Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Columbia University crackpot joins Mark McCutcheon

On this blog, we have extensively discussed ethically problematic acts of a crackpot named Mark McCutcheon who has written a 1-star book "The Final Theory" that denies, among many other things, the existence of gravity acting both on the celestial as well as terrestrial bodies.

Because all the amazon.com reviews appeared at some moment in the past, we know that Mark McCutcheon has erased - or forced amazon.com to erase - at least 222 reviews, mostly one-star reviews. They were just inconvenient for the author and his somewhat immoral profits. The remaining 100 or so reviews incorrectly indicate that McCutcheon's worthless 1-star book deserves 5 stars.

I was just told that a lecturer in discipline from Columbia University - and the owner of the world's most active physics crackpots' discussion forum - who has written a 2-star book that everyone knows has joined Mark McCutcheon and made amazon.co.uk erase all reviews of his book - for example my 2-star review - except the 5-star reviews written by idiots most of whom have not read the book - and neither of whom has any idea about the content of the book. This kind of fraud leads to the average rating of this 2-star book to be displayed as 5 stars. Also, several 5-star reviews that were not deleted have been edited by a third party.

The author has personally confirmed that he has contacted amazon.co.uk with his desire to remove the "inappropriate" reviews - and he is quite obviously proud about it.

I think that the lecturer in discipline - and amazon.co.uk - should be ashamed for this immoral, despicable behavior. The lesson for all of us is clear: those who don't and can't accept the standard rules of making progress in science always follow the same procedures. Crackpots not only share some common errors in their thinking and they also love to criticize the existing science by their nonsensical pseudoarguments but they can never stand criticism - or peer-review - themselves.

This is one of many reasons why The Reference Frame will never accept the politically correct clichés that these people's voices are useful for science blah blah blah. The writing of these people is a completely worthless crap and any suggestion that it is something else is a result of fraud, ignorance, stupidity, censorship, and lies.

1. I have no technical training and am severely mathematically handicapped so I am incapable of analyzing McCutcheon's theories -- but I do have some experience with language and with the people who use it.

For example, in my experience, those who express themselves in this kind of language: "The writing of these people is a completely worthless crap and any suggestion that it is something else is a result of fraud, ignorance, stupidity, censorship, and lies" - without providing arguments or data to back up these inflammatory characterizations - are almost always crackpots.

Perhaps it is 'these people' with their unorthodox theories who are the crackpots and you are a learned and rational critic.
You could demonstrate that by demolishing their assertions with calm and rational analysis rather than rabid rants.

PS I looked at the Amazon entry for McCutcheon's book and found several thoughtful critiques so it seems your accusation of tampering was mistaken.

3. Quick reality check. If MacCutcheons expansion theory is correct then less than 12 hours ago the earth was the size of a hydrogen atom. I don't think so. Looking ahead, inside the next 12 hours all the stars in the universe will be touching each other. I don't think so. Gives alternative physics a bad name.

4. well Eddie, I think that the idea with Mark's theory is that the entire universe (including all objects within it) is expanding at the same time.

So although we, our planet, and the stars are expanding, so is the empty space between these objects.

We can not see this expansion because everything expands at the same rate (so all reference points available to us indicate that everything is staying the same size).

Nevertheless, I do consider Mark's theory as nothing but a pile of garbage. It is an intellectually weak and ridiculous attempt to explain gravity.

McCutcheon should realize that extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. If he wants the "establishment" to accept his theory, he needs to device a way to test it.

I do remember that several months ago his book had many negative reviews at Amazon, so I was surprised to see all the positive reviews there are now. Perhaps he got some cult to support his drivel...at least that would explain the people willing to give his book 5 stars.

5. Whatever you think of MM's alternative theory, I was struck by the innumerable inconsistencies in the current theories many of about which I hadn't recognised before. He explains these in terms that I can understand. ( How does a magnet stay on the fridge without using up any energy to overcome gravity?) Current theories seem to contain many equally fanciful explanations as well. Can we really believe the the universe is expanding faster at the edges than at the centre?

Clearly we are no where near to understanding the universe. Just kids in the playground.

6. The magnet produces something called a magnetic field. The field is set up from the atoms that make up the magnet. The magnet actually causes the atoms in the metal in the fridge to line up and produce another magnetic field. The Field doesn't diminish because from Quantum effects things like the electron spin (it is tied to magnetism) and electron charge are intrinsic to the electron, they don't change. The reason why the magnet doesn't fall off is because the attraction between the two magnetic sources (the fridge and the magnet) is much greater than the force of gravity. So gravity can't move the magnet. Magnets can go through something called demagnetization (not 100% on the spelling there), this is when the magnet is no longer magnetic. This happens because that atoms which produce the magnetic field line up in a way that cancels the magnetic field internally. This is similar to the fact that most material objects are electrically neutral even though they are made up of charges.

Another erroneous argument is MM's idea about the work equation. The definition of work is in terms of an integral but under certain assumptions it can be written as W = Fd force through distance. He says that if you take a large mass and have some one push on it, it won't move but the person will become very tired. So where did the energy go? Well from the definition of work no work was done, so where is the energy. Well your exhausted person by now is probably doing something they weren't doing before, sweating. All the energy went into another form, heat. Energy cannot be created or destroyed, however it can change between forms. That is all the exhausted person has done.

