Being attacked by ignorance!

  • Thread starter Pengwuino
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  • #1
Pengwuino
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Oh my god... i don't know what has been going on the last 2 weeks but I have gotten into conversations where no less then 30 people have shown that they either 1) Don't want to believe Special Relativity is correct or 2) Claim they know how SR works but in actuality have 0 understanding of it. Now obviously (or maybe not), none of this was on this forum but I swear something is up with people. I'm also not going around and intentionally making these conversations... they are just popping up outa nowhere.

Now, I was getting this overwhelming attitude that since its called the "Special Theory of Relativity", its just a theory and there is no evidence to support it. I then made some references as to some of the many theories that prove it... yet it is like they didn't even see me write it. Then people were saying "Well if it was a law, it wouldn't be called the Special Theory of Relativity". I then started to explain to people what happens as you approach c. Then someone comes in and goes (I am NOT making this up) "Forget everything you know about physics for a second. If you accelerate at 10m/s for more then 300,000,000 seconds, you'll exceed the speed of light. Special relativity is wrong". And of course, this is after I explained everything about it. Plus I got people saying "Just because Einstein said so doesn't make it true" as if he did not spend year after year creating SR. Then of course, I get someone who said KE = mv^2. Then someone said a photon has mass just like a proton and neutron etc etc. Then someone asked demanded to know my "credentials" before even thinknig about believing me and I pretty much told him to go look at absolutely any even introductory physics textbook.

I mean what is going on here? I can understand how some people can have a hard time grasping why this happens or exactly what happens... but to say things like "forget everything you know about physics and think about this..." or "Just because Einstein said so doesn't mean its true" or "So whatever Einstein said is right?".... i just can't understand it. Is anyone else noticing people coming out of the woodwork with this kinda attitude???
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
Danger
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Not quite to that level of ignorance, but there are always a few around. :grumpy:
 
  • #3
Pengwuino
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Do people not want to hear this kinda stuff? Is it just blowing their minds and hurting their feelings since people are growing up with this "Anything is possible!" crap being forced down their throats?

I also keep hearing this crap about "We barely know anything! Theres so much more left to be known". Isn't that pretty much only valid if you yourself know everything? And when i say that, i mean as far as laws are concerned (and not like, for example in astronomy, how many planets there are or whats on them).
 
  • #4
Moonbear
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So, where are you finding these people, and how is the topic of Special Relativity even coming up in conversation? Outside of this forum, it's not even a term I ever hear another person speak of, let alone expect them to know anything about.
 
  • #5
cronxeh
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Pengwuino said:
Then people were saying "Well if it was a law, it wouldn't be called the Special Theory of Relativity".
Well thats when you usually either:

1. Smack the living crap out of them
2. Nominate them for Darwin Award
3. Relocate as far away from them as possible
 
  • #6
Pengwuino
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Moonbear said:
So, where are you finding these people, and how is the topic of Special Relativity even coming up in conversation? Outside of this forum, it's not even a term I ever hear another person speak of, let alone expect them to know anything about.
Well one was on the Mythbusters forum (awesome show!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!). Theres really not a whole lot of science talk there at all but this just popped up outa nowhere. Someone had heard about it and wanted someone to explain it to them in laymans terms. I explained it and then people started coming outa nowhere saying "No no no, SR is wrong" etc etc. Then there was another computer forum where people really just talk about whats new in computers and video games and stuff... and someone posts a thread outa nowhere saying SR is wrong.
 
  • #7
Pengwuino
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cronxeh said:
2. Nominate them for Darwin Award
And actually as an example, I tell them "ya know, it's about as theoretical as the Theory of Evolution". And since there are no creationist believers on that board, I was not sure how they ignored that as well.
 
  • #8
Danger
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cronxeh said:
2. Nominate them for Darwin Award
You just gave me an idea. I should (we all should?) print up a bunch of fake nomination papers and carry them around. When one of these bozos pipes up, hand him one and ask for his signature. You'll inevitably be asked to explain. :devil:
 
  • #9
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"We barely know anything! Theres so much more left to be known"
I fail to see whats wrong with that statement, you cant prove it wrong or right...
 
  • #10
Danger
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Anttech said:
I fail to see whats wrong with that statement, you cant prove it wrong or right...
The statement itself is correct. It's the intent with which they say it that makes it farcical.
 
