PDA

View Full Version : The Holographic Universe



jdh
2013-Aug-20, 06:06 AM
I just started an Introduction to Astronomy course at a community college, and the teacher has instructed us to watch some videos. One of them is called "The Holographic Universe". I've heard of the holographic principle, but this video seems to be talking about something different. It was made by an author named Stephen Davis (https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/butterflies), who says it is based on the book with the same title by Michael Talbot (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Talbot_(author)), and the Field by Lynne McTaggart (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lynne_McTaggart). Some of it seems to me more like new age spirituality than science. I brought this up to the teacher, who told me, in front of the class, that I needed to "have an open mind and humility", and basically to STFU, that various scientists were also mystics, that "many ideas in the past that were dismissed as mumbo-jumbo and later became 'mainstream'" and that "you shouldn't be telling me what I can and cannot include in my class." I'm afraid to say anything else on the subject.

Am I out of line here? Do you think that this video is appropriate for an Intro to Astronomy course at a community college? Are the ideas promoted in the video actual science?

Here is the link to the video on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lMBt_yfGKpU). The rest of it may be viewed here (http://www.holographicuniverseworkshops.com/).

Cougar
2013-Aug-20, 01:20 PM
You're right. That's pretty awful. The initial claim is a dead give-away. "How quantum physics is radically changing our understanding of life, our reality, and our spirituality." I would guess that scientific papers very rarely talk about "reality", and never about "spirituality." I couldn't watch the whole thing, but I sampled it. As he admits, narrator Stephen Davis is not a physicist. I wouldn't call him a scientist either. He has done many things, but one that struck me is that he was an aide to L. Ron Hubbard in the Church of Scientology. :doh:That, and he mispronounced Feynman's name.

He has included some actual science in the presentation - a good clip on the two-slit experiment, for example - but it's interspersed with, as you say, his new age mumbo-jumbo misunderstanding of quantum physics that attempts to associate it where it has no business being associated.

Davis seems to be pushing a particular idea, and he has essentially quote-mined a number of well-respected along with questionably respected theorists in misguided support. His claim "I'm only the messenger - don't blame me" is also kind of a tip-off. As you mention, the Holographic Principle is more of a mathematical isomorphism that simplifies an intractable problem, not an expression of the "reality" we live in.

I don't know - maybe your professor wants to hone your skeptical mind so you can differentiate real science from bogus science. Or, do you live in Texas?

jdh
2013-Aug-20, 09:56 PM
I am in the Bay Area in California. Notice that it's new age spirituality being promoted, rather than creationism. It's the other end of the spectrum here.

I tried to point out to my instructor that the good clips could be found elsewhere, without the other stuff. I figured at first that she had simply assumed that it was about the holographic principle without bothering to watch it, but now I'm wondering if she actually believes in it.

This is what she wrote: "It is good to have an open mind and some humility...Yes, it seems to be eroding very fast in all areas of human activity. Even in a field such as astrophysics, which is the one subject that should engender humility, I have seen extreme hubris. Pretty sad." Isn't this what quacks and pseudoscientists often say? It strikes me, after saying "you shouldn't be telling me what I can and cannot include in my class", that she could use some of that humility, herself.

She also wrote, "It is good for the students to be exposed to different viewpoints and make their own decisions." Isn't this what creationists say?

So, what should I do? Clearly I've already pissed her off, and don't want to do so any further, and she's already told me to take it "off-line" (this was all in an online class forum) but I still don't think that it's appropriate, and don't want other students to be misguided. So for now I'm biting my lip and just trying to get through the class. Posting this here lets me vent without getting into trouble. :)

Selfsim
2013-Aug-21, 02:12 AM
Hi jdh;

I concur with Cougar's read on it all. (I was preparing a response along the same lines, but his was more tactful :) ).

Short of complaining to her superiors, (which may not work if they are of the same mindset), I'd wrangle it from 'the bottom-up'. If she introduces philosophically based bias into the actual course material, I'd address that with mainstream evidence. It sounds like it won't be long before she starts doing that, anyway.

I think I'd politely ask her (privately) what is 'the extreme hubris' she's seen in Astrophysics? The answer to that question should clearly establish her knowledge of science.

Shaula
2013-Aug-21, 05:43 AM
You could also recommend, in the spirit of exposing people to different views and letting them make their own mind up, that she present it on here in the Against the Mainstream forum and defend the theory. Then people could see her ideas exposed to some criticism by people with an astrophysics background. That would at least be fair - if her ideas are science then they can stand up to scrutiny, if they are not she should not be teaching them.

