Archive for
August 2015

Comments for Sunday, August 30, 2015, thru Monday, August 31, 2015:

August 31, 2015 - During lunch yesterday, I finished reading "The Grand Design" by Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow.  While it was a very interesting and enjoyable read, I could probably have gotten more out of it if I hadn't read it in 10 or 15 minute segments while eating breakfast and lunch.  Also, if I had bought it in paperback or hardcover, I would have highlighted many more of the passages and made lots of notes in the margins.  You can also do highlighting and make notes with the Kindle version, but it's not the same.  Using my Kindle, I probably highlighted less than 10 percent of what I would have highlighted if it was a paper book.  And I didn't make any notes at all.  Now I feel there were some parts of it to which I should have paid more attention, but there's no easy way to find those parts again.  And it's not important enough to waste any time on.

So, this morning I started reading a kids' book about Albert Einstein.  It popped up when I was looking for science books available for my Kindle from my local library.  When I browsed through the sample pages for the book, I found them extremely readable, and perfect for reading in 10 and 15 minute segments.  Plus, after just spending a couple months trying to explain basic scientific principles to a bunch of Rationalized Semantic Methodists, I'm curious about how an "expert" would explain such things to 9- or 10-year-olds.  I may not learn anything new about science, but I might learn something new about how to explain science.

Here's a passage from the very beginning of the book that attracted my interest:
IMAGINE that you were to walk into a brick wall. Would it hurt? Of course! Would you need to walk into a brick wall to convince yourself of this? No, you could figure it out without actually having to do it. You know that brick walls are hard. You know that if something hits you in the nose it hurts. So, if your nose were to hit a very hard brick wall, it would hurt.

Congratulations—you’ve just performed a thought experiment. Albert Einstein was famous for using thought experiments to develop his theories and to explain his ideas to other people. He would imagine trains traveling at nearly the speed of light (this was long before rockets) and elevators falling down bottomless shafts or traveling through space. What would people on those trains and in those elevators experience?
Hmm.  I wonder what Rationalized Semantic Methodists think about "thought experiments."  Too bad I've stopped arguing with them.  It might be interesting to find out.

Instead, I am trying to think about my new sci-fi novel.  I'm still trying to come up with a good story line that would be significantly different from the first two books I've already written in the series.  A good idea could pop into my mind today, or it might not happen for months.  Time will tell.

August 30, 2015 - "John Smith" (a.k.a. "Monk E. Mind") wrote this about me on his Facebook group page on Friday morning:
Ed twists everything around to suit himself, and always misses the salient points of any conversation, like his recent "attempt to understanding" our use of Key Terms.

Ed wishes to hide behind the use of dictionary terms useful for casual conversation applying them in scientific discussion.

He will never define his own terms because the available terms are ambiguous and defined in many different ways depending on the source. One needs this sort of word magic in order to argue, "that's not what I meant."
So, according to Rationalized Semantic Methodists ("RSMists"), words as they appear in dictionaries are of no use in a scientific discussion? And I'm supposed to create "unambiguous" definitions for whatever words I will be using?  And who determines if a definition is "unambiguous" or not?  The RSMists do, of course.  They say you are allowed to use your own word definitions.  However, if your definitions disagree with their definitions, that makes things "ambiguous," which is not allowed.  So, in effect, you must use their word definitions.  And if you use their word definitions, you are accepting that their beliefs are correct, because there's no way to argue against their beliefs while using their word definitions.  Their beliefs are based upon their word definitions.

On Friday, I tried to get them to respond to a quiz:

RSMist quiz
The RSMist definition of the word "real" is: "How existing objects are related, the relations between existing objects."  Don't ask me to explain that.  I can made no sense of it whatsoever.  I was hoping they would explain.

The RSMist definition of the word "object" is: "That which has shape."  That "unambiguous" definition of "object" apparently originated with Bill Gaede in his 2003 paper "What is an object?"

A pothole definitely has a shape, and it is "real" because you can use your hand (an object) to feel the shape of another object called a "hole."  The hole in the picture above has an irregular roundish shape.  A black hole is perfectly spherical in shape.  So, both would appear to be "objects" according to RSMist definitions, because they both have shapes.  However, Mr. Gaede's paper also says,
The Moon would not be an object until we show the skeptic that we can land on it, and a black hole would not be an object until we demonstrate that this collapsed star emits photons that touch your eyes.
So, Mr. Gaede's original unambiguous definition was ambiguous.  He didn't mean that just because something has a shape that automatically qualifies it as an object.  No.  What he apparently meant was that, even though an "object" may have a shape, it is still not really an "object" unless it can also be touched, or unless it emits photons.  The moon wasn't an object until 1969 when Neal Armstrong set foot on it.  What was it before 1969?  Mr. Gaede doesn't say.

Can you touch a hole?  No.  The hole is the part of a surface of an object where there is nothing to touch.  The paved street is the "object," and the pothole is an irregularity in the surface of the street.  The hole does not "exist."  What "exists" is the surface irregularity which we call a "hole."  You can touch the irregularity, but you would be touching the irregular surface of the street, not the "hole."  

So, what about a black hole?  It has a shape.  It is spherical.  Is that shape just an "irregularity" in some other object.  What object?  Is space an "object?"  What is the RSMist definition of "space"?  It is: "That which does not have shape."  So, there cannot be an irregularity in the shape of space if space has no shape.  A black hole does emit photons.  But, the photons are red-shifted to the point where they are invisible to our eyes.  So, it's an invisible object.  But, it is not really "invisible," since, if we ever find one to look at, it would look like a hole.  A hole isn't invisible, it just doesn't exist.  A "hole" is an irregularity in something that does exist.  

