E-mail — The Final Straw

Having tired ofbaiting 419 scammers I set my sights a little higher and aimed at an actual published author.

Well, not really. I was directed to The Final Theory, I think by a Google ad. It’s a dreadful book. I’ve only read one chapter and the website, because I’m simply not willing to pay him any money, but that was enough to get the basic idea. He’s pedalling a bunch of pseudo-scientific gibberish (that any scientist could disprove in less than four minutes) as cold hard fact and without a shred of irony, and not only that, but he’s actually stupid enough to give out his email address on the same website.

Well, I figured that is as good as inviting debate, so I started one.

From: Andrew Taylor Mailed-By: gmail.com Reply-To: Andrew Taylor To: MARKM@thefinaltheory.com Date: 06-Jun-2005 15:20 Subject: Just one question I'm a physics student, and I'm always interested in new theories, particularly controversial ones, but I've been flipping through thefinaltheory.com, and I've noticed quite a range of errors in your science, most notably your repeated assertion that gravity should require a power source, and your claim that scientists don't know how magnets cling to fridges. I can explain both these things rather simply, so I'd just like to know why I should buy a book claiming to refute major scientific theories authored by a man who clearly doesn't understand them. Solving the great unanswered questions is an amazing achievement, but solving the great answered questions is less impressive. Of course, misunderstanding one theory doesn't necessarily stop anyone coming up wioth a different one, so I'm intruiged by what theory you could have come up with, but I can't bring myself to buy a book that might just be bad science aimed at spinning out a profit, because I'm dead against that kind of behaviour. Andrew

I didn’t honestly expect a reply, but I got one all the same. If just goes to show how little power positive thinking has after all:

From: Mark McCutcheon To: Andrew Taylor Date: 09-Jun-2005 02:20 Subject: Re: Just one question Thank you for your inquiry, Andrew. First, I would suggest that you download the first chapter from the website and give it a read. The answers that you feel you have to the questions I pose are, of course, the same "answers" we are all given in school. I show that these are not actually answers at all, but diversions that have clear flaws themselves on closer examination. However, see what you think after reading the first chapter, and if you don't agree then this book probably isn't for you. You may even be able to get ahold of the book from your local library if expense is your main concern -- I know that it has become popular enough to be carried by many libraries at this point. Best regards, Mark McCutcheon

“The same “answers” we are all given in school”? You mean the correct answers? Yeah, them’s the chaps.

From: Andrew Taylor Mailed-By: gmail.com Reply-To: Andrew Taylor To: Mark McCutcheon Date: 09-Jun-2005 15:43 Subject: Re: Just one question If by "school" you mean a four-year physics degree course, then yes, I learned physics in school. It seemed pointless to discover everything from first principles when a lot of people far smarter than I had done the legwork for me. I have indeed read the first chapter of your book, and you may be interested to know that I have, just this minute, PROVEN, from first principles, geometry, and the observed speeds and distances of planets in our solar system, that K does indeed equal GM. I did it on a side of A4, with plenty of space to spare. You might wish to write to the people who bought your book and let them know that that is no longer the "unsupported and arbitrary assumption" you say it is. If you want to save some money on stamps I could prove some other things to you and you could send them all out at once. Andrew

Oddly enough I never heard from him again.

There’s another (much longer) email discussion with him here, in which he abjectly fails to convince David Ruske that his theory explains orbits. As far as I can tell, Ruske is absolutely right and Mark McCutcheon’s theory is (a) an interesting diversion but not an actual explanation of anything much, and (b) the same theory put forward by several other people, at least one of whom is a cartoonist and not a scientist, but it’s hard to say for certain without actually reading the book, which as I mentioned I’m not willing to do unless I can find a copy for free.