Talk:Hilton Ratcliffe

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What Has No Place Here[edit]

"He believes that the fact Patrick Moore wrote the foreword to his book is a 'measure of the esteem in which he is held'. While Moore was respected by the scientific establishment, he was not a professional astronomer (something Ratcliffe fails to mention)."

There is so little of informational value and objectivity within this remark, I consider it entirely worthless. I want it removed. I want editorial interference to stop immediately.

By the numbers ...

1. Yes, Patrick Moore wrote the foreword to one of his two books, "The Static Universe".

2. Rational Wiki is openly calling Hilton Ratcliffe a liar for not going out of his way to explain that the man who wrote the forward to "The Static Universe" was not a professional astronomer. Is it not possible that the author did not consider the rich educational background of Patrick Moore to be such a problem that it had to be defended?

3. This bio article is supposed to be strictly about its subject, Hilton Ratcliffe.

4. If any editors here are so seriously challenged by the English language that they are unable to follow my meaning, I respectfully yet strongly recommend that they cease taking any active part in this page.

DSN (talk) 13:37, 20 January 2014 (UTC)

Umm, no. There's no "open" (explicit) accusation that Ratcliffe is lying. The intended meaning of the first sentence most probably was that he was using an appeal to authority. The second sentence points out that Patrick Moore is not a relevant authority, with the implication that a foreword by Moore is not an endorsment of Ratcliffe's views by mainstream science. Perhaps the sentences are too terse and need to be expanded to make this more clear, but it requires a serious willingness to find any fault to see it as some kind of "libelous namecalling" and "hateful trivialities".
As for your third point: a) "supposed" by whom?, and b) are you seriously suggesting that no other person should ever be mentioned in an article about Ratcliffe?
You seem to be under the impresion that this is Wikipedia, or that RationalWiki is operating under the same rules. It is not.--ZooGuard (talk) 13:57, 20 January 2014 (UTC)
I've rewritten the two sentences and removed the parenthetical statement. If you have pointed it out in the very beginning or removed only that part, this "conversation" could have been very short (and you wouldn't look like a pompous blowhard). I'll also make sure to bring the article to the attention of the users who deal with "non-standard physics". Have a nice day! :) --ZooGuard (talk) 14:23, 20 January 2014 (UTC)I

I was inaccurate in stating that RW is explicitly calling the subject a liar. RW is implicitly (yet unmistakably) calling the subject a liar. The dishonest spin you try to put upon this situation cuts no ice with me. Thank you for rewriting the article better but that was not my reason for complaint. Since you do not care at all about committing libel, staying on topic or being concise, I will further point-out that the entire mention of Patrick Moore writing the foreword to one of Ratcliffe's books seems quite contrived to me. I imagine that if another of his colleagues and friends (such as Dr. Steven Weinberg) had written the foreword instead, the editors here would have hypocritically considered it too trivial to mention. Patrick Moore is mentioned here only as a means to try to discredit Ratcliffe ... which is a cheap shot. I never meant that only Ratcliffe can be mentioned within this article but anyone else needs to be important.DSN (talk) 15:37, 20 January 2014 (UTC)

Ah, but Radcliffe is the one who makes so much of Moore's forward going as far as to claim the book is a collaboration with Moore. When you look at what Moore actually wrote it is a less than overwhelming endorsement. Rather he says that Radcliffe's claims should be studied before being rejected. For reference
The instinctive reaction of many readers will be to give a sad smile, close the book and discard it. This, I submit, is precisely what should not be done. Hilton’s theories, wildly unconventional though they may be, are backed up by what he regards as convincing evidence, and before rejecting them the reader must surely examine them very carefully indeed. It is easy to see that a tremendous amount of research has gone into the book.
Note the phrase "what he regards", not "what I regard". Moore is careful to distance himself.Placeholder (talk) 15:45, 20 January 2014 (UTC)
To be a little clearer
  • There is no doubt that Ratcliffe and Moore were friends
  • From Ratcliffe's speil he claims that the Static Universe was conceived after a discussion in Moore's study. I see no reason to disbelieve this
  • However, he then goes on to claim "Hilton Ratcliffe's second book, written in collaboration with iconic British observational astronomer Sir Patrick Moore" - in collaboration implies that Moore was some sort of co-author, albeit that Moore's name does not appear as author.
  • Moore did, indeed, write a forward for his friend's book.
  • However, much as Ratcliffe uses this forward to claim the "collaboration" the bit he quotes on the back cover - shown above - does not endorse Ratcliffe's views.
So, Ratcliffe is doing everything he can to gain credence by linking himself with Moore. However, when investigated closely, Moore clearly distances himself from Moore's views. As such it is Ratcliffe who is spinning. Furthermore, much as Moore is a respected astronomy advocate he is, at the end of the day, a television presenter. I see no reason to change our article. Placeholder (talk) 16:10, 20 January 2014 (UTC)

