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The Final Theory


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#1 alexander

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Posted 03 November 2004 - 12:36 PM

I remember this spring, I was browsing the web, searching for something, and came across the first chapter of the book "The Final Theory". So, today i was browsing this some threads on this site, and an ad saying something like "the mystery of physics soved", or something along the lines came up, interested, i clicked on it and the ad for "The Final Theory" came up. I was just wondering if anyone here read it, and if so what they thought if it...

I remember reading the first chapter, i also think the it was discussed here, but could not find the topic, or maybe it wasnt discussed and im imagining things.

#2 sirbola

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Posted 22 January 2005 - 01:48 PM

I read the book. Got it on interlibrary loan. Very thought provoking. Still evaluating what i just finished reading.

#3 Non-Luddite

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Posted 29 January 2005 - 10:25 PM

I read the book completely in a couple of weeks and am currently re-reading the entire book. Fascinating and challenging read. Mark McCutcheon is one audacious author. He does not hesitate to question any of the sacred cows of Standard Theory in science. A most refreshing approach.

I've just started looking for postings on the topic of "The Final Theory" and surely enough I am finding a lot of Luddite type postings. You may remember the Luddites opposed advancing technology because it threatened their jobs. Well, in this case, I believe "The Final Theory" will challenge all who are stuck in the mud for any reason, be it job security, ego, intellectual investment, bigotry, closed mindedness, infantile intellectuosity etc..

I find much to recommend the book. Anyone who reads part of the book and jumps to a negative conclusion and ceases to read will have done themselves one huge disservice. The author very logically unfolds his ideas in sequence throughout the book.

I'm going to be very interested to watch the public discussion develop and even to participate.

Skepticism is most appropriate when reading and contemplating "The Final Theory" but so is logical analysis, withholding judgment until proven right or wrong, treating it as a hypothesis worthy of both thought experiments and physical experiments and rational scientific enquiry.

I believe the testing, discussion and analysis of this theory is going to be enormous good fun and I hope there are a lot of intellectually honest people who will read and proceed with such. The theory deserves the best we've got. Who knows it could well be correct. And, if correct, the theory's wonderful simplicity will be a great boon to continuing technological development.

If you are opposed to Mark's theory, fine, but, please be intellectually honest enough to give as logical and rational explanations as Mark has given to explain your rational. Or else, just admit your opposition is emotional or irrational or whatever and go on with your life as the rest of us will go on with ours.

#4 Tormod

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Posted 30 January 2005 - 12:21 PM

If you are opposed to Mark's theory, fine, but, please be intellectually honest enough to give as logical and rational explanations as Mark has given to explain your rational. Or else, just admit your opposition is emotional or irrational or whatever and go on with your life as the rest of us will go on with ours.


For a first post, this is a remarkable statement. Why not share some of the IDEAS this book covers, and not only tell us how brilliant it is?

Opposition does not have to irrational. This is ridiculous.

#5 Moonchild

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Posted 30 January 2005 - 07:28 PM

Well, I guess I'm one of the people who hated McCutcheon with all his heart. McCutcheon is a crutch for bad science. I particularly loathe the way he dismisses all the greatest thinkers before him - he doesn't even politely thank them for trying to determine the mysteries of the universe, he rudely dismisses them entirely. McCutcheon's novel is written as though he has only meager knowledge of physics and cosmology. The guy's a jerk.

#6 Non-Luddite

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Posted 30 January 2005 - 10:40 PM

Tormod, you make a very logical request. Why not discuss points in the book? I have been debating that one with myself for several days. I'm torn because the book unfolds like a detective novel and I hesitate to give away the key points and the surprise near the end to anyone who has not read the book.

I admire and honor the effort and thought that author's put into their works and hesitate to degrade the rewards they reap for their efforts.

So far I have been unable to figure out how to conduct a public discussion with only people who have read the entire book having access to the discussion except by email on a one to one or one to many basis.

Forum's are a double edged sword, both good and bad. Good when the participants are on equal or near equal footing on a topic and bad when an unequal foundation provides no basis for effective and worthwhile discussion.

For now, I shall hold my peace until I find a quorum of like minded and adequately prepared participants.

#7 Non-Luddite

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Posted 31 January 2005 - 10:06 AM

Moonchild, I guess you and I read two different books. In the book I read, Mark gave consistent and very adequate credit for all that has been accomplished because of the work of Galileo, Descartes, Newton, Einstein and others, but, he also pointed out the limitations particularly in Newton's and Einstein's works. Limitations that do exist regardless of any new theories that might be proposed. Limitations such as those in Newton's work which motivated Einstein to propose his alternate theory of gravity. Limitations which currently drive others to continue to propose additional ideas to explain or provide a work-around for our observations.

