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dave_f
2005-Jul-15, 04:18 PM
I've heard some discussion regarding "dangerous opinions" on this message board, and how they are unwelcome. I myself would like to offer my own dangerous opinion.

I would like to see the bannination of "alternative theorists" on the regular forums.

Lately, especially concerning the discussion of certain topics (comets lately have come to mind frequently), there seems to be a domination by the "alternative theorists" on the forums. These folks specifically target forums like Universe Today (and other science-related forums) and very deliberately use rhetorical tactics to remain on these boards to brow-beat perhaps less-informed readers into believing shaky theories that are not grounded in fact. What this has done is:

1) Sully the scientific method. These folks actually shorn the idea of peer review and other aspects of this process. Thre might be a little bit of lip service given to this, but that's all it is, lip service. Every time I see an article linked on this forum now that is prefaced with the words "peer reviewed", I now wonder, since this is a frequent tactic by the alternate theorists to try to add legitimacy to otherwise crackpot theories.

2) Reduce the enjoyment of legitimate amateur astronomers like myself reading this forum. Most folks I talk with generally agree on a certain set of principles that we use to gauge our observations on. I do not see the benefit of assuming, "just for the sake of argument", why the Earth's core should be made of Uranium or the Sun's core to be made of neutronium or other such "oddball" conclusions. These are fantasy conclusions, based on a couple of so-called "peer-reviewed" websites. Generally, when the science and the math is applied, these theories fall apart rather quickly (like, you know, F=(G*m1*m2)/(d^2).)

3) Reduce the relevance of this message board. Being from Minnesota myself, I know a lot about "Minnesota nice" and the Canadians on this board know what I am talking about as well. Are we being just too darned polite to these folks? A stronger stand may help here.

4) Produces a condescending tone on the board. Another frequent tactic by the alternative theorists is to "browbeat" folks until they at least try to make a diplomatic stand. I did this myself, and was disappointed with the results.

5) Makes a bad name for science itself. All the alternative theorists out there should know they are simply setting the stage for another "dark age" in our collective future by making things extremely difficult to discuss in a public forum. If you want "Intelligent Design" to be taught in our classrooms, promote the Electric Universe. If you want bad science to be legislated in Congress just like it was under Mussolini's Italy, go for the Uranium Core hypothesis. We have direct (and recent, meaning folks are still alive who remember these events) memories af the negative concequences of these sorts of policies. Italy itself was set back by decades after World War II just to fix the broken measuring instruments that were mandated by that tyrant. That is a future for North America I wish to not happen.

I know I've been nice up to this point but now at this point I am at my wit's end. I go to the comet forum just to see people arguing with each other about whether they are made of some sort of unproven energy rather than dust. I look at neutron star forums and it's a nonsensical argument about whether the Sun's core is made of hydrogen or not. It's getting frustrating, and frankly, I'm not willing to play "Mr. Nice Guy" anymore.

That's the end of my rant. Have a nice day.

Fraser
2005-Jul-15, 04:34 PM
Hi Dave_f, I absolutely agree. And since it's my forum, I get to do something about it.

The moderators and I have a very good idea of the people who are taking advantage of the forums to market their personal theories about the Universe. For starters, I think they vastly overestimate Universe Today's clout in the scientific community, but I guess we're a place of last resort. If you want to market and promote your theories buy some advertising. I'm not going to permit this any longer.

I'm going to update the rules in second to make this official. But from this point on, the moderators and I will be deleting off topic posts to various threads on sight. We know who you are, and we know what theories you're trying to promote, and we gave you every opportunity to play by the rules - we asked you to be nice, and you weren't.

You've taken advantage of my hospitality, wasted time from the moderators, and exhausted the patience of forum members like Dave_f. It's over.

From here on out, you get one thread in the Alternative Theories section - I'll even open up a few famously closed posts. Any other post you make in any other thread in the entire forum will be evaluated based on who you are and the theories we know you're trying to promote. If your posts are even slightly off topic...

... we will delete them.

