Mass Noun, A Tyranny Of Experts

Like a pride of lions or perhaps more accurately, a gaggle of geese. English has specific terms for certain collections of some mass nouns.

I’ve come to believe that “experts” ought to be termed “a tyranny of experts”.

Why? Well, for one thing, “appeal to authority” still holds sway over many minds that have not learned it is a logical fallacy

Then there are the thousand and one ways Government enforces the Rule Of Experts. From licensing to rule making bodies to Generals and more.

Yet The Peter Principal tells us people rise to their level of incompetence. So we end up ruled by a Tyranny Of Incompetent Experts.

Evidence? Start with Fauci and his no-mask mask no-mask and 15 days turning to 9 months.

Professional diplomats and politicians, charged with negotiating peace, have created how many hundreds of wars?

Expert M.D.s said stomach ulcers were caused by spicy food and nerves, missing H. Pylori.

Experts in “climate science” claimed we would be both flooded and burned a decade ago. Yet demand authority.

The expert writers, directors, management and filmmakers of CBS Paramount brought us the horrible STD Star Trek Discovery and the mediocre Picard. On the verge of ruining the franchise. All while the amature “Fan flicks” have created shows that are truly Trek and many are better than STD (not a high barrier)… Yet the experts demand others not make Trek films.

The list goes on.

So I do think a Tyranny Of Experts applies.

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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46 Responses to Mass Noun, A Tyranny Of Experts

  1. cdquarles says:

    Mikey likes it :).

  2. Julian says:

    Thank you EM, yes very much so – a vitally important perspective … and also the ‘wicked echo chamber’ these ‘experts’ thus create in the wider opinion.
    As one recently retired senior academic colleague explained to me a few weeks back, none of the science he oversaw in 30 years at one mid-ranking UK university was ever contrary to either government policies or corporate interests. What happens if this applies to the majority of our academia ?
    We have some amazing science; unfortunately much of it is simply not appropriate science.
    No wonder our Frankenstein economy can only survive on QE … and thus also our political class (in UK at least) is now largely irrelevant.

  3. Sandy McClintock says:

    I expect many of you know of the ‘Prof Peter Ridd case’ in Australia.
    The University Administration fired him for speaking out about poor (alarmist) research.
    Independent researchers from around the world failed to replicate the alarmist claims.
    I have a relative who knows Peter and speaks highly of him. The case has split the town of Townsville into his supporters and the alarmists.

  4. Sandy McClintock says:

    Thomas Sowell has forthright things to say about the increasing (Tyrannical) role of ‘experts’.

    He also talks about the changing composition of the US cabinet.
    I like his comments that Universities increasingly demand Student Diversity but once students arrive, they are expected to express uniform views or risk ridicule by professors (and worse).

  5. philjourdan says:

    I prefer “wake of experts”. It is the term for a flock of buzzards. And the results are the same.

  6. p.g.sharrow says:

    Experts – “Former little Drips under pressure.” It always gripes me that well papered incompetents are afforded recognition while being demonstrably wrong. While those that are right but not well paper are ignored or even decried as fools for questioning their Betters.

  7. Tonyb says:

    Philosopher Jose gassett called those specialising in tiny areas ‘ learned ignoramus’ ‘

    ‘In his 1930 book The Revolt of the Masses, Spanish philosopher José Ortega y Gasset addresses what he considers to be a strange byproduct of the prevalence of specialization in everything, specifically the intellectual sphere. “Previously,” he writes, “men could be divided simply into the learned and the ignorant, those more or less the one, and those more or less the other.” Now, however, a new kind of person has emerged, “an extraordinarily strange kind of man,” who cannot be called “learned for he is formally ignorant of all that does not enter into his specialty,” yet at the same time cannot be considered “ignorant because he is ‘a scientist’ who ‘knows’ very well his own tiny portion of the universe.” Thus, Ortega y Gasset says that the only fitting name for such a person is a “learned ignoramus.”’

    I would suggest those who have wildly overstated covid 19 but especially climate change are such people who do not see the overall picture but merely one piece of a large jigsaw


  8. p.g.sharrow says:

    My Father always said that those were “People Educated beyond their Intelligence.” After 18 years under his tutelage I went out into the world of real people to compete ! What an Eye opener! Most people, experts in their fields, were just faking it! functioning at the edge of their abilities in their fields. How disappointing..

  9. cdquarles says:

    Correct. People like to think science does not require faith. It does, though. Faith is how you know with certainty something you can’t know any other way. Faith requires induction. Deduction is rather mechanical and really doesn’t require much thought. “Modern” “progressive” culture is a religion. They deny He That Is, but they can’t “get off the ground floor” without Him.

  10. Compu Gator says:

    When today’s senior citizens were children, some of the more graphically-thinking ones among us noticed how well the east coast of South America seemed to fit the west coast of Africa, esp. on a globe, but they were gently ridiculed by ‘geography’ teachers, e.g.: You simply have an overactive imagination; scientists know that the idea of any global movement of solid rock, or any other physical explanation, is quite silly.

    So as we reached or approached adulthood, ‘continental drift’ and ‘plate tectonics’ began to be accepted as a scientific reality. See, e.g.:

  11. Another Ian says:

    Intellectual Yet Idiot

    View at

  12. rhoda klapp says:

    A long time ago, when I worked for ‘a large mainframe manufacturer’ I was a specialist by grade. When the meeting was held to determine who should be the regional specialist in each product, I couldn’t go. I became the designated regional specialist in the last product, the one nobody else wanted and one which I didn’t know all that well.

    It didn’t matter, because I was faking it for my entire IT career. And so was everyone else.

  13. Compu Gator says:

    rhoda klapp replied on 21 September 2020 at 8:04 am GMT:
    A long time ago, when I worked for ‘a large mainframe manufacturer’  I was a specialist by grade. [….]  I was faking it for my entire IT career. And so was everyone else.

    faking it” in an “IT career”?