He clearly points out where the two theories of gravity proposed by Newton and Einstein are used in our modern day engineering and science activities

My feelings are that he has done a great job of dispassionate analysis of the current state of our engineering and scientific environment.

#8 Tormod

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Posted 31 January 2005 - 11:15 AM

I admire and honor the effort and thought that author's put into their works and hesitate to degrade the rewards they reap for their efforts.


No you don't. You hesitate to share the content of this book because...

So far I have been unable to figure out how to conduct a public discussion with only people who have read the entire book having access to the discussion except by email on a one to one or one to many basis.


You seem to have very low thoughts of us. Good luck on your search for another "quorum" - there should be loads of them out there who are interested in discussing stuff with you. I know we are.

But it is near impossible to discuss something without knowing what your opinion on a subject is - or even what the subject is.

#9 maddog

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Posted 01 February 2005 - 12:00 AM

Well I would be willing to discuss it. Sadly, I haven't read the book yet. Bum. :D

However, I have read a book that I do recommend and I promise not to give too much
away. Like this other author, the book I'm thinking of covers all sorts of things and isn't
what material this author normally covers. The book I am thinking of is "God's Debris",
by Scott Adams. Yes, that Scott Adams of Dilbert fame. Now he swears this is a serious
treatment and a novel at that. Well, I have to admit it was Really Good! However, I
don't think Scott has got a serious side to him.

The story gets into all sorts of things mystical, religious, non-scientific (esp. that dressed
in scientific clothing) and such. It was hard to keep reading after ROTFLMAO! Yet, I
couldn't stop reading it. There supposedly is a sequel. I am looking for it now. This
came out a year or so ago. I am sorry I missed it then. This book is great.

Now for the McCuthean book, I will look for it. Is this a Sci Fi novel, Christian Fi, ???
What? :hyper:

Maddog

#10 Tormod

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Posted 01 February 2005 - 03:08 AM

Neither fiction nor Christian, I think. It is however not a "bestseller" as the author claims on his website.

Read the reviews over at the book's page http://www.amazon.co...g=hypographycom at amazon.com.

#11 Non-Luddite

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Posted 01 February 2005 - 08:52 PM

Well actually Tormod, I have a very high opinion of some of the posters on this thread and a very low opinion of others. You, personally seem every bit of alright.

Interestingly, I think it is probably appropriate to discuss the first chapter of "The Final Theory" and I shall do so.

However, in the meantime I just received my copy of the new Hypography Community Bulletin and the last thread item concerns a thread entitled: A fatal flaw in the laws of physics initiated by Zorgon 01-31-2005

For the benefit of some of the naysayers about "The Final Theory" please go to the thread or directly to: http://www.fatal-fla...ntroduction.asp

Most interesting correlation with some of the stuff Mark McCutcheon writes about.

Enjoy the journey.

#12 ldsoftwaresteve

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Posted 03 February 2005 - 05:26 AM

Hi, I have read the book too and like Non-Luddite I found it extremely thought provoking.

I am also unwilling to spill the beans about McCutcheon's ideas because I'm not capable of defending the specific theories he proposes and I certainly don't want the failure to do so leading others astray. The theories proposed in "The Final Theory" cut to the foundations of science and to the foundations of cognition.

Suffice it to say that I am in total agreement with McCutcheon.

If he were to give permission to discuss those ideas, then I'd be glad to do that. His livelihood depends on that book, I believe, so consider my hesitation to discuss his ideas as a measure of my respect for what he has done.

#13 Tormod

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Posted 03 February 2005 - 05:44 AM

If he were to give permission to discuss those ideas, then I'd be glad to do that. His livelihood depends on that book, I believe, so consider my hesitation to discuss his ideas as a measure of my respect for what he has done.


This worries me. "Permission to discuss"? What does that imply?

Sounds like a secterian concept to me.

#14 Moonchild

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Posted 03 February 2005 - 06:55 PM

It is - some people take advantage of laypeople's lack of knowledge to publish stuff they know is fatally flawed - and the laypeople fall for it. Leave it to the professionals to debunk McCutcheon, I say - his Theory will lay in pieces afterwards, gone the way of the Dodo.


