Damned Heretics

Condemned by the established, but very often right

I am Nicolaus Copernicus, and I approve of this blog

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Qualified outsiders and maverick insiders are often right about the need to replace received wisdom in science and society, as the history of the Nobel prize shows. This blog exists to back the best of them in their uphill assault on the massively entrenched edifice of resistance to and prejudice against reviewing, let alone revising, ruling ideas. In support of such qualified dissenters and courageous heretics we search for scientific paradigms and other established beliefs which may be maintained only by the power and politics of the status quo, comparing them with academic research and the published experimental and investigative record.

We especially defend and support the funding of honest, accomplished, independent minded and often heroic scientists, inventors and other original thinkers and their right to free speech and publication against the censorship, mudslinging, false arguments, ad hominem propaganda, overwhelming crowd prejudice and internal science politics of the paradigm wars of cancer, AIDS, evolution, global warming, cosmology, particle physics, macroeconomics, health and medicine, diet and nutrition.

HONOR ROLL OF SCIENTIFIC TRUTHSEEKERS

Henry Bauer, Peter Breggin , Harvey Bialy, Giordano Bruno, Erwin Chargaff, Nicolaus Copernicus, Francis Crick, Paul Crutzen, Marie Curie, Rebecca Culshaw, Freeman Dyson, Peter Duesberg, Albert Einstein, Richard Feynman, John Fewster, Galileo Galilei, Alec Gordon, James Hansen, Edward Jenner, Benjamin Jesty, Michio Kaku, Adrian Kent, Ernst Krebs, Thomas Kuhn, Serge Lang, John Lauritsen, Mark Leggett, Richard Lindzen, Lynn Margulis, Barbara McClintock, George Miklos, Marco Mamone Capria, Peter Medawar, Kary Mullis, Linus Pauling, Eric Penrose, Max Planck, Rainer Plaga, David Rasnick, Sherwood Rowland, Carl Sagan, Otto Rossler, Fred Singer, Thomas Szasz, Alfred Wegener, Edward O. Wilson, James Watson.
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Many people would die rather than think – in fact, they do so. – Bertrand Russell.

Skepticism is dangerous. That’s exactly its function, in my view. It is the business of skepticism to be dangerous. And that’s why there is a great reluctance to teach it in schools. That’s why you don’t find a general fluency in skepticism in the media. On the other hand, how will we negotiate a very perilous future if we don’t have the elementary intellectual tools to ask searching questions of those nominally in charge, especially in a democracy? – Carl Sagan (The Burden of Skepticism, keynote address to CSICOP Annual Conference, Pasadena, April 3/4, 1982).

It is really important to underscore that everything we’re talking about tonight could be utter nonsense. – Brian Greene (NYU panel on Hidden Dimensions June 5 2010, World Science Festival)

I am Albert Einstein, and I heartily approve of this blog, insofar as it seems to believe both in science and the importance of intellectual imagination, uncompromised by out of date emotions such as the impulse toward conventional religious beliefs, national aggression as a part of patriotism, and so on.   As I once remarked, the further the spiritual evolution of mankind advances, the more certain it seems to me that the path to genuine religiosity does not lie through the fear of life, and the fear of death, and blind faith, but through striving after rational knowledge.   Certainly the application of the impulse toward blind faith in science whereby authority is treated as some kind of church is to be deplored.  As I have also said, the only thing ever interfered with my learning was my education. My name as you already perceive without a doubt is George Bernard Shaw, and I certainly approve of this blog, in that its guiding spirit appears to be blasphemous in regard to the High Church doctrines of science, and it flouts the censorship of the powers that be, and as I have famously remarked, all great truths begin as blasphemy, and the first duty of the truthteller is to fight censorship, and while I notice that its seriousness of purpose is often alleviated by a satirical irony which sometimes borders on the facetious, this is all to the good, for as I have also famously remarked, if you wish to be a dissenter, make certain that you frame your ideas in jest, otherwise they will seek to kill you.  My own method was always to take the utmost trouble to find the right thing to say, and then to say it with the utmost levity. (Photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt for Life magazine) One should as a rule respect public opinion in so far as is necessary to avoid starvation and to keep out of prison, but anything that goes beyond this is voluntary submission to an unnecessary tyranny, and is likely to interfere with happiness in all kinds of ways. – Bertrand Russell, Conquest of Happiness (1930) ch. 9

(Click for more Unusual Quotations on Science and Belief)

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Kicking Mother Nature’s Shins: CERN’s LHC restart coincides with Japanese quake, may cause Big Bang 2

Has the LHC already created a baby Black Hole? Strangelets? The Japanese earthquake? New startup proceeds…

Megacollider passed thru higher energy ALICE phase smoothly, claims CERN PR, but internal report notes “candidate” Black Hole earlier

Critics unrefuted, safety logic crumbling, and planet-consuming theoretical particles officially ruled out but privately expected

LHC run resumes at new energy peaks from March through 2012 before retooling, matching Mayan and Nostradamus dates of doom

German judge calls for a safety conference including critics

Fresh worry: will Higgs turn out to be an inflaton which will swallow CERN thru wormhole into new universe?

