Monday, February 26, 2018

The 10 DUMBEST Ideas in Physics

This thread should probably be titled THE TOP TEN DUMBEST BELIEFS IN PHYSICS.  The word "ideas" seems to give more value to the items on the list than they deserve.  But, I can't change the title without causing all the places that link to this page to have bad links.  Anyway, ...
I've been arguing with physicists for several years now, primarily about Time and Time Dilation, and this is a list of the THE TOP TEN DUMBEST BELIEFS I've encountered being expressed by physicists.  There seem to be a lot more than ten, but this blog is modifiable, so as time goes on I'll add more and adjust the list as required.  Here are the top 10:

#10.  Singularities are real.

Physicists will argue that singularities are real, even though that is totally illogical.  They argue it because they can construct a mathematical model where everything is moving away from everything else (such as in the Big Bang universe), therefore everything is x distance from a single point.  They do not know what is at that point, and they don't seem to care.  They call it a "singularity."  In reality, calling it a "singularity" just means they have no clue as to what is there or what was there.  It is just a meaningless "singularity" in a mathematical model of limited value.  

Black Holes are also considered by mathematicians to have "singularities" at their center.  No one knows what is at the center of a Black Hole, but there is no LOGIC which says it is a "singularity" consisting of nothing.  What "singularities" do is allow physicist mathematicians to argue beliefs instead of trying to figure out what is actually at the center of a Black Hole.

#9.  The Big Bang didn't occur at  any spot, it happened everywhere.

The Big Bang was "discovered" when it was realized that most galaxies in the visible universe seem to be traveling away from each other, which implies that at some point in the past they were all clumped together in one point.  When that point is mentioned in discussions of it being the stationary point where gravity is zero (because everything is spread out evenly in all directions from there) and there is no velocity time dilation (because everything moved away from that point), the immediate argument from mathematicians is that the Big Bang didn't occur at any "point," it occurred "everywhere."  There is no logic to that argument (see dumb idea #5).  Logic says that the VISIBLE universe is much smaller than the BIG BANG universe.  During the first moments after the Big Bang, there was no light, and there probably weren't any particles to measure and create Time.  So, we can only see 13.8 billion years into the past to the point where light turned on.  We cannot see back to the Big Bang.  The situation can be viewed this way:
Virtually every point within the Big Bang universe is the center of a Visible universe that is 13.8 billion light years in diameter.  Within our Visible universe, almost every galaxy seems to be moving away from every other galaxy (with Andromeda and the Milky Way being notable exceptions) , but we cannot see the point when everything originated.  That point is outside of our Visible universe.

#8.  Light travels as waves.

The idea that light travels as waves had been shown to be false in many ways, but it is still what is taught in colleges and universities around the world.  Light consists of photons, not waves.  Photons can be emitted almost individually by turning down the power to a light source.  Each emitted photon remains the same strength as other photons, but there are fewer of them.  When they hit a detector, each hits with full force.  This also means there is no relationship between "wave length" and "wave frequency."  An individual photon oscillates in a wave-like pattern, but the intensity of the light is totally dependent upon the power of the source and the distance over which the photons will be spread.  Anyone who compares waves of light to waves of water (or sound) is talking total nonsense.

#7.  It is perfectly acceptable for physics to be illogical.

Many many college text books state that physics may sometimes appear contrary to "common sense," but what is "common sense" in the everyday world may not apply to the world of physics.  It also appears to be a way for teachers to stop students from arguing that what is being taught makes no sense.  As far as I know, only one physicist believes that it is perfectly acceptable for physics to be illogical.  That physicist posts as "tjrob137" on Google's Science, Physics & Relativity" discussion forum.  If I find there are more, this dumb idea may be moved to a spot higher on the list.  Here are parts of one argument where "tjrob137" made his beliefs clear:

At one point  "tjrob137" wrote: 
Logic is a subset of math. But what I said has NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with that, because the world is NOT math or logic, it just IS.  Physics is also neither math nor logic, and is the systematic effort to MODEL how the world works.

Moreover, your "logic" is FLAWED -- you do not consider all of the aspects of the experiments you think you understand (but don't).
Sometime later, after arguing that think that I understand Einstein's theories and how "tjrob's" beliefs conflict with those theories, I wrote:
So, I'm on the side of Einstein who felt that the universe IS logical.
And "tjrob137" responded:
He was wrong, too.

Note the non-logical aspects of the world are not related to relativity, they are related to quantum mechanics, which Einstein never accepted -- we know he was wrong in that. YOU are even more wrong than him, because he at least understood the math and physics underlying relativity, while you CLEARLY do not.
So, "tjrob137" was clearly saying that there are aspects of quantum mechanics which are not logical.  And that doesn't bother him at all.  Of course, I think Einstein was right in never accepting Quantum Mechanics.  Quantum Mechanics is all about mathematical models, not about what is happening in reality.  Yes, the mathematical models often work very well, but that just means they work until they no longer work because they do not represent reality.  The mathematical model of the earth-centered universe is a good example.  It worked for a thousand years, until someone noticed something was wrong.  

#6.  Math is logic.

The argument that "math is logic" is one I get into very often in arguments on Google's Science, Physics & Relativity" discussion forum (which is also a UseNet forum).  The physicists posting there constantly argue that "math is logic" while I argue that math may be logical, but it is NOT logic.  The Scientific Method uses LOGIC, not math to find the correct answers to scientific questions.  When an answer is found that appears to be correct, the answer may be reduced to a mathematical formula to see if predictions can be generated.  For example, if it is imagined that planets orbit in elliptical orbits and not in circular orbits, you can use math to predict when a planet will appear on the other side of the sun using a mathematical model for circular orbits and another mathematical model for an elliptical orbit.  Observations and logic will tell you which mathematical model is correct.

