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On Unknowns Making Meaningful Contributions


Bignose
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That is complete baloney. You are singing the siren song of the crackpot. Trained scientists, engineers, and mathematicians do not owe a crackpot one scintilla of their time with regard to the crackpot's purported theory. There is no "should" here.

 

What trained scientists, engineers, and mathematicians do owe society at large is education. Most PhDs don't particularly like teaching physics 101, introductory calculus, etc. They nonetheless do it willingly because training that next generation is their duty. The crackpot has a duty as well, which is to to receive that education. A crackpot who intentionally remains uneducated in some field deserves zero time from the experts in that field.

Copernicus, Galileo, Newton, Darwin and Einstein were all crackpots in their time.

 

They wouldn't accept the advice of trained experts in such fields as Aristotelian Physics, the Heliocentric Universe, Phlogistonic Caloric Fluid, Spontaneous Generation, and the Universal Aether.

 

They refused their duty to receive education. And they won!

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That is complete baloney. You are singing the siren song of the crackpot.

Circular argument on your part: it is a - undisputed by you (!) given - that Einstein struck the right idea on SR before being able to nail it. I.e.in your opinion the unknown Einstein was then a crackpot in putting his idea forward to his friends. And should not have got one iota of time of trained scientists before he had done the effort of being trained. Because only then it is worth the effort. Even if it is also then a given that had he got that effort we would have had SR much sooner then ten years. It could of been spotted as a good idea so it should of been spotted as a good idea.

 

Uneducated with idea = crackpot. Crackpot =/= worth effort. So SR idea prior educated Einstein =/= crackpot. SR idea post trained Einstein = good idea =/= not crackpot. Yet idea SR prior = idea SR post; The yes or no nailing down of the idea doesn't make any difference. Logic.

Trained scientists, engineers, and mathematicians do not owe a crackpot one scintilla of their time with regard to the crackpot's purported theory. There is no "should" here.

 

What trained scientists, engineers, and mathematicians do owe society at large is education. Most PhDs don't particularly like teaching physics 101, introductory calculus, etc. They nonetheless do it willingly because training that next generation is their duty. The crackpot has a duty as well, which is to to receive that education. A crackpot who intentionally remains uneducated in some field deserves zero time from the experts in that field.

Wrong. Trained scientists, engineers and mathematicians owe due to the social contract of division of labor, society as a whole and the tax payers thus as well to do their job in solving all scientific problems. Society as a whole has spent a lot of time money and effort to train scientists. So then do your job. So if they could of they should of helped Einstein develop SR because we now undisputed know that we would then have had SR much sooner. You haven't and can't deny that. It is not only in training others that you owe society it is also in quickly and effectively furthering of science. Science failed to do that and that is wrong. Learn from your mistakes and correct them instead of repeating something that has been proven wrong.

 

What is important is if the idea is good or not. Al the rest is BS not worth dung. Utterly irrelevant to the issue of the OP. Only important in the sales department working for the production department of science. A great many people are beguiled by the fallacies that the fact of being educated to a certain degree has anything to do with the fact whether or not an idea is good or not. The case of Einstein and SR proves that flat out.

 

An idea points you in a direction to work. Until you've done the work, you can't really tell how good an idea is. "Light moves at the same speed for all observers regardless of their own motion" is an idea. Until there is a more detailed description of how that even works, and a method laid out for testing whether it is true, it is just an idea. Many people have many ideas, and without testator details, there's very little way to distinguish between the good ideas and the wrong ideas.

 

Metaphor: You and a hundred of your closest friends are all lost in the forest. There are hundreds of different paths branching out from the spot where you're gathered. Everyone thinks a different path is the one that leads out. You each walk down your chosen path for a day, and then walk back. One of your friends picked the right path, so you all follow him down it and out of the forest.

 

But wait, it took three days to get out that way. If everyone had just listened to your friend in the first place, you could have been out of there two days sooner! Wouldn't you agree that one day spent lost is better than three days spent lost?

 

 

It's easy to say in retrospect which ideas deserved more attention than others. It's extremely difficult to tell what ideas will lead to important discoveries ahead of time. That's why you have everyone work on their own ideas until they have figured out all of the details before presenting it, so that if the idea ultimately takes them nowhere, everyone else hasn't dropped everything they were doing to wander down a dead end. There generally aren't a lot of scientists sitting around thinking "Gee, I wish I had an idea to work on." Most of them have their own ideas to work on. Helping Einstein formulate SR ten years earlier would have taken them away from their own project, and until Einstein had actually gotten the math worked out, there was no way to know whether that was going to be a waste of valuable time or not.

Now this argument has more clout then the earlier ones. Indeed. Only if Einstein was the genius who after being trained in all relevant knowledge and got the relevant experience to nail SR up to the ultimately required level would your point be true. Now why would that be the case? As I understand it the mathematics involved are relatively straight forward.

