Science under fire from 'merchants of doubt': US historian

Mar 29, 2012 by Jerome Cartillier
Scientists are facing an uphill battle to warn the public about pressing issues due to dissenters in their ranks who intentionally sow uncertainty, says a US historian.

Scientists are facing an uphill battle to warn the public about pressing issues due to dissenters in their ranks who intentionally sow uncertainty, says a US historian.

These naysayers -- some of whom are paid by interest groups -- have helped undermine action on vital problems despite evidence of the need to respond, said Naomi Oreskes, a professor of history and science studies at the University of California at San Diego.

They sap convictions by endlessly questioning data, dismissing experimental innovation, stressing uncertainties and clamouring for more research, she said. Over the last half-century, they have helped weaken legislative action or brake political momentum on tobacco, , protection of the and .

"This strategy is so clever and effective," Oreskes said in an interview this week in Paris to promote a French translation of "Merchants of Doubt," a book she co-authored with California Institute of Technology historian Erik Conway.

"It takes something which is an essential part of science -- healthy skepticism, curiosity -- and turns it against itself and makes it corrosive."

Oreskes's book traces the starting point of professional science skeptics to when big were facing the first that smoking caused cancer.

An internal memo, written by a Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp. executive in 1969, spelt out the goal of weakening this link with expert help.

"Doubt is our product, since it is the best means of competing with the 'body of fact' that exists in the minds of the general public. It is also the means of establishing a controversy," according to the document, now placed in a US public archive.

Oreskes said a blatant example today was the sowing of doubt about global warming.

A "denial campaign" started to take root in the United States just before the Earth Summit of 1992 and amplified in the run-up to negotiations for the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, she said.

"They don't have to prove that they're right. They don't have to prove that there's no global warming," she said.

"They simply have to raise doubts and questions, because if they can raise doubts and questions, then they can say, 'Well, since the science is not settled,' they allege, 'therefore it would be premature to act on it.' And so they delay action and avoid the kind of actions they would like to avoid."

The tactic has been so successful that climate denialism is now firmly anchored in the higher reaches of US politics, said Oreskes.

"Major Republican (Party) leaders say in public that they believe it's a hoax. This is a very shocking state of affairs, and particularly from a party that once upon a time was considered to be more scientific and more environmental than the Democrats."

Oreskes was scathing about some US media which believed that story "balance" meant giving equal weight to opposing scientific views -- even if one opinion was backed only by a small minority in the face of massive evidence to the contrary.

According to Oreskes, scientists who push climate uncertainty are not necessarily hired guns, although "some of them get money, either directly through the fossil-fuel industry or indirectly through intermediaries."

"But I don't actually think money is the primary motivation. I think it's political, ideological, it's (the desire for) attention and sometimes it's narcissistic too."

For mainstream scientists, many of these full-time dissenters are time-wasters or intellectually valueless, she said.

"These people don't do work, they don't collect data. Instead, they just criticise other people's work. And then, when they make those criticisms, they don't take them to the scientific community for scrutiny. They publish it in The Wall Street Journal, which is not a scientific journal."

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tadchem
3.5 / 5 (17) Mar 29, 2012
Equally threatening are those who brandish false certainty when the jury is still out, setting themselves and their alleged science up for a fall.
The science is never "settled."
Callippo
1.2 / 5 (19) Mar 29, 2012
Could fusion under fire from 'merchants of doubt'. How similar, I mean - dual...
Callippo
1 / 5 (19) Mar 29, 2012
In dense aether model the Universe appears like pocket version of water surface, being observed with its own ripples. At the small distance scales the spreading of these ripples is deterministic, which means, the more formal approach you'll use, the more you'll get. After certain distance scale the situation changes though and the spreading of waves becomes indeterministic again. It means, the people with holistic, indeterministic thinking, which were considered a crackpots could become more insightful, than fast growing pile of formally exact, but mutually inconsistent theories, developed with deterministic approach of mainstream physics. In this regard the reading of articles "The era of expert failure" by Arnold Kling, "Why experts are usually wrong" by David H. Freeman or "Why the experts missed the crash" by Phill Tetlock may be useful not only for mainstream science experts.
Callippo
1.3 / 5 (16) Mar 29, 2012
For example, Kling deduces, that every large level of specialization leads into lost of ability to see the things in wider context. Such an expertise becomes problematic when it is linked to power. Freeman explains, that the rest of us often trust experts blindly, because were programmed to do so practically from birth. Tetlock implies, that the most important factor was is not how much education or experience the experts had but how they thought.
megmaltese
2.3 / 5 (19) Mar 29, 2012
I wantonly to say one thing.
Let's say that 99 on 100 science is wrong about earth warming.
Wouldn't it be so extremely stuid if that 1 on 100 reveals to be true?
Can you imagine our grandsons with a large question mark on their heads asking themselves what the fuck where their ancestors thinking while the planet slowly goes to hell?
Would you play russian roulette with a gun with 100 shots?
I think that deniers are extremely evil and stupid people.
Callippo
2.5 / 5 (15) Mar 29, 2012
The replacement of fossil fuel with some substitutes is actually necessary with respect to geopolitical stability. We may not be completely sure, if the global warming can be really stopped with stopping of fossil fuel burning, but we can be perfectly sure, the oil wars can. It this isn't a good reason for fossil fuel replacement by itself, then the fight with global warming will not help us anyway http://www.beerst...cord.jpg
Negative
4.2 / 5 (5) Mar 30, 2012
yeah, well... quite beautiful. it reminds me of the great irish famine, when the modern, advanced, prosperous brits rejected with superb indifference any calamitous news from ireland. a quarter of the irish population died of hunger.

(i believe at that time it was "fashionable" to commiserate with the irish. i believe the "cold-headed" persons throughout the empire doubted and ultimately rejected all news about famine, as yet another "irish" exaggeration. I also believe they lived their lives without any second thoughts or sorrows: the news about irish deaths had certainly been greatly overstated.)

it's so easy to reject this stupid global warming fad when you have air-conditioning.
kochevnik
2.5 / 5 (16) Mar 30, 2012
I don't care about 'merchants of doubt.' Doubt is a healthy thing in science. But what passes for discourse in the USA are 'merchants of denial' and outright 'merchants of stupid.'

"They publish it in The Wall Street Journal, which is not a scientific journal."

Well the WTC towers inexplicably collapsed in their own footprint with 80% of the mass dustified, yet I don't see scientists clamoring to career suicide to uncover the truth behind stark, unexplained facts. So applied science is layers of gray dancing around political landmines.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (11) Mar 30, 2012
Could fusion under fire from 'merchants of doubt'

No. Don't twist the facts: cold fusion was met with healthy skepticism - especially since the people who claimed that it was happening couldn't come up with any idea why it should be happening at all or what the mechanism supposedly is.

It was investigated throughly by others - then found not to be working.

Let's say that 99 on 100 science is wrong about earth warming.
Wouldn't it be so extremely stuid if that 1 on 100 reveals to be true?
Who cares what is stupid or not? If it's true then that's what we'll go with. Plenty of people didn't like Maxwell's electromagnetism or Einsteins Relativity - but it turned out to be supported by empirical evidnce. And you just can't argue with that.
bluehigh
2.2 / 5 (17) Mar 30, 2012
The Borg does not tolerate dissent. You WILL conform and be assimilated. When was Science ever 'settled'? Should we vote to establish the undeniable and burn the dissenters? Is the age of enlightenment dead? What do you understand?
Egleton
1.6 / 5 (18) Mar 30, 2012
I would rather burn the dissenters than the planet.
Pseudo scepticism is a refusal to look at the evidence. It is a pathology.
Skeptics look at the evidence.

And there are no "proofs". There is only strong evidence. We load the dice with the evidence and then we roll them. There is no guarantee of survival. It is a crap shoot.

