Mark McCutcheon's Final Theory of Everything

For the discussion of the sciences. Physics problems, chemistry equations, biology weirdness, it all goes here.

Moderators: gmalivuk, Moderators General, Prelates

User avatar
oxoiron
Posts: 1365
Joined: Fri Jul 13, 2007 4:56 pm UTC

Mark McCutcheon's Final Theory of Everything

Postby oxoiron » Thu Jul 19, 2012 7:17 pm UTC

Thank you, cracked.com, for directing me to this awful, funny (and awfully funny) site. I know the guy is just trying to sell his book, but I can't figure out if his work is a very elaborate, scientific example of Poe's Law.

@gm: I figured the regular readers of the Science forum would get the most mileage out of this, but if you feel it belongs elsewhere, please accept my apology for wasting your time and adding to your workload.
"Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to reform (or pause and reflect)."-- Mark Twain
"There is not more dedicated criminal than a group of children."--addams

Radical_Initiator
Just Cool Enough for School
Posts: 1374
Joined: Mon Jan 24, 2011 10:39 pm UTC

Re: Mark McCutcheon's Final Theory of Everything

Postby Radical_Initiator » Thu Jul 19, 2012 8:51 pm UTC

I think steve_waterman just got 1-up'd.
I looked out across the river today …

Armanant
Posts: 37
Joined: Sat Jul 09, 2011 9:35 pm UTC

Re: Mark McCutcheon's Final Theory of Everything

Postby Armanant » Fri Jul 20, 2012 8:23 am UTC

I have a headache now. I hope you're happy :evil:

User avatar
el matematico
Posts: 114
Joined: Mon Oct 19, 2009 12:20 pm UTC

Re: Mark McCutcheon's Final Theory of Everything

Postby el matematico » Fri Jul 20, 2012 2:49 pm UTC

Poe's law is about making distinctions between irrational stances and parodies of irrational stances. I really don't think the autor is parodying anything, either he's a scammer or insane. Probably the latter, like the time cube guy.
This is my blog (in Spanish). It's not perfect, but it's mine. http://falaci.blogspot.com/

skolnick1
Posts: 113
Joined: Sun Mar 16, 2008 9:29 pm UTC

Re: Mark McCutcheon's Final Theory of Everything

Postby skolnick1 » Fri Jul 20, 2012 5:35 pm UTC

What if he actually has formulated a coherent grand unified theory?

User avatar
Xanthir
My HERO!!!
Posts: 5412
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 12:49 am UTC
Location: The Googleplex
Contact:

Re: Mark McCutcheon's Final Theory of Everything

Postby Xanthir » Fri Jul 20, 2012 5:43 pm UTC

What if I am Superman?
(defun fibs (n &optional (a 1) (b 1)) (take n (unfold '+ a b)))

User avatar
Yakk
Poster with most posts but no title.
Posts: 11128
Joined: Sat Jan 27, 2007 7:27 pm UTC
Location: E pur si muove

Re: Mark McCutcheon's Final Theory of Everything

Postby Yakk » Fri Jul 20, 2012 5:53 pm UTC

Xanthir wrote:What if I am Superman?

http://www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?db=comics&id=2305
One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision - BR

Last edited by JHVH on Fri Oct 23, 4004 BCE 6:17 pm, edited 6 times in total.

Giallo
Posts: 226
Joined: Sat Jan 01, 2011 11:31 pm UTC
Location: ETH, Zürich, Switzerland
Contact:

Re: Mark McCutcheon's Final Theory of Everything

Postby Giallo » Fri Jul 20, 2012 9:39 pm UTC

Just... what?! I'm appalled.
"Ich bin ein Teil von jener Kraft, die stets das Böse will und stets das Gute schafft."

User avatar
undecim
Posts: 289
Joined: Tue Jan 19, 2010 7:09 pm UTC
Contact:

Re: Mark McCutcheon's Final Theory of Everything

Postby undecim » Sat Jul 21, 2012 1:52 am UTC

I like to think this guy is just suckering people (i.e. that he knows what's wrong with the FAQs on that page)

Though there's one question I don't have an answer to:

Q: How can freezing water expand, even bursting metal pipes, with no energy input to explain it?


Wouldn't be possible to extract energy from the freezing of water? Where does that energy come from?
Blue, blue, blue

User avatar
cpt
Posts: 119
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2009 5:02 am UTC
Location: Boston/Cambridge

Re: Mark McCutcheon's Final Theory of Everything

Postby cpt » Sat Jul 21, 2012 3:18 am UTC

undecim wrote:I like to think this guy is just suckering people (i.e. that he knows what's wrong with the FAQs on that page)

Though there's one question I don't have an answer to:

Q: How can freezing water expand, even bursting metal pipes, with no energy input to explain it?


Wouldn't be possible to extract energy from the freezing of water? Where does that energy come from?


Freezing water also releases latent heat without an energy input. So does condensing water. Explain that!

