The Return Of Radiation Man

>> Tuesday, October 21, 2008

There's been all sorts of madness going on over the past week the blog John The Scientist shares with CW, Refugees From The City.

The real start of the whole mess can actually be found months and months ago, when two gentlemen, Walter L. Wagner and his mysterious sidekick Luis Sancho asked a Federal District Court Judge in Hawaii to issue a restraining order to prevent the Large Hadron Collider from going online. The case was dismissed for the fairly obvious reasons that Europe, where the collider (and, more importantly, CERN, the international European scientific organization in charge of the collider) isn't in Hawaii, and the mere fact that the United States sold some ginormous electromagnets to CERN and asked to watch what happens didn't give the District Court jurisdiction over them, either.

Why does Mr. Wagner hate the LHC? Well, the short and simple answer--ironically, this is the short and simple answer--is that Mr. Wagner and a lot of other people who like physics but don't really understand it as well as they think they do have latched onto the notion that the LHC will spontaneously generate black holes, which will destroy the Earth, and all of their stuff. (The idea that maybe CERN physicists also keep their stuff on Earth and might have a vested interest in not destroying it, seems to escape these concerned citizens.) The longer answer is that Mr. Wagner seems to have a history of... well, we'll come back to that in a bit.

The fact that Mr. Wagner put the court, and CERN, and any number of interested scientists (including Nobel laureates like Sheldon Glashow) to all sorts of trouble, and along the way raised such a fuss that some poor teenage girl in India killed herself out of LHC terror has put out enough people to complain about it, and John The Scientist wrote a blog post about it, "Response," in which he took Mr. Wagner and the CERN opponents to school. I'll go ahead and mention now that that Wagner has spawned a number of other blog entries that are worth reading, from Janiece Murphy's earthy "'Tard Of The Week: Walter Wagner" to Jim Wright's saltier "Walter L. Wagner, Pitifully Insane" to MWT's typically sober "Summary Of The Debunking Of A Crank"; if I missed anyone, I apologize, but the ground zero for all of this was at Refugees, because it was at Refugees that Wagner apparently personally showed up to repeat himself.

No, not exactly defend himself. Repeat himself.

He was preceded by fans, who informed John's readers that Wagner is an expert chess player. Nobody understood how that made him a physicist. And it just got silly from there. A Wagner supporter insisted that Wagner was "Dr. Wagner," based, it turned out, on the assertion that Wagner had a law degree--a Juris Doctor, which (trust me, speaking as an attorney) no lawyer considers a "real" doctorate, name notwithstanding. And then there was Walter himself, insisting that experience as a radiation safety officer made him a physicist, or his undergraduate minor in physics made him a physicist, or maybe it was--I am not making this up, go read the thread at Refugees--the fact, or at least claim, that he, Wagner, had aced the math portion of a standardized test that all teachers in California must pass to be certified. No, seriously, Wagner said this. Or there was the fact he was a researcher on a mid-'70s cosmic ray experiment the results of which have been fundamentally questioned--that is, as a student, he sat with a microscope looking at tracks in plastic blocks that had been floated into the stratosphere by a balloon, and if he saw something he'd point it out to one of the recognized physicists in charge, and as it happens what they thought they'd found they apparently hadn't, to make a long story short. Then there was Wagner's publication history: a published article in Scientific American that turned out, upon further inspection, to be (wait for it) a letter to the editor.

Now, the thing that turned out to be really funny about Wagner insisting that these achievements--which might even be notable ones in a more modest and honest individual--qualified him to do Big Physics was that his claims begged to be dug into. And that was how some of us (well, me, actually, but MWT sort of called my attention to it) noticed this in a New York Times article about Wagner's latest crusade:

Mr. Wagner, who lives on the Big Island of Hawaii, studied physics and did cosmic ray research at the University of California, Berkeley, and received a doctorate in law from what is now known as the University of Northern California in Sacramento. He subsequently worked as a radiation safety officer for the Veterans Administration.


