I've suggested (& published in 21 journal papers) a new theory called quantised inertia (or MiHsC) that assumes that inertia is caused by relativistic horizons damping quantum fields. It predicts galaxy rotation, cosmic acceleration & the emdrive without any dark stuff or adjustment.
My Plymouth University webpage is here, I've written a book called Physics from the Edge and I'm on twitter as @memcculloch

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

So hard to create, so easy to destroy

One of the sadnesses in suggesting something new is people trying to erase or forbid it. I've already been blacklisted by the arXiv, as have many others I believe, for nothing more than daring to think differently, and now there's an minor online MiHsC-war going on with some people adding very well-written wikipedia pages on MiHsC (not necessarily believing MiHsC, but motivated to present the full range of ideas), and others trying to delete all mention of it, always anonymously and without citing any experimental counter-evidence. In response I said this on twitter recently: "To online deletors of ideas: what'll you say in the retirement home? Will you boast of the thoughts you silenced? The possible futures you erased?"

It is possible for a paradigm to survive not because it is more successful, but because it deletes the alternatives, and this is what an unscientific minority of dark matter supporters are doing. One of the safest criteria by which to identify the wrong side in any period of history is to see who is erasing information (burning books) because they can't engage in debate. Information creators always win in the long term.


Jim said...

String theorists, dark matter theories, the standard physics establishment, etcetera, are trying to stay relevant by resorting to these tactics. What is unfortunate is that funding is based on groupthink which funnels money to the standard physics establishment.

ZeroIsEverything said...

It's the same with fusion research other than for Tokamak style reactors. It's become a big incestuous industry with many, many people having staked their entire career as physicists. They protect each other, even though it's becoming more and more clear that Tokamak is a non-viable approach. A true black hole for tax payer money.

Dark matter&energy are simply ad-hoc additions. No exactly what makes the scientific process. I tend to say: Most people work _as_ scentists, but few _are_. Make-believe and dirty methods, to justify betting one's career on a dead horse. Who knew :) .

Just carry on with your work, Mike. Reading about your progress and model is a fresh breath in a stable full of dead horses ;) .

Shawn McKenzie said...

Even if MiHsC turns out to not be true, you'd think the fact that it models galaxy rotation and acceleration so well would get people talking. Also, if you *really* wanted to put MiHsC to rest, you've propsed some simple experiments that could disprove it with modest effort. Guess that is still much easier to delete a Wiki entry... Heck, or at least sum up your complaints in a "Responses and criticism" section.

Just looked, and what is there right now is decent.

Alain Coetmeur said...

what is the conditions to be banned on Arxiv, it is quite open?
and clearly your papers are not the worst I've read there...

It seems that when Arxiv moderators have seen the first test of E-cat they have discussed in private (Brian Josephson caught the discussion and related it) that they could find no way to forbid it.
"Particularly interesting to me, in the light of my past dealings with arxiv, was the text of an accidentally leaked exchange between two moderators, wondering if they could find a rationale for blocking that report."

however the second test of E-cat in Lugano was rejected without any explanation.
maybe they added some new regulation ?

like wikipedia, the blocus of new ideas seems fashion today.

please Michael, if finally you are right... use some of your energy to punish the mindguards. this is important for future of science.
they must be crucified, that is of public interest.

I'll try to do that on LENR too.

Mike McCulloch said...

Jim: Yes, indeed groupthink is strong, maybe because physics is now a career choice more like the civil service rather than a home for the curious, so progression depends on agreeing with others instead of agreeing with nature. Also, the way academia now seems to be set up in the modern plutocratic world, is that proposals that require the most funding are preferred because it brings funds in to the department. That, and the ability of computers to offer complex but tractable solutions like dark matter is blunting Occam's razor. The solution, as always is to repeatedly point out the growing list of anomalies and force dark matterists to complexify it so much that it becomes embarrassing even to them.

Mike McCulloch said...

ZeroIsEverything: Thank you for your encouragement. Your dead horse analogy may be accurate: people staking careers on dark matter...etc.

