The Personal Website of Mark W. Dawson


Containing His Articles, Observations, Thoughts, Meanderings,
and some would say Wisdom (and some would say not).


The following are articles that I, Mark W. Dawson, have written on scientific topics. I should point out that I am NOT a scientist nor Engineer, nor have I received any education or training in the sciences or engineering. These articles are the result of my readings on these subjects in the past decades. Many academics, scientists, and engineers would critique what I have written here as not accurate nor through. I freely acknowledge that these critiques are correct. It was not my intentions to be accurate or through, as I am not qualified to give an accurate nor through description. My intention was to be understandable to a layperson so that they can grasp the concepts. Academics,  scientists, and engineers entire education and training are based on accuracy and thoroughness, and as such, they strive for this accuracy and thoroughness. I believe it is essential for all laypersons to grasp the concepts of science and engineering, so they make more informed decisions on those areas of human endeavors that deal with science, engineering, and technology. As such, I did not strive for accuracy and thoroughness, only understandability.


On the Nature of Scientific Inquiry   -  November 2018
This article is an outline of the nature of scientific inquiry. It does not delve into the details of science and utilizes no mathematics, but instead presents the basic concepts of scientific inquiry. This paper was written to provide the general public with the background of science so that when they encounter scientific issues, or public policy issues that utilize science, they will have a basis for interpreting the scientific information.

 

The Fundamental Properties of the Universe   -  September 2018
“I cannot violate the laws of physics” is a famous saying of Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott in “Star Trek”. And so, it is, – you cannot violate the laws of physics, you cannot compensate for the laws of physics, and you cannot ignore the laws of physics. You must always cognizant of the Laws of Physics and obey them. And so, it is with all of The Fundamental Properties of the Universe. This article outlines the Fundamental Properties of the Universe in language that the layperson can understand.

Chaos, Complexity, And Network Science   -  September 2018
This article is an examination of the issues and concerns of Chaos, Complexity, and Network Science, and their impacts on Science, Engineering, Computer Models and Societal decision making. What are Chaos, Complexity, and Network Science, and what does it have to do with the impacts previously mentioned -  Directly Everything and Indirectly Everything! If you are going to utilize computer modeling in science and engineering to determine future possibilities or to decide or formulate a public policy based on computer modeling then you need to be aware of chaos, complexity, and network science. I will not delve into specific details of Chaos, Complexity, and Network Science, nor will I be utilizing any science or mathematics in discussing these issues and concerns.

Computer Modeling   -  September 2018
This article is an examination of the issues, concerns, and limitations when utilizing Computer Models in science, engineering, and public policy formulation. I will not delve into specific details of Computer Modeling, nor will I be utilizing any sciences or mathematics in examining the issues, concerns, and limitations of computer modeling.

Engineering Failures   -  September 2018
In this article, I will discuss failures in engineering. As engineering failures become apparent and lead to dramatic consequences to the public, and politicians, often demand answers as to how they could have happened. As there are many scientific and technological reason for an engineering failure it can be difficult to discover and pinpoint the exact cause of the failure. This paper is not about specific reasons for an engineering failure. It is, instead, about the types of failures as it relates to the human endeavor of engineering. These types of failures can be categorized as resulting from 1) Failure of Knowledge, 2) Failure of Imagination, or 3) Failure of Management.

What’s So Special about Special Relativity   -  September 2018
Special Relativity has to do with Einstein’s question, as a young man, of what the world would like to look like if you could run next to a beam of light. A question for which Physics had no answer. This article is about how Einstein discovered the answer to this question and the implications of his answer. It is presented without delving deeply into the science and without utilizing mathematics.

Gravitational Physics   -  September 2018
This paper is an overview of the development of Gravitational Physics. It is done by focusing on ten scientists who were crucial in its development. Although thousands of scientists have contributed to the development of Gravitational Physics the ten scientists presented here have made such a significant impact as to change the course of Gravitational Physics. It is, therefore, a biographical history of Gravitational Physics. The scientific information is presented in general terms, and there is no mathematics.

Atomic Physics   -  September 2018
This article is an overview of the development of Atomic Physics. It is done by focusing on a dozen scientist who were crucial in its development. Although thousands of scientists have contributed to the development of Atomic Physics the twelve scientists presented here have made such a significant impact as to change the course of Atomic Physics. It is, therefore, a biographical history of atomic physics. The scientific information is presented in general terms, and there is no mathematics.