...which inevitably led to a search for the University Of Northern California in Sacramento. Which leads to this Wikipedia disambiguation page, which has two entries: an engineering school and an unaccredited law school that was founded four years after Mr. Wagner claims to have graduated from whatever law school he's talking about. "Unaccredited" means a California resident can't take the California State Bar without taking another test first, and a lot of state Bars won't have a grad from an unaccredited school sit for the test at all. Which is significant because Mr. Wagner eventually claimed, in the Refugees thread, that he actually had taken a Bar (although he says he's not a lawyer now) and even practiced law, although the timeline he sets forth for himself gives about fifteen months, at the very outside, during which he could have practiced. If he practiced. As of this writing, Mr. Wagner can't or won't specify whether the law school he attended really was the University of Northern California, Lorenzo Patiño School of Law, or some other school [WAGNER'S LAW SCHOOL HISTORY IS A BIT STRANGE, SEE UPDATE BELOW], or when he sat for the Bar and in what state.

The most interesting thing about Mr. Wagner's practice of law, however, is that it isn't mentioned in any of the articles about him, not in the Times article, nor the East Bay Express article about another Wagnerian crusade--to save Californian babies from cancer induced by household uranium.

Yes, Wagner's mission to stop the LHC from destroying the world isn't Wagner's first crusade to save the world. It's not even his second. In 1999 and 2000, Wagner filed suits to shut down the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider at Brookhaven National Laboratory, which has now been not-destroying-the-world for nearly a decade. And then, after that, Wagner embarked on a quest to eliminate uranium-glazed tiles from households all over his home state of California, described rather hysterically in this East Bay Express article dated August 27, 2003, "Catching Rays With Radiation Man," which is absolutely worth a read--for the laughs, if you're new to Wagner, and for the déjà vu if you've been following the LHC controversy. Here's Wagner's much slimmer 2003 bio, per the Express:

Walter Wagner grew up in the farming town of Salinas, and left for UC Berkeley in 1970 as a biology student....

As a young lab assistant, Wagner got his first chance to handle radiation.... A man of his times, Wagner enlisted in the No Nukes movement, and worked for antinuclear activist Helen Caldecott. But after college, he reevaluated Caldecott's mission. Sounding much like his own critics today, Wagner says the activist's ideologies veered into the fringes of reason, and that her fear of what she didn't know--how radiation and nuclear energy can be used safely to advance science, and thus society--left Wagner disenfranchised. "She's got some good ideas, overall, but she blows a lot of her numbers out of proportion," he says. "It was getting harder to follow her."

Wagner never finished his physics graduate work at Cal, but was hired in 1979 as the head radiation safety officer at the San Francisco Veterans Administration Medical Center. His job was to make sure anyone who dealt with radioactivity--from X-ray machines to nuclear medicine--worked safely....

Yet reporting to his government employers also dragged on Wagner's independent streak: "I was told to kiss ass way too much." He left the VA after five years and hasn't worked for another boss since. Instead, he bounced through a series of science-related consulting jobs, and a brief stint as an earth science teacher at Oakland's Arroyo Junior High.

Thanks to "a little bit of money saved up" over the years, Wagner founded two major projects that dominate his time. He oversees an 88-acre botanical garden in Hawaii, and founded the Monterey Bay Perpetual Endowment Foundation for Wellness.


Possibly, of course, the writer got it all wrong. He probably had "law school" written somewhere in his notes and spilled coffee on it.

The Express account is worth a read--one of Wagner's chief techniques, it seems, was to run up to people's houses, Geiger counter in hand, and ask to be allowed to inspect for radiation. Not surprisingly, this technique had limited success. But it's better than that: Wagner is rejected by the experts, uses shaky math, is anxious over vastly improbable scenarios, and manages to piss off a Navy man. It is indeed, as the old joke goes, déjà vu all over again.

The Monterey Bay Perpetual Endowment Foundation For Wellness is a puzzling entity. You can't find it with Google, well, you can't find it as an existing entity on Google, suggesting it was a bit less perpetual than promised. ("You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.") As of 2005, Mr. Wagner was showing up at at least one conference as a representative of the MBPEFW. So, okay, it was at least that perpetual. But when you try to track the Foundation by its last-known address, 2100 Garden Rd, Monterey, CA 93940-5366, you find that the Foundation For Wellness is no longer listed as a business at that address, although there is a listing for Monterey Bay Botanical Gardens--could this be the "88-acre botanical garden in Hawaii" mentioned in the profile of Radiation Man? Or at least an office for the Gardens, since it's obvious from the aerial photograph on Google that there's no 88-acre garden there, in the office complex on Garden Rd.?