Mike McCulloch said...

Hi Shawn: Yes, I'd be happy if they added a critical section to it, but it's the casual deletion that bothers me. I've been working hard on MiHsC for 10 years now, and have been through all the usual peer-review hoops, so it seems unfair it can be swept away in a nanosecond without any debate or scientific process.

Mike McCulloch said...

Alain: As you suspect, the arXiv rejection process was anonymous and hidden from view. This is anti-science, because no evidence needs to be given by this self-appointed authority. The arXiv can be a great force for openness and good in science, but not if it is used by a single anonymous clique to direct the pathway.

As you know the advent of modern science was the enlightenment when it was realised you get a better result if you let experiments decide (eg: Newton with his prism) rather than self-appointed or long-dead authorities. I do fear that like the Greeks who had a few hundred years or so of empirical science (600-200 BC) before going cold, we are in danger of having a dis-enlightenment.

We urgently need to call for more openness, and particularly more evidence-based science.

Conundrum said...

What we need is a test for MiHsC that proves conclusively something that no other theory can generate, and publish all the experimental data.

airenatural said...

Arxiv is not going to stop your research. Keep on going!! Evidence of a quantization of acceleration is very well argued in your work...

Please, review the research of Laurent Nottale, he also quantized length and in this paper http://luth2.obspm.fr/~luthier/nottale/arPioneer-lnv5.pdf he proposes a minimum constant acceleration derived from cosmological constant. I follow Nottale's work since 1996 and he has fight really hard to attract researchers, passing trough hard moments like maybe you are now.

The key is going to international conferences, spread your work and attract young researchers. Send papers to PLOS ONE, easier than go for peer review old systems. Contact also with similar researchers and exchange paths to explore.

If arxiv has banned you I think is for one reason: you theory has destroyed thousands of articles talking about dark matter, in a so simple and strong way that is really impressive. I personally believe you are right. I need you to feed my mind!!!

Alain Coetmeur said...

Dear Michael,
one point where we probably disagree, with due respect, is on economics and on micro-economics and other behaviors, and this seems to have consequence too on this questions.

here my proposl is that trying to prevent bad science upfront, in Nature and even in Arxive is the worst of any solution and will lead to ruid. andy tentative to prevent bad science, bad behavior, buy judging if it is good or bad will lead to ruin.

I believe in motivation and ex-post judgement by reality.

one key concept of liberalism thinking is responsibility, which is tightly bound to freedom... freedom without responsibility led to what you denounce, crony capitalism, crony science, crony politics. NB: responsibility without freedom led to suicide, as I see today in corporate governance.

The moderators of Arxiv have first to be identified the we can attache responsibility to their deeds. good or bad, they are responsible.

Part of our job, maybe contacting Brian Josephson or alike, is to identify the responsibilities.

We have then to say them that the rule of Science is that it is more tragic to miss a possible good paper than to let a hundreds bad pass.

Of course this is the opposite of what I observe in moderns crony science, of armchair science, where like I observe in big corps and government agencies, errors are more punished than success is thanked. This is not absurd in some context, but on average this is toxic for evolution of the society.

We should not judge yet. but when the paint will be dry, if guilty of having ruined their mission, they should know they will be crucified by a nasty, unfair, campaign, that will make Cold Fusion terror a kid story.

so first identify, and then tell them they will be treated as they deserve...
as they deserve.

they know how they deserve to be treated better than us.

no pity, this is yet another time they slow down technology.
science can wait few decade for crony science to admit reality, but we the people, we cannot wait one day more, because delaying even on day a paper, will finally delay one day the time that one kid can be save from a bad fate.

I have no idea if MiHsC is a good theory, but not telling you what is bad is a crime against science, and thus against humanity, in itself.
and if there is nothing identified, it is a greatest crime.

This diatribe look extreme, far from physics, but this is just I'm fed up from the dozens of such behaviors I have identified, and from the daily consequence that we observe.
I'm a probe, an information crawler, a fact connector, and this is my synthetic report.

