Friday, June 5, 2009

Adventures with LaRouchebags

So I have a friend, henceforth referred to as Joe the Skeptic, who likes to talk to the LaRouchebags and other crazy people on campus. It's like a hobby for him.

"LaRouchebags" is our name for the LaRouche movement, a cult of personality around economist and philosopher Lyndon LaRouche. They are a very cryptic and bizarre political movement. If I were to pick an overarching theme, I'd say that it is their opposition to the British Empire. You know, as if we were still fighting the American Revolution.

And because Isaac Newton was British, he couldn't possibly deserve the credit which is given to him. He is a Babylonian witch, and may not have even existed. They believe all of Newton's laws of motion were stolen from Kepler's laws of planetary motion. As a physics student, they would say I'm part of the cult of Newton.

I think these guys prey on college dropouts.

At a previous point in time, Joe the Skeptic had given the LaRouchebags a simple physics problem. The problem involved frictional force. He asked them to solve it through use of Kepler's laws alone, without reference to Newton's laws. Of course, this is impossible, since Kepler's laws only refer to planetary orbits, and say nothing about non-orbital motion. But wouldn't you know, the LaRouchebags never admit it (and never solve the problem either).

The other day, I accompanied Joe the Skeptic on one of his ventures to speak with the LaRouchians. He asked one if he ever solved that physics problem he gave them. Yes, he said, he had e-mailed him the answer. Joe says he never got that e-mail. So the LaRouche guy starts talking about pre-Newtonian concepts of force. Allegedly, such-and-such scientist had decided that F=mv. And then later, another scientist decided that F=mv2. So when Newton came up with F=ma, that was nothing new. He just changed a "v" to an "a".

So, I said, Newton changed a wrong equation to a correct one? Doesn't that deserve credit? No, he says. All he did is change a letter. It doesn't matter whether you call it "v" or "a".

So my friends and I started telling him how ridiculous this is. The units aren't correct. "v" and "a" represent completely different concepts. No, they're not measured the same way. Would you say that Einstein simply took the equation E = mv2/2, dropped the 1/2, and changed the "v" to a "c" to make his famous equation E=mc2?

After a bit more of this, the guy Godwinned us all. See, it's people like us that allow this to happen. He points down to the sign on his table, which has a picture of Obama with a Hitler mustache. See, Hitler approves of Obama's health care policies. And if there's one thing we don't like about Hitler, it's his health care policies. Also, all of us are liberals, and liberals can't be scientists!

And then he said he wanted us to go away. He didn't want to talk to us anymore. Joe the Skeptic told me that this was the first time he had seen them ask anyone to go away.

Oh, the stories! Supposedly, many years ago, the LaRouchebags had a formal debate with the campus Objectivist club. Guess who won?

4 comments:

DeralterChemiker said...

I am amazed that such people can gain entrance to and survive in a university such as yours. How is this possible? What courses do they take, and what kind of professors tolerate them? It seems to me that people with such ignorance would have a very short survival time in the university. I would think that they could be made the subject of a very interesting sociological study.

miller said...

They are not students. I'm pretty sure they believe that students are being brainwashed by their college education.

Joe Creason said...

Here is the link to the LaRouchebags vs. the Objectivists:
http://wlym.com/mp3/20051115-ucla-debate.mp3

It is fairly long, but the audio is surprisingly pretty good.

I personally thought that the LaRouchebags(LR) did pretty good. That ended at the very end though when Q & A came around.

I also mean very good relative to how poorly I felt LOGIC did. Not that the guys were bad at speaking, had flawed arguments or weren't smart--they were not prepared at all. They thought that because they knew everything about Ayn Rand they could just talk about her philosophy and destroy the LRs. A consequence of this is that they looked like they were scrambling between each other and had no evidence irl to support themselves.

The LRs were smart and didn't hint at any of their crazy ideas. They talked about FDR, the founding fathers, and that Kepler guy. I mean, people love FDR and the founding fathers, who as anything on them?

DESPITE this, I think the LRs would have been devastated by LOGIC if LOGIC did their research. LR has like 20 different organizations hosted on 20 different sites. ALL of them discuss the crazy ideas LaRouche really has.

The guy talks about the East Indian Co as if it is still around. He's a 911 truther.

Auugh I could go on and on but maybe I should just make a post of my own on my blog.

One quick thing, you gotta remember to mention Ben because he did really well talking to them, too.

Joe

miller said...

I didn't mention Ben because I wasn't going to write a whole transcript of the conversation. But Ben was the one who came up with the E = mc^2 argument, among other things.