Holohraphic descriptions of the universe are advanced parts of astronomy, tightly linked to information theory and some deep theoretical physics. In my opinion they are impossible to fully understand without at least an undergraduate level of understanding of astrophysics, physics and a good level of maths. That is not the same as having done these subjects in a formal setting, these days it is fairly easy to get to this level of understanding with private study. The MIT Courseware stuff is a good way to get there and to check you are there. If this is an introduction to astrophysics then this is not a subject she should be trying to deal with. It would very much be like handing a translation of Joyce's work to someone who has just got through high school french classes and expecting them to be able to understand and comment on it.

jdh
2013-Aug-21, 06:08 AM
This is Intro to Astronomy, not astrophysics. Although she does have a PhD in astrophysics. Given that hubris can be found in any field, I don't doubt her that she's seen it in her own. But the jokers who made this video are not even scientists, let alone astrophysicists! Which is why it surprises me that she's defending it.

I tried writing to her privately first, but got not response.

Selfsim
2013-Aug-21, 07:20 AM
This is Intro to Astronomy, not astrophysics. Although she does have a PhD in astrophysics. Given that hubris can be found in any field, I don't doubt her that she's seen it in her own. But the jokers who made this video are not even scientists, let alone astrophysicists! Which is why it surprises me that she's defending it.

I tried writing to her privately first, but got not response.Are you absolutely sure she's got at PhD in astrophysics?
I highly doubt someone with such qualifications would be encouraging (and defending) pseudoscience ... it just doesn't add up, I'm afraid.

Jens
2013-Aug-21, 12:39 PM
Are you absolutely sure she's got at PhD in astrophysics?
I highly doubt someone with such qualifications would be encouraging (and defending) pseudoscience ... it just doesn't add up, I'm afraid.

Honestly, I don't think there's any element of political correctness in the granting of PhDs. It's whether you do original work that matters, and what beliefs you have is probably fairly irrelevant. I don't think professors usually ask things during the defense that don't relate to the work itself. And in any case, I don't think there's a mechanism for revoking a PhD (except maybe not paying tuition fees), so if the person suddenly becomes anti-evolutionist after getting a PhD in biology, I don't think it would lead to the loss of the PhD.

About the book itself, I have mixed feelings. I read it a number of years ago, and my recollection is that it was a mixture of fairly OK stuff (mainly about David Bohm) with ridiculous stuff about holograms and consciousness and life after death and stuff. Perhaps the lecturer doesn't realize that; maybe she hasn't read the whole book.

My honest recommendation would be: make friends with her, show that you have an understanding of the materials, and then try to steer her in the direction that you want to go. If you confront her you risk just strengthening her will and getting an F!

Selfsim
2013-Aug-21, 09:51 PM
Honestly, I don't think there's any element of political correctness in the granting of PhDs. It's whether you do original work that matters, and what beliefs you have is probably fairly irrelevant. I don't think professors usually ask things during the defense that don't relate to the work itself. In any other field of study, I might agree that a keen awareness of one's own beliefs might not be called for, but in Astrophysics, one is continually forced into having to confront 'the baggage' one brings into observation and interpretation. If this woman has achieved a level of PhD from an accredited academic institution without developing such an awareness, and has demonstrated a lack of willingness to engage about it in open discussion, then the institution has failed.

I am also extremely cautious about online accreditation courses for these very reasons. Her 'PhD' may have been gained via the same means(?)

Personally, I don't really care what someone's credentials are, if they can't distinguish their own views in any topic of discussion within this field, then they should be less vocal about it. Astrophysics, or even moreso, Cosmology, clearly demands this as a fundamental prerequisite*

At this point, I would err on the side of giving her the benefit of any doubts. I'd like to know what her intent was for referencing such a video as base material for an 'Introduction to Astronomy' course(??)
Something about this simply doesn't add up.

*PS: This may have been her point in rebuking our friend, 'jdh'. If it was, then she didn't make her reasons particularly clear in jdh's mind ..

jdh
2013-Aug-21, 11:06 PM
I honestly do not know her motivations. I don't know if she has actually watched the video or not. If not, then she is guilty of not properly vetting the material, and is dismissive of feedback. If she has viewed it, then, well, I don't what she's thinking. I was expecting her to say, thank you for bringing that to my attention, not the same words I've seen endless times from creationists and cranks. (I've been interested in creationism, in particular, for four decades, since being taught it in public school.)

According to her online bio, she has a PhD in astrophysics with a minor in mathematics, and masters degrees in astrophysics, semiconductor physics and electronics, but doesn't say where from. It also says she did astrophysics research with NASA for 7 years and has published in three journals. She has also taught at just about every college in the Bay Area, and in a couple of other countries. And UPhoenix. And founded a Silicon Valley startup.

