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Global Warming, Part Two

29 Apr

From www.mcgeepost.com .Copyright © 2013 Michael H. McGee. All rights reserved. Please feel free to share or re-post all or part non-commercially, hopefully with attribution.

Given the current population, there is really no way to go back to a simpler lifestyle or a local economy. The only way to feed the world we have now is to cultivate giant corporate farms and food processing facilities. The only way for the population to stay on the move is for giant factories to build more cars, trucks, and other vehicles with internal combustion engines.

To provide the normal facilities of life for the current global population, oil and gas and steel and aluminum and copper and bananas and other daily commodities require large facilities. Building factories and warehouses and generation plants and highways and airplanes must be done on a massive scale.

The only way to wrap and package things with minimum weight to distribute to the massive population around the world and from stores to consumers is to use plastic containers, wraps and bags. Giant oil ships and container ships can’t be built or managed locally. And so on.

It’s rather much the same for social issues. With more people crowded together there will be more crime and more need for government which reaches to the local levels. Reducing crime to the levels of the 1920’s and 1930’s is pure fantasy, when you consider that the world population was only two billion back then and people didn’t have to bump into each other nearly as much as they do now.

I know there are a lot of people out there who sincerely and honestly want to eliminate mega-factories and overbuilding and billionaires, and deeply desire to make the world a simpler and greener place. This is a dream which is extremely conservative in nature, and it’s natural for people to want to go back to the way things used to be before we were inundated with the massive structures of modern society which are needed to provide for the whole of the seven billion inhabitants of earth.

The “New Earth” we live in is simply unable to provide for those dreams of simplicity. We are now a crowded planet, and we must have structures designed to provide for the crowd. Turning away from the reality of the crowd is a retreat from reality. It is an attempt, like that of the Amish communities, to claim a world which no longer exists, except in extremely restricted areas which must be maintained with an almost religious fervor against the outside crowd.

The real way forward is to join the crowd which makes up the “New Earth.” Accept the inevitable and seek ways of living with that which we cannot change. It’s likely there are a lot of solutions out there which are just waiting for discovery, ways to live with the new conditions which actually exist on our planet.

Let me advance one speculative idea, as a way of demonstrating the possibility of solutions which are actually in line with the problems. I don’t claim to have answers, yet I am good at speculating.

Most climate scientists say that we could have a world-wide rise in sea level of as much as three feet (1m) over the next fifty years. This means that any areas where there are cities or other houses or buildings which will be underwater in the event of a three-foot rise in sea level must be identified right now.

Officials must declare a complete moratorium on new buildings or settlements in the affected areas. There is no need to worry too much about existing structures, since in fifty years most of them will be near the end of their life cycles. Then new building and settlements could be encouraged on nearby areas which are on land located above the fifty-year estimated three-foot new high water mark. These would be extensions of the current cities, only on higher ground.

For example, the recent activities of Typhoon Ondoy in Manila and of Hurricane Sandy in New York City have shown that these cities among others are vulnerable to even small increases in the mean water level brought about by global warming. So in New York I speculate about stopping new construction in the five boroughs. Extend New York City by way of new construction on the higher ground on the other side of the Hudson River. People could commute for the next fifty years from the old city to the new city and back by means of overhead trams into Manhattan and the other present boroughs.

Actually, I rather like the idea of using overhead trams to replace the subway system in New York City, or any other city. It was not until Hurricane Sandy that we began to see the huge vulnerability of the underground systems of the Big Apple. As sea levels rise, the vulnerability will only increase.

Going airborne with trams suspended from tall towers may sound science fiction right now, yet it could be best way to get around in any city by the sea anywhere on the “New Earth,” or even on any city anywhere. Subways are really twentieth-century technology, much too difficult to dig and always needing huge air exchange systems to make it possible for the massive number of riders to be able to breathe.

Meanwhile, you probably have ideas of your own which are better than mine, so let your imagination run free and look for ways for all of us to live together in peace on the “New Earth.”

Both my daughter Michelle Kathryn McGee, www.healinggeneration.com, and Bengt Skarstam‏ of Malmo, Sweden, www.reshape.se, take issue with my analysis by pointing out that correlation is not the same as evidence. To them I say that I am a commentator, not a scientist. There is a correlation between population and global warming. I’ve offered some scant evidence, yet probably not enough. The absolute need to feed, clothe and house the new five billion souls on the planet is evidence, as are the facts I’ve stated up to now. I firmly believe in all the positions I’m taking on my blog, yet I may not have all the details. I welcome any new information, and I give my thanks to my daughter and to Bengt Skarstam for weighing in with significant points.

Finally, poetic language can often convey the emotions associated with new conditions such as the absolute qualities of the emerging destiny of the “New Earth.” I offer you this quote from the 2008 historical thriller novel Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith:

“The railroad tracks opened out into a clearing – sprawled before them was a vast assembly plant, tall chimneys, interconnected warehouselike buildings suddenly appearing in the middle of a wilderness. It was as though a god had sat on the Ural Mountains, smashed his fist down on the landscape before him, sending trees flying, and demanded that this newly created space be filled with chimneys and steel presses. This was the first glimpse of their new home.”

I invited Dr. Bengt Skarstam of Malmo, Sweden, to make formal comments as a part of my discussion of the “New Earth.” He has a PhD in Solid State Physics, a long corporate career, and is now Senior Adviser and Facilitator, Reshape AB, www.reshape.se . He’s also the father of two children; is married to Ann-Marie, a mother of one child; “and is a fan of life, understanding, Formula 1, and interactions between people.”

Thank you for the very profound perspective you have articulated on global warming, Dr. Skarstam, and for your unique celebration of the earth we actually have, as opposed to the usual wishful thinking of wanting a different world than the one we now have. Here’s what he has to say:

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“I agree with your description of the consequences of a warmer globe and my point is that we need not so much focus on the ‘human element’ since I am convinced that a more pluralistic approach will guarantee a better solution to the fluctuation in the states of our globe. According to system theory we might do things worse since we have focus only on the human factor so we might solve the wrong problem….? Compare reducing pollution from cars instead of finding new ways of designing engines (fuel cells?).

“If we spent the money we are now spending on wind and solar power, on finding more efficient energy storage ‘media’ (better batteries or some new source of storage) we would be better off. Currently wind and solar power need continuous back up sources of traditional electrical generation OR a highly developed battery storage capacity, to support a continuous flow of power even when the sun is down or the wind is not blowing.

“This need for constant backup is the great weakness inherent in the now popular ‘new energy sources.’ The wind and solar supporters are engaging in short term “popular action,” and solving the wrong problem. If we as individuals took a ‘stakeholder’ and long term perspective on what we are doing, we could be very much better off!

“I ask a question to people who say that they cannot take a long term perspective: do you have children? Your children and grandchildren are a long term project which will last for the rest of your life!!!!

“The greenhouse effect is a natural good thing. It’s not a ‘side effect.’ It’s a basic expression of the vastness of the new human life on our planet. Before the greenhouse effect we were non-existing. The fluctuations were measured in the time scale of hundreds to thousands of generations, and over these time scales we had no consistent way of describing such phenomena. Since science has evolved, technology is refined and our mindsets are thereby changed.

“Changing mindsets: what would happen if every car manufacturer had to take the used car back and dismantle the car and be heavily taxed for the difference between cars produced and used cars received: do you think that a car would be designed as it is today?

“My final point is about personal responsibility: this is the most crucial concept that individuals, politicians, business leaders and parents can start applying (consider the stakeholders involved and the time span of your actions), and acting from this perspective can change the world

“My definition of personal responsibility: ‘An individual’s open, wise and ethical engagement with the world for the sustainable good of all.’ – from Hopkins and Skarstam (2012).

“I have also attached some lines from the novel CANNERY ROW by John Steinbeck, a conversation between ‘Doc’ and ‘Richard Frost’ which points to the severity of our challenges:”

“It has always seemed strange to me,” said Doc. “The things we admire in men, kindness and generosity, openness, honesty, understanding and feeling are the concomitants of failure in our system. And those traits we detest, sharpness, greed, acquisitiveness, meanness, egotism and self-interest are the traits of success. And while men admire the quality of the first they love the produce of the second.”

“Who wants to be good if he has to be hungry too?” said Richard Frost.

==================

So, in order to fully comprehend the “New Earth” we must look on the natural increase in population to seven billion souls as being a good thing for humanity. Further, we must look on the increase in greenhouse gases and global warming, whether due to mankind or to other natural phenomena, as an acceptable thing. Accept that the increase in global population is a natural phenomenon, and that this population increase is exactly the same as any other natural process.

