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paroxysm

Need help debunking pseudoscience (EM and Gravity related)

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Hey everyone, thank you so much for your time. I'm not a physicists by any means although looking to eventually become one possibly in the future since I love science in general. I'm really new to the forums so I hope this is the correct place for this thread!

Anyways, to the topic at hand. One of my family members has run down a rabbit hole of conspiracy theories and pseudoscience and does not believe gravity exists. His evidence for such an outlandish claim is a blog by a user called Zetetic Zen. Which states, "gravity is incoherent dielectric centripetal acceleration towards a null-point of counter-spatial inertia. Essentially a hybrid field modality and byproduct of electromagnetism".

I know these statements are BS, and are not grounded in reality and observation. Although I was hoping for more of a scientific answer of why this doesn't make any sense. For some background I'm not too informed on EM and Dielectricity and just how it relates. Their article is incredibly dense and throws tons of terms everywhere and I don't understand it at all. I have no idea to even start on this, and hope that one of you might be able to assist me. 

I'm not sure if I'm allowed to link articles but here it is below:
https://zeteticzen.wordpress.com/2017/06/15/gravity-does-not-exist-the-lorentz-contraction-conundrum/

 

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Moderator Note

Moved to Physics

 

 

Just to be clear, are you asking because you want to understand it, or to try and persuade your relative? (I'm not sure that makes much difference, other than I would say it is futile to try and argue someone out of a position like that.)

 

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I'd like to understand it personally, and be able to refute some of the claims (essentially hold my own). Although like you said, it's hard to argue someone out of irrationality. I'd say I definitely lean towards understanding it better.

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I agree that there's nothing you can do by arguing against. So here's an idea, although there is a risk that it might backfire.

You learn just enough about the mumbo jumbo of the supposed theory and get back to them with information that it has been confirmed. You must put on your best performance at this point. Once you get them all excited about how their beloved theory has been confirmed by a high-precision experiment, you reveal to them that you've made it all up and say something to the effect of: You see? You can believe anything!

It's not about proving or disproving the theory. When people think like that they couldn't care less. It's about making obvious how gullible they are, showing to them how fragile their belief system is. ;)

Once a classmate attending an EM class came late and asked me if they had missed anything important in the class. I told them that the teacher had just reported that a new equation of electromagnetism had just been found: The fifth Maxwell equation. It worked!!

It should have been two more equations..., but never mind.

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9 hours ago, paroxysm said:

Although I was hoping for more of a scientific answer of why this doesn't make any sense.

Well, in the very first place, the sentence you quoted is completely meaningless word salad - it's a bunch of scientific-sounding terms jumbled up into something resembling a sentence, and is devoid of any meaning. So there isn't actually anything there to be responded to.

9 hours ago, paroxysm said:

Their article is incredibly dense and throws tons of terms everywhere and I don't understand it at all.

Don't worry about that, because there's nothing there to be understood - the whole thing is completely devoid of any meaning.

The one thing you may be able to respond to is the idea that gravity is somehow electromagnetic in nature, which is an old chestnut amongst the crank community, and occasionally resurfaces on various forums. You could suggest the proponent to step into a large enough Faraday cage, which blocks out EM radiation; by their own claims, they should then be weightless. Evidently this is not what happens. 

Do remember though that ultimately any discussion with adherents of pseudoscience and crackpottery is a waste of time, you aren't going to get anywhere. You simply can't reason someone out of a position that hasn't been arrived at by way of reason in the first place.

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3 hours ago, Markus Hanke said:

Do remember though that ultimately any discussion with adherents of pseudoscience and crackpottery is a waste of time, you aren't going to get anywhere. You simply can't reason someone out of a position that hasn't been arrived at by way of reason in the first place.

However, as long as one recognises this from the outset then the attempt to reason them out of their position can be an effective means of enhancing ones own undestanding of the topic and may serve to prevent other readers from being misled by the, often superficially attractive, nonsense being spouted by the crank.

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I really appreciate your guy's time and replies!

