Saturday, February 13, 2010

Some mathematics relating to the phi spiral

This is a more detailed look at one of the points made in my post on Nassim Haramein (number 3 on that page). I've written this in plain text for now, which I appreciate isn't easy to read... I'd like to set out the equations nicely sometime.



In the above video, from 3 minutes onwards, Haramein can be seen arguing that the off-centre location of the emanation point of a phi spiral within an enclosing circle is connected to 9-fold 'resonances'. To illustrate this he divides a circle into 9ths and shows a W-shaped set of chords intersecting at a point that appears to be the emanation point of the phi spiral. You can see this in the video from about 5:30 onwards.

In fact it is straightforward to show that they're not related, and the two points are not the same at all.

1. True Phi Spiral

A phi spiral is a logarithmic spiral which increases in radius by a factor ϕ≈1.618 every quarter turn. The properties of logarithmic spirals can be derived with a bit of basic calculus. A full derivation would be a little too long to show in full here, and it turns out to be irrelevant to what was on Nassim's screen anyway, as he wasn't using a true phi spiral.

Briefly, though... The first step is to calculate the radius of curvature of the phi spiral, which is r√{1+(2 lnϕ /π)²} at a distance r from the emanation point. The second step is to work out the angle between a tangent of the spiral and the radius, which is arctan[(2 lnϕ /π)]. From these, with a little trigonometry, the distance of the phi spiral emanation point from the centre of its enclosing circle works out as
√{1-1/[1+(2 lnϕ /π)²]} ≈ 0.29291 of the way along a radius from centre to circumference.

2. Intersection of Chords[a diagram here you'll have to imagine it for now! Of an isosceles triangle with a vertex of 360/9 = 40º, and another with the same base but a lower vertex of 60º. The vertex of the first triangle is at the centre of the circle, for reasons of 9-fold symmetry; the vertex of the second is where the chords cross. What we're calculating is the distance between the two vertices.]

The distance of the meeting point of the (W-shaped) chords from the centre can be calculated using basic trigonometry. The chords join points 1 & 5 and points 4 & 8 respectively of a regular 9-fold division of the circumference, as can be seen in the video at around 5:40.

The result is {cos(π/9) - √3 sin(π/9)} ≈ 0.34730 of the way from centre to circumference. The 9-fold division of the circumference shown in Nassim's diagram, and which he specifies in the video, is clearly reflected in the formula.

This is nowhere near the emanation point of a phi spiral. The reason it appears close on the presentation is that the spiral used in the video is not a pure spiral at all, but an approximation.

3. Approximated Phi Spiral

Nassim's approximated phi spiral is made from quarter-circles, each increasing in radius by a factor of ϕ. The two versions of the spiral are shown in green (pure spiral) and red (approximation using quarter-circles) on the diagram below. Where they overlap, it shows as yellow. They may look similar, but if you plot continuation circles around them they come out markedly different.

Image from wikipedia; creative commons license; modified from original.

This approximated spiral is constructed from circles embedded in squares, so we can use some basic geometry to calculate the position of the emanation point of this spiral – it lies √{1 - 2/√5} ≈ 0.32492 of the way from centre to circumference. To calculate this, note that the symmetry of the construction implies that it must lie at the point of intersection of the two diagonal blue lines in the diagram above. The eqations of the lines are shown on the diagram, in cartesian form, relative to an origin as shown on the diagram. They can be solved as standard simultaneous linear equations.

This value is close enough to the position of the intersection of the chords to look almost indistinguishable in the presentation. A careful viewer, however, will note that in Nassim's video, the lines do indeed cross further from the centre than the emanation point, as can be seen in the still below.

A still from the video of Nassim's 'discovery'. In this close-up of an area below the centre of the circle, Nassim's diagonal chords are seen to cross below the emanation point of the spiral, not on it. I've added blue cross-hairs at roughly where the emanation point of this spiral would be.

The last two numbers (0.34730 and 0.32492, the ones relevant to Nassim's presentation) can easily be checked by careful construction of the shapes on paper or on a graphics package, and by measurement of the appropriate distances.

Conclusion

There is no mathematical relationship between a phi spiral and a circle split into 9ths. The relationship claimed in Nassim's presentation works only if you don't look too closely, and even then only if the spiral is approximated using quarter-circles.

For him to consequently make claims about the inspiralling of particles into a black hole is preposterous for a number of reasons. Firstly, inspiralling matter doesn't follow any logarithmic spiral (let alone a phi spiral). As matter spirals inwards it is diving in at an ever steeper angle, even without resistance to motion. A logarithmic spiral, in contrast, approaches the centre at a constant angle. The resulting spirals are markledly different (see images below). Secondly, in the model he presents, as it is not a true spiral, the inspiralling matter would in fact have to follow a circular path for 90º and then, suddenly and discontinuously, follow a different circular path for another 90º, which is even sillier. And thirdly, even if it did, the values are still unrelated aside from their happening to be within about 2 or 3 per cent of a radius of each other.

In addition, the 'interference patterns' that seem to 'just appear right out of the phi spiral' when the pattern is replicated (from about 6:40 on this video) are purely an artifact of the approximation that he's used to build the spiral. If he had used a pure logarithmic spiral instead of quarter-circle building blocks, no such patterns could occur. On this topic, as with the others, we see his willingness to jump to vague but profound-sounding conclusions rather than investigate what he is thinking.

I suggest that it is clear from the above that the method of his arguments – if indeed there is one beyond spotting something that looks a little bit like something else – is very deeply flawed, very easily shown to be false, and lacking in both a basic understanding of mathematics and the imagination required to properly investigate straightforward mathematical situations. For this reason (indeed plenty more may be given, but this is reason enough), any of his claims to be employing mathematical or scientific methods to explain the underlying nature of the cosmos or anything else of any complexity should be seen as extremely dubious.

Above: approximate spiral path of matter falling into a black hole (Using dr/dt∝1/r³; and assuming ω².)
Below:
a phi spiral; clearly very different.

[Plotted using Wolfram Alpha ]

[back to main post]

81 comments:

chris said...

I read up on what you thought of nassim haramein and I think you should try to get what you think out a little bit more & get some feedback from other people.

Start getting out there doing research and mathamatics and go to these big confrences and debate with him and others that think like him!

If you truly are correct you could get your foot in the door bigtime in the scientific community and get people to understand what your saying and either add to the research hes doing by correcting it or come up with somthing profound and maybe even more out there then his theoris!

Nobody knows whats going on with the univesre but I suggest you watch all the videos you can on Nassim Haramein and then come to your own ultimate conclusion!

Thanks

Bob said...

Thanks Chris, it's good to hear that.

I've watched loads and loads of Nassim's videos, and I can certainly say I've come to a conclusion about his way of thinking.

I've also seen (and done) a lot of actual science about the Universe, and it's simply a lot more satisfying and imaginative and convincing than watching someone talk nonsense, once you realise that's what is going on.

The drawback with science is that it's not always presented in a way that the layman can understand. So it can leave people feeling left out, and sometimes they turn to people who make them feel part of something big, even if it's all nonsense.

I have participated in real research in the past, so I know how good it can be. I wouldn't regard any conferences with Nassim or others who think like him as being research at all. They're certainly not 'bigtime in the scientific community'. They're only 'scientists' in their own minds and in the minds of people who only believe what they've told them.

