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[Phys-L] legislating the "laws" of physics was: Re: einstein anecdote

The following was posted on another physics list by someone who hasn’t denied he’s a AGCC denier, inter alia.

Please note the "familiar ring to it".

Unkown if this is true but it has a familiar 'ring' to it...

From a senior level Chrysler person:
Monday morning I attended a breakfast meeting where the speaker/guest was David E. Col e, Chairman of the Center for Automotive Research (CAR), an Engineer with 40+ years automotive experience, full Professor at the Univ. of Michigan. You have all likely heard CAR quoted, or referred to in the auto industry news lately. Mr. Cole told many stories of the difficulty of working with the folks that the Obama administration has sent to ‘save’ the auto industry.

There have been many meetings where this very experienced automotive expert has had to listen to a newcomer to the industry; someone with zero manufacturing experience, zero auto industry experience, zero business experience, zero finance experience, zero engineering experience, and apparently zero brains tell them how to run their business.

Mr. Cole's favorite story is as follows:
There was a team of Obama people speaking to Mr. Cole. They were explaining to Mr. Cole that the auto companies needed to make a car that was electric and liquid natural gas (LNG) with enough combined fuel to go 500 miles, so we wouldn't "need" so many gas stations (A whole other topic). They were quoting BTU's of LNG and battery life they had looked up on some web site.

Mr. Cole explained that to do this you would need a trunk FULL of batteries, and a LNG tank as big as a car to make that happen. And that there were problems related to the laws of physics that prevented them from...

The Obama person interrupted and said (and I am quoting here), "These laws of physics? Whose rules are those? We need to change that (while others wrote down the name of the law so they could look it up). We have the Congress, and the administration. We can repeal that law, amend it, or use an executive order to get rid of that problem. That's why we are here, to fix these sort of issues."

My friends ... we are screwed. [I don’t know if the “screwed” is a Chrysler comment or the poster’s.]


Snopes: Repealing the Laws of Physics

note: “Snopes” queried Dr. Cole.

AND was his answer about an event before Obama?

The Einstein anecdote, the above, etc. are paradigmatic of the social trend in the US. It is so pervasive that a number of books have been published, e.g. “The Republican War on Science, Junk Science, Denialism, etc.

The Republican War on Science - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Junk Science | Dan Agin, Ph.D. | Macmillan

Book Review - 'Denialism - How Irrational Thinking Hinders Scientific Progress, Harms the Planet, and Threatens Our Lives,' by Michael Specter - Review -

"Science ignorance is pervasive in our society, and these attitudes are reinforced when some of our leaders are openly antagonistic to established facts," said 2013 Nobel Prize in medicine winner Randy Schekman of the University of California, Berkeley.

New Poll Reveals Many Americans Express Doubt Over Global Warming, Evolution, Big Bang

What most disturbs me is this skepticism appears even on a physics list.


On 2014, Jul 21, , at 08:12, David Ward <> wrote:

Dear Phys-L Colleagues:

We've all gotten the email about Einstein humiliating an atheistic professor, an incident that never happened. Yesterday via Facebook someone shared with me a dramatization of this
They shared the link to say to me, "See! Einstein was a believer and he sure dealt with that haughty professor! Hah!"

Nice production- problem is, it never happened. As we all know, Einstein did not believe in a personal God that was concerned with the affairs of humans.

Moments after viewing the video, I was disturbed because I knew the video was not factual.

It is my understanding that Einstein admired the beauty and logic underlying the natural world. He viewed values and morals as human constructs.

In any event, I simply wanted to share the link. The video could actually be used to stimulate an interesting discussion in class on the proper role of religion, science, and historical well as what Einstein really believed. Perhaps the point of the video production was, I guess, to stimulate such discussion, though I believe there are serious ethical issues here. The history shown should have been real history!

Thoughts? Corrections? Concerns? Just curious how the phys-l community responds to this use of the "Einstein icon" by the culture.


David Ward
Forum for Physics Educators