Golden advice to Janna Levin

Janna Levin: Are you aware that you are at best a fringe entertainer and at worst a charlatan? Only a charlatan would claim to know the whole while admitting that she does not know the whole. You admit that there is a part of “your” universe from which no light has yet reached your eyes and never will, don’t you? Then how do you know that “our universe stretches 30 billion light years?”

You don’t know how big “your” universe is because you don’t know the part from where no information will ever reach you. You assume the whole then you claim to know the whole. This is the definition of charlatanism and shamanism.

Yes, you are also a shaman because you claim that by moving around some esoteric squiggly symbols of your cult of the occult some deep secrets of the universe is revealed to you. And you call this section of your website “Janna Levin science.” Shamanism is not science.

Current definition of science

Henry Petroski, a professor of engineering and history at Duke University, defines science like this:

Science is about understanding the origins, nature, and behavior of the universe and all it contains…

and engineering like this

… engineering is about solving problems by rearranging the stuff of the world to make new things.

And he comments:

Conflating these separate objectives leads to uninformed opinions, which in turn can delay or misdirect management, effort, and resources.

His definition of science is the definition of academic physics. Academic physics is the new institutionalized shamanism and charlatanisms combined into one.

Dark flow 2

It’s interesting to witness live the marketing engine of NASA inventing a new physical quantity with the help of the media and the blogosphere. The hidden assumptions of cosmology and the conflation of science of astronomy with cosmogonic myth of Big Bang proves that our era is one of those times when science is dominated by charlatanism.

Cosmologists view the microwave background – a flash of light emitted 380,000 years after the big bang – as the universe’s ultimate reference frame. Relative to it, all large-scale motion should show no preferred direction.

Not true. There is no passage from astronomical to cosmological without passing through charlatanism. Whatever radiation observed by NASA is astronomical and never cosmic. See the Famous Big Bang trope.

The motion can’t be explained by the normal FRW cosmology or anything inside the observable horizon, they claim. It’s been called “dark flow” to make it sound as mysterious as dark energy or dark matter.

I wonder if physics should have an official Central Naming Agency that should name new objects and define them properly and not leave it to physicists.

The motion is being touted as a gravitational pull from matter beyond our horizon. Enough of this rubbish.

suggests that the source of attraction is truly dark, an ultra-massive Hole in Space.

has very insightful and reasonable comments

A measurement of large-scale peculiar velocities of clusters of galaxies: results and cosmological implications
by A. Kashlinsky and others

I think the dark flow is introduced on page 8:

An interesting, if exotic, explanation for such a “dark flow” would come naturally within certain inflationary models. In general, within these models the observalbe Universe represents part of a homogeneous inflated region embedded in an inhomogeneous space-time.

The funny thing about this type of charlatanistic reasoning is that to deduce the Big Bang these people assumed that the observable universe was the entire universe. Now after establishing that the entire universe started with a big bang they introduced inflation and a universe outside the observable universe. All this is allowed in physics because of the legal structure of physics. As long as physics is the study of PQs it will be a legal system lower than banking.

Kashlinsky describes the motion as a ‘dark flow,’ pointing out that it is constant out to at least a billion light years, and suggesting that it extends across the visible universe. The extraordinary period of inflation in the early universe, a provocative theory found in Big Bang models of the cosmos, would indicate that what we see in the sky is but a portion of a much larger picture. We may thus be looking at galactic clusters that are being affected by matter that has been pushed beyond the observable universe.

Read especially the Discussions page. Likebox wrote:

this stuff is silly. There are no physical effects from objects outside the observable universe, which is why it is called the observable universe. Although there are a few papers which keep claiming that a hypothetical external “eternally inflating” universe has some statistical or physical effects, if you can’t see stuff electromagnetically, it can’t suddenly gravitate on to you either.


The politics of cosmos

I think physicists do not know what the word cosmos means. They don’t want to.

Cosmos is not a synonym for the universe.

But there is a relation between cosmos and astronomy.

The line separating science from fraud is very thin.