 

The key is thus how do you spot the good idea's from the bad? Indeed. That would deserve a different thread but does not clench the issue unless you can prove here and now that it would not be possible. It is not as hard as you think. (BTW with hindsight it would probably of been better that the others would have been taken away from their projects, unless these where of a higher order than SR. I hardly think so. I don't think you do either.

 

Copernicus, Galileo, Newton, Darwin and Einstein were all crackpots in their time.

 

They wouldn't accept the advice of trained experts in such fields as Aristotelian Physics, the Heliocentric Universe, Phlogistonic Caloric Fluid, Spontaneous Generation, and the Universal Aether.

 

They refused their duty to receive education. And they won!

Exactly. They where - and are still via DSM V - seen as crackpots. Point is they weren't crackpots. There is no evidence to state that these hero's of science were mentally deficient. The deficiency lies in the incurable deficiency of intelligence of those who think otherwise. These where all fast thinking open minded people.

 

However that they wouldn't of accepted help has no basis. They were to a extreme degree of independent mind. I.e. open minded.

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Copernicus, Galileo, Newton, Darwin and Einstein were all crackpots in their time.

 

 

 

Perhaps you should review your history sources?

 

I have already pointed out that Einstein, in particular, is not a good example for this thread, and offered some who might be, for discussion.

Edited by studiot
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Copernicus, Galileo, Newton, Darwin and Einstein were all crackpots in their time.

 

 

They refused their duty to receive education. And they won!

 

Nonsense. While they were unorthodox thinkers, they were not uneducated and they were not crackpots. Copernicus was self-educated, but he was born and died prior to the age of science. Galileo was educated at and taught at the University of Pisa. Newton was educated at and taught at Cambridge. Darwin was also educated at Cambridge.

 

You are also comparing a different age. Galileo and Newton represent the start of science, Darwin the start of biology as a science. Nowadays scientists relish new concepts and experiments that turn everything upside down.

 

 

 

Circular argument on your part: it is a - undisputed by you (!) given - that Einstein struck the right idea on SR before being able to nail it.

 

That too is nonsense. Einstein did not have the theory of special relativity when he was 16. He had perhaps the germ of the idea, but nothing specific. He had this idea in part because the school he was attending at this time encouraged creative thinking. His educators did exactly the right thing by fostering that creativity and by teaching him what they knew at the time.

 

 

It could of been spotted as a good idea so it should of been spotted as a good idea.

 

More nonsense. Hindsight is so wonderful.

 

 

Crackpot =/= worth effort.

 

Finally, something that isn't nonsense. This is spot on.

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Fact is he had the notion of SR before he had the mathematics for it. Mathematics that some else could - and thus should - of been able to provide.

 

This is quite suggestive that you have not read his paper. The mathematics is not that difficult. The problem is that formulating ideas takes time. Einstein had a notion. It took time to accumulate all of the insights and develop it into a model.

 

He who states a BS position should prove that BS position.

 

Indeed. Your position is BS. You need to prove that it's true.

 

We know with hindsight that Einstein had an idea worth quickly working out. He missed at that point the knowledge to do so. Others with that knowledge should of been able to spot the good idea that it was for what it was and work it out to the extent that Einstein needed ten years for in a fraction of that time. Pure unadulterated logic: so BS worth dung. (And like I stated on topic and not a hypothesis of mine.)

 

With hindsight, yes we know this. Which is why your position is known as hindsight bias.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hindsight_bias

 

As it is a fallacious line of thought, it is a failure of logic.

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I repeat my assertion that Einstein and relativity is off topic.

 

Prior to his first two relativity papers, Einstein published three papers in 1905, one of which earned him a Phd, one of which earned him a Nobel prize.

 

He was not an unknown and therefore not suitable as an example in this thread.

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kristalris, on 25 May 2013 - 12:29, said:

Trained scientists, engineers and mathematicians owe due to the social contract of division of labor, society as a whole and the tax payers thus as well to do their job in solving all scientific problems.

What? I don't know what ideology you grabbed this from, but, seriously? As I recall, you're not a scientist. Doesn't this social contract demand you not meddle in how science is done, to avoid slowing up progress? What is it you do, anyway? Why didn't you become a scientist? Doesn't this social contract obligate you to anything? Why does it only obligate scientists, engineers and mathematicians?

kristalris, on 25 May 2013 - 12:29, said:

Society as a whole has spent a lot of time money and effort to train scientists. So then do your job.

As with any other profession. And we do do our job.

kristalris, on 25 May 2013 - 12:29, said:

So if they could of they should of helped Einstein develop SR because we now undisputed know that we would then have had SR much sooner. You haven't and can't deny that. It is not only in training others that you owe society it is also in quickly and effectively furthering of science. Science failed to do that and that is wrong. Learn from your mistakes and correct them instead of repeating something that has been proven wrong.

Again, hindsight bias, and you don't know what you're talking about.

kristalris, on 25 May 2013 - 12:29, said:

Now this argument has more clout then the earlier ones. Indeed. Only if Einstein was the genius who after being trained in all relevant knowledge and got the relevant experience to nail SR up to the ultimately required level would your point be true. Now why would that be the case? As I understand it the mathematics involved are relatively straight forward.