User avatar
oxoiron
Posts: 1365
Joined: Fri Jul 13, 2007 4:56 pm UTC

Re: Mark McCutcheon's Final Theory of Everything

Postby oxoiron » Mon Jul 23, 2012 9:35 pm UTC

el matematico wrote:Poe's law is about making distinctions between irrational stances and parodies of irrational stances.
Exactly. I can't tell if he really believes this stuff or if he is just parodying typical pseudo-scientific gabble.
"Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to reform (or pause and reflect)."-- Mark Twain
"There is not more dedicated criminal than a group of children."--addams

User avatar
The Geoff
Posts: 144
Joined: Wed Jun 08, 2011 6:22 am UTC

Re: Mark McCutcheon's Final Theory of Everything

Postby The Geoff » Thu Aug 02, 2012 8:49 pm UTC

I'm going to get utterly shot-down for this, I can tell :oops:

I've seen far worse - from the looks of it he's got a decent high-school physics education (bearing in mind half of the physics you're taught in high school is incomplete, oversimplified or plain "wrong") and then read a few popular science books and an awful lot of crackpot stuff on the internet. The arguments he's making are mostly the ones which do seem to be right if you rely on intuition rather than doing the maths, he clearly misunderstands the basic principles very well.

For example, where does the energy come from when gravity move bodies? Where does the energy come from to keep a magnet stuck to the fridge? All perfectly reasonable questions for high school level, and if he's coming up with them on his own he's clearly thinking along the right track, he's just working on the assumption that disproving Planck, Bohr and Einstein is easier than understanding the current theories.

Come on, which of us can honestly say that when they first started studying relativity they didn't feel there was something fundamentally wrong and there must be a better explanation? (And that we were going to be the ones to find it...)

B for making an effort and asking the right questions, F for being right however.

User avatar
oxoiron
Posts: 1365
Joined: Fri Jul 13, 2007 4:56 pm UTC

Re: Mark McCutcheon's Final Theory of Everything

Postby oxoiron » Thu Aug 02, 2012 10:02 pm UTC

I think you're being too nice.
thefinaltheory.com wrote:Mark McCutcheon holds a combined Electrical Engineering / Physics degree with advanced elective courses in Quantum Mechanics and Special Relativity, and has worked with various research and development teams in the telecommunications industry and in several university physics research labs.
That throws out your "decent high-school physics education" idea.
"Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to reform (or pause and reflect)."-- Mark Twain
"There is not more dedicated criminal than a group of children."--addams

User avatar
eSOANEM
:D
Posts: 3652
Joined: Sun Apr 12, 2009 9:39 pm UTC
Location: Grantabrycge

Re: Mark McCutcheon's Final Theory of Everything

Postby eSOANEM » Fri Aug 03, 2012 7:57 am UTC

Assuming he isn't making up extra credentials in order to seem more plausible. Without any reference to where his degree's from or where at least one of the uni labs was, combined with the crackpot theories, I find it a little far-fetched.
my pronouns are they

Magnanimous wrote:(fuck the macrons)

User avatar
yurell
Posts: 2924
Joined: Sat Nov 13, 2010 2:19 am UTC
Location: Australia!

Re: Mark McCutcheon's Final Theory of Everything

Postby yurell » Fri Aug 03, 2012 8:15 am UTC

The Geoff wrote:Come on, which of us can honestly say that when they first started studying relativity they didn't feel there was something fundamentally wrong and there must be a better explanation? (And that we were going to be the ones to find it...)


I didn't. QM, on the other hand ...
cemper93 wrote:Dude, I just presented an elaborate multiple fraction in Comic Sans. Who are you to question me?


Pronouns: Feminine pronouns please!

User avatar
The Geoff
Posts: 144
Joined: Wed Jun 08, 2011 6:22 am UTC

Re: Mark McCutcheon's Final Theory of Everything

Postby The Geoff » Fri Aug 03, 2012 12:38 pm UTC

eSOANEM wrote:Assuming he isn't making up extra credentials in order to seem more plausible. Without any reference to where his degree's from or where at least one of the uni labs was, combined with the crackpot theories, I find it a little far-fetched.


I've had a dig around and can't find any reference to specifics. As you say, if you want to be creative you can claim all sorts of things, I've "worked with several prominent astrophysicists including the Astronomer Royal", but what I actually mean is that I've had a brief interview with them in the process of reviewing their books for my blog.

capefeather
Posts: 98
Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2008 4:23 am UTC

Re: Mark McCutcheon's Final Theory of Everything

Postby capefeather » Fri Aug 03, 2012 6:54 pm UTC

*reads title*
NEW PHYSICS INSPIRED BY EINSTEIN
*stops reading*

User avatar
xkcdfan
Posts: 140
Joined: Wed Jul 30, 2008 5:10 am UTC

Wrong on the Internet: The Final Theory

Postby xkcdfan » Tue Aug 27, 2013 2:36 am UTC

I haven't studied any formal science since my high school biology class, but even I can see why kids love Cinnamon Toast Crunch the most basic of flaws in this diatribe. I'm in freaking stitches reading this. Share my pain.

User avatar
ahammel
My Little Cabbage
Posts: 2135
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2012 12:46 am UTC
Location: Vancouver BC
Contact:

Re: Wrong on the Internet: The Final Theory

Postby ahammel » Tue Aug 27, 2013 3:12 am UTC

I definitely forget the real answers to some of those.
He/Him/His/Alex
God damn these electric sex pants!

User avatar
phlip
Restorer of Worlds
Posts: 7572
Joined: Sat Sep 23, 2006 3:56 am UTC
Location: Australia
Contact:

Re: Wrong on the Internet: The Final Theory

Postby phlip » Tue Aug 27, 2013 5:31 am UTC

ahammel wrote:I definitely forget the real answers to some of those.

