Sunday, October 11, 2009

Doggerel #204: "Do You Think You're Smarter Than [Scientist]?!"

Welcome back to "Doggerel," where I ramble on about words and phrases that are misused, abused, or just plain meaningless.

One of the things that greatly annoys me about a lot of television shows and movies is when they treat scientific progress as if it was caused by intelligence alone. It's not. Science takes a lot of hard work as well as the luck involved in being around the latest ideas. Having a big brain helps, but it doesn't cover everything.

Big brains or not, scientists are humans just like the rest of us. That's one of the founding principles of science: Anyone can make mistakes. Scientists aren't prophets, mystic seers, or dictators of epistemology. Raw intelligence isn't a substitute for the scientific method.

I can say I have a better grasp of quantum mechanics than Albert Einstein did. It's not because I think I'm smarter than he was: It's because I'm typing on something that Einstein thought was impossible: The transistors in my laptop rely on QM being correct to operate, and Einstein denied QM because it didn't fit his sense of aesthetics.

Einstein was a brilliant person, but he was still human, and he allowed his desire for an orderly, deterministic universe to outweigh his ability to accept the evidence, the conclusions others drew from it, and the successful predictions they were able to make as a result.

That's why arguing about intelligence is a meaningless subject change: Science is about evidence and the logic we use to form conclusions and predictions from that evidence. If a weak link in a scientist's chain of thought uses a logical fallacy, it doesn't take a genius to break the whole thing.


Rhoadan said...

Einstein didn't have a problem with quantum in general; he had a problem with the Heisenberg Uncertainty principle. Einstein's Nobel Prize wasn't for relativity; it was for figuring out the photoelectric effect which is itself a quantum phenomenon.

Of course, he also originally proposed the cosmological constant because otherwise some of his work implied an expanding universe. He later admitted that he'd goofed when the discover of the red shift showed that the universe is expanding.

Dale Ritter said...

Einstein's basic theme of the transformative energy value of mass is still relevant though. When used to compose the atomic topological function it displays remarkable conformity.

Recent advancements in quantum science have produced the picoyoctometric, 3D, interactive video atomic model imaging function, in terms of chronons and spacons for exact, quantized, relativistic animation. This format returns clear numerical data for a full spectrum of variables. The atom's RQT (relative quantum topological) data point imaging function is built by combination of the relativistic Einstein-Lorenz transform functions for time, mass, and energy with the workon quantized electromagnetic wave equations for frequency and wavelength.

The atom labeled psi (Z) pulsates at the frequency {Nhu=e/h} by cycles of {e=m(c^2)} transformation of nuclear surface mass to forcons with joule values, followed by nuclear force absorption. This radiation process is limited only by spacetime boundaries of {Gravity-Time}, where gravity is the force binding space to psi, forming the GT integral atomic wavefunction. The expression is defined as the series expansion differential of nuclear output rates with quantum symmetry numbers assigned along the progression to give topology to the solutions.

Next, the correlation function for the manifold of internal heat capacity energy particle 3D functions is extracted by rearranging the total internal momentum function to the photon gain rule and integrating it for GT limits. This produces a series of 26 topological waveparticle functions of the five classes; {+Positron, Workon, Thermon, -Electromagneton, Magnemedon}, each the 3D data image of a type of energy intermedon of the 5/2 kT J internal energy cloud, accounting for all of them.

Those 26 energy data values intersect the sizes of the fundamental physical constants: h, h-bar, delta, nuclear magneton, beta magneton, k (series). They quantize nuclear dynamics by acting as fulcrum particles. The result is the picoyoctometric, 3D, interactive video atomic model data point imaging function, responsive to keyboard input of virtual photon gain events by relativistic, quantized shifts of electron, force, and energy field states and positions.

