Unexplained Phenomena

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Unexplained Phenomena.png
Unexplained Phenomena.png
People love to focus on how smart we are, and what we know. And that's fine and all. I love what we do know. But to keep one humble, it helps if you remember that there's stuff out there that we don't really know, some we understand what happens but not why it happens, and some stuff we may never really understand. A lot of this is just stuff we can't test, so can't understand. Some is stuff we can test, but still don't understand. The scientific method is great and all, but some things might be bigger than us. I'm OK with that. I'm just not OK with pretending we know things that we really don't.

Examples include: 18 items

  • Variable Speed of Light - Cosmic constants are supposed to be constant -- it's what our math is based on. The speed of light (C) is a constant. Until it isn't. We've had experiments and observations where the speed of light just isn't quite as constant as it should be (and the same for some other radio waves). But that kind of blows Einstein theories up, but also just about everything from the size of the universe, timing of the Big Bang, and so on.
  • Tetraneutron - A hypothetical stable cluster of four neutrons, that can't be explained by current models of nuclear forces: yet observations in 2001 suggest this particle exists.
  • Spontaneous human combustion - SHC sounds like bigfoot, or just cases where someone fell asleep with a cigarette in their hand. But there are legitimate cases where someone wasn't smoking, we don't know how ignition started, or it happened fast and spontaneously (hence the name). Humans do contain sparks, fuel and oxygen, just not in mixtures that should go, "foomp!" Yet there's too many cases where it seems to have happened to ignore completely. There are hypothesis for many causes, but it's still something that appears to have happened, and we just can't adequately explain.
  • Sonoluminescence - This is the emission of short bursts of light from imploding bubbles in a liquid when excited by sound. Why does THAT happen? There's some theories, and a lot of head scratching.
  • Quantum mechanics - While Quantum mechanics is a field of science, it's often about just studying probabilities and behaviors in things that are very small, and that we don't understand. We can observe the results and map them (and predict them, with some probability), but that's not the same as understanding why it happens. Why does light/electromagnetism behave both as particle and a wave? How the fuck does quantum entanglement work and why? What is the medium or speed at which gravity travels? How can things be in multiple (or undefined) states, at the same time? We get that they are, but not why they are, or how it fits together. For now, we're just observing magic and speculating on why it happens. (Ants pondering an airplane).
  • Placebo Effect - This is something we talk about, but rarely think about: I can give you an inert substance that still heals you, just because you believe it will work or want it to. Think about that a second. It shouldn't work medically/scientifically, but it does, and is well documented. That means mind over matter works in medicine: and we're not sure why.
  • Mpemba effect - Some experimenters noted that hot water freezes faster than cold water -- others scoffed and it was sort of ignored by scientists (beyond earlier philosophers and observations) until 1963, when it was proven true. It still defies logic and physics a bit. We have theories why it might happen, but no proof (or conflicting evidence) as to the actual cause.
  • Kuiper Cliff Mystery - Why Does The Kuiper Belt Suddenly End? We understand mathematically why the Kuiper Belt exists: it was modeled before it was observed. But the model predicts it will continue, instead it just stop (drops off dramatically) and has been called the Kuiper Cliff. There's theories as to why (like one or more un-found planets, scrubbing the region), but for now, it's still a puzzle.
  • Hessdalen lights - These are unexplained lights observed in the Hessdalen valley in rural central Norway. There's lots of photos and witnesses, but no good (or at least proven) explanation.
  • Hastatic Order - In 2013 heavy-fermion uranium (URu2Si2) was cooled to nearly absolute zero, and it produced unexplained heat, then when cooled the particles were arranged in a way that hints hastatic order: the breaking double "time-reversal" symmetry.
  • Extreme-energy cosmic ray - EECR's are these cosmic rays that shouldn't really exist -- their energy should dissipate. So the fact that they exist, near us, (though are rare), hints that we don't know something.
  • Earthquake light - This sounds like bullshit, but many people have described (or photographed) a weird light in the sky at or near areas of tectonic stress, seismic activity, or volcanic eruptions. This earthquake light (EQL) has no known explanation for how it could happen.
  • EM Drive - There's this drive that should not work (the EM Drive or RF resonant cavity thruster), basically, it breaks the laws of physics (conservation of momentum and conservation of energy), yet it appears to work anyways, in a few experiments that NASA and commercial agencies are taking seriously enough to invest more time in. But there's some debatable experimental error: so this is more a question mark than an exclamation point.
  • Dark Matter and Dark Energy - Both are something we can't measure or observe (they're dark to us), but our equations don't balance if we don't pretend they're out there. (Dark Fluid is a unification of them). So we assume that 22% and 74% of the Universe (respectively): 96% of known space is something we just can't see -- or the universe doesn't make sense. But who said the Universe has to make sense? What if there are places where dimensions beyond our understanding are interacting with ours? Science is sometimes 3 blind men describing an elephant. They're each right, but that doesn't mean they get the gestalt (whole). And fudge factors like this, are more an excuse than an explanation.
  • Dark Flow - This is a little contested, but there appears to be some velocities in the cosmos that aren't explained by the Big Bang (and it seems to pool in certain areas/times). Like there was something out there before the big boom. Well that kind of screws with our understanding of everything. But again, our equations don't balance.
  • Cold Fusion - While it is mocked by the uninformed or misinformed because of a failed but hyped example (Fleischmann–Pons experiment in 1989), there is still something there that we don't quite understand. And there are a few scientists that are studying low-energy nuclear reactions (LENR), or condensed matter nuclear science (CMNS): basically Cold Fusion. Because of scientific snobbery, they have to work a bit more covertly, but they have private and government funding because we are able to observe effects that we just don't yet understand.
  • C-value paradox - This enigma is things like a Salemander can have 40x more DNA than a human, and a human can have the same as a tomato: genome size and organism complexity are uncorrelated.
  • Ball Lightning - This is something that scientists were skeptical of for centuries, despite thousands of people reporting it. Then in 2014 we got photographic evidence. The reason science was so skeptical about it, was because they didn't know what, why or how it could happen. And we still don't.


The point is the line between science and religion can get a lot fuzzier than some people think. If you can't observe it or prove it, but you just have to believe it is there, then that's faith and faith is the basis of religion. Most people that argue something from science, can't do the math, haven't done the experiments or even read papers that adequately explained it (or they didn't understand it), so for them, it's religion (belief in what someone else is telling them). So I don't mind that faith. I mind people of one faith condescending to another faith, for doing exactly what they are doing in the first place: that's called Hypocrisy.

So on something like Climate Change, if you've put it the time to research this and understand the claims well, and I'm fine with them having an opinion. If they're average Climate Change Advocates (with no basic understanding of the math/physics or arguments), deriding others who have a far deeper and more technical understanding of the problems, then the real problem is the formers Dunning-Kruger (or igno-arrogance, or teenager know-it-all effect). The more you know, the more you understand how little we really know. The culmination of learning isn't arrogance, it is often humility.

4 Stages of Scientific Discovery.png

Some folks idealize science and give it a credit for objectivity and integrity that it doesn't deserve. But like politics, business, industry, school, and research, it’s made of people. People have egos, frailties, emotions, blind-spots, bigotries and so on. So if someone is claiming that science is pure and that scientists follow the scientific method, they're in denial... or so deep into a belief system of faux objectivity in science, that they might as well belong to a cult.

The 4 stages of scientific discovery are:

  1. Denial in its existence
  2. Denial in its significance
  3. Misattribution to who did the work
  4. Refutation