Spoiler:
Q: What is gravity?
His answer here is actually kinda close to correct; though what he claims it's a flaw in our understanding of gravity is in fact just Empiricism 101. All of science is just observing things that happen, and predicting that similar things will happen in the future. Attempts to break down a fundamental explanation of why something happens is (a) only useful if the fundamentals give us a better understanding of how it all works, and (b) is just passing the buck anyway... if the answer to "Why gravity?" is "Because gravitons," then that still doesn't answer "Why gravitons?"...

In the same sense, he claims that GR was developed because Newtonian physics didn't explain "why", only "what"... and then failed because GR also doesn't explain "why". But that isn't right... GR was developed because Newtonian physics didn't explain "what" well enough.

Q: But don't we know all about the gravity of Black Holes and how even light can't escape?
This is just simply incorrect. It's not called a "black hole" just because no light is coming from it... light which enters a black hole from outside is also trapped.

Q: How can scientists be so mystified by gravity yet also claim to explain it?
1) Gravitational Perpetual Motion
IIRC we had a thread on this topic pretty recently, though I can't find it right now... but on a similar idea that "if an object in motion remains in motion, forever, isn't that perpetual motion?"... and the answer is: in theory in Spherical Cow Universe, yes, but in the real universe there are always losses. Particularly in the example given in the OP, there's going to be air resistance... and even for objects moving in deep space, it'll hit the occasional stray proton, or CMB photon, and that'll change its momentum. Spherical Cow Universe is full of first-kind perpetual motion machines... that is, machines that will run forever with zero net energy in or out... because the simplifying assumptions of that universe are no losses - no friction, no air resistance, etc. If you take one of those and run it in the real world, though, any losses, no matter how small, will stop it from working. And even in Spherical Cow Universe, there's no second-kind perpetual motion machines, ones that you can extract energy from indefinitely.

2) The Work formula
This is just him railing against one of the first counter-intuitive things about basic physics - if you apply a force to something, but don't move it, you don't actually apply any work to it. Any energy that is expended is entirely due to inefficiencies within the thing doing the pushing - none of it is transferred to the thing being pushed. It's counter-intuitive because one of the main machines we have intimate experience with is our own bodies... and muscles are quite inefficient at putting out a constant force without doing work, it uses up quite a bit of energy. However, the fundamental forces, like gravity, don't have any underlying mechanism (we know of) in order to produce that force (that's why they're fundamental), so there's no energy lost in the force simply existing.

I've heard this on other crank sites (usually perpetual-motion cranks) talking about the magic of magnets... about how an elecromagnet holding an object off the ground drains energy, but a permanent magnet can do it forever. Of course, so can a piece of string... neither of them actually do work. In the elecromagnet case, the entirety of the energy needed to keep the magnet running are caused by the inefficiencies of the power supply and the resistance of the wire. It's only when the electromagnet is accelerating an object that you get reaction forces and Lenz's law and suchlike that have an actual load on the power source. In theory, with a perfectly-efficient power source and wires with resistance approaching 0 (I don't want to say a superconductor because I'm not 100% familiar with the physics there and I know they behave weirdly with magnetism), you could have the voltage applied also approach 0 and still maintain the same current in the wire, and it's the current that determines the strength of the magnetic field.

Q: How can a fridge magnet cling against gravity endlessly without draining a power source?
See above, it's basically the same thing. He's discounting the scientific claim that a magnet stuck to a fridge door is using up no energy by an appeal to incredulity, and then proceeding assuming it does use energy.

Q: How can freezing water expand, even bursting metal pipes, with no energy input to explain it?
The mere act of something turning from a liquid to a solid releases energy, over and above the energy being lost to make it cool down. Water just happens to have a hell of a lot of it, due to its highly polar nature. There's a similar effect changing between a liquid and a gas, which is why evaporative cooling (eg sweating) works.

Q: How do heavy objects rest on a table without its molecules giving way, collapsing the table?
More of the "applying a force without moving the object must take energy" nonsense.

Q: Light slows as it passes through water or glass, causing it to bend, but how can it return to light-speed on its own once it exits?
At the small-but-not-so-small-as-to-be-quantum level, light isn't actually travelling "slower"... while the light is travelling, it's going at light-speed. It just periodically stops, because it's hit an atom, gets absorbed, energising the atom, which then discharges, re-emitting the photon, at the speed of light. This takes an amount of time to happen. The amount of time it takes, and how dense the material is (determining how often it happens) determines the material's IOR. But once the light gets to the end of the material, it's still going the speed of light. The idea that the light is travelling at, say, 2/3c through glass is actually just a statistical result... really, it's travelling at c, but each photon is spending 1/3 of its time absorbed by the material and then being re-emitted, and only 2/3 of the time actually travelling through the material.
[edit] As pointed out below, this explanation is actually just a lie-to-children that I'd picked up, and the actual explanation is much more complicated and I don't really follow it. But suffice to say that there is an explanation.

Q: Why is Einstein's Special Relativity Theory so bizarre? Is our universe really that strange?
I have no idea what he's on about here. He's talking about individual lines of a mathematical proof without specifying specifically which proof (just the "proof of SR"), and I don't recognise any of it. His link to the full proof is broken. He's making a lot of major accusations about variables being equivocated and the like, but no specifics, they can't be individually debunked. The broken link is likely not his fault per se, though, that happens all the time on the net, particularly on pages that haven't been updated in over 3 years, so whatever. In my view this part is neither for him nor against him (though would likely be against him if we could actually tell what he was on about).

