Monday, August 29, 2005 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Anthony's review erased

Just a small comment. Two days after Anthony Kirmis received his $13.08 grand prize for his review of McCutcheon's book, the review has been erased and the average rating of "The Final Theory" returned to 5 stars. All 1-star and 2-star reviews posted before the challenge as well as after it started are gone. Crackpots may often be perfectionists. ;-)

Joe Marsano has told me about something he has heard from Josh Lapan: if you look for the author "Marc McCutcheon" (with "c" which may mean that it is a different guy than the author of "The Final Theory", namely Mark McCutcheon), you will find the following book:

The book explains that you don't have to have any degree or knowledge, and explains you how should you promote your book. In other words, it is the complete guide how books like "The Final Theory" may be written. Incidentally, this book also has around 35 reviews and the average rating is 5 stars. Do you think it is the same M. McCutcheon?

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reader nige said...

Dear Lumo,

Do you ever worry that being so conservative, you may not ever commit to an idea which might be wrong? You must admit that crackpots come up with ideas that are wrong. What about Fred Hoyle, who never receiver a Nobel prize because he made more mistakes than correct predictions?

Another example Michael Faraday, who in his 1846 paper 'Thoughts on Ray Vibrations' predicted Maxwell's thing theory. When Maxwell actually unified electricity and magnetism the first time in his Jan. 1862 paper, he got the elasticity of space wrong by the root of two. He never admitted the error, but corrected it with a better model in 1865. Eventually, Maxwell's mechanical ether was dumped, and the theory reverted more toward Faraday's original idea that electric and magnetic field oscillations carry light.

Consider Dr t'Hooft making the suggestion recently that the fifth dimension in 5-D superstring theory is the fabric of space:

It seems to me that you have to risk being wrong to get anything right. String theorists always seem to refuse to get involved in anything which looks testable, probably in case it is wrong.

Best wishes,

reader nige said...

A.F. Chalmers, ‘Maxwell and the Displacement Current’ (Physics Education, vol. 10, 1975, pp. 45-9):

‘history was constantly rewritten in such a way that it invariably appeared consistent with the reigning ideology.’

Maxwell tried to fix his original calculation deliberately in order to obtain the anticipated value for the speed of light, proven by Part 3 of his paper, On Physical Lines of Force (January 1862), as Chalmers explains:

‘Maxwell’s derivation contains an error, due to a faulty application of elasticity theory. If this error is corrected, we find that Maxwell’s model in fact yields a velocity of propagation in the electromagnetic medium which is a factor of 2^0.5 smaller than the velocity of light.’

It took three years for Maxwell to finally force-fit his ‘displacement current’ theory to take the form which allows it to give the already-known speed of light without the 41% error. Chalmers noted: ‘the change was not explicitly acknowledged by Maxwell.’

Maxwell never summarised the four so-called ‘Maxwell equations.’ He produced chaos with hundreds, and never wrote them in their final form. (quote from:

So you can call all the people in the story crackpots: Faraday for not having maths, Maxwell for not using his own vector calculus to express his own equations succinctly, or Heaviside for not having a PhD and being credited. Really Heaviside, who died in 1925, should have received a Nobel prize for the Maxwell theory completion, but like Hoyle he was just treated as a crackpot.

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