I've suggested (& published in 15 journal papers) a new theory called quantised inertia (or MiHsC) that assumes that inertia is caused by relativistic horizons damping quantum fields. It predicts galaxy rotation, cosmic acceleration & the emdrive without any dark stuff or adjustment.
My Plymouth University webpage is here, I've written a book called Physics from the Edge and I'm on twitter as @memcculloch

Saturday, 18 February 2017

My response to the Forbes article

A few days ago an article appeared in Forbes magazine directly criticising me and quantised inertia. I understand that after working for decades on dark matter, many find quantised inertia difficult to accept. I do hope to persuade them slowly, but a debate should be based on empirical evidence and this article did not present any. It also misexplained quantised inertia, and vaguely attacked my attitude, so I need to answer it.

For example, the article accuses me of not addressing criticism, but all the comments I have received from the mainstream say I am violating a theory that only predicts 4% of the cosmos (in some sense). What exam can you pass with a mark of 4%? What matters to me is whether I am violating empirical data. No-one has shown that. It is true that I need to show how quantised inertia might fit together with general relativity, but that is a far lower priority than comparison with data, and to compare QI with GR some communication between me and general relativists needs to begin, but it has been cut off, and not by me. I haven't been accepted at a physics conference since 2012 and most physicists have refused my attempts to engage by email.

The article claims I am on some sort of mad slide into pseudoscience, but if you look at the facts: in every one of my 17 published papers I have tested quantised inertia against real data, and it worked without adjustment. In contrast there has never been any direct evidence for the dark matter the mainstream believe in, and the hypothesis is nothing but adjustment. So you have to conclude that it is the dark matterists who have been on the slide into pseudoscience for decades and the only reason they haven't noticed is they are all happily going down together, so self-correction has become impossible.

The article claims that Unruh radiation is so small it is incapable of generating an inertial force, but the author has not understood my papers: I have shown quite simply that when it is made non-uniform in space by relativistic horizons, Unruh radiation does produce the right amount of force. Please see this paper: preprint and a later one where Dr Jaume Gine corrected an error I made to give better results: journal.

The emdrive thrust (which QI predicts) is not "within the noise" as the article claims. The NASA emdrive paper went through five reviewers before being published. Of course, they and all of us may have missed some mundane effect we don't know about yet, but to suggest that all five reviewers do not know noise when they see it is implausible. Noise does not usually pass peer review.

The article says “How strongly verified [mainstream] theories are”. I have received such comments from many reviewers, especially recently, and I can never understand how this can be said with a straight face: mainstream theories predict only 4% of what we see. If that is 'strongly verified' than those words must be in a different language.

The article claims “This hodge-podge is misapplied”. How easy it is to say something like that, but what data proves it is misapplied? It is not enough just to say it and hope that people won't bother to think. Words must be supported by data, but there is no supporting empirical evidence anywhere in the article.

The article says QI “Overturns basic/established physics”. Well, I realise the difficulty of doing it, and do not take it lightly, but it is absolutely fine to modify fundamental physics so long as experiments are still satisfied, and they are. Quantised inertia has only a tiny effect in normal regimes, but it changes things in very low acceleration regimes, which is exactly where normal physics fails. It allows us to predict not 4% of nature, but much closer to all of it, offering an explanation for anomalies at low accelerations such as galaxy rotation and cosmic acceleration. Basic physics is self-contradictory anyway. We know its two halves (GR and quantum mechanics) do not fit together either formally, or causally with Bell test experiments. Quantised inertia allows us to fit it together a little more since the whole point of it is that relativity and quantum mechanics work together to make inertia.

Towards the end, the article bizarrely seems to accuse quantised inertia of being too successful, since it explains so much. First of all, since when is empirical success a crime? That is taking scepticism too far, and that does no-one any good. Also, the reason QI fits these anomalies, as well as the standard data, is because I designed it after looking at new data with an open mind. In my opinion, and I think history shows, that is exactly the right way to advance science and it is what the dark matterists have forgotten.

Quantised inertia is far from complete. It is an approximation to a full theory that I do not have yet. I need the help of other physicists and their great skills to look for the phenomena it predicts (see here) and flesh out the theory. The problem I have is the excruciating one of trying to persuade extremely well-educated and driven people, that I have no desire to antagonise at all, that they are wrong in this one matter, and enlisting their help (which I need) at the same time! If they wanted evidence for my lunacy then they could cite my hopeless optimism in this social respect.

My crucial point remains empirical: quantised inertia agrees with the data more simply than MoND or dark matter (see here for example). There is no way to get away from that fact. They can claim I'm a lunatic with delusions of gradeur (maybe I am, it is not for me to say) but after it all the mass of data that support quantised inertia will not go away, and in the end it will save all of us.


