The Einstein Cranks:

Discussion in 'General Science & Technology' started by paddoboy, Nov 1, 2015.

  1. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    https://skepticalteacher.wordpress.com/2009/05/19/more-physics-woo-the-einstein-cranks/
    The Skeptical Teacher:

    Musings of a science teacher & skeptic in an age of woo.

    More Physics Woo: The Einstein Cranks
    Posted by mattusmaximus on May 19, 2009:


    What the hell is it about Einstein’s theories of relativity? For some reason, physics cranks seem to have a fetish for trying to undo or modify relativity in an effort to push their own “theories” of physics. In the process, these folks often display a glaring lack of understanding of the very physics they are proposing to overthrow, and sometimes they even venture into the realm of conspiracy mongering. I like to refer to this particular species of woo as the “Einstein cranks.”

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    In particular, I have had an interesting series of discussions recently with one such physics crank on the JREF Forum. Allow me to illustrate some examples of how various physics woo-meisters often get physics dead wrong and display logical fallacies of all stripes when making their arguments.

    It all started when a guy nicknamed “MacM” came on the Science, Math & Technology section of the JREF Forum claiming that he’d show how the scientific community had relativity all wrong. If you feel like shoving your head through a cheese grater, go read the thread for yourself. For the purposes of this post, I will just give some of the highlights…

    MacM attempts to outline why it is that the physics community is incorrect in applying special relativity. After going round and round with him multiple times, along with many others well versed in relativity doing the same, it became apparent that he was basically creating a straw man of relativity theory, claiming that it says things it does not. In addition, he was failing to understand some of the most fundamental principles of the very theory he was criticizing, such as insisting in the existence of some absolute frame of reference (called the “aether frame”) when experiments have shown consistently that none exists.

    Next, MacM displays a shocking ignorance of many aspects of physics in his arguments. Not only did he (intentionally?) misrepresent relativity theory in his posts, but he also screwed up various aspects of classical Newtonian mechanics as well, including – though not limited to – inertial vs. non-inertial frames of reference, centrifugal forces, freely-falling motion & apparent weightlessness, the conservation of linear momentum, and Newton’s 2nd Law (F=ma). Yet, when his errors were very clearly and on numerous occasions pointed out to him, he either ignored or ridiculed the criticism.

    In addition, despite his appalling lack of physics understanding, it seems that MacM also has an equally appalling lack of necessary mathematical know-how. In fact, despite his repeatedly claimed expertise, he seemed to almost disdain math because it didn’t fit with his “common sense” views on the matter. For example, when I clearly pointed out to him (complete with fully worked out mathematical derivation) that his insistence that Newton’s 2nd Law (F=ma) applied in special relativity was dead wrong, he ignored the derivation and flatly declared that “all this math is just a waste of time.” Yet when he thinks it’ll score points for him, he pulls very bad & inconsistent math out of his butt to (he thinks) reinforce his arguments. This kind of “heads I win, tails you lose” method of argumentation is par for the course for many pseudoscientific cranks, and it shows how they are not really interested in genuine inquiry, just “winning the argument.”

    Another interesting tidbit in our collective interaction with MacM was when he claimed that he had actually built a device (he called it an “inertial drive”) which violated the known laws of energy & momentum conservation (also known as a perpetual motion device). The thread on the JREF Forum is here, but a quick summary of it reveals that he is either lying about his claims or (more likely) just so ignorant of the physics involved that he really does believe that he’s done what he says he’s done. Yet, again, when his errors were pointed out – repeatedly and at length – he simply retreated to his same, tired accusations that we didn’t know what we were talking about and he had the truth all along. In fact, his behavior smacked quite strongly of a conspiracy theorist in this regard.

    MacM seems to have given up on these threads. I think the final nail in the coffin for him was when some posters told him to simply go out and make his device work exactly as he claims it would. In fact, more than one poster challenged him to apply for the JREF Million Dollar Challenge (or even the Nobel Prize). He has yet to take up the gauntlet of said challenge…

    So why is it that these “Einstein cranks” go after relativity so much? I think it is at least partly because the notion of Einstein as a lone scientist working to overcome the prevailing paradigm in physics appeals to them (of course, in reality Einstein had many contemporaries with whom he worked on relativity). Perhaps the tendency to view Einstein as a kind of independent and anti-authoritarian figure in science who attained fame & glory gives them the sense that if they overthrow his ideas on relativity that they’ll attain even greater fame. Who really knows? I’m not a psychologist, I’m a physicist – and what I can tell you is most of these “Einstein cranks” don’t know the first thing about physics.

    In fact, I’ll go further… it seems to me that many of them do the same kind of thing many creationists do when attacking evolution – they almost intentionally misrepresent physics so that they can attempt to topple what they think physics is with some crackpot notion they’ve dreamed up.

    It could very well be that, in the end, Einstein is wrong and that relativity theory will eventually be relegated to the dustbin of scientific history. But it is going to take more than the wild-eyed insistence on the part of pseudoscientists on the Internet to topple relativity. If anything will topple Einstein’s theory, it is going to be from within science, due to a careful application of the same thinking which led to the very paradigm shift he championed.


