Posts Tagged ‘Einstein’

Stupidity

September 22, 2013

genius

I have seen a lot of people over the years mock and deride others for “being stupid”.

What they seem to forget is that it is an inherent human right to be stupid or smart or anything else for that matter.

And just because one may assume they are being stupid about one subject, let me assure you there is someone else thinking you are being just as – if not more – stupid.

So, let’s just all agree that we can be considered “stupid” by other stupid people and leave it at that.

Einstein, a brilliant mind if ever there was one, probably could not bake a puff pastry if he tried. Does that make him stupid?

Aristotle was adept at a wide variety of mental feats but he could not program a VCR.

Sure, I’m stretching things to make a point but isn’t that really what this talk of “stupidity” is really all about? Not everyone can be expected to be as brilliant as us on what we consider to be the correct mindset.

Differences of opinion are nothing more than “opinion” and most of the verbal flaming begins from those differences (and the ego to back it up).

It has nothing to do with “science” and “facts”, but everything to do with ego.


Who said “size doesn’t matter?”


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On the History of the History of Science

February 29, 2012

Any professional in a scientific field that has not learned, studied, or at least comprehended the history of science is going to look like an idiot.

Why? Because they keep repeating the age old error of ridicule, marginalize, and trash any new theory that does not fit into their concept of the current mainstream theories they happen to believe this week.

Over and over throughout history, new theories have come up to scorn and ridicule by the scientific establishment and been shoveled into the dustbin only to be dragged out years later and verified as the then current truth.

I am not saying that every new theory will be correct in the future, or that all theories require the same level of discussion. Van Daniken’s ancient astronauts do not require the same amount of scholarly investment as does a corpus like Immanuel Velikovsky’s.

Van Daniken’s is a rather straightforward piece on a singular topic and since the whole of it cannot be proved or disproved, it can only be set aside until further evidence comes in. Should the evidence be found that even one of his instances did in fact belong to ancient astronauts, his disciples will claim the theory proved while scientists would say that only that one has been. And having one prove correct does not make all of them correct but it certainly does open the door for further investigation. (Funny that they should take this “wait for proof” attitude about something like this theory but completely forget about such criteria when it comes from one of their “own”. Outsiders, beware, and remember whose playground you’re goofing around with!)

Before Newton’s time, the scientists thought they had a pretty good bead on the universe. Newton changed that. By the end of the nineteenth century, scientists thought everything was pretty well settled – to the extent that some said the patent office should be closed, as everything had been invented.

Then came Planck and Einstein and ushered in another entirely new world view. Today, the scientific community is confident that they will have the Grand Unified Theory finished soon and we will finally have the keys to understanding everything.

Wake up call! People, don’t you understand it is simply the same old attitude over again? You have not “closed in on understanding everything”, you have only come to the end of the computations put in place by Planck and Einstein.

And a set of equations do not a universe make.

Scientists like to use a “yardstick” to measure how good a theory is by its predictive abilities: Can this theory predict something we don’t know yet? And if it does, they usually keep it around to see if it correctly predicts anything else.

The variations on this are: 1- if Einstein did it, we keep adjusting things so everything keeps fitting, and 2- if Velikovsky did it, nothing will convince us to keep it no matter how much closer his predictions were over the Einsteinian model.

But, of course, this also applies to a pseudo-science like astrology. No matter how many times it has been proven to be a workable tool, they throw out the evidence without a glance. But meteorology? Hell, no!! Who cares about the predictive model? We’ll just call it a science anyway!

With all their blunders of the past to use as a guide, I do not see how scientists could think they’ve got a firm grip on anything.

Most articles I read – and I do read a lot of them – mention geologic ages and the causes of some astronomic catastrophe as something that has been proven. I must apologetically mention that none of this has been proven yet. When I was a youngster, I was taught Atomic Theory in school. My children received the same instruction but without the “Theory” attached to it. I asked the teacher when was it proven and he hummed and hawed and eventually came to the point that it had not, in fact, actually been proven. But since it worked on all levels, it must be fact.

O, the undeniable folly! If it indeed worked on all levels I would say that it could be called a fact rather than a theory but the sad fact is there are innumerable anomalies to the Atomic Theory that cannot be made to gibe with the “theory”, and that’s just what it is.

Calling it a fact does not make it so.

And, in college, I learned of the portions of the relativity theory that talked about dying stars and what happens to them. A small star would collapse some and become a brown dwarf. A larger one would collapse more violently, crushing the atoms themselves and send out a rain of neutrons, becoming a neutron star. Very large stars would collapse with such speed and violence that the atoms would be compressed to such a degree that nothing could escape, to become a “black hole”.

