John K Clark (
Fri, 21 Nov 1997 21:32:45 -0800 (PST)


After Tony Hollick, our resident crackpot, showed he was ignorant enough to
publicly malign Richard Feynman, one of the greatest men of the 20'th century,
and offensive enough to do it in front of his son, I resolved to take Carl's
advice about people who refuse to learn and just ignore his babbling, but
Hollick's last post was so stupid my resolve weakened.

>There _is_ a long-standing rivalry between the 'world-picture'
>approach to physics (i.e. my preference);and the instrumentalist
>reified' mathematical approach.

There _is_ a long-standing rivalry between the comic book approach to physics
(i.e. your preference); and the intelligent mathematical approach
(i.e. Feynman's preference).

>Electrons held in orbit by a balance of electric force against

That's idiotic. The electron has very little inertia, the smallest mass of
any non zero particle. Because the proton in an atom is so near, the
electron feels a huge force tugging it into the nucleus. Even the tiny force
exerted by a feather could move an iceberg the size of a mountain if you give
it enough time, yet we know that matter has been stable for billions of years.
Not that you'd need billions of years, the electron's mass is so small and
the force of attraction toward the proton is so strong that if classical
physics were correct the electron would crash into the nucleus in much less
than a nanosecond.

And that's far from your only problem. All the protons in the nucleus have
the same charge and are even closer together, the repellent force they
experience is truly astronomical, yet the nucleus does not fly apart and the
thing that stops it sure as hell isn't inertia, it's the strong nuclear force.

>are in a condition which is analogous to 'free fall.' They're not
>accelerating in a way which causes emission of photons.

If something is falling it is by definition accelerating and if charges
moving in a circle are not accelerating in " a way which causes emission of
photons" then when electrons move in a large circle in one of our high energy
laboratories they shouldn't radiate photons but they do, and the effect is
not subtle, the radiation is massive. The classical laws that work so well
when the electrons move in a circle many meters in diameter are useless when
you talk about the atom.

>Does anyonwe here think that geometry is _empirically decideable_?

Is this a debatable point, does anyone here really think that the geometry of
the universe in which we live is not empirically decideable_?

>There's no point in quoting Maxwell at us -- Maxwell's theory has a
>(non-existent) aether to transmit forces

Let's see, Maxwell was wrong, Huygens misled, Einstein was an idiot, Bohr
was a little slow, Hawking is ignorant, Copernicus was a plagiarist as was
Feynman, the second law of thermodynamics is an evil plot, relativity is
foolishness and quantum mechanics a con game. Sounds like you'd be happy with
physics as it was around 1840, unless that's not going far enough and you
think that punk Newton shouldn't have tried to improve on Aristotle.

Your theory is that all the great physicists in at least the last 150 years
didn't know what they were talking about, but there is an alternate theory,
Tony Hollick doesn't know what he's talking about.

John K Clark

Version: 2.6.i