     
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  3. Bowser Life is Fatal. Valued Senior Member

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    Was this a personal encounter of yours, pad? Is that why you posted it here? Or were you so amused by it that you wanted to share it with others?
     
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  5. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    I found the article while looking for something else, and thought it pretty indicative of what sometimes happens on this forum.
    And of course re-enforcing the fact I often state here, and which I highlighted in pink in the last paragraph.
    BTW Bowser, I do not attack creationists or any other religious group, unless of course they wander into one of the science sections and start any of their attempts to invalidate, deride or otherwise deny science.
     
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  7. Bowser Life is Fatal. Valued Senior Member

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    that is true. I've never seen you in the religious forum.
     
  8. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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  9. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    I have had a couple of ventures into the religious forum, but the reasons escape me at this time.
    Also for your information my Mrs [we have been married for 40 years now and both our first marriages] is a Christian in the true sense of the word.
    She tolerates me on my escapades into the science realm, and I tolerate her Christianity. In fact she has her bible study and choir practise at our house every month or two. I'll even venture out of my study and join them at the end of their session for a "levu na bilo ni yaqona" [ a few bowls of kava] My Mrs is Fijian and she attends the Fijian church and choir here in Sydney.
    But anyway Just thought I would let you know where I'm coming from. Also this thread isn't solely about the religious trolls and cranks. We do also have a couple of other varieties in which I cross swords with on occasion.
     
  10. Janus58 Valued Senior Member

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    "MacM", now there's a name I haven't heard in a long time, a long time indeed!
     
  11. danshawen Valued Senior Member

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    I just saw that name "MacM" on a new thread here. From the description paddo gives in the OP, MacM might as well be an editor of Metapedia.

    Einstein detractors are delusional and near impossible to reason with, and there are some much harder cases out there than MacM. John Doan comes to mind.
     
  12. Q-reeus Valued Senior Member

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    If that blanket statement implies AE was some kind of infallible god hence any criticism of anything he taught is blasphemy, count me out of your 'church' or 'synagogue'.
    And, Dan, if I were you it would pay to think very carefully before making such a statement. Given your uh-hum, interesting pov regarding the 'craziness' of Pythagorean Minkowski spacetime, which AE eventually wholeheartedly embraced btw. AE actually believed in the physical existence of spatial dimensions - fancy that!!!! Just why he couldn't see the grander vision that THERE IS ONLY TIME AND ENERGY is something future historians may have to ponder deeply over. Or maybe not.

    Must confess I'm struggling to see how energy could fit anywhere if there is no space to fit it in. Maybe I just need to study Lee Smolin's 'breakthrough thinking' on that sort of mind-blowing paradigm-shifting thingy stuff. Or maybe not.
     
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  13. danshawen Valued Senior Member

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    Time, rotation, and propagation of bound energy are all that exists. Inertialess space with nothing at all in it (and without the energy of quantum foam) is the definition of what would be complete non-existence. This would not be our universe, nor would anyone sane expect it to behave like a Euclidean solid by means of introducing bound and unbound energy into it.

    This is consistent with relativity.

    If you insist you have a better way of explaining the null result of Michaelson Moreley and the invariance of the speed of light, that's fine, but it will have to be a better explanation than the ones I have already read from individuals like MaxM.

    Yes, Minkowsi spacetime is woo, as far as I am concerned. Space and time are not related in terms of Euclidean / complex geometry because inertialess relativistic space is not a Euclidean solid. The illusion of space is generated by time and the propagation/ rotation of energy.

    I like Smolin, but even he has some woo.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2015
  14. Q-reeus Valued Senior Member

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    You can sensibly define rotation and propagation without bringing space into the mix?! No please don't expand on that - I'll accept that is what you believe makes sense.
    Uh huh. So why not just start with matter/energy already there - the usual package deal thing. You can't have sensible cosmology otherwise.
    One could assert there is just a semantic issue to overcome - spacetime never intended to be taken as a thing in itself but a conceptual framework allowing to relate various configurations of matter & energy. Bring in gravity though - especially notion of GW's, and spacetime as a thing having a partially independent existence does sort of pose an issue sure.
    Hmm....
    The elusive MaxM (maybe a relation of Max Payne

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    ) failed to show up on my web-search radar screen - maybe just as well. Anyway I prefer a generalized version of Lorentz ether theory - one that ties in to a relativistic version of Mach's principle.
    Uh huh.
     
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  15. danshawen Valued Senior Member

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    The fewer assumptions the better. An aether is just a HUGE assumption. A complex Pythagorean relationship between space and time is a HUGE assumption. The existence of a spatial origin for any coordinate system other than rotation is a HUGE assumption based only on success with doing geometry for Euclidean solids. You are better off assuming we exist in relativistic space, because we do.

    An invariant speed of light trumps a larger set of assumptions, because it is the single assumption relativity requires. "No problem may be solved by the same kind of thinking as the one that created it." - AE, in a quote about the null result of Michaelson Morley.

    The existence of propagation of energy in a rotational and linear mode, the existence of an origin of time, time's arrow, and entanglement is as simple as I can make it. Which one of these ideas appear to be contrived of something not understood to actually exist?

