This morning I noticed only two new posts on astronomy.net. Both were ad hominem attacks by Harv which I really don't take very seriously any more. It is to bad because, had Harv taken the trouble to understand what I was presenting I think we could have had some interesting conversations. Nevertheless, since the second was a response to your note, I took the trouble to read your note. I thank you very much for the rational support. I am curious as to what five percent you find difficult to understand. Let me know and I will do my best to help.
I thought I might explain myself to you a bit. I originally went into physics because I wanted to understand the world I found myself in. When I was around three or four years old, my father had an argument with my uncle about something. I have no memory of the argument at all; however, after my uncle left, my father turned to me and said (and, to this day, I can still close my eyes and remember the event as if it took place five minutes ago), "anyone who believes more than ten percent of what he hears or fifty percent of what he reads or ninety percent of what he sees with his own eyes is gullible". I knew he was referring to my uncle as he made no bones about thinking my uncle was an idiot.
Now, at the time I had no idea what percent was and I certainly didn't know what gullible meant; but I certainly knew I didn't want to be gullible. I should add to that the fact that adults love to pull children's legs and are delighted whenever they are caught. As a consequence, I very early developed the impression that adults always lied to children. I didn't think it was malicious, I just thought it was the way adults trained children to avoid being gullible. Certainly, if that impression were true, adults would keep it to themselves as pointing it out would be "letting the cat out of the bag".
So, as with any child, I wanted to be thought of as an adult. By the time I was seven, I no longer pointed out when I caught an adult pulling anyone's leg. I just pretended to believe what they said and acted like an adult. I thought all the other kids were just pretending to believe too. I was in college before I discovered that they weren't pretending; they actually believed all that stuff. It took a good month of late night bull secessions in the fraternity before the first one convinced me that he wasn't putting me on. He happened to be a Theology major Harv.
At any rate, I got into physics and math because they were the only subjects where it was easy to tell what was rational and what was bull. By the time I was in high school, I was convinced that I was "gullible" as I found it very difficult to tell when what the teachers fed me was bull. So I took to keeping my mouth shut and trying to make sense of it all. Math has always made sense to me but it's not very helpful if you are trying to understand the world. Physics made as much sense as mathematics but it was more applicable to real life. That's why I went into physics.
Physics made sense until I got to graduate school. The further I got in graduate school, the more unsupported bull they tried to feed me. I remember an experiment we had to do in a lab class my first year in graduate school. The object was to measure e/m of the electron. The central issue was an electron beam in an evacuated tube (with a little mercury vapor), the whole thing set up in a magnetic field.
What I was really doing was measuring the diameter of a little blue circle I saw in a vacuum tube. The validity of the experiment was dependent upon a string of beliefs a mile long. Now, I never said anything to anybody because the issue was my understanding, not the facts of the demonstration. But I did spend a lot of time mentally going around and around the strings of beliefs which were required to defend the demonstration. I could never find a point where I could break the circle.
The first time I mentioned anything to anyone was about my third year in graduate study when I mentioned to my thesis advisor that the definition of Plank's constant was circular. Basically his reaction was that I needed to go back and study my physics some more. I didn't bring it up again. By the way, if the definition of Plank's constant is not circular, how is it that I totally get away with multiplying through by Plank's constant in converting equation 2.15 into 2.17? (Take a look at the last few paragraphs of Chapter three.)
Fundamentally, the problem with physics is that it is circular. You have to believe the underlying presumptions in order to build the field. And the defense of the underlying presumptions is that you can build the field of physics from them. The whole thing is circular. I managed to break that circle by proving that the behavior of absolutely any collection of things may be explained by the rule F=0. If that theorem is true, then, behavior of absolutely any collection of things may be so explained. If follow that, if accepting the rule F=0 places no constraint on what can be explained, using it as the starting point breaks the circle.
My statement does not say that no other valid explanations exist; I am simply offering one which breaks that circle of belief. There may even exist some other non circular explanations; however, until someone puts another one forward, mine is the only non circular argument in existence.
