1063: "Kill Hitler"

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Re: 1063: "Kill Hitler"

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Jun 07, 2012 1:14 am UTC

J Thomas wrote:Oh, I see. But first, that does not say that nothing is conserved. We have observed that energy, momentum, and angular momentum are not conserved, but that does not mean there are no conservation laws -- just not those particular ones.
No, we have not observed those things. And furthermore, if we didn't have those conservation laws, then we wouldn't have laws that are independent of orientation, location, or time.

Being conserved "on average" is not the same as an actual conservation law.
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Re: 1063: "Kill Hitler"

Postby Pfhorrest » Thu Jun 07, 2012 1:58 am UTC

J Thomas wrote:
Pfhorrest wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:Well yeah, but in an inconsistent universe we can't make predictions or useful discoveries, so we might as well assume it is consistent unless/until proven otherwise.

What could even count as conclusive proof otherwise, rather than "there is this really weird phenomenon we don't understand at all yet"? How can we tell the difference between something being contingently not understood and something being necessarily incomprehensible? And if we can't, why should we ever be defeatists and assume it is an insurmountable problem rather than just an unsolved one?


I think he's kind of agreeing with you.

Yeah, I think so too, I was just going an extra step further; the extra step necessary to defeat the argument you're making against him.

We can take the universe to behave either consistently or inconsistently. We may notice certain apparent consistencies in it and say "this is the way the universe behaves". If we then observe the universe behaving, in some instances, inconsistently with that, our possible conclusions are two: either our proposed laws are the only possible ones and the universe is inconsistent with them and therefore the universe is just inconsistent and we can't make any sense out of it; or the universe is consistent with itself, our proposed laws about it were just wrong, and we need only propose new laws to explain what we see.

All of science is stipulated on the assumption that the universe behaves in some consistent way, and the quest to figure out which consistent way it behaves in. The reason people stipulate crazy new theories like half-undetectable neutrinos and dark matter and such is because the alternative to positing something to explain the observations is simply that they are inexplicable, which is counter to the very foundation of the scientific approach. That assumption of consistency and explainability is just an assumption and can never be conclusively proven nor disproven, we can only assume either it or its negation; but its negation is just defeatist, and would imply that we shouldn't even try to make any sense of anything ever.
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Re: 1063: "Kill Hitler"

Postby J Thomas » Thu Jun 07, 2012 2:05 am UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
J Thomas wrote:Oh, I see. But first, that does not say that nothing is conserved. We have observed that energy, momentum, and angular momentum are not conserved, but that does not mean there are no conservation laws -- just not those particular ones.
No, we have not observed those things.


Yes, we have. Neutrinos were invented as a fudge factor to account for the observations of those not being conserved. What was observed was violation of conservation laws. A completely undetectable particle was assumed to explain away those observations. The only way to detect neutrinos is to detect the violations of conservation laws that they were invented to explain away.

And furthermore, if we didn't have those conservation laws, then we wouldn't have laws that are independent of orientation, location, or time.


There could be something which is conserved independent of orientation, location, or time, couldn't there? Just not energy, momentum, or angular momentum. Like, in a universe where those are violated exactly as they are violated in our own universe, couldn't you still have conservation of charge? As I think about it, you couldn't expect the center of charge to stay the same, because atomic nuclei and particles leaving them might move with different momentum than you'd predict if there were no "neutrinos", and so far as I know now, those anomalies might be in random places, times, and directions. Except we know that they are not completely random. New events that violate those conservation laws are likely to happen somewhere near the light-cone of previous events that violated conservation laws, and the new events tend to have the reverse effect of the old ones, at least wrt energy.

So anyway, I guess it might not to any giant harm for you to assume undetectable particles to explain the observed violations of conservation laws. It's probably a harmless thing to do.

Being conserved "on average" is not the same as an actual conservation law.


Of course not. But it's quite possible that those laws are conserved on average even though they are violated regularly.

Pfhorrest wrote:We can take the universe to behave either consistently or inconsistently. We may notice certain apparent consistencies in it and say "this is the way the universe behaves". If we then observe the universe behaving, in some instances, inconsistently with that, our possible conclusions are two: either our proposed laws are the only possible ones and the universe is inconsistent with them and therefore the universe is just inconsistent and we can't make any sense out of it; or the universe is consistent with itself, our proposed laws about it were just wrong, and we need only propose new laws to explain what we see.


That is a straw man. Of course we need new laws to explain what we see. But those laws do not have to involve patching the incorrect laws using complicated undetectable entities that are designed only to patch the known failures.

All of science is stipulated on the assumption that the universe behaves in some consistent way, and the quest to figure out which consistent way it behaves in. The reason people stipulate crazy new theories like half-undetectable neutrinos and dark matter and such is because the alternative to positing something to explain the observations is simply that they are inexplicable, which is counter to the very foundation of the scientific approach.


There is usually room for multiple hypotheses that are compatible with the known data. Why does everybody get fixated on just one?

It isn't impossible that there really are neutrinos that spend half their time being completely unresponsive and the other half ready to interact with mass that is in a rare state which is itself ready to interact with neutrinos. That isn't impossible. It isn't impossible that half of the solar reactions produce neutrinos which can interact with matter, and half of them produce neutrinos which will never ever again interact with matter. And maybe the particle idea is misleading and given time some alternative will gain traction.

The choice is not:

1. Accept that the only idea that gets any attention is right, or
2. Decide that there is no possible explanation and we should give up trying to explain things.

There is a third choice:

1. Accept that there is no alternative to the current theory.
2. Accept that no theory is adequate and give up on explanation entirely.
3. Look for alternative theories and look for experiments that might tell which is wrong.
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Re: 1063: "Kill Hitler"

Postby popman » Thu Jun 07, 2012 4:58 am UTC

Coyne wrote:Ummm...did anyone else notice that he used the machine twice?

the time machine is made of two parts. one can move forwards by freezing occupants (the one without windows)
one can bring the user back to the time the machine was first created (this is always the destination) it can only be used once because there is only space in that area for one time machine (pauli exclusion principal)
the location for the machine was chosen due to it's ability to exist in two states in the forth dimension
Eternal Density wrote:Oh, BHG! Only BHG would use a time machine for the mere purpose of annoying a single person :P
I remember a TV show where there was a seemingly unimportant reference to a guy who'd bought the power of time travel (which had previously belonged to a main character who sold it for cash) for the purpose of killing Hitler. Turned out to be a brick joke, as in the next season it sparked an entire episode...

