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I'm concerned at Meta posts such as this one. That's where a poster claims that an answer to a physics question is "evidently wrong within standard peer reviewed physics" when it isn't. Indeed the answer concerned (mine) refers to the Einstein digital papers to support its case:

"An atom absorbs or emits light at a frequency which is dependent on the potential of the gravitational field in which it is situated".

That answer now has 10 downvotes, but there are no comments explaining why it's "evidently wrong within standard peer reviewed physics". Nor are there any other answers which would inform the reader as to why it's evidently wrong. That's because it isn't, because Einstein was correct. Since one of the aims of physics stack exchange is to be searchable and be a basis for physics questions on the net, a large number of negative votes for a correct answer makes an absolute mockery of the site. A random searcher will assume the negative votes mean the answer is most definitely incorrect, and will assume other answers with a large number of upvotes are correct, even when they're definitely wrong.

I've felt this has been a problem for physics stack exchange for some time. I see correct answers with very few upvotes, and incorrect answers with lots of upvotes. It's as if we have some posters who firmly believe that what they think is correct, regardless of any lack of references or references to the contrary. They then come out with statements to the effect that this is the mainstream view when actually it's a popscience view based on a rather peculiar mixture of arrogance and ignorance. It surely cannot be good to give free rein to people who don't understand say relativity and allow them to conspire to downvote and demerit or even censor correct answers, then bully posters into removing acceptance flags whilst refusing to address the physics.

Perhaps some moderation would be reasonable to address this? I see a lot of expert posters who are ex posters, and I think that this issue is the reason why, not the many questions from non-experts. Another solution might be to make a list of discrepancies or contested answers and actively discuss them to flush out the issue of what's right and wrong. Without any action, I fear physics stack exchange is in a downward spiral wherein it drives away expert posters and peddles and promotes ever-more popscience misinformation. What to do? Your answers please. Perhaps there's nothing that can be done. Science is not a democracy, all the upvotes in the world won't make a wrong answer right and vice versa. Perhaps the stack exchange model is simply not suitable for science.

Edit: It's been 4 days now, and still nobody has addressed the physics. I rest my case.

