Disproving the Claim that the LHC Disproves the Existence of Ghosts

Recent articles in dozens of online magazines shout things like: “The LHC Disproves the Existence of Ghosts and the Paranormal.”

To which I respond: LOLOLOLOLOL

There are so many things wrong with this backwards scientific thinking, I almost don’t know where to start.  But here are a few…

1. The word “disproves” doesn’t belong here. It is unscientific at best. Maybe use “evidence against one possible explanation for ghosts” – I can even begin to appreciate that. But if I can demonstrate even one potential mechanism for the paranormal that the LHC couldn’t detect, you cannot use the word “disprove.” And here is one potential mechanism – an unknown force that the LHC can’t explore because its experiments are designed to only measure interactions in the 4 forces physicists are aware of.

The smoking gun is Brian Cox’s statement “If we want some sort of pattern that carries information about our living cells to persist then we must specify precisely what medium carries that pattern and how it interacts with the matter particles out of which our bodies are made. We must, in other words, invent an extension to the Standard Model of Particle Physics that has escaped detection at the Large Hadron Collider. That’s almost inconceivable at the energy scales typical of the particle interactions in our bodies.” So, based on that statement, here are a few more problems…

2. “almost inconceivable” is logically inconsistent with the term “disproves.”

3. “If we want some sort of pattern that carries information about our living cells to persist…” is an invalid assumption. We do not need information about our cells to persist in a traditional physical medium for paranormal effects to have a way to propagate. They can propagate by a non-traditional (unknown) medium, such as an information storage mechanism operating outside of our classically observable means. Imagine telling a couple of scientists just 200 years ago about how people can communicate instantaneously via radio waves. Their response would be “no, that is impossible because our greatest measurement equipment has not revealed any mechanism that allows information to be transmitted in that manner.” Isn’t that the same thing Brian Cox is saying?

4. The underlying assumption is that we live in a materialist reality. Aside from the fact that Quantum Mechanics experiments have disproven this (and yes, I am comfortable using that word), a REAL scientist should allow for the possibility that consciousness is independent of grey matter and create experiments to support or invalidate such hypotheses. One clear possibility is the simulation argument. Out of band signaling is an obvious and easy mechanism for paranormal effects.  Unfortunately, the REAL scientists (such as Anton Zeilinger) are not the ones who get most of the press.

5. “That’s almost inconceivable at the energy scales typical of the particle interactions in our bodies” is also bad logic. It assumes that we fully understand the energy scales typical of the particle interactions in our bodies. If scientific history has shown us anything, it is that there is more that we don’t understand than there is that we do.


Pathological Skepticism

“All great truths began as blasphemies” – George Bernard Shaw

  • In the 1800’s, the scientific community viewed reports of rocks falling from the sky as “pseudoscience” and those who reported them as “crackpots,” only because it didn’t fit in with the prevailing view of the universe. Today, of course, we recognize that these rocks could be meteorites and such reports are now properly investigated.
  • In 1827, Georg Ohm’s initial publication of what became “Ohm’s Law” met with ridicule, dismissal, and was called “a web of naked fantasies.” The German Minister of Education proclaimed that “a professor who preached such heresies was unworthy to teach science.” 20 yrs passed before scientists began to recognize its importance.
  • Louis Pasteur’s theory of germs was called “ridiculous fiction” by Pierre Pachet, Professor of Physiology at Toulouse in1872.
  • Spanish researcher Marcelino de Sautuola discovered cave art in Altamira cave (northern Spain), which he recognized as stone age and published a paper about it in 1880.  His integrity was violently attacked by the archaeological community, and he died disillusioned and broken.  Yet he was vindicated 10 years after death.
  • Lord Haldane, the Minister of War in Britain, said that “the aeroplane will never fly” in 1907.  Ironically, this was four years after the Wright Brothers made their first successful flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.  After Kitty Hawk, the Wrights flew in open fields next to a busy rail line in Dayton OH for almost an entire year. US authorities refused to come to the demos, while Scientific American published stories about “The Lying Brothers.”
  • In 1964, physicist George Zweig proposed the existence of quarks.  As a result of this theory, he was rejected for position at major university and considered a “charlatan.”  Today, of course, it is an accepted part of standard nuclear model.

Note that these aren’t just passive disagreements.  The skeptics use active and angry language, with words like “charlatan,” “ridiculous,” lying,” “crackpot,” and “pseudoscience.”