Have a nice day.

dave_f
2005-Jul-17, 09:36 PM
Upon reading my own comment in retrospect I may have been more intense than I had intended to be. I do want to apologize for my combative tone (I was sick a couple of days ago and had the day off from work and, admittedly, I was not feeling the "best" so I shouldn't have tried this in the first place) But, also, my goal in doing was this:

Most posts on this forum were by one of the following (ordered according to sheer quantity by my personal estimates):

1) Alternative theorists. It was apparent, in the attempt to be accomodating by the forum masters, that we all wanted to accodomate as many "theories" (which were really unproven hypotheses) as possible even at the expense of mainstream science. We all wanted to make sure science was served in the most thorough manner possible, but now we must now acknowledge that there are ulterior motives out there. Electric Universe, Uranium Core, and Intelligent Design are aligned against science in an aligned and deliberate manner. I know the folks on here are generally polite, but at the same time I tried my best to be polite as well. It just wasn't working.

2) Amateurs like myself. I cannot even claim to have to have a degree in anything remotely compared to those who post on this forum. One person that I oppose (theoretically speaking) is a University professor. Normally I cannot even compare to the intellect of those that I oppose. But in this case, I had to. I wanted to come to this forum to discuss serious science matters, not debate out-of-the-world theories.

3) Forum regulars. I know there are a few folks who have done due diligence in making sure this forum works like clockwork. They, too, have also worked diligently to make sure topics stay on topic. But it wasn't working. Universe Today forum moderators were simply outnumbered by those who had an agenda. I saw some desperation in their efforts in addition to my own.

We need to gather like-minded folks on this form. What I can do is talk to people I know who are avid amateur astronomers and refer them to this forum. While some folks I did happen to know were still posting to this forum, I could not refer additional members to this board due to credibility issues. Now I would like to do it. Hopefully I can help the forum masters rebuild the forum members to a number we can be proud of without having to sacrifice our credibility. I love astronomy. I love physics. I love science. What I don't love is this so-called debate with folks who think "debate" is a viable alternative to the scientific method.

Anyways, I do appreciate the response, and I hope to work with the Universe Today folks to make this place better, in any way I can manage.

Once again, thank you, and let's get to work.

;)

Nereid
2005-Jul-18, 12:26 AM
Until I discovered UT, every morning I would systematically work through my 'daily' list of astronomy/space science bookmarks, reading all the new stories (and every Monday, my 'weekly' list, and ...).

Now I need go to only one place (well, I still do check a few which are rather too esoteric for even UT).

Then along came Alternative Theories. In the beginning it was educational ... because no matter how silly or 'off the wall' the ideas may have seemed to me (or not, some had a strong plausibility), checking the 'alternatives' against observations, framing a succinct approach to reply (and making sure that reply wasn't itself deficient by the very criteria I was using to question the alternative) took me to some places I hadn't expected, and in the end considerably strengthened my own grasp of the subject matter.

Lately it's become much less fun; I mean, how many times must I say "show me how this idea matches good observational and experimental results? Not in some handwaving, qualitative way, rather with numbers and, if you can, equations"? And it's not that every alternative needs to be perfect, but where there are clear weaknesses, some humility, acknowledgement of work in progress, and a simple "OK, that's it for now; let's resume discussion when there's something new" would be a very pleasant surprise.

Of course, there's plenty of exciting, unfolding stuff in astronomy, and no doubt many an 'upset'; after all, why bother to build better telescopes if all the answers were already known?

In one sense, the persistence of certain alternativists here in UT is an acknowledgement of UT's, and fraser's, success - that UT covers astronomy etc so well, and has so many readers and fans, makes this site a magnet for many a crank (how much traffic do they get on their own sites, after all?).

I think fraser has taken the best first step - no advertising your own, pet theories in any threads, except one (perhaps) specifically devoted to that, in AT.