Well, brown dwarves had already been known, so they set out to find a neutron star. What they found were some things that did not quite fit the theories: Pulsars and Quasars. These were very strange birds and were not accounted for anywhere.

Until one bright guy decided if you adjust the formula a little bit, you had a pulsar rather than a neutron star. Bingo!

And the race to find the first black hole was on…

Velikovsky had hypothesized that Mars and Venus had collided with Earth in historic times and this was thrown out by the scientists as “impossible”. Most said the orbits of the planets has been unchanged for millions of years, since the Solar System was first formed.

Now, exactly how they could know that – other than making another Theory turn into Fact without any proof – is certainly beyond my understanding. But Velikovsky was raked over the coals for even suggesting such an insane idea. Scientific American refused to publish anything about it because the very idea of the planets switching orbits was rubbish, not science.

How thrilling to see, then, a month after Velikovsky’s death, the front page article of the Scientific American was about the changing orbits of the planets. Yes, apparently someone had figured out that they had not always been exactly as they are now for millions and millions of years. Of course, they still said it took millions of years for them to settle into their current orbits. And of course, no mention was made of that charlatan Velikovsky.

So, in thirty years, what had been impossible was suddenly scientific “fact” – or rather just another theory – and this is the primary point I am trying to make here.

No matter how much we know, or think we know, or what we may know is impossible or wrong, tomorrow we may know something completely different and so we should never close the door on any theory as it may prove to be of greater importance than we know.

And the theories we currently embrace are liable to find themselves on the trash heap in the future. But discarded theories have sometimes come back to give us more insight and we should remember that too.

Scientists are only human, and I really don’t think they do these things over and over again, one century following another, because they really think they have a leg up on the truth; I seriously doubt if any scientist today is really looking for truth. What they all are really in search of is patronage. Yes, the good old almighty dollar (yen, pound, euro, whatever) because they are only human, and the human attitude often leans very heavily toward survival.

Only when our society reaches the paradigm of utopia or paradise will we ever see people (in large groups) who search for the truth for its own sake. In other words, I don’t really foresee that happening at all.

Until that time, scientists who continue making the same old mistakes over and over again will look like idiots through the lens of history because that action is, after all, the working definition of insanity.

Code-Breakers, Welcome

June 18, 2010

I had created a code – technically, a cipher – years ago and some friends had a go at decrypting it. None were successful.

So I put it up on the internet in 1993, and invited anyone to try and crack it. No one ever has yet.

Perhaps not enough people have looked at it or perhaps not the right people. Still, it sits there waiting to be cracked.

If you’d like to take a shot, it is at http://verbotham.com/tmartin/labyrynth.htm.

I first got interested in codes as a teenager when I first read Edgar Allen Poe’s famous short-story, “The Gold Bug”. I am sure a lot of other people got their interest in the subject from the same source.

But I think the most fascinating mystery of Poe’s was that of his own death. He left Richmond and traveled to New York but seemed to stop in Philadelphia and turn south again. He wound up in Baltimore, where he had previously lived, and was discovered in a drunken stupor at a polling place, a local tavern – it was an election day, you see.

The strange thing about this is that on election days, taverns could not serve alcohol and this tavern was not about to break the law; no alcohol was being served until the polls closed.

There had been some problem in Baltimore with hoodlums getting people drunk and extorting their vote from them at the polling place. But since this was a practice being cracked-down on, it is unlikely that Poe was a victim of those fellows.

He was taken from that location to a hospital where he languished a few days before dying of alcohol poisoning.

I have read several interesting theories over the years (one of the more interesting being the 1998 volume, Midnight Dreary, by John Evangelist Walsh – who thought it had to do with Poe’s upcoming wedding to a wealthy heiress) but I have often wondered if it had anything to do with Poe’s last published book, Eureka. [It can be read online at http://www.eapoe.org/works/editions/eurekac.htm OR http://books.eserver.org/poetry/poe/eureka.html, among others]

One blogger commented that Valery and Baudelaire were mesmerized by Poe’s Eureka and even Einstein thought it an important work.

But was it cause enough for murder? Walsh’s premise makes so much more sense than this fanciful idea of mine, though history has twisted the logical many times is it goes past us.

So, we may never know.

You’re welcome to try your hand at cracking my code or the cryptic death of one of America’s foremost authors.

I would welcome either.