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Author Topic: Getting back on track with good physics  (Read 7768 times)

Offline PmbPhy

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Getting back on track with good physics
« on: 23/02/2015 22:57:57 »
Hi folks.

There are too many crackpots here to make this place a pleasant place to post anymore. Too many people who don't even know basic terms and find that they have to fight and defend what they believe then to be rather than pick up a good text or contact an expert to find out. I suggest that we all gather at the place where this doesn't happen and take it from there.

Jeff - You ask a lot of good questions but a lot of crackpots are making them horrible to follow. It'd be great if you changed your place of posting to one where that doesn't happen.

To the rest of you - Why is it that you can't do what everyone else does to learn physics? I.e. pick up good text, learn math, read about the philosophy of physics, and especially contact an expert in the field you're interested in and learn from him. DO NOT claim that he's wrong and doesn't know what he's talking about. DO NOT claim that he doesn't know what a frame of reference is, etc. Assume that he's right no matter what. And keep assuming that until you've become an expert in the field. Then and only then do you logically have the right to disagree.


 

Offline Ethos_

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Re: Getting back on track with good physics
« Reply #1 on: 23/02/2015 23:54:09 »
Hi folks.

There are too many crackpots here to make this place a pleasant place to post anymore. Too many people who don't even know basic terms and find that they have to fight and defend what they believe then to be rather than pick up a good text or contact an expert to find out. I suggest that we all gather at the place where this doesn't happen and take it from there.

Jeff - You ask a lot of good questions but a lot of crackpots are making them horrible to follow. It'd be great if you changed your place of posting to one where that doesn't happen.

To the rest of you - Why is it that you can't do what everyone else does to learn physics? I.e. pick up good text, learn math, read about the philosophy of physics, and especially contact an expert in the field you're interested in and learn from him. DO NOT claim that he's wrong and doesn't know what he's talking about. DO NOT claim that he doesn't know what a frame of reference is, etc. Assume that he's right no matter what. And keep assuming that until you've become an expert in the field. Then and only then do you logically have the right to disagree.
I know where you're coming from Pete even though I'm not an expert myself, I can diagnose one when I've read their work. Sometimes the responsibility that comes with knowledge is a bit frustrating and I recognize the frustration you've been dealing with lately. But remember this my friend, for many people, it is easier to learn physics than it is to learn patience. And when dealing with people that have no interest in learning, a patience of the highest degree becomes necessary. My friend, please try to endure these crackpots for a while yet. Not until you've exhausted every effort to bring them to the understanding that I'm convinced is your one and only goal, then give up on them. If after this effort has been exhausted they still don't listen to good science, just plainly ignore them.

Your friend...............................Ethos
 

Offline Bill S

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Re: Getting back on track with good physics
« Reply #2 on: 24/02/2015 01:48:35 »
I would like to endorse what Ethos said.  If I were 50 years younger, and had the knowledge I have now, I would get stuck into the maths and basic physics so that with time I could gain a much better understanding.  At almost 75, and often having only a few spare minutes in a day, I have to take short cuts.  I need, and appreciate, people with the knowledge to impart and the patience to impart it, if I am ever going to find answers to my questions.

Quote
Assume that he's right no matter what. And keep assuming that until you've become an expert in the field. Then and only then do you logically have the right to disagree.

There is a big difference between trying to tell an expert he/she is wrong, and questioning what he/she says in order to gain a better understanding.  One thing I cannot do is pretend something makes sense to me if it doesn't; that is not learning. 

Whom should one assume is right?  How does the non-expert decide who is right when experts differ?  The only way I see is to question everything until something makes sense. If that discomfits some experts, I apologise, but that's how it is.  In geological circles, I didn't get the label "Bloody Bill" for nothing. :)

 

Offline PmbPhy

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Re: Getting back on track with good physics
« Reply #3 on: 24/02/2015 02:17:55 »
Quote from: Bill S
Quote
Assume that he's right no matter what. And keep assuming that until you've become an expert in the field. Then and only then do you logically have the right to disagree.

