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Q&A with expert skeptic re:Tesla, Planet X, lost history

Discuss deep philosophical topics and questions.

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Winston
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Q&A with expert skeptic re:Tesla, Planet X, lost history

Post by Winston » January 6th, 2009, 6:00 pm

Here is my scientific advisor's answers to some of my questions about various esoteric topics.

On Tue, 6 Jan 2009, WuMaster allegedly alleged:

}Hi Dr H,
}
}But I saw in documentary videos that Tesla was on the verge of inventing a
}machine capable of attaining free energy from the atmoshere.

No, he wasn't.


}He even built a tower once, I forget the name of it, funded by JP Morgan, but
}which was later dismantled because the discovery of free energy would upset
}all the utility companies and corporate interests in selling energy. Is that
}true?
}
}If so, why can't someone rebuild that tower to capture "free energy" from
}the atmoshere?

He built the tower, but it had nothing to do with "free energy". His
intention was to transmit electricity through the air to provide
wireless power for various places and devices equipped with a receiver.
The electricity would have been generated in the usual fashion, and sold
to end users -- who would of course have to buy receivers, as well.

Physically, his theory was sound: we transmit high-frequency electricity
through the air all the time -- it's called "radio". What Tesla proposed was
to up the /power/ of this transmitted electricity to the point where it could
power cars, ships, and even factories. The problems he ran into weren't
theoretical, but logistical. It's not easy to control that kind of power
sent through the air, his system wasn't very directional, and sending
high-voltage -and- high-current through the air can be very detrimental to
anything that happens to get between the transmission tower and the receiver.

Tesla was aware of these problems, but burned up so much money trying to
solve them -- and took so long without achieving profitible results -- that
Morgan got cold feet, and pulled out his funding. Tesla's property
fell into debt, and was eventually confiscated for taxes, and the assets,
including the partially completed tower, were broken up and liquidated.



}Regarding Sitchin, are you saying that a planet x in a 3600 year orbit can
}remain in orbit that far out there? How so?

Gravity.

Our entire solar system orbits the center of mass of the Milky Way --
it takes about 200 million years to complete that orbit.


}Why did you listen to Coast to Coast?

As I said, I find it entertaining. Besides, I like to keep up on
current woo. :-)


}Isn't it all BS to you?

Pretty much.

So's politics, but I find that entertaining, too.


}I think George Noory is more personable and has a nicer sounding voice and
}personality. Plus I like his enthusiasm too. The guests and him usually
}have great rapport and chemistry, and talk like they are unveiling deep
}secrets.

He does sound "friendlier" than Art, who could sound pretty ominous at
times. But he never seems to get calls from people who claim to be the
Devil himself, as Art did from time to time.


}Have you heard of Graham Hancock? I listened to some of his interviews on
}Coast to Coast, and he definitely for sure is very very intelligent and
}articulate and meticulously organized. His points are eloquent and
}articulate. He is no fool for sure. If you've ever listened to him, he is
}very convincing based on the sheer intelligence in his speech alone.

Yeah, Hancock is a faux archeologist. The idea that there are "lost
civilizations" is not, in itself, that far out. But when you start
draggin in space aliens and the supernatural, and making wildly
speculative "connections" among the three, reality takes a holiday.

It's worth noting that Coast-to-Coast does occasionally feature interviews
with real scientists, usually concerning their opinions on fringe
sceince issues. But most of these interviews tend to be far more
conservative than the hilarious rantings of people like Richard C. Hoagland.


}He's kind of like Noam Chomsky in that he sounds so obviously smart and
}knowledgeable in his field, that he doesn't even need charisma to captivate
}an audience or make them believe him, the intelligence in his words alone
}makes him convincing to others. You know what I'm talking about right?

Indeed.


}Yet Graham Hancock believes, based on ruins he found underwater which he
}dates back to 12,000 years, that there is a lost period in human history or
}a lost civilization that is not accounted for in our history. Don't you
}think he could be right?

There are probably many ancient civilizations of which we currently know
little or nothing. During the previous ice age vast portions of what are
now the submerged continental shelves were occupied and/or traversed by
human beings. One theory as to the origin of the Australian aboriginal
peoples is that they walked to Australia from Africa -- over thousands of
years, of course -- over what was then the coastline of southern Asia,
but today is under water. Finding artifacts from that migration is
difficult, but there is intriguing DNA evidence in modern populations
which suggests that it may have happened.