There are creationists and other cranks with PhDs, some of them from accredited and reputable institutions. But I don't know about her, and must give her the benefit of the doubt. I am just going to let it go, and hope that nothing else comes up. I've already viewed the material for most of the rest of the semester, and there were no other red flags. I'm also posting about better videos for the other students.

PetersCreek
2013-Aug-21, 11:32 PM
You can always critique the content in post-course feedback...if you school does such a thing.

Selfsim
2013-Aug-21, 11:47 PM
Yes jdh;

Probably best to let it go as long as it doesn't interfere with learning the important stuff.

As the topic becomes more sophisticated however, the matters we've pointed out here, become more important. It would be a pity to not be able to discuss these topics with her, due to 'external influences'.

Y'know, I personally also don't have too many problems with Creationists or other beliefs, as long as the principles behind these are distinguished as being personal beliefs. I react when folk take from mainstream science, in order to justify those beliefs, (which is exactly what was done in the video). I think that's when it becomes 'crank-like'.

Best of luck.

NoChoice
2013-Aug-21, 11:54 PM
@jdh:

I think you can consider yourself lucky to have an open-minded teacher like that.

She is definitely right to call for an open mind and humility (both are qualities severely lacking in contemporary science).
She is also right that quite a few influential physicists have been mystics (or at least interested in it).

In fact, this thread shows you why it is so important and where closed-mindedness leads.
Somebody thinks a little outside their tiny box and all they can do is question their education and credentials.

Mind you, I personally don't agree with the way your teacher presented the video according to your account.
I think she should have marked it clearly as not being mainstream, as an alternative view. I am also not sure if that is good practice for an introduction course.
I think she made some mistakes here.

But I certainly support her intentions as far as they can be inferred from your account.
Your teacher is absolutely right when she says

"It is good to have an open mind and some humility...Yes, it seems to be eroding very fast in all areas of human activity. Even in a field such as astrophysics, which is the one subject that should engender humility, I have seen extreme hubris. Pretty sad."

She is right. Especially in astrophysics where we know little from direct experiments (simply because they aren't possible) and where it should be obvious even to the most hardened mainstream enthusiast that there is so much more we don't know compared to what we believe to know.

Humility and curiosity should be the main response, and not closed-minded questioning of the education and credentials of people who think differently.
This is a dead give-away for the state of mind of the majority of posters here and the very thing your teacher (rightly!) warned you of.

You may notice that nobody in this thread entered into a discussion about the content of the video.
All they did was condemning your teacher for even presenting an alternative view and questioning her credentials for doing so.
That is just a cheap ad hominem and very indicative for the level of "discussion" you'll find here.

Swift
2013-Aug-22, 01:22 AM
You may notice that nobody in this thread entered into a discussion about the content of the video.
All they did was condemning your teacher for even presenting an alternative view and questioning her credentials for doing so.
That is just a cheap ad hominem and very indicative for the level of "discussion" you'll find here.
NoChoice,

The "A" part of Q&A is for mainstream answers to the questions. Maybe the question isn't as clear cut as "how do eclipses work", but your answer seems inappropriate.

But my biggest concern is that you mostly use your posts to bad-mouth other members here, either collectively or individually. You have been infracted for this before and you just earned another infraction. If you do not change your behavior very soon you will be banned.

Selfsim
2013-Aug-22, 02:23 AM
.. Somebody thinks a little outside their tiny box ...Interestingly, there is clearly a connection between how our minds work, and the way theoretical explanations are developed. (Otherwise, we wouldn't be able to explain things to ourselves :)).

The way a brain and consciousness functions, almost certainly has quantum level dependency .. but making up a story about how this works without clarifying where the science stops, and the story begins, leaves one grasping to understand the differences between this approach, and the telling of a ghost-story around a campfire.


She is right. Especially in astrophysics where we know little from direct experiments (simply because they aren't possible) and where it should be obvious even to the most hardened mainstream enthusiast that there is so much more we don't know compared to what we believe to know.As an aside: I'm somewhat at a loss as to how anyone can possibly know: 'how much more we don't know', based on what 'we believe we know' .. :confused: .. Fascinating


Humility and curiosity should be the main response ...'Humility', is a behavioural attribute and 'curiosity' is more of an instinct (I think). Neither have much to do with Astrophysics per se .. at least that is neither provide particularly good explanations of things like Keplerian motion, or stellar nucleosynthesis (for eg).

Reality Check
2013-Aug-22, 03:10 AM
I think you can consider yourself lucky to have an open-minded teacher like that.
...

