Richard T. Fowler

Offering Christian and Christ-centered commentary about climate- and energy-related issues.

Reply to Comment from Mike — A.D. 2012/02/07

{{UPDATE: Addition below in double squiggles. — RTF}}

My reply to portions of Mike’s comment posted on the previous post.

“That’s why it so puzzling,

that he only talks about kinematics and no dynamics.”

When I began participating in this conversation back in December at, the immediate topic at hand was computational fluid dynamics. Have you read that portion of the conversation?

Also, have you read Computational Blackbody Radiation?

Are you aware that it makes use of finite precision computation for its conclusions?

Also, Climate Thermodynamics does the same.

Also, Claes posted a little bit on dynamics in response to my unified field hypothesis.

All three of these works by Claes have in common their use of or reliance on, for their conclusions, the Euler equations for incompressible gas. This connection has fundamental cosmological implications.

If Claes has been quiet about dynamics during the discussion of SR, I’d imagine it’s because SR cannot deal effectively with either kinematics or dynamics.

You might as well ask why he doesn’t address how SR deals with hot dogs. If it is already proven that SR cannot deal effectively with anything, why should Claes have to list out the set of all known classes of things in the universe, and state the same reason for each one, as to why SR cannot be used to describe it. He said the reason once: because SR is known to be devoid of physical meaning and measurable physical effect. Why isn’t once enough?


“Or doesn’t talk about threshold energies.”


Try as I might, I have not yet been able to imagine how threshold energies can have anything to do with validating or invalidating relativity. Nonetheless, Claes has written about them before.


“Or doesn’t talk about Mandelstam variables.”


I just looked this up on Wikipedia. At first glance, it {{looks}} to me like pure smokescreen, i.e. assumptions that are at odds with those of SR.


“Or that he doesn’t seem to understand what proper time is.”


So what? Neither do you. You both flunked that question rather badly in your replies at Claes’ blog to my comment that I copied here:


“Or that he doesn’t seem to understand what the ideal clock hypothesis is.”


You’ll have to explain the relevance of that to me. I haven’t gone searching for info yet.


“Or that he doesn’t seem to understand the [basic] definition of a physical clock.”


He says he follows SI time. If you believe in GR and SR, then so must you, no?


“Or that he doesn’t seem to understand that the principle of relativity was originally formulated by Galileo hundreds of years ago.”


As I posted below, he has posted about this. You replied, “I meant the ‘principle of relativity’ – the outcome of a physical experiment is independent of relative constant motion.” This is nonresponsive.


“Or that he doesn’t seem to understand that the equivalence principle goes much deeper than just equating inertial and gravitational mass.”


From this comment, you don’t seem to understand that he has a problem with the equation of inertial and gravitational mass. That seems puzzling to me.


“Or that he doesn’t seem to understand that a time dilation really have been measured.”


Now, about that there is nothing puzzling at all. He clearly knows that such measurement is impossible, because such dilation does not exist. Therefore, what would be puzzling is if he thought it had been measured.


“Or that he doesn’t seem willing to discuss empirical measurements.”


Again, this is not puzzling when you consider that so-called “empirical measurements” of SR are known to be simple misinterpretations of some other phenomenon.


“Or,… should I go on?”


If you feel it is the right thing to do, you may.


“Look at his answers about what time is according to him in a Newtonian theory. The answer is completely vacuous and extremely unscientific. Either he have not thought this through, personally I see this as unlikely, or he understands what his true answer will render.”


You are right that his answer is completely vacuous and extremely unscientific. No human being is perfect. But I think it is now clear from the record that he knows that to give the true answer will require a serious consideration of my postulate that energy is not conserved — and that such consideration introduces certain other difficulties for him that he is unwilling or unable to cope with.


“This is a very strong statement from someone who probably doesn’t know what special relativity is.”


Professor J. L. Synge in 1960:

“[. . .] the general theory of relativity. The name is repellent. Relativity? I have never been able to understand what the word means in this connection. I used to think that this was my fault, some flaw of my intelligence, but it is now apparent that nobody ever understood it, probably not even Einstein himself.”

(See Comment #619 at )


“Richard, do you have any intentions to really try to understand what special relativity is?”


That is a strong statement from someone who clearly doesn’t understand what special relativity is.

Special relativity is what I said it is — no more and no less. I know this because its chief proponents are on record admitting that it is nothing more than an imaginary representation of a nonexistent “illusion”, and the facts that have already been submitted by you and Claes about it are consistent with such an assessment.

If you have additional information you would like to share about it here, you may do so. But for it to overcome the contradictions that have been pointed out, the new information will have to change the assumptions so that they do not contradict each other — that is, it will have to alter the model into something new that is not SR.


“If your major exposure to special relativity theory comes from what Claes has written, you should be informed that he has presented less then half of the theory which makes it look like an empty theory “without physical content” as he him self have put it. He has left out important axioms and useful formalism that is necessary to understand the basic theory.”


I’m still waiting for anything new and relevant from you. You have failed to resolved the problems that have been raised. You have resorted instead to ex-cathedra declarations that our supposed misinterpretations are the result of incomplete understanding.

And how could you resolve them, since the problems being pointed out are fundamental? There is nothing that could possibly be presented. SR is internally inconsistent. This fact explains why you have not yet been able to present something new that would (A) make sense and (B) deal at least partially with one or more of the problems without making any changes to the present model of SR.


“Unfortunately Claes seem to have started to use a rhetoric that may fool someone not familiar with basic physics theory.”


Whether or not Claes has done this, I do know that Einstein has in describing SR.


“Who knows, maybe I will work through Penrose’s book [. . . .]”


If you do, feel free let me know what you find there.


92 responses to “Reply to Comment from Mike — A.D. 2012/02/07

  1. Mike 2012/02/08 10:14 at 10:14

    I will try to sort out your original question about constant velocity first before doing anything else, I have a limited amount of time and think that there is the place to start.

    My aim is to clarify where this constant velocity “comes from” seen from a modern view.

    There are some basic assumptions we need to make when we formulate a theory about processes of motion in nature.

    First, we need a frame of reference so we can say where something is, and when it is there. The best realization of this is a system of spatial coordinated and the image of synchronized watches fixated evenly all over the system. A clock in this sense is anything that is a periodic process that can be measured and produce a unique number. It can be an idealized pendulum, mechanical clock or what ever.

    Our reference frame in this sense is very general so we need to limit our selves a bit.

    Let us focus on a frame in which a freely moving body (that is one that is not affected by a force) moves with constant velocity for all times. This means that using the clocks in our system; during a specific temporal period, the body moves the same distance without changing direction. There is a name given to such a frame of reference, it is called inertial. This is nothing other than Newtons first law of motion which postulates the existence of one inertial frame.

    If we have a frame of reference with only two non-interacting bodies in it. One has velocity zero, meaning is at rest in our frame, and we have another body moving with constant velocity v, then clearly there exists another inertial frame where the second body is at rest. This is a first crude version of the principle of relativity and is simply a corollary to the first law of motion. Another corollary is that there exists an infinite amount of such reference frames (all you need is the existence of one such frame to get the rest and that this original frame exists is postulated in the first law).

    How do we know that the first law is true? We simply set up experiments where we try to isolate a test body so that no forces affects it and observe how it moves. It can never be proved that the first law is true, it can only be shown with high accuracy that it is not broken to a higher degree within certain experimental limits. It is for instance impossible to completely isolate a body. Never the less it is an excellent working principle, so good in fact, that it got elevated to such a status that it’s been called a law of nature (a law of nature is something that is assumed to be valid everywhere for all times).

    So far, this is all classic Newtonian mechanics.

    A theory where everything moves with constant speeds for all times is not especially interesting so next it is natural to start thinking about theories on how bodies affect each other. This gives us the notion of something called force.

    In a Newtonian formulation force is something that acts instantaneously over an infinite distance of space. Take the gravitational force for instance, F ~ 1/r^2, both interacting bodies experience a change in the force at the instance r is changed. Since Newtons second law connects this force with a change in the original constant motion, we have a theory of how interaction manifests itself changing both speed and direction of the motion.