}He also says that the ice age ended very rapidly and that there must have
}been a cataclysmic event or agent that changes the earth every once in a
}while, which could account for an entire civilization in our ancient past to
}go missing.
}
}Aren't these things possible?

Sure. I think it's far more likely, though, that civilizations just
disappear over the normal course of large amounts of time, as they evolve
into new cultures, and the old ones are forgotten in the mists of
antiquity. I recently watch two people violently disagree over an
incident -- at which I was present -- less than 20 years ago. If history
changes for some people in just 20 years, can you imagine how much changes
-- or is forgotten -- over 20,000 years?


}Regarding human evolution, isn't it true that there are missing links and
}unanswered questions?

"Missing links" is to imprecise to have any sceintific meaning.
Unanswered questions? Sure. In every area of human interest, not
just evolution.


}It's not half a billion years. These researchers and ancient astronaut
}theorists claim that human intelligence evolved within 100,000 years. What
}is the official story on that?

That's why I said it depends on the definition of intelligence. Intelligence
didn't just spring into being with the first homo sapiens; it evolved from
earlier animal intelligence. And the course of evolution of that animal
intelligence spans a period of at least 500 million years.


}Didn't even Carl Sagan admit that the origin of human intelligence is
}unknown and that he could only speculate on it?

Maybe; I don't know. A lot of things are "unknown" in the sense that
we can't explain them -precisely- in terms verifyable beyond a shadow of
a doubt. That doesn't mean that we can't eventually explain them
-plausibly- in terms verifiable beyond a -reasonable- doubt.

The orign of human intelligence is no more or less of a mystery than
the evolution of intelligence, per se.

It's a fascinating area of study, though.


Dr H
Last edited by Winston on January 7th, 2009, 1:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Winston » January 7th, 2009, 1:56 am

Here is my next response and set of questions to Dr H, the expert skeptic of all subjects. He's one of those rare types (like momopi) who has a high level of knowledge in almost every subject.


"Hi Dr H,
So how come the documentary I saw said that Tesla discovered free energy then? I've seen a lot of book covers say that too, as well as mentioned by writings of conspiracy theorists.

BTW Dr H, how do you know if the material you read, or the official version of things, is the truth and not a concoction designed to suppress the real truth? In other words, how do you know whether the material you trust about Tesla is credible and not created by those who prefer to suppress his discoveries (e.g. "free energy")?

Do you ever wonder if your sources might be "wrong"?

Like me, you are a thinker and analyzer right? If so, don't you sometime wonder "could I be wrong about some of my beliefs and views?"

When you listen to Coast to Coast, don't you ever wonder if the author/researcher being interviewed, might be onto something or right about something? You gotta admit, some of them sound very sure of themselves.

Just listen to David Icke talk for instance. He sounds totally sincere as if he believes everything he says without a doubt.

How come Tesla didn't become rich? He has many great inventions and was famous for a while in his day, right?

Another question on my mind:

Why is it that the same skeptics of the paranormal (such as yourself, Michael Shermer, James Randi, etc.) are never skeptics of anything "official" such as the 9/11 official story, the moon landings, the JFK assassination, etc.? Is it because skeptics like you have a blind trust in authority or a higher respect for it? Or is it because the official version of things tends to be based on better evidence than the conspiracy versions?

Have you ever questioned the official version of anything in your life? If so, what?

Regarding Planet X, so you mean it is possible according to our current understanding of gravity, for our sun to keep a planet like Nibiru in orbit even if it's very far away beyond Pluto?

Does our sun revolve around the center of the galaxy due to gravity coming from it? If so, that would mean the gravity has an effect on our solar system from millions of light years away?

About Graham Hancock, have you heard him on Coast to Coast or only on TV or you've read his books? Doesn't he sound extremely intelligent and well read to you? He obviously has a passion for truth. Doesn't that impress you?

Hancock in his lectures points to a lot of holes in the official version of things, such as the construction of the pyramids, that mainstream archaeologists do not address. And he claims that they don't listen to him because he challenges their closed minded version of things. Is that true? Does he have legitimate arguments against the official version of history?

I do not think he claims that aliens built these ancient civilizations. But he does leave that possibility open. I think his main argument is merely that there is a lost episode in human history, but he leaves what that is to be open ended. He does not postulate fantastic theories about aliens like Eric Von Daniken and Zecharia Sitchen do.

What is the official archaeological explanation for why the Ice Age suddenly disappeared and melted away?

