Saturday, February 27, 2010

On Being A Bit Horrid

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote an article about a guy called Nassim Haramein who makes a living by giving talks on the nature of the universe, and why I think he's a fake. I kind of pulled him to pieces, and carried on pulling him to pieces until I got tired.

His ideas seem to be extraordinarily popular, and he has quite a following, so my article has caused a bit of a stir. But to a lot of people, I get the feeling it looks like I'm just being horrid. Why else would someone pull another person to pieces? It's not very nice.

Little My: a bit horrid

And it might look a bit horrid to people who've never heard of him too. Why is Bob spending so much time pulling someone to pieces? Why doesn't he write about birds and stars like the good old days?

Anyway, aren't people entitled to hold differing views? Doesn't the human race already spend far too much time putting each other down?

I was thinking about this the other day and I came up with a little story.

Imagine you grew up speaking fluent Mandarin, as well as English. And you'd spent a lot of time in China, living among people in many different parts of the country.

One day, probably somewhere in the US of A, you come across someone giving public lectures on how to understand Mandarin. Lots of people are interested, it seems, because Mandarin is still quite alien to most people in English-speaking countries, yet it's a language that may prove increasingly valuable to learn for the future. You're curious, so you take a look.

What you see is someone making stereotypical Chinese-sounding noises. He utters words that sound vaguely Chinese, and explains what he thinks they mean. He tells his audience that he's studied this language for many many years, and has learned things that most teachers of Mandarin would never even realise. You do recognise some of his words, but they're not put together in a way that makes much sense to you.

You ask his students, who proudly tell you that this is the true Mandarin, and that what they teach in language schools is flawed. When you take issue with this, they insist that obviously that's because you're only able to see what you've been taught, and you've never thought outside of this box, and if you could see the bigger picture then you'd understand what he was saying and what a revolutionary understanding of the language it was. And the reason no other teachers of Mandarin teach this way is because of a massive conspiracy to put down creativity and keep the language in the control of the elite. Or something like that.

Anyway, who are you to tell people how they should speak Mandarin?

He has thousands of followers, and they all happily believe this is the true Mandarin. What do you do?

I guess most people in this situation would decide, after perhaps a little time trying to argue, that what we have here is a bunch of nutters, and walk away. And I probably would too, because, well, what can you do? If they're so keen on believing that this is the true Mandarin, then let them.

It was a little like this for me to find Nassim Haramein claiming he's speaking from years of cutting-edge physics research. The language of physics and mathematics and reasoning is one that I grew up with and use regularly, and I know enough of it to recognise clearly when someone is blagging it.

Science and mathematics is much more like a language than art or music. Learning it is first of all an attempt to get things right – you're trying to get at the way things are, using reason and evidence. Once you're fluent, you can be wonderfully creative with it, but first of all you have to learn to make some sense of the process of rational investigation. Otherwise, no matter how impressive it might sound to some people, you're being as transparently meaningless and ridiculous as the guy who claims that his Mandarin is more true than the one spoken in China.

* * *

I thought I'd devote some time to 'refuting' Haramein because it's clear that there are a good number of people who are curious about him and want to know more, and there's surprisingly little on the web that points out clearly why he's a fake.

I can understand why there's so little on the web analysing him critically and objectively. Firstly, he may have a huge internet presence but he's hardly a household name. Secondly, it's not especially enjoyable to listen to someone when you know they're talking rubbish – it does feel like an awful waste of time. Thirdly, efforts to communicate with his followers isn't entirely pleasurable either. And fourthly, you can end up looking like a proper spoil-sport, taking the side of run-of-the-mill pernickety correctness against the forces of liberated thinking.

Not everyone is a big fan of excessive rationality, but when most of us turn to newspapers, politicians or scientists, we don't appreciate being led up the garden path. However lovely someone might seem, if you can see that they're gathering a following and making money by misleading people, then you do start to feel for the people who are taken in by it.

Of course, we could always view him as a spiritual guide instead of a scientist, as some clearly do – so long as we don't mind our spirituality being served up with delusion, prejudice and an inflated sense of its own importance. (Some would argue that we have a long history of not minding this.)

That's a personal choice. I just wanted to put the information out, so there it is. I've tried not to be unpleasant with it, and to be as objective as I can.

I'm not especially bothered about physics. What I'm bothered about really is the process of searching for truth. (I certainly don't confine this search to physics.) Integral to the search for truth, it seems to me, is the willingness to ruthlessly cast out whatever is obviously false, and then to gleefully jump up and down on its head if it tries to show its face again.

So, well, maybe that means I do enjoy being a little bit horrid sometimes. I'll leave that for you to decide.

You can see my article at http://bit.ly/haramein
(though you might not find it very interesting unless you happen to know who he is, or have a particular curiosity for people who like to pretend to be physicists).

* * *

In the process of trying to get my head around all this stuff, so that I can argue with people on YouTube and things like that, I've come across some great places to sharpen your understanding of real physics on the web. (I have genuinely been trying to find ways to remain open to everything I've heard Nassim and others say, from all sorts of perspectives... and the more I've tried, the crazier they've looked.)

On YouTube now, not only can you watch the whole of Carl Sagan's Cosmos series, and several programs about the great Richard Feynman, and many other great science documentaries, but if you REALLY want to get to grips with the understanding of reality that modern physics has given us, there's a fabulous selection of lecture series by Stanford University's Leonard Susskind. He's done an entire 15 to 20 hour series on each of Classical Mechanics, Statistical Mechanics, Quantum Entanglements, Quantum Mechanics, Special Relativity, Quantum Field Theory, The Standard Model, General Relativity and Cosmology.

I'm working my way through his presentation of General Relativity as we speak, and it's extremely good. I've been scribbling away deriving Christoffel Symbols to my heart's content, and (when told to) even gone so far as to cut things out of cardboard to explore the nature of curved spaces.

A mostly-flat space with a pringularity at the centre
(a negative curvature singularity; thanks to PV for the word)

As with all physics, though, many of the theories are essentially mathematical in nature, so it's perhaps not for everyone.

(This mathematical nature, oddly enough, isn't because of a massive conspiracy among scientists to keep their ideas out of the reach of those without mathematical training! I've read so much rubbish now, I'm starting to feel obliged to point these things out. It's because using mathematics is the only way to really see that the ideas you read in the popular science books actually work. If all you do is read the ideas in popular science books, you could easily think they're just ideas, and conclude that the ideas of some nutcase from Hawaii might be just as valid. It simply doesn't work like that. It's unfortunate that the only way you can be convinced of this is if you 'do the math'.)

Anyway, don't let me get started on all that stuff again. Give Leonard Susskind a try if you're feeling adventurous (and patient!). I've learnt a lot in the last few weeks, and in some peculiar way it's all down to our friend Mr Haramein. So there we are.

Feel free to think I'm horrid if it makes you happy. I think I'm lovely. (Come on, I used a picture of everyone's favourite mymble! How lovely is that?)

We can argue about it in the comments if you like.

Go to Haramein article
Back to Blog

75 comments:

Rebecca said...

That which you focus on, E X P A N D S. If you want Nassim to go away I would talk about birds and clouds and such. I'm beginning to think he must be paying you! :)

Namaste

Bob said...

I don't want anyone to go away, no. Presenting different points of view is a good thing.

But he's hardly going to get away with saying the outlandish things he says without people piping up and saying "hang on, that's wrong - and that - oh, and that - here's why - and hey, how is this guy calling himself a physicist?"

I doubt my little pipings would make Nassim rich and famous. It'd be a twisted world if they did.

Aaron said...

i'd like to keep up a discussion, so to keep it simple, let's start with, do you believe that the world/univers should be measured with Euclidean or non-Euclidean geometry.

As I can understand it, basically, Euclidean is the measurement without the affect of gravity, non-Euclidean (hyperbolic and elliptic is the measurement with the affect of gravity.

It sort of like, I understand that people say about Haramein "Show me the proof"

but show me the proof that the parallel postulate holds true in the universe and not just in though and our creations

obviously this is the fundamental shift in thinking that Harameins wants us to absorb.

Bob said...

Hi Aaron.

I've never said of Haramein 'show me a proof'. I've seen and heard enough to be able to unequivocally demonstrate the falsehood of his views.

It would be silly to ask someone to prove what you can easily see is false. What could you possibly gain from asking someone to prove that the sky is always green? You just point to the sky and say look, it's not green, so you're wrong. End of story. Falsehood demonstrated.

