Jun 26, 2011

Idiotic Blunder Behind Risked Planet

Posted by in categories: existential risks, particle physics

At issue is the likely production by CERN of miniature black holes that in a small fraction will get stuck inside earth to eat it inside out in a few years’ time.

The “scientific safety conference” recently demanded by a Cologne court is being shunned by CERN while the world’s media keep their mouth shut. What is the rationale behind this “interesting time”?

Answer: Official belief in miracles. The whole physics community is convinced that even though light takes an infinite time to reach the surface of a black hole or come up from it, particles could do either trip in finite outside time. Famous theories speaking of an “information paradox” and “cosmic censorship” were built around this assumption so that the whole scientific community lost sight of the underlying breach of logic.

While clearly a treat for any future historian of science, this irrational belief remains not without consequences: Every day and every minute, the planet is being consciously sacrificed on the altar of this superstition. CERN refuses to reply. No high-ranking scientist on the planet speaks up for it.

I therefore herewith ask the Nobel committee to either speak a word of authority or schedule the scientific safety conference at once.

Dear citizens of the planet: Please, forgive me that I insist on reason. The young people are my motivation.

For J.O.R.


Comments — comments are now closed.

  1. hnasel says:

    And this is of course no psychological argument, isn’t it?

    Nice try, instead of answering questions xou write new psycholgical texts.

  2. It is not psychology when I expose a blunder of the scientific community on which all our lives depend. The reasons are of course also of interest, and there are indeed several possible excuses that can be given. But this is only of secondary interest — is it not?

  3. Alexander Kruel says:

    Mr Rössler,

    I suggest that even if you are right you should reconsider the way in which you portray your concerns. Public relations are the cornerstone of existential risk mitigation.

    I am sorry, but currently you give the appearance of a lunatic. Many highly intelligent people like you make similar mistakes and end up being perceived as crackpots, even thought their ideas might be correct and very important.

    Please continue your efforts to increase the awareness of potential risks associated with physics experiments.

    All the best,

  4. What is your advice, Mr. Kruel?

  5. Alexander Kruel says:

    Frame your concerns as a prediction of a worst case scenario that needs to be taken seriously even given a low probability of its occurrence due to the scale of negative consequences associated with it. Further expand on the possibility that any consensus that has been reached within the physics community has to be reexamined by independent teams to maximize the accuracy of safety estimations.

    Portray yourself as a concerned albeit calm researcher who questions the mainstream opinion due to his strong commitment to our collective future.

    Try to interview some actual experts and ask them if we might at some point build particle colliders that might pose an actual risk. If they admit that possibility, ask them where they draw the line and then how certain they are about the safety of current particle colliders given that the future of humanity might be at stake.

    Don’t tell them they are irrational or deliberately ignore your insights.

    Here is a post that might interest you: http://lesswrong.com/lw/3be/confidence_levels_inside_and_outside_an_argument/

  6. Dear Alexander:
    The followng was written before you kindly answered. Can I, before going to turn to your second text, briefly say what I had prepared?
    It reads:

    Dear Mr. Kruel:

    Suppose what I am saying is true. That the whole (maximally intelligent) physics community has committed a conceptual blunder for decades, and is now on this basis risking the planet, while daily and hourly increasing the danger.

    I realize when saying so that this is maximally unlikely. Anybody who says such a thing autmatically acquires a significance no one else has seen before. No matter how unlikely it is POSSIBLE that I am right. If so, nothing on the planet is more important showing that I am not right.

    This is exactly what I am proposing. All the intermediary negotiating steps that you are missing in your second post I have tried out over more than 3 years in gentle (and sometimes panicky) acceleration.

    Only the Nobel committee has more clout than CERN. Would you personally support my humble request to them to at long last enable the falsification that so far eluded the planet?

    Thank you, Otto

  7. robomoon says:

    Regarding this blog article — incl. an explanation what the wording in its title might offer to suggest: one probably humiliating word about lower intelligence, just to raise awareness, is better than interruptions of an intelligent intervention against improperly dangerous experiments. Very unfortunately, the international legal system against improperly dangerous experiments has not been sufficiently established to upgrade the human right of being alive. Law codes bring the fear of legal violations, but what has been left must be psychology for the fear of death, just an important emotion among the last warning signals.

  8. Thank you, dear robomoon.

    Now I am waiting for the new advice from Alexander Kruel.

  9. Nice Guy says:

    Otto E. Rössler, i can only say i am happy that the comments are not nearly as criticle as previous articles posted. Looks like the responders are not all terrible people this time around.

  10. Hnasel, what is wrong with psychological argument? I don’t think Otto Rossler needs to be so touching about your complaint.

    Does Adlène Hicheur’s arrest have something to due with mathematical probability or psychology? Al Qaeda is enthusiastic about Hadron Collider research. And CERN scientist Hicheur has been in jail without charges for 17 months for trying to answer their questions to him. Some think there is something spiritual about little charges dancing together like in a chorus line and others that the commandment “thou shall have no other gods before me” means God particle research creating new Gods which is evil. Some think these “religious fanatics” help prove the research is safe as do those who spiritually worship at the site in Switzerland. Is this due to the math or the psychology? I have more to say but don’t want to repeat the comment I made as at this point the last comment at OSAMA BIN CERN where I also enclosed the Adlène Hicheur links, and declared that France must either release Hicheur or participate in a safety conference or in some way announce that al Qaeda’s interest is not the only reason that such research might not be safe, http://lifeboat.com/blog/2011/05/osama-bin-cern

  11. I never found the responders terrible but thank you for your kindness. Otto

  12. Dear Mr. Howell: I now read your second quoted article, “less wrong”, which is nice. It only happens not to be informed about the quotations to my work that Giddings and Mangano deliberately left out of their paper and which are still left out by CERN in every publication since.