Oh, speaking of the Botanical Gardens: I guess now is as good a time as any to mention the indictments.

From The Register UK, "Botanist sues to stop CERN hurling Earth into parallel universe," by Lewis Page, March 28th of this year:

Wagner... founded the World Botanical Gardens in Umauma, Hawaii, and is now embroiled in a bitter legal battle with the Gardens board. According to the Hawaii Tribune-Herald..., he and his wife were indicted last month by a grand jury on counts of identity theft and attempted theft relating to an alleged attempt to obtain $340,000 from the gardens company.

Wagner contends that the couple were owed the cash, having worked for free at the gardens for years. Having been let go, they then sued the company for back pay.

But the company says the pair failed to notify the directors of the action, with Wagner instead serving the papers on his wife as company treasurer--even though she no longer was. The board says that Wagner then appeared in court as a company officer. He was thus able to gain a default judgement in his own lawsuit's favour, all without the knowledge of the Gardens board. It is also alleged that phony promissory notes were drawn up in an attempt to obtain cash from the company.

Wagner told the Tribune-Herald: "The records show we were in fact owed this money. That case is still in civil court. I also have four sworn affidavits that the promissory notes were not phony."


Well. This is understandably a tender area for Mr. Wagner, and I assume his lawyers have told him not to discuss the matter (that's what I'd tell my client): Wagner has threatened to sue at least one blogger for merely quoting the same passage from The Register UK I've quoted here. I certainly wouldn't want to distract Mr. Wagner from his world-saving by embroiling him in a second lawsuit. Especially when it appears, from the State Of Hawaii's Ho'ohiki court information system that Mr. Wagner may be busy perfecting his appeal of the decision against him in his case against the Gardens. (I hasten to add that the Ho'ohiki system doesn't, as far as I can tell, provide access to documents, and so I am merely drawing an inference from the fact that the appeal is being filed pro se after an order of the court granting the Defendant's--the Garden's--request for attorney's fees and taxable costs--winners don't pay.) And there is the pending nature of--I believe it's case number 3PC08-1-000097.

Let me just emphasize: I practice criminal defense. Mr. Wagner is innocent until proven guilty, and the fact that he's under indictment proves absolutely nothing. No inference as to Mr. Wagner's character should be drawn from the fact he's lost a civil dispute and has pending criminal charges arising from the same business relationship. I've represented innocent men, women and even children who were indicted by a Grand Jury only to have their cases thrown out by a judge or jury. This information is merely shared because I've had to go to some work to try to find out anything more about Wagner, and to try to verify the claims he has made; and while I have been unable to verify where he went to law school [I THINK I HAVE: SEE UPDATE BELOW], I have been able to verify some legal experience on his part. That's all.

At any rate, I said I would come back to why Walter Wagner has it in for the Large Hadron Collider, and the reason, the deeper reason is that Mr. Wagner has, for whatever reason, a history of embarking on these crusades where his wisdom and perceptiveness allow him to realize a significant threat that the entire scientific community, and eventually the entire legal community, disagrees with. Does he like the attention? Does he have this desperate urge to be a superhero? Is it something else? I have no idea. All I can say is, here's what I've learned of the man. I leave you to draw your own further conclusions, and merely ask you to be temperate in your comments--after all, it is quite possible that Mr. Wagner has done reckless and damaging things out of a deep-seated conviction that he is the lone hero standing against an indifferent or actively hostile world, and the welfare of every man, woman and child in California or the world depends on Wagner; that would be a thing to be pitied and wondered at, and so I would suggest we all (myself included) try to muster humility and restraint, no matter how difficult Mr. Wagner sometimes makes it, no matter how comical or insulting his efforts may be.










