Hi I'm John SkieSwanne, most people just call me Swan.
I'd like to introduce you to science's darker side.
As a man who studied and discusses physics as a hobby, I made many threads in the past about areas which I feel were left in silence, were "taboo", in
physics. For instance: I've expressed the possibility that the stars in spiral galaxies (like ours) were maybe following more of a radial movement
than previously thought (Kant's 1700s assumption that stars in our galaxies are in perfect orbit is still in effect today), and I've sited the
evidences: the Sun's trajectory is at a 30° angle towards the Core instead of zero. And galactic observations show that older, elliptical galaxies
have radial star motion. But a physicist came in and simply stated No, this isn't true. I asked him why. He basically said that there's no use, the
astronomers already know everything. I said maybe astronomers aren't perfect, and physics is biased by the mainstream position. Thus other theories
may be muted by mainstream to promote mainstream. He said, there's no such thing like "mainstream", in science everyone stood equal chances. I told
him that as soon as science touched politics, science became polarized and biased, and this "equal chance for everyone" was desirable in modern
physics, but sadly non-existent.
In this thread I'd like to present to you the Mainstream's existence, and its attitude toward other, new theories.
A couple of days ago I thought about signing up in a forum about physics discussion. I ended up not signing in, here's why:
Generally, in the forums we do not allow the following:
Challenges to mainstream theories (relativity, the Big Bang, etc.) that go beyond current professional discussion
Personal theories or speculations that go beyond or counter to generally-accepted science
Links to web sites that fall in the categories listed above will be removed.
In other words, if a guy (or a woman) has an idea, he gotta keep it to himself (or herself). If a guy or a woman doesn't always agree with the
Generally-Accepted theories, or found evidences which questions some aspects of mainstream physics he will be banned from discussion.
In catholicism religion, one of the commandments is "You shall have only one God - Yahweh". I see a disturbing parallel with today's science: "You
shall have only one science - Mainstream".
I've looked a bit further. Apparently there's a rather large community of physicists who criticizes the Mainstream for its unfairness. A mainstream
which, keep in mind, many mainstream physicists refuse to admit exists.
Here is the critics of some lesser-known physicists. I'll now be quoting from their paper which they published at
Challenging dominant physics paradigms
Published in Journal of Scientific Exploration, vol. 18, no. 3, Fall 2004, pp. 421-438. The version here differs from the published version in a few
Reprinted in Martin Lopez Corredoira and Carlos Castro Perelman (eds.), Against the tide: a critical review by scientists of how physics and
astronomy get done (Universal Publishers, 2008), pp. 9-26. Download Against the Tide
by Juan Miguel Campanario and Brian Martin
There are many well-qualified scientists who question long-established physics theories even when paradigms are not in crisis. Challenging
scientific orthodoxy is difficult because most scientists are educated and work within current paradigms and have little career incentive to
examine unconventional ideas.
In other words, the mainstream system is protecting itself through education and funds.
Physics could benefit from greater openness to challenges; one way to promote this is to expose students to unconventional views.
Physics has a reputation as one of the most highly developed and well established fields of science. Although there are many exotic-sounding theories
at the research frontier involving strings, black holes and charm, the basic postulates of classic theories such as electrodynamics, relativity and
quantum theory are seen as solidly established.
It is surprising to find, therefore, that there are many challengers to orthodox physics who offer critiques of conventional theories and present
their own alternative formulations. Furthermore, many of these challengers are well qualified, with degrees, mainstream publications, positions at
well-known universities and prizes including the Nobel Prize. Table 1 gives a few examples, listing only a selection of these particular challengers'
achievements. This is not a ranking of dissidents; there are others with just as many accomplishments.
Table 1. A sample of well-qualified challengers to orthodox physics
Halton Arp is a professional astronomer who has worked at the Mt. Palomar and Mt. Wilson observatories. He has received the Helen B. Warner prize, the
Newcomb Cleveland award and the Alexander von Humboldt Senior Scientist Award. He has published a large amount of evidence that contradicts the big
bang (Arp 1987, 1998).
Andre Assis is professor of physics at the University of Campinas, Brazil, is the author of several books and over 50 scholarly articles and is a
leading authority on Weber's electrodynamics. He is a critic of relativity (Assis 1994, 1999).
Robert G. Jahn is professor of aerospace science and dean emeritus of the School of Engineering and Applied Science at Princeton University and has
received the Curtis W. McGraw Research Award of the American Society of Engineering Education. He researches mind-matter interactions.
Paul Marmet was professor of physics at Laval University, Québec, for over 20 years, is author of over 100 papers in electron microscopy, was
president of the Canadian Association of Physicists and has received the Order of Canada. He is a critic of relativity.
Domina Eberle Spencer is professor of mathematics at the University of Connecticut and has published several books and over 200 scholarly articles.
She supports an alternative theory of electrodynamics, in the Gaussian-Weberian-Ritzian tradition.
Tom Van Flandern has a PhD in astronomy from Yale University, became chief of the Celestial Mechanics Branch of the US Naval Observatory and received
a prize from the Gravity Research Foundation. He is critic of theories of the big bang, gravity and the solar system (Van Flandern 1993).