Q: If our universe isn't the bizarre place Einstein claimed it is, why is there apparently so much experimental support?
Here he's talking about the Twin Paradox... and like most cranks talking about paradoxes, completely misses the point (look at any quantum-denier talking about Schroedinger's Cat sometime). The point of the paradox isn't to say "the science says X happens... isn't that weird?" or, worse, "the science says X happens, therefore the science is true"... which is what a lot of cranks seem to take it as (eg in this case, he seems to be under the impression that people bring up the Twin Paradox as an example in and of itself of how SR is right). In fact, a paradox is simply "the theory says X is right, but intuition says otherwise"... and then leaves us to determine which is correct. Sometimes it's intuition that's correct, and the theory is broken (eg Russel's paradox in naive set theory, the grandfather paradox in naive time travel). Sometimes it's the theory that's correct, and your intuition is just wrong (eg the Birthday paradox, many statistical paradoxes). It's the proof that the paradox in question is of the latter kind and not the former that resolves the paradox and is evidence towards the theory. The crank here ignores that whole second (more important) half of the discussion, and merely treats the presentation of the paradox itself as being a "flaw" in the theory... and then claims that physicists withdraw the "twin" example when this "flaw" is presented, when in fact that "flaw" is the reason to bring it up in the first place.

I suspect our friend has talked to people who've only heard the Twin Paradox second-hand, and didn't remember the full story... and so when the "flaw" came up, they didn't know the answer. But that's not evidence against SR, that's just an aesop about knowing the punchline before you start talking.

Q: Are there really such elementary problems even with General Relativity?
In this section, he, quite rightfully, tears apart this terrible analogy... except that, by doing so, he thinks he's scoring points against GR. Though he does go on to admit he's just tearing apart an analogy. He also talks nonsense about topology, probably inspired by other diagrams that involve a warped coordinate grid being drawn on the universe around a planet... thinking that this is fundamental and implies there's a privileged frame, where that grid is drawn, or something...

Q: Since particles never exceed light-speed in accelerators, doesn't this prove Einstein right?
This is just weird random nonsense... apparently particles accelerated by magnets can't go faster than light because that's the "speed of EM"... but particles accelerated by other means could go faster. No explanation for why a static magnetic field would care about the speed of EM. Also brings up the magnet-sticking-to-a-fridge thing as an aside shot.

Q: What about atomic clocks flown on jets, which seem to show Einstein's Time Dilation Effect?
He brings up his misunderstanding of the Twin Paradox again. And then brings up this amazing line which I can't not quote:
Since we have no rational or scientific reason to expect such effects, it stands to reason that these reports are either erroneous or they reflect other effects such as turbulence or acceleration effects on the plane and instruments.
Yep, that's right - if experiments disagree with theory, then the experiments are wrong. Because that's how you Science.

Q: Isn't there still further evidence that appears to support Special Relativity Theory though?
He doesn't give any specifics here, just blows them all off as "flawed"... not much to talk about.

Q: Did it really all begin with a "Big Bang" where all the matter in the universe was compressed to a space smaller than an atom?
This one is hilarious, and you really need to read it yourself. But he ends up claiming that light is weird and quantum and incomprehensible, therefore science is wrong. He also claims there's no experiments that imply there's a Doppler effect for light, which is complete nonsense. He brings up a couple of other wild guesses at what could cause red-shifting of distant galaxies, and claims this debunks the proof that they're moving away from us.

Q: OK, so scientists are still struggling to even explain gravity, but isn’t this just academic? Doesn't today's science still function fine?
He doesn't seem to make any substantial points in here I haven't already talked about in the first question re: Empiricism 101.

Q: It is often stated that Quantum Mechanics is one of the most accurate and elegant theories in science. Is this correct?
Ditto, see the Empricism 101 comments. Science explains "what", not "why".

Q: Is light really sometimes a wave and sometimes a particle (the photon)?
In here he mentions destructive interference and claims to disprove it by the experiment of "shine two flashlights at the same place and try to make them cancel out". Yes, really. For completeness: flashlights do not output light that is at all coherent... it comes out at all sorts of phases, in all sorts of orientations, from a wide variety of directions... if you shine two at the same point, maybe some of the photons will cancel out, but statistically so few you'd never notice.

He mentions the conservation of energy, but one of the neat things about destructive interference of waves is that any situation you can build where you have destructive interference in one place, you also have constructive interference in a different place, and it still adds up in total across the whole interference pattern.

Q: But don't the famous Double-Slit experiments verify both the wave theory of light and its bizarre quantum-mechanical particle nature?
Again, the "light is weird and quantum and incomprehensible therefore science is wrong" angle... this time saying that light is nothing like water waves, rather than sound, but the same argument none-the-less. He goes on to say that his new theory of physics explains everything to do with the Double-Slit Experiment... buy his book to find out! (In all honesty, I'm surprised this is the first time he's held off the punchline as a hook to buy the book... that must have taken quite a bit of restraint. Several of his examples give a quick answer and say "for more details, buy my book", but this is the first one to just say "for the answer at all, buy my book".)

Q: Where does Einstein's famous E = mc2 equation come from, why does this simple equation apply to the atom bomb, and how is it that matter converts into pure energy?
This one's actually kinda cute. He claims that mass/energy equivalence is nonsense, and E = mc2 is misunderstood... it's actually a kinetic energy equation for things travelling at lightspeed, by analogy to the usual kinetic energy equation E = 1/2mv2, and doesn't explain where the missing 1/2 went. He the derives it based on the "momentum of light" equation p = E/c, however that formula is derived from E = mc2 in the first place. Needless to say, everything he says here is wrong.