UPDATE 2008-10-21, 12:55 PM: Mr. Wagner hasn't made this easy. According to Classmates.com, Mr. Wagner started at the McGeorge School Of Law, an accredited school, and finished at Lorenzo, an unaccredited school. So why didn't Mr. Wagner just come clean?

Well, because this is the Google search results page for "McGeorge Law School Walter Wagner" as of this date and time:



Notice the first item, an article from the September 26, 1977 issue of People magazine: "Walter Wagner's Bizarre Courtship: After 21 Months, Gail Morton Has Him Jailed for Harassment"; the title, sadly, sums up the story fairly well. Wagner allegedly began to stalk a fellow student, Gail Morton, leaving unwanted gifts (including, for some reason, his birth certificate), making unwanted phone calls, pounding on Ms. Morton's door for 90-minute stretches, and otherwise wearing out what little welcome he'd begun with. Here's how Mr. Wagner's law school career ended, according to People:

Wagner dropped out of McGeorge and enrolled in another law school in Sacramento to repeat his first year....

Gail went to lawyers only six months after his advances began but got little help. Wagner hadn't broken the law, they said. One suggested she hire someone to beat him up. Then last fall she finally won a civil-court injunction barring Wagner from mailing her anything, telephoning her, following her or appearing within three blocks of her home or school. When Walter brazenly came back to the McGeorge campus anyway, the school had him arrested.

Since then Wagner has been convicted in civil and criminal court of 17 counts of contempt. He is free on $10,000 bail pending appeal of the civil conviction, after serving eight of 75 days in county jail. At his sentencing this week on two criminal counts, he could receive up to a year and a $1,000 fine.


It didn't end there. In 2001, per the 2005 decision in Wagner v. Flippo, (No. C 05-02863 JSW; LEXIS citation omitted):

On the morning of November 9, 2001, Ms. Morton appeared in the Santa Clara County courthouse on client business. She overheard a man asking one of the bailiffs if he knew of an attorney named Gail Morton; when she looked over, she recognized Plaintiff as the inquirer. Plaintiff later drove down to Monterey, the city where Ms. Morton resides, and appeared at Ms. Morton's parents' home. He identified himself as "Zahaenya Wagner" and asked to contact Ms. Morton. That evening, Plaintiff telephoned Ms. Morton's father and left a telephone number where he could be reached. The next day, before leaving Monterey, Plaintiff left his business card at a shop adjacent to Ms. Morton's workplace, and asked the shopkeeper to deliver the card to Ms. Morton in order to make sure she received it.


(internal citations omitted)


A footnote in the opinion adds, "Plaintiff admits to the truth of the facts underlying Defendants' criminal complaint against him."

Ms. Morton notified the police, who tracked down Mr. Wagner and arrested him. "At the time of his arrest, Plaintiff was in possession of several knives and a list containing the names of all of Ms. Morton's coworkers," we're told. However, it seems the prior 1977 injunction against Mr. Wagner had been dissolved in the early 1980s by mutual consent, and the criminal prosecution against Mr. Wagner was dismissed with prejudice by the court.

Mr. Wagner, apparently not knowing when to leave well enough alone, took his victory, spun around, and filed a civil rights action against officials of the State Of California, which was dismissed in the opinion quoted from, above.

And that's how I found out where Mr. Walter Wagner attended law school.

I remain curious as to whether the California State Bar (or any other State Bar) allowed Mr. Wagner to sit for the exam with prior criminal convictions for contempt and (to put it delicately) the history set forth above, and with a law degree from an unaccredited school. I cannot imagine North Carolina would have allowed him to sit for the Bar, certainly not these days: there was some controversy over whether my alma mater, Chapel Hill, should have entered a student with a known (to put it delicately) history knowing that the student would not have been allowed to sit for the North Carolina Bar (as it happened, the student in question went on a shooting spree and killed two people in broad daylight during my first year at Chapel Hill, and so he never had the chance to be turned down by the Bar; still, it was something we all talked about, of course).

I can understand Mr. Wagner's reluctance to come clean. All of this also casts some of his interests in a new light.

It gets weirder, and sadder. Will I update if I come across anything else? You know it.


