The Skeptical Teacher

Musings of a science teacher & skeptic in an age of woo.

Posts Tagged ‘meditation’

Skeptical Teacher Interview on The Secular Buddhist: Community Evolution

Posted by mattusmaximus on February 6, 2014

Once again I was interviewed recently by my friend Ted Meissner who runs The Secular Buddhist podcast, and in this podcast he and I discussed the developments and divisions within the skeptical movement over the last few years.  As Ted and I discuss, these divisions are – in and of themselves – not necessarily a bad thing; I view them as “growing pains” while he refers to the skeptical community as being in a state of rapid evolution via “punctuated equilibrium”.  We also discuss how we can have more constructive and less corrosive interactions with those with whom we do not always agree.  Enjoy! 🙂

Episode 192 :: Matt Lowry :: Community Evolution

matt_lowry_2

Matt Lowry joins us to speak about how our communities, particularly our secular and skeptical ones, are evolving with the rapidity of puncuated equilibrium.

Our groups are evolving. But with evolution, which involves change and difference, we need to be open that it may not all be bad. Diversity, we continually say here on this podcast, is a strength. So how does this happen, and what does it mean when you’re neck-deep in the difficult transitional stages?

Matt Lowry is a high school physics teacher with a strong interest in promoting science education & critical thinking among his students and the population in general. He is a self-described skeptic, someone who believes in Carl Sagan’s adage that “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” His blog The Skeptical Teacher is to allow Matt to expound upon various topics related to skepticism, science, and education.

So, sit back, relax, and have a good Point.

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Physics and Martial Arts: My Interview with The Secular Buddhist

Posted by mattusmaximus on October 8, 2011

While I was at Dragon*Con in Atlanta last month, I did a lot of things.  Among them was to be interviewed by my friend and skeptical colleague Ted Meissner, a.k.a. The Secular Buddhist.  For a long time, Ted and I have wanted to do a discussion on physics and the martial arts, because we are both skeptics and have a history of martial arts training.  And, believe me, if you have been engaged in martial arts training for a considerable amount of time, chances are that you’ve heard some really goofy claims out there.  From “no-touch knockouts” to “shielding with chi”, there’s a lot of nonsense being spread around in the martial arts world, and Ted, me, and Brian Gregory (of Virtual Drinking Skeptically) take it all on.  Enjoy! 🙂

Episode 85 :: Matt Lowry and Brian Gregory :: Physics and Martial Arts

Matt Lowry the Skeptical Teacher, and Brian Gregory of Virtual Drinking Skeptically join us to talk about the myths and facts of the physics of martial arts.

I remember a television show called “That’s Incredible”, and indeed it was. One particular episode had a self-proclaimed martial arts master, James Hydrick who could — supposedly — move pencils and turn phone book pages with his extra-normal powers. This was debunked with a few flakes of packing material on another show, showing how this charlatan was simply using his breath to cause objects to move.

But there are people who mistakenly believe their own press, who think they really do have supernatural powers, or that they are enhancing their strength with invisible fields of cosmic energy. As you can see in one of the embedded videos on the web page for this episode, one fellow comes drastically close to severing his own arm because of this unfounded delusion. It is important for us to question with confidence, to ask for evidence, or else all claims are equally true, and equally, potentially, harmful.

Matt Lowry

Matt Lowry

Matt Lowry is a high school physics teacher (plus a part-time physics & astronomy college professor) with a strong interest in promoting science education & critical thinking among his students and the population in general. He is a self-described skeptic, someone who believes in Carl Sagan’s adage that “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” His blog The Skeptical Teacher is to allow Matt to expound upon various topics related to skepticism, science, and education.

Brian Gregory

Brian Gregory

Brian Gregory is a software engineer that has recently discovered that most of his assumptions about life are wrong; including beliefs, expectations, roles, etc. This transformation, fueled by the Internet, Social Media, Podcasts, and traditional media, has sparked his passion for science, reason, and the naturalistic worldview. Drinking Skeptically is “an informal social event designed to promote fellowship and networking among skeptics, critical-thinkers, and like-minded individuals”. These “real life” groups meet around the country to provide an opportunity for skeptics and skeptic-friendly people to talk, share ideas (and yes, drink) in a casual, relaxed atmosphere.