"we need their names and then to crucify them in the media when applicable."

This is my abstract.

Mike McCulloch said...

Conundrum: Indeed. Controlled experiments are best & one is in progress.

Mike McCulloch said...

Airenatural: Useful advice, thanks: I hadn't heard of PloS ONE or Nottale's scale relativity. I sympathise with him. When I started out I had no idea how difficult it would be to have a fair fact-based debate with a numerically-dominant group.

Mike McCulloch said...

Alain: I agree that the problem is the anonymity of the critics in all these cases. We need wikileaks to get involved :) However, I think it's best to move forward if possible with a win-win attitude: if more diverse ideas and more fact-based ones are discussed then everyone gains, in that physics will become more interesting, and it will start to progress again.

Alain Coetmeur said...

You position match the one of business people, like my frinds of LENR-Cities...
move forward with those who want to move forward, and let the others die behind.

My point is for the next generation of dissenters.
Shawyer and you are the 2nd generation of Fleischmann&Pons, and I suspect that you are better treated than F&P because unconsciously some know F&P&al were unfairly treated (I hear more and more rationalized answer on cold fusion like it is real but tiny and useless...).

It remind me the problem if ICC and IPT mass crime trial. for the victims, best is to pursue their own life without hate, provided they don't yet suffer from discriminations...
But for the rest of the population, the importance of criminal trial is to deter the next generation of criminal, and to create immunization.

I work for the next generation. LENR have won, and EmDrive have passed the cover-up phase. who will be next?

by the way, no need of Arxiv, find good peers yourself, work in open mode...

Mike McCulloch said...

Dear Alain: It's a laudable goal to save science from a deadening groupthink, and now is the time: I think western culture is due for a shift, with money-driven politics, the media and physics now being questioned by growing numbers. Interesting times.

Alain Coetmeur said...

I think that the problem is not mostly money, it is comfort facing risk.

today scientists is a hard career, where you have to follow rules (publish or perish, please the funding agency, the media, the politics).
You can have a safe place if you follow rules.

As soon as you break the rules, it can get really weird, with defunding, im-publishing, demoting, insults, smear campaign, sabotage, political rejections...

Formerly scientists was a pioneer career, where there was no great interest in following rules... which rules ? you were thanked if making a breakthrough...
at worst you were thanked for a good engineer job, this mean pleasing the rules of physics, and be thanked by your client, the king or a tycoon.

the pattern of risk reward are now inverted. that is what we the people have to put back in order.

I don't suffer from crazy scientist, but from crazy decision makers.
I suffer from fearful scientists, not from from fearful engineers.

qraal said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
qraal said...

Alternatively the alternative theories are half-baked and ill-defined - they're a dime a dozen when you dip into the murky world of Cranky Physics. Every wannabe Einstein, Newton or Galileo is utterly convinced of their theory and takes pot-shots at mainstream researchers, but never actually does any further research themselves, aside from self-published tomes and the like. Criticism - especially self-criticism - are unknown to the self-assured Crank, who KNOWS they are RIGHT.

Of course, all good alternative researchers who are going after the Big Fish, have to tread that thin line between having a thick-skin against mainstream pseudo-scepticism, and the infallibility of the Crank. A good alternative researcher listens to all helpful criticism - but the tricky bit is telling it from the nay-saying and pseudo-scepticism. Self-belief needs to be successfully wedded to self-criticism. Then real Science is done.

I dip into viXra every so often, to learn what makes a Crank, and what makes an alternative theorist. Makes for interesting reading.

Mike McCulloch said...

Indeed, the ideal is a balance between self-doubt and self-confidence that you'd think only a schizophrenic could pull off :) but a good habit is not to personalise these things. We should judge theories solely by how simply they agree with the data.

Czeko said...

Keep spreading your theory. Some time ago, earth was flat.

People working on dark matter/energy won't help you to make your theory mainstream. They would loose their fundings straight if your theory is proven right...