This is a CERN particle detector, impressive in size and colorful in design, but many worry that it is part of a mechanical monstrosity that may yet see Nostradamus and the Mayans vindicated in their supposed predictions of a catastrophic end to the joys and tribulations, ugliness and beauty of Life on Earth, unless the superannuated whiz kids who run it are hauled in front of a public review board of some kind and asked to explain what the theoretical risks really are, behind their curtain of public deceit, which has them smoothly fobbing off anxious members of the public with reasons for confidence which they know very well are false, but which save them from getting into the sole remaining line of argument (involving neutron stars and white dwarf stars) which is apparently equally frail, and thus admitting that they are prepared to gamble the fate of the world, and even their own wives, husbands, friends, lovers and children, on expectations which even the heroic master of string theory, Brian Greene, admits could be utter nonsense.
In theory if not in fact, all is not necessarily well at the Large Hadron Collider outside Geneva, despite CERN’s proud parental press releases to the contrary. Yet the latest news is that the LHC has started up again, ignoring the opinion of a German federal judge that a public outside review is in order.

As a matter of fact, collisions resumed on March 2, after the beams of the world’s largest machine were quietly switched on and ramped up in February, the CERN brass having decided to ignore its previous plan for shutdown for inspection and renovation next year. The media were not invited, or even alerted, presumably in case the megasized toy fell apart, as it has done twice so far when started up in previous years.

Now that renewed high energy operation is a fait accompli sans catastrophe, however, the public has been informed, but without also notifying us – the 6.8 billion other humans riding the same planet as the clever, if apparently emotionally autistic, physicists operating the LHC – of the theoretical dangers involved in opening up the throttle to ever higher beam intensities.

Expanded list of risks

As things stand, in fact, the issue of safety is quite unresolved, with top physicists brazenly placating the public with an out of date, long ago refuted safety argument, while their own supposedly more viable private rationale crumbles. As the collider moves further into unknown territory, the list of dangers unearthed by those who have, unlike most of the media, troubled to actually read what CERN has published, and compared it with the current literature, has expanded now to at least six dire possibilities: mini Black Holes which might gobble the Earth, strangelets which might turn it into strange matter a la neutron star or white dwarf, rapid hydrogen bomb sized explosions which will wreck Geneva and the world economy, magnetic monopoles (ruled out by the same specious rationale as mini Black Holes), a vacuum bubble to restart the entire universe (denied for the same reason), earthquakes of which the catastrophe in Japan may just possibly be an example (coincidence, anybody?), and finally (you heard it here first) the possibility of producing the dreaded inflaton, which may swallow CERN into a baby universe grown to the diameter of 46 Earths in the first second.

On the face of it, yes, the world’s vastest and fastest working mechanism, the celebrated – among physicists and science buffs, at least – CERN collider outside Geneva, did pass through its potentially more dangerous ALICE phase smoothly before Christmas. Instead of protons, heavy lead ions were smashed into each other from opposite directions at new and record levels of energy before the plug was pulled for the holiday without visibly creating any untoward particles, as feared by the redoubtable LHC critics who belong to what we might call the “Very ConCERNed” Brigade.

Reasons for conCERN – about a CERNCon

CERN's James Gillies shows reporters the damage to LHC that resulted when its magnets blew up and leaked liquid helium all over the tunnel, but his willingness to explain to them the far greater theoretical dangers risked by escalating the beam energy to ever higher levels was a good deal less, for some reason, so that virtually no reporter takes the LHC critics seriously enough to cover their views, and their efforts to force CERN to undergo public review.By the “very ConCERNed” we mean the handful of interested and fairly expert observers who, having read and reviewed what CERN has published, not merely whatever has been reported by the assiduous stenographers who go by the name science journalists these days, believe the world is now dealing with a CERN shell game where valid doubts are concealed from the public eye.

In this “CERNCon”, the propaganda wool is being pulled over the eyes of the public by the PR apologists of an organized army of egghead boffins who won’t brook any interference with their rush to penetrate the inner sanctum of Mother Nature even at the risk of universal annihilation.

Readers of Science Guardian are of course fully cognizant of this phenomenon in other areas of science where funding has trumped truth and professionalism, most secretly in the case of cancer and most blatantly in HIV/AIDS, another field where scientists have far outpaced the will or capacity of almost all journalists to catch up with the mischief they are perpetrating.

Is the Higgs really the lethal inflaton?

In the case of the LHC, according to the critics’ theories the potential consequences are infinitely vaster, up to and including the destruction of life, our planet, the solar system and even the universe itself.

Not only that, but according to some conCERNed theoretical calculations based upon the very premises on which the LHC operates, it may be too late. The immense contraption which excites CERN physicists into a paroxysm of intellectual, aesthetic and social ecstasy may have already doomed us all by invisibly creating either a mini blackhole (mBH) or a strangelet, either or both of which may have now fallen to the center of the Earth and be busy decimating the only blue and white planet on which Life is known, from the inside out.

These CERNies happily applauding a moment when the LHC ramps up to renewed operation without actually falling apart are the torch bearers of Life on Earth who we fervently hope will not stumble and drop the flame before handing it on safely to the new generation of 6.8 billion plus human beings who will inherit the Earth from them as a sacred trust which some say should not be risked simply to satisfy the curiosity of superannuated whiz kids about the inner workings of Mother Nature, however intriguing the unknown may be to all curious mindsAdded to this, we now have papers in hand by British and Russian physicists which suggest that the Higgs boson, which CERN physicists are breathlessly and publicly hoping to turn up as the major prize of the current phase of tweaking Nature’s tail, may be none other than the notorious inflaton, an entity supposedly responsible, when it came into being just after the Big Bang, for inflating the universe from an invisible speck into a large football field, at least, and possibly its current, inconceivably vast size. (Now a busy field, this was initiated by F. Bezrukov, “The Standard Model Higgs Boson as the Inflaton,” Physics Letters B, 659:703-6, 2008).