34 comments:

MWT Tuesday, October 21, 2008 at 1:20:00 AM EDT  

Nice digging! The plot seems to thicken every time someone googles something...

Jim Wright Tuesday, October 21, 2008 at 1:27:00 AM EDT  

I'm not done reading yet,

But, we've now got two more discrepancies: Wagner said that he was "Retired" from the VA, and Retired from teaching. Both claims in the Refugees thread. According the first article he quit the VA after 5 years, and did a brief stint as a teacher. Hmmmmmmm.

OK, back to reading.

Jim Wright Tuesday, October 21, 2008 at 1:27:00 AM EDT  

Oh, and I love the title of this post

Jim Wright Tuesday, October 21, 2008 at 2:05:00 AM EDT  

If it wasn't for the damage he's doing and the out and out lies - I'd almost feel sorry for the poor bastard.

But as it stands he needs to be soundly debunked at every turn.

Well done, Eric.

vince Tuesday, October 21, 2008 at 7:21:00 AM EDT  

That's good research, Eric, and well-written. After everything I've read and all my research, I agree with Jim over at his blog - Wagner appears to truly believe the claims he makes. Which if it wasn't for the damage he's doing, would simply be sad.

Random Michelle K Tuesday, October 21, 2008 at 8:25:00 AM EDT  

That's very nice Eric. A thing of beauty even.

Thanks for the hard work.

(Note: I am being stoic and not swooning all over Eric. Ha!)

Janiece Murphy Tuesday, October 21, 2008 at 9:31:00 AM EDT  

Michelle, I'll swoon for both of us.

Thanks for the effort, Eric, and the call for temperance.

Pitiable, to be sure.

Carol Elaine Tuesday, October 21, 2008 at 11:49:00 AM EDT  

In 1999 and 2000, Wagner filed suits to shut down the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider at Brookhaven National Laboratory, which has now been not-destroying-the-world for nearly a decade. (Emphasis mine)

Are you sure about that? The RHIC went online in mid-2000 and Bush was given the presidency in late 2000. Look at what's happened since. Methinks there is some correlation...

(BTW, great work, Eric. I am trying to not swoon along with Michelle.)

Eric Tuesday, October 21, 2008 at 12:36:00 PM EDT  

A black hole sucks.

The Bush Administration sucks.

Therefore, the Bush Administration is a black hole.

Hmm--I think you've persuaded me with your inexorable logic, Carol Elaine.

:-D

Janiece Murphy Tuesday, October 21, 2008 at 2:24:00 PM EDT  

Wow. And Yikes.

I wonder what Mr. Tankersley thinks of these revelations? It must be disturbing to discover you've hitched your wagon to the mentally unstable.

And while there's a part of me that feels bad for mocking Walter Wagner (in the same way I'd feel bad if I accidentally kicked a dog, for example), I'm also infuriated that the press has not addressed these concerns already. This guy's being trotted out as an "expert," and we're the only ones who cared enough to do the necessary research to find out he's a mentally unstable crank with no qualifications? Us? A bunch of sarcastic, foul-mouthed bloggers with no axe to grind?

What does that say about American journalism?

Eric Tuesday, October 21, 2008 at 2:53:00 PM EDT  

It says, Janiece, that "It's The End Of The World As We Know It" headlines sell papers. I remember, years ago, an issue of Time or Newsweek (I forget which) doing a cover on the top-10 end-of-world scenarios, and the article actually included the expansion and collapse of the sun in several billion years. Which, of course, is something to worry about if you're, what, some kind of vampire or Highlander or something? It was silly, but it was a slow news cycle and the editors had to justify the magazine's ad rates.

Dr. Phil (Physics) Tuesday, October 21, 2008 at 3:00:00 PM EDT  

Excellent summary. I shall provide this to my Physics students, since we've talked about the efforts by "some" to shut down the LHC. And we've talked about pseudoscience, etc.

Dr. Phil

Eric Tuesday, October 21, 2008 at 3:05:00 PM EDT  

Holy crap! I'm going to be taught in physics classes! I can finally put my name alongside Newton's and Einstein's!

