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Stephen Law's Field guide to BS

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posted on Jun, 14 2011 @ 05:44 AM
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ATS is full of debunkers and believers of all kinds of conspiracy theories. On both sides many are full of it. Thought many would find this interesting.

www.newscientist.com...>>

"Intellectual black holes are belief systems that draw people in and hold them captive so they become willing slaves of claptrap. Belief in homeopathy, psychic powers, alien abductions - these are examples of intellectual black holes"


edit on 14/6/11 by masqua because: Title edit to avoid censor circumvention beef




posted on Jun, 14 2011 @ 05:53 AM
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reply to post by BlackProjects
 


1. Thinking you can type Bull$hit in the title, and actually believing it will stay there.



posted on Jun, 14 2011 @ 05:56 AM
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reply to post by BlackProjects
 


they forgot the blind belief in academic "science", big black hole,

what about the belief in this theory ? i tell you man -> huge black hole

do they mention anything about open mind ? black hole as well ?

not that i believe in alien abduction, don't get me wrong. thank you



posted on Jun, 14 2011 @ 06:12 AM
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reply to post by BlackProjects
 


S&F from the title alone



posted on Jun, 14 2011 @ 06:15 AM
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More like:

Creepy Guy Peering Out a Window's Guide to Common Sense

Captain Obvious's Field Guide to the Obvious

I really hope this loser doesn't get paid for this.


edit on 14-6-2011 by Tephra because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 14 2011 @ 07:03 AM
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Originally posted by XmikaX
reply to post by BlackProjects
 


they forgot the blind belief in academic "science", big black hole,

what about the belief in this theory ? i tell you man -> huge black hole

do they mention anything about open mind ? black hole as well ?

not that i believe in alien abduction, don't get me wrong. thank you


I'm sorry but there is no "blind belief" in science as you say. If there is blind belief then it is not science. Just had to clear up that little falsity. No offense, but I am not sure how to respond to the rest of your incoherent post.



posted on Jun, 14 2011 @ 07:17 AM
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the theory of black holes is the biggest bs of all...

But you believe that, don't you?



posted on Jun, 14 2011 @ 07:42 AM
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reply to post by CaptChaos
 


Would you like to explain what you are referring to? Are you actually trying to say that black holes do not exist or are you referring to something like the Thorne-Hawking-Preskill bet involving the conservation of information in black holes? You aren't really trying to say black holes don't exist, are you? If you are please provide evidence. I would truly love to see this.



posted on Jun, 14 2011 @ 07:47 AM
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Originally posted by XmikaX
reply to post by BlackProjects
 


they forgot the blind belief in academic "science", big black hole,

what about the belief in this theory ? i tell you man -> huge black hole

do they mention anything about open mind ? black hole as well ?

not that i believe in alien abduction, don't get me wrong. thank you


Do you actually -personally- know any scientists, or do you just know people who don't like them....? I'm curious.



posted on Jun, 14 2011 @ 10:52 AM
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I would like to rant regarding this "Field Guide" as it were.....

I found the subtitle most influential on determining the flavor of this particular book.


How do people defend their beliefs in bizarre conspiracy theories or the power of crystals? Philosopher Stephen Law has tips for spotting their strategies


Looking at the construction of the subtitle, we see an interesting posture being taken as a 'given' by the reporter, and very likely, by the author as well. It concerns one subject and one object" "People defending" and "bizarre conspiracy theories." (I discount the "power of crystals" comment as it is meant to exemplify, and thus be representative of, "bizarre conspiracy theories.")

Stephen Law, senior lecturer in philosophy at a London university; is an academic author. And this article is meant to promote his recently crafted book "Believing Bull#: How not to get sucked into an intellectual black hole." One might think, because of the mention in the "New Scientist" it makes him a luminary, or expert of sorts, in the sociological and philosophical aspects of "bizarre" conspiracy theories; although I am inclined otherwise. The New Scientist has a 'good' relationship with academic publishing firms and I would not be too surprised if it turns out that it is the publisher, or their PR firm who is most likely the drive behind this pleasant take on a book which caters to the populist notion that most, if not all, conspiracy theories are "bizarre".

Unless of course you are inclined to see that this qualifier "bizarre" excludes your personal favorite conspiracy theory which in your estimation is far from bizarre. If you think that's the case, I wager you're mistaken. Ultimately, this book is a volley in support of the notion that conspiracy theories represent a philosophical threat to sanity or are more akin to the author's words, "an intellectual black hole."