NoChoice, the issue with an open-minded teacher is that if they take that aspect to extremes they are no longer teaching their subject.
The obvious example would be a biology teacher who is so open-minded that they decide to teach intelligent design or even creationism to their biology class.

In this case we have a college course that is an introduction to astronomy. The teacher rightfully instructs her students to watch some videos. But this video is not about astronomy :eek:!
The description of the video is:

The Holographic universe suggests that the physical world we believe to be real is in fact illusion. Energy fields are decoded by our brains into a 3D picture, to give the illusion of a physical world.
No astronomy there.
The web site in the description is a book advisement:

...how quantum physics and recent scientific experiments are radically changing our understanding of life, our reality, and our spirituality
No astronomy there.
This suggests the video is at best philosophy and at worst some kind of vague new age stuff.
Another inappropriate for the course point about this video is that it is basically a long advertisement for his eBook and seminars!

The author (Stephen Davis (https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/butterflies)) has no documented expertise in astronomy.
The OP states that the video is based on a book by Michael Talbot (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Talbot_(author)) who has no documented expertise in astronomy. Ditto for Lynne McTaggart (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lynne_McTaggart).

The main point is that this video should never be included in an astronomy course because it is not about astronomy. It might be suitable for inclusion in a philosophy course.

The next point is the teachers response to the content of the video being pointed out to her.
She got it half right with students needing to have an open mind and humility. She forgot about the rest:
* Have an open mind but not so open that your brains fall out of your skull :).
* Be humble but not so humble that you cannot make a decision about the validity of what you see or read. IOW a YouTube video need not be have more authority than your own brain.

The answers to the OP quests are:
* No you are not out of line. It is valid to point out to a teacher that the material that they have provided is inappropriate for the course.
* This video is not appropriate for an Intro to Astronomy course at a community college.
* The ideas in the video are not science since they fail the basic criteria of being published in peer-reviewed journals.

jdh
2013-Aug-22, 03:25 AM
Thank you for your feedback. I am thinking about posting the following response to her. Let me know if it sounds too sarcastic:

I thought that this discussion was being taken off-line, but I see that we are still discussing it.

I apologize. It was not my intent to tell you what you can or cannot include in your class. Of course you have the sole authority to teach whatever you want in a community college course. I had thought that you must not have viewed the entire video, since much of it falls outside the course description and contradicts the text book, but if you are OK with the full contents, then so am I. I should not have been disparaging towards the spiritual beliefs being taught in the video, and I humbly apologize if I have offended you.

I will take back what I said, and encourage all students to watch the entire video. There are some parts I think are actually good, although not necessarily relevant to this course. In fact, this is just the first part. The rest of it may be found at www.holographicuniverseworkshops.com, and I think everyone should watch the whole thing and judge for themselves. My mind is open to evidence for any idea, no matter what the source. If you wish to explore the ideas contained further, I would be happy to participate, or else we can close this thread and say no more about it.

jdh
2013-Aug-22, 03:41 AM
You may notice that nobody in this thread entered into a discussion about the content of the video.

NoChoice, that wasn't exactly what I was looking for, and it looks like it wouldn't be allowed in this forum, but if you wish to defend the content of the video in the appropriate forum, I would be very interested.

Selfsim
2013-Aug-22, 03:49 AM
Thank you for your feedback. I am thinking about posting the following response to her. Let me know if it sounds too sarcastic:

I thought that this discussion was being taken off-line, but I see that we are still discussing it.

I apologize. It was not my intent to tell you what you can or cannot include in your class. Of course you have the sole authority to teach whatever you want in a community college course. I had thought that you must not have viewed the entire video, since much of it falls outside the course description and contradicts the text book, but if you are OK with the full contents, then so am I. I should not have been disparaging towards the spiritual beliefs being taught in the video, and I humbly apologize if I have offended you.

I will take back what I said, and encourage all students to watch the entire video. There are some parts I think are actually good, although not necessarily relevant to this course. In fact, this is just the first part. The rest of it may be found at www.holographicuniverseworkshops.com (http://www.holographicuniverseworkshops.com), and I think everyone should watch the whole thing and judge for themselves. My mind is open to evidence for any idea, no matter what the source. If you wish to explore the ideas contained further, I would be happy to participate, or else we can close this thread and say no more about it.Its up to you (of course) but my recommendation would be to delete the last paragraph and not do what it says.

Cheers

jdh
2013-Aug-22, 04:52 AM
Well, I was truly being sarcastic. Creationists and their political tools are always saying that students should be able to judge scientific theories for themselves. However, I think that most students would have their eyes opened to how bad it is if they actually watched the whole thing. In fact, devout Christians would likely get upset about the religious aspects which contradict their own faith. Parts of the video reference beliefs from her cultural background, so perhaps that is her motivation. It is ironic that just yesterday, Narendra Dabholkar was murdered in her mother country for fighting against "mumbo-jumbo".