By "missing links" I mean gaps in the official theories or explanations of evolution. Aren't there gaps or unexplained gaps rather?

By intelligence, I mean the the ability to write, develop a language, organize thoughts, build tools, make fire, etc. Didn't that ability evolve too suddenly and without explanation?

Regards,
Winston"
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Post by Winston » January 10th, 2009, 5:39 pm

Here is his next response to my questions:

On Wed, 7 Jan 2009, WuMaster allegedly alleged:

}Hi Dr H,
}So how come the documentary I saw said that Tesla discovered free energy
}then?

Um... because not everything they put on TV is well-researched, or
even necessarily true?


}I've seen a lot of book covers say that too,

Usually a good idea to read more than the covers.


}... as well as mentioned by writings of conspiracy theorists.

Something of a cult developed around Tesla's writings after he died.
A lot of people drawn to such cults are, frankly, either nuts, ill-educated,
or both. It's quite annoying really, since Tesla was a man of a great
many real, significant accomplishments. But like Linus Pauling, and
like Pons and Fleishman, he wasn't right about -everything-.


}BTW Dr H, how do you know if the material you read, or the official version
}of things, is the truth and not a concoction designed to suppress the real
}truth? In other words, how do you know whether the material you trust about
}Tesla is credible and not created by those who prefer to suppress his
}discoveries (e.g. "free energy")?

Because a very great deal of subsequent research has been done -since-
the development of Tesla's theories and ideas in the -- in some cases --
more than a century since he first proposed them. We now have a far better
idea of which of them work well, which of them work but not so well, and
which of them don't work at all.

This is the gist of the replication and peer-review process in science.

Plus, Tesla himself *never* claimed to be working on a source of "free
energy". He understood what he was doing too well to fall into that
psuedoscientific trap.


}Do you ever wonder if your sources might be "wrong"?

Of course. That's why I use multiple sources, including reading Tesla's
own papers and patents, a great many of which are easily available. And
I look for subsequent similar research and replication.


}Like me, you are a thinker and analyzer right? If so, don't you sometime
}wonder "could I be wrong about some of my beliefs and views?"
}
}When you listen to Coast to Coast, don't you ever wonder if the
}author/researcher being interviewed, might be onto something or right about
}something? You gotta admit, some of them sound very sure of themselves.
}
}Just listen to David Icke talk for instance. He sounds totally sincere as
}if he believes everything he says without a doubt.

Sincerity is a nice human quality, but it doesn't necessarily make
someone right. There have been (and still are) people who sincerely
believe that the "caucasian race" is superior to all others, and in the
past that was used as a partial justification for slavery.

I'm willing to listen to bizarre ideas -- to a point. Actually, I'm probably
much -more- willing to listen than many people in science or technical
fields, because one of my personal interests is /why/ people cling to
bizarre ideas in the face of mountains of contrary evidence.

And once in a great while, even though a particular idea may in itself
be rank bullshit, taking a momentarily odd perspective on something might
trigger a new insight in someone who really IS capable of doing valid and
useful research.

I mean, there probably had to be any number of nuts dashing off cliffs and
flapping their arms, to raise the idea of practical human flight in the minds
of people with enough engineering smarts to figure out if it was really
possible in some way or not.


}How come Tesla didn't become rich? He has many great inventions and was
}famous for a while in his day, right?

He was a wretched businessman. He was an immigrant at a time when America
was being particularly harsh on immigrants, which put some obstacles in
his way. And he was quite naive in believing that if he offered an idea
that would clearly benefit humanity, that astute investors would beat
down his door to shower him with development fees.

He worked for Edison for a time, at Edison's Menlo Park lab/factory. They
did not get along well. Edison, for all the folk reputation he has as
an inventor, was really no scientist -- but he was an astute businessman.
He took a shotgun trial-and-error approach to most of his inventions, and
he knew how to protect them and market them. Tesla did not.

Tesla was far more scientifically oriented and organized. He kept
meticulous notes, and made a number of basic engineering discoveries,
rather than a continuous string of salable inventions like Edison.

When the time came to strat bringing electricity into people's homes,
Tesla knew that AC was the most efficient way to go, but Edison was
committed to DC. Tesla concentrated on proving the worth of AC through
equations and testing, whereas Edison embarked on a P-R campaign to
convince people that AC was deadly -- he used to give lecture tours
on which he would electrocute animals with AC.

Tesla won that particular competition, but mainly because he had the
backing of Westinghouse. Other times he wasn't so lucky, and he lost
the P-R battle.