    “A scientific institution that refuses scientific dialog is not a scientific institution.” Right?

    But if the reason is the whole scientific community’s belief in superstition (particles overtaking light), how could its largest fraction that ever existed in history, CERN, not behave in the way it does?

    So it was an important step to identify the underlying infection of the whole scientific community by irrationalism, or is it not?

    As you see, no one contradicts me.

    Would you contact the Nobel committee for me? Or do you know someone who could do it?

    All I wish is to be shown to be the idiot as which I presented myself by claiming that the whole scientific community has made an idiotic blunder for decades.

    For if this is true, everybody on the planet has a problem, right?

    I would love to be the lonely idiot rather than seeing much longer the lemmings follow CERN and a still inactive Nobel committee unable to do its duty. Poor Europe. Poor China, poor Africa, poor Latin America, poor India, poor Isreael.

    Everybody hopefully sees that this is infinitely improbable. But no one defuses the underlying blunder — that particles could overtake light escaping from a black hole or approaching it. This seemingly very minor item by bad luck happens to give CERN the subjective strength to go on daily and hourly with their beautiful — just not safety-proof — experiment.

    And imagine: 10.000 scientists alone at CERN underwriting the bill with their own blood and that of their families. The modern heros.

  13. robomoon says:

    We will kindly wait for a sufficiently positive response from the Nobel committee and also for Mr. Kruel’s new advice. Thank you very much.

  14. robomoon says:

    Sorry, I forgot to ask: have you already contacted the Nobel committee for us?

  15. riskalert says:

    “For J.O.R.”

    Who is J.O.R.?

  16. Otto E. Rossler says:

    Dear robomoon:
    I am sure you will be in their focus. At the moment though, it is not any one of us but the planet, right?

    Dear riskalert:
    It is the initials of a person who is close to my heart even though no longer among us.

    Forgive me the involuntary delay, I was abroad.

  17. robomoon says:

    Please try to put physicists like Grigory Vilkovisky as featured at http://press.princeton.edu/blog/2009/02/02/metaphysics-apocalypse-cern in the focus, this will keep you on track for an enforcement of the Security Conference.

  18. Robert Houston says:

    @ Robomoon:
    The article by Tony Rothman of Princeton that you cite concerning Russian physicist Vilkovisky is not a wise choice, for it contains cheap, ad hominem slurs about Prof. Rossler. The one to cite is the more recent paper by J. Larena and Rothman, “Quasi-evaporating black holes and cold dark matter,” (Astrophysics and Space Science 337:71–76, 2010). They support Dr. Vilkovisky in his finding “that black holes lose only ten percent of their mass to Hawking radiation before evaporation ceases” (Abs).
    See: http://arxiv.org/abs/0911.2368v3

  19. Thank you, Robert Houston.

  20. AnthonyL says:

    The Rothman paper did not make ad hominem negative remarks about Rossler, it criticized his work — as “crackpot” and “calculating nothing” and “nonsensical” and “proving nothing at all.” He actually said he was an “eminent chemist.”

    Let’s note that Rothman criticized the physics community even more damningly for its arrogance dismissal of any outsiders dealing with public concerns, its peddling of a false safety argument (Cosmic Ray 1), and its ignoring that Vilkovisky could be right and if he was (saying that mBHs would evaporate only half their mass) we would have to deal with the fact that Hawking forgot to account for the effect of black hole radiation on the spacetime in which it took place, and find new safety arguments beyond Hawking radiation guaranteeing they would go pop! before they did any damage.

    Rothman said that safety concerns will arise even more often in the future and we should deal with them by lining up a panel of physicists to examine them properly, instead of their current strategm of skipping the whole issue as tiresome and liable to put a spanner in the works of the LHC.

    Rossler thinks that it would only take a week to put a proper safety review committee together, so it wouldn’t interrupt the LHC very long. Rothman + Rossler = do it.

    Incidentally Vilkovisky has his own psychological problems, having become a serious recluse. All these guys are probably what the average hockey mother would call “autistic”.

  21. Otto E. Rossler says:

    Every scientist is autistic.

    Internal pecking between the critics is counterproductive.

    Every bit of potential evidence against any of the (false-proven) safety arguments is fine in its own right. But: the less cogent the result in question, or the less important the safety argument it puts into question is, the more the strategy of procrastination followed by CERN is being helped. Right? The most precious resource is the running-out time.

    Much more important, therefore: Did anyone hear from the Security Council as of yet? CERN is called up to respond to this no longer secret news.

  22. robomoon says:

    Does anyone know if the Russian Security Council could be helpful? See International organization participation at http://www.mongabay.com/history/russia/russia-the_security_c…ident.html listing CERN.