Do we need to do more, to make UT a place where folk who love astronomy want to hang out? For example, do we need a lounge, where we can toss round wild ideas and speculations (with a big sign on the door - "Hard Core Cranks Not Allowed")? and a separate area, where cranky ideas can be discussed (but with more formal rules for the discussion)?

aeolus
2005-Jul-18, 01:55 AM
Do we need to do more, to make UT a place where folk who love astronomy want to hang out? For example, do we need a lounge, where we can toss round wild ideas and speculations (with a big sign on the door - "Hard Core Cranks Not Allowed")? and a separate area, where cranky ideas can be discussed (but with more formal rules for the discussion)?
Good idea...

http://www.universetoday.com/forum/index.p...?showtopic=6828 (http://www.universetoday.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=6828)

VanderL
2005-Jul-18, 03:42 PM
Hi all,

I think I'm one of those that apparently make life more difficult for other UT members. It's absolutely not my intention to raise other people's hackles. I do, however, think that discussing alternative views is worthwile, I know there are specific threads where the alternatives are discussed (and hopefully also in the future), and I try to keep my comments on topic.

I don't agree with some particulars (commenting that data are contradictory to other data, like the DI mission, is not the same as discussing an alternative view), I think it is easier to talk to the persons in question than taking draconian measures. And, Nereid, with a little patience your quest for quantitative answers will end, I don't think anyone visiting this forum is fooled by handwaving, everyone wants to see evidence that shows how it works, mainstream and alternative alike.

The very fact that some stuff is dicussed in an "alternative theories" section should be enough to warn everybody that things there are not to be taken as accepted fact (proto-science at best, crackpot at worst).

And as I said, being sceptical of interpretations of new data is not the same as advocating alternative theories.

And, finally, if some people are constantly trying to push their own theory (I wouldn't say pet theory because that's pretty vague) in the wrong places (as in Story Comments), there's always the option to ban that person, right?

Cheers.

P.S. Dave_f why did you call this thread "A dangerous opinion"?

Fraser
2005-Jul-18, 04:42 PM
There's a difference between challenging established scientific thinking and marketing your own, personal pet theory. The former I appreciate and would be happy to foster - skepticism should be nurtured. The latter, is clear as day to me, and I have no guilt wiping posts off the forum, regardless of how much hard work people put into it.

Whether you're advertising your "get rich quick scheme" or your pet scientific theory, they're just the same to me, and will be treated as such.

imported_Harald
2005-Jul-18, 07:13 PM
Hi Fraser! B)

Normally I tend not to write a single word during such mock-fights between a bunch a laymen.

However, I am utterly shocked :blink: that you allow certain people to speak up like that - especially when there apparently is no reason. Is this some kind of kindergarden? :unsure:

Does "Mr. Niceguy" (well, I can't remember him ever having been friendly to a single person here; in fact he is often very offensive against others) happen to have any degree in science? As he surely doesn't, he should not behave as if he did.

By the way: What is his mother tongue? Ingsoc? :lol:

Some weeks ago I met someone else in another thread :P , who claimed to be a reincarnation of Einstein after I mentioned I had some doubts about his theories. The he wrote he had seen me dancing naked on the street and worshipping UFOs. Later his posting was edited (by some administrator with an ancient Egyptian name ;) ) and he denied having ever said something like that :ph34r: . Well, there were too many witnesses. :P

And guess who immediately got a second warning (obviously there was not enough time for a first one). ME! :angry:

That's really weird. :o

with kind regards :D

Harald ;)

Fraser
2005-Jul-18, 08:12 PM
You're talking about people being rude. That's breaking a different rule, and we don't tolerate it either. So if you've got a specific complaint, report the post, and it goes directly to me.

Jakenorrish
2005-Jul-19, 08:16 AM
Whilst its important to share views, there are some people who are willing to try and force their views with no scientific evidence to back it up. Good riddance I say!

ChrisColes
2005-Jul-19, 11:54 AM
I may be too late in time to address you all as I seem to be the only member reading this thread this morning and I have only just come across the topic. I do have a number of comments.

The great difficulty with rules is well described by an old tenet from the RAF during the Second World War: "Rules are for the obedience of fools and the guidance of wise men." I have only been on this forum for a short time and posted few but I am sure that Frazer is a wise man. I believe you should all temper your feelings with a little common sense. Careful moderating should cure most, if not all the problems perceived.

My greatest problem with the rule about religion is with the plain fact that it
removed content saying that the Big Bang idea was created to support religious scientists -antoniseb

My understanding of science is that its greatest strength is to ask questions about perceived fact and provide the debate necessary for the pursuit of the true facts. So it is impossible to prevent questions that dispute the facts. That is where common sense must come into the equation.