In case you didn’t notice the Explicit tag in iTunes on this episode, let me just give you an extra warning here: this is an explicit episode. We’re not talking porn, but there may be a light seasoning of expletives. Also be sure to check out the episode page for this episode on The Secular Buddhist website, as I’ve embedded a lot of the videos we talk about on that page. So, sit back, relax, and have a nice… skeptical drink of you choice!

Posted in humor, physics denial/woo | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Skeptical Teacher Interview on The Secular Buddhist

Posted by mattusmaximus on August 13, 2011

During my time at The Amaz!ng Meeting 9, one of the things I got to do was engage in a fun interview with my friend Ted Meissner, who runs the Secular Buddhist podcast, and his colleague Dana Nourie. The info on our interview is below, and I hope you find it (pardon the pun) enlightening 🙂

Episode 77 :: Matt Lowry and Dana Nourie :: Fun With Physics and Walking Through Walls

Dana Nourie and Matt Lowry join us to speak about physics, the natural world, and quantum misperceptions.

Lately, there seems to be an unfortunate mixing of Siddhattha Gotama’s teaching and practice around the existential experience of dissatisfaction, and science. Certainly we do see wonderful scientific studies about what’s going on in the brain during meditation, for example, but that’s a far cry from levitation and walking through walls. Buddhism is not about physics, despite our seeing false patterns of synchronicity between the two.

Of course, I’m not a physicist. Fortunately my good friend Matt Lowry is, and was also in attendance at The Amazing Meeting, and joined Dana Nourie and I to discuss a few questions about physics, and how they might apply — or not apply — to assertions not in evidence. …

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Discovery Channel’s “The Supernaturalist” is Super Stupid

Posted by mattusmaximus on July 7, 2011

There was a time when I had really high hopes for cable channels like the Discovery Channel – I had hoped that they would be bastions that would promote sound science amidst a sea of sensationalistic cable TV docudrama and crapola (can you tell I don’t watch TV or cable?)  Sadly, the more time that passes, the more and more I shake my head in shame for what has happened to the Discovery Channel.  Case in point: the newest show on this “science” network, “The Supernaturalist”.

The show just launched a few days ago, and the Discovery Channel was promoting it as the Next Big Thing on their network.  Here’s the press release:

Mind-blowing Magic in The Supernaturalist

06/14/2011

MAGICIAN USES HIS OWN SKILLS TO FIND ELUSIVE MAGICAL MONK IN NEW
DISCOVERY SPECIAL ‘THE SUPERNATURALIST

Dan White performs mind-blowing magic: manipulating physical objects, performing surprising card tricks and making items appear from seemingly thin air. All of this, he admits, is merely an illusion. White has a mission: to find REAL magic. In Discovery Channel’s THE SUPERNATURALIST, premiering Wednesday, June 29th at 10PM et/pt, White travels to a remote corner of the planet and finds himself in a place where magic isn’t just tricks. It is believed to be very real… and even dangerous.

Locals in the Himalayan country of Nepal believe there are monks within its borders who use their powers to harm anyone who crosses their path. White relies on his talents as an illusionist to open doors normally closed to outsiders in an attempt to find one of these feared monks and – hopefully – witness his true magic. White’s mission will introduce him to many people, each getting him one step closer to the men in the mountains.

Unfortunately, in Dan White’s quest to “find REAL magic” – and the Discovery Channel’s quest to continue catering to the lowest common denominator (remember their stupid ghost-hunting show?) – it seems that everyone involved has left their basic critical thinking skills at the door.  For example, check out this footage of when Dan White “discovers” the levitating powers of the monk he has sought for so long…

The overly credulous nature of this clip, and how Dan White – the supposed skeptic – plays it up as legitimate (honest!) is downright pathetic.  There are some very basic questions to ask regarding a scenario like this:

1. Why isn’t the filming done in one continuous shot?  Note all the breaks in the clip between the time the monk sits down and when he “levitates”.

