Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Excluding Evidence contrary to Theories

  1. Feb 9, 2008 #1
    Recently, a thread here was closed because it linked to an experiment that seemingly conflicted with the currently accepted theories. While the majority of people agree with these theories, I think it is an injustice to censor evidence that is contrary to a theory - otherwise human knowledge never advances.

    It's one thing to censor speculative theories without evidence, but an entirely different thing to censor evidence. If the experiment is flawed, let a discussion take place to determine that.

    So, what do you guys think? Do you guys think people should be able to have open discussions here about experiments?
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 9, 2008 #2


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    I'm not sure what thread you are talking about, so I can't comment on it specifically, but we do not censor reliable evidence here. My guess is the thread was locked for making unwarranted speculation or citing unreliable sources.

    [moving to feedback]
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2008
  4. Feb 9, 2008 #3
    This one: https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=213780

    Of course the evidence is not the most reliable, but I would think a discussion on its reliability would at least be allowed.
  5. Feb 9, 2008 #4


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    The thread appears to have been locked for one of the reasons russ stated. It was likely to incite speculation as to how the machine worked since no details were given.
  6. Feb 9, 2008 #5


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    The thread was closed precisely because it was not a controlled experiment. It was a demonstration of Thane Heins's, 'Perepiteia', which according to some could be a perpetual motion machine (PPM), and we expressly prohibit discussion of PPM's.

    There are insufficient details provide to allow any reasonable discussion. We discourage speculation in favor of the 'Scientific Method'.
  7. Feb 9, 2008 #6


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor
    2016 Award

    What does "PF not allowing discussion of vague, unverified experiment" have anything to do with "advances in human knowledge"? Is PF THAT big now that we control the fate of human knowledge based on our policy, which, btw, you have agreed to upon joining?

    The "experiment" is suggesting that it is a perpetual motion machine. This has never been verified, and have been brought up ad nauseum on here for years (and throughout history). Based on its track record (which has been abysmal), such concept has never been shown to work. Thus, based on that, we will not discuss such an issue until there is more evidence that this is a valid observation. When it gets published in Nature or Science or PRL, then we will discuss it. But not till then. There are plenty of other more amazing valid experimental observations that are equally astounding if you are running out of experiments to discuss.

  8. Feb 9, 2008 #7

    Tom Mattson

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    My greeniguana, that was a cool story! It's exciting to think about what it would mean for physics if it turned out to be true. Unfortunately, no technical details were given in that article so any discussion could only be based on speculation. And even if the techical details were given, it's unlikely that anyone here would be qualified to analyze it. It did, after all, stump an expert in the field, and to my knowledge no PF members are experts in that area of physics/engineering.

    Discussion of current experiments at PF is fine, as long as the results come from a peer-reviewed journal. It reduces the amount of speculation and hearsay.
  9. Feb 9, 2008 #8
    Well, I am knowledgeable, if not an expert. Without examining the apparatus, one could never say exactly what the scam is. But the most likely key is found in the newspaper report which says Heins held the magnet. It most likely would not work with a clamped magnet. I leave it as a science challenge for students to deduce what he is doing with his hand.
  10. Feb 9, 2008 #9
    That doesn't seem like it could be it. In this video, it doesn't look like he is holding anything:

    Of course he doesn't show any of his wiring and cuts out the video frequently, so it's certainly possible he has a hidden power source somewhere. I just don't understand why that MIT professor, Markus Zahn, wouldn't catch that.

    I just tend to think that the second law of thermodynamics (entropy always increases over time) is more something determined by probability than anything else. Certainly the laws of classical physics work both going forwards in time and backwards in time - and if entropy is always increasing when time is going forwards, then there exists an arrangement of particles at certain positions going at certain velocities in which entropy would decrease over time. The only reason entropy is "always" increasing is because a random arrangement of particles going at velocities is more likely to be one that increases in entropy than one that decreases.

    In other words, there are very many ways a boulder could come crashing down a cliff, but very few ways the vibrations from sound travelling through the ground can shake up shards of rock into a boulder, but that doesn't mean it's impossible, just unlikely in our world. To us, that boulder precariously perched on a cliff is likely to fall in the near future, and to people who might live in our world with time going backwards would see shards of rock and expect that they might form into a boulder soon.

    Find me a law of classical physics that does not work with time going backwards, and then you have an argument that perpetual motion is impossible. Otherwise, you are just showing that perpetual motion is very unlikely. Perpetual motion does not require the creation of energy, only the flow of energy in a way the laws of thermodynamics doesn't predict.

    I do see now why you closed the thread, however.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  11. Feb 9, 2008 #10

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Yes, there is no reason to speculate when we can just wait for qualified testing. Also, the typical scam defaults to the position that they won't allow proper testing because they fear that someone will steal their idea. So in many cases we never get any resolution, which is in itself is an answer. However, if someone really has a fantastic new technology, we would know soon enough through the proper journals. [well, assuming that it isn't classified as secret or above by the military :biggrin:] Then we can talk about it ad infinitum.
  12. Feb 9, 2008 #11
    Excluding Evidence contrary to Theories...

    I know that some people believe in perpetual motion machines; others believe in horoscopes...

  13. Feb 9, 2008 #12


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Ok, well, that's pretty much all just nonsense. You won't gain much insight into the way the world works if you just make up whatever sounds good in your head rather than learning how it actually works.

    So now this thread is about unwarranted speculation. So it's locked too.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Similar Discussions: Excluding Evidence contrary to Theories
  1. Theory Development (Replies: 169)

  2. New Theory (Replies: 47)

  3. Personal Theories (Replies: 14)