Fact has a place in a library. Science is surely the pursuit of new fact.

So, immediately, you see philosophy has its place too.

I completely disagree with the idea that anyone should be excluded because they are not a scientist. Much has been achieved by the input of the lay individual in every area of research.

The debate about the rules has been good mannered, and all have expressed their honest opinions. We should trust Frazer to use common sense and a fair sense of proportion in all matters. You only get one chance of the right to free speech, for the moment that is reduced to a set of "rules", then trust has to be the guiding principle.

I trust Frazer to maintain access to all who respect the right of an individual to express an honestly held opinion under the rules of common sense.

antoniseb
2005-Jul-19, 01:39 PM
Originally posted by ChrisColes@Jul 19 2005, 11:54 AM
I trust Frazer to maintain access to all who respect the right of an individual to express an honestly held opinion under the rules of common sense.
The purpose of moderation in this forum is to keep speech on topic. Some very heartfelt honest opinions are off topic, and in some cases inclined to provoke arguments that are off topic. We will continue to try to avoid and remove things that are off topic. We will continue to do it without malice or grudge.

Fraser
2005-Jul-19, 03:57 PM
Well, it's pretty much impossible to force your views on other people, especially in a forum like this. But people are working with the next best thing, to TALK LOUDLY and try and outshout other voices. That's what I'm not going to stand for any more.

Coldcreation
2005-Jul-19, 04:22 PM
String theory is an alternative theory, so is superstring theory and M-theory, so was the quasi-steady state cosmology, plasma cosmology, chronometric cosmology, Arp's cosmology, so is loop-quantum gravity, supergravity, and so is supersymmetry. Even inflation is an alternative theory. The only theory that is not an alternative theory is the standard model, the canonical hot big bang cold dark matter model. At the time of it's inception the standard model was seen as radical, a radical alternative. Great scientists like Einstein, Hubble, de Sitter, Eddington, Weyl and so on, were all seeking alternatives to thwart the primeval atom.

I respectfully report these complementary theories, but I do not necessarily sympathize with them. Far from being promising, provocative, dissenting, decadent even, alternative cosmological models, of the type above appear at the present, if nothing else, as farsighted attempts to blanket the hideous blunder generated by the big bang and its animated derivatives, in essence an indiscriminate remedy to metaphysics.

Inflation was held as the undisputed remedy to the problems of the big bang until the 1998 supernovae Type Ia data showed that the universes is not flat (which was the only testable prediction of inflation theory).

The idea that the standard model today is the only theory that stands up against observational scrutiny is wrong. Here are a few examples stated as questions: where is the so-called dark age where galaxies were supposed to be forming hierarchically (see Hubble UDF), why are there well formed metal rich galaxies located where galaxies where once predicted to be forming? Why was a fourth Friedmann models required, one in which the expansion accelerates? I'll stop there but the list is long...

Are there quacks and charlatans out there? There sure are. But there are too within the ranks of the academia itself. Who knows, one of them might be reviewing (and rejecting from publication) right now the ultimate theory, because it disagrees with the standard model and its offshoots.

Coldcreation

Nereid
2005-Jul-20, 09:46 PM
String theory is an alternative theory, so is superstring theory and M-theory, so was the quasi-steady state cosmology, plasma cosmology, chronometric cosmology, Arp's cosmology, so is loop-quantum gravity, supergravity, and so is supersymmetry. Even inflation is an alternative theory. The only theory that is not an alternative theory is the standard model, the canonical hot big bang cold dark matter model. At the time of it's inception the standard model was seen as radical, a radical alternative. Great scientists like Einstein, Hubble, de Sitter, Eddington, Weyl and so on, were all seeking alternatives to thwart the primeval atom.

I respectfully report these complementary theories, but I do not necessarily sympathize with them. Far from being promising, provocative, dissenting, decadent even, alternative cosmological models, of the type above appear at the present, if nothing else, as farsighted attempts to blanket the hideous blunder generated by the big bang and its animated derivatives, in essence an indiscriminate remedy to metaphysics.
This may be the wrong place to discuss this, but I must take issue with your characterisation.

