very-advanced topics on what they do, with strict moderation)
    - Physics Q&A (for everybody who wants to ask questions and how things work, moderated in a proper way)
    - Creative Physics (what most people here tend to call "crackpot" theories, but what I prefer to call (an attempt for) creative physics, regular moderation).

    Or something similar... I don't know if this is technically possible with the forum's BB software, but it surely would aid people to know what to expect when entering a forum... I think the situation now gives rise to loads of confusion for people not familiar with physics (it is totally undistinguishable whether an explanation uses "accepted" theories or just something made up on the way).

    Oh, and as a sidenote: I think we should also seperate maths from physics... I hate mathematics

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    .

    Whatever, just my 2 eurocents

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    ...

    Bye!

    Crisp
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2003

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