    It is now time to introduce a more modern view of force interaction. The new concept is that interactions need to be propagated from one mediator to the other. If one object changes so that the other is affected, if this new concept is to hold, there must be a time interval before the other body is affected. Dividing the distance between the two bodies before the change takes place with the time it takes for a signal to propagate, can be called a velocity of propagation of the interaction.

    Let us notice that there is not natural a priori to expect one or the other behavior of specific forces. This is a question for empirical measurements and also deeper theories on how force is mediated between bodies.

    But it is important to pause here and notice, and convince one self, that we can’t have it both ways. Either a specific force has a maximal velocity of propagation or it acts instantaneous over infinite distance. The instantaneous effect can’t possible be valid in some frames and invalid in others if we accept the notion of inertial frames.

    Is this clear so far?

  2. Mike 2012/02/08 12:28 at 12:28

    I want to make one clarification in what to call a law of nature.

    A law of nature is something that is assumed to be valid everywhere for all times, in its domain of applicability.

  3. Mike 2012/02/08 12:31 at 12:31

    In this sense, talking about domains of applicability, also Newtons laws can be considered as laws of nature although there are observations that they are violated.

  4. Richard T. Fowler 2012/02/08 12:36 at 12:36

    “Is this clear so far?”

    This is a relative question — the degree of clarity of your comment is related to what exact question you are trying to answer.

    You stated that your aim is:


    This question is not very precisely worded, but taking it as a starting point, it seems that by “this constant velocity” you are referring to the alleged constant velocity of light which you allege to be constant, and which I claim cannot be constant.

    First off, I don’t care about “modern” versus “nonmodern” views; that is too subjective for physics. So I think that in order for your comment to be ‘clear’ for the stated purpose, I have to first drop that last part off. If you insist on keeping it in, then my answer is: No, your comment is not clear from a scientific and philosophical perspective.

    If I am allowed to change the question (a question which, by the way, I never asked) by dropping off the last clause, then it becomes, effectively, “Where did the alleged constant velocity of light ‘comes from'”. In answer to this I have to say that your comment is not, strictly speaking, clear, thought parts of it may be useful for certain purposes.

    The question of where things come from is not, in my view, a scientific question. I say this because I had been under the impression that you wanted to discuss physics to the extent possible. Science tries to deal with nature and with the observed universe (which does include some observable supernatural phenomena). The question of where things come from is not covered by either of these two broad subjects.

    I am not trying to be difficult; I am just trying to keep the conversation as focused as possible. If you feel your comment is reasonably clear, please feel free to continue along the line of thought you have begun. If there is some additional relevance or “clarity” (for a certain purpose) that emerges later, perhaps I will be able to see that at the time.


    • Richard T. Fowler 2012/02/08 12:38 at 12:38

      Excuse me, I forgot that I cannot use greater-than and less-than like I wanted.

      The stated aim was:

      “”to clarify where this constant velocity “comes from” seen from a modern view.””

      • Richard T. Fowler 2012/02/08 12:42 at 12:42


        “thought parts of it” should be “though parts of it”.

        “”Where did the alleged constant velocity of light ‘comes from’”” should be “”Where did the alleged constant velocity of light ‘come from’”.


  5. Mike 2012/02/08 13:49 at 13:49

    “Come from” is to be interpreted as, “where did this theoretical idea come from”. My aim is to try and give the perspective of modern physical theory. The theory of a maximal propagation velocity of signals is a big concept and has its biggest motivation from quantum field theory (QFT, QED is a type of QFT). But QFT is not necessary to talk about such a velocity connected to a non-instant force.

    The modern connection between this maximal velocity of propagated signals and light is in the theory of QED. For Einstein the clue came from Maxwell’s theory of electromagnetism since there is a constant velocity in that theory. Worth noting is that you can measure this speed without doing any measuring of speed at all. This since this constant also is connected with the electromagnetic force interaction. This is worth repeating, the speed of light can be measured by doing experiments with electromagnetic forces, like the force exerted between two charges or the force that two wires exert upon each other when there is a current in them. There is no need to do a “time of flight” measurement of the light speed.

    Why I address this as the modern view is that this stands in relation to the theoretical knowledge and the experiments that are known from around the 1930:s up until today.

    I know that Claes seems overly enthusiastic in discussing what they thought and speculated about in the beginning of the last century. But that is at best a distorted view of this knowledge, mainly because at that time the newly discovered high energetic beams was not examined and understood. A lot of new phenomena were discovered and it was far from clear what a reasonable theory behind these phenomena should look like.
    I think that this is a very strange starting position since so much more is understood today.

    The question about if you find this clear is about if you understand the logical ground behind the idea. Not its relation to a reality, the correlation with real phenomena are a later issue.

    Unfortunately there is a really tough task to try and fully describe the potency in this kinds of ideas without theories that are very mathematical in nature, that is Hamiltonian and Lagrangian mechanics.

    Hope this makes my intentions clearer.

    • Richard T. Fowler 2012/02/08 14:18 at 14:18

      Ah, very well then. That helps clear some things up regarding your meaning with your previous comment.

      In that context, I can tell you that I do understand reasonably well the logical ground you are referring to, with the notable exception that you seem to contradict yourself when you refer to a scientific “law” as being something that “is assumed to be valid everywhere for all times”, then follow that up by stating that Newton’s “laws” can be considered laws “although there are observations that they are violated.” I cannot consider something that has been observed to be violated to be valid. That would be obscene. If you want to do so, that is your business, and you are generally free to do so in your postings here. But I cannot join in this with you.

      But I think that that is a minor point, and I don’t see why disagreement about that has to bar your continuing to explain your ideas. I encourage you to continue, and I encourage you to use at least some mathematics as well, if you feel it is necessary. Even if you have to invent your own notation for purposes of clarity, I think you should do so. But it really doesn’t matter whether I can follow it or not, because you do have a wider audience. You should assume that you are not just writing to me. Who knows who will read these pages? But they cannot read text that is not written.


      • Richard T. Fowler 2012/02/08 14:26 at 14:26

        Oh, one other problem I do have with the logical ground of your last comment is here:

        ” Worth noting is that you can measure this speed without doing any measuring of speed at all. This since this constant also is connected with the electromagnetic force interaction. This is worth repeating, the speed of light can be measured by doing experiments with electromagnetic forces, like the force exerted between two charges or the force that two wires exert upon each other when there is a current in them. There is no need to do a “time of flight” measurement of the light speed.”

        This I do not understand at all. Actually, it really seems like nonsense. See my comment from two posts ago. You are contradicting that comment with these words of yours I have quoted. But you are not explaining why it is scientifically acceptable for you to do so. From my point of view, there is really no reason why it can be.


        • Richard T. Fowler 2012/02/08 14:28 at 14:28

          Sorry, I meant my comment from one post ago, the commet that landed in moderation briefly.


        • Mike 2012/02/08 15:29 at 15:29

          This speed that is mentioned is a constant parameter that comes up in the description of electromagnetism. It is actually the composition of two other constants, the permeability mu_0 and the permittivity epsilon_0 in vacuum that appears in Maxwell’s equations. When you solve these equations in a vacuum you first arrive at a wave equation where the wave speed is precisely 1/(epsilon_0 * mu_0)^2. It was not at all clear from the beginning that these electromagnetic wave solutions that moved through a vacuum with a constant speed (that is from the theory) was light, but it became more clear later on.

          I do understand if this seems confusing when one have not worked and studied the theory.

          The important thing to remember from this example is that this “speed of light” is more than just a speed. It appears in many different type of equations when electromagnetism is involved. And all these equations does not have to do with spatial propagation of a electromagnetic wave (or light, it is just two different names for the same phenomenon). Hence it can also be measured in more ways than a time of flight measure, that is clocking an object over a distance and calculating its speed ( distance over time).

          On alternative for instance is to measure the resonance frequency of a standing electromagnetic wave in a small cavity.

          Well, the final point is that this constant that arises in the electromagnetic theory, interestingly enough seem to be closely related to the actual propagation of electromagnetic waves in vacuum (well in other media to but then there are other constants involved).