There is a big difference between trying to tell an expert he/she is wrong, and questioning what he/she says in order to gain a better understanding.  One thing I cannot do is pretend something makes sense to me if it doesn't; that is not learning. 
That's quite understandable. I don't think that kind of thing will happen in the context of the kind of questions that I'd suggest contacting an expert. For example: phyti39 doesn't understand what a frame of reference frame is. He keeps posting/stating a definition that is not used by anybody in mainstream physics.

Quote from: Bill S
Whom should one assume is right?  How does the non-expert decide who is right when experts differ?  The only way I see is to question everything until something makes sense. If that discomfits some experts, I apologise, but that's how it is.  In geological circles, I didn't get the label "Bloody Bill" for nothing. :)
On these kinds of examples there is hardly any differences between the answers that experts will give. Experts don't really disagree on a great deal of things in physics. That only happens with ways to teach physics and ways of interpreting what is observed in nature. But when it comes to things like "What is a frame of reference?" that has a unique answer that experts don't disagree on.

As some of you know I have my own forum. All of the members of my forum are members of other forums.
Some friends of mine and myself are creating a Crackpot List to help members determine whose posts can be trusted and whose can't. If you have any suggestions I would greatly appreciate it if you could send them to me in PM with examples which demonstrate what you're asserting is crackpot'ish about them. Thanks.
« Last Edit: 24/02/2015 02:30:18 by PmbPhy »
 

Offline PmbPhy

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Re: Getting back on track with good physics
« Reply #4 on: 24/02/2015 02:33:37 »
As some of you know I have my own physics discussion forum. I've asked and gotten permission before to discuss membership to my forum before and am assuming its still okay. If not then I'll assume that this post will simply be deleted.

The forum is going well but extremely slow. For that reason I'd like to suggest that everyone who wishes to join the forum send me an e-mail and let me know. I'll then do a search of your posts and read what you've posted here before. If you're behavior is of the kind that is acceptable in my forum then I'll  invite you to join.
 

Offline Colin2B

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Re: Getting back on track with good physics
« Reply #5 on: 24/02/2015 14:52:44 »
I first came to this forum when seeking a specific answer to a question on nuclear fission. It had been triggered by a site suggesting that nuclear bombs are a hoax. Although the site owner failed to grasp simple concepts like friction and gravity, I realised that I understood how a reactor works, but not how a bomb differs. I've got it figured now, so it's not always GIGO, some good can come out of rubbish.
Although I had been aware of some conspiracy theories and crank ideas (yes, we even get them here in the UK) I had never been aware of the vast number, and they appear to be growing almost unchecked. Despite that, I have been thinking how I should respond to OPs who appear on the forum. It seems to me there are a few different types:

The truth seeker, but not yet knowledgeable. Eg "Is there any way to deny this time travel theory that I have". These often present as an oddball idea, use terms we would consider confusing, and show faulty reasoning. However, they are open to an explanation and willing to learn. I am happy to spend time with these as some are youngsters keen to learn.

Genuine oddball eg aetzbar - is pi is a single number ?
No point, he can't even understand the basics. Give up on him as quickly as possible.

Crank, theorist etc. usually easy to spot, but not always easy to ignore. Maybe I ought to.

Crank masquerading as truth seeker. Less easy to spot. There is a thread which starts out as seemingly innocent question on free fall, where the OP doesn't make his preconceived theory apparent until a lot of work has gone into answering questions. Even though he didn't prove his case, because he misunderstood and rejected key points, he still feels he has 'won'. Tempting to correct his error, but is there any point? Only if he is directing innocents to the thread as proof of his theory?

PS Alan Calverd. I saw part of the thread on free fall, saw the point at which he ignored your analysis. I agree with you. I've had some experience with explosives and my daughter has been trained in explosive demolition. She LOL, as she put it. You might be interested in this link
http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/design/a3524/4278874/

 
 

Offline yor_on

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Re: Getting back on track with good physics
« Reply #6 on: 24/02/2015 15:31:45 »
NIST usually makes good science. But it won't stop people from hypothesizing other scenarios involving 'conspiracies' I'm afraid. As for the question of 'cranks' I think we have to accept that everyone have their pets :) I would call that a human condition, similar to the concept of having a opinion, and I don't think we want a world where everyone says the same, I don't anyway. But one also have to recognize the use, and pleasure, of being corrected (now, please don't read more into that, than what I aim for in this specific context:) by those with extensive knowledge, in some field of science. That's why I consider TNS lucky to have guys as JP, PhysBang, Pete, as well as a lot of other knowledgeable guys here. So it's a balance to me, and we all have to balance. We learn by arguing.
 