Then why did you argue that he needed help with the math?

 

And the fact remains that Einstein is the one who came up with SR. Nobody else. How can you state with certainty that others could have helped?

kristalris, on 25 May 2013 - 12:29, said:

The key is thus how do you spot the good idea's from the bad? Indeed. That would deserve a different thread but does not clench the issue unless you can prove here and now that it would not be possible. It is not as hard as you think. (BTW with hindsight it would probably of been better that the others would have been taken away from their projects, unless these where of a higher order than SR. I hardly think so. I don't think you do either.

You're the one claiming that it is possible. You need to prove it.

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Q

 

 

That too is nonsense. Einstein did not have the theory of special relativity when he was 16. He had perhaps the germ of the idea, but nothing specific

 

EQ

 

.He had the idea and thought experiment baring the mathematics. Had someone spotted it then who was able to do the mathematics we would have had SR sooner. The correct moment of inspiration was indisputably - and undisputed by you - there.

Q

 

He had this idea in part because the school he was attending at this time encouraged creative thinking. His educators did exactly the right thing by fostering that creativity and by teaching him what they knew at the time.

 

EQ

 

Excellent schooling indeed then.

 

Q

 

More nonsense. Hindsight is so wonderful.

 

EQ

 

Yes indeed especially if you don't know what hindsight bias is. I'll explain it to you in the reaction to Swansont, who doesn't understand this either.

Q

 

Finally, something that isn't nonsense. This is spot on.

 

EQ

 

Cherry picking are we? & a strawman BTW. Use the full quote when you quote.



What? I don't know what ideology you grabbed this from, but, seriously?

Although I can't find a concise wiki for you, first study this.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Division_of_labour https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_contract

 

If you don't grasp that you should do your job as a moral obligation to others then it simply is beyond you to understand.

As I recall, you're not a scientist. Doesn't this social contract demand you not meddle in how science is done, to avoid slowing up progress? What is it you do, anyway? Why didn't you become a scientist? Doesn't this social contract obligate you to anything? Why does it only obligate scientists, engineers and mathematicians?

You already know what I do, so don't act a if you don't. Though not a scientist I am involved in science at the moment.


As with any other profession. And we do do our job.

As a scientist your job is to further science at the cheapest and fasted way possible.

Clearly you are not doing that if you don't cultivate good idea's and only follow up on idea's that have been sweated out by other unknown non scientists.


Again, hindsight bias, and you don't know what you're talking about.

 

No dear Swansont. It would be a hind sight bias if Einstein had been wrong in his idea on SR. But he was right with hindsight. That then excludes the claim for it being hind sight made for science then because they then couldn't know. This because they could of known had they listened to the idea put forward by Einstein. If you want a nice description for this I advise you read Barbara Tuchman: The march of Folly. Good to read on other counts as well BTW. She uses the norm that something is a folly when the people in that time had pointed out the folly. Well if Einstein pointed out a good idea, that later indeed proves correct you made a mistake. For which you can take blame because someone pointed out a good idea. Had you made the mistake without someone pointing out the mistake then you made an honest unavoidable mistake. Of which it would be hind sight bias to lay blame. Because Einstein pointed out the idea science (potentially) could of spotted it and thus should of spotted it. No hindsight bias thus.

 

Now you lot even top that. If scientists then might not be blamed because they just mist it, you lot not only nearly miss it you agree it was a mistake but subsequently state that there is no reason to learn from this mistake in trying to prevent it happening again. You even think it a good idea to repeat this obvious mistake as correct matter of course.


Then why did you argue that he needed help with the math?

 

Because if you know little math and only that is needed to work SR idea out to a fully nailed theory any scientist with the training - that Einstein then lacked - could and thus should of provided that.


And the fact remains that Einstein is the one who came up with SR. Nobody else. How can you state with certainty that others could have helped?

If SR is based on straight forward mathematics that Einstein at first was incapable of then he certainly could and thus should of got help. Apart from that then is not as important as the now. Any new Einstein with a good idea should be spotted and helped. The further question how do you spot a good idea s off topic in this thread. But you don't even acknowledge that a mistake hindsight or no hindsight was made in not spotting the idea as being a good worthwhile idea sooner. That is incomprehensible given the goal of furthering science asap.


You're the one claiming that it is possible. You need to prove it.

Wrong, it is self evident that if you spot good idea's and help working them out will more quickly further science. The question how to spot good idea's is of topic.

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Although I can't find a concise wiki for you, first study this.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Division_of_labour https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_contract

Division of labor is not part of any social contract, and social contract is about allowing a group to govern.

 

 

If you don't grasp that you should do your job as a moral obligation to others then it simply is beyond you to understand.

I do my job because I enjoy it. I have no obligation to anyone to do science, should I choose to do something else. I have a friend who works in TV, but has a science degree. What shall we do with him?

You already know what I do, so don't act a if you don't. Though not a scientist I am involved in science at the moment.

No, I don't. If you mentioned it, I have forgotten.

