RECIPROCAL SYSTEM DATABASE Status Report: An Aperiodic Blog

October 21, 2012

Update: Critical Rejoinder to RationalWiki Article on Dewey B. Larson

Filed under: Science — transpower @ 8:04 pm

Step-by-Step Refutation of the “” Nonsense Article About Dewey B. Larson


Ronald W. Satz, Ph.D.


[Comments are in square brackets.]

“Dewey Bernard Larson (1898-1990) was an American engineer best known for developing a Theory of Everything known as the “Reciprocal System.” Most of his writing dates from the 1950s and 60s and predates much of the Standard Model of physics, which effectively nullified many of his claims. However, Larson still maintains a strong and passionate following among a few cranks who think that they’ve stumbled upon some great secret body of knowledge.

[Dewey wrote well into the 1980’s.  Followers of Larson are not cranks; we are scientists and engineers.  The Reciprocal System is a perfectly legitimate theory of physics.  The theory is all over the World Wide Web and so anyone interested in it can have it.]

None of Larson’s work was ever published in any peer-reviewed scientific journal.[1] The only evaluations of Larson’s work were performed by known supporters of the Reciprocal System, and have an alarming tendency to use the word “published” when they really mean “uploaded to a WordPress blog.”[2]

[Asimov published an evaluation of Larson’s work.  Many others have.  All work done on the Reciprocal System  is peer-reviewed by the world-wide Reciprocal System community, just as all work done on the various Relativity theories and Quantum Mechanics theories are peer-reviewed by their respective communities.  Any mistake found in a deduction from the Postulates will be corrected!]

Because Larson was nothing more than a lone crank, his Wikipedia page was deleted for the non-notability of the subject.[3] The article in question was entirely a piece of fancruft, based largely on a biography of Larson hosted by his supporters.[4][5]

[Larson was not a lone “crank.”  He was a super-genius.  The mind-numbed robot who wrote the above paragraph is just another clueless dunce on the planet.  Larson has thousands of intelligent supporters.]


The reciprocal system

Larson is best known – which is still “practically unknown” by most other standards – for his “reciprocal system” as an alternative to everything that every physicist has ever said about the nature of reality. A flyer[6] for the 30th conference of the International Society of Unified Science (the society set up to worship Larson) describes the reciprocal system as follows:

Conventional science considers space and time to be a framework in which the drama of the universe is played out, in manifest form. The thesis of the Reciprocal System, however, is that the universe is not a universe of matter, but a universe of motion, one in which the basic reality is motion, and all entities—photons, particles, atoms, fields, forces, and all forms of energy—are merely manifestations of motion.Space and time are the two reciprocal aspects of this motion, and cannot exist independently. They have no significance except to establish a common reference in describing phenomena. Velocity is a relation of space per unit time; with energy being the inverse relation of time per unit space. We observe space as being 3-dimensional, but space does not exist without time, therefore time must be 3-dimensional as well. It is this discovery that opened the door to the quantum world, and the configuration space inside the atom, as a direct result of the basic postulates of the Reciprocal System of theory:

  • The physical universe is composed of one component, motion, existing in three dimensions, in discrete units, and with two reciprocal aspects, space and time.
  • The physical universe conforms to the relations of ordinary commutative mathematics, its primary magnitudes are absolute, and its geometry is Euclidean.

By developing the natural consequences of these postulates, Larson creates a theoretical universe that bears an uncanny resemblance to the universe we observe around us.

[“uncanny”? Ha!—if the Postulates are physically correct, then if correct reasoning is applied to them the deductions will be in accord with the facts of reality.  Tens of thousands of deductions have been made from the Postulates and have been shown to in harmony with the facts.  Of course, once in a while, a mistaken deduction is made, but when found, the mistake is corrected and the work continues.]


One of Ron Satz’s equations. Donald Knuth is rolling in his grave and he isn’t even dead yet.


[The equation makes perfect sense in Mathcad.  It shows how the gravitational force is a function of speed, and so there is no need whatsoever for the curved space nonsense of General Relativity.]

One of the most striking features of Larson’s work, and the source of tremendous criticism, is his almost total lack of any mathematics anywhere to be found amongst his books.[5] This is particularly galling to most mainstream scientists who view equations as essential for making the numeric predictions required to match theory with experiment – experiments that tend to punch out numbers, such as transition frequencies, absorption coefficients, energy ratings in particle accelerators and so on. Yet Larson avoids doing any rigorous mathematical analysis at all. It’s not entirely sure if he just sucked at the subject (though his biographies claim that he had a “gift” for mathematics) or genuinely thought it wasn’t needed. Certainly, the lack of it in his main reciprocal system theory causes a lot of scientists to scratch their heads when figuring out exactly what observations he’s saying to expect for the theory to be right.

[Larson was concerned with getting the physical concepts right.  But:  the Reciprocal System is thoroughly quantitative from the beginning, providing the natural units of space, time, mass, and every other physical quantity.  This makes the Reciprocal System different from—and much than—Quantum Mechanics, etc., which do not have natural units.  I have created a database of Reciprocal System calculations–do you think you could do one using Quantum Mechanics?]