    In Sales or Marketing you were, ummm, hmmm? 

  14. rhoda klapp says:

    Gator, I was software product support, very much technical. But I learned a few tricks that meant I didn’t need to be very clever. Like, a programmer has a bug. He blames the OS or the compiler. I didn’t need to know much about the language to ask him (yes, it was always a him in those days) to go through the source line by line to explain to me what it was doing. Mostly a big lightbulb would come on over his head and he’d say ‘Oh, I see it now’. Problem solved and I didn’t have to bother my head about cobol or PL/1 or Fortran or whatever it was.

    And yes, it was all inline code. A little structured, no OOP.

  15. philjourdan says:

    @CD – sorry, that is not science. That is belief. Faith.

    Science doubts as long as there is doubt. Faith believes without evidence.

  16. cdquarles says:

    Quite wrong, phil. Faith does not believe without evidence. Faith is certain knowledge that you can’t know any other way. Belief and knowledge are not the same things. You can know that axioms are true, without knowing why nor believing they’re true. They just are and induction supplies the knowledge.

  17. saighdear says:

    Couldn’t have put it better myself: as I wrote elsewhere – and for Elders read Experts ‘ I too am going through a phase of asking questions like that…. As a mainly Machinery person, I am increasingly finding similar scenarios: is the answer ‘simply’ because the Elders were retired out early and the Apprentices who had being fooling around and not learning properly are now left in charge? They have been programmed to use Computer Modelling for everything – you know the ‘ype – ” Rubbish in , rubbish out” [‘ype may be Hype or Type, according to context] – but The Apprentices never heard that message. And so now like the King’s new clothes, they have this Hunger for compliance and do what they do – because they can…..& get away with it. Change for change’s sake. The HR people are mostly to blame for recruiting such useless craters and disposing of any threats to their reign thro’ early retiral of the experienced with attractive retirement packages etc. The ‘bernies’ have thrown all their toys up in the air but now there is a severe storm of falling toys which whilst losing Potential Energy through time as they lost esteem, have gained much more Kinetic Energy from the Heat of political storms over the recent Decades – and when they fall, LOOK OUT – not as the guy in the lower Bunk when the one above shouts it out before he Bowks. Yes this Planet, now is in for a VERY STORMY Crossing. – will it be safer in the Top or Bottom Bunk?
    Better nae gonnae gang there – but it’s almost too late for most – the Planet has tilted and we’re all sliding that way.@

  18. Simon Derricutt says:

    CDQ – I used to take the axioms of Conservation of Momentum and Conservation of Energy as true and incontrovertible, given the success of them to explain every experiment I’d heard of. Not so much taken on faith, but no evidence that they failed. Then there was the EMDrive, which (if it actually works and isn’t experimental error) violates CoM (and thus implies violation of CoE). Most people seem to believe that the experiments are invalid, and that there’s some systematic experimental error involved, because the axioms must be true. That’s faith…. Instead, I went back to Newton’s derivation of CoM, saw what he’d missed (understandably given the time he lived), and realised that momentum is only conserved when the field transferring the force is constant. Since that condition applies in the vast majority of cases, and you have to design a system specifically to use a field that changes fast-enough relative to the relevant dimensions of the device, and even then the force is likely to be small without a sufficient use of resonance (or similar tricks) to amplify that imbalanced force enough to be even measurable, what we end up is that momentum is mostly conserved. Compare with “mostly peaceful”….

    I’m thus of the opinion that the experts on this are wrong, since they aver that momentum is always conserved. However, they aren’t going to change their minds on this until there’s a physical demonstration of a sufficiently-large force that’s well beyond conceivable experimental error.

    Much the same with the Second Law of Thermodynamic (2LoT). My logic says that kinetic energy (KE) can only be carried by a particle, and thus isn’t a true scalar quantity because each quantum of KE must have a direction, and this direction can be changed (without changing the scalar quantity of KE) by a momentum exchange. To convert heat (random-direction KE) into usable energy we can do work with thus requires a momentum exchange on all the particles that carry that KE such that more of them (or all of them) change from random directions to a single direction. A conservative field does exactly that, so we need to design something that uses a field in such a way as to act on each particle that carries KE. Again there are experimental verifications of this at a low (and practically not that useful) level, so the task is to design something that does this at a useful power level. Once you accept it’s not impossible after all, it’s a question of getting the design right.

    Again that’s something the experts seem to be wrong about, and hold to their axioms, mainly because they regard the average value as being a real thing and don’t go down to the detail view where the particulate nature of everything is important. It’s not actually that the standard theory is wrong – when you look at what kinetic theory it does deal with what happens to individual particles, but then it takes the average values and treats those as the only important numbers. Taking an average loses information, and that information can be important as regards what is possible and not possible.

    Faith is knowledge that we are sure of, and there may be a lot of little proofs adding up to that sure knowledge. Trouble is that being sure about something tends to mean you miss the evidence that there may be some exception, especially when the evidence is somewhat weak. Professor Fu’s experimental refutation of 2LoT is elegant, but produces a few femtowatts of actual power, so is mostly considered to be experimental error. After all, a small temperature difference between dissimilar metals can easily produce that, and be hard to eliminate. In order to accept Fu’s data as being real, you first have to accept the theoretical basis for it being possible.

    However, most of the time the experts are going to be correct, and those axioms are also mostly right and confirmed by experience. Nearly all the Free Energy claims have turned out to be false, and will continue that way. However, there are loopholes, and possible situations where those axioms do not apply. The real difficulty here, I think, is recognising that what is generally true (and has been shown to be true consistently so far) may not be true in specific situations.