Is it possible that the Higgs when it appears will immediately suck the CERN HQ though a wormhole into another, baby universe in the blink of an eye? We can only hope not. But according to what one can discern in a currently booming field treating the Higgs as an inflaton, this may be on the cards. And there does not appear to be at present any good reasoning offered to contradict this alarming possibility, judging from Brian Greene’s latest book, “Hidden Reality” (p279). Even the renowned physicist Frank Wilczek is now apparently equating the Higgs boson with the inflaton.

Derided but responsible critics

Normally, we hasten to note, we would be reluctant to join the LHC critics, the largely scorned but certainly socially and morally responsible observers who publicly, if so far ineffectively, have strenuously objected to the runaway operation of CERN’s gargantuan baby far beyond the restraining leash of public review.

These well intentioned and worry prone global citizens, however right they may be, don’t seem to respect the renowned physicists and engineers (see pic) who run the LHC as the brilliant, wise and highly competent specialists beyond ordinary ken that the general public seems to assume they are. On the contrary, they see the behavior of the LHC’s ministering echelons of physicists and engineers and their leaders as childish and irresponsible, in fact see them as thoroughly reprehensible and alarming arsonists of the planet, no better than tots armed with a box of matches and setting light to the living room curtains “to see what will happen”.

Naturally, we would not approve of this disagreeable skepticism in normal circumstances, where it would undoubtedly be the result of uninformed iconoclasm driven by Freudian patricidal impulses and unrestrained imaginative fears and not by logic and evidence, which is the pyramid on which valid science stands.

In this case, however, our long investigation behind the scenes has revealed that – Alas! – the nays have it, and the CERN-LHC affair is indeed yet another example of science out of control, and scientists getting away with (planetary, in this case) murder, so to speak, for lack of any outside reviewer in the media or the courts able to penetrate the dark veil of expertise with which they can shield their operations from outside view.

This is a CERN spectrometer ie the Atlas detector, which has been looking at the collisions of lead ions which took place before Christmas, much to the fear and chagrin of a group of physicist doomsayers who are very, very worried that a micro black hole - an mBH - might be created as the collision energy of the Large Hadron Collider rises unrestrained by anyone reading and crediting their theoretical analyses, which suggest there is a good chance that a mBH might well sink to the center of the planet and gobble it up over time - from days to a century - from the inside out, and though there was no sign of this publicly reported in the propaganda releases of the $10 billion operation, critics have discovered an unnerving entry in the  recent ALICE phase results summary for scientists and other insiders that signs of a black hole were indeed detected, but dismissed as impossible at that level of energy and therefore misleading.And they do have a point, in that it is now clearly established that said elite professional physicists are intent on escalating the beam energy of the LHC to higher and higher levels to explore conditions hitherto unseen since one trillionth of a second after the Big Bang, while holding off public scrutiny with a misleading camouflage of gung ho propaganda and inaccurate public statements, the latter often self contradictory, CERN evidently being a large organization where the right hand knoweth not what the left hand is up to, as we will show.

A massive review is called for, we agree

So, having read fully into both sides of the issue, which it appears very few outsiders have troubled themselves to do (though the few that have are exemplary, and we will point to them) we conclude that the situation deserves a comprehensive review by objective parties unallied to CERN on any basis. In particular, given the abject fellow traveling of the science and general interest media, reduced by James Gillies, CERN spokesman and head of communication, to the role of notetakers so bewildered by the claims of experts that their critical faculties have been entirely spiked, we step up to the plate in the hope of persuading someone in the media to investigate (Pro Publica, anyone?).

Ideally, of course, a public review board or court should be set up, as a German judge has specifically opined:

German court pleads for CERN/LHC safety conference

While the world`s largest atom smasher, CERN`s Large Hadron Collider (LHC) near Geneva/Switzerland, these days is going to be restarted after a two months break, a German Court, although rejecting a claim to oblige German CERN deputies to stop LHC`s scheduled high energy running, urges the German government to convene a safety conference on collider`s potential catastrophic dangers.

“The court points out its opinion that it should be possible to let discuss the various safety aspects that have been the issue of both safety reports of 2003 and 2008, within the framework of a safety conference“ – that`show chairman Mr. Niemeyer, chief judge at the German administrative court at Cologne, logged after three hours of intensive court hearing.

… Such catastrophic scenarios are even discussed in CERN`s safety reports but there are found to be all falsified.

However, the critics still regard their serious warnings as not having been disproved. They state that safety reports would have to be reviewed for reasons of fundamental new astronomical findings that appeared for the first time in 2009, thus a year after CERN`s last safety report, and postulate a safety conference including not only CERN and CERN-related scientists but also the critics.

…”Even though the administrative court in general repeated last year`s constitutional court`s decision, it has put out a strong new signal that cannot be ignored by German government and even CERN”, summarizes Mr. Möhring.

(Source at Achtphasen.net: http://tinyurl.com/6yvmtor)

What we will do is merely point out the contradictions, insufficiencies and evasions in CERN’s various publicly available statements and accounts of its activities, and ask for clarification, in the name of the people of the various 20 nations of ordinary citizens whose taxes are paying for this adventure, not to mention the rest of humanity whose future is mortgaged to the validity of CERN’s evidently increasingly hollow safety reassurances.

However, we know that long texts on the Web are troublesome for many people to read, so we will break up our treatment into several posts, of which this is the first.

