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Criticism of Brian Cox’s 2008 TED presentation


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#1 phision

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Posted 13 July 2012 - 08:44 PM

Here is a wonderful talk given at TED by Brian Cox. All I can say is, wow.


I watched Professor Brian Cox in the videos above and NEED to publicly state that I hate his inane smile! He would have been better suited to being a pop-star! lol :lol:
However what did occur to me was, what are 10,000 physicists and engineers going to do for jobs now that the biggest science experiment ever has reached it's goal(?)?

Option1: goal reached > funding stopped > get teaching job!

Option2: experiment failed > funding stopped > get teaching job!

Option 3: inconclusive results > more science to be done > more/greater funding required!

My cynicism must have a very strong interaction with the Higgs' Field as it is MASSIVE!

#2 Guest_MacPhee_*

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Posted 14 July 2012 - 10:23 AM

I watched Professor Brian Cox in the videos above and NEED to publicly state that I hate his inane smile! He would have been better suited to being a pop-star! lol :lol:
However what did occur to me was, what are 10,000 physicists and engineers going to do for jobs now that the biggest science experiment ever has reached it's goal(?)?

Option1: goal reached > funding stopped > get teaching job!

Option2: experiment failed > funding stopped > get teaching job!

Option 3: inconclusive results > more science to be done > more/greater funding required!

My cynicism must have a very strong interaction with the Higgs' Field as it is MASSIVE!


A very perceptive post.

Modern particle Physics is completely crazy. No-one has any idea what the Physicists are talking about. Least of all the Physicists themselves. But they can't say so, as they'd look daft.

So naturally they go for your option 3 - inconclusive results, more funding required for a bigger LHC.

The Physicists will soon assert this: the Higgs has another form - the "Dark Matter Higgs". And this DM form can only be found, by funding a bigger machine... can't cynics like you and me see it coming?

#3 CraigD

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Posted 14 July 2012 - 03:02 PM

I watched Professor Brian Cox in the videos above and NEED to publicly state that I hate his inane smile!

Yeah – it bothers me at times, too, and begs public comment.

Brian Cox comes across to me as a sort of puppy-like undergrad, even though, at 44, his undergrad days are half a lifetime past. As with an actual dog that keeps its puppyishness, that can be either delighting or annoying, depending on your general disposition, current mood, and its proximity. :)

The first time I saw Cox was in a DVD extra for the IMHO awful 2007 scifi movie Sunshine, which credits him as it’s “scientific consultant”, in which he spends some minutes explaining that the movie’s science (which, in short, is that the Sun has suddenly switched off, the Earth is freezing, and only a really big nuclear bomb delivered by a spaceship crewed by lunatics can restart it and save us all) is pretty much crap, but if it wasn’t, the movie might have replaced its barely mentioned “the sun just went out” explanation with something along the lines he describes, which is that the Sun has been struck by a stray strangelet, causing it to begin converting to a quark star. Cox clearly enjoyed being involved in making a major movie, even if his influence in making its science reasonable was little to nothing.

He would have been better suited to being a pop-star! lol :lol:

I can only assume you’ve not heard Cox’s keyboard playing with D:Ream, a band that gave, and to my continuing dismay, has recently reformed to continue giving pop a bad name. :(

Regardless of his piano-playing skill or lack thereof, to be a pop star, one must sing, which I don’t think Cox does.

I think Cox has found his niche as a science publicizer, a worthy profession, IMHO, as the public needs all the science exposure it can get.

However what did occur to me was, what are 10,000 physicists and engineers going to do for jobs now that the biggest science experiment ever has reached it's goal(?)?

I don’t follow its plans closely, but don’t believe it was ever intended that the LHC be a single-use apparatus to detect the Higgs boson. I think folk smart, hard-working and lucky enough to work there, and at other major physics labs, have at least as secure a professional future as technical sorts like myself, and far more secure than people with less formal education.

That said, it’s been argued (for example, by David Halberstam in his 1993 history The Fifties) that the best times for science education and education in general followed big reductions in the number of research jobs available, resulting in people who had planned on such careers instead teaching school, in many cases grades 7-12. The post WWII period was such a time, when many students that studied physics thinking to follow in the footsteps of the “hero scientists” associated with atomic weapons and rocketry found themselves instead teaching school. One of my favorite teachers and college advisor, got his PhD in aerospace engineering hoping to design spacecraft for NASA. It’s been my experience that such “unintentional teachers” are consistently better than ones who set out to become teachers.