  • #11
Pengwuino
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Anttech said:
I fail to see whats wrong with that statement, you cant prove it wrong or right...
Yah but they are absolutely convinced that the statement is right and then somehow proceed to use that as proof that SR is wrong :confused: :confused: :confused:

It was like saying F = 3ma because we don't know everything there is to know.

Oh wait I see where I screwed up. They were saying that Special Relativity was wrong simply because we don't know everything there is to know. Didn't add that part...
 
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  • #12
cronxeh
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Danger said:
You just gave me an idea. I should (we all should?) print up a bunch of fake nomination papers and carry them around. When one of these bozos pipes up, hand him one and ask for his signature. You'll inevitably be asked to explain. :devil:

Must.. resist.. urge.. to.. punch.. instead.. of.. explaining.. it.. to.. them..

must.. resist... MUST.. RESIST.. happy thoughts.. happy thoughts..
 
  • #13
Pengwuino
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cronxeh said:
Must.. resist.. urge.. to.. punch.. instead.. of.. explaining.. it.. to.. them..
must.. resist... MUST.. RESIST.. happy thoughts.. happy thoughts..
cronxeh, my friend told me my car can run on leaves. The government is lieing to us.
 
  • #14
Danger
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cronxeh said:
Must.. resist.. urge.. to.. punch.. instead.. of.. explaining.. it.. to.. them..
must.. resist... MUST.. RESIST.. happy thoughts.. happy thoughts..
Don't blow a tube there. No point in resisting too much.
 
  • #15
Astronuc
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Pengwuino said:
Oh my god... i don't know what has been going on the last 2 weeks but I have gotten into conversations where no less then 30 people have shown that they either 1) Don't want to believe Special Relativity is correct or 2) Claim they know how SR works but in actuality have 0 understanding of it. Now obviously (or maybe not), none of this was on this forum but I swear something is up with people. I'm also not going around and intentionally making these conversations... they are just popping up outa nowhere.
Now, I was getting this overwhelming attitude that since its called the "Special Theory of Relativity", its just a theory and there is no evidence to support it. I then made some references as to some of the many theories that prove it... yet it is like they didn't even see me write it. Then people were saying "Well if it was a law, it wouldn't be called the Special Theory of Relativity". I then started to explain to people what happens as you approach c. Then someone comes in and goes (I am NOT making this up) "Forget everything you know about physics for a second. If you accelerate at 10m/s for more then 300,000,000 seconds, you'll exceed the speed of light. Special relativity is wrong". And of course, this is after I explained everything about it. Plus I got people saying "Just because Einstein said so doesn't make it true" as if he did not spend year after year creating SR. Then of course, I get someone who said KE = mv^2. Then someone said a photon has mass just like a proton and neutron etc etc. Then someone asked demanded to know my "credentials" before even thinknig about believing me and I pretty much told him to go look at absolutely any even introductory physics textbook.
I mean what is going on here? I can understand how some people can have a hard time grasping why this happens or exactly what happens... but to say things like "forget everything you know about physics and think about this..." or "Just because Einstein said so doesn't mean its true" or "So whatever Einstein said is right?".... i just can't understand it. Is anyone else noticing people coming out of the woodwork with this kinda attitude???
One who is studying physics must realize that particular field of study, particluarly the details, is 1) far beyond the everyday experience of most people and 2) often beyond the comprehension of most people. When I was a student and I went to parties, people used to roll their eyes when I mentioned I was studying astro- and nuclear physics, and then later nuclear engineering.

Think of who studies mathematics and science, and to what level. I was one of about 25-30 students, in a high school senior class of about 750 or more, who studied calculus, physics and two years of chemistry. I think my SAT's and GRE's were top 5%. I read books on astro-, nuclear- and particle physics for fun, as well as books on chemistry and other scientific subjects. Special relativity was a no-brainer.

For me nuclear physics is basic stuff - but to the vast majority of the world - its beyond comprehension.

Most people cannot cope with abstract thinking, and many of those have a superficial understanding of the natural sciences.

I am not surprised you encountering people who question SR or GR or other concepts in science.
 