You're the annoying little black swan in the pool... :)

conundrum said...

Just found this interesting series of comments.



qraal said...

When you're in Australia, it's the white swans that stand out. Black swans are expected...

Michael xChaos Polák said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
conundrum said...

The interesting thing here is not just that people are trying to wipe out any ideas which disagree with the nebulous self-contradicting "theory" of dark matter, but trying to make said theory fit the majority of data while discarding the really important anomalies such as coronal heating.

The popular definition of pseudoscience is "modifying your data set to fit your theory" not "modify your theory to fit the dataset, or add new data to the dataset"
On this point alone dark matter is indisputably pseudoscience!

Mike McCulloch said...

Yes, I agree dark matter is so obviously pseudoscience it makes me cringe, but it is dominant. It always amazes me! All we can do is be patient, and appeal to evidence and reason.

Seth Wagoner said...

Hi Mike. Long time lurker, first time commenter. Seems to me you do yourself no favours by suggesting DM is "pseudoscience" because that risks lumping DM researchers in with all sorts of crazy nonsense out there, in more or less the same way that a few of DM's more overzealous defenders seem like they want to do to you. I'm sure you'd agree that the problems are mostly systemic, as opposed to an intellectual failure on the part of any specific scientists, but I thought I'd share a few thoughts on how this sort of misunderstanding might be anticipated and guarded against, given that it sounds as though you may have unintentionally fallen afoul of such in the past...

I bumped into this lovely little N.N. Taleb quote again the other day, some way down his wikipage: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nassim_Nicholas_Taleb

The late Berkeley statistician David Freedman said that efforts by statisticians to refute Taleb's stance have been unconvincing. Taleb wrote in the second edition of The Black Swan that he had a session in 2008 with statisticians in which the hostility changed:

I found out that telling researchers "This is where your methods work very well" is vastly better than telling them "This is what you guys don’t know." So when I presented to what was until then the most hostile crowd in the world, members of the American Statistical Association, a map of the four quadrants, and told them: your knowledge works beautifully in these three quadrants, but beware of the fourth one, as this is where the Black Swans breed, I received instant approval, support, offers of permanent friendship, refreshments (Diet Coke), invitations to come present at their sessions, even hugs(...) They tried to convince me that statisticians were not responsible for these aberrations, which come from people in the social sciences who apply statistical methods without understanding them.

So by analogy, a productive strategy for MiHsC might be to identify what Dark Matter enthusiasts do well - eg, figuring out what new kinds of matter might be out there in the universe of a type we cannot see - and also where it is that their theories may get them or others into trouble - eg: explaining how it came to be the case that there is so *much* Dark Matter and Energy out there, and/or why it is that it has the odd distribution that it has. [1]

Given that MiHsC is potentially a *world class* Black Swan, that book would seem like a reasonably apt source of wisdom.

I haven't read it myself, but I have read Taleb's "Fooled By Randomness" and a bunch of books and blogs written by other folks about what happened before/during/after the big crash, and I was always struck by just how many different things were going wrong in different ways at different times in different jurisdictions...it really was far too convoluted for there to possibly be anything approaching a grand conspiracy operating behind the scenes.

Despite the relatively small size of the professional cosmology / astrophysics / theoretical physics community, it seems at least as implausible to me that they could have gotten *that* many scientists to *deliberately* ignore you - and I note you have been careful to never suggest *that* preposterous possibility - so it seems clear to me that most, almost all physicists even, have for various reasons yet to discover you and your work, and thus probably the best thing to do is figure out how to figuratively roll out the red carpet when they arrive.

So keep thinking up ways in which you could work productively with new allies going forwards, and at least as importantly, keep pondering how you could help minimise the potential fallout for various stakeholders if it turns out you are, indeed, correct, and one way or another, they missed it. I can see a *lot* of such ways, and thus I don't think anyone should be terribly surprised that it happened. It would be, to say the least, out of left field.

Seth Wagoner said...