  6. Mike 2012/02/08 15:31 at 15:31

    One “misprint”

    1/(epsilon_0 * mu_0)^2 => 1/(epsilon_0 * mu_0)^(1/2)

  7. Mike 2012/02/08 15:53 at 15:53

    “In that context, I can tell you that I do understand reasonably well the logical ground you are referring to, with the notable exception that you seem to contradict yourself when you refer to a scientific “law” as being something that “is assumed to be valid everywhere for all times”, then follow that up by stating that Newton’s “laws” can be considered laws “although there are observations that they are violated.” I cannot consider something that has been observed to be violated to be valid. That would be obscene. If you want to do so, that is your business, and you are generally free to do so in your postings here. But I cannot join in this with you.”

    I should probably make a remark about this to, because it is integrally connected with what “we” actually do in physics.

    It is extremely important that one understands the concept of domain of applicability.

    Say that you want to send a probe to the moon for instance. Then the calculations you need to do to get the right orbit and so on is fully sufficient using Newtonian mechanics. Your calculation will get the probe to the moon. The calculated orbit will be a bit off, but this error is so miniscule that it can be disregarded. We say that the Newtonian theory is approximately correct in this domain of applicability. It gets the job done.

    But say that you want to analyse the flight paths of particles colliding in a modern accelerator. Then the Newtonian theory is not nearly correct at all. It is no longer approximately correct.

    One main part of physics is about proposing laws of nature that can be used for different applications in the relevant domain of applicability. The anywhere and for all times is not the important thing here, because physicists are prepared to formulate new more correct laws if the older ones fail in some sense. But the older ones may still be important since they often are useful in practical applications. It is for instance much easier to do calculations in classical Newtonian theory (or classical Lagrangian theory, they are equivalent and produces the same laws of motion) then special relativity, but in principal you can do all these calculations in special relativity and you would then get a lot of small correction terms at low velocities but the main result would look much like the one you get from the older theories.

    I don’t know if this point really have been given the proper attention before. But classical Newtonian mechanics is fully contained in special relativity as the limit where the speed of light goes to infinity, which is exactly like saying that forces starts to act with immediate action.

    Hope this makes this clearer.

    • Richard T. Fowler 2012/02/08 16:23 at 16:23

      I think you’ll have to give me a little time to ponder all of that Mike, because I’m still back looking at Wikipedia trying to picture what the idea of a volt-second per amp-meter could possibly represent in reality. And so far, I am not having much success with that effort.


      • Mike 2012/02/08 16:49 at 16:49

        I have full respect for that. It may by all means seem a little bit abstract but isn’t that strange when you get used to the units. Magnetic fields and inductance is also hard to grasp when not using mathematics.

        Never the less, I do hope that you see that there may be a whole lot of deeper thought in all this than Clase seem to give it credit for. There are a lot of very smart persons that has spent a lot of time passionately pondering over this sort of things.

      • Mike 2012/02/08 17:07 at 17:07

        Sorry, I’m getting tired here.

        To fully appreciate the constants, and what Vs/Am means I guess you need to work deeper with Maxwell’s equations.

        • Richard T. Fowler 2012/02/08 17:29 at 17:29

          Oh, I didn’t mean that you should stay up waiting for me!

          I will work with them, believe me. After all this, I think I have to try.

          But I am still confident that my comments on energy and cosmology will bear out further scrutiny.

          While I am appreciative of your efforts, I still, with respect, see blind spots in your reasoning.

          You posted a comment on philosophy at Claes’ that is, unfortunately, true. But that doesn’t mean mathematics gets to do whatever it wants to.

          Will post some more in the next few days.


  8. Mike 2012/02/08 16:28 at 16:28

    I have also been thinking about how to present the Hamiltonian/Lagrangian mechanical (also known as analytical mechanics, description but think that it better rest for now. It may very well end up in the size a small book. I just don’t have the time.

  9. Mike 2012/02/10 03:52 at 03:52

    My wife gave birth to a little baby girl last night, so I’m quite swamped here for a while.

    None the less I saw this little video on youtube before our (me and my wife’s) big event started that I think is very illustrative on how space and time is thought of in physics. Hope you find it useful.

    • Richard T. Fowler 2012/02/10 07:48 at 07:48

      Wow, Mike! That is superb! Please give my best to your wife. My wife and I extend our congratulations to both of you. May the Lord bless and protect this child and her parents as they walk the path that has been placed before them this day.

      How I am blessed to be a recipient and a carrier of this news.

      Thank you as well for the video. I have to take time later today to view it, because I will be away from my computer.


  10. Mike 2012/02/17 04:34 at 04:34

    Thank you for your blessings! It’s really something incredible that we experienced here. We are tired but happy here.

    Have you had any time to look into the video?

  11. Mike 2012/02/27 03:28 at 03:28

    Hi, hope everything is ok with you. Been some time since you wrote here.

    I’m a bit curious if the things discussed here has sunk in yet? Any comments?

    • Richard T. Fowler 2012/02/27 05:11 at 05:11

      Hey Mike! I apologize, I did not see your comment from the 17th.

      I am glad to hear that all is apparently well with your family.

      I have been very busy myself the last few days. With respect to blogging, I have been very preoccupied with with the Gleick affair over at WUWT, and I have been wrapped up with Claes’ climate debate at . Spencer has recently admitted that Claes’ theories of heat may be correct, i.e. he cannot disprove them. I thought I had him pegged for being a pretty fair man; it looks like I may have been right.

      The video I have not seen yet since I have dial-up and it very difficult these days because Youtube changd their system about a year ago to make it almost impossible for dial-up users to view long videos, because you cannot easily go back and repeat things if you miss them. (It often eliminates your cache and makes you begin downloading again. Can you believe how mean that is!? It’s still on your hard drive, but they delete your pointer to it! Simply as punishment to force people on broadband.)

      I see now that this one is only about a minute so I have loaded it up and will listen and comment shortly.

      As far as Maxwell’s equations which you requested me to work through as a prerequisite to “understanding” SR, I have not done that yet. I have read a little about them, but since I cannot see how this could possibly be relevant to the points I originally raised, I have not been strongly motivated. (And the Gleick thing had distracted me from that as well.)

      I’m going to do a post today or tomorrow on thermodynamics. But I will also keep readers apprised of any developments in my understanding of relativity theory. While Claes seems convinced that his theory of relativity is somehow integral to his other work, I am not so confident about that. But since the matter has come up on my blog, I will not just let it drop. I may get busy with other things, but if I have the time, I will update readers on any developments in my understanding.

      I would also note that there are quite a few other issues besides Maxwellian physics that you have left open on this page. So if you have any inclination, you are also free to discuss them further, and I may jump in.

      If your thoughts are book-size, perhaps you should consider starting your own blog! I think that would be great! You could link to your first post from this page. That way, you would control the information better. You are a good writer. Give it some thought.

      Well, I’ve been loading this video for about five minutes now, and still nothing. Not sure why; it doesn’t normally take that long. Oh well … sign of the times.


  12. Mike 2012/02/27 06:07 at 06:07

    Yes, I’ve seen the discussion on Spencer’s blog.

    I do have some thoughts about that discussion. Mainly I’m concerned that it is quite non-constructive. There seems to be big confusion about nomenclature, mostly about what heat is in a thermodynamic sense, and not only among the laymen participating. So in effect, people are not discussing the same thing.

    For instance I’ve seen Claes using the term heat in a way that is not applicable with thermal light (probably since thermal light sometimes is called heat rays, radiative heat, heat radiation and similar) rendering a misuse of Clausius statement of the 2nd law. This is a big issue I would say, because he uses this to justify fundamental properties of his theory of radiation.

  13. Mike 2012/02/27 09:50 at 09:50

    Yes, a fundamental argument of his is that light could only transmit energy one way from a hot to a cold body.

    Maybe you seen the argument that there could not be, as he calls it a two-way transfer, since he claims that there is heat transmitted from a colder to a warmer body and this is prohibited by Clausius statement of the 2nd law.

    This is misuse of nomenclature.

