Sunday, April 13, 2014

New Geocentrist Propaganda Film

The past week or so, there's been a little noise around the scientific community about how some prominent names in the physics community such as Lawrence Krauss & Michio Kaku have appeared in the trailer of a 'documentary' film promoting Biblical Geocentrism.  It's been written about on several science blogs:
Laurence Krauss responded at Future Tense: I Have No Idea How I Ended Up in That Stupid Geocentrism Documentary.  Actress Kate Mulgrew who was the narrator,  reports that she felt the agreement misrepresented the motives of the producers (GeekOSystem: OH THANK GOD: Kate Mulgrew Is Mad About the Geocentric Documentary, Too).

I don't regard the scientists statements of not remembering being interviewed as a surprise.  Some of these people spend a large fraction of their time doing narrations and interviews like this and after awhile they start to look alike.  In addition, I strongly suspect that after agreeing to narrate a production, even if they realized later that the party had misrepresented their motives, changing their mind at that point might be a breach of contract inviting all kinds of legal grief.  Even a script in advance does not always tell the complete story, and can be subjected to revisions after the original agreement.

There is a response from the production company at The Raw Story: ‘I can tell you how Lawrence Krauss ended up in our film. He signed a release form and cashed a check’

The funniest part about this for me is that the two Geocentists mentioned, Robert Sungenis & Rick DeLano, had mentioned in this blog in November of 2010 that Krauss had made statements 'supportive' of their claims (link).  I had actually spoken to Krauss after a talk he gave in December 2010 and mentioned this (link). 

I mentioned it again when Krauss spoke at NCAS promoting "A Universe from Nothing" in January 2012, I pointed out to him that the Geocentrists were planning to invite him to one of their conferences (Reading: A Universe from Nothing by Lawrence Krauss).

Dr. Krauss' response suggests he might have granted an interview even if the Geocentrists had explicitly stated their agenda.  Dr. Krauss has willingly presented to groups that were somewhat pre-disposed to opposing what he had to say.  I was in attendance at Krauss' presentation at the American Enterprise Institute (February 11, 2008) which was a somewhat hostile audience (C-SPAN: Scientific Literacy and Public Policy).  Krauss was also interviewed on Bob Enyart's "Real Science Friday" (a blatantly Young-Earth Creationist radio show) in an episode broadcast September 21 & 29, 2012.

The quotes from Krauss and Kaku in the trailer are so incredibly general that they can be used in support of ANYTHING an editor of the video wanted to claim.  Quote-mining (Wikipedia) is the easy and popular tactic of pseudo-scientists.

Now it's not like these types of things have never happened before.  Richard Dawkins and Michael Shermer were duped into interviews for Ben Stein's ID propaganda film "Expelled"(Wikipedia).

I'm no longer surprised about reports of the deceitful tactics used by groups that are also claiming their religious faith makes them morally superior to others!  This type of bearing false witness is just more evidence that these types of groups are the 'wolves' that Jesus warned his followers about (Creationist Junk Debunked) and so their so-called 'faith' is false.  These groups are not about religion, but about political power.

I've still found no response from Sungenis, DeLano et al on my Lagrange point challenge, to demonstrate that their claimed 'favored' motionless position for the Earth can generate these locations which have actually been used for spaceflight.  I've already presented an example using an N-body code.  Perhaps the report that 'The Principle' focuses on the cosmological-scale 'copernican principle' is a convenient way to evade these practical implications of their claims?  After all, the Geocentrists' alternative is to claim all spaceflight (or at least anything beyond low-Earth orbit) is a hoax. 

I've also demonstrated how the apparent 'geocentric' view of catalogs like the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) and others is an artifact of our measurement limitations (see Quantized Redshifts. IX. Testing the Null Hypothesis, Quantized Redshifts. X. Testing Our "Designer Universe", Quantized Redshifts XI. My Designer Universe Meets Some Data and What's Next... ).  After all, if you stand atop the tallest mountain and look as far as you can see, then YOU appear to be the 'Center of the Universe'!  I suspect such thinking really appeals to delusional egomanics!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Gaining momentum...

The post I'm preparing seems to be getting longer and longer, so eventually it will appear as multiple posts, but even the individual parts continue to change...

In the meantime,

RealClearScience: Time to Bring Pseudoscience into Science Class!

Also available (with some comments) here:

Nice to see more are catching on to what myself and others have been advocating for years...

CrankAstro: Why We Should Teach About Creationism in Science Classes (2005)

and others such as Stuart Robbins (Exposing PseudoAstronomy), David Dixon (Dr. David Dixon: Pathological Physics: Tales from "The Box" ) and others linked off my blog list.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Other News & Worthwhile Links

Jupiter and YECs

Stuart Robbins at Exposing PseudoAstronomy has released a new podcast on the claims of Young-Earth Creationist (YEC) Spike Psarris that the planet Jupiter is evidence for a young universe.
I encountered Mr. Psarris' claims some years ago, but had never found time to address them due to my lesser familiarity with planetary science.  Thanks to Stuart for addressing this. 

