Friday, December 19, 2008

Null Physics

I had, for some time, been saving a bookmark in Firefox for a subject entitled "Null Physics" created by Terrance Witt. Now I do not remember where I first heard of this, I think it was probably an ad on Facebook which already had me doubting, but I thought, hey, scientists are supposed to be open minded and look at everything with equal validity a priori. So I did. Boy was that a waste of time.

There are numerous inconsistencies with Witt's theory and observation as well as his logical deductions which have no mathematical foundation, just his rationalization. Take for instance, the neutron. By the Standard Model of particle physics it is posited that the neutron is composed of three quarks who's fractional charges sum to zero. His "theory" however states that the neutron is a proton and a "bound electron". The bound electron, he believes, is fundamentally different than a "free electron" that we are usually accustomed to. In fact, this bound electron changes from a fermion with spin 1/2 to a boson with spin 0 although he has no mathematical reasoning as to why or how this happens. He simply asserts this and assumes it's validity because it's "logical". Right... well last time I looked p + e = H. Yes, a proton and an electron is that mystical element known as Hydrogen! Wow, this is amazing. And no, you don't need the electron to change it's spin in order to get this to work out.

When confronted with this argument and various other arguments on neutron decay and other experiments verifying that indeed a neutron is made up of three quarks, Witt scoffs at the notion. With neutron decay, a n -> p+e+v where v is an (anti)neutrino. This was a theoretical prediction which remained unproven for years until the neutrino was finally discovered. Now, Witt doesn't have any theoretical framework to encompass neutrinos in his original work. But on a forum that I read through, Witt asserted that the neutrinos could be explained as "bound photons" which exist in an excited state. HUGE problem with this. If neutrinos are actually photons, this would asserts that neutrinos would be massless, since photons are massless. But in fact, there is strong experimental evidence that neutrinos have mass, it's just a very, very small amount.

So, right there, his theory falls apart. Although I never read a post that included neutrino mass as an argument against his theory, several other arguments were made and he could not successfully defend his theory against any of them. In fact, he was even audacious enough to suggest that his theory does not reduce to any currently accepted mathematical theory under limiting conditions and that it does not need to. This is because his theory is not mathematical. Now... I'd disagree along with EVERY other physicist in the world. Take classical Newtonian motion... it's a limiting case of Einstein's Special Relativity where the speed of the object is much much less than that of the speed of light in a vacuum. For a theory to be logically consistent it must agree with experiment and observation.

What is sad is that he readily urges people to read Lee Smolin's book, "The Trouble with Physics" and argues his foundational ideas on the material in this book. Now, it just so happens that I read this book, for reasons not related to Null Physics, and Smolin does indeed point out where current theory falls short and where there is room for improvement in the current state of physics. But, Smolin is also a well known theoretical physicist who has worked on both String Theory and Loop Quantum Gravity which are both highly mathematical theories which seek to unify the laws of physics into one grand theory. But using Smolin's book as a theoretical backdrop to a theory which is supposed to lead to why and how the universe was created is utterly unacceptable.

This is the kind of bad science that Smolin talks about in his book... except his deals with ACTUAL mathematical theories which have shown signs of being consistent. The worst part of all is that Witt has spent, apparently, large amounts of money to advertise his book and his idea on Facebook and in magazines like Smithsonian. I surely hope that the public is not reading his jibberish and believing for a minute that it constitutes a consistent theory. Witt refuses to publish ACTUAL journal articles or to approach the scientific community for reinforcement... mostly because he knows that he won't get it, although he sites Smolin's book as to why instead of accepting that he won't because the theory is jibberish.

So all in all... Null Physics is just that, Null... nothing, pointless and a waste of human time, effort and resources. Go Google it if you wish... read up on it, and then see for yourself. But I tell you, you are wasting your time.

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