There are 8 Billion people on this planet. You are expendable.
megmaltese
1.6 / 5 (14) Mar 30, 2012
So Antialias, you would proceed like we are proceeding now.
Don't care about warming, MAYBE it's not human fault anyway, right?
So MAYBE everything will go to hell but after all MAYBE humans only contributed ONLY by 10% to it so who cares, right?
I repeat: would you play russian roulette with a gun that has 1 bullet in 100 shots? I wouldn't anyway, not even with 1 bullet on 1000.
Do you REALLY need PROOF (which you obviously can't have) that global warming is all because of humans?
The point is: does it really matter if it's all blame of humanity the global warming? We must take steps to limit it, no matter what's the source of it because there's NO ESCAPE from this planet, at least for the moment.
We have a gun aimed at the planet, we can add our power to pull the trigger or we can use our power to help release it.
What would you do?
USE YOUR DAMN BRAIN, DROP STUPID PREJUDICES.
antialias_physorg
4.1 / 5 (11) Mar 30, 2012
Don't care about warming, MAYBE it's not human fault anyway, right?

No. Warming, and the effects of CO2 in the atmosphere have been demonstrated to great certainty. Only in the US are there doubters. That's a political/social thing, though. Has nothing to do with science. Certainly we need to act on this rather sooner than later. Even if it all were a hoax (which it isn't) - having a cleaner and more sustainable economy is something we should wish for, anyways. (However, I realize idealistic wishes don't hold much water in the real world)

Do you REALLY need PROOF (which you obviously can't have) that global warming is all because of humans?

In all but the most trivial cases science goes by measures of significance (e.g. 95% certain that hypothesis X is right). So final, incontrovertible proof is only something that scientifically uneducated people shout for. Global warming has passed that test many times. So we should accept that it's real.
megmaltese
1.5 / 5 (8) Mar 30, 2012
Don't care about warming, MAYBE it's not human fault anyway, right?
having a cleaner and more sustainable economy is something we should wish for, anyways. (However, I realize idealistic wishes don't hold much water in the real world)

Do you REALLY need PROOF (which you obviously can't have) that global warming is all because of humans?
Global warming has passed that test many times. So we should accept that it's real.


So you agree with me so I can't understand what you wanted to say about my first post exactly.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (4) Mar 30, 2012
I was trying to make the point that in science it doesn't matter whether it's 100 to 1 or 1 to 100. The stuff that works wins out.

Even if it starts off as 1 to 100 people will try out any plausible new finding that goes against the grain. If it turns out to be the workable one then it will be adopted.
mtc123
1.5 / 5 (15) Mar 30, 2012
This is a twisted attack on skepticism. Assertations such as anthropegenic climate change are blindly accepted by those incapable of critical thinking. One such individual is Al "Three Flush Environmentalism" Gore. This is why we have 'green' light bulbs filled with mercury. Naomi Oreskes and her ilk are typical of the socialist/communist/green alliance that seeks to gain money and power by fostering fear generated by junk science. They are no different from Popes in the Middle Ages who demanded compliance with dogma. These leftists are attacking the scientific method that rests on skepticism, analysis, and examination. The University of California system, where Naomi preaches, serves as the largest left wing indoctrination camp in the USA. RESIST.
ccr5Delta32
2 / 5 (11) Mar 30, 2012
@ mtc123 So I guess you don't like Al Gore ! or lefties or commies or green light bulbs "Green light there's a thought "
They're coming to take your freedom away Ha Ha
http://www.youtub...JZiqZaGA
Cluebat from Exodar
1.9 / 5 (13) Mar 30, 2012
Just another racket.

And here we have a pissing contest to find the most true believer.

I believe that the fact is that we have a bit more warming to go before we emerge from the Current Ice Age.

Alarmist much?
COCO
1.8 / 5 (15) Mar 30, 2012
Indeed - just look at all the loonies unsatisfied with NIST's exhaustive science on WTC 7 and the other towers.
HannesAlfven
1.6 / 5 (18) Mar 30, 2012
There remains a very good reason for doubt in many scientific endeavors today. The problem with establishment science is that conventional thinkers believe that by merely breaking science up into its many disciplines that they can effectively contain uncertainty, and prevent it from leaking from one discipline into another. Yet, it's very easy to demonstrate that this is absolutely untrue, for assumptions made in astrophysics do indeed percolate down to the subordinate disciplines like climate. When astrophysicists tell us that they can only identify 5% of the universe, this suggests quite strongly that they don't understand how the universe works on a very fundamental level. This DOES INDEED affect climate. But, it's impossible to know precisely HOW until one knows what the actual error is. And so, what we see conventional thinkers doing is forcing us to make a decision between something we know and something we don't know. And that is something that we should all reject.
HannesAlfven
1.7 / 5 (17) Mar 30, 2012
Also, it's very much worth mentioning that just because something can be mathematically modeled does not make it true. Models only tell us that something is POSSIBLE -- not ACCURATE. This technique which we see in both astrophysics and climate modeling of progressively tweaking failing models in order to fit them to observations is called "ad hoc modeling". The real difficulty in science occurs at the inferential step. And the problem we see happening is that the establishment refuses to question the assumptions that go into these models. The magnetohydrodynamics models which are used to model plasmas are the quintessential example: Astrophysicists make sweeping assumptions about the behavior of cosmic plasmas, which constitute 99% of all visible matter in the universe! Clearly, the cosmology you end up with completely follows from your assumptions about how cosmic plasmas behave. We see this a lot: the conclusions just naturally follow from the assumptions.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (9) Mar 30, 2012
conventional thinkers believe that by merely breaking science up into its many disciplines that they can effectively contain uncertainty, and prevent it from leaking from one discipline into another.

I guess (no, I'm pretty certain from that statement) that you have never come into contact with a scientific thinker. Breaking up the disciplines is something that is necessary, because the amount of information contained in one discipline is just so enormous that no human can keep it all in mind. It's up to the heads of a department to try and find stuff from other fields that might prove useful. But they're just humans, too - not omniscient superbeings.

When astrophysicists tell us that they can only identify 5% of the universe, this suggests quite strongly that they don't understand how the universe works on a very fundamental level. This DOES INDEED affect climate.

This makes no sense. Whatsoever. We CAN (and should) act on data - even if it isn't 100% complete.
HannesAlfven
1.3 / 5 (17) Mar 30, 2012
Re: "Breaking up the disciplines is something that is necessary, because the amount of information contained in one discipline is just so enormous that no human can keep it all in mind. It's up to the heads of a department to try and find stuff from other fields that might prove useful. But they're just humans, too - not omniscient super beings."

We need disciplined science and disciplined thinkers to build things like bridges and rockets. But, this is not AT ALL like the endeavors of cosmology, astrophysics and climate change study. Those problems CANNOT be solved with a straightforward application of textbook knowledge, because of the complexity of the inferential step. The process of questioning assumptions is a process of CRITICAL THINKING -- which drastically differs from rote memorization and algorithmic problem-solving. To deal with extremely complex problems, one absolutely must adopt an INTERDISCIPLINARY approach. This is impeded by breaking the disciplines apart.
HannesAlfven
1.7 / 5 (18) Mar 30, 2012
Specialists are NOT TRAINED to question the assumptions that they memorize in textbooks.

Re: "This makes no sense. Whatsoever. We CAN (and should) act on data - even if it isn't 100% complete."

This is a philosophical failure on your part. You're abandoning philosophy of science.

There are really quite dramatic assumptions being made about how cosmic plasmas behave. And this is vitally important because the astrophysicists have bet the farm on this notion that the cosmic plasmas do NOT behave as the laboratory variety. Is that a bet which you feel comfortable with making? It's not at all scientific.

In the laboratory, plasmas are electrical. They have some tiny resistance; they can sustain electric fields; and their magnetic fields are dynamic. But, astrophysicists treat cosmic plasmas as though they are SUPERCONDUCTORS which cannot sustain E-fields, and whose magnetic fields are frozen-in.

Hannes Alfven warned in 1970 at his Nobel lecture that this was a dead end!
HannesAlfven
1.7 / 5 (18) Mar 30, 2012
See "Why Space Physics Needs to Go Beyond the MHD Box" and "Importance of electric fields in modeling space plasmas".