My mind is open to evidence. It's just that I don't think this video has any. Maybe I should specify "empirical evidence", since some people have odd ideas about what else counts as evidence. Even if it doesn't come directly from scientists, that in itself doesn't mean the ideas aren't valid. I've heard many a Star Trek actor narrate good science programs (except for Leonard Nimoy) but none of them are scientists. Just because the narrator was a scientologist doesn't automatically mean that the script is bad. Although in this case, I think it is.

But if you're going to tell me to "take it off-line", don't then keep talking about being open-minded and humble. As they say, the best antidote for bad speech is more speech. If she's going to tell students to watch the video in a science class, then we should discuss the science.

Selfsim
2013-Aug-22, 05:56 AM
Well, I was truly being sarcastic. Creationists and their political tools are always saying that students should be able to judge scientific theories for themselves. However, I think that most students would have their eyes opened to how bad it is if they actually watched the whole thing. In fact, devout Christians would likely get upset about the religious aspects which contradict their own faith. Some of science's greatest achievers have been devout Christians. I really don't think the upset, (if it occurs), necessarily comes from the essence of religious faith. I think its more about how humans hold beliefs so closely, (religious or otherwise .. even science!), that some of them end up (somehow), embodying their own beliefs. (Not that I'm attached to that belief either, mind you .. :) )


My mind is open to evidence. It's just that I don't think this video has any. Maybe I should specify "empirical evidence", since some people have odd ideas about what else counts as evidence. Even if it doesn't come directly from scientists, that in itself doesn't mean the ideas aren't valid. I've heard many a Star Trek actor narrate good science programs (except for Leonard Nimoy) but none of them are scientists. Just because the narrator was a scientologist doesn't automatically mean that the script is bad. Although in this case, I think it is.Fair enough .. 'evidence' is a strange term when used in science. 'Evidence' is usually sought as support for a belief system. Science shouldn't ever become such a belief system - don't believe any of it .. its all 'a-means-to-an-end', which has practical outcomes. 'Evidence' is also used in judicial systems involving judgments based on the evidence at hand. 'Judgment' in science, is moot. No-one in science is empowered to make judgments about how the physical universe works - there is no 'final authority-figure' - just independently verifiable, consistently repeatable outcomes, accessible to all.


But if you're going to tell me to "take it off-line", don't then keep talking about being open-minded and humble. As they say, the best antidote for bad speech is more speech. If she's going to tell students to watch the video in a science class, then we should discuss the science.As I suggested in post#4 (http://cosmoquest.org/forum/showthread.php?145802-The-Holographic-Universe&p=2152243#post2152243) .. I'd recommend that if the ideology turns up again, in the midst of a formal astronomical lecture/tutorial, then I would most certainly recommend addressing the matter publically (regardless of what she says about that).
For instance, we do that everyday here at CQ, with both open-mindedness (when it comes to information which has been ascertained to have been distilled by the legitimate scientific process), and humility, (when given the opportunity, and when one chooses that approach .. free will also comes into this choice .. I see humility as being more a quality conferred by others, rather than some 'front' put up to suit an individual's agenda .. authenticity, in my view, is instinctively more readily detectable to humans than a humility which may be false).

Shaula
2013-Aug-22, 05:59 AM
You may notice that nobody in this thread entered into a discussion about the content of the video.
All they did was condemning your teacher for even presenting an alternative view and questioning her credentials for doing so.
That is just a cheap ad hominem and very indicative for the level of "discussion" you'll find here.
Provably false.

If you reread what I said and not what you wanted me to say you will see that I am actually questioning the content of the video and saying that I do not believe that the holographic principle is actually a valid thing to be teaching in an introductory course. Do introductory physics courses start with lattice QCD? No and there is a reason for it. Perhaps a better comparison may be String Theory. Introductory courses should NOT contain it. Because it is simply too reliant on having a strong physics background to learn and assess it.

The problem with any advanced topics in introductory courses is that you have to take all of it on faith. This is not being open minded, you have not been given the tools to make a fair and open minded decision. You are instead being asked to accept her authority and the video's interpretations without being able to assess it. An honest approach would be to give you all a good basic background (actually a pretty good advanced background) and then present material like this when you have the background and tools to properly understand and analyse them.

