Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Quick! Let's Hide in the Fog!

One of the regular patterns I see with woos is that they try to hide in the 'cutting edge' scientific confusions. Long ago, electricity was magic. One quack that stood out on one show about quack devices was Albert Abrams. Back then, electricity was something not well understood by the populace (and probably still isn't), and pretty much anyone could claim it as part of their pet pseudoscience. The same thing happened as scientists explored the electromagnetic spectrum, with the "discovery" of N-rays. Particle physicists had to deal with people "finding" bions and other 'life particles'. Nowadays, the woos have moved up to quantum mechanics, tachyons, and, as Orac brought to my attention, dark matter and dark energy.

What's really annoying is that they're apparently using them as an excuse to claim that materialism is more or less dead:
This science, also known as the mainstream science, reveals only the material part (4%) of the overall reality. In a way, materialism is the religion of the mainstream science and the materialistic experiments its rituals. The countless experiments (rituals) that are performed to validate the mainstream theories are nothing but to worship the goddess of matter.
The 4% they're referring to: Baryonic "normal" matter.

The big problem: We used "material science" and its "rituals" to find the other 96%. I doubt we're anywhere near understanding that 96%, but we know it's there, which is an accomplishment woos can't claim. Of course, a new kind of material doesn't falsify materialism. It just makes materialism a little bigger and more interesting. That's what makes science cool.

The woos, however, only asserted the existence of stuff beyond baryonic matter and did nothing to prove it. They weaved intricate, contradictory webs of ether that behaved one way one moment and behaved another way the next, all without any foundation of empirical data. I imagine they'll be quite angry and reactionary when someone points out that dark matter and energy don't behave the way they think they do. Of course, that's kind of moot, since woo still fails to work. No need to explain something if that something isn't there.

Random pot-shot time:
It is ironic that the great theories of motion - Newtonian or quantum mechanics are unable to explain what caused the very first motion in the universe.
Prove that there was a 'first motion'. Remember, traditional human approximations of time and space, and likely causality break down when you rewind to a singularity. Of course, woo hasn't explained this hypothetical first motion, either, except for possibly "Magic Man Done It."
Rest 96% of the universe is unknown or explicitly immeasurable and unexplainable dark energy and/dark matter.
As Ginger Yellow pointed out: That's contradictory. It's also defeatist, since I see no reason why the dark stuff is 'unexplainable'. It's just weird.
Because of the serious incompleteness or missing physics of the non-material reality (consciousness) from the mainstream scientific method and theories, it not only unable to explain the observe universe, but remains full of several serous unresolved paradoxes that kill the purpose and meaning in the universal existence and life itself.
1. Where's this non-material consciousness? Show me the data.
2. Science explains the universe a heck of a lot better than woo. They've been doing nothing but attempting to rationalize how science justifies their junk when it doesn't. Especially when it contradicts their junk.
3. Sorry, guy, but just because you see life as meaningless doesn't mean I do. The materialist universe is still very cool, and I can find meaning in it.
4. Show us evidence of this purpose.

The sad thing is: When we're all in warp drive spaceships, settling disputes with giant robots, and reading articles with wireless Internet connections in our heads thanks to materialist science, they'll be going on about how The Force is really in sub-subspace, despite continued failures at demonstrating it.

9 comments:

Margaret said...

Gramatical nitpick:

Sorry, guy, but just because you see your life as meaningless doesn't mean I do.

But I do see his life as meaningless, so I think that should be: "Sorry, guy, but just because you see your life as meaningless doesn't mean I see my life as meaningless."

Bronze Dog said...

I think I'll do something else: I'll take out the 'your' so that it looks like he's saying life itself is meaningless, rather than just his. Don't think it'd be far off.

Thanks for picking nits. Please continue depositing them in the comments.

Margaret said...

Excellent change, better than my suggestion. He probably does think that my life and yours are as meaningless as his. I won't disagree that his life is meaningless, but mine has meaning to me (except maybe when I am in the weekly status meeting), and yours has meaning to me (since I enjoyed reading your post) and yours has meaning (more than just your post) to yourself.

JanieBelle said...

