Wednesday, August 28, 2013

David Talbott: Exposing the Myths of "Settled Science"


"Forget the math until you have got a basis in observation and experiment to direct the mathematician...."  David Talbott

Interesting video from a group of inter-disciplinary academics who are also engaged in a multi-decade long scientific investigation which often conflicts with entrenched mainstream academic beliefs but in the area of astrophysics.

The methods of challenge within the academe that they seem to face in their mission of true science seem hauntingly familiar...






The recent advancement in information technology is enabling observation and documentation of information never before available to humans both terrestrial and celestial.

ALL truly intelligent humans can review this observed information and determine if the previous held beliefs or theories of so-called "settled science" (oxymoron???) is congruent with the newly happened upon observed information.

To proceed in any other fashion is truly NOT intelligent behavior.  "Stupid and blind!"  -  Mat 23:17

34 comments:

Bob said...

http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Electric_Universe

Matt Franko said...

Bob,

I believe they sell logowear shirts and caps too...

rsp,

Bob said...

Can I sell you the Brooklyn Bridge?

Matt Franko said...

Can I sell you a used copy of an old monetarist textbook???

Bob said...

Only if you're willing to swap it for the Brooklyn Bridge.

You should have done your homework.

Matt Franko said...

Are you asserting that the data coming back from Voyager is false?

rsp,

y said...

the guy in the video appears to be arguing that the sun is cool on the inside and all the surface heat is generated by something like a vast and constant lightning storm generated by intergalactic electric currents.

Sounds pretty bonkers. But what do I know. After all, evolution is obviously a lie made up by atheists, and global warming has been completely debunked by science. So anything's possible.

Bob said...

I'm asserting that Electric Universe theories are pseudo-science. The data from Voyager is not a confirmation of EU or Plasma Cosmology, as they suggest.

Cranks are in the business of exposing myths - in favour of their own. Maybe we will see refinements to the accepted cosmological model - but nothing this radical.

Unknown said...

I agree with Bob. EU and Plasma cosmology are not confirmed by these results. The Voyager data challenges what we thought we knew about the heliopause and termination shock, but this comes down to how the sun's magnetic field and "solar wind" of energetic particles interacts with the galactic magnetic field and "galactic wind". The disparities between the predictions and the data do not require a revision of standard cosmological models (though of course they could be consistent with EU models and so forth).

Matt Franko said...

I see what your saying Bob... caveat emptor...

my point here is to focus on the scientific method and to point out how the academe can often become corrupt and actually work against discovery in other areas besides the academe of economics....

y,

New data is coming in from the NASA stereo spacecraft that is starting to be interpreted... and the Voyagers...

http://stereo.gsfc.nasa.gov/

The quote sometimes attributed to Keynes comes to mind: "“When my information changes I change my mind.”

What good are the spacecraft if we are going to ignore the data they send back?

What good is economic data like unemployment if we already think "we have already done the math"?

iow you can see a collapse in employment/output and then the economists try to fit this in a "model" that they have already like NAIRU or whatever BS psycho garbage stuff they come up with...

That's got it backwards to what Talbott asserts here where what you first do is observe the phenomenon and THEN do the math to try to explain it...

Looks like it should be

1 observe
2 interpret
3 'mathematics'

Looks like the economists run this backwards from 3 to 2 and then just ignore the 1.... ie complete morons...

rsp,




Ryan Harris said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
y said...

The Electric Universe/ Electric Sun theory argues that the energy powering the sun constantly comes from outside the sun, through electrical currents across space, rather than from within the sun (from nuclear fusion in the sun's core).

Sounds pretty crazy.

http://neutrinodreaming.blogspot.co.uk/2011/09/electric-universe-theory-debunked.html

Ryan Harris said...

Sort of along these lines, The BBC had a nice article in plain english explaining how the climate modelers are modifying their CO2 warming models to account for the fact that the earth hasn't warmed in the last 25 years as predicted.
The climatologists are making the same errors as economists, when the data don't fit, instead of admitting the theory has been disproved by data, and then going back to the drawing board, as is supposed to be done, they double down on their entrenched beliefs in warming by CO2 and simply change the model slightly to make the hypothesis fit a new crop of data to explain away the data that they don't like. And next week when a new set of data doesn't support this next crop of data, another tweak should be expected because one day, you can bet that pattern will emerge if they can just tweak their models in the right way and find that magic formula!