Euclid's parallel postulate doesn't hold true in the universe, and gravitational lensing is a perfect demonstration of that.


If Haramein wants us to absorb a fundamental shift in thinking, he's got two options. He can either

(a) demonstrate that his new 'truth' has some value by showing that it predicts something or provides a clearer way of understanding something without any discrepancies from concrete facts that we already know, and present it to people who are willing and able to work through the implications in order to assess whether or not there is real truth in it;

or (b) demonstrate nothing, ignore the discrepancies, and present it to people who are willing to take it on trust because it sounds good.

Haramein has only ever succeeded at (b). He sells illusions to people who don't understand them. He makes money from the people who look up to him by lying to them. It's a lot easier than telling the truth. But it's a very low place to sink to.

Struz said...

Hello Bob.
Your articles are as water for the thirsty.
I feel as walking on the same path as you. I have had to do a lot of internet research to find your blog with a critic and skeptical point of view about the "scientific" postulates of Haramein.
Thanks to the Universe that you decide to analyse the Nassim's claims, because I have no idea of maths or phisics but most of the things that Nassims says... sound to me as quackery, mainly when He assumed as "obvious" the ET presence in our planet ( He surely has got the book from 70's Erich Von Daniken ).
I have my own humble blog in wich I try to dismount the falacies that I found in current life, mainly to offer, as you, some "common sense" and the help of the scientif methods to grow up in our knowledge.
I am very interested in show your research about Nassim. Would you permit me that I write down the spanish translation of your article in my blog? For sure I show all your credits and links to your blog. Thank you very much.
Struz.
Spain

Bob said...

Greetings Struz

Thank you for your comments, they're very much appreciated. I'd be delighted if you could translate any of it into Spanish - that would be excellent.

I do get a number of enquiries from Spanish-speakers. It would be great to be able to provide a link to your blog.

Haramein seems to have many Spanish-speaking fans. See for example what you find if you search for Haramein on Twitter:
http://twitter.com/#search?q=haramein

I notice from your blog that you're based in Andorra. The image at the top of my blog is a Lammergeier. I became fascinated with Lammergeiers after seeing one in Arinsal a few years ago - a breathtaking sight.

Anonymous said...

I believe Nassim is a crank. It's obvious how eager he is to jump to conclusions. That's not science.

However, Nassim does make a claim that has merit, in my view. I've become convinced that there is a UFO presence on Earth. There are quite many former and current military, aviation, defense, and political figures of high stature who are publicly stating that UFOs are real. You are in the UK? Admiral Lord Hill Norton was (died in 2004) one of these names. I find his remarks about the 1980 Rendlesham Forest UFO incident quite fascinating, along with the statements of the deputy base commander and several other airmen directly involved in the incident.

John Callahan was the Division Chief of Accidents and Investigations for the FAA (US) in 1986, during the time that a Japanese pilot reported a huge UFO (4 times as big as a 747) while flying over Alaska. The UFO was tracked on radar and Callahan maintained video taped and printed radar data of the event, which he has now shared with the public.

There are many other high quality witnesses like these people. I strongly suggest viewing the documentary work of James Fox on this topic.

Lots of information here:
http://www.hyper.net/ufo/video-documentaries.html

Bob said...

UFOs? Who knows. I only really concerned with the aspects of Haramein's presentations that I have some real clarity on - the maths and physics.

I'd certainly never look to him to find out things I'm not clear about. Once I've witnessed someone eagerly jumping to baseless crowd-pleasing conclusions, it kind of erodes any sense of trust in their integrity or soundness of mind.

I'd be more inclined to follow Neil Tyson's line of thinking:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zfAzaDyae-k

Anonymous said...

Forgive my loose use of the term UFO. I should have written that I am convinced that the extraterrestrial hypothesis is very reasonable in a small percentage of UFO reports.

For as confidently as Neil Tyson speaks about the subject, he clearly isn't aware of such compelling cases. (Or else he's using a strawman argument, with deliberate intent to deceive, something I won't accuse him of.) His skepticism would be rational if all UFO reports are as he characterizes them – ambiguous and without corroborating evidence. But this simply isn't the case. Not only are there high-quality reports from all over the world, made by highly credible, trained observers, of unambiguous, unidentifiable flying craft moving in utterly inexplicable ways, but in many of these cases there is corroborating radar data, corroboration from multiple witnesses in multiple locations, and even soil compression analysis and background radiation analysis from landing sites revealing anomalies, performed by competent military and scientific teams. There are many formerly classified government documents from around the world which also corroborate some of these incidents.

These witnesses include high-ranking military officers and other military personnel, pilots, air traffic controllers, cosmonauts/astronauts, government officials, police officers, defense and intelligence officials, space agency officials, and astronomers, among others. Over the last ten years, there have been an increasing number of these individuals speaking publicly about these incidents.

Consider the cases I mentioned in my previous post. They are just a tip of the iceberg. Also, consider the French COMETA report. Actual documents: http://www.ufoevidence.org/topics/Cometa.htm

Summary from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/COMETA
[begin quote]
COMETA was a high-level French UFO study organisation from the late 1990s, composed of high-ranking officers and officials, some having held command posts in the armed forces and aerospace industry. The name "COMETA" in English stands for "Committee for in-depth studies." The study was carried out over several years by an independent group of mostly former "auditors" at the Institute of Advanced Studies for National Defence, or IHEDN, a high-level French military think-tank, and by various other experts.

The group was responsible for the 'COMETA Report' (1999) on UFOs and their possible implications for defence in France. The report concluded that about 5% of the UFO cases they studied were utterly inexplicable and the best hypothesis to explain them was the extraterrestrial hypothesis (ETH). The authors also accused the United States government of engaging in a massive cover-up of the evidence.
[end quote]

This all has a lot to do with people like Haramein. Make no mistake, I believe he is a crank. But he is taking advantage of an important idea which stems from the consideration that some UFOs are indeed interplanetary spacecraft. If this is true, and they indeed are able to fly in ways which seemingly defy our current laws of physics, then our laws of physics which tell us this is not possible are probably somehow an incomplete picture of reality. That's pretty much where I stop agreeing with him.

I failed to mention previously that I very much enjoyed your post on Haramein, and also appreciate your response to my previous post. Thanks!

Bob said...

Thanks for your thoughts.

We've always known that our laws of physics are an incomplete picture of reality. QFT and GR seem to agree to extremely high precision with virtually everything we're able to observe or create, but we know they give conflicting accounts of extreme conditions, so they can't both be true. It's really not true that any serious scientist thinks they've got all the answers. Physicists have been trying for decades to find or create something - anything - that conclusively and measurably disagrees with QFT or GR. What's annoying isn't that the theories are flawed - that's accepted - what's annoying is that they keep stubbornly getting everything right.

Critics of 'mainstream physics' are generally unaware of how stunningly consistently accurate these theories are at predicting virtually all the results of even our wildest experiments. Pointing out problems is easy - but anyone thinking of 'changing the paradigm' had better get wise as to the strength of what they're up against.

Haramein, of course, hasn't a clue - his strategy is to ridicule these silly theories and convince scientists that they should replace them with his own ideas that have no rationale or evidence basis, conflict with observation at every turn, predict nothing at all, and also happen to be attractive to lots of paying, scientifically-illiterate members of the public. I don't think it'll catch on.

I don't know about UFOs, and I don't really want to get into a debate about them here. You're right, though - Haramein is tapping into a lot of people's fascination here. He knows which buttons to press.

I guess to me it just doesn't seem remarkable that a handful of the billions of people on this planet have seen something inexplicable. It would be truly remarkable if they hadn't.

Aaron said...

It could be that Nassim is sincere in his approach but misleads his audience because of his own misunderstandings. Over the last year or more, he got me thinking about a fractal Universe.

He may be sincere but perhaps doesn't completelyknow how a fractal Universe could work.

Geometry is a fundamental principle.

I suppose, why all this talk about string theory, when it is wackadoo sounding theory in it's own right, but it even speaks of very small dimensions at a much smaller scale, all the way down the rabbit hole forever and ever perhaps if it were a fractal Universe. Making it almost, not interesting how small a particle we can measure.

Lisi shows the same in his diagrams, and I am not gonna lie to you it's just geometric dimensions by points created further down the rabbit hole you go. Perhaps even dimensions are created when you measure them.

Why is it that Geometry is never used in the principle thought structure of everyone, when it seems to be the most basic principle of Physics?

Bob said...