Images of the h-bar magnetic energy waveparticle of ~175 picoyoctometers are available online at with the complete RQT atomic modeling manual titled The Crystalon Door, copyright TXu1-266-788. TCD conforms to the unopposed motion of disclosure in U.S. District (NM) Court of 04/02/2001 titled The Solution to the Equation of Schrodinger.

Tom Foss said...

Spacons and thermons? This is oddly specific spam. But a quick Google search and an application of my limited quantum knowledge suggest that he's either from the future, or talking in hypotheticals (i.e., chronons) and not-even-hypotheticals ("spacons" turns up nothing on Google).

Care to dumb it down a little, Dale? It's been awhile since I took Quantum.

MWchase said...

I managed to convince myself that he could be sane up until "forcons with joule values".

If those words all mean anything like I think they should, they shouldn't go together like that.

Tom Foss said...

Yeah, I think I glazed over that bit. I'm not sure what a "forcon" would be, or why it would be measured in the units for energy. I also don't know why Psi (Ψ) is represented with "Z."

MWchase said...

Maybe it stands for Zuri Zgeller?

I'll be frank, I think we're both going for the obvious stuff because the non-obvious stuff is a frightening tangle of I-don't-know-what.

I mean, what the fuck is interactive modeling? I have nice job privileges on one of the clusters here, and I'd hate for my modeling to be done interactively, because the non-interactive version can take hours if I've thought of something sufficiently fanciful.

Okay, actually, I'll grant that interactive models are good for some things, having done cursory research, but still! This is quantum-level stuff, here. Stuff that makes intuition break. Automate that sucker!

Anonymous said...


Applying pico and yocto and attaching it to meters is equivalent to saying centikilometers. It doesn't make sense.


Oooh, the pseudoscientific man used the haitch bar word. hes been reading a wikipedia article on quantum physics. Scarey!


What about "Wankons" and "Woocons"?

I prefer M theory if we're going to speculate, as thats more likely to turn up predictions that are testable.
Dale, you can keep your badly written sci fi.


Anonymous said...

"Recent advancements in quantum science have produced the picoyoctometric, 3D, interactive video atomic model imaging function.."

With ne'er a space tearing flop transition in sight, this brilliant physicist has produced such a comprehensive atomic model that he is telling everyone on the net and not bothering to tell fellow physicists (that was a joke, Dale Ritter claims to be a chemist)to get his "wooconic" woo peer reviewed.
If he has genuinely advanced quantum science why does he act exactly like a pseudoscientific woo merchant?


Anonymous said...

Can someone phone CERN and tell them that we don't need the Large Hadron Collider anymore. We've got Dale Ritter's "Femtotechnical Atomic Imaging Software"
that can "image" stuff down to femtometer scale!


MWchase said...

Technically, picoyocto at least means something that no SI prefix does. On the other hand, a picoyoctometer should be smaller than the Planck length by an order of magnitude, and as to completely faithful simulation of reality at the Planck scale over a volume the size of a hydrogen atom...

AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Mine is a mocking laugh!

Anonymous said...

"Technically, picoyocto at least means something that no SI prefix does."

It is either pico or yocto. You can't jam them both together like that. They're different scales.
Our spamming TOEflake seems to be enthusing about sub Planckian physics, but if he was at all serious about his work (or should that be workons?) he'd be getting it peer reviewed by physicists, not spamming skeptic blogs.
Also, what I want to know is where are all the other subplanckian particles? He doesn't mention the decepticon or the klingon in his Theory of Everything. What about the vorlon, or even the male sexual particle the hardon?

MWchase said...

I was going to argue that the hardon has already been extensively covered by the scientific literature, but Google Scholar insisted on correcting my spelling. No, Google, I actually did not want to search for "hadron".

I'm going to guess that forcons are responsible for "force fields" in sci-fi.

I want to see a faradon (capaciton?), tbh. Around that point in physics, things just stop making sense to me.

Anonymous said...

"I'm going to guess that forcons are responsible for "force fields" in sci-fi."

Forcons? I wish TOEflakes would forcoff!