    Is it possible to produce a force without needing to consume energy at all? Mike McCulloch thinks that might be possible if you get the design (and scale) correct. See for details. It might even work…. That would mess up a few axioms.

  19. Simon Derricutt says:

    Incidentally, CDQ, I regard you as an expert on the medical stuff, and take a lot of notice of what you state on that. That is, you’re more likely to have opinions based on experience of what works and what doesn’t, and I’d be a fool to discount those opinions without some very reliable evidence and a discussion about the reliability (or not) of that evidence. As I said, axioms are normally correct, and also doing the same thing produces the same results, with the caveat that when we think we’re doing exactly the same thing it never actually is exactly the same.

    Practically, doing something may be necessary even where there is some uncertainty about the outcomes. Normally, the experts will be right. However, over my lifetime I’ve become far less certain about things being absolutely true, and have needed to accept that there is always some uncertainty.

  20. jim2 says:

    I see axioms in a different light. They are neither true nor false, they are assumptions. You state you axioms, then apply logic to them to derive a system of statements. If the statements are useful, that’s the best you can hope far. So in physics, we make some assumptions, apply logic to create a system of equations, or statements, about the world. These equations have turned out to be very useful, but these are not considered the absolute truth and neither are the axioms.

  21. Simon Derricutt says:

    Jim2 – your viewpoint is a good one. However, the general usefulness of the results based on those axioms seems to result in most people regarding the axioms as actually truth. There may however be limitations on the validity of those axioms that are therefore ignored, because the elegance of the picture of what reality actually is would be upset. Following the axioms gives you something that works (and thus reinforces the idea that the axioms are true), but may not lead to something that exploits an exception to the axioms.

    Most of the time, rejecting something as “theoretically impossible” is a reasonable thing to do, and saves a lot of wasted time. Sometimes (and very rarely), though, you find it is actually possible in practice and can’t find an experimental error; time to question the axioms.

    LENR is regarded as theoretically impossible by the experts. OK, Rossi was a washout and lied his head off (and is still doing so), but there are some good results I think I can trust, so we need to change the theory. Here, the theoretical objections can maybe be overcome by noting that different things happen when you have two colliding particles and a single energy-well (thus the results must carry off any incoming momentum) and the multiple energy-wells available in a lattice, where there are multiple ways of removing the momentum and energy. Plasma physics and solid-state do differ. The tyranny of the experts here has resulted in somewhat of a delay before we’ll (hopefully) achieve a much safer source of nuclear energy.

  22. E.M.Smith says:


    Isn’t a brick, sitting on the ground, creating a force (gravity) without consuming any energy?

    Which raises the interesting question of how… or if it is pulling energy from somewhere…

    Same problem for magnetism.

    Per physics and axioms:

    I’ve come to understand that all “particles” are really condensed energy. There is no real solid. What does that do to the physics of solid bodies? It is just averages of energetic stuff physics.
    (EVERYTHING can be converted to photons or EM waves, but I repeat myself…, if you push it, eventually you lose or gain enough photons to change what your “particle” is classed as.

    So if we can create photons going in one direction inside a box, when the counter force of creation goes in random directions, we ought to get motion.

    Similarly, since we have no idea how gravity works, might not creation of EM energy result in a small change of momentary gravity experienced at the source (vs the rest of the universe)?

    IFF everything really is just condensed photons (EM waves) then gravity must also arise from that condensation, and I’d assert that removing some photons from the condensate ought to have an effect (even if vanishingly small) on the gravity experienced.

  23. cdquarles says:

    I quibble a bit with jim2’s premise. Axioms are not just assumptions. They arise, in part, from observation and in part from intellection.

    One such axiom I hold is that the physical universe is not the whole universe; just a part of that. Another is that the physical universe is mutable and thus is part potential and part actual; and there must be a being that makes said potential actual, which includes things within it that can act, contingently.

  24. cdquarles says:

    Oh, axioms, at least in mathematics, have conditions or constraints attached to them. Thus, given the constraint of large collections of smaller constituents, a directed random walk can be applied to them. Thus, within those constraints, the 2nd Law of thermodynamics and or classical macroscopic body physics work. Outside of those constraints, one should not expect the same results all of the time, or at all places, or both. Thus, to me LENR should be impossible within certain constraints that we may or may not know yet. When dealing with the very small at small distances, one should expect to find the constraints attached to large collections to not necessarily apply.

  25. Simon Derricutt says:

    EM – maybe a bit off-topic for this, but you asked….

    I’ve been digging in the foundations for a while now, and I have a few pieces of the jigsaw puzzle that seem to fit together and some idea of the other pieces I’m searching for.

    If particles are waves, then why do they bounce off each other? We see waves pass through each other and reappearing the other side of the interference with no changes. However, the wave explanation seems to work for a lot of things, with the density of the wavefunction being highest at the location we say the “particle” is. There could be a solution to this if we propose that the rate of time slows the denser that “matter wave” is. Since a wave travelling through a time gradient (equivalent to a change of refractive index with light) then the wave direction will change because of the (spherical symmetry) time-gradient around that particle, and of course it also affect the wave it is colliding with because it also has a time-gradient involved. Using this idea, we can not only have “particles” affecting each other in collisions, but it also gives us a reason for gravity (and why it is attractive only), in that the volume of those overlapping wavefunctions at some distance will have a slower time-rate (and thus lower energy) the larger that overlap becomes. Thus to achieve lowest potential energy, they will move together. We always see systems moving towards their lowest available potential energy – that seems to be an axiom too. No reason for it apart from observation and induction.

    The “particle” extent, according to standard quantum theory, stretches to infinity. If instead we say that the extent of that wavefunction spreads out at the speed of light from the point in time of the creation of that particle, then we get the basis for Mike McCulloch’s QI theory working, where the Hubble limit is the nodes of the particle wavefunction’s longest wavelength (and all other wavelengths must also have nodes there), and this gives a certain minimum possible acceleration. It also implies that a newly-created particle will have less inertia for the same mass, and that may show in some cosmological observations of anomalies. Given the speed of light, and the amount of mass close by, though, the departure from known/expected values would rapidly diminish.