I never liked that episode.
it had lots of plotholes and historical inaccuracies. most notably the fact that Natan would not have sold his power due to the occupation. (also the comic book power guy would have just made himself the hero instead of running away and getting shot)
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Re: 1063: "Kill Hitler"

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Jun 07, 2012 5:04 am UTC

J Thomas wrote:Yes, we have. Neutrinos were invented as a fudge factor to account for the observations of those not being conserved. What was observed was violation of conservation laws. A completely undetectable particle was assumed to explain away those observations. The only way to detect neutrinos is to detect the violations of conservation laws that they were invented to explain away.
Like how Pluto was invented to account for anomalies in Neptune's orbit?

And what have you got against neutrinos, anyway? I get the impression that you don't actually know all that much about the history of neutrino physics, since you seem to keep referring to them as in principle undetectable, which isn't what the actual theory says.

There could be something which is conserved independent of orientation, location, or time, couldn't there?
Sure, but I don't see what help conservation of charge would be to doing science in a world where the laws of nature can change from day to day and country to country.
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Re: 1063: "Kill Hitler"

Postby skine » Thu Jun 07, 2012 7:48 am UTC

I didn't see other posts on the subject, but I personally get annoyed by the whole "Kill Hitler" thing.

I mean, sure, he wasn't a very nice guy, but the popular notion of Hitler is that he was the boogeyman. He isn't a historical figure, but instead he's become the embodiment of all of the things we consider evil in our society. The very idea that going back in time and killing a single person could ensure that WWII and the Holocaust could happen is asinine. Antisemitism was rampant throughout Europe and the United States, as were nationalism, and a severe economic depression. It could even be argued that not only was a second World War inevitable, but that the antisemitism was so strong that an event like the Holocaust was as well.

Now, I'm in no way trying to argue that Hitler was the good guy. Rather, you don't solve global issues by killing one man, especially when he wasn't the bad guy out of a fairy tale that we imagine him to be.

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Re: 1063: "Kill Hitler"

Postby Diadem » Thu Jun 07, 2012 10:45 am UTC

skine wrote:I mean, sure, he wasn't a very nice guy, but the popular notion of Hitler is that he was the boogeyman. He isn't a historical figure, but instead he's become the embodiment of all of the things we consider evil in our society. The very idea that going back in time and killing a single person could ensure that WWII and the Holocaust could happen is asinine. Antisemitism was rampant throughout Europe and the United States, as were nationalism, and a severe economic depression. It could even be argued that not only was a second World War inevitable, but that the antisemitism was so strong that an event like the Holocaust was as well.

A continuation of the first world war was most likely inevitable. The "peace of Versailles" was pretty much an armistice, not a real peace. However the holocaust was most certainly not inevitable, and in fact I'd argue that this was solely Hitler's doing, and would not have happened under different leadership.

Yes, anti-Semitism was rampant in Europe at that time, and history had already seen plenty of pogroms and other outbursts against Jews. But before 1933 Germany was not particularly bad compared to other nations. Contrary to popular believe Hitler's anti-Semitism was not politically motivated, but was in fact a very personal thing. There was no opportunism in it, the Nazis did not gain power because of their anti-Semitism, and in fact it probably hurt them. It most certainly hurt their war effort. For Hitler the holocaust was more important than winning the war. Any other leader would probably have had different priorities there. This was no small thing. A huge portion of the German army was unable to do anything productive for the war effort, because of the holocaust. I won't go as far as to say the would have won the war without the holocaust, but things would certainly have gone better for them.

Without Hitler's anti-Semitism, and with a little bit better diplomacy, Nazi-Germany might even have managed to keep the US out of the war entirely - or get them to join on their side. Their was a lot of sympathy for Germany in the US prior to 1933. That certainly would have changed the outcome of the war.
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Re: 1063: "Kill Hitler"

Postby J Thomas » Thu Jun 07, 2012 12:07 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
J Thomas wrote:Yes, we have. Neutrinos were invented as a fudge factor to account for the observations of those not being conserved. What was observed was violation of conservation laws. A completely undetectable particle was assumed to explain away those observations. The only way to detect neutrinos is to detect the violations of conservation laws that they were invented to explain away.

Like how Pluto was invented to account for anomalies in Neptune's orbit?


Yes, exactly like that. Except that when they looked for Pluto, they found it.

And what have you got against neutrinos, anyway? I get the impression that you don't actually know all that much about the history of neutrino physics, since you seem to keep referring to them as in principle undetectable, which isn't what the actual theory says.


My only objection to neutrinos is that they are a semantic game with no actual content, and the baggage people assume when they believe in neutrinos might possibly get in their way. They look like an adequate way to organize people's thinking about the anomalies they were invented to explain, but it's bad science to restrict your thinking to just that one way.

So, how do you detect neutrinos? I have only heard about two ways. First, you can have nuclear decay in which conservation laws are visibly broken, and that implies the presence of undetectable neutrinos to carry away the missing energy etc. Second, you can have other nuclear reactions in which conservation laws are broken in the opposite way -- energy appears out of nowhere to allow a proton to decay into a neutron and a positron, for example. This second violation of conservation laws is considered to be a "detection" of the undetectable particle produced by the first reaction. But I argue that what is detected is merely another violation of conservation. It's possible to interpret the second violation as a detection of the undetectable particle. That's a possible interpretation.

But it's a travesty of science to assume that this is the only acceptable interpretation when you have not seriously considered any others.

There could be something which is conserved independent of orientation, location, or time, couldn't there?
Sure, but I don't see what help conservation of charge would be to doing science in a world where the laws of nature can change from day to day and country to country.


You have no proof that isn't the case, though. Conservation laws are a big convenience if they happen to be true. But hey, it would be convenient if planets had circular orbits. We invented epicycles trying to keep them circular. How sympathetic would you be to an astrologer who said the laws of astrology have to be right, because otherwise people's personalities could vary any which way and there would be no way to predict what people are like? It's true that we have no alternative method to get the results that astrology claims to get. But that doesn't make astrology true.

Conservation laws are a set of hypotheses. If the laws of nature do visibly change tomorrow, you will have to get used to it. Luckily they have not yet done that in visible ways. So there is some observed stability to the world. We observe that conservation laws are often upheld, and we might be able to find out something about how often they hold and what circumstances it takes for them to fail. Or we can assume that they must be completely true because we would feel uncomfortable if they were not completely true.
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Re: 1063: "Kill Hitler"

Postby iamspen » Thu Jun 07, 2012 12:57 pm UTC

Neutrinos must exist, because how else could you reconfigure the deflector dish to fire a neutrino beam to close spacetime anomolies?