With regard to Harv's presumption that I have been trying to persuade people that I am right for forty years, I will lay out what I have done and when. First, I went into physics because I wanted to understand the world around me. By the time I obtained my Ph.D., I was thoroughly convinced that the physics community didn't understand what they were doing. I probably should not have done it, but when I completed graduate school and my thesis advisor asked me my intentions, I said I had no interest in carrying on the work for which he had prepared me because I didn't think it was physics. I saw it more as busy work proving nothing. I was more concerned about possible flaws in the underlying assumptions. He said, "Only geniuses think about things like that and, believe me, you're no genius!" So I said, Ok, but that's what I want to think about!
Of course there is no support for such things and only an idiot would expect support. I ended up starting a business and supported my family through personal earnings. I found out later that, my thesis advisor had told my wife (sometime during that early start up period when we had no income) not to worry because I would get back into physics because "people like Dick" can't stay away from physics. I would say I can't stay away from thinking. And I thought about things a lot back then.
At any rate, some time in the late seventies, I proved my fundamental equation had to be valid (Chapter one). That is, under the presumption of complete ignorance (except for logic and math), any collection of data (knowable = real and unknowable = hypothesized) had to satisfy that equation. However, of what value is such an equation if one cannot find any solutions to it.
I discovered the first solution (i.e., showing Schrodinger's equation to be an approximation to my equation) around 1982. I wrote up a paper and tried to get it published. It was rejected by every journal I sent it to. I don't think it even got to a referee as the rejections were all essentially, "this subject matter is not of interest to this journal, try sending it to a different journal". So I went to my thesis advisor and asked him if he would help me get it published. Not only did he refuse to help me but he refused to even look at it. His only comment was, "No one will ever read your stuff Stafford, because you haven't paid your dues!" Actually, I think he was a little jealous as my income at the time was probably ten to fifteen times his.
However, it turned out he had hit the nail on the head. Over the next few years, I made a substantial efforts to find someone who would talk to me. In 1986, I sent Xerox copies of my deductions at that point (essentially everything except general relativity) to a number of university physics departments. The only responses I obtained from that were a few letters as to the fact that there was nobody interested in reading it. I had included an envelope with return postage so they could return it if they weren't interested (a mechanism to get a response of some kind). I got a kick out of the letter I got from the Harvard physics department. They returned it with a simple note saying, "No one here can read this!" Sort of implied there was no one in the physics department who could read. I will admit the thing was a hand written manuscript so maybe they couldn't read it.
During that same period, I completed my derivation of general relativity and (using the old word perfect program and its ability to construct formulas; that was pretty new back them) typed up what is essentially what is posted on my web site. It was also about the same time that I became convinced that I would die before anyone ever read it. I think I really typed it up because I wanted to get it out of my system.
A few years ago, the University from which I obtained my Ph.D. had the gall to call me up and ask for a financial contribution. One of the physics professors had been given the chore to call me. Apparently trying to get on my good side, the guy brings up the fact that they still had that 1986 thing in the physics library. I asked if he had read it. He said no! So I asked if, to his knowledge, anybody had read it. His answer was again no. So I hung up on him. Pearls before swine. So I have a bad attitude; it's no skin off my nose.
Except for another short paper I submitted to a Journal in 1995, on the issue of Einstein's error (after reading about the conflict between relativity and quantum mechanics in some magazine), I have made no attempts to get any support since 1987. If you want to read my 1995 article, the essence of it is on my web site:
All that is required to understand that paper is a decent understanding of geometry.
I think my main problem is my attitude. I have a rather low opinion of those who refuse to look and I do not hide it at all. Most "authorities" want respect first (it's the money of their profession). You deny them respect and they will bury their heads in the ground till the cows come home. I am outside the clique and they want me to be wrong. Harv's attitude is typical. So I do everything I can to encourage them to be stupid. Sorry about that, it's just the way I am. I respect thinking too much to accept authority on any issue.
So, now that I am retired and have lot's of free time on my hands, I enjoy talking to people who like to think. My son-in-law, who is a consultant on web page design suggested I learn HTML and put the thing on a web site. I did that in 2001 and have enjoyed the correspondence it led to. It has generated a lot of interesting conversation. Even the time I spent talking to Harv was fun. I did my very best to get the guy to think but failed miserably.