This is part two in a four-part series.

Global Warming, Part One

26 Apr

From www.mcgeepost.com .Copyright © 2013 Michael H. McGee. All rights reserved. Please feel free to share or re-post all or part non-commercially, hopefully with attribution.

At this time in history we live on a “New Earth,” a planet which has conditions which have never before existed in human history. Current environmental problems come from many natural changes in the earth’s environment. One very significant natural change is population. The current population of the earth plays a major part in the explanation of the presence of all our environmental excesses and disturbances, including the rise of mega-corporations and huge polluting factories, water shortages, the extinction of species, deforestation, and the huge islands of plastic bags floating in the North Pacific.

This is an explanation which per se does not allow any solutions of any kind which do not include the bare fact that five billion more people have been added to the population since 1927. Reducing the population by five billion is not even remotely within the realm of possibility. Current initiatives in “population control” are like using a wine cork to stop Mauna Loa. Even if the rigorous efforts at population control now used in China were extended world-wide, there would be no decrease in population, only a slowing of the increase.

I feel that many of the post-apocalyptic, alien invasion type movies and novels are metaphors for that which we cannot ever say: at some level we wish we had five billion fewer people on the planet. Even the current fear of earth being hit by a meteor could be a form of unspeakable wish-fulfillment. It’s not every day you can actively imagine billions of people being destroyed by a faux-scientific means you can’t do anything about.

The purpose of this essay is to show that all our efforts to stop global warming and pollution with our present technology are doomed to failure. All the talk and all the effort is no more than dust in the wind. Further, the only way to move forward is to admit that we cannot really control the natural changes brought on by massive population growth, and to find ways to live with the changes in our planet. These changes have been a natural phenomenon brought about by the burgeoning numbers of humans using the same amount of space and resources as were formerly used by a great deal fewer persons.

I choose to look at the situation not with gloom, but with hope. The hope is that our efforts at managing the changes in the atmosphere and temperature and pollution of the earth will take into account the incredibly massive increases in population as a given fact. As long as we ignore this simple fact, we will not be able to learn to live with and master the new atmosphere and temperature and pollution of the earth. If we accept this truth as a bottom line, we will find better ways to move forward and live with the “New Earth” and its changing environment. The sudden increase in population is a phenomenon never before seen on our planet. We can’t look at history; there are no precedents. Yet what is happening is natural and is real.

Let’s look at the numbers and do some simple math. According to Time magazine the population of the world as recently as 1927 was only two billion people. The few environmental advocates at that time were mostly concerned with stopping the dumping of poisons and caustics which were the by-products of manufacturing. There were no global warming activists, and frankly, there was no need for them.

Here’s one chart which shows the absolutely stupendous and phenomenal growth of human population. The black dot showing the passing of two billion is right close to the year 1927. Before that time there had never been even as many as two billion people on the planet. The black dot showing the passing of seven billion is right close to the year 2011.

thumbnailCADQHRFE

As of the end of 2011 the population of the world was seven billion people. This works out to an increase of five billion people in only 84 years’ time. Of course the environment is going through major changes; and of course people are screaming that we need to stop these changes in our planet. Unfortunately we cannot stop these naturally occurring changes unless we are willing to exterminate five billion people, which of course we cannot and will not do. We can, however, discover ways to live with the changes which now exist on the “New Earth.”

To begin this analysis, let’s forget about the industrial and sewage and plastic bag and CO2 pollution. Let’s start by looking at the people themselves, the inhabitants of the planet as human bodies only, without reference to what they do. Further, let’s concentrate only on the five billion people who’ve been added in the last 84 years.

Each human being maintains a body temperature of 98.6 degrees F, making each human body a little furnace of its own. A resting person puts out about 100 watts of energy at any given single moment of time, dispersed around the whole of the body. If you want a clear picture of what this amount of energy feels like, put your hand close to a 100 watt light bulb, where the same amount of energy is concentrated in a very small globe. Thus our five billion new inhabitants produce heat at the same rate as if there were five billion 100 watt light bulbs burning all at the same time, all the time.

Boron & Boulpaep’s Medical Physiology says that the body’s rate of heat production can vary from approximately 80 calories per hour at rest to 600 calories per hour during jogging. So let’s conclude conservatively, including children, that the average heat production of each human body is about 90 calories per hour, or 2160 calories per day, released into the atmosphere.

Since the calorie is not the standard measure of heat, we have to convert the calorie into heat energy, as measured in scientific standard “joules.” We start with the statement: The calorie approximates the energy needed to increase the temperature of 1 kg of water by 1 °C. This is about 4,184 joules of heat.

Therefore with a bodily heat production of 2160 calories per day, multiplied by 4,184 joules, we come to the individual human body giving off about 9,037,440 joules of heat a day. Thus the five billion people added to the planet since 1927, as human bodies and nothing more, are giving off or radiating 45,187,200,000,000,000 joules of heat a day. That’s 45 quadrillion joules a day.

According to www.rapidtables.com, the power P in watts (W) is equal to the energy E in joules (J), divided by the time period t in seconds (s): P(W) = E(J) / t(s). There are 1,440 minutes in a day, and 1 joule of heat per minute equals about 1.6 watts of energy per minute, or 2,304 watts of energy per day.

So multiply 45 quadrillion joules by 2,304 and divide by 100. The five billion new people on earth since 1927 thus naturally radiate from their bodies every single day the heat equivalent of 1,036,800,000,000,000,000 hundred-watt light bulbs. That’s the heat energy from a little more than one quintillion light bulbs a day.

Multiply that number by the 365 days of the year, and you have a natural human body radiation of the equivalent of 378,432,000,000,000,000,000 hundred-watt light bulbs of heat a year into the atmosphere of the Earth. That’s 378 quintillion hundred-watt bulbs a year of heat generated by the five billion extra human bodies added to the planet since 1927.

Now you have the tip of the iceberg (a bad metaphor, I know) of global warming. This heat radiation is a totally natural phenomenon which is not subject to change by legislation or good intentions.

Next, let’s look at the external heat generated outside the natural heat of their own bodies by the activity of each of these five billion human beings added to the earth since 1927. Assume only the minimum: each of these persons has a cooking fire and a single electrical light fixture, and each person in temperate or cold climates has a single heating stove. I won’t bore you by computing the additional amount of heat generated by these natural activities outside each human body. Multiply five billion by whatever number seems appropriate to you.

Now you have the second element of global warming. This normal use of heat by humans is also a totally natural phenomenon which is not subject to change by legislation or good intentions.

Moving on, it is a commonly held scientific assumption that one of the drivers of global warming is the increase in levels of greenhouse gases including carbon, CO2, in the atmosphere. These greenhouse gases trap heat inside the atmosphere and prevent it from radiating back into space as it has done throughout human history.

I have here a chart which was created by another blogger, Dave Munger of Davidson, NC. The graph tracks government scientific surveys regarding the rise of carbon levels in the atmosphere over time. Overlaying this graph is a standard data graph plotting the rise in population over time. The two graphs follow an almost identical trajectory:

Pop&CarbonSame

Make up your own mind after studying this graph. In my humble opinion it speaks for itself. There is no doubt that there are many other factors affecting global warming, yet deliberately ignoring the increase in population as a major factor is working with blinders on. And we must assume that the population will never decrease. The most we can expect is that at some point population will begin to increase at a slower rate.

The “New Earth” will always from this point on remain a very populous earth. Thus population must be taken as a given, an unchangeable natural factor with which we have to deal in discovering better ways to live on our “New Earth.” There’s no going back, and no pretending that we don’t have all these heat and carbon emitting souls on our planet.

Simply changing our ways by herculean efforts to reduce carbon emissions and stop industry from polluting is not going to make even a small difference in global warming. “Changing our ways” to save the environment is a little like trying to empty Lake Champlain by dipping it out with a teaspoon. We must instead focus on ways to live with the new environment which has developed around us, and new technologies which will enable us to prosper as a species in light of the non-reversible changes which have overtaken us.

According to James Famiglietti (UC-Irvine) et al. (2012), one of the other factors scientifically demonstrated to contribute to the rise in sea levels related to global warming is groundwater depletion. Fresh water, up until recently locked in the land, is being pumped out all over the world to irrigate crops and mitigate droughts. That extracted groundwater runs off into rivers and is ultimately added to the oceans, increasing the sea level by meaningful amounts. Groundwater depletion is without question entirely a product of the vast increase in population on the planet.

The same goes for carbon emissions from giant electrical utilities, factories and internal combustion engines. The greater the population, the greater is the need for larger and more electrical production utilities, larger and more factories to produce goods, and more and more vehicles with internal combustion engines.