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Re: 1063: "Kill Hitler"

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Jun 07, 2012 1:00 pm UTC

J Thomas wrote:Yes, exactly like that. Except that when they looked for Pluto, they found it.
Kind of like neutrinos?

So, how do you detect neutrinos? I have only heard about two ways. First, you can have nuclear decay in which conservation laws are visibly broken, and that implies the presence of undetectable neutrinos to carry away the missing energy etc. Second, you can have other nuclear reactions in which conservation laws are broken in the opposite way -- energy appears out of nowhere to allow a proton to decay into a neutron and a positron, for example. This second violation of conservation laws is considered to be a "detection" of the undetectable particle produced by the first reaction. But I argue that what is detected is merely another violation of conservation. It's possible to interpret the second violation as a detection of the undetectable particle. That's a possible interpretation.
If you've just detected it, it's not undetectable. By your logic, we could make the same argument about photons. Energy vanishes from the electron shell of one atom, and then magically reappears in another atom far away, violating conservation of energy twice in opposite directions.

Except, that's a ridiculous way to interpret it, for either neutrinos or photons. Far more reasonable and in keeping with absolutely everything else we know about the universe is to conclude that there is something that travels from the first atom to the second atom, carrying this energy.

And until we find any evidence whatsoever that our theories are wrong, we'll keep them. What would actually be a travesty would be giving serious undue weight to ridiculous notions that, rather than a simple explanation involving a new type of particle, we actually have pervasive violations of the most fundamental patterns of nature.
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Re: 1063: "Kill Hitler"

Postby J Thomas » Thu Jun 07, 2012 1:19 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
J Thomas wrote:Yes, exactly like that. Except that when they looked for Pluto, they found it.
Kind of like neutrinos?

So, how do you detect neutrinos? I have only heard about two ways. First, you can have nuclear decay in which conservation laws are visibly broken, and that implies the presence of undetectable neutrinos to carry away the missing energy etc. Second, you can have other nuclear reactions in which conservation laws are broken in the opposite way -- energy appears out of nowhere to allow a proton to decay into a neutron and a positron, for example. This second violation of conservation laws is considered to be a "detection" of the undetectable particle produced by the first reaction. But I argue that what is detected is merely another violation of conservation. It's possible to interpret the second violation as a detection of the undetectable particle. That's a possible interpretation.
If you've just detected it, it's not undetectable. By your logic, we could make the same argument about photons. Energy vanishes from the electron shell of one atom, and then magically reappears in another atom far away, violating conservation of energy twice in opposite directions.

Except, that's a ridiculous way to interpret it, for either neutrinos or photons. Far more reasonable and in keeping with absolutely everything else we know about the universe is to conclude that there is something that travels from the first atom to the second atom, carrying this energy.


Photons are something we have enough evidence about to see that they are extremely problematic. They diffract and refract and interfere. We can describe the observable parts of their behavior but we have nothing like an explanation. Arguing that photons are the only possible explanation for "light" so therefore we should do the same thing for conservation failures is absurd.

Neutrinos are less problematic because they are so hard to detect that we have very little information about them.

And until we find any evidence whatsoever that our theories are wrong, we'll keep them. What would actually be a travesty would be giving serious undue weight to ridiculous notions that, rather than a simple explanation involving a new type of particle, we actually have pervasive violations of the most fundamental patterns of nature.


Well, what is observed is particular well-defined violations of the most fundamental patterns people assume about nature. When you refuse to consider more than one hypothesis, you're setting yourself up to be blind-sided. But there's nothing wrong with that, if that's what you want to do. It is not good scientific method because when you fail to give yourself alternative hypotheses to test, that makes it harder to find interesting experiments to do. But in the long run likely things will work out anyway.
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Re: 1063: "Kill Hitler"

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Jun 07, 2012 2:01 pm UTC

J Thomas wrote:It is not good scientific method because when you fail to give yourself alternative hypotheses to test
Until there are problems with existing hypotheses, testing loads of wacky alternatives is quite simply a massive waste of time and effort.
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Re: 1063: "Kill Hitler"

Postby Zamfir » Thu Jun 07, 2012 2:22 pm UTC

Are there any phenomena that can not be described as patterned gaps in some conversation laws?

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Re: 1063: "Kill Hitler"

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Jun 07, 2012 2:32 pm UTC

This billiard ball suddenly loses all momentum, proving that momentum is not conserved completely. Fortunately, that other billiard ball promptly gains the same amount of momentum, so at least it is conserved on average!
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Re: 1063: "Kill Hitler"

Postby J Thomas » Thu Jun 07, 2012 3:02 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
J Thomas wrote:It is not good scientific method because when you fail to give yourself alternative hypotheses to test
Until there are problems with existing hypotheses, testing loads of wacky alternatives is quite simply a massive waste of time and effort.


If you are unwilling to even try to create alternatives, how will you know whether they are wacky?

Once again, when you have to assume undetectable particles to make your theories come out right you have some potential problems right there.

Zamfir wrote:Are there any phenomena that can not be described as patterned gaps in some conversation laws?


As you so wittily stated it, we have a shortage of conversation laws. There's Godwin and how many others?

For conservation laws, you can explain anything with them provided the gaps have a pattern. When there is no pattern you might still find a pattern that will work for awhile. When that pattern starts to fail you can find a more complicated pattern that will work for awhile. Then if you design your experiments with the "right" preconceptions, you can create a pattern in your results that comes from your research methods and your choice of control groups etc. When other researchers get random results you can tell them that their experimental methods are faulty and show them the right way that will be reproducible. The more you can eliminate randomness from your samples, the more reproducible your results will be.
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Re: 1063: "Kill Hitler"

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Jun 07, 2012 3:53 pm UTC

J Thomas wrote:If you are unwilling to even try to create alternatives, how will you know whether they are wacky?
What makes you think no one has thought of alternatives? It takes seconds to think up and then reject the notion that maybe everything we know about physics is broken.

Once again, when you have to assume undetectable particles to make your theories come out right you have some potential problems right there.
No, physicists posited theretofore undetected particles, and then came up with ways to detect them, thus making testable predictions and doing real science.
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Re: 1063: "Kill Hitler"

Postby J Thomas » Thu Jun 07, 2012 4:04 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
Once again, when you have to assume undetectable particles to make your theories come out right you have some potential problems right there.
No, physicists posited theretofore undetected particles, and then came up with ways to detect them, thus making testable predictions and doing real science.