Though I have little respect for Harv's ability to think (I don't think he comprehends the concept of "abstract") and wouldn't ordinarily bother with his cavils, I want to make sure you are not persuaded to close your mind. He does not understand what I have done and neither does he understand the basis of my work. So I will comment on his statements.
On the issue of "knowable data" and "unknowable data", he wants the first to be something we "know" and the second to be something we "don't know". Now, if anyone is aware that such division he suggests is impossible, Harv knows that. In spite of the fact that he knows that (or perhaps because of it), he insists that I mean what he thinks I mean. I have made the separation between "knowable data" and "unknowable data" for one reason only. The constraints which are to be imposed are different! "Knowable data" constitute what is real and "unknowable data" is hypothesized.
Now Harv wants a definition which will allow him to determine which is which. From his perspective a difference cannot exist unless he can delineate it. I am afraid the concept of a difference which can not be delineated is too abstract for his mind to grasp. However, without such a concept, one cannot understand the essence of the scientific method. At any moment in the long history of the world, one can always see the information available the scientific community of the past as being made up of things which were true (as viewed from the "learned academy" making the decision) and the hypothesized things which were false (again viewed from the "learned academy" making the decision).
Now, why would anybody (other than the "learned academy" making the decision) think that some "learned academy" of the future will not be viewing their thoughts from exactly the same kind of division. Thus it is that any rational person must accept that such a conceptual division is fundamental to any explanation of reality. At the same time, only the "learned academy" who understands reality better than you can find the flaw in your beliefs. Since there is no way one can prove future information will not change ones perspective, there exists no proof that your beliefs are without flaw.
It follows (for a rational person anyway) that a conceptual difference exists between what is "real" and what is "hypothesized" even when you have no information to perform the separation. Somehow that concept is simply beyond Harv's comprehension. I am reminded of the definition of "learned" in the "Devil's Dictionary": learned is the type of ignorance indulged in by the studious (or something like that). Yes, I guess that I am hoping that the intelligent naive reader is capable of finding something inherently rational about the division.
Thus it is that your view of the past (that which can not be changed) consists of things which are true together with things which are not true (but which you think are true). As time goes on, the boundary between the two appears to change. Any explanation of the past will include such a division. "They did this because they thought ....". At the same moment every moment of the past must conform to the idea that, whatever they thought at the time, what they thought was true was, from their perspective, true. Only a learned person ignorant of the possibilities of the future would hold that the division can not exist. Essentially, only a person who presumed they were correct! (You know, people like to think they are right!) Just thinking about the possibility that they might be wrong seems to scare some people to death.
Harv also makes much noise about verifiable predictions. Verifiable predictions are not what Harv wants at all. What Harv wants is a verifiable prediction which will show the current physics is wrong. He neglects to take into account the fact that any time anyone uses Quantum mechanics to calculate an experimental result, the validity of that result is direct verification of my model. Anytime anyone uses classical mechanics to calculate the trajectory of a cannon shell the result is direct verification of my model. Anytime anyone uses relativity it is a direct verification. I know this is true because I explicitly show that each of these models used by the learned physics academy is an approximation to my model.
When I was a graduate student I used to upset the faculty with a comment about their models. I used to say, "any explanation which yields the wrong answer at the limits of it's applicability" is the wrong answer. Their position, and they were quite adamant about it, was that anyone who thinks they can come up with an explanation which will hold for everything doesn't understand the problem. One faculty member actually told me that if anyone ever brought forth a "theory" which explained everything, he wouldn't read it because it couldn't possibly be correct. Well gee whiz guys, how come so many people are working on that TOE these days?
To quote Harv, "if all anyone has to do is cohere their results with 100% of existing physics then we would literally have thousands of models with equal claim to truth". I am astonished that Harv would actually say such an absurd thing. If TOE is so easy, where are all these models? Again, Harv says, "the only empirically acceptable and final test for any theory is in their predictions." And, exactly what did he mean by "cohere their results with 100% of existing physics" if he didn't mean "get the same results"?