However, that doesn’t mean the Reciprocal System has been without any mathematics. Ron Satz has extended and computerised Laron’s “System” and even produced equations that might lead to predictions – none of which Satz seems keen to actually use. While Laron’s publications are long text walls, Satz’s work often features pages upon pages of badly formatted equations. This usually renders his work completely unreadable because of the ambiguity in what constants he’s using and how these equations fit together – at worst, some of them fall off the page so can’t be read even if you can somehow translate it all into something recognisable to a mathematician or engineer.

[All of Satz’s papers are available as PDF’s.  Mathcad does not automatically wrap text; it puts text past the right margin  at the bottom of the paper.  This is not Satz’s fault.  Anyone can print the papers and then arrange the pages.  Most of the formatting is perfectly fine.]


In late 2011, Ron Satz (currently Larson’s main torch-bearer for the Reciprocal System) appeared on the Bad Astronomy and Universe Today Forums (BAUT) to discuss the theory and doubts about modern physics.[7] While initially met with an understandable “not another theory-of-everything crank” response, the discussion settled into what the Reciprocal System would predict in the behaviour of electronic devices. With such a testable statement then satisfied, one enterprising member of the forum actually tested it with easily obtainable equipment – something Satz seemed at a loss to try himself.

[Satz did in fact repeat the experiments himself.  Is there any other “Theory of Everything” which can be used to calculate all of the properties of matter?  I think not!]

 The situation is best summed up by the final post in the thread:

While we’re waiting for the end times, it’s probably worth summarizing the plot so far, for future readers happening upon this thread. Transpower/Ronald Satz gave us a specific, easily tested prediction of RST. In short, RST (hereafter called “Wrong Theory”) says that the time constant of a resistor-capacitor circuit depends on charging voltage. Conventional theory (hereafter referred to as “Correct Theory”) says that the time constant is voltage-independent. RST’s prediction was based on the erroneous solving of a non-existent energy conservation paradox stemming from Satz’s ignorance of Correct Theory.Cutting through the haze of word salad, cjameshuff ran a simple, dispositive experiment that falsified RST. He did in a few minutes what Transpower never bothered to do, what RST adherents never did in 30 years of working on Wrong Theory. The effort to carry out the experiment was certainly much, much less than Ronald Satz hiimself expended in writing the paper on capacitors that Papageno somewhat unkindly, but accurately, dismissed.Simply put, RST is a failed theory. Satz introduced fundamental errors based on a misunderstanding of Correct Theory. Now scientists make mistakes all the time, but Satz absurdly never bothered to test the predictions of his Wrong Theory, despite having worked on RST for approximately three decades. He did not recognize that essentially the entirety of electronic devices would simply not function if he were correct. The able functioning of multiple billions of computers, cellphones, radios, televisions, clocks and the like show us that Satz and RST are not only wrong, but overwhelmingly so. Cjameshuff’s experiment puts the exclamation point on that conclusion. Anyone with an open, critically thinking mind must come to the same conclusion.


[Simply put, conventional theory fails and CJamesHuff is a failed experimenter.  In cgs units, capacitance has dimensions of cm and the dielectric constant is considered to be non-dimensional.  As in other theories, the Reciprocal System makes use of cgs units, as well as SI units.  Because of this, it was long thought that capacitance in the Reciprocal System would also have cm as the unit.  But Satz’s experiments showed in fact that the dimensions of capacitance must be s^3/t, not just s, and the dimensions of the dielectric constant or permittivity are s^2 / t.  If R = t^2 / s^3, then RC, the time constant comes out to time, t, as it should.  So:  Satz corrected previous Reciprocal System work in capacitance—but the cgs unit still has not been changed by the conventional physics community!]


Not too long after, a BoN appeared on RationalWiki to assert that, because they were electrolytic capacitors, the experiment totally didn’t count.[8] Quite why seems to be curiously absent – such as specification wasn’t cited by Satz and cannot be found in the (like Larson’s work, extremely long) paper proposing how the Reciprocal System would predict capacitors to act[9] but it did magically appear after the BAUT forum tore into Satz’s work.[10] By June 2012, Satz had finally got around to doing some experiments that showed RS theory to be wrong, though despite his mentor Larson constantly insisting throughout his books that you should abandon ideas if they don’t match experiments, Satz didn’t give up on RS theory, and seemed more intent than ever to hammer it into reality in any way possible.[11]

[Electrolytic capacitors have equal and opposite charges, and so it was thought that this would affect the experiments.   But:  capacitors are known to be neutral, so how could charged electrons be stored within a capacitor?  Conventional theory has no answer to this.  Satz’s experiments with electrolytic, vacuum, and ceramic capacitors all verified that capacitance has the dimensions s^3 / t and that energy conservation holds in the well-known two capacitor problem.  Conventional theory maintains charge conservation; the experiments disproved this.  The voltage of capacitor two is always higher than that predicted by conventional theory—there is much less of a voltage drop than predicted.  The Reciprocal System has been vindicated by these experiments, whereas the conventional nuclear theory and electric theory of matter have been disproven.]