Offline Ethos_

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Re: Getting back on track with good physics
« Reply #7 on: 24/02/2015 15:38:46 »
It seems to me there are a few different types:

The truth seeker, but not yet knowledgeable. Eg "Is there any way to deny this time travel theory that I have". These often present as an oddball idea, use terms we would consider confusing, and show faulty reasoning. However, they are open to an explanation and willing to learn. I am happy to spend time with these as some are youngsters keen to learn.
This is the group we should invest our energy with. Honest truth seekers, of which I consider myself having much to learn but willing to expend the effort.
Quote from: Colin2B
Genuine oddball eg aetzbar - is pi is a single number ?
No point, he can't even understand the basics. Give up on him as quickly as possible.
Maybe he deserves one chance, if he doesn't respond with a minimum of intelligence, then I would agree there is no point in whiping a dead horse.
Quote from: Colin2B
Crank, theorist etc. usually easy to spot, but not always easy to ignore. Maybe I ought to.
Absolutely, save yourself some time and aggravation.
Quote from: Colin2B
Crank masquerading as truth seeker. Less easy to spot. There is a thread which starts out as seemingly innocent question on free fall, where the OP doesn't make his preconceived theory apparent until a lot of work has gone into answering questions. Even though he didn't prove his case, because he misunderstood and rejected key points, he still feels he has 'won'. Tempting to correct his error, but is there any point? Only if he is directing innocents to the thread as proof of his theory?

PS Alan Calverd. I saw part of the thread on free fall, saw the point at which he ignored your analysis. I agree with you. I've had some experience with explosives and my daughter has been trained in explosive demolition. She LOL, as she put it. You might be interested in this link
http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/design/a3524/4278874/
These last two cases are indeed the most difficult to respond correctly to. Be careful not to be drawn in too deeply, we all make mistakes and I reckon a few members are only here to point them out and seek to ignore their own errors.
 

Offline Merccooper

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Re: Getting back on track with good physics
« Reply #8 on: 24/02/2015 16:38:10 »
I hope you guys don't throw the baby out with the bath water.  :D
As I've mentioned in an earlier post, I'll never have the intellect to understand the math behind physics but I thoroughly enjoy thinking about the different aspects of it and trying to understand some of it in basic terms. I agree, there are crackpots who won't listen or accept explanations that are being offered and argue back with the same "believes" over and over again, which can't logically be argued.  There is obviously the whole spectrum of knowledge level on this site. You could go off on your own, make your own playground and invite only those you want to play with or, just ignore those that you feel are crack pots....they will eventually get bored and go away. I hope you don't go away.
 

Offline PmbPhy

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Re: Getting back on track with good physics
« Reply #9 on: 24/02/2015 17:13:19 »
Quote from: Merccooper
I hope you guys don't throw the baby out with the bath water.  :D
As I've mentioned in an earlier post, I'll never have the intellect to understand the math behind physics but I thoroughly enjoy thinking about the different aspects of it and trying to understand some of it in basic terms. I agree, there are crackpots who won't listen or accept explanations that are being offered and argue back with the same "believes" over and over again, which can't logically be argued.  There is obviously the whole spectrum of knowledge level on this site. You could go off on your own, make your own playground and invite only those you want to play with or, just ignore those that you feel are crack pots....they will eventually get bored and go away. I hope you don't go away.
You misunderstand. The my forum is different than other forums only in that nobody can be mean/rude/insulting to other members. So long as members follow the rules they can stay. Most people can't post like that. And we also keep put people who are truly crackpots. I've dealt with them for over 20 years and know that there's nothing to be gained by talking to them. They're free to talk with people on the other dozen or so physics websites. And people surely don't get bored with my website. They all love it. They tell me its the best forum that they've ever seen.

