Subverting the dominant paradigm
September 7, 2006 9:20 PM   Subscribe

Louis Savain is the most coherent, articulate and ambitious Internet crank I've found. He's going to fix software, he's out to clean up physics, he's cracked the Da Vinci code, and he's got a discussion forum. Enjoy!
posted by flabdablet (21 comments total)
I find it funny that he argues against modern software design, and yet runs phpBB.
posted by sbutler at 9:33 PM on September 7, 2006

Who would have guessed that there were crazy people posting things on the internet?
posted by number9dream at 9:36 PM on September 7, 2006

Who would have guessed that there were crazy people posting things on the internet?

posted by mediareport at 9:48 PM on September 7, 2006

"The following is a short list of notorious time travel and spacetime crackpots, not necessarily in order of crackpottery."

But sufficiently in order of crackpottery?
posted by parki at 10:24 PM on September 7, 2006

I wish everyone who was smarter than Einstein could be rounded up and moved to an island, where they could build the perfect civilization together. Mind you, it would have to be a big island, like Australia, but still, it would be great to have them all in one place, working with each other to solve the problems of humanity. Oh, the webpages they'd produce....
posted by Humanzee at 10:49 PM on September 7, 2006

Who would have guessed that there were crazy people posting things on the internet?

It's scary! It's like no place is safe anymore. These days I find it hard to trust anyone or anything except, obviously, the telepathic messages I get from the Spider People on the Moon.
posted by martinrebas at 10:51 PM on September 7, 2006

Can the Spider People confirm or deny that algorithms are the underlying cause of all evil in software development?

I will personally be following the progress of the COSA project with great interest. As a PC technician, strolling sysadmin and ex-coder, I obviously have a vested interest in maintaining the inherent bugginess and obscurity of software.

Where would we all be if Ordinary People could easily make computers do everything they wanted them to?
posted by flabdablet at 11:12 PM on September 7, 2006

God in heaven, that was painful to go over as much as I could manage to read of his anti-physics tirade. Christ almighty. What rubbish.
posted by vernondalhart at 11:25 PM on September 7, 2006

I read the whole there-is-no-time-travel thing. It's fairly well written, if a bit harsh. I don't much like a few of the people he doesn't like, either, and he's not totally unconvincing.

I'm sure that there are some physicists reading this who are on the verge of complete explosion now. I mean, "NOW".
posted by blacklite at 12:27 AM on September 8, 2006


I can't comment on how "unconvincing" he may be, but he's totally wrong, and for the most part, completely ignorant of even what those scientists were trying to say.

I suppose that I could try to explain what all those quotes really mean, and then describe the experiments and theory that back up the views of these scientists ... but why even bother? What we have here is some guy who says, "You know the last 100 years of results in physics, as agreed upon by the consensus view of hundreds of thousands of physicists? Total garbage. I'm the only one who knows what's really going on." He doesn't even stop there. He actually describes Godel's Incompleteness theorem as "non-scientific, chicken-feather-voodoo nonsense". Oh, really? Well it's a freakin' theorem, so why not find an error in the proof then? Strange that he hasn't bothered to do that, considering what a world-class genius he is. I suppose that when you're that smart, you can't be bothered to show your work.
posted by Humanzee at 1:07 AM on September 8, 2006

CRESSIDA: There is among the scientists Einstein, a better man than Troilus.

SAVAIN: Einstein! a drayman, a porter, a very camel.

posted by Smart Dalek at 4:48 AM on September 8, 2006

Smart Dalek,
Where's that from, please?
posted by Jody Tresidder at 5:09 AM on September 8, 2006

Here you go, Jody.
posted by MrMoonPie at 6:39 AM on September 8, 2006

flabdablet : Where would we all be if Ordinary People could easily make computers do everything they wanted them to?

We'd be in an Apple store.
posted by kcds at 7:08 AM on September 8, 2006

If I can't understand it, it must be wrong! Therefore, everyone who doesn't speak English, French, or Spanish is just uttering jibberish. And don't tell me to go study Italian or Mandarin, I'm too busy. Besides, I'm a smart guy and if those languages meant anything, I would just automatically understand them, right?
posted by Mental Wimp at 8:05 AM on September 8, 2006

Thanks for pandering to my idiocy, MrMoonpie!
posted by Jody Tresidder at 8:17 AM on September 8, 2006

Didn't read the rest of the site, and I don't agree with everything the guy says, but I think his rant on Time is spot-on. Physics been greatly influenced by taking for granted that time is an actual dimension. I agree with him, that this can only lead to dead ends in actual understanding. ("Dead ends" being predictions that have no basis in reality or indeed even in logic, e.g., time travel.)

In most cases, however, it's simpler to just conceive of time as a real dimension rather than compare Change_A vs. Change_B vs. Change_C vs. Change_D. I mean, basic Newtonian physics without time can be a real mind-fuck. And, in the end, physics is all about modeling the natural universe, so go with what works. But I do think there's value in distinguishing between time as a mathematical convenience vs. time as a physical phenomenon; conflating the two generates confusion rather than understanding.
posted by LordSludge at 10:31 AM on September 8, 2006

Well, Lord Sludge, since your understanding is presumably devoid of any "dead ends", perhaps you can explain your theory of gravity. Be sure to explain the existing body of experimental evidence in favor of special and general relativity. Heck, I'd be amused if you could come up with a theory of electromagnetism that satisfied Maxwell's equations without using special relativity (provided that your E&M theory wasn't ruled out by existing experiments).

Either that or explain how the Lorentz transformation makes sense without invoking the concept of spacetime.
posted by Humanzee at 11:22 AM on September 8, 2006

Dude, the math would work out the same whether or not the concepts embodied in it map to the real world. LordSludge is clearly just differentiating between concept and fact, not purporting to have some revolutionary new theory of gravitation.
posted by sonofsamiam at 11:38 AM on September 8, 2006

Actually, no. The Lorentz transformation mixes time and space in a manner almost identical to the way that rotations mix different spatial dimensions. What is space to one observer is time to another, and vice-versa. General relativity predicts the curvature of spacetime in a way that causes space and time to be mixed together ---which is a meaningless thing to do if time has a reality that is not as a "physical phenomenon" or is somehow seperate from space.

So the math doesn't somehow seperate out from the physical reality in this case. Quite the contrary, the math forces the abandonment of seperate consideration of space and time. A quote from Minkowski:
β€œThe views of space and time which I wish to lay before you have sprung from the soil of experimental physics, and therein lies their strength. They are radical. Henceforth space by itself, and time by itself, are doomed to fade away into mere shadows, and only a kind of union of the two will preserve an independent reality.” – Hermann Minkowski, 1908
posted by Humanzee at 12:13 PM on September 8, 2006

This guy is awesome! He's insane on a number of counts, but that doesn't mean he isn't right on many others.

Time Travel, String Theory, and much of modern popular physics is bullshit wankery – and has derailed science from the realm of reason for too long.

Beyond trivially parallel problems were the computations to be done are atomic and not dependent on each other, traditional algorithmic programming hasn't much of a chance at succeeding at parallelism. It also has bugginess issues that he addresses. The problem is finding an alternative, and the only reasonable one I see is FPGAs, and they're often not applicable.
posted by blasdelf at 6:26 AM on September 9, 2006

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