"The sad thing is: When we're all in warp drive spaceships, settling disputes with giant robots, and reading articles with wireless Internet connections in our heads thanks to materialist science, they'll be going on about how The Force is really in sub-subspace, despite continued failures at demonstrating it."

Perhaps we should perform an experiment involving directing a tachyon beam through the deflector dish and aiming it right where their dark matter exits their chakras.

I bet they'll cry "Wooooooo".

Now THAT'S fun science, baby!

:)

Dunc said...

Just you wait 'til they pounce on M-theory... They'll be arguing that their woo emanates from p-branes before you know it... And the funny thing is, in a way, they'll be right. ;)

Anonymous said...

Avtar Singh
Responds to criticism of
Bronze Dog and Orac
Reposted from Intentblog:

Thanks for your comments and opinions. All opinions are welcome and valuable. Please keep in mind that to make a constructive impact, any opinion must include the validating backup evidence. Otherwise, an opinion is just an opinion – a shot in the dark and nothing more. Please make sure that your opinion adds and enhances a positive value to the dialogue and not merely gets wasted and thrown away in vain.

Five years ago, my opinions coincided well with your expressed opinions, when I considered the material-only science as the ultimate panacea. However, as a scientist I was embarrassed with the shockingly poor track record (96% failure rate to explain the observed universe) of science and cosmology. I was ashamed to learn that the best theory of physics (quantum mechanics) is 120 orders of magnitude off in predicting the vacuum energy or dark energy, or cosmological constant. I was not and have never been fully confident in the ever-assumed self-correcting claim of the mainstream science as also expressed by Stephen Hawking below:

“It is a tribute to how far we have come in theoretical physics that it now takes enormous machines and a great deal of money to perform an experiment whose results we can not predict.”

And I have been equally disappointed in the demonstrated loss of purpose in the scientific universe as expressed by the famous cosmologist Steven Weinberg, who says

- “The more the universe seems comprehensible, the more it also seems pointless.”

I have always believed in the extraordinary potential of science to replace the so-called woos of religion. My own views have coincided with your expressed views and I have always felt that the so-called woos have been able to get away and dwell upon the existing incompleteness and weaknesses of science, eradicating which was the focus of my HR efforts.

Sorry, I disagree with you in that my view of science’s potential and mission is much more broader than your expressed view - “ …. Science is a method of thinking, a systematized method of investigation that is inherently self-correcting. Even if science ever did come up with a "theory of everything" (something that has been eluding physicists for decades), it would not do or be what Singh seems to think it would.” I am a supporter of a strong science all the way improving all aspects of life that is not limited to the material aspects alone.

I have been and am much more optimistic than the prevailing mainstream pessimism you have expressed. I have always believed that science could be raised to the level wherein it not only improves material life but also can totally replace the dogmatic religion with well-founded physical explanations for all universal phenomena that are currently considered to be outside the domain of science. I sincerely believe that a completed science or Holistic Science is achievable without loosing its simplicity, grandeur, and comprehensibility.

So, I started looking into out-of-the-box solutions to what was paralyzing science. My approach may be more radical that you may like. This led me to the inclusion of the phenomenon of the spontaneous mass-energy conversion during the spontaneous decay of particles without altering the original formulations of the relativity theory but enhancing it with the application to the spontaneous decay. Such a straightforward and pure application fetches an additional equation that provides a mechanistic description of the mass-energy convertibility during the spontaneous decay. The original relativity theory lacks this capability leading to the black hole or big bang singularity. This feature allows extrapolation of relativity below Planck’s scale and beyond the distances of the observable universe. These capabilities then provide what has been missing from the existing relativity theory to explain the remaining (96%) universe as detailed in the references of this post.

The Holistic Relativity theory retains all the original formulations to predict the behavior of matter as observed during experiments. It does not at all take away or eliminate the existing original strength of the relativity theory; it only adds on the spontaneous decay mass-energy equivalence feature to the theory. All processes and phenomenon in the universe are treated as physical phenomena, and represented in mathematical terms with no supernatural or metaphysical representations. Hence, all materialist claims as well as experimental validations remain intact in HR. Materialists need not worry an iota for any of the original features taken away from the original relativity formulations that stay intact in HR. Reference 1 listed in the main post is purely a technical and mathematical thesis with comparison against the universe observations. It is not woo stuff filled with fluff and metaphors. Any metaphysical interpretations are after the fact of the mathematical and scientific rigor. It would be grossly premature and utterly unfair to label and drag HR into the woo world.