Why don't we see their opinions and theories being discussed in mainstream media? For the obvious reason that it would mean mainstream representatives
to give up certain control over information and credit:
A proponent of an unorthodox idea is likely to encounter several types of difficulties. First, it is difficult to obtain funding: very few
research grants are awarded for proposals to re-examine long accepted theories. Most funding agencies expect that proposals will build on existing
science rather than challenge basic postulates. Second, it is difficult to publish in mainstream journals. Third, proponents of unorthodoxy
may come under attack: their colleagues may shun them, they may be blocked from jobs or promotions, lab space may be withdrawn and malicious
rumors spread about them. Even if they can overcome these problems, they have a hard time gaining attention.
Furthermore, about mainstream's attitude:
These conventional views were challenged by Thomas Kuhn (1970). Kuhn argued that scientists - and physicists in particular, since most of his
historical examples were from physics - adhere to a paradigm, which is a set of assumptions and standard practices for undertaking research. If an
experiment gives results contradictory to theory, then instead of rejecting the theory altogether, alternative responses include rejecting the
experiment as untrustworthy and modifying the theory to account for the new results (Chia 1998; Chinn and Brewer 1993).
When anomalies accumulate, the paradigm can enter a state of crisis and be ripe for overthrow by a new paradigm. This process of scientific revolution
does not proceed solely according to a rational procedure but involves social factors such as belief systems and political arrangements.
About the mainstream's attempts to avoid falsfication ("being busted", for those who don't know what "falsification" means):
Eminent philosopher of science Imre Lakatos says that research programs have a hard core set of fundamental principles surrounded by a set of
subsidiary, less significant assumptions, called the protective belt. For the research program to advance, lesser assumptions can be tested and
possibly modified, protecting the hard core from being falsified (Chalmers 1999, 130-136; Lakatos 1970).
How mainstream destroys other "lesser" alternatives:
Conventional science education helps to perpetuate current orthodoxy. Students are introduced to physics through textbooks that typically
present current ideas as "the truth" and either ignore alternative ideas altogether or portray them as convincingly disproved by experiment.
Students learn by solving problems, and the concepts and magnitudes used in these problems assume the validity of current theories. Only rarely
are students presented with theories that don't work, and even in those cases, such as Bohr's model of the hydrogen atom, the intent is to show how
researchers overcame problems. By and large, students are confronted only with success in science. Acceptance of received wisdom is deeper because
orthodoxy is never discussed as orthodoxy: it is simply the truth. Students are also taught about the "scientific method" - observation, hypothesis
formulation, testing, etc. - and hence come to believe that theories that have been tested by experiments are true, because the textbook scientific
method is thought to be the way science actually operates. Views that science actually proceeds in a different fashion are seldom mentioned
(Barnes 1974; Bauer 1992; Feyerabend 1975). Relevant here is a famous quote from Max Planck (1949, 33-34): "A new scientific truth does not triumph by
convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is
familiar with it."
Many times, physicists with alternative theories never get credit:
The system of examinations and degrees is a sorting process; the physics PhD screens out most of those who question orthodoxy (Schmidt
2000). Once students are committed to the basic principles of the field, then it is possible to begin research and to question, within implicit
limits, prevailing ideas.
I'd like to end this thread with the psychological aspect behind mainstream representatives:
There is another obstacle facing challengers: the psychological commitment of scientists to current ideas, especially their own ideas and the
dominant ideas. The usual image of the scientist is of a cool, calm, detached, objective observer, but the reality is quite different (Mahoney 1976;
Mitroff 1974), as anyone who knows scientists is aware. The classic study of the psychology of scientists is Ian Mitroff's book The Subjective Side of
Science, in which he revealed that Apollo moon scientists were strikingly committed to their ideas, so much so that contrary evidence seemed to
have little influence on their views. As well, scientists express strong views, often quite derogatory, about other scientists. To expect every
scientist to react coolly and objectively to a competitor's idea is wishful thinking, though there are some scientists who approach the ideal.
Intriguingly, Mitroff found that it was often the top scientists who were the most strongly committed to their ideas.
Tom Van Flandern commented to us:
I have taken aside several colleagues whose pet theories are now mainstream doctrine, and asked quizzically what it would mean to them personally if
an alternative idea ultimately prevailed. To my initial shock (I was naive enough that I did not see this coming), to a person, the individuals I
asked said they would leave the field and do something else for a living. Their egos, the adulation they enjoy, and the satisfaction that they were
doing something important with their lives, would be threatened by such a development. As I pondered this, it struck me that their vested
interests ran even deeper than if they just had a financial stake in the outcome (which, of course, they do because of grants and promotions). So a
challenger with a replacement idea would be naive to see the process as anything less than threatening the careers of some now-very-important
people, who cannot be expected to welcome that development regardless of its merit. (1 August 2002)
In conclusion: What I critic is the fact that science was supposed to be the reverse of religion. An egalitarian think tank in which every scientists
could contribute, as opposed to religion where everyone had to agree with the Vatican or something similar. Centuries later, here science is, now
acting exactly as religion does, with a central power and with just about the same attitude toward unorthodox alternatives.
At Time's End,
edit on 7-6-2013 by swanne because: (no reason given)