Q: Science says protons are positively charged and tightly clustered in the nucleus, but like-charges would strongly repel in such close proximity. Why doesn’t the nucleus fly apart?
Because strong nuclear force. If there are too many protons in a single nucleus, too close together (without enough neutrons as padding between them) then the electric force can overpower it. We again see repetition of the "what, not why" theme and the "electrostatic force eternally draining energy" theme make a comeback, which I've well and truly covered by now.

Q: So does this mean our entire atomic theory is wrong -- both the old "solar system" atomic model and today’s quantum-mechanical one?
Scientifically impossible theories that violate our common sense ... are the hallmark of bad science and do not belong in our scientific beliefs.
Hahahahahahahahahahahano.

Q: A major feature of the anticipated Theory Of Everything is that it finally shows where our natural constants originate vs. just measuring them today. Does The Final Theory do this?
And here, we have the second occurrence of "buy my book to get the answers!". There's no specifics here to debunk, but suffice it to say I am sceptical.

Q: If this is truly the final theory, shouldn’t it say something about time as well?
I understand most of the words here, but they don't seem to be making coherent sentences. This is where the crankness really gets going, making claims where you can't even tell what he's claiming unless you have residence inside his head.

Not much to talk about in the final 4 questions... it's mostly just him soapboxing about how scientists are all close-minded and his theory is awesome and you should totally buy his book.

I'm sure if I've said anything incorrect, I'll be corrected :D
Last edited by phlip on Sat Jun 14, 2014 3:20 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

Code: Select all

enum ಠ_ಠ {°□°╰=1, °Д°╰, ಠ益ಠ╰};
void ┻━┻︵​╰(ಠ_ಠ ⚠) {exit((int)⚠);}
[he/him/his]

User avatar
yurell
Posts: 2924
Joined: Sat Nov 13, 2010 2:19 am UTC
Location: Australia!

Re: Wrong on the Internet: The Final Theory

Postby yurell » Tue Aug 27, 2013 8:21 am UTC

That link is hilarious if you read it as satire.
cemper93 wrote:Dude, I just presented an elaborate multiple fraction in Comic Sans. Who are you to question me?


Pronouns: Feminine pronouns please!

User avatar
thoughtfully
Posts: 2253
Joined: Thu Nov 01, 2007 12:25 am UTC
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Contact:

Re: Wrong on the Internet: The Final Theory

Postby thoughtfully » Tue Aug 27, 2013 11:27 am UTC

The book is newly published, promotion is just starting and you are one of the first to discover it. As such, it hasn't become headline news .. yet.

I always want to scream when I come across some recorded communication that presumes it is being consumed at approximately the same time it was created, but this is a particularly egregious example, as it refutes the claim made. The creation date on the domain is 2002. I could look up the book's publishing date, but that would be a disagreeable experience and it's hardly worth the trouble; it is in its second edition, however.
Image
Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.
-- Antoine de Saint-Exupery

User avatar
Moose Anus
Posts: 432
Joined: Fri Oct 14, 2011 10:12 pm UTC

Re: Wrong on the Internet: The Final Theory

Postby Moose Anus » Tue Aug 27, 2013 6:15 pm UTC

phlip wrote:
Spoiler:
Q: Did it really all begin with a "Big Bang" where all the matter in the universe was compressed to a space smaller than an atom?
This one is hilarious, and you really need to read it yourself. But he ends up claiming that light is weird and quantum and incomprehensible, therefore science is wrong. He also claims there's no experiments that imply there's a Doppler effect for light, which is complete nonsense. He brings up a couple of other wild guesses at what could cause red-shifting of distant galaxies, and claims this debunks the proof that they're moving away from us.
I read something recently (can't find the source) that said that the redshift observed in distant galaxies may be due to the size of subatomic particles changing (I don't remember if it said they are expanding or contracting). Basically the size they used to be produced "redder" light than contemporary particles do. Since the light we see from distant galaxies is millions of years old, we see the color as redder than we do in our own galaxy.

That would mean that there was no big bang and everything is simply getting bigger/smaller over time. Seemed pretty plausible to me.
Lemonade? ...Aww, ok.

User avatar
thoughtfully
Posts: 2253
Joined: Thu Nov 01, 2007 12:25 am UTC
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Contact:

Re: Wrong on the Internet: The Final Theory

Postby thoughtfully » Tue Aug 27, 2013 7:25 pm UTC

Redshifts aren't the only reason we believe the Universe is expanding (and therefore started out in a compact, highly dense state). The cosmic background radiation is the 900 pound gorilla in the room, but there's also isotopic abundances and the neat and tidy way the Lambda-CDM model reproduces observations uncannily well. Stop feeding the trolls!
Image
Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.
-- Antoine de Saint-Exupery

User avatar
davidstarlingm
Posts: 1255
Joined: Mon Jun 01, 2009 4:33 am UTC

Re: Wrong on the Internet: The Final Theory

Postby davidstarlingm » Tue Aug 27, 2013 7:59 pm UTC

Moose Anus wrote:
phlip wrote:
Spoiler:
Q: Did it really all begin with a "Big Bang" where all the matter in the universe was compressed to a space smaller than an atom?
This one is hilarious, and you really need to read it yourself. But he ends up claiming that light is weird and quantum and incomprehensible, therefore science is wrong. He also claims there's no experiments that imply there's a Doppler effect for light, which is complete nonsense. He brings up a couple of other wild guesses at what could cause red-shifting of distant galaxies, and claims this debunks the proof that they're moving away from us.
I read something recently (can't find the source) that said that the redshift observed in distant galaxies may be due to the size of subatomic particles changing (I don't remember if it said they are expanding or contracting). Basically the size they used to be produced "redder" light than contemporary particles do. Since the light we see from distant galaxies is millions of years old, we see the color as redder than we do in our own galaxy.