As a scientist your job is to further science at the cheapest and fasted way possible.

Not according to my position description. I am obligated to do a bunch of other work, as well.

 

No dear Swansont. It would be a hind sight bias if Einstein had been wrong in his idea on SR. But he was right with hindsight. That then excludes the claim for it being hind sight made for science then because they then couldn't know. This because they could of known had they listened to the idea put forward by Einstein.

No, hindsight bias is the idea that we should have known a result all along. That it should have been obvious. It wasn't obvious that Einstein was right. It wasn't at all clear until Eddington measured the eclipse. There were scientists that questioned special relativity for many decades.

 

And it would certainly not have been obvious before 1905 that his idea was right.

 

If SR is based on straight forward mathematics that Einstein at first was incapable of then he certainly could and thus should of got help.

Einstein was good at maths. It's doubtful that's where he needed help for SR.

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He had the idea and thought experiment baring the mathematics. Had someone spotted it then who was able to do the mathematics we would have had SR sooner. The correct moment of inspiration was indisputably - and undisputed by you - there.

 

Baloney.

 

I've said baloney a number of times. Do I specifically have to say baloney to your nonsense concept that Einstein developed special relativity when he was sixteen? Okay then. I will say exactly that, in bold and in a big font so you cannot possibly miss it.

 

Einstein did not develop the theory of special relativity when he was sixteen.

 

You are greatly inflating what Einstein may or may not have thought when he was but sixteen. Whether or not the sixteen year old Einstein was aware of it, professional physicists were deeply aware of the conflict between Maxwell's equations and Newtonian mechanics. Whether or not the sixteen year old Einstein was aware of the Michelson-Morley experiment, professional physicists were extremely aware of it at that time. The conflict between Newtonian mechanics and Maxwell's electrodynamics was one of the key problems in physics in the latter half of the 19th century. At best, Einstein independently discovered this already known conflict when he was sixteen.

 

 

No dear Swansont. It would be a hind sight bias if Einstein had been wrong in his idea on SR.

 

You are 100% wrong here. Did you even read the wiki article Swansont posted? Hindsight is absolutely wonderful. It tells us what we should have done a year ago, a decade ago, or even longer in the past had we only known then what we know now.

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Division of labor is not part of any social contract, and social contract is about allowing a group to govern.

 

Like I stated giving the two links it doesn't completely deal with the issue. Anyway it will become off topic. But you're wrong. They do - of course - interlink if you think about it.

 

 

 

I do my job because I enjoy it. I have no obligation to anyone to do science, should I choose to do something else. I have a friend who works in TV, but has a science degree. What shall we do with him?

 

You have a bit of a problem spotting the difference between in general and in a specific case. Science in general has to deal with this and scientists in general whether they work for the TV or what not are morally bound to support let alone not oppose proper science. Like MD are morally obliged to further good healthcare in staid of opposing that etc..(And yes that has to do with the social contract and division of labor.)

 

No, I don't. If you mentioned it, I have forgotten.

 

Not according to my position description. I am obligated to do a bunch of other work, as well.

 

See above.

 

 

No, hindsight bias is the idea that we should have known a result all along. That it should have been obvious. It wasn't obvious that Einstein was right. It wasn't at all clear until Eddington measured the eclipse. There were scientists that questioned special relativity for many decades.

 

And it would certainly not have been obvious before 1905 that his idea was right.

 

You still don't get it the difference between hind sight and hind sight bias do you? It is very very simple. Given that we know that Einstein was right in his idea on SR (that then wasn't a full blown SR yet) something went wrong then, that we had to wait until Einstein got around to getting a full blown SR in so doing nailing it and becoming a known bestowed by his peers with the honours of being mentioned in footnotes and the like.

 

Let me try and explain it to you in a different way then: many years ago a Fokker F28 crashed near Moerdijk after the wings snapped off by a wind gust in a cloud. This was investigated and deemed "an act of God: i.e. bad luck. This ultimately led to developing better weather radar that could spot these weather cells.

 

With hindsight we can conclude that something went wrong: plane crash people dead. Like we can conclude that something went wrong with Einstein having the right idea but not getting it across for ten years and thus not saving many people due to the benefits of SR GR and QM that then would we - must - assume been around earlier. It would with the plane as with science then with Einstein committing hind sight bias in blaming anyone that the mistake was made of flying in a cloud or not spotting the great idea. See the difference?

 

Now you must think that having inspiring idea's such as Einstein had on the yet to be developed SR can't be spotted I guess seeing your position. Well then, what is brainstorming about then and the new ways of going about that that I'm told have been developed at MIT? I'd say generating inspiring idea's and acting upon them. Unless you state that this is useless what MIT is doing you are proven wrong. Proven wrong by the simple fact of Einstein with hindsight being right as an unknown in having not only an inspiring idea but being right as well. Science failed to spot that: science then crashed. Don't crash again then, get it organised to spot the idea's of unknown Einsteins. Who probably would of been banned on this site because you et all are incapable of learning from mistakes. Or are you capable of learning from mistakes?

