Tuesday, October 03, 2017

The disappearing Nassim Haramein posts

You may have noticed that some of my posts from 2010 discussing the physics of Nassim Haramein have disappeared.
Using legal intimidation to shut down legitimate informal debate of your scientific claims is a childish and pathetic way to behave. It's so far removed from the behaviour of any scientist I could respect, it beggars belief.
I have taken them down because lawyers acting on the behalf of him and his institution have sent me a 37-page legal cease and desist letter. This is a full seven and a half years after I wrote the posts.

The letter has both my name and my address wrong. I don't know what his source was for my personal details, but evidently they were not especially competent.

I received the letter yesterday by email at the address that appears on this blog.

The tone of the letter is crass and threatening, and the content presented is extreme and distorted. Much of it is downright absurd. I have complied with the demands of the letter, which were to take down certain posts, not because this makes any sense but because I have no idea what refusing to do so would entail.

To me, the idea that a scientist could act in this way is bizarre. This is an obscure, anonymous blog with a few posts on mathematics and physics and nature; it had very little traffic before I wrote a piece attempting to explain Haramein's work, and he and his supporters brought attention to it.

In contrast to his behaviour towards me, I haven't called for him to be stopped, or for his site to be taken down. I haven't called for any of his fans to turn away from him. I'm not competing with him in any way. Unlike him, I'm not making a dime out of anything connected to his ideas or the rejection of them. Unlike him, I don't have a well-funded organisation behind me. I haven't lorded credentials or authority or legal threats over him or encouraged anyone else to do so. None of the scientific journals that have rejected his papers are doing it because of anything I've said, and I haven't communicated with any. None of the speaking engagements he's been rejected from have done so because of anything I said, and I haven't communicated with any. None of the multiple times his page has been rejected from Wikipedia occurred because of anything I said.* None of these decision-makers rely on people like me. They can think for themselves. They can see for themselves. It's not subtle.

On this blog and elsewhere, I've discussed the physics content of his talks and his writings, and I've responded to things that I consider to be misleading or false. I'm not interested in discussing Haramein as a person, just the physics claims that he has made, from my perspective as a physicist. If a scientific claim is made in public that I believe to be misleading or false, my view is that it is right to question and discuss it in public. I have done this openly, inviting discussion from all sides. There were over a thousand comments on those pages, representing a very wide range of views.

Now I've taken them down. At least for now.

Using legal intimidation to shut down legitimate informal debate of your scientific claims is a childish and pathetic way to behave. It's so far removed from the behaviour of any scientist I could respect, it beggars belief.


To his fans: here's a very helpful link to the exciting crystals he now sells that "use the zero-point dynamics of the vacuum to link with and harness the energy and information of this primary quantum field."

To anyone who is more scientifically literate than a box of nuts: yep. That really is what we're dealing with. 

It's not subtle.

*I participated in the discussion on the most recent Wikepedia page attempt for Haramein in August, because Wikipedia encourages contributions from anyone who feels they have some insight into a topic. I initially argued for his page to be kept, and made more informative and critical rather than merely promotional, but I was overruled. As you can see it was deleted in August on the grounds of his non-notability and his complete absence of scientific impact. Of course there's nothing legally wrong with arguing against someone having a factually-inaccurate fantasy promotional page on Wikipedia, no matter how inflated his fans sense of entitlement may be! It's hardly likely that the decision would have gone the other way if I hadn't been involved – it wasn't a close call. But I suspect this may be what provoked the legal letter a few weeks later.


William said...

My wife has been fascinated by Nassim (I used to love that sort of stuff, too). It was nice to find a clear and easy to understand analysis of the problems of his work on your blog. I'm also amazed at how quickly the comments got ugly. I'm willing to admit that science is something I don't really understand and I've finally learned how little I do understand it. It's method is challenging and demanding and too many of us want our ideas easy. Thank you for the work you're doing on this blog

Bob said...

Thanks William

Anonymous said...

Hardly surprising. Sadly, their last resort would have to be something within these lines. This are people who just can't handle the truth and whose business model depends on denying the facts and evidence. And you had quite an impressive display of both those things here and a very nice testimony of the way a scientist thinks in the fantastic way you handled the comment section. You did a wonderful job.

Bob said...

Thank you :)

Anonymous said...

Can you please state your credentials? You say you’re a physicist? Your profile does not say much at all...

Bob said...

Hi Anonymous

I appreciate your curiosity. I've tried my best to avoid making any arguments from authority here, so I don't think there's a need for me to put my personal details on display here.

My experience of giving credentials on the internet is that people either (a) don't believe me (and why should they?), or (b) accuse me of being poisoned by education so that I can no longer recognise original thought, or (c) accuse me of making arguments from authority or lording credentials over people. I don't want to go there. None of it is good.

If credentials matter to you – which I can understand – my suggestion is to go to any well-regarded university physics department, choose one or more of the physicists there whose credentials are acceptable to you, send them a polite email asking for their thoughts on Haramein.

If you don't get many replies to emails, try visiting in person. Lots of people in the physics community are very open and friendly towards people with a genuine interest in physics, if that's what you want to know.

If you have any questions about the content of what is discussed in this blog, I'll be happy to discuss it. If it's me that you're interested in, then I'm very flattered by that, but none of this is about me. I'm not asking for anyone's trust, or their support, or their money, and I'm not waging any personal battles or basing any criticisms on anyone else's credentials. So if it's ok with you, I'll respectfully decline.

Unknown said...

Hi, I think it is really great what you're doing and have been doing and it is a shame that it had to go this way. You saved me, you really did! I found him after watching an interview with Roger Penrose, and thanks to your effort he's now forced to go 'the not-so-subtle way', which exposes him for what he really is.

Bob said...

Thank you! It's great to know it has been helpful.

Mark said...

Thanks for your hard work and incredible patience bob. Unfortunately NH is making some money by giving conferences around here. As I am interested in science (as an amateur), some friends asked me if he was a real physicist and really discovered something. IMHO you can read a clear NO by just looking at the poster of his conferences and at his pretensions, but it was nice (and entertaining) to have better understanding of some of his blunder.
Make no mistake, you will not convince any of his partisan. But your information is extremely helpful to help people who are just curious about science and wondering how to sort out facts from fiction. Good job. Mark

Bob said...

Thank Mark!

Amazingly, he's still attempting to sue me for this blog. He's making money and spending a lot of it on lawyers to attack people who find his claims ridiculous and will say so. I wish more of his partisan knew what an unsavoury business they were involved with.

It's really good to know that it's still helping people. That's always been the purpose :)

saintvinasse said...

Hey bob, thank you for this great blog. You are doing and have done more than mosts.

I suggest you post a screencap or full PDF of the letter your received. This would be a proof and as we all agree, proofs are everything. One final blow against them. Thank you!

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