Cranks and crackpots are useless. That's why not one of them has ever been able to publish a paper in a legitimate physics journal.
« Last Edit: 24/02/2015 17:17:10 by PmbPhy »
 

Offline Merccooper

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Re: Getting back on track with good physics
« Reply #10 on: 24/02/2015 17:26:39 »
You misunderstand. The my forum is different than other forums only in that nobody can be mean/rude/insulting to other members. So long as members follow the rules they can stay.

Sorry, I got the impression there was other criteria beyond normal manners.

And people surely don't get bored with my website. They all love it.

I hope you were not thinking I was suggesting your site is boring. I meant that ignoring crack pots on any site will eventually make them bored and ultimately (hopefully) go away.

 

Offline PmbPhy

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Re: Getting back on track with good physics
« Reply #11 on: 24/02/2015 17:42:46 »
Quote from: Merccooper
Sorry, I got the impression there was other criteria beyond normal manners.
Well, its by invitation only but I will never invite a crackpot or a crank to join.

Quote from: Merccooper
I hope you were not thinking I was suggesting your site is boring.
My apologies, Sir. I misread that comment.

Quote from: Merccooper
I meant that ignoring crack pots on any site will eventually make them bored and ultimately (hopefully) go away.
Understood. I agree.
 

Offline David Cooper

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Re: Getting back on track with good physics
« Reply #12 on: 24/02/2015 18:33:15 »
If a crackpot is disrupting a conversation, a moderator should be called in to split the thread or delete the disruptive posts. If the crackpot keeps coming back in, a series of bans of increasing length would probably fix it. If the thread was started by the crackpot, that's another matter - it's then up to others to opt out of posting to it. I know that a lot of people who know their stuff are extremely busy and they get fed up of having to wade through the posts written by bottom feeders (that's a term related to fish and isn't rude), so there is certainly a place for a more tightly controlled forum such as Pete's as it can make experts more available to those people who are prepared to put in the work so that they don't annoy them and drive them away. It just needs to build up the number of experts who hang out there, though that will likely take a long time to happen.
 

Offline yor_on

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Re: Getting back on track with good physics
« Reply #13 on: 24/02/2015 19:08:47 »
Well, if you want to argue a point, that differs from the post you've read, and want to prove it. You better be ready to explain it so that the people reading you understand why you take another view of it. That goes for everyone actually.
 

Offline PmbPhy

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Re: Getting back on track with good physics
« Reply #14 on: 24/02/2015 19:28:08 »
Quote from: Ethos_
My friend, please try to endure these crackpots for a while yet. Not until you've exhausted every effort to bring them to the understanding that I'm convinced is your one and only goal, then give up on them.
Ethos, my good friend. I've been dealing with the crackpots in this forum since 2009-07-24, i.e. over six years. And I've been dealing with them in general for close to 20 years in other forums. Enough is enough!
 

Offline PmbPhy

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Re: Getting back on track with good physics
« Reply #15 on: 24/02/2015 19:34:31 »
Before we go on let's be clear on exactly what a crackpot is. Webster defines a crackpot as
Quote
one given to eccentric or lunatic notions

Wikipedia defines a crackpot theory as being the same as Pseudoscience which is defined as follows
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pseudoscience
Quote
Pseudoscience is a claim, belief or practice which is falsely presented as scientific, but does not adhere to a valid scientific method, cannot be reliably tested, or otherwise lacks scientific status. Pseudoscience is often characterized by the use of vague, contradictory, exaggerated or unprovable claims, an over-reliance on confirmation rather than rigorous attempts at refutation, a lack of openness to evaluation by other experts, and a general absence of systematic processes to rationally develop theories.
 

Offline yor_on

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Re: Getting back on track with good physics
« Reply #16 on: 24/02/2015 19:41:57 »
This is the way I look at it. If communication breaks down I tend to look at myself first, to see where I've failed, sometimes it can be like walking in syrup trying to prove something that you believe, or know, to be correct but that you can't slam into some other persons face, using for example a mathematical proof that they are totally unaccustomed to understand. This site is not tailored for physics majors I'm afraid, although we have the help of some.
 