Cosmos is a closed system that cosmos makers define as a physical quantity. If you look at the history of physics you would see that physicists always sell their cosmos as the universe.

They use the latest observations and the latest astronomical knowledge to design a closed system that obeys their current modelling tools.

Car marketers always market this season’s model as the ultimate driving machine. Physicists market this season’s cosmos as the ultimate universe. What’s clever marketing in the car business is scientific fraud when used to sell a cosmos as the ultimate universe.

Cosmos existed ever since professionals existed.

Cosmos have always been a political concept.

The players who designed, bought and sold and consumed the cosmos did not change for thousands of years:

1. Rulers
2. Professionals
3. Consumers

The marketing names of these groups may change over the course of history but the exploiting rulers and their paid collaborators the professionals and the exploited consumers remain historical constants.

Rulers were once deified humans
They were branded humans
Branding was done by the professional class
Professionals have always been the scribes
They are the professional class in charge of language
Scribes program the consumers for rulers to exploit
Everyone is familiar with this process
Maybe consumers today think that rulers and their collaborators the professional classes are historical relics
Not true
They are alive and well and they are exploting you
What is true for bankers is also true for physicists
They both exploit the consumer
One steals money the other steals reason
The rulers are no longer deified humans
Today rulers are unhuman organisms
They don’t have human feelings they don’t know human feelings
Professional classes do not write on papyrus anymore they use laptops
But their profession did not change a bit
This professional class is not human either
They have sold their humanity to the unhuman organism for protection and comfort in this life
We pay the price
Today the professional class is called physicists
Don’t you see
In this scheme consumers who are left ignorant by the rulers and their professional collaborators desperately want to know where they stand in this universe
They want someone with authority to tell them where they stand
They want a cosmic framework to hold on to
Religion used to do that
Newton changed this
Newton took cosmology from doctors of theology and gave the right to cosmologize to his brethren doctors of philosophy
In old egypt there was an elaborate cosmology designed and developed by the priestly scribes in collaboration with religious priests
The consumers were fed this mythology
There was a big mythmaking industry
In greek times what we call today mythology was the official cosmology
Consumers loved the mythology and were programmed by rulers who talked to them through the gods they loved respected and feared
Today things got split into even finer programming
There is television
The mythological gods metamorphosed into hollywood celebrities
Just hop into the subway in NY during evening rush hour and look at working womens faces who read celebrity magazines they are serious they are happy they are critical they are immersed in that ideal world they will do anything they are told through celebrities they love nothing changed in thousands of years
So in our time what was once done by religion is now done through several different types of professionals
Cosmology is a separate field now
But cosmology is still religion
The rulers still use an offiicial cosmogony for their own purposes
Big bang is the official cosmogony of the rulers
Rulers are the unhuman organisms called states
They pay physicists to design and develop and market big bang as the official cosmogony of humanity
Then the states use cosmology as a cover for military research
As a cover for technology research
States build a giant machine and advertise it as an experiment that is supposed to create the conditions of the big bang
Big bang is charlatanism
But the authority of the professional physicists overrule any objections
Politics of the big bang

Professionals are professionals 2

When research became professional ((Unhuman organisms took over research from human researchers. An amateur works for himself; a professional works for a bureaucracy.)) the definition of science changed as well. Michael Faraday is a good example of an amateur natural philosopher. ((Faraday was affiliated with the Royal Institution but remained an amateur.)) When Kea mentioned Faraday in a comment I wanted to read about him again.

Note how Wikipedia calls Faraday a physicist and a natural philosopher. In fact, the word physicist was introduced during Faraday’s lifetime in analogy to other professionals such as pharmacists and physicians. ((Not much harm is done when physicists are confused with physicians. They are both professionals in legal practice.)) Faraday hated the word and refused to be called a physicist.


So the change from natural philosopher to physicist was not merely a name change. Natural philosophy is not an academic profession; it has no bureaucracy. ((and no process. As Lessig says “process always win over substance.”)) Natural philosophers were amateurs doing research for the love of it. Faraday went to his lab because that was what he wanted to do. Physicists do research to advance in the professional bureaucracy. The bureaucracy dictates what research to be done, by whom and how.

