David Schwartzman wrote:
More pseudoscience, like your global warming denialism
I appreciate your candor. I’m sure you speak for others who are more shy about expressing disagreement in public.
It seems to me that pseudoscience has two distinct definitions.
A pseudosience is a system of beliefs that are in fact unsound, that are based on invalid theories, and/or faulty reasoning, misinterpreted or ignored evidence, intentional deception, etc.
By this definition, it would appear to be difficult for any of us to say what is and isn’t pseudoscience. Unless we really understand a topic in considerable depth, we are relying on what experts say. Not only do experts differ at any given time, but ‘generally accepted science’ changes radically from time to time, as old ’obvious truths’ are abandoned and whole new paradigms are adopted… Ptolemy, Newton, Darwin, Quantum Theory, etc etc.
So typically when we talk about pseudoscience what we really mean is…
If the generally recognized experts in a field agree that certain ideas related to that field are nonsense, then those ideas are pseudoscience.
And to this, David, I suspect you might respond, “No, I mean pseudoscience by the first definition – it is objectively wrong, not just a matter of expert opinion”. If perchance this is your response, then you need to be able to justify that claim by your own reasoning, and by referring to empirical data (verifiable facts). Such a contribution to the conversation would be welcomed. If you are going by Definition 2, then my response would be, “Tell me something I don’t know” 🙂
We happen to be in a time when many of our important, fundamental sciences are in a state of flux. I suggest that the reason for this is the rapid progress that has been made in our technologies. We have the ability to see data that we couldn’t see before, as with the Hubble Telescope, or via space probes, or with nanotechnology, or computer processing, or DNA analysis, etc etc. Our knowledge of ‘what is’ has expanded more rapidly than our understanding of ‘what it all means’. Our observations are now broader than our theories and models can account for. Increasingly, scientists are finding themselves strangers in a strange land.
Cosmology is the most obvious example, and of course I’ve talked about that before. With radio telescopes, and from what is returned by space probes, mainstream (standard model) cosmologists are seeing all kinds of things, new examples on almost a daily basis, that make no sense according to their model. They are repeatedly ‘amazed’ and ‘surprised’ and openly admit that they can’t explain what they are seeing.
But they don’t abandon their model. Rather they conclude that more research is needed, and believe that they’ll find a way eventually to refine their existing model to incorporate the new observations. In pursuit of that refinement, for example, they’ve introduced new assumptions into their model, such as dark matter and dark energy. They don’t have any idea what dark matter or dark energy are, or how it would be possible for them to exist within the laws of physics, and they can’t observe either one. The scientists simply say that such things ‘must exist’, since the standard model is ‘known to be correct’.
Meanwhile, a rebel group of scientists are developing a candidate next-paradigm model for cosmology – the Electric Universe model. By Definition 2, the EU model is pseudoscience. And according to the EU rebels, the Standard Model is pseudoscience, by Definition 1. This is a classic example of the paradigm-shift scenario in science. When the EU model is adopted, it will be just like when Copernicus was accepted, and this will be even more profound than Copernicus – in terms of our understanding of the universe.
Most people assume that such disputes in science are ‘too deep’ for us mortals to make informed judgements about. We must wait until the experts sort things out. If one of us takes a position, then most people think he or she takes it for psychological reasons: you stick with the old model if you’re conservative, and you jump on the new model if you’re the kind of person who entertains new-age ideas, conspiracy theories, UFOs, etc.
And in fact the psychological interpretation is correct most of the time, I’d say. When people tell me why they believe things – things that I very much agree with for my own reasons – I often find that their reasons do not make sense. They are lining up as one would expect based on their psychology, and then they’re finding a reason that sounds OK to them. Their investigation ends there, and they’ve reached their conclusion.
I am here to tell you that these kinds of scientific disputes can be investigated in depth by most of you, and it’s not nearly as difficult as it may seem. The very existence of public controversy creates the documentation that makes a thorough investigation rather straightforward. And with the Internet and YouTube, it is usually possible to view all the evidence directly for yourself.
The fact is that a ‘deep’ controversy must by its very nature also be a very shallow controversy, as regards depth of reasoning. If you are arguing about core axioms in your model, then there’s very little behind those core axioms; often they are merely assumptions. Thus the standard model folks have no answer whatever to the claims of the EU model, apart from stating their assumption: “We know gravity is the main force in the universe”. An assumption that can be refuted by anyone with a toy magnet and a bit of imagination.
If it’s a case of two quantum-theory guys arguing about a new kind of sub-particle, then Woe is Us – that really is a deep topic, requiring an advanced understanding of physics. That debate is happening out on an inaccessible branch of a complex scientific tree. But when the argument is about whether or not the trunk of the tree exists, any one of us is capable of seeing the moons of Jupiter through Galileo’s telescope, so to speak. It is only necessary to do the looking.
When smart people debate, they hone down their arguments, and they seek out clear examples of their evidence. They do the hard work of researching and summarizing for us. Like a jury, we can hear the testimony of both sides, as presented by the smart lawyers on each side. And unlike a jury, we can do a bit of investigating of our own, via Google, to check out claims, and to see additional perspectives.
I’ve found it quite exciting to apply this approach to a number of different fields of science. I feel like I’m ‘in the room’, at the seminar table, while the giants of our time are fighting it out, to see which of their shoulders future giants will stand on. I even jump in sometimes and send emails to one of these giants, and sometimes I even get a response. A real sense of engagement with something of significance. My kind of fun.
And it has been fun, to be ‘in the room’ for the latest in cosmology and several other fundamental domains, including consciousness itself. And what I’m finding is that most people devote their attention to only one or two of the rooms that are currently in urgent session. By room-hopping a lot, I’ve been able to see some resonances among the new understandings that are emerging, resonances that I haven’t seen anyone else notice yet. That’s when it really gets fun.
Perhaps the most dramatic example is the resonance between the EU model and the record of climate variation. I wasn’t happy with my first article about that resonance, and there will be a better-documented and better-presented update soon. And I’ll be able to post it on the EU facebook page! I was fortunately admitted to that room 🙂
But first I’d like to follow-up on the Advanced Technology video. And I’ll summarize some main points from the video, as I doubt if very many of you had 3 hours to devote to watching it. That video is very much about resonances, among global mythologies, archeological and geological discoveries, ancient writings and architectures, etc. And when one brings in the EU model, these resonances ring even more clearly.
In particular I am intrigued by the correspondence of the precessional cycle with the Great Ages that we find in the Vedas, the Yugas, the Mayan calendar, etc. The mechanism behind that correspondence becomes easy to imagine, when you look at it from a magnetic perspective, through the lens of the EU model. That’s what our next posting will be about.