;-)

Nathan Tuesday, October 21, 2008 at 3:42:00 PM EDT  

Holy Happy Crap Batman!

I'm gonna ditto Janiece. It's amazing that papers have been treating this guy like an authority with the slightest vetting.

MWT Tuesday, October 21, 2008 at 4:23:00 PM EDT  

*reads the update*

O.O

I think I can only repeat what I said the first time, the plot seems to thicken every time someone googles something...

kimby Tuesday, October 21, 2008 at 6:25:00 PM EDT  
This comment has been removed by the author.
kimby Tuesday, October 21, 2008 at 6:26:00 PM EDT  

Sorry, tired to edit and my fingers weren't fast enough.

SO again...

Well, I will swoon for Michelle and the rest of the girls!
Too bad you aren't up here with me Eric, I know of quite a few students who would love to take advantage of your research techniques!

Good digging!

Dr. Phil (Physics) Tuesday, October 21, 2008 at 10:23:00 PM EDT  

The PHYS-1060 Link Salad entry:

Week 8 · 10-21-08,

...

(link to here) "Dr. Walter L. Wagner" The Guy Who Wants to Shut Down LHC. (Note: This is the full-bore Internet. The people involved here are very serious, sometimes funny and sometimes extremely tough and do not suffer fools. Venture forth gently, good students.)

I felt it was my duty to warn them that this ain't Facebook and YouTube. (grin)

Dr. Phil

Dr. Phil (Physics) Tuesday, October 21, 2008 at 10:27:00 PM EDT  

In class I talked about who is and isn't a scientist -- and why it is important to ask questions on qualifications and expectations of expertise. Even if reporters don't do so much anymore.

So Eric, if your ears were tingling around 1540 hours EDT Tuesday 21 October 2008...

Dr. Phil

Janiece Murphy Tuesday, October 21, 2008 at 11:00:00 PM EDT  

Dr. Phil, I think I love you.

But not as much as I love Eric.

Dr. Phil (Physics) Wednesday, October 22, 2008 at 12:43:00 AM EDT  

Awww... (oops, still CAPS LOCKED from Scalzi's Whatever)

Dr. Phil

Eric Wednesday, October 22, 2008 at 9:59:00 AM EDT  

Thanks, Dr. Phil! And I'm glad to be a help.

I just hope your students aren't disappointed when I start doing entries about horror movies and Pink Floyd albums again.... :-D

neurondoc Thursday, October 23, 2008 at 8:08:00 PM EDT  

Horror movies? Would I impress you if I said I was visiting the author of the Chucky movies this weekend? Regardless, I want to thank you for your excellent research. I said over at Jim's blog that I believe he is a Looney Tune, but sort of a rational one. I may have to change my mind after this latest info. A scary sort. Perhaps I should introduce him to Chucky... :-)

Neuron Doc

Eric Thursday, October 23, 2008 at 11:16:00 PM EDT  

That you're meeting the writer of the Child's Play movies is indeed fun and very cool.

neurondoc Friday, October 24, 2008 at 12:07:00 PM EDT  

He will be my brother-in-law if Prop 8 fails... :-) Will that make Chucky my nephew?

Natalie

Eric Monday, October 27, 2008 at 9:03:00 PM EDT  

Natalie, sorry for the late reply: that's freakin' sweet, and you've given me another reason to hope Prop 8 fails--my best wishes to your brother and (hopefully) future brother-in-law.

Baragon-Kun Thursday, November 6, 2008 at 6:33:00 PM EST  

sir Eric.

i finished the first half of my essay about the walter terrorism attack, i dont know if you can read and undestrand spanish, but if you want, can you take it and traduce in english and share with others, after all , this is an opinion of logic from a normal person viewpoint, who once was a victim of this crackpot asswipes?

http://valvucapenilla.blogspot.com/2008/11/un-mensaje-de-amor-ylogica-parte-1.html

Eric Thursday, November 6, 2008 at 10:42:00 PM EST  

Baragon-kun, I'm afraid I'm don't read or speak Spanish, but from what I was able to glean from running your essay through Babelfish, it looks like you've done some good work there, and I appreciate your sharing it with us. Thank you.

