Archive for
January 2016

Comments for Sunday, January 24, 2016, thru Sunday, Jan. 31, 2016:

January 31, 2016 -  All the reading and listening to science books, and all the watching of science videos I've been doing over the years may finally be giving me some confidence in my understanding of the universe.  It's quite possible that it is an incorrect understanding, but I'm always ready to listen to anyone who can explain to me what is the correct understanding.

On Friday evening, I was watching the last part of the PBS NOVA presentation of the documentary called "Particle Fever."  I'd recorded it on my DVR several weeks ago, and I'd been watching it in 10 and 15 minute segments from time to time just before going to bed.  I'd watch it when there wasn't enough time before bedtime to watch a 22 or 25 minute episode of some TV show on my DVD player or from my DVR.  On Thursday, I unexpectedly reached the end of "Particle Fever" at about the 1 hour 40 minute mark.  It was a 2 hour NOVA episode.  Curious, I fast-forwarded to see what was after the credits for "Particle Fever."  I found PBS had included some "science cartoons" to fill the 2-hour time slot.  They weren't jokey cartoons created to humorously illustrate scientific concepts, they were serious explanations scientists had given on camera, and the explanations had later been illustrated via animation.  On Friday evening I again has less than 22 minutes before bedtime, so watched more of the "cartoons."  I watched a "cartoon" from 2012 about "dark matter."  I ended up watching it twice, staying up past my normal bedtime.  And on Saturday morning I did a search to see if I could find the cartoon on YouTube.  I did.  It came from parts of the cartoon below.  (Other parts came from HERE and HERE):

I'd never before heard of "Dark Matter" described as "blobs of stuff."  Dark Matter has never been something I've been particularly fascinated with, so I probably just hadn't been paying serious attention.  However, I only recalled Dark Matter being described as something unknown, an unknown mass that was only detectable by the gravitational force it exerted on galaxies and elsewhere.  In the above cartoon, at about the 2 minute mark they talk about "strong lensing" and how "blobs" of dark matter will distort what we see if there is a "blob" of dark matter between us and some distant galaxy.

dark matter strong

Holy cow!  Somehow I'd never heard Dark Matter described that way before!  I realized it's the same thing that would happen if a black hole was located at that spot!  I could only conclude that, obviously there is some connection between black holes and dark matter!  They might even be the same thing! 

But, I also realized that it wasn't very likely that I would be the first to see that connection.  So, the next morning, Saturday morning, I did a Google search for the difference between black holes and dark matter.  I quickly found an article titled "No direct link between black holes and dark matter."  But it merely argues that scientists don't see any connection between the massive black hole at the center of a galaxy and the dark matter that seems to be embedded among the stars that form the galaxy itself.  That's an answer to a very different question!

Searching further via Google, I found an article titled "Surprising Link Found Between Dark Matter and Black Holes."  It says that there seems to be a relationship between the amount of dark matter scattered around in a galaxy and the size of the black hole at the center of the galaxy.  Another article titled "Dark Matter Guides Growth of Supermassive Black Holes" says the same thing.  That also wasn't what I was looking for.  It discussed questions I wasn't ready to ask.

On a less prestigious source, I found another article titled "Are Black Holes Made of Dark Matter?"  It concludes by arguing that the answer is "No."  But, the question for which I wanted to find the answer was just the reverse: "Is Dark Matter Made from Black Holes?" 
The consensus right now is that dark matter consists of a new type of particle, one that interacts very weakly at best with all the known forces of the universe except gravity. - See more at:

Then I found an article titled "Is Dark Matter Made of Tiny Black Holes?"  Except for the word "tiny," it was very close to the question I wanted to ask.  The article contains this information:
The consensus right now is that dark matter consists of a new type of particle, one that interacts very weakly at best with all the known forces of the universe except gravity.  As such, dark matter is invisible and mostly intangible, with its presence only detectable via the gravitational pull it exerts.

However, despite research from thousands of scientists relying on the most powerful particle accelerators on Earth and laboratories buried deep underground, no one has yet detected or created any particles that might be dark matter. This led Kim Griest, an astrophysicist at the University of California, San Diego, and his colleagues to investigate black holes as potential dark matter candidates.
The consensus right now is that dark matter consists of a new type of particle, one that interacts very weakly at best with all the known forces of the universe except gravity. - See more at:
Ah!  That fitted very well with the description I gave on my Facebook group for what is at the center of a black hole.  I wrote that "singularities" were just a way of saying there was some unknown factor somewhere, it didn't mean there was actually a "singularity" at the center of a black hole.  And, to me, "portals" into another dimension were just "fictions" that some scientists use to describe what else might be at the center of Black Holes.  It's a mathematical model that cannot be proved or even confirmed.  The way I visualized Black Holes was that they had some kind of "super-dense" matter at their centers.  I wrote:
I imagine that the "super-dense" matter would have to be purified quarks and leptons or whatever smaller particles quarks and leptons might be made of.  It couldn't be atoms. Compressing atoms is what caused the chain reaction that created the black hole in the first place.
As of Saturday morning, I began visualizing Dark Matter as being inactive Black Holes which have gobbled up everything in their vicinity and no longer have anything nearby to grab onto.  Since they aren't pulling in or pulling apart anything, they do not generate the tell-tale X-ray signatures of "live" Black Holes.  And they are too far away from any individual stars to show any noticeable affect on the orbits of individual stars.  Furthermore, they don't have to be "tiny."  They just have to be far enough away from any "food source" that would allow them to become "active."  They're like fish traps in a lake where all the fish have been caught and removed.  The traps exist, but they're not doing anything.

I wondered if the term "inactive black hole" was something else that others had thought about before.  Sure enough, a Google search found that they had, although "dormant black hole" might be a more common term.  I didn't like the word "dormant," since it implied an habitual, voluntary period.  And the articles were far from what I was looking for.  They seem to talk mostly about black holes at the center of galaxies which no longer seem to be spraying out X-rays -- or which no longer spray X-Rays in our direction. 

The way I was seeing things, if one looks at things logically, the whole idea of dormant or inactive black holes should put an end to all talk of "singularities" and "portals" to other dimensions.  If a black hole were a "singularity" or a "portal," it should disappear when it runs out of fuel and becomes inactive.  Why would the "singularity" exist, and what would keep the "portal" open, if nothing was falling into it or going through it?  Besides, how can there be tiny and super-massive "singularities"?  Anything that is "infinitely small" is just one size: "infinitely small."  There can't be a BIG infinitely small.

And an inactive portal to other dimensions makes no sense, either.  Apparently, the only reason they come up with the idea of a "portal" to another dimension seems to be to explain how all those stars and other material can plunge into a black hole like it was a bottomless pit.  Their answer: it has to come out somewhere else -- in another universe.  But, if it comes out somewhere else, how can the black hole get larger and larger?

It seems to me that the only logical way you can have black holes that come in various sizes, while also having the capability to get larger AND to merge with other black holes, is if everything that falls into a black hole is stripped of all of its electromagnetic properties (i.e., positive and negative charges) so that the remaining particles are electromagnetically neutral and can be stacked together like a pile of bricks - or compressed into a solid ball of inert particles (or maybe Higgs bosons).  It would just be a (temporarily?) stable gravitational mass.  
Mathematicians would probably hate that idea.  "Singularities" and "portals" can be converted into mathematics, but they evidently can't mathematically create a stable gravitational mass of the size needed to form a black hole.  And it seems that mathematicians are leading the search to explain what is at the center of a black hole.  Which reminds me of something Albert Einstein once said:
Since the mathematicians have invaded the theory of relativity, I do not understand it myself anymore.
I see two unanswered, interconnected questions: (1) What is at the center of a Black Hole? and (2) What is dark matter?   Those question may need to be answered logically before the answers can be confirmed mathematically.  