Too much science is taught like this. It was one of the things I was very happy to see change when I was at university - they moved away from just teaching you the topic and tried to spend time teaching you the basic toolkits of mathematical and analytical techniques you needed to be able to take subjects apart and scrutinise them.

neilzero
2013-Aug-22, 01:00 PM
I'm not always sorry that I clicked on a link. In this case the video was blurry, but watchable with considerable eyestrain, and the audio just sputtered unintelegibly. The comments however, were easy to read and consistently said "bad science" or words to that effect, so my tentative conclusion is the assignment was worse than useless, and the instructor made a big error suggesting it. Likely it is worse than useless for a student to try to convince the instructor that she made an error, judging from the initial attempt. Options are, put all this instructor's uterances in your maybe bin and tell her what you think she wants to hear on the tests. Possibly it is practical to drop the class. There is a slight possibility that the rest of her teaching will be good science. Neil

Cougar
2013-Aug-22, 01:01 PM
She is definitely right to call for an open mind...

"...there is a difference between an open mind and an open sink. The open mind allows for the critical examination of ideas, and it is receptive to new ones; the open sink is willing to accept anything and everything as worthy of examination without any responsible filtering process." -- Paul Kurtz

Swift
2013-Aug-22, 02:08 PM
I apologize. It was not my intent to tell you what you can or cannot include in your class. Of course you have the sole authority to teach whatever you want in a community college course.

I personally would not say that, because I don't think it is true. Maybe its different in a community college, but if I'm taking an astronomy class, I want to be taught astronomy and not "this".

I think there are one of two tacts. You can complain to the Department about what she is teaching, and that it isn't anything like what the course is supposed to be about; if you do so, you should probably change classes (sorry, but that's the reality). Or you can just put up with it, not say anything (at least till after the class), and get your grade and get out - and I find nothing wrong with such a pragmatic course, I'm a big believer in "picking one's battles" and it is fine if you just need to get your grade and get out. But she is a "believer" and you are not going to change what she has decided to teach.

jdh
2013-Aug-22, 05:20 PM
I personally would not say that, because I don't think it is true. Maybe its different in a community college, but if I'm taking an astronomy class, I want to be taught astronomy and not "this".

As I said, I was being a bit sarcastic. A community college is a public school, and therefore has even more restrictions than a private school, such as the first amendment, as interpreted by the courts. The courts have said that religious beliefs cannot be taught in science class because of the First Amendment. There are also deans, administrators, legislatures, etc., which also have a say about what is taught in classrooms. Teachers actually do not have sole authority over content.

The fact is, I paid to learn about a certain subject, and if I'm being taught something else, then I'm being ripped off. It is the students' class, not the teacher's. We students don't get final say about content, of course, but there is a contractual obligation to be taught the subject matter.

jdh
2013-Aug-22, 05:24 PM
Some of science's greatest achievers have been devout Christians. I really don't think the upset, (if it occurs), necessarily comes from the essence of religious faith. I think its more about how humans hold beliefs so closely, (religious or otherwise .. even science!), that some of them end up (somehow), embodying their own beliefs. (Not that I'm attached to that belief either, mind you .. :) )

I'm not disparaging Christians. There are Christians who are good scientists. My point is that many would, rightfully, object to a public school teaching contradictory spiritual beliefs. Maybe I should contact FoxNews. :)

Selfsim
2013-Aug-22, 10:16 PM
Perhaps you could float this Youtube via your classmates (and your teacher):

Leonard Susskind World Science Festival Q&A about Holographic Principle 11-2-2011 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJqT357ofuE)

At the 10:33 mark


When you walk around, do you actually have in mind that you truly may be, in some sense, this holographic projection of laws that exist on this distant bounding surface?
You know the answer to that .. of course not .. no I don't , I'm a normal human being, I don't think holographically { laughter ..}So, one of the principle exponents in experimental theoretical (mathematical) physics, of the Holographic Principle, Leonard Susskind, makes a very clear distinction which would appear to be at odds with the interpretation presented in her Youtube.

So, "Now, lets approach that with an open mind, eh?"

jdh
2013-Aug-23, 01:45 AM
I actually posted a link to another Susskind video already. She responded:
I would like to clarify one thing. Leonard Susskind was not the first person who suggested the holographic model. It was David Bohm who was very much a student of mysticism as were Werner Heisenberg, Enrico Fermi, Nicola Tesla , Robert Oppenheimer and other giants in the field.

caveman1917
2013-Aug-23, 02:34 AM
I actually posted a link to another Susskind video already. She responded:

"That's very interesting, could you perhaps point to the paper where Bohm introduced the mathematical holographic model?"... (of course, there is no such paper).