My observations and my experience of trying to communicate with them (and seeing others trying to communicate with them) is that they aren't interested in having a constructive rational debate with someone who disagrees with them. If someone disagrees wholesale, they just want to try and make them to feel small. I don't really want to argue with these people at all - I'd rather talk to people who welcome debate, who can listen.

What I'm saying in these posts isn't at all revolutionary - I think it's all fairly obvious to anyone with a reasonable level of scientific literacy. It just needs more people to say it. Scientifically literate people generally just want to get as far away as possible when they realise someone is talking nonsense, which is understandable, but it's also a bit of a shame.

And I only really want to say it for people who are actually curious, people wondering what a scientific perspective on Nassim's ideas would actually be like. I've put it out a little, but I'm hoping they'll be curious enough to find this.

As you say, nobody really knows what's going on in the Universe, but there are thousands of people who are truly dedicated to the task of finding out (rather than being dedicated to publicising themselves and their ideas regardless of whether or not they're right). So I'm more interested in them.

I'd far rather listen to Neil Tyson or Philip Plait, or Brian Cox or Martin Rees or Michio Kaku. Or, from the past, Feynman or Sagan. They all have a LOT to say about the Universe. Because it might be a mystery, but it's a fascinating one, and there's also a lot that we HAVE learned, and a lot of real wisdom among these people.

I've witnessed enough of the way they think, that I now have a lot of trust in people like these. I know they're not out to deceive me. They sincerely want to investigate the truth, find out, check it and test it and get it precisely right, and then to communicate, enlighten and pass it on.

I much prefer that kind of real, trustworthy science to the fantasy world of some guy who's got himself a following by making stuff up.

But I really appreciate your thoughts, though. Thanks for your comment.

Seth said...

Yes a lot of the science backing his theories sounds fishy. I needed to do a lot of research into crop circles. He does a lot of time debunking the pyramids which is good but then all of a sudden there is no debate going on about the nature of UFOs entering sun spots or volcanoes. I'm sure we can find the answer to this. Also I agree, that he doesn't like talking to other people about his ideas and debating, he was getting frustrated when they kept asking questions. Another thing is that when he said that we share a consensus reality based on the fact our feet are pointing to earth's center, he didn't explain what would happen if a human left the surface of the earth, like the people in the space station, who's feet are not pointing downward. And what about people who meditate and visit alternate realities in which the earth is not the center?

I once had a dream about being awoken in the middle of the night to the sun being out at 3 in the morning. Then i saw this giant human standing outside my window and looking in (I sleep at a standard 2 stories). That would suppose sun god as he was saying? But how come he is vouching for this and not going into more evidence of

jojogunn27 said...

bob,
this is all interesting, i have a question that comes to my mind . . if the phi spiral was 3-d and had a specific speed and angular momentum could that possibly bring some mathmatical significance to bear in some fashion? Jeff
jojogunn27@verizon.net

Bob said...

Hi Jeff.

A spiral is a two-dimensional mathematical construction, like a square or an ellipse. It doesn't have physical characteristics such as angular momentum. Your question is a bit like asking how much a circle would weigh if it were a cone.

So I don't really know what you mean.

Thom Finn said...

Bob, Thank you for injecting scientific truth into this subject. I had watched the video of one of Harriman's seminars and was excited by what I thought might be real science but had not the time nor expertise to verify.
That said, I was, and still am, captivated by the image I got of the orbits of the planets taking on a helical path when the orbit of the sun around the galaxy and our earth and sister planets being drawn along (at some 450K Mph) is taken into consideration. Was that image true or are we more like the rings of Saturn, remaining orbitally flat in relation to the Sun.
This also might be something of what Jeff was alluding to in his question concerning the phi spiral, i.e. taking a flat construct and giving it motion or "velocity, torque and corralis (sp)" as Harriman said he did with a number of Einsteinian formula if I remember correctly.
Look forward to your help with this. Tom

Bob said...

Hi Thom. Yes, the helical path of the planets is a cool image. But...

If you're considering the motion of any object in space, it's very important to remember that they only move relative to each other. It’s a bit of a paradigm shift - but there is no 'true' motion through space at all.

When we look at the solar system, the sun is by far the most influential object. For every 700 tonnes of matter in the solar system, more than 699 of them are in the sun (it's big!), so it has by far the most gravitational influence; and its radiation determines many of the properties of all the other planets and other bodies out there. So it makes sense to consider the motion of planets relative to the sun. We could think of everything moving relative to the moon if we wanted, but it would be extremely complicated because the sun dominates the dynamics - it's the sun that's pulling everything around. We get the clearest sense of the dynamics of planets by choosing a frame of reference with the sun at the centre.

We could place the galactic centre at the centre of the picture if we wanted. What would that gain us? All the planets would then follow helical paths, as Haramein shows, and the whole dynamics now looks stretched out and more complicated. It’s pretty, but it’s harder to see what’s going on. Does anything outside the solar system have any influence on planetary motion? No, virtually none at all. So we don’t gain anything in terms of understanding the dynamics. It's not a good frame of reference.

As an example, imagine you're juggling balls on a train that's going in a straight line at 60mph. Think about the complicated path that the balls are now following - weaving around each other through space. It's a cool image! But it's also a bit meaningless. If you were trying to picture how juggling works, that picture isn't going to make anything very clear. The motion of the train actually has no effect at all on the dynamics of the balls. It's an inappropriate frame of reference for that system.

If you're looking at planets, they move around the sun. If you're looking at the neighbourhood of stars around the sun, the sun is moving through something called the "local bubble", and its motion is affected by the pull of nearby stars and areas of higher density interstellar gas. If you're looking at the motion of the local bubble through the orion arm of the galaxy, then you consider their motion around the galactic centre. On a larger scale, our galaxy is moving in some complicated gravitational trajectory within the "local cluster" of galaxies; the local cluster is pulled around within the virgo supercluster; the virgo supercluster is being pulled towards the "great attractor", and meanwhile intergalactic space is expanding and pushing all these clusters of galaxies directly away from each other at an accelerating rate.

You're welcome to try to picture all that at once if you like!

If you want to get the clearest possible picture of the true motion of planets, choosing an appropriate frame of reference for your system (which is the solar system) is very important.

These are all great things to think about... and having more than one way of picturing things can really help get the hang of what's going on.

The main paradigm-shift, though, (which I honestly don't think Haramein has grasped) is realising that there's nothing in space anyway, so there is no absolute 'true motion'. All motion is relative to something else... so it's up to you to choose whatever you think is most appropriate to the things you're looking at.

I hope that's helpful!

Bob said...

Coming back to the rings of Saturn - they are made of pieces of rock and ice in orbit around Saturn, and Saturn is orbiting the sun, so if you like you can picture each of those pieces as following a helical path around the sun. Then the rings aren't rings at all any more, they're helical tubes flying around the sun! Does that help picture Saturn's rings? Not really! The appropriate frame of reference is Saturn, and the ring pieces travel around Saturn in circular flat orbits, as you described.