With regard to the impact of my web site, Harv says, "It is given a voice on a small and obscure website and the only ones who must be tormented with the lunacy are the ones who continually respond to the errors (namely me, Bruce, and Richard)." Harv certainly cannot qualify as a decent judge as he has never taken the trouble to understand what I have said. Bruce is a complete joke as he has about the same understanding of physics as Alan. And finally, Richard Ruquist is a sad example of a physicist. He may have a Ph.D. in physics but I think his understanding of the fundamentals is just a little past the minimum.
Now, I have not been part of the physics community because I had no interest in doing the mechanical things they wanted me to do. The fact that I am not known in the physics community should be very understandable and should not be taken as evidence that I do not understand physics. If you could find something about physics which I misrepresent, then that would be a valid complaint. Richard, on the other hand, has made a career in physics and his failure to be among the shakers and movers in the field can very well be taken to indicate a mediocre understanding of physics.
One thing Richard has missed is the central issue underlying the power of symmetry. Symmetry arguments are the most powerful arguments which can be made in physics. If a symmetry exists in a problem, the same symmetry must exist in the solution. That statement is absolute and incontrovertible. Physicists through the years have used that fact to deduce some subtle consequences. Any fact deducible from a symmetry is just as dependable as the symmetry itself. It rests on the fact that information not in the problem cannot be in the solution.
A nice problem (which happened to be on my Ph.D. candidacy exam) follows:
What is the electro-magnetic radiation from a radially pulsing charged sphere. The answer is quite simple: it cannot radiate. That can be proved via symmetry arguments very easily. Let us suppose we have the solution. (That solution must consist of the time evolution of the electro-magnetic fields some large distance from the sphere.) So we take that solution and set the distance out to some point of interest (way out there somewhere). We then set the time to some time of interest (it makes no difference what time we use). Having chosen the place and time, use the solution to calculate the direction of the electric field (or the magnetic field).
The problem was a pulsing sphere which, by definition is spherically symmetric. Suppose, I give the student a mirror image of the problem with the axis of the mirror on the line to the point of interest? If you understand "spherically symmetric" you will understand that I have changed the problem in no way. So it follows that I can not have changed the solution in any way either. Now, if that electric field (or magnetic field) points in any direction except in a radial direction, the direction will change in the mirror image.
It follows that the vector can only point in a radial direction. Now in electro-magnetic radiation, the electric and magnetic fields are perpendicular to the propagation direction. (That is a well known result of the solution of Maxwell's equation.). The propagation vector direction must also be radial from the same symmetry arguments already given. If all the vectors are radial, none of them can be perpendicular. So there cannot be any radiation.
Now, I only brought that up as a simple demonstration of the power of symmetry arguments. There are legions of cases where symmetry arguments play a very important role; and Noether's work is a valuable contribution to the field. I am sure Richard is as familiar as I am with a great many of those symmetry arguments and can probably produce a number of good examples. He understands how symmetries generate these consequences. In my paper, I use what Richard refers to as "shift" symmetry (the shifting of the origin of one's coordinate system): see equations 1.8 through 1.14. His complaint is not with the fact that the symmetry generates the result I show but rather with my contention that I am not "assuming" the symmetry.
It is here where Richard shows the limitations in his education. Because of the fact that, when the professors taught this subject, they always started by saying "let us presume the problem has such and such symmetry", Richard has associated the phrase with all symmetry problems. There is nothing wrong with starting the discussion that way because what is meant by the word symmetry is well understood: i.e., what is actually being said about the characteristics of the problem. They need to start that way because they only want to talk about the problem which has those characteristics and not all problems do.
What Richard misses is the fundamental nature of these symmetries themselves. When one says a problem is spherically symmetric, they mean that there is no way to establish a particular radial direction. That is, if you choose a particular radial direction to be up, I can rotate the problem (without changing the problem in any way) such that the direction you chose is no longer up.
If mirror symmetry exists, then the original problem and the mirror image of the problem are identical. If a problem is shift symmetric, then I may shift the origin of my coordinate system without changing the problem in any way. In each case involving a symmetry there always exists some characteristic in the mechanical representation which can be changed without changing the problem in any way. That is what symmetries are all about. When we have a symmetry in a problem, that means that we are ignorant about some possible variation which can be performed on the problem: i.e., there is no way to determine if that variation was performed or not.