#5.  Time ticks at the same rate everywhere.

The idea that Time ticks at the same rate everywhere is evidently a key belief in Quantum Mechanics.  It appears to be one of the irreconcilable differences between Quantum Mechanics and Einstein's Theories of Relativity.  In Relativity, Time ticks at a slower rate for a clock that is moving very fast, versus a clock that is standing relatively still.  And Time ticks at a slower rate when you are closer to a gravitational mass than when far away.  To QM mathematicians, this is not true.  And they have mathematical models which they use to show it is not true, but they cannot relate their mathematical models to the reality of Relativity.  To me, Time is particle spin.  I have a paper on "What is Time?"  Here's the link:

#4.  The speed of light is always measured to be the same by the emitter and by all outside observers, regardless of their own velocity.

The notion that all observers will see the speed of light to be traveling at c is due to mathematicians misinterpreting Einstein's Second Postulate.  It has been proved wrong in countless experiments and countless ways.  I have a paper on that subject here: 

#3.  "Cause and effect" has no meaning in science.

I was rather surprised to see this absurd belief stated so emphatically by mathematician physicists.  They equate understanding "cause and effect" to asking why 2 plus 2 equals 4.  They claim it is philosophy, not physics.  Cause and effect is all about why things happen.  The mathematician physicists evidently do not care why things happen.  In one argument I was told that once the mathematical model is found, "cause & effect becomes obsolete.  We understood this 2000 yrs ago!"

Why things happen is what a scientist wants to know.  It's what the "wonders" of science are all about. A mathematical model is only good until someone notices that it isn't always correct.  Then someone asks "What is the cause of that error effect in the mathematical model"?  And the model awaits an overhaul as scientists investigate cause and effect.

#2. Scientists routinely LIE to the public.

I spent a lot of time discussing this belief with mathematician physicists.  They go to great pains to avoid using the word "lie."  Instead, they say that scientists "dumb down" or "vulgarize" explanations of their work for the public, because the public is "too dumb" to understand what is really happening in science and particularly in physics.

The debate is usually over time dilation, and whether or not clocks moving fast through space "tick slower" than stationary clocks, and whether or not a clock at the bottom of a mountain "ticks slower" than a clock at the top of the mountain.  Scientists and physicists routinely make such claims in news stories and even in scientific papers when they report the results of new experiments.  Quantum Mechanics, however, says that clocks tick at the same rate everywhere.  Time is the same everywhere.  So, clocks cannot tick slower in one situation versus another.  And when a scientists writes something that says "clocks tick slower" for a moving object (even if it is Albert Einstein), the mathematician physicists who accept Quantum Mechanics will claim that is just a "vulgarization" or a "dumbing down" of what really happens, and what "really happens" is some mysterious problem with "signals" that are sent between observers and their clocks that just make it appear that the "clocks tick slower."  So, instead of acknowledging that experiments disprove their Quantum Mechanical belief that time ticks at the same rate everywhere, they rationalize what was said and argue that it was just a "vulgarization" or "dumbing down" of the topic.  In other words, "It is a lie."

#1.  All motion is reciprocal.
The idea that all motion or movement is reciprocal is in many physics books.  Basically, it means that if I am in a spaceship that seems to be motionless in empty space, and suddenly you pass by in another spaceship, there's no way to tell who is moving and who is standing still.  It will seem to me that you are moving.  But to you it will seem that I am moving.  And thus a physicist will argue that all motion is reciprocal.  And, piling absurdity upon absurdity, if all motion is reciprocal, then time dilation is also reciprocal.

The problem, of course, is that the situation with the two spaceships is totally fictional.  In real life, it costs millions (maybe billions) to send off a spaceship into space, and it burns lots of fuel which causes the spaceship to move toward countless objects in space that can be used to measure distances and movement.  So, there is no doubt that the spaceship was made to move.  It cannot be logically argued that the fuel expended caused planet Earth and the rest of the universe to move away from the stationary spaceship.  It is the same as arguing that if I use a gun to fire a bullet at a target, it is equally likely that the bullet stood still and I caused the target and the rest of the universe to move toward the stationary bullet.

The bizarre belief that all motion is reciprocal is the #1 dumbest idea in physics also because it is the basis for so many other errors and misunderstandings - particularly regarding time dilation.   It has no reality except in the minds of mathematicians.   

Additional thoughts:

I'm considering adding "Spacetime" somewhere on the list.  The problem is that the idea of "spacetime" is not exactly "dumb," it's just wrong.  It assumes a relationship between time and distance.  As I see it, there is no such relationship.  Time is particle spin, and space is just the emptiness between objects.  The "spacetime" idea came from Einstein who believed that time and distance (and length) were related.  In 1905 they knew nothing about "particle spin."  Eight years earlier, in 1897, J.J Thompson had discovered that atoms were composed of smaller particles.  But Einstein was working with light, not with atoms.  I need to think about how to phrase things if I argue that "Spacetime" belongs in the #9 spot on the list.  As I think of others for the list, I'll update this page.  If there turn out to be more than 10, I may list the remainder as "waiting in the wings" for one of the Top Ten to fade from favor.

I'm also considering adding "String Theory" to the list.  The problem is that "String Theory" isn't science, because there is no way to prove or disprove the theory.  Plus, it really isn't physics, either.  It's just mathematics.    

1 comment:

  1. I revised the list to go from #10 to #1, instead of from #1 to #10, since it encourages people to read the entire list to get to #1, instead of just reading what is #1.

    I also moved "All Motion is Reciprocal" from #3 to #1. It is clearly the DUMBEST idea in physics, and is the cause of countless bizarre beliefs and stupid arguments. It is a DUMB idea that can only make sense to a mathematician.