The solar system is mostly a flat ring-like system, with a few planets and moons, and loads of rocks (eg asteroids) and ice (eg comets). Not everything sits neatly in the plane - some of the outer dwarf planets like Pluto and Sedna, for example. And the outer Oort cloud is probably more of a ball than a ring. But most of it forms a fairly flat disk around the sun.

Jay Shaw said...

you say a spiral is only 2D, and you equate it to the circle. So what is the name of a 3D spiral (like a spring), that you can equate to the cone? thx

Bob said...

Hi Jay. I wouldn't equate a spiral to a circle at all... a circle is a circle and a spiral is a spiral. :)

A normal spring is a helix, which is a curve following the surface of a cylinder. It would usually wind around the cylinder at a constant angle to the axis - that would ensure an even spacing between windings.

But you could also have a conical helix that follows the surface of a cone, also at a constant angle to the axis. There are springs this shape. And also walnut whips.

Jay Shaw said...

helix, thats it, thanks.

Jay Shaw said...

i think jojogunn27 was talking about a helix - a 3d spiral. good to know the right words when talking to physicists!

Anonymous said...

for those interested in Nassim Harameins response to "bobs" criticisms go here:

http://theresonanceproject.org/bob.html

Bob said...

Yes indeed. And anyone interested in examining Haramein's response in detail, you can see my analysis of it here:
http://azureworld.blogspot.com/2010/07/nassims-response-to-bobathon.html

Please note that, although I have provided links to Haramein's responses throughout my blog, he has not done likewise, and has at no point admitted that I have replied to his response in detail and shown it to be nonsensical. Instead he continues to pretend that his response is the final word on the subject.

Please note also that I have taken every opportunity to ask the following question:

"if you can find any single point in Haramein's response that convinces you that any of my criticisms of his physics are unfounded – then I'd really love to know what it is, and why you find it convincing"

and I have not yet received a single response.

Haramein has not addresssed any of my criticisms. If you think he has, please point one out to me.

Alternatively, if you can point to a single piece of reasoning that connects anything that Haramein has come up with to anything in the real world, please tell me that. I've yet to see one.

Sound fair?

gary said...

Thank you for sharing your insight Bob.

Charles said...

They used to call Haramiens' spin on complex subjects; psychobabble. It is evident in all fields of human intellectual endeavour.
When non expert audiences are faced with it; efficacy of the message is often based upon the style of the presenter as there is no contrary view available to the audience.
I say thanks to people like BOB, they make the effort to look at these things seriously and so lead us out of the swamp.
Would anyone really want to fly in a plane built using Haramiems' math? Thank you for your efforts Bob. Chuck.

sahib said...

I'd like to thank you for the effort you've put in to debunking this "physicist". It's evident to pretty much anybody whom can critically examine the "facts" he presents that it's utter nonsense. Sadly, the new-agers and the average laymen could easily get duped by Harameins sect-like social engineering and the firmest believers wouldn't think critically about the subjects he presents if their lives depended on it. Anyway, thanks again Bob and best of luck in your future endeavours.

Bob said...

Thanks guys :)

Anonymous said...

Are you using ucledian space geometry to show how motion is in a hyperbolic space?

Bob said...

No, not at all. Why?

Anonymous said...

It looks like that to me in your calculations of the center points distance to circumference? Or I might be misunderstanding something here...

Bob said...

The calculations of distance from centre to circumference are in two-dimensional Euclidean space, the space in which the geometry of the phi spiral is defined. There is no motion and no hyperbolic space involved in calculating these distances.

Anonymous said...

Again i might be wrong, but as i see it, if we want to describe space and everything in it, we must look at it from an "objektive" point of view as the objects moves regardles of our point of view... Does it make sence?

Anonymous said...

I now see your explanation on why we should always take a reference point of view, and realize this will be a longer discussion :) I will be back some other day when i have more time, and have made some more studies on the subjects we will clearly tuch upon in the discussion. Very interesting blog!

Bob said...

I think you may be confusing the two types of spiral.

If you look at the two diagrams at the bottom of the post, the first one represents the motion of a particle very close to a black hole. It is constructed using what we know about the relationship between space, time and motion. That one definitely does require a careful and objective view of how objects move.

The second one is a phi spiral, which is the subject of this post. It is a geometrical construction that has nothing to do with the motion of anything at all.

As you can see, they are very different. There is no sense in constructing a phi spiral with reference to motion, because there are no objects that follow a phi spiral through space.

Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pVRgSvsQnE0&feature=related

Bob said...

That's one of many awful pseudoscience commentaries on YouTube.

I tried to discuss the physics of Haramein's theory with AlienScientist before I even wrote any blog posts, but he didn't appreciate it at all. He very quickly banned me from all his videos. Some of my comments are still viewable though.

AlienScientist's output in the name of 'science' is way in excess of his understanding. the guy is incredibly inflexible in his ideology, and really rather paranoid. He's no scientist, any more than he's an alien.

He does make fancy videos though, even if many of them are seriously misleading. I can only hope that they inspire some people to study things properly rather than get sucked into the murky, tribal business of opinionated internet pseudoscience.

As ever, I'm very open to any questions arising from anything in that video or any other video on Haramein's ideas. Did you want to make a point, or were you promoting garbage on my blog?

Anonymous said...

I am just trying to learn and find this a good place to do so:-) Most people does not even want to discuss it for 1 min. So I think your post is fantastic in that context.
As I see it, the video does make a good point. Try for an instance to go through Maxwells and lorentz equations and keep a close eye on the units and what the different constants represent. Some shortcuts are beeing made, and it looks to me as if this makes a distorted and false immage of things... In the equations approximations are beeing made so what is really infinite becomes finite. I see this as a "problem". Its practical to us, because we cannot meassure infinity, but it kind of distord the immage of things... right?

Btw. It is not that I am ashamed or anything, that I am anonymous. Its just because it is the easy way to post comment :)

My name is Michael, and im a physsics student from Denmark :-) Greatings!

Anonymous said...

Post = blog...

Bob said...

Hi Michael!

No, there are no shortcuts or distortions in those fundamental equations of electrodynamics that you mentioned.

As a student of physics, the kind of problems that you're asked to consider will be simplified and involve many approximations or assumptions. This isn't a shortcut or a distortion - it's simply the only sensible way to gain familiarity with how the equations work. It would be impossible to learn without starting with idealised problems.

When they are used in realistic precision situations, however, those same equations still work perfectly. The analytical methods for dealing with the whole situation need to be extremely sophisticated, but the equations themselves are rock solid. But do keep challenging them and see what you find! That's the only way to really appreciate them.

The Lorentz and Maxwell equations remain true even in relativistic mechanics. But I suppose you could say that shortcuts are being made whenever quantum theory is ignored.

The relativistic quantum version of electrodynamics, QED, is the most accurate theory in the history of science.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Bob. It makes sence.
"When they are used in realistic precision situations, however, those same equations still work perfectly. "

Do you have any examples?

QED might be the most accurate. Does that mean 100%?

Bob said...

QED can't be 100% accurate, because it isn't consistent in extreme quantum curved spacetimes. But that's a theoretical problem - it has never come even close to affecting any practical situation. We don't have any precision observations in extreme quantum curved spacetimes, so we don't have the ability to measure anything that is any different to what QED predicts.