Tesla is actually the inventor of radio, but that wasn't decided until
1943, in the Supreme Court, after Tesla's death. Marconi still get's
the credit in many textbooks, but in fact Marconi used 16 of Tesla's
patents to achieve his results. Tesla was not enthusiastic about
fighting the patent infringement -- he was more interested in research
than litigation.

}Another question on my mind:
}
}Why is it that the same skeptics of the paranormal (such as yourself,
}Michael Shermer, James Randi, etc.) are never skeptics of anything
}"official" such as the 9/11 official story, the moon landings, the JFK
}assassination, etc.?

You are creating a false category. I can't speak for anyone but myself,
but I certainly -am- skeptical of many "official" pronouncements. One
of the ongoing points of contention between David Marshall and me is
my skeptical view of the American and World history taught in the
public schools. It is highly biased and sanitized.

I also don't happen to believe that we don't have a more precise idea
of how many Iraqis died as a result of the American invasion because
our military "doesn't do body counts". They most certainly do; the
decision was just made at some point in the command chain that they
would not be -reporting- these counts to the public, for this war.
Such information is, however, available from other sources.

As far as the events you mention, the real physical evidence in all
of those cases is mountainous, and the explanations given cover the
evidence.


}Is it because skeptics like you have a blind trust in authority or a higher
}respect for it?

Don't you think that's a silly question to ask of an avowed anarchist?


}Or is it because the official version of things tends to be based on better
}evidence than the conspiracy versions?

"Officials" can make up stories just like regular people. I try to
gather as much evidence as I can, from as many sources available as
possible, and then make my own decisions. Relying on a single source
is probably the most frequent error made by non-skeptics. It's especially
easy to make this error when relying on web sources: it is very common
for a rant published on one website to be cited by another website, and
then -both- sites cited by a third website. This gives the false impression
that there were two sources for the same information, when in fact there
was only one, and it gives no indication whatsoever as to the quality of
the information in the original source.

/Every/ source includes some bias; if you use enough different sources, you
can begin to see which facts they share in common. But you actually have to
use *different* sources.


}Have you ever questioned the official version of anything in your life? If
}so, what?

Always. See above.


}Regarding Planet X, so you mean it is possible according to our current
}understanding of gravity, for our sun to keep a planet like Nibiru in orbit
}even if it's very far away beyond Pluto?

Certainly. If the inertial energy of the planet is insufficient for
it to escape the gravitational pull of the sun, it will either go into
orbit, or it will fall -- on an eliptical path -- into the sun eventually.


}Does our sun revolve around the center of the galaxy due to gravity coming
}from it?

Our sun and the rest of the galaxy revolve around a common center of
mass for the whole system, due to the gravitational force of the masses
involved. So basically the answer is "yes".

}If so, that would mean the gravity has an effect on our solar
}system from millions of light years away?

Of course. The intensity of gravity falls off with the square of the
distance, as with light. But as with light there is no boundary on the
extent of that gravitational influence -- it's just weaker the further
away you get from the mass. Light from millions of light years away
has an effect on us -- if it didn't, you wouldn't see any stars at night.

BTW, nothin in the Milky Way galaxy is "millions of light years away"
from us. The galaxy is about 100,000 light years across at it's
widest point; we're about 42,000 light years from the center.

But the gravitation and light from other galaxies that -are- millions
of light years away affects us, too, just not as strongly as the
stuff that's close to us.

Consider the tides: both the sun and the moon affect our tides,
but the sun's effect is less than half that of the moon's effect,
even though the sun's mass is thousands of times the mass of the moon.
That's because the sun is 93 million miles away and the moon is only
240 thousand miles away. But both still do affect us.


}About Graham Hancock, have you heard him on Coast to Coast or only on TV or
}you've read his books? Doesn't he sound extremely intelligent and well read
}to you? He obviously has a passion for truth. Doesn't that impress you?

Only heard him on Coast to Coast. I may have read an article or two
by him, somewhere. He seems to be sincere, but a lot of times he seems
to prefer wild specualtion to the simple fact that we lack sufficient
evidence at this time to draw valid conclusions about some of his proposals.
And in some cases he ignores explanations which are supported by a
great deal of evidence.