9 Responses to “Kicking Mother Nature’s Shins: CERN’s LHC restart coincides with Japanese quake, may cause Big Bang 2”

  1. Robert Houston Says:

    Science Guardian is performing a major public service in exposing the enormous perils and questionable assurances that CERN presents to the world with its Big Bang machine. The article is a splendid overview, which eloquently illuminates the sociological problems as well as the scientific dangers posed by the Large Hadron Collider. It is also the first to point out that the production of the Higgs boson is not necessarily a harmless pursuit, in view of recent theoretical studies identifying the Higgs as the inflaton, the violent particle/field that is widely believed to have caused a colossal expansion of space an instant after the big bang.

    Aside from some comments on web threads, the only other writing I’ve seen that broaches the danger of producing an inflaton is the new book by physicist Brian Greene. He asks, “should we worry that if we artificially set off new inflationary realms, our own corner of space may be swallowed by the ballooning expanse?” (Hidden Reality, 2011, p. 278). He offers a theory that the inflation would expand into a new universe leaving behind “a deep gravitational well… which would appear to us as a black hole” (p. 279). So why did it expand in this universe after the big bang? And will Geneva slide down the “deep…well”? Oddly, these are questions that CERN’s safety report never considered.

    By the way, since the article uses the term “very ConCERNed”, it should be noted that a consortium of LHC critics groups is called “ConCERNed-International.” The name stands for “Committee on CERN Experimental Dangers.” They issued an extensive, well-documented report in March 2010, called “Critical Revision of LHC Risks,” which is available at LHC-Concern.info and well worth reading –
    http://lhc-concern.info/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/critical-revision-of-lhc-risks_concerned-int.pdf

  2. Truthseeker Says:

    We are honored to have a comment from almost the only active informed commenter on the major other sites which have featured discussion of this now largely ignored problem of group politics in science, the inimitable Robert Houston, who has done much in the last couple of years to bring light and data to bear on this global conCERN in comment threads on the topic which unfortunately tend to be largely ignorant jeering at those who worry, or if they are more informed, merely restatements of Brian Greene’s now abandoned “Cosmic Ray 1” logic, the long debunked argument that the cosmic rays which have for eons sprayed the Earth with sub atomic particles (protons, atomic nuclei, or electrons) prove that similar collisions in the LHC are nothing to worry about, and when contradicted by more knowledgeable posters such as Houston, fall silent for lack of rebuttal, instead of doing what they should, which is acknowledge that conCERN is justified.

    We say “almost the only active” contributor to any discussion on the Web, because the reputable theorist Otto Rossler is still asking questions in public, the latest being his April 13 post at Lifeboat News, If No Single Scientist Openly Contradicts My Results: Why No Public Debate? (Posted by Otto E. Rössler in categories: existential risks, particle physics). We have replied to Rossler in the Comments there because we think he deserves respect both for his ideas on the topic and for his sense of social responsibility, and that he is quite right to expect CERN to answer his points, instead of ignoring them.

    The other significant theorist Rainer Plaga (pron. “Reye-ner Plahga”) has fallen silent, after replying to CERN’s Giddings and Mangano’s hasty and misplaced Aug 29 2008 critique of his paper of August 10 2008, which was as he pointed out based on a misreading which picked entirely the wrong equation to target, a fiasco which apparently resulted in Giddings and Mangano, CERN’s in house defense squad, retiring injured from the field, since despite promising further points they have not been heard from on the topic since.

    Why has Plaga fallen silent? He has not even published any paper on any topic since he expressed conCERN, which makes those who are familiar with the way science politics works suspect – nay, believe – he has been blackballed by a community too fearful of having the LHC stopped dead to allow any public discussion of conCERN by anyone of any clout, and Plaga till now had the stature of someone who Nature called upon on May 1 2008 to summarize his ideas on the origin of cosmic rays in supernovae.

    You are quite right to point out that the critics of CERN’s reckless plunge into the unknown have played with the pun on “conCERN” themselves, but since punning is the lowest form of wit, by general agreement, we didn’t think it deserved distracting, full dress acknowledgement in terms of priority, which we normally would be careful to salute, since priority is a very important factor in awarding prizes in science proper, because such acknowledgement would have been a red herring in what is intended to be a summary post of the state of play in what may be the most important discussion in the history of physics, though of course if conCERN turns out to be valid, we won’t be around to recognize that fact, as the physicists who acknowledge that possibility are fond of pointing out, such as Nobel laureate Frank Wilczek of MIT, whose recent paper agrees that the Higgs is probably the inflaton (Andrea De Simone, Mark Hertzberg and Frank Wilczek: Running Inflation in the Standard Model. Physics Letters B, 678:1-8, 2009):

    “Recently the idea that the Standard Model Higgs field …. can lead to inflation was proposed (F. Bezrukov, 2008) ….We conclude that running inflation based upon a Standard Model Higgs makes predictions that are consistent with current cosmological data….”

    The fact that Wilcek as you pointed out in a previous comment jokes in this manner about the fate of the Earth and all of the rest of us who like him and his family live on this apparently uniquely beautiful spacecraft, and that Greene, Michio Kaku and others are fond of bringing up the possibility of a dragon suddenly appearing in the room as an example of what is theoretically possible, and therefore by analogy implying we have just as little to worry about in the LHC going catastrophically wrong on us, only proves how idiotically childish the species “distinguished physicist” can be, and how little they can be relied on to lead the human race safely into the future.

