2113: Physics Suppression

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Physics Suppression
If physics had a mafia, I'm pretty sure the BICEP2 mess would have ended in bloodshed.
Title text: If physics had a mafia, I'm pretty sure the BICEP2 mess would have ended in bloodshed.


White Hat is mad at physicists in general and directs his fury at Megan, a physicist. He has a theory and blames physicists for suppressing it. He believes that no one takes it seriously because his theory would disrupt the standard model in physics. This is a common complaint in pseudoscience, and among amateurs who believe they've made an important discovery and aren't taken seriously. The claim that the scientific establishment sticks to particular orthodoxy and refuses to consider ideas that fall outside it.

Megan responds mockingly to the idea of a "mafia" that suppresses inconvenient science. She points out that, if such an organization existed, they'd "do something about the dark energy people". Dark energy is an unknown form of energy which is hypothesized to permeate all of space, tending to accelerate the expansion of the universe. Dark energy isn't proven to exist, it can't be detected directly, and its nature is unknown, but it's advanced as an explanation of observations which don't conform to accepted theories in physics.

Megan's point is that dark energy (and the data leading to the hypothesis) are exactly the kinds of things that a science mafia would suppress, if one existed. The data and the theory are highly inconvenient to the accepted physical models, and they compel scientists to acknowledge that there are things about the universe that we still don't understand. This is likely why Megan claims that she's "still mad" at them. And yet, rather than suppress the data or shun people who theorize about it, 2011 Nobel Prize in physics was awarded to a group of researchers for their work on the topic. The point is that scientists, as a group, are fascinated by unexplained results, and celebrate those who manage to develop new models and theories, even where that forces a re-examination of existing theories. The caveat is that those theories need to be supported by evidence and stand up to rigorous examination.

The likely explanation for why White Hat's theory is ignored by physicists is that he can't back it up with evidence, and may not even have a cogent model. He may interpret this rejection as "suppression", but radical new theories are never accepted without clear and convincing evidence. Expecting his theory to be embraced without proof suggests he doesn't understand how basic science works.

The title text mentions BICEP2 (Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization, 2nd generation) which was part of a series of experiments measuring the polarization of the cosmic microwave background. On 17 March 2014, it was announced, to much fanfare, that BICEP2 had detected signals (B-modes) caused by gravitational waves in the early universe (called primordial gravitational waves). A few years later, this announcement was retracted, as it was found that most, if not all, of the reported signal was actually due to interstellar dust within the Milky Way.[1]

The title text notes that if there had been a physics mafia, then those results would have ended in bloodshed due to the controversy they caused.


[White Hat, with his hands balled into fist and held up above him, is talking with Megan.]
White Hat: You physicists are suppressing my theory because it's inconvenient for your models!
Megan: Wait, we have a mafia that can suppress annoying results?
Megan: Why didn't they do something about the dark energy people?!
Megan: We gave them a Nobel prize but I'm still mad at them!

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That's how mafia works. 16:51, 18 February 2019 (UTC)