I'm starting to think Nassim probably does genuinely believe that he's doing serious science research, leading a revolution in physics, answering age-old mysteries about the pyramids, solving crop-circles, receiving communications from aliens, and finding the secret connections that link them all with hidden subtexts within the Bible...

It's considerably better than outright manipulativeness, I'll grant him that.

You're right about geometry. I don't know why... it just appears to be the case that the laws of nature seem to be amenable to some of the laws of geometry. Along with abstract algebra, tensor calculus and all sorts of other peculiar animals that are not natural to our minds at all. We can only experience them fully by training our minds over years and years, building up these increasingly subtle mathematical constructions.

We don't naturally think that way because our minds evolved with other priorities. What's amazing is that human beings are capable of learning to let these priorities go sufficiently that they can work with these animals on their own terms. And it turns out that they hold keys to some of the secrets of the universe. I think it's remarkable that we can do that.

It's sure as hell not easy though.

mali said...

I am interested in your thoughts about Causal Dynamic Triangulation (CDT). Thank you.

Bob said...

It's not a theory I understand except in a very superficial (meaning non-mathematical) way, Mali. It's a very nice idea. I don't know of any reasons not to keep pursuing it all the way, until either it becomes inconsistent or it brings insights that are verifiable by experiment.

Anonymous said...

Hi Bob,

I thought I'd do you a small favour and point out a few fundamentals that might have eluded you so far.

1- Read more philosophy, you might learn something!

2-Problems of foundation are still at the core of physics and still unresolved! Or did you not know?

3-To remedy a severe state of misplaced confidence, may I suggest some introductory reading;
The problem with physics (Lee Smolin) - The end of time (Julian Barbour), might be a good start.

Who knows you might even develop some independence of sought...Bob you revolutionary you!

Bob said...

What in heaven made you think I believe that physicists know everything? Of course they don't. That's why they do physics. What's your point?

Anonymous said...

Hi Bob

It's Zoe here.
I'm really pleased to have found your site because although, I loved Nassim's presentation and believe lots of what he said, the skeptical comments make me question some of the technical aspects.

I want to find answers and some of the links you have provided look great! :-))))) I will go through them all when I have time.

I am slowly going through everything to do with Nassim and your posts/links to find the truth.

In response to the post about being horrid, I think you are being a little bit, but I understand.
I liked your story about Mandarin, but I couldn't help thinking that it's not really the same. I agree that maths is a set language but scientific ideas change with time to account for things that we didn't know about earlier.
Sure, we can't fake maths. It is what it is, but a theory of everything, no matter where is comes from will prob give us some uncomfortable changes?

I liked the point about the green sky.
I hope you don't mind me using the same point to give you my perspective:
As the light from the sun scatters through the atmosphere, blue is the wavelength that scatters most efficiently through the N and O. The other colours of the spectrum are not scattered as well, so we see the sky as being blue. It does however, contain some elements of green, so to say the sky is green is not 100% false.
I'm sure you already know this and you were just making a point, but what I'm saying is that our senses filter out so much information about what is really out there, the truth about reality is bound to be wacky.

Zoe

Bob said...

Thanks Zoe.

Let me clarify the language example... I'm not comparing the language of Mandarin and the language of science. The analogy is between the objective reality of the way Mandarin speakers communicate, and the objective reality of the way the universe is.

If you deny there's an actual Mandarin language that's worth learning, or an actual nature of the universe that's worth investigating, then you're not going to have a lot of useful insight into either of those things.

There's absolutely no value at all in teaching your own fabricated version, unless your only concern is gaining followers who know no better and you don't care that you're misleading them.

Regarding green sky... yes, the truth about reality is going to be wacky, but insisting that the sky is always green isn't the kind of thing that's going to help you investigate it. :)

Anonymous said...

All science aside the language reference seems to break down as long as the mandarin taught had the some connotation as that in say Taipei. All language is different and yet all (well most) will have words that sound completely different yet produce the same outcome when uttered around like speaking. The world is reference, difference, comprehension.

Bob said...

If you don't get the language reference, it doesn't matter. There's no point saying "all science aside" when I'm trying to use an analogy in order to explain something about science.

Haramein is presenting an idea about the universe, and it's plain wrong. It can be shown scientifically in all kinds of ways, and there are many ways of trying to explain it to people who don't understand the science, which is what I was trying to do here. But all you need to know is that the guy is wrong, he's clueless, he's misleading people, he's making money out of them by pretending to be something he's not, and I thought it would be good if someone pointed this out. That's all.

Anonymous said...

Bob

Keep searching for the truth.

You might be wrong, but to accept claims uncritically abandons our Enlightenment progress.

Remember Goya's title for one of his paintings: The sleep of reason breeds monsters.

Anonymous said...

Bob, Im new to your blog, who are you and from what basis of origin are you giving your opinions? A Scientist? Physicist? Author? Internet Maven? Curious Intellectual? Professor? just want to know from where you have gained your postulations.

Bob said...

Hi Anonymous.

I prefer to encourage you to focus on what's written, rather than who the writer might be or claim to be. I have an anonymous blog - I could make up anything about who I am... but none of it should matter.

I don't believe in arguments from authority, and I'd never claim that anyone should believe me or attach any importance to my personal views.

I've presented information to throw light on a situation, which you may take as you will. Whenever I've asserted something, I've tried my best to explain why. I don't wish anything to be taken on faith. If there's any doubt regarding anything I've said, I'd like you to check out my reasoning, investigate it yourself, and interrogate me if you wish; or ask the opinion of someone you trust who has a working understanding of the subject.

I can't deny that I've expressed some of my own views on this blog. But I'd like to get one thing very clear: The statements I've made regarding the falsehood of Haramein's fake research, the pretence of his expertise and pretentiousness of his claims, and the fraudulence of the image he has cultivated of himself as a scientist - these are not matters of opinion.

It's up to you how you respond to an assertion like that. I've given lots and lots of reasons to back it up. There are some who claim otherwise. You could (as most people seem to) just go with whoever you like best, or whoever says what you already think, as if it's a political debate where taking sides is appropriate, and who said what to whom matters. It really isn't like that.

My hope is always that people are willing and able to do far more than settle for that. Let me know how you get on, ok?

David Lounsbury Alan said...

Hello Blog, Someone has said, 'There is nothing so powerful as an idea whose time has come and second in power to it, an idea whose time has gone and refuses to leave.'

Everyone likes a great theory and a great argument, ie. Darwin vis a'vis intelligent creation. By taking an interdisciplinary approach incorporating the interpretation of varied traditions of sacred history and spiritual consciousness and relating its metaphysics to a quest to the solution of the current schiezophrenia of the current orthodox physics(despite its extremely successful conquest the local solar system) in its unreconciled state with the the physics of subatomic matter energy behavior.

It is suggested that the growing inkling of reconciliation is in the awareness that consciousness preceeds mathmatics.

My sense is that it is a thrilling voice ennouncing the possibility of a new Exodus from the bondage of OIL. That should cause anyone who has to look forward to paying upwards of $5/gal for gasolene with a growing awareness that our society could have been having ZERO point energy a la Nicola Testa since 1904.

Go figure.
David

Bob said...

Hi David. Thanks for your thoughts.

One question: what are you talking about?

Gordius said...

I'm late to this party, but, nonetheless, many thanks for the sanity inducing clarity of thought.

I have several friends who are 'intuitively' convinced of the rightness of Nassim's arguments. Being a Humanities grad with a paucity of math, but a love and appreciation of science and scientific method, I have been hunting for reasonably formulated rebuttals.

Alas, some of these folks are convinced that aliens journey thousands of light years to communicate via crop circles or that Atlantis was located smack dab in the middle of the Atlantic. "Sea floor spreading? Mid Atlantic ridge? Mere trifling details! It was there I tell you!"

In my opinion the Mandarin analogy works perfectly. A major problem is that science education which should begin with the start of formal schooling, is next to non-existent in most of the Anglo-Saxon world. Thus, my friends are at the mercy of people like Nassim and the others of his ilk--Intelligent Designers, climate change deniers, Young Earthers, et al.

Cheers!

eliV said...

Thank you so much for the way you think and what you believe!
and thank you for the link to the physics lectures we've been looking for something to use in our freeskool.

Do you happen to know of a concise way (youtube video or otherwise) to explain to the average person that the human brain is unable to actually truly conceive of the difference in size of sub atomic "world" and the one we operate in daily? That it is actually okay and not freaky weird that sub atomic particles "don't obey the laws of physics".
Altho i guess one might not be able to stop people being fascinated with mysteries they can't see and have to imagine...

anyshway thanks,
-eli of CRIChouse.