So far, no Rationalized Semantic Methodist has responded to my quiz.  I can see why.  Their word definitions prevent them from answering questions.  If used to answer questions, their definitions would appear ambiguous (or meaningless). 

when a hole doesn't

Discussions with RSMists long ago became pointless, but I've been continuing my attempts to have an intelligent discussion because I hate to give up.  And, when arguing with someone who has a different understanding of things, it can be very educational to explain your own understanding in fifteen different ways as you try to get the other person to see your point of view.  The more different ways you explain something, the better your own understanding becomes.  But, the objective is to get the other person to understand.  And that cannot happen if all they are doing is insisting that you use their meaningless word definitions.

So, I'm more or less giving up.  Wiser men probably would never have started arguing with RSMists in the first place.  It's very much like the 13 years I spent arguing with Anthrax Truthers (i.e., people who believe the know "the truth" about who sent that anthrax letters of 2001, and they know "the truth" is that the letters were not sent by the person who "the government" says sent them).  I don't think I ever changed the minds of any of them.  And there seems no hope of changing the mind of any RSMist.  More importantly, there doesn't seem to be anything more of value that I can learn from them.  They believe that semantics and philosophy ARE science.  And they believe scientists are wasting their time on such things like performing experiments and gathering evidence.  Evidence is "ambiguous," just like dictionary word definitions.  So, evidence and dictionary definitions are worthless.  Instead, everything can be replaced by their word definitions and their philosophy based upon their word definitions.  And, anyone who doesn't agree is just a dupe of "the establishment."

There's nothing more to be said to them -- unless, of course, you want to say, "I agree with everything the RSMists believe."  Nothing else will be heard.

Comments for Sunday, August 23, 2015, thru Saturday, August 29, 2015:

August 27, 2015 - I had my annual physical this morning.  Everything is fine.  But, it had been another thing on my mind that kept me from focusing on my new sci-fi novel.  I am thinking a bit about the novel.  I'm also getting tired of arguing with Rationalized Semantic Methodists, so I keep looking for ways to put an end to the arguments -- or at least make them more interesting.

Arguing with an RSMist is like arguing with someone who speaks a totally different language and lives on a totally different planet.  But, if at first you don't succeed, try a different method.  That's my motto.  I'm now trying method #439.  

August 25, 2015 - I finished reading Robert B. Parker's crime novel "Blue Screen" yesterday afternoon, at about 3:15.  It was about a 5-hour read.  Maybe 6.  And it was very enjoyable. 

Now I need to get back to work on developing a plot for my new sci-fi novel.

Meanwhile, I just noticed that one of the Rationalized Semantic Methodists posted something about me on the Rational Scientific Method Facebook group back on the 20th.  At that time, I had been without my computer for a couple days, and I thought I'd use my old computer to explain why I wasn't posting to Facebook.  On my old computer I didn't see any way I could use the same Facebook name I used on my laptop, so I used the name "Maggio," which I just picked out of the air.  But, the RSMist interpreted things differently.  He wrote:

Breaking news. The venerable Ed mysteriously vanished. Has not been heard to spew more and more of its mousy nonsense for more than two days. It appears the rodent had been kidnapped or even bumped off by some face called Maggio or suchlike who posted in Anti-Rational Science claiming access to the venerable's computer.
That started a thread where they show that they do not understand why people do not begin discussions by reciting the concocted definitions of the words they will be using.  It is what RSMists do when they want to explain their beliefs.  In the thread, a top RSMist called "John Smith" (a.k.a. "Monk E. Mind") wrote:
Just look at at requirements for theses and dissertations (on-line). One is NEVER required to define their terms.

Defining terms is discouraged in mainstream quackademia. I polled Standford, USLA and 3 other top tier Universities, and the professors all told me that they count off [lower the grade] for persons defining their terms. Everyone should know what we mean, they say.
"Jay Kay" responded:
That makes me cry
To which "John Smith" responded:
in A SCIENTIFIC CONTEXT...All words SHOULD conjure up an image or a movie in your mind. The image or movie needs to be the same for everyone.

But how does one imagine spacetime, or square circles or infinitely dense dimensionless singularities?

One can't. It's impossible!
So, RSMist believe it is "impossible" for people to communicate ideas unless they use the RSMist word definitions. 

In reality, of course, it is just the RSMists who find communications with non-RSMists to be IMPOSSIBLE.  And, it is IMPOSSIBLE for RSMists to understand anyone else because no one else uses RSMist word definitions.
I wish there was a plot idea in there somewhere.  But who would believe that a group could exist where the members believe that communication is impossible if the rest of the world doesn't do things their way?

August 24, 2015 - Ah!  The only new argument from a Rationalized Semantic Methodist overnight was from Stephen J. Crothers.  And it was same old, same old.  He argued that a contradiction is not just semantics, even when you play silly games with semantics to create a false contradiction.

On my Facebook group, we joked about the semantic argument that holes do not exist.  So, if you bought a bag of donut holes at the bakery, you simply bought an illusion or a bag of nothing.  And it doesn't matter how good they taste!  None of the Rationalized Semantic Methodists participated.

Yesterday afternoon, I had an hour to spare, so I started reading "Blue Screen" by Robert B. Parker.  I also read two chapters during breakfast this morning.  It's a easy and fun book to read, with very short chapters and lots of fast-paced dialog.  And, it fits my mood.  So, that's what I'll be doing for the rest of the day.

August 23, 2015 - My experience last week, when I attempted to install Windows 10 and ended up with my laptop computer in some kind of endless loop, is taking on a different meaning as the days pass.  My jaw had literally dropped open when the person at the computer store told me via telephone on Thursday morning that my computer had been fixed, but that the first appointment I could make to pick it up would be at 7 p.m. on Friday evening.  When I asked her to repeat it, because I didn't believe she could have said what I heard, she repeated it.  And she added that if I wanted to just come in an pick it up, it could be a 3 or 4 hour wait, since they were very busy.