The Forbes aticle:  http://www.forbes.com/sites/briankoberlein/2017/02/15/quantized-inertia-dark-matter-the-emdrive-and-how-to-do-science-wrong/#29792c8617f9


Peter Andrews said...

Keep up the fight. At least being unfairly dismissed is an improvement over being ignored. See if you can get Forbes to do an official reply.

Roy Lofquist said...


See "The Electric Sky" to get an idea of the kind of fight you're involved in here.

For a more thorough treatment try "Resistance by Scientists
to Scientific Discovery"



Jimmy Johnson said...

Many years ago a student was explaining the method he used to work problems on his homework and tests which required showing the calculatiion steps to obtain the correct answer for a given problem. He said that in his method step one was to write down all his calculations until he obtained a value. If the value agreed with the answer given, then he was finished. If the answer did not agree then he calculated F_c and added it to his results to obtain the correct result. When a perplexed listener asked what F_c stood for, he proudly stated "The Fudgers Constant". He explained that F_c is the value required to get the answer requested. Everyone in the group immediately burst out laughing.

The amazing thing to note is that he said that he had been using his method successfully throughout high school and college and never been challenged. He stated that his method failed only once when he was able to show work supporting a test question where the answer printed on the test had a typographical error (apparenty his method was too powerful).

Over the years remembering and relating this incident has given me and others many a laugh. Little did I realize that a method everyone thought was absurdly funny more than 50 years ago would turn out to be the basis for the prevailing theory of Dark Matter (and unfortunately many other in vogue physical theories). If only he had patented his method he would be a rich man today. I am sad to admit both that student and the Dark Matter theory actually exist.

Jimmy Johnson

Roy Lofquist said...


My offer to loan you "The Electric Sky" still stands. Send me your e-mail address to me at roylofquist@msn.com and you can read it for free.

qraal said...

Hi Mike,
Pseudoscience doesn't typically involve detailed calculations or produce high statistically probable fits to the data. So the "Forbes" nay-sayer is just full of shit IMO. What does need further clarification is the coupling between such vast wavelengths as Unruh radiation produces and microscopic matter. Not sure you've really addressed that yet.

Thus I don't quite buy Horizon Mechanics, as yet. I still think there's good reasons to believe in quark matter as dark matter. However it's a hypothesis I am willing to put aside if Horizon Mechanics passes all the tests. But, if Marshall Eubanks's ideas on quark matter produces results from studying Near Earth Asteroids, then Horizon Mechanics will need modifying too. The Universe is big enough and strange enough to make *all* our theories mere approximations.

Brian Moore said...

All Models are wrong, some are useful.

However, I have yet to see a scenario by which a model has been or justifiably can be considered both more wrong and more useful.

Yet Forbes seems to have discovered such a one in your work. They should be commended for doing the impossible.

Mike McCulloch said...

Peter. Good suggestion. I have just emailed Forbes to ask if I can contribute a rebuttal :)

DarkMatterIsLightMatter said...

First, I will say that agree with your response. Sadly, Forbes is under the guile of "this is the expert and we will support the expert", not fully understanding physics but being supposed "experts" in finance, I am sure Forbes will allow the rubber stamp of somebody they believe is equivalent of Janet Yellen from the Astrophysics world.

I know they think of themselves as experts in the financial realm but we all know that their experimental data does not support their financial theories as well (thanks Forbes for the last few stock market crashes due to deregulation, like we can't see the cause and effect by now!). That aside, I believe a larger chunk of the world does agree with the EM drive results, the evidence is in many experiments and as much as they want to attribute it to wishful thinking, more evidence appears daily because the experimental setup isn't that difficult. I noticed the author of the Forbes article brought out the mass of the photon, as you and I have discussed before this is a challenge for any standard model physicist but shouldn't be, given that they have to swallow neutrino masses now (a clear violation of the SM that they don't want to admit). As far as even special relativity (which the author said would require significant evidence to show violation of), there is considerable evidence with the violation of the GZK limit by cosmic rays (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greisen%E2%80%93Zatsepin%E2%80%93Kuzmin_limit). The cover up in physics just needs to end - unfortunately we don't have enough time to wait for all the funerals like Planck said, we need a change sooner than that because people are living longer :)

Alain Coetmeur said...

My experience of finance journal, confirmed by my foreign dear MP ex-secretary, is that Finance journal are much above average about dissentive voices.
When money is at stake it is important to hear the dissenters... unlike in opinion journal where comforting the reader and the journalists opinions is more important than managing uncertainty.

They have talk of LENR, or EmDrive, which is much more free than usual.