McCutcheon is not the only person out there spreading nonsense to vulnerable, gullible people (and by the way a GUT is not as simple as McCutcheon claims in his book); for another example of idiocy, read the work of some guy named Eugene Savov.



You get the point. The internet is a passageway to cheapscaping laypeople.

#15 kfawell

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Posted 03 March 2005 - 05:52 PM

I read the first chapter and then wrote a review which I posted on Amazon.com. I have included it here. It is long.

I read the first chapter of this book, and I have to say that it is pretty awful as a book of science or logic. Though it is clear and offers many facts, it has many glaring mistakes that make me cringe. Perhaps reading more would help, but my suspicion grows very fast when I see the kinds of problems that I saw, especially in the first chapter alone. If it were a novel, that would be one thing, but as a science book, the mistakes are fatal, which is why I wrote that it is awful. I have written this long criticism too. I should state that I have “only” a BS in engineering which includes three semesters of physics (the standard college stuff) and courses in statics and dynamics. With such a meager background, how can I be qualified to criticize this author’s work? Well, the little that I have learned seems enough, so I guess that is how.

Moving an object in a gravity field converts energy from one form to another, from potential to kinetic and back again. Gravity is a conservative force in that it generates no heat during the conversion. This is how science explains gravity in terms of Newton’s model. It is consistent in that view. There is no violation of The Law of the Conservation of Energy.

The author asks why people continue to use Newton’s Law when General Relativity is known. Scientists use Newton’s version of gravity instead of Einstein’s because Newton’s is much simpler to use, and Einstein’s version does not add anything useful for most “common” phenomenon. (As you read the rest of this, you will see that as simple as Newton’s Law is, many people still make all kinds of mistakes based on it. How much worse would it be if we all tried to use General Relativity? Yikes.) In fact, at “low” speeds and “low” masses, like those we experience everyday with stuff, like cars and nails and water and so on, Einstein’s law predicts practically the exact same results. So, if you need an answer and have a simple and complicated way of getting that answer, which would you use? Well, engineers use the simple one. The difference in predicted results is only significant when it matters, which depends on the application. When designing a typical structure, like a building or car or airplane, the difference does not matter (though I allow there might be some very specialized structures that require the precision of Relativity). However, if you want something to be in a very precise orbit, the difference becomes important. I want to write that simplifying models for particular situations is a very common technique: you determine what precision is good enough and use that part of the model that gives the kind of desired results. As long as the model is good enough for the application, there is no need to use a more complicated model. When somebody builds a chair, they measure with a tape measure to measure length. They don’t count atoms. Chairs work well. In fact, many chairs are built successfully not based on models by either Newton or Einstein. Rather, they are built based on guessing or experience.

The Work Function is NOT a measure of how much work was done, but how much work was done on something by something else. In the example of a person pushing against an object that does not move, the Work Function shows that zero work was done on the wall by the person, which is true when viewed at one level of detail (not including things like sound and heat). That is, the object was not moved, so no work was done on it. 'Work' as used in physics in this case. Clearly the person who did the pushing did do work. However, all the work that he did was tiring himself to some extent. The Work Function in this case has a very precise use. If one misuses it, nonsensical results do occur. The author’s misrepresentation of how the Work Function is used leads to a nonsensical result. A similar confusion arises when one does not understand Newton’s laws of motion. One equation is this: F = ma where F is the force, m is the mass of the object against which the force is applied, and a is the resulting acceleration. Think of an object resting on a table. Obviously, gravity is exerting a force on it, yet there is no acceleration. Moreover, you could push down on the object with some more force, and still no acceleration occurs. So the equation is clearly wrong, right? Let’s make up some numbers (without units): F = 100, m = 4; hence, a would be 25. However, the object is not moving, so a seems to be really 0. Well, the problem is the equation is not being applied correctly. The equation as written only applies for one force. The object on the table is under at least two forces: gravity, as already mentioned, and the force from the table. Gravity pushes down, and the table pushes up. Well, the table does not push in the common usage of the term. Rather it does not move out of the way. It does this up to a point by exactly a force opposite in direction to that provided by gravity. (Past a point, the table bends or breaks). F in the equation would actually be the sum of the forces. Fg is the force from gravity; Ft is the force from the table. They are directed against one another, so the equation would be written this way: Fg – Ft = ma. Substituting numbers, we get 100 – 100 = 4 * 0, which is true. The point is that misuse of models usually leads to trouble. That does not mean the model is wrong. It means it is being misused.

