RECIPROCAL SYSTEM DATABASE Status Report: An Aperiodic Blog

December 27, 2011

Response to a Washington State University Faculty Member

Filed under: Science — transpower @ 4:28 am

[Comments interspersed by Dr. Ronald W. Satz.]

From a Washington State University faculty member:
Re: Is Dewey B. Larson for real?
Date: Wed Jul 28 12:12:18 1999
Posted By: Jeff Brown, Faculty, Astronomy, Washington State University
Area of science: Astronomy
ID: 933033011.As

I’d never heard of Dewey Larson before your query. There are places which seem to indicate that the fellow did really exist (though he is now deceased) and published half a dozen books in the 1950’s through 1980’s, all of them based on what I will politely call nonstandard physical theories. I also hadn’t previously heard of “The International Society of Unified Science”, on whose WWW site his works seem to appear. I can’t find anything about either Larson or the Society which is not of their own authorship, except that lists Larson’s books as out of print — which at least means that they did exist at one time.

[Larson’s books are still in print. They are also available to be read on-line for free. Yes, the Reciprocal System is “non-standard”–that’s because it is a new paradigm.]

I wouldn’t go so far as to label them a hoax at this point, but what I read on their sites about astronomy is sadly out of date and incompatible with observations now. What I read also leans heavily on vague double-talk, with a dearth of quantitative predictions concrete enough to be disproven. There are hand-waving comments, but very few predictive numbers, and a careful selection of comments from old scientific literature to convey an inaccurate impression of large-scale ignorance, confusion, and contention among the mainstream scientific community which they purport to settle. These are known, standard tactics for people trying to “sell” a fringe idea which is either questionable or outright wrong.

[The Reciprocal System is completely quantitative, right down to the basic quantities of space and time. Simply read the free papers on and see for yourself.]

I did find a couple of clearly and demonstrably incorrect claims despite the vagueness of most of their presentation. I limited myself to the work on stars, because I know that best. Example 1: in their view of stellar evolution stars begin as red dwarfs (low surface temperature, low luminosity) and as they grow older their density, temperature, and luminosity increase, culminating in an explosion. I’d want to see numerical predictions of the history of the Sun: how old it is, how its luminosity has changed with time, how fast it should be changing now, and so on. We know from the fossil record, however, that the surface temperature of the Earth hasn’t changed very much over the planet’s history, and since this temperature reflects at least partially the energy input from the Sun, the solar luminosity can’t have changed by very much either, maybe a factor of two. That sounds like a lot, but the red dwarfs which are the supposed early stage for the Sun are thousands of times less luminous than the Sun is now. This kind of luminosity is incompatible with the geologic record.

[The Reciprocal System says that stars increase in mass as they move up the Main Sequence. See the Table below–the observational data is in complete accord with the theory.]

Example 2: the prediction is made that hotter and brighter main sequence stars are denser than the cooler and fainter ones; this is directly contradicted by observations of stars. We can estimate masses and diameters of stars in some binary star systems in which the two stars happen to take turns blocking our view of each other — these are called eclipsing binaries. By taking repeated spectroscopic observations of the stars we can work out the the orbits of the stars around each other. This involves using the Doppler effect (see here, among many other places on the web, for something about it) to tell how fast the stars are moving — this same physical effect is used by radar “guns” to measure the speeds of stars, and then using three of Issac Newton’s inventions, calculus and the laws of motion and gravitation, to solve for the orbit. (There’s a nice description of binary star orbits here. Many of the properties of orbits were discovered by Kepler when analyzing observations of the planets; Newton developed the physics and mathematical tools for understanding why those are.) The orbit tells us how fast the stars are moving, so using that and timing how long the eclipses last tells us how big the stars are (that is, their diameters). The orbit also tells us how much mass there is in the system (the more mass, the more gravity, and the faster things move). Once we have both the mass and the diameter of the stars, then we know the density as quickly as we can do the geometry problem of computing the volume of a sphere when given its diameter; density is equal to mass divided by volume. Once you’ve done the measurements, the numbers indicate that among main sequence stars the hottest, most luminous stars have the lowest density, while the cool, low-luminosity dwarfs have the highest density.

[Again, see the Table below. The conventional astronomers have the sequence upside down.]

Example 3: In some of the stuff “worked out” about the structure of the Sun and the nature of sunspots, the implication is clearly made that the oblateness of the Sun (that is, how flattened the Sun’s disk appears to us) should change over the course of the 11-year sunspot cycle, in the sense that it should become more oblate as the cycle progresses and sunspots appear at lower solar latitudes. This also is directly contradicted by observations: the oblateness of the Sun is constant over time within the accuracy of our measurements.

[All that Larson says on this matter is “The origin of these spots is unknown, but no doubt they are initiated in some manner by the energy production process. Hence they may be giving us an indication of the variations in the output of that process that would be expected from the periodic changes.” (Universe of Motion, p. 62).]

There are certainly other problems with their work. I picked out three items that I spotted quickly and could refute in a short amount of time.

[You haven’t refuted anything.]

In my view, rather than merely a hoax, this is more likely to be the product of one or more sincere crackpots. There’s no shortage of these in the world (it’s rare for most astronomy departments to go a month without getting a letter or monograph from one), and it has to be admitted (as one of my favorite editors once observed) that some crackpots have highly methodical cracks in their pots. (There’s a great editorial in the October 1980 issue of Analog magazine about crackpots it you’re interested in seeing other aspects of them.) Sincerity of belief is all that separates the crackpot from the fraud, however, and history is full of examples of people adhering to ideas that turned out to be very wrong.

[No, we are real scientists and engineers. Mainstream science has been taken over by the fruits and nuts who have given us the nuclear theory of the atom, Quantum Mechanics, the Big Bang, neutron stars, quarks, black holes, and other assorted irrational nonsense. All of these theories involve singularities–but this contradicts the accepted philosophical principle that there can be no singularities in nature.]

[The Reciprocal System says that stars slowly progress up the Main Sequence, not down.]

                                                  Star Spectral Classes for the Main Sequence
Star Type             Color                 Approx. Surface Temperature                      Average Mass (The Sun = 1)
O                            Blue                                    25,000 K                                                                       60
B                             Blue                                    11,000 K                                                                        18
A                            Blue                                      7,500 K                                                                           3.2
F                             Blue to White                      6,000 K                                                                           1.7
G                            White to Yellow                  5,000 K                                                                           1.1
K                            Orange to Red                   3,500 K                                                                              .8
M                           Red                                   <3,500 K                                                                              .3

(Data from

Update:  This professor is currently at Seattle University; he seems to change jobs quite often.  He seems to be sincere in his belief in the conventional paradigm, though misguided.  His list of papers shows that he’s mostly concerned with the chemical composition of stars, and so there’s probably little to find fault there.  On the other hand, he doesn’t realize he’s teaching his students all kinds of irrational, illogical theories and therefore miseducating them.  Pehaps he simply doesn’t have a sufficiently high enough IQ level to understand the Reciprocal System.


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