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    $\begingroup$ Can you provide some more examples of answers you feel have been subjected to the same treatment as your linked one? If this is indeed a large problem, a lot more data would be helpful so it can be addressed in more detail. It would also, I think, make this seem less like a rant because of how your answer was received and a bit more of a serious concern for the site's well-being, which is what we all want. $\endgroup$ – HDE 226868 Dec 13 '16 at 20:26
  • $\begingroup$ @HDE 226868 : I'll furnish some. But I'll do it later, after you've had a chance to assess this test issue. If I do it now I fear it will open up the debate so much such that my point will be overwhelmed by x opinions on y answers. $\endgroup$ – John Duffield Dec 13 '16 at 21:03
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    $\begingroup$ But...what is your point? You seem to be claiming that there is "arrogance and ignorance" on physics.SE that leads to a major problem with people downvoting correct answers. HDE is requesting actual data to substantiate that claim, because otherwise there is just no issue to discuss here. Also, the examples should preferably not be your own answers because then the only arrogance in sight is that you think your answers are correct. $\endgroup$ – ACuriousMind Dec 13 '16 at 21:29
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    $\begingroup$ Note also the "follow the leader" or "bandwagon" effect. A few people think your answer wrong and downvote. Later, some others see your answer and assume it is wrong because it is downvoted and downvote it themselves. $\endgroup$ – Kyle Kanos Dec 14 '16 at 11:12
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    $\begingroup$ Also referencing basically only Einstein shows a level of ignorance for the last 100ish years worth of development in SR/GR that is probably worth downvoting (not saying it's justified, but a lot of kooks reference just Einstein without regard to anything more modern). I guess it is nice that you're intimately aware of the works, but it's not 1930 anymore, is 2016 and a boatload of work had gone into developing the theories that you might want to consider becoming more familiar with (enough to reference it) $\endgroup$ – Kyle Kanos Dec 14 '16 at 11:17
  • $\begingroup$ @ACuriousMind : my point is that physics stack exchange is burdened by posters who upvote incorrect answers and downvote correct answers, so promoting popscience misinformation, driving away expert posters, and harming physics stack exchange plus physics at large. To substantiate my claim we need to discuss the physics of a test case. If you (and others) refuse to do because you're the expert and you can't possibly be wrong, we're back to square one. As I said to HDE I'll furnish more examples, but later. $\endgroup$ – John Duffield Dec 14 '16 at 13:40
  • $\begingroup$ @Kyle Kanos : yes, I've noticed the bandwagon effect. That's another issue, one for another day. As for SR/GR, whatever changes there have been are not sufficient to claim that Einstein was wrong. That's the heart of the issue. It's wider than Einstein of course, and hard scientific evidence is more important than some quote. But when a poster dismisses what Einstein said without justification because it's "evidently wrong within standard peer reviewed physics", then Houston, we have a problem. $\endgroup$ – John Duffield Dec 14 '16 at 13:52
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    $\begingroup$ @JohnD: I don't dispute that modern SR/GR indicates Einstein was wrong and never claimed as much either; all I pointed out is that it makes you look like a crackpot, cf. your widely-cited John Baez's UCR page Crackpot index. All you need to do is find references from the last decade, instead of quotes from some long-dead scientist. $\endgroup$ – Kyle Kanos Dec 14 '16 at 14:16
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    $\begingroup$ @JohnDuffield Your question is not answerable without more examples because otherwise there is as of yet no evidence that this isn't just a one-time problem. To substantiate your claim, we need to discuss the case you provided, but other ones, too. When I clicked on this question yesterday, I expected to find a well-reasoned, example-driven discussion question. An incredibly negative, insult-driven post is not what I had in mind. $\endgroup$ – HDE 226868 Dec 14 '16 at 14:48
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    $\begingroup$ @JohnDuffield Just because a convenience store was robbed doesn't mean that a city's experiencing a crime way. If 10 convenience stores are robbed suddenly, that's an indicator of a problem. You've tried to show that one store was robbed. Find me 9 more, written by different users, and I'll be more convinced. $\endgroup$ – HDE 226868 Dec 14 '16 at 17:15
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    $\begingroup$ @JohnDuffield the physics of this single example are absolutely not central. Either this is a one-time occurence, in which case I honestly think we should all just move on - or it is a general problem and the general problem needs to be discussed - without the physics of the single incidences involved ... $\endgroup$ – Sanya Dec 14 '16 at 23:28
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    $\begingroup$ You investigate a robbery when something of value has been stolen, @JohnDuffield. Currently, all I can see is that someone pinched a Mars Bar. You don't go down to the police station and tell the chief to start an investigation over that. I'm no longer willing to waste my time on this; good luck finding someone who will. $\endgroup$ – HDE 226868 Dec 15 '16 at 16:52
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    $\begingroup$ It's telling that even this comment thread has spiraled into a discussion of the merits of continuously referencing Einstein, when this should a priori be essentially unrelated to the issue this question pretends to address. $\endgroup$ – Danu Dec 16 '16 at 17:18
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    $\begingroup$ Questions on meta with score < -8 are automatically hidden from the front page; I very much wish they weren't but (and I asked) there isn't even a mechanism for mods to turn the hiding off. I can undo my (currently locked-in) downvote, because I see the hiding as undue censorship, if you edit the question (in the understanding that I still completely disagree with your point of view). $\endgroup$ – Emilio Pisanty Dec 16 '16 at 22:50
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    $\begingroup$ It's been 4 days now, and still nobody has addressed the physics. I rest my case. Why would anyone do so? The entire post is asking "What to do?" about what you perceive is a problem with voting habits on your posts. If you want to "address the physics," then you need to post the explicit question on the main site. $\endgroup$ – Kyle Kanos Dec 19 '16 at 16:37
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In the specific case at hand there are indeed comments on your answer, as well as there are other answers that are somehow more complete and address all the corner points of the question (maybe not all, but more).

What I would expect from an answer to a question in physic would be at least a minimum amount of calculus to support the claims in the framework where the question takes place; that seems to be lacking for that specific case, as well as for some other links to answers of yours that you have provided. On the other hand, instead, it seems that your argument is to always take only one principium primum (conservation of the energy for instance) and blindly apply it with little to no context: especially for areas like quantum mechanics or general relativity, that are indeed quite complicated from the mathematical point of view, one has to be careful to all details, to the integrations paths, to the convergence of the integrals, to the self-adjointness of the operators and the like, otherwise the application of the principle itself makes no sense. In general relativity this often leads to wrong conclusions and I suppose this is what is meant by "evidently wrong within standard peer reviewed physics". Those conclusions lack the precision of the details and as such are misleading and should be downvoted.