But let's look at the author's own words about this black hole....


Intellectual black holes are belief systems that draw people in and hold them captive so they become willing slaves of claptrap. Belief in homeopathy, psychic powers, alien abductions - these are examples of intellectual black holes. As you approach them, you need to be on your guard because if you get sucked in, it can be extremely difficult to think your way clear again.


A belief 'system' that holds the ponderer 'captive' to 'claptrap.' He warns his readers to beware of "them" because they could get "sucked in" and evidently one might find it difficult to "think your way clear again." Therefore being sucked in is the cessation of 'thinking clearly.' This approach solidifies the stigma associated with the discussion of questionable events, and the rejection of canned answers.

His presuppositions are astoundingly obtuse and transparently pandering to a market of people who are interested in successfully combating "the muddled claptrap thinking." I suspect many will enjoy his material, because it will say exactly what they wish to hear, while denigrating the proponents of ideas that are counter to the populist need for unquestioning conformity to 'established' expressions of thought.

What are we to say about conspiracy theories? Are they all in fact, as characterized by the author "black holes" which suck in rationality and ejaculate blathering nonsense? Should we accept the authors musings that to suggest an alternative possibility for the state of society, the world, or the universe; means to 'risk the perils' of the intellectual black hole? So to state that there might be a God, that there are some experiences and phenomena of the human condition that can only be explained metaphysically, that narrowly focused agendas engender conspiracies, is to capitulate to that which is both laughable and 'bizarre.' Is there nothing 'bizarre' in this world? Isn't any theory - in fact - suspect of the same rejection - unless, presumably, it is sanctioned by his academic peers and the ultra-rational elite establishment who makes such determinations on behalf of us mental weaklings ?

But let me not digress too far....

The problem with this work and position is that it is not deterministic, it is actually, normative.

A deterministic approach to this subject would recognize that not everyone knows every damn thing in the world, and a person's inability to cope with that reality will lead them to consider any potentially unwelcome or uncomfortable possibility as the product of a 'bizarre' theorist stuck in an intellectual black hole, where it is equally likely - at face value - that they themselves, in rejecting any such theory, are just as likely to be 'trapped in their own black hole.'

A normative approach such as this presupposes that reality "ought" to be a certain way, and any confrontation to that "norm" is "out of whack."

Another golden contribution to this article takes this form, presumably and interviewer or reporter asks...


You identify some strategies people use to defend black hole beliefs. Tell me about one of them - "playing the mystery card"?

This involves appealing to mystery to get out of intellectual hot water when someone is, say, propounding paranormal beliefs. They might say something like: "Ah, but this is beyond the ability of science and reason to decide. You, Mr Clever Dick Scientist, are guilty of scientism, of assuming science can answer every question." This is often followed by that quote from Shakespeare's Hamlet: "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy". When you hear that, alarm bells should go off.


I suspect the author has had his share of frustrating confrontations with those who recognize faith over his arguments. In fact, I suspect in many cases, the arguments was with students of his. But that's just a guess - a "bizarre" conspiracy theory if you will....

I've never quoted Hamlet as a means to support an argument, and aside from the humanities, I think there is little place for such quotes herein. "Paranormal" beliefs is vaguely presented as the example here... is telepathy paranormal, faith healing, ghosts, curses, bi-location, resurrection....? Why should "alarm bells" go off... is the conversant in danger? What would that danger be?

The black hole allegory is telling of the attitude this philosopher-academician brings to the table. The danger he perceives should be be commensurate with his efforts to dissuade anyone from allowing themselves to be 'sucked in'. I might suppose that he considers conspiracy theorists en par with cultists, proselytizing bizarre beliefs for some glorification of the topic. Perhaps that could be true, but it could not be universally true, or "he" would be the 'misfit' in this debate, rather than those he is assisting people to reject, combat, confront, and/or avoid.


The esteemed author interview proceeds; he points out the "veil of mystery" drawn over the things some people believe (evidently there are no mysteries in his world, or the world of his readers.) In the authors world, the unknown is not mysterious; and it would appear that the unknown is simply not to be speculated upon, nor is any conjecture to be entertained outside his proscribed rationality - lest the uninitiated plummet into the heart of the black hole.

I shouldn't belabor the perception I took from this 'dialog' lest I fall prey to the same unilateral logic the author has erected in stone in this book. Suffice to say that this piece of literature appears to be a foundation for the vilification of conspiracy theory, faith, and anything that his peers and academic associates reject.