2. Why does the monk have to sit where he does, in front of a wall full of curtains that can easily obscure a device which can lift him?

3. Why doesn’t Dan White ask the obvious question as outlined in #2 above, instead of standing there looking like an idiot with his mouth agape?

4. Why doesn’t Dan White, our token “skeptic”, take a moment to simply walk over to the side to make sure there isn’t a mechanical arm or similar contraption connecting the monk to something behind the curtain.  On a related note, why isn’t this camera angle shown?

A simple application of Occam’s Razor is all that is necessary to slice through what is very clearly a bullshit display put together to get ratings.  Folks, this is a big joke, and if anyone takes it seriously the only one’s laughing will be the executives at the Discovery Channel who are guffawing at having one over on gullible viewers.  Fortunately, there is a silver lining: I have been inspired to incorporate this footage and a critical analysis of it into my upcoming talk at The Amaz!ng Meeting 9 in Las Vegas next week – it will make a good lesson for my students 🙂

Posted in ghosts & paranormal, magic tricks, media woo, physics denial/woo | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 70 Comments »

Man Claims to Have Survived 70 Years Without Food or Water

Posted by mattusmaximus on May 13, 2010

There’s a story running all over the Interwebs like wildfire… about a man who is making the seemingly miraculous claim that he has survived for 70 years without food.  Essentially, the man – an Indian mystic named Prahlad Jani, is claiming that he can live on “spiritual energy” in the form of air & meditation.  These claims are equivalent to those made by a form of New Age nonsense called breatharianism.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that Mr. Jani and his followers are basically lying, because there is no physical way that a person can live for a month, much less 70 years, without food & water.  Skeptic Ben Radford has a really good take down on this nonsense…

As remarkable as his story is, Jani is not the first, nor the only, person to claim such a supernatural power. The claim that people can live without food or water is called inedia, and is actually somewhat of a common claim among religious fakirs and godmen of India. Unfortunately none of the cases have withstood scientific scrutiny. The human body needs both food and water to function; it’s as simple as that.

It’s easy for anyone to claim that he or she has not had anything to eat or drink for the past few weeks or months (or years). But unless the person has been carefully and continuously watched during that time, it’s impossible to prove the assertion true.

Several people who have claimed to survive without food or water were later caught eating and drinking. It can take only a few seconds to eat something, and other than in specific areas such as prisons, conducting a close around-the-clock surveillance on a person is not easy. Often the person will ask for privacy to sleep or go to the bathroom (which is suspicious in its own right) – and then snack surreptitiously. One well-known breatharian advocate in the 1980s, a man named Wiley Brooks, claimed he did not eat yet was caught consuming junk food.

And here’s a very interesting point that Radford brings up regarding the fact that Mr. Jani apparently lost weight during the time he was being observed…

This is not the first time that Jani has made this claim. He was examined in 2003 for about a week, during which time, he apparently did not eat or exercise – but he did lose weight. If Jani’s abilities are real, it seems odd that he would lose weight during the time that his food intake was being monitored. If he truly gets all the sustenance he needs from air and meditation, there’s no reason he would lose weight when he doesn’t eat.

What’s worse is this: it seems that some people in the Indian Armed Forces are actually spending time & money on researching the “secrets” behind Mr. Jani’s supposed miracle.  I’m not kidding… there are high level Indian military people who want to learn how Jani pulls this off so they can apply it the techniques to soldiers in the field who could supposedly go for long periods of time without food and/or water.  What a colossal waste!  This lunacy reminds me of the, now infamous, debacle by the U.S. military when they wasted millions of taxpayer dollars researching “psychic warfare” – as outlined in the recent movie The Men Who Stare At Goats.