    Of course, this implies that every particle in the observable universe overlaps every other particle, and that something you do *here* has an instant effect *there*, no matter the distance between them. There are enough experimental demonstrations of entanglement that this could well be the truth. That in turn implies that there is a single “clock” for the universe, and that we affect and are affected by the whole universe at each instant. That isn’t actually opposed to Einstein’s relativity, since relativity tell us what we see and measure to happen given that we’re using signals that are limited to the speed of light. However, it also implies a bit of a change to how we look at relativity since the universe as a whole defines the rest frame and motion is no longer totally relative – however since if we’re moving then the boundaries of our horizon are moving with us, how you define “at rest” becomes a little tricky. That gives us three things affecting our perceived time rate, one being our actual total mass (rest mass plus kinetic energy) which slows our rate the more we have, the second is the matter-density of the volume we’re passing through, which again slows us down the greater it is, and the third is our relative velocity to the surroundings which changes our perception of how fast the external things are happening.

    It’s easy enough to define what a field does, and we can measure an electric field from a (stationary) charged particle, with a magnetic field as well if that charged particle is moving. We can’t however say what a field actually is, and how and why it produces a force on something susceptible to that field.

    In the same way, though we can show that describing everything in terms of waves actually works, we can’t answer the question of what, exactly, is oscillating. After all, to support a wave you either need springiness and inertia, or alternatively capacitance and inductance, in order to support that wave. The old answer was Aether, which supports waves by an inbuilt springiness and inertia (and thus supports the laws pertaining to fluid dynamics) and thus doesn’t answer anything at all but just pushes it a level further up (bit like goddidit). Today’s answer seems to be the Higgs Field, which pervades all space and gives particles inertia, which the Standard Model cannot otherwise explain.

    So: the difference between the gravity acting on the brick and Mike’s unpowered thruster would be that with gravity when we let it go we’re reducing the energy levels over a large volume (yep, right up to the Hubble limit) to produce the kinetic energy of the brick dropping onto our feet. For Mike’s thruster, the energy you get by letting it go comes from *nowhere*, and is created from *nothing*. With an electric field and a magnetic field, again I’d suggest the energy exchange is between the space occupied by the fields and the kinetic energy put in or taken out – it’s a zero-sum game there. Those fields theoretically extend to infinity, but again I’d suggest they have a limit at the Hubble radius (Mike’s horizon, which is why he also called it “horizon mechanics” a while back) because that’s as far as the particles can “see”. Nothing beyond that horizon can affect the here/now. For most purposes, though, 13.8 billion light-years is not that far from infinite.

    The picture this gives us of how the universe works is a long way from being intuitive. However, there are various anomalies which show us that the simple intuitive ideas can’t actually be true. Dark Matter and Dark Energy were invented to explain those anomalies, and people have been trying to find the stuff for around 50 years without any success. Newton’s law of gravity obviously doesn’t apply at galactic distances, so we need to think of a reason for those anomalies. The really odd thing is that the anomalies for galactic rotation speed were larger in the past when, presumably, the Hubble limit was smaller, and unlike MoND or other alternate gravity ideas, Mike’s theory takes that in its stride and predicts the differences over time.

    I’ve no idea as to whether the picture I’ve outlined above is actually true or close to true, but it does predict that some useful stuff is possible. It also suggests better ways to get a “reactionless drive” than the EMDrive, and people have been testing those ideas – see . Possibly even better methods available if Alzofon was right, too, but that is still in the realms of the unbelievable though it is being tested. Alzofon basically suggests how to produce an artificially-close horizon by forcing a node in the matter-wave, and because that in turn implies the possibility of creating a sub-universe independent of the outside one, that enables FTL travel.

    Obviously, too, there are a load of jigsaw pieces I don’t have even an inkling about. I’d suggest that Mike McCulloch is probably closer to the truth than other ideas. I’d also suggest that momentum is only absolutely conserved if you use constant fields to convey the force, even though I can’t tell you why that field exerts a force.

    I like to collect anomalies. Sometimes they’re real, sometimes it’s an error. If they are real, though, it’s a pointer that the theory isn’t correct yet.

  26. YMMV says:

    A conspiracy of experts. However, that is the exception. In general the experts are right and the masses are not. When you are an expert, it’s hard not to be elitist. But everybody thinks they are an expert, so there you go, around and around.

  27. philjourdan says:

    @cdquarles says:
    22 September 2020 at 3:49 am

    No, respectfully faith is belief without evidence. That is not science. Science is belief with evidence. In other words, Newton believed in gravity because of evidence, not the lack of it. Science is not proof. It is evidence. Faith is belief without evidence.

  28. philjourdan says:

    I’ve come to understand that all “particles” are really condensed energy. There is no real solid.

    That is a paraphrasing of Einstein, but an excellent one! I call that a truism that when read becomes obvious, and you kick yourself for not thinking of it before.

  29. philjourdan says:

    @Simon Derricutt – why waves do not bounce off each other? Frequency. And I do not mean how often. Waves out of sync do not interfere with each other. That is why you can get AM 1140 and AM 910. Without interference.

    Waves in frequency will bounce. Waves out of frequency will pass like ships in the night.