Matt Franko said...

y,

Why does it sound crazy in light of what I believe the Voyager data is showing a strong magnetic field present outside the suns heliosphere? Where that was not predicted?

And plasma particles are being observed accelerating over the journey from sun to earth?

The engineers who are looking at the data from Stereo are interpreting it as very similar to the electromagnetic/thermal characteristics of a spherical anode where outer temperatures are known to also exceed the surface temperatures... (suns corona orders of magnitude hotter than the surface, etc...)

The models have to be revisited is all I am trying to say here... (if we are not morons, etc..)

R&R said that a 90% debt to gdp ratio is a dangerous threshold, while we can OBSERVE Japan operating above that no problem for years...

NAIRU claims we need unemployment for price stability which has never been observed, etc...

Intelligent people have to revisit their assumptions when the data conflicts... if we observe people NOT doing that, then this is for sure a bunch of morons who probably dont even know what is really going on.... its a TIP OFF...

rsp,

Unknown said...

Ryan, would you rather the climate scientists ignore the new data entirely? Would you rather that the slowed warming should cause them to throw out the notion that CO2 is a greenhouse gas at all? That would be foolish given the molecule's physical chemistry. Maybe we will come to a point where it becomes obvious that CO2 levels are completely decoupled from global temperatures having controlled for confounding variables such as changing levels atmospheric sulfur compounds and other particulates that can decrease solar penetration of the atmosphere and lead to cooling. In that case, despite CO2 being a greenhouse gas, we could conclude that CO2 levels have little effect on global temperatures (H2O vapor is also a greenhouse gas and far more plentiful). In any case, your comment shows that you are doing just what you accuse climate scientists of doing, that is, presupposing the correct answer and allowing this to dictate your analysis. This is called confirmation bias.

Unknown said...

Matt, conventional cosmology would not have predicted no galactic magnetic fields (http://www.scholarpedia.org/article/Galactic_magnetic_fields). What NASA expected was for the field lines to shift orientation when Voyager passed from the Sun's magnetic field into the galactic field. What has actually happened is Voyager has encountered a region of discontinuous magnetic fields. A group at the University of Maryland have argued that this is due to the galactic and Solar magnetic fields interacting in this border region in a phenomenon known as magnetic reconnection http://www.latimes.com/science/la-sci-voyager-20130816,0,7950330.story
Of course, UMD could be wrong, but NASA never thought there would be no galactic B field. The whole point is that while your message about reconsidering hypotheses and models in the face of new data was a good one, the example was not great because the video linked made conclusions from the data that are no more consonant with the data than the conclusions of the UMD group but also require that we throw out everything we know about the role of gravity in cosmology.

y said...

some more debunking of the Electric Sun theory here:

http://www.tim-thompson.com/electric-sun.html

Matt Franko said...

Unk,

Im not going to defend these people's work it has to speak for itself... (but I dont think they ignore gravity)... seems like they think they are being 'ignored' or something, have a bit of a 'chip on their shoulder', etc.. (sounds familiar...) ... probably want more funding for research, etc...

The universe phenomenon seems to be more complicated than previously thought for sure imo... and it looks like BOTH gravity AND electromagnetics play into what is going on 'out there' imo...

But I'm trying to draw attention to the basic dynamic we can observe with these folks experience within the academe and a parallel with the MMT experience.... the similarities are interesting...

And the focus on OBSERVATION that this fellow Talbott seems to stress... we have to learn from the data not ignore it...

We have to first be able to see it, THEN seek to understand it... seems like a lot of 'scientists' so-called will not do this across the different disciplines...

rsp,

y said...

"the basic dynamic we can observe with these folks experience within the academe and a parallel with the MMT experience.... the similarities are interesting..."

Well I wouldn't say that MMT is a group of cranks with no serious published research. The Electric Universe people, on the other hand, appear to be just that.

The fact that NASA got some results it didn't expect outside the solar system doesn't mean that all of physics is wrong (which is what the Electric Universe theory suggests).

Bob said...

The Voyager data are not being ignored. Those missions have demolished some theories and given birth to new ones. Our knowledge of the Solar System has benefited enormously. There have been many surprises along the way.

The main source of resistance to unorthodox views are the institutions of science and the egos of certain scientists. But this is minor compared to the politically motivated distortions controlling economics. If the Koch Brothers were interested in astrophysics, there would be cause for concern.

Theory before data is very common. Human curiosity practically guarantees it. The development of new measuring instruments is crucial. Voyager is but one example.