Moreover the idea of providing this one reference of this one author or citing this one very famous physicist is a wrong approach to the scientific method. Something is either correct or not, no matter who the person is to claim it. Einstein has marvelously contributed to modern physics, but he is no better to be considered than any other physicist who do their job on a daily basis.

Coming to the second part of your concern

I see correct answers with very few upvotes, and incorrect answers with lots of upvotes.

I strongly agree that the peer review on this exchange is not the best and we regularly have mediocre answers with too many upvotes. Perhaps the entire idea of accepting an answer does not really work on physics, as in most cases the original poster knows little to nothing to distinguish the good from the evil.

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    $\begingroup$ Note: That accepting "correct" answers by single users is maybe not appropriate for scientific sites was brought up years ago both here and on mother meta, yet SE wasn't and isn't going to change their code base for that. $\endgroup$ – ACuriousMind Dec 15 '16 at 2:03
  • $\begingroup$ The only comments at the time were from Andrew. That's not much compared to 10 downvotes. As for calculus, I beg to differ. Scientific evidence supports a claim. Such as the scientific evidence of gravitational time dilation. The frequency of a distant pulsar appears to increase when you go lower. You know this is because you and your clocks are going slower, not because the pulsar changed. It's similar for light. I'm surprised that you and others are so quick to dismiss Einstein and the evidence. But I'm not surprised that we still don't have any answers here that tackle the physics. $\endgroup$ – John Duffield Dec 18 '16 at 15:14
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    $\begingroup$ @JohnDuffield Nobody is dismissing Einstein, rather people are questioning the "call to Einstein" to justify misclaims. I personally have a very hard time understanding what you claim to be evidence in situations with little to no context, but it might just be me. Moreover people do tackle the physics in comments and answers to your questions but all you do is arguing that it isn't true without using any calculation, only based on evidence that noone except you has experienced: at this point the only thing left to do is downvote if you are unwilling to explain with standard maths. $\endgroup$ – gented Dec 18 '16 at 15:47
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    $\begingroup$ The ultimate example is the very "infamous" question of yours: physics.stackexchange.com/q/273032/84488. Many professional physicists who are around here did in fact correctly answer the question in many places elsewhere: your refusal (or ignorance) of the topic created a crackpot that professionals stayed away from, obviously. That is exactly the reason why, at some point, people don't bother anymore - don't say that we don't discuss the physics: we actually do but you refuse it and create some pseudo-science that to my personal taste is nothing but a sad display of this exchange. $\endgroup$ – gented Dec 18 '16 at 16:01
  • $\begingroup$ You're dismissing the evidence as well as Einstein, and you're changing the topic and being rather abusive to avoid facing facts. Why do you see that pulsar frequency increase when you go lower? Why do you see the frequency of the descending light beam increase when you go lower? Answer: gravitational time dilation. You and your clocks go slower when you're lower. You changed when you descended. The pulsar didn't increase in frequency, nor did the light beam. That's not pseudoscience. That's general relativity. $\endgroup$ – John Duffield Dec 18 '16 at 16:24
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I’m going to post this as a separate answer because it’s not a direct answer to the question. However I think, or at least I hope, it addresses the underlying problem that has led to your post.

The crux of the matter is that the theory of relativity taught to today’s physics students is not the same as the theory that Einstein developed in 1915. Yes the core principles are the same, but in many ways the theory has been changed to the point where Einstein would hardly recognise it. Ironically the main developments happened at around the time Einstein died, i.e. starting in the mid fifties, so he never saw them and whether he would have approved or not we can never know.

Incidentally there is a nice article on this subject on the web site of the Max Planck Institute.

The point is that the physicists answering questions today have been taught modern relativity and not the 1915 theory. Your position seems to be that the 1915 theory is sacrosanct and that any answer that deviates from it is wrong. Well, you’re entitled to your opinion but no-one taught modern relativity is going to agree with you, and when you post answers that contradict what modern students have been taught those answers are going to be downvoted.

Your going in point in this question is that Anna V was arrogant and ignorant (your words) to post a question here stating that an answer of yours was evidently wrong (her words). I agree that Anna could have chosen her words more sensitively, but the fact of the matter is that your answer does not accord with modern relativity while the competing answers from me and Rob Jeffries do. The result is that everyone taught from a modern textbook (i.e. everyone) downvoted your answer and upvoted my and Rob’s answers, and this is a pattern we’ve seen consistently.