    Heat, as it is used in physics, is a quantity that exists only on the surface between two systems and is one of two ways that a systems inner energy could be altered. That is increase or decrease of the inner energy. Heat is driven by a temperature gradient from hot to cold.

    The other way to increase or decrease a systems inner energy is by doing work on the system (its inner energy increases) or that the system does work (its inner energy decreases).

    When two system interacts over a vacuum they can only exchange energy by thermal radiation. But they are not doing this by heat, instead one system does work by electromagnetic interaction (interaction by force) that produces displacements in the other system and the other way around. This type of energy transfer is perfectly legit from the 2nd law.

    Of course is there nothing special with a vacuum so the same apply for systems that radiate through matter, the difference is that other heat transfer modes also applies.

    So, his argument does not apply.

    To Claes defense, thermodynamics can be quite subtle and abstruse. Also, versions of this argument are wide spread in this context so it is a common misunderstanding.

  14. Richard T. Fowler 2012/02/27 10:03 at 10:03

    You state,

    “When two system interacts over a vacuum they can only exchange energy by thermal radiation. But they are not doing this by heat, instead one system does work by electromagnetic interaction (interaction by force) that produces displacements in the other system and the other way around.”

    In your opinion, what is heat flux? The word “flux” means “flow” in Latin. Why is it scientifically unacceptable to refer to “heat flux” as a transfer of heat?


  15. Mike 2012/02/27 11:21 at 11:21

    Formally a flux in this context is the rate [1/s] at which a scalar quantity (as energy for instance) is transported through a certain area [1/m^2]. (Be careful, there are other contexts where flux has a different meaning)

    A heat flux is therefore the rate that energy is transported through a certain area [J/s*m^2 = W/m^2] by the means of a temperature difference.

    But there is reason to be careful. In engineering applications, specifically in the field of heat and mass transfer, heat has not precisely the same meaning as that which is used in thermodynamics (If you are interested to know I can inform you that I do heat transfer simulations myself, I’m working on a convection problem at the moment). This can also be an explanation to the big confusion in discussions I guess.

    Do take a look at, and especially consider this that is stated there

    In engineering, thermal radiation is considered one of the fundamental methods of heat transfer, although a physicist would likely consider energy transfer through thermal radiation a case of one system performing work on another via electromagnetic radiation, and say that heat is a transfer of energy that does no work. The difference is strictly one of nomenclature.

  16. Mike 2012/02/27 11:28 at 11:28

    Oh, to clarify about the “hy is it scientifically unacceptable to refer to “heat flux” as a transfer of heat?”

    It’s not unacceptable to refer to a transfer of heat, if one knows what one is doing.

    As a physicist I can feel a little bit of unease of using it in that sense. As an engineer I more or less shrug my shoulders since it doesn’t really matter in an engineering application. (I am an engineering physicist,

    In your opinion is there something unclear with this, or do you think that you understand my points?

    • Richard T. Fowler 2012/02/27 11:30 at 11:30

      Yes, very clear! Thank you for your clarification.


      • Mike 2012/02/27 11:41 at 11:41

        That’s nice to hear.

        It’s very unfortunate that there is different meanings in usage at the moment. There is probably historical reasons behind this since it was unclear what thermal energy was during the initial foundation of these sciences. In many cases, the difference isn’t important.

  17. Mike 2012/02/27 11:48 at 11:48

    Haha, the different terms are so strongly rooted that I “muddle” it up myself.

    When I earlier wrote

    “Of course is there nothing special with a vacuum so the same apply for systems that radiate through matter, the difference is that other heat transfer modes also applies.”

    I mix the different uses. Not important for me, since I know what I mean, but it isn’t pretty to be honest and could be confusing in the wrong place.

  18. Mike 2012/02/27 15:19 at 15:19

    Here you have one reference to where Claes has made the the statement about the 2nd law

  19. Mike 2012/02/27 18:46 at 18:46

    Ok, let us first look at his statement.

    “Two radiating bodies communicate by electromagnetics waves which allow heat transfer from warm to cold, but not the other way because that would be an unstable process violating the 2nd law.” (my emphasis)

    Here he claims that there is heat transfer from a cold body to a hot body. But, if you fully understood what I wrote earlier, you see that it isn’t really a heat transfer in the physical sense, the cold body does work on the hot body by the use of electromagnetic interaction. This is not in violation of the 2nd law.

    My guess is that Claes wants to invoke the Clausius statement of the 2nd law (

    “No process is possible whose sole result is the transfer of heat from a body of lower temperature to a body of higher temperature.” (my emphasis)

    and I hope you see that this law isn’t broken since no heat is transferred. This is a situation where the precise use of the word heat is very important.

    There is more to say about the situation, but I would like to think about the best way to say it.

    Maybe this also is a good place to ask if there is anything unclear with what I wrote here?

    • Richard T. Fowler 2012/02/27 19:45 at 19:45

      Well, I thought that the different expressions of the “second law” were shown to be functionally equivalent.

      Also Claes has restated that “law” in his own way, because he does not believe in entropy.

      I do not see that no version of the “law” is broken in the scenario you describe.

      I also do not see that no heat is transferred. If I understood correctly, you suggested that the difference between heat transfer and radiative transfer is just a matter of nomenclature, i.e. no physical difference.

      How does heat energy get from one particle to another particle? It does so by radiation, and by conduction, which in my view, must just be a modified form of radiation. If these are the only ways and they seem to be functionally very similar, then why would we not say that they both represent forms of heat transfer?

      I view these issues from the perspective of an accountant. When I consider a physical interaction, I am looking for where a sample of energy:

      * has been in the past;
      * is now; and
      * ends up in the future

      with respect to a certain frame of reference in space and a certain set of initial conditions and assumptions.

      Therefore, if a sample of heat energy leaves a particle and travels through a vacuum, and then contacts another particle and is absorbed, I see all this as just being steps in the process of moving the heat from point A to point B. I cannot see why it is not legitimate to view the situation that way.

      I also don’t see how one could view heat transfer or heat flux in any other way.

      I have read statements suggesting that this was the mainstream view until about 50 years ago, when the new view was introduced with little to no justification being advanced. Unfortunately, I am not sure whether I saved these statements, and if I did, where I have them saved. But if it’s true, it sure would explain a lot about how climate science and atmospheric physics came to be so messed up.


      • Mike 2012/02/27 20:01 at 20:01

        We seem to have double posted.

        Ok, the most important thing, you could never move heat from a point A to a point B. Heat is not an substance, neither is it energy. Heat is the amount of energy being transmitted and only exists at locally at the boundary of a system.

        By definition, heat is the amount of energy that is “moved” over the system boundary as a result of a difference in temperature on both sides of the boundary.

        • Mike 2012/02/27 20:24 at 20:24

          Maybe this clarifies things.

          If energy is moved, by a temperature difference, from one system to another, we call this amount of energy heat.

          The energy is not heat when “residing” in the original system. The energy is not heat after it has been moved. It is only meaningful to call the energy heat when it crosses the border.

          After it has crossed it either becomes internal energy or is further transmitted as another type of energy which could be heat again or some other kind of energy.

          Does this clarify?

      • Mike 2012/02/27 20:17 at 20:17

        It’s possible that I messed up the meaning of nomenclature in English (my native language is Swedish).

        The important thing is that there is a physical difference in heat transfer by conduction or convection and radiation. In most practical cases this is not important (the net flow is only important). But in this particular situation we see that it his extremely important.

        The key is to realize that there is no heat in the radiation case, it is purely work.

        Heat transfer is still prohibited from colder to warmer and this is exactly why conduction moves energy from hot to cold.

    • Mike 2012/02/27 19:48 at 19:48

      If we start at what Claes wrote

      “The term radiation is used with two meanings, as means of communication and as transfer of heat energy, and makes the discussion so difficult.” ( )

      I think it is much better to just think of radiation as transport of energy and just drop the use of heat here, the term has no practical use and only leads to confusion since it is used in different ways by different persons. We can safely drop it because it is superfluous.