 

 

Einstein was good at maths. It's doubtful that's where he needed help for SR.

Given that the math's on SR is straightforward as I'm told it doesn't / didn't require a genius to work it out. And even if it did, then still you're wrong because bringing good inspiring idea's to the attention of other geniuses should be SOP. Something MIT is working on. Just also include unknowns as Einstein proved necessary.

 

Baloney.

 

I've said baloney a number of times. Do I specifically have to say baloney to your nonsense concept that Einstein developed special relativity when he was sixteen? Okay then. I will say exactly that, in bold and in a big font so you cannot possibly miss it.

 

Einstein did not develop the theory of special relativity when he was sixteen.

 

No need to shout old boy next thing you'l be throwing the chess board of reason over the floor, like a kid ounce did against whom I played chess as a kid after he was check mated. He subsequently asked his father to moderate because he thought I had teased him.

You are greatly inflating what Einstein may or may not have thought when he was but sixteen. Whether or not the sixteen year old Einstein was aware of it, professional physicists were deeply aware of the conflict between Maxwell's equations and Newtonian mechanics. Whether or not the sixteen year old Einstein was aware of the Michelson-Morley experiment, professional physicists were extremely aware of it at that time. The conflict between Newtonian mechanics and Maxwell's electrodynamics was one of the key problems in physics in the latter half of the 19th century. At best, Einstein independently discovered this already known conflict when he was sixteen.

 

Einstein had not only given the basic idea but also the thought experiment fundamental to SR to his friends when he was sixteen. I.e. lentgh contraction I'd have to look up whether he was then already aware of M&M or derived this from a light meter, I can't remember.

You are 100% wrong here. Did you even read the wiki article Swansont posted? Hindsight is absolutely wonderful. It tells us what we should have done a year ago, a decade ago, or even longer in the past had we only known then what we know now.

Yes I knew about this even before Swansont posted it. I guess you both should study it then. See my reaction to Swansont for further details why I'm right and you both wrong. On the chess board of reason, i.e. science check and check mate.

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We didn't know Einstein's idea was good until it was experimentally confirmed. Most ideas turn out to be wrong. Because of hindsight bias you are ignoring all of those bad ideas that would have been indistinguishable from the good ones, especially in nascent form.

 

And, as D H has also pointed out, Einstein did not think of SR when he was 16. He thought about things when he was 16. That was the beginning of the process, not the process itself.

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We didn't know Einstein's idea was good until it was experimentally confirmed. Most ideas turn out to be wrong. Because of hindsight bias you are ignoring all of those bad ideas that would have been indistinguishable from the good ones, especially in nascent form.

You simply don't grasp it do you? That you or most people are not capable of distinguishing good idea's from bad ones doesn't mean everybody is bad at that. Open minded people being good guessers especially if they are trained knowledgeable and experienced can spot inspirational ideas. Take Churchill and his backing of the development of the tank. That is exactly what MIT is working on at the moment.

 

Like in music someone who has talent can come up with say the famous few tunes that mark Beethoven's fifth. As a thought experiment say Beethoven came up with his Ta da da daah before he knew how to write it down in notes or work it out into a full symphony. That then doesn't mean that others with talent to spot that but with the knowledge and experience could't have worked that out. That others with the talent for hard arduous work yet no talent for creativity require the full symphony to be nailed down note for note before seeing it as an inspirational gem doesn't prove that others can do it. Contrary to music science should be in a hurry. Wonder children who can play virtuously are in puberty split in those that are also creative and can vary on the theme and compose and those that can only produce what others nail down for them like if they where a CD player. You are making the latter the norm. In research the first is the norm, as in music.

 

Now you state that I have another hindsight bias than earlier on. Anyway you're wrong here as well. I'm not ignoring that there are bad idea's as well, as you see. You are ignoring the fact that there are people who are capable of distinguishing that, and you are ignoring the fact that there are objective criteria that can and should be used as well.

And, as D H has also pointed out, Einstein did not think of SR when he was 16. He thought about things when he was 16. That was the beginning of the process, not the process itself.

You and DH are evidently crawling back on points not disputed by you both earlier, because it's slowly dawning on you you are in a fix.

 

Anyway do either of you dispute the correctness of this link? http://www.pitt.edu/~jdnorton/teaching/HPS_0410/chapters/origins_pathway/

 

 

If you don't the OP position is busted. The thought experiment Einstein had then not only held the problem, but also the inspirational gem of the answer. If so an unknown had an idea that could then have much more quickly furthered science than was the case now. If spotted and worked on by those with the talent as we know from the Big Five in psychology that are the people who score highest on the personality trait openness, especially when trained and experienced in the specific field. We should try to prevent this missing of gems of great idea's from happening again.

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Einstein had not only given the basic idea but also the thought experiment fundamental to SR to his friends when he was sixteen. I.e. lentgh contraction I'd have to look up whether he was then already aware of M&M or derived this from a light meter, I can't remember.

