As he is wont to do, Walter Wagner finally stopped by Mixed Nuts and left a drive by comment. I missed it, since I don't get email updates of comments, but I'll re-post here in it's entirety:
It certainly seems easy to post horses--- about others when you do so without revealing your identity.
If you're so sure of yourself, ID yourself when you engage in ad hominem attacks.
I do not personally know Dr. Plaga, but I have read many of his papers. He is exceptionally knowledgeable in physics, something you are clearly lacking in.
As to my credentials, they are neither exaggerated nor minimized. I majored in physics for three years, switched majors my senior year to biological sciences [a science of which you are also likely woefully ignorant], and hence technically I minored in physics. Thereafter I spent two years training incoming graduate physics students in cosmic radiation techniques, while also analyzing cosmic radiation physics experiments. Thereafter, I spent five years managing a complex radioactive materials license with approximately 200 users of radioactive materials with Z = 1-92. I took a breather from that field to work in science education. Out of 10,000 applicants, I scored 80/80 on the mathematics portion of the examination, with the second highest scorer obtaining 79/80.
Now, if you can take a test like that and ace it, I'd be happy to discuss subjects with you. Otherwise, I'm simply casting my pearls before swine.
Since I do not normally read for your blog, I'll likely not see your response. If you wish to communicate anything of value, you should email me at the address at my website.
Walter L. Wagner
Ah yes Walter, I'm just some guy on the internet. In fact, I am, but let me repeat:
These people [this means you, Walter] in no way have earned a polite response from the legitimate scientific community. They need to be ostracized from legitimate scientific discourse on the ‘Net. The politeness with which they are treated at CERN and at physics blogs where the scientists blog under their own names is due only to the natural degree of civility of those scientists. Unfortunately, that makes the anti-LHC crowd look as if they are carrying on a legitimate debate. If they pulled their rhetorical tricks in meatspace on real topics, someone would drop their ass with a well-aimed right hook, or at the very least tell them directly to shut the fuck up.
This is where I come in. I blog anonymously. This opens me up to accusations of just being “some guy on the net” and lying about my credentials. I don’t give a shit. Real scientists will see the telltale signs of my scientific training in the topics I choose and the way in which I talk about them. Laymen can take my writing to a known expert and see the same thing. Everyone else in the nutjob category can take a running jump. My purpose here is to get, somewhere on the net, a non-polite response to the anti-LHC idiocy. I want to show what the rational people are really thinking when they deal with this mess.
At least we've cleared up this math test, thing, it's been reported differently on different sites. It's the California Math Teacher's Exam, right? Hmmm. At first I was going to give the dude a few props for at least knowing math up to integral calculus. That's freshman-level stuff in science, math and engineering, but still, it's a good deal higher math than most conspiranoiacs.
But I just had to dig a little deeper, because nothing is what it seems in Wagner World.
The single-subject math test is scored on a 300 point scale, with 220 being passing. Then I looked at the words he used, again. Did Wagner lie? I don't think so. Looking at his tactics to this point, Wagner at least got this out of law school debate practice - if you need to spin something, make every statement factually accurate, but leave out facts critical of your case and word it in such a way as to lead the listener to the opposite conclusion of a person who has all those facts.
The key words are:
Out of 10,000 applicants, I scored 80/80 on the mathematics portion of the examination, with the second highest scorer obtaining 79/80.
Mathematics portion? 80 point scale? Oh. I see. He's talking about the CBEST. Which is scored on an 80 point scale. The test that everyone, from elementary to secondary education, has to pass in order to teach in California. Even kindergarten teachers.
The CSETs, on the other hand, are subject matter tests, so if, say you want to be a physics teacher in California high schools, you take this. Now there is math in that test, but there's no "math section", because it's a single subject test. We don't ask our English teachers to know integral calculus (although we should - sorry Eric :p).
Let's look at the math requirements for this 80 point test, shall we?
A. Estimation and Measurement
Understand and use standard units of length, temperature, weight, and capacity in the U.S. measurement system.