Of course, as I mentioned in my August 20 comment, I decided to do the 3 to 4 hour wait option, and I took a book along to read while waiting.  But, there was no significant wait.  I was in an out in about 5 minutes, computer in hand.

Thinking over the experience, it appears that the clerks at the computer store were just following some company procedure.  They'd probably learned from experience that if they tell a customer that they can come in to pick up their computer and it might just be a few minutes wait, but it turns out to be a wait lasting hours, the customer will be infuriated.  So, the store now gives everyone the longest possible waiting time.  That way, the customer will be relieved and pleased that they didn't have to wait anywhere near that long.

And they probably did the same thing when they gave me the "worst-case scenario" about what might happen when they tried to fix my problem with Windows 10.  They told me I could lose all my files and application programs.  I lost nothing.  I should have been relieved and happy, but instead I was somewhat annoyed at being manipulated that way. 

However, I learned that I should definitely do more frequent backups.  On my old computer, I backed things up pretty regularly.  On my new laptop, I only back things up when I've run out of other things to do.  While writing a book, I would back up things up every day.  I didn't want to risk losing more than one day's work.  Since I'm not currently working on a book, there's no need for me to do those daily backups.  And that gets me out of the habit of backing anything up.

Now I have to learn how Windows 10 works.  There are all kinds of subtle and significant differences from Windows 8.1.  And I keep getting messages popping up on my computer screen telling me I need to do something about my wi-fi connection (which I don't have) and about my default browser (some new kind of browser I never heard of, but which appears to be incompatible in some way with my security software).  I'll have to look into those things when I get some time.  First, I need to figure out how to start up Microsoft Paint.  Somewhere there must be a set of instructions that doesn't assume you already know a lot of technical jargon and arcane procedures.  (Added note: I puttered around and found a way to start up Microsoft Paint.  But, I didn't write down the steps as I went through them.  So, if Paint ever vanishes from the task bar, I'll have to putter around until I stumble across the solution again.)

Meanwhile, I'm still arguing with Rationalized Semantic Methodists ("RSMists") on my Facebook group.  I'm trying to find a way to bring an end to the pointless debate.  They appear to be arguing philosophy against science, because they think philosophy IS science.  Yesterday, an RSMist argued,
What evidence could possibly point to infinite curvature or density naively invoked by the quacksters? 
When I asked him who ever talked about "infinite density," the RSMist replied,
Mr . Hawking and Mr. Penrose did as well as the rest of developers of the black hole singularity nonsense.
By some truly weird - even spooky - coincidence, I have been reading Hawking's book "The Grand Design" during breakfast and lunch.  And during breakfast this morning, since I had finished the novel I had been reading, I returned to "The Grand Design."  And I read this:
Measurements of helium abundance and the CMBR [Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation] provided convincing evidence in favor of the big bang picture of the very early universe, but although one can think of the big bang picture as a valid description of early times, it is wrong to take the big bang literally, that is, to think of Einstein’s theory as providing a true picture of the origin of the universe. That is because general relativity predicts there to be a point in time at which the temperature, density, and curvature of the universe are all infinite, a situation mathematicians call a singularity. To a physicist this means that Einstein’s theory breaks down at that point and therefore cannot be used to predict how the universe began, only how it evolved afterward. So although we can employ the equations of general relativity and our observations of the heavens to learn about the universe at a very young age, it is not correct to carry the big bang picture all the way back to the beginning.
So, the RSMist was wrong - sort of.  Hawking wrote about "infinite density," but only to explain that it is one possible mathematical solution to an equation, but it is also logically and probably scientifically impossible.  Neither Einstein nor Hawking actually believed or thought there is a point of infinite density "and curvature of the universe" before the "Big Bang."

Now I have to figure out how to explain that to the RSMist.

And a different RSMist is arguing that
"Strictly speaking, black holes do not exist. Moreover, holes, of any kind, do not exist."
It's a semantic argument which he is arguing is NOT a semantic argument. 

Here's the rest of the quote from "Introduction to Black Hole Astrophysics" by Gustavo E. Romero and Gabriela S. Vila:
You can talk about holes of course.  For instance, you can say: "there is a hole in the wall."  You can give many details of the hole: it is big, it is round-shaped, light comes through it.  Even, perhaps, the hole could be such that you can go through it to the outside.  But we are sure that you do not think that there is a thing made out of nothingness in the wall.  Certainly not.  To talk about the hole is an indirect way of talking about the wall.  What really exists is the wall.  The wall is made out of bricks, atoms, protons and leptons, whatever.  To say that there is a hole in the wall is just to say that the wall has certain topology, a topology such that not every closed curve  on the surface of the wall can be continuously contracted to a single point.  The hole is not a thing.  The hole is a property of the wall.
So, a hole does not "exist."  What "exists" is the matter surrounding the hole.  The hole is an empty space where none of the matter exists.  So, a black hole cannot possibly exist.  But, the RSMist claims that isn't a semantic argument.  It means a black hole literally cannot exist. Sigh.

Comments for Sunday, August 16, 2015, thru Saturday, August 22, 2015:

August 22, 2015 - I doubt that anyone cares, but during lunch today I finished reading "High Five," a Stephanie Plum novel by Janet Evanovich.  It was a hard cover copy that I picked up at book sale somewhere.  It was very funny.  I've read the four previous novels in the series, and I've got "Hot Six," by the same author, in paperback, on a shelf in my office.  I may read it next.  Or maybe I'll start on a Robert Parker novel in the stack.  I'm about 65% done with Stephen Hawking's book "The Grand Design," which I had been reading during breakfast and lunch.  But, that's on hold for the moment.  Reading novels seems to help in breaking me of the routine of arguing with Rationalized Semantic Methodists on Facebook.  And it is a relaxing way to spend a summer day.