At the high energies, QED can be seen to be part of a larger theory - the electroweak theory. So electroweak symmetry-breaking needs to be taken into account for high energy particle interactions. For example, this would be necessary if you were to use electromagnetic interactions to measure objects less than a hundredth of the size of a single proton (ten million times smaller than an atom). But if you're not looking at things at that tiny scale, electroweak theory is not relevant.

(At even higher energies, the electroweak theory is predicted to be observably linked to the strong nuclear force, but these energies may be many orders of magnitude higher than we are capable of achieving.)

It's not possible to say any theory is perfectly accurate because it's not possible to make perfectly accurate observations to test it. But measurements can be done to one part in a billion, for some quantities even one part in a trillion, and QED matches them all the way.

For many situations in electrodynamics, quantum effects will be irrelevant. In those cases, the theory of QED reproduces the classical Maxwell field equations in their familiar form, and the Maxwell equations will be as precise as QED itself.

Matty Boy said...

Hi, Bob. I'm a math teacher from California. Two different students in my Math For Liberal Arts class brought up Haramein independently after the section of the class when we discussed regular polygons and tessellations, then the Platonic solids. They were surprised I hadn't heard of him, because they understood him to be world famous and a leader in the field. Now that I am between terms and have more time for research, I was glad to find your blog, which is long on fact and short on vitriol.

It's easy to get mystical about math. There are a lot of places where pi shows up that seemingly have nothing to do with circles - the sum of the squares of the harmonic series, for example - but a little more work, you'll see that Euler was just very clever with sums, in this case trigonometric sums.

I know from personal experience that some people in the New Age are debunk-proof, but I'm glad to have found your site.

Best wishes,
Matthew

Bob said...

Hi Matthew. It's a shame that people like Haramein and his fans can persuade so many people to believe that he's "world famous and a leader in the field" when just a little investigation and thought can so easily reveal otherwise.

It's human nature to want to believe the things we like the sound of, and to put our trust in someone who knows how to make us feel comfortable.

Perhaps it could be a real eye-opener for them when they have the opportunity to look a little deeper. Some choose denial at that point; others begin to realise that there is a great deal more to knowledge, belief and trust than they may have been aware! Could be exciting times... I hope so...

Anonymous said...

Hi Bob,

I found your blog while searching for scientific criticism on Nassim Haramein's theories. It's fairly obvious to me that his theories aren't sound, but not because I'm a scientist and can understand the basic theories that would counter them; I don't at all. You sound like you do have a good understanding of the theories in which you claim he has a lack of understanding. I would like to use your blog as evidence for my daughter who has begun to listen to Haramein's views, but to be fair, I can't seem to find any of your credentials. Perhaps I'm not looking in the right place. Could you please list your credentials or point me to a location where I can find them?

Very respectfully,
Judy

Anonymous said...

Hi Bob,
These names you mention, Sagan, Tyson, Kaku...are all famous names. But, Sagan truly thought that we can open a wormhole in the universe and now we know that we cannot. Wormhole may exist somewhere in the universe, but we cannot create one. This is not according to Nassim, but according to general relativity. Sagan was wrong! Neil Tyson is fun to listen to, but insted of listening to him talking about people like advanced animals, I'd rather listen to Hugh Ross or Jeff Zveerink, both astrophysicist who think we are not animals. I know that "officials" will say yea but they are minority... yes, but rapidly growing minority (if we trust official numbers). Here is a list of those scientists who didn't mind putting their names on a public list to question theory of evolution...http://www.dissentfromdarwin.org/
So, if you prefer Sagan or Tyson, even Kaku, we do too, but are not limited to these "prefered ones". I prefer Patricia Fanning and Fazale Rana (a doctors of bio-chemistry) over Richard Dawkins or Michael Shermer. Nassim's theory is just a theory. If I understand well, he just started proposing ways to test it. Why not wait the results of tests and see?

Bob said...

Sagan didn't truly think that, he just played with the idea on his tv series. And general relativity hasn't proved it wrong either.

Nassim's theory is not a theory.

Of course we're not limited to any "preferred ones", but come on - scientists disputing the theory of evolution? That's like mathematicians disputing the existence of addition.

You can keep questioning whether or not 2+2=4 if you like. I think that's a good thing to do. Take two things, and another two things, and see how many you have. It's amazing, but it's always four, no matter what the things are! Biscuits, pencils, dogs, anything! It's good to keep questioning, just to see. Hey, maybe you'll find something it doesn't work for?

What's not so good is to decide on your preferred outcome (humans are not animals), then do your questioning, and ignore all the answers that conflict with your preference. Nobody ever learned anything that way.

Anonymous said...

What the hack evolution has to do with mathematics? One monkey + one monkey equals one human? What do you mean by "come on, scientists question evolution"? Well goodmoring Columbo, thousands of them do question it and abondon it. Read Myth of Junk DNA by Jonathan Wells, a molecual biologist. Oh, not a preferd one for you?
Sagan did believe that wormhole can be opened and if he just played with the idea... well maybe Nassim is just playing with the ideas. Sagan sold his ideas in the books and a movie, maybe Nassim can sell some DVDs? Brian Greene books explain general relativity in a very layman manner and why we cannot open wormholes in space. ____Tom____
"Darwinism was an interesting idea in the 19th century, when handwaving explanations gave a plausible, if not properly scientific, framework into which we could fit biological facts. However, what we have learned since the days of Darwin throws doubt on natural selection's ability to create complex biological systems - and we still have little more than handwaving as an argument in its favour".
Professor Colin Reeves
Dept of Mathematical Sciences
Coventry University

Bob said...

You're perfectly free to believe whatever you like, my friend. I'd recommend you don't try to convince anyone with any capacity of rational thought, though. It won't go well.

Anonymous said...

"You're perfectly free to believe whatever you like, my friend. I'd recommend you don't try to convince anyone with any capacity of rational thought, though. It won't go well."
I know, that's tough shit, some day they called it gulag, today day call it peer-review.
Tom

Bob said...

Wow, it didn't take you long to cast me as a representative of one of history's most atrocious tools of oppression, did it!

Love you too ;-)

Anonymous said...

Don't worry, nobody will send you to gulag, honey.
This is directly off the back cover of the book called 'Relativity - The Special and the General Theory', written by the Man himself (let's ignore for the moment a nasty truth that the Man was never able to figure out any real math, but because of "frauds" who exposed it, we know it was done by his wife Milena):
"The General Theory focuses on gravity, not as a force as Newton postulated, but as a curved field in the space-time continuum, created by the presence of mass."
Really? Stephen Hawking says, given the laws of physics, like gravity, universe will come to an existance, that is objects will get created. Do you see circular reasoning here, or do you think we are so stupid that we cannot see it?
Gravity alone will create an object and object in space time is needed for gravity to exist?
So, is gravity curving of space-time or is it a graviton? Which one is it, Bob?
You said that Haramein doesn't even know the basics of physics, because of that action reaction storey. Haramein said that that is the first law of physics, he never said that is first, or second, or third Newton's law. I understood that he implied that this is on of the basic, or one of the elementary laws of physics, which is correct.
I checked the origin of spin paper and there is nothing wrong with their math. It perfectly desribes their model, but you seem to find a problem with that. Their model may not be correct, but what they claim, math confirms and that is OK. String theory math is perfect, but does it really reflect on reallity? Standard model math is perfect, but is that model reflection of reallity? Sure, when you include virtual particles, higgs bosons, re-nomalisations, etc.! I wonder what will you say when "there is 97% probability that Higgs boson doesn't exists" turns into Higgs boson doesn't exist? O well, you will say that is a part of science process and we will continue to look for truth, never mind that the model was wrong to start with!
In the beginning of the book the Man states:"Physical object are not in space, but these object are spatially extended". Is it just me, or is this not what Haramein says too?
I could go on and on. I know that you will dismiss everything with "real scientific process", so I won't waste too many bytes on this. Yea, Haramein did turn his presentation into rock star event, but hey....who was paraded around like a "rock star" before him? When Neil Tyson or Michio Kaku talk abot "real" science full of virtual particles and imaginary things, that is nothing but a rock star show.
Tom

Bob said...