      Further, this transport of radiation energy, or better put this electromagnetic wave (or stream of photons, it makes no difference in this situation) is in itself a form of communication, or transmission of information. It is a system “telling” another system how its internal charges are moving, and this “message” is sent with electromagnetic waves (or stream of photons if one prefers) that delivers this “message” as a Lorentz force ( that moves the charges in recipient system.

      With this I want to say that there is no difference in radiation (electromagnetic waves) as means of communication and as means of energy transmitter, its the same thing.

      So the question is, what happens with the energy that is transmitted from one body to another by electromagnetic waves? When does the energy end up as an increase in the internal energy of the recipient matter and when does the matter scatter the energy?

      In a way this is the central point of what Claes wants to model.

      But this raises a question, has this not been done earlier? Yes it has.

    • Richard T. Fowler 2012/02/27 20:04 at 20:04

      Hmm. I think we cross-posted. I’ll wait for you to continue.

      One clarification to my last comment: when I said “this” was the mainstream view, by “this” I meant the idea that colder-to-warmer heat transfer was prohibited by the “second law”.


  20. Richard T. Fowler 2012/02/27 20:19 at 20:19

    Reply to your #65.

    I can move money from account 1 to account 3 by passing money-sample A from account 1 to account 2, and money-sample B from account 2 to account three. Money has been moved from account 1 to account 3, even though no specific money that was ever in account 1 during the study period ended up in account 3 or passed through account 3. This is called the fungibility of money. Due to fungibility, these two posts can be seen together as two steps of a single process. The single process can be called a “money transfer”. Due to the possibility of this type of “money transfer”, due to the fact that it is possible, we can say that money has been moved from account 1 to account 3. But indirectly rather than directly.

    An indirect transfer is still a transfer.

    Now when you write that “heat is the amount of energy that is “moved” [. . .]”, you’ve totally lost me. Heat is a form of energy, specifically the energy that come from particle vibration. If this energy can be transferred from one particle to another, then we can apparently agree that that is called “heat transfer” or “heat flux”.

    If this energy can not be transferred from one particle to another, then it would seem that no radiation or conduction is possible, and that you are living in a very different universe from me.

    • Mike 2012/02/27 21:08 at 21:08

      (Please note that I posted a reply to my own comment above)

      Heat is a very specific way to move energy in or out from a system. Very specific means that there is not the only way that energy can be transferred into a system. The other possibility is by work, that is that a force produces a displacement in the system. But transition by heat is special in another way to as can be seen in Clausius statement of the 2nd law.

      This type of energy transmission is also special since there is a limitation on how efficient this energy transmission can be used. This is why entropy is a very useful quantity because it helps us quantify this efficiency in a convenient way.

      There is never any stored heat energy (see my reply to my own post). Heat is not kinetic energy (like vibrations). This kinetic energy is called sensible internal energy if one wish to use a modern term for it (I think it has been called heat energy in the far past, and it renders a lot of confusion as you can see).

      I am not at all found of using metaphors in physics since they often are quite limiting (this is one huge obstacle in reading Claes texts, all the metaphors are only in the way of understanding). Your accounting example shows in a way what we call the 1st law of thermodynamics (energy never vanishes) but fails to describe that transitions can happen for different reasons.

  21. Richard T. Fowler 2012/02/27 21:39 at 21:39

    Well, as is probably apparent, this is getting a little over my head. But I am very glad you offered all this information.

    I will be interested to see if Claes has any reply to any of it.

    I will try to post on this in the next day.

    Regarding your linguistic error, that is totally understandable. Nomenclature means “what we call certain types of things”, and so I consider it to be almost synonymous with “semantics”. If your native language is Swedish, you do an exceptional job of concealing that fact. I had you pegged for being most likely of British origin, but I wasn’t sure because there were just a few very minor “glitches” :) over time that seemed like possibly non-anglophone in origin. Your English is very impressive, and Claes’ English is very good, as well. I am somewhat conversant in French, but wouldn’t want to blog in it unless I had a really, really good reason! :)

    I’m going to take some time right now to ponder all of the above and do some reading about it. Thanks again for stopping by.


  22. Mike 2012/02/27 22:48 at 22:48

    Thank you! I’m very glad to hear that at least my English is understandable :)

    I do understand that this can be somewhat confusing. It took me a long time to understand these more subtle points after first been introduced to the theory. But I wouldn’t go so far as calling this an especially hard problem, it’s only subtle. It’s one of those things that suddenly hit you when out walking or sitting on the buss or something not putting energy into understanding, if you understand what I mean. After some maturation insight strikes.

    I do hope you can see past my pedagogical deficiencies concerning these subjects.


    Claes has been presented with these arguments on a Swedish blog. He disregarded them as irrelevant without further motivation and expressed a will to not further discuss this. Unfortunately I must say.

    But his work isn’t unique. There are subfields within what is called condensed matter theory that examines models how light interact with solids and liquids and the subject is also closely connected with optics and science of materials.


    I see that I must apologize to, my mind slipped earlier. I called kinetic energy, sensible internal energy, what I meant was thermal energy. So “sensible internal energy” -> “thermal energy”. There truly is little of the equivalent of a jungle with all these different terms :)

    Realizing this I do like to take one last stab at explaining heat :) I just saw that it is quite nicely described on the Wikipedia page concerning thermal energy

    Thermal energy is distinct from heat. In the strict use in physics, heat is a characteristic only of a process, i.e., it is absorbed or produced as an energy exchange, but it is not a static property of matter. Matter does not contain heat, but thermal energy. Heat is thermal energy in the process of transfer or conversion across a boundary of one region of matter to another.

    Also the subsection called “Distinction of thermal energy and heat”
    is very useful (and maybe you should not focus to hard to understand things like equilibrium states and phase transitions and statistical behavior. It’s not that important for this matter)

    In engineering and technology, and particularly in fields that deal with civil energy use and conservation in building construction, heating systems, and power generation, heat and thermal energy are often indiscriminately used interchangeably.
    In thermodynamics, heat must always be defined as energy in exchange between two systems, or a single system and its surroundings.[5] According to the zeroth law of thermodynamics, heat is exchanged between thermodynamic systems in thermal contact only if their temperatures are different. For the purpose of distinction, a system is defined to be enclosed by a well-characterized boundary. If heat traverses the boundary in direction into the system, the internal energy change is considered to be a positive quantity, while exiting the system, it is negative. Heat is never a property of the system, nor is it contained within the boundary of the system.
    In contrast to heat, thermal energy exists on both sides of a boundary. It is the statistical mean of the microscopic fluctuations of the kinetic energy of the systems’ particles, and it is the source and the effect of the transfer of heat across a system boundary. Statistically, thermal energy is always exchanged between systems, even when the temperatures on both sides is the same, i.e. the systems are in thermal equilibrium. However, at equilibrium, the net exchange of thermal energy is zero, and therefore there is no heat.
    Thermal energy may be increased in a system by other means than heat, for example when mechanical or electrical work is performed on the system. No qualitative difference exists between the thermal energy added by other means. There is also no need in classical thermodynamics to characterize the thermal energy in terms of atomic or molecular behavior. A change in thermal energy induced in a system is the product of the change in entropy and the temperature of the system.
    Heat exchanged with a system may cause changes other than a change in thermal energy. For example, it may cause phase transitions, such as melting or evaporation, which are changes in the configuration of a material. Since such an energy exchange is not observable by a change in temperature, it is called a latent heat and represents a change in the potential energy of the system.
    Rather than being itself the thermal energy involved in a transfer, heat is sometimes also understood as the process of transfer, i.e., it functions as a verb.

    • Richard T. Fowler 2012/02/28 07:13 at 07:13

      “Heat exchanged with a system may cause changes other than a change in thermal energy. ”

      You see that? This is what I don’t understand. You say that “heat” is today only a process, but in this sentence, the term is clearly being used to describe an object.

      I can live with either one, but if the physicists are sometimes using it the way I do, while insisting that that is not consistent with the rules that they have set up to try to describe the universe, it suggests to me that they don’t really understand what they’re trying to describe. It seems to be a very unfortunate state of affairs.


      • Mike 2012/02/28 07:48 at 07:48

        That’s just sloppy use of the word. Read it as energy transferred to the system by a heating process. Does that help?