First, to imply (if that's what you did) that the list of 'alternatives' (which contains, IMHO, not only apples and oranges, but also galaxies and viruses; i.e. there is no 'common element') is in some (scientific) way at the same level as the concordance model in cosmology is to seriously misrepresent the work of thousands of scientists.

Second, to ascribe - even indirectly - metaphysics as the primary motivator of those doing scientific work in cosmology is pretty insulting (never mind that it's also demonstrably at variance with the facts).
Inflation was held as the undisputed remedy to the problems of the big bang until the 1998 supernovae Type Ia data showed that the universes is not flat (which was the only testable prediction of inflation theory).

The idea that the standard model today is the only theory that stands up against observational scrutiny is wrong. Here are a few examples stated as questions: where is the so-called dark age where galaxies were supposed to be forming hierarchically (see Hubble UDF), why are there well formed metal rich galaxies located where galaxies where once predicted to be forming? Why was a fourth Friedmann models required, one in which the expansion accelerates? I'll stop there but the list is long...
IMHO, this is little different than what we see from crackpots all the time: "mainstream theories don't match observations, THEREFORE {my alternative} must be true." If you know of an alternative that matches (much, most, all?) good observational and experimental results, present the case for that alternative!

That the concordance model is less than 'perfect' is completely uncontroversial.
Are there quacks and charlatans out there? There sure are. But there are too within the ranks of the academia itself. Who knows, one of them might be reviewing (and rejecting from publication) right now the ultimate theory, because it disagrees with the standard model and its offshoots.
And here's the key aspect which I think you have overlooked, esp with regard to almost all the 'alternatives' which you can read in the AT section of UT (your thread aside - I haven't had a chance to digest it yet) - how well do they meet the most basic criteria of 'good science'?

neptuneneptune
2005-Jul-21, 10:19 PM
Originally posted by Coldcreation@Jul 19 2005, 04:22 PM

Inflation was held as the undisputed remedy to the problems of the big bang until the 1998 supernovae Type Ia data showed that the universes is not flat (which was the only testable prediction of inflation theory).
Didn't WMAP show that the universe was flat within a 2% margin of error? However I did read recently that the WMAP data is in doubt because of possible bugs..

I'm pretty excited about the PLANK sattelite..

http://www.rssd.esa.int/index.php?project=PLANCK

I hope they release the WMAP data so we can see what the fuss is about..

Coldcreation
2005-Jul-22, 02:57 PM
This is not the place for this discussion. And it is a very important one. I think we should move it over to the thread called Cosmology: Inventing the Future.

neptuneneptune
2005-Jul-22, 04:01 PM
Okay, I have moved the question there

Coldcreation
2005-Jul-23, 03:18 PM
OK, I'm moving there too, but first I can't let this go unanswered.

IMHO, this is little different than what we see from crackpots all the time: "mainstream theories don't match observations, THEREFORE {my alternative} must be true." If you know of an alternative that matches (much, most, all?) good observational and experimental results, present the case for that alternative!

That the concordance model is less than 'perfect' is completely uncontroversial.

This statement you wrote is outrageous (partly with capitals, as if screaming). The facts are (regardless of whether I support QSSC, Arp, Segal, MacMillan, Millikan, the Einstein or De Sitter models, Weyl’s model, or any other non-expanding or non-big bang model, or even my own theory, which is based of GR, QM and the laws of thermodynamics), observations of the CMB, distant SN and the redshift-apparent magnitude relation, distant galactic metallicity, contradict big bang cosmology. You imply that Fred Hoyle, Halton Arp, Irwin Ezra Segal, Ellis G.F.R., and all the others who fought big bang cosmology as crackpots. I disagree and disapprove. I backup everything I write with observational data, and have all the applicable references. You defend, not with observational data, but with personal attacks.

And here's the key aspect which I think you have overlooked, esp with regard to almost all the 'alternatives' which you can read in the AT section of UT (your thread aside - I haven't had a chance to digest it yet) - how well do they meet the most basic criteria of 'good science'?