It amazes me how some people just love to use words they don't understand, and gabble away like they know what they're talking about. As if it's not going to be really obvious to people who know what the words mean.

It's just so pretentious and silly.

But do carry on...

Anonymous said...

Right...nobody understands nothing in your world, does it? Why don't you deal me a final blow and tell us what a electron or atom look like? Here is your chance for a 5 minutes of fame, since no "real" scientist knows the answer to this question.
Tom

Anonymous said...

Nah, forget about actual look of electron or atom, let me ask you something else...
Do you think science should be about realizing that light travels fast or explaining why it travels so fast?
Do you think that "curving of space-time" is real or just mathematical abstract?
Tom

Bob said...

That's a good question. Here's how I see it:

Science doesn't have any grand ideas about what is real. There are no experiments or observations you can make to find out what is real and what is not. What does "real" even mean?

Science is the process of trying to find out whatever we can about the world. It's an attempt to create conceptual models that can be used to make reliable predictions.

You can imagine an electron to look like a purple rhinoceros if you choose - it doesn't have the slightest relevance to any reliable predictions about what it will be observed to do. So it's not science.

Science, above all, is concerned with honesty. If someone tries to tell you that the curvature of spacetime is "real", that's not honest. It's a metaphysical assertion based on absolutely nothing at all; a statement of blind faith.

What we do know is that if we use the concept of spacetime curvature, we can make sense of virtually everything we see in the universe: why things move the way they move, why galaxies form the way they form, why the universe is structured the way it is, why certain very strange objects behave in very strange ways – it all fits together.

If you use the concept of spacetime curvature, you can predict things you will see in the most distant galaxy, and consistently get it right with astonishing accuracy. If you don't use it, you can't.

If you use the concept of spacetime curvature, you can get a GPS satellite to pinpoint your location to within a couple of metres. If you don't use it, you can't.

If it works, it's science.
If it's an honest attempt to find something that works, it's science.
Otherwise, it's not.

Anonymous said...

I agree, theoretical physics is not science. If you use space-time curvature you can explain certain things that can be observed, but it also produces a lot of things (conviniently called anomalies) that cannot be observerd and that are not talked about loud by theoretical physicist. You also have to turn space into object by this theory, which is non-sense.
Tom

Bob said...

I didn't say theoretical physics wasn't science. I said "if it's an honest attempt to find something that works, it's science." Theoretical physics is an honest attempt to find something that works.

As I said before, please try to stop pretending to be able to undermine theoretical physics despite clearly not knowing what you're talking about. It's like going up to a Bulgarian poet and telling him his poems are nonsense despite not knowing the language. It just makes you sound like a nutter.

Anonymous said...

I din't say I agree with you, just in general meaning. Space-time as object could have meaning only if Haramein was right, that is if vacuum had structure (if we could detect the devision of vacuum). I will pretend that you know what theoretical physicists supposedly say.
Tom

Anonymous said...

So, let's imagine for a moment that atoms are like pink flamingoes. Theoretical physicists (TP) claim their equations predict entities called black holes. With zero volume and no dimensions! TP believe these 0-D objects have the ability to suck in real objects like astronauts and stars (WOW)?! Don't hold your breath yet, they even claim that these "holes" can stretch time! Well, what is it that a black hole actually holes into? I never found a mathematician that was able to tell me what a black hole really is. All their blubbering reduces these magical entities to abstract mathematical concepts. Which can suck in real objects...yeah right? TP can't also agree what black hole is, nor how they form. What really blows my mind are claims that the existence of black holes has been confirmed! How can they confirm that something exists when they can't even define what that entity is? If you think you know what it is or you've seen a black hole, please enlighten me and draw 0-D singularity on a paper? If you can't draw it on paper, how can you see it in space? For evidence of seeing black hole they have this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_hole. No, no, no! No computer animations, artistic renderings, or photos of jets shooting out that "may be" coming out of black hole. No effects they "may" exert on the surrounding space. Isn't science about what we can observe, not make it up in our imagination? See Bob, I am not fanatical soldier of Haramein, I don't even believe in black holes, let alone that we live in one. I just thought that his structure of vacuum hypothesis may be worth further exploration. It may give space-time curving some plausibility. Cause it can't be both, curving of s-p and graviton, right?
Tom

Bob said...

If you've never seen a black hole, doubting that black holes exist is fairly easy. If you've never seen a blue whale, doubting that they exist is fairly easy too. They both sound a bit unlikely.

But black holes and blue whales are both clearly observable to anyone who's gone to the trouble of looking.

The fact that you're incapable of imagining how something is possible doesn't imply that it isn't possible. All it means is that you're not capable of imagining it. We're only human - there's no reason at all why we should naturally be capable of picturing in our heads everything that exists in the universe. That would be hubris, wouldn't it?

"I just thought that his structure of vacuum hypothesis may be worth further exploration." - Explore it, then.

Just please don't try to tell me that I haven't explored it. I have, in great detail, and having done that, it's very very clear that it is absolute bullshit from start to finish. I've tried my best to explain why - there's not much more I can do.

If you don't trust me and want to do it yourself, that's great - go right ahead. I'd far rather people explored things themselves than take my word for anything.

And ask around whenever there's something you don't understand. There are plenty of trustworthy and knowledgeable people out there who aren't trying to sell dodgy-looking ideas - you can ask them for an independent view. I'm sure you'll be able to get some insight if you keep on searching.

What's an s-p?

Anonymous said...

You gave me the answer exactly as I expected, nothing but more crap. Yes, there is a lot of imagining going on in theoretical physics. Instead of pointing to me the evidence of black hole being seen, you told me it is my fault that I can't imagine a damn thing. I shouldn't have to, science is about observing not imagining things. Black holes, strings (space is supposedly made of these magic lil strings, but at the same time they float in space...LOL), m-theory in which strings grow to enormous size given "enough energy" - given by whom or what? You accuse Haramein audience of just excepting what he tell them. If you've seen this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h1iJXOUMJpg (you probably have), please point me to the part of video where audience questions anything that this buffoon of relativistic physics is telling them? He is brought there to tell them imaginary tales and since they have no idea what the hell he is talking about, they are just awed and entertained by this supposed cosmic freak event. And this is different then Haramein? This is science?
Tom

Bob said...