It seems to me that your teacher just doesn't understand the holographic principle, except on some sort of spiritual level. Looks like you're in a class on mysticism rather than astronomy.

caveman1917
2013-Aug-23, 02:38 AM
She has also taught at just about every college in the Bay Area

Makes one wonder why...

Jens
2013-Aug-23, 02:46 AM
I would like to clarify one thing. Leonard Susskind was not the first person who suggested the holographic model. It was David Bohm who was very much a student of mysticism as were Werner Heisenberg, Enrico Fermi, Nicola Tesla , Robert Oppenheimer and other giants in the field.

It's interesting, but she says "giants in the field," and I guess by "field" she means particle physicists. As far as I know, not one of those people was an astronomer, and one of them was not a particle physicist. Maybe she means the field of "particle physics and electrical engineering" :)

Reality Check
2013-Aug-23, 03:03 AM
I actually posted a link to another Susskind video already. She responded:
She seems to be rather confused.
David Bohm (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Bohm) never created or published a holographic model of the universe which could be referenced in an astronomy course. He worked with a neuroscientist on the holonomic model (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holonomic_model) of the functioning of the brain (it operates in a manner similar to a hologram).
Being a "student of mysticism" is only relevant if she was teaching a course on mysticism.

It is highly unlikely that the Susskind video you cited to her (I assume on the Holographic Principle) has anything to do with a model of the brain.

Selfsim
2013-Aug-23, 03:20 AM
I actually posted a link to another Susskind video already. She responded:
I would like to clarify one thing. Leonard Susskind was not the first person who suggested the holographic model. It was David Bohm who was very much a student of mysticism as were Werner Heisenberg, Enrico Fermi, Nicola Tesla , Robert Oppenheimer and other giants in the field.Looks like a lost cause .. a bad apple, I'm afraid.

I'd recommend: (i) asking for your money back, and (ii) going somewhere else.

WayneFrancis
2013-Aug-23, 04:05 AM
Looks like a lost cause .. a bad apple, I'm afraid.

I'd recommend: (i) asking for your money back, and (ii) going somewhere else.

That is probably the best option. It will get the institutions attention and when you explain why they can deal with it

Jens
2013-Aug-23, 04:17 AM
She seems to be rather confused.
David Bohm (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Bohm) never created or published a holographic model of the universe which could be referenced in an astronomy course.

What's being referenced is not his work with the neuroscientist, but his work on what he called the Implicate Order. It's described in more detail here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Implicate_and_explicate_order_according_to_David_B ohm), including how Bohm used a hologram as an analogy for his idea. Of course, it's still inappropriate for an astronomy course (as is Susskind), because it's because theoretical physics (maybe particle physics), not astronomy.

caveman1917
2013-Aug-23, 06:33 PM
What's being referenced is not his work with the neuroscientist, but his work on what he called the Implicate Order. It's described in more detail here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Implicate_and_explicate_order_according_to_David_B ohm), including how Bohm used a hologram as an analogy for his idea. Of course, it's still inappropriate for an astronomy course (as is Susskind), because it's because theoretical physics (maybe particle physics), not astronomy.

That's the point, Bohm's ideas have nothing to do with the holographic principle. The holographic principle is a mathematical property of string theory such that some physical theories in space are equivalent to the low energy limit of a field theory encoded on the boundary of that space. What Bohm is talking about is a philosophy which has nothing to do with the holographic principle as it is used in physics, other than that it has the word "hologram" in common. If anything it would be more appropriate to link Bohm's ideas to research in causal set theory (emergent spacetime stuff).

I do agree with you that neither (nor Bohm's philosophy nor the holographic principle) is appropriate for an astronomy course, let alone an introductory one. One might be appropriate for a philosophy course and the other for a course in mathematical physics.

noncryptic
2013-Aug-23, 07:18 PM
Perhaps you could float this Youtube via your classmates (and your teacher):

Leonard Susskind World Science Festival Q&A about Holographic Principle 11-2-2011 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJqT357ofuE)


I recently watched something similar:
2011 World Science Festival panel discussion on the holographic principle (Susskind, 't Hooft, Greene and others)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NsbZT9bJ1s4

It is infinitely more fascinating than any new-age mysticism.

In the mean time i find it rather worrying that mysticism and pseudoscience appears to be on the increase in academia.

Selfsim
2013-Aug-23, 09:35 PM
I recently watched something similar:
2011 World Science Festival panel discussion on the holographic principle (Susskind, 't Hooft, Greene and others)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NsbZT9bJ1s4

It is infinitely more fascinating than any new-age mysticism.