Good question: though I have not had time to sift through them to any great extent. Good science should not lead to the break-down of physics anywhere or at any time. Good science should not necessitate the addition of hypothetical (unobservable, undetectable ‘stuff’ even in principle) non-baryonic dark matter, kooky dark energy, extraneous dimensions, spacetime singularities, false vacuums, the list is seemingly endless…Good science should be founded on empirical evidence (observational and experimental), and founded on natural laws (notably those of thermodynamics, which are not theory based, like the Hubble law).

I’m looking forward to some constructive debates.

Coldcreation

[Edited by Nereid: fixed mis-matched [ quote ] tags]

Nereid
2005-Jul-25, 01:28 AM
Let us continue the discussion here (http://www.universetoday.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=8128).

Jerry
2005-Jul-27, 04:51 AM
Originally posted by dave_f@Jul 15 2005, 04:18 PM

1) Sully the scientific method. These folks actually shorn the idea of peer review and other aspects of this process. Thre might be a little bit of lip service given to this, but that's all it is, lip service. Every time I see an article linked on this forum now that is prefaced with the words "peer reviewed", I now wonder, since this is a frequent tactic by the alternate theorists to try to add legitimacy to otherwise crackpot theories.


The scientific method is a critical thought process. The purpose of peer review is a sanity check, bumping the thought, idea, experiment, whatever, up against the known body of scientific knowledge and seeing if it passes a sanity check. This is bean counting, not science.

The scientific method must also deal with the -hopefully rare- cases where something in the body of scientific thought is wrong. Who, in these rare cases, is Galileo's peer? Or Einsteins?

The scientific method is a nullifying, not an affirming process. No one knows where, when or how a successful challenge to mainstream theory will ultimately be closer to the truth.

You have a good point, when the objective of the writer is to 'brow beat' or beat a dead horse, but new ideas should never be discounted simply because they are new, or from the mouths of babes. It is prejudicial when you discount alternatives that may provide better explanations for what we are witnessing than the first theory on the block.

There is much evidence prevailing cosmological theories are at best incomplete and arguably incompetent. Deep Impact? Not likely. Tempel 1 is balking at mainstream theory. So are the moons of Saturn.

There is much to learn.

ASEI
2005-Jul-27, 03:20 PM
The scientific method is a critical thought process. The purpose of peer review is a sanity check, bumping the thought, idea, experiment, whatever, up against the known body of scientific knowledge and seeing if it passes a sanity check. This is bean counting, not science.

The scientific method must also deal with the -hopefully rare- cases where something in the body of scientific thought is wrong. Who, in these rare cases, is Galileo's peer? Or Einsteins?

The fallacy here is that even those peerless paradigm setters, like Gallileo and Einstein, have to have their theories run the gauntlet of scientific knowledge, just like everyone else. The distinction here is between scientific thought and scientific knowledge. One is hard data about reality that cannot be ignored. The other is what scientists think about this data currently.

If it doesn't match up to what we know happens from experiments, the theory hits the shredder. It shouldn't matter what the opinions of all the scientists involved are (and historically it hasn't.) There weren't any heretic burnings when Einstein proposed his theory of relativity. It was tested exhaustively and obsessively, as well as compared with data collected from experiment. And it passed. Any other theory challenging relativity has to run the same gauntlet of the same body of information. If it can't explain it as well as relativity - wipe the blackboard.

Of course on this board, the amateur posters need a little leeway if what they want to do is just hypothesize. After all, how many 12th graders do you know that have access to a faculty of scientists willing to peer-review their work. :P When they start declaring this, that, or the other well established theory "a bunch of crap" or the like, then it's time to remind them that this stuff does have empirical data behind it.

antoniseb
2005-Jul-27, 03:50 PM
Originally posted by ASEI@Jul 27 2005, 03:20 PM
on this board, the amateur posters need a little leeway if what they want to do is just hypothesize. After all, how many 12th graders do you know that have access to a faculty of scientists willing to peer-review their work. :P When they start declaring this, that, or the other well established theory "a bunch of crap" or the like, then it's time to remind them that this stuff does have empirical data behind it.
Thanks ASEI,

This expresses pretty well why some Alternative Theorists are treated more gently than others here. We recognize that a good number of people with "new ideas" are fairly young, and really don't know that much about what data has supported the current theories. It is valuable to the community to help these creative people find a good framework for developing and testing new thoeries (that support existing observations and make testable predictions).

