Free Markets, Free People

The Deniers rear their ugly heads again

Researchers at CERN, the big European physics laboratory, have released some interesting findings that, if true,would  cast doubt on a fundamental conclusion made by Einstein’s theory of relativity.

From 2009 through 2011, the massive OPERA detector buried in a mountain in Gran Sasso, Italy, recorded particles called neutrinos generated at CERN arriving a smidge too soon, faster than light can move in a vacuum. If the finding is confirmed by further experiments, it would throw more than a century of physics into chaos.

For over a century, since Albert Einstein published the Special Theory of Relativity (SRT)—buttressed further in 1916 by the General Theory—it has been settled science that the speed of is nature’s ultimate speed limit.  As an object approaches the speed of light, its mass increases. At the speed of light—were it possible to reach it—the object’s mass would be infinite. That would require, of course, an infinite amount of energy to propel the object.  Hence, moving faster than the speed of light is a physical impossibility.

Since 1905, through direct experimentation, mathematical modeling, and, later, measurements taken during the space program, as well as computer models, science has time and time again proved that the Special Theory of Relativity does, in fact, accurately model the way the universe works. The entire foundation of modern physics is built upon SRT. It has been proven correct over and over again. Clearly, SRT is settled science. An attempt to overturn it is, essentially, an attempt to overturn the entire body of physics that has been so painstakingly established over the past century.

Obviously, SRT is true.  Its conclusions are beyond questioning. Again, the science is settled, and there is almost universal scientific consensus about the truth of SRT.

Since that is so, one wonders what purpose the experiments at CERN might be. SRT needs no further validation, so there must be other motives. Who is funding this experimentation? Why are they so interested in denying SRT? If SRT is overturned, the implications throw cosmology in general into disarray. Out would go the Big Bang theory. Is this new experiment real science, or is it just another ploy of Big Plasma to overturn the settled view of cosmology?

These "scientists" at CERN say that more experimentation is needed to validate these results. But, they are so clearly wrong, it’s difficult to see what purpose further experimentation along these lines would serve. This transparent attempt to return physics to the limited and primitive world of physical experimentation, rather than the modern use of sophisticated mathematical models, is deeply subversive.

Now, there are calls for trying to replicate this experiment—at US taxpayer expense—at the Fermilab, here in the US. I see no reason to risk the scientific integrity of our premier physics laboratory pursuing the dreams of these SRT deniers at CERN.

SRT’s proof is incontrovertible, and any attempt to prove otherwise is a perversion of science. The science is settled. Consensus is almost universal. So, let’s not pursue these silly, pointless experiments. The important thing to remember about science is that, once you question the received wisdom proven repeatedly in the past, the result is chaos. It is vitally important that we do not throw all of modern physics and cosmology into disarray over some odd experimental results that really have no real-world application.

That would just be silly.

Dale Franks
Google+ Profile
Twitter Feed

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUponShare on RedditPin on PinterestEmail this to someone

20 Responses to The Deniers rear their ugly heads again

  • Have you managed to dislodge your tongue from your cheek yet ?

  • These fellows at the “European Organization for Nuclear Research” are the same scam artists who recently claimed global warming is primarily driven by the sun and cosmic rays, rather than man’s activities. Heresy!
    And now they are looking to overturn one of the fundamental building blocks of modern physics, the upper limit constant of light speed, all in the name of scientific progress? Double heresy!
    Perhaps these troublemakers haven’t gotten the memo that real science is defined by UN panel consensus; not falsification, as Popperian fanatics believe.
    One potential benefit of this rogue research is that these supposed scientists have identified a potential catastrophe in the making that demands swift government action.
    Manmade particle acceleration is threatening the fundamental laws of physics and the results could be the end of the universe as we know it. Thus, the UN is proposing a Particle Acceleration Tax

  • [strangelove]I fully support Fermilab attempting to replicate this experiment.  We must close the superluminal neutrino gap![/strangelove]

  • First ‘they’ wanted us to believe the Earth revolved around the sun and conducted tests to ‘prove’ it.

    Next ‘they’ wanted us to believe the Earth was round and conducted tests to ‘prove it.’

    Now ‘they’ want to test the Theory of Relativity?

    I bet next ‘they’ will state AGW is not true.

    We must stop this madness.

    • “They” say every 15 minutes “somebody” is killed by an alcohol related collision.

      If we knew who “they” were maybe we could find “somebody” and end these needless deaths.

    • I’m imagining this being said by Vizzini from Princess Bride.

  • Fools!   Nothing exists in the first place, because the universe was destroyed when they turned on the super collider in Switzerland!  This is all just the rush towards the bright light as the brain cells die off!

  • I think that Fermilab will have to spend trillions to duplicate this kind of CERN entertainment:

  • Unfortunately, the validity of this argument is grossly undercut by the fact that Relativity does not forbid particles from moving faster than light. It established that particles with mass may not travel at the speed of light, but does not forbid tachyons. Since science fiction has played with that term to the point that nobody understands it is actually a scientific term, a tachyon is simply an otherwise normal particle that is traveling at faster than the speed of light.

    The mathematics of relativity can be freely used to describe characteristics of particles going faster than light; one particularly bizarre one, for instance, being that as the particle loses energy it actually goes faster.

    The nonexistence of tachyons isn’t a theoretical construct per se; it’s an observational one. We’ve never found them. What would rewrite physics as we know it isn’t so much the nature or existence of tachyons, but the fact that some portion of matter somehow transitioned from normal to tachyonic, which we have no theory to account for, not even a little. But since Einsteinian relativity hasn’t got anything to say about such interactions anyhow, that’s not a problem. The existence of tachyons does not immediately invalidate anything about Einsteinian relativity, unless they actually behave contrary to the existing predictions the theory makes about them.

    • *sigh*
      The forest is so beautiful this time of years. If only all those trees weren’t blocking your view of it.

      • Your “forest” is premised on the notion that the experiment was to test the validity of the theory of relativity.  Scientists are continuously attempting to reconcile relativity – a gravity based theory – and quantum mechanics.  This experiment would appear to be another extension of this continued research.  So you can’t really call the people who ran this experiment “deniers,” if they weren’t challenging the theory itself.

        • Actually his forest was sarcasm aimed at the global warming controversy and nothing more. Key word in title -denier- should have clued you into that.

          You too Jeremy.

      • Yes, by all means, let’s just ignore the question of whether the argument is based on a solid foundation of truth and just go for what forwards the narrative the best.

        This is the sort of thing that gives legs to the argument that the “deniers” are anti-science. I didn’t think it should pass without comment.

        • How about the fact that post was categorized under “Humor” and “Sarcasm”. Any comment on that?
          Any glimpse of the possibility that the entire post was about something other than physics?

  • Obviously these neutrinos are rogue teaparty particles. They simply will not conform to reality. They must be forced back to their proper roll of serving the interests of society. Nothing must upset the consensus. Resistance it s futile!

    • Woah, I think you hit on it!
      They have too much energy!  We have to find a way to take all that energy they accumulated and spread it out fairly amongst all the neutrinos.  It’s just fair for them to share their excess energy with other less fortunate neutrinos, I don’t see how certain conservative elements of the physicist community  can condone the obvious greed of these few neutrinos to the detriment of the rest.

  • I’ve always been slightly skeptical of putting any “cap” on rates of motion.  But I put faith in Einsteins theories as so many more credible scientists have done.  Interesting article, and cool blog.


    • Fear not the new Frank Dodd bill on particle speed will limit the speed at which neutrino’s and other particles are allowed to travel.  It will also repeal the 1st amendment if a state accepts any money for enforcement of particle speed limits.