Logically, it seems to me that Dark Matter is very likely just inactive Black Holes.  And the centers of all black holes consist of neutral particles (with mass) that can be stacked together (and/or compressed) without any nuclear fusion taking place. (The cartoon says that at one time people thought Dark Matter might just be a collection of neutrinos.  But they decided neutrinos don't have enough mass to account for what was known about Dark Matter.  So, the centers of black holes must also consist of something with more mass.)

Once you form an image of inactive black holes, you can then start visualizing them being slowly drawn together by their massive gravitational force to form larger and larger black holes.  I spent some time on Saturday afternoon and this morning studying the talks and papers by Professor Kim Griest, whose name was mentioned in the article about "tiny" black holes.  A video talk HERE and a paper HERE provided only scatter shot details.  They aren't focused on the new specific question for which I'm still seeking an answer: What are the properties of an inactive black hole?  The article about "tiny" black holes says that some NASA experiments (as of 15 years ago) had found no sign of specific types of black holes making up dark matter:
"We've ruled out a range of primordial black holes as dark matter, but have not ruled them out completely," Griest told "They're still a viable candidate for dark matter." 
I'm also thinking I should put this in the form of a scientific paper.  I had to write it all down here first in order to organize my thoughts.  It wouldn't be a paper announcing any new discovery, it would be just to see if any real scientists out there can shoot holes in it.  It seems that, instead of using the Large Hadron Collider to break things apart, the focus should be on how neutral particles can be created and compressed together without causing nuclear fusion.

Or maybe I should just forget about all this and work on my sci-fi novel. 

Ah, if only I could.

January 29, 2016 - I finished another audio "book" today.  This "book" was just a collection of 5 short stories titled "The Defenders and Other Stories" by Philip K. Dick.  Total listening time about 4 hours.

The Defenders and Other
                  stories by Philip K. Dick
The next audio book in my reading queue is "The Minority Report and other Stories" by Philip K. Dick, read by Keir Dullea, who you may recall played the last surviving astronaut in the movie "2001 A Space Odyssey."  It's a collection of 5 more short stories.  Total listening time: 5 hours and 34 minutes.  (You may also recall that the short story "The Minority Report" was made into a movie in 2002 that starred Tom Cruise.)

I'm discovering that listening to short stories poses a minor problem, because the stories might be slightly longer than the amount of time I normally spend on the treadmill and Exercycle at the gym.  Two of the short stories in "The Defenders" required me to spend an extra 7 to 10 minutes on the Exercycle, since I didn't want to turn the MP3 player off just as the stories were reaching their "dramatic conclusions."  Luckily, I wasn't in a rush to get anywhere on either day.  It makes me think of writing a short science fiction story about a guy who has his life taken over by his MP3 player.  Every time he gets ready to turn off the player, something interesting happens in the book he's listening to that causes him to continue listening.  Maybe he ends up on the exercise machines until they close the gym for the night, and then he continues listening as he drives home and gets into a fatal accident because he wasn't paying attention to his driving.

The best kind of book for me to listen to while working out at the gym is definitely a non-fiction book that I can easily turn off at any time without losing track of what was going on.  But, short stories also work for me sometimes.  And I have a novel by Carl Hiaasen in my MP3 player that I don't want to delete, so I may just have to listen to it someday. 

January 28, 2016 - This afternoon, I finished reading the hard cover copy of Richard Feynman's lecture series, "The Character of Physical Law," that I bought a week ago. 

The Character of Physical
                  Law by Richard Feynman

It's only 167 pages, so it was a relatively quick read, even though highlighting dozens and dozens of passages added a bit to the reading time.  It was a very interesting book.  There was plenty in it that I don't fully understand, but it was mostly in scientific areas where I have little interest.  The seven "Messenger Lectures" that comprise the book are also available on Youtube.  If I get the time and have the inclination, I may watch the lectures that were most difficult to follow in the book to see if they are more understandable when Dr. Feynman is actually on stage explaining things.  They almost certainly will be more understandable -- even if it is just because it would be the second time I experienced the lecture.

One part that I highlighted in both red and yellow was about Time Dilation, where Dr. Feynman explained it from a very different angle.  For example, if you are in a space ship going half the speed of light, and you measure the speed of light while traveling at that speed, it will still be 186,000 miles per second.  How can that be?  It's because your seconds are longer due to Time Dilation.  That really boggles the mind and makes me want to do the calculations.  

What am I going to do with all this new understanding?  I dunno.  But, if I ever get into another argument with another RSMist, I'll really have my guns loaded. 

January 27, 2016 - I don't suppose anyone cares, but I might as well log the completion of the first novel I have listened to on my MP3 player.  I just finished "Red Harvest" by Dashiell Hammett.  It was Hammett's first novel, it was published in 1929,  but it had previously appeared in serial form in "Black Mask" magazine in 1927-1928 under the title "The Cleansing of Poisonville."

Red Harvest by Dashiell

The fact that is first appeared in serial form in a magazine explains how there can be at least twenty murders committed by up to a dozen different people in one story.  But, it was still an interesting book, although the first novel I ever listened to on my MP3 player might also turn out to be the last novel I ever listen to on my MP3 player.  I have a hard time remembering people's names in real life -- unless I've seen the name written down -- and now I know that also holds true when listening to an audio book.  It was really difficult for me to remember who was who in the book, except for the unnamed Continental Detective Agency Operative who tells the story.

I don't seem to have that problem with short stories, but that's probably because a typical short story only involves a few people.  (There must have been at least 20 key characters in "Red Harvest.")  So, next item in my MP3 listening queue is a collection of Philip K. Dick science fiction short stories from the 1950s.

Another problem with listening to (and reading) novels is that I can't read them in 15 or 20 minute sessions.  The only way I can enjoy them is if I devote every available daylight minute to getting through the novel as quickly as I can.   That doesn't hold true with non-fiction books like "The Fabric of the Cosmos: Space, Time, and the Texture of Reality" by Brian Greene, the science book I'm reading on my Kindle during breakfast and lunch. 

Of course, I realize I should be writing my own novel instead of reading (or listening to) other people's novels. I keep thinking about it, but the right story hasn't yet popped into my head.       

January 25, 2016 -  Ah!  Live and learn.  Yesterday, I wrote about how I couldn't imagine anyone traveling all the way to Acapulco just to spend 6½ hours attending the 4th Rational Physics Conference.  I was probably right about that, but this morning I learned that, at the same time as the Physics Conference, there is a much larger event happening in Acapulco.  It's called Anarchapulco.   I learned about it when someone posted the video below to the "Rational Scientific Method Free For All" Facebook group page.

Anarchapulco is described as "The World's First and Largest Anarcho Capitalist Conference."

Anarchapulco banner

It looks like they currently have 30 speakers scheduled, but more may be added.  I've never heard of any of them, but looking at their credentials, it seems like they are all anti-government, while at the same time being a mixture of conspiracy theorists, Truthers, anarchists, college professors, lawyers, radio show hosts, revolutionaries, libertarian politicians, businessmen, and some undefinables.

Anarchapulco is going to take place at the same hotel as the Physics Conference, and it looks as if Anarchapulco was originally scheduled to end on Sunday, February 21, but then someone decided to expand it to include a couple vaguely related events that others scheduled for Monday and Tuesday, including the Rational Physics Conference on Monday. 

It is undoubtedly no coincidence that the RMSists scheduled their conference  immediately following Anarchapulco.  If you have an anti-authoritarian message to preach, go to where the anti-authoritarians will be gathered, don't just stand on some street corner and hope that they will somehow find you.