It’s my hope that, were CERN and the world’s other major basic science labs to have their budgets and science staff drastically cut, long term, science wouldn’t suffer, because the sift in employment of science-minded people from research education will result in a better and larger pool of science-minded and educated people in the next generation.


Modern particle Physics is completely crazy. No-one has any idea what the Physicists are talking about. Least of all the Physicists themselves. But they can't say so, as they'd look daft.

As I explained at some length in this post, MacPhee, you seem to be afflicted with the fallacious belief that, because you don’t understand something, nobody does. Your reply,

CraigD's hugely impressive posts afflict me with a sense of intellectual inferiority. They make me feel like an ant. (I don't mean that sarcastically, but in genuine admiration). I cannot adequately reply to such posts - let other ants rear up against the mighty aardvark, if they dare.

gave me the impression that you might have found some sense in my screed, but here you are, a week later, making effectively the same, effectively anti-scientific, claim, which gives me the impression your 7/9 post was made sarcastically and insincerely.

:Exclamati As you should know, having been temporarily suspended for the offense in the past, hypography’s rules require that you back up your claims with links or references. We tend to relax enforcement of this rule for statement that are clearly opinions, and qualified as such, but here you are making a direct assertion of fact: that physicists don’t understand what they talk about. You should back this claim up, by finding a credible source – for example, an anti-scientific journal or editorial newspaper. :Exclamati

Better yet, study physics. Rather than alleging that nobody understands is, try to yourself.

Hypography is not an anti-science website.

#4 phision

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Posted 14 July 2012 - 08:27 PM

A very perceptive post.

Why, thank you! :D
Perhaps you'd like to read more of my posts and threads as listed below:

Global Warming In The Media And In Fact,

the nature of time,

,and my favourite, Does a shadow have mass?

However I can not agree with your statement below.:crazy:

Modern particle Physics is completely crazy. No-one has any idea what the Physicists are talking about. Least of all the Physicists themselves. But they can't say so, as they'd look daft.



Yeah – it bothers me at times, too, and begs public comment.

Nice!:edevil:

I can only assume you’ve not heard Cox’s keyboard playing with D:Ream, a band that gave, and to my continuing dismay, has recently reformed to continue giving pop a bad name. :(

Sorry, I was trying to be funny.:hammer:


Regardless of his piano-playing skill or lack thereof, to be a pop star, one must sing, which I don’t think Cox does.

I'm not sure that pop stars must sing(http://en.wikipedia....sambiguation%29) , "he used to be a pop star"(http://www.dailymail...reer-orbit.html).

I think Cox has found his niche as a science publicizer, a worthy profession, IMHO, as the public needs all the science exposure it can get.

Agreed!:headbang:

I don’t follow its plans closely, but don’t believe it was ever intended that the LHC be a single-use apparatus to detect the Higgs boson.

No, but it was alot of what it was intented to do and what it receives/received funding for!

I think folk smart, hard-working and lucky enough to work there, and at other major physics labs, have at least as secure a professional future as technical sorts like myself, and far more secure than people with less formal education.

I was less conCERNed with the folk smart, hard-working and lucky enough to work in major physics labs and more intrested in the trickle down effect it will have on technical sorts as their contracts end and positions are filled by smart folk with CERN footnotes on their C.V.'s.

It’s my hope that, were CERN and the world’s other major basic science labs to have their budgets and science staff drastically cut, long term, science wouldn’t suffer, because the sift in employment of science-minded people from research education will result in a better and larger pool of science-minded and educated people in the next generation.

Lets hope so, for if it results, via the trickle down effect, in a larger pool of unemployed people with no means to educate or feed themselves(http://www.bbc.co.uk...a_Poor_America/) then the Higgs' Boson may not have been such a great discovery(pending) after all.

#5 belovelife

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Posted 14 July 2012 - 10:03 PM

work on my model :)

:hi:

#6 Guest_MacPhee_*

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Posted 15 July 2012 - 09:28 AM

As I explained at some length in this post, MacPhee, you seem to be afflicted with the fallacious belief that, because you don’t understand something, nobody does. Your reply,
gave me the impression that you might have found some sense in my screed, but here you are, a week later, making effectively the same, effectively anti-scientific, claim, which gives me the impression your 7/9 post was made sarcastically and insincerely.

:Exclamati As you should know, having been temporarily suspended for the offense in the past, hypography’s rules require that you back up your claims with links or references. We tend to relax enforcement of this rule for statement that are clearly opinions, and qualified as such, but here you are making a direct assertion of fact: that physicists don’t understand what they talk about. You should back this claim up, by finding a credible source – for example, an anti-scientific journal or editorial newspaper. :Exclamati

Better yet, study physics. Rather than alleging that nobody understands is, try to yourself.