The metaphorical association of the concept of conspiracy theories and non-measurable phenomenology with brain washing (there's irony for you) and "danger Will Robinson" black holes and such verbiage reserved for emotional argumentation should tell you much about where this author is coming from, and what in his idea of a perfect world, we would all be required to accept as intellectual acquiescence.

I say "nay."

edit on 14-6-2011 by Maxmars because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 14 2011 @ 12:47 PM
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Originally posted by megabytz
reply to post by CaptChaos
 


Would you like to explain what you are referring to? Are you actually trying to say that black holes do not exist or are you referring to something like the Thorne-Hawking-Preskill bet involving the conservation of information in black holes? You aren't really trying to say black holes don't exist, are you? If you are please provide evidence. I would truly love to see this.


I am referring to the FACT that a black hole has never been observed. It is merely a mathematical construct, relying on infinities to work out. INFINITELY SMALL, yet with INFINITE MASS and INFINITE GRAVITY. Obvious bunkum.

You are apparently too young to remember how all this idiocy came about. At first, a mathematical construct was made, an equation, to pretend that something could collapse into an infinitely small space. This is why it is called a singularity, an impossibility. Then it achieves infinite gravity.

At first, this "proved" that NOTHING, not even LIGHT ITSELF, could escape the infinite gravity. Then, astronomers started looking for these "singularities", and whenever they saw things they couldn't explain, here came the black hole to save the day.

Now, the theory states as FACT that nothing, not even light itself, can escape the infinite gravity of the black hole. Oh, except when it does. Their supposed black holes now "shoot out" jets of light, in beams that somehow stay focused for thousands of light years. Sometimes x rays and gamma rays, too.

So, kind sir, please provide me with some EVIDENCE that black holes DO exist. And how is it that, though it has INFINITE GRAVITY and nothing, not even light itself, can escape the infinite gravity, somehow x rays, gamma rays, and jets of particles escape that infinite gravity?




"It seems that every practitioner of physics has had to wonder at some point why mathematics and physics have come to be so closely entwined. Opinions vary on the answer. ..Bertrand Russell acknowledged..”Physics is mathematical not because we know so much about the physical world, but because we know so little.” ..Mathematics may be indispensable to physics, but it obviously does not constitute physics." – Etienne Klein & Marc Lachièze-Rey, THE QUEST FOR UNITY - The Adventure of Physics. News reports about black holes seem to arrive about one per week. The claims are usually as outrageous as the concept of a black hole itself. Yet astronomers believe that a supermassive black hole exists at the center of every galaxy in the universe.

In the BBC news report below it is headlined that a “huge black hole tears apart star.” Another report just out claims that black holes are “stringy fuzzballs.” It is not a star but common sense that is being torn apart. Black holes are not ‘stringy’ or ‘fuzzy.’ They are a mathematical figment. They don’t exist. There was no need to invent them if the electrical nature of matter and the universe had been considered. The ‘black hole’ concept is a classic example of the malaise afflicting modern physics. Mathematicians dominate the discipline. And it is a common mistake to assume that to be very clever at mathematics is to somehow be a genius across the board. One past expert on Special Relativity took a very different view:

“It is usually taken for granted that the processes of mathematics are identical with the processes of reasoning, whereas they are quite different. The mathematician is more akin to a spider than to a civil engineer, to a chess player than to one endowed with exceptional critical power. The faculty by which a chess expert intuitively sees the possibilities that lie in a particular configuration of pieces on the board is paralleled by that which shows the mathematician the much more general possibilities latent in an array of symbols. He proceeds automatically and faultlessly to bring them to light, but his subsequent correlation of his symbols with facts of experience, which has nothing to do with his special gift, is anything but faultless, and is only too often of the same nature as Lewis Carroll's correlation of his pieces with the Red Knight and the White Queen - with the difference whereas Dodgson recognised the products of his imagination to be wholly fanciful, the modern mathematician imagines, and persuades others, that he is discovering the secrets of nature.” – Professor Herbert Dingle, Science at the Crossroads (1972).

The astrophysicist, Dingle, knew what he was talking about. He wrote the entry on Special Relativity for the Encyclopaedia Britannica for some years before he realized the logic was flawed. His many attempts to find an expert who could answer his simple question without resorting to metaphysics or answering some other less awkward question convinced him of the danger we face if we continue to allow mathematical theorists to dominate physics – hence the title of his book. But the juggernaut of science sped through the crossroads, unheedful of the red lights. Text


Maybe read this, with an open mind, and see what you think. Or not.



posted on Jun, 14 2011 @ 01:00 PM
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Or how about try this one out: www.heretical.com...