This has direct bearing upon climate modeling, for if the cosmic plasmas are in fact more electrical than the models suggest, then they can transfer heat over extraordinary distances by virtue of their electrical conductivity.

Google "joule heating atmosphere" for more info. Long story short is that we can build different climate models if we choose to, and those models would not implicate mankind in the warming. They would implicate the cosmic plasma models which are widely deployed by astrophysicists today as an error.

For instance, see http://csem.engin...mit6.pdf
megmaltese
1.9 / 5 (9) Mar 30, 2012
Hannes, you, like 99% of people on the planet, only accept the scientific method when it brings you something on what you cannot absolutely say anything against.

You have lasers, so science was right. You have turbines so science was right on that. But what about quantum mechanics? Is it REALLY true? What about how cells work? And what about DNA? There are still doubts on these things but scientific medicine saves a lot of lives thanks to this knowledge AND YOU DON'T DOUBT IT, WHY?

This is what you think, because you cannot VERIFY DEFINITELY something.

But the scientific method always includes a percent of uncertainty.

BUT scientific method gives us the most near truth we can achieve and there's no doubt to that.

So if you have like 90% of scientists that say that the planet is going to hell, are you going to RISK saying that they are all wrong and RISK to burn the planet like a stupid monkey or are you going to take measures to not let it happen at all costs?
HannesAlfven
1.3 / 5 (14) Mar 30, 2012
It's really quite extraordinary that astrophysicists and climate modelers continue to ignore Alfven's 1970 warning because HE WAS THE PERSON WHO INVENTED THE PLASMA MODELS. He invented the MHD models at the start of his career, but came to realize that some of these mathematical concepts which he himself devised were in fact "pseudo-pedagogical" -- meaning that they appeared to superficially help, but in fact drastically misled.

By the end of his career, he was awarded the Nobel for his creation of those models. But, during his speech -- which anybody can find by Googling "hannes alfven nobel lecture" -- he advocated a completely different approach to modeling cosmic plasmas which halted this existing process of pretending that the plasmas ALWAYS behave as fluids or gases, subject to gravity. When plasmas are electrical, gravity has only a marginal effect upon them.

Needless to say, even though they were awarding him the Nobel for his creation, astrophysicists ignored him.
HannesAlfven
1.3 / 5 (15) Mar 30, 2012
Re: "What about how cells work?"

There are major problems in cell biology as well with regards to the pump-and-channels hypothesis. See Gerald Pollack's Cels, Gells and the Engines of Life. Water within the body is oftentimes highly structured. In fact, few realize it, but this structuring is what the MRI was designed to observe.

Much progress can be made in science through the process of trial-and-error. This does not confirm the theory which the engineers started with in their designs, for when that theory does not work, the engineers will just as quickly abandon it.

The mistake that people are making is in not distinguishing the scientific disciplines: Some are more certain than others. We can be quite certain of many claims in chemistry, but not so much in astrophysics and cell biology, for instance.
Jimee
3 / 5 (2) Mar 30, 2012
The obscenely rich will always kill to get more of what they have.
HannesAlfven
1.3 / 5 (14) Mar 30, 2012
Re: "So if you have like 90% of scientists that say that the planet is going to hell, are you going to RISK saying that they are all wrong and RISK to burn the planet like a stupid monkey or are you going to take measures to not let it happen at all costs?"

Yes, absolutely. Scientific belief is not a process of taking a poll. It is a process of critical thinking.

You might want to read Jeff Schmidt's Disciplined Minds or Wilfred Cude's The PhD Trap Revisited. Both demonstrate that there are major problems with how we are educating our scientists. Foremost is the undeniable fact, at this point, that divergent thinkers are routinely purged from the physics PhD program. This apparently widespread practice has enormous consequences for scientific theory, for we can no longer determine the source for consensus in science: Is it the result of the evidence? Or, is it instead the result of the purging?
Calenur
5 / 5 (5) Mar 30, 2012
I accidentally posted it in another thread, but it seems like it doesn't matter anymore. Nutjobs have taken over this website. At risk of repeating myself too often, I really do hate being American sometimes.
mosahlah
1.4 / 5 (12) Mar 30, 2012
blah blah. If you people are so smart and so benevolent, why are you driving cars and exhaling carbon dioxide? Just like all the mansions and private jets Al Gore hides in, its politics first and always under the facade of saving the planet from the inevitable. Arguing whether the climate will change, warm up, or why.. while intentionally ignoring the practical point. The world cannot agree on trivial facts, much less reduce global population and refrain from fossil fuels. Science huh? What the academics really need is some common sense.
Calenur
5 / 5 (4) Mar 30, 2012
....exhaling carbon dioxide? Dear lord you're dense.
HannesAlfven
1.5 / 5 (16) Mar 30, 2012
Re: "I accidentally posted it in another thread, but it seems like it doesn't matter anymore. Nutjobs have taken over this website. At risk of repeating myself too often, I really do hate being American sometimes."

Anybody who has spent any time learning about the history of science is well aware that there are ALWAYS errors in scientific consensus, at any particular point in time. The trick is in identifying them. But, those who never look -- because they treat their textbooks like scripture -- will of course NEVER find those mistakes.

Even a creationist can, on occasion, be right. In fact, some of their claims about absolute dating are really quite compelling.

The real problems occur when we stop listening to one another. It is the DIALOGUE which matters: It's quality, its adherence to facts, the respect of others, the willingness to hear out opinions which diverge from our own beliefs. Achieving consensus is only relevant if you think the world is going to end (alarmism).
Calenur
5 / 5 (6) Mar 30, 2012
Scientists don't treat studies as scripture, that's a misconception by the religious right. Science isn't religion, and by definition is under constant scrutiny.
HannesAlfven
1.5 / 5 (16) Mar 30, 2012
Re: "Scientists don't treat studies as scripture, that's a misconception by the religious right. Science isn't religion, and by definition is under constant scrutiny."

Actually, you might be surprised by what you'd find if you looked for studies confirming the efficacy of peer review. From "Classical peer review - an empty gun":

"If peer review was a drug it would never be allowed onto the market, says Drummond Rennie, deputy editor of the Journal Of the American Medical Association and intellectual father of the international congresses of peer review that have been held every four years since 1989. Peer review would not get onto the market because we have no convincing evidence of its benefits but a lot of evidence of its flaws."

[...]
HannesAlfven
1.5 / 5 (16) Mar 30, 2012
"Yet, to my continuing surprise, almost no scientists know anything about the evidence on peer review. It is a process that is central to science - deciding which grant proposals will be funded, which papers will be published, who will be promoted, and who will receive a Nobel prize. We might thus expect that scientists, people who are trained to believe nothing until presented with evidence, would want to know all the evidence available on this important process. Yet not only do scientists know little about the evidence on peer review but most continue to believe in peer review, thinking it essential for the progress of science. Ironically, a faith based rather than an evidence based process lies at the heart of science."

Oops. So, what is "science"? If we define science as an ideal to strive for, then we ignore man's own internal psychological and sociological biases. The alternative is to accept that science is a human endeavor, and therefore must exhibit faults. Take your pick.
Callippo
1.4 / 5 (12) Mar 30, 2012
Scientific belief is not a process of taking a poll. It is a process of critical thinking.
This is just a theory, in reality there is always meritocracy based consensus. The practical significance of scientific findings and ideas is most pronouncedly affected in the way, in which it can bring the new money into grant system. The theories, findings and ideas, which can manage it will get the widespread support automatically.
The problem of cold fusion is, it competes many areas of alternative energy research (from solar cells over batteries to hot fusion) - so its ignored widely and obstinatelly. The physicists aren't stupid - they can realize, which research threatens their own position and which one not.
Calenur
4.2 / 5 (5) Mar 30, 2012
Callippo...I half expect you to start talking about Neutron repulsion any day now.
megmaltese
1.6 / 5 (11) Mar 30, 2012
Scientific belief is not a process of taking a poll. It is a process of critical thinking.


Sure.
But when the future of the entire human race is at stakes you can't be so academic.