So, a lot of people I don't want to know will be in the same place at the same time next month.  It might be interesting to observe - from a great distance via the Internet.

January 24, 2016 (B) - Hmm.  I accidentally left a flash drive in my shirt pocket while I ran the shirt through the washer and dryer this morning.  The flash drive came out as good as new, totally unaffected by the water or the heat.  Live and learn.

January 24, 2016 (A) - I was tempted to try to keep yesterday's Raymond Chandler writing style going through today's comment and beyond, but I'm not sure that the readers of this site would understand what was going on if they missed a day and started reading my comments from the top.  So, if I ever try to write this web site in some dramatic style, I'll have to make sure everyone knows what's going on, and that I can stick to it.

How would I bring The 4th Rational Physics Conference into the "story"?  It's going to be held in Acapulco less than a month from now, on February 22.  The "conference" will consist of just a half-hour introduction, then two hour-long presentations by a couple of top Rational Semantic Methodists (RSMists"), a two hour lunch, then two more hour-long presentations by two fringe RSMists.  6½ hours total.  Without the intro and lunch, the "conference will consist of  just 4 one-hour-long presentations by people whose views are well known and widely available for reading on the Internet.  The abstracts of their presentations indicate nothing new will be said or presented.

Clearly, the only reason to go is to spend some time in sunny Acapulco, Mexico, in February.  Who in their right mind would go for just the one day?  The setting is a beautiful hotel on a beautiful beach, which would make it a great setting for a mystery, but not a mystery of whether anyone except the four speakers is actually going to show up for the conference.  Nor a mystery about whether or not anyone will be able to deduct the cost of the trip from their taxes as a "business expense."

I also notice that someone on the "Rational Scientific Method Free For All" Facebook group page posted some pictures of molecules. 

photos of molecules 
The discussion that followed the posting of the pictures is interesting as various people try to understand why the atoms of the silver background do not also show up as atoms.  (The answer seems to be that the Atomic Force Microscope  (AFM) they were using is very different from a normal camera in that it doesn't use light  to capture pictures, plus the "depth of focus" of the device is less than one atom, which could mean that the smaller, tightly packed background atoms are simply "out of focus.")

It's interesting to me, however, to see that some people are actually presenting EVIDENCE to argue against the RSMist beliefs.  A few weeks ago, before they booted me off the group, I showed some photos of atoms.  The photos seemed to get the die-hard RSMists (including one of the Acapulco speakers) flustered as they found themselves uncertain about how to argue that such pictures must have been faked as part of the massive conspiracy to mislead everyone in the world.

I cannot help but wonder if anyone will be willing to make the trip to Acapulco to ask Bill Gaede where his "ropes that connect all atoms in the universe" are in these AFM photographs.  On the "Free for All" group, an RSMist argued that "The size relation of a single rope or fibre [in Bill Geade's hypothesis] to a whole atom might like that of a pebble to a galaxy."  Which just shows that they will find some way to argue their way out of anything.  Their arguments seems to be that the atomic force that the Atomic Force Microscope is using to make the photographs doesn't really exist.  What actually exists are some invisible ropes that are not only too small for the AFM to "see," but somehow enable the atomic forces that do not exist to show up in the photographs.  And, anyone who disagrees needs to prove that that is completely impossible, otherwise it must be accepted as the gospel truth.

I was going to write something about the search for Planet #9, which seems to be a big topic in the astrophysics world these days, and how the mathematics of planetary orbits is predicting the existence of "Planet #9" far far beyond the orbit of dwarf planet Pluto (which used to be #9, but no more).  But, I'm having some trouble with my web site software, so pondering how RSMists might interpret such a prediction based upon mathematical evidence will have to wait for some future comment.

Meanwhile, I really hope someone takes some photographs of the audience at the 4th Rational Physics Conference.  I'd like to see some evidence that someone other than the speakers (and maybe their families) actually showed up for it.

Comments for Sunday, January 17, 2016, thru Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016:

January 23, 2016 - The sky over the city was the color of frozen slime.  A few flakes of snow were drifting past my office window, like dandruff from the bowed head of a fallen angel.  I'd just finished listening to twelve hard-boiled episodes of "The Adventures of Philip Marlowe" on my trusty MP3 player.

The Adventures of Philip

What next? I wondered.  A slick-talking blonde dame was tempting me.  Her name was Connie ... Connie Brooks.  Our Miss Brooks claimed to be a school teacher, but I heard that just meant she made you do things over and over again, until you got it right.

Another case I'd been working on was getting me down.  Bill Nye the science guy had built a case against creationists, but that was like arguing that jackasses are mule headed.  The only real conflict was with the sandman I was fighting to keep from falling asleep with boredom.  My mood was glum.  I needed something to get my brain perking like a coffee pot on a gas burner set to sizzle.

Then I heard a knock on my door.

January 21, 2016 - The two science books ("Death by Black Hole" in paperback and "The Character of Physical Law" in hardcover) that I ordered a few days ago arrived today.  I immediately read the first lecture in the "The Character of Physical Law," highlighting the sentences and paragraphs I hadn't been able to highlight when I listened to it on my MP3 player.  Seeing the words makes it a lot easier to remember them than just hearing the words.  Now I have to find the time to read the rest of it. 

Listening to science books while exercising at the gym is a perfect way to keep my mind busy while on the treadmill and Exercycle.  I thought that listening to humor books would be equally enjoyable, but that hasn't turned out to be the case.  The ones I've tried quickly became tedious.  And, while I'm 9/12ths of the way through "The Adventures of Philip Marlowe," listening to old radio shows isn't as enjoyable as I expected, either.  There's too much noise in the gym to hear clearly when some slinky blonde dame whispers something into Marlowe's ear.  And, if I turn up the sound, the shouting during fist fights and the gunshots that pepper the stories are too loud.

So, like most things, I need to find the right mix for my tastes.    

January 20, 2016 - After I finished listening to "Physics of the Impossible" on my MP3 player, and before I started listening to "The Adventures of Philip Marlowe," I experimented with several other "audio books" in an attempt to figure out what to listen to next.  I tried listening to "The Character of Physical Law," by Richard Feynman.  But the reader is constantly referring to exhibits on a blackboard, because the book is a series of lectures Dr. Feynman gave in 1964.  You can mentally picture and figure out what the exhibits on the blackboard must look like, but no matter how fascinating the lectures are (and the first one was VERY fascinating), you still feel that you're probably missing something.  So, I put that audio book aside and ordered a hardback copy from Amazon.  At the same time, I ordered a paperback copy of "Death by Black Hole" by Neil deGrasse Tyson.  It's the book I'm still listening to on CDs in my car.  I need a copy where I can underline and highlight passages for later reference.

I also tried listening to "Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation" by Bill Nye.  I temporarily gave up when it seemed that all Mr. Nye was doing was arguing with "creationists" who, like RSMists, are True Believers who can never be convinced they are wrong.  But, yesterday, I started listening to "Undeniable" again.  It was either that or spending more time on the Exercycle at the gym.  The Philip Marlowe radio shows are 29 minutes long.  That's perfect for the 30 minutes I spend on the treadmill, but I only spend 20 minutes on the Exercycle.  So, it was a matter of either spending an additional 10 minutes on the Exercycle so I can listen to a complete episode of "Philip Marlowe," or listening to Bill Nye's book while on the Exercycle.  I decided to listen to Nye's book.   