    CERN influence in physics is so enormous that the best known media sources are keeping quiet. Thus the normally talkative and politically enlightened theoretical physicist Michio Kaku, of CUNY, NPR, and currently celebrated as author of Physics of the Future: How Science will Change Daily Life by 2100, is going along on this one. In 1999 Kaku was a skeptic capable of describing NASA calculations of risk in the Saturn project as “They basically ask their engineers to volunteer some probability figures, then they take the average. This is not science. This is voodoo”.

    But now it appears he too taken up with writing popular Wow! science books and appearing on radio and tv to forecast that students will cheat on exams soon with contact lenses that work as computer screens to worry about CERN.

    Another unexpected recruit is Sir Martin Rees, previous wary of what human technology might lead to, as in Our Final Hour: A Scientist’s Warning: How Terror, Error, and Environmental Disaster Threaten Humankind’s Future In This Century – On Earth and Beyond (2003) (published as Our Final Century?: Will the Human Race Survive the Twenty-first Century? in the UK).

    Having stepped down as head of the Royal Society after five years Rees last year was independent minded enough to say that his friend Stephen Hawking was a poor thinker in religious philosophy and there was no need to respect his point that God was not needed to account for creation. ” I know Stephen Hawking well enough to know that he has read very little philosophy and even less theology, so I don’t think we should attach any weight to his views on this topic.”

    Of course, this comment came before Rees was the happy recipient of the one million pound Templeton prize this month, which goes to “scientists who are prepared to say something nice about religion”, as Richard Dawkins put it. Dawkins had earlier called Rees a “quisling” for cooperating with the Templeton people in offering to host their award ceremony.

    Let’s hope that he does not see fit to use the same colorful metaphor for either Rees or Kaku in regard to the LHC.

  3. Robert Houston Says:

    Thank you, Truthseeker, for your very kind and extensive response to my comment. Like you, I have the highest regard for Prof. Otto Rossler, physicist Rainer Plaga, and Cambridge astrophysicist Sir Martin Rees – at least as represented in his terrific 2003 book, Our Final Hour. These three high-ranking scientists have been among the major critics of the mad rush by physicists to produce ever more powerful colliders and collision experiments.

    Personally, I also think highly of Prof. Michio Kaku of CUNY but recognize that a conflict of interest can compromise even the finest men. In the past he has always been on the side of the public interest and a forthright critic of big science when there was any issue of environmental danger (as with nuclear power and weapons). His recent cheerleading for the LHC is a notable contradiction, for in this matter he scoffs at safety concerns in preference to a public “adventure into the unknown.” However, he is not a disinterested party. Dr. Kaku is a leader of String Field Theory, a theoretical construct lacking any empirical evidence. Like Greene and other string theorists, he hopes the LHC will provide such evidence, which could lead to personal acclaim and awards.

    In Par. 4 of the article, we read of “the possibility” that “the dreaded inflaton…may swallow CERN into a baby universe grown to the diameter of 46 Earths in the first second.” This would assume that the expansion proceeds at the speed of light (186,000 miles/sec). Dividing 186,000 by the Earth’s radius (4000 miles) the result would be a sphere 46 times the Earth’s diameter, or nearly as large as moon’s orbit. So far as I know, however, no one has asserted that this would be the speed or duration of such inflation. (In the Scientific American, April 2011, physicist Paul Steinhardt of Princeton discusses possible flaws in the Inflation theory with regard to the Big Bang.)

    Finally, I appreciate your original coinage of the new term: “CERNcon.” My previous reference to “ConCERNed International” was not a criticism but merely a supplement to your amusing remarks about the VCB (the “Very ConCERNed Brigade”).

  4. Truthseeker Says:

    The prospect of CERN plunging through a wormhole into another universe expanding at the speed of light was mentioned only as a way of illustrating one of the infinite range of possibilities opened up for our consideration by CERN’s LHC by selecting one with concrete form or at least some specifics, Robert, even if the assumption that the expansion will occur at the speed of light seems a little arbitrary, we admit.

    It is very appropriate that you fasten on the doubtfulness of this specific since the truth appears to be now well established that there is no predicting what will turn up at the LHC as it progresses to ever higher collision energies, peaking at 7 TeV for each beam. No less a physics personage than Stephen Hawking confirmed this suspicion of ours in the Science Times interview (Life and the Cosmos, Word by Painstaking Word) with him by Claudia Dreifus published yesterday. The great man ordained quite clearly twice that as far as he was concerned there was no predicting what might emerge from this modern Eighth Wonder of the World, and he even refused to get excited about the hints of a Higgs boson some see in the latest results, saying that a proper determination would have to wait on confirming results if any from the LHC and other accelerators.

    Of course if the practiced Claudia had cared to display any of the skepticism that used to be part of the arsenal of every interesting journalist she might have then asked a follow up question to the effect that if we are not even sure whether the predictions of current establishment theory are going to bear fruit, and in fact have no real idea what will transpire, then how are we to choose between the accepted theory that nothing bad will happen and the theoretical analyses of Rossler and Plaga that suggest catastrophe is a distinct possibility, not to mention the near hysterics of Luis Sancho of CERNtruth, philosopher of science, cosmologist and time theorist, whom Walter Wagner thought highly enough of to make a joint plaintiff in his suit against the Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation for giving money to CERN?

    If you admit you don’t know what will happen then you don’t know the risk of any one thing happening, do you? Aren’t all bets off?

    By the way, a significant portion of the inhabitants of Rome are reported to have fled the city in anticipation of the earthquake supposedly predicted for today by the self taught Raffaele Bendandi, who was knighted by Mussolini, but it is now 2.30 am there and no news of any tremors. The head of a foundation set up in Bendandi’s honor absolutely denies, however, that he predicted any such thing. There was a 5.3 level earthquake in Lorca, Spain, however, which toppled a church steeple amid chaos.