The central premise of HR is based on exact mathematical formulation of the physical phenomenon of spontaneous mass-energy equivalence or conversion, which is already a well-recognized phenomenon in physics such as the wave-particle complimentarity. There is no “Magic Man”, Creation, and Design stuff, which I hate as much you do as nothing but pseudoscience. The benefits and value of this HR enhancement to the relativity are tremendous as explained in my detailed thesis described in the five references to this post and listed below:

1. Explains the observed behavior of the universe and other scientific experimental data.
2. Resolves the existing paradoxes of science (relativity and quantum mechanics), cosmology, and physics theories that I have listed in #30.
3. Validates the experiences of the spiritual masters as described in the essence of their teachings.
4. Consistent with the correct or validated parts of the partially correct existing theories of science – relativity and quantum mechanics, howsoever incomplete.


The responsibility to raise the credibility and solidify foundations of science to its utmost potential lies with those who are practicing it and not the woos of religion or pseudoscience. So, I plead to you and other guardians of science to take on that serious responsibility with an open mind and out-of-the-box thinking. Especially, in the interest of advancement of science, please do not prejudge anybody’s out-of-the-box ideas or proposed thesis (provided in documented references) without first reading thru and evaluating it with an open mind. Opinions based on preconceived prejudice are no different than the faith and beliefs of the woos and the last things science needs to achieve its utmost potential and objective.

Thank you for your input, efforts, and valuable time you have spent to participate.

And, now a humble request. If possible and if you like, and in the spirit of professionalism of fairness, please post this response of mine as a follow up on your earlier posted articles on science-blog websites on the subject matter as I would like to convey this message to all audiences who are interested in the advancement of science to its full potential.

Peace and Cheers
Avtar

Comment # 92
http://www.intentblog.com/archives/2007/05/when_science_be.html

Bronze Dog said...

Just skimming, I see still more astounding ignorance and even more straw men. Does this guy actually care about our real opinions and stances?

Five years ago, my opinions coincided well with your expressed opinions, when I considered the material-only science as the ultimate panacea.

Well, got anything better than methodological naturalism? So far, science is the best tool we have. The alternative I see is allowing wishful thinking and personal biases to slip in.

Also, what's with the continued labeling? It doesn't matter whether you label it 'material' or not.

Doggerel #40, by the way.

However, as a scientist I was embarrassed with the shockingly poor track record (96% failure rate to explain the observed universe) of science and cosmology.

Boy, is he stupid. If this idiotic statement was true, modern society wouldn't function at all. My laptop, for instance, continues to work because of science's accuracy.

I was ashamed to learn that the best theory of physics (quantum mechanics) is 120 orders of magnitude off in predicting the vacuum energy or dark energy, or cosmological constant.

Call the waaaaambulance. Quantum mechanics is extremely accurate for a given range of phenomena. We're still working on a theory of everything to marry it with the accuracy of other theories in other ranges. I think we stand a good chance at coming up with a theory of almost everything, but logical paradoxes prevent us from learning absolutely everything.

As for it being pessimistic: Well, there's a difference between a realist and a blind optimist. Personally, I'd rather have perpetual discovery than suddenly knowing there is no new frontiers.

Also, WHO said QM was the 'best'? It depends on what you're measuring.

I was not and have never been fully confident in the ever-assumed self-correcting claim of the mainstream science as also expressed by Stephen Hawking below:

“It is a tribute to how far we have come in theoretical physics that it now takes enormous machines and a great deal of money to perform an experiment whose results we can not predict.”


And just what undermines your confidence? My guess is that he doesn't know anything about how science works.

Oh, and being unable to predict the results of the machines means that we can't really fit our biases in. I look forward to the unknown we're plunging into, not fearing it.

And I have been equally disappointed in the demonstrated loss of purpose in the scientific universe as expressed by the famous cosmologist Steven Weinberg, who says

- “The more the universe seems comprehensible, the more it also seems pointless.”