Flip-flopping and non-falsifiability

While Satz’s rapid goalpost moving over capacitors highlights his attitude, perhaps the most striking involves faster-than-light neutrinos. In 2011, neutrinos were spotted traveling faster than light by the OPERA experiment, which fired the particles between Geneva, Switzerland and San Grasso, Italy. Satz had this to say on the subject, jumping on the story pretty quick:

News Flash (10/01/2011): Dr. Satz’s new paper, “Theory of Faster Than Light Neutrinos,” is now available–this solves the conundrum of the recently-reported CERN[12] experiment which shows that neutrinos can move faster than light. Only the Reciprocal System is capable of providing the solution! (emphasis added)

So, the reciprocal system explains the observation – so evidence for Larson’s work, and something that would make even quantum mechanics and the standard model tumble to nothing. Shame that, not long after, the results failed to be replicated and after several other ideas it was revealed to be most likely due to faulty wiring providing the timing equipment with a bit more of a delay than expected, hence the results. So, were Satz’s equations and the Reciprocal System suddenly made redundant because of these new observations? Hell no, the only thing traveling faster than light were Satz’s goalposts:

Update: Another experiment has shown no such effect–however, again the Reciprocal System provides the answer – the retest, material neutrinos, rather than cosmic neutrinos, were used, and these cannot go faster than c in the material sector. (emphasis added)

[That’s right; it’s hard to distinguish cosmic and material neutrinos; only cosmic neutrinos would show faster than light speed through matter.  The equations in the paper obviously apply only to cosmic neutrinos.  The theory and the experiment must be describing the same situation for their to be a valid comparison.]


The Case Against the Nuclear Atom

Larson’s 1963 book (self published, from what anyone can tell of the origins of “North Pacific Publishing, Portland”[13]) entitled The Case Against the Nuclear Atom proposes that the Rutherford model of the atom is wrong, and that the conclusions brought about by the Marsden-Geiger experiment were equally consistent with an atom the size of the atomic nucleus that is surrounded by energetic force-fields. In the book he actually dismisses quantum mechanics as an attempt to change established laws of nature (classical mechanics) to fit with a concept that was unfounded to begin with (the Rutherford model). The short version is that Larson would be absolutely correct if the Marsden-Geiger experiment was all we knew about the atom and subatomic particles, but it isn’t.

While he was writing only a few years before the Standard Model of physics came along to more fully refute his claims, he seems to very casually toss out all the successes of the quantum mechanical electron and what it has done to successfully predict more or less all of chemistry, even by the 1950s and 1960s. The book itself is mostly a tl;dr rant about critical thinking, and in fact doesn’t postulate any experiments, equations, or testable ideas of any kind to back up his own model – he simply asserts that it fits equally with the evidence (except where it doesn’t) and if you “think critically” it should come out as self-evident.

[Satz published the details of a modified Rutherford experiment which would settle this issue.  Fire neutralized alpha particles at the gold foil.  The Reciprocal System predicts that there would be basically the same scattering—because the scattering is not Coulombic.  Quantum Mechanics/nuclear theory predicts no scattering for this case–or at least something very different.]

It briefly got some attention in the 60s in a couple of review columns of engineering news journals. It even came to the attention of Isaac Asimov. Often cited by Larson’s advocates[14] is Asimov’s praise for the book’s ability to act as a critical thinking exercise:

As an iconoclastic work, Larson’s book is refreshing. The scientific community requires stirring up now and then; cherished assumptions must be questioned and the foundations of science must be strenuously inspected for possible cracks. It is not a popular service and Mr. Larson will probably not be thanked for doing this for nuclear physics, though he does it in a reasonably quiet and tolerant manner and with a display of a good knowledge of the field.
—Dr Isaac Asimov, Chemical and Engineering News, July 29, 1963

Less often quoted, however, is Asimov’s conclusion with the book, and its rebuttal to many of its points regarding the nature of electrons, although a full copy is hosted on[15] Asimov concludes:

If no electrons exist within the atom, as Larson suggests, I do not see how the photoelectric effect can be explained. From this I conclude that however stimulating Larson’s book might be as an intellectual exercise, it need not be taken seriously as anything more than that.
—Dr Isaac Asimov, Chemical and Engineering News, July 29, 1963

[In the Reciprocal System, atoms can harbor electrons—but they are not constituents, per se, of atom.  The whole conventional development of all these pathetic electron shells, their jumping from shell to shell, the so-called “strong nuclear force”, and all the rest of the nonsense has been completely swept away by the Reciprocal System.  It should actually be a relief to the physicists to discard these bizarre theories.]



Larson’s works include The Structure of the Physical Universe (1959), The Case Against the Nuclear Atom (1963), Beyond Newton (1964), New Light on Space and Time (1965), Quasars and Pulsars (1971), Nothing But Motion (1979), The Neglected Facts of Science (1982), The Universe of Motion (1984), and Basic Properties of Matter (1988).

His fan Ronald W. Satz also summarises Reciprocal Theory in The Unmysterious Universe (1971).


[The Unmyterious Universe is still the best introduction to the theory.  :)]

 Last Updated 10/24/2012

Leave a Comment »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: