Re: Why do so many people try to beat up on Einstein's work?

Tom Potter (
19 Oct 1995 04:24:39 GMT

Tom Weideman <> writes:

> (Tom Potter ) wrote:
>>Tom Weideman <> writes:
>>> (Tom Potter ) wrote:
>I'm sure this is how you *perceive* the '"go read a book" kiss offs'
>you call them, but that's only because you don't realize the depth to
>which one must go to 1. Correct all of the misunderstood physics
>terminology, 2. Teach the appropriate fundamental physical principles,
>and 3. Demonstrate the logical steps to the ultimate conclusion.

I think that my PHYSICST.ZIP Windows-based, hypertext,
physics tutorial renders your three points mute. It can be
downloaded from many FTP sites around the world. Try it, and
let me know where I fail in the areas you mentioned, as I am
anxious to improve the tutorial. I think I did a pretty good
job is explaining all of physics in six "logical" steps. ;-)

> On top
>of all this, we know it will *still* be insufficient, because no one
>learns anything by being told the answer. I have written many replies
>which state that the poster should not only "read a book", but "take
>some physics courses", or even "get a degree", because the poster knew
>not what he was undertaking.

I got my kids to read books by telling them about how
interesting and exciting certain books were. I think ( Know
) that telling someone to "go read a book" is
counter-productive. Sarfatti has a great way of getting
people interested in books. He uses a carrot, rather than a
stick. He makes books seem like a pleasure rather than a
chore. The way my mom got me to read books was to say that
she didn't understand something, and asked me to read it and
explain it to her. I fell for this trick for many years.

>When I started as an undergraduate, I figured I'd have it all down in
>time, and would soon be pushing back the frontiers of physics. Then
>after I graduated, I was *sure* I knew a lot of physics, until I got
>graduate school. Then when I passed my written qualifying exams, I
>I knew all there was to know, until I started taking the advanced
>courses. When I started research, I thought I'd be done in no time,
>until I got into the thick of it. By the time I completed my Ph.D., I
>finally realized that despite how far I had come, there was still a
>I didn't know. Trust me, *none* of the posts by amateur physicists
>I have seen are outside of my realm of physics knowledge, but there is
>absolutely no way of condensing 10 years of school into one post.
>if there were, it wouldn't help... As they say, "No pain, no gain."

Maybe you didn't enjoy your ten year trip, and it reflects
in the way you handle questions. I like to share the
pleasures of what I have read and experienced. I try not to
share the pain and the boredom.

>As for what people want when they post: If they want some
>explanation, all I can say in most cases is, "There isn't one. You
>only truly understand this by putting in the effort required." I do
>answer questions for which it is obvious that the poster has met me
>than half way, but if they haven't, I tell them how they can come to
>where they need to be for a short answer to make sense. This usually
>involves telling them to read a book, take one or more courses, or
>get a degree. Many thank me for letting them know how deep they have
>unwittingly waded in, but others (like you) are convinced that I
>don't know anything about the subject and I'm saving face with a
>snobbish kiss-off. Fine, in the latter cases I simply return to the
>"ignore them" policy.

I think what most people want in a response is respect and honesty.
They'll sort out the wheat from the chaff themselves.

>>I don't think they are afraid of confronting new ideas so
>>much as they don't know the subject well enough to explain
>>it clearly. Its' easy to say, "You are ignorant, go read a
>>book, and you'll be smart like me." This protects your ego and
>>you don't have to expose your ignorance.
>This may be the way you see it, but as I said above, it ain't so. I
>think I've said all I can say here. You may have the last word if you
>like, but I'm officially returning to my aforementioned "policy".

Nice to have met you.
Have a nice day.