 

Baloney, and not just run of the mill baloney. This is 100% pure baloney stuff. Pure BS, if you will. Stop making stuff up. This claim of yours is ridiculous and unfounded. You need to prove it. In the words of Randall Munroe,

 

wikipedian_protester.png

 

 

Einstein himself is the source of that story about Einstein at 16 year old. He wrote of this more than half a century later in his autobiography. The description is short and vague, and who knows how true it is given that half a century passed between the occurrence and Einstein's writing of it. You have embellished that story beyond anything claimed by Einstein.

 

At best, the 16 year old Einstein independently found something of which the physics establishment was already extremely well aware, that Newtonian mechanics and Maxwell's electrodynamics don't jibe with one another. Nothing would have transpired even if physicists had talked to the 16 year old Einstein. At that time he had nothing to offer that physicists didn't already know. He only did have something to offer after he had received the requisite knowledge.

 

 

Aside #1: It's amusing how the crackpot community treats Einstein. Some parts venerate him as a god, other parts think of him as the devil incarnate.

 

Aside #2: Studiot is correct. Einstein does not count as an outsider. He was a part of the physics establishment when he wrote his 1905 papers.

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Baloney, and not just run of the mill baloney. This is 100% pure baloney stuff. Pure BS, if you will. Stop making stuff up. This claim of yours is ridiculous and unfounded. You need to prove it. In the words of Randall Munroe,

 

wikipedian_protester.png

 

 

Einstein himself is the source of that story about Einstein at 16 year old. He wrote of this more than half a century later in his autobiography. The description is short and vague, and who knows how true it is given that half a century passed between the occurrence and Einstein's writing of it. You have embellished that story beyond anything claimed by Einstein.

I gave the citation just before you posted. If correct then he gave the gem not only to the problem but the answer as well. You only started disputing this BTW when you came aware you both were in a fix. And are you going to stoop so low as to call Einstein a liar in his autobiography? On what do you base any qualms in that respect?

At best, the 16 year old Einstein independently found something of which the physics establishment was already extremely well aware, that Newtonian mechanics and Maxwell's electrodynamics don't jibe with one another. Nothing would have transpired even if physicists had talked to the 16 year old Einstein. At that time he had nothing to offer that physicists didn't already know. He only did have something to offer after he had received the requisite knowledge.

See above given citation that states differently.

Aside #1: It's amusing how the crackpot community treats Einstein. Some parts venerate him as a god, other parts think of him as the devil incarnate.

I see him as a normal sane intelligent open minded human being. science sees him as a ADD PDD Nos crack pot according to DSM V. How do you see him?

Aside #2: Studiot is correct. Einstein does not count as an outsider. He was a part of the physics establishment when he wrote his 1905 papers.

Now you are off topic. When he was sixteen he was an unknown in the sense of the OP. That is where the counter to the OP is based on.

Edited by kristalris
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Attention paid to SFN posts seems to increase with the ridicule of their content. I am not convinced that's a good strategy for ensuring quality of posts. And whatever this thread demonstrates about what it actually achieves, I get the impression it's not desirable.

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Attention paid to SFN posts seems to increase with the ridicule of their content. I am not convinced that's a good strategy for ensuring quality of posts. And whatever this thread demonstrates about what it actually achieves, I get the impression it's not desirable.

Guess you missed the last post then seeing it took you only two minutes after the post to post this low quality because unfounded remark.

Edited by kristalris
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I gave the citation just before you posted.

There's nothing in that citation that supports your claim.

Here's what you claimed:

Einstein had not only given the basic idea but also the thought experiment fundamental to SR to his friends when he was sixteen. I.e. lentgh contraction I'd have to look up whether he was then already aware of M&M or derived this from a light meter, I can't remember.

 

Here's what your link, http://www.pitt.edu/~jdnorton/teaching/HPS_0410/chapters/origins_pathway/, contains:

...a paradox upon which I had already hit at the age of sixteen:

 

If I pursue a beam of light with the velocity c (velocity of light in a vacuum), I should observe such a beam of light as an electromagnetic field at rest though spatially oscillating.

 

There seems to be no such thing, however, neither on the basis of experience nor according to Maxwell's equations.

 

From the very beginning it appeared to me intuitively clear that, judged from the standpoint of such an observer, everything would have to happen according to the same laws as for an observer who, relative to the earth, was at rest. For how should the first observer know or be able to determine, that he is in a state of fast uniform motion?

 

One sees in this paradox the germ of the special relativity theory is already contained.

There's nothing in that regarding the 16 year old Einstein reporting his thought experiment to friends. That's pure fabrication on your part. There's nothing in this about length contraction, either. That is also a fabrication on your part.

 

Einstein did not conceive of length contraction in 1895 as one of the key tools needed to resolve the conflict between Newtonian mechanics and Maxwell's electrodynamics. There's not one inkling in that quote regarding length contraction. Length contraction wasn't even Einstein's idea. It's called the Lorentz contraction, not the Einstein contraction. How much Einstein knew in 1905 of others' work on resolving this conflict has long been debated. He obviously was aware of at least some part of that work because his 1905 paper discusses and uses the Lorentz transformation.