Tell me, how many chances do you think there are that global warming is due to human activity?
Calenur
5 / 5 (5) Mar 30, 2012
Science is a process, and it's clearly defined. When the stakes are high, that's precisely when you need to be academic, because emotion clouds reason.

Global Warming isn't a matter of much debate outside the political realm. There is plenty of supporting evidence.
HannesAlfven
1.7 / 5 (17) Mar 30, 2012
Re: "But when the future of the entire human race is at stakes you can't be so academic."

The word "academic" is really more appropriate for believing that the mathematical models are accurate at predicting the fate of the planet in 50 or 100 years. A similar situation is happening in astrophysics, where despite the admitted fact that theorists can only account for 5% of the universe's apparent matter, they nevertheless propose that they can explain in great detail the first few nanoseconds of the birth of the universe. And they make these claims while simultaneously ignoring and dismissing an entire cosmology, which continues to be published on, within IEEE's Transactions on Plasma Science (IEEE is the world's largest scientific institution, btw). THIS is "academic".

Re: "Tell me, how many chances do you think there are that global warming is due to human activity?"

I don't evaluate science in terms of "chances". There are no shortcuts to critical thinking.
HannesAlfven
1.5 / 5 (16) Mar 30, 2012
Re: "Science is a process, and it's clearly defined."

Yes ... Here is the process, courtesy of Don Scott, from The Electric Sky, page 12:

"In this process, one starts with a presumed law of nature - an obviously correct (accepted) generalization about the way things work - and deduces (works out, derives) its logical consequences.

A hypothesis arrived at via this deductive method is promoted to the status of being a theory when and if a large enough body of experts accepts it. This is an application of the Socratic Method, also sometimes called the 'dialectic method.' Socrates (469-399 BC) believed that truth was discovered through intense conversations with other informed people. Thus, in this method, a vote of the experts determines when and if a theory is correct. Once such a theory has been accepted, it is not easily rejected in light of conflicting evidence. It is, however, often modified - made more complicated."

[...]
HannesAlfven
1.5 / 5 (16) Mar 30, 2012
"When over time a theory becomes officially accepted, the essence of the matter has been settled and fixed. Modifications to the fine points of the theory can then be proposed and debated, but the backbone structure of the theory is set. That framework has already been firmly established.

An inherent flaw lurking in this method is: What if your 'obviously correct,' basic starting-point presumption is wrong?

Science places first priority on the empirical method. The deductive method is (should be) secondary - used to derive testable consequences from empirically generated hypotheses. Inverting these priorities makes science into a pseudo-religion. In religions, revelations of truth take precedence over worldly observations of fact."

---

In other words, it is up to PEOPLE to determine when to re-evaluate the assumptions and initial hypotheses. And this is where the scientific method breaks down, for questioning the framework will not get you published today.
antialias_physorg
4.8 / 5 (5) Mar 30, 2012
But when the future of the entire human race is at stakes you can't be so academic.

You mean like that time when they decided to go ahead with the hydrogen bomb tests and calculated a 1 in 20 chance that it would cause a cascade reaction and turn the entire Earth's atmosphere into ammonia...killing every living thing within 20 minutes...just so they could scare the Russkies for a few weeks into thinking the US had a bigger bomb?

If you want rational decisions don't go looking to politics.

Callippo...I half expect you to start talking about Neutron repulsion any day now.

Nah. He's not getting paid for that...yet.
HannesAlfven
1.5 / 5 (16) Mar 30, 2012
Re: "Global Warming isn't a matter of much debate outside the political realm. There is plenty of supporting evidence."

Perhaps, but how many people actually understand the models? And of those few, how many have actually gone to the effort of trying to construct alternative models based upon alternative scientific frameworks? Is the confidence based upon an observation that other models are not POSSIBLE?

I'm quite sure it's not, because what's happening right now is that there is no interest amongst scientists in learning about competing scientific frameworks. Thus, the public is being asked to make a decision even though the scientists have not finished the work. They are telling us that there exists an existential threat, but I can plainly see that they refuse to investigate an entire cosmology which can claim just as many successes as their own preferred cosmology.

If we decide to create a vast industry based upon this theory, those employees ALL become tireless advocates.
megmaltese
2 / 5 (12) Mar 30, 2012
Statistics is a science.
Critical thinking includes statistics.

Science is a process that gives you probabilities results.
No result is ever final in science.
So why this case should be different?

When you have reasonable chances that something can happen, you behave accordingly.

It was always like this and always will be.

And we are not talking about one or two mad scientists who talk about mad stuff.

Then, also science have been wrong in the past.
There was damage, and then it was corrected.

But in this case the stakes are too high to count on a possible scientific error.
It's not a matter of "are neutrinos faster than light or not?"

There's no coming back here and I think we have ENOUGH proof that it's POSSIBLE that human activity is helping the rise of global temperature.
You think different.
OK, then cry when you'll finally know for sure that your sons will live in planet Hell.
Or MAYBE you are right and nothing will change.
I wouldn't risk.
You want.
OK, very logical.
HannesAlfven
1.3 / 5 (15) Mar 30, 2012
Re: "But in this case the stakes are too high to count on a possible scientific error."

I see where you're coming from, but I don't think you've fully investigated the nature of these mathematical models. Have you heard of the "quants"? These were physicists who got jobs on Wall Street. Needless to say, their models failed.

Also, I see absolutely NO REASON to imagine that the Earth is a confined system. The Earth exists in a sea of electrically-conductive plasma, which can transport energies over essentially infinite distances. Gerrit Verschuur, one of the world's most famous radio astronomers, observes that the molecular clouds which interconnect the stars are in fact highly filamentary. This is the behavior of plasmas conducting electricity -- like a novelty plasma globe. Furthermore, these filaments emit critical ionization velocities, which is the hallmark signature of slamming charged particles into neutral gases. Astrophysicists simply refuse to acknowledge this stuff.
HannesAlfven
1.3 / 5 (15) Mar 30, 2012
You know, there remain a great number of mysteries with regards to the Sun's behavior. You could decide to be alarmed about that as well, for it suggests that we actually don't understand how the Sun works very well.

For instance, the Sun's atmosphere is around 100x hotter than its surface! A process named magnetic reconnection has been proposed to explain it, but the experiments aren't working so great. And the theory is redundant of an electrical plasma phenomenon called Birkeland Currents.

Another major problem for stellar models is the failure of the solar wind to decelerate even as it reaches the Earth's orbit. It's as if the charged particles have little rocket ships on them ... except, they don't. Astrophysicists have proposed all sorts of exotic mechanisms, but none of them work as simply as proposing an E-field centered at the Sun.

But, they refuse to consider that because that violates the scientific framework which they've been taught in school.
HannesAlfven
1.3 / 5 (14) Mar 30, 2012
We really have to get past this point of imagining that there is only one debate happening with regards to climate change. It is not just corporations vs. people. Yes, that is happening, but there are also legitimate debates, on top of that, which are purely scientific in nature.

Corporations are really quite nasty creatures. I'll agree to that 100%. If you really want to get freaked out about corporations, then read John Taylor Gatto's Underground History of American Education.
Callippo
1.1 / 5 (10) Mar 30, 2012
My problem with Plasma Universe is essentially the same, like with string theory: it provides no logical deduction, which would enable us to follow the induction in sequence of logical steps. Such a models actually strengthen the religious way of thinking, instead of replacing it. Frankly, I've enough of theories, where you cannot ask the WHY question. In this extent the modern science doesn't differ from medieval propaganda of Holy Church, which prohibited the people to ask a deeper questions about their existence. It just illustrates the well known fact, every influential group of people will become a rigid dinosaur, until it's not replaced with new generation of faster predators. At the case of aether model this evolution is apparently cyclical: the ancient Greeks believed in aether first, the Christianity prohibited to think about it until 19th century and now we are facing the same evolution again.
PeterD
1.5 / 5 (17) Mar 30, 2012
I am 73 years old, an have an IQ of 180 . I know from observation that anything that becomes common knowledge is almost always wrong, and the top experts in any field are usually wrong. All progress is made by those who think outside the box of "accepted and proven knowledge".
ryggesogn2
1.2 / 5 (17) Mar 30, 2012
Corporations are really quite nasty creatures.