I didn't say it was your fault. I said "We're only human - there's no reason at all why we should naturally be capable of picturing in our heads everything that exists in the universe. That would be hubris."

You take offence at being told that you don't have superhuman powers. That says something about your degree of arrogance, don't you think?

If you're just going to preach mindlessly against something you've not even bothered to take the trouble to understand, then I don't have anything to say. There's nothing imaginary about general relativity.

If you're interested, go and learn the subject. If you're not, then try to accept that you don't understand it and stop talking shite.

Anonymous said...

It's mad how we get so caught up in ourselves..enjoyed reading the blog, cheers pal,good of you to put this out for us! I hadn't even heard about him until today. Didn't like the feel of him too much at first sight though. What really disturbed (a bit selfish of me ) me was how he talked about ideas of wholeness etc.. which i find fascinating and i'm looking into at the moment through Bohm's view of an implicate order. The way he talks though, he seems very self absorbed and preaching something i felt he definitely doesn't have a clue about. This is what pissed me off, he starts off with legitimate questions regarding the origin of spin, and sure why not (and to be honest i've felt unconfort regarding this in a way, in the sense that QM just includes an extra operator in there to deal with the observation). Just his whole ethos i could feel was off (it is judgmental of me after barely a couple hours..reading this post gave me more confidence i suppose) and that he was completely untrue to what he was aspiring to, he really sounded like a complete waffler..don't get me wrong now, i do waffle, but not in the same way, more just to bounce ideas around. Anyway.. I wanted to ask you what kind of research you've looked into if that's ok asking? Ever looked into Bohm's ideas at all? Cheers man, wish you well
Yvan

Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wy9gXKwRpXc
Space-time not only stretched but curled as well, holographic universe, info contained on a 2-D plane of black holes.... is he talking "shite" too? I have PhD in physics, you blank blank blank blank....
Tom

Bob said...

I haven't said anything against the holographic principle. That's a valid and exceptionally fruitful area of theoretical physics. It's been studied by thousands of real physicists - ones who don't lie - for decades.

The "holofractographic principle", however, is a made-up pile of tosh.

And I don't really care what claims you make for yourself anonymously - that's a bit of a joke. Feel free to say something that demonstrates that you have a clue.

Bob said...

Hi Yvan - sorry I didn't respond earlier.

Spin is a peculiar aspect of QM, you're right. There are many things in physics which at first glance look like they've been bolted on to force an ill-fitting theory to work, but which deeper study can reveal to be almost essential to the structure of the theory. Spin is certainly one of those.

I'd encourage you to investigate further into the Dirac equation. Even better, take a look at the intimate mathematical relationship between the Lorentz group (which is central to special relativity) and Clifford algebras, and their connection to angular momentum conservation in field theory. Spin isn't added on as an extra - it's utterly inescapable, right at the very heart of the connection between relativity and quantum mechanics.

But, as you say, when you first encounter it, it can look like it's been bolted on to make the observations fit. But that's a long, long way from the full picture. I hope you'll explore further.

(Haramein doesn't look at this kind of spin, by the way - he only talks about classical rotations. And he gets it all appallingly wrong, as ever, as I've explained here.)

I'm not as familiar with Bohm's picture of QM. It's something I'd love to study properly at some point.

David said...

hi,

I was wondering if a phi spiral could be created in the mass falling into the gravitational field was being decelerated in the angular velocity??

And if so,, what would it be??

David

Bob said...

No, a phi spiral is a type of logarithmic spiral; and all logarithmic spirals go inwards for ever, winding tighter and tighter and closer and closer but never reaching the centre, like the spirals in a Mandelbrot set (those are logarithmic, but not phi).

A mass falling into a gravitational field is accelerated inexorably by the field; no matter how it attempts to move, once it passes the event horizon it will be diving almost straight towards the centre.

Beyond the event horizon, spacetime has become so distorted that time itself passes inwards.

Time passes, whether we want it to or not, and it will pass for the mass near the black hole too. The very quick dive into the centre is its only possible future.

PWinSF said...

Thanks, Bob, for taking the time to provide thoughtful, detailed responses to some of Haramein's claims, as well as to those who have posted comments.

Considering that the world in which we live accommodates nearly as many views as there are people, it is of paramount importance to check the sources from which claims are based before choosing to believe or not--absent one's personal, real, knowledge. Doing so makes it easier to distinguish the charlatans from the real deals among us, which requires some effort, however.

Anonymous said...

Science isn't about ultimate truths or concrete ideas, it's about models and falsifiability. A model is only as good as it's predictive qualities, and when a model no longer fits the observed phenomena, it is modified to fit the observations or discarded. Finding 'truth' is just incidental.

Bob said...

True dat.

Alec said...

A good definition of truth is a proposition or a hypothesis that corresponds to reality. By that definition, science is all about finding truth. Models are propositions that more or less accurately describe reality, and the better their predictive power the truer they are.

Bob said...

Amen to that too.

The word 'truth' is used in many ways. An assertion of scientific truth is not an assertion of metaphysical truth. There are other types of truth too. It's a subtle and fascinating subject.

So long as we don't try to draw scientific conclusions from metaphysical assertions, or vice versa, this is not a problem.

Anonymous said...

I have really enjoyed the blog. I read Haramein's response to you and really it just listed in many different and verbose ways the same meme: orthodox scientists view the universe through a pre-conceived notion and are unable to see what I [Haramein himself] see.
I was hoping for specific answers to your specific questions. If it walks like a duck.....

However, I do remain open minded and will over the next few weeks try to decipher what i can the best i can. Thanks to your efforts, my discerning critical mind is working overtime!! I was brought to your blog after trying to validate the Thrive movie I recently viewed with him as a presenter. Is it outside the scope of this blog to comment on the torus as outlined in the Thrive movement?

One poster did ask (rather politely) for your credentials but I was following up to find out also for myself. Can you please list them? I apologize if they do reside somewhere on your blog but I have failed to see them myself. Not that they somehow prove / disprove your work.

Thnx again.
Graham

Bob said...

Hi Graham.

Thanks for your comments. Feel free to bring up the 'Thrive' torus. If you can give specific links, that will help. (I'm hoping not to have to watch the Thrive film, it's just too depressing!)

People do keep asking me about credentials, which is understandable. I've answered on other posts, for example here and here.

The point is, I've chosen to write an anonymous blog. Giving credentials wouldn't mean anything - you'd never know if I was just making them up. It doesn't really make sense for me to claim any authority, and it's not something I'm interested in doing. Unlike Haramein, I'm not asking for anyone's trust. I'm just pointing to the universe. Anyone who wants to check anything I've said can readily do so themselves.

Alternatively, you can ask someone you can trust personally who does have reputable credentials in physics. There are plenty of such people out there. This blog has had thousands of hits every week for the last two years, so if there actually were any issues with the physics on my blog (rather than just people not liking it), you'd think they'd have been spotted by now.

By all means, be as open-minded as you can. I'm confident that being open-minded will eventually mean no longer being able to ignore the vast amount of solid evidence that this guy is a fake, if not an outright fraud. It's fairly straightforward really, so long as you take great care not to cling to ideas just because you like them, and give your attention to what the universe is actually like instead.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Thank you Bob. I appreciate and understand your reasoning regarding credentials. They can be a blessing (enlightening) and a curse (apprehensive to change) so it bothers me not of your choice to remain anonymous. Totally respected. Besides, I have a drivers license. It qualifies me to drive but does that me a good driver?