Bob said...

Thanks eliV!

My favourite video for that is this one. Check out the first 7 minutes or so. It's the intro to a 16-hour course on quantum mechanics... but 7 minutes is enough for most people :-)

Sub-atomic particles do obey the laws of physics. Absolutely definitely they do. They don't obey the laws of physics for tennis balls and cycling and hosepipes and things we're familiar with - they have their own laws of physics, which seem very strange to us because they're different to our normal experience.

Our intuition has evolved and grown up with things like tennis balls and cycling and hosepipes. They seem sensible to us.

Subatomic particles have their own laws, and scientists have learned how to understand them and chow to train others to understand them. People who work with these particles know these laws very well - they have to, it's their everyday job - and the particles obey these laws perfectly.

There are still mysteries, of course, just as there are still mysteries in the Solar System, but the laws of physics are very well known by now.

Also there are always limits to what we know, areas where we really don't know what the particles will do. But these days we need to build these huge machines 17 miles long in order to reach those limits!

So the human brain is capable of conceiving a lot of what goes on down there. It takes a lot of training, like playing a classical concert piano, before the workings of the quantum world become intuitive. But people do it and, like learning the piano, they do it because they love it, because some people are fascinated enough to devote themselves to it.

Playing classical concert piano isn't for everyone, and neither is quantum physics. So it is okay and not freaky if you don't understand the subatomic world, just the same as it's okay and not freaky if you can't play Rachmaninov's piano concertos. You can't expect it to work by watching a few videos about it and trying to read a book about it.

It's not something to be surprised about, if you can't intuitively see how the laws of subatomic particles work.

But I think it is worth marvelling at the fact that some people can.

And when you've finished marvelling, you can go back to doing the things you do best, and hopefully feel a little more joy at how diverse and wonderful the human race is, and how much more must going on, deep inside everything around us, than we could hope to imagine.

Anonymous said...

I am math student and I have to confirm Bob's math, so Bob is right and Nassim is wrong (at least abouth SP math). Then I went out in my backyard and wrote in grass with big letters: TELL ME, WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW ABOUT NASSIM HARAMEIN? Six months later, I am still waiting for the answer. It maybe that those up there that are watching us and deciding who is gonna come down here (I swear I will not shoot you guys, come down here for a coffee or something) just do not care about me, who knows?

Anonymous said...

Thank you. My intuition was righ. I like your analogy.

lezlow said...

well you,ve f....ed me right up.you see 50 years ago my dad told me that the earth is actually travelling backwards in space and that there was another planet?planet x [wormwood]he said so don,t read too much into the stars as although scientists ,don,t recognise these facts,why don,t they? because a 100 years ago,the agreed one set,that was hamony beween astrology and astromony

lezlow said...

and before you all write your dad may have been wrong,soz jack skelhorn was never wrong,he was a unrecognized genius, he knew about the world,he knew about life,he knew and cured people, that doctors could not cure,he educated people,he was bombastic,but indeed highly intelligent,i met peole who where also educated and the said to me ?your jack skelhorn's lad? he's one clever man,he helped me,he loved poetry,earth things and helping,although dead but not forgotten,his spirit lives on,rip dad

Bob said...

Backwards? You mean there's a 'forwards' in space?

Not 100 but 4 or 500 years ago there was more harmony between astronomy and astrology. It's true. Because back then, neither of them had the first clue what was going on out there.

Since then astronomers have learned how to look and have discovered much that is wondrous and true about our universe; and astrologers have ignored the universe and just made up shit. Shouldn't be a surprise that they don't get along...

Anonymous said...

The "truth" will never be told, because telling needs a language - which is always cultural, temporary and (only) a way of communication.
The search for it, though, is honourable.

V.

Dick said...

its 2012 - id expect a rise in Haramein-esque quackery (probably peaking around Dec 21st) ... i encountered NH's Crossing the EVent Horizon dvd a few years back and thru a love of geometry (aesthetically more than mathematically) found myself getting excited about his ideas... they really are superficially beautiful (like a shiney thing to a magpie) then after 3 straight years of burying myself in physics/math i found myself watching one of his presentations and thinking "ummmmmm - what!?" - point being, i was a believer of his ideas when i had both feet in the "artist" camp - BEFORE i learnt more about physics, the peer review process and the procedure of logical thinking... i commend you on your direction of energy into this matter. i now have a place to send "enlightened" friends who post NH's gospel on my face book page because they know i like art AND physics and think it'll be up my alley. cheers

Ross said...

Hi, I totally dig your point. I'm just a little nobody, but who does research on history of architecture for his PhD. I have to tell you quite a number of sources I have to review for my literature have turned out to fulfill your description of the con Mandarin teacher! What to do with these hoaxes that seem to be found in every profession and scientific discipline?!

Bob said...

Yes indeed.

What do we do with them? Take them to China, and see how they get along.

If someone is faking the ability to run, put them on a track with some athletes and see how they get along.

If someone has a theory about something in the world, expose their theory to observations about the world, and see how it gets along.

If someone has a theory about a thing and refuses to compare it to observations of the thing, or to talk to the people who DO compare things to observations of the thing, then expose that refusal to everyone who clings their theories until the only ones left clinging are the chronically deluded. Who, let's face it, tend to make their presence fairly obvious after a short chat. Then everything is fine.

Sadly, because these people are more comfortable with rhetoric than with understanding, they are more likely to be the ones who want to persuade their way into positions of power and influence in society. That's the part that freaks me out.

Anonymous said...

Bob
I am attracted to that you are a skeptic. Me too. But I do like explanation.
I stumbled across Haramein only because maybe he refers to the proton as a toroidal quantum black hole (QBH).
I wonder what you might think about William Oakley's work on QBH Theory, which happens to incidentally reach a similar conclusion. QBH is clearly speculative, but explains quite a bit, without (as it occurs to me) the pompous handwaving. It would be great if you could debunk it - or not.
The derivations are all steady state so the math is simple algebra.
Some representative conclusions:
Big G is not a fundamental constant and can be computed from other fundamental constants.
Protons are an involute energy circulation just inside a toriodal event boundary, which manifests as compressed space in our observer space, which stress we call a positive charge.
Electrons are 2 evolute energy circulations just outside a toroidal event boundary, which manifests as expanded space in our observer space, which stress we call a negative charge.
Neutrons are a proton coaxially inside an electron, sharing the event boundary.
Oakley's theory calculates the electron and proton mass energy to CODATA precision; relativistic considerations dominate.
There is no Large Number Problem. The exact size of the Large Number ratio is an accident of Cavendish's using the cgs system. Were it MKS, FPS or something else, the Large Number ratio would be different. This is not easy to get one's head around. But (3x10^10)^4 and a few small factors like the cube root of the fine structure constant make things simple. With this resolved, gravity and the strong force are the same curvation of space, which also balances stress as the electric field. Therefore the strong, gravitational and electric forces (magnetism being observer's relativistic electric force) are unified.
There is much more at RethinkingPhysics.com.
It would be a great service were you to poke a hole in this, or not.
Thank you.

Bob said...

Ok, I looked at the way he derives G from fundamental constants, and it's absurd. The guy has no concept of dimensionality, he's multiplying numbers together in whatever units he chooses until he gets the numbers that look like the ones other people have measured.

If someone is six feet tall, would you be comfortable with the suggestion that 'feet' is an arbitrary choice of units, therefore what matters is the 6 and you can apply that to your normal walking speed of 3mph to explain, using time=distance÷speed, why your dog is two years old?

The only reason what he's doing doesn't appear immediately ridiculous is that he's talking about unfamiliar things, and he uses words with the appearance of logic. It's worse than Haramein.

Sorry.

Anonymous said...

Bob

Thank you for considering this, especially for actually reading Oakley papers on RethinkingPhysics.com.

I suppose it is easy to question whether this is a case of a numerologist divining the dog star. Yes, the numbers work out. If they didn't, clearly the speculation should be discarded. But the numbers did come after the theory, not before.

Ironically, Einstein and everyone else haven't reconciled the Large Number Problem, because while they believe that there is no 'force' of gravity acting at a distance along a radius, they still make use of Newton's equation, Gmm/r^2 and to compute a 'force', which is 1/2 of the LNP computation. Furthermore, while they believe that 'mass' is actually our observer space illusion of relativistic, localized energy, E/c^2, they blithely make use of this illusory concept, mass, instead of the underlying concept, energy.