Right, much worse than govts that murder millions of their people.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (14) Mar 31, 2012
Statistics is a science.

So mathematics is science, too?
"The functions of a paradigm are to supply puzzles for scientists to solve and to provide the tools for their solution. A crisis in science arises when confidence is lost in the ability of the paradigm to solve particularly worrying puzzles called anomalies. Crisis is followed by a scientific revolution if the existing paradigm is superseded by a rival. "
"Kuhn's view is that during normal science scientists neither test nor seek to confirm the guiding theories of their disciplinary matrix. Nor do they regard anomalous results as falsifying those theories."
http://plato.stan...as-kuhn/
Vendicar_Decarian
4 / 5 (5) Mar 31, 2012
There is no person alive who is both 73 and has an IQ of 180

From this fact I conclude that your IQ is vastly lower than the norm of 100.

"I am 73 years old, an have an IQ of 180." - PeterD
Vendicar_Decarian
4.5 / 5 (8) Mar 31, 2012
Profound Libertarian/Randite Ignorance.

"So mathematics is science, too?" - RyggTard

Capitalists have murdered well over 100 million people. 50 million murders by America alone.

"much worse than govts that murder millions of their people." - RyggTard
kochevnik
2.8 / 5 (13) Mar 31, 2012
Ryggesogn2 forgot about that little capitalist venture called human slavery, apparently. Best capital on the planet for the feral capitalist. The best ROI known, because after all if you don't get a leg up your competitors will. Modern USA accountancy is calculating how much "rent" it can extract from every worker.
Ferky
1.8 / 5 (13) Mar 31, 2012
"These people don't do work, they don't collect data. Instead, they just criticise other people's work."

And what's wrong with that? Professional critics who take apart bad research are just as important as those who do good research. The two professions go hand in hand; they are complementary and essential for good science.

"And then, when they make those criticisms, they don't take them to the scientific community for scrutiny. They publish it in The Wall Street Journal, which is not a scientific journal."

Yes, so? Perhaps they do so because they know the scientific community won't listen to them. Or perhaps they don't want to deal with smug academics who think they know everything. What difference does it make where ideas are published? The only thing that matters is whether or not these ideas are good or not.
ryggesogn2
1.4 / 5 (20) Mar 31, 2012
Ryggesogn2 forgot about that little capitalist venture called human slavery,

How is slavery 'capitalist'?
Socialists require slaves to the state.
Capitalism needs individuals free from state coercion.
The Declaration of Independence declared the axiom that every human individual has the unalienable right to life, liberty and opportunity.
Socialists must refute this axiom in order to for the state to have power over the individual. And socialists on this site always refute this axiom.

Capitalism supports this axiom because the state derives its authority from the individual. The individual has inherent rights BEFORE the creation of any state. The state's only function is to protect each individual's right to life, liberty and property.
Vendicar_Decarian
4.5 / 5 (8) Mar 31, 2012

Slave Markets

http://www.sparta...ions.htm

"How is slavery 'capitalist'?" - RyggTard

As always... The Libertarian is as dumb as dirt.
megmaltese
2.3 / 5 (9) Mar 31, 2012
Article title: Science under fire from 'merchants of doubt'
julianpenrod
1.6 / 5 (14) Mar 31, 2012
"Debunkers" of everything from the disbelief America landed men on the moon, September 11, UFO's, chemtrails consistently touted the tenet, "If a contradiction can be framed to an assertion, then that assertion must be wrong. If something is absolutely, utterly, 'scientifically' 'proved', then absolutely no criticism can be leveled." As a result, many didn't even try to provide anything worthwhile by way of "contradiction"; simply saying, "I still don't believe you" was sufficient. And they would rely on their gullible target audience that they would interpret simple dismissal as "proof" the other's statement was correct. Now, the very "science" many "debunkers" treated as incapable of error is fund to have been attacked in the same way. But how many of them will stop their campaign of using simple skepticism to breed suspicion on unassailable ideas?
ryggesogn2
1.2 / 5 (18) Mar 31, 2012
"Capitalism is a social system based on the principle of individual rights"
http://capitalism.org/
Vendicar_Decarian
5 / 5 (6) Mar 31, 2012
So much for the fantasy at capitalism.org

Here is reality - merriam-webster.com

Definition of CAPITALISM

Cap-i-tal-ism: noun

: an economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market
Vendicar_Decarian
5 / 5 (4) Mar 31, 2012
From Ryggtard's Libertarian reference.

"A fetus does not have a right to be in the womb of any woman, but is there by her permission. This permission may be revoked by the woman at any time, because her womb is part of her body. "
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (6) Mar 31, 2012
Capitalism is a social system based on the principle of individual rights

However society is more than just an economic system. And a stable society REQUIRES that people not only have rights but also responsibilities.
MandoZink
3.7 / 5 (3) Mar 31, 2012
To keep from being depressed, I have to look at the bulk of these comments as simply a humorous irony. This discussion has brought out the "Dedicated Assistants" and "Political Attack Dogs" of the "Merchants of Doubt".

Science is all about healthy skepticism, but this article is talking about something else, fully evident in the bulk of the comments here. Wow! Posters, unfortunately this article is about YOU!
ryggesogn2
1.2 / 5 (17) Mar 31, 2012
Capitalism is a social system based on the principle of individual rights

However society is more than just an economic system. And a stable society REQUIRES that people not only have rights but also responsibilities.

And socialist govts absolve people from being responsible for their actions to keep people dependent upon them.
There is a great bit in a movie called Interstate 60. Kurt Russel is the sheriff of a small town that allows the young to do drugs and party all night, and forces them to sweep the streets during the day.
Free markets DO enforce responsibility. Fail to meet the needs of your customers and you are no longer in business.
Govts the protect everyone property rights, equally, enforces responsibility.
Govts that create thousands of regulations that are selectively enforced destroys rule of law.
ryggesogn2
1.2 / 5 (18) Mar 31, 2012
"when the law, through the medium of its necessary
agentforceimposes a form of labor, a method or
a subject of instruction, a creed, or a worship, it is no
longer negative; it acts positively upon men. It substitutes
the will of the legislator for their own will, the initiative
of the legislator for their own initiative. They have no
need to consult, to compare, or to foresee; {TO BE RESPONSIBLE} the law does all that for them. The intellect is for them a useless encumbrance; they cease to be men; they lose their personality, their liberty, their property.."
"Since the natural
tendencies of mankind are so bad that it is not safe to
allow them liberty, how comes it to pass that the tendencies
of organizers are always good? Do not the legislators
and their agents form a part of the human race? Do they
consider that they are composed of different materials
from the rest of mankind?"
The Law, Bastiat.
I hear socialists say, "If only the right dictator was in charge, socialism wouldn't fail
Vendicar_Decarian
5 / 5 (5) Mar 31, 2012
Your own claim proves you to be irresponsible, and hence your claimed belief contradicts your own statement.

"Free markets DO enforce responsibility" - RyggTard

People like RyggTard will not stop their campaign of treason against America until they are dead.

Vendicar_Decarian
4.8 / 5 (4) Mar 31, 2012
Odd, that I've never heard any socialist say that.

I hear socialists say, "If only the right dictator was in charge, socialism wouldn't fail"

Perhaps you are hallucinating, just as you have been dishonestly caught creating your own false definition for the word "Capitalism"

Do you intend to remain a traitor to your own country for the rest of your life, RyggTard?

MandoZink
4.3 / 5 (6) Apr 01, 2012
Many communist and/or totalitarian dictatorships have regrettably described their regimes as "socialism". Unfortunately that has poisoned the discussion of so many altruistic ideas that immediately and undeservingly get labeled as evil, irresponsible or anti-capitalist. Corruption of the language serves the corrupt-minded all too well. Look at how the current lot of political candidates redefine concepts to mislead and misinform.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (15) Apr 01, 2012
altruistic ideas

Govt is force. How does a govt force altruism?
Vendicar_Decarian
5 / 5 (6) Apr 01, 2012
Libertarians and Randites like RyggTard are very fond of misleading and misinforming.