The New Cosmos

The new Cosmos series is out (wikipedia), hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson.  You can find out about showtimes at Fox & National Geographic.   (We're still curious about why ads for the new Russell Crowe movie 'Noah' appear in the commercial breaks of the airings on Fox.  Seems a little odd...)

Naturally, creationist groups are upset:

 and whining for 'Equal Time':

More Fun with the Electric Universe

A new Electric Universe article was recently brought to my attention...
Brian Koberlein: Testing the Electric Universe
Brian examines some basic claims of Electric Universe supporters and compares them to observations, demonstrating how they fail.  As followers of this blog are well aware, these failures are just the tip of the iceberg of what can be demonstrated by competent college, or even high-school level physics students (see Challenges for Electric Universe 'Theorists').

Brian also has a slightly older post dealing with the Alfven-Klein cosmological model:
Brian Koberlein: Sing the Body Electric

Sunday, March 16, 2014

From Pseudo-Science to Real Science

It's an interesting question.  I have lots of friends involved in the sciences and it seems to be a common, though not universal, experience.  If you follow a number of science and skepticism blogs and podcasts, you sometimes hear similar stories from individuals involved in the movement.  It may be more anecdote than data, but it appears many individuals involved as adults in the science and skepticism movement had their own phase of fascination with strange claims.

I had my own phase, probably covering my years from about 7th to 10th grade.  I was a big fan of science fiction before that and followed many of the Gemini and Apollo missions.   But for a time, I was consuming everything I could on UFOs, Velikovsky's "Worlds in Collision", Erich von Daniken's ancient astronauts, psychic phenomena, pyramid power (Wikipedia), and more.

I had been involved with local churches, mostly mainstream Methodist congregations, but even there I was exposed to stories such as claims that Joshua's missing day had been found by NASA (Snopes), as well as the notorious Jack Chick publications (Wikipedia).  Occasionally I would join up with more fundamentalist congregations which introduced me to various flavors of Young-Earth Creationism.

I completed high school with no problems, but was aimless for a number of years, with no defined plans for a college degree.  But I did start taking college physics courses with no degree program.  Eventually I transitioned to degree-seeking, and studied particle physics and relativity, eventually reaching a level of study that most students would not reach until graduate school.  But eventually I dropped out when the load of 2-3 courses plus a near full-time job became too much.  I dropped out with about a year needed to complete a degree.

Yet today I have a Doctorate in Physics & Astronomy, and while not active as a researcher, still actively work with scientific data collected by NASA missions. 

And then there's THIS site, going after others making many of the same claims I once followed with enthusiasm.

So what happened?  What were the influences that shaped this transition?  Were they all external, or internal influences?

Was I from a more affluent family compared to others?  Not really.  Both of my parents were blue-collar.  Both had attended, but never completed college.

Did I have an 'inside track', or 'connections' that facilitated my entry into the scientific community?  I spent most of my life in farm towns, often traveling between towns one or more times per year because my father had a seasonal job.  There is some question that I might be related to the Nobel laureate Percy Bridgman (Wikipedia), but if such a family connection exists, its common point is prior to the 1800s.  I have been approached at various physics-related social functions and asked if I am any relation.

Was I more motivated than others?  Eventually, but it was stop-and-go a lot of times.  When I graduated high school, I had no college plans.  My first try at an undergraduate degree ended with me spending five years as a college drop-out.  I finished my undergraduate degree when I was 32 years old.

Did I receive more encouragement from teachers or other mentors than others?  Perhaps.  I recall a number of little things, but nothing really stands out.  There was one pivotal point, where a friend suggested over lunch that I ditch the 'safe' route I was taking to complete my undergraduate degree, and go full-tilt to complete it and transition to graduate school.  I do regard that event, and choice, as very transitional.

Did I have more opportunities than others?  Perhaps, but many would not been available without self-motivation which put me in the right place at the right time.  Luck is where opportunity meets preparation.

Was I genetically pre-disposed to having a more scientific mindset and the previous activities were just youthful dalliances?  I don't know.

Is my experience unusual?  Or typical?

How this transition occurred is not an idle question.  It goes to the heart of whether efforts such as my web site and others are even worthwhile, or is it fighting an ultimately losing battle against a rising tide of arrogant ignorance?

But for me, it also raises another interesting personal question.  Had it not been for that decision to complete my degree, would I be on the other side of this issue?

Comments describing similar experiences, with or without the transition, welcome.