The reason why I bring up the torus is because I'm fascinated with sacred geometry. This is where many different facets of ancient culture show quite exquisite and phenomenally detailed knowledge of mathematics and the universe; encoded in the structures of their buildings. These codes are also embedded in the layouts of newer buildings of political importance and the symbolism inscribed points to our past being VERY different to the orthodox view of human history.

Like you say.....don't take my word for it but with the work you are doing, I think your analytical brain would really enjoy this detailed analysis of sacred geometry. Do try to watch and perhaps comment on the youtube video "secrets in plain sight." I actually watched it over the course of a week (nearly 4 hrs long) and I am in awe of both the depth of research and the ancient knowledge of precision. Haramein is referenced in it. Not as proof positive but the schwarzschild proton paper is mentioned. So I'm not ready to take any sides yet and of course, many bumps in the road and mistakes might be made on the road to a true unified theory.

Freemasonry, Illuminati etc are all apparent gatekeepers of this knowledge that many lay people (such as I) are beginning to decode for themselves thanks to the power of the internet (both good and bad for sources clearly). The cuboctahedron certainly seems to lie at the center of esoteric knowledge and art. Leonardo da Vinci and many other artists embedded precise mathematics in their work for good reason.

Anyhow, I digress. No-one wants to be taken for a ride, by Haramein, or (with respect) by yourself, or by anyone for that matter....knowingly or unknowingly. But perhaps looking back in the past is the key to our future, despite the common assumption that time is linear and we must press on....

Sincerely,

Graham

Bob said...

For one thing, I'd assert very strongly that if someone is using something like the Schwarzschild proton to support an argument, then they're either taking you for a ride or else they're disastrously prone to selecting ideas to suit their preconceptions and not checking them out. (Most likely the latter - they're a sucker for a pretty story.) They might be entertaining, but these definitely wouldn't be the kind of people I'd look to if I wanted to learn anything.

What is sacred is a deeply personal matter. It varies from culture to culture and individual to individual. One person's sacred codes are another's meaningless shape, just as one person's powerful symbolism is another's empty characters. If you immerse yourself in any culture, you will begin to experience the significance of what is sacred to that culture. That's the wonder of empathy and the timelessness of cultural transmission. It's a profoundly human and profoundly subjective phenomenon.

The mathematics and physics of the universe, the material laws of nature and all that influence them, in contrast, are not personal at all.

I don't know if that's what you're referring to. Physical cosmology and spirituality are not connected. The desire to blur these things together is understandable - who doesn't want to believe that their intuition is the source of all knowledge - but it's deeply misguided.

If you want to understand the meaning of being human, look within, and look for inspiration to other cultures. If you want to understand mathematics, learn mathematics. If you want to know the laws of nature, look at nature and see what it does.

When people start mixing them all up - which seems to be a popular thing to do among the New Age - you'll almost always find them making claims about mathematics or scientific matters based on some spiritual inspiration. And however convincing it feels in their guts, the result is always bullshit. I don't know of any exceptions.

So beware of these people, for that way lies great foolishness.

The story of Kepler is an excellent example. He was utterly convinced that a sacred geometry ruled the motion of the planets. For decades this held him back. Only after he abandoned it in favour of painstaking analysis of observational data did he figure out the secrets of the laws of motion of the heavens.

The same story repeats time after time throughout history. Holding things sacred is deeply human, but it's easy for it to be at odds with science if it's not done with great care.

Science progresses only when people let go.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Bob for the insights. You have certainly been perceptive enough to deduce that I am drawn to what it is to be human and the origins of humanity. I can't pinpoint "why" I am compelled and eager to know this information, it just is. I'm not really a ballgames and burger kinda guy....mindless fluff at times...to me at least.

The researcher in "secrets in plain sight" does not use NH to verify anything he is saying but he does acknowledge that he MIGHT be onto something. The quantifier in the sentence being "might" is enough for me to see the researcher is not leaning one way or the other.

I want to learn about all of the examples you gave me actually and much more: my humanity, nature and mathematics. However, perhaps it is just my makeup but I really struggle to compartmentalize life into seperate entities; denying that they perhaps overlap each other in parts or that I cannot learn more about one discipline by studying another.

From my perspective at least, there IS math in nature. Am I misconstruing that you are saying that it is purely coincidence? Phi is a number which resonates time and time again in plants and animals and relates also to parts of the human body. Therefore I do see a connectedness.

http://www.natures-word.com/sacred-geometry/phi-the-golden-proportion/phi-the-golden-proportion-in-nature

I'm not one for labels and I do try to steer clear of the new age stuff but certainly I can't help if what I say or do appears that way. I am not deliberately taking a point of view opposite to yours and I highly respect your work. The reference to Kepler though is interesting. He was one of a few people of his time who dared to promote a copernican heliocentric world as opposed to the accepted geocentric model. He got some things wrong and some right. He assumed correctly that the tides were that of the moon where Galileo had trouble with that. So I'm not sure if that is the best example. He is a beacon of a scientist going against the grain. Many people also don't give the light of day to the fact that Isaac Newton was heavily into alchemy and the study of the occult. Some say his belief in the supernatural gave him the insight to understand the then - mystical force of gravity....who knows?

Clearly, I'm NOT an expert in any field and so it will take me time to sift through and discern what I feel is the right path. Unfortunately I doubt that I will be able to truly know physics as you do and thus my own path might have to be ultimately one of instinct. What "feels" right here? Perhaps dangerous territory and a stance that I'm sure physicists abhor.

Thank you again for taking the time to share your tacit knowledge. I'm trying hard to get my head around lots of things lately !!!

Bob said...

I agree with you - mathematics, nature, science and humanity do overlap. Much of nature is indeed deeply mathematical. The problems only arise when arguments are extrapolated carelessly from one discipline to the other, which is way way too common in New Age circles.

I guess it's a tempting for people to think of themselves as weaving together broad swathes of knowledge and unifying humanity, but it's so easy to say. I've seen so much glib, empty silliness by people who think they've found some deep synthesis and clearly haven't thought it through or looked beneath the surface.

And don't worry, I like being disagreed with by a thoughtful and intelligent commenter - thanks! I wish there were more of that.

In the end, we all have to go with our feelings. With regard to physics, try to find someone you trust who genuinely knows what they're talking about, and is prepared to tell you that the universe isn't arrayed out like you want to think it is. That's nothing personal - it simply isn't arrayed out like anyone wants to think it is. Studying physics is an unending series of culture shocks and meditation/reflection challenges. If someone tells you what you want to hear, it ain't physics. :-)

Is nature really full of the golden ratio? Or is it one of those stories that is just too good not to tell, and for some people too good not to believe. I think it's pretty tenuous. Sure you'll be able to find it in any five-sided object, because it's part of the structure of a pentagon. But that's no more cosmic than a right angle, if you think about it. Most of the other claims are pretty tenuous. But people think it's awesome, so the myth goes on... among non-mathematicians. That's my view, anyway, and I'm not saying that to be mean, it's just one of those things.