Nye's book seems to be getting more interesting.  It's becoming less and less about how closed-minded and dangerous the creationists are, and more and more about the science that supports our understanding of the age of the universe, the age of the Earth and everything around us.  In other words, it's becoming more and more about science and less and less about the anti-scientists.  That's good, because I feel I've spent enough time arguing with RSMists, and I don't want to read about someone else's arguments with similar closed-minded people.

January 19, 2016 - I spent most of yesterday reading a book on my Kindle, the 2nd Harry Bosch novel, "The Black Ice" by Michael Connelly.  It is a very enjoyable read, maybe even more enjoyable than "The Black Echo," which I finished reading back on November 25.

The black ice by Michael

I finished reading "The Black Ice" at about 3:30 this afternoon.  I'd read 46% of it yesterday, and it ends at the 83% mark, with a sample from book #3 in the Harry Bosch series, "The Concrete Blonde," filling the last 17 percent of the Kindle file. As soon as I finished "The Black Ice," I got on my computer and reserved "The Concrete Blonde" from my local library.  I'm next in line on the waiting list, so I'll probably have it in my Kindle next week some time.

Coincidentally, I've been listening to "The Adventures of Philip Marlowe" on my MP3 player while at the gym.  It consists of 12 half-hour radio shows from the late 1940s, complete with commercials.  I say "coincidentally" because Harry Bosche is also a "hard boiled" detective, although not a private detective.  And Michael Connelly often writes very much like a modern Raymond Chandler, who wrote the Philip Marlowe books and stories.   Here's an example, a description of a private club in L.A. where bring your own whiskey, and the club makes its money off of mixers and the cover charge.  I copied the description from somewhere in the first 46% of "The Black Ice":
It cost you five bucks for a stool at the bar and a dollar for a glass of ice to go with your bottle of whiskey. A soda setup was three bucks but most of these people took their medicine straight up. It was cheaper that way and more to the point. It was said that Poe’s was not named after the writer but for the general philosophy of its clientele: Piss on Everything.
That's pure Raymond Chandler style.  In the episode titled "A Heart of Gold" in "The Adventures of Philip Marlowe," which I listened to this afternoon at the gym, Marlowe complains about having to pay "a buck ten for a scotch and soda worth 40 cents" when he visits a fancy nightclub in L.A. while looking for a woman.

January 17, 2016 -  Hmm.  I awoke on Saturday morning wondering how Rationalized Semantic Methodists ("RSMists") would answer the question: What is light?

Their word definitions do not seem to allow for the existence of light.  Here are some of their definitions:

Universe: matter (atoms) and space (nothing)
Concept: the relationship between two or more objects
Object: that which has shape
Space: that which does not have shape
Exist: matter + location
Location: the set of static distances from one to all other objects
Motion: Object + 2 or more locations
If the universe is just atoms and space, how can light exist?  Light is not an atom, nor is it space.  In the RSMist world, is light an object or a concept?

On Friday, I had created a new thread on my interactive blog which I labeled "Analyzing the 'Rational Scientific Method'."  The next day, Saturday, I had to go back and update it to includes some unanswered questions at the end, including "What is light?"

Then I created a new thread on my Facebook group where I used the cartoon below in hopes of prodding some response from the RSMists who are still members of the group:

asking RSMists "What
                  is Light?"

Wondering if some RSMist may already have answered the question, I did a Google search for "Rational Scientific Method definition of light."  To my surprise, I found a brand new article by RSMist David Robinson.  It's dated January 14, 2016.  Robinson is the "dictator" of the "Rational Scientific Method Free For All" Facebook group where I recently had some very interesting arguments before he kicked me out of the group.  In his article, Mr. Robinson provides a glossary of his word definitions.  But "light" isn't a word for which he provides a definition.  And he mentions the word only once in the article:

It’s important to bear in mind when discussing physics that we are dealing with the very fundamental levels of existence. Whether or not we can see or detect something is immaterial. Even in the obvious case of the Moon the physicist must still ponder the mechanism by which the light reflected from its surface and entered into his retina. His sensory organs are the most basic scientific instruments and he has no choice but to theorize as to how they interact with the environment.
So, he doesn't define "light," he just accepts its existence and ponders the "mechanism" by which light can be perceived.  And "Whether or not we can see or detect something is immaterial" in Mr. Robinson's mind.

Mr. Robinson goes on and on about how we use instruments (including our eyes) to locate objects and thus assume their existence. 
The rest of the article appears to be nothing but mental masturbation as the author seemingly argues that we cannot be sure that anything really exists.

The article also includes this comment about those nasty people like me who dare to question RSMist word definitions:

If you ask someone to define their key terms and also “test” the ability of those definitions to be used consistently by trying to produce counterexamples the person might say you’re engaging in “semantics” or “word games” or “philosophy.” They are not used to Rational Discourse and are fully unprepared to be challenged. As a way to deflect the onus of defining key terms they wish to insinuate that the challenger is some kind of word jester delving into irrelevant issues.
So, RSMists have a built in mechanism for ignoring all arguments about their silly word definitions.  Such people (like me and the rest of the human race) are simply not accustomed to "Rational Discourse and are fully unprepared to be challenged."  And, because we cannot withstand a challenge, we attack the RSMists.  Their whole philosophy seems based upon (1) the mistaken notion that their "unambiguous" word definitions cannot possibly be misinterpreted by others, and (2) if someone does misinterpret a definition, they are either stupid or they are doing it deliberately just to be argumentative.  

In Mr. Robinson's paper he explains that he disagrees with parts of the "Rational Scientific Method" (RSM) and refers to his own version as the "Current Scientific Method" (CSM) under discussion.  He explains,

The RSM is broken down into three distinct steps — Hypothesis, Theory, and Conclusion.

In the CSM hypotheses can become theories if enough experts raise their hands and decide that there’s enough evidence. There’s no objective threshold which distinguishes them, the opinionated matter has no choice but to come down to a vote. If the experts decide that they have even more confidence in a theory then it can be converted into a fact.

So, in CSM, facts are what the majority agrees is a fact based upon the evidence.  In RSM, however, there are no facts, there is no evidence.  Robinson explains,
To put it in the most succinct possible manner the RSM is a movie. The hypothesis is the first frame. The theory is the rest of the reel. The conclusion is where you determine whether or not it [the movie] is rational.
In other words, if you believe it is true after looking at the "movie," then it is true.
And no amount of empirical investigation or evidence gathering can ever change that because at some point we have to hypothesize, theorize, and conclude.
So, there can be no uncertainty.  If you believe it, that is all that is required for you to understand it.  There may be solid evidence that you are wrong, but evidence is irrelevant in RSM.  In CSM it all depends upon whether the majority accepts the evidence or not.  If you have a majority of RMSists, then the evidence can be ignored and you can stick with your beliefs.  And no outsider will ever get past the rules about word definitions, so you'll never have to concern yourself about what they think.

Interestingly, further research found that David Robinson will be one of the featured speakers at the "4th Rational Physics Conference" to be held next month in Acapulco, Mexico.  The abstract of his talk explains his thinking very well:
The Rational Scientific Method [...] is not concerned with practical knowledge, it is about producing explanations for phenomena using objects which can be illustrated as well as key terms which are defined unambiguously. There may not be any practical technological benefit to the approach but it does seek to satiate the unquenchable human desire to understand in a clear manner. Whereas the current version of the scientific method is easily corruptible by human, corporate, or governmental biases, and whereas it can be strictly controlled by the few journals through the unaccountable "peer review" process, and whereas it has been transformed largely into a propaganda tool, the Rational Scientific Method is the antedote that can allow us to wade through the ocean of misinformation and irrationality. The Rational Scientific Method takes science away from the democratic voting mechanism of the current method and returns it to where it belongs -- with the critical thinking of the individual. The Rational Scientific Method is a way to counteract what has been transformed into the most powerful propaganda tool available to those who want to control minds. We are not just challenging the specific theories of the mainstream, we are challenging their entire version of the scientific method in order to foment a revolution in how people think about science.
Ah!  So they are revolutionaries!  And they (or at least Mr. Robinson) believe that a "scientific method" that has no "practical technological benefit" and is "not concerned with practical knowledge," will be welcomed by the lowly masses, and they'll overthrow those who want to "control minds," so that we can all go back to living in caves the way man was meant to live.  Interesting.