  • Academic physicists are bureaucrats who practice a legal profession.

How the definition of science changed can be gleaned from what modern physicists do. When research was called natural philosophy it was science. When research became a profession it became legal.

Yesterday I wrote how physicists changed the definition of science to mean the opposite of what it meant when research was amateur. To me speculating about time machines by using doctoral authority is not science. Cosmology is not science either. Cosmology is cosmos-ology. ((A cosmos is an anthropocentric truncation of the whole. Cosmos is a closed system invented to practice the current investigative tools of professional physicists.))

These endeavors fall into the field of shamanism. ((Legalized shamanism is still shamanism.)) Physicists turned the good old scholasticism into shamanism.

Standard model

Brian Greene writes:

Standard model is the most solid, pinnacle achievement of particle physics.

Standard model describes not one, not two but zillion of possible universes.

You can change the strengths of the forces, the strengths of the coupling constants as you wish.

The masses of the particles can be changed arbitrarily and the theory still makes sense, it is internally consistent.

“Internally consistent” sounds like yet another physics sophistry like “everything” and “universal.”

So Greene is calling an arbitrary collection of parameters which makes any and all predictions by adjusting any and all parameters an “internally consistent” solid and pinnacle of achievement kind of theory put together by “people.” “People” too appears to be yet another euphemism. This time it is a euphemism for “committee.” Standard model has all the characteristics of a model designed by a committee of bureaucrats.


I do not agree with this statement:

The universe described by cosmology today is humanity’s first picture of the universe as a whole that might actually be true.

All cosmic mythologies appear true to believers. The statement that cosmic model described by cosmology is true can be written mathematically as follows:

O – C = zero

O = model
C = modeled

But this contradicts the authors’ statement that no one can get outside of the universe to model it. ((The same idea is also mentioned by Lee Smolin in his Three Roads to Quantum Gravity.)) So, all claims of true model of the universe are charlatanism. ((Related blog post about unity of the whole.))

But the authors make an important observation:

Many of humanities most dangerous ((I don’t understand why “dangerous?”)) problems arise from our 17th century way of looking at the universe.

This is of course occult worldview designed by Newton.

This Newtonian picture is founded on physics that explains accurately the motions of a single star’s planetary entourage, but not the entire universe.

The language of the above quote reveals how entrenched Newtonism is in human psyche. Even writers who are enlightened enough to perceive that Newtonian occult design cannot express their criticism of Newtonism without using Newtonian language.

“Newtonian picture founded on physics…” reveals their inability to separate Newtonist mythology from history. But the fundamental idea that this sentence is trying to express is true:

There is nothing universal about Newtonian mechanics.

The word “universal” is akin to “everything” in the “theory of everything.” As everything else in physics the tradition of using unjustified reckless extrapolations as absolute truths was first invented by Newton.

As the authors correctly imply Newton took Kepler’s planetary rule and recklessly extrapolated it to the universe. Newton was a megalomaniacal world builder who wanted to establish a new religion.

Kepler’s rule is based on planetary observations. Newton associated his label force with Kepler’s rule and defined force to be universal. With hindsight we see that this is pre-scientific mythological process used by shamans to create mythological worlds. Previous mythological worlds did not work because they were not based on a working rule such as Kepler’s rule.

1. Newtonian mechanics is Kepler’s rule
2. Kepler’s rule is not universal.

In modern usage physics and nature are synonyms. This is Newtonian propaganda. But it is so well established that it is transparent. Only a few perceive it as propaganda. One important consequence of

physics = nature

is that it gives physicists the right to make any label used in physics to be true by definition. So if Newton defined force to be universal and this is legal in physics then physicists need no further justification that force is universal. People who are familiar with history have no difficulty identifying such a system as scholasticism. Only in scholasticism the authority of the founder is absolutely true. Only in scholasticism legal labels are marketed as observables.