    Let’s note, though, that the earthquake two years ago at L’Aquila, in central Italy on the same fault line as Rome, was reportedly successfully predicted by a non-specialist, and at this site we believe independent scholars and researchers are often able to make a valuable contribution to many fields, since they are not subject to the phenomenon of group think which blinkers the resident experts in so many arenas of research and discussion.

    Of course, Hawking takes five minutes to answer a question in person, so crippling is his fiendish ailment, ALS . No one would wish to cause him to waste energy by disturbing his peace of mind. So it is probably impossible to ask him any challenging questions, however tactfully, although Dreifus does manage it once.

    On the other hand, he travels to Arizona, and he is willing to contemplate going into space, he says, having already experienced zero gravity.

    Here’s what Hawking said (LHC relevant quotes in bold):

    May 9, 2011
    Life and the Cosmos, Word by Painstaking Word
    By CLAUDIA DREIFUS
    TEMPE, Ariz. — Like Einstein, he is as famous for his story as for his science.

    At the age of 21, the British physicist Stephen Hawking was found to have amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Lou Gehrig’s disease. While A.L.S. is usually fatal within five years, Dr. Hawking lived on and flourished, producing some of the most important cosmological research of his time.

    In the 1960s, with Sir Roger Penrose, he used mathematics to explicate the properties of black holes. In 1973, he applied Einstein’s general theory of relativity to the principles of quantum mechanics. And he showed that black holes were not completely black but could leak radiation and eventually explode and disappear, a finding that is still reverberating through physics and cosmology.

    Dr. Hawking, in 1988, tried to explain what he knew about the boundaries of the universe to the lay public in “A Brief History of Time: From Big Bang to Black Holes.” The book sold more than 10 million copies and was on best-seller lists for more than two years.

    Today, at 69, Dr. Hawking is one of the longest-living survivors of A.L.S., and perhaps the most inspirational. Mostly paralyzed, he can speak only through a computerized voice simulator.

    On a screen attached to his wheelchair, commonly used words flash past him. With a cheek muscle, he signals an electronic sensor in his eyeglasses to transmit instructions to the computer. In this way he slowly builds sentences; the computer transforms them into the metallic, otherworldly voice familiar to Dr. Hawking’s legion of fans.

    It’s an exhausting and time-consuming process. Yet this is how he stays connected to the world, directing research at the Center for Theoretical Cosmology at the University of Cambridge, writing prolifically for specialists and generalists alike and lecturing to rapt audiences from France to Fiji.

    Dr. Hawking came here last month at the invitation of a friend, the cosmologist Lawrence Krauss , for a science festival sponsored by the Origins Project of Arizona State University. His lecture, “My Brief History,” was not all quarks and black holes. At one point, he spoke of the special joys of scientific discovery.

    “I wouldn’t compare it to sex,” he said in his computerized voice, “but it lasts longer.” The audience roared.

    The next afternoon, Dr. Hawking sat with me for a rare interview. Well, a kind of interview, actually.

    Ten questions were sent to his daughter, Lucy Hawking, 40, a week before the meeting. So as not to exhaust her father, who has grown weaker since a near-fatal illness two years ago, Ms. Hawking read them to him over a period of days.

    During our meeting, the physicist played back his answers. Only one exchange, the last, was spontaneous. Yet despite the limitations, it was Dr. Hawking who wanted to do the interview in person rather than by e-mail.

    Some background on the second query, the one about extraterrestrials. For the past year, Lucy Hawking was writer in residence at the Origins Project at Arizona State University. As part of her work, she and Paul Davies, a physicist at Arizona State, started a contest, “Dear Aliens,” inviting Phoenix schoolchildren to write essays about what they might say to space beings trying to contact Planet Earth.

    Q. Dr. Hawking, thank you so much for taking time to talk to Science Times. I’m wondering, what is a typical day like for you?

    A. I get up early every morning and go to my office where I work with my colleagues and students at Cambridge University. Using e-mail, I can communicate with scientists all over the world.

    Obviously, because of my disability, I need assistance. But I have always tried to overcome the limitations of my condition and lead as full a life as possible. I have traveled the world, from the Antarctic to zero gravity. (Pause.) Perhaps one day I will go into space.

    Q. Speaking of space: Earlier this week, your daughter, Lucy, and Paul Davies, the Arizona State University physicist, sent a message into space from an Arizona schoolchild to potential extraterrestrials out there in the universe. Now, you’ve said elsewhere that you think it’s a bad idea for humans to make contact with other forms of life. Given this, did you suggest to Lucy that she not do it? Hypothetically, let’s say as a fantasy, if you were to send such a message into space, how would it read?

    A. Previously I have said it would be a bad idea to contact aliens because they might be so greatly advanced compared to us, that our civilization might not survive the experience. The “Dear Aliens” competition is based on a different premise.

    It assumes that an intelligent extraterrestrial life form has already made contact with us and we need to formulate a reply. The competition asks school-age students to think creatively and scientifically in order to find a way to explain human life on this planet to some inquisitive aliens. I have no doubt that if we are ever contacted by such beings, we would want to respond.

    I also think it is an interesting question to pose to young people as it requires them to think about the human race and our planet as a whole. It asks students to define who we are and what we have done.

    Q. I don’t mean to ask this disrespectfully, but there are some experts on A.L.S. who insist that you can’t possibly suffer from the condition. They say you’ve done far too well, in their opinion. How do you respond to this kind of speculation?