... for instance, give some thought to just how many of them were never in a good position to even encounter your work, given just how much gets published even in the peer review literature these days, or how few of them were ever particularly likely to ascribe sufficient importance to it, give it a proper read, unless they had already heard about it from their colleagues. And for the very few that got as far as a real inkling of what the implications of your work were, then how the cognitive/social/professional/economic constraints of their personal situation at the time might have left them thinking that even if there was a chance you were right, discretion was clearly the better part of valour.

In light of which, as I say, most physicists have probably never known a thing about MiHsC, and with no *clearly better* theory on offer than there being vast amounts of DM and DE, at least as far as *they* knew, and with many if not all their colleagues apparently relatively happy with that situation, some of them perhaps not being aware just how much was actually required to balance things out, and just how many fitting parameters were required to make theory fit data... (just as many in the finance sector were blithely unaware of the size and risk concentration of the sub-prime mortgage backed derivatives market, amongst various other kinds of under-regulated financial anti-pattern).

So I guess what I'm saying is, until one has properly gotten to grips with a new paradigm, the old one still looks an awful lot like "real science" to the practitioners. Even Newton wrote an awful lot more about alchemy (and religion) than he ever did about physics.


Seth Wagoner said...

I do honestly hope that Dark Matter theorists need not fear for their jobs in a new MiHsC universe, they'll just be looking for less of it and in different places. They'll probably be a lot happier not having to imagine ways in which their theoretical creations could plausibly have come out of the big bang along with the right amount of dark energy in just the right distribution and duration to create the electromagnetic environment we experience today. Which is a much happier prospect than the centuries long cold war between science and religion.

Right, well apologies if that got a little long. If it makes you feel any better I dumped even *more* verbiage than that on your erstwhile Deletionists, who may be coming to realise that there is no *easy* way for them to get to consensus for delete this time, or maybe I have completely misunderstood the situation as this is the first time I've waded into such an argument on that site. Argument? Let's say rather "Frank Exchange of Views".


I regret to inform that it is *far* from inevitable that it's going to end in the result you want, as I expect one or two borderline calls might not go your way, but I'm darn well going to make them think about it a bit harder this time. Make that a *lot* harder. Actually I think I've pretty much already achieved that, although I am unfamiliar with any past efforts to get a page up there. If in those cases *you* wrote the page then based on the way this Frank Exchange of Views has gone so far, then I imagine you were zapped pretty quickly on WP:NOR grounds, but this time that isn't an option, so they're having to go for other options and they really are struggling to convince me they've got a terribly solid case based on a strict interpretation of the rules, which is what jps seemed to be demanding we stick to, as opposed to getting distracted by apparently irrelevant matters such as whether your theory is correct, or even if I think it *might* be correct, which is really all I have to offer at this point, based on my relatively quick forays into your mercifully short blog posts and journal papers...

Anyway as a result of the current impasse it seems entirely plausible that a few more physicists may end up giving you a look over pretty soon, so I thought I'd give you a head's up suggest that you roll out the red carpet as best you can.

Good luck! I hope you're right about MiHsC and if you are then I hope the aftermath will be a fascinating intellectual firework show, as opposed to a dangerous intellectual train-wreck...so long as everyone "Assumes Good Faith", as they say on Wikipedia, I'm sure we'll all be fine.

Best Regards,

Mike McCulloch said...

Dear Seth. Thank you for your comments and I can see the wisdom in them. I like the Taleb story wherein he pointed out the positives as well as the negatives of the opposing view: a dose of humility does us all good, and I will see if I can write a blog entry of that type.. Thanks also for your comments on the wiki page which have been admirably logical.

Seth Wagoner said...

You're welcome Mike!

I hate to say it, but I fear I may have to walk my opposition to deletion back a bit.