In China and most third world countries, greater populations mean more carbon-rich wood-burning fires for cooking and heating. On any given day at least two billion wood-burning fires are started world-wide in hearths where these fires are the only means of cooking and staying warm. It would be very difficult to make a case for these people to stop making the fires which are necessary for their daily survival.

This is part one of a four-part series.

Math Education: The US is Doing a Better Job than Most People Think

11 Mar

From www.mcgeepost.com .Copyright © 2013 Michael H. McGee. All rights reserved. Please feel free to share or re-post all or part non-commercially, hopefully with attribution.

Recent test scores show that the United States ranks 24th out of 29 countries in the math literacy of its 15-year-old students, according to The Data Research and Development Center (DRDC) at the University of Chicago.

This is a somewhat misleading statistic, since all of the countries ranking higher than the United States on the skills testing are countries with much smaller populations. In addition, all of the countries ranking above the US have relatively homogeneous populations and more closely prescribed school system offerings. This chart below shows the names of the countries and their rankings on the scale:

math_120704

The population of the United States is 313 million. This population is an absolute melting pot and the schooling is largely controlled at the local level, leading to varying degrees of skills in different parts of the country. Japan is the next largest, with 120 million citizens. They have one of the world’s most uniformly homogeneous populaces, and national systems of education which are demonstrably superior to the US. Nevertheless, the total number of individual students excelling in math in Japan is less than a third of the number in the US.

Germany has a population of about 80 million, France 60 million and South Korea 50 million. Each of these significantly smaller countries has a relatively homogeneous population, and each probably has a significantly better school system than the US. The United Kingdom, population 63 million, is not included in the list, yet probably has a better overall school system than the US.

Some of the countries which are “ahead” of the US in this survey are Iceland, which has a total population of 325,000 homogeneous souls; and Luxembourg, which has a total population of 520,000 homogeneous souls. It is not statistically accurate to compare scores in these countries with those of nations with 50 to 313 million citizens.

Thus we have Japan, Germany, France, the United Kingdom and South Korea as countries which have meaningful populations and exceed the US in math literacy. This would put the US as number 6 on a list of larger countries which have good math literacy. Though please notice that only OECD countries were included in the survey. We don’t know where China, Russia, India or Brazil would place on the scale.

Here in the United States we have a significantly larger group of school children. There are about 64 million students in grades one through 12. Of these, 72 percent aged 12 to 17 were judged academically “on track” for their age (enrolled in school at or above grade level). This comes to about 46 million US students who are now or will be in the future, by some measures on track. These 46 million United States “on track” students, if considered as a separate nation, would be the 28th largest country in the world, out of 196 countries.

Almost all schools in the US are controlled locally, and the quality can vary even from county to county, or between public and private schools. In any event, US school children have much more freedom, even in middle and high school, to select the types of education which interest them. I’m a prime example. From middle school on, I shied away from math every chance I got. I was allowed the freedom to indulge in my irrational math anxiety. This meant that even though I’m a certified genius, when I was fifteen I would have flunked any standardized math test I’d been given. As an adult I’ve learned a lot about mathematics, though most of my adult math skills were acquired by engaging in practical situations where math was a component.

So, using the statistical skills I’ve acquired over the years, I’m prepared to say that the simple statistic of the United States being 24th in math skills is inaccurate and misleading. First, a close look at the numbers on the chart shows that the country which is number one scored 544 and the US scored 483, and the variations in sample sizes are beyond extreme. This is not a statistically significant variation in scores, which means that all these countries are roughly within the same range of skills. Second, it’s certain that the US has a lot more math whizzes, in absolute numbers, than any of the twenty-three other countries which are listed as being ahead of us.

So there’s really no reason for US educators to panic about their ability to teach and their students’ ability to learn math literacy. The statistics in the above study should not be a reason to punish American educators or make them feel less than adequate!

Even so, it is essential that the United States educational system should give more dedicated emphasis to teaching math literacy. Ours is a country which has grown great on the strength of our Science, Technology, Engineering and Math skills. Mathematics is a fundamental part of all of the other STEM skills, so it deserves the absolutely highest level of attention by our educators, at all times and in all places.

Even though I’m focusing on my country, the United States, it goes without saying that other countries should also commit to increasing math and science skills. Even with the inherent bias in the survey, the 23 countries ahead of the US in the survey are all doing a very good job of focusing on math education. They need to maintain and increase their intense dedication to math teaching, though, never letting this ultimate goal falter for even a moment.

There are, however, 196 countries in the world. This means that 172 countries may be slightly or far behind the US in their commitment to math education. Each of these countries needs its leadership to give a great deal of attention to education in math and the sciences. It’s the ticket to success in our interconnected world; which is mostly interconnected by progress in science. Mathematical literacy is the key element in scientific and technological progress.

To be more specific, the United States must increase its commitment to the teaching of math and science as a part of a core curriculum, beginning in the seventh grade. We want more of our youth to pursue serious scientific or technical careers. Science and technology is the future. If we don’t succeed in encouraging scientific and technical careers, there will be no one to fill the new jobs of the twenty-first century. Thus science and technical education is crucial, and math is the fundamental ground of being for all of the sciences.

Bob Hoffman, a retired teacher and a fellow blogger, at http://bobhhoffmann.me/ encourages us to see the teaching of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) as a core curriculum starting in the ninth grade. I would have that core curriculum start in the seventh grade, with specialized STEM teachers taking students for at least an hour a day in the seventh and eighth grade, out of classrooms where now only one teacher handles the entire daily curriculum.

Bob Hoffman says he believes we must redirect the STEM emphasis in the high school curriculum (I say from 7th grade on) away from the “college-degree pipeline” into a more flexible approach that uses additional dimensions of “Basic Workplace Skill Sets”, and “Applied Career Preparation Pathways”. These would slice up the core content information and knowledge needed for each of the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics subject areas into additional levels of complexity, and into a variety of workplace applications.

A ladder of “Basic Workplace Skill Sets,” Hoffman says, would clearly identify the methods, practices, and “habits of mind” needed for entry into several technical occupational levels. These six levels would be progressive in the complexity of the content topics, and in the mathematics preparation needed for each.

Those who show aptitude for the “Master/ Professional”, “Engineer”, “Scientist” and “Mathematician” skill levels would of course, throughout high school, be funneled into the more complex structured “college pipeline” curriculum requiring extensive effort.

And then there are the people like me: definitely college-bound, not interested in a technical career, and showing up with difficulties in mathematics. We should be funneled into a rigorous FOUR YEAR staged-difficulty mathematical learning process, where we can proceed at our own pace to acquire the highest levels of math we are capable of obtaining.

I wish someone had applied more pressure to me during my high school years to obtain maximum proficiency in math: and perhaps at least one teacher might have taken the time to explain to me why this proficiency was important in whatever field of learning I chose. (I’m not blaming my teachers; I’m just saying….) I was a hard case, yet I did respect learning and scholarship. I loved science even then, yet my personal rebellion kept me from seeing the fundamental and direct relationship between science and math.

Creationism or Evolution in the Public Schools? Both

9 Mar

From www.mcgeepost.com .Copyright © 2013 Michael H. McGee. All rights reserved. Please feel free to share or re-post all or part non-commercially, hopefully with attribution.

These comments relate to some of my previous blogs. In Charles Darwin and Geological Time I asserted that the modern concept of evolution is a completely warped version of what Darwin had in mind. I made it clear that we have no reliable evidence to look into the geological deep past of the earth. Stories such as that the earth is 4.6 billion years old, or that dinosaurs ruled for 65 million years, are the products of the imagination of scientists who were willing to make up things in order to explain the origin of the earth; whereas Darwin stuck with facts in explaining the Origin of Species, and he got it right.

In Albert Einstein and Space-Time, I challenged the reality of many of the astronomical and cosmological “discoveries” of the twentieth century. I stated that mathematics has been used by scientists as a substitute for observed evidence. Using only the abstractions of math, these scientists have constructing a fabricated history of the universe began from a Big Bang singularity 13.77 billion years ago. We cannot know what is going on beyond our solar system with any certainty, let alone the certainty of Received Truth as given us by our cosmologists.

I find that these very entertaining so-called scientific facts are no more real than the myth of the Minotaur. Much less entertaining is the reality that all our students from the first grade through post-graduate degrees are being indoctrinated on a daily basis that these fabricated myths are in fact the reality of our planet and the universe.