While the occurrence of ‘mass’ does coincide with the distortion of space, mass does not distort space. Space is distorted, it's index is changed, to accommodate the slightly less than c propagation of the energy that is localized (occurring to us as what we call 'mass'). I expect you agree that this is not controversial, as far as it goes.

What is speculative is that there is a sweet spot for a specific amount of energy to chase it's tail (maybe there is a dog involved), relativistically spread out in length, slowed down in speed, propagating straight, in a curved metric appearing to observers (if we could actually see it) as toroidal.

We do think we know some things about protons and electrons. But there is no accepted explanatory principle that corresponds to our experiences in the macro world. What are these magical quarks, which only exist as particles in the box if the box is unopened? Oakley proposes they are not things or particles, but simply the ratios by which the metric is distorted and the energy distributed among the 3 toroidal axes, compared with free space. If the proton (or electron) is annihilated, what is left is energy, which is what we detect, not smaller particles. It is a culturally overapplied legacy of the Greeks' atomistic view of the world that has us expect to find constituent particles. But it does not have to be particles all the way down. We already believe from anti-particle annihilation that it is just energy.

The only question is in what shape the energy's path is twisted so that it sits still. (Down, Spot! Sit!) Oakley suspected a toroid, rather than a simpler sphere, as it allows motion and energy distribution in 3 dimensions, without self-intersection. Unless all 3 dimensions are localized, the particle won’t sit still. (Good dog!)

You made a comment about dimensionality. I’m guessing you refer to the sense in which something that is moving only has a projection in our 3-space if its motion is at less than the speed of light. That’s not controversial, is it? Or do you refer to something else?

Best Regards, Joel

Bob said...

Hi Joel.

No, by dimensionality I mean this.

What I can tell you, from a great deal of experience, is that, however well-intentioned they may be, and however well-spoken and polite they may be, when faced with someone who believes they know what they're talking about when they very clearly do not, there is almost certainly no scope for conversation.

So I'll leave it there.

Anonymous said...

Bob

OK. I think I can appreciate your disquiet. I had great difficulty accepting it also. How could it be that the units of measurement determine how fast the dog is walking? Because it turns out that there is no dog - there is something else.

You don’t say what specific violation of dimensionality you refer to. But if it is regards the unaware embedding of c^4 in G, I can understand your offhand dismissal. After all, having measured G in cgs then simply adjusting for the dimensional units in Nt-m^2/kg^2 or m^3/kg^2/ s^2 (take your pick) in the usual way, seems to work. And as an explanatory principle, it is good enough for government space shots, unless they get too close to a star, in which case just apply the relativistic corrections. But this uses a frame of reference that occasions mischief from what it easily obscures.

The mischief is in that there is no ‘force’ of gravity and no accelleration! And so the gravitational constant of proportionality is not just not a fundamental physical constant, it’s a myth.

Yes, Oakley can compute this mythical constant from other well-known physical constants, but that’s beside the point. One can also transform the frame of reference of Newton’s orbital equations and derive epicycles, which while cumbersome, also work; but why would you? The real point is that conflating the observed phenomena of mass with the localization of the actual energy, makes it easy to overlook that the frames of reference are not the same and calculating a ‘force’ of gravity is simply inappropriate. Use a consistent frame of reference and there is no Large Number Problem; ‘gravity’ and the strong ‘force’ are the same.

With the explanation that the compression (proton) or expansion (electron) curves space the stress is recognized as charge. Then you move on to other questions like why the charges are equal while opposite, and why it seems so that protons and electron exist in equal numbers, etc. But first it is necessary to unplant one’s feet from the point of view that mass and gravity are real and necessary ingredients for the explanatory principles regarding elementary particles.

I am aligned with Einstein’s assertion that it is not possible to be confident that any physical concept is an accurate and unique description of reality. On the other hand, I believe that a description can be shown to lack correspondence, in whole or in part. If you can point to a specific error, omission, misuse, etc., I, and I believe Oakley, would be grateful. Since you didn’t say, I made an assumption again about what might be your thinking. If this was not it, I request you please point to where the issue of dimensionality is violated.

One thing I've learned from experience is that experience is both an asset and a cage. Fortunately, I hold the key. Or as Einstein said, "The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education".

Thank you for your consideration.
Joel

Bob said...

How does one "point to a specific error, omission, misuse, etc." in a piece of incoherent garble? If I pick anything out, you'll give me more incoherent garble as a supposed defence.

From the section "Analysis".... "As energy
relates to force F by F x r = E"
is false (force and potential are related via calculus.) Using the equation for EM energy to get the strong force is moronic (they're entirely different things). Referring to F=(r/E)E²/r² as an inverse square form is insane (there's an r on the top, you idiot).

That's the first paragraph. Would you like me to go on?

It's delusional trash.
Please go away now.

Anonymous said...

Bob

Now I understand: you are right.
I mistook you to be someone else.

Thank you for sharing your point of view anyway.
Joel

Bob said...

Ok. Sorry for 'being a bit horrid' there.

There's something about having someone verbosely preaching in favour of something totally nonsensical that makes my skin crawl. I don't understand how people who are so clueless about something come to convince themselves that they understand it.

Thought for the day: we should teach and encourage 'awareness of not knowing' in schools. If someone honestly doesn't know something, and they say so instead of guessing or pretending to know, they should be rewarded. Instead, if you correctly identify and express the limits of your understanding, you're marked down or you risk being ridiculed.

It's not just in school – it's in the workplace, in the home, in our culture in general. So I guess I shouldn't be so harsh on people who've succumbed to the path of delusion.

A good teacher appreciates a student who is skilled in knowing exactly where the limits of his/her understanding lie, and prepared to say so. It's a much undervalued skill to have, especially in science.

Anonymous said...

Hi Bob,

Friend of mine just discovered this guy and got all exited. Very scary... I tried to watch one of Haremein's videos but my stomach just couldn't deal with the abuse of facts to create fiction.

Thanks for your ongoing effort to point out what's going on here! Makes my stomach feel a lot better..

Frans

Anonymous said...

Cheers to the mature poster that posted several posts ago, and who quietly pulled away when the blog author "Bob" showedhis true colors.

Philosophia, in its orginal sense, was witnessed here, and I only hope Bob ceases to hide behind his "horrid" euphamsm, but instead questions whether he is not wrestling with his own Sophist demons.

I was directed here because I too agreed that the new age mystic from Hawai does act as a charlatan; however, the greater intellectual pretension is demonstratedby Bob, who would inevitably pass up any profound wisdom if it were bequeathed to him from some galactic scroll.

That is because Bob has a confidence in his discipline's rhetoric that forever eluded deeper minds who sought to marry the science of this cosmos as we imperfectly understand it, with the first causes and true order of things.

Bob, you clearly have more more shallow conception of "dimensions" that I don't think you even understood the previous poster. Perhaps that is why you felt it was sufficient to dismiss him with your logical fallacies, your insults, and your hyperlinks to wiki articles.

Do you think for your self in addition to standing upon the tall shoulders of humanity's true gnostic souls?

Are you even aware of the physics that certainly exists on this Earth, but which is kept hidden for national security reasons? Are you aware that Einstein himself was accomplice in keeping this true alchemy of matter and energy secret?

A little modesty would suit you, particularly when discussing such deep, eternal matters. The cosmos is not some childish puzzle we cracked two centuries ago.

It is still a deep mystery, and those at the forefront of research will tell you this. The epicycles of Ptolemy? Yeah, that is basically how are science is right now, but with a slightly more accurate picture.

But it is not even close to The Holy Truth. It is our current apprximation, the vogue of our current time.

Bob said...

I have no idea who or what you're talking about. Is it supposed to be me?

Care to relate to anything I've actually said here, rather than this bizarre fantasy that you've concocted?

Tim said...