Intelligent Life, UFO’s, and Pseudoscience   -  September 2018
This article is about the beliefs that many people have about scientific curiosities but are not based on actual science. I am a skeptic on such matters, but I am willing to accept scientific evidence and change my opinions. However, as the absence of proof does not constitute proof of absence, and no scientific evidence constitutes no science. Until there is scientific evidence I will not believe that anything is scientific. Some of the more obvious of these claims are presented, and dissected, in this article. This is only a limited sample as there are so many examples that you need, and can obtain, many books that debunk these claims. My only objective with this article is for you to remain skeptical of these claims until scientific proof is obtained.

Climate Change   -  November 2018
I believe in climate change. I believe the climate has changed in the past, the climate is currently changing, and the climate will change in the future. This is a meteorological and geological scientific fact. The question is whether human activity is causing the current climate change. This may be true, or may not be true, depending upon your interpretation of scientific facts and beliefs. If you had read my observation on the "On the Nature of Scientific Inquiry" you know that I have a scientific orientation to my thinking, and in this article, I apply that scientific thinking too many of the issues and concerns of climate change.

What is Reality? - October 2018
It is not in a metaphysical sense that I ask this question, but in a physical sense of the nature of the Universe. The goal of physics is to answer the questions of what the reality of the Universe is. Today, we have three great unknowns about the reality of the Universe; Dark Matter, Dark Energy, and the reality of Quantum space. This article examines these issues.

The Arrow of Time   -  September 2018
The arrow of time refers to the question of what is the meaning of time, why and how time flows, and what is the physical nature of time? In the book “Now: The Physics of Time’ by Ricard A. Muller this eminent physicist addresses these issues. This observation is based on his book and my own belief in the nature of time.

Apocalypse - Or the Ways that Humanity Will Come to an End   -  September 2018
First, the bad news. The Earth is coming to an end. But all things come to an end. Life is born then dies. And the Earth through solar evolution will come to an end. When the Sun exhausts its nuclear fuel, it will go nova and burn the Earth to a cinder. Geological ages come and go, and they change the nature of life on Earth. This is not the Apocalypse I wish to discuss in this article. Instead I will be discussing the Apocalypse of human civilization (hereinafter referred to as Apocalyptic). Some Apocalyptic events are likely, some are unlikely, and some may never occur (but still be possible). Some will occur within a near term time frame (within one hundred years), some will occur in a long-term time frame (one hundred to one thousand years), some may occur thousands of years from now, and some may never occur (but still be possible). How are we to judge the likelihood and time frames of Apocalyptic events. This article deals with these issues.

Science vs. Science Fiction   -  September 2018
I will concede to no one my love of Science Fiction Since I was a young boy I have read and enjoyed Science Fiction stories, as well as viewed many Science Fiction movies and television. I have loved most of them in my lifetime. Starting as a young boy I have been awed by the action and adventure of Science Fiction, as well as the technology and alien races presented in Science Fiction. As I became older my response to Science Fiction became more mature and I realized that the storylines were the most important thing about Science Fiction. The human drama, the relationships between people and the science and technology, as well as the interrelationships between humans and aliens became more important. My love of Science Fiction led me to a love of Science, and I became much more knowledgeable about Science. Both loves led me to examine the Science of Science Fiction. I began to apply my science knowledge to the Science Fiction I was reading and watching as an intellectual challenge that stimulated me. Today, when I read or watch Science Fiction, I enjoy all of this. I first read or watch Science Fiction for the entertainment it provides. I then think about the storyline to ascertain its meaning. After that, I apply my science knowledge to critique the Science in the Science Fiction. All these activities are enjoyable for me. This article deals with applying my science knowledge to the science in science fiction.

Science versus Religion   -  November 2018
I am a firm believer that science is the best way of explaining the physical properties and physical laws of the universe. I also am a firm believer that God created our universe and established its physical properties and physical laws And I see no conflict between the views of Science and Religion. Science is the explanation of how God created the universe, and God is the explanation of why we have the physical properties and physical laws of the universe. Science cannot prove, or disprove, the existence of God, as God is outside the realm of science. This article examines the issue of science versus religion based on my beliefs.

The Real War on Science by John Tierney - Autumn 2016
According to Mr. Tierney The Left has done far more than the Right to set back progress. All who are interested in the integrity of Science should read and ponder this article.