One way to give more incentive to students is to stop teaching science as entertainment and myth, and substitute hard facts in the place of the current wasteland of vast delusions. Young people can tell when they’re being conned by the educational system, even as early as the primary grades. They will not find their passion for science easily in an educational system which seems to be pushing them toward things they at some level see as not making any sense; which will not make any difference in how people live, work, and make progress. Will the Big Bang help us make progress on clean-fuel automobiles? No, it will not.

For example, the debate on whether we should teach Creationism or Evolution, or both, in the public schools, has raged like a wildfire for a hundred years, confusing and turning off generations of otherwise eager students. Here’s a great compromise: teach neither.

There is absolutely no question that the account of creation in the Judeo-Christian Bible is entirely theological and cultural. It is not science, and was never intended to be science. Theology deserves great respect on its own terms. It has no place being taught in our public schools as a scientific explanation of our origins.

The authors of Genesis never set out to be paleontologists or cosmologists. Giving them status as scientists does nothing to forward either theological or scientific inquiry. Further, at least here in the US we are constitutionally prohibited from teaching theology in the public schools.

The problem is that the scientists who have magnified Charles Darwin’s evolutionary theories to great extremes are also basically promoting a theological concept. Scientists tend to treat Darwin’s books as inspired writing, and they make Darwin the prophet. One reason the current interpretations of his writings are theological is that we must rely solely on faith and belief in order to accept them, which is no different than the teachings of the Book of Genesis.

In its most extreme version, the theology of evolution states that there was a random big bang explosion fourteen and a half billion years ago, and the way we are today is the result of totally random mutations occurring over that fourteen and a half billion years, and we are absolutely nothing more than the sum of our randomly selected parts. There is no God, and materialism is the highest good. One must accept such an explanation of the world based on belief, as an act of faith. The high priests of science urge us to have faith in their belief about the world, and ceaselessly condemn those who have any other view of the world.

The US Constitution should also prevent the teaching of evolution as a basis for creation. It is not science. Evolution as now preached is a religion of materialistic self-determination, with just as much mystical teaching as any other religion. The denial of God is as entirely theological as the affirmation of God. There is no ontological difference in the two points of view.

One of the publications which blatantly promotes the theology of evolution and space-time is Scientific American. I really like the magazine and just renewed for another three years. Their reports on scientific progress are great. I read their more speculative forays to remind myself how very mystical science has become.

For example, in their most recent issue a respected astronomer says that computer simulations show that the Milky Way galaxy is expanding by gobbling up smaller nearby galaxies “If the [computer] simulations are right, then ancient halo stars and dwarf galaxy stars should [both] be made from the same stuff.” She compares the chemical composition of these two entities as shown on her instruments, and finds they are the same. This proves, she says, that the Milky Way is gobbling up smaller galaxies.

I say that this proves only (1) that the needles on the measuring instruments she uses are moving in a predictable manner based on the design of the instrument; or (2) that what she is seeing in her telescope is the dust cloud hovering over the Atacama Desert; or (3) that computer simulations have nothing to do with the actual behavior of galaxies. (I call the first category of explanation “intelligent design.” Yes, intelligent beings designed her measuring instruments.)

I want to make it clear that I’m not singling out this particular teacher-researcher. I’m sure there are at least a thousand other articles published which have made similar definitive findings based on unsupportable assumptions. None of these researchers show respect for the Scientific Method, which has brought so much progress to our world.

And from the third grade on up through the most advanced doctoral programs students are being taught this stuff that makes no sense to them. And most students have built-in bullshit detectors: the innate ability to know at least at a subconscious level when they’re being fed ideas lacking in substance or real value.

It’s great entertainment to teach students from the third grade on up about fierce velociraptors and the smiley-faced brontosaurus, and about the dramatic fury of black holes and the big bang, and that we are descended from artistically rendered cavemen. But it’s not science. It’s a mass delusion, and the really bright students can see right through it. Why should they want to pursue a career in the science of building an even higher mound of BS from the delusions of the past and present?

In science, as in other areas of life, we should seek to teach wisdom to those whom we have the high privilege of instructing. In his 1984 book From Knowledge to Wisdom, Nicholas Maxwell, University College London, defined wisdom as “The desire, the active endeavor, and the capacity to discover and achieve what is desirable and of value in life, both for oneself and for others.”

Mass delusions exaggerating what science can tell us about our world and our universe are not wise. And those who encourage the next generation to build on and perpetuate these mass delusions are not wise teachers and are not teaching wisdom. Where is the fundamental value and wisdom in learning the false myths of geological time and cosmological space-time?

What can we teach in place of Evolution and Creationism? Well, we can teach that different cultures have different creation stories. In the dominant cultures in the United States the creation story is the narrative found in Genesis, and this creation story has shaped our thinking about the world. It has made us bold and creative: the people of both the Old and the New Testament are the Chosen People. The creation stories from other cultures shape the thinking of these peoples in this way and that. Creation stories have value in telling us about the values and history of both ancient and modern civilizations.

We can teach that Charles Darwin changed science forever in 1859 by among other things refuting the then prevailing belief that all organic species were separately created in their present form at the relatively recent beginning of the earth. He also proved beyond doubt that mutability was a primary characteristic of living organisms, including human beings.

What he taught us in these areas has been subsequently confirmed by DNA science. What he taught us has been actively used by scientists to greatly benefit the planet by the cross-breeding cattle and other livestock, and hybridization of wheat, rice, and other crops, to have higher yields and more elastic climatic ranges. It has been invaluable in studying the mutations of disease-causing organisms. Each of these advances has great value to all of us.

Teachers, stop messing with the minds of your students in your science classrooms! Put away your funky dinosaur pictures and your charts of the universe, and use this time to teach basic and advanced science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

“We don’t need no education…. We don’t need no thought control…. No dark sarcasm in our classrooms…. Hey! Teachers! Leave those kids alone!” Pink Floyd.

Albert Einstein and Space-Time, Part Three

7 Mar

From www.mcgeepost.com .Copyright © 2013 Michael H. McGee. All rights reserved. Please feel free to share or re-post all or part non-commercially, hopefully with attribution.

We are looking deeply into the mythical part of twentieth-century science, which has been most spectacularly on display in the theories of the size and age of the universe, and the incorrect assertion that we can chronicle events far back in time, and that our eyes and instruments can actually see billions of light-years into space and observe the beginnings of our universe. All these assertions are false, and continuing to hold onto the “myth of far seeing” will impede progress in the forward march of theoretical and practical science in the twenty-first century.

Looking at science through myth is actually not too different than looking at science through a mist. The reality is present, yet it’s obscured by so many evanescent white clouds of illusion. Science is about what is real, or may be real. The myth of far seeing is in no way even a candidate for reality.

In the last entry I described the use of imagination by Albert Einstein to arrive at his general theory of relativity in 1915. A reader of an earlier version of this article said, “Actually, it was Heisenberg’s imaginings of Einstein’s imaginings that set the stage for the current confusion.”

Physicists such as Nobel Laureate Werner Heisenberg were quick to jump on the mythological Love Train with their own concoctions. Heisenberg embraced Dr. Einstein’s free-association with reality in order to amplify quantum theory, which attempts to explain both the cosmological and the sub-atomic. Dr. Heisenberg’s treatise “The Physical Principles of the Quantum Theory” was first published by the University of Chicago Press in 1930.

In this book Heisenberg reported that he relied on a Wilson Cloud Chamber to arrive at his famous wave-particle duality. This proposition stated that at any time, a photon or other quanta of almost vanishingly small size could behave as either a wave or as a particle. The cylindrical Wilson Cloud Chamber was about 6.5 inches (16.5 cm) across by 1.3 inches (3.4 cm) deep. “Alpha particles” were shot, through a hole, into the super-saturated water vapor in this chamber. Photographs, made with cameras built in 1913, showed that the vapor-encased tracks were nearly straight lines. Later, “beta rays” were passed through a thin foil of matter into the vapor in the same chamber. A 1928 photographic plate showed the rays emerging from the foil were waves.

From this unusually impoverished information, plus some pencil and paper mathematics, Werner Heisenberg concluded that all elementary matter in the universe could be particulate at some times, and wave-like at other times. The problem? First, the matter shot into the Wilson Chamber had to be large enough to be photographed with a very rudimentary camera, so what he was seeing was not sub-microscopic elementary photons or electrons, but matter large enough to be visible. Second, it seems rather obvious that if you shoot matter through a hole (say, a rifle barrel) it will travel in a straight line. Even more blindingly obvious is that if you shoot matter through a foil screen it will photograph only in an irregular wave-like manner.