Hi Bob,
a question off the topic of hardcore physics (because let's face it - I face it - that 99.9999999% of us have relatively very little grounding in the hardcore intellectual fields such as mathematics and physics, probably because we are out working mind-numbing jobs ten hours a day at exploited pay rates, so that brilliant minds such as yours can study the complex fundamentals, but that doesn't mean that we don't search for meaning, we too have a thirst for knowledge - or at least a modest curiosity that begs indulgence - and so we venture out humbly into many different areas of research, some of which we understand better than others).
So my question is in regards to NH's simple statement that the great pyramid of giza, when photographed from a satellite, is found to have it's apex one quarter of an inch off dead-centre of the pyramid's 30 hectare base (is it 30? that figure comes from my poorly functioning memory). That is of course after the laying of two million stones, some of which being extremely heavy. According to NH, that feat cannot be reproduced today by our marvelous technological society. What does that imply (ie, what are the implications of our current understanding of the fundamentals of physics)?
I understand that a classic tactic employed by charlatans is to mix in an element of truth so as to be able to slide in - under it, over it, through it - a mass of disinformation (kind of like big banks combining sub-prime mortgages with AAA rated mortgages so as to sell them as a risk-free investment). Please understand Bob, that my aim here is not to assume that the rest of NH's propositions are correct just because one 'minute' detail may contain some validity (my understanding of mathematics and physics is dwarfed by yours as well as by that of every other poster on this blog - I'm a manual laborer with not much education behind me). My aim is simply to ascertain whether or not that particular 'fact' he proposes has any merit, because those kinds of mysteries are all that my meager mind can grapple with at present.
Ie, given your vast knowledge of physics, is what he says about the precision of the pyramids correct? And is it able to be reproduced today if the engineering community were so inclined? Sorry to be a little off-topic, but with my modest intellectual capacities, my curiosity only allows me to marvel at the more superficial mysteries of our observable world...

Tim said...

...And lastly, I'm assuming that the works of Carr (being passed down to him by Tesla), ie, free energy to all, energy being taken out of the aether, or the vacuum or whatever the appropriate scientific terminology is, is also hogwash? You see it's hard for we mere mortals to know what's right and wrong in a subject matter so complex for us, and so we have only our intuition to go on - albeit it an ignorant intuition - (that and a balanced 'study' of a theory that appeals to our ignorant intuition, as well as rebuttals offered by people of seemingly esteemed positions in the scientific community, ie, such as yourself), so as a teacher, I'm sure you understand that, so as to be patient with we humble, self-confessed idiots out there.
I guess what appeals to we the scientifically ignorant people in regards to NH's work is that it seems to point out a number of instances that are apparently unable to be explained by today's current model of the workings of the universe (physics). We uneducated people see conspiracies functioning all around us (corporatism is the obvious example) and I feel it would be extremely ignorant to assume that conspiracies, to how small a degree, are indeed existent in our world. So yes, we become a little wary of the authorities, a little cynical as to the validity of what they are feeding us (and yes in reading one of your replies to an above post, you are not suggesting that we should put our faith in the authorities, but the problem is, you come across as an authority, and so you see the trap we face), in whatever field - we get annoyed, we feel betrayed and as such, we tend to warm to a character like NH that seems to bring to light some of these inconsistencies (for example, why were we taught in school that it is an indisputable FACT that slaves with ropes and pulleys constructed the pyramids to such an amazing degree of precision? why wasn't it taught as a SUGGESTED theory, but one that still contains the odd flaw or two, so as to leave our minds open?).
Of course, as I mentioned above, I'm obviously not trying to suggest that the rest of NH's theories are correct, and I admit fully that I wouldn't have the slightest clue as to whether the physics theories he proposes contain even the slightest element of truth. I guess I'm just trying to shed a little light on why an inadequately 'trained' physics enthusiast warms to NH, and as such, perhaps you can 'water down' your deconstructionism of him a bit for us? Thanks for taking the time Bob, and for not neglecting the simple-minded among us. Tim.

Bob said...

Hi Tim, thanks for your comment.

"According to NH, that feat cannot be reproduced today by our marvelous technological society. What does that imply" - it doesn't imply anything, because it's not true.

It does clearly imply one thing: that Haramein says things because they catch people's attention as stories, even if they are wrong, and therefore has no respect for his audience as adults. I think that's the key message there.

"I'm assuming that the works of Carr (being passed down to him by Tesla), ie, free energy to all, energy being taken out of the aether, or the vacuum or whatever the appropriate scientific terminology is, is also hogwash?" - Yes.

I appreciate that it's difficult for most people to recognise fake science when it's presented by entertaining and friendly-looking people in a gripping storyline delivery. That's why I've written this blog.

I certainly don't think people are taken in by Haramein because of a lack of intelligence or capability, and I don't think they're ignorant or idiots at all. Far from it. It's simply that most people choose, probably wisely, to do other things with their lives than spend decades looking carefully into the fine details of matter and the universe.

Most people have spent their lives expressing their creativity and excellence and care in a variety of other aspects of life instead, and I have a huge amount of respect and gratitude for that.

That's why I feel so strongly that everyone deserves to be aware of what Haramein is doing here, not just the people with a science background. It's deeply unfair for people like him to profit the way he does from so many people not being able to tell that he's a fake.

I don't want to come across as an authority, which is why I suggest to people that they speak to as many people as possible, outside the bubble of enthusiastic followers that Haramein has generated around himself, and don't take my word for it. If you're reading something about pyramids, well, find a variety of people who have worked on the pyramids themselves, physically; or who have investigated the history and pre-history of them.

Look for people who are not relying for income or fame on their own personal interpretation of something, because they will always have a tendency to be biased.

If you can, look for people whose livelihoods depend on them being honest and being correct. People who are accountable, and who are keenly aware that what they propose will be subject to scrutiny and taken apart by their colleagues in public if it is false or full of misunderstandings.

And stay clear of people who avoid scrutiny and only talk to a faithful following of untrained lay people. Especially people who encourage their followers to avoid studying and investigating widely for themselves. You can surely see the danger there.

Bob said...

(continued from above...)

Above all, find people in real life who you feel, personally, that you can trust, and who you know have a depth of experience in the subject themselves. People who you know won't tell you the story you want to hear, or give you the version that will excite you because they get a buzz out of it, or who will simplify everything and tell you they have all the answers, but who you feel you can trust to be honest with you and tell it like it is.

The way to do this is to speak to people, meet people, get to know people you wouldn't ordinarily hang out with, and get yourself a very wide variety of perspectives.

And then, as an individual, it's your responsibility not to simply hook onto the answer that you like the best, because that will almost always be merely a story that you like. People such as Haramein are story-tellers. They know what stories people will hook onto, they know most of their audience won't bother to check the details, and they know that if anyone outside criticising anything they say that they can turn their audience against them. They have no need of reality checks, and they have no relation to truth.

If you can get your understanding from a wide variety of trustworthy sources, you're far less likely to be hooked by a charlatan.

"perhaps you can 'water down' your deconstructionism of him a bit for us? - I'm not sure what you mean.

I know I've said some things that are a little technical, but if you look at all seven posts here, especially this one, you'll hopefully see that I've also tried my best to present lots of easily understandable material too. What I want everyone to understand is that Haramein is a fake, and that he has said nothing of scientific value (and nothing that even makes scientific sense!) in his entire career. I hope I've communicated some of the reasons for saying that, and encouraged people to find out more for themselves.

If you have any specific questions, about specific things he's said, or why I've said specific things, then please ask and I'll be happy to help.

qlwdmh said...

Thank you for exposing that imposter haraim. Haraim is not stupid - he is extremely clever, as he manages to suck money from all nutcases. A friend of mine conviced me to watch his video on youtube, and as a PhD student in Physics I can say that he has no idea whathe is talking about. No proves, no reasoning whatsoever. Taking his "vacuum structure" from God knows where.

geekfield said...

Jeez, you internet trolls must get no sleep trying to undermine the light-hearted (& unprovable) ideas of Nassim foreign to the mainstream science establishment. Do I think Nassim is leading the cutting-edge of physics? No. He's just a speaker with a few inspiring claims that can't be proven by science. Just like you can't prove we descended directly from either of the last two human-like apes, or how old the Earth is or the stone structures on it are. Science and our current technological capability can only take us so far until we are left dreaming of our real history, our underlying reality. He's an independent researcher who hasn't paid his way through Ivy league schools and doctorate programs and thus is not accepted in the mainstream science community, nor does he have the capacity to perform any meaningful testing of his theories without the kinds of technology you'd find in those schools. I think most non-religious "science" believers fear anything associated with the super-natural or magical, and choose to block out any other conflicting or out-of-the-ordinary ideas. It creates cognitive dissonance for those who don't believe in anything magical or spiritual. Our very existence is unexplainable and miraculous and magical, and life itself is a complex enigma that approaches the infinite and science can't take us there, past our own dimensional reality. Just look into the budding branch of quantum mechanics and string theory, and you'll find that reality IS magical - it appears to do absolutely impossible things! That's the idea of super-natural magic, even if it just appears that way. When he talks of such things, it goes against everything we've been taught to think in school. He, and countless other researchers and archaeologists portray our true history on this planet as something far different than we are led to believe, and which 90% of people don't have a clue about or reason to think why our complete history might have been written only by those who conquered it. The guys a hippie, and he's bound to get criticism for having spacey, unprovable theories. He's good for those interested in all aspects of science and space, and I find him easy to understand and sometimes inspiring. The first step in any direction is posing theories and talking about the very things we have no scientific explanation for.