        Another thing that might help.

        If you know what physical work is, ask yourself the question, where does this physical work exist?

        • Richard T. Fowler 2012/02/28 08:13 at 08:13

          “Does that help?”

          It does seem to make the sentence more consistent with your description of heat.

          I understand work as the product of a force times the distance through which it acts. So I suppose I would say that wherever acceleration of an object is occuring, that is where the work to accelerate it exists.

          • Mike 2012/02/28 08:32 at 08:32

            Yes, and in that process energy is transmitted from the body that exerts the force to the recipient body. Work has the unit of energy [J]. So the total work is just the energy transmitted from body to body. The total work does not exist in the first body before the transmission, and it does not exist in the second body after transmission. It is just the total amount of transmitted energy.

            Heat acts in the same way, the difference is that there is no force driving the energy transmission, it is a difference in temperature that does that. Heat and work are the same in that sense.

            • Richard T. Fowler 2012/03/01 00:33 at 00:33

              I’m still thinking about this, but thank you for offering it. I now understand the need to distinguish between heat and thermal energy. But I will continue to ponder the comment, because I sense that there is more to be gleaned from it than I have yet gleaned.

    • Richard T. Fowler 2012/02/28 08:34 at 08:34

      “I do hope you can see past my pedagogical deficiencies concerning these subjects.”

      Of course. No worries about that. I’m glad you’ve made these contributions here.

  23. Mike 2012/02/28 08:38 at 08:38

    I meant to write this

    [J = kg m^2/s^2 = (kg m/s^2)*m = N*m]

    to show that energy is force times distance.

  24. Mike 2012/02/29 11:51 at 11:51

    I do have a question for you.

    How come you believe that Claes radiation theory is correct?

    His article is written in a non-conventional way that makes it quite hard to follow, nearly impossible if one doesn’t know the basic physics (concerning heat and so on) is my guess. It is some

    I also seen a reference to a discussion between him and a few others that seriously question if his radiation model describes a real physical situation.

    The discussion can be found here,

    It’s rather lengthy but sure worth the read. It’s mostly Tomas Milanovic who raises serious issues but he is not he only one.

    • Richard T. Fowler 2012/02/29 13:01 at 13:01

      Mike, I believe that most of the theory is probably correct.

      I say “probably” in order to distinguish which of the two types of belief, certain or uncertain, I have about this theory.

      I say “most” because, like his mainstream opponents, Claes makes a definitive statement in support of his version of the “second law” being inviolable, and I am doubtful that it is correct to say that thermal energy can never transfer from colder to warmer. I have argued as much in a couple of places, most recently here: . I believe there was another place I did so, but my memory is failing me on that point. I will have to look into it.

      But I agree with Claes on this point: that most of the time, what his theory of blackbody radiation says happens in a real-world example is valid.

      Regarding whether I can follow it, I personally think I have followed it far better than you. That doesn’t mean you are not a good physicist, and it doesn’t mean I am one. (I know for a fact I am not, and it sounds to me like you are above average.)

      But it takes more than that to understand what is going here. I have told you before that there is government conspiracy involved on a massive scale. Knowledge of government conspiracy is something that I know a lot about. Another thing I am pretty well-versed in is the artful use of language to conceal one message underneath another. This is a necessary skill for survival within an environment of global governmental conspiracy against the Church. So, unlike the average physicist, when I am presented with such an encoded message, and it is encoded with extreme skill which is a very rare phenomenon in this day and age, it is like a 20-alarm fire for a firefighter, or a whatever the comparable attention-grabber is in physics. I just can’t ignore it; it sucks my attention like nothing else. And of course, since it is an area I know a lot about, I ZOOM through the material and quickly start to pick up key points. It is not difficult, because I have the tools already inside of me, and they are well-honed.

      Now when someone comes plodding along (at a slow pace) who knows very little if anything about government conspiracy, they don’t see what I see. And when I try to explain it, they don’t hear what I’m saying. They don’t have the background. They haven’t worked with the material before So to them, it’s just a massive mountain of garbage or gibberish. It makes no sense at all. So they are very likely to dismiss it as the product of a disturbed mind.

      I am not a professional conspiratologist, only an amateur, but professional conspiratology is as legitimate a profession as physics, and orders of magnitude more risky. It is also quite unrewarding in this life. Fortunately for some of its practitioners, there is another life coming after this one.

      In case you are wondering what I am professionally (if you are I don’t blame you), I’m afraid I cannot discuss that here.

      I have read most of the “Climate etc.” discussion you are referring to, and as is typical for discussions between Claes and his detractors I haven’t seen anything that is responsive to his core points. They could start by reading and understanding Computational Blackbody Radiation.

      If I have missed something important, you could link to that specific comment for me. I’m a bit too busy at the moment to go back and reread the whole thing. But I seem to remember a large amount of mockery and baseless attacks being directed at Claes. Please do not bother linking to such things.

      I am somewhat interested in the Swedish conversation you mentioned. If you have a link to that, I’d appreciate it. I can use Google translator to try to assess what relevant information is being given to Claes that he is ignoring. I certainly admit that there is a possibility that he might be ignoring something important; I just haven’t yet seen it, or haven’t understood it. But that does not mean that I am not allowed to believe him, nor that I am required to believe the present mainstream view.


      • Mike 2012/02/29 14:32 at 14:32

        I have quite a busy day here, but I could point out the most interesting critique against the theory.

        and here

        As I can see there is nothing strange with the points that Tomas claims, they are perfectly valid.

        And looking at Claes answer to these objections, I’m honestly not certain that he completely understands them.

        • Mike 2012/02/29 14:52 at 14:52

          To sum up, Claes model doesn’t really do what he claims it does.

        • Richard T. Fowler 2012/02/29 20:40 at 20:40

          “As I can see there is nothing strange with the points that Tomas claims, they are perfectly valid.”

          Well then, you may be alone in that regard among those who have chimed in, because Tomas reverses himself later on in the conversation and admits that Claes could be right; in other words, he admits that his points are not fatal to Claes’ model.

          Pekka Pirilä does the same, and even the zealous Shining Raven falls silent after Claes writes to him,

          Claes Johnson | February 13, 2011 at 1:14 pm

          We are not talking about gas molecules but about colors, about waves of different frequencies, which has nothing to do with statistics, as far as I can understand at least. Cut-off of high frequencies is what you see in real physics and I give a “theoretical explanation” in terms of finite precision computation. What is so wrong about this approach? After all, statistics is just a cover up of ignorance, right?

          After that, the best any of them could come up with was this from Pekka, speaking about Claes’ approach to the problem:

          Pekka Pirilä | July 8, 2011 at 5:28 am

          “[. . .] It’s still correct in principle, but trying to make calculations based on that approach is likely to lead back to standard approach.”

          Of course, no defense of that claim is advanced, because he doesn’t want to talk about it.

          All in all, the conversation is, in my opinion, not what you have made it out to be in your summary. If there was some aspect you were unaware of that changes your view, you can take this opportunity to correct the record.

          • Mike 2012/03/01 03:11 at 03:11

            I do not agree to that Tomas reverses himself.

            This is Tomas last comment

            The assumption f”’=v²f’ is not strange, but most natural in a spectral decomposition in x,

            It is not in x it is in t that you used it (I used ‘ in place of . and omitted the – sign. It should be f”’=- v²f’ . At least that’s what you wrote)
            You do realise that this assumption gives you immediately the solution
            u(x,t), don’t you?
            You can immediately integrate that and get fv= Avcos(vt) + Bvsin(vt) + Cv
            and u(x,t) = Sigma over v (Avcos(vt) + Bvsin(vt) + Cv/v²).exp(ikx)

            And voilà, I have the solutions of (4) in 1 line instead of your 3 pages.
            This assumption is unjustified and arbitrary.

            And the model (4) is a continuous in space version of Planck’s model.

            Please stop that. It has been abundantly shown that (4) describes an oscillation of an exotic string (wave velocity 1) with an exotic damping (3rd derivative instead of first) in vacuum.