I think we are at an impasse. I have considered your idea and accept that it is possible but not in any way certain. You have repeatedly rejected mine without consideration. There's no particular reason to continue.
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Re: 1063: "Kill Hitler"

Postby chenille » Thu Jun 07, 2012 4:19 pm UTC

What idea have you proposed, J Thomas? The electroweak model gives a very good account of exactly when we expect things not to be conserved among obvious particles - neutron-proton conversion, pion decay, and so on - by means of this extra, less obvious particle. You've said that this extra thing might not exist, but in that case, you'd want to at least suggest why else conservation laws break might precisely when they do. Then there'd be an alternative to consider.

Edit: Anyway, I wanted to point out that people did not simply assume that neutrinos oscillate because large numbers of them were missing. That was proposed as a possible explanation a long time ago, but it's only after observations of large numbers of neutrino interactions fit the predicted results incredibly well that anyone began taking it as a given.
Last edited by chenille on Thu Jun 07, 2012 4:29 pm UTC, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: 1063: "Kill Hitler"

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Jun 07, 2012 4:24 pm UTC

J Thomas wrote:I think we are at an impasse. I have considered your idea and accept that it is possible but not in any way certain.
Well of course it's not certain, and no one has ever said it was. It's just *more* probable and/or useful than any alternatives thus far proposed.

You have repeatedly rejected mine without consideration.
No, I have repeatedly rejected yours after considering it.

I'm sorry if I don't spend as much time on that consideration as you would like me to, but I just don't think a lot of time should be spent on alternative explanations that are far more complicated, far worse at making specific testable predictions, logically inconsistent with what we currently believe about physics, and no better at explaining existing observations.

Furthermore, your "hypothesis" isn't even complete. You're not saying, "Maybe it doesn't work how you think, but instead works like this: ...". You're just saying, "Maybe it doesn't work how you think." Propose an actual explanation and explain what predictions it makes, and the people who know what they're doing might have more time for you.
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Re: 1063: "Kill Hitler"

Postby flicky1991 » Thu Jun 07, 2012 4:24 pm UTC

I doubt any model of the universe could ever be perfect, but it doesn't stop us using the ones we have where they apply. For example, Newton's laws are fine when the speeds are nowhere near light speed, so you wouldn't use relativity in simple situations like that. Similarly, even if neutrinos don't really exist, there's no reason not to model particle physics as if they do, if only because it makes the calculations work. More generally, if it turns out that some things we assume are conserved aren't really conserved, then we can still use the model where they are conserved in situations where the difference is unnoticeable. (Inconsistencies with current science don't mean science doesn't work - it just means we don't have all the facts yet.)
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Re: 1063: "Kill Hitler"

Postby drewder » Thu Jun 07, 2012 4:36 pm UTC

I think it's safe to say that many time travelers have attempted to kill Hitler and learned that the universe doesn't allow modification of past events. As proof look at the 42 Ways to Kill Hitler. Very few people could survive one attempt on their lives let alone 42 separate attempts. It even gave Hitler the idea that he was immortal or being preserved in some way.

On a different vein the very worst thing you could do is kill Hitler. This would have led to more moderate elements of the party to come to a negotiated peace with the allies (al la WW1) leaving the Nazi party of the time mostly intact.

Also if you are looking to kill someone with long lasting effects on the world by all means kill Stalin or Mao both of whom are responsible for long lasting evil regimes which led to far more dead and oppressed peoples then Hitler could even dream about.

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Re: 1063: "Kill Hitler"

Postby drewder » Thu Jun 07, 2012 4:37 pm UTC

flicky1991 wrote:(Inconsistencies with current science don't mean science doesn't work - it just means we don't have all the facts yet.)


Or it could just mean God is screwing with you. :mrgreen:

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Re: 1063: "Kill Hitler"

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Jun 07, 2012 4:40 pm UTC

flicky1991 wrote:if it turns out that some things we assume are conserved aren't really conserved, then we can still use the model where they are conserved in situations where the difference is unnoticeable.
You're still forgetting the more serious consequence, which is that if those things aren't conserved, then the laws of physics aren't constant in space, time, or direction (depending on which thing isn't conserved).
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Re: 1063: "Kill Hitler"

Postby flicky1991 » Thu Jun 07, 2012 5:43 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
flicky1991 wrote:if it turns out that some things we assume are conserved aren't really conserved, then we can still use the model where they are conserved in situations where the difference is unnoticeable.
You're still forgetting the more serious consequence, which is that if those things aren't conserved, then the laws of physics aren't constant in space, time, or direction (depending on which thing isn't conserved).


But that's only true according to our current understanding of physics, and it's impossible to say with 100% certainty that our model is always true. If some other, currently unknown model is true, then that model may not require that those quantities are conserved. So I'm not saying that we are wrong - I'm just saying that, if we're wrong, any assumptions we've made about conservation of quantities may also be wrong.
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Re: 1063: "Kill Hitler"

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Jun 07, 2012 6:18 pm UTC

flicky1991 wrote:But that's only true according to our current understanding of physics
No, Noether's theorem is a mathematical result, not contingent on physical observations.
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Re: 1063: "Kill Hitler"

Postby J Thomas » Thu Jun 07, 2012 6:21 pm UTC

chenille wrote:What idea have you proposed, J Thomas?


I propose that neutrinos are a good candidate for a science fad, a concept that is taken up without adequate consideration and deeply held beyond the available evidence. They have a number of the hallmarks of that. It's possible that if I learned enough of the details I would think otherwise. On the other hand, if I'm right then I would have little to gain by learning a whole lot of the details -- even if I found where they went wrong and proposed a better alternative, I would be ignored.

The electroweak model gives a very good account of exactly when we expect things not to be conserved among obvious particles - neutron-proton conversion, pion decay, and so on - by means of this extra, less obvious particle. You've said that this extra thing might not exist, but in that case, you'd want to at least suggest why else conservation laws break might precisely when they do. Then there'd be an alternative to consider.


Yes, that would be a good thing. However, there have been many thousands of physicist-years devoted to fleshing out the single current theory, and I don't have a single J Thomas year available to devote to an alternative. It's unlikely I could provide enough detail quickly.

Edit: Anyway, I wanted to point out that people did not simply assume that neutrinos oscillate because large numbers of them were missing. That was proposed as a possible explanation a long time ago, but it's only after observations of large numbers of neutrino interactions fit the predicted results incredibly well that anyone began taking it as a given.


