18 June 2015

Lawrence Krauss Wants Your Money

Long time since I have written something. The reason I don't write that much is because I'm comfy in my skin - it's all fine, there's not much to write about.  But some things I cannot let go by unspoken of, and one of those things is foolery in the scientific world. I've written an essay about Michio Kaku, and now I have my eye on Lawrence Krauss.

Lately I have picked up particle physics a bit, because I'm a nerd. That's the way of the nerd: it  wants to learn about those things. Going from there I stumbled upon a name I didn't pay much attention to. His way of explaining things is quite pleasant in my view. Little did I know mr. L. Krauss is a demi-god in the world of hard science. Maybe I should pay more attention to names in the future.

I quickly noticed something strange: the urge to address political and religious issues in many of his presentations. He does it often jokingly, but still, it didn't float with me. It's not healthy to involve politics constantly, often forcefully and out of the blue.

So what does this mean? Has Krauss personal issues? I couldn't exclude it though that didn't float with me as well. Then the subject of nothing came into sight. Mr. Krauss is in the process of selling nothing. His version of nothing. Now the puzzle will soon fall into place.

And before anything else, I am not questioning Krauss' knowledge about physics or the universe. I wouldn't dare. At the same time I'm quite confident he'd stretch a few theories and results here and there to sell his product.
I'm questioning his integrity.

The sum of all energies, positive and negative is 0 (the "nothing"). Because quantum mechanics doesn't allow a state of "nothing" (for long), it will create something. Hence his theory "something out of nothing". That's the global idea. Supportive evidence is that the universe is flat (with a 95% accuracy), as the theory goes.
By the way, the sum of the energies is not exactly 0, but near 0! That's not "nothing". Renaming a phrase like "close to nothing" to "nothing" is a creative license which does not belong within the scientific realm in my view. But Krauss doesn't seem to share that view when his personal interests are at play.

Krauss is selling his book. And whilst at it, he uses his scientific background as a Trojan to talk about politics and religion. For what reason I wonder. Let's explore.

It's an easy way out to blame politics and religion when the community doesn't buy [his] ideas. He mentions gay marriages, attacks religion and complains about legislators. This he does to win over young students. It works. I can see it in the comments on YouTube for example. Then the true agenda surfaces: he pleas for more money for research from legislators. And whilst at it he'll sell his book.

The talk about religion has a secondary effect: it is bait. Some part of a religious community will surely react. It's an interesting tactic: the foolishness of too many religious zealots will add to Krauss' believability to achieve his personal interest. Strength through the weakness of others.

No, I'm not a Christian. And like many scientists (Krauss, Dawkins, Hawking to name a few), I'm not a fan of philosophy either. I am however increasingly  aware of scientists misusing their background to push for their own agendas.

If someone makes a plea for money, then that is fine with me. But the methods used  by Krauss' is vile. It is vile because it teaches the unwary masses to think structurally wrong with the intent to serve the [financial] interests of an individual. What mindset is he providing to the gullible?

Mr. Krauss has turned into a bad representative for atheists and agnostics. Having intelligent people in the frontline representing those two groups is a perk of course - if representation is needed to begin with. But intelligence is not a must and it certainly isn't enough, especially when the representative nullifies his [hers] positives by introducing the negatives I'm addressing in this blog post.

Finally, mr. Krauss has turned a scientific subject into a religious and political matter. And he wants money for it. The tax paying community should pay for his research if it was up to him. He mentions legislators, but effectively that means money from taxpayers.

Again, the definition of "nothing" which Krauss uses in his book, is not the "nothing" as we have defined it in dictionaries. Heck, even Krauss himself puts quotes around "nothing" in his book, but refuses to make that abundantly and explicitly clear when selling his idea in the media or in a classroom.  I bet it sounds cool just like "Dark Matter" (merely a placeholder name for unknown matter), "Dark Energy" (a placeholder name for unknown types of energies) and "Black Hole" (nothing black about it and it's not a hole either).

The major lesson here is to beware of lingering scientism. It creeps in through scientist-worship.

Teaching and writing, to me, is really just seduction; you go to where people are and you find something that they're interested in and you try and use that to convince them that they should be interested in what you have to say.

Lawrence M. Krauss 

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