He compares gravity with the muscles of a person and claims both must expend energy. Gravity is not muscle. Argument by analogy is not valid; sometimes it's useful; other time, not so useful. The confusion he has between energy expended as described by a work function and the energy expended by a person using their muscle’s is a case of confusion based on the fact that two separate phenomenon are referred to by the same word, a homonym. Yes, they are same word, and they have similar meanings, but precisely used, they are different. (Of course, the same kind of a work analysis could be performed on muscles and the laws of physics would apply. Chemical reactions would be take place and energy would be converted from form to another and the person would feel the work he is doing and he would be expending energy, but again, more careful use of models would be required.)

He writes about an object falling straight down, in which there is a distance traveled, and the work function shows there is work, so energy must be expended. However, he claims there is no energy source, so Newton’s law of gravity is violating the (other) Laws of Physics. This is called a Straw Man argument, which is a logical error. The author either intentionally or unintentionally is a frequent user of this kind of argument. Yes, there is no energy source powering gravity as he wants us to think there must be. However, there was an energy source. Remember, that all matter is always pulling against all matter (by that model). If an object can fall, that means it must have been first separated in distance from the thing towards which it would fall. (If there is no distance, we say the objects are “against each other.”) Hence, if the objects are separated, and yet gravity has always been trying to pull them together, the question should be, how did they get apart? Well, a common cause is someone picking up one object, against the force of gravity. To give a concrete example, a ball is on the sidewalk. A person picks up the ball, exerting work on that ball (and that work is against gravity). The process is like this. The ball was at rest. The person applied kinetic energy to the ball causing it to move up. As they did that in a gravity field, they also gave the ball potential energy. At the instance the ball is let go, the potential energy of the ball at the height exactly equals the kinetic energy applied to the ball when lifted. The ball falls because its “energy source” is the potential energy it has due to the separation. The kinetic energy came from the person using their muscles, which came from the food they ate, and so on. So there is no violation of any laws. There are energy sources. And conversions from one source of energy to another. And it all adds up nicely.

The author is inconsistent when trying to refute Newton’s Law. Earlier, he said that energy is not created or destroyed but merely is converted from one form to another, which is accepted as true. Then he claims that scientists claim that gravity does not exert energy and so they are wrong. However, scientists state exactly the same thing he has said. Moving an object in a gravity field converts potential energy to kinetic energy. Why does he not acknowledge or even mention potential energy?

Yes, a problem with Newton’s Law is that it assumes there is instantaneous action at a distance, which is not true as far as I know. This is a well understood limitation of the model. When that limitation matters, then Newton’s model is not a good one. The author claims that the law violates the Law of the Speed of Light (and that is true and well known), but I claim the value of the law is its simplicity and that the violation does not matter in many, many cases. The law is not a description of reality, so why criticize it for not being one.

The author claims that no tests have been made to determine the speed of gravity. Unless I have misread many articles, many tests have been done to try to determine the speed of gravity, but none of the tests have shown what the speed actually is, or some such result. To be honest, I don’t understand General Relativity well, so I can’t state what the experiments exactly were, but I surely believe some tests have been done.

He claims Einstein’ theory offers an unproven solution to the problem of instantaneous action at a distance. There are plenty of proofs about Relativity. Many, many things have been observed that agree with predictions made using Relativity. That does not mean that Relativity is the perfect model that explains all, but it does mean that it explains more than Newton’s model, and in the application to which it is claimed to work, no violation has been clearly demonstrated that proves General Relativity wrong. (Again, due to a limit in my knowledge, I cannot explain the contradiction between General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics.)

By the way, the author invokes “common sense” as a basis for judging the truth of claims. This is just plain silly, egocentric, and aggravating. Common sense leads us wrong many times, especially in uncommon situations, like relativistic and quantum ones. That we should assume that our brains in all cases product guesses that are always true is ridiculous, but that is what underlies the idea that common sense should be a measure of truth or sensibility.