I want to note that the link you provide did not observe neutrino oscillations. It observed that the ratio of two kinds of events were different on the top of the tank versus the bottom of the tank. The authors interpreted this to mean that there were multiple types of neutrinos created in the atmosphere all around the earth, and that for one type, the ones which pass through the earth oscillate at varying frequency so that about half of them are in the undetectable phase when they reach the detector, while the ones that come in from the top have not had the time or distance to oscillate even once. But the experiment could also fit the idea that as the observable neutrinos pass through the earth, they are gradually converted into an undetectable form that does not oscillate back to the original. This could be tested. If the wavelength is a few hundred miles, then build one detector a half-wavelength from a reactor that makes a lot of neutrinos, and build a second detector twice as far in a straight line, and you should see the ratio drop and then rise again. ;)

Here's an idea I consider less plausible -- maybe the neutrinos always spin, and one can only interact with an oxygen nucleus when it is in the right orientation. And somehow the ones going through the earth (crystal core, magnetized magma etc) have gotten "polarized" so they all spin the same way. Then half the randomly-oriented oxygen nuclei will not be available to them. Well, but that would require them to spin much faster than assumed, the wavelength would be half the length of the detector or less. That is also somewhat testable. If they can tell where in the detector a detection comes from, then they can detect bands that produce the normal number and other bands that produce much less. They could probably tell about that for a wavelength of a few meters or more, and could probably not tell the difference for one of a few centimeters or less. And of course if it's some sort of transverse polarization like light then they couldn't tell at all.

They assumed oscillations because that's what they wanted to see, and it's compatible with the theory they already had. There's a lot of that sort of thing going around.

gmalivuk wrote:
flicky1991 wrote: if it turns out that some things we assume are conserved aren't really conserved, then we can still use the model where they are conserved in situations where the difference is unnoticeable.


You're still forgetting the more serious consequence, which is that if those things aren't conserved, then the laws of physics aren't constant in space, time, or direction (depending on which thing isn't conserved).


Sure, but if that's what's true, then we'll just have to live with it. Meanwhile we can use the accepted theory wherever it fits, to whatever accuracy it fits. And we can find something better as we discover the need.

You seem to have this burning desire for the laws of physics to be the same everywhere, everytime, every direction. It will be nice if it turns out that way.

There were people who wanted just as much for planetary orbits to all be circles around the earth, and that one didn't turn out. We live with it. And here I am talking to you again, when I thought I was about to quit. Maybe we can have an interesting discussion about something else. I think you're jumping to conclusions on this one topic, but that doesn't mean I don't value your comments generally.
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Re: 1063: "Kill Hitler"

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Jun 07, 2012 6:40 pm UTC

J Thomas wrote:It's possible that if I learned enough of the details I would think otherwise.
Furthermore, if you learn enough of the details, real scientists will have some reason to care what you have to say. Right now you're just some amateur who's read a bit of stuff on the internet and think you've found a flaw in extremely advanced physics.

In other words, while you claim neutrinos have all the hallmarks of a "science fad", you have all the hallmarks of a science crank.

I don't have a single J Thomas year available to devote to an alternative. It's unlikely I could provide enough detail quickly.
How can you expect anyone else in the world to devote more time to your own theory than you yourself are willing to devote? It is supremely arrogant of you, if you think that your untried, untested, un-fleshed out idea is worth more of someone else's time than it is of your own.

Meanwhile we can use the accepted theory wherever it fits, to whatever accuracy it fits. And we can find something better as we discover the need.
Right. And so far, no one has discovered any such need.

You seem to have this burning desire for the laws of physics to be the same everywhere, everytime, every direction. It will be nice if it turns out that way.
I don't have any such burning desire, I just know that science is easier if this is assumed, and so there'd need to be an exceptionally good reason to drop that assumption. Extraordinary claims and extraordinary evidence and all that.

Until you are able to provide even the tiniest little iota of evidence that current theory isn't sufficient, no scientists in their right minds should waste their own time investigating your alternative "theory" that you can't even be bothered to investigate yourself.
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And *unless* we notice such discrepancies, it is irrational to reject current explanations, even if they are actually false. There are many situations where the rational thing to believe is not necessarily the true thing to believe, and no scientist would deny that. What you are advocating is giving weight to irrational beliefs simply on the dim possibility that they might possibly one day happen to turn out to be true.
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Re: 1063: "Kill Hitler"

Postby chenille » Thu Jun 07, 2012 7:39 pm UTC

J Thomas wrote:However, there have been many thousands of physicist-years devoted to fleshing out the single current theory, and I don't have a single J Thomas year available to devote to an alternative. It's unlikely I could provide enough detail quickly.

You might sketch out enough details to make it look worth pursuing, though. For instance, right now I have no idea why you might possibly think angular momentum changes occurs in some types of radioactive decay but not others; or why the momentum that appears in these neutrino tanks might be related to the sun or timing of supernovae, in absence of some particle they emit. If you don't even have that, you haven't really offered any idea for what is happening, just said you don't like what physicists think is going on.

J Thomas wrote:I want to note that the link you provide did not observe neutrino oscillations.

Of course not. Rather, they found something to measure that would distinguish the oscillating-neutrino model from the non-oscillating-neutrino model, and then checked it. Or in other words, exactly what I said: not simply a deficit in neutrinos, but observations of large numbers of neutrino interactions that fit the predicted results incredibly well. The reason there's a lot of that sort of thing going around is that's how science works, by coming up with theories and finding ways to test their predictions. That's difficult and valuable even when wrong; "fad" is an easy and worthless accusation.

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Re: 1063: "Kill Hitler"

Postby jpers36 » Thu Jun 07, 2012 9:21 pm UTC

J Thomas wrote:I propose that neutrinos are a good candidate for a science fad...


The Neutrinos were all about fads. Look at that hair!

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Re: 1063: "Kill Hitler"

Postby J Thomas » Thu Jun 07, 2012 10:03 pm UTC

chenille wrote:
J Thomas wrote:However, there have been many thousands of physicist-years devoted to fleshing out the single current theory, and I don't have a single J Thomas year available to devote to an alternative. It's unlikely I could provide enough detail quickly.

You might sketch out enough details to make it look worth pursuing, though. For instance, right now I have no idea why you might possibly think angular momentum changes occurs in some types of radioactive decay but not others; or why the momentum that appears in these neutrino tanks might be related to the sun or timing of supernovae, in absence of some particle they emit. If you don't even have that, you haven't really offered any idea for what is happening, just said you don't like what physicists think is going on.