Self-pitying whines like this are rather pathetic. It's also more wishful thinking. For whatever bizarre reason a purposeful universe makes him feel better, truth does not bend to our selfish desires just because we desire them.

Sorry, I disagree with you in that my view of science’s potential and mission is much more broader than your expressed view - “ …. Science is a method of thinking, a systematized method of investigation that is inherently self-correcting. Even if science ever did come up with a "theory of everything" (something that has been eluding physicists for decades), it would not do or be what Singh seems to think it would.” I am a supporter of a strong science all the way improving all aspects of life that is not limited to the material aspects alone.

And there goes the label-fest again. If there's an aspect to life, it is, by virtue of existing, material or whatever. Science covers anything that has observable effects.

Materialists need not worry an iota for any of the original features taken away from the original relativity formulations that stay intact in HR.

And we aren't concerned about that at all, you moron, so stop misrepresenting our views. We're concerned about you adding stuff for no reason.

The central premise of HR is based on exact mathematical formulation of the physical phenomenon of spontaneous mass-energy equivalence or conversion, which is already a well-recognized phenomenon in physics such as the wave-particle complimentarity. There is no “Magic Man”, Creation, and Design stuff, which I hate as much you do as nothing but pseudoscience. The benefits and value of this HR enhancement to the relativity are tremendous as explained in my detailed thesis described in the five references to this post and listed below:

1. Explains the observed behavior of the universe and other scientific experimental data.
2. Resolves the existing paradoxes of science (relativity and quantum mechanics), cosmology, and physics theories that I have listed in #30.
3. Validates the experiences of the spiritual masters as described in the essence of their teachings.
4. Consistent with the correct or validated parts of the partially correct existing theories of science – relativity and quantum mechanics, howsoever incomplete.


That's a lot of bluster. Show me the math, and show me some experiments that verify its predictions while falsifying existing science. Show me the footwork, not fallacies.

So, I plead to you and other guardians of science to take on that serious responsibility with an open mind and out-of-the-box thinking. Especially, in the interest of advancement of science, please do not prejudge anybody’s out-of-the-box ideas or proposed thesis (provided in documented references) without first reading thru and evaluating it with an open mind. Opinions based on preconceived prejudice are no different than the faith and beliefs of the woos and the last things science needs to achieve its utmost potential and objective.

More bluster, and no content. Doggerel numbers 4, and 30, and shades of 19. If you want me to seriously consider your ideas, show me an experiment that verifies all this rambling. Make a prediction and prove it. James Randi could probably set up an experiment with proper conditions you like.

In short, you're no different than all the other pseudoscientists I've seen. All bluster, no content. Come back when you're willing to act against the stereotype.

Rockstar Ryan said...

That's the problem with woos - they keep telling us to keep an open mind, there's better ways than science.

The problem is that they never identify their other way; they only blather about it's existence.

Infophile said...

The central premise of HR is based on exact mathematical formulation of the physical phenomenon of spontaneous mass-energy equivalence or conversion, which is already a well-recognized phenomenon in physics such as the wave-particle complimentarity.

This sentence right here tells me that he's read about high level physics, but he just doesn't understand it. Par for the course with cranks. First of all, mass-energy equivalence means that mass is energy and energy is mass. Energy can change form, and some of its forms are rest mass and kinetic energy (which partially manifests as extra mass due to relativistic effects). There's no "spontaneous" conversion between the two (excepting nuclear decay, but it's never described as such).

And beyond that, wave-particle duality has absolutely nothing to do with mass-energy equivalence. I'm guessing he got thinking of waves as being energy and particles as mass and drew a connection there, but that completely misses the point of duality. Check out my post here for an explanation of what it really is.

One more minor nitpick:

The 4% they're referring to: Baryonic "normal" matter.

Actually, although the matter we understand is mostly baryonic by mass (by number, it's a lot closer), there're also other types of understood particles out there. The big two of these are photons (bosons) and electrons (leptons). There are also trace amounts of mesons, those these are much more insignificant. A common term for all of this understood stuff is either "radiant matter" or "light matter."