If Mr. Jani wants to convince skeptics of his supposed paranormal powers, I have a simple solution: round-the-clock observation by multiple watchers, including via constant video recording and even live-streaming over the Internet, where he is locked away in an empty room with no access to any food or water at all… for a month or two straight.  If he survives, then maybe we’re onto something.  My guess is, for obvious reasons, he would never submit to such a test – I wonder why not?

Posted in ghosts & paranormal | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

The Physics of the Bed of Nails: No Woo Required

Posted by mattusmaximus on July 22, 2009

When I was at The Amazing Meeting 7 in Las Vegas recently, I participated in the first TAM Talent Show.  My skit focused upon a favorite physics demonstration and gave me an excellent opportunity to teach some skepticism: the Bed of Nails. Having performed this demonstration about 40-50 times throughout my teaching career, I decided it was time to take things to the big stage 🙂

The demonstration is simple, and dangerousIT SHOULD NOT BE ATTEMPTED WITHOUT PROPER SUPERVISION!!! In it, I lay down upon a bed of nails, have a second bed of nails placed atop my stomach & chest, have a concrete cinder block placed atop that, and – last but not least – have an assistant break the block with a 10-lb sledgehammer!  Here’s some slow motion footage of the demo at the TAM Talent Show…

Moments later, I got up off the bed of nails with no damage at all – pretty impressive stuff!  Here’s a photo of my chest seconds after the demo…

post-bed-of-nails-smash

The bed of nails has a history of woo – there are some in the martial arts community who claim that their chi or “life force” protects them from injury.  Others, such as gurus in India, claim that the only reason they are uninjured is because of the specific type of meditation they perform.  But a simple application of Occam’s Razor is all that is necessary to explain what’s going on here – and it doesn’t have anything to do with chi, mysticism, or anything supernatural.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in ghosts & paranormal, physics denial/woo | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments »

Keep Your Feet on the Ground: Physics Denial Woo

Posted by mattusmaximus on March 29, 2009

Awhile back I made a post called “Gravity: Only A Theory” – it was about a spoof which used fake criticism of the physics of gravity to make fun of creationists and their pseudoscientific arguments. Believe it or not, there actually are some people who attempt to apply the same nonsensical thinking to the laws of physics (like gravity). A perfect example of such folk are those who cater to Transcendental Meditation (TM) – a New-Age cult which, among other things, teaches its followers that if one meditates hard enough you can actually fly in defiance of gravity!

yogic flying

To give you an idea of just how silly this “yogic flying” (as the TMers call it) really is, take a look at this video footage…

One of these physics/gravity deniers, a Mr. Anirudh Kumar Satsangi, contacted me through the comments section of my earlier blog entry. Though I don’t have direct evidence of it, from his methods of argumentation and his claims, I think he might be a dedicated practitioner of TM. What ensued was his attempt to convince me that Einstein’s theory of relativity, including the mass-energy equivalence relationship E=mc^2, was completely wrong and that he had a “theory of everything” to replace it. His “theory” was supposed to be based upon meditation (sound familiar?) and is also completely impervious to testing – wow.

I wanted to share with you all the back-and-forth he and I had on the comments, because it is very instructive to see that most pseudoscientists use the same flawed arguments & logical fallacies to justify their nonsense. Here you go…

Anirudh Kumar Satsangi said
March 13, 2009 at 9:38 am e

kindly let me know that in E=mc2 (famous eqs given by Einstein) whether c2 (c square) stands only for denoting some numerical value in the equation or there is some evidence of a speed equal to the square of speed of light?

mattusmaximus said
March 13, 2009 at 2:14 pm e

This link to Wikipedia should help you out on this…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E_%3D_mc2#Background

Anirudh Kumar Satsangi said
March 14, 2009 at 6:45 am e

Thank you very much Mattusmaximus for your kind response. It means c2 is a conversion factor only. It has no other function. How this conversion factor has been derived? How does c2 differ from v2 of ½mv2 ?

