Living In A New Dark Age

I’ve been building a heat flow simulation model for the past few months. It’s been a return to a familiar world, because I used to work with heat flow simulation models 40 years ago, in my university days before I became a computer software engineer. I worked with lots of electronic equipment, some of which I’d designed myself. I came across some photos of it last night.

There’s a storage oscilloscope at the bottom. And above it are racks of DACs and ADCs and current pumps and op amps. This equipment either generated or recorded voltages and currents that flowed through an array of resistors that represented some building. And it was all controlled by a Motorola 6800 microprocessor which I’d originally got working using a hexadecimal keypad and paper tape reader and Philips cassette recorder. I spent much of my time with a soldering iron, burning my fingers.

The simulation model I’ve been building does much the same thing as the analogue computer that I’d helped assemble back then. The difference is that I’m doing it all digitally on a computer. And I’m not modelling a building, but a one metre square section extending 6,371 kilometres from the centre of the Earth to its surface. A couple of weeks back I added 8.5 kilometres of atmosphere on the top. And currently I’m adding extra-terrestrial solar radiation.

I didn’t work with atmospheres 40 years ago, and I don’t really understand them, and so I’ve borrowed a simple atmospheric model from the American Chemical Society. All the heat exchanges in the atmosphere are radiative, and I really only ever worked with conductive heat flow.

And with radiative heat flow you have to work with things like the Stefan-Boltzmann equation, or the Planck equation. And when you’ve got there you’ve arrived at quantum physics. And I don’t understand quantum physics.

In fact, I’m not sure that anyone understands quantum physics. And so I’ve begun re-reading Manjit Kumar’s Quantum, which is all about Max Planck and Albert Einstein and Niels Bohr and all those guys, and which I first read three or four years ago. Quantum physics started with Max Planck when, in “an act of desperation”, he invented the idea of energy coming in discrete packages or quanta rather than in a continuous flow. And Max Planck never really understood quite what he had done, and nobody else has ever understood it since.

I watched a video of Richard Feynman giving a lecture on quantum physics. He was going through the process that was needed to get the right answer to some problem. And it required that one number be multiplied by the square of the radius of something, and then have some other numbers added and subtracted and multiplied, and if you did all that you got the right answer. But nobody knew why this procedure worked.

There’s a pay-and-display ticket machine in one of the local car parks, and there’s a procedure for working it. You put in a few coins, and you press a button or two, and it whirs and spits out a ticket. Nobody has a clue how the machine works, but everyone knows how to make it work. And it’s the same with quantum physics. If you perform the right steps, in the right order, you get the right answer. It’s like knowing how to get from A to B by first turning right, and then taking the third left, and then climbing the steps in the far corner to the second floor. You have no three dimensional map, but you know how to get from A to B, and from B to C.

And to me that just says that these guys don’t really understand what they’re doing. Because they haven’t got a map. They haven’t got a picture of the world in which they’re working. They’re groping around in darkness. They’re all blind. They don’t understand what they’re doing, and nobody else does either, including me.

And since climate science is based on quantum physics, that means that climate scientists don’t know what they’re doing either. Is anyone at all surprised about that?

It’s as if a new dark age has descended on what was once the sunlit world of classical physics, and everyone is stumbling around in darkness, not really understanding what they’re doing. And the darkness is gradually extending to other areas of physics and science.

Quantum physics is highly statistical. It’s all statistical and probabilistic. And statistics is everywhere these days. Tobacco Control uses statistics. And Tobacco Control has no idea what it’s doing. The Tobacco Controllers are all stumbling around in darkness as well. And they’re doing a colossal amount of damage. Which is why they must be closed down. Tobacco Control must be destroyed.

And perhaps all our current problems originate with Max Planck and his idea of the quantum of energy. That seems to be where our modern dark age started, and from whence it has been slowly spreading like a black cloud for over a hundred years, permeating everything, including climate science and epidemiology. We now live in an uncharted universe, in a fog of numbers. We no longer really know anything at all, in any meaningful sense.

Charlie Chaplin once said to Albert Einstein: “They’re cheering me because they understand me. They’re cheering you because they don’t understand you.”

About Frank Davis

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10 Responses to Living In A New Dark Age

  1. RdM says:

    I might even have a a Motorola 6800 microprocessor around here somewhere…
    The device, chip, integrated circuit in a body with legs by itself, I mean…

    I wish you’d even start to look at

    Just begin with the preface, which you might do with any new book
    Scroll down and find it, or jump-start to it here

    You might even find yourself liking his sense of humour.

    Best, ~ RdM

    (Or, of course, as with also any new large book with lots of chapters – also if you like dip into it here or there or wherever takes your fancy …)

    But I think one should always pay an author sufficient respect to at least read his preface!

  2. EJ says:

    Our universe is complex and our brains prefer certainty. So people prefer easy solutions to keep uncertainty away. That is why modern physics is dead set on looking for theory of everything which probably doesn’t exist and modern medicine already found that humans cause all of their problems. Oh and now it seems scented candles and parfume are next big killers. egle

  3. Mark Jarratt, Canberra, Australia says:

    Fascinating. I shall send the link to my ‘digital native’ technology minded 19yr old son.

    Tobacco control must be destroyed; same as all hard coercive paternalist tax and ban prohibitionists. Lifestyle regulation is still foreign to the secular liberal tradition. 🚬

  4. Pingback: Don’t Tell Me What To Think | Frank Davis

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