  30. E.M.Smith says:

    My guess is that waves are linear motion while in “particles” the photons have angular momentum as the rotate fast and exceedingly tight (and the eddies of that rotation are gravity…)

  31. cdquarles says:

    Again, phil, I reject your premise. Faith is knowledge we can’t get any other way, not belief. Belief is a decision or an act. You make a decision based on knowledge, whether certain or not. Science works within a contingent system and gives contingent knowledge. I have no faith, as such, in science. Observations give some evidence and testing contingent premises can give some evidence. We can get knowledge from that, but that is limited and thus science is limited in the knowledge we can get from it. That doesn’t mean science isn’t useful. Particulars and conditions are useful to know; yet we can induce universals from that. That’s were faith comes in. All the tests Newton and others since Newton have only refined, somewhat, the universals we have induced from the particulars. The universals are evidence, too.

  32. Simon Derricutt says:

    Philjourdan – no, waves do not bounce off each other even when the same frequency – you just get a stable diffraction pattern rather than a periodically-moving one. See the double-slit experiment, which even works when you send photons or electrons through one at a time, and where the frequency of the waves is exactly the same because they are the same wave.

    Whether you’re working with water-waves in a wave-tank, or other waves, you calculate the result as if each wavelet passes through any other waves without any change in direction or magnitude. Thus if you treat a particle as being a wave, there’s no explanation for particles bouncing off each other, and instead we have used the wave/particle duality where it acts as one thing or the other depending on what you’re doing. The suggestion of the rate of time being changed by the density of the matter wave does allow such waves to interact, though, and change each others’ directions. That gives the waves the particle-like properties, and instead of being one or the other it is both at the same time, and which approximation gives the better answer depends on the distance of the interaction.

    The underlying assumption I’m using here is that things happen the same whether there’s someone watching or not. The tree still falls in the forest whether or not someone is there to watch it, and the man is still wrong whether or not a woman is there to tell him.

    I have a bit of a problem in visualising a wave that is essentially spherical – it’s easier to see a two-dimensional one with the height varying in the third dimension. However, it seems that fields act mathematically somewhat like an extra physical dimension, so having a 3D wave with “height” in a fourth dimension maybe is a bit easier to work with, providing we don’t think that there is actually a fourth physical dimension. In the same way, though we can largely treat time as if it were a physical dimension, we need to remember that it actually isn’t, and you can’t go backwards in time. I suspect that the extra physical dimensions used in modern theory (up to 11) actually describe the effects of fields, and that there are actually only the three physical dimensions we can measure.

    EM – compare with black holes, where the Schwartzschild limit is where the gravitational force is sufficient to bring the speed of light to zero. The wave is still there, but we can’t see it moving any longer. If we use gravitational laws as-is, then at the precise centre of the particle the gravitational force will be infinite. This has to be an error since I’d suggest that actual infinities can’t exist. Instead, each particle will have its own Schwartzschild limit where time stops (or at least any wave has a zero propagation speed from our viewpoint, which is maybe a better formulation because from the point of view of the wave it is still propagating as usual). It seems as if the wave is now tightly curled around that limiting diameter, and because that’s an event horizon we don’t know what exists or is happening closer to the centre. Could in fact be *nothing* in the middle. In any case, there is no longer any need to speculate that gravitational forces reach infinity in the exact centre. Since within that volume time has stopped, there would be no measurable energy in there, either – all the energy is at the Schwartzschild limit.

    This doesn’t explain why there are only particular masses for particles, and I’d suggest that that is some sort of resonance effect where only certain waves fit in the volume with constructive interference. It also doesn’t show how the various types of field actually work. It doesn’t explain spin or, even more tricky, half-spin, which only acts like angular movement in some ways and is likely not the same thing as a human-scale spinning gyroscope. Maybe calling it spin is unfortunate, in that it encourages us to think we understand it.

    Still, it maybe adds some useful parts of the puzzle that has predictions that can be tested. If it’s the density of the matter-wave that determines the perceived rate of time, then a clock at the L1 Earth-Moon Lagrange point will run slower, and not faster as Einstein’s idea of gravity would predict, and satellite clocks are so precise now that this can be tested. Also, clocks should run slower the deeper you go into the Earth, where according to standard physics they should be running faster because the net gravitational force (from the Earth alone) is zero at the centre of the Earth. If it’s the density of the overlapping matter-waves that determines how fast clocks run, then this can now be determined by experiment. Does gravity affect the rate of time, or is it the changing rate of time that produces gravity? I think the latter is more likely true.

  33. p.g.sharrow says:

    Hi Simon. nice description. Gravity originates in the heart of mater. There is NOT “zero” gravity at the center of the Earth, Just the effects of all the mass is from all directions so the net effect is zero, Just like there is “zero G” in orbit where all the forces are equalized, Actual gravity from the Earth mass is still 98% of the surface. Each subatomic particle contributes to the mass gravity, so mass/inertia must be an EMF force inherent to mater that “locks” it into the “fabric of space” so Space must be a part of that force as well. Everything exists and moves in 3 dimensions , effects everything else in 3 dimensions, plus time your 4th dimension.

    Solidity of the energy of mater at the atomic level could well be due to the strength of the harmonics of the heart beat of the core, a force field if you will that repels all others at that point while being attractive at the next inter-node where the waves cancel. So we would get distant points of repulsion then attraction then repulsion weakening into infinity. “Look to the harmony of the spheres” keeps rattling in my head as the key to the Universe. Pi is not square, Pi is not round, Pi is a sphere!
    To me, the fundamental thing, the god particle, is charge. charge as a unit, a thing. that is moving in 3 dimensions, charge that is moving creates EMF. Everything small casts a shadow of it’s form into everything large so we should look at massive bodies to get a vision of the things that it is make of…pg

  34. cdquarles says:

    In a sense, though, reversible reactions do go ‘back’ in time; though I get what you’re saying. The absolute value of either change is positive. This applies to mutable things, though. Immutable things don’t ‘experience’ time; even when possessing an intellect that apprehends it directly ;p.