In the mean time i find it rather worrying that mysticism and pseudoscience appears to be on the increase in academia.It seems almost fashionable to be rejected by academia thesedays (along idealogical bases), and then 'go on the road' telling others about the unfairness of it all. CQ has just been joined by one such apparent 'refugee' (see here (http://cosmoquest.org/forum/showthread.php?142768-Stephen-Crothers-style-of-presentation&p=2152320#post2152320), if interested).

I share the concerns expressed about this, in this thread also.

jdh
2013-Aug-23, 11:54 PM
Funny, I checked several times for updates to this thread, and didn't see the second page.

Since Monday I have completed the first two months of the coursework with straight A's, and there has been no further mysticism or pseudoscience. The other videos have been been of inconsistent quality, but at least none of them seem inappropriate, so far.

I have not said anything further to her on this subject. However, I am probably driving her crazy by correcting her PowerPoints, homework and tests. You may have seen what I posted here about the moon. I was afraid that I wouldn't learn anything, but backing up my points is forcing me to do a little work. :)

Selfsim
2013-Aug-24, 12:35 AM
... I was afraid that I wouldn't learn anything, but backing up my points is forcing me to do a little work. :)And this is another great point.

This is exactly what goes on with conversations here, too. Debate is a very potent (and somewhat unrecognised) motivator for learning here at CQ. It should also be recognised as being a healthy practice by your teacher, also. Often, if one views the many debate-style threads here at CQ, often all one can see is arguments .. but this is only superficial. Learning is what is really going on in the background.

Cougar
2013-Aug-24, 02:18 PM
Since Monday I have completed the first two months of the coursework with straight A's, and there has been no further mysticism or pseudoscience. The other videos have been been of inconsistent quality, but at least none of them seem inappropriate, so far.

Hey, good to hear. Maybe your complaint caused this defensive prof to vet her instructional materials a little more carefully.

jdh
2013-Aug-25, 05:08 AM
I have now viewed all the videos for the semester. None of them are like the first one. However, they are very arbitrary and random. Many of them are nothing more than slideshows or music videos. I watched a bunch of these simultaneously, which was kinda trippy. A lot of them were clips from documentary TV shows. Many of them have been taken down from YouTube for copyright infringement. There were also lots of duplicates. One was an old silent film explaining tides, although it actually wasn't that bad; I suggested she send it to Bill O'Reilly. There was also a 1950s film from Bell Labs with Eddie Albert called "Hello Mr. Sun"; I remember watching it in grade school.

Given all that, I doubt that she has actually watched all the videos; just seems to have simply grabbed any space video she came across and categorized them by subject. There is a good chance she has not bothered to watch The Holographic Universe, and just assumed it was about Bohm; maybe she skimmed through and saw the clips they stole, like the Powers of Ten film, and didn't pay attention to the rest. There were several other links related to the scale of the universe in the same category, which happens to be the first category in the class.

But if so, when I pointed out to her that it was not appropriate, you'd think she might take a closer look to make sure, instead of blindly defending it and telling me that I couldn't tell her what she can or cannot include in her class.

Maybe now she's learned to have a more open mind and humility, since I pwned her on the phases of the moon.

Shaula
2013-Aug-25, 06:10 AM
It may be that your tutor is using them as what my old uni tutor used to call attention grabbing filler. He'd found over the years that too much technical stuff in the course and people turned off, whereas if he threw in some "Wow!" videos people stayed for the technical stuff because it got them interested again.

That said eventually because of comments like yours he span that course off into an "Astronomy for poets" course and kept the intro course more technical.

jdh
2013-Aug-25, 11:35 AM
I just watched the video carefully, and I've become convinced. OK, not really, but I've come to realize that most people will not be able to recognize how bad it is. Part of the reason is that they have a bunch of clips with real science, and they carefully quote-mine various scientists to make their point, without hammering it too hard, so it's difficult to see what they're really trying to say. They are conflating different sources, Bohm and Susskind, for instance, which most people would not catch. Real physics is so trippy, that it doesn't sound that outlandish.

I'm not a physicist, so I might have been fooled, but as a long-time skeptic I saw a whole bunch of red flags, causing me to research the narrator and the sources he gave, which alarmed me more. Skimming through the video, I heard some typical distortions about quantum physics. They quote some scientists who are on the fringe, and then take it a little farther. It was not until I watched all of part one carefully that I realized just how subtle they're being.

It really starts to fall apart at the end, though, when they show various examples of holograms, which don't relate to their scientific claims, then they show long clips of The Thirteenth Room, and Riker kissing a girl on the holodeck. This is science?

But I fear that this soft-pedaled prelude is setting us up for the other parts. I've only skimmed bits of them, but the best part was Paul Anka's cousin channeling an entity called Bashar (http://hynes.comuv.com/Bashar.JPG).

And read my book!