Anirudh Kumar Satsangi said
March 15, 2009 at 5:50 am e

I have written following two papers which may lead to the realization for a higher theory of everything:

(i) Gravitation Force is the Ultimate Creator,
(1st Int. Conf. on Revival of Traditional Yoga, Lonavla Yoga Institute, Lonavla, January, 2006)
(ii) In Scientific Terminology, Source of Gravitational Wave is God
(2nd World Congress on Vedic Science, BHU, Varanasi, Feb 2007)
I have presented these two papers at the two different International Conferences. I am now submitting some views for being considered for Unified Field Theory

From Scriptures: (Prem Patra by His Holiness Huzur Maharaj)
The Current which manifested in the beginning of the creation is the Current of Sabda (Sound) and of Chaitanya (Consciousness). From whom that Current issued forth is known as Soami (Supreme Being). This Current, by turning back can merge again in the Holy Feet of Supreme Being. The entire creation manifested from this current and is sustained with its energy and when the Current of the Holy Feet is withdrawn, the creation ceases to exist.This Current of the Holy Feet is the Reservoir of all energy, tastes and pleasures, knowledge, skill, shapes, forces and light etc. etc. and of the entire creation, is also the Creator of all of them.

From Science:
Gravitation Force is the cause of manifestation of the creation (birth of planets, stars), its sustenance and when it is withdrawn towards centre or source the entire creation ceases to exist. Photons have originated from gravitons. In black holes photons merge into gravitons. In Black Holes, Gravitational Force is so high that it does not allow even light to escape. What does it mean then? It simply means that the gravitational force at black-holes attracts light towards it with much greater velocity than the speed of light. In fact, all forces including electromagnetic force, material force (strong and weak nuclear force) all merge into gravitational force in black-holes and becomes one force there and when the creational process starts again from a Black-Hole all the forces appear (manifest) again and descends downwards to create billions of stars, planets, satellite, asteroids and various life forms.

Hence it can be assumed that the Current of Chaitanya (Consciousness) and Gravitational Wave are the two names of the same Supreme Essence (Seed) which has brought forth the entire creation.

All cosmological researches should be conducted keeping in view of the following philosophical facts:
It has been stated in Bible (John I-1) “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God,”
Mohammedans hold that God uttered ‘Kun’ (i.e. ‘Came into being’) and the creation came into being (Holy Quran, Sur. Bakr (II.117).
In Chhandogya Upanishad it is written “Tadaikshat bahu syam prajayeyeti” (VI-2-iii) i.e. “It thought (desired) Would that I were many! Let me procreate myself!” The Aitareya Upanishad says,”Sa ikshat ‘lokannusrija’ iti (I-1-i) i.e. “He bethought himself (desired) – ‘Let me create worlds’, etc. etc.
It is written in Chapter VII of Srimad Bhagavadgita : Sri Bhagwan said, “Arjun, now listen how with the mind attached to Me and practicing Yoga with absolute dependence on Me, you will know Me in entirety and without any shadow of doubt” (1). I shall unfold to you in its entirety this wisdom alongwith the Knowledge of the qualified aspect of God, having known which nothing else remains yet to be known in this world (2). Earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, reason and also ego; these constitute My nature eightfold divided. This indeed is My lower (material) nature : the other than this, by which the whole universe is sustained, know it to be My higher nature in the form of Jiva, O Arjuna. (4-5). Arjuna, know that all beings have evolved from this twofold Prakriti, and that I am the source of the entire creation, and into Me again it disappears.(6)
The Radhasoami Religion also tells that, the ‘Word’ mentioned above is in fact Current of Sound or Current of Consciousness or Prime Current of Spirituality which was issued forth from its Source, or Creator or God. This Current has later on produced light and other forces. The scientists are discussing these days about dark energy which constitute about 96% of the entire universe which is not known to us. Only 4% part of the universe is known to us by all scientific means. In fact this 96% invisible portion of the universe is the vast expanse of spirituality which can be designated as field of gravitational waves in scientific terms. Visible portion of the universe (4%) consists of consciousness (gravitational force), mental force (electromagnetic waves) and material force (strong and weak nuclear force).
Body = Nuclear Force (weak as well as strong)
Mind = Electromagnetic Force.
Consciousness = Gravitation Force.
According to Radhasoami Religion the whole Universe can be sub-divided into three grand divisions viz.
1. Region of Pure Spirituality
2. Region of Subtle Maya
3. Region of Gross Maya
Nuclear forces dominate Region of Gross Maya (Gross Material Region), Electro-magnetic forces dominate Region of Subtle Maya (Subtle Material Region) and Gravitational Force dominates Pure Spiritual Region.
This is the only Truth which can be verified scientifically and can be termed as ‘higher theory for everything’. This also supports the statement of Sir Sahabji Maharaj that ‘the goal of science – Truth; the goal of philosophy – Ultimate Reality; and the goal of religion – God’ are the three names of same supreme essence.
Many things are common between Current of Consciousness and Gravitational Wave.
1. Current of consciousness can not be seen by any means and gravitational wave can also not be seen.
2. Current of consciousness is the weakest force on earth. Its strength goes on increasing on higher regions. Gravitational force is also very weak on earth and strong on Sun and even more stronger on black holes.
3 Tendency of both current of consciousness and gravitational waves are towards their source or centre.
4. Current of consciousness and gravitational force are both regarded as the creater of all the celestial and terrestrial bodies of the whole universe. They are also sustainer of these and when they turn back towards their source or centre the whole universe will collapse.
Hence it can be assumed that the source of current of consciousness and gravitational wave is the same i.e. God or ultimate creator.
This theory is based on scientific deduction. In scientific terms it can be said that the ‘gravitons’ are the elementaryparticle which was issued forth in the beginning of the creation accompanying with sound ‘Radha’.