Bob said...

Hi Geekfield

I'm not sure what point you're trying to make, but I get plenty of sleep, thank you, and I'm not a troll.

And I don't fear people who talk about the super-natural or magical. I've not even mentioned that. It's the fact that Haramein talks about science and gets it all so ridiculously inanely wrong that I thought I'd point out.

He's very good at convincing people who neither know nor care what independent scientific research means that he is an independent scientific researcher. If you'd rather go along with his artifice than take an interest in what's beneath it, that's fine by me.

Instead of vacuously saying "Just look into the budding branch of quantum mechanics and string theory, and you'll find that reality IS magical", you have the option of - shock horror - learning these things, or at least finding a few things out from people who do honest research in those fields. But if you'd rather think of it all as "magic" than take an interest in what they involve, that's fine by me.

"I find him easy to understand and sometimes inspiring" - That's because he tells stories. Stories are nice. Stories that sound vaguely plausible are enough for some people. That's fine by me.

"The first step in any direction is posing theories and talking about the very things we have no scientific explanation for." - Indeed. But if you don't ask deeper questions about whether these 'theories' have anything to do with reality other than the fact that some people like the sound of them, and if you don't take any notice of people who can see that they're bullshit, then you're stuck at the level of stories. If that's all you want, then that's fine by me.

I was writing for people who are genuinely curious, and self-aware enough to recognise that having a predisposition to liking it doesn't make it true. If that's not you, then that's fine by me.

Druir said...

Bob, you wrote "but the laws of physics are very well known by now".
I wonder what Newton would have thought of a sentence like that.

I had a teacher of Physics (at college) that used to say he would like to be present when the current theory would fall.

For many, many days, (the day my teacher said those words was many, many, many days ago) that sentence remained to me as the reference image of the perfect mindset of a true scientist...

...until I became a father.

Then, as I saw my children develop before my eyes (two orbs that precede what must be a relatively open mind in order to function relatively well), it was them, the children, who, to me, embodied the perfect scientist. They truly are geniuses. As we all were once. (assuming all grown-ups were once children... as sometimes I do wonder whether that is true).

One of the most valuable traits they, the children and those-who-we-think-of-as-geniuses, have in common is the fact that they are very much unbound by rationality and logic. (notice: unbound, not deprived of).

To finish off (and I'm quite sure this last sentence will ruin any chance of you finding this my reasoning reasonable) what if mathematics - as a language- is incomplete - at least in it's present form or understanding - to relay reality?

Just think of the number zero. It doesn't exist. It represents something unreal.You can't even imagine it. Imagining zero would be a misrepresentation of zero as it would require something to represent it.

What does this allhave to do with Nasseem's work?
Personally, I find them as inpiring - and sometimes much more so - as much of the work done by renowned scientists.
I think he is a genius. Even if he is not a scientist. I tend to regard geniuses higher.
The way he plays with geometry is fascinating - to me at least - even if he's wrong in his mathematics and his physics.

At the very least, is is very passionate about his work. And that is very inspiring. Even when you're wrong. (If at all he is really absolutely wrong). At the very least, through his passion, he might have made some one else, some kid, some grown-up, go about his day - or his life - thinking about what he said. Most importantly, trying to debunk him - and that is a very good thing, when done through mutual respect.

Maybe there is something more valuable to look for than the right and wrong of ideas.

Just a thought

Bob said...

Hi Druir, and thanks for your thoughts.

You're right to point out that the laws of physics are never final, and we can never say we know what they are. I agree that what I said about them being well-known doesn't ring true in that sense.

What would Newton think? I think, actually, he'd be impressed that his laws of physics remain just as true now as they were when he came up with them for the vast majority of things in our experience.

Anything we observe that is not travelling at relativistic speeds, and that is not smaller than a millionth of a millimetre across, and that is not colder than the lowest natural temperature ever recorded on Earth, and that is not in a gravitational field stronger than those of any object visible without a very large telescope… for anything away from those sorts of extremes, Newton's Laws are still as valid as they ever were. And let's be honest, most of us don't go looking at things in those kinds of conditions.

"what if mathematics - as a language- is incomplete - at least in it's present form or understanding - to relay reality?" - there's nothing wrong with that as an idea.

It's just that the laws of physics that we have - from Newton, Boltzmann, Einstein, Schrödinger, Dirac, Feynman, and friends - those are all things that people rely on. You personally might not rely on the power of Standard Model Feynman diagrams, but the people that do know that they are utterly reliable. In fact they're way too reliable. Scientists these days are trying their very hardest to find things that don't fit the predictions of the Standard Model. It's virtually impossible. Hopefully they will one day.

In the meantime, we have a understanding of nature at the subatomic level that physicists rely on to astonishing degrees of accuracy so that they can do their work. Physics is about what works. It's about what can be relied on. It isn't about stories or what appeals to people, it's about the ideas and models that are faithful to nature.

And they all use powerful mathematics. There's no obvious reason why nature should be mathematical, but it apparently is - at least, if you want an idea that mirrors nature faithfully (which I think is the point of physics).

cont...

Bob said...

Should it worry me that you and some people find Haramein fascinating? No, not really. People find all kinds of stuff fascinating. If you like his stories, and they inspire you, then that's lovely. I wish you all the best with it - and that's genuine. I'm not being sarcastic, I'm being honest.

Physics, meanwhile, is about what works, and it's about competence and honesty. Haramein's stuff makes nothing work, because it isn't physics. It isn't a matter of opinion for me to say that he is neither competent nor honest when it comes to physics. I could give you dozens of examples just relating to the paper he's promoting now, of physics claims that are deluded, incompetent or dishonest (if not all three). And I'd challenge you to find a single honest and competent professional physicist who would disagree with that.

Let me know if you'd like to take a look at anything in his paper. It's quite an eye-opener, just how bad it is. He relies entirely on people not being able to understand the claims that he's making and how far they are from what he's actually doing. You won't find any one of his followers who knows how to read academic physics papers. This isn't a coincidence.

Choose a page - in fact, choose a paragraph - and I'll find you a blatant falsehood in it or near it. There really are that many.

If you don't see the incompetence and the dishonesty, or you don't want to see it, or you don't really care about it, then I can imagine why you might find him an inspiration, spiritually or otherwise. I don't think there are many spiritualities that would truly value those traits highly. (Though I can think of many with disciples that would claim their leader is devoid of them while the rest of the world can see perfectly well otherwise).

If someone is happy with his stories then I'm happy to leave them in peace - as I've always maintained. But if anyone wants to claim to me that he's a genius with regard to physics, or that he's anything other than deluded, incompetent or dishonest, then I'll keep speaking out.

Druir said...

Hi Bob, thanks for your answer.

I understand what you mean, and, within your context, I agree with most of what you said.

In a world so full of manipulation - of all sorts and in so many fields of life - precision, honesty and competence must be highly upheld.

It is possible, though, that a tale might inspire someone - even a physicist - to see something he has not yet seen. And that is valuable.

Personally, I think Physics is people playing. Grown-up children (sometimes) being paid to play. That is great. Great fun.

In my mind, it wouldn't be so childlike if the subjects - the scientists, and, at the limit, everyone, as to me everyone is a potential scientist - were being the objects of study as much as the objects of study - waves, particles, whatnot - themselves: a scientist studying him or herself through the study of objective reality.

That is being kept outside of physics. It may be a some scientist's personal path, but is not considered science at all.

But, to me, it is the ultimate goal of science. It is the missing link, the unified scope. It is stepping outside of time, as what would be found has instant and everlasting value - in yourself, as you live, and in all others you come into contact with, as they live.

You may say, ok, that is all nice, but that isn't Physics.
Yes, and that is exactly the point. Some time ago, Love of Wisdom (a.k.a. Philosophy) got broken into pieces.

You can be an excellent physicist without being wise. What then is the point of Physics?

After all, it's just physics. If a Large Hadron Collider does not bring forth appliable wisdom, what has happened to science?

That is where I am comming from. It is where I think all of mathematics become pointless. In the end it is what you do and not what you think or conceptualize that counts.