That would mean that there was no big bang and everything is simply getting bigger/smaller over time. Seemed pretty plausible to me.


thoughtfully wrote:Redshifts aren't the only reason we believe the Universe is expanding (and therefore started out in a compact, highly dense state). The cosmic background radiation is the 900 pound gorilla in the room, but there's also isotopic abundances and the neat and tidy way the Lambda-CDM model reproduces observations uncannily well. Stop feeding the trolls!

Right -- redshifting isn't the only evidence for cosmic expansion.

However, the amount of redshifting could theoretically be affected by other factors without necessarily discarding cosmic expansion. For example, if the regional spacetime curvature was just very slightly inclined toward us from most directions due to a minor gravitational inhomogeneity, the net gravitational well within the observable universe would alter the amount of redshift we see.

User avatar
davidstarlingm
Posts: 1255
Joined: Mon Jun 01, 2009 4:33 am UTC

Re: Wrong on the Internet: The Final Theory

Postby davidstarlingm » Wed Aug 28, 2013 5:42 pm UTC

So I decided to look at the first chapter of his book. Of course, I didn't have to go any further than the acknowledgements page before I found the first error.

To my father for his considered feedback and many long hours of editing....

User avatar
Cleverbeans
Posts: 1378
Joined: Wed Mar 26, 2008 1:16 pm UTC

Re: Wrong on the Internet: The Final Theory

Postby Cleverbeans » Wed Aug 28, 2013 7:37 pm UTC

Well, now that I know black holes are just smashed light bulbs the entire universe makes a lot more sense.... :roll:
"Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration." - Abraham Lincoln

Cronos51101
Posts: 24
Joined: Fri Feb 03, 2012 7:12 am UTC
Location: PA, USA

Re: Wrong on the Internet: The Final Theory

Postby Cronos51101 » Thu Aug 29, 2013 2:29 pm UTC

I think the part about gravity expending energy and performing work was about the point I really wanted to punch someone through my screen...
"It's hot... like REALLY hot..."

User avatar
davidstarlingm
Posts: 1255
Joined: Mon Jun 01, 2009 4:33 am UTC

Re: Wrong on the Internet: The Final Theory

Postby davidstarlingm » Thu Aug 29, 2013 2:34 pm UTC

Cleverbeans wrote:Well, now that I know black holes are just smashed light bulbs the entire universe makes a lot more sense.... :roll:

Exactly. Because obviously there couldn't be any observable difference between a black hole and, say, a black dwarf.

The whole thing seems firmly lodged in an appeal to personal incredulity concerning the work equation. Or maybe it's a misunderstanding of the work equation, the failure to realize that "no work done" means "no work done on the object"?

User avatar
snowyowl
Posts: 464
Joined: Tue Jun 23, 2009 7:36 pm UTC

Re: Wrong on the Internet: The Final Theory

Postby snowyowl » Thu Aug 29, 2013 3:22 pm UTC

davidstarlingm wrote:Exactly. Because obviously there couldn't be any observable difference between a black hole and, say, a black dwarf.
There's not that many observable properties of a black hole at all, since they're so far away from Earth and so small. All we really know is that there are objects that weigh about 10 solar masses and don't emit any light and don't really block much light when they pass in front of a star.

Okay, this agrees suspiciously well with certain predictions of GR, but what I'm saying is that there's no point trying to explain black holes as actually being mundane black dwarfs. The blackness isn't the part that demands explanation.
The preceding comment is an automated response.

User avatar
PM 2Ring
Posts: 3713
Joined: Mon Jan 26, 2009 3:19 pm UTC
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Wrong on the Internet: The Final Theory

Postby PM 2Ring » Thu Aug 29, 2013 3:54 pm UTC

snowyowl wrote:There's not that many observable properties of a black hole at all, since they're so far away from Earth and so small. All we really know is that there are objects that weigh about 10 solar masses and don't emit any light and don't really block much light when they pass in front of a star.

Okay, this agrees suspiciously well with certain predictions of GR, but what I'm saying is that there's no point trying to explain black holes as actually being mundane black dwarfs. The blackness isn't the part that demands explanation.


I wasn't aware that there'd been any observations of quiescent stellar-sized black holes, but I guess it's possible in principle via gravitational lensing. But even then, it'd be hard to tell the difference between a small black hole and a large neutron star that was no longer radiating.

As for black dwarfs, if someone observed one of them, I'd be very surprised - the universe isn't old enough for any white dwarfs to have cooled down that much.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_dwarf
Barrow and Tipler estimate that it would take 1015 years for a white dwarf to cool to 5 K;[6] however, if weakly interacting massive particles exist, it is possible that interactions with these particles will keep some white dwarfs much warmer than this for approximately 1025 years.[5], § IIIE. If protons are not stable, white dwarfs will also be kept warm by energy released from proton decay.

User avatar
davidstarlingm
Posts: 1255
Joined: Mon Jun 01, 2009 4:33 am UTC

Re: Wrong on the Internet: The Final Theory

Postby davidstarlingm » Thu Aug 29, 2013 6:27 pm UTC

snowyowl wrote:I'm saying is that there's no point trying to explain black holes as actually being mundane black dwarfs. The blackness isn't the part that demands explanation.