OK, but before we go on let's consider what a particle is. In classical physics, a particle was something that was in one place at one time, not at two places at the same time, right? And a particle moved from one place to another by traversing a path from the start to the destination. Agreed? And in modern physics a particle can be in many places at the same time, and sometimes maybe it can disappear at one place and suddenly reappear somewhere else without traveling through the space in between? So when you think "particle" you don't at all think about a classical particle, but about the new kind which is not really a particle at all, right?

J Thomas wrote:I want to note that the link you provide did not observe neutrino oscillations.

Of course not. Rather, they found something to measure that would distinguish the oscillating-neutrino model from the non-oscillating-neutrino model, and then checked it. Or in other words, exactly what I said: not simply a deficit in neutrinos, but observations of large numbers of neutrino interactions that fit the predicted results incredibly well. The reason there's a lot of that sort of thing going around is that's how science works, by coming up with theories and finding ways to test their predictions. That's difficult and valuable even when wrong; "fad" is an easy and worthless accusation.


This relates to a question in philosophy of science. You appear to follow something like Kuhn's view. Scientists choose a single paradigm and try to relate everything to that. Some of them do things that tend to support it, while others do experiments looking for things that contradict it. As contradictions arise and get resolved by complications in the theory, eventually the whole thing gets so top-heavy that a new generation of physicists accepts a new theory.

My stand is that it is better to do scientific hypotheses a less restrictive way. When experiment shows that some idea is wrong, discard that idea. And everything that has not yet been discarded, is what's left to work with. Don't invent a single theory and stick with it unless your imagination is so utterly barren that you can't think of anything else compatible with the data. "When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be your hypothesis." I'm convinced this is a better way to do science. However, there's something to be said for the old way where occasionally scientists pick two different choices and argue at great length about them, and each try to design experiments to prove that their own idea is right and the other guy's is wrong. That can be productive too, when it happens that they do come up with two ideas.

So you say they designed their experiment to help them choose between two particular hypotheses, a simple one which was already in trouble and another more complex one which had no virtue except that it was designed to patch up the problems with the first. And they collected enough data to show definitely that the first failed, and therefore the second was correct. My thought is that they really ought to be looking as hard as they can for things they don't already expect. If they find something new then they might find they can discard both of the current hypotheses easily and move on to something new. "Chance favors the prepared mind." If you're ready to see something you didn't expect then you're more likely to see it if it's there. And neutrino experiments are so expensive and limited to such a small number of experimenters, that it's very sad when an experiment gets designed only to choose between two braindead hypotheses when it might show something important.
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Re: 1063: "Kill Hitler"

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Jun 07, 2012 10:19 pm UTC

J Thomas wrote:OK, but before we go on let's consider what a particle is. In classical physics, a particle was something that was in one place at one time, not at two places at the same time, right? And a particle moved from one place to another by traversing a path from the start to the destination. Agreed?
Right. And then classical physics turned out not to be fully correct.

And in modern physics a particle can be in many places at the same time, and sometimes maybe it can disappear at one place and suddenly reappear somewhere else without traveling through the space in between? So when you think "particle" you don't at all think about a classical particle, but about the new kind which is not really a particle at all, right?
Well not exactly, because people still have the classical intuition, as an unfortunate consequence of continuing to use the same word for something that turns out not to work quite the way we used to think.

I'm not sure what your point is here, though...

When experiment shows that some idea is wrong, discard that idea.
So Newton should have been discarded when Neptune wasn't behaving properly?
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Re: 1063: "Kill Hitler"

Postby chenille » Thu Jun 07, 2012 10:40 pm UTC

J Thomas wrote:So you say they designed their experiment to help them choose between two particular hypotheses, a simple one which was already in trouble and another more complex one which had no virtue except that it was designed to patch up the problems with the first. And they collected enough data to show definitely that the first failed, and therefore the second was correct.

Straight up wrong; the data didn't have to be compatible with the second either, e.g. by rejecting oscillations but still showing a shortage, and so provide some genuine support. Anyway, it's good to have people come up with other interpretations consistent with the data we have when they can, but there's a reason we don't spend all our time questioning ground assumptions. Because sometimes, there just doesn't seem to be any other reasonable way to go about things.

By now the data we have seems all but impossible to reconcile with any notion besides these extra particles, so you might as well be insisting people should have an alternative to photons. If you come up with one, even the basic idea to develop into one, great! But saying physics has gone down the wrong path because nobody has come up with a working alternative to this particular model that gives good results, that's only fooling yourself.

Seriously, the braindead hypotheses are the detailed models that give testable predictions, as opposed to the "don't believe it, must be something else, someone figure it out for me"? That doesn't strike you as at all ridiculous?

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Re: 1063: "Kill Hitler"

Postby J Thomas » Thu Jun 07, 2012 11:06 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
J Thomas wrote:OK, but before we go on let's consider what a particle is. In classical physics, a particle was something that was in one place at one time, not at two places at the same time, right? And a particle moved from one place to another by traversing a path from the start to the destination. Agreed?
Right. And then classical physics turned out not to be fully correct.

And in modern physics a particle can be in many places at the same time, and sometimes maybe it can disappear at one place and suddenly reappear somewhere else without traveling through the space in between? So when you think "particle" you don't at all think about a classical particle, but about the new kind which is not really a particle at all, right?
Well not exactly, because people still have the classical intuition, as an unfortunate consequence of continuing to use the same word for something that turns out not to work quite the way we used to think.

I'm not sure what your point is here, though...


Pfhorrest said something that nobody followed up on. He said that modern particles are not particles, but some sort of complicated mathematical construction that is utterly unintuitive. And my thought was that if you can say "particle" and it doesn't give you a false intuition but instead you think about the complicated unintuitive math, then it should be completely harmless. It's perfectly OK to call neutrinos particles if you remember that they are not particles. I think it's bad if you let classical ideas about particles influence your thinking about neutrinos, but as long as you avoid that and don't think of them as particles then it's all good.

When experiment shows that some idea is wrong, discard that idea.
So Newton should have been discarded when Neptune wasn't behaving properly?


Unfortunately, in Newton's time we could not do experimental astronomy.

Now to a limited extent we can.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pioneer_anomaly
Some people are making a big deal of a very slight unexpected force. I doubt it will amount to anything, but I'd be interested if it did.

J Thomas wrote:t's possible that if I learned enough of the details I would think otherwise.


Furthermore, if you learn enough of the details, real scientists will have some reason to care what you have to say. Right now you're just some amateur who's read a bit of stuff on the internet and think you've found a flaw in extremely advanced physics.