August 21, 2015 - I'm hoping that my little problem with Windows 10 may have created a situation where I can stop arguing with Rationalized Semantic Methodists and get to work on my sci-fi novel.  It did break the pattern.  It got me started on reading a novel.  And I can't just leave a novel half-read.  So, I'm going to finish it.  Which will mean I won't be spending all day on my laptop.  And, reading generally puts me in the mood for writing.  So, I'm shutting down my computer for today to go read a book. 

August 20, 2015 - I'm baaaaaaaack!  On Monday afternoon I tried installing Windows 10 on my laptop computer.  The installation when smoothly for the first hour and a half, while there was a circle on the screen that changed to show me what percent of completion had been reached.  It took 1½ hours to get to 100% complete.  Then, at the very last step of the installation, it went into some kind of loop, just blinking the start screen on and off.  There seemed to be no way to get it to stop, which meant the computer was useless.  I called the technicians at the store where I bought it,  They told me to just let it run, that the blinking would go away in a few minutes.  I'd already let it run for twenty minutes, but I let it run for another hour and a half.  It was still blinking and totally useless to me. 

I used my old computer to do some research and found it was a common problem.  I tried several proposed solutions, but none that I could understand worked.  The other "solutions" had too much technical jargon that I couldn't decipher, or I wasn't willing to risk trying the entire solution.  Finally, on Tuesday evening, after being unable to use the computer for a full day, I took my laptop back to the computer store where I bought it, and where it is still under a 1-year service plan.  I got it back this afternoon (Thursday).  I have no idea what they did to fix it, but it seems to be working okay.  And I am running Windows 10.

On my old computer I was able to continue my comments on Stephen J. Crothers' nonsensical "scientific paper"
titled "Black Hole Escape Velocity - a Case Study in the Decay of Physics and Astronomy."  (He hasn't responded in over a day, so maybe he has seen the error of his ways --- maybe.)  However, I couldn't get into my own Facebook group to continue the arguments there.  I couldn't get to one of my three email accounts.  And I couldn't update this web site.  I couldn't do much except research and browse the Internet.  So, I started reading a novel.

Things really seemed nuts when I called the computer store this morning at 11 a.m. to tell them something I'd learned about the problem, and they advised me my computer was already fixed.  But, they said the first open appointment time for me to pick it up was 7 p.m. tomorrow.  However, they also advised me I could try just stopping in to pick it up, but they said it could a 3 to 4 hour wait. 

This afternoon, after my regular workout at the gym, I took the novel I was reading with me and went to the computer store, all prepared to wait for two hours or so to see if they could fit me in.  I only had to wait about 5 minutes.  I got there around 2:45 p.m., their 2:30 appointment was already gone, and the next appointment wasn't scheduled to start until 3.

The #1 lesson I learned: Make sure you do a backup of EVERYTHING before you install Windows 10 (or any new operating system).  The guy at the computer store kept talking about how they might have to wipe the hard drive and go back to the point where things were when I first bought the computer.  That was my #1 worry for the past two days.  I didn't lose anything.  Everything seems to be working fine.  I can see lots of minor differences between Windows 8.1 and 10, but I see nothing that was worth the aggravation and worry of the past 3 days.

August 17, 2015 - If you dig into what a Rational SEMANTIC Methodist really believes, you may find that they are conspiracy theorists.  Here's a conspiracy theory described by one man whose writings evidently inspire RS Methodists:
These Black Hole believers depend on government grants for their money and they have and will promulgate anything to keep these funds coming in. People and that includes those scientists, will do anything for money. Anything contrary will be, and is totally suppressed by the establishment and the media to keep the truth from the politicians and the public. Unfortunately, they have succeeded so far.
So, if you do not believe in black holes and cannot get your "scientific papers" arguing against black holes published in mainstream journals, it is because mainstream scientists are conspiring to keep you silent.  It has nothing to do with the fact that your paper is illogical, unscientific and badly written.     

August 16, 2015 - My arguments with Rationalized SEMANTIC Methodists are taking a new turn.  Their arguments are so hilarious that I've decided to create cartoons to illustrate them.  They argue that I make "fallacious arguments," but they are the ones who are constantly distorting what I say to create fallacious arguments.  When I try to explain to them that word definitions are not matters of law, and that perfect word definitions that are totally unambiguous are contrary to the nature of human language, I get arguments like these:
fallacious argument #1
and this:
fallacious argument #2

When I try to tell them that their arguments are SEMANTIC and not scientific, here's the typical response:
yelling versus telling 
They insist that their word definitions are "unambiguous," yet they seem to argue amongst themselves about their word definitions every day. 
I put a collection of these cartoons on my interactive blog.  I have a feeling that a lot more will be forthcoming.

Meanwhile, Stephen J. Crothers, who was a speaker at the 2nd annual RSMist conference in Salzburg, Austria, in 2014, has written a new scientific paper titled "
Black Hole Escape Velocity - a Case Study in the Decay of Physics and Astronomy."  Here's part of the Abstract:
Cosmologists always claim that their black holes, mathematical fabrications entire, have an escape velocity. They even have an equation for it and by using this equation they assert that the ‘escape velocity’ at their black hole ‘event horizon’ is the speed of light. This event horizon, they say, is at the ‘Schwarzschild radius’ of their black hole; and they have an equation for that too. On the other hand, the cosmologists also always assert that nothing can even leave the event horizon of their black holes. Light, they say, hovers forever at their event horizon as it tries to leave or escape the clutches of a black hole. Thus, according to the cosmologists, their black holes have and do not have an escape velocity simultaneously at the same place. However, nothing can in fact have and not have an escape velocity simultaneously at the same place. This schizophrenic character of the black hole is sufficient to completely invalidate it.
It's yet another SEMANTIC argument:  If the escape velocity from a black hole is greater than the speed of light, and nothing can go faster than the speed of light, then there is NO escape velocity from a black hole.   And because the words and calculations seem "schizophrenic" to RSMists, the entire scientific theory of Black Holes is invalidated - as far as they are concerned.