It's as if all his "Oh me yarm PROBLEM" points are culled from conversations he overheard at a dinner party as someone he didn't know recounted a poorly-remembered Popular Mechanics article.

There's not that many observable properties of a black hole at all, since they're so far away from Earth and so small. All we really know is that there are objects that weigh about 10 solar masses and don't emit any light and don't really block much light when they pass in front of a star.

What about that big one at the center of our galaxy?

PM 2Ring wrote:I wasn't aware that there'd been any observations of quiescent stellar-sized black holes, but I guess it's possible in principle via gravitational lensing. But even then, it'd be hard to tell the difference between a small black hole and a large neutron star that was no longer radiating.

Are there any large neutron stars old enough to no longer be radiating?

User avatar
Eebster the Great
Posts: 3462
Joined: Mon Nov 10, 2008 12:58 am UTC
Location: Cleveland, Ohio

Re: Wrong on the Internet: The Final Theory

Postby Eebster the Great » Thu Aug 29, 2013 6:33 pm UTC

phlip wrote:Q: But don't we know all about the gravity of Black Holes and how even light can't escape?
This is just simply incorrect. It's not called a "black hole" just because no light is coming from it... light which enters a black hole from outside is also trapped.

Separately, black holes are believed to emit some radiation.

And even in Spherical Cow Universe, there's no second-kind perpetual motion machines, ones that you can extract energy from indefinitely.

And if I'm not mistaken, even in a vacuum, the object would gradually lose energy to gravitational radiation according to General Relativity. Not that the Newtonian picture isn't consistent on its own, since in the absence of damping forces, "perpetual motion" is indeed what we would expect. This guy needs Newton's First Law explained to him again.

(I don't want to say a superconductor because I'm not 100% familiar with the physics there and I know they behave weirdly with magnetism)

Real (physical) superconductors are not actually 100% efficient, though they can be very close. I guess that's obvious, but I felt like pointing it out.

At the small-but-not-so-small-as-to-be-quantum level, light isn't actually travelling "slower"... while the light is travelling, it's going at light-speed. It just periodically stops, because it's hit an atom, gets absorbed, energising the atom, which then discharges, re-emitting the photon, at the speed of light.

That's a nice analogy, but light doesn't really behave like a particle in this situation. The group speed of the pulse is indeed less than c, although the precursor still travels at c. In other words, it is accurate to say that light travels at a speed less than c in a medium, and that the reduction in speed is due to interference with the EM field of the medium.

Q: Since particles never exceed light-speed in accelerators, doesn't this prove Einstein right?

I wonder how he'd react if he learned about refractive indices less than 1.

User avatar
davidstarlingm
Posts: 1255
Joined: Mon Jun 01, 2009 4:33 am UTC

Re: Wrong on the Internet: The Final Theory

Postby davidstarlingm » Thu Aug 29, 2013 7:22 pm UTC

Eebster the Great wrote:
phlip wrote:Q: But don't we know all about the gravity of Black Holes and how even light can't escape?
This is just simply incorrect. It's not called a "black hole" just because no light is coming from it... light which enters a black hole from outside is also trapped.

Separately, black holes are believed to emit some radiation.

Yep. Wrong on all counts.

It's not the "gravity of Black Holes" that is somehow unique. They are just objects which happen to be smaller than their Schwarzchild radius. Everything has one of those; it's just that light typically hits the surface before it hits the Schwarzchild radius. Whoop-de-do.

If I'm not mistaken, even in a vacuum, the object would gradually lose energy to gravitational radiation according to General Relativity.

Yeah, that's my new go-to explanation for why the Earth-Sun system isn't perpetual motion. "Sorry, but it won't last forever; the gravitational potential is slowly being radiated out in gravitational waves."

Hell, for that matter, doesn't even a spinning top in space slowly slow down because of gravitational ergospheric drag?

Not that the Newtonian picture isn't consistent on its own, since in the absence of damping forces, "perpetual motion" is indeed what we would expect. This guy needs Newton's First Law explained to him again.

Sounds like he's trying to return to Aristotelian physics. "But an object in motion CAN'T just fly through space forever with no motive force!"

Q: Since particles never exceed light-speed in accelerators, doesn't this prove Einstein right?

I wonder how he'd react if he learned about refractive indices less than 1.

On some level, is this technically true? One reason nothing can surpass the speed of light is because no forces can act faster than the speed of light?

User avatar
phlip
Restorer of Worlds
Posts: 7572
Joined: Sat Sep 23, 2006 3:56 am UTC
Location: Australia
Contact:

Re: Wrong on the Internet: The Final Theory

Postby phlip » Fri Aug 30, 2013 12:38 am UTC

Eebster the Great wrote:
At the small-but-not-so-small-as-to-be-quantum level, light isn't actually travelling "slower"... while the light is travelling, it's going at light-speed. It just periodically stops, because it's hit an atom, gets absorbed, energising the atom, which then discharges, re-emitting the photon, at the speed of light.

That's a nice analogy, but light doesn't really behave like a particle in this situation. The group speed of the pulse is indeed less than c, although the precursor still travels at c. In other words, it is accurate to say that light travels at a speed less than c in a medium, and that the reduction in speed is due to interference with the EM field of the medium.