  35. cdquarles says:

    Simon, if you said within a mutable physical universe infinities can’t exist, I’d agree with you given the evidence we have via deduction. Infinities can be actual, in my mind, if and when they are not materially physical or that the universe is more than just a mutable physical material one. I know that is hard to grasp, but does that mean it isn’t possible?

  36. Simon Derricutt says:

    pg – glad it resonated with you. I know however that we have different ideas on what makes things tick. Maybe however some of the questions I’m asking are the right ones, and may lead to a useful answer. I think mass/energy is one thing, and that it’s the interaction between that mass and the other masses in our universe that creates both inertia and gravitation. As far as we are concerned, though the fabric of space has a limit (the Hubble radius) that is also expanding away from us at the speed of light. Whatever is beyond that limit has no effect on us, until of course the boundary crosses that “non-space” volume and it becomes part of what affects us. Is there stuff beyond that? And if so, what is the limit of that? Mu! Until it becomes space, we can’t know.

    At the moment, we can’t define what charge is, either, just point to what it does, in the same way we have to do with a field. We don’t know. I can’t even simulate what an electric field does by using a sea of charged particles (as with Hotson’s ideas). It’s some sort of stress in space, and, because there is a delay between the movement of the charge that creates it and the change in the field we measure some distance away, the field is probably a property of space itself rather than being linked to the charge that creates it. That delay also de-couples the particle producing the field from the particle experiencing it, such that a wave put in at one point can produce a force in a different direction and magnitude depending on location. If we accept that, then your disk may produce a net (reactionless) force, though it may not affect gravity as such. Of course it may affect gravity, but I suspect not. I’m not however an expert….

    At the centre of the Earth, the net gravitational force is zero and so, according to Einstein, space is not curved there and time will run at its fastest rate. Again I think there is a problem when you look at the net measurement (the average) and that instead we need to look at the total of what is happening. Same with heat, where we average out the momentum vectors of all the particles and state that there is thus no momentum and that heat is thus a scalar quantity. Work is likewise regarded as a scalar quantity, which ignores the fact that work is force times distance, and that distance must be in one direction since otherwise we can’t measure it. Work is thus a vector quantity, and using it as a scalar (though it normally gives the answer required) misses something that could be important.

    Charge that is moving produces a disturbance in space that radiates out at the speed of light. That maybe has a connection with the horizon of a particle, that also moves away from it at the speed of light. Anyway, it’s the disturbance in space caused by the charge moving that is later seen as generating an EMF, not the movement of the charge itself. There’s a light-speed delay between those things happening. There’s possibly something slightly different happening of the order of a wavelength or less distance, where I’m not certain that the normal speed of light applies and where there’s experimental evidence around that it can be a lot faster.

    I’m being a bit picky about who I regard as being expert, since I’m pretty certain the answers aren’t right yet, and the experts I’m taking notice of also know that they don’t know.

  37. Simon Derricutt says:

    CDQ – I’d suggest that nothing is actually immutable, given that it seems they are made of waves and waves do change, even when time (as we know it) appears to have stopped, such as at the Schwarzschild limit.

    For time-reversal in a reversible reaction, such as A+B goes to C+D (and back), that only seems reversible at the gross scale, and there’s no guarantee that it’s the same atoms recombining in the reverse reaction. Again it’s the problem of what happens at detail as opposed to the average viewpoint. The averaged view may say that “nothing is happening” when there’s a load of actual activity. For example, thermal equilibrium in a material. At the atomic level, just as much energy is being moved around as before equilibrium was achieved. The problem I found with 2LoT was taking the average value as being the important one, and of course in a majority of situations it is, but once you focus on the detail view instead some more things become possible that were not possible using the average.

    I may have neglected to state that it’s my opinion that real infinities are not actually possible, and in other places I’ve put that down as a basic assumption, an axiom if you will. If we’re talking physics, then I think that’s most likely the truth. For mathematics, just divide by zero, but maths is only a symbolic language and can be used to produce a model of reality. Since some mathematicians posit that there are various types of infinities, and that some are bigger than others (because if they do that they get the results they intended) then the mathematical view of infinities is somewhat variable.

    Another axiom I haven’t stated is that paradoxes can’t exist either, so something either happens or it doesn’t, and it’s not observer-dependent. It’s fine for observers to see the order of things differently, though, and to get confused about which is cause and which is effect.

    “The universe is more than just a mutable physical material one” – there I can’t give a useful comment, since I’ve been concentrating on the physics only. There are a lot of reports on odd things happening, though, with the problem being that it’s easy to misinterpret things or to see things that aren’t actually there. The way the brain works is not understood, and my mum (later on when Alzheimer’s had advanced a lot) saw people that weren’t there, and heard voices I couldn’t. Risky to put too much weight on what people claim to have experienced, even if they are sincere and honest. I need a meter reading or similar, even though I don’t always trust them, either.

  38. cdquarles says:

    In the chemical world, that the same atoms participate doesn’t matter, so to speak. The axiom there is that all atoms are identical and do the same things in the end, which we can’t know via measurement ;p.

    I am illustrating the limitations of the seeming fact that we are embedded in a physical, mutable, material system. That does not mean that only that exists. Sure, we can imagine much, some of which may not be strictly true in said material system; so science can’t help us there.
    Paradoxes can and do exist, conditionally or contingently, within us. When all of those can be removed, then I will agree up to a point. Something happens or it doesn’t requires an active agent, directly or indirectly. You are correct that this does not have to be observer dependent.

    My own mother had multi-infarct dementia and while that’s not exactly the same thing as Alzheimer’s syndrome, there are similarities. My mom was reliving her past in her own mind, so the “virtual” visions and sounds did exist, just not outside of her in the same way external beings would.