  • #16
Danger
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Astronuc said:
I am not surprised you encountering people who question SR or GR or other concepts in science.
I have no problem with people who question them; that's what teaching and discussion are all about. It's the ones who insist that they're wrong who grit my gears. :grumpy:
 
  • #17
Pengwuino
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Well my problem isn't with the people who can't understand it or don't care. Its with people who refuse to understand it and will actively try to say you are wrong with no real proof.. If I ever saw something weird about something related to biology and I thought something was wrong, I'd heed the words of people who do know what they are talking about. If I think im right but the majority of scientists disagree, I'm not going to try to refute them simply because I have 0 background in biology. If I ever did feel passionate enough about the problem, I would take the time to study and only after an intensive amount of study woudl i ever be public about my feelings about something being wrong.
 
  • #18
ZapperZ
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Pengwuino said:
Then people were saying "Well if it was a law, it wouldn't be called the Special Theory of Relativity".
You really should read my journal entry titled "Imagination without knowledge is ignorance waiting to happen". I gave enough ammo against things like this.

:)

Keep in mind that most of these people really DON'T CARE if they get things right or not. So if you remember this, then you can put things in perspective.

Zz.
 
  • #19
Astronuc
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I should have been more explicit - I am not surprised that Pengwuino and others encounter people who question the validity of SR or GR, even in the face of self-consistent models that do a reasonable job of describing a multitude of 'natural' phenomena.

Like I said, its beyond normal daily experience for most people in the world, and then there are the anti-science, irrational types. :rolleyes:

Edit to remove religious reference after consultation with Pengwuino.
 
Last edited:
  • #20
Pengwuino
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ZapperZ said:
Keep in mind that most of these people really DON'T CARE if they get things right or not. So if you remember this, then you can put things in perspective.
And what really pisses me off is that even though these people don't care most of the time, they still feel that they need to argue their point to death.
 
  • #21
Pengwuino
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And to add to that, as I was explaining to astronuc in a pm... these people are insane in their views on science. Now we all know that in science, there is almost always a right and a wrong answer. In cultural or political discussions however, everyones opinion is pretty much valid and have equal footing. The problem with these people were that they were taking a scientific discussion as a political one. Everyones opinion was right and saying someone else is wrong based on scientific experimental results was akin to someone saying being a liberal is wrong. You have no reason to say an ideology is wrong... but yes, there is a way of telling if a scientific postulate is right or wrong yet these people just did not want to hear that kinda discussion! I say something, someone else says something, no matter how much evidence points to one side or contrary to one side.. both sides can be right? I just can't believe these people....
 
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  • #22
Try pointing them to "Relativity" by Einstien which attempts to describe GR and SR in laymans terms. Then forget you ever met them. :biggrin:

The other forum I used to frequent really got me angry. The ignorance itself wasn't so bad. It was really the posturing elitist egoism of the ignorant that got to me. It never mattered how intelligent and or sound your points were, it only matter how popular you were.
 
  • #23
Chi Meson
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I had an arguement about light with a poetry major (this was fifteen years ago). No matter what I said, he responded with "but that's just a theory! That's just a THEORY."

What they don't understand is that a scientific theory is specifically something that has piles of evidence behind it. Two weeks after this argument, I finally came up with what I should have said at the time (feel free to use it):

"Yes, and there is also the theory that we two are having a conversation right now. Can you prove that?"

Another quip that I am waiting to use:
"Can you tell me the difference between momentum and kinetic energy? Because if you can't, you have no business talking about physics."
 
  • #24
Astronuc
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Chi Meson said:
Another quip that I am waiting to use:
"Can you tell me the difference between momentum and kinetic energy? Because if you can't, you have no business talking about physics."
But you might get the 'wrong' difference or a statement that there is no difference - despite any evidence to the contrary. :rofl:
 
  • #25
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Astronuc said:
One who is studying physics must realize that particular field of study, particluarly the details, is 1) far beyond the everyday experience of most people and 2) often beyond the comprehension of most people.

I remember when a kid in my german class last year said "What if a terrorist puts a nuke into the core of the universe... we would all die"

He wasn't kidding.



Another person, from the same class said that he wants to create two things
-A bomb which instead of converting matter into energy, disrupts the molecular balance of it, in part releasing far more energy
-A device which would mimic planetary motion and generate free energy.


:eek:
For some reason, German was filled with weird people.
 

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