mattusmaximus said
March 21, 2009 at 8:21 pm e

Anirudh Kumar Satsangi said:

I have written following two papers which may lead to the realization for a higher theory of everything:

Mr. Satsangi, if you really believe that your “theory” has any kind of merit, then by all means submit it to a qualified, peer-reviewed physics journal for possible publication. That is how modern science is done, not by posting walls of text to blogs on the Internet.

By the way, one question for you – how does one go about testing your “theory”?

Anirudh Kumar Satsangi said
March 24, 2009 at 9:23 am e

Dear Mattusmaximus

Thanks for your response. As I have mentioned above that the above two papers I had already presented at two different International Conferences where thousands of academicians participated. I have also received very encouraging remarks to these papers from eminent Professors of Physics.

How E=mc^2 can be tested ? There is lot of confusion.

Anirudh Kumar Satsangi said
March 24, 2009 at 1:56 pm e

Dear Mattusmaximus

Refer to your question- how does one go about testing your “theory”?

Certainly it needs power of intuition developed by practice of meditation to test my “theory”. Kindly refer to Blog site “Fighting of the cause of Allah by Governing a Smart Mathematics Based on Islamic Teology” by Rohedi Laboratory,The Best Science on the World. Rohedi observed to my comments : “Congratulations you have develop the hihger theory of everything more wonderful than which has been developed by Stephen Hawking. Hopefully your some views for being considered for Unified Field Theory are recognized by International Science Community”

Anirudh Kumar Satsangi said
March 24, 2009 at 2:04 pm e

Certainly it needs the power of intuition developed by the practice of meditation to test my theory. Rohedi has appreciated my views on theory of everything stating that it is more wonderful than the theory of Stephen Hawking. Kindly refer to his Blog site “Fighting of the cause of Allah by Governing a Smart Mathematics Based on Islamic Teology”

mattusmaximus said
March 25, 2009 at 3:12 pm e

Anirudh Kumar Satsangi said:

Certainly it needs the power of intuition developed by the practice of meditation to test my theory. Rohedi has appreciated my views on theory of everything stating that it is more wonderful than the theory of Stephen Hawking. Kindly refer to his Blog site “Fighting of the cause of Allah by Governing a Smart Mathematics Based on Islamic Teology”

Making statements such as “Rohedi has appreciated my views on theory of everything” is not an outline for an experimental protocol – it is nothing more than a psuedoscientific argument from authority.