In other words, while you claim neutrinos have all the hallmarks of a "science fad", you have all the hallmarks of a science crank.


Are you trying to troll me? I should warn you that I can be trolled. You would not like me when I am trolled. I'm perfectly capable of maintaining one side of a long argument where nobody learns anything, nobody wins anything, and everybody eventually leaves with the firm belief that they were right all along and the other guy was just unreasonable, And yet there's that nagging doubt that if he was so worthless, why did you waste so much time on him? But if he was somehow not completely worthless after all, still your time was wasted.

Anyway, it was predictable that you'd come to this level of insult, and it fits either way. It's only the amateur village boy who'd come out and say the truth about the Emperor's New Clothes.
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Re: 1063: "Kill Hitler"

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Jun 07, 2012 11:41 pm UTC

J Thomas wrote:
When experiment shows that some idea is wrong, discard that idea.
So Newton should have been discarded when Neptune wasn't behaving properly?
Unfortunately, in Newton's time we could not do experimental astronomy.
By Newton I meant Newtonian mechanics. You know, the science used to predict the location of and ultimately to discover Pluto? (Also Neptune itself, earlier on.)

It would have been irrational to throw out Newtonian mechanics based on that anomaly, because Newtonian mechanics had tons of experimental evidence to back it up. So instead of discarding it they decided there might be an entire damn *planet* out there that hadn't been detected yet, and then predicted where it should be, and then found it.

Are you trying to troll me?
No. I am genuinely asserting that you have the hallmarks of a science crank: incomplete knowledge on the subject, unwillingness to devote time completing that knowledge, a personal explanation that contradicts well-established and heavily studied theories, unwillingness to devote time fleshing out that explanation, desire for other people to do the leg work of investigating your alternative hypothesis, and frustration when confronted with their complete disinterest in your explanation.

Okay, so admittedly that isn't all the hallmarks of a science crank, but you used "all" when you talked about hallmarks of a science fad, so I went for parallelism over complete accuracy.
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Re: 1063: "Kill Hitler"

Postby Pfhorrest » Fri Jun 08, 2012 12:03 am UTC

J Thomas wrote:This relates to a question in philosophy of science. You appear to follow something like Kuhn's view. Scientists choose a single paradigm and try to relate everything to that. Some of them do things that tend to support it, while others do experiments looking for things that contradict it. As contradictions arise and get resolved by complications in the theory, eventually the whole thing gets so top-heavy that a new generation of physicists accepts a new theory.

I'm rather critical of Kuhn's revolutionary method as a normative method of science (i.e. as a prescription for how best to do science, vs a description of how scientists historically have done science), but if we take a pragmatist, instrumental view of science, then something like it does stand up very well as normative.

Our theories are essentially compression algorithms for observations. Instead of noting every . single . observable . phenomenon . ever, we note a pattern of of phenomena. We do this because it is much, much easier to work with; consider for analogy working with a vector shape in Illustrator vs pushing around individual pixels in Photoshop, it's way easier to change and transform and otherwise work with the abstract pattern than all the individual points it fleshes out to.

When our theories don't match up with every observation, we need to modify them somehow to keep them accurate and therefore useful. But the whole point of having theories in the first place is to make interacting with reality easier, so of course we're going to modify our theories in the easiest way possible to maintain accuracy. If we can make a small modification to an existing simple theory, that's much easier than coming up with a much more complicated theory, so if they provide the same accuracy, it's better to use the slightly modified simple theory than the complicated but perhaps more elegant theory.

However, when we end up having to make so many modifications to the simple theory that it and all its many exceptions and modifications is more difficult to work with than an inherently more complex theory, then it becomes pragmatically better to use the more complex theory than the simple one with all of its many exceptions. Of course, all this depends on someone coming up with a more complex theory in the first place -- if nobody has proposed a more complex theory to use, the simple theory with tons of exceptions is all we have to work with -- but as the pile of exceptions necessary grows, impetus to come up with a more elegant solution grows. If you pile on enough epicycles, geocentric astronomy is perfectly accurate -- but it's just so much easier to do calculations from a heliocentric model. Even accounting for all the rest of physics, besides just planetary motion, it's possible to construct an observationally equivalent mathematical model which has the Earth as the center of the universe, or even which has the surface of the Earth on the inside of a sphere and the entire rest of the universe contained in that sphere, and the innards of the Earth stretching to infinity outside the sphere. But the extra transformations you have to throw in all over the place makes that kind of model a giant pain to work with, so why bother?

And then even when we have a more complex theory, sometimes when we know we're working within a limited domain where the simpler theory is accurate enough, it still makes sense to fall back on that. Engineers use Newtonian mechanics still all the time every day because there's absolutely no need to do all that relativistic math when you're dealing with something the scale of a car driving over a bridge; once you round the results off to the necessary precision, the Newtonian results are the same as the relativistic ones.

My stand is that it is better to do scientific hypotheses a less restrictive way. When experiment shows that some idea is wrong, discard that idea. And everything that has not yet been discarded, is what's left to work with.

Nobody disputes this. The question is how much of a different idea do we have to move on to -- is the old idea with a few tweaks acceptable, or do we need something completely unlike it?

J Thomas wrote:Pfhorrest said something that nobody followed up on. He said that modern particles are not particles, but some sort of complicated mathematical construction that is utterly unintuitive. And my thought was that if you can say "particle" and it doesn't give you a false intuition but instead you think about the complicated unintuitive math, then it should be completely harmless. It's perfectly OK to call neutrinos particles if you remember that they are not particles. I think it's bad if you let classical ideas about particles influence your thinking about neutrinos, but as long as you avoid that and don't think of them as particles then it's all good.

The thing with that is, it's not that it turned out that something wasn't a particle as we once defined it but was instead something else. Instead, it turned out that everything that we called particles were other than what we held "particles" to be. In a case like that, rather than saying "x is not a member of set S after all", we say "members of set S do not have property F after all". We didn't learn that photons (and neutrinos, and everything else) aren't particles; we learned that particles, in general, are not like what we thought they were. So we keep calling things the same name, and understand that the thing that that name names is different from what we previously thought it to be.
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Re: 1063: "Kill Hitler"

Postby J Thomas » Fri Jun 08, 2012 3:09 am UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
J Thomas wrote:
When experiment shows that some idea is wrong, discard that idea.
So Newton should have been discarded when Neptune wasn't behaving properly?
Unfortunately, in Newton's time we could not do experimental astronomy.
By Newton I meant Newtonian mechanics. You know, the science used to predict the location of and ultimately to discover Pluto? (Also Neptune itself, earlier on.)