RUF
2005-Jul-28, 04:43 AM
"String Theory" is a philosophy, not a theory. It is impossible to prove or disprove by scientific method.

Matthew
2005-Jul-28, 06:35 AM
Originally posted by RUF@Jul 28 2005, 03:43 PM
"String Theory" is a philosophy, not a theory. It is impossible to prove or disprove by scientific method.
However string theory is provable in mathematics.

madman
2005-Jul-28, 09:38 AM
in 3d game making.
one method for creating spaceship simulators is to keep the spaceship at the centre of world space..and scroll all objects around relative to the ship.
this gives the illusion that the spaceship is moving..travelling from planet to planet..doing loop the loops etc...but of course the spaceship is not moving.

still...it all adds up mathematically and can "prove" the spaceship is moving..especially if you have some indicators/displays showing relative speed and position.

this is the same situation we get with einsteinian maths....deliberately organising our perception to be unsure of which things are moving and what is static.

but just because it all adds up mathematically doesn't mean that we can arbitrarilly swap viewpoints...the universe does not move and rotate in arbitrary ways just to give us the illusion that we are standing perfectly still.

one answer is correct..the other is an illusion....but einsteinian maths deliberately can't tell the difference.

Jerry
2005-Jul-28, 03:38 PM
The scientific method is a critical thought process. The purpose of peer review is a sanity check, bumping the thought, idea, experiment, whatever, up against the known body of scientific knowledge and seeing if it passes a sanity check. This is bean counting, not science.

The scientific method must also deal with the -hopefully rare- cases where something in the body of scientific thought is wrong. Who, in these rare cases, is Galileo's peer? Or Einsteins?

The fallacy here is that even those peerless paradigm setters, like Gallileo and Einstein, have to have their theories run the gauntlet of scientific knowledge, just like everyone else. The distinction here is between scientific thought and scientific knowledge. One is hard data about reality that cannot be ignored. The other is what scientists think about this data currently.

If it doesn't match up to what we know happens from experiments, the theory hits the shredder. It shouldn't matter what the opinions of all the scientists involved are (and historically it hasn't.) There weren't any heretic burnings when Einstein proposed his theory of relativity. It was tested exhaustively and obsessively, as well as compared with data collected from experiment. And it passed. Any other theory challenging relativity has to run the same gauntlet of the same body of information. If it can't explain it as well as relativity - wipe the blackboard.


Oy! That's the rub:

Example and implications: By 1950, it was well known from experimental observations that the nobel gases were inert, so any proposal to fund research on the properties of nobel gas compounds would have been summarily dismissed.

Fortunately, a fairly simple test revealed concrete scientific fact was a falicay.

Now look at astrophysical research: Cosmic telescope time is at a premium. To be funded or granted time, a hypothesis must mate with the known body of knowledge. Therefore if a similar falacy exists in basic astrophysical theory, a falacy that can only be resolved with what would rightly be considered a ridiculous project, the existing falacy will never be nullified.

There is also the possibility that an established parameter 'proves' an existing constraint, even though the parameter is wrong. A good example here, is the general relativistic explanation for the orbital observations of Mercury. Since the mathematics explain the motion, why would or should research iinto an alternative hypothesis be proposed or funded?

Remember, Copernicus could not model the solar system with orbits as well as Ptololemy could with epicycles. A fledgling argument pitted against GR faces a much more formidable gauntlet: Many disciples, no master.

Sometimes good ideas that could nullify existing axioms hit the shredder too soon.

antoniseb
2005-Jul-28, 04:02 PM
Originally posted by The Messenger@Jul 28 2005, 03:38 PM
Remember, Copernicus could not model the solar system with orbits as well as Ptololemy could with epicycles.
Ummm. Copernicus' model of the solar system also had epicycles. They were just smaller epicycles (especially for Mars) than the Ptolemaic ones. Copernicus' model would probably not even be remembered had not Kepler (who's model DID work better than Ptolemy's) not named his opus "The New Copernican Astronomy".