Look deeper into the structure of nature and there really is mathematics. It has its own beauty, but it's a bit harder to communicate without years of study. I wish it were not that way, but it is. Nature is complicated. I think we should respect that.

Bob said...

But in the end we all have to do what we feel. What matters in science is whether we're prepared to give up how we prefer to see things and accept what is there, time and time and time again. It's a humbling thing.

Did Newton's belief in the supernatural give him insight into gravity? Nope. Really no. His beliefs may have inspired him to get out of bed on a morning and keep searching, which is no mean thing. And they may have helped spark some kind of vision out of all the scientific work he'd been doing, who knows. But I've seen his insights into gravity and they're rigorous. Logical, mathematical, entirely focused on observational data. He wasn't messing around.

We all use different things to inspire us and give our lives meaning, and perhaps practices and observations that could help to open us up to the non-rational and the imaginative. That's essential in science. But what happens next is what makes a scientist. It isn't about what they know, it's about what they do with the ideas that they have. Anyone can take an idea and run with it, see if it has legs. Test it against nature, ask around and see if others have straightforward reasons why it's false. Science is all about trying to make ideas fall down. When they just refuse to fall down, that's when it gets exciting. That's when you know you got one.

And you keep testing it and trying to falsify it. Because you know for sure that everyone else will as soon as it gets out. And you want it to stay standing when they do. Science builds on these ideas, because they're made of serious stuff.

If I see someone making claims about science who ignores or dismisses those kinds of ideas, I know straight away that they simply don't know what they're dealing with. If they claim that an established idea is wrong because their spiritual perspective gave them a vision - these are the people I mean, who are extrapolating carelessly into territory they're clueless about.

A pseudoscientist (or a pseudohistorian, of course) doesn't try to falsify - he just tries to find things that back it up, and ignores things that don't. This is really easy. Anyone can find evidence to support anything, and anyone can find someone with a PhD to endorse any idea (Goldacre's fist law of bullshit dynamics.)

Someone hitting on an idea they like and which they think is 'too amazing to be wrong' is a big contrast to someone who gets an idea and puts it through the rigorous processes of scientific testing and falsification. It's a matter of attitude. The good news is that I don't think you need to know much else about science to be able to truly appreciate that difference and to recognise it when you see it.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Bob. I'm really a "johnny come lately" to your blog and I do appreciate the patience you have shown to my musings. I have read some of the commentary and the ad-hominen attacks by others, I am saddened by the emotion that spoils what could be quite wonderfully intelligent discussion. However, I'm sure that resistance (even petty run of the mill arguments at the checkout counter) are perhaps one more of those necessary forces that somehow plays into natural universal laws. Your blog is patently logical and thorough, a wholly pious effort in every regard. While I'm mesmerized by esoterica and admittedly seduced by its aura, i do have a background in the scientific method, albeit a rudimentary university graduate level. This does still manage to take my wandering mind back to earth. I will do some research and catch up on your blog, critically evaluate NH and report back to you some observations.

Regards,

Graham

organicolas said...

Have you investiaged this guy yet
Halton Arp: A Modern-Day Galileo
http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/universe-cosmology-quest/
It’s sad when someone who should be famous isn’t...
If only if Halton Arp looked or acted more cool, then maybe he would be famous... Enstein may be the most famous but was he the most brilliant...
Nick...
PS: please watch this video... It’s the most amazing video I have ever seen...

Bob said...

Very interesting film - thanks.

The story of brilliant scientist discovers phenomena that aren't understood, devises theory that runs against the mainstream, and then hardens to it as he gets older while science and observational evidence moves on without him... if you've studied any history of science, this is a very common story. Even Einstein did it.

People do come up against resistance when they go against the flow. But it's entirely false to try to claim that nobody takes ideas like Arp's seriously and works with them, just in case they turn out to be true. I know plenty of theoretical physicists who are working with the most bizarre, unlikely ideas, and experimentalists who keep digging up old discarded ideas from the past to test them.

It's human nature to want to blame the establishment when things aren't going your way. Arp's guy's ideas were brilliant, but as observations emerged it became more and more clear that they weren't correct, and he (and a few others) refused to accept that. Personally I think it's fine that people cling onto their ideas - theories do have to keep being checked, just to be certain. And a good idea should never die, even if it's fairly clear that it's wrong. So I've no problem with Arp.

So long as nobody pretentiously tries to start a movement claiming it's all a cover-up, that's fine by me. If they do, that would be pretty misguided.

The claim in the film that when scientists look through telescopes they only see what they want to see... doesn't fit very well with this year's Nobel Prize winners, does it. I think it's fair to say that virtually nobody wanted them to see what they saw. But there it was.

If something is seen that can't be denied, it won't be shunted away. People might complain, and funding might be mis-applied here and there by people who don't understand, but it'll all come out fairly soon.

Science doesn't need to be saved by silly conspiracy documentaries.

They do well with their sensationalism, though. As you know, people will always pay for that kind of thing.

Anonymous said...

WOW. I'm glad I clicked to this site. I was just check'n whether Nassim was legit. I wish I knew geometry and thank God u guys do!
So, Nassim is JUST another New Age Movement freak -I gather? Gawd I hate that crap! I mean I might believe there's such thing as Aliens but I am NOT into the N.A.M. crap (where you can ascend and become a God...
Boo! Boring. Dumb, NEXT. jetreshcau1@yahoo.com
What makes me mad is that I wasted downloading Lloyd Pye's Hominid video -AND it turned out to be Nassim H. throughout the ENTIRE video (like some 64 gigabytes) And guys here @ this webpage -PLEASE use the 'spell check'.

julius said...

Hi !

Have you seen this ?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3lBJMajinsY

Bob said...

Thanks, Julius.

Yes, some people really do get their spirituality by pretending Sesame Street mathematics is mystical :)

Homage to Count von Count, Supreme Enumerator of the Holy Facepalm!

Love that shizzle.

j.shelley said...

yeah shame really,i'eve just wasted 3 hrs lookign over the 'maths' this guy has done, now i'm only 17 currently studying father maths, maths and physics, but even i can work out *buy going through deferential posted here and attempting to see how nassim got to such points as the membrane of a cell has upteen to ^11th hz, that it's all just facts and his 'logic' glued together with shiny cad diagrams which doesn't
work(geometrically not faulty software )
-J,shelley

Keith said...

Keep up the good work. I completely admire the way that you refuse to be drawn into ad hominem rhetoric. You are performing an invaluable service by exposing readers to the value of proper argument based on plain fact. The latter speak for themselves, as always.

GoBob said...

I realize that this discussion went silent long ago, but I hope that you still get this message, via an email notification or whatever.

I just wanted to show some support. I understand how people choose to follow a charismatic guy who claims to have made revolutionary discoveries that will bring harmony to all human knowledge, over real scientists who do real research (which takes very hard work to even begin to understand) who usually do not expect much more than to discover some new property of some particle, for instance.

What I can't get my head around is the fact that, when those bogus claims are disregarded with actual math and proved to be nonsense, these people still fight so fiercely to defend the man who is trying to fool them all, to lure them into a lie for his personal benefit.

Keep up the good work. The world needs voices as yours to be heard as loud as possible.

Bob said...

Thanks, GoBob :)

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