One final example will be on his idea about gravity. Where is the energy that keeps the moon in orbit coming from? Well the moon already has some energy so lets look at that first. Its moving, so it has kinetic energy (the energy of motion) and it is in a gravitational field so it has potential energy. While the moon circles the Earth it actually trades gravitational potential energy and kinetic energy. As it moves away from the earth it gains potential, as it does this it slows down losing potential. This causes it to move back towards the earth, losing potential and gain kinetic. It doesn't have enough energy to escape earth’s pull, which would require more kinetic energy than it has to over come the potential energy of the gravitational field. He is correct on one thing about gravity though. Newton does not explain how gravity works, he only says that it does and obeys this equation. Einstein however does explain the how and why.

A final note from me, don't trust everything you read. Many times putting things into common everyday language is an attempt to fool other people because he knows that not everyone is a scientist, but most people are some what interested in science. You don't even have to trust what I say, but the advantage is you can check my arguments by learning freshman physics. MM's arguments, though simple and in plain language, are misleading as it plays on what you don't know to make you agree with him.

7. I read the first few pages of MM's book and immiediately became suspicious. I do not know of him but he is probably no Einstein, and he claims to have solved the problems of the universe that have occupied the greatest minds of the mathematical and cosmological world for decades with only limited success. So I checked him out on the Web. He is thought to be a crackpot. I will buy that.

8. I'm trying to keep an open mind on this. Though I'm an astrophysics student, I'm an undergrad and not qualified to either discredit or confirm his theories.

He does suggest that 'gravity' is not a force, it is simply an effect. He states in his book that all matter is expanding. His Maths is exreamily basic, but the idea behind Expansion Theory is at least interesting.

The Basic model is the best we have at the moment and has been developed over hundreds of years by men and women of far greater intelligence than Mr. McCutcheon. However an idea is an idea and should not be dismissed out-of-hand and yes I own the book (and have read it)

His writing style is entertaining and although he discredits Newton - not a good thing to do in the scientific community - his book makes interesting reading for the first few chapters.

Einstein who said that the universal constant was his 'greatest mistake', may yet turn out not to have been wrong after all.

Science was thought to be an all-but-complete subject two hundred years ago apart from dotting the i's and crossing the t's - How wrong that was.

Richard Feynman was well known for his dislike of psudoscience - and rightly so, but I do think it's the job of real scientists to eliminate McCutcheons arguments one by one with due scientific process and to beaten into a bloddy pulp of understanding through solid fact, review, experiment and mathematics. It is insufficient to say 'the man's a quack'

I have not seen or met a physicist - Theoretical or otherwise, who can demolish his arguements with a harsh reality check of proven scientific fact - the first duty of a scientist!

We don't know if the 'Higgs' exists or not. Most Physicists laugh at M-theory (which at least has a very solid mathematical basis) and so I put it to the readers of this blog especially hard core physicists to solve this issue once and for all.

http://www.bautforum.com/against-mainstream/9168-final-theory-mccutcheon.html

Where one can further read a debate on this subject.

9. While Mark's style might appear to be too casual, the ideas are not. We should all continue to question and not be afraid to enter these important discussions.

Larry Silverberg
Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
North Carolina State University
and author of
The Unified Field Theory for the Engineer and the Applied Scientist

10. Mark's style may be casual but the ideas are not. It's important to rcontinue to ask the important questions and Mark does that.

Larry Silverberg
Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
North Carolina State University
and author of
The Unified Field Theory for the Engineer and the Applied Scientist

11. Proving or disproving a theory is just basic logic. Asking a unique and creative question is the hard part of advancing our sciences.

Who cares if someone asks, "If when light gets constricted within a star, it traps itself within a tiny ball, creating a probability density that expands out into the vacuum around it. Is this an atom?"

By asking thousands of wrong questions, one may be inspired to ask on right question that advances our sciences.

I am reading this book and I love it! I have a very visual brain, I can see shapes and numbers well, and it lets me see lots of new possibilities. Although not everything I read in it seems believable. However neither was everything that I studied in Physics or especially in church.

Most things are just theories and beliefs until we can really touch and see them with our own hand and eyes. Even then who know if it is true unless there is logic and someone else agrees to that logic.

Kind regards,

Rhamen Mallett

I like to read and imagine. It makes life more interesting.

12. OK,

Mark McCutcheon's book is an enjoyable read for the first couple of chapters.

A mathematical knowledge is not needed to understand Mr. McCutcheon's theories - they simply don't work.

He's try to say that with expansion theory two objects passing each other on a linear trajectory when the objects themselves and the space around them are expanding would appear to orbit each other. This is simply nonsense.

For the first 90 degrees it can be seen to be correct, however after that the entire premise falls apart.

It's an amusing idea, deeply flawed, it is ont to be taken seriously. I'm glad it makes people think but it is utter nonsense.