I’m not going to say who is right and who is wrong because I don’t think that’s particularly useful. What I will say is that your steadfast conviction in the 1915 theory places you in a minority of one, with the consequences that brings. We can proceed on that basis, but it will inevitably mean your answers are consistently downvoted.

How you wish to take this forward I will leave to you, but relativity has changed to make it more powerful and easier to learn and use, and no-one taught modern relativity is going to go back to the 1915 theory. However you personally may feel about this that is the way things are and they are not going to change.

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  • $\begingroup$ "I’m not going to say who is right and who is wrong because I don’t think that’s particularly useful". Phooey. That's the crux of this issue. Send a 511keV photon into a black hole and the black hole mass increase is 511keV/c². Because that E=hf photon did not gain energy or increase in frequency. But those who peddle popscience bad-science lies to children will not address this. When they're contradicted, with references, instead of talking about the physics, they'll downvote the answer to oblivion instead. Not good. $\endgroup$ – John Duffield Dec 18 '16 at 16:01
  • $\begingroup$ And please do note that the OP is not a thinly-veiled attack on you. It's in response to anna's call for censorship of correct physics. $\endgroup$ – John Duffield Dec 19 '16 at 19:08
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First of all, there are always multiple reasons for downvotes. Your answer begins with

I'm not quite clear what you're asking

I did not downvote your answer, but to me, an answer from someone who's not sure of the question might in general be downvoted because I think it's a bad starting point to answer a question. Further, referencing some paper in a peer reviewed journal does not make the claim true. There has been wrong stuff published in peer reviewed journals by good scientists and we all know it. This cannot be the only criterion for scientific correctness.

Just for the record, I want to state that I have no background in GR and absolutely cannot comment on the physics of the question involved.

But deviating from your example, which as you said, is just an example and not the main issue: Would it be a problem if people without the necessary understanding of the physics involved kept on upvoting the wrong answers? Absolutely, yes. I do not want to deny that this does happen - wrong answers or answers without the adequate rigor or bad answers getting accepted and voted up while better answers stay unread, things like that. The question is - is it a widespread problem on this website? And to me, and I think to most of the users of the website, it does not seem like it - a small nuisance at most, probably not even that in most cases. I do assume that because I have not heard it brought up often. Therefore, what you will need to do is to provide us with examples to convince us of the issue. For the broader audience, it would probably help if they are a bit more accessible than general relativity (or does the phenomenom maybe only take place in that area?).

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    $\begingroup$ "referencing some paper in a peer reviewed journal does not make the claim true" this, above all. $\endgroup$ – gented Dec 14 '16 at 13:00
  • $\begingroup$ If you have no background in GR and can't comment on the physics, one has to ask whether you have a background in electromagnetism or TQFT etc. Or whether you've looked back and noted the expert posters who are ex posters. Can you judge other examples? Can you really know that it's a small nuisance at most? Don't persuade yourself that this merely concerns some paper in a peer reviewed journal. The issue here is posters claiming Einstein was evidently wrong within standard peer reviewed physics. If I can't get you or anybody else to face up to that, you won't face up to anything. $\endgroup$ – John Duffield Dec 14 '16 at 14:28
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    $\begingroup$ Please read me carefully - I have written that it seems to be a small nuisance at most because people rarely complain about it. Furthermore, I do not believe in authorities in scientific debate. Either an argument convinces me or not - it is of no consequence whether it's put forward from a Harvard professor or a Bachelor student. $\endgroup$ – Sanya Dec 14 '16 at 16:05
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    $\begingroup$ Furthermore, you will have to concede that full blown GR is too much for most physicists even after their studies while SR, QM, Classical Electrodynamics are pretty standard. These are topics where I would expect more people to be able to judge. $\endgroup$ – Sanya Dec 14 '16 at 16:07
  • $\begingroup$ The evidence is the authority in scientific debate. And the evidence says energy is conserved. From this you should be able to deduce that when you send a 511keV photon into a black hole, the black hole mass increases by 511keV/c². From that you should be able to deduce that the descending photon doesn't get blueshifted, and that the ascending photon doesn't get redshifted. From that you should be able to deduce that Einstein was right. From that you should be able to deduce that "evidently wrong within standard peer reviewed physics" is not. That shouldn't be too much for anybody. $\endgroup$ – John Duffield Dec 14 '16 at 17:10
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The question of how to decide what is right and wrong in science is a vexed one and always has been. The current approach is peer review, but of course the problem is how to select the peers. Eminent scientists have been wrong in the past and will be wrong again, so ultimately no-one’s judgement can be trusted without reservation.