In fact it is their bread and butter.

Lying for pay is what Libertarian think tanks like the Heritage Foundation and the Compatitive Enterprise Institute, and the Cato Institute, do for a living.

RyggTard quotes from them liberally.
Vendicar_Decarian
5 / 5 (6) Apr 01, 2012
Government is law.

Law is enforced by various means including force for criminals who refuse to abide by the law.

"Govt is force." - RyggTard

Without force, how is RyggTard going to be prevented from pimping 11 year old girls?

MandoZink
3.7 / 5 (3) Apr 01, 2012
Science is not the only area under fire from 'merchants of doubt'. This is a sad state of affairs we face, mainly here in America.

My apologies to those who truly do understand what this article was about. My comment (about 8 comments up) was not about you.
Vendicar_Decarian
5 / 5 (5) Apr 01, 2012
Corporate sponsored - pro-corporate agenda - propaganda is one of the fundamental forces destroying America.

The problem is barely being recognized, and will not be fixed until it is.

In my view, there is insufficient time left for America to recognize and take corrective action.

"Science is not the only area under fire from 'merchants of doubt'. This is a sad state of affairs we face, mainly here in America." - MandoZink
Vendicar_Decarian
5 / 5 (5) Apr 01, 2012
Conservatism 'linked to low brainpower'...

http://www.miller...y-40703/
kochevnik
3.2 / 5 (9) Apr 01, 2012
@ryggesogn2 How is slavery 'capitalist'?
Slaves are the most valuable capital a feral capitalist can own. You don't know there was a human slave stock asset bubble in the 1800s that took a destructive parabolic trajectory. No different then your MERS mortgage fraud bubble now.

In Capitalists Without Capital slavery produced huge profits for southerners who invested in slave capital to the detriment of all other portfolio investments, as the value of slaves soared in the mid-19th century. By that time, by far the largest cotton-growing states wealth was in slave stock, not in real estate or other investments. Slavery was a winning portfolio investment, the very incarnation of just how evil free-market capitalism can be.

"...But unlike most other forms of capital, which depreciate with time, the stock of slaves appreciated. Thus, the growth of the slave population continuously increased the stock of wealth.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (11) Apr 01, 2012
Well, Koch, slavery is quite popular in Europe today, but quite illegal and enabled by corrupt govt officials.
As for legal slavery in the USA prior to the 14th Amendment, it was quite anti-capitalist and opposed by most, especially Christians. Slavery was an extension of state sponsored industries, socialism.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (13) Apr 01, 2012
"In Europe alone, officials estimate that more than 200,000 women and girls one-quarter of all women trafficked globally are smuggled out of Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet republics each year, the bulk of whom end up working as enslaved prostitutes. Almost half are transported to Western Europe. "
http://www.msnbc....WrdXwAlQ
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (12) Apr 01, 2012
so many altruistic ideas

"As C.S. Lewis observed:

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber barons cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."
http://pjmedia.co...age=true
Like the person who drowned in a fountain in UK because 'health and safety' prevented 'rescue' workers from wading in a saving the person.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (6) Apr 01, 2012
And socialist govts absolve people from being responsible for their actions to keep people dependent upon them.

The conflict between capitalism and society is this: Capitalism rewards those who cut corners. It rewards those who look out for themselves first and foremost. It rewards those that look out the LEAST for others.

Society doesn't work that way. Society requires that we look out for one another (that's why we formed societies in the first place).

There must be a balance between rewarding initiative and looking out for others. Ideally the reward for initiative should be the ABILITY (and the respect gained) for looking out for others.

(You're everlasting tripe about anything that criticises capitalism as socialism/communism is nothing but a strawman. This is not a black/white issue.)
HannesAlfven
1 / 5 (13) Apr 01, 2012
Re: "My problem with Plasma Universe is essentially the same, like with string theory: it provides no logical deduction, which would enable us to follow the induction in sequence of logical steps."

This is absolutely untrue. We can construct logical sequences of arguments, from numerous angles. For instance ...

1. A plasma is a gas with enough unbound charged particles sufficient to behave, fundamentally, as an electromagnetic phenomenon.

2. Plasmas constitute 99% of the universe's *visible* matter.

3. Magnetic fields in plasmas are the result of electric currents. This applies to the cosmos, just like in the laboratory.

4. The universe is permeated by magnetic fields.

5. Electrical plasmas within the laboratory exhibit filamentation, knotting and cellular structures, which do NOT naturally persist in a universe dominated by gravity.

6. Since we see such morphologies & magnetic fields in space, we are obligated by science to consider an electrical inference for them.
HannesAlfven
1 / 5 (13) Apr 01, 2012
Or, another example:

1. In the laboratory, plasmas exhibit complex, dynamic *electromagnetic* behaviors; they exhibit some finite, albeit tiny, electrical resistance; and their magnetic fields are not "frozen into" the plasma.

2. Due to the electrical resistance, plasmas can sustain electric fields. Plasmas may behave as superconductors in some limited situations, but astrophysicists should *never* assume it to be the case under *all* circumstances (as they continue to propose).

3. Since E-fields do in fact exist in cosmic plasmas, we should expect that bodies in space act as the focal points for such charge accumulation.

4. Since E-fields naturally disperse, in order to maintain such charge, the charge must be replenished.

5. The failure of the Sun's solar wind to appreciably decelerate as it passes the Earth's orbit is caused by an E-field centered at the Sun.
HannesAlfven
1 / 5 (13) Apr 01, 2012
Or this one ...

1. Gerrit Verschuur has observed that the interstellar medium is oftentimes highly filamentary.

2. Laboratory plasmas exhibit filamentation within the laboratory when they are conducting electrical currents.

3. In the laboratory, these filaments twist around one another (watch a novelty plasma globe at the interface to the glass, and you will observe them separate).

4. When the twisting increases, pressure can be created. This twisting also attracts ions like an ion sump. Together, the two processes can compress matter into a condensed state.

5. Stars are oftentimes observed to form like beads on a string.

6. The process of Marklund convection is the electrical equivalent of gravitational accretion, but the simulations are far easier to make work because the electric force is something like 10^36 stronger than the gravitational force.

7. Stars are formed electrically, but once the E-forces subside, gravity and electron drift "takes over".
HannesAlfven
1.1 / 5 (14) Apr 01, 2012
The difference between the electrical cosmology and string theory is that the latter is built entirely of mathematics, and the former is the product of piecing together many established scientific observations and experimental results.

String theory is math in search of a physical cause.

Electrical cosmology is physical causes. Sometimes, the theory is based upon laboratory observation of plasmas, rather than math. That's because not everything we can observe in the laboratory can be simulated on a computer (yet).

Plasmas are incredibly difficult to simulate. But, string theory less so (since it basically IS a simulation, and nothing more).

I strongly advise people to stop thinking that they understand the electrical cosmology, until they've given it their full attention. It's okay to simply admit that you don't know. But, when you propose that you DO know, even when you don't, you mislead others.

It took me five years to understand the Electric Universe ...
MandoZink
5 / 5 (1) Apr 01, 2012
We can construct logical sequences of arguments, from numerous angles. For instance ...

Why do some of these logical sequences of argument remind me of the old "Why are fire trucks red?" riddle?
TabulaMentis
2.2 / 5 (13) Apr 01, 2012
Anyone who blogs on Physorg.com already knows this article to be true. Just try to talk about something constructive, new or controversial, and see the response you get.
Russkiycremepuff
1 / 5 (10) Apr 01, 2012
"(You're everlasting tripe about anything that criticises capitalism as socialism/communism is nothing but a strawman. This is not a black/white issue.)"

I'm afraid that it has come to be a black/white issue. It was made into that through Liberal-Socialist racist rhetoric within and toward the Black communities of America. Liberals consistently remind Black Americans (African-Americans) of the years of enslavement by White southerners of their ancestors, and of the slave ships that carried those ancestors to America and the bad treatment they sometimes received.