Matt Franko said...

Bob,

The Koch bros. lose money on all of this... last election, all of their candidates lost and they put in bazillions...

They think they are helping and making a sacrifice...

What do the Koch bros have to do with Pres. Obama trying to prevent the govt from 'running out of money' which he stated as recently as last week...

Or the 'fix the debt' people asserting that 'we need death panels' because we cant afford healthcare....

The Kochs dont have anything to do with any of those two examples...

The problem is not corrupt and gratuitous political influence ... and the OBSERVED DATA here suggests MMT is getting nowhere with this approach...

rsp,

Bob said...

It's not all the work of the Koch Brothers, or the result of people conducting their economic reasoning in a vacuum. But a good portion of the mainstream narrative has been bought and paid for. It has been pounded into our consciousness.

Corruption is a big problem, pointing that out is not meant as a strategy to promote MMT.

Ryan Harris said...

Unknown,

The article said the CO2 model of warming is not consistent with data collected. I didn't make any claims about what was or was not causing the climate to change so there isn't really any confirmation bias. They said that since the late 90s there has been virtually no warming. I didn't make that claim. I don't really have a theory or an opinion about atmospheric chemistry. I don't have confirmation bias because I don't really care whether the climate is warming or cooling. I was making a comparison between the logical flaws in climate modeling and economic modeling. I realize this is a passionate issue for many so it might not be a good one to discuss because people get so worked up about it, that they ignore the argument at hand.

I do know that the Pacific ocean has long been a feature of earth, very long time indeed. Funny their model didn't include ocean currents, churn and carbon cycles. Falls in the same category as excluding banks as irrelevant from economic models until they aren't. I call it willful ignorance to proclaim your model is certain, that you have a preponderance of evidence, that the model explains 90% or more of the variation observed, that the only question is how big a policy response is needed only to find out that the basic models don't fit the data.

We are talking about hundreds of billions of dollars of investment and they forgot about some of the most important features of any reasonable model. Maybe there is some other confounding factors they forgot in their model? Maybe there are other factors that will be more important that all the factors they have included in their model? All we know for sure is that the models upon which we have spent trillions of dollars are not consistent with measured data in economics and climate science.

Unknown said...

Ryan, please show me a source for the assertion that we have spent "trillions of dollars" on climate science. Laughable. The earth's climate is an extremely complex system. The models are updated as we learn more about the complexities. "Ignoring the Pacific Ocean", is not a fair characterization of the models that have failed. Do you know a priori how the Pacific Ocean contributes to global weather without making observations, making predictions, and comparing the predictions to actual outcomes? Also, having an opinion on climate change is fine, even if you disagree with me. I am confused as to how you could not care one way or another if the planet is warming, sea levels will rise, and hundreds of millions will be displaced from coastal areas to say nothing of potential threats to fresh water and food supplies. These issues will be important whether or not warming is anthropogenic, so I think we should care.

Matt Franko said...

" I call it willful ignorance to proclaim your model is certain,"

Ryan,

You can see academics doing this ALL THE TIME!

rsp,

Matt Franko said...

bob,

But a good portion of the mainstream narrative has been bought and paid for.

That doesnt mean its not true...

I can tell you if I end up winning one of these 200m lotteries, there will be much more MMT breaking its way into the mainstream narrative and that wont make it any less true...

They buy and pay for it because they think they are correct in their thinking and the policies they advocate for will help the country.... they think 'govt is in the way' or some such things, etc..

They have a lot of rubes caught up with them...

We'll never convince the Koch Bros but rather we should be focused on the rubes who are in play..

How we get to them is via some sort of alternate cognitive channel that can bypass what I view as some sort of mathematical cognitive deficiency....

Not spamming them with some sort of "its all corruption!" narrative...

I think Talbott makes a good point here when he asserts "they dont know who to believe"...

rsp,

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

Ryan:

"I call it willful ignorance to proclaim your model is certain, that you have a preponderance of evidence, that the model explains 90% or more of the variation observed, that the only question is how big a policy response is needed only to find out that the basic models don't fit the data."

I agree with this to an extent. One must always understand the confidence level of a prediction. However, how certain does the finding need to be before you are willing to act? Science is different than economics. The basics of the economic system are known to us and created by us (though the system contains considerable unplanned complexities). We will never be as certain about anything in the natural world as we are about the accounting identities at the foundation of MMT, but we still need to make decisions based on scientific findings with less than 100% certainty. Perhaps that is why the analogy breaks down and rubs me the wrong way.