That RSMist semantic principle is illustrated in another cartoon I created before I came across Mr. Crothers' paper:

black hole argument
Since "a picture is worth a thousand words," I sometimes think a cartoon may be worth ten thousand words.

And since roughly 600 people had viewed Mr. Crothers' paper without any one of them writing a comment, I decided to help him understand where he his wrong.  Yesterday, I wrote this comment:

The minimum velocity required to escape from a black hole can be calculated. The fact that we know of nothing that can achieve that minimum velocity doesn't affect the calculation. The escape velocity is known. We do NOT know of anything that can achieve that velocity. The unknown doesn't eliminate the known.
Mr. Crothers, however, didn't appreciate my effort to help.  This morning he responded with this:
Ed Lake - You have missed the point completely. The black hole has the dual properties of having and not having an escape speed simultaneously at the same place (i.e. at the so-called 'event horizon'). Since it is impossible for anything to have and not have an escape speed simultaneously at the same place, the black hole is nonsense. Case Closed!
And, in another effort to help him understand, I explained that a black hole does NOT "have and not have" an escape speed simultaneously in the same place.  Then, I added this:
A black hole has an escape speed, but we know of nothing that can reach that escape speed. You are twisting words to create an fallacious argument. Fallacious arguments do not affect scientific findings.
Somehow I do not think he'll accept that helpful explanation. 

Comments for Sunday, August 9, 2015, thru Saturday, August 15, 2015:

August 13, 2015 - This morning, I actually tried to get through Einstein's 1905 paper "On The Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies" to see if I could figure out how to relate my understanding of what causes Time Dilation to Einstein's words.  Did Einstein say the same thing I said, but using different words?  I wasn't able to figure it out. I need to be able to sit down with nothing else on my mind and just study it - word by word - sentence by sentence - making notes and highlighting passages.  Then maybe I'll see if Einstein implied that velocity slows down Time because velocity slows down the orbits of electrons in the objects that are moving.  Or was he providing a way to calculate Time Dilation and describing its cause without actually describing the electromagnetic mechanics of WHY Time Dilation occurs? 

Meanwhile, I continue to argue with Rationalized Semantic Methodists about their absurd belief that their word definitions control the universe.  Of course, they don't phrase things that way.  They just argue that everything in the universe must be either an object or a concept.  They argue that a Black Hole is neither an object nor a concept by their concocted definitions, therefore it is impossible and cannot exist.  Furthermore, gravity is not an object, so it must be a concept.  And a concept cannot perform actions like causing my jaw to drop open at the absurdness of their beliefs.       

August 12, 2015 - NUTS!  I really expected (or hoped) that some kind of discussion about my "scientific paper" titled "Time Dilation Re-visualized" would get started in the "Science, Technology, and Society Discussion Corner" Facebook group.  With 6,294 members (up 15 from yesterday), you'd think that someone would have read my paper and commented on it.  However, it appears that, while they are all evidently "interested" in science, they are not sufficiently interested to read my article or knowledgeable enough about science to discuss it.  What I have so far in the thread I started is one guy grumbling about how much of his taxes goes to fund NASA, another grumbling (incorrectly) that Time Dilation only relates to space travel and not to things here on earth, and another just mentions an minor aspect of Time Dilation without making any point.

On the positive side, the statistics do show that one person accessed my paper overnight, and the number of viewers for this web site (which includes a page about Time Dilation) yesterday was the highest so far this month.  But there's no way to tell if that one person came via the Facebook group or if the visitor statistics aren't just up because of something in the news.

Meanwhile, my arguments with Rationalized SEMANTIC Methodists are still only about SEMANTICS.  They cannot comprehend the sentence "Gravity pulls things together."  Here's their argument:
Gravity = pull. Gravity is a SPECIFIC type of pull.

Here, I'll give you an analogy that a 5 year old could understand.

Red is to color as gravity is to pull.

Red is a specific concept that falls under the general category of "color".

Gravity is a specific concept that falls under the category of "pull".

So essentially you're saying "A type of pull causes pull..."
Nope.  I was just saying that "gravity pulls things together."  It is a perfectly logical and valid sentence consisting of a noun (gravity), a verb (pulls), another noun (things), and an adverb (together).  Nearly every English-speaking person on Earth can understand it, and if translated into any other established language it would still make equal sense.  But, it evidently makes no sense when translated via the Rationalized SEMANTIC Method.  Whose fault is that?  RSMists say it is my fault, because I don't use their SEMANTICS.  It cannot be their fault, since the Rationalized SEMANTIC Method is flawless.  Period.      

August 11, 2015 - Yesterday, in hopes of getting a discussion going on my "re-visualized" explanation of Time Dilation, I joined a Facebook group titled "Science, Technology, and Society Discussion Corner."  It has 6,279 members, which is far more than most.   This morning, they accepted my application, and I started a new thread about Time Dilation.  I got an immediate response, but it was clearly from someone who didn't bother to read my article or web page.  He just wanted to give his opinion on generalities.  But, it's better than no response at all.  Time will tell if anything productive comes from it.