StarLab
2005-Jul-28, 04:55 PM
Umm...how did we get from a new UT rule to Copernican models? :unsure:

Fraser
2005-Jul-28, 05:09 PM
I don't think this was really meant to be a thread to discuss alternative theories, or the validity of alternative ideas.

So, let me make my position perfectly clear.

You are welcome to question established scientific theories here on Universe Today. Fantastic, Nobel Prize winning ideas often come out of left-field and turn people's understanding upside down. No idea is too silly or out there. Go ahead and brainstorm, suggest something, give some ideas.

What I and the moderators will be cracking down on is marketing. Using this forum as a place to PROMOTE a specific theory. There's a big big difference, and I've completely run out of patience and understanding. My finger is poised above the "delete post" button, ready to wipe comments off my hard drive.

You don't apologize to the credit card companies when you throw their junk mail in the garbage, or ask the people sending you SPAM permission to kick their emails to the trash. You just do it, without a concern. And that's how I see this:

Questioning established science = welcome
Promoting a specific theory across the entire forum = SPAM

StarLab
2005-Jul-28, 05:12 PM
And I think that that is a perfectly fine policy for UT! -_- ;)

Nereid
2005-Jul-28, 06:05 PM
I started a thread on the role of 'alternatives' etc, *About* astronomy, actually, 'about' science (http://www.universetoday.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=8298).

Can we continue to discuss topics like the ones TheMessenger raised in that new thread?

gaa_ian
2005-Aug-08, 11:41 PM
A good policy Fraser
However I notice the "Moon Hoax" & "Solid Sun" crackpots are coming into your site via the google adds at the top of your page
This I believe detracts from the credibility of you site.
Can they be stopped ?
I often recommend your site to 100's of people via our #1 forum in Australia iceinspace.com.au & my own mailing list.
I would hate for people to be led up the garden path of Psudo-Science with the fairys & pixie's of these foolish ideas.

cran
2005-Aug-13, 01:56 AM
Originally posted by gaa_ian@Aug 9 2005, 07:41 AM
A good policy Fraser
However I notice the "Moon Hoax" & "Solid Sun" crackpots are coming into your site via the google adds at the top of your page
This I believe detracts from the credibility of you site.
Can they be stopped ?
I often recommend your site to 100's of people via our #1 forum in Australia iceinspace.com.au & my own mailing list.
I would hate for people to be led up the garden path of Psudo-Science with the fairys & pixie's of these foolish ideas.
I'm sorry, gaa_ian, I cannot support your view...

As fraser said, all ideas are welcome... and I would add that all 'crackpots' (er, 'alternative' thinkers) are welcome ... provided they (as with everybody else) are polite and pursue the topic in the appropriate thread or forum ... there is an entire forum just for 'wacko' ... ahem, I mean 'alternative' ideas ... to allow them, I believe, only increases UT's credibility as a serious science-based place to thrash out debates and examine ideas, and where no idea is, or should be, dismissed out of hand ... it's just possible that a revolutionary new way to view the universe (or some aspect of it) which stands up under intense scrutiny and reconciles the data may spring up or evolve out of one of these discussions... and in the meantime, if nothing else, they might be good for a laugh :)

anyway that's this 'crackpot's' opinion ... :ph34r:

gaa_ian
2005-Aug-13, 11:59 AM
Good point Cran ... I agree that thinking outside the square should be encouraged too ....
But ..... Advert's that promote the "Moon landing was a hoax" books or DVD's, go beyond discussion, and into the realms of ligitimising these "alternitive" theory's as science! :blink:

cran
2005-Aug-13, 02:02 PM
All the more reason to let them in, promote their case and supporting 'evidence'; and then gently show them the error of their ways - by kindly but firmly tearing every little foundation they cling to into small unsupportable fragments... and then countering each point with as much 'hard' evidence as required... either that person will keep the blinkers on, and eventually go away frustrated, or that person will accept that pseudo-science just doesn't stand up, and we will have one more promoting reality over fantasy - either way, we can't lose! :)