In the academic publishing world the editors of journals will select reviewers who have at least proved they can satisfy a PhD panel that they have a reasonable grasp of the subject, and preferably have a track record of well cited publications. This doesn’t mean the reviewers will necessarily be correct in their judgement, but it means they are more likely to be right more of the time than people less qualified.

The bottom line is that no review is utterly reliable, but we expect that most reviews will be mostly reliable most of the time, and this is probably the best we can hope for.

The difference between an academic journal and this site is that here the peers are self selected. Anyone can join the site and (subject to some very low reputation requirements) vote and comment on content. This makes the votes (up and down) a less reliable method of peer review than traditional academic peer review. The various deficiencies of the voting system have been mentioned in other answers so I won’t go into them here. In any case I want to make a different point:

The best form of vote is to post an answer yourself

A vote takes only a second to post. A comment takes a bit longer, but comments are short and there is a temptation is to be cavalier in comments because they can’t be downvoted and they can be deleted without trace in case of embarrassing blunders. But an answer takes time and effort to write, and by posting it you are publicly exposing yourself to the judgement of the site users.

So when a site member posts an answer contradicting some other answer that is the most effective form of peer review - far more effective than just clicking the up or downvote buttons. This is my own personal stance. If I disagree with an answer to the extent that I want to downvote it I will look to see if there is a better answer, and if there is no better answer I will post one.

When competing answers exist this makes it far easier to judge their relative merits. What matters is not the absolute values of the votes received but the comparison between the votes on the two or more answers. The voting process is still subject to the sort of statistical scatter described in other answers, but to that scatter will affect all answers and to some extent even itself out. There is a further statistical averaging by looking at multiple cases where members of the site have posted contradictory answers. And of course site members can look at the profiles of the answerers to judge how well respected they are in the community.

The point of all this is that I content that:

  1. the voting system is (about) as good as it can be under the circumstances

  2. the way votes are used on competing answers is a good way to judge posts

  3. the PSE is not in a downward spiral wherein it drives away expert posters and peddles and promotes ever-more popscience misinformation

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Well, first of all, I want to make it very clear that I'm not going to get involved with the topic that is the root of the rant-like part of your question. That there is what we call a "no win" scenario. I'm not touching it.

So let me, instead, address what is the face of your question. Namely, how to combat arrogance and ignorance on the site.

Arrogance is defined as having or displaying an undeserved amount of pride in oneself. Acting like you're smarter, faster, stronger, or a better air guitar player than most would agree that you actually are. To some extent, this means that most people you come across will have some degree of arrogance about them. It's only natural that people tend to see themselves in a more positive light than others do. It's true, in this medium, the most common form of arrogance you will encounter is people who sees themselves as much smarter than any empirical evidence would support; this can sometimes be a big problem. I do not mean to say that it is a big problem for us when one person is being arrogant; I mean you will find a large number of people around here who are arrogant in this way (myself included. But I'm the almighty Jim, so my undeserved sense of self pride is completely deserved). This manifests itself in many ways. You will find those that stick to their initial beliefs about a topic, regardless of what references say. You will also find those who stick to what their favourite references say, regardless of what the actual mathematics (which trumps any reference like it was a presidential election (I hate that Donald has ruined the word "trump" for me (Yes! An aside within an aside within an aside. Inception!))) or even more modern references (which have the advantage of hindsight over some of the older, big-name references) might say.

The problem that is most likely going to be debated in the comments below until I no longer care about this discussion for the exact same reasons as what I'm going to describe later on is this.

That sentence makes sense.

That is not the problem; I'm just saying that previous sentence actually makes sense. Go ahead, read it through again, I'll wait.

The problem is that there is no universally true indicator for when you are being arrogant. I could say that any time it seems like pretty much everybody is against you and you aren't changing your opinion because you see yourself as right while everyone else is wrong, then you're being arrogant. While I consider that a true statement, it doesn't change the fact that there are times in history where everyone has been wrong except for one person and it's nearly impossible to tell if the lone fighter is actually correct. That said, they're still arrogant because they see themself as smarter, or more logical, than everyone else, which I guarantee you is not true about anyone on Earth. However, it's tough to self-identify when you are being stubborn out of pure arrogance or because you are actually right.

