critics have their own critics: some rational, others crazy

On 14 December 2022, shortly after dear old CIA Director William Burns poetically announced that there is “no evidence” of Putin being ready for war (maybe a special military operation, you understand, but not a war), Putin ordered the loading of an ICBM into a Russian silo to be filmed and published; just love the fact they tilt the entire lorry with the wheels up into the air, don’t you? So practical, not needing a huge crane and a million bucks. This publication is purely a matter of setting the record straight, true, and honest. Just to clarify, you understand. To make sure Biden doesn’t get fake news. From his CIA Director. Fake news that is classified Top Secret – restricted data sigma 1, so nobody who actually has the facts can see the fake news to debunk it. So we’re all good. (Putin, the kindly old son of a gun, has lovingly also been declassifying and publishing all the other Russian nuclear weapons secrets, too. Just for clarification. Maybe he thinks, unlike America, that for deterrence to work the other side has to believe it? Who knows. Why cares?)

Above: moving on from the deplorable way that Putin has disgracefully debunked the lies of the CIA Director, William Burns, we have another type of “Criticism of Criticism” (c-squared, henceforth). This c-squared example is an “anonymous” hate attack on Woit’s Not Even Wrong blog. It mentions Prof. Gil Kalai, who has put the case that quantum computers are fake news, like the fake claim that the USA exploded a “hydrogen bomb” in 1952 (it was over 75% fission, under 25% fusion). The argument here is that at the quantum level, noise prohibits practical computing. I have no interest in this. Freeman Dyson has a lecture about heresy being rejected by “experts” before being proved right. The point I’d like to make here is that, if you are going to censor freedom of speech, either using “secrecy laws” or attacks on critics, then we might as well surrender to Putin and live in the utopian Russian Federation. (Tip for the kind of people who love mad censorship: I’m being sarcastic, not endorsing Putin.)

Above: beyond c-squared (critics of critics) there is c-cubed (criticism of critics of critics), as evidenced Ivor Catt (he quotes bits from me and other critics on that page, failing naturally to bother lower himself to responding to the criticisms), whose successfully peer-reviewed paper “Cross-talk in Digital Systems” in  I.E.E.E. Trans, electronic Comput., 16 (1967), went to his head, leading him to claim to “disprove” first displacement current (Maxwell’s term to explain charging and discharging of capacitors, and which also gives us a theory for electromagnetic radiation, a very uncontroversial “theory” well substantiated by evidence transmitted by radio waves!), and then “disproves” electric current! (yeah, he thinks he can use Occam’s Razor to replace it with electromagnetic radiation in the form of Heaviside’s “slab of energy current”, and in his own little world there are no vacuum tubes or old fashioned TV screens with electron beams, or beta particles from the Sr-90 source I gave him, all these are little packets of trapped Heaviside “energy current” that acquire rest mass by magic). I first met him shortly after my first article was published in the November 1994 issue of Electronics World. Like a Sir Jimmy Saville or a superstring theorist, at first he appears humble and genuinely interested in defending freedom of progress, but you eventually discover he’s just a conman, like a typical “superstring theorist”. Actually, Catt’s 1967 paper, though peer-reviewed, is based on what is just an approximation (by Heaviside) to more interesting quantum electrodynamic mechanics, and it is the fake part of the approximation that Catt assumes to be Gospel truth, not the empirical evidence which it fits. In other words, it’s the old problem of “factoids” in science; usually the hardest to kill factoids are mixtures of measured evidence and approximate theory, which are being fashionably presented as if they were 100% empirical evidence, and are then used to falsely denounce alternative analyses of the data that are more accurate. (Classic examples being caloric and phlogiston; in other words, once you have a name for a symbol in an equation, and it has received say a trillion dollars funding grant from harry and meghan’s charitable foundation for universal love and anti-racism, the factoid becomes as “real” to simpletons as wormholes in computer simulations or dare I say the non-water vapour exponential increase in the amount of Marx-media hot air. You might think that “dark energy” and “dark matter” are similar epicycles, but there is evidence that they are in fact more fundamental than currently believed by populist fashion.)

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