Sunday, January 04, 2009

Utter Nonsense

It is unbelievable what can pass as an "opinion piece" in our media outlets anymore nowadays.

And how do we start off the new year? With a piece done by someone trying to link physics (and trying to sound intelligent while doing it) and some sort of a "creater", the "who" that puts us here or designed our universe to be just right for our existence.

There's so many things wrong with this article, I don't know where to begin. To start with, let's look at this one.

Leon Lederman’s book, "The God Particle," explains particle physics to laymen. It’s great material, as is that of the late Stephen Feynman. Feynman, one of the guys who worked on The Manhattan Project in World War II and developed the plutonium trigger for the uranium atomic bomb. Or was it the uranium trigger for the plutonium bomb?

Pardon me, but who is "Stephen Feynman"?

Of course, if this person is referring to Richard Feynman. Couldn't he (or the editor) just double check on the name?

Now, you could say "But ZapperZ, aren't you nitpicking here? So what that he messed up Feynman's name?". It shows a lack of attention to DETAILS, and it calls into question how much homework this person has done to actually understand what he's using. For example read this crap:

Just a simple boy, while I appreciate Einstein and Feynman providing the nuts and bolts of how things work, it’s always been a matter of faith to me. Philosophers know the line between the physical and the metaphysical is so thin as to be nearly invisible. Through Pascal’s writings, among others, we find the gigantic "leap of faith" to actually be just a simple, small step. And, interestingly, Feynman, an agnostic most of his life, became a theist, chiefly because of his work in probability theory.

Feynman showed that if Earth orbited one degree closer to the Sun, it’d be too hot for life to develop; if Earth’s orbit were one degree farther away, it’d be too cold. His probability study questioned whether Earth could have been positioned totally by random accident in the one exact place needed to sustain life, and the results convinced Feynman that there was virtually no chance of that happening.

So the question was no longer what placed Earth, but who?

This is nonsense. First of all, there's nothing here to indicate a slightly different earth cannot sustain OTHER forms of life than what we know of right now. This person's is assuming a priori that we are unique and the ONLY type of living organisms that's possible in our vast universe. How typical!

Secondly, Feynman himself never said that his "probability study" has questioned such a thing from happening. What work that Feynman did that he is referring to exactly here? If he has been shown to be careless about details, and assuming he isn't a physicist, how does he know that he has understood and interpreted Feynman's work accurately and correctly?

And the author had the audacity to say that even after we know the "nuts and bolts" of how things work, that this is nothing more than a matter of faith? I'm not going to go into all the various entries I've had on this topic already, but there's a lot of nonsense in here. The author had already described how Feynman brilliantly demonstrated the failure of the 0-rings in the Challenger disaster. However, he seemed to have completely missed the POINT of the whole demonstration - that science, and physics in particular, is based on EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE to ensure its validity. It isn't just a matter of theoretical description of the nuts and bolts, it is a matter of experimentally demonstrating that the theory correctly describe, both qualitatively and quantitatively, what is observed. This is what is severely lacking with the "who" that this author is trying to argue. If science is simply a matter of faith to him, then the belief in his religion is at an even lower and more suspect "belief" if we simply look at empirical evidence.

Not only the fact that this person never bothered to check the accuracy of what he wrote, the editor of this crappy publication also never bothered to double-check the accuracy of the stuff that goes into such garbage. This is utter nonsense!



Arjen Dijksman said...

There are two contemporary physics stars: Stephen Hawking and Richard Feynman. I think he mixed up first names;-)

Gordon Stangler said...

Nice deconstruction of the web article.

You are quite correct on the author's horrid use of physics, and names. One thing I noticed, is that s/he mentioned Feynmann diagrams are 60 years old, but they were invented in the 60's.