The abstract for the presentation at the Acapulco conference to be given by another RSMist, Mike Huttner, indicates he will be justifying their insistence that people use only unambiguous word definitions:
The importance of unambiguous definitions in Science cannot be understated, for consistency is impossible without clarity.  However, language can often appear daunting to somebody who doesn't understand language's fundamental categories.  Without understanding that all terms ultimately refer to either objects or concepts, language is a confusing mystery. What words mean in Science can never be a mystery, because using a word assumes a meaning, and using a word without a clear referent in mind is ignorant at best and pretentious or deceitful at worst.
Mr. Bill Gaede is one of the founders of RSMism, and, of course, the schedule shows he will also be giving a presentation at the Acapulco conference.  I found it very interesting that the abstract for Mr. Gaede's presentation says,
The Rope Model of light and gravity offers a rational alternative for phenomena attributed to invisible black holes and the surrealistic Big Bang.
So, Bill Gaede's "Rope Hypothesis" also explains light????  I did some quick research and found a YouTube video that indicates his theory of light is simply that light is the "torsion" or twisting of the ElectroMagnetic (EM) rope that he believes connects all atoms together.  So, instead of waves, light is a spiral?

I hope someone at the conference will ask Mr. Gaede these questions:  If light is the torsion or twisting of the electromagnetic ropes that you believe already connect all atoms in the universe, why isn't the speed of light instantaneous?  Why does light move at the constant speed of light?  How does the rope hypothesis allow for light to pass through glass but not through steel?  How does torsion on a rope heat steel?  Why doesn't the torsion heat glass?  Why does copper conduct electricity while glass does not?  Is there some kind of "torsion" of the EM-rope involved in that, too?

I look forward to watching videos of their presentations at the Acapulco conference.  There may not be any "practical technological benefit" to the Rational Scientific Method, but it is usually good source for a few laughs.

Added Note: After writing the above comment, I did some more research and found a YouTube video from a conference in China where Bill Gaede supposedly answers the question "What is light?" 

The problem is: His explanations are just gibberish.  And the video ends when he asks the audience (probably no more than 10 people) for questions.  The question and answer part of the presentation is HERE.  The answers are all "doubletalk," i.e., all objects must have shape, so if you can't show me a picture of the shape of an electron, then you can't show that my hypothesis is wrong.  In another presentation at that same 2010 conference in China (click HERE), Mr. Gaede declared that human life on Earth would come to an end in "a few months."

Comments for Sunday, January 10, 2016, thru Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016:

January 14, 2016 - While working out at the gym this afternoon I completed listening to all but 10 minutes of Michio Kaku's excellent book "Physics of the Impossible: A Scientific Exploration into the World of Phasers, Force Fields, Teleportation, and Time Travel" on my MP3 player.  I'll finish listening to it later this afternoon, but I think I'm close enough to being done to log is as finished.

physics of the
                      impossible by michio kaku

Coincidentally, the used paperback copy of it that I ordered from was in my mailbox when I arrived home.  Except for the "Buy 2, Get the 3rd FREE" sticker on the cover, it looks as good as new.  It has very fine print, but it's okay for skimming through to find all the passages I want to highlight and read again.  I particularly want to highlight the passages which explain that the unique "time travel" technique I use in my sci-fi novels is theoretically possible.

I spent nearly the entire morning trying to figure out exactly how my MP3 player works.  I even resorted to reading the manual.  But the manual didn't explain why I could download a library book and it would show up perfectly on my MP3 player, and then I could download another library book and it would NOT show up in the "folder" where I put it.  When looking at the folder via my computer, it would be there, but when I tried accessing the book via the MP3 player, it wouldn't be there. 

It appears that there are 3 different kinds of copyright protection used on ebooks.  You need to know where to put which type book in the MP3 player to make it work.  There's a file called "Audible," which appears to be only for books purchased from Amazon.  There's another file called "Audiobooks" which seems to be for books which use the "DRM" (Digital Rights Management) method of copyright protection, which most books "borrowed" from the library have.  And then there's the general folder where the 3rd kind works.  And it seems that the only way you can tell if a library book belongs in the "Audiobooks" folder or the general folder is to put it in the "Audiobooks" folder first.  If it doesn't work there, then you should create a new subfolder for the book within the general folder or just dump it within the general folder and hope all the chapters stay together.

I did some searching of the Internet to see if others encountered this situation and how they solved it.  They did, and it seems every person solved it in his or her own way -- including returning the MP3 player to the store and getting your money back.

I'm wondering if I should create a thread about my experiences on my interactive blog.  A description of my investigation, research and experiences might save others a lot of time - particularly if they are not very computer savvy.  And my investigation uncovered some really strange things within my MP3 player that others might help me figure out (it seems like nothing ever gets deleted). 

Meanwhile, I'm also thinking about creating a thread on my interactive blog to describe my "findings" after arguing with Rationalized SEMANTIC Methodists ("RSMists") for six months or so.  I just need to figure out the best way to do that.  I keep thinking of doing it in the form of a polite but fictitious "intelligent conversation" with an RSMist where I point out all their screwball logic, and they gradually begin to see that everything they believe is just a smokescreen to cover up their ignorance, hatred and fear of modern science.   OR, I could summarize some real conversation where they showed the same thing, but just not as clearly, adding footnotes to explain things.   

Or, I could just forget about it and get to work on my sci-fi novel. 

January 13, 2016 (B) - When I returned from running some errands this afternoon, I found that the Rationalized SEMANTIC Methodist ("RSMist")  who had been arguing with me on my Facebook group as removed himself from my group.  I learned about it when I noticed that he'd announced it on the "Rational Scientific Method Free For All" Facebook group.  He wrote this:
BTW, moron Ed, since you are known to lurk this page I will inform you that I have left your page, there is so much insane claptrap a sane person can take from you.
And he included this amusing image that he created:

detective klapptrapp

Ah well.  I should probably be relieved.  Arguing with him was taking up far too much of my time.  (And that's true regardless of whether "time" is "real" or just a "concept."  It sure didn't feel like he was just wasting a "concept.")

I've got plenty of other things to do.  But, I wonder what else do RSMists have to do besides trying to convert outsiders to RSMism?  Isn't that the only reason their group exists?  They seem to believe they know all there is to know about science and the universe, so all they have left to do in this world is to tell others that their beliefs are superior to all others.  And what purpose can that serve other than as an attempt to convert others to their beliefs?   

January 13, 2016 (A) - I just spent about an hour composing a single comment for my Facebook group.  In the process of thinking about how to phrase the comment, I think I found the answer to the question of: "What is 'Time' in the context of in Time Dilation?"  The answer is "Time = Change."

So, when we say that Time slows down during Time Dilation, we are just saying that physical changes slow down during Time Dilation.  Growth, aging, decay and other physical changes all slow down during Time Dilation.  Time is a way of measuring change, and change is a way of measuring time.  If there were not such thing as change, there would be no such thing as time.  We just use "time" in one context and "change" in another context in order to be better understood.   