August 10, 2015 - I awoke this morning thinking about the "Electric Universe Theory" and the idea that gravity is just another form of electromagnetism.  It's way outside of my areas of expertise, but it unexpectedly seems to fit with the idea that Time Dilation results from an object's velocity through space affecting the orbital velocity of electrons going around the nuclei of the object's atoms - as described in my "scientific paper" titled "Time Dilation Re-visualized."

I didn't really know why velocity causes Time Dilation when I wrote that paper.  I simply provided my understanding of "why" velocity affects Time, and I hoped that someone would write a comment if my understanding was incorrect.  Now I see that my understanding (or misunderstanding) has all sorts of implications regarding what Time really is.  Groan!  I really don't have the time to figure all this stuff out!         

August 9, 2015 - Today is the 1-Month Anniversary of the creation of my Facebook group "Rational Scientific Methodists (RSMists) & Their Beliefs."  And, once again, I spent most of the past week arguing with RSMists, while I also renamed them "Rationalized Semantic Methodists," since they argue that their newly concocted "fool proof" word definitions "renders invalid widely-accepted, sine qua non [absolutely essential] hypotheses proposed by relativity and quantum theory."  Some of the discussions were pretty hilarious, while at the same time being informative.  When I pointed out to one of them that I had "published" a "scientific paper" about Time Dilation on, the RSMist ridiculed me for it, declaring: " is a crankster site par excellence."

So, I advised him that the only reason I even knew about is because an RSMist named Jeffrey Wolynski has published about 150 papers there, AND the big cheese of RSMism, Bill Gaede," has TWO papers published there.  Plus, other RSMists have published papers there.  That seemed to bring an end to that particular discussion with the RSMist.  

However, the RSMist had earlier pointed out that is NOT run by Cornell University, as I was thinking, but was set up as an alternative to Cornell's web site.  It even says on the site:
" is an e-print archive set up as an alternative to the popular service owned by Cornell University. It has been founded by scientists who find they are unable to submit their articles to because of Cornell University's policy of endorsements and moderation designed to filter out e-prints that they consider inappropriate."
Oops!  I had undoubtedly read that at the bottom of's main page, but for some reason it didn't sink in.   So, yesterday I had to go back through this web site to see where I may have mentioned Cornell, and I found two places where I'd mentioned that they created  I corrected those errors.

I don't know if any readers of this web site ever noticed the error, but one reason for arguing with people who disagree with you is that they WILL point out any errors you make, while more friendly people might just let them pass.

Meanwhile, the RSMist had also made a point of the fact that no one has written any significant comments about my "scientific paper" on Time Dilation, and he suggested that I make it known to people who post to regular mainstream science Facebook pages.  I thought that was a good idea, so I looked around for such a Facebook page and found what might possibly be one at "Science-Fact?".  Since no membership was required, I started a thread about my "scientific paper" there.  No comments so far.

This is all very interesting to me, but I have no idea if anyone reading this web site finds it even moderately interesting.

This morning, while trying to figure out why top RSM guru Bill Gaede doesn't seem to understand anything about ionized gas - a.k.a. "plasma" - I found a video of his that indicates he also doesn't understand the word "vortex."  Here it is:


What's so difficult to understand about the term "vortex"?  It's a mass of swirling liquid or gas, like a whirlpool or a tornado.  Mr. Gaede seems to be having some problem with the fact that it is moving.  But I haven't yet figured out his problem to the point where I can explain it.

I think I understand why he has a problem with the word "plasma," however.  His so-called "rope hypothesis," which replaces gravity with tiny "ropes" connecting every atom in an infinite universe to to every other atom, doesn't seem to account for atoms losing or gaining electrons.  There doesn't appear to be any way to break off a part of an atom in Mr. Gaede's universe, nor is there any way to add an electron to an atom.  His "ropes" only connect atoms, not parts of atoms.

Ideally, some "expert" with a much better understanding of physics would be showing Mr. Gaede and his followers how Mr. Gaede's "rope hypothesis" makes absolutely no sense and can be easily disproved.  But, it appears that all such experts have better things to do.  So, it's left to me to try to explain things to his followers. (There's no point in trying to explain anything to Mr. Gaede directly.  He just assumes anyone who disagrees with him is "stupid," and he endlessly attacks them personally to show his unbounded disdain.)

I probably won't be able to change the mind of any RSMist, but the process of explaining usually requires that I try to fully understand the subject first, or learn about it.  So, it can be very educational.  And that makes it worthwhile -- even if I should really be working on my sci-fi novel.

Added note: After writing the above comment, I did some research and found that Bill Gaede was ranting against a different pseudo-science group.   He was ranting against someone who posted something on some "Electric Universe" group which as a  different theory about the universe.  I looked up "Electric Universe Theory" and found that says:

The "Electric Universe" (EU) is an umbrella term that covers various pseudo-scientific cosmological ideas built around the claim that the formation and existence of various features of the universe can be better explained by electromagnetism than by gravity. The exact claims are diverse and vary from crank to crank author to author. A common motif is the insistence that all science should be done in a laboratory — an attempt to throw away gravity from the very beginning, because one can't put a solar system or a galaxy in a laboratory. Most Electric Universe proponents claim some kind of relation to the "plasma cosmology" of the Nobel Prize laureate Hannes Alfvén. Too bad his model was rendered obsolete by the missing observations of the radio emission predicted by his cosmology.[2]

EU advocates can be roughly split into two groups: garden-variety physics cranks who are convinced that they have a legitimate revolutionary scientific theory, and various woo-peddlers who use EU claims to prop their main ideas (because mainstream physics would blow them apart). One subset of the latter comprises some of the more loony global warming deniers (such as Vault-Co), who try to use it to "prove" that climate change is being caused by some process outside human control.