This ongoing reminder by Liberals helps to keep Blacks in psychological servitude toward their NEW masters in the Liberal-Democrat Party.

The new masters allow that certain entitlements shall be allocated to Blacks as reward for their loyalty, just as southern slave owners allowed their slaves housing, food, and time off on Sunday for church services.

But whereas enslaved Blacks in those days were required to work,
mosahlah
1 / 5 (9) Apr 01, 2012
....exhaling carbon dioxide? Dear lord you're dense.


Well, in your case, methane.
HannesAlfven
1 / 5 (13) Apr 01, 2012
Re: "Why do some of these logical sequences of argument remind me of the old "Why are fire trucks red?" riddle?"

Probably because your brain is currently filled with misinformation with regards to how the universe works. You guys need to get a grip on the unassailable fact that a cosmology which can only identify 5% of the universe is a *failed* cosmology. Perhaps one day they will fix it without having to resort to another cosmology (although I seriously doubt it), but the fact is that the current model DOES NOT WORK. You've convinced yourself that the 5% problem is something that can be shelved for another day, or that can be fixed with some minor tweaks here and there. But, cosmology is the only subject where people don't blink at 95% missing. In biology, chemistry or any other discipline, it would be completely unacceptable.

If you truly considered how much effort has gone into fixing this problem, you'd realize that it's time to consider alternatives (like yesterday).
Vendicar_Decarian
5 / 5 (6) Apr 01, 2012
RyggTard forgets that the many of American Founding fathers that the Libertarian camp cling to as their ideological brothers, were in fact slave owners themselves.

Being a slave to a Corporate Capitalist culture, is the Libertarian definition of perfect freedom.

"Slavery was an extension of state sponsored industries, socialism." - RyggTard
Vendicar_Decarian
5 / 5 (5) Apr 01, 2012
Do you have a bag of dark matter that can be studied?

No. "Dark matter" has never been directly observed. So too for "Dark energy".

The terms "Dark matter" and "Dark energy" are simply labels for a class of unexplained observations.

So your claimed "unassailable fact" that the observed universe constitutes only 5% of the universe is little more than faithful speculation on your part.

Characterizing speculation with "unassailable fact" doesn't give you much creditably.

"You guys need to get a grip on the unassailable fact that a cosmology which can only identify 5% of the universe is a *failed* cosmology." - Hannes
Callippo
1 / 5 (11) Apr 01, 2012
Anyone who blogs on Physorg.com already knows this article to be true. Just try to talk about something constructive, new or controversial, and see the response you get.
One of Clarke's laws says: "When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong." Now the whole community of physicists (with few honor exceptions, which aren't payed from our taxes anyway) plays a role of this distinguished but elderly scientist. The things, which I'm taking seriously are for example the extradimensions, multiverses, cosmic strings or gravitational waves. The irony and evidence of separation from reality is, these phenomena are actually all around us - their predictors didn't recognize them.

The worse and less funny is the dual part of this ignorance, when the physicists openly insist, that the things like the cold fusion,scalar waves, antigravity beams cannot exist.
Vendicar_Decarian
5 / 5 (6) Apr 01, 2012
Isn't Capitalism grand?

"In Europe alone, officials estimate that more than 200,000 women and girls one-quarter of all women trafficked globally are smuggled out of Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet republics each year, the bulk of whom end up working as enslaved prostitutes." - RyggTard

Forced into prostitution by the invisible hand of Capitalism.

A recent study showed that prostitution is high on the list of "professions" that modern Russian schoolgirls dream of pursuing. With no other options for survival, women increasingly resort to prostitution. Nadia, a Siberian woman was divorced, and with no other economic opportunities resorted to prostitution. She said it was humiliating, but she didnt have a choice. (Helen Womack, "Street life - Im a prostitute. I have no choice so I lose no self respect," The Independent, 7 July 1998)
Russkiycremepuff
1 / 5 (11) Apr 01, 2012
Oh my. . .I feel I must apologize. . .I thought that antialiasPhysorg was referring to the racial problems in America. I think he may have been referring to the either/or black/white issue, or something like that.
But getting back on topic: Dissenting views should never be considered as unwelcome, no matter what the issue might be. We can all learn from each other and from reading all the comments in many threads over several days before I ever posted, I have learned that there are always 2 sides to everything. The problem is how to choose well and with the best logic and reason at one's disposal.
I have seen that AGW does have a political side to it, and that side must be looked upon with great apprehension and dread. To not proceed with caution, it may trample human rights with the rise of another empire similar to the many that have gone before. Religions claim that such things are foretold, but I don't think it should come to pass if we are cautious.
HannesAlfven
1.3 / 5 (15) Apr 01, 2012
Re: "The terms "Dark matter" and "Dark energy" are simply labels for a class of unexplained observations ... So your claimed "unassailable fact" that the observed universe constitutes only 5% of the universe is little more than faithful speculation on your part."

You're playing word games with yourself, and ending up a tangled mess. This is straightforward business here: 95% of the universe is missing -- but, only if one accepts the assumptions and hypotheses which underpin the current gravity-based framework. Drop those assumptions and hypotheses, wipe the slate clean, and start from scratch. That means throwing away the current plasma models, which propose that 99% of the universe's *visible* matter is in the plasma state, but DOESN'T BEHAVE AS A PLASMA. Next step: Use the fact that the electric force is much more powerful than the gravitational force to justify the creation of a new electric cosmology.

Most of this work has already been done, luckily.

It's not rocket science.
HannesAlfven
1.3 / 5 (15) Apr 01, 2012
People need to think carefully about this concept in astrophysics of accepting that the universe's visible matter is in the plasma state, but then the subsequent rejection that the cosmic plasma behaves as laboratory plasma. I don't know how to be clearer on this, but THIS IS NOT SCIENCE. It's a glaring red flag that this is where the problem is in the space sciences. Additional red flags are the widespread existence of cosmic radio waves. Astronomers initially rejected this because their scientific framework did not predict it. But, there they are. Then, third big problem for the Big Bang: the existence of large-scale magnetic fields which span the entire cosmos, both inside of and between galaxies. What is causing these magnetic fields? The Big Bang has no use for them! Fourth clue: The enormous energies observed to be associated with cosmic objects. This problem follows directly from a refusal to admit the existence of large-scale electric currents.

Follow the clues ...
Vendicar_Decarian
4.8 / 5 (4) Apr 01, 2012
Conjecture.

"This is straightforward business here: 95% of the universe is missing" - Hannes

"but, only if one accepts the assumptions and hypotheses which underpin the current gravity-based framework." - Hannes

No part of the gravity based model accounts for the 75% of the universe claimed to be "dark energy".

As to "dark matter", I sympathize with your complaint but anticipate the the "missing" parts of the universe are simply large volumes of very low density plasma like gas, consisting of unobserved clusters of hydrogen molecules possessing a slight charge of 1 or 2 and the accompanying electrons.

The clusters of molecules will radiate generally a continuum, and will be prevented from strong interaction through the repulsive charges on the clusters.

Electron re-capture will take place, but at levels low enough to be undetectable in current radio observations.

HannesAlfven
1.2 / 5 (17) Apr 01, 2012
The real problem in cosmology is that old ideas are just hard to kill. People like the ideas which they invest time into learning, long after those ideas have been demonstrated to be bad. For those few who have actually survived the horrendous PhD physics program, they have lost their natural curiosity of the universe. That natural curiosity has been replaced with a sense of belonging to a community and the permission to propose -- within the box of a gravity-centric universe -- clever ways to solve the problems of observations which refuse to fit to the model.

Note that these are social phenomena -- just as the PhD selection process is. It's the construction of a social community with its own norms for what is and isn't permitted. And questioning the foundational assumptions is NOT permitted. That's considered "inefficient" for the managed scientific process of inquiry.

And yet, questioning assumptions is exactly how innovation and critical thinking occurs.
HannesAlfven
1 / 5 (14) Apr 01, 2012
Re: "No part of the gravity based model accounts for the 75% of the universe claimed to be "dark energy"."