Not a surprise that of the few EmDrive/LENR aware journal, beside some geek/techies journals, you find IBTimes, The Triangle Business, Forbes, La Tribune, Les Echos...
Don't expect that for WaPo , Le Monde, Libération, the Guardian, NYT...

Finance journals cannot afford to miss an alternative idea.

Mike McCulloch said...

Jimmy: hilarious story. The difference with the dark matter fudge is that very few people are laughing. When one person or a minority make a error, people laugh. When the majority make it..

Mike McCulloch said...

qraal: Good comment, in that it is a specific question: how do very long Unruh waves interact with tiny particles? Well, in the paper I wrote last year I took a step away from the particle-wave paradigm, which is maybe the problem, and showed you can get the same thing by assuming what is conserved in nature is not mass-energy but mass-energy plus the energy uncertainty in the equivalence principle. That is another way to see the process, see: https://arxiv.org/abs/1610.06787

Mike McCulloch said...

Brian: V. witty comment :) Of course, from a scientific point of view then MiHsC is far more useful than dark matter bcos it is actually predictive. However galaxy rotations are one of those things whose use is not directly obvious (only a few know that MiHsC predicts new useful technology). Of more immediate use to some, is a way of extracting tax money for research, and in that measure of usefulness, dark matter has the advantage because the search can go on for an entire career.

Pop Catalin Sever said...

I think physicists have all the right in the world to search for dark matter convince people and get funding to do it. It is after all an hypothesis among many others. However the fact they dismiss any other hypothesis because it denies theirs (in a way), is completely unacceptable for a group of people that pride themselves to be "the open minded thinkers of the planet".

I'm not a physicist, I'm just an enthusiast (and a dreamer), and in the end it doesn't matter if QI is right or wrong, accepted or rejected, what it matters to me is the example of open mindedness and of critical thinking in the face of factual evidence (not just for the sake of it).

Thank you, you've been an inspiration, and determined me learn more, search for more knowledge about physics, question and judge than ever. You are an example to me, and I hope many more like me.

Catalin Pop

joesixpack said...

The cheapest sledge was the assertion made by some ill-informed, "science never changes", homespun "debunkers" is that Mike McCulloch isn't a physicist (read comments elsewhere).

Well, if you publish nearly enough papers in peer reviewed journals to become a professor of that field, I reckon you've earnt that qualification in that field as well. It doesn't matter if your undergrad wasn't an exact fit.

This reminds me of how Jensen(?) had to create the Journal of Financial Economics to get his paper published - now it is a leading journal in both fields and he created a hybrid one overnight!

Mike McCulloch said...

Dear Pop: Thank you for your comments. I appreciate them. Indeed, question everything, especially those who seem 100% sure!

Mike McCulloch said...

Joesixpack: Thank you sincerely for your support, but I should point out that my undergrad degree was physics. The confusion arises due to my PhD which was in physical oceanography (ocean physics). This is just as much a part of physics as anything else, and I'm very glad my PhD was in that subject because I enjoyed it and it is more real, more respectful of data, and the attitude of the subject (epitomised by Henry Stommel) was that of a newly-developing field, which is a freer environment to learn to do creative research in, than say theoretical physics where students are far too much in awe of the rigid structures built by past masters. I am now applying a freer creative attitude to theoretical physics.

Not that this matters anyway, the first rule of science is that you attack the theory and not the person. The fact that I get attacked just means they can't fault MiHsC.

qraal said...

Hi Mike
Good point. Ad hominem means they've failed to pick apart your idea.

Mike McCulloch said...

Joesixpack: Thank you sincerely for your support, but I should just point out that my undergrad degree was in physics. The confusion arises due to my PhD which was in physical oceanography (ocean physics). This is just as much a part of physics as anything else, and I'm very glad my PhD was in that subject because I enjoyed it and the attitude of the subject (epitomised by Henry Stommel) was that of a newly-developing data-driven field, which is a freer environment to learn to do creative research in. In contrast, in theoretical physics students and later lecturers are far too much in awe of the rigid theories built by past masters and often put theory over data. I am now re-importing this data-driven attitude (used by the greats of the past) back into theoretical physics.

Not that my background matters anyway: the first rule of science is that you attack the theory and not the person. The fact that I get attacked just means they can't fault MiHsC.

Zephir said...

My take on this story (1, 2)

Mike McCulloch said...

Zephir: Your comments make sense. Koberlein is as you say trying to drown out MiHsC, but his use of ad hominems instead of evidence discredits his argument. Interesting that you question my use of Unruh, but there is a smoking gun for it. Galactic problems start exactly at radii where Unruh radiation gets to the scale of the cosmic horizon. A clear empirical signpost. But indeed it'll have to be superluminal..