But White Hat didn't mention anything about a Mafia...? 14:31, 18 February 2019 (UTC)
No, but to suppress people publishing their results, a body like the mafia would be needed, is what Megan jokes about. And then takes an example (and one more in title text) about annoying results that did not get suppressed. Her example turned out to win a Nobel Prize, the title text was later shown to be an error. But a mafia might have stopped both sets of results to have not been published. Basically proving that you can not suppress such results whether relevant or not. If White Hat's model is not taken seriously it is probably because he has no data to back it up. Wild claims demands extraordinary well documentation. --Kynde (talk) 14:53, 18 February 2019 (UTC)
A "mafia" isn't the only candidate. "Inquisitions" have also worked well for suppression, but (AFAIK) have less of a history of intramural violence. I think the image of a cabal of cloaked physics monks torturing dark energy heretics into recantation would have been striking enough, but RMMV (Randall's Mileage May Vary). 17:12, 18 February 2019 (UTC)
if you need to spell out your initialism in full, you may not realize they're intended as shorthand.
Another fictional candidate may be "science by political committee" system — sending physicists that contest the "official" and "politically correct" theories and models to "corrective labour camps", where they would be forced to perform physical (sic!) work, until their untimely demise... Oh, wait, that actually happened! (See the fate of Nikolai Vavilov) -- 12:28, 19 February 2019 (UTC)
When did this site get like this? This may not be you specifically, but there’s been a lot more conspiracy theories as of late, and even some anti-semetism. I keep seeing “SOON THE TRUTH WILL BE REVEALED”. Knock it off please, you aren’t cool, just edgy, a vandal, and an annoyance. Also, to no ones surprise, the Russians and Nazis did bad things in WWII. Also, what the hell does politically correct physics death camps have to do with a Russian botanist who Stalin didn’t like? I’ll stay on topic if you do. Netherin5 (talk) 17:06, 19 February 2019 (UTC)
I've never seen anybody on this site so upset about completely-imagined content of the parent comment. What the fuck is "edgy" about posting a link to Wikipedia? In what way does speculation about in-universe organizations count as being a "vandal?" And in what universe did ever say "SOON THE TRUTH WILL BE REVEALED?" Are you hallucinating? Do you need to adjust your medication? 21:26, 19 February 2019 (UTC)
The page was vandalized twice with the whole of the text replaced with "SOON THE TRUTH WILL BE REVEALED" (see below, and view edit history). Another IP editor replied to the comment below and seemed to imply it was them making the edits, even though the addresses don't match. So, it seems plausible that multiple IP users are actually the same (the two mentioned below, and the one mentioned above), since the tone and content of their comments are pretty similar. I believe this is what is being referred to.Cgrimes85 (talk) 21:34, 19 February 2019 (UTC)
@Netehrin5 @Cgrimes85: I am the author of Feb 19 12:28 comment. First of all, it is my choice to either post "anonymously" or create an account, which is meaningless anyway as I could create many under any nick I choose. (IP address is somewhat random, blame today's ISPs, shortage of address space and complicated structure of today's Internet. In fact, 162.158.* belongs to Cloudflare which means the originator of the content could be virtually anybody. Do some research before drawing conclusions.) Please stop insinuating that a particular edit of discussion space is related to some other edit of page space when you don't and can't have any proof, and specifically that the texts and purposes of edits are obviously unrelated. But to the point: Randall is trying to posit that suppressing valid science is next to impossible today, but it does not mean it had not been tried in the past with mixed success and – sadly – tragic fates of the involved. I have just provided one quite well-known and relatively recent example, there are many more. The reason I've posted it (in somewhat sarcastic form) in the discussion space is that in my opinion it just did not deserve being included in the main text — that's what discussion space is for! -- 10:08, 20 February 2019 (UTC)
I apologize for lumping you in with the two IP editors (including the vandal) below, which I do still believe to be the same person for the reasons I mentioned above. I was more replying to the comment asking where "SOON THE TRUTH..." had come from, as I was guessing the editor hadn't seen the vandalism. Cgrimes85 (talk) 14:11, 20 February 2019 (UTC)

Dark energy isn't a direct consequence of the cosmological constant. The cosmological constant could potentially have been 0 or even negative. There's nothing that currently implies that it should be a positive number. That's exactly why it is annoying. If general relativity dictated it, people would just praise this as another result showing relativity is true. But since it doesn't, it needs an explanation. 21:16, 18 February 2019 (UTC)

Dark energy IS the conspiracy! Quantum Inertia is being suppressed by Physics Exchange! 08:41, 20 February 2019 (UTC)
TBH, It's not like the existence of "Dark Energy" is proven or anything. It's current function in the equations is "there's something generating gravity here that looks like there should be matter we can see, but we can't see it." It might just be a completely unknown physics thing that we just haven't accounted for in the models. While there might be some sort of matter that we truly can only detect through it's gravitational field, I'm not gonna be surprised if some day it's proven that the current dark matter theory is bullshit. (Note: Which does not in any way invalidate the Nobel Prize - there are measurements, and these show that there's stuff out there we don't know about. Therefore.... more research needed.) 16:12, 20 February 2019 (UTC)
Yeah, the it is more like conflicting than anything. In any case, unrelated. So I removed the statement. 10:33, 22 February 2019 (UTC)

While it could be true that White Hat is ignored because of the lack of supporting data, Albert Einstein was in a similar situation when coming up with his Theory of Relativity. Mad max (talk) 06:56, 19 February 2019 (UTC)

IP editor deleting all content[edit]

IP User is deleting the entire page for some reason. Cgrimes85 (talk) 18:20, 19 February 2019 (UTC)

That's because you are censoring me, so I'm showing you the same. Soon the truth will be revealed. 18:24, 19 February 2019 (UTC)
Please look up the definition of the word censor, conspiracy theory, science, and wiki.Netherin5 (talk) 18:34, 19 February 2019 (UTC)
That individual is obviously trying to suppress the explanation -- they must be with the Physics Mafia. However the powers that be here likely have the larger powers of Ban. -boB (talk) 21:56, 19 February 2019 (UTC)

https://xkcd.com/1357/ 02:14, 20 February 2019 (UTC)

Pet Conspiracy Theory - that individual is Randall, adding some meta lulz. 09:40, 20 February 2019 (UTC)
lol, if this all ends up converging into an xkcd comic that just reads "Soon the truth will be revealed", I may jizz my pants 14:20, 20 February 2019 (UTC)
Technical Note: please take into consideration that IP addresses published by the wiki engine for not-logged-in persons are not the addresses of particular editors' computers, but of Cloudflare servers, which act as proxies to protect this website from some forms of attack, not including editing vandalism. Therefore similarity of the addresses could not be construed as evidence that the same person is performing edits. We need to defend in the usual way, reversing edits. Hopefully there are fewer vandals than benevolent contributors. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)