It would have been irrational to throw out Newtonian mechanics based on that anomaly


Of course it would. They couldn't do experiments on Neptune or Uranus, so they couldn't do controlled experiments.

Are you trying to troll me?
No. I am genuinely asserting that you have the hallmarks of a science crank: incomplete knowledge on the subject, unwillingness to devote time completing that knowledge, a personal explanation that contradicts well-established and heavily studied theories, unwillingness to devote time fleshing out that explanation, desire for other people to do the leg work of investigating your alternative hypothesis, and frustration when confronted with their complete disinterest in your explanation.


Have you done all the mathematics for the neutrino work yourself? Do you understand it on an expert level?
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Re: 1063: "Kill Hitler"

Postby gmalivuk » Fri Jun 08, 2012 3:14 am UTC

J Thomas wrote:Of course it would. They couldn't do experiments on Neptune or Uranus, so they couldn't do controlled experiments.
Controlled experiments are not the only way to do science.

Have you done all the mathematics for the neutrino work yourself? Do you understand it on an expert level?
What has that got to do with anything? Not knowing about something isn't what makes you look like a crank. What makes you look like a crank is your insistence, despite not knowing, that your baseless proposal is worth any real scientist's time, despite the fact that you yourself aren't willing to put that same amount of effort into it.

In case you missed all the rest of that sentence the first time, I'll repeat it:
I am genuinely asserting that you have the hallmarks of a science crank: incomplete knowledge on the subject, unwillingness to devote time completing that knowledge, a personal explanation that contradicts well-established and heavily studied theories, unwillingness to devote time fleshing out that explanation, desire for other people to do the leg work of investigating your alternative hypothesis, and frustration when confronted with their complete disinterest in your explanation.

It's the whole bolded bit (especially in conjunction with the incomplete knowledge and unwillingness to learn more, of course) that makes cranks different from the rest of the 99.9% of the population that doesn't really understand advanced physics.
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Re: 1063: "Kill Hitler"

Postby J Thomas » Fri Jun 08, 2012 11:42 am UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
J Thomas wrote:Of course it would. They couldn't do experiments on Neptune or Uranus, so they couldn't do controlled experiments.
Controlled experiments are not the only way to do science.


But a single anomaly (or two) that can easily be explained by hidden variables which have not yet been observed but could be observed, is not a good reason to say that a theory is wrong.

Have you done all the mathematics for the neutrino work yourself? Do you understand it on an expert level?
What has that got to do with anything? Not knowing about something isn't what makes you look like a crank. What makes you look like a crank is your insistence, despite not knowing, that your baseless proposal is worth any real scientist's time, despite the fact that you yourself aren't willing to put that same amount of effort into it.


Well see, you are saying that I do not know enough to have an opinion on this topic. And I say, by exactly the same reasoning, if you don't understand it in at least as much detail as you think I ought to, then you should not have an opinion either. You insist on defending a particular explanation as the only explanation and you have given no indication yet that you actually do understand the things you defend so vehemently. Unless you have checked the math yourself, then you do not know what you're talking about.

So, are you a professional physicist who has specialized in this topic? Or are you a bad-natured hypocrite?

I will make up some numbers since the actual numbers are not known, and if you dispute my numbers you are welcome to see whether different numbers will give you an important different result. Let's assume that 1000 people have been reading this thread. And let's assume that 890 of them looked at the neutrino stuff and went "huh" and went on to something more interesting. 10 of them looked at what I said and decided "Oh, J Thomas may be on to something interesting. He may have a point". And they chose not to get involved. 95 of them figured "Oh, J Thomas is wrong. Somebody is wrong on the internet. OK", and they also decided not to get involved. 3 of them told gentle jokes. Chenille provided a link to a popularized article to show me why I was wrong, and argued some. And then there's you. Aren't you special! How different would my made-up numbers have to be to get a conclusion that was different in an important way?

From my own point of view, it might be OK for you to do the sort of attacks you are doing. You could be a expert in psychology, with the clinical judgement to psychoanalyze me and decide which category of psychopathology I fit into, just as I looked briefly at the sociology of science which could get people to jump onto a bandwagon that is not actually justified by the science. (Knowing about the things that can get people to do groupthink and seeing those in place does not prove that the people in some particular case were actually doing groupthink. And even if they were, it does not prove they were wrong. People can accidentally settle on the truth by the same methods they settle on convenient nontruths. Similarly, I could look for an alternative explanation due to my own deep-seated psychological needs, and correctly observe somebody else's conclusions that do not follow from the data, and sketch out the vague shape of an alternative that might turn out to be objectively correct -- independent of my motivation.)

But when you say I don't deserve to have an opinion, what gives you the right to your opinion? Unless you know the experiments and their relation to theory well enough to know personally that there are no flaws, what gives you the right to defend them?
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Re: 1063: "Kill Hitler"

Postby Diadem » Fri Jun 08, 2012 1:36 pm UTC

J Thomas wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:What has that got to do with anything? Not knowing about something isn't what makes you look like a crank. What makes you look like a crank is your insistence, despite not knowing, that your baseless proposal is worth any real scientist's time, despite the fact that you yourself aren't willing to put that same amount of effort into it.

Well see, you are saying that I do not know enough to have an opinion on this topic. And I say, by exactly the same reasoning, if you don't understand it in at least as much detail as you think I ought to, then you should not have an opinion either.

But he doesn't have an opinion. At least, not one of his own. He just copied one from the people who did do the actual research, after doing just enough research himself to be able to follow the train of thought of those people.

You, on the other hand, while having done no research at all, have your own opinion. Which you can't back up.
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Re: 1063: "Kill Hitler"

Postby gmalivuk » Fri Jun 08, 2012 1:37 pm UTC

J Thomas wrote:Well see, you are saying that I do not know enough to have an opinion on this topic.
No, I am saying you do not know enough to reasonably think your alternative theory, which contradicts known (or at least believed and well-studied) science, deserves the time and attention of real scientists.

You can have an opinion on anything, you just need to temper the strength of your opinion with awareness of how ignorant you are about the topic.

As complete non-experts in neutrino physics, it is reasonable for both of us to defer to the scientific consensus, formed by people who actually are experts in the field. The difference is that I am actually doing this, while you are insisting your different opinion is superior to what real scientists believe.

(Regarding your made up numbers, you seem to be forgetting the people more knowledgeable than both of us who have posted experimental results and more detailed explanations of the current theory.)
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