The Dangers of Consensus

Or, the Consensus Fallacy

"I believe that ideas such as absolute certitude, absolute exactness, final truth, etc, are figments of the imagination which should not be admissible in any field of science .... This loosening of thinking seems to me to be the greatest blessing which modern science has given to us. For the belief in a single truth and in being the possessor thereof is the root cause of all evil in the world”
(Max Born, 1991)

Every significant advance in our understanding of the universe has come from people who refused to accept the consensus. Or perhaps to put it more politely, they just ignored the consensus?

There are still many areas where consensus is acting as a roadblock. In Physics and Astronomy, to my mind the greatest one is the focus on gravity instead of electromagnetic energy.

Intellectual Phase Locking

Or - when dogmatic assertions inhibit inquiry

Rupert Sheldrake was curious about the changes in the constant speed of light.

I went to see the head of metrology at the National Physical Laboratory in Teddington. Metrology is the science in which people measure constants, I asked him about this, I said "what do you make of this drop in the speed of light between 1928 and 1945?" And he said "Oh dear, you've uncovered the most embarrasing episode in the history of our science". So I said "could the speed of light actually have dropped, and that would have amazing implications if so". He said, "Oh no, of course it couldn't actually have dropped, it's a constant". "Oh, well then, how do you explain that fact that everyone was finding it was going slower during that period? Is it because they were fudging their results to get what they thought other people should be getting and the whole thing was just produced in the minds of physicists?" - "We don't like to use the word fudge" - "Oh what do you prefer?". He said "Well, we prefer to call it Intellectual Phase Locking".
The Science Delusion – Rupert Sheldrake

The problem was 'solved' in 1972, the metrologist said, when they fixed it by definition - after which no disagreement was possible.

It looks like the TED board that banned Sheldrake have no self-awareness (of their own Intellectual Phase Locking) and have no idea how correct Sheldrake is.

In 1912 Einstein concluded that:

“Das Prinzip der Konstanz der Lichtgeschwindigkeit kann nur insofern aufrechterhalten werden, als man sich auf für Raum-Zeitliche-Gebiete mit konstantem Gravitationspotential beschränkt.“
(“The principle of the constancy of the speed of light can be kept only when one restricts oneself to space-time regions of constant gravitational potential.”)
A calculation of alpha (α) follows equation 107 and makes an unambiguous use of variable scalar light velocity (L) both as the argument of a partial differential function (proving a variable) and as the denominator in a fraction (proving not a vector) both in the same integrated quantity. Division by a vector is not defined, so there is no other way to interpret the velocity of light in this usage except as a variable scalar speed.

Max Born agreed with Einstein and stated both speed and direction of light change in a gravity field.

Richard Tolman also agreed with Einstein and expressed the radial speed of light as dr/dt in a gravity field.

Ref : The variable speed of light

My conclusions?

1) Einstein himself defined the speed of light as a slowly-moving variable
2) the speed of light is only a constant when the gravitational potential doesn't change.(or)
3) the speed of light must change if the gravitational potential changes.

The metrologists seem to still be trying to figure out how to cope with that. e.g. Carl J. Williams, Chief of Quantum Measurement Division USA National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

In extreme, the dangers of dogmatic consensus:

Next : Getting past the post-modernists

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