If Nasseem's work (and I don't know the man) can lift up a single person, making her a slightly better person, then, to me, his work or his life is valid. Does he profit on gullible people? I don't know, he would have to be absolutely wrong and manipulative to do so. I don't know if he is.

It is quite honest of him to offer his services - let's call them, his storytelling services - to anyone who wants them.

How honest is it for scientists to rely on taxes for their work to be done? If their work truly is valuable, let them show it to every day people and let them see if it is valuable.

You may answer, how can those everyday people truly recognize a scientist's work?

If he/she is truly wise, then some will find his/her work very valuable. If not, why not find wisdom first?

Carl Sagan and Einstein are much more recogized by the masses as wise men than as scientists. Their words - spoken or written - count much more to me that the papers they published. That's why I said I hold geniuses in higher regard than scientists.

As Einstein reputedly said, "Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius -- and a lot of courage -- to move in the opposite direction".

Bob said...

It is possible that a traumatic personal tragedy, such as a loved one dying of an incurable disease, might inspire someone to become a doctor. That doesn't make it a good thing.

Haramein has no depth of understanding of physics at all and is only interested in bullshitting people who don't know any more than he does, and encouraging them to believe the simplistic stories he feeds them is real science.

Einstein had an astonishing understanding of physics, and when he said the words you quoted, he meant to understand the laws of nature so deeply in your being that you can communicate the depth without complicating it. He had no patience at all for people who just pretended to understand.

Feynman is a very similar character in this regard, and has said very similar things. I encourage you to watch him in this video clip on the subject of simplification for the sake of making science fit your ideas of what it is.

I also encourage you to watch this video clip, because I think it describes what you're trying to do.

If you want to keep arguing that physics should be the way you think it should be despite not knowing what physics is actually about, then please don't do it here. It's a very silly game, and I'm not interested.

You can hardly talk about wisdom if you're intent on spouting off about a subject without bothering to understand its true value, its true beauty and its true place in the larger web of human experience. I really hope you'll take the trouble to do that.

Science is all about honesty. If it isn't about honesty, it isn't science. The whole of Haramein's physics work is shot through with deception and lies. The difference couldn't be starker.

If you choose to stick with thinking Haramein is a force for good in the world, you'll have some serious distorting and twisting and self-deception to do to keep it up. Good luck, if that's what you want. It might not be too hard, if you're already that way inclined.

Druir_ said...

I'm sorry, I came "here" out of curiosity. And wrote "here" to enact a conversation, hoping to find common ground, If I have said anything spurious to you (which I fail to see where), I am sorry, it was not my intention.

Nevertheless, I do think you come off with your own personal agenda, an agenda of knowing who who are talking to, regardless of who actually is talking to you.

Quickly dismaying my sentences as something silly is quite arrogant of you.

What "I am trying to do" is simply talk. But, apparently you know more about me than I do. Silly me.

Interesting how you say I "can hardly talk about wisdom". I don't see why. I don't see why anyone cannot, unless that one comes off with such prejudice as you have, the likes of which really do show very little wisdom.

All the best.


P.S. About the videos you pointed out.

David Albert makes very compelling and sensible points. Calling Physics a "globally commonsensical way of coming at the world" is very sensible. Except he didn't say that of Physics, he said that of Science, all of Science (while acknowledging and respecting an equally valid but highly differentiated "mystical way" of coming at the world).

And that would all be fine if "scientists" and" mystics" were not two but one. They're not one, they're two. And for many, (much depending on their cultural upbringing), such as is the case of David Albert, they're irreconcilable two. I don't think that has to be so.

I understand a defence of Science vis-a-vi religious thought. I don't understand a defence of Science against a personal, mystical and non-proselytist discourse.

Science is science only if non-proselytist, lest it becomes religion.
Discarting mystical phenomena as personal illusion is as religious as religion itself.

And here's a video!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pifmj3bb7R8&list=PL2F41E032ABC8BBC7
My choice of focus in terms of this conversation comes at 30:50. But all of it is very interesting.

Bob said...

I have no intention of defending science against a personal, mystical, non-proselytist discourse.

What have I ever said that might make you think I wanted to do that? I think those things are great.

What I'm saying is don't pretend that they're science. Be clear about what science is and what it does.

People like Haramein who pretend that what they're doing has the weight of science when it absolutely doesn't are not to be trusted any more than someone who pretends to be investing your money but absolutely isn't, or someone who pretends to have given you a parachute but absolutely hasn't. There are many places where the desire to blur boundaries is a sound philosophical position, but this isn't one of them. A lie is a lie.

Anonymous said...

Do you think the same of Pr Kaku. He is recognized by the scientific establishment, right?
Nevertheless, could it be that scientific authirities be wrong sometimes and "challengers" be right (or at least listenned to?).

http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/ciencia/ciencia_energy08.htm

Bob said...

How can anyone read this blog and think that I'm saying that scientific authorities can never be wrong, or think that I'm saying challengers should never be listened to?

Do you walk around with your eyes completely shut?

To anyone who is genuinely interested in Haramein's ideas, I'm very happy to look into them with you in as much detail as you wish. I want people to see all the reasons why his ideas are false, his physics claims are bogus, his claims to be doing physics are pretentious, his equations are transparently empty, his marketing is lies. He is selling a fiction, selling himself as a brand.

It's not because I say so. I've never said anyone should take it from me. I want people to look, deeply, ask penetrating questions, if you care about getting to the truth of anything.

We can talk about Koontz if you really want to, but the link you posted is full of idiotic misunderstandings of physics. Here's the first law of bullshit dynamics: just because the author puts a PhD after his name, doesn't mean he isn't full of shite.

Try this or this instead.

Bob said...

Um. Just read this by Dr Koontz. The guy is a complete moron :)

Anonymous said...

Bullshit, please first learn some basic logic and then try to write something to "protect" people from "misleading" information

Bob said...

Please give an example of the faulty logic you're referring to.

Anonymous said...

"I did use the word "manipulative", and also words such as "lying" or "deceitful", to describe Haramein's approach to presenting physics. Not very often, but even once is too much."

The worst case of academic sour grapes I have come across. You should perhaps spend more time gardening or painting the house. You certainly show signs of 'peer stres' when you know that what you have learned in your academic life is untrue. You believe in your work I'm sure but...
Belief is that quality which allows us to accept that which we know to be untrue.

Bob said...

Yay - yet another clichéd psychological assessment by someone who's never even met me. I'll add it to the list - there have been hundreds.

It seems to be irresistible for some people :)

And after three and a half years, there is STILL nobody disputing any of the science. Which is what I've been writing about. Nobody has given any defence of Haramein's 'physics', even in his own terms.

For goodness' sake, won't ANYBODY stand up for the poor guy's physics? It's almost as if none of his supporters cares about or understands it...

If you have more to say than merely attacking your fantasy image of me, then I'd be interested.

By the way, I've changed my mind on the terms manipulative, deceitful and lying since I've seen his recent paper and the way he has promoted it. Those words describe what he does very well.

Anonymous said...

It's funny how you criticize someone when you aren't thinking about what you're saying at all.

Your metaphor is a bit fail. First of all what says your "theories" are correct from the beginning? Also using a language as a metaphor is stupid because you can find the source for that easly.

Just because some theory/metaphor is mainstream and accepted by "the mass" doesn't mean it's the correct one.

Didn't have to be a long comment to answer your article.

You sound like a fanatic christian and have no solid arguments. Nice try though.

Anonymous said...

Also beliving too much in what the government funded "companies" say says alot about you.

Bob said...

I don't really care what you think of me or whether you trust me - I'm not a politician. I care about having information that I know to be valid, reliable, accurate and factual, and talking to people who are interested in trying to get to the truth.

What have I said that is incorrect, and why is it incorrect? That's all you have to do.

Anonymous said...

Please assess CIG Theory: www.cigtheory.com

and the MTS equation

THX

doug

Bob said...

Incoherent ignorant bullshit from someone who is too fascinated with the contents of their own head to take any interest in what the rest of humanity has actually found out in the last few hundred years.

Matter x Time = Space? Fuck off.

That's my assessment.

(You did ask...)

DEAR PEOPLE OF THE INTERNET. IF YOU WANT TO UNDERSTAND PHYSICS, LEARN PHYSICS. FFS. Christ alive...

Anonymous said...

Rock on Bob, don't let the 'Storm's of the world get to ya!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HhGuXCuDb1U

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