            Planck’s model deals with oscillating dipoles. It has nothing to do with oscillating continuous strings. It can’t be interpreted as oscillating strings, it can’t be approximated by oscilating strings.
            In short it has nothing to do with oscillating strings.
            The demonstration is above so it serves nothing to repeat that it is something that it is not.
            If you start at (4) you don’t find the Planck’s equation by making the string length going to 0.
            And you can’t add terms with x to Planck’s equation to get (4).
            You can’t get from 1 to the other in either direction.
            This should be by far sufficient to show that (4) and Planck’s model have nothing in common.


            Claes doesn’t respond to the serious issues raised here.

            Regarding Pekka’s comment you should put the whole comment in the right context, that is saving the theory in a way that proves different physics than the standard one, is far from a long shot.

            You draw too strong conclusions about my view.

            What I said is that combining quantum mechanics with electromagnetism can be done in different ways. One of the less common approaches has similarities with the first step of Claes Johnson’s texts [my emphasis]. This approach is useful in laser physics, but of little practical value for radiative heat transfer in the atmosphere. It’s still correct in principle, but trying to make calculations based on that approach is likely to lead back to standard approach.


            • Richard T. Fowler 2012/03/01 06:44 at 06:44


              I call your attention to the following statements from Tomas on 10 February at 8:50 am:

              Now could your Equation 4 describe a continuous charged string oscillating in vacuum? As such not because of the dimension problem.

              But if the dimension problem was fixed, it might very well do that indeed.

              There would be the problem with how compares the damping due to the fixed points at 0 and L and due to the em emission that would have to be handled but … I begin to think aloud here

              I am not sure if it works but it might.

              But even if it does that, at least as an approximation, what could this clearly defined physical reality (charged continuous finite material string in vacuum) have possibly to do with black bodies, temperatures and thermodynamics?

              Mike, do you disagree with any part of this quote? And do you disagree that it represents an admission that Claes’ theory could be correct?

              Regarding the Pekka quote, I would say that may be a fair statement of the context, but is it not is a far cry from the place Pekka was at when he started commenting about the theory?


              • Mike 2012/03/01 07:12 at 07:12

                You start in the wrong end.

                You can’t assign a value to a theory until it has been proven to have a value. And Claes theory does not have that status for the reasons given.

                This resonates with both Tomas and Pekkas comments and my own opinion.

                • Richard T. Fowler 2012/03/01 07:30 at 07:30

                  I’m sorry, you cannot get away with that tactic here.

                  You started out this topic by stating,

                  “I also seen a reference to a discussion between him and a few others that seriously question if his radiation model describes a real physical situation.”

                  Now you write, “And Claes theory does not have that status for the reasons given.”

                  Before, you did not believe that the model describes a real physical situation, and you suggested as much.

                  Now, you merely state that it does not rise to the level of a theory because it has not been proven to have a value. This is a material change in your position.

                  Before, you stated, “As I can see there is nothing strange with the points that Tomas claims, they are perfectly valid.”

                  Now that it has been pointed out to you that Tomas subsequently withdrew some of his objections and stated:

                  I begin to think aloud here

                  I am not sure if it works but it might.

                  your defense of Tomas has changed to: “You can’t assign a value to a theory until it has been proven to have a value.”

                  If you are a scientist, acknowledge the changes in your position. Otherwise, it looks like you are trying to cover up your previous position and the fact that you now believe that position was not completely correct. Such a decision is unacceptable because it may help you at the expense of Claes’ reputation and at the expense of scientific progress and of truth.


  25. Mike 2012/03/01 09:40 at 09:40

    I will of course acknowledge merit where merit is due

    • Richard T. Fowler 2012/03/01 13:27 at 13:27

      Very well then, I suppose time will tell what becomes of that model.


      • Mike 2012/03/01 13:54 at 13:54

        Yes it will. But nothing much will happen until Claes puts out his chin and does some calculations for comparison with empirical data.

        It also looks like there’s some heavy discussion on its way over at his world as a computation blog.

        • Richard T. Fowler 2012/03/01 17:25 at 17:25

          FYI, “under way” means “in progress”, “ongoing”; “on its way” means “in transit”, i.e. “not yet arrived”, “not yet visible”.

          • Richard T. Fowler 2012/03/01 17:35 at 17:35

            That can be confusing because “to be under way” also means that something has begun a planned journey or trip, which also implies being “in transit” — but it is only used the first time motion is noted or reported. After that, “on their/its/our way” would be appropriate. But in your sentence, only “under way” can work. “On its way”, in this context, implies that you have not yet seen any physical evidence that a discussion is coming, but you somehow know anyway that it is coming.


  26. Richard T. Fowler 2012/03/01 18:40 at 18:40

    By the way, Mike, your statement,

    “You can’t assign a value to a theory until it has been proven to have a value”

    is a variant of Zeno’s paradox, as well as being a circular argument. It breaks down to:

    1) You cannot calculate a positive value for an object until it has been proven to have a positive value.

    and simultaneously

    2) You cannot prove an object has a positive value until it has had a positive value calculated for it.

    How splendid for your standing in this debate, since you are the challenger seeking to disprove your opponent’s work. If this logic applied to all researchers, instead of just to Claes, nothing would ever get published! The “perfect” argument. Wins every time. Right?


    • Mike 2012/03/01 20:41 at 20:41

      This is not a logical problem like the ones you can debate in philosophy.

      It’s called the scientific method.

      1. Define a question
      2. Gather information and resources (observe)
      3. Form an explanatory hypothesis
      4. Test the hypothesis by performing an experiment and collecting data in a reproducible manner
      5. Analyze the data
      6. Interpret the data and draw conclusions that serve as a starting point for new hypothesis
      7. Publish results
      8. Retest (frequently done by other scientists)

      The current discussion lingers around 3.

      • Richard T. Fowler 2012/03/01 21:02 at 21:02

        I disagree somewhat. Where we are at is Claes, a mathematician with access to computational resources, seeks experimental partners. He seems to be having trouble finding them, because while he is more-or-less doing the parts that the scientific method demands of him, the others are invoking non-scientific-method-based arguments such as, for example, Zeno’s paradox, to tell him why he does not deserve their cooperation because his attempted explanation has not yet been assigned a positive value, or some such similar argument.

        Therefore, Claes is proceeding on his own to do calculations with available data from past experiments. While this is ongoing, he is being subjected to a slew of unscientific professional attacks, many of which are extremely suggestive that the sources of the attacks have not even bothered to read all of the material they are attacking. While Claes’ work is far from perfect in my estimation, it still has certain potential value if it is born out by further testing.

        Any suggestion that he has not bothered to try to “put his chin out” by doing calculations after years of preliminary work seems bizarre to me, since he has claimed to be doing calculations for over a year now. Who knows what misbehavior he is being subjected to by those who have power over his computing access? I can imagine it’s not pretty.


        • Mike 2012/03/02 02:39 at 02:39

          If he’s been doing that for over a year my only reaction is that that is a remarkable long time for such a simple model problem.

          You really present a strange position here making him a victim. Has he not gone out with very strong claims based on his model, long before it has been tested with real computations? Those computations are not complicated to do.

          What do you mean power over his computing access? A simple one dimensional model like this can be computed quick on a several year old laptop.

          • Richard T. Fowler 2012/03/02 05:50 at 05:50

            “A simple one dimensional model like this can be computed quick on a several year old laptop.”

            A one-dimensional model? As I understand it, the model calls for computing macroscopic combined effects of radiation and turbulent dissipation by calculating particle-particle interactions, looking at for each particle, all other particles with which it is in informational contact. As I understand it, that is the whole, entire basis of the novelty of his work. That is how he can prove that his work more accurately describes experimental results than the conventional approach.

            Since this cannot be done rigorously without more support from the community, I would expect that he is making the calculations as rigorous as possible with whatever resources are being allowed to him.

            Apparently, then, you believe he is not doing any significant research right now related to this model? You really find that believable?

            If so then please use specific quotes from his work to disabuse me of my misunderstanding. No partial responses, please. You have made a serious charge, and one which you have not, to my knowledge, made on his own websites.