    A. Maybe I don’t have the most common kind of motor neuron disease, which usually kills in two or three years. It has certainly helped that I have had a job and that I have been looked after so well.

    I don’t have much positive to say about motor neuron disease. But it taught me not to pity myself, because others were worse off and to get on with what I still could do. I’m happier now than before I developed the condition. I am lucky to be working in theoretical physics, one of the few areas in which disability is not a serious handicap.

    Q. Given all you’ve experienced, what words would you offer someone who has been diagnosed with a serious illness, perhaps A.L.S.?

    A. My advice to other disabled people would be, concentrate on things your disability doesn’t prevent you doing well, and don’t regret the things it interferes with. Don’t be disabled in spirit, as well as physically.

    Q. About the Large Hadron Collider, the supercollider in Switzerland, there were such high hopes for it when it was opened. Are you disappointed in it?

    A. It is too early to know what the L.H.C. will reveal. It will be two years before it reaches full power. When it does, it will work at energies five times greater than previous particle accelerators.

    We can guess at what this will reveal, but our experience has been that when we open up a new range of observations, we often find what we had not expected. That is when physics becomes really exciting, because we are learning something new about the universe.

    Q. I’m wondering about your book “A Brief History of Time.” Were you surprised by the enormous success of it? Do you believe that most of your readers understood it? Or is it enough that they were interested and wanted to? Or, in another way: what are the implications of your popular books for science education?

    A. I had not expected “A Brief History of Time” to be a best seller. It was my first popular book and aroused a great deal of interest.

    Initially, many people found it difficult to understand. I therefore decided to try to write a new version that would be easier to follow. I took the opportunity to add material on new developments since the first book, and I left out some things of a more technical nature. This resulted in a follow-up entitled “A Briefer History of Time,” which is slightly briefer, but its main claim would be to make it more accessible.

    Q. Though you avoid stating your own political beliefs too openly, you entered into the health care debate here in the United States last year. Why did you do that?

    A. I entered the health care debate in response to a statement in the United States press in summer 2009 which claimed the National Health Service in Great Britain would have killed me off, were I a British citizen. I felt compelled to make a statement to explain the error.

    I am British, I live in Cambridge, England, and the National Health Service has taken great care of me for over 40 years. I have received excellent medical attention in Britain, and I felt it was important to set the record straight. I believe in universal health care. And I am not afraid to say so.

    Q. Here on Earth, the last few months have just been devastating. What were your feelings as you read of earthquakes, revolutions, counter-revolutions and nuclear meltdowns in Japan? Have you been as personally shaken up as the rest of us?

    A. I have visited Japan several times and have always been shown wonderful hospitality. I am deeply saddened for my Japanese colleagues and friends, who have suffered such a catastrophic event. I hope there will be a global effort to help Japan recover. We, as a species, have survived many natural disasters and difficult situations, and I know that the human spirit is capable of enduring terrible hardships.

    Q. If it is possible to time-travel, as some physicists claim, at least theoretically, is possible, what is the single moment in your life you would like to return to? This is another way of asking, what has been the most joyful moment you’ve known?

    A. I would go back to 1967, and the birth of my first child, Robert. My three children have brought me great joy.

    Q. Scientists at Fermilab recently announced something that one of our reporters described as “a suspicious bump in their data that could be evidence of a new elementary particle or even, some say, a new force of nature.” What did you think when you heard about it?

    A. It is too early to be sure. If it helps us to understand the universe, that will surely be a good thing. But first, the result needs to be confirmed by other particle accelerators.

    Q. I don’t want to tire you out, especially if doing answers is so difficult. But I’m wondering: The speech you gave the other night here in Tempe, “My Brief History,” was very personal. Were you trying to make a statement on the record so that people would know who you are?

    A. (After five minutes.) I hope my experience will help other people.

  5. cervantes Says:

    Truthseeker, Interesting that Hawkings atypically breaks the ALS mold, just goes to show medical diagnoses and results are indeed infinite.

    The CERN topic is ‘fiddling while Rome burns’ to me. Why is not(!) the colossal destruction of American families and their children directly caused by this Immunization Schedule ignored by Science Guardian?:

    http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/recs/schedules/downloads/child/0-6yrs-schedule-pr.pdf

    There are abundant doctors/scientists (though it’s only the 2% still not under the thumb of NIH/NAID’s $Billions of grants), but these doctors/scientists such as Andrew Wakefield, Boyd Haley, Russell Blaylock, are ignored by Lawrence Altman’s disciples at the New York Times, and, yourself.

    All you have to do to get your feet wet is to google “nvic” or “vran” or “age of autism” and there are so many others; try Liam Scheff, or Suzanne Humphries. Try non-granted anybody!

    Thank God there are other sources in addition to Science Guardian.

  6. cervantes Says:

    Hell, “not(!)” in the second para should be deleted – sorry.

  7. stevekj Says:

    This is a good question, cervantes. The recent(ish) drawn-out and completely trumped-up persecution of Dr. Wakefield is particularly pernicious. And he wasn’t even trying to claim that people shouldn’t vaccinate. More information on this scandalous treatment of a fellow science guardian can be found at the Cry Shame web site, http://www.cryshame.com.

    CERN appears to be engaging in some unscientific shenanigans to be sure, but they may not be the most important one.