Legitimate or not?[edit]

So leaving aside anything about Moore, there are some serious issues with Ratcliffe's "science" that this page definitely should recognize. First off, his ideas are very much in opposition to mainstream physics, and while I can't say whether the scientific community "respects" him, the fact that he has never published in any top tier (or even mid tier journal), and the fact that he collaborates primarily with two other individuals who primarily disagree with the scientific establishment (OK Manuel and Michael Mozina) is concerning.

Paper on Sun-surface CNO cycle

The article is correct in stating that the static model of the universe is an outmoded theory, mostly abandoned by the scientific community. I also agree with the removal of the material related to his "discovery" of the CNO cycle on the surface of the Sun. His paper has been published, and I've read it, but for those without journal subscriptions, here's the arXiv link. There are two main issues with this paper, which are as follows:

  1. It's published in the "Journal of Fusion Energy", which is a Springer journal devoted to public policy research on nuclear fusion energy. This is not the appropriate journal for this material at all.
  2. Its editor-in-chief is Stephen O. Dean, president of the non-profit group "Fusion Power Associates". I cannot find any papers he has published, which makes me wary (but isn't immediately a black spot), but reading some of his commentary and looking into his organization, I have to question the journal's repute. On the scale of physics journals, publishing in this one is not something the scientific community respects, at the very least.

The paper also seems to jump to conclusions with little explanation, pointing out that spectroscopy data on a solar flare taken from NASA "supports" the presence of a CNO cycle on the Sun's surface. Note that there's already a perfectly viable scientific explanation for this phenomenon, and the CNO cycle is not it. Also note that the paper suggests that some of the collected data "may contain an important historical record of climate changes related to sunspot activity".

Ratcliffe and other contributions

He has had two other "major" contributions (i.e. papers that weren't simply records of conference proceedings; though it's worth noting that the conference proceedings were also dubious at best). One contribution was to the Journal of Cosmology (enough said), titled "Anomalous Redshift Data and the Myth of Cosmological Distance". As you might imagine, it's hardly mainstream science, and certainly isn't respected by the scientific community. The second contribution is another paper in the Journal of Fusion Energy, entitled "On the Cosmic Nuclear Cycle and the Similarity of Nuclei and Stars" (arXiv link here).

Neutron repulsion and you!

At first, this last paper confused me. I made the silly mistake of assuming that "neutron repulsion" referred to the well understood concept of degeneracy pressure in neutron and white dwarf stars (short explanation: the Pauli exclusion principle in quantum mechanics actually exerts an outward pressure on fermions, which is strong enough to counteract the force of gravity in neutron stars and white dwarf stars; black holes are stars in which gravity > degeneracy pressure, causing collapse). This is sound science, and is well and solidly based in elementary quantum mechanics. Alas, no. The concept of neutron repulsion seems to be the brainchild of OK Manuel, and posits that it actually produces more energy than stellar fusion. You may read the arXiv paper on the subject here. So this idea, in and of itself, is pretty far out of mainstream itself, and it seems to be related to Manuel's status as a scientific "truther". Read at your own peril:

As an expression of gratitude for 50 joyful years of “truthing” since starting research in 1960, I was pleased to accept the invitation to review evidence of neutron repulsion and its implications for the evolution of life. It will be shown that life and atomic nuclei have evolved together on opposite sides of the Sun’s opaque photosphere.

This is taken directly from his paper. Ratcliffe's paper uses this "concept" to try to argue that black holes are unnecessary and don't need to exist, which is a baffling position.


... Actually, I think the above speaks for itself quite well. - Grant (Talk) 16:20, 20 January 2014 (UTC)