So is their actually a wave-particle duality? I really couldn’t say. Just don’t get me started on the Uncertainty Principle. Once again he used particles large enough to be visible, to develop a theory of uncertainty which he said applied to all of the most elementary and invisible particles in the universe.This theory said that you can’t determine both the position and the speed of a given particle when observing the particle. The act of observation changes one or the other.

This Uncertainty Principle could be described as a metaphysical proposition with just as much likelihood of being true. I choose not to do so, yet spiritual teacher Asara Lovejoy described Heisenberg’s principle as follows: “The substance of the universe is made of such small particles of matter that substance is more like a thought than physical matter. This seemingly invisible something from which we create our life has the ability to know when it is observed, and to react to that observation.”

I find it very, very sorrowful and stressful to question the reputations of Dr. Einstein and his colleagues including Dr. Heisenberg. Yet even until today no one has ever been able to reconcile Einstein’s 1915 relativity equations with the rest of known science. They never will, either. General relativity is a myth which contains some kernels of accuracy, kernels too small to parse with anything else.

The framework for the Big Bang, an abstract paper and pencil mathematical model of the universe, relies on Albert Einstein’s general relativity. What Stephen Hawking and Roger Penrose claim to have demonstrated in 1970 was that, among other things, the universe must obey general relativity if it began at a single point billions of years in the past. The unstated reverse of this statement is that if the universe does not obey general relativity, or if general relativity is a myth, then the Big Bang is a myth, even according to these scientists’ own terms.

Another principle Heisenberg, Hawking and the other scientists have made us believe is that “formulas written on a piece of paper”, such as Einstein’s 1915 field equations, and later abstract computations of redshift, are identical with “the reality of the universe outside our solar system, which is the Big Bang.” The reality is that we really don’t know what is going on outside our solar system or how far away one thing is from another.

Even though we now have bigger telescopes than sixteenth century observers had, these telescopes really only make the stars look a little larger than before. The puny and superficial nature of our visual observations of what is outside of our solar system are entirely useless except as a source of imaginary story-telling, which is as it always has been.

There are some astronomers who actually claim to have “seen” with their own eyes almost all the way back to the origin of the universe 13.7 billion years ago. People want to believe we can see all the way back to the beginning of the universe, and know its most intimate workings.

I’m going to pick on Lawrence Krauss mostly because I have read his very informative and interesting book, A Universe from Nothing. I bought the book after he was interviewed on the Colbert Report on Comedy Central. I respect Dr. Krauss’s scientific credentials, and I understand fully that he is writing about theories which are generally accepted in the scientific community. He is writing to enlighten, with no intention whatsoever to mislead anyone. I’m not accusing him of anything; I’m simply disagreeing with the science he embraces with such joyous enthusiasm.

Having said this, it is necessary to tell you that the generally accepted scientific theories he writes about are pure fiction. What I’ve said up to now will give you some idea of the mythological and imaginary qualities of the current scientific theories of the creation, and of the claimed deep knowledge of the great size of the universe.

First, Krauss in almost every chapter attempts to apply Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution to explain the “evolution” of the universe. As anyone who has read the works of Charles Darwin knows, the Master was describing a very limited and earthly phenomenon which showed that over even limited periods of time such as decades, organic productions of the earth changed and adapted to life on earth. If Charles Darwin were around now he would be shocked, outraged, and embarrassed at the current efforts to extend his theory to inorganic matter residing in outer space.

Next Krauss describes sessions with the great telescopes, including the Hubble Space Telescope, where, he says, people have been able to see with their own eyes all the way through outer space to within 300,000 years of the Big Bang. This is the myth of far seeing.

If a person at a telescope can actually see events that happened more than 13 billion years ago, they are actually not looking at an event. They are looking at a speck of light which is visible in the present and which is said to have travelled more than 13 billion light years (13 billion years at the speed of light) without changing in any manner, to reach the telescope’s viewing field here on earth. One light year is about 6 trillion miles. So for the speck of light to have traveled through outer space for 13.77 billion light years means it has traveled more than 82 septillion miles to get to where we can see it.

The most amazing assertion is that this speck of light has not changed in any way during its fabulously long journey. What we are seeing now in the telescope is exactly what happened way back then. We can look at this speck of light and with certainty know what happened just after the Big Bang.

Is there anyone other than me who feels that a trip of 82 septillion miles would be a bumpy road, and that something would have been lost or gained, or distorted in some way, during such a journey? There are two amazing things here. First, that anyone can believe a speck of light could travel so far and be readily identifiable as the one speck from the Big Bang. Second, that anyone in their right mind could actually claim to have found the one speck in the vastly populated night sky which is a visual image of the period just after the Big Bang more than 13 billion years ago.

As I pointed out in another blog entry, Dr. Murray Gell-Mann, 1969 Nobel Laureate in Physics, makes it clear that the laws of physics are not deterministic, but are only probabilities over time. The moment in time of the presence of a speck of light in the sky is only probabilistic. There is no way to predict the exact source or point of view of the speck, only a curve of probabilities. Additionally, the direction of movement of such a speck of light over time is completely unpredictable. “If so much is unknowable in advance about one atomic nucleus, imagine how much is fundamentally unpredictable about the entire universe….” Dr. Gell-Mann says.

So there is a violation of established laws of physics in the assertion that a single speck can remain unchanged over any period of time, much less 13 billion years. The present position of the speck of light “from the Big Bang” is a sum over all the histories the speck of light could have undergone since its formation at an uncertain time and place. What we see in the night sky is only one of those histories, the one which is coherent at the present time, and its past is probabilistic at best. Worst case, the speck is a piece of dust on the lens of the telescope.

Another assertion Dr. Krauss makes in his book is that the BOOMERANG experiment a few years ago was able to make a map of all the “cosmic microwave background radiation” which was emitted more than 13 billion years ago just after the Big Bang. The detector was tied to a balloon hovering over Antarctica, Krauss says. It scooped up only radiation that was emitted way back then. This detector was so sensitive and precise that it was able to “map” this radiation in a way which proved that the universe was flat. This concept is not unique to Dr. Krauss. What he is describing is accepted science. Even NASA promotes the idea. See http://map.gsfc.nasa.gov/media/030639/index.html

Even so, this study of cosmic microwave background radiation (CMBR) is fatally flawed and represents a fictional myth perpetuated by many in the scientific community. For one thing, it is simply stated as a fact that this CMBR had its source in the period just after the Big Bang. No one has made any effort to measure the 13 billion light years of time and space through which the CMBR must have passed through in order to reach the earth in a recognizable pattern. This would take a very long tape measure.

Additionally, the present status of this CMBR is subject to the same laws of physics which I just quoted from Nobel Laureate Dr. Murray Gell-Mann. The moment in time of the presence of each speck of CMBR in the sky is only probabilistic. There is no way to predict the exact source or point of view of the speck, only a curve of probabilities. Additionally, the direction of movement of such a speck of CMBR over time is completely unpredictable.

The large quantity of CMBR measured by the detector on the balloon over Antarctica could have just as easily originated inside the solar system, or it could have come from an unknown and unpredictable place anywhere in outer space. Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation is a mythological beast no more tangible than a Minotaur, and due to at a minimum the uncertainties described by Gell-Mann, we have no way of saying what it is. It could even be an artifact of the measuring device.

Because our scientists say it is so, then our myth of human scientific omniscience is preserved intact. We want to believe that we have complete or unlimited material knowledge of everything, and that we perceive all things with a clear eye. And we want it now. Yet, we will likely never know with any accuracy what is happening outside our solar system.

The Big Bang explanation for our universe states that all that exists on earth and in space began as a tiny or even zero singularity 13.77 billion years ago. Since this very exact time, the universe has expanded by trillions of times until it is the extremely large size it is today. Though our planet earth is a less than minuscule part of the whole universe, it is stated that we here on this planet earth can see all parts of our vast universe and coherently describe its history from the beginning to now.

Nobel Laureate in Physics Richard Feynman said in a speech: “It is much more interesting to live with not knowing, than to have answers that might be wrong.” I don’t know if Dr. Feynman would agree with my ideas of “not knowing” or not. Yet there is a fundamental truth in what he says: science must not be arrogant or overreach the actual knowledge available.

Albert Einstein and Space-Time, Part Two

6 Mar

From www.mcgeepost.com .Copyright © 2013 Michael H. McGee. All rights reserved. Please feel free to share or re-post all or part non-commercially, hopefully with attribution.

“The distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.” This is how Albert Einstein placed the question. And there is little dispute that past or present time is inextricable bound up in passage through space. Thus the recognized relationship of space-time is a part of all musings about either space or time.