Stating that it is a waste of time to argue with a Rationalized SEMANTIC Methodist ("RSMist") is just another way of saying it is a waste of changes in my age.  I only have so much time, i..e., so many age changes to spend, and the Time/Changes could have been put to better use.

Just as my age relates only to me, so does Time.  Technically, Time Dilation is different for each of us.  We all move at different speeds and exist at different distances from the center of the earth.   It's just that the differences in Time and Change are so small that we can pretend there are no differences, and we can all use an artificial, agreed-upon, mutual way to measure time and change, so that we can more easily communicate with one another.

While this seems to answer the question I had about Time as it relates to Time Dilation, the RSMist will probably change the argument to be about the word "exist," claiming that Time and Change do not "physically exist," they are only "concepts," i.e. figments of our imaginations.  And I'll argue that Time and Change "OBJECTIVELY exist" if I and others agree that they "exist."

And if time objectively exists, we can all agree that I'm wasting time by arguing with someone who truly BELIEVES that only physical objects can "exist."  You can't change the mind of a True Believer.
January 11, 2016 - While eating lunch today, I finished READING the popular science book "Stuff Matters: Exploring the Marvelous Materials That Shape Our Man-Made World" by Mark Miodownik.  It was a library book I had on my Kindle.

stuff matters cover 

The first 70 or so percent of the book was a very interesting description of how different materials (like glass, steel, ceramics) were discovered or invented and why the materials have the properties they have.  Why can you see through glass but not through steel?  (It has to do with the frequency of light waves.)  The last part of the book was mostly about organic materials, which I found less interesting, since I think I've seen the explanations on TV of why physical processes like aging are so difficult to stop or reverse.  I think I also knew why titanium is used to replace and screw together bones instead of plastic or some other substance.  (It has to do with titanium's "biocompatibility".)

Now I have to figure out what to read next.  It's a process of "trial and error" to find a book that can be enjoyably read in 10 to 15 minute increments.  I can't read novels that way, and lots of non-fiction books also require longer reading sessions.

Meanwhile, the Rationalized SEMANTIC Methodist who said he wasn't going to post to my Facebook group any more has been posting stuff all morning and into the afternoon.  He began by complaining that I was "tagging" him, i.e., notifying him of posts about him.  I was only doing that when I was responding to his posts.  Then he just continued posting, apparently because he was incapable of stopping.  It's tedious stuff, since it's all about the difference between a concept and a physical object when those are the only possible things in existence.  In other words, it's more mental masturbation.  Oops.  He just posted another message as I was typing this.  So, I guess I have to respond. 

January 10, 2016 - Damn!  How can anyone be expected to get any work done when there are so many interesting things going on in the world!? 

The Jerry Seinfeld Internet show "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee" was brought back to my attention last week when Seinfeld appeared as a guest on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.  I'd seen the first season of the Internet series, and I think I also watched all or most of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th seasons.  It seems Seinfeld is now in his SEVENTH "season" (he does TWO "seasons" per year).  I checked to see when I last mentioned the series on my old web site.   It was on July 17, 2014, when Seinfeld was on Colbert's old show promoting "Season 4."  This week I watched 4 shows from seasons #6 and #7, and it appears there are at least a dozen other shows I haven't yet watched.  When will I find the time!!??

Admittedly, I waste a lot of time.  Last week I spent hours creating five different digital signs about how "RSM = MM," each with different definitions of "mental masturbation."  Below is an example.

RSM equal MM #1

This morning, one of the Rationalized SEMANTIC Methodists ("RSMists") I've been arguing with came up with another one of his well-done movie title cards showing that I won't simply do what he wants me to do:

Movie title

The RSMist also states that he is no longer going to argue with me on my Facebook group.  That's typical for an RSMist.  They throw me off their Facebook group because I won't use THEIR stupid word definitions, and when I argue with them on MY Facebook group they just leave for the same reason - I won't use THEIR stupid word definitions.  Their silly word definitions were created to be used to argue AGAINST scientific findings!   There's no way to use their silly definitions to argue in support of science.  And using any other word definition will just result in endless arguments over word definitions.

This morning I came up with an idea for a cartoon that seems to explain RSMist tactics fairly well.  The cartoon was created in response to an RSMist's tendency to find quotes which he can distort to mean whatever he wants the quote to mean:

RSMist fallacious logic #7

I have another version of the cartoon where the character says, "I HATE it when people use ambiguous words!!  So, when someone uses the word 'ASSUME' I'm just going to declare that they mean what I SAY they mean."

"Assume" is a favorite word of theirs.  They argue that it means "BELIEVE," so whenever a scientist says that they are going to ASSUME that the laws of science are the same all over the known universe, it is just a BELIEF.  In reality, it means that ALL THE EXPERIMENTS DONE TO DATE have shown that the laws of science are the same all over the known universe, so there is no need to repeat all those experiments before doing any NEW laboratory experiment. 

In theory, I can create new versions of the cartoon whenever one is needed.  I can just replace the word "ASSUME" with some other word that they are deliberately misinterpreting so they can again argue that all scientists are stupid liars. 

Now I see that a different RSMist is arguing something that will truly take some deciphering.   Damn!   It looks interesting, too!  So, I can't just ignore it.

Comments for Friday, January 1, 2016, thru Saturday, Jan. 9, 2016:

January 9, 2016 - Uh oh.  Jerry Seinfeld was on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert  a couple days ago, and he mentioned that he did one of his "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee" Internet shows with President Obama.  I remembered to look for it on the Internet today, and it was absolutely hilarious.  I also found that there have been a lot of new shows since I last watched.  So, I watched the show with Stephen Colbert, then the one with Julia Louis Dreyfus, and then the one with Steve Martin.  All of them were truly funny.  Watching those shows, combined with time I wasted arguing with a Rationalized Semantic Methodist this afternoon means I've nearly run out of time to work on tomorrow's comment.  I may have to start from scratch tomorrow.

January 8, 2016 - Yesterday, I bought my first DVD movie for 2016.  I was browsing in a store that sells used DVDs and found a copy of "Get Low" for $1.99.  I'd rented it from Redbox and watched it on February 23, 2011.  At that time, I made a note to buy it if I could ever find a copy for $5 or less.

Yesterday I also encountered a "problem" with listening to the audio book for Michio Kaku's book "Physics of the Impossible."  I came across a passage that explains in detail how Time works in the sci-fi novels that I'm writing, and how it is totally possible.  I figured it was, but I'd never had it confirmed before.  But then I had the problem of not being able to make a visual copy of what was said in the audio book.  I also had no way to underline the passages.  So, I looked around and found a used copy available on and bought it for about $7, including shipping.  This morning I was notified that the book had been shipped.  There are a lot of other things in the book that I would also have underlined if I had a paper copy.  I may have to read it again some day.      

January 7, 2016 - I awoke this morning feeling that I finally understood why there can be no meeting of the minds with Rationalized SEMANTIC Methodists ("RSMists"). The answer was in my December 27, 2015 comment.  RSMists are talking about "scientific philosophy" while I'm talking about science.  When they argue on my Facebook group, they constantly mention philosophy, but they never seemed to do so on the "Rational Scientific Method Free For All" Facebook group.  That's why I didn't make the connection.  On their territory they talk about their philosophy without using the word "philosophy."  They just talk about definitions of words.  Here are the definitions of some key RSMist words:
Universe: matter (atoms) and space (nothing)
Concept: the relationship between two or more objects
Object: that which has shape

Space: that which does not have shape
Exist: matter + location
Location: the set of static distances from one to all other objects
Motion: Object + 2 or more locations
Their philosophy says that everything must be either an object or a concept.  RSMists also have a pathological aversion to ambiguity, so those definitions must apply universally.  There can be no alternative definitions.