To be honest, as you guys eluded to - I don't think it's possible to reason a person out of a position they unreasoning came to. As Area54 said:

10 minutes ago, Area54 said:

However, as long as one recognises this from the outset then the attempt to reason them out of their position can be an effective means of enhancing ones own undestanding of the topic and may serve to prevent other readers from being misled by the, often superficially attractive, nonsense being spouted by the crank.

My main goal was to just enhance my understanding of the topics.

Although I can't lie, it does make me angry that they're considering donating to these fraudulent projects such as the Electric Universe. They're actual scams and pseudoscience yet they're able to make thousands or get major investments. To be fair though, I think similar situations happen all around the world. I just hate to see people who I consider family fall for them.

But as I said, I've also been wanting to learn more physics and thought it might be a great opportunity to expand my knowledge especially in regards to EM/Gravity. If you guys also have any great resources or recommendations please let me know.

As I've kinda dug a lot deeper into this rabbit hole, I don't understand why proponent of EU (Electric Universe) disagree with Einstein but worship Tesla/Newton. It's also weird that people reject science in one area or for one time period.. but accept all other areas of science. 

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The site  given in the OP is not science; it's not even "fringe science".

It's technobabble, a gish gallop of sciency sounding words. 
So there's nothing there to understand.
 

If there's any scientific progress to be made on this topic, it's in the field of psychology explaining things like : "It's also weird that people reject science in one area or for one time period.. but accept all other areas of science. "
Should this post be in the Psychology and Psychiatry section?

Since Paroxysm's wish is to get a better understanding of physics my advice would be to look very nearly anywhere else on the internet apart from the page he cited.
Even a page about collecting soft toys will be less misleading.
I don't think we can hop to offer a useful grounding in physics via this page, but somewhere like the Khan academy can.
I think it might be better to try to find strategies to overcome the sort of tosh  cited in the first post here.

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1 hour ago, Area54 said:

However, as long as one recognises this from the outset then the attempt to reason them out of their position can be an effective means of enhancing ones own undestanding of the topic and may serve to prevent other readers from being misled by the, often superficially attractive, nonsense being spouted by the crank.

Yes, I agree, especially with the part about enhancing one’s own understanding...I’ve experienced that many times myself. So you are right, sometimes it can be skilful to engage. Not in this instance though, the site referenced in the OP is way too far ‘out there’.

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The website seems to cover just about every conspiracy going from physics to "freeman of the land" (but not "the Apollo missions were faked" oddly). It is therefore a handy guide to things to ignore or dismiss as nonsense without further investigation.

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14 hours ago, paroxysm said:

Anyways, to the topic at hand. One of my family members has run down a rabbit hole of conspiracy theories and pseudoscience and does not believe gravity exists. His evidence for such an outlandish claim is a blog by a user called Zetetic Zen. Which states, "gravity is incoherent dielectric centripetal acceleration towards a null-point of counter-spatial inertia. Essentially a hybrid field modality and byproduct of electromagnetism".

That's word salad. Science - physics especially - quantifies effects. It's not enough to spout some technical jargon. One needs a mathematical model that predicts behavior.

Any notion that gravity can be replaced by electrostatics is trivially debunked, because there's no way to get an always-attractive force between more than two bodies. We orbit the sun, sure, but the moon orbits us while orbiting the sun. Pick a charge for the sun and the earth, and from the known orbits, mathematically deduce the charge on the moon that consistent with the known orbits, the tides we observe on the earth, etc. The effort will fail once it's approached with a bit of rigor.

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10 hours ago, swansont said:

Any notion that gravity can be replaced by electrostatics is trivially debunked, because there's no way to get an always-attractive force between more than two bodies.

Forget my suggestion. This is much better, and so simple. +1

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23 hours ago, swansont said:

Any notion that gravity can be replaced by electrostatics is trivially debunked, because there's no way to get an always-attractive force between more than two bodies.

Good point! So obvious that it is easily overlooked :)

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