Time and space are elusive concepts. Here on earth the past was essentially described by notations in the historical record, and these notations occurred at a particular space or location on the ground. The massive swaths of historical time claimed by scientists in the past hundred years or so don’t really exist except as “concepts.” They have no tangible reality. Cosmological time is no more real than my thought-dream of flying among the stars and landing in distant galaxies where proto-humans live.

Yet scientists insist that they know with certainty the amount of distant or cosmic time which has passed for one entity to progress into another entity. Let’s look at the most recent issue of the magazine Scientific American, March, 2013. I regularly read almost every page of each issue of this magazine, and I recommend it to others. I can find the magazine fascinating without agreeing with every statement made by every author:

Page 38: “Although our human lineage emerged in Africa around six million years ago….” Page 44: “All stars are born in groups… a new theory seeks to explain how these groups form and… persist for hundreds of millions of years.” Page 59: “Recent research suggests it [the genus Citrus] first appeared in Australasia some 35 million years ago and spread to Asia.” Page 61: “Bees have been sculpted by millions of years of evolution into incredible flying machines.” Page 67: “Ten thousand years ago, when smallpox first emerged….”

All these statements are technically false. They are the product of twentieth century magical thinking carried over into the twenty-first century. Absent the existence of historical data, the past does not exist, either on earth or in the cosmos. At the most there are a series of probabilities about the past, all of which may or may not have occurred. The past at best is a sum over many, many histories, none of which can be separately tracked with any degree of certainty.

The Big Bang as myth, occurring 13.77 billion years in the past, can be thought of as an unintentionally anthropomorphic description of the universe. The meaning of anthropomorphic is: “ascribing human form or attributes to a being or thing not human.” In other words, creating a metaphor for the development of non-organic matter, by using what we actually know about the human organism.

Science NetLinks, a resource for science teachers, states that there are approximately “ten to the 14th power” (that’s 100 trillion) cells in the human body. Others say there are about 50 to 75 trillion cells in the average human body.

With our definition, and these numbers, we can begin to see the anthropomorphic basis for the Big Bang. Each human being starts as nothing, then a single pluripotent microscopic cellular structure unleashes an unfathomably complex process. Over a period of time, from the “Big Bang” of conception, through the afterglow of love and beyond, until maybe age eighteen, a single human body develops explosively from a single cellular structure to a large and coherent bodily universe, literally as much as 100 trillion times the size of the singularity from which it began, that pluripotent stem cell. And no one can say where the energy driving the singularity of human conception came from. So the metaphoric content of cosmology recapitulates the actual process of the creation of each individual human body.

It doesn’t take much imagination to describe this ordinary and daily bodily process on a cosmic scale. What it takes is the ability to be in denial that one is using one’s imagination, and to pretend that one’s abstract paper and pencil mathematics depicts the entire universe, rather than depicting the commonplace expansion of a single microscopic pluripotent cell into a big and burly stomping around human adult. Or expands into a petite and lovely delicate human adult.

Let me tell you a story which could open your thinking to the possibility of the scientific imagination getting ahead of scientific reality. In 1905 a young man by the name of Albert Einstein published a series of papers where he actually uncovered significant aspects of reality which were unknown up until then.

Essentially he found that each unit of matter, no matter how small, contains an enormous amount of energy, using the formula E = MC squared. He also verified that the speed of light was always constant, no matter what were the circumstances under which we observed the light. He also accurately described the photoelectric effect. This series of historically important discoveries in 1905 became known as Einstein’s special theory of relativity.

Dr. Einstein at the time was 26 years old, and he was recognized as a first class genius for his special theory of relativity. He would have had a place in the history of science even if he had stopped with these accurate observations of the material world around us. Yet he was not yet world-renowned, not yet accepted as the greatest scientific genius of the time. He wanted more.

“Try not to be a man of success, but rather a man of value,” is one of his quotes. He wasn’t yet sure at that time that he was truly a “man of value.” Maybe he was just a flash in the pan. Yet he was sure enough of himself to believe he had what it took to go further as a founder of scientific principles, and that people would listen to the things of value he could provide.

So Einstein spent the next ten years searching and searching, largely in silence, trying to find another theoretical breakthrough, a next step which he hoped could top his original stunningly valuable observations from 1905.

“The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination,” is another of Einstein’s sayings. Did anyone ever consider that the man was telling the rock-bottom truth when he said things such as this?

Einstein was unable to find any further insight by sticking with the reality of what was around him. So he resorted to his imagination to fabricate new deep cosmological theories. His general theory of relativity, published in 1915, was expressed entirely through mathematics and could hardly be proved or disproved by experiment or observation. Even today, no one has been able to reconcile his general theory of relativity with other mathematical models of the universe.

He strong-armed the math to fit what he imagined was true about the universe. By doing so inventing something spectacular and illusory, and presented it as a factual description of the universe. After this time he was for the rest of his life a man of value. The equations shown below, from the imagination of a brilliant man, are the basis for the general theory of relativity; they are called Einstein’s (field) equations. Even today, almost no one fully understands general relativity. Have a go at it yourself:

1.

Equation 01

On the left-hand side is the Einstein Tensor, a specific divergence-free combination of the Ricci Tensor R/ab and the metric. In particular,

2.

Equation 02

is the curvature scalar. The Ricci tensor itself is related to the more general Riemann curvature tensor as

3.

Equation 03

On the right-hand side, Tab is the energy–momentum tensor. Matching the theory’s prediction to observational results for planetary orbits, the proportionality constant can be fixed as κ = 8πG/c4, with G the gravitational constant and c the speed of light. When there is no matter present, so that the energy–momentum tensor vanishes, the result is the vacuum Einstein equation

4.

Equation 04

So in 1915 Albert Einstein used abstract pencil and paper mathematics as a substitute for reality, and created something entirely the product of his imagination. It looked good on paper, so it must be true. Scientists have taken it as truth from 1915 to the present, even though they don’t fully understand the stated principles.

The Nobel Committee refused to award him a prize for his work on general relativity, saying it was unproven (He did receive the prize for other work). The only “evidence” in support of this theory is from one scientist in about 1919, who saw fleetingly in a telescope that light curved as it passed the sun. This observation occurred inside our solar system. So, light does not always travel in a straight line. Does this one fact mean that all the magical scientific stories about the universe generated in the past hundred years are true?

This set of formulas, though, is the Eucharist of the New Testament of cosmological science. We are asked to believe that these abstract letters and numbers on a paper are the same as, or even identical with, the actual conditions in the past outside our solar system, in outer space; or even in the past of the earth. In the Eucharist, the substance of bread and wine changes into, and is identical with, the body and the blood of Jesus. Scientists are, through the rigors of education, indoctrinated in the belief that letters and numbers spread on paper in a certain order are identical with the actual contents of the universe.

As we shall see, this set of formulas almost single-handedly unleashed the greatest period of imaginative science-fiction the world has ever seen, all of it cast as definite scientific truth. Almost everything we all now believe about the universe beyond our solar system flows from the vivid imagination of Dr. Einstein.

If you’re not sure Albert Einstein was the source of the current speculations on the origins and content of the universe, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_cosmology . (I checked the facts in this chart with other sources, and used Wikipedia because the facts were confirmed elsewhere, and their timeline is the best way of graphically displaying the point to be made.) Before his general theory of relativity in 1915, there were no real attempts by scientists to look or think beyond the realm of our solar system. Even as Einstein made up his abstract, imaginary formulas from nothing, he became the preeminent myth-maker of his day. The myth of cosmological space-time has been spun into scientific fact by those who followed the myth he made.

As we shall see in the next blog entry, other prominent twentieth-century scientists grabbed hold of Einstein’s imaginary formulas and developed whole imaginary theories of the universe by adding their own touches of myth. It is important that we not carry the twentieth-century mythical methods into the twenty-first century. The lack of accuracy and mythical content will get in the way of or slow down scientific breakthroughs which made the useable science of the twentieth-century greater than that of any time in the earth’s historical record.

Albert Einstein and Space-Time, Part One

4 Mar

From www.mcgeepost.com .Copyright © 2013 Michael H. McGee. All rights reserved. Please feel free to share or re-post all or part non-commercially, hopefully with attribution.

In this blog entry I intend to examine the stories created in the imagination of scientists to explain the creation and massive size of the universe. I’ve tried to make the story as entertaining as possible, while adhering closely to scientific fact and the scientific method. I am not a scientist, yet I’ve studied science all my life, throughout my career as a lawyer and in the last few years since I have given up the practice of law. Even though not a scientist, I am an expert, from thirty years of law practice, in analyzing evidence and developing proof of a disputed principle or point from a given set of facts. I bring this well-developed strength to my analysis.