  39. Simon Derricutt says:

    CDQ – agreed, but we simplify things somewhat in order to make sense of stuff. The rules or laws we use have been found to be accurate enough for most purposes, and even then we can approximate further to get an answer that is accurate enough for the current purpose. I often approximate g to 10m/s² rather than the 9.83 or so which varies depending upon where you are, but that gets me into the right ballpark for a lot of stuff. I generally use Newton’s laws rather than relativity to work out stuff in normal situations, since the inaccuracy is generally small and it’s easier.

    A lot of the stuff I’ve put up here is thus nitpicking in one way. Most situations the results of the calculations would be effectively the same. However, it’s important in other ways, in that what actually is impossible may depend on the things we normally skip over as being unimportant. For me, a paradox tells me there’s an error in the theory that may result in something useful (or may not, of course) if we resolve it. For any event, only one thing will happen, and it will not be different for different observers. Given the randomness at a fundamental level (again that’s an axiom that seems to be universally true, but I can’t be certain) then you can’t reverse an event perfectly – you’ll arrive at a different configuration, even if only slightly.

    Thus if you take the standard view of thermal equilibrium being “nothing is happening any longer” and that heat is a scalar, there is no way of using a single heat-sink to produce energy we can use – you have to have two sinks at different temperatures. If you view heat as somewhat of a vector quantity, where the vector is the momentum (which averages to zero but isn’t zero for any particle), and thermal equilibrium as a situation where particles are moving in all directions (dynamic equilibrium on average rather than a static equilibrium), then that single heat-sink becomes something you can get usable energy from instead, and that would be rather useful. The paradox? We always lose energy in a thermodynamic engine, but energy is always conserved. Mixing up what happens in steam engines with kinetic theory, and they don’t mix. Took me around 40 years to see both that paradox and its solution, because of the language problem. A different view on why momentum is normally conserved gives the possibility of a space drive that needs only energy, but no reaction mass, which could open up the solar system at least. Rather useful too.

    With the twins paradox, as normally stated the solution is that one twin has been accelerated and thus ages slower. However, stating it as two twins going in opposite orbits around the sun (or a galaxy…) makes it paradoxical again. Whereas each one should say that the other has been moving relative and thus ages slower, in this case they will (logically) both remain the same age. Thus we need to measure the actual time using the “universal tick” of the universe, and subtract the two to give the final time-difference, and of course the time-rate is no longer totally relative, but instead has a real and calculable rate no matter what it looks like when we’re using light to signal. As it happens, the timing equations for the GPS satellites demonstrate that there is one preferred frame of reference, since they only give the right answers when you use the Earth-Sun system as your reference frame. Still, that in itself brings up a further question as regards what frame to use for gravity and the speed of light, which is resolved in the explanation I’ve put forward for gravity.

    Fairly obviously I’m not certain I’m right. However, see where the predictions vary from standard theory and see if we can prove it experimentally. Maybe the small anomalies I’ve noticed, and tried to explain, may be engineered into something big enough to be useful.

    Part of the logic I’m using is that if you can’t see it, and you can’t measure the effects, then whatever it is might as well not be there at all, since it’s not going to affect you. For something to have an existence, there must be some measurable effect from it (even if that is just filling some space). Of course, stories have an effect, but you can at least pick a book up and point to it. Or of course find a copy on the net. Ideas have an effect, whether the thinker tells people or not, since there will be some change in the thinker. Thus the definition of “a thing which has an effect” can be a bit wide. Imagination can be regarded as such a thing with an effect, and I think that’s what you were aiming at with your comments. The question is whether that directly affects the reality we know, and I think it doesn’t. It may however affect what you think you see and your response to that event. You may think you’re seeing a Little Green Man when in fact it’s a marrow being nibbled by a large rabbit. Thus the response of running away could maybe have been improved by saying “here, have a carrot instead”. We’re actually very good at seeing patterns in random stuff, and even better at seeing faces in things. It’s thus easy to fool yourself from a misinterpretation of what you’ve seen, and I’ve had my share of that. I can thus see my life as a set of planned encounters that got me to where I am, or I can see it as just random happenings that pushed me one way or the other. It’s a choice, and I’ve flipped from one view to the other a few times. At the moment I’m seeing things as being random. Essentially no underlying reason nor purpose, though there is some possibility of a shared purpose between aware entities that provides some unconscious directionality. Bit like quantum entanglement. However, that maybe isn’t needed to solve the physics problems.


  40. John Robertson says:

    Been this way for a while,one of the luxuries of a rich society,is the ability to be stupid without immediate consequences.
    “Tis the age of the Micro man who sees the details but never the plan”
    Lyrics from Hawkwind.
    Wealth allows experts to accumulate,experts at being first to the trough and fast to get between you and the return on your labour.
    Strangely enough the more experience and skill you accumulate ,the less likely you are to be so sure you know everything.

  41. cdquarles says:

    Random, though, means incomplete knowledge. I know that I don’t know everything and can’t within the limits of my body, my mind, and the mutable universe I dwell in ;p. That does not mean that there is not a being that is being that exists and that this part of things is not all things.

  42. Simon Derricutt says:

    CDQ – yep, it’s possible that “random” just means we don’t know why the variations occur, and that maybe new knowledge could predict the variations. Since I suspect that the uncertainty in position/timing of things is related to the phase of the waves that make up a particle, your approach here is equivalent to my consideration of the detail of interactions in thermal equilibrium – look closer at the detail and do not accept the average figure as being the only important one. The problem in doing that here is that since our measuring equipment is made of atoms, we need a new way to resolve things on such a small increment of time and space. Until that new method comes along, I think we will be stuck with the uncertainties, and thus the appearance of underlying randomness as far as we can measure.

    As regards some ulterior being, it’s something I can’t measure. For other parts of the universe beyond what can currently be measured, there cannot be evidence one way or the other, so we’re left with philosophical discussions that may rest on logic but can’t yet be shown to be either correct or incorrect. A logical edifice can be built proposing any side of the argument, but it can’t be resolved. Possibly in future that may change, as technology improves. The universe is certainly pretty weird and it’s almost certainly even weirder than we know. Currently I’ve been finding that things are logically possible that have long been considered impossible, and there may be other things that become suddenly possible in future because someone takes a hard look at the reasoning.