My best definition of "Time" in the context of "Time Dilation" was "The process of change."  To RSMists, a process is certainly not an object, so it must be "a concept."  Change is not an object, so it must be "a concept."  My dictionary definition says that a "process" is a "series of steps or actions taken to achieve a particular end."  And "change" is "make or become different."

I used a natural process as an example: MELTING.  Melting is the process by which ice turns into water.  I can observe the action of melting as it happens.

To philosophers and RSMists, "melting" is not an object, so it must be a "concept."  And "observe" is not an object, so it also must be a "concept."

Furthermore, a "concept" does not "exist," since it is not "matter" at a "location."  It is just "mental construct," i.e., the imagined relationship of an object of ice to and object of water. 

Evidence has no meaning to them, since evidence is a "concept" and concepts are just imagined relationships between objects.

I could go on and on and on.  The point is: The RSMists are talking "scientific philosophy" and I am talking science.  And it appears that one definition of "scientific philosophy" is: mental masturbation," which is defined as:

Pondering philosophical questions, which may be enjoyable, yet are so removed from reality, or experience that they have no practical use.
This is not something only I have discovered.  It appears that many scientists who deal with the public have similar opinions about "scientific philosophy."
"the worst part of philosophy is the philosophy of science; the only people, as far as I can tell, that read work by philosophers of science are other philosophers of science" -- Theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss
“Philosophy is dead [because] philosophers have not kept up with modern developments in science, particularly physics. Scientists have become the bearers of the torch of discovery in our quest for knowledge.” -- Steven Hawking, "The Grand Design."

“My concern here is that the philosophers believe they are actually asking deep questions about nature. And to the scientist it's, ‘What are you doing? Why are you concerning yourself with the meaning of meaning?’”-- Astrophysicist Neil deGrass Tyson
I enjoy science and discovering new things about the universe around us.  I see no purpose to the "mental masturbation" of "scientific philosophy" as done by RSMists.  If I want to know the meaning of "meaning, I'll look the word up in a dictionary, I won't just ponder it endlessly to reach my own personal definition.  I don't bother myself with questions like "Does existence exist?" which scientific philosophers can spend their lives pondering.

When I can't do the experiments and gather evidence for myself, the best way to learn new things is by reading and listening to experts who know more about the subject than I do.  If I don't accept or understand what they say, I can try another source.  Arguing with people who only want you to accept their word definitions so you can believe the same philosophical nonsense they believe is just a waste of time.  Time (whatever Time is) is too valuable to endlessly waste it.

January 6, 2016 - As anticipated, the leader (he calls himself "the dictator") of the "Rational Scientific Method Free For All" Facebook group just booted me out of the group, posting this message:
Ed's on vacation until he figures out definitions for his key terms.
I feel a great sense of relief.  Endlessly trying to get them to understand that their absurd word definitions do not fit the real world - specifically the real world of science and physics - was getting extremely tedious and frustrating, even though, at times, it could also be very amusing and interesting.

I haven't been keeping track, but I think this is the fourth or fifth "Truther" group I've been booted out of because I argued against their version of "the Truth."  In some previous bootings it was over "The Truth" about who sent the anthrax letters of 2001 or "The Truth" about 9/11.  This time it was once again over "The Truth" about science and physics.  The "Science Truthers" believe "The Truth" is that Albert Einstein, Richard Feynman and all the great scientists in history were IDIOTS who didn't understand what they were preaching.  Only the "Science Truthers" know "The Truth" about how the universe really works.  They seem to believe that the universe is controlled by their word definitions.  Specifically, they believe that everything is either a "concept" or a physical "object" with shape.  Since something like a Black Hole is neither a concept nor an physical object ("holes do not exist") their word definitions cannot cope with such things.  To Science Truthers that means that Black Holes are "impossible."  

I seem to have once again confirmed my hypothesis that it is impossible to have an intelligent discussion with a "Truther."  I have no plans to experiment further. Hopefully, that means I can now focus on my third sci-fi novel.

Meanwhile, I see in The Huffington Post this morning that the "Sandy Hook Truther," Professor James Tracy, has been fired from his job at Florida Atlantic University.  The Huffington Post article says,

James Tracy, the Florida Atlantic University communications professor who claimed the Sandy Hook elementary school massacre was fake and publicly quarreled with the parents of one of the slain children, was officially fired on Tuesday. 

Florida Atlantic, based in Boca Raton, said in a brief statement Tuesday evening that it had served Tracy a notice of termination, and that his last day will be Jan. 8. Tracy had tenure, and was notified on Dec. 16 that the university proposed to fire him. 

Tracy had become known nationally for claiming the Sandy Hook massacre was staged and for suggesting other episodes of violence, including the Boston Marathon bombing and San Bernardino shooting, were fake as well. 

Lenny and Veronique Pozner, parents of a child killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, claimed recently that Tracy had led a harassment campaign against them. Tracy had sent them a certified letter demanding proof of their parentage. He called them "alleged parents" on his blog and accused them of fabricating their son's death certificate to cash in on Sandy Hook.

According to the Palm Beach Post, Professor Tracy plans to take legal action to fight his termination of employment.  Undoubtedly, he believes he knows "The Truth" and that the university is conspiring to suppress "The Truth."  And no one can ever change his mind about that.

January 5, 2016 - I've been arguing with Rationalized SEMANTIC Methodists ("RSMists") on Facebook all day today and yesterday, so I haven't had time to write comments here.  But, something happened today that is worth writing here while leaving the RSMist comments pile up for tomorrow.

As I was putting on my coat to leave the gym this afternoon, I suddenly realized the problem with answering the question: "What is Time?"  The problem is that you need to know IN WHAT CONTEXT?  The full dictionary definition for "Time" shows FOURTEEN definitions, depending upon the context.

The only context of concern to me is "Time Dilation."  What is the definition of Time when talking about Time Dilation?  The short answer then would seem to be something like "
The physical process of universal decay."  Time Dilation slows down aging, decay, growth, and everything else involved in the process of entropy.  The Time that passes slowly during Time Dilation is the time it takes hair to grow, the time it takes to digest food, the time it takes to gestate a baby, the time it takes for an iron bar to turn into a pile of rust.  That has nothing to do with the time it takes for the Earth to orbit around the Sun or for the Moon to orbit around the earth.

It looks like I'm going to get booted off of the Facebook group, since their leader doesn't like my definition.  Tsk tsk.  I tried to make them understand, but there seems to be just no way to do that. 

January 3, 2016 - The arguments I've been having with Rationalized SEMANTIC Methodists ("RSMists" as I call them) on Facebook turned truly fascinating last week when I joined a group called "Rational Scientific Method Free For All."  I even began making a copy of the discussion with the hopes that I might put it to some use in illustrating their bizarre beliefs and logic.

I joined the group on December 28, and the head of the group greeted me with this message:

Holy shit! Ed Lake!!!! Welcome amigo, please make yourself at home.  How are you doing? Did you have a nice Christmas?
I responded:
Yeah, I had a fine Christmas. I just noticed that Serge Kim suggested I join this group. I thought I'd been banned from most or all RSM groups.
And the head of the group responded;
Of course not Ed! This is a free for all group. You are welcome to post and do whatever you please.
Just three days later, on December 31, after a lot of lengthy discussion, the leader of the group wrote this:
Questions for Ed. If you do not answer these with a yes or a no, if you attempt to bullshit me at all, you will be going on a nice long vacation. You will be allowed back next year [i.e., the next day].
And I responded with this:
So, you are saying you LIED when you said this forum was a "free for all"?
To which the leader of the group responded:
Free for all just indicates that the forum is a lot more open. It doesn't mean that imbeciles like you have to be tolerated.