Ah, interesting. I'll admit that my explanation there was just the story I'd heard, which sounded right to me and I was just parroting... If that's actually not what really happens, then I'll just have to admit ignorance in this area...

Code: Select all

enum ಠ_ಠ {°□°╰=1, °Д°╰, ಠ益ಠ╰};
void ┻━┻︵​╰(ಠ_ಠ ⚠) {exit((int)⚠);}
[he/him/his]

User avatar
Jorpho
Posts: 6279
Joined: Wed Dec 12, 2007 5:31 am UTC
Location: Canada

Re: Wrong on the Internet: The Final Theory

Postby Jorpho » Fri Aug 30, 2013 5:41 am UTC

Aww. The layout is actually normal. After reading this thread I was expecting multiple font sizes and colors all over the place.

phlip wrote:Q: Where does Einstein's famous E = mc2 equation come from, why does this simple equation apply to the atom bomb, and how is it that matter converts into pure energy?
This one's actually kinda cute. He claims that mass/energy equivalence is nonsense, and E = mc2 is misunderstood... it's actually a kinetic energy equation for things travelling at lightspeed, by analogy to the usual kinetic energy equation E = 1/2mv2, and doesn't explain where the missing 1/2 went. He the derives it based on the "momentum of light" equation p = E/c, however that formula is derived from E = mc2 in the first place. Needless to say, everything he says here is wrong.
I thought it was E = hν and λ = h/p first (though it does amount to the same, as previously discussed).

davidstarlingm wrote:What about that big one at the center of our galaxy?
Isn't that more than sort of theoretical?

User avatar
PM 2Ring
Posts: 3713
Joined: Mon Jan 26, 2009 3:19 pm UTC
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Wrong on the Internet: The Final Theory

Postby PM 2Ring » Fri Aug 30, 2013 7:31 am UTC

davidstarlingm wrote:
PM 2Ring wrote:I wasn't aware that there'd been any observations of quiescent stellar-sized black holes, but I guess it's possible in principle via gravitational lensing. But even then, it'd be hard to tell the difference between a small black hole and a large neutron star that was no longer radiating.

Are there any large neutron stars old enough to no longer be radiating?


Yes and no. :)

Pulsars shed angular momentum via their magnetic field, so they gradually slow down and stop being pulsars. Of course they can still emit large amounts of radiation if they have material in the vicinity accreting on them, but it's expected that an old slow neutron star will have cleared the immediate interstellar medium by the time its rotation is very slow, unless it has a large companion near by.

It's estimated that there may be around one million active pulsars in our galaxy, but there could be around a billion non-pulsar neutron stars.

OTOH, it takes a lot longer for a neutron star to radiate away its heat of formation than it does for it to lose its angular momentum, so old neutron stars will still radiate, but because they're so small they ought to be colder than white dwarfs, so the radiation will be (mostly) infrared. And because the radiating surface is so tiny, such radiation won't be easy to detect. Still, they'd be much hotter than the Hawking radiation of a black hole, which is in the nanokelvin range for stellar black holes.

User avatar
Cleverbeans
Posts: 1378
Joined: Wed Mar 26, 2008 1:16 pm UTC

Re: Wrong on the Internet: The Final Theory

Postby Cleverbeans » Fri Aug 30, 2013 1:17 pm UTC

Guys you're missing the point - black holes are just light bulbs. It then follows that black dwarf are just light bulbs turned off. Occam's Razor clearly supports my claim, so it's obviously true. QED bitches~
"Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration." - Abraham Lincoln

Nicias
Posts: 168
Joined: Tue Aug 13, 2013 4:22 pm UTC

Re: Wrong on the Internet: The Final Theory

Postby Nicias » Fri Aug 30, 2013 1:54 pm UTC

PM 2Ring wrote:OTOH, it takes a lot longer for a neutron star to radiate away its heat of formation than it does for it to lose its angular momentum, so old neutron stars will still radiate, but because they're so small they ought to be colder than white dwarfs, so the radiation will be (mostly) infrared. And because the radiating surface is so tiny, such radiation won't be easy to detect. Still, they'd be much hotter than the Hawking radiation of a black hole, which is in the nanokelvin range for stellar black holes.


They are actually hotter. Wikipedia gives:

White dwarf: 10^7-10^4 K
Neutron star: 10^12-10^6K

Both types typically coold down to their lower range not by radiating visible light. Then stay at that temparture for a very long time.

User avatar
PM 2Ring
Posts: 3713
Joined: Mon Jan 26, 2009 3:19 pm UTC
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Wrong on the Internet: The Final Theory

Postby PM 2Ring » Fri Aug 30, 2013 3:23 pm UTC

Sure, a young neutron star would be hotter than a white dwarf. But I was talking about very old ones, with rotational periods > 1 second.

http://iopscience.iop.org/0004-637X/503 ... .text.html
ABSTRACT

We consider Joule heating caused by dissipation of the magnetic field in the neutron star crust. This mechanism may be efficient in maintaining a relatively high surface temperature in very old neutron stars. Calculations of the thermal evolution show that, at the late evolutionary stage (t ≥ 10 Myr), the luminosity of the neutron star is approximately equal to the energy released due to the field dissipation and is practically independent of the atmosphere models. At this stage, the surface temperature can be of the order of 3 × 104–105 K. Joule heating can maintain this high temperature for an extremely long time (≥100 Myr), comparable with the decay time of the magnetic field.


Which I will admit is hotter than I was expecting.


Return to “Science”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 7 guests