    I put the (rather long) explanations above because EM asked, and because this is stuff the “experts” mostly discount as being impossible, and generally they discount the experimental results as being too small and thus experimental error. The experts have faith in the pronouncements of people long-dead who, at the time, were probably considered somewhat crackpot. However, I’ve come to consider that those “laws” are generally true, but there are anomalies and exceptions possible when we go outside the “normal” parameters of mass, velocity, temperature, energy density, and so on. Set up conditions that don’t happen naturally, and you may get results that are also unusual. Possibly, too, someone else here may see something new as a result of the pointers I’ve put up.

  43. philjourdan says:


    We will agree to disagree?

    Faith is belief without evidence. Science is testing to disprove hypothesis and theorems. Faith is accepting that which cannot be proved or disproved. You accept on faith. i.e. Believe. Science does not.

    We will leave it at that.

  44. philjourdan says:

    @Simon – I was inarticulate. But the a “stable diffraction pattern” is what I was saying. Same frequencies cannot co-exist in the same time and space.

  45. Simon Derricutt says:

    Phil – if two waves have the same frequency and direction, then you can’t tell that there are two waves there. It’s only if there is a difference in either frequency or direction that you can tell there are in fact two waves. If there are two waves, though, they pass through each other without affecting each other if we use the standard wave equations. I suspect we’re talking about the same thing from a slightly different viewpoint. I also suspect that this inability to tell if there are two waves or not when they have same frequency and direction is the reason for the Pauli Exclusion Principle.

    Professor Matt Strassler is IMHO very good at explaining this stuff in a way that makes sense. See for example on virtual particles which, for me at least, cleared up the view of them that I’d had since college a long time ago. This also clarified for me what Alzofon was actually trying to achieve, which is to remove those eddies in the quantum field and thus produce a node in the waves at a place of our choosing. By producing that node in all the waves, by an analogue of refrigeration (produce order in the directions of the nuclei, and allow them to randomise again, thus absorbing the energy in the field, and to run this de-randomise/randomise cycle fast enough to extract more energy from the field than diffuses into it naturally), it should be possible to produce a volume of zero-energy which is Mike McCulloch’s horizon. That is, all matter-waves must have a node there, in much the same way as the closed end of an organ-pipe must have a node in all sound-waves (there’s nothing to move there). In the context of quantum fields, there’s no energy there to support a wave in that energy, providing you assume that the “stuff” the waves are happening in is the actual spread-out matter itself.

    Some problems with this picture, in that a wave on a string at least depends on the propagation-speed of a disturbance, and things like entanglement require instantaneous transmission throughout the volume of the matter-wave, which itself extends to the horizon (Hubble limit, or nearer if we can produce that artificial horizon). This paradox implies that the description doesn’t reflect reality, but it may be near enough to achieve an actual effect. Possibly there are no human-scale analogues of the sort of waves that happen in quantum fields, so we don’t have either the language or a picture to explain it. As such, the exact description of a node (and what exactly happens/doesn’t happen there) may not be possible, so the somewhat-fuzzy description I’ve put forward will have to do for the moment. Still, much the same as putting a finger on a guitar-string makes that point a node and changes the set of frequencies the remaining vibrating string resonates at, while the string beyond the finger-stop is no longer taking part and whatever length it is doesn’t have an effect on the part of the string that is vibrating, it seems we can do much the same thing to the matter-wave as well, and this should have an effect on inertia and also produce the effect of a force acting on that matter. At least, it looks like a force, and we should measure it as a force, even though its origin is not the same as the normal forces we measure which are stresses in the EM field. Meantime, on our stopped string, whatever you do to the length of string beyond the stop has no effect on the part of the string that’s vibrating. As far as the vibrating part of the string is concerned, the other part is now in a different universe and doesn’t exist. Back in our universe of matter, where inertia appears to be because of the interaction of the matter-waves with all the rest of the matter in the universe up to the horizon, that “removal” of the matter beyond the (newly-imposed) horizon will impact the measured inertia. This can be experimentally tested for, if the idea actually works.

    It helps to have to try to explain this sort of stuff in a way that (hopefully) others can understand. There’s still some paradox built-in at the moment, since if you have infinite propagation-speed you can’t have a wave, and you can’t get resonance, at least using the wave-equations we know of. Most explanations gloss over that problem, maybe because there appears to be no solution, but the instantaneous transmission of quantum data at least seems to be experimental fact, so there must be a solution somehow.

    If you read the NextBigFuture article I linked above, it looks like Mike is getting some good results, with up to 0.1N/kW thrust achieved using laser light through an egg-shaped coil of optical fibre. That’s getting too large to be experimental error. As such, I think Mike will prove the “experts” wrong, and the ramifications from that will be pretty huge. As with the 2LoT violation of photovoltaic panels, which is explained away as not being a 2LoT violation at all, I expect the experts will try to explain away the thrust Mike is producing in a way that preserves the supremacy of Conservation of Momentum, and the momentum being carried away by something. However, Ockham’s Razor implies that we should accept that momentum is not necessarily conserved anyway, and it’s normally simply a consequence of using non-varying fields to transfer momentum between particles. Once we use a varying field or a wave to transfer the forces between particles, momentum may not be conserved, and in that case energy is not conserved either. On the practical side, rather than use nuclear power to get our energy, we may be able to simply create the energy we require. That’s pretty amazing….

  46. cdquarles says:

    Yes, since faith is knowledge, not belief. Knowledge has evidence, whether you want to agree with it or not. Knowledge, likewise, is not a decision. Belief is a decision.

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