dromedaryhump1 wrote:That you are admittedly both humourless, and obsessed ...
That is certainly not true.
I have not admitted to being either humorless or obsessed. I'm not either in any case.
Anyone who knows me personally knows I'm full of humor. Also, I've given talks to large audiences and made them laugh at some funny bits. It's a very enjoyable feeling to do this. Anybody who's done it knows what I'm talking about.
About being obsessed, call it what you like but I cerrtainly don't admit to it. Are we all here "obsessed" with atheism? Or are we just commited to making the world a better place?
What I think is that we as atheists are missing an opportunity by panning this idea of Atwill's. In the best case, dismissing it without fair consideration or merely leaving it to the so-called experts will be seen eventually as a cause of delay in making the world more sane, if it is eventually accepted. In the worst case civilization will fall on account of the irrationality of religion, and the failure of rational people to use all the available tools to combat it, where it might not have otherwise. Laugh if you like but this is what I believe.
Well I might get involved with chatting more but I'm very busy and most of my spare time goes into my physics project, which I hope will make me world famous in my lifetime, as one of the main discoverers of the cause of quantum behavior. Making scientific discoveries is rewarding in itself though and once you've felt the thrill all else pales in comparison. This year they gave the Nobel in physics to Nambu and another Japanese whose name escapes at the moment. Anyhow they asked that second guy how he felt about getting the big prize and he said, more or less, ho hum, it's nothing compared to actually making the discovery.
I would be happy to get the prize, though, although I don't expect I will even in the best case where I successfully finish my project, because I would like to have the influence that goes with it, and also it would translate into being able to do what I want to do all the time, rather than just part of the time. Short of the Nobel widespread acknowledgement should be adequate. I need just a little more progress though to convince physicists that what I believe is true.
I tell you this so you can ridicule me and my ideas rather than Atwill and his idea. It will bother me a lot less. Be advised though, the physicists are not ridiculing me. They are not generally agreeing with me yet, as a group, but they are letting me have my say and often saying kind words. But, my stuff is apparently too radical for any journal editors so far to get behind. Unless it's completely clear-cut and unassailable, which it certainly is not yet, I can see how publishing it is not good for the average journal editor (who may not even have tenure). Nobody has said it is wrong, though, and one editor has said outright that there is nothing incorrect in it.
For an amateur to get reviewed even by major journals is an achievement in itself, seems to me. Perhaps within a year though I will have a working quasi-classical model of positronium that reproduces the (spectrum) observations and so agrees with quantum theory, but does not require a quantum principle as an a priori assumption. Rather, quantum behavior will be seen to be a consequence of the intrinsic spin of elementary particles. I have already derived the Bohr model from this approach but the problem is that it is off by one step in the angular momentum quantum sequence. The Bohr model ground state has L=1 but clearly quantum theory is correct that the ground state L is zero. The Sommerfeld model however has been shown recently (by Bucher) to give the right answer, when properly interpreted. Where there is only one quantum rule in the Bohr model there are three in the Sommerfeld model. I will publish this winter, on at least the Cornell archive (arxive.org) where I have posting priveledges (which are not automatically available even to physics professors), a quasi-classical derivation of at least one of the three Sommerfeld quantum rules. I finished the derivation a few weeks ago. The one I have is that angular momentum always comes in multiples of h-bar. I have part of another, the space quantization one, that says only certain orientations of the orbit are allowed, already published on the Cornell archive. The third one is more abstract, the quantization of the radial action, which replaces the assumption of circularity of the Bohr model.
In the Bohr model there is an angular momentum quantization rule, same as the Sommerfeld model (which followed it) but in order to get quantization of the energy levels (and resulting discrete spectra) it takes a second constraint. This is because the energy of classical orbits, which in general for bound systems are ellipitical, depends only on the semimajor axis. So for a given amount of angular momentum there are many different possible orbital energies depending on both the semimajor axis and the eccentricity. The eccentricity needs to be constrained somehow and Bohr simply assumed circularity (e=0) because it worked. Sommerfeld removes this assumption and replaces it with formal quantization of the radial action. This allows many more possibilities and can be shown (only recently has it been done - look up Manfred Bucher on arxiv.org) to be in compete agreement with modern quantum theory. For Sommerfeld this is a postulate without any basis, other than to yield a target result, but my objective is to obtain it from the complex dynamics of classical electrodynamics with an ad hoc introduction of intrinsic spin. That is a simple statement of my project in its current form: to obtain all three Sommerfeld quantum rules from classical electrodynamics plus intrinisc spin involving Plank's constant. This is how the quantum behavior arises. (Actually I am not even the first to say this. David Hestenes said it unbeknownst to me until recently, in about 1975. He did not show how the spin can lead to quantization though. I have provided an explicit mechanism through an obscure relativistic effect known as Thomas precession.)
Well I guess I did that for fun, just to see what you all will make of it (or anyone who reads it anyhow which will certainly not be all.) But I wouldn't be doing it here and now but for that somebody (not me) posted that complete file of Caesar's Messiah for free on Scribd.com. I was planning to do it later, maybe next year after other things are done as I mention above. And it's not fun, as there are always so far in my experience some people who want to ridicule without fair consideration or offering substantive criticism. Substantive criticism does occur and that is not so bad. But people like you Hump and Richard Carrier I'm sorry to have to say I do find tiresome. If you don't think it's worth your time to look into because you think it's unlikely to be true, that's your perogative and I would respect that and would not fault you for saying so. But I don't think it's righteous to go on to make sweeping claims that it's crazy just because it doesn't meet your minimum standards for consideration.
Saying you think it is probably crazy is one thing but pronouncing it definitely crazy without a real justification and comparing it to every probably-crazy theory you can think of is another. Actually I would like to like you because I see a lot of good in what you are trying to do with your blog which I have looked at but this kind of behavior I don't find endearing, sorry to have to say.
Anyhow to wrap up, I urge again anybody who is the least bit interested in Caesar's Messiah should go up there before they get wise and take it down, and download it. If you just view it on site it sucks in their viewer and it will probably disappear before you finish. If you register you can download it in about 10 seconds because it's only a couple of megabytes as a PDF, and then it's very nice looking. It was certainly made from the same source code as the actual book. It's not a scan but the real thing. Download it and read it at your leisure or as you see fit.
One more thing I want to mention, I learned a new word last night reading something a Christian wrote on the Atheist Network DB: preterism. This Christian person was agreeing with the atheists that the Second Coming isn't going to happen, but for the reason that she believed it already has happened. She said there are a lot of people who believe this and that is what it's called. Here's the wikipedia page:
This is in line with what Atwill says but I hadn't seen it corroborated so neatly. Atwill says that 1000 years or so ago Josephus' Jewish War was often incorporated in the bible to illustrate how Jesus' prophesies had already come true. Nowadays of course it is mostly forgotten except maybe by bible scholars I guess. At least, I think, if people had prior exposure to the idea of preterism they would be much less likely to fall hook-line-and-sinker for the idea of a future Second Coming. Atwill's contention of course is that this is not some late addition to the story but a critical central element. I found it staggering almost, to learn that this kind of stuff was in the NT, given the degree to which modern Christianity goes out of its way to ignore it and offer up instead the Second Coming. You would think they'd be still bragging about how prescient their savior is. I think, the fact that they don't means somebody got paranoid that it was too easy to read the true story into that picture.
Sorry about the long post.