Groan!  It's another pseudo-science group that I never heard of before.  I was looking for a Facebook group where I might get a discussion going about my "scientific paper."  But, do I really want to know what EUers think of it?  It might be interesting to know.  In some ways, Time Dilation might be more about electromagnetism than about gravity.  But, if EUers attack the paper, RSMists will see that a proof that no one accepts what I wrote.

I really, really, REALLY need to get to work on my sci-fi novel      

Comments for Saturday, August 1, 2015, thru Saturday, August 8, 2015:

August 7, 2015 - While I'm pretty much finished with analyzing the "Rational Scientific Method" (RSM), I'm still looking for the best way to describe certain aspects of it.   This morning it occurred to me that the S in "RSM" should really stand for "Semantics," since word definitions are the key component in their so-called "Method."  They concoct new, supposedly "unambiguous" definitions for words, and then they they declare that their definitions disprove mainstream theories - like the existence of black holes.  Black Holes do not fit their word definitions, therefore they rationalize that black holes cannot exist.

This morning I realized that "RSM" should stand for:
Rationalized Semantic Method
When I advised them of my observation, some RSMists protested, but they soon went quiet when the logic of it was shown to be solid.  Presumably, they will think it over and come up with some new arguments tomorrow or later.  Maybe they'll concoct some new word definitions that prove me wrong.   

August 6, 2015 - In three days I will be celebrating the one month anniversary of my Facebook group about "Rational Scientific Methodists and Their Beliefs."  The group as created on July 9 and has consumed most of my time since then.  Now I feel I'm getting tired of it.  "Social media" is not my "thing."  Plus, there's too much that is out of my control.  There are too many ways that other members can delete entire discussions without the group administrator's (my) approval.  As a result, my attention is drifting to other things.

The latest news on Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 is that they may have found more pieces of  wreckage on that same island where the wing part was found.  It's interesting and a pleasure to read about finding "evidence" instead of arguing with people who do not believe in evidence.     

August 5, 2015 - Yesterday was an eventful day on my Facebook group.  The day before, on Monday, I was concerned that "John Smith" and the other people he brought into my group via "welcome" messages were going to do a "hostile takeover."  Yesterday, it appeared they were going to delete all their comments inside their welcome threads, thus preventing me from preserving them as a "monument" to their hostile tactics.  So, I removed John Smith from the group along with all the members he had brought in.

It now appears that removing a member from a Facebook group also removes his "welcome" thread.  So, I did what I was afraid they were going to do. Looking at the group today, it is almost as if the "hostile takeover" attempt never occurred.

It seems I need to understand that Facebook uses "social media" rules, not the rules used on blogs.  When you remove someone from your "social media" group, you also remove nearly all memory of them, so you can pretend they never existed.  It's like the "social media" rules were written by high-schoolers, and John Smith's Rational Scientific Methodist (RSM) group is where the obnoxious high-school bullies hang out.

The deletion of all those threads also explained how my thread on John Smith's group got deleted.  Smith removed me from the group, and that automatically deleted the thread.  It's all very "counter-intuitive."  One of Smith's buddies was trying to convince me that there was no way the owner of a Facebook group can delete a welcome thread.  To test that, I checked the options available to me for a welcome thread John Smith had created on my group:

Member added to my group
                  by John Smith

It appeared there was no way I could delete the thread that began with the image above.  The only options available to me were to "Turn on notifications" (to cause me to be notified if anyone posted a message to the thread), to "pin" the post (to make this thread stay at the very top of the group's list of threads), and to "hide" the post (to leave it on the group, but not allow ME (and others?) to see it).  But, when I removed "Franky Fargon" from the group because Smith had added him without my approval, the thread was automatically deleted.  So, I COULD delete the thread!  I just had to do it in a "counter-intuitive" way!

And that is almost certainly how Smith deleted MY thread from HIS group.  And he endlessly accused ME of doing the deleting, because "Delete Post" wasn't one of the options available to Smith, but it appears it would have been one of the options available to me (and to "Franky Fargon" in the thread shown above.)

I finally got so frustrated that I was all set to just remove ALL the members from the group and just let the threads I created remain there to show why the Rational Scientific Method makes no sense.

But, some of the remaining 13 members didn't want me to do that.  They want to continue discussing the RSM.  I'm thinking it over.  It might be a good idea if I can get people to discuss things instead of arguing opinions versus opinions.

That may be worth a try.

August 3, 2015 - Hmm.  When I looked at my Facebook group about "Rational Scientific Methodists & Their Beliefs" this morning, I found I was in the midst of a "hostile takeover."  Overnight, a member who calls himself "Sonny Dayes" made "John Smith" a member of my group.  (I haven't found any way to prevent members from bringing in other members whether I approve or not.)  John Smith (a.k.a. "Monk E. Mind") runs the "Rational Scientific Method" group where they spend a lot of time attacking me personally.

John Smith immediately invited 19 of his buddy Rational Scientific Methodists (RSMists) into the group, and they began posting messages all over the place.  They didn't attack me personally, they just demonstrated they could take over.

So, I created a new thread with a suggestion box to help me figure out what to do next.  My current favored idea is to just remove all the current members of the group and leave the group as a monument to what can happen if you don't do anything to prevent a hostile takeover of your Facebook group.  I think I know all I need to know about RSMists.  I don't really see much purpose to continuing with the group.  

But, there is one last piece of unfinished business that I would like to finish.   Sonny Dayes was in the process of showing me how a member can delete an entire "welcome thread" while the group owner cannot delete it.  It may have been just a trick to keep me busy while they made their plans for the hostile takeover, but I would like to see what options the group owner has available versus the welcomed member when you have a "welcome thread" with a lot of messages from many different members.  John Smith claims that I deleted MY welcome thread on his group.  I KNOW I didn't.  If I do NOT have the option to delete a long welcome thread in MY own group, but the welcomed member HAS that option, I would find that to be illogical.  If I can delete the welcome thread, but the member cannot, that would be solid proof that John Smith was lying when he claimed I deleted my welcome thread on his group and he did not.