As a young man I was a student of science and among other things an avid observer of the stars. My uncle Gilbert Henry was a professor of astronomy and I spent time with him occasionally. Much of my knowledge of astronomy, though, came from my grandmother, who during many hours of my childhood taught me about the universe, most of which information she’d learned over the years from her son Gilbert. So I’m not entirely ignorant of the science of astronomy and cosmology.

Here I will develop proof of my thesis that the concept of cosmological space is a product of the use of flawed methods of science. The cosmological story of the creation of the universe 13.77 billion years ago by the Big Bang, and the stages through which the universe has passed from then until now, is purely a myth, with no more provable validity than the Biblical creation myth, or the Asian myth of the earth being supported on the back of a giant turtle. Let me show you how this is so.

Throughout history people have looked up at the stars and wondered what was out there. By the nineteenth century we understood that we lived in a starry universe filled with bright objects which seemed to be very far away from us. It was not until after Albert Einstein presented his general theory of relativity in1916 that scientists began to claim that it was possible to know everything about the universe we live in. Thus began the scientific myth of far sight.

The myth of far sight generated an incredible amount of scientific activity after 1916. Since that time scientists have come to believe that we now understand the mysteries of the deep universe and the details of the origins of the universe. Many of these details are embodied in the Big Bang Theory, and in the related concept of Black Holes.

Most people are now convinced of the truth of these two concepts, which arise from the fevered imagination of scientists who truly believe it is possible to know everything. People want to believe we can see all the way back to the beginning of the universe, and know its most intimate workings. Scientists are more than willing to provide us with a myth which will give us what our own fevered imaginations want.

Human consciousness must have its delusions, superstitions and creation myths. Cosmological scientists have since 1916 planted and perpetuated a set of delusions and given them the credibility of Science. These new delusions are almost universally accepted as the Holy Grail of Science: an answer to the ultimate questions about space and time. It is a huge intellectual arrogance for us to believe that right now we know everything about the universe; what mankind has wanted to know for thousands of years is now laid out before us in perfect order and symmetry. Woe be unto him who challenges in any particular the flawless descriptions of the whole universe handed down to us from on high by the Scientists!

It’s too bad the recently developed scientific narratives of the origins and dynamics of the whole universe are not true. They make a good story. L. Ron Hubbard’s development from about 1950-1980 of a religious description of the space creatures that populated and still control all but a few of the elite of the earth is a narrative which is accepted by Scientologists as true. It also makes a good story: told by a novelist. Each of these stories, Cosmological Science and Scientology, give us a sense of certainty in a time when people feel overwhelmed by the chaos of daily life and fearful of the unknown.

We want to know there is something out there. We want it all explained to us by “Someone Who Knows.” We want to believe the stories we are told by those who seem to have more authority and wisdom than we do. Throughout history it has been so, and so it is now. The human race has an enormous capacity for delusion when we feel the fear and the loneliness of the human condition. And especially when we feel the enormity of space and time, we want an explanation of what it all means. Almost any story will do, as long as it’s told by “Someone Who Knows.”

The current cosmological scientific myth says that the universe is about 13.77 billion years old, which is a very precise measurement of distant time. The framework for the Big Bang model relies on Albert Einstein‘s general theory of relativity, which was delivered by him in 1916. The Russian Physicist Alexander Friedmann in 1922, and the Belgian Georges Lemaître independently in 1927, introduced mathematical equations from Einstein’s general relativity which claimed to support the concept of an expanding universe that contained moving matter.

Remember, though, that mathematics is pencil marks on paper. A mathematical equation is not the same thing as the actual topography or substance of anything which actually may exist in outer space. A Star Trek script is just as descriptive of outer space as a mathematical pencil and paper computation. (Or bytes on a hard drive, for the purists.)

In 1929, Edwin Hubble announced that he had “discovered” that the distances to far away outer space galaxies are generally proportional to their redshifts— an idea originally suggested by Lemaître in 1927. Hubble’s observation was taken to indicate that all very distant galaxies and clusters have an apparent velocity directly away from our vantage point: the farther away, the higher the apparent velocity.

Astronomers often use the term redshift when describing how far away a distant object is. The cosmological redshift is a redshift caused by the expansion of space. As a result of the Big Bang. By taking the spectrum of a distant object, such as a galaxy, astronomers can see a shift toward the low frequency red lines of its spectrum, and from this shift determine its velocity. Putting this velocity into the Hubble equation, they determine the distance from earth. NASA scientists caution, and I quote, “that this method of determining distances is based on observation (the shift in the spectrum) and on a theory (Hubble’s Law). If the theory is not correct, the distances determined in this way are all nonsense.” (emphasis added)

Hubble’s “observations” were made by looking at a meter on a very earthbound instrument which was invented for the stated purpose of measuring redshift. For all we know the instrument could be measuring the number of red lights on the streets of a nearby town. We must take it on faith that the instrument is “measuring signals from deep space.” Yet the Big Bang and other theories of the construction of outer space depend on these measurements. Hubble’s theory contains too many genuinely unreliable and un-measurable elements, and therefore his theory is unreliable, and therefore distances determined in this manner are all nonsense.

For one thing, the red end of the light spectrum, as it exists in its only measurable form here on earth using very earth-bound instruments, has only a certain limited number of different frequencies before it resolves into another color on the spectrum. In order to determine that one speck of light is 10 billion years old and another is 500 million years old, we would have to measure an almost infinite gradation of frequencies of red light. The task of measuring such minuscule gradations is certainly not within the capacity of our instruments even now, much less in the 1920’s in the time of Hubble. Yet we are so ready to speculate, based on the flimsiest and most unreliable of mythical data.

quaz490_sdss_sm

Again from the NASA site, the red speck indicated above is a telescope image which scientists have interpreted as being a powerful quasar estimated to be over 100 times brighter than a galaxy. The “quasar” appears faint because it is said to be extremely distant. Its distance has been indirectly gauged by noting how much of the light it emits has been red shifted to longer wavelengths “by the expansion of the Universe.” Yes, this speck of light is visibly redder than the other specks of light in the picture. So do we really know it’s far away? What’s the claimed distance to this quasar? Scientists say that this little red quasar is more than 12 billion light-years away. If we believe this little red riding hood fairy tale, then the little speck has been rocketing through space for 12 billion years without undergoing any modification or distortion of any kind whatsoever.

The explanation of the meaning of the red shift in the above picture is entirely delusional. What is actually visible in the picture is a speck of light of a slightly different color than the other specks of light in the picture. Sitting here on earth, all we can know is that there is a “speck.” The speck could be there because someone forgot to polish the lens on the telescope before the picture was taken. Even if the speck does come from beyond our solar system, we don’t even know if the speck actually represents an “object.” It could be pure light, coming from any distance. And how can we know if the speck is naturally red, like the red planet Mars; the scientists say with certainty that the speck had another color a long time ago, and that color changed to red over a period of billions of years.

I’m sorry, you well-meaning cosmologists. I know you are believers in the scientific myth of far sight. I’m not trying to make fun of you. Quite the opposite: I want you to take your scientific measurements and descriptions more seriously, rather than just blindly accepting the mythical constructs given to you by an earlier generation of dreamers and storytellers.

Now let’s move to the most spectacular event which was invented by cosmologists during the twentieth century: the Big Bang. Based mostly on mathematical models, plus claims that really faint specks of light have been positively identified as being objects billions of years old, the authoritative, complete and seamless panoply of creation has been given to us by the “experts.” The ancients had Zeus and Mars and their other gods; we have the Big Bang.

Here’s a picture of the Big Bang. Of course it’s an artist’s rendition, since no one has yet found a way to stand outside the universe with a Nikon Camera and take a photo:

CMB_Timeline300_no_WMAP

The Big Bang describes the universe as having begun as an infinitesimally small speck known as a singularity. The exact nature of this singularity, when where it originated, and why this particular singular particle was different from others, have not been described. Nevertheless, this singularity expanded. It had to be an incredibly pluripotent singularity, since it contained within itself all that was and all that is.

At first it created a few elements, then as billions of years passed the singularity created all the elements, all the galaxies, all the stars, and all the trillions of tiny working parts and pieces of the earth and the human beings thereon. It is a true legend of creation, intended to explain where everything came from, so we won’t have to live in fear of the unknown and the unknowable.

It’s about as entertaining as the stories told around the fire at night on a Scout camping trip, while marshmallows on sticks are toasting. It’s the incredible “expanding story” of the expanding universe, told to us by other campers, and believed to be true as long as the night is dark and there are strange sounds coming from the woods.