Offline Colin2B

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Re: Getting back on track with good physics
« Reply #17 on: 25/02/2015 11:54:35 »
.. one also have to recognize the use, and pleasure, of being corrected (now, please don't read more into that, than what I aim for in this specific context:) ....
I think I read an article on this in Nude Scientist.
 

Offline PhysBang

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Re: Getting back on track with good physics
« Reply #18 on: 25/02/2015 14:05:41 »
All: I'm afraid that
I'm just going to not repeat the insults and plainly false claims that poster has just put there and simply point out the folk saying of the pot calling the kettle black.
 

Offline PmbPhy

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Re: Getting back on track with good physics
« Reply #19 on: 25/02/2015 15:45:24 »
Quote from: PhysBang
... that poster ....
What poster? Do you mean John or myself?
 

Offline PmbPhy

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Re: Getting back on track with good physics
« Reply #20 on: 25/02/2015 20:02:26 »
I forgot exactly how evil some people are on the internet. These evil pricks stick together like clicks (sp?) and insult people whenever they find that they've been proved wrong. http://www.thescienceforum.com/ is famous for this. They harbor some of the most disgusting slime there. I tried to explain to them how they've misinterpreted the HUP and they ended up flaming me because they misread what I wrote claiming I was trying to be rude. Again - More people who think they can read minds. These slime bags should be shot.
 

Offline David Cooper

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Re: Getting back on track with good physics
« Reply #21 on: 25/02/2015 21:20:55 »
I forgot exactly how evil some people are on the internet. These evil pricks stick together like clicks (sp?) and insult people whenever they find that they've been proved wrong.

[I think it's "cliques", but most people seem to spell it the way you have.]

They work in packs because they're cowards who don't trust their own beliefs to win out through reason, so they need to call in an enforcement mob instead. It's a good idea not to copy them, which is why I prefer to be one against many in an argument without anyone backing me.

Quote
These slime bags should be shot.

They'll soon get what's coming, and it'll be much better than shooting them. AGI will go through every single thing that's ever been posted to the Web (whenever the data still exists anywhere) and will write an impartial commentary on it, spelling out who was wrong, where they were wrong, how wrong they were, how nasty they were, etc.

If only they knew it, they'd start deleting the evidence now. If there are any particularly juicy threads you've taken part in which you don't want to go missing, make sure you copy them to your own machine to ensure that they will be analysed in this way when "Judgement Day" comes. I've got a good few backed up for this very reason.

Best of all, their real names will be exposed too in the process (if they've been nasty enough to justify this), and everyone who knows them will be shown exactly what they've been up to.
« Last Edit: 25/02/2015 21:24:10 by David Cooper »
 

Offline PhysBang

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Re: Getting back on track with good physics
« Reply #22 on: 25/02/2015 22:05:48 »
Quote from: PhysBang
... that poster ....
What poster? Do you mean John or myself?
I mean that the things that were written about you apply much better to the person writing them.
 

Offline PmbPhy

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Re: Getting back on track with good physics
« Reply #23 on: 26/02/2015 16:51:40 »
Quote from: David Cooper
It's a good idea not to copy them, which is why I prefer to be one against many in an argument without anyone backing me.
I disagree. Newbies, amateurs and layman often make the mistake that the majority opinion is the right one.

But each to his own.
 

Offline David Cooper

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Re: Getting back on track with good physics
« Reply #24 on: 26/02/2015 19:00:11 »
Quote from: David Cooper
It's a good idea not to copy them, which is why I prefer to be one against many in an argument without anyone backing me.
I disagree. Newbies, amateurs and layman often make the mistake that the majority opinion is the right one.

But each to his own.

The danger with that is that you end up teaching people to go with the herd instead of learning to think. You're probably right though to think that most people will go with the herd - that seems to be the normal way of things, but it's not something I want any part in because the whole approach of judging the correctness of a position by the number of people supporting it, regardless of how idiotic that position might be. Most of the worst problems in the world are caused by this.

Lesson #1 for newbies should be to ignore the support numbers and focus on analysing the argument logically.
« Last Edit: 26/02/2015 19:02:04 by David Cooper »
 

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Re: Getting back on track with good physics
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