Hypography is not an anti-science website.


Thanks CraigD. If I may, I'd just like to make these points:

1. I'm not "anti-scientific"! All my life, I've been in love with Science. It's the greatest thing humans have ever achieved. A science book is worth more than any silly book of poetry, or some daft novel.

2. The 7/9 post was sincere. I genuinely admire your intellectual power.

3. In my opinion, particle physicists don't really know what they're talking about. This is not meant in a disparaging sense. I think they're as confused as the rest of us, about what all the "meter-readings" actually mean.

4. I somewhat deplore your repeated calls for backing up claims by finding "credible sources". By which you mean, what other people have written already. Suppose you applied that to Copernicus, Galileo, and Darwin, wouldn't they have been stuffed?

5. As regards the Higgs Boson, other threads show the backtracking has already begun. A new machine is needed....all so predictable! Let's face it, somewhere along the line, Physics has taken a wrong turn.

#7 JMJones0424

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Posted 15 July 2012 - 10:59 AM

I somewhat deplore your repeated calls for backing up claims by finding "credible sources". By which you mean, what other people have written already. Suppose you applied that to Copernicus, Galileo, and Darwin, wouldn't they have been stuffed?

Supporting one's claims is a rule of this site, if you don't like it, don't make unsupported claims. Copernicus, Galileo, and Darwin were expected to, and did, support their claims. I fail to see how your vapid comments have anything at all in common with these people.

As regards the Higgs Boson, other threads show the backtracking has already begun. A new machine is needed....all so predictable! Let's face it, somewhere along the line, Physics has taken a wrong turn.

Do you have anything to support this statement as being an accurate observation rather than a worthless assessment by an ignorant bystander? Who is backtracking? The fact remains that a particle has been discovered, at the statistical confidence level customary with particle physics, pretty close to where it was theorized to be. The "pretty close" part is what needs further investigation, as well as making sure that nothing else unexpected is going on.

#8 Guest_MacPhee_*

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Posted 15 July 2012 - 12:31 PM

Supporting one's claims is a rule of this site, if you don't like it, don't make unsupported claims. Copernicus, Galileo, and Darwin were expected to, and did, support their claims. I fail to see how your vapid comments have anything at all in common with these people.


Do you have anything to support this statement as being an accurate observation rather than a worthless assessment by an ignorant bystander? Who is backtracking? The fact remains that a particle has been discovered, at the statistical confidence level customary with particle physics, pretty close to where it was theorized to be. The "pretty close" part is what needs further investigation, as well as making sure that nothing else unexpected is going on.


Why do you say a particle has been discovered? The LHC has produced some "meter-readings" which could be interpreted as evidence of a "particle". That's all. Just meter-readings. How do we know what these readings really mean?

We have good reason to believe that some particles do actually exist. Such as electrons, and neutrons. They show clear evidence of their physical reality - they make electrical appliances work, and cause radiation sickness from unshielded atomic reactors. So I'm fairly convinced that there is such a thing as an "electron", and a "neutron". Maybe a "proton" too.

As for the "Higgs Boson" - I doubt there's any such thing. One might as well use a thermometer to measure temperature, read the marking on the scale, then claim the discovery of a "Heat Boson".

But time will tell. And I confidently predict this - in 50 years' time, the "Higgs Boson" will have followed epicycles, phlogiston, caloric fluid, and the currant-bun atom, into the dustbin of scientific history.

#9 JMJones0424

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Posted 15 July 2012 - 02:21 PM

Why do you say a particle has been discovered? The LHC has produced some "meter-readings" which could be interpreted as evidence of a "particle". That's all. Just meter-readings. How do we know what these readings really mean?


I'm not sure if you mean to dismiss the findings because they are just "meter readings" or if you are again bloviating in ignorance.

If the former, I would ask what other method do we have to objectively evaluate our surroundings? Everything we know is due to meter reading. There is no other source of verifiable information from which we can form our view of the universe that we inhabit.

If the latter, then it is apparent to me that you don't understand, or don't wish to understand, what is being done at the LHC. The threads you have already participated in have included links that, if you had read them, would have given you enough background to ask an intelligent question. However, here again is a list of some resources that you may find useful.
How a detector works from CERN.
Wikipedia on the CMS and ATLAS detectors, two of the main detectors at the LHC.

Edited by JMJones0424, 15 July 2012 - 02:22 PM.


#10 Little Bang

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Posted 15 July 2012 - 03:47 PM

Mac, I suspect you are right but there is a proton.