A Personal Note

The incandescent light bulb has often been described as a heat source that provides some light, given that a light bulb generates more heat than it does light. In today's public debates we often find the proponents of an issue providing a lot of heat and only a little light. These observations are meant to provide illumination (light) and not argumentation (heat).

Opponents in today's society often utilize the dialog and debate methodology of Demonize, Denigrate, and Disparage their opponent when discussing issues, policies, and personages. To demonize, denigrate, or disparage the messenger to avoid consideration of the message is not acceptable if the message has supporting evidence.

The only acceptable method of public discourse is disagreement - to be of different opinions. If you are in disagreement with someone you should be cognizant that people of good character can and often disagree with each other. The method of their disagreement is very important to achieve civil discourse. There are two ways you can disagree with someone; by criticizing their opinions or beliefs or critiquing their opinions or beliefs.

  • Criticism - Disapproval expressed by pointing out faults or shortcomings.
  • Critique - A serious examination and judgment of something.

Most people, and most commentators have forgotten the difference between Criticism and Critique. This has led to the hyper-partisanship in today's society. In a civil society critiquing a viewpoint or policy position should be encouraged. This will often allow for a fuller consideration of the issues, and perhaps a better viewpoint or policy position without invoking hyper-partisanship. We can expect that partisanship will often occur, as people of good character can and often disagree with each other. Criticizing a viewpoint or policy position will often lead to hostility, rancor, and enmity, which results in the breakdown of civil discourse and hyper-partisanship. It is fine to criticize someone for their bad or destructive behavior, but it is best to critique them for their opinions or words. We would all do better if we remember to critique someone, rather than criticize someone.

I would ask anyone who disagrees with what I have written here to please keep this disagreement civil. I am open to critique and will sometimes take criticism. I will always ignore demonization, denigration, and disparagement, or point out the vacuous nature or the character flaws of those that wish to silence the messenger rather than deal with the message.

Please remember that if you disagree with the messenger it is not acceptable to kill the messenger. You may kill the messenger, but the message will remain.

If you have any comments, concerns, critiques, or suggestions I can be reached at mwd@profitpages.com. I will review reasoned and intellectual correspondence, and it is possible that I can change my mind, or at least update the contents of these articles. This is why these articles are dated. Whenever I make a change to these articles they will be re-dated. So check back and see if any articles have been updated (or perhaps I shall add articles).

Disclaimer

Please Note - many academics, scientist and engineers would critique what I have written here as not accurate nor through. I freely acknowledge that these critiques are correct. It was not my intentions to be accurate or through, as I am not qualified to give an accurate nor through description. My intention was to be understandable to a layperson so that they can grasp the concepts. Academics, scientists, and engineers entire education and training is based on accuracy and thoroughness, and as such, they strive for this accuracy and thoroughness. I believe it is essential for all laypersons to grasp the concepts of these papers, so they make more informed decisions on those areas of human endeavors that deal with these subjects. As such, I did not strive for accuracy and thoroughness, only understandability.

Most academics, scientist, and engineers when speaking or writing for the general public (and many science writers as well) strive to be understandable to the general public. However, they often fall short on understandability because of their commitment to accuracy and thoroughness, as well as some audience awareness factors. Their two biggest problems are accuracy and the audience knowledge of the topic.

Accuracy is a problem because academics, scientist, engineers and science writers are loath to be inaccurate. This is because they want the audience to obtain the correct information, and the possible negative repercussions amongst their colleagues and the scientific and engineering community at large if they are inaccurate. However, because modern science and engineering is complex this accuracy can, and often, leads to confusion amongst the audience.

The audience knowledge of the topic is important as most modern science and engineering is complex, with its own words, terminology, and basic concepts the audience is unfamiliar with, or they misinterpret. The audience becomes confused (even while smiling and lauding the academics, scientists, engineers or science writer), and the audience does not achieve understandability. Many times, the academics, scientists, engineers or science writer utilizes the scientific disciplines own words, terminology, and basic concepts without realizing the audience misinterpretations, or has no comprehension of these items.

It is for this reason that I place understandability as the highest priority in my writing, and I am willing to sacrifice accuracy and thoroughness to achieve understandability. There are many books, websites, and videos available that are more accurate and through. The sub chapters in these articles, “Further Readings”, also contains books on the various subjects that can provide more accurate and thorough information. I leave it to the reader to decide if they want more accurate or through information and to seek out these books, websites, and videos for this information.