Zephir said...

/* it'll have to be superluminal */

Well, after then it just cannot be an Unruh radiation, which is form of light - it's as easy as it gets. Other than that, the MiHsC theory would work well, because its formal derivation isn't dependent on the denomination of its mechanism. The similar problem faces the holographic model, which also requires superluminal projection mechanism to work.

I can understand, you're delimited against Verlinde's and Milgrom's models by now due to competition - but these theories have many aspects in common with MiHsC. You could for example apply your theory to explanation of holographic noise events in this connection.

Mike McCulloch said...

Zephir: It is not quite so simple: Unruh radiation is a wave in all the quantum fields, not just light, and also in my opinion time is porous for quantum systems (paper submitted). I am not sure how this all fits together yet, but it is a radical change that includes redefining time.

I disregard entropic gravity because it is falsified by dwarf galaxies. It predicts anomalies occur just on large scales but they are even worse on dwarf scales. QI predicts this, EG doesn't.

MoND was a great step forward in 1983 but it requires an adjustable parameter and has no physical model. QI is free of these problems.

Zephir said...

The adjustable parameter of MOND can be calculated easily as a product of Hubble constant and light speed. After then both MOND and MiHSC theories get very similar each other. You should also study the theories of others - not just to push your ideas: such an attitude would make you ignorant crackpot. BTW The Need for Venture Science

Regarding porous time, in dense aether model the time is hyperdimensional in similar way, like the space and the hyperdimensional objects look porous from low-dimensional perspective. Whole the MOND/MiHsC is about stuffing the flat 4D space-time based theories with hyperdimensional effects of quantum fluctuations.

Mike McCulloch said...

Zephir: I am very aware that in MoND a0 looks like cH, but my point is that there was no 'physical' model that explained the link. In QI there is.

Zephir said...

Milgrom also explains it and he even discusses, why the Unruh radiation cannot serve as an origin of inertia. That means, he is not only the original author of the MiHsC idea - but he also recognized first (1999) the conceptual problem of this model.

Mike McCulloch said...

Zephir: Milgrom said "Unruh radiation CANNOT cause inertial mass". In other words he did not and still does not accept MiHsC. I then said "On the contrary, Unruh radiation CAN cause inertia if you do something new and take account of relativistic horizons which make the Unruh radiation non-uniform in space" This is MiHsC, and I have made this point very clearly in my papers.

Zephir said...

We already discussed it: the "Unruh radiation" of yours must be superluminal for your theory being able to work - but Unruh radiation in its original meaning is just the form of light. Note also, that the explanation of inertia with inertia (radiative pressure) of some radiation is merely sort of circular reasoning. Therefore I wouldn't overestimate the physical logic of QI/MiHsC theory based on Unruh radiation in comparison to MOND theory, neither the explanation of the "non-adjustable" parameters of your theory with it.

For me both your theory, both Milgrom's theory undoubtedly represent progress in physics, but their conceptual difference is IMO smaller than you would probably like to have. But for us - the rest of physicists - it's always good to have some competition..;-) Whereas MOND is already elaborated into its relativistic form (MOD), the derivations of yours are more straightforward and they have been applied to wider range of phenomena - so that everyone can choose what he likes more.

Josave said...

According Milgrom, Modified Inertia versions of Newtonian Dynamics are non-locally theories, and so MiHsC is.

But this doesn’t mean that Unruh radiation (remember, a quantum paired generated photons) need to be superluminal. You just only need that every photon received is an entangled versions of a distant paired one. And Unruh radiation is entangled by its nature... good starting point.

I am actually visualizing that a proper framework of Unruh generated radiation integrated all around horizon is the key for Mike’s Theory, and the role of distant entanglement is paramount…

Mike McCulloch said...

Zephir & Josave: You both made interesting points about the non-local properties of Unruh radiation. I am trying to explain the MiHsC process as a more non-local, informational one. I'd be interested in your opinion of my recent paper here: https://arxiv.org/abs/1610.06787

Zephir said...

Mike, every theory or model explaining inertia should also explain the gravity or at least show, why/how they're equivalent. And gravity is local effect nonrelated to any distant information horizons.

Zephir said...

BTW The original MiHsC theory uses diameter of Universe i.e. light speed and Hubble constant as a main parameter (in similar way like the MOND theory). Once this parameter can be expressed with uncertainty principle and gravitational constant, it would mean that only Planck constant and gravitational constant would be required for complete estimation of the speed of Universe expansion, not to say about quantum gravity effects. It points to the local i.e. geometric effect of expanding space-time illusion.

Zephir said...

Tension in the Hubble constant: H0 = 67 or 72? - which value would look more correct by using of your derivation?