  8. Truthseeker Says:

    Discussion of the LHC issue is aimed at pointing up the silencing of creditable critics in the field of subnuclear experimentation, so your objection that critics are silenced in the arena of vaccinations is apropos. But whether tens of thousands of American babies and those in other countries who have too many vaccinations at once suffer consequences is not deserving of greater status as a concern than the eradication of the entire planet and its inhabitants for evermore, is it?

    Granted the probabilities may differ, but actually we don’t know the probability of the LHC resulting in extinction, even though Otto Rossler seems confident that it may be as high as 8% that the planet is reduced to 2cm in diameter in as little as five years; nor do we (at Science Guardian) know the probability of vaccine overload doing what you believe it does to tots. You feel it is high, but we don’t know.

    Anyway, what we are interested in here is not so much to support one side or the other on any issue, at least except where the conclusion after careful study is blindingly obvious (the one firm example of this that we know of is the childish impossibility of HIV=AIDS theory).

    Our topic is the way in which free and careful debate of an important issue is sabotaged by the various nonscientifically motivated urges of human nature, many leading to prejudice against, disrespect for, and dismissal of critics of the established wisdom.

    Often the reason for this is lack of information on the part of those who scorn the heretics, which occurs in a kind of circle of causation – establishment defenders wont credit critics because they won’t even read properly what they have to say, preferring instead to sink into that most comfortable of mental topors, confirmation bias, where anything which doesn’t fit mental preconceptions is altered by an emotional filter before it even reaches consciousness.

    So we have a kind of silence imposed on critics of the theoretical dangers of the LHC, and, you say, also on the dangers of vaccination. If so, good point, but not one that will sway anyone unless you mention some of the most convincing points that critics are making, and show too how they are silenced rather than genuinely rebutted.

    By the way, are there not more likely culprits for autism and other childhood behavior problems than vaccine overload, even if it may be a factor? How about hundreds of unregulated and unstudied household chemicals?

    How about even Gabor Mate, the Canadian physician (Scattered: How Attention Deficit Disorder Originates and What You Can Do About It) ? He was recently persuasive on Democracy Now (May 30 2011) attributing childhood behavioral problems to the absence of parents and community in early childhood, which to his mind means that children are starved of modeling and teaching and start acting out.

    He would be more persuasive if he could stop mumbling and start articulating his words clearly.

  9. Truthseeker Says:

    As a statement this is pretty impressive, we must say:

    ————————————–
    Statement From Dr. Andrew Wakefield:
    No Fraud. No Hoax. No Profit Motive.
    “The British Medical Journal and reporter Brian Deer recently alleged that my 1998 research paper was ‘a hoax’ and ‘an elaborate fraud’ and that my motivation was profit.
    “I want to make one thing crystal clear for the record – my research and the serious medical problems found in those children were not a hoax and there was no fraud whatsoever. Nor did I seek to profit from our findings.
    “I stand by the Lancet paper’s methodology and the results which call for more research into whether environmental triggers cause gastrointestinal disease and developmental regression in children. In fact, despite media reports to the contrary, the results of my research have been duplicated in five other countries (to see citations to studies, visit http://tinyurl.com/4hrdt5y.)
    “It is not unexpected to see poor reporting and misinformation coming from Brian Deer, the lead reporter of the recent BMJ coverage. But to see coverage in other media that cites Deer’s shoddy journalism in the BMJ as a final justification to claim there is no link between vaccines and autism is ludicrous. The MMR is only one vaccine of the eleven vaccinations on the pediatric schedule that has been studied for causing developmental problems such as autism. That is fact, not opinion. Any medical professional, government official or journalist who states that the case is closed on whether vaccines cause autism is jumping to conclusions without the research to back it up.
    “I continue to fully support more independent research to determine if environmental triggers, including vaccines, are causing autism and other developmental problems. The current rate of autism is 1 in 110 children in the United States and 1 in 64 children in the U.K. My goal has always been and will remain the health and safety of children. Since the Lancet paper, I have lost my job, my career and my country. To claim that my motivation was profit is patently untrue. I will not be deterred – this issue is far too important.”
    ———————————————–

    However, what is one to think when there is such a parade of substantial studies (Stehr-Green 2003, Madsen 2003 of 1000 children, Hviid 2003, Andrews 2003 of 100,000 children, IOM meta review of 200 studies 2004, Fombonne 2007 28,000 children, Thompson 2007 1000 children, Schechter and Grether 2008) not only scotching any positive correlation between thimerosal and autism but actually often finding it was negative? Presumably you accept that finding. at least, gentlemen?

    The bottom line is whether you are accusing the establishment of suppressing contrary findings, or lying, or failing to do proper research, or what? There is a book just out from Columbia University Press which seems to grind the establishment axe pretty sharply against autism skeptics: Autism’s False Prophets: Bad Science, Risky Medicine, and the Search for a Cure, by one Paul A. Offit MD, a much medaled chief of infectious diseases and director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia, and professor at the University of Pennsylvania medical school in Philadelphia, who was granted the NIH Research Career Development Award for some reason unspecified on the jacket.

    He has vowed to donate all royalties from sales of his book to autism research, it says. Does this include his own research? No matter. What we wish to know is, are you accusing this upright citizen and coinventor of the rotavirus vaccine RotaTeq (for which he got three more awards) of some kind of bias, or a blind spot to counter evidence to his natural belief in the integrity and enlightenment of the club of vaccine researchers and officials who have been so welcoming to his efforts over the years to bring us more vaccines?

    In other words, can we (the readership of these pages) have the honor of a few more facts in your posts, which seem to suggest that all is not well in this field, despite Dr Offit’s claims?

    When we have your advice in hand,w we will review the book and the topic.

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