    Relativity as a given, Relativity's E=mc^2, the existence of energy in the form of photons, and time dilation that is different everywhere as per the description of Relativity are the foundational assumptions I have made. How many more assumptions than Relativity is that?

    What are YOURS?

    The only absolute space is the center of rotation for bound energy that is matter. The only absolute time is the instant of "now" for entanglement and the arrow of time. If you think you can make an aether out of that, by all means do so.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2015
  16. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    We have quite a number of anti Einstein cranks on this form, or at least a number who do not see or accept SR/GR space, time, spacetime and cosmology in general, as the way it is generally accepted in mainstream circles.
    I suppose also within mainstream circles, we also have variations in opinions as to what the correct interpretations are....but in saying that with regards to mainstream, the differences are not that great.
    The point that needs to be made, and as I have made in the past, our anti mainstream friends seem to drift from the likes of Farsight, who insists that SR/GR views of 100 years ago, supported by out of context statements of what Einstein was supposed to have said, to a couple of current debaters in Schmelzer and Q-reeus who have entirely different views on relativity ranging from an ether theory to even more unsupported claims.
    Then of course we arrive at the more bizarre interpretations of cosmology by a couple of self aggrandizing posters totally obsessed in exaggerating there own importance.
    Yet this half a dozen or so posters and their alternative positions, all differ and vary from each other.
    Adding to that the fact that forums such as this are open to the public, all with the right to claim whatever they will, and the common denominator among most of our alternative hypothesis pushers is the usual general conspiracy arguments re the state of mainstream science, and as discussed in the OP.

    The obvious question that is logically asked is of course if any of these anti SR/GR standard cosmology had anything of value, that could stand the rigours of peer review and run the gauntlet of acceptance, why are they here on such a forum?
     
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  17. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    My arguments can be further supported by the following professional expert.....
    http://www.staff.science.uu.nl/~hooft101/gravitating_misconceptions.html

    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.

    [Note: To be sure, I do not want to expose people by name, excusing them of making basic mistakes, but some of them don't see things that way; in his own blog, Mr. C. reacts on this page by identifying all "friends" he found here. My apologies about that]
    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.

    see more at the link......
     
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  18. danshawen Valued Senior Member

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    Best response ever, paddo. Try to keep an open mind. I know it's difficult to do this sometimes, particularly here.

    It was no different in Einstein's day; he had as many detractors as supporters, since 1905. It's like his mind was always going at the speed of light while most of ours were (and some still are) at rest. God bless Albert.
     
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  19. Q-reeus Valued Senior Member

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    State precisely what these 'even more unsupported claims' are. Once that is done, I will rub your face in your own shit again. And that will be easy, given your status as a mathematical illiterate with next to no physical insight to boot.

    You failed miserably to counter even by proxy what a certain Prof. kindly offered here recently, including a very interesting insight into AE's deliberate rejection, way back in 1907, of the correct starting point to a fully self-consistent gravity theory. Obsessed with a need to have the last word, resorting as usual to a quantity-over-quality flooding tactic. Complete with the usual irresponsible full reproduction in shouting bold emphasis, rather providing than a simple link in #14.

    Gerard 't Hooft is a nice individual and Nobel Laureate, and actually gave a response elsewhere here that supported my view on one occasion. But, like AE, not actually an infallible god. Just like AE was, he is considered a crackpot by many physicists regarding his views on QM. In particular 'superdeterminism'. But you won't find me resorting to full-page bold emphasized reproduction of such here in order to try and score a cheap propaganda 'victory'. Such low tactics I leave to the likes of you.
    Go check on just how many well known physicists participate in forums and blogs. You might get a shock!
     
  20. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    Appears I once again hit a nerve q-reeus?
    Your thread provocatively entitled
    "Free-fall to singularity is BS (or - don't just trust 'authorities')"
    was shifted to the fringes and rightly so.
    That's all I need to say.
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2015
  21. Q-reeus Valued Senior Member

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    No - you simply shame yourself with bottom-of-the-barrel tactics. Showing you have nothing of substance to answer what I correctly raised in #16.
    Same old shit tactics, sadly allowed by the lax and inconsistent SF forum standards. How many times now have you repeated that particular shit move? My response is the same - no-one was prepared to own up to instigating that personal grudge motivated action. Cowards one and all. And that repetitive shit stirring is the best you can offer? I make the same counter-offer as before, go and personally challenge me there. But you are a low coward, and, as each time before, won't. Like me to in turn remind you of your *actual* SF crank postings? Throwing stones while living in a glass house - paddoboy.
     
  22. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    It appears whatever anyone prints or says that supports the status quo or mainstream is "provocative" in your opinion. You labeled me a shit stirrer the other day and than we have your fringe thread....
    "Free-fall to singularity is BS (or - don't just trust 'authorities')"

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    Hypocritical?

    Dummy spitting again?
    Really q-reeus, your insults only reflect on yourself.
    I suppose I'm rather lucky that I don't live next door to you.

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  23. Q-reeus Valued Senior Member

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    Why do I bother with such a low-level fool.... Either actually properly answer everything raised in #16, or stfu.
     

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