 

You are jumping to conclusions and are guilty of hindsight bias in claiming that special relativity could and should have been realized ten years earlier had only the stupid and moribund physics establishment talked to the 16 year old Einstein. At best the 16 year old Einstein independently found something that that stupid, moribund establishment was already aware of. Your claim is unsubstantiated nonsense.

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Like in music someone who has talent can come up with say the famous few tunes that mark Beethoven's fifth. As a thought experiment say Beethoven came up with his Ta da da daah before he knew how to write it down in notes or work it out into a full symphony. That then doesn't mean that others with talent to spot that but with the knowledge and experience could't have worked that out.

 

Then why didn't anyone else figure it out, if it was so easy, if anyone with a little talent could do it? Of all the millions upon millions of people who lived, why Beethoven? Why are there so many great works concentrated among so few, if so many could have "worked that out"?

 

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There's nothing in that citation that supports your claim.

Here's what you claimed:

 

 

Here's what your link, http://www.pitt.edu/~jdnorton/teaching/HPS_0410/chapters/origins_pathway/, contains:

There's nothing in that regarding the 16 year old Einstein reporting his thought experiment to friends. That's pure fabrication on your part. There's nothing in this about length contraction, either. That is also a fabrication on your part.

 

Einstein did not conceive of length contraction in 1895 as one of the key tools needed to resolve the conflict between Newtonian mechanics and Maxwell's electrodynamics. There's not one inkling in that quote regarding length contraction. Length contraction wasn't even Einstein's idea. It's called the Lorentz contraction, not the Einstein contraction. How much Einstein knew in 1905 of others' work on resolving this conflict has long been debated. He obviously was aware of at least some part of that work because his 1905 paper discusses and uses the Lorentz transformation.

 

You are jumping to conclusions and are guilty of hindsight bias in claiming that special relativity could and should have been realized ten years earlier had only the stupid and moribund physics establishment talked to the 16 year old Einstein. At best the 16 year old Einstein independently found something that that stupid, moribund establishment was already aware of. Your claim is unsubstantiated nonsense.

.Einstein is quoted to have said in that link: "One sees in this paradox the germ of the special relativity theory is already contained." I see you differ with what Einstein himself stated on the issue. I take it to be true what Einstein himself stated so the germ was a gem that in the hands of a creative open mind could of been worked out to SR or other worthwhile insights much earlier. I need no more to clench the issue do I?

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At best the 16 year old Einstein independently found something that that stupid, moribund establishment was already aware of.

 

And they couldn't figure it out. Awareness of the issues and ability to daydream about what it would be like to look at something from light's perspective was not limited to Einstein.

 

.Einstein is quoted to have said in that link: "One sees in this paradox the germ of the special relativity theory is already contained." I see you differ with what Einstein himself stated on the issue. I take it to be true what Einstein himself stated so the germ was a gem that in the hands of a creative open mind could of been worked out to SR or other worthwhile insights much earlier. I need no more to clench the issue do I?

 

Germ of an idea. One that nobody except you has claimed to be unique to Einstein. This version of hindsight bias is known as survivorship bias

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Survivorship_bias

 

Few who tried to develop relativity and failed have recorded their thoughts. Einstein's memoirs are anecdotal evidence.

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Then why didn't anyone else figure it out, if it was so easy, if anyone with a little talent could do it? Of all the millions upon millions of people who lived, why Beethoven? Why are there so many great works concentrated among so few, if so many could have "worked that out"?

 

Simple statistics or probabilistic reasoning if you like. If you oppose the talented from playing the game then they can't be seen to be able to score. Stop opposing them playing the game and you will see the score go up. Was it difficult for Churchill to spot the potential of the tank? Of course not. It is intuitive. The idea's with which Einstein solved the problem of SR are intuitive. That is not difficult, it simply pops into ones mind. If you have the talent for that. If not it won't. Not difficult at all. He subsequently worked on that. Moments of inspiration followed by a lot of transpiration i.e. hard and difficult work, followed by new moments of inspiration and so forth. Working together as MIT is working on now will accelerate the furthering of science.

 

Statistically there must be a lot more minds like Einstein on the net as we speak. Where are they then? All in physics? Of course not.

 

You contrary to DH at least spot the point that there are good idea's out there given by unknowns. The point in the OP. The subsequent question then is how do you filter these idea's out from the bad ones. In stead of doing what DH is doing simply denying that there are good idea's out there given by unknowns.

 

And they couldn't figure it out. Awareness of the issues and ability to daydream about what it would be like to look at something from light's perspective was not limited to Einstein.

Exactly. That is why it is a pity that this germ of an idea was not communicated.