13. I'm a relatively less educated person than most who would comment on blogs such as this. However, I offer only a statement made by a geology professor I encountered many years ago in college. When asked about "plate tectonics" replacing the formerly held geological theory he replied; "In science there are no absolute truths...only currently held theories."

The following statement comes from the website found here: http://www.thefinaltheory.com/scienceflaws.html

It is the function of our educational institutions to teach the beliefs of the day and to stand by them no matter what. This often means justifying or defending theories that are actually indefensible upon any serious close inspection.

As I stated earlier...I'm just a layman, but I find what my geology prrofessor said to be much more cogent than most of what I read from todays "scientists".

In closing, I would just say think for yourself and don't just swallow whole what the scientific community wants you to believe. Most people in this world have an agenda.

14. I read and read and read on Standard Theory; so many mysteries and what they call "renormalization", ie accepting what sounds like cheating to make theories fit experimental data and many extrapolations from mechanical clock time dilation to our biological clock. How can we accept these games and experiments that cannot be understood often and the excuse that WE cannot understand natural laws at the quantum level and that effects are magical ???
Then comes Mark McCucheon and with only one or two axioms (versus dozens in the Standard Theory), he explains all the laws of the Universe. People dismiss his theory before they even give him a chance or even before they read the second chapter of his book.
He exposes his theory with a convincing style that an illiterate person can understand.
He makes so much sense and even if he is wrong, it's a genius feat that he can introduce one theory and solve so many Universe mysteries ! He is the most intelligent person I know of.

Pierre

15. Dear Pierre, while the proper physics describes all observations ever made, the crackpot's theory describes exactly nothing, zero, about the Universe. The only reason why you're incapable to understand this subtle difference is that you are extremely dumb.

With readers like you, it is not hard for the McCrackpot to sell tons of shit to consumers like you. Consumers like you eat it, smack their lips, and recommend the shit to others. You don't mind that you're eating complete shit.

Our world is pretty large and complex so indeed, theories that explain all the observations can't be and aren't simple-minded. They're pretty deep. A theory of nearly everything is called "quantum field theory" and renormalization is an important and experimentally verified part of this theory.

You may call it cheating but again, it's because you're stupid. The rules of science require to do anything in order to obtain the agreement with the observations and in the QFT calculations, renormalization is one of those critically necessary building blocks of the correct theory. Whether this necessary building block looks like cheating to hopeless simpletons is secondary; the only thing that matters is the agreement with the experiment and it's perfect.

I wouldn't care about the breathtaking stupidity of people like you if you were not this arrogant - but pompous and aggressive fools is something I simply can't stand.

Cheers
LM

16. pierre: "He makes so much sense and even if he is wrong, it's a genius feat that he can introduce one theory and solve so many Universe mysteries ! He is the most intelligent person I know of."

This is, from a purely logical point of view a nonsense on multiple accounts; how can any person who is "wrong" about the central problem he discusses be a great genius at the same time? And how anyone can be able to "solve so many Universe mysteries" with the wrong theories?! That's beyond idiocy.

This is a canonical new-age, crackpot notion of a "genius": an ignorant, uneducated, intellctually lazzy hippy, but able to "inspire" the hordes of similarly ignorant and uneducated crackpots who will then praise him as their "spiritual light" and a "great genius".

17. Hi, Lubos!

If the McCutcheons' Crackpot Theory is right, id est, the earth radius is growing and the earth angular frequency doesn't change , this "phenomena" causes a tangential aceleration at earth equator circle.

Why don't prove it?

18. The universe runs on simple rules. Anyone can see that. You dont have to know extremely esoteric and narrow focused mathematics to understand the universe.

The current mainstream theory is very lacking in many many ways itself. Its also very wrapped up in dogma and politics now -they cant even admit they are wrong (they might lose thier jobs.. all that crap). (eg NASA insisting comets are made of ice/ dirty snowballs ..then they have ice cores... oh, they are icy dirtballs... -No! they are solid rock asteroids passing thru the solar plasma - from lower to higher charge)
That term crackpot - i hate it. Its a very nasty word. like the science version of the other hate/control words like f**got, n**ger and c*nt its a word used to control any dissenters. BTW Theres nothing hippy or new age about it. Yeah this is old post but that horrible word is still used to keep legitimate theories in the dark.

19. What you write is just crackpot-centered populist shitty unscientific rubbish.

To see how the Universe works at the level and accuracy of science at the end of the 20th and beginning of the 21st century, one has to be good at maths and one has to study for many years. It's complete bullshit that everyone can understand these laws of Nature or everyone can appreciate their simplicity - which is a totally different simplicity than what uneducated people would prefer.

All comets have an icy layer and are composed of rock, dust, and ice. This has been known for quite some time. It's inevitable that the temperature is low enough because those small things can't keep their heat for too long. It's inevitable for them to contain elements that form "ice". It's inevitable for them to be icy. They still have rock inside. There's no contradiction. It may only look like a contradiction to uneducated arrogant assholes like you. Why don't you try to learn something instead of trying to find the problem in the scientists, stupid aggressive asshole?

20. there are so many flaws in what you said that I don't know where to start. try reading the book and understanding what the guy says first.