You're nitpicking.
Vendicar_Decarian
5 / 5 (3) Apr 01, 2012
Magnetic fields require current flow and current flow requires charge separation.

Charge separation on a galactic scale requires a galactic sized magnet, and produces a current response that counters the magnetic field that created it.

The effect is therefore self extinguishing.

"Then, third big problem for the Big Bang: the existence of large-scale magnetic fields which span the entire cosmos, both inside of and between galaxies." - Hannes
thuber
1.4 / 5 (10) Apr 01, 2012
Unbelievable. Now honest dissent and the demand for scientific rigor and proof is labelled "dishonesty" and "propaganda". This article reads like something out of the soviet politburo! What a shock, another leftist historian attempting to quash scientific debate in favor of group think.
TabulaMentis
2.4 / 5 (17) Apr 01, 2012
Unbelievable. Now honest dissent and the demand for scientific rigor and proof is labelled "dishonesty" and "propaganda". This article reads like something out of the soviet politburo! What a shock, another leftist historian attempting to quash scientific debate in favor of group think.
No. The article states that special interest groups have been successful at squashing subjects that are true because the truth will affect the special interest group financially or will affect a philosophy they truely treasure.
HannesAlfven
1.2 / 5 (17) Apr 01, 2012
Re: "Charge separation on a galactic scale requires a galactic sized magnet, and produces a current response that counters the magnetic field that created it."

Charge separation within interstellar space has already been validated. Gerrit Verschuur has already associated critical ionization velocities with filamentary interstellar "clouds". When charged particles are slammed into a neutral gas, the emissions involve a redshift at the 21-cm wavelength. These redshifts are QUANTIZED, and sort in an approximate manner according to the neutral gas' ionization potentials. There are something like 5 major "bins" of these quantized redshifts.

This has all been validated in the laboratory. Verschuur did the painstaking work of identifying them in interstellar space. Note that the "high velocity clouds" are anomalous specifically because of the 35 km/s CIV redshift. Astrophysicists prefer to keep these clouds anomalous in order to avoid the CIV inference.
Vendicar_Decarian
5 / 5 (4) Apr 01, 2012
For the purpose of cosmology, charge separation would need to be demonstrated over vast regions of intergalactic space.

"Charge separation within interstellar space has already been validated." - Hannes

And that is the only way you are going to get the generation of significant magnetic fields in intergalactic space that aren't the remnants of expansion.

Sean_W
1.6 / 5 (14) Apr 02, 2012
dissenters in their ranks who intentionally sow uncertainty


In their own ranks you say! The Devil, you say! How did they get in there? And they sow this uncertainty intentionally?!?! How can this be allowed? Time for a good purge, eh wot?
Vendicar_Decarian
5 / 5 (4) Apr 02, 2012
"No part of the gravity based model accounts for the 75% of the universe claimed to be "dark energy"." - VD

"You're nitpicking." - Hannes

If you define the nit as 75% of the universe I guess so.

Who would do that?
kochevnik
2.8 / 5 (11) Apr 02, 2012
Unbelievable. Now honest dissent and the demand for scientific rigor and proof is labelled "dishonesty" and "propaganda".
More the case that idiots, fools and liars are now allowed equal time in the USA, where earlier they would be dismissed as soon as they spoke.
StarGazer2011
1.1 / 5 (15) Apr 02, 2012
Burn the heretic! burn them or we will all burn in the fires of Gaia's fury! Burn them!
HannesAlfven
1.3 / 5 (16) Apr 02, 2012
Re: "For the purpose of cosmology, charge separation would need to be demonstrated over vast regions of intergalactic space."

The very existence of magnetic fields spanning galaxies and intergalactic distances is HIGHLY suggestive of an electric current cause. The Big Bang has no use for this stuff. There should be no controversy in investigating the electric current inference. It is only controversial because it is suggestive of an alternative cosmology -- same for the electric field inference for the inverse temperature enigma at the corona.

The fact is that the universe is filamentary on all scales which exceed our solar system. That is also highly indicative of an electrical cause, given that it's already admitted that 99% of the visible matter is in the plasma state.

The real problem here is that people decided that the CMB had settled the cosmological question. That was a huge mistake, because the electrical cosmology can explain the CMB just as easily.
HannesAlfven
1 / 5 (13) Apr 02, 2012
Verschuur has associated *dozens* of WMAP hotspots with these (apparently electrical) plasma filaments. This could be a very active field of investigation if astrophysicists were interested in following through on it. The problem is that they would rather prove their textbooks.

Many astrophysicists seem to not care that plasmas conducting electrical currents *always* emit microwaves within the laboratory. There is only a slight amount of work that must be done to explain why the CMB is thermalized into a bell curve shape, for the electrical plasma emissions are spiky synchrotron. But, within the electrical cosmology view, the heliosphere is an electrical structure as well. Since we have to look through it in order to observe all of these emissions, the heliosphere would be a prime candidate for the thermalization of the synchrotron. This would be a rather simple explanation, and it might be something which could even be validated within the laboratory, with some effort (?).
HannesAlfven
1 / 5 (13) Apr 02, 2012
Isn't it curious to anybody out there that most of the public doesn't even know what a plasma is? And yet, I can point to ten different sources - many of them astrophysical textbooks - which admit that it is the universe's dominant state of matter!

The APOD routinely ignores the plasma state, and infers the behavior of gases and fluids instead. Same for the textbooks. It's no wonder why so much of the universe is dark and missing. The cosmic plasma models have been force-fitted to the gravity-based framework. Laboratory observations of plasmas are not considered relevant for the cosmic plasma models.

Let's be absolutely clear here: How we model cosmic plasmas COMPLETELY determines the cosmology which one ends up with. This should be the most important topic in science today, and yet, we are still at the early stages of convincing people to learn what a plasma is.

Much of our knowledge of plasmas today is by now decades old. People should be angry with what is happening.
HannesAlfven
1 / 5 (13) Apr 02, 2012
Science is a very delicate thing. There are stages of the scientific methodology where social structures and psychological biases can wreck complete havoc, if we permit them to -- namely, at the point of the inferential step. When astrophysicists refuse to learn the principles of electrical cosmology, they then subsequently fail to recognize the very hallmark signatures which can validate that alternative cosmology. Astrophysicists need to be familiar with double layers, Birkeland currents, critical ionization velocities, synchrotron, Marklund convection (and many more), before they will ever recognize these phenomena in space. By generally refusing to read IEEE's Transactions on Plasma Science, they limit their ideational fluency in laboratory plasma physics concepts. In their place, they infer concepts like magnetic reconnection, which is completely redundant of Birkeland currents. Show me a magnetic reconnection experiment which works once the electrical current is shut off!
HannesAlfven
1 / 5 (12) Apr 02, 2012
Oops - re: "same for the electric field inference for the inverse temperature enigma at the corona."

That should read: "same for the electric field inference for the solar wind acceleration" ...
Vendicar_Decarian
4.5 / 5 (2) Apr 02, 2012
Yes, but the correlations seem to be just chance alignments.

Verschurr hasn't shown his statements to be anything mroe than speculation.

"Verschuur has associated *dozens* of WMAP hotspots with these (apparently electrical) plasma filaments." - Hannes

He may however end up adding some corrections to the CMB anisotropy corrections dataset. And that would be a good thing indeed.
MarkyMark
4 / 5 (4) Apr 03, 2012
95% of the universe is missing -- but, only if one accepts the assumptions and hypotheses which underpin the current gravity-based framework. Drop those assumptions and hypotheses, wipe the slate clean, and start from scratch. That means throwing away the current plasma models, which propose that 99% of the universe's *visible* matter is in the plasma state, but DOESN'T BEHAVE AS A PLASMA. Next step: Use the fact that the electric force is much more powerful than the gravitational force to justify the creation

I love how to make your 'Theory' work here you need ignore all the years of reserch and theory that went into Dark energy and Matter just to make your idea work.

Its a bit like saying that the Earth really is flat and is provable if you discard all Cosmology theory and evidence after the dark ages ( Basically wiping the slate clean minus of course the supporting information provided by fellow Flat Earth Religionists ).