Measure length and perimeter.
Understand and use estimates of time to plan and achieve work-related objectives.
Estimate the results of problems involving addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division prior to computation.
B. Statistical Principles
Perform arithmetic operations with basic statistical data related to test scores (e.g., averages, ratios, proportions, and percentile scores).
Understand basic principles of probability and predict likely outcomes based on data provided (e.g., estimate the likelihood that an event will occur).
Interpret the meaning of standardized test scores (e.g., stanine scores, ercentiles) to determine how individuals performed relative to other students.
COMPUTATION & PROBLEM SOLVING
Add, subtract, multiply, and divide with whole numbers.
Add and subtract with positive and negative numbers.
Add, subtract, multiply, and divide with fractions, decimals, and percentages.
Determine and perform necessary arithmetic operations to solve a practical mathematics problem (e.g., determine the total invoice cost for ordered supplies by multiplying quantity by unit price, summing all items).
Solve simple algebraic problems (e.g., equations with one unknown).
Determine whether enough information is given to solve a problem; identify the facts given in a problem.
Recognize alternative mathematical methods of solving a problem.
NUMERICAL & GRAPHIC RELATIONSHIPS
Recognize relationships in numerical data (e.g., compute a percentage change from one year to the next).
Recognize the position of numbers in relation to each other (e.g., 1/3 is between 1/4 and 1/2; -7<-4). Use the relations less than, greater than, or equal to, and their associated symbols to express a numerical relationship. Identify numbers, formulas, and mathematical expressions that are mathematically equivalent (e.g., 2/4 = 1/2, 1/4 = 25%). Understand and use rounding rules when solving problems. Understand and apply the meaning of logical connectives (e.g., and, or, if-then) and quantifiers (e.g., some, all, none). Identify or specify a missing entry from a table of data (e.g., subtotal). Use numerical information contained in tables, spreadsheets, and various kinds of graphs (e.g., bar, line, circle) to solve mathematics problems.
Well, Walter, I'm very glad that you can solve simple algebraic problems and use the relations less than, greater than, or equal to, and their associated symbols to express a numerical relationship, but what exactly his has to do with scientific acumen, and acumen in Nuclear Physics in particular, escapes me entirely.
As for hereafter, I spent five years managing a complex radioactive materials license with approximately 200 users of radioactive materials with Z = 1-92, yes, filling out all the Federal paperwork for receiving and disposing of medical radioactives at a large hospital (with roughly 200 doctors, nurses and techs in some way involved in radiology, from X-rays to radiomedicine) is complicated, but complicated in a legal, fill-out-the-forms sense, not in a "let's see if we discovered a new cosmic ray" sense.
And Z = 1 - 92? Hydrogen to Uranium? Dude. I'm a chemist. I know what Z is. No, they don't use any of the transuranium or transactinide elements in nuclear medicine. This kind of silliness only impresses yokels such as jtankers.
Now, since I'm a scientist, I also know that you can't just switch majors in your third year on a whim - too many prereqs and required courses. The courseload overlap with physics is minimal. Either you were trying for a double major and failed, or you were trying for a minor all along - I'm assuming you were not a super senior.
Then you became a lab tech. Thereafter I spent two years training incoming graduate physics students in cosmic radiation techniques, while also analyzing cosmic radiation physics experiments.
You were a scanner for the Berkeley lab. No one denies this, it just doesn't make you a Nuclear Physicist. Yes, I was trained on instruments such as Raman Spectrometers, NMRs and EPRs by lab techs who were responsible for those instruments when I was a grad student. They went home from work every day at 5:00. I didn't. I went on to get a Ph.D. They didn't.
Here's the deal. Nuclear Physics is a graduate discipline. As far as I know, you never passed a graduate physics class. I note that you are very careful never to mention any graduate training in physics. Very good, Mr. Wagner, Esq. Never get caught in an outright lie. If I am wrong, give me the names of the graduate classes you passed, and the professors who taught them.
You are misleading people about your credentials and you are misrepresenting yourself as a "doctor" with a JD.