Baragon-Kun Friday, November 7, 2008 at 6:05:00 PM EST  

thanks you sir, and pretty shy and glad, even if is in spanish, can you please share it,

oh, by the way i think it will be 4 parts and not just 2, because i have a lot to say, i will put them until Nov 9

Part 2 is now up!!!

thanks sir and keep fighting the good fight

Anonymous,  Friday, December 19, 2008 at 8:24:00 PM EST  

If the identity of this Walter Wagner is correct, it's not encouraging for those opposed to lhc.

I'm one of them, but it would be wrong to confuse such clear wrongdoing on Wagner's part with the numerous issues around the reliability of lhc safety claims raised by Prof Rossler, Dr Plaga (astrophysicist), Dr Teresa Tutt (nuclear physicist), Dr Paul Werbos (has published papers of physics) and Dr Wagner himself.

by Eric (not the same of course) I used anon to save complication

Eric Friday, December 19, 2008 at 11:24:00 PM EST  

Eric (anonymous Eric, not myself, heh): there's practically no room for doubt that it's the same Walter L. Wagner all the way through. Every part of the biography dovetails too well. I'm sorry that this is the case, but Mr. Wagner's (there's no real justification for calling him "Dr. Wagner," except his law degree and lawyers frown on using the "Doctor" honorific when the bearer only possesses a Juris Doctor degree; Wagner himself seems to mostly abstain from calling himself "Dr. Wagner" but consistently fails to correct others who do so) history is sufficient to cast doubt on his credibility. I can't speak to the others you cite at this time.

What I do know is that there's quite a lot of work by reputable, professional, credentialed, peer-reviewed, actual physicists that directly contradicts Wagner's claims. While it's hypothetically possible that an amateur and dilettante (e.g. Wagner) might be correct where a credentialed expert (e.g. Dr. Sheldon Glashow) is wrong, the probabilities don't favor it, and I'll put my money on Glashow and his peers before I put it on somebody with Wagner's bizarre history.

I hope that this piece helps you evaluate Mr. Wagner's claims, Eric; the conclusions you draw are of course up to you. Thank you for reading and commenting.

Baragon-Kun Friday, December 19, 2008 at 11:50:00 PM EST  

not for beign an asshole but

The Anonymous Eric, is oe of the minions of Jtankers Site, LHCfacts.org (of course if you can call facts to all the paranoia in his crappy website)

and by the way, Jtankers has back in http://startswithabang.com/?p=1277

but it was not so strange that they just refute the evidence and contnue with his bullcrap, they are just naysayers

Josh,  Monday, November 8, 2010 at 8:46:00 AM EST  

'The idea that maybe CERN physicists also keep their stuff on Earth and might have a vested interest in not destroying it, seems to escape these concerned citizens.'

So there are no scientists entirely obsessed with their work?
No scientists that would pursue their work even if it meant the death of others?

I guess that's why there are no mad-scientist stereotypes on TV whatsoever; there's never been a scientist without ethics because all scientists are inherently ethical creatures.

Also, according to your reasoning; there would be no wars. The atom-bomb would never have been invented (Wait.. Wasn't Dr. Oppenheimer a scientist?) because all these people have a 'vested interest' in keeping the earth in one piece.

Wow. I was reading a lot of anti-Wagner posts and theories and because of the ferocity of said posts and the number of odd ethical claims (The only ones I -can- verify as I am not a scientist, thank God!) I actually feel that this Wagner-guy is doing everyone a favour by stepping up and lashing out at this whole LHC program.

The Dude Friday, February 4, 2011 at 12:43:00 AM EST  

@ Josh. The key phrase here is Other People. Few scientists are so obsessed they'd be interested in killing themselves and destroying their world and all their work, published articles and all, just for the sake of smashing particles together. And even if that were the case for one or two I doubt that all or even a majority of the remaining thousands would hesitate a second before having such people committed to mental hospitals.

For the record not all scientists are in fact mad, I doubt the number is much greater than 80%. Last but not least it's your reasoning that seems faulty, equating wars etc. with scientific research. what are you, high?

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