 

 

 

 

 

Germ of an idea. One that nobody except you has claimed to be unique to Einstein. This version of hindsight bias is known as survivorship bias

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Survivorship_bias

 

So prove to me who else then already had this germ of an idea when Einstein was 16. There is no reason to assume even that this was the case. Further more I of course don't mean to state that bad ideas don't cloud the issue and have stated that earlier on as well, stating the need for filtering, or do I guarantee that having the germ of the idea would certainly reach SR. I can guarantee that the probability of getting to SR would be enhanced. And that in itself should be sufficient on major issues like SR for acting upon it today.

Few who tried to develop relativity and failed have recorded their thoughts. Einstein's memoirs are anecdotal evidence.

So? Do you want to state that Einstein was a liar?

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Einstein is quoted to have said in that link: "One sees in this paradox the germ of the special relativity theory is already contained." I see you differ with what Einstein himself stated on the issue.

 

How, exactly, do you see that? He had a germ of an idea. That's a rather vague concept. What he did say is that he saw a conflict between Newtonian mechanics and Maxwell's electrodynamics. Do you seriously think no one else saw that conflict? That was the central problem of physics in the latter part of the 19th century. The 16 year old Einstein didn't have anything to offer because the stupid, moribund physics establishment was neither stupid nor moribund. This problem attracted the best minds of the time.

 

 

And they couldn't figure it out. Awareness of the issues and ability to daydream about what it would be like to look at something from light's perspective was not limited to Einstein.

 

I'm not quite sure what you're saying here. I dispute that they couldn't have figured it out. What if there had been no Einstein? The core conflict would still have been resolved; Lorentz and Poincare were hot on the trail of solving this problem. For a short time physicists would have had Lorentz Ether Theory as a solution.

 

To kristalris: Lorentz Ether Theory predated Einstein's special relativity and is mathematically indistinguishable from special relativity? So why don't physicists teach it? The answer is simple: LET makes the Lorentz transformation axiomatic and it postulates an unknowable aether frame. LET is an ugly theory. In comparison, special relativity is a beautiful theory. It's axioms are simple and physically testable. Nonetheless, that LET does predate special relativity is one of the reasons Einstein was not given the Nobel prize for his work on special relativity.

 

Back to the "what if" thought experiment: LET wouldn't have lasted for long. Quantum mechanics was just around the corner. Photons don't need a medium. They have no problem traveling through a vacuum. The quantum mechanics description of electromagnetic radiation obviates the need for an aether. Someone else would have seen Einstein's solution. It might have taken a bit longer, but it would have happened. In the end, physics almost certainly would still have arrived at special relativity with its simple, elegant hypotheses.

 

 

You contrary to DH at least spot the point that there are good idea's out there given by unknowns.

 

I never said that, so please do stop putting words in my mouth.

 

Of course unknowns have made contributions, huge contributions, to science. Every great scientist was an unknown at some point. The best way to move from the "unknown" category to the "widely known" category is to make some great discovery and publish it. Most widely known scientists made this transition when they are young adults. Young adult scientists, that is. Einstein was not an outsider, uneducated in the field. Feynman was not an outsider, either. Nor was Newton. Nor was Hubble. There's a huge, huge gap between outsider and unknown.

 

The only outsider who I can think of who made a significant contribution to science in the last hundred plus years is Alfred Wegener, and even that one is dubious. Wegener's continental drift was superseded by plate tectonics, and plate tectonics differs from continental drift in a number of ways. That's one possible exception, and the exception proves the rule: Outsiders do not make meaningful contributions to science.

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D H said, "Outsiders do not make meaningful contributions to science." I agree, because one must become an expert before one can make a meaningful contribution. It has been said that to become an expert takes 10,000 hours of study. The information one must study is often contained in peer reviewed articles that are expensive, and additional information is often the result of working with other experts on funded research. This system is elitist, and no doubt excludes some who are capable of making a meaningful contribution. But, an ideal society does not exist.

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Though I agree that it's drifting pretty far off-topic, on Einstein and special relativity, the well-cited Wikipedia article on the history of special relativity makes for good reading. If the entire article is too long, then section 3.1, on Einstein in particular, may be sufficient and includes a telling quote from the man himself.

 

I wouldn't say it's impossible for unknown outsiders to make meaningful contributions. However, as others have noted, it's extremely unlikely and will probably become increasingly so as science continues to advance.

 

In the Speculations forum, at least in my experience, ideas aren't generally dismissed automatically. What usually seems to happen is that an idea is presented, questions are raised (sometimes, admittedly, with at least a hint of condescension), and the OP either answers those questions or fails to answer those questions. In the latter case, the OP either gracefully accepts that his idea is flawed or makes unfounded claims that the scientific establishment is wrong or conspiring against outsiders or whatever. The latter ties into what's been mentioned elsewhere, that part of science education is learning to accept being wrong and having one's ideas shot down in front of others.

 

To me, the most frustrating instances (again of the latter scenario mentioned above) are those in which the OP is clearly intelligent but simply has no knowledge or understanding of what science has already established. Maybe the lack of education is due to youth, maybe it's due to laziness, or maybe it's due to pride (as if having to build on what's already known somehow lessens any breakthroughs the person might have), but in any case, it's a shame to see.

Edited by John
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