When he writes about the history of Newton’s Law of Gravity, he inserts, “All of this made Newton’s theory of gravity a revolutionary discovery, as well as apparently irrefutable proof of the existence of such a force in nature.” It is invalid to jump from Newton’s Law of Gravity success as a model to that it is a proof of the existence of such a force. Though people have and do this, it is another misuse of a thing. That people makes logical mistakes is not a mark against Newton’s Law. A model is just that. It does not say anything about what is really going on. It does state that if A then B, a syllogism. Nothing more can be justifiably claimed. That difference is well understood these days by people who understand scientific method and science. The author is unfairly trying to make his case seem more compelling by pointing out mistakes made by some people. That is another logical error. Feynman, for example, has written much about how a model is not reality, and in fact, physics is not going to explain why things work the way they do, but only that it is an attempt to explain HOW things behave. That is a big difference. It is a well known limitation of science. That the common person and some authors make this mistake is their problem, not a problem with science or the models created by practitioner of science. The question of why is not a scientific question. Science is about things that can be proven wrong. A law of physics can be shown to be inaccurate very simply: show that its prediction does not match reality. A question of why cannot be proven either way. It does not even makes sense to refute a question of why. Assume the author really has found a model for all things. One only has to ask why does the universe work as described and not some other way? How could one answer that question? If you believe in God, you could say because God made it that way. Then ask why did God make it that way? Because he felt like it. Why did he feel like it? And so it goes. Science does not answer why questions. It answer how questions, like how does something behave, and even more carefully stated, science forms syllogisms that predict to some degree of accuracy and precision that given certain initial conditions, this will happen such and such a way.

His Geometric Orbit Equation does not predict what the motion of a satellite will be without first measuring the motion of a satellite in that orbit. Of course, the mass of an object is measured that way too. But given a mass, Newton’s Law tells us how an object will move (excluding relativistic and quantum effects). The author’s equations don’t offer that. And how would his equations work when there are multiple bodies? Newton’s Law, by proposing masses and forces, can predict what a satellite will do without having to measure the motion of a satellite first. If you know the mass of the bodies and their positions, you can predict how will they move. And it works for any number of bodies. How would one use the author’s equation to calculate forces? It can’t be done, so its utility is very limited. Newton’s Law does allow for this by introducing the theoretical force of gravity. The advantage of doing this is that a very useful equation is available to make useful predictions. The problem of the theoretical nature of gravity is only a problem for people who don’t understand that the equation is a model, not a statement about the why nature is the way it is. The correct statement is something like this: If there was a gravitational force that worked such and such a way, then here is an equation that would correctly predict what would happen. That ‘if’ is very important. And the introduction of the force makes the model very useful. And like all tools, it has to be used correctly and within its proper limitations, otherwise, things go wrong.

The author writes, “If a force were at work here, it would have to be quite a mysterious and unprecedented force indeed to achieve such a feat.” This in regards to gravity accelerating objects the same rate regardless of their masses and without stress on the objects. Again, the author is misusing a statement which I will state as follows: “Objects fall at the same rate.” This statement is not a general statement. In fact, it is about a very particular situation. That is, relatively small objects falling around the surface of Earth, relative to Earth. All of these limits are ignored by common usage when this statement is mentioned, which leads to misunderstandings both in laymen and the author. Proper use of the equation for Newton’s Law of Gravity is not that easy except for idealized situations. Most things that people make on Earth are very small compared to Earth and are very close to the Earth, so a simplification can be made which is summarized by “objects fall at the same rate.” However, this is generally not true, and when it matters, that statement is just wrong. Object are stressed by gravity, but in almost all common sense situations, the stress is so slight that it does not matter. Object approach Earth at rates that depend on their mass, and in fact, they pull on Earth too, but relative to Earth they don’t matter because their masses are so tiny compared to Earth. The force is not mysterious at all unless one uses a straw man argument to mischaracterize the law and then makes claims based on those mischaracterizations. The fact that the mass of the object cancels out only happens when calculating the force on that object due to Earth. It certainly matters when calculating the force of the object on Earth. Hence, the acceleration of both objects towards one another must take into account both masses. Sigh. Take and understand one semester of college physics and this is clear.

It is unbelievable that the author discounts the inertial applications of Newton’s Law. That is the most practical aspect of it. Sheesh!!

Well, that is my criticism of the first chapter of the book, “The Final Theory”. I am torn about trying to read more because maybe the author does have a good model to explain. It is too bad he has poisoned his own well such that I have to be so torn.

#16 Buffy

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Posted 03 March 2005 - 08:02 PM

Whoa, k! That was a *fantastic* first post! You keep this up and you will have a fabulous fan club here at Hypography. You don't have to worry about your sheepskin here, there are lots of people with very little who are among the most lucid here (me, I have "only" a degree in computer science and an MBA, so I'm a *complete* amatuer).

Kudos for k!

In awe,
Buffy

#17 Tormod

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Posted 04 March 2005 - 12:11 AM

This should be moved to our upcoming "Book Reviews" section in the news forums! Good work, k.