What I am getting at here is that "assuming as symmetry" is identical to "assuming a specific ignorance". Now, in all physics problems, when you "assume a symmetry" you are also "assuming a specific form of ignorance". This is important because, in another very similar problem, a factor may exist which will remove that ignorance. That factor introduces what is commonly called "broken symmetry" and a lot of phenomena are explained by such occurrences. Thus it is, when we set up a problem, we must clearly point out that we are assuming some specific thing cannot be known: there is nothing to "break" that symmetry.
What is important in my work is the realization that, "we have constructed a mental image of the universe given totally undefined information transcribed by a totally undefined process". It follows that we cannot possibly model the fundamental source of that information until after we have modeled the universe. This is both a curse and the solution to our problem. Since that (initially undefined) process is part of the solution we are looking for, we can attribute to it any process we wish. Being part of the solution, which we cannot examine except by implication, we can take advantage of our ignorance through symmetry arguments.
The difference between standard physics, which assumes we are in direct contact with reality, and my starting point which is, the undefined process could be doing anything, is a question of symmetry: i.e., the existence of ignorance. If you assume we are in direct contact with reality, then you must further assume these various symmetries. However, if you allow the possibility that more is going on here than simple direct contact, then enforced ignorance arises. It is not a question of assuming the ignorance, there is no way to know and to think you can know is insupportable.
Let me put it another way, if some undefined mechanism exists between you and reality. How would you ever hope to prove reality is spherically symmetric. That is, how do you prove that the undefined mechanism did not produce the illusion of symmetry. It follows that only the breaking of symmetry tells you anything about reality.
More from Harv, "if the guy was really of any credibility whatsoever, he would have spent the last 3 years I've known him furthering his work into solving a theory of quantum gravity rather than waste it trying to convince skeptics." Check out chapter three, general relativity and thus gravity comes right out of my fundamental equation. Quantum mechanics is deducible from my fundamental equation and so are the general relativistic effects. I solved the problem of the conflict between Quantum and relativity almost twenty years ago.
And even more from Harv, "if Dick's work is in anyway fundamental, then why doesn't it produce results that are also fundamental?" "If he were really onto something, then he should have produced extremely fundamental physics and be able to show how that fundamental physics complexifies into the equations of physics that we are familiar."
You can't get any more fundamental than my fundamental equation and chapters two through four show exactly how it "complexifies" (just where did Harv get that word anyway?) into the equations of physics with which a decent physicist should be familiar!
With regard to all Harv's complaint, let me quote the last few lines of Chapter four. "The great minds [of this world] should have spent a little more time considering the basis of their beliefs before charging forward with new "theories". It is high time they did a little homework." I think I have defended my position and that I have, in actual fact, provided them with a substantial start on that project."
What I have presented makes no constraints at all on what may be seen. It is a model which is consistent with any possibility. It follows, that any theory which is inconsistent with my work is inconsistent with reality. And as far as egotism goes, I am an old man well past my peak analytical abilities and I would not pretend to think I have anything more to offer.
With regard to that issue, when I was a graduate student, equation 5.3 was obviously correct. When I went to type the thing up in 1987, I couldn't bring myself to putting it in without checking it. At that time, I remember spending a day checking it out carefully before I convinced myself it was correct. In 2001, when I translated that paper into HTML, I again checked everything carefully. When I got to equation 5.3, it took me six weeks to prove it was correct. When one gets old, mental things are no where near as easy as when you are young. I am retired now and have no interest in studying anything. My mind is far too slow to pretend competence in thinking.
I have placed what I did in public view, and am ready to explain any aspect of it to anyone. Except the idiots who refuse to look at it or are incapable of seeing what is right before their eyes.
Speaking of Unbelievable, I will agree with Harv, I am quite unbelievable. That's why no one believes me!
Have fun all. I will be gone again for a few weeks, my wife and I want to see the world before we die.
Having fun is all that really matters in the end!