}Hancock in his lectures points to a lot of holes in the official version of
}things, such as the construction of the pyramids, that mainstream
}archaeologists do not address. And he claims that they don't listen to him
}because he challenges their closed minded version of things. Is that true?
}Does he have legitimate arguments against the official version of history?
}
}I do not think he claims that aliens built these ancient civilizations. But
}he does leave that possibility open. I think his main argument is merely
}that there is a lost episode in human history, but he leaves what that is to
}be open ended. He does not postulate fantastic theories about aliens like
}Eric Von Daniken and Zecharia Sitchen do.

As noted earlier, there are doubtless a lot of lost episodes in human
history, however the notion that any of these have been major (like
losing the whole Rennaisance, for example) is untennable.

What irritates me about people who postulate that aliens or some paranormal
element was involved in building things like the pyramids is that is
short-changes human ingenuity. People 5000 years ago we pretty much
like we are today -- they certainly weren't any less intelligent than
we are. While they lacked a lot of the information we currently possess,
they were nonetheless quite capable of developing creative solutions
to engineering problems using the technology they had available.

Every aspect of engineering necessary to construct the pyramids has been
duplicated -- more than once -- by modern engineers utilizing only the
technology that we know was available to the Egyptians at that time.

Here's one modern construction engineer who has been demonstrating these
techinques for years, as a hobby:

http://www.world-mysteries.com/mpl_2_1.htm


And here is a book well worth reading:




}What is the official archaeological explanation for why the Ice Age suddenly
}disappeared and melted away?

First off, the correct geological term is "glacial age".

Second, your question is formulated around several errors:

- There is no "Government Office of Archeology" so there is no
such thing as an "official archeological explanation."

- there have been many glacial ages

- if you are refering to the most recent glacial age, it did
/not/ "suddenly" end.

We are *still in* that last glacial period, which began about 2.6 million
years ago, and peaked about 20,000 years ago. We have been at a point of
minimal glaciation known as the "holocene interglacial period" for
approximately the past 11,000 years.

So strictly speaking, the last glacial period has not ended yet.

And even if you look at it more colloquially, and date the decline of
the last "ice age" from it's peak to the start of the current interglacial
period, that transition took 9000 years. Hardly sudden.


}By "missing links" I mean gaps in the official theories or explanations of
}evolution. Aren't there gaps or unexplained gaps rather?

What kind of "gaps"? The current theory of evolution, which incorporates
molecular genetics, covers perhaps 98% of the observed data. New
confirmations of the theory are being discovered all the time, and that
figure continues to improve.

}By intelligence, I mean the the ability to write,

That is more than an aspect of intelligence -- writing implies civilization.
If you make that a requirement for intelligence, then humans didn't
become intelligent until about 5000 years ago. But people can have
language -- and, infact civilization -- for millenia before they develop
writing. Some civilizations never did develop it.


}develop a language,

Language pre-dates writing by a good bit. If language is the criterion,
then humans became intelligent about 250,000 years ago -- unless the
Neanderthals had language, in which case it was about 400,000 years ago.
Unless you consider animal languages, in which primates may have developed
such as much as 3.5 million years ago.


}organize thoughts,

Difficult to quantify, even in modern times.


}build tools,

Now that -does- go back at least 2.6 million years, and so may predate
human language.


}make fire, etc.

Fire was probably a chance discovery. The ability to use fire in a
controlled way was probably fully developed sometime between 800,000
and 400,000 years ago -- so it's a relatively late development, compared
with tools, animal speech, and certainly with writing.


}Didn't that ability evolve too suddenly and without explanation?

First of all let's dispose of the idea that evolution -- of any kind --
comes with an instruction manual. -All- of our explanations are developed
after the fact -- that is the nature of reality.

Secondly, what constitutes "sudden", much less "too sudden"?

The earliest primates were fully developed some 60 million years ago.
They unquestionably had some degree of intelligence, which is not
surprising since they had about 3.4 -billion- years to develope it
as they evolved from the earliest life.

In another 55 million years the first clearly proto-hominid primates
-- Australopithecus -- had develope, with even more intelligence than
their ancestors. In 2.5 million more years the first members of genus
Homo (as in /Homo sapiens/) had evolved, with still greater intelligence.

So basically, if we disregard non-primate intelligence, human intelligence
had about 57 million years to evolve prior to the earliest (known) use of
tools; 58 million years to evolve prior to the first (know) controlled
use of fire; 59 million years to evolve prior to the first (known) use of
language; and 59.95 million years to develop prior to the first (known) use
of writing.

Something between 57-60 million years is "sudden" to you?


Dr H
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