Witten’s authority

Flip tomato presents this as a joke:


But this is not a joke. It is a visual representation of the state of academic physics.

I would make one change on the plot. The plot is not Contributions v. Talent. In physics talent has no value. The currency of physics is authority. Therefore, the plot must be Publication v. Authority:

The third plot also compliments the Witten Pyramid describing him as the scholastic master of the modern scholasticism. What Flip tomato calls “crap papers” are actually commentaries written by Witten’s disciples. These commentaries increase Witten’s authority by increasing Witten’s scholastic PageRank. This is scholasticism.

The fact that physics is done by a media-created and media-annointed celebrity shaman is not surprising. Every generation has its media shaman as the figurehead of the scholastic physics hierarchy.

What’s 122 orders of magnitude between friends?

From an article in New Scientist:

The mysterious cosmic presence called dark energy, which is accelerating the expansion of the universe, might be lurking in hidden dimensions of space. … To get the same amount of acceleration seen by astronomers, Greene and Levin calculate that the extra dimensions should have a scale of about 0.01 millimeter.

Comments from slashdot:

by Anonymous Coward

They’ve made a toy model with pretend fields in the basic version of braneworld, the only force that reaches out beyond the brane is gravity. The gravitational field alone would not have vibrations with the right properties for Greene and Levin’s theory, so they had to add another field ad hoc and fix its strength to produce the right amount of repulsion.

by kmac06

According to the calculations, however, these vibrations should either possess a ridiculously high energy density – 122 orders of magnitude larger than are observed – or cancel out to exactly zero.

What’s 122 orders of magnitude between friends?

Now that…

…dark energy has fallen into an interdimensional rift in the fabric of space/time, can we shove the astrophysicists who insist on inventing the unobservable to fix their theories in with them, and get on with fixing whatever the error in the models really is? Please?

There is nothing worse than a scientist who fixes the observation to meet their theory, to paraphrase the illustrious but equally fictional Sherlock Holmes

Funniest title ever
Dark Energy May Lurk In Hidden Dimensions

So.. let me get that straight. We solve the problem of energy we can’t detect and dimensions we can’t prove exist? Simple! We tuck the one into the other and thus explain everything in a single shot. Brilliant!

so…is this how it works?
by untaken_name

If you can’t get your theory to fit the facts, then you look for the facts that fit your theory?

New dimensions… as usual
by barwasp

Every time physicist are trapped in a corner, they escape by inventing a new dimension

Star Trek science
by MajorCatastrophe

Impending doom for the crew? All out of ideas? Engaging story lines dried up years ago?

Make up a new particle!

And the best comment award goes to :)

Einstein’s equations in smiley formalism
by Pioneer1

You guys maybe a bit too skeptical about Dr. Greene’s latest foray into elegant dimensions. All this has already been predicted by Einstein’s equations written in smiley formalism. But the equations are still for a static telnet universe. I would appreciate if anyone could transform the smiley terms to animated smilies in whatever dimensions.


No wonder string theorist Clifford Johnson writes:

I also must remark that slashdot is a really really scary place. This is the first time I’ve ever gone there.

For doctors of physics Slashdot is a scary place because people who comment there actually think for themselves. If they see professional fraudsters calling themselves physicists and selling religious schmaltz as science as the Media Shaman Doctor Greene does they say so. They don’t have to hide behind a veil of mathematicism and philosophical polemics.

These comments actually prove that Doctors of Philosophy are not fooling at least some of the people. But why is there no traction? As usual independent thinking people remain unorganized while scholasticism is a monster organism. Unless these independent thinking people find a way to come together, have their own social network maybe, they will have no effect on scholastic doctors.

Galileo used the new media to good effect and created a new consumer class. That’s how Galileo got traction. We are about to miss the opportunity to use the new media since the web has been mostly doctored already. Religious bigots selling the same Newtonism practiced in the old brick and mortar schools are now preaching from blogs such as Cosmic Variance. In Cosmic Variance every other post is about God or some such religious propaganda. Slashdot readers are mostly free thinking technologists and hackers who see through the physics scam. There is hope.