Tag Archive | Self-similarity

Fractal of the Week: Shine of the Verdant Orb

All images in this post are original works by the author, and are copyright 2012 Troy Loy

Nice fractals, but you’ve got my baloney detector on red alert!

English: Benoit Mandelbrot and his fractal. Ph...

Image via Wikipedia

Hat Tip to @emilyhasbooks on Twitter.

This was pointed out to me last night, and I chilled my evil fractalicious heart with thoughts of Benoit Mandelbrot spinning in his grave in agony:

It’s a blog page [Here] on a New Agey site called Human Angels, with some nice fractals, but very little in the way of valid factual substance, allegedly using religious lore from Hindu, Mayan, Hopi and Jewish scripture, the long-since debunked Bible Code, the Mayan calendar 2012 nonsense, with a a bit of the appeal to quantum physics fallacy and the silly invocation of the geological record to make claims of predicting the future, presumably in ways impossible for mainstream science.

The first sentence of the page I have no issues with:

A fractal is “a rough or fragmented geometric shape that can be split into parts, each of which is (at least approximately) a reduced-size copy of the whole,” a property called self-similarity.

Okay, there’s nothing off about that, but after that, the text goes down the proverbial rabbit-hole and into the land of meaningless word-salad immediately following:

All of the manifested universe can be described as fractions of dimensions, or fractalic, while the whole dimensions themselves are of infinite measure. From the whole dimensions are derived the finite dimensional parameters which define what we know of as space/time.

I’m tempted to say WTF??, though I’m aware that the universe is NOT fractal, but is largely relativistic on the macro-level and quantum on the micro-level (Individual bosons, like photons, are discrete packets of energy as shown by experiment, not infinitely divisible into self-similar parts.) as far as anyone can show at present.

Never mind that New Age claims, like those of Old Time religion, lean heavily into bald assertions of knowledge that is not and cannot possibly be actually known given the fact that wishful thinking to the contrary, believers don’t really have any special powers the rest of us don’t.

This one really did it for me…

Part of the make-up for a fractal, is the idea of a pattern repeating within a pattern. This is how Gregg Braden explains the cyclic patterns of time experienced on the earth. Basing it on two major cycles; the 5,125 year cycle that it takes the earth to once again cross the galactic equator of the Milky Way, and the 25,625 year cycle that represents the progression of the equinoxes, Braden paints a picture of the possible changes life on this planet faces.

Sorry, nice metaphor, but it means nothing. The claim of passing through the galactic “equator” every 5,125 years is based on a false premise, two actually: The Earth will not be passing through the plane of the galaxy’s disk in 2012, though as far as the sun is concerned, it does cross the equator twice each year, and there’s nothing at all special about it, and no evidence that space-time is fractal – See Planck length and Planck time for the reasons why…

…These are not the droids you’re looking for…

Second, and finally, this idea that ancient civilizations knew more than we is literally old and illogical, an appeal to antiquity fallacy:

The Mayans didn’t have nearly the knowledge we do of the age, nature, and shape of the galaxy, and even we don’t know it precisely, so any claim that their calendar took into account Earth’s passage through the mid-plane of the galaxy’s rotation is simply silly. No credible archaeologist would make such an assumption of facts not in evidence. We know now far more than they, and their ancient writings and monuments have value as historical records and artifacts only.

As tempting as it is to cut loose with the snark, I’ll have to refrain from indulging myself this time to file this one away in my collection of amusing and possibly unsinkable misunderstandings of reality.