Bob said...

They buy and pay for it because they think they are correct in their thinking and the policies they advocate for will help the country.... they think 'govt is in the way' or some such things, etc..
And the fact that they stand to benefit personally is sheer coincidence?

They have a lot of rubes caught up with them...

We'll never convince the Koch Bros but rather we should be focused on the rubes who are in play..

Yes, the rubes are the audience. I doubt they'd be convinced of anything until mainstream economists have been discredited. Even if there were a system failure I doubt they'd know who to believe.

Ryan Harris said...

"please show me a source for the assertion that we have spent "trillions of dollars"

If we consider the financial crisis that was not predicted by any of the mainstream economic modelers that worked in government, central banks or universities, we pretty quickly arrive at trillions of dollars. And that doesn't even include climate model costs, likely in the billions of dollars.

"I am confused as to how you could not care one way or another if the planet is warming"

I don't worry about plate tectonics either! But seriously Humans are incredibly adaptable and have plenty of technology and resources to throw at the problems. People may have to move or eat vegetables instead of big hairy animals.

"The models are updated as we learn more about the
complexities. "

That's called Data Snooping or Data Dredging or Multiple Modelling. It likely diminishes the value of the model unless/until we can test against un-snooped data or perform a correction but that correction in economics or climate science will almost certainly leave the model with insignificant results because of the already wide uncertainty.


"we still need to make decisions based on scientific findings with less than 100% certainty"

Social sciences, such as Econ, will likely never get to even 90% confidence. There is always going to be alot of data unexplained by simplistic models. If they claim 99% percent, I'll be wary and look for holes. They are probably being dishonest or ignorant or both. Climate science is haunted by the short period of direct measurements. Everything historical is extrapolated from indirect highly error prone measurements (ice cores, sediments etc). So their models can never be better than wildly uncertain. They are lying if they claim otherwise. That means they can't claim a pattern of warming unless the pattern is very clear and obvious.

Unknown said...

Ryan,

This is getting very epistemological, but there are very few, (or, depending upon how solipsistic one is almost zero), things we can know with complete certainty. Modeling the physical world, or human systems like markets, is difficult and will likely never be perfect. I understand the problem of allowing love of the model get in the way of observing what the actual data is telling us, however, sometimes we need complex (and imperfect) tools like model building to help us understand data, particularly when there are large quantities of it. Do you disagree? How do you propose we try to understand complex systems? Should we cease scientific endeavor now because we will never have perfect understanding? Are the inner workings of the universe irrelevant like tectonic plates?

Matt Franko said...

Unk,

I come to this from the side of authority (vice libertarian) and the way it looks from my perspective we shouldnt even be 'modeling' economic systems because we (humans) have complete authority over these systems...

iow we have no authority over 'gravity' or 'electromagnetics' so we have to observe and model if you will because we have been given to deal with these "Laws" if you will that have been foisted upon us...

iow when we do air flight, we are not "defying gravity" rather we are working within the bounds we have been placed within... we study these bounds and phenomenon and then figure out the best way to deal with them...

This is not the case with economics, WE are able to call the shots there... WE write the LAWS...

'Economics' is from the Greek oikonomia which is 'house-law' (laws that WE write!)

so the whole concept of 'economic modeling' is like an oxyMORON to me... a completely inapplicable paradigm...

This whole 'economic modeling' thing comes out of libertarianism, ie 'no one is in charge' or a complete lack of/aversion to a view of human authority...

Economics is NOT like the weather...

rsp,

Unknown said...

"This is not the case with economics, WE are able to call the shots there... WE write the LAWS...

...

Economics is NOT like the weather..."

Matt, I agree entirely. This is why I think the analogy between the physical sciences (vis a vis climate change above) and economics is flawed. In economics we MAKE the laws and in science we must DISCOVER them. A weather model is only as good as our knowledge of the rules that govern said weather. In economics there should be much less uncertainty if one has an understanding of the basic rules of the system.

Ryan Harris said...

The discussion has gone way beyond my observation that the error made in the two types of models appeared to be the same error of data snooping and is related to the video .
Any system, natural, human, business, chemical, anything really be modeled mathematically or conceptually. MMT is a conceptual model. I suppose a model is helpful for humans in the same way stories are helpful to assemble a set of relevant facts and illustrate relationships in a highly memorable way.