You mentioned meditation as a “test” for your “theory” – please outline exactly how your “theory” can be experimentally falsified. That is, what measurement(s) would show that you are wrong?

mattusmaximus said
March 25, 2009 at 6:54 pm e

Anirudh Kumar Satsangi said:

How E=mc^2 can be tested ? There is lot of confusion.

E=mc^2 is tested all the time in particle accelerators, such as at FermiLab which is just down the road from me. Also, you might want to read about this recent, high-profile experiment at MIT which tested out E=mc^2 and found it to be accurate.

Anirudh Kumar Satsangi said
March 26, 2009 at 9:54 am e

excuse me, mattusmaximus, neither my arguement is psuedoscientific nor I have any intention of arguing with any authority. If you are authority in some field I also do enjoy authority in my field of work. Some of my questions are still un-answered. When speed has no role in E=mc^2, how this conversion factor (c^2) had been arrived at in the formula by Einstein. Had this formula (E=mc^2) was tested and verified experimentally during the life time of Einstein. If not, whether it was termed as psuedoscientific?

mattusmaximus said
March 26, 2009 at 4:31 pm e

Anirudh Kumar Satsangi said:

excuse me, mattusmaximus, neither my arguement is psuedoscientific nor I have any intention of arguing with any authority. If you are authority in some field I also do enjoy authority in my field of work. Some of my questions are still un-answered. When speed has no role in E=mc^2, how this conversion factor (c^2) had been arrived at in the formula by Einstein. Had this formula (E=mc^2) was tested and verified experimentally during the life time of Einstein. If not, whether it was termed as psuedoscientific?

I have provided you with information on how E=mc^2 was derived – here it is again…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E_%3D_mc2

Now whether or not you choose to do some basic homework and read the info I provide is up to you. If you want to be lazy and not do the research, fine by me – but don’t sit there and keep implying that E=mc^2 hasn’t been tested experimentally when it very clearly has been tested. This line of argumentation is the same as employed by creationists all the time: they ask for evidence of evolution, it is provided to them, and then they ask “Why isn’t anyone able to show evidence for evolution?” It is disingenuous and dishonest.

And whether or not E=mc^2 was immediately tested right after Einstein proposed it is beside the point, because in the intervening time mass-energy equivalence has been tested and found to be valid in a huge number of experiments.

Anirudh Kumar Satsangi said
March 27, 2009 at 2:11 pm e

mattusmaximus said quoting: ‘E=mc^2 passes tough MIT test by Elizabeth A. Thomson New Office, Dec.21, 2005.

1. “The team found that the formula predicting that energy and mass are equivalent is correct to an incredible accuracy of better than one part in a million. That’s 55 times more precise than the best previous test”.

2. Despite the results of the current test of E=mc^ Pritchard said:”This doesn’t mean it has been proven to be completely correct”.

3. “It followed from the special theory of relativity that mass and energy are both but different manifestations of the same thing – a somewhat unfamiliar conception for the average mind”.

All the above statements indicate that E=mc^2 was not tested and verified experimentally during the life time of Einstein and even perhaps today it is in the process of experimentation. Till such time we reach at one hundred percent precise accuracy we should term Theory of Relativity as Pseudoscientific.

And Dear mattusmaximus, kindly let me know what is this ’same thing’ from where both mass and energy maninfested? I am quite sure you will find the reply for this question of mine in my comments which you have termed as ‘pseudoscientific’. Thank you

mattusmaximus said
March 27, 2009 at 3:36 pm e

Anirudh Kumar Satsangi said:

1. “The team found that the formula predicting that energy and mass are equivalent is correct to an incredible accuracy of better than one part in a million. That’s 55 times more precise than the best previous test”.

Yes, this shows that E=mc^2 has not only been tested, but as it is tested out more and more it is found to be even more accurate! How is this any kind of argument in your favor?

