Thursday, December 31, 2009

Setterfield & c-Decay: "Data and Creation: The ZPE-Plasma Model"

In this post, long overdue, I'll address Setterfield's paper which he also labels as “Response to Tom Bridgman, part II”, available here

As we'll see, this paper is a very weak response to my complaints.  In the process, Setterfield provides even more examples of why his claims qualify as pseudoscience.

In Section II, under 'The Zero Point Energy and the Redshift', Setterfield again raises the issue of William Tifft's claims of quantized redshifts.  I've covered some of the issues with redshift quantization when discussing John Hartnett's use of this claim (see John Hartnett's Cosmos 1, 2.).  Providing more concrete examples of the problems are planned for a future post.

One of the key ingredients for any science to be reproducible is that other researchers must be able to use any mathematical techniques defined to test and expand on the research.  I'll use the example Setterfield uses in the sections 'The Zero Point Energy and atomic constants' and 'The Atomic age of our galaxy'.

First, take a look at an abbreviated version of equation 9:

c ~ (1+z) = (1+T)/sqrt(1-T^2).

The variable T represents the fraction of time since creation to today, or the scaled time.  T=0 corresponds to today, while T=1 corresponds to the time of creation of the universe in Setterfield's model.   Note that by this equation, the redshift value, z, is zero today and infinite at the time of the creation of the universe.  Okay so far.  This is the one thing I mention in Setterfield G that Setterfield actually fixed, by eliminating the problems created by the trailing '-1' from this equation.

But this doesn't solve the problems I raise later in Setterfield G.

Setterfield mentions that the '~' symbol means 'proportional to'.  To be more definite, it means there is  a simple constant that relates the two quantities.  We'll use the symbol K for this constant, the same symbol Setterfield uses later in equation 13.  So equation 9 becomes

c = K(1+z) = K(1+T)/sqrt(1-T^2)

We can choose our units in something convenient.  For example, if we let our unit of time be one year and the unit of distance be one lightyear, then the speed of light today is (1 lightyear/1 year) = 1.  This has the net effect of casting our speed-of-light measurements into units relative to the speed-of-light today. 

What is the value of K for these units?  That's easy to determine from the data Setterfield has provided.  For today, using the units defined above, c=1 and z=0 so equation 9 becomes

1 = K(1+0)

which is only satisfied if K=1.  Therefore, equation 9 can be written

c = 1+z = (1+T)/sqrt(1-T^2)

Next, we examine Setterfield's equation 10, the lookback time, which is just the distance the light has traveled if emitted at the scaled time, T and received today.  He states that this is the integral of equation 9, but he doesn't tell the complete story.  He writes the equation as

t = K*[arcsin(T) - sqrt(1-T^2) -1]

where K* is yet another constant.  He solves for K* by matching that the total lookback time to creation of the galaxy to have an apparent age of about 12.3 billion years.  With this constraint, he obtains

K* = 4.7846e9 lightyears or years

Using some additional manipulations, which are unclear, he determines the value of K in equation 12

K = 1.780e6

Now look at Setterfield's use of K in equation 13

c* = K(1+z)

which reveals that what Setterfield is calling c* is what we call 'c' above.

But now, according to Setterfield, K is not equal to one!  To get another clue, let's use Setterfield's equation 13 to determine the speed of light today, when z=0.  We get:

c* = 1.780e6(1+0) = 1.780e6 = 1,780,000.0

or, according to Setterfield, the speed of light today is nearly 2 million times faster than the speed of light today???!!!  This is an internal contradiction in Setterfield's theory.  It generates nonsensical values in a location where we have reliable measurements! 

What gives??

The fatal error, which Setterfield has been repeatedly evading, is that in the transition of integrating equation 9 to generate equation 10, the constant 'K' must be equal to 'K*'.  Setterfield never acknowledges this fact and here demonstrates a significant effort to hide it.

This article is clearly not a response to me as Setterfield does not address any of the issues I raised in “Setterfield G”, he merely tries to hide it behind another layer of obfuscation.   This is a 'sleight of math' maneuver that is highly suspicious because it suggests Setterfield knows his claims are in deep trouble and is trying to hide the error.  The alternative is that Setterfield really has no clue what he is doing.  Either way, with the lousy math skills he's demonstrated, I would not want Mr. Setterfield doing my tax accounting!

Here is another example of how, as with many other pseudosciences, if they provide any kind of mathematical model at all, it is a model that is useless for research by anyone else.  This makes it impossible to become 'accepted science'.  In the process of solving problems 'out there' where we have poor measurements, flawed models generate nonsensical results in areas where we have good measurements!

I'll save comments on the "Origin of the Elements" section for a future post.

1 comment:

tubeist- dan said...

This item was written in December 2009, and presumably answers the Setterfield revision of March 2009 that (elsewhere) Setterfield holds to answer a previous round of objections by Bridgman. I find no further 'answers' to Bridgman on his website. I have to assume then that, after 5-6 years, Barry has really and truly thrown in the towel.