The Big Bang theory depends on two major assumptions: the universality of physical laws, and the cosmological principle. These two principles state that no matter where you are in the universe, the universe is uniform, and that the same geometric principles govern the behavior of the universe locally as well as on large scales. These assumptions are entirely incapable of being proven, since the only place in the universe where we can make measurements is right here in this chair at this table on this planet. The assumptions rest solely on mathematical computations which were made up by mathematicians who want us to believe that mathematics is the answer to everything. So we have a lot of assumptions to make in order to believe in the Big Bang (or in Scientology).

The religion of Scientology has a similar type of story, told to believers by a novelist who supposedly had the gift of far sight, L. Ron Hubbard. These religious believers maintain that Xenu was the ruler of a Galactic Confederacy 75 million years ago, which consisted of 26 stars and 76 planets. Xenu was about to be deposed from power, so he gathered billions of his citizens, then paralyzed them and froze them in a mixture of alcohol and glycol to capture their souls. The kidnapped populace was loaded into spacecraft for transport to the planet earth. The present population of the earth is descended from these souls. Here we have a fabulous story which many people believe with all their hearts is the truth about the ancient history of the earth. This story is just as believable as the creation myth which has been invented by cosmological scientists. Yet a much greater proportion of the population of the earth believes in the Big Bang creation myth developed in the name of Science by cosmologists.

So, it’s time to create a new and more realistic narrative, a new story about man and his ability to gain knowledge of outer space, which will supplant the superstitions of the present and allow further material progress to move to the next level. The new narrative is that we cannot know what is happening outside of our solar system; which is as far as we can see or probe with any reliability. Further, we will likely never know (until some future technology provides for space travel) with any accuracy what is happening outside our solar system, no matter how hard we try.

Lawrence Krauss, a cosmologist who recently published a book called A Universe from Nothing, implies that now, as of 2012, we know almost as much as we will ever know about our universe. In his afterword the well-known scientist Richard Dawkins is absolutely ecstatic: we live at a privileged singular point in time where we know the universe better than anyone has or ever will know it!

This sort of overpowering sense of superiority and infallibility on the part of scientists such as these two can get in the way of unmasking the delusional belief systems such as the Big Bang, which are propagated by these and many other scientists. It is of no consequence whether these scientists believe in God or not, which they don’t.

What is of consequence is that they have created out of whole cloth a new creation myth which is no more capable of proof than the Biblical creation myth. They want to be the proprietors of this new Big Bang creation myth, which is every bit as fuzzy and mystical as the Biblical and other world-wide creation myths they propose to supplant. In their true belief in their intellectual superiority they have become the authors of the new Bible, which contains their description of outer space and the origin of humanity as being the received truth.

Their version of the creation myth is ultimately a completely materialistic explanation of how we got to be who we are in the here and now. It’s a wonder how they can even include thought or feeling in their narrative of creation. Neither thoughts nor feelings are in any way material in nature. You can’t touch or quantify either of these attributes of humanity. Further, they use mathematics to prove their materialistic theories. Yet mathematics itself is in any way material in nature. Math is abstraction based on thought. You can’t touch or quantify the abstract qualities of mathematics. Putting the symbols on a piece of paper is not the essence of math. Math is a form of thought. So these scientists are using abstract concepts, and thoughts which are not capable of being quantified, to attempt to prove a wholly material concept of the origin of the world and to explain the presence of humanity here where we are today. So am I the only one who sees a contradiction in the reasoning process here?

Even though they will deny it with vigor, Krauss and Dawkins have the same need as the rest of humanity to have a Received Truth to live by. Their imagined version of creation is for them a miraculous substitute for the psychological need for religious belief we are all born to. They need a miraculous and far-reaching story of creation just as most of us do. They need to believe. We need to believe. The need for belief is one of the foundations of the human experience. Belief is really all we have. Without belief all we have is the chaos and fear and ambiguity of daily existence, which for them and for most of us is an intolerable situation, fraught with dread and anxiety.

In Part Two of this blog I’m going to tell you some things about science which you will find hard to believe. It’s going to be fairly dramatic, so make sure you don’t miss it.

Physics Needs to Look at Nothingness

25 Oct

From www.mcgeepost.com .Copyright © 2012 Michael H. McGee. All rights reserved. Please feel free to share or re-post all or part non-commercially, hopefully with attribution.

Ever since I was young my imagination was captured by dinosaurs and insects and snakes, and also by the growing sciences which seemed to explain man’s place in the universe. At first I wanted to be a scientist myself, yet I was not good enough at math. So I became a lawyer. All my life, though, I’ve continued my interest in and reading on the place of man in the universe, along with my daughter Michelle Kathryn McGee, a scientist and my collaborator.

The scientific community has always proceeded on the ancient assumption that us and our planet and our universe are made up only of tangible things. These things have energy and force, and leave measurable traces of their passage through space and time. Truly, since the beginning of civilization we have never questioned one possibly very mistaken idea: that us and our world move and breathe and form mountains only because of the exertion of energy and force within tangible objects. Scientific research sees only the tangible objects, and calls them atoms, or electrons, or quarks and leptons. Thus science focuses only on the object, or “thing,” and fails to take account of the entangled nothing part of the makeup of each of us and the universe.

Even Albert Einstein found it impossible to look beyond our natural world to the parts of existence which include nothingness and neither mass nor energy. He wrote: “Everything is energy and that’s all there is to it. Match the frequency of the reality you want and you cannot help but get that reality. It can be no other way. This is not philosophy. This is physics.” Prof. Einstein was very focused on what was visible and measurable, and eliminated from his thinking that which was not.

What if there is an element to the formation of us and our universe which is nothingness, which is without form and void? Both eastern and western philosophers throughout the ages have referred to nothingness, and indicated that nothingness is the ground of all being. Thus we and all we can see and measure in nature also includes that which we cannot see and measure. There is something and nothing, each a facet of the other. These properties of something and nothing are equally necessary for the creation of our consciousness and the life and world we see around us. Up to now scientists have stuck rigorously to the myth of energy and form, since the world of nothingness is very hard to measure and catalog. There are hardly any concepts available to quantify what has no quantity, and to measure what has no size, and to weigh what has no weight.

Since I’m not myself a scientist, I tend to do my research on the current state of science in the pages of the Scientific American magazine rather than in the technical journals. In each issue at least one prominent scientist will explain his work in a way that can be understood. In the November issue, on page 38, is the article The Inner Life of Quarks, by Don Lincoln. In this article Dr. Lincoln gives some hints of the presence of nothingness, even though he’s clearly not aware of it, and would probably deny it if pressed.

Quarks, leptons and photons are considered to be the smallest and most elementary particles in the physics of the very small. Fundamental particles are those tiny building blocks which join together to form the structure of atoms and molecules and everything we are. The hypothetical Higgs field proposes that the vacuum of space contains an omnipresent field that can slow down some but not all elementary particles. Don’t ask me to explain further.

“The Standard Model [of physics],” Dr. Lincoln says, “postulates that the Higgs field is the source of mass for fundamental particles. Massive particles feel a sort of drag as they move through this ubiquitous field, whereas massless particles such as the photon glide through unmolested.”

Massless particles can easily represent a description of nothingness. Dr. Lincoln goes on to state that all the data is consistent with quarks and leptons possibly having “zero size.” Of course he doesn’t really consider that zero mass and zero size could be the equivalent of nothingness. Such a leap of logic would take the discussion outside the Standard Model of physics, and he’s not willing to go there.

He is, however, willing to postulate that quarks and leptons may be made up of a group of other components, which are at present theoretical and are given the name “preons.” If a certain group of quarks and leptons have no mass and zero size, then their building blocks will be most certainly within the realm of nothingness.

He’s honest enough to state that we may simply have inadequate equipment to observe these preons. Yes, it seems quite correct to say that we don’t yet have the technology to measure nothingness. Two hundred years ago we didn’t have the technology to observe germs. A hundred years ago we didn’t have the technology to observe atoms. And so it goes.

Michelle McGee in her research is more than willing to enter the arena of nothingness. She insists that the universe and all that’s in it, including ourselves, consists of both something and nothing at the same time. And she insists that the nothing plays just as much a part in our existence as the something.

From her train of logic it follows that the basic particles which make up the nothingness part of the universe, the ones which feel no drag as they move through the Higgs field, are without energy, have no force, and can move at any speed at all. It is only when they acquire energy that they become the perceivable “something” building blocks of matter which we routinely see, touch and calculate about. Yet the nothingness does not depart. Currently perceivable matter includes both something and nothing at the same time. With an openness to the presence of the nothingness, we can perceive “nothing.” Only then will our perceptions provide a more complete view of the nature of reality and the universe.