Essentially I had 6 basic goals in defending you a bit of vigour on that page:

1) Defend you and MiHsC from what I perceived to be unnecessarily nasty, lazy, short-sighted attacks by clearly overzealous editors.
2) Fight against siloization, stagnation, groupthink and monopolization in the physics community, which I perceived to be the key things driving the nastiness of those attacks.
3) Learn more about wikipedia policies and processes.
4) Start building a reputation as a "fair broker" of sorts within the wiki editor community, in case I found time to make more contributions in the future
5) Find out more about MiHsC, which I had only a vague understanding of previously, and it's now a *bit* less vague, but *most* of my time was focused on figuring out more about wikipedia rules and guidelines, because that was all they seemed to want to argue about ...
6) In the case that you *are* right, and this *is* a paradigm shift in the making, secure a small part of what I am sure will be a fascinating topic of debate in epistemology* and philosophy of science classes for some time to come.

The problem I now have is that with my minimal and decaying knowledge of astrophysics, and only having recently dedicated much in the way of time to thinking about MiHsC, I hadn't really grokked just how *much* of the status quo physics curricula is going to need to be overturned should you turn out to be correct. If I had been doing a bit more of (5) this probably would have happened a lot earlier!

In light of this, I fear, I am now thinking that while they *were* totally wrong to call you a crackpot, that if I was in their position and encountered what you'd been saying in a random blog post or paper, without seeing it all laid out from the beginning, ideally with a nice big diagram explaining which bits of what they perceive to be settled science are still considered valid in the context of your explanations, then my heuristics would probably *also* be screaming "crackpot".

So I can't in good conscience claim to be pursuing my unstated goal number 1, which was improving wikipedia simply by virtue of showing a few editors how not to be lazy assholes, sure in the knowledge that should they seek other editors to come in and look at the state of things, they would simply expose themselves to even greater embarrassment. Instead I now suspect there is a not insignificant chance of being labelled as a little too overzealous *myself*, were I to go on defending my Keep decision when I am actually now leaning quite strongly towards Delete.

Not because MiHsC is wrong, or unjustified by evidence, or arguably a better theory of physics that the current hodgepodge, or because keeping it there doesn't meet the letter of the wiki rules and guidelines I've looked at, but rather because it almost certainly violates the spirit of those rules, and I don't think there's realistically any way of getting around that, now that I've realized just how much of wikipedia (not to mention the physics textbooks) are going to require a re-write if you turn out to be correct.

One of the rules is roughly: "Great Claims require Great Evidence" and in this case, they really do mean secondary sources, and it makes sense, because wikipedia can't be expected to just do the science and figure out who is right, even in the rare cases where that might even be possible. So now I understand just *how* great your claims are, they are absolutely correct in saying the "evidence" *they* need to see to support a *page* is quite simply not yet "great" enough... :-(

Seth Wagoner said...

That being said, I see a few possible ways for you to work on building the necessary intellectual ecosystem around and/or getting some more attention on MiHsC that *don't* involve shoehorning a page about it into wikipedia ... but I note that you have been very circumspect in the way you've gone about promoting the theory so far, so I certainly wouldn't do anything much on that front without having a chat with you about it first.

Seth Wagoner said...

Well, *that* didn't go to plan. I didn't think they could just close the discussion like that without me and a few others actually changing our votes, and formally consenting in some fashion. Despite my last comment, my Keep vote was still in play and that was specifically because I didn't want it to end until I'd said more, and various others also had a chance to weigh in.

More than somewhat reinforces the perception that wikipedia is a pretty dysfunctional community these days :(

My last few comments were not helpful to your cause, and *definitely* not where I would have wanted it to end, for my sake, or yours. Sigh. I was working on another follow up to cover off a few more points I wanted to get in before it closed for posterity, but yeah, I assumed I and others would get some say in just when that would happen.

I've had a bunch more thoughts, but there's a limit on comment size here, so you can expect an email from me sometime soon.

Mike McCulloch said...

Well, I will refrain from much comment, since I already wrote the above blog about this tendency. Suffice it to say, I am grateful for the relative fairness of peer review. Outside of it reminds me unpleasantly of the school playground.