Pretty much proving that Einstein was WRONG. That's right. TOTALLY WRONG.

It's probably over everyone's heads around here. This is written by a SCIENTIST, an ASTROPHYSICIST, not some wingnut posting on a conspiracy website. Try to open your minds.
edit on 14-6-2011 by CaptChaos because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 14 2011 @ 01:35 PM
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reply to post by Maxmars
 

Holy...., I actually read that whole piece and can only add.......Applause!!!


(Hey..not my fold this a one line post, you left nothing to add)

Peace
edit on 14-6-2011 by operation mindcrime because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 14 2011 @ 07:44 PM
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reply to post by CaptChaos
 





I am referring to the FACT that a black hole has never been observed


Not only is this false and irrelevant it shows a lack of understanding concerning the philosophy of science. Things in science do not always have to be observed to know they are there.

Black Holes Observed




It is merely a mathematical construct


Please tell me you aren't demeaning mathematical constructs. Using math is as close as you can get to 100% proof of anything.



And how is it that, though it has INFINITE GRAVITY and nothing, not even light itself, can escape the infinite gravity, somehow x rays, gamma rays, and jets of particles escape that infinite gravity?


This also shows ignorance of how black holes work. The gamma rays and x-rays do not escape from the black hole itself rather from the matter surrounding the black hole. A cursory look at this wiki could of revealed that to you instead of reading a pseudo-scientific website that has no scientific credentials whatsoever and is arguing from ignorance.

Electric Sun?
.
A perfect debunking of some of the nonsense on that site.

Science Vs Pseudoscience

And as far as my age it has nothing to do with my knowledge of physics.



posted on Jun, 15 2011 @ 06:42 PM
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reply to post by CaptChaos
 





Or how about try this one out: www.heretical.com...


I read Dingles work a long time ago and am well aware of the controversy between him and special relativity. You however seem unaware that Dingle misunderstood special relativity.


To understand the origin of Dingle’s campaign against special relativity during his retirement years, it’s necessary to examine his earlier writings, which make it quite clear that he had always fundamentally misunderstood relativity. For one thing, he believed special relativity was a relational theory of motion. This is perhaps less surprising when we learn that he was introduced to the “theory of relativity” by A. N. Whitehead (1861-1947), which illustrates the disadvantages of being taught a subject by someone who doesn’t understand it himself. Whitehead, a mathematician and philosopher, was an early critic of general relativity. In 1920, amidst the public acclaim for Einstein that followed the announcement of the eclipse expedition results, Whitehead published what was essentially a relationist critique of relativity theory, saying in part I doubt the possibility of measurement in space, which is heterogeneous as to its properties in different parts. I do not understand how the fixed conditions for measurement are to be obtained. In other words, he did not understand how inertial coordinate systems (which form the entire basis of special relativity) are defined. In 1922, the same year in which Dingle published his essay “Relativity for All” (in which Dingle thanks Whitehead for explaining relativity to him), Whitehead published his own alternative theory in a book entitled “The Principle of Relativity, with Applications to Physical Science”. There he wrote I maintain the old-fashioned belief in the fundamental character of simultaneity. But I adapt it to the novel outlook by the qualification that the meaning of simultaneity may be different in different individual experiences. This is exactly the same idea that Dingle expresses in his writings, i.e., that the “novel outlook” on the relativity of simultaneity is essentially subjective, with no objective content, and that absolute simultaneity still held good in the objective sense. It’s clear that Whitehead mistook relativity for relationism (with an implicit absolute simultaneity), and passed this misunderstanding along to Dingle. In the preface to his essay “Relativity for All”, completed in July 1921, Dingle wrote Those who wish to pursue the subject more deeply, from either the philosophical or the scientific standpoint, are recommended to the works of Professor A. N. Whitehead, F.R.S. The author is glad to acknowledge his deep indebtedness to Professor Whitehead for invaluable help and unwearying kindness in unveiling the mysteries of a difficult subject.


www.mathpages.com...




This is written by a SCIENTIST, an ASTROPHYSICIST, not some wingnut posting on a conspiracy website.


This is an appeal to authority, One physicist who fundamentally misunderstood special relativity against the mountains of supporting evidence and predictions that were found to be true does not constitute proof of Einstein being wrong. And whats wrong with wingnuts on conspiracy websites?




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