Similarly, it's exceptionally tough for a group of people to overcome the collective arrogance of "We're right because there's more of us". What? No. That's really not the way it works. Statistically, you have higher odds of including the correct answer or noticing a mistake in a larger group of people, but that doesn't make it necessary.

Okay, so both sides of any deadlock are probably being arrogant, but both can't be right (both CAN be wrong). True, here's a few possible ways to deal with arrogance:

1) Accept that they're arrogant and work around it. We all have faults, forgive them and be patient.

2) If you can't get past it in a professional manner, just back off and avoid engaging them on that subject. That might mean that occasionally you have to go "I'm not going to argue about this" and let them think they've won, but you can keep giving your reasoning and conclusions when asked for them.

3) If it's a common cause for disagreement and you have to work through the issue to coexist, try arguing with yourself. Take on their point of view (you need to understand what it is first) and argue with yourself against your own point of view (here's the important part) using their style of arguments. If they are using math, you have to use math to argue their points. If you end up at a point where you're pretending to argue their side with "It is right because I say so, even though your reference says otherwise", then you're doing it wrong. You're being arrogant there and failing to be open-minded to another's perspective. Don't feel bad, we all do that every day of our lives. If you can reach a point where you make good arguments for them, then you know how to argue against them. Use that, because nothing combats stubborn arrogance like using their own arguments against them. An arrogant person can't argue with themselves.

As for ignorance (right? That last part took a while). Ignorance is the choice (conscious or subconscious, either one) to ignore facts. If people are going to be ignorant, there's one easy solution: ignore them. If it's the entire community, then you're in the wrong place and you need to "get the hell outta dodge". That's it.

Now serving number 286.

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Oh, the agony of questions like these.

Arrogance, meh. Physicists have certainly worked through enough degrees and years of maddening "when will I ever get my PhD?" craziness that, while it does sound incredibly fun, also is very difficult. Everyone knows that physicists are the best anyway (at least according to xkcd1).

Einstein is rolling over in his grave2 right now. How do I know this? I don't. But please, don't use his name as a banner of righteousness, because it's not. Einstein was, in fact, wrong3 (::gasps::). Besides, as Sir John Rennie's answer so nobly points out, general relativity circa 2016 is not the same as general relativity circa 1905. I know that it is shocking that science advances but, you know, it does.

You know, I was reading the other day (I wasn't, really, but I need to set up this joke somehow) and I found an incorrect arxiv paper! I think arxiv isn't suitable for science! And neither is Elsevier, or any of the other journal publishers! And neither is stack exchange, because every once in a while there is a downvoted but wrong answer! It all makes a mockery of science and life in general! Exaggeration! Hyperbole! Exclamation points!!!5

I've kind of fulfilled my sarcasm quota for the day (yes, this was sarcasm. shocking, I know) so I'll end this now. Except for footnotes, because everyone loves footnotes.


1 fields by purity

2 Well, actually, he was cremated, but whatever.

3 For instance, he initially rejected the Big Bang, fudged out the cosmological constant...great (wo)men make mistakes too.4

4 Yeah! Footnote in a footnote! Anyway, as Kyle Kanos points out, the cosmological constant was added back in, but Einstein made the mistake originally (and called it one of the biggest blunders in his life). Just to clarify.

5 Seriously though, just because something is wrong in some spots doesn't mean it is completely wrong. Otherwise we'd probably give up on physics itself. (Ahem, Newtonian mechanics, I'm looking at you.)


If someone is truly bothered by this admittedly very sarcastic (eh, probably overly sarcastic) answer, do let me know and I can remove it. This was merely to point out the comedic aspect of this question and its answers, and hopefully to make you grin at least a bit.

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  • $\begingroup$ A more interesting case of Einstein making mistakes (also highlighting some interesting features of the peer review process) is his run-in with Phys. Rev. over gravitational waves. See this good review (paywalled but scihub-able if you don't mind doing that), or these slides by the author. $\endgroup$ – Emilio Pisanty Dec 17 '16 at 16:56
  • $\begingroup$ Fantastic! Heather, I wish you would write more answers in this subgenre. $\endgroup$ – Dawood ibn Kareem Mar 31 '18 at 21:51

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