Anirudh Kumar Satsangi said:

2. Despite the results of the current test of E=mc^ Pritchard said:”This doesn’t mean it has been proven to be completely correct”.

Nice quote mine – another dishonest tactic often used by pseudoscientists, btw. The full quote is: “This doesn’t mean it has been proven to be completely correct. Future physicists will undoubtedly subject it to even more precise tests because more accurate checks imply that our theory of the world is in fact more and more complete.”

So what Pritchard is actually saying is that because he expects more and more accurate tests in the future, if E=mc^2 stands up to that experimental scrutiny, as it has so far, then our confidence in this theory will be even greater. By quote mining in this manner, you are disingenuously attempting to give the opposite impression of what he’s actually saying.

Anirudh Kumar Satsangi said:

3. “It followed from the special theory of relativity that mass and energy are both but different manifestations of the same thing – a somewhat unfamiliar conception for the average mind”.

Yes, many aspects of modern physics are counter-intuitive and difficult for people to understand. So what?

Anirudh Kumar Satsangi said:

All the above statements indicate that E=mc^2 was not tested and verified experimentally during the life time of Einstein and even perhaps today it is in the process of experimentation. Till such time we reach at one hundred percent precise accuracy we should term Theory of Relativity as Pseudoscientific.

Now you’re just moving the goalposts, another dishonest pseudoscientific tactic and logical fallacy. Before you claimed E=mc^2 wasn’t tested, and I proved you wrong. Then you claim that it wasn’t tested in Einstein’s day, which though it might be correct is irrelevant because it has (and continues to be) tested to higher and higher precision and found to be accurate as time goes on. So now you move the goalposts again and say that unless we have 100% precision & accuracy – which is impossible in any kind of experimental science – then you’ll just call E=mc^2 pseudoscience.

And you then imply that because E=mc^2 hasn’t met your impossible criteria that then your ideas must be correct. This is yet another pseudoscientific tactic and logical fallacy called a false dichotomy. Even if E=mc^2 was shown to be wrong, which it hasn’t yet, then that would do nothing to support your ideas. You must provide positive evidence of your ideas, rather than tearing down accepted science.

Anirudh Kumar Satsangi said:

And Dear mattusmaximus, kindly let me know what is this ’same thing’ from where both mass and energy maninfested? I am quite sure you will find the reply for this question of mine in my comments which you have termed as ‘pseudoscientific’. Thank you

I’m not exactly sure what the “same thing” really is, but I will venture to say that it is all energy – it’s just that mass is a specific manifestation of energy. A “solidified” form of energy, so to speak.

Now you answer my previous question & challenge:
You mentioned meditation as a “test” for your “theory” – please outline exactly how your “theory” can be experimentally falsified. That is, what measurement(s) would show that you are wrong?

Answer my question, or the next time I will block your posts.

Anirudh Kumar Satsangi said
March 28, 2009 at 9:35 am e

I am working to establish my theory as a perfect blend of science and philosophy (religion). It is ridiculous to ask such question “how your theory can be experimentally falsified”. Please try to defend “theory” of Einstein which is facing the greatest challenge .

mattusmaximus said
March 29, 2009 at 5:01 am e

Anirudh Kumar Satsangi said:

It is ridiculous to ask such question “how your theory can be experimentally falsified”.

So you admit there is no way to test your ideas? Can’t say I’m surprised – this is par for the course when it comes to pseudoscience, it is ultimately unfalsifiable and therefore completely non-scientific. The fact that you don’t see this as a problem just goes to show how you really have no clue how modern science works. If you wish to call your ideas philosophy, knock yourself out. But don’t call them scientific because you aren’t interested in meeting the criteria of science – you just want to leap past all the work and get the credit of science. Sorry, that’s just not good enough.

In accordance with my earlier ultimatum, I will be blocking your further comments to this blog. However, I would like to thank you for providing me with an excellent example of how pseudoscientists attempt to push their bogus claims. Our running conversation should make good fodder for a future blog post.

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