            • Mike 2012/03/02 06:11 at 06:11

              Are we discussing the same model?

              I’m talking about his model of a blackbody that he claims proofs Planck’s law without statistics. That model is one-dimensional with parametric time. This is the model he claims refutes what he calls backradiation.

              That is a simple model that you could easily solve with a simple code on an aged laptop. The dissipation enters as a single parameter. Look at his text, he claims himself that it is sufficient with a one parameter turbulence model to do his finite element method.

              Further, he is a professor at a Swedish university. There should be no problem for him to let a PhD do the computation if he doesn’t want to do it himself.

              He, makes the extraordinary claim, that he proves the implausibility of the current models, so he should provide the proof of his claim. That’s also large part of the scientific method.

              Do you disagree?

              • Richard T. Fowler 2012/03/02 06:26 at 06:26

                Mike, your response is insufficient. I asked you to provide specific quotes from his work that show (not suggest, show) that the model which is alleged to show different meterological results from the mainstream one that you are promoting is not as complex as I have said that I think it is.

                I give you one more chance to provide adequate proof of your statement. If you cannot do so, I will delete the statement as being presumptively libelous.


                • Mike 2012/03/02 06:44 at 06:44


                  p. 74

                  “But this interpretation lacks physical rationale and results from a purely formal algebraic operation of splitting the one term in (13.1) into the di erenec of two terms in (13.2). This is the origin of the “backradiation” underlying climate alarmism which thus lacks physical

  27. Mike 2012/03/02 06:48 at 06:48

    I posted a comment but it never showed, so I try again.

    p. 74

    “But this interpretation lacks physical rationale and results from a purely formal algebraic operation of splitting the one term in (13.1) into the difference of two terms in (13.2). This is the origin of
    the “backradiation” underlying climate alarmism which thus lacks physical reality.”

  28. Mike 2012/03/02 07:20 at 07:20

    In his Mathematical Physics of Blackbody Radiation.

    P. 74

    • Richard T. Fowler 2012/03/02 08:30 at 08:30


      If you really do care about truth and not just scoring points for yourself, could you please quote the material, or at least some relevant part of it. I’m afraid I do not have the ability to view that page right now. It won’t load with my system. I believe I have a stored copy, but it is not at hand right now.

      I don’t want to have to remove a charge because of inability to view a citation. Besides, your charge was not posted up as a citation to somewhere else. It was posted directly here. If you can’t or won’t post any specific supporting information directly here, then arguably such a strong charge is still not appropriate. You have used my blog to accuse Claes, not of mere false statements, but of lying repeatedly in saying he is working on a problem that you say cannot possibly take so long. So I ask you on a third occasion to please, if possible, post whatever quote you have that proves that Claes Johnson’s meteorological model can be proven to be better than the conventional version using the level of computation that you have indicated. Thank you.


      • Richard T. Fowler 2012/03/02 08:33 at 08:33

        I should have included “(assuming it is true)”.


        • Mike 2012/03/02 08:53 at 08:53

          This conversation is getting more and more bizarre.

          If you’re not interested in investigating this delete what you want.

          Further, you have read what I written earlier and you say yourself that you understood the things I wrote. None the less you’re writing posts, at Spencers blog, that shows you either didn’t understand or you didn’t listen to what I have written.

          I have invested a lot of time discussing this with you. If you’re not willing to respect that, whats the point?

        • Richard T. Fowler 2012/03/09 13:32 at 13:32

          FYI readers, I have just discovered that Mike did give a quote, but it got spammed three times by the spam filter, which I do not like but cannot seem to turn off.

          I have it set to allow multiple links in one message; thus I can only conclude that for some reason, the filter is being told to call links from a Claes Johnson web site “spam”.


  29. Mike 2012/03/02 08:59 at 08:59

    I’m not saying that you need to agree with what I write.

    But do not question my integrity regarding scientific interest in this matter.

  30. Richard T. Fowler 2012/03/02 09:32 at 09:32

    “If you’re not interested in investigating this delete what you want.”

    It is not about interest. I clearly stated to you I did not have the ability at present to view the page. Did you see that statement, or not?

    “If you’re not willing to respect that, whats the point?”

    I do respect that. But you posted a charge of lying that makes little, if any, sense to me. You need to respect that there are libel laws, and that they apply as much to you as to anyone else. For me to remind of you that is not disrespecting the time you have invested discussing things with me. Those two things are totally independent; they have nothing to do with each other. Nothing whatsoever.

    “[D]o not question my integrity regarding scientific interest in this matter.”

    You posted a charge of repeated lying, which I want (indeed, am obligated to try) to understand. I’m sorry that I cannot see the page you are referring to. Please have no doubt whatsoever that I will eventually see it.

    I do think that with all the effort you’ve put into posting here, you could at least summarize the relevant information.

    Look here, you wrote: “Look at his text, he claims himself that it is sufficient with a one parameter turbulence model to do his finite element method.”

    I did not ask you for proof of what is sufficient to do “his finite element method”. Clearly, he has done the method with at least two particles. Thus there is no way he has not “done” the method. But your charge goes further than that. It claims that Claes is claiming that this is all that is required to disprove “backradiation”. Just a two-particle model run. Right?

    That’s what I can’t understand, and that’s what I have to investigate. And that, essentially, is what I asked you for proof of. I told you my understanding of Claes’ model is a macroscopic model. This is because I have read Climate Thermodynamics and Computational Thermodynamics, and I do not see how any one-dimensional operation between two particles can make any measurable predictions along the lines of the models presented in those two papers.

    I’m sorry if you think that is bizarre. I happen to disagree. Whether you care or not about the points I have raised here also speaks to your level of scientific interest in the matter.


    • Richard T. Fowler 2012/03/02 09:35 at 09:35

      Correction: “I have read Climate Thermodynamics and Computational Thermodynamics” should be “I have read Climate Thermodynamics and Computational Blackbody Radiation”. I apologize for this error.


  31. Mike 2012/03/03 03:54 at 03:54

    I’ve never seen that Climate Thermodynamics text before. Is that the model you are thinking of?

    Then we are talking about different models.

    A Navier-Stokes model intended to model the whole climate system takes of course immense computer power. But such a model is not especially interesting for such a large system.

    I’m of course talking about his model that is intended to describe a one-dimensional string of continuous charge oscillators that interacts with an external electromagnetic field.

    • Richard T. Fowler 2012/03/03 08:00 at 08:00

      Yes, of course that is the model I am thinking of. Moreover, I am thinking that proving the other one requires calculating with this one.

      But what is most relevant here is what Claes thinks, and what we can reasonably conclude about what Claes thinks, and why he thinks it.

      I’m glad to see you are having less trouble understanding me right now.


  32. Richard T. Fowler 2012/03/09 13:29 at 13:29

    Mike, I just now discovered you had three comments sitting in the spam filter for several days. I have no idea why they were spammed. I have released them all. I don’t even particularly want a spam filter at present, but I cannot see any way to turn it off. I supposedly have it set to allow multiple links in one comment. So there must be something else about the comment that someone finds objectionable. I don’t have a clue what it is.

    So, now, I guess I’ll have to be checking every day for legitimate comments in spam, because there is simply no explanation I can see for why your three comments were “spammed”. I am sorry about that. The one thing they have in common is the link, but I sure can’t see what is wrong with that link. I’m afraid I might know, but I’m not sure.

    Thank you for your repeated efforts to respond to my request.


    • Richard T. Fowler 2012/03/09 13:46 at 13:46

      Looking at the quote, it appears you may be referring to Claes explanation of “true SB” vs. “false SB”, which if so, is not what I was looking for (i.e. proof that Claes “claims himself that it is sufficient with a one parameter turbulence model to do his finite element method.”) But it’s all right, because we established that the two of us were thinking of different sets of calculations. You were thinking of just the radiative theory, because that was what you were aware of, while I was thinking of that combined with the finite-element calculation of turbulent disspation of energy in incompressible gas. So the fact that you apparently were only referencing the changing of “false SB” into “true SB” as part of Claes’ finite element method is no longer an issue.


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