I apologize if none of this is of any interest to readers who are not on Facebook, but it's been a very interesting learning experience for me.  

August 2, 2015 - I spent most of the past week arguing with Rational Scientific Methodists (RSMists) on Facebook.  At times, I was arguing in two different groups, my own group, which was created with the purpose of figuring out what RSMists are trying to say and do, and an actual RSMist group run by Jake Archer.  I am banned from the "main" RSM group run by "Monk E. Mind," a.k.a. John Smith.  Last week, they urged me to rejoin the group.  When I applied, they immediately banned me again before I could even attempt to post anything.  It's like they are a clique of obnoxious 12-year-olds.

When I logged on this morning, my group consisted of 15 members, including myself.  Last week at this time there were 9.  Jake Archer's group has 594 members, but it's been around for years.  As I recall, Monk E. Mind's group has about 1,200 members, and, of course, it has also been around for years.  I created my group a few weeks ago.  While I was writing this comment, one of the group members left the group.  So, it's now just 14 members.  The guy who left evidently didn't like my rule that personal attacks and insults are not allowed.  Added note: Later in the morning, a member added another member, bringing the total to 15 again.

Arguing with RSMists is virtually identical to arguing with Anthrax Truthers.  There seems to be no way to change their minds about anything.

Meanwhile, I seem to have become involved in another group of some kind.  I don't know if the group has a name or if they even consider themselves to be a "group."  All I know is that there seems to be some kind of movement afoot to remove Time as a dimension of space.  Or they want to redefine Time to be "the numerical order of material change."

The first I learned of it was when Clapton posted some messages to my interactive blog a few weeks ago.  He led me to a 2011 article on titled "Scientists suggest spacetime has no time dimension."  That article, in turn, led me to an article written by the scientists mentioned in the article.  It also showed me another place I could post my article on Time Dilation.  One of the scientists mentioned in the article about spacetime,
Amrit Sorli, then contacted me to tell me he'd written other articles, and I was somehow put on a list to receive copies of messages Amrit Sorli sends to other scientists and messages they send to him.  It's mostly Greek to me.  Amrit Sorli's articles are filled with complex mathematics, way out of my knowledge base.

At first I thought it was a genuine shift in the way "mainstream" scientists are viewing Time.  Now it appears to be a point of argument within the "scientific community," and it is only a few mathematicians who want to change the definition of Time, apparently because it will make their mathematics simpler.

Also meanwhile, I'm learning more and more about Facebook.  Overnight, 3 new members were added to my group.  I didn't add them.  Other members added them.  I didn't know they could do that.  So far, no harm done.  But I worry about my group being taken over by RSMists.  There are lots and lots of interesting aspects to studying a group that believes they can created new word definitions and then use those definitions to disprove scientific findings.  A few months ago, I would never have believed that anyone could be so far removed from reality.    

August 1, 2015 - I just finished reading "The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood" by James Gleick.  My Kindle indicates that I'm only 61% completed, but it appears the last 39% is just notes.

In the last chapter, I found a couple paragraphs that were amazingly relevant to the arguments I've been having with Rational Scientific Methodists.  Their arguments are endlessly over their definitions of words, which they seem to feel are nearly sacred.  They want the rest of the world to use their definitions, because they feel their definitions are "unambiguous."  In my opinion, their definitions are just the opposite of "unambiguous," they are nearly meaningless.

Anyway,  here are the two paragraphs I found:
It was once thought that a perfect language should have an exact one-to-one correspondence between words and their meanings. There should be no ambiguity, no vagueness, no confusion. Our earthly Babel is a falling off from the lost speech of Eden: a catastrophe and a punishment. “I imagine,” writes the novelist Dexter Palmer, “that the entries of the dictionary that lies on the desk in God’s study must have one-to-one correspondences between the words and their definitions, so that when God sends directives to his angels, they are completely free from ambiguity. Each sentence that He speaks or writes must be perfect, and therefore a miracle.” We know better now. With or without God, there is no perfect language.

Leibniz thought that if natural language could not be perfect, at least the calculus could: a language of symbols rigorously assigned. “All human thoughts might be entirely resolvable into a small number of thoughts considered as primitive.” These could then be combined and dissected mechanically, as it were. “Once this had been done, whoever uses such characters would either never make an error, or, at least, would have the possibility of immediately recognizing his mistakes, by using the simplest of tests.” Gödel ended that dream. On the contrary, the idea of perfection is contrary to the nature of language. Information theory has helped us understand that—or, if you are a pessimist, forced us to understand it. “We are forced to see,” Palmer continues, that words are not themselves ideas, but merely strings of ink marks; we see that sounds are nothing more than waves. In a modern age without an Author looking down on us from heaven, language is not a thing of definite certainty, but infinite possibility; without the comforting illusion of meaningful order we have no choice but to stare into the face of meaningless disorder; without the feeling that meaning can be certain, we find ourselves overwhelmed by all the things that words might mean. Infinite possibility is good, not bad. Meaningless disorder is to be challenged, not feared. Language maps a boundless world of objects and sensations and combinations onto a finite space. The world changes, always mixing the static with the ephemeral, and we know that language changes, not just from edition to edition of the Oxford English Dictionary but from one moment to the next, and from one person to the next. Everyone’s language is different. We can be overwhelmed or we can be emboldened.
"With or without God, there is no perfect language."

"the idea of perfection is contrary to the nature of language."

"Meaningless disorder is to be challenged, not feared."

I couldn't have said it better myself.

© 2015 by Ed Lake