Ed get this through your thick skull --
I am the Dictator of this group. I follow my own rules. They can be revised at any time. If you don't like that then go f**k yourself!
The discussions continued as before, however.  The RSMists just spent more time throwing insults and ridicule at me.

One of the discussions or arguments that upset the leader so much may have been the one where he asked me,
Is it impossible to picture the shape of an atom?
I misread the question, thinking he had asked if it was possible rather than impossible, and I responded with this:
In 1989, IBM used a scanning tunneling electron microscope to manipulate xenon atoms to spell out "IBM." The atoms APPEAR to be round.
And I showed him this picture I found on the Internet:

IBM spelled out with

Whereupon, the leader wrote:

Stupid f**king idiot still doesn't get the difference between Theory and Evidence! Water also appears to be continuous. Does that mean there is no spatial separation between water molecules? How does an inbred like you manage to not get the diff between appearance and actual?
That posed a question I'd never really thought about before: Is there spatial separation between water molecules?  Why would there be?  The RSMist leader seemed to think so.  So, I asked him:
Is there "spatial separation between water molecules"? If so, please present your evidence.
I then looked around for pictures of water molecules - or any kind of molecules - but couldn't find anything meaningful.  Finally, I showed him a picture I found of some more atoms which didn't seem to have any space between them.

Tunnelling electron microscope
                              picture of atoms 

His response was:

This is not a photo, it's a reconstructed image. Even if it were a photo, so what? Evidence provides clues for Theory, but they are not the same. Evidence originates in the sensory system, Theory originates with the intellect. The intellect is always capable of providing multiple possible Theories for Evidence. This is why it's idiotic for you to think you have a "gotcha" moment with these images. 
The question about space between water molecules went unanswered.  It seemed that he was thinking about the space inside an atom, not space outside or between atoms and molecules.  I knew that an atom consists mostly of empty space.  Materials consist of tightly packed atoms and molecules.  Glass, for example, consists primarily of tightly packed silicon and oxygen atoms (silicon dioxide), but light can pass through them because there is so much space between the electrons and nuclei of the atoms.  (Presumably, the atoms look like balls in the photos above because the electrons are spinning so fast around their nuclei that they appear as a fuzzy ball.)

I tried to visualize what was going on as I pushed my way through a tightly packed room full of oxygen, nitrogen and hydrogen atoms to get a cup of coffee.  Obviously, the tightly packed atoms were being pushed aside as I moved.  But, how is that possible if they are so tightly packed that there is no room for them to be pushed aside?  Are they being squeezed or is there some kind of bulge at the top of the atmosphere that follows me around as I move?  While thinking about that, I also wondered about a different conversation where a different RMSist leader had written:
It's all a matter of faith and experience for you? There is no method by which you can imagine terms in language can be defined unambiguously by arbitration so that we all have the same meaning in mind?      
My response was:
By ARBITRATION? Who in their right mind would allow a 3rd person to ARBITRATE what words can be used to communicate between himself and another individual? I suppose it MAY be done in a lawyer's office when the legalese may not be familiar to the people with the conflict. But where else would anyone do such a STUPID and PREPOSTEROUS thing?
To which the RSMist replied:
Third party??????  Ed just stop. There is no third party. I am talking about arbitrating the DEFINITION of a term that is being used BY YOU, the PRESENTER, to an audience, so that the audience is 100% clear about what YOU MEAN by the word.
Then moments later he added this:
YOU arbitrate as the presenter so that everybody is 100% clear about what you are intending by using the term.
He was obviously misusing the word "arbitrate," probably to mean EXPLAIN, since it is a big part of the RSMist's "method" to first explain your definition of key words that you are going to use before making a statement using those words.  Maybe he mixed up "arbitrate" with "arbitrarily," but whatever he meant, there was still one problem.  I asked him,
What's to prevent 99% of the audience from thinking that the ARBITRARY "term's meaning" is just plain STUPID or INCOMPREHENSIBLE? 
And that was the end of that discussion.  

Yesterday's discussion ended with the leader of the Facebook group exposing himself as being a conspiracy theorist.  I had suspected that would be the case, since these "Science Truthers" are so firmly against believing any authority except their own.  When I asked the leader for his thinking on a number of different well-known conspiracy theories, he responded;

Anthrax case? Not sure, haven't studied it enough.

9/11? Obviously those buildings came down in a manner that disagrees with the official conspiracy theory.

JFK? Haven't looked into it enough. Seems pretty fishy.

Sandy Hook? There's two conspiracies that it didn't happen at all, one that it happened but not by Adam Lanza. I believe the 2nd one. It happened, people died, but Lanza was a patsy.

I've studied MLK. James Earl Ray was a patsy. MLK's family thinks so too.

Moon landings were real.

Satellites are real.

Photos from ISS are real.
I could go on and on, but my point is that it was a very interesting discussion for me, and today I have to try to figure out some way to restart the conversation by putting them in a position where they have to explain their thinking, instead of just endlessly arguing over word definitions.  Or maybe I should just forget about arguing with them and focus on getting started on my 3rd sci-fi novel.  Ah, if it were only that simple.

January 2, 2016 - When I created this web site one year ago yesterday, I made 3 New Year's resolutions:
Resolution #1:  I will try to complete all three of my new sci-fi novels before the end of the year (and hopefully during the first quarter).  Book #1 is "done," the first draft of Book #2 is done, but I haven't yet started on Book #3.

Resolution #2:  I need to stop buying so many DVDs!

Resolution #3:  I will learn how to fix the problem with the touchpad on my laptop computer all by myself.
I failed miserably on Resolution #1.  I'm finished with Book #2, but I'm no further along with Book #3 than I was a year ago.  All I've done is a year's worth of thinking about it.  Maybe that will help me this year.

I did well with Resolution #2, but not as well as I had hoped.  I bought fewer DVD & Blu-Ray movies last year than in any year since 2002.  I bought less than 40% of the number I bought in 2014.  Moreover, the average price per movie bought in 2015 was the second lowest since I started keeping records in 2001.  (In 2001, I bought just 4 DVD movies, but I spent an average of $17.29 per movie.  The average cost per DVD/Blu-Ray movie in 2015 was $3.78.) 

Resolution #3 solved itself somehow.  I no longer have the problem.

So, it's time to make some NEW New Year's resolutions.  Here they are:
Resolution #1:  I will try to complete Book #3 in my sci-fi novel series this year and start looking for an agent to represent them.

Resolution #2:  I will buy fewer DVD/Blu-Ray movies in 2016 than I bought in 2015.
Resolution #3: I will stop spending so much time arguing with Rationalized SEMANTIC Methodists.
Resolution #3 may be difficult, since my arguments with them on the "Rational Scientific Method Free For All" Facebook group page have become truly fascinating in recent days.  It's like watching a good 3 Stooges movie -- if there is such a thing. I bought up 9/11 yesterday, and here are three of their comments:
RSMist #1We've reached a post-common sense era in Scientific thought.

RSMist #2: The planes created existence by smashing holes in WTC1 & 2.

RSMist #3The experts aren't sure yet, [RSMist #2]! It could also be, that the collapse of the WTC created a WTC hole into another dimension! Scientific fundamentalists wanted to test that theory and it seems to have worked! Albeit just for a brief time. It just managed to suck up both black boxes and their passports. The black box, sadly, never made it back.
It's difficult to decipher what they're trying to say to each other.  They were ridiculing me and various scientific concepts, but I have no idea what point RSMist #3 was trying to make about the black boxes and passports. 

© 2016 by Ed Lake