This is partly due to a natural psychological effect, known as “fear of the unknown” or “fear of change.”  Psychologists who have studied human behavior have more academic sounding names for it, such as the “Mere Exposure Effect”, “Familiarity Principle”, or Neophobia (something that might have served Agent Smith well).  Ultimately, this may be an artifact of evolution.  Hunter-gatherers did not pass on their genes if they had a habit of eating weird berries, venturing too close to the saber-toothed cats, or other unconventional activities.  But we are no longer hunter-gatherers.  For the most part, we shouldn’t fear the unknown.  We should feel empowered to challenge assumptions.  The scientific method can weed out any undesirable ideas naturally.

But, have you also noticed how the agitation ratchets up the more you enter the realm of the “expert?”

“The expert knows more and more about less and less until he knows everything about nothing.” – Mahatma Gandhi

This is because the expert may have a lot to lose if they stray too far from the status quo.  Their research funding, tenure, jobs, reputations are all at stake.  This is unfortunate, because it feeds this unhealthy behavior.

So I thought I would do my part to remind experts and non-experts alike that breakthroughs only occur when we challenge conventional thinking, and we shouldn’t be afraid of them.

The world is full of scared “experts”, but nobody will ever hear of them.  But they will hear about the brave ones, who didn’t fear to challenge the status quo.  People like Copernicus, Einstein, Georg Ohm, Steve Jobs, and Elon Musk.

And it isn’t like we are so enlightened today that such pathological skepticism no longer occurs.

Remember Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann?  Respected electrochemists, ridiculed out of their jobs and their country by skeptics.  Even “experts” violently contradicted each other:

  • “It’s pathological science,” said physicist Douglas Morrison, formerly of CERN. “The results are impossible.”
  • “There’s very strong evidence that low-energy nuclear reactions do occur” said George Miley (who received Edward Teller medal for research in hot fusion.). “Numerous experiments have shown definitive results – as do my own.”

Some long-held assumptions are being overturned as we speak.  Like LENR (Low Energy Nuclear Reactions; the new, less provocative name for cold fusion.

And maybe the speed of light as an ultimate speed limit.

These are exciting times for science and technology.  Let’s stay open minded enough to keep them moving.

DNA: Evidence of Intelligent Design or Byproduct of Evolution?

DNA is a self-replicating nucleic acid that supposedly encodes the instructions for building and maintaining cells of an organism.  With an ordered grouping of over a billion chemical base pairs which are identical for each cell in the organism, the unique DNA for a particular individual looks kind of like statements in a programming language.  This concept is not lost on Dr. Stephen Meyer (Ph.D., history and philosophy of science, Cambridge University), who posits that the source of information must be intelligent and therefore DNA, as information, is evidence of Intelligent Design.  He argues that all hypotheses that account for the development of this digital code, such as self-organization and RNA-first, have failed.  In a well publicized debate with Dr. Peter Atkins (Ph.D., theoretical chemistry, University of Leicester), a well known atheist and secular humanist, Atkins counters that information can come from natural mechanisms.  Sadly, Atkins resorts to insults and name calling, so the debate is kind of tainted, and he never got a chance to present his main argument in a methodical way because he let his anger get the best of him.  But it raised some very interesting questions, which I don’t think either side of the argument has really gotten to the bottom of.

ID’ers trot out the Second Law of Thermodynamics and state that the fact that simple molecules can’t self replicate without violating that Law proves Intelligent Design.  But it doesn’t really.  The Second Law applies to the whole system, including many instances of increased disorder weighed against the fewer instances of increased order.  Net net, disorder TENDs to increase, but that doesn’t mean that there can’t be isolated examples of increased order in the universe. That seems to leave the door open to the possibility that one such example might be the creation of self-replicating molecules.

Another point of contention is about the nature of information, such as DNA.  Meyer is wrong if he is making a blanket assertion that information can only come from intelligence.  I could argue that, given a long enough period of time, if you leave a typewriter outdoors, hailstones will ultimately hit the keys in an order that creates recognizable poetry.  So the question boils down to this – was there enough time and proper conditions for evolutionary processes to create the self-replicating DNA molecule from non-self replicating molecules necessary for creating the mechanism for life?

The math doesn’t look good for the atheists.  Dr. Robert L. Piccioni, Ph.D., Physics from Stanford says that the odds of 3 billion randomly arranged base-pairs matching human DNA is about the same as drawing the ace of spades one billion times in a row from randomly shuffled decks of cards.  Harold Morowitz, a renowned physicist from Yale University and author of Origin of Cellular Life  (1993), declared that the odds for any kind of spontaneous generation of life from a combination of the standard life building blocks is one chance in 10E100000000000 (you read that right, that’s 1 followed by 100,000,000,000 zeros).  Famed British Royal Astronomer Sir Fred Hoyle, proposed that such odds were one chance in 10E40000, or roughly “the same as the probability that a tornado sweeping through a junkyard could assemble a 747.”  By the way, scientists generally set their “Impossibility Standard” at one chance in 10E50 (1 in a 100,000 billion, billion, billion, billion, billion).  So, the likelihood that life formed via combinatorial chemical evolution (the only theory that scientists really have) is, for all intents and purposes, zero.

Atkins, Dawkins, and other secular humanists insist that materialism and naturalism are pre-supposed and that there is no argument for the introduction of the logic of intelligence into science.  That sounds to me to be pretty closed minded, and closes the door a priori on certain avenues of inquiry.  Imagine if that mentality were applied to string theory, a theory which has no experimental evidence to start with.  One has to wonder why science is so illogically selective with respect to the disciplines that it accepts into its closed little world.

My interest in this goes beyond this specific debate.  I have a hobby of collecting evidence that our reality is programmed.  I’m not sure yet whether DNA has a place in that collection yet.  It will definitely need a little more thought.



Gravity is Strange – Unless you understand Programmed Reality

Physicists tell us that gravity is one of the four fundamental forces of nature.  And yet it behaves quite differently than the other three.  A New Scientist article breaks down the oddities, a few of which are reproduced here:

– Gravity only pulls.  It doesn’t appear to have an opposing effect, like other forces do.  Notwithstanding the possibility that dark energy is an example of “opposite polarity” gravity, possibly due to unseen dimensions, there appears to be no solid evidence of it as there is with all other forces.

– The strength of other forces are comparable in magnitude, while gravity checks in at 40 orders of magnitude weaker.

– The fine-tuned universe, a favorite topic of this site, includes some amazing gravity-based characteristics.  The balance of early universe expansion and gravitational strength had to balance to within 1 part in 1,000,000,000,000,000 in order for life to form.

The Anthropic Principle explains all this via a combination of the existance of zillions (uncountably large number) of parallel universes with the idea that we can only exist in the one where all the variables line up perfectly for matter and life to form.  But that seems to me to be a pretty complex argument with a few embedded leaps of faith that make most religions look highly logical in comparison.

Then there is the Programmed Reality theory, which as usual, offers a perfect explanation without the need for the hand-waving Anthropic Principle and the “Many Worlds”
interpretation of quantum mechanics.  Gravity is not like other forces, so let’s not keeping trying to “force” it to be (pardon the pun.)  Instead, it is there to keep us grounded on the planet in which we play out our reality, offering the perfect balance of “pull” to keep every fly ball from flying out of the stadium (regardless of the illegal substance abuse of the hitter), to make kite flying a real possibility, and to enable a large number of other enriching activities.  While, at the same time, being weak enough to allow basketball players to dunk and planes to fly, and to enable a large number of other enriching activities.  Our scientists will continue the investigate the nature of gravity via increasingly complex projects like the LHC, unpeeling the layers of complexity that the programmers put in place to keep scientific endeavor, research, and employment moving forward.

Newton's apple  Warped spacetime

Is Quantum Mechanics Deterministic after all?

Could Albert Einstein finally be vindicated?  His famous comment “God does not play dice” (actually, the correct and extended version, from a letter to Max Born in 1926, was “Quantum mechanics is certainly imposing. But an inner voice tells me that it is not yet the real thing. The theory says a lot, but does not really bring us any closer to the secret of the ‘old one’. I, at any rate, am convinced that He does not throw dice”) referred to his belief that physical reality was deterministic at its core and that “hidden variables” that would describe deterministic reality were masked by the probablistic nature of Quantum Mechanics.  Most physicists have come to accept that quantum reality is probablistic.  But there have been a silent minority who maintained faith in the hidden variable idea.  A recent article in New Scientist discusses new research that may show that “quantum reality isn’t random, it just looks that way.”  Hoorah for determinism.

IMHO, I have always expected as much.  A random number generator appears random, but is fully deterministic.  Aren’t Boltzman’s laws of entropy probablistic on the surface but deterministic deep down?  We most certainly are not through uncovering the mysteries of subatomic particles.  The hidden variables may very well ultimately explain anomalies like entanglement.  And they may very well be the result of a programmed reality!