Thursday, October 9, 2008


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.

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.

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.


Anonymous said...

Well, John the Pseudoscientist, I see you can find websites such as the one we've prepared by Educational Testing Services, and paste an overview of our tests onto your website.

Yes, the mathematics portion of the CBEST was essentially a speed test, and the mathematics portion as it then existed [remember, I was doing this in 1984 when you were likely a snotty-nosed kid] tested exclusively algebra, geometry and trigonometry, and did not test calculus. However, in order to ace the examination, one has to be able to solve mathematical problems fairly rapidly. I had only about 2-3 minutes to spare [out of the 80 minutes allotted] when I finished. The one fellow I spoke with who got the 79/80 [a fellow math teacher at the time who'd majored in mathematics at Stanford, and who held a PhD in mathematics, as I recall] was pissed at himself for having gotten one of the answers wrong [some of the questions were difficult], and was awed that I, who had a Biology degree, not a Mathematics degree [though I had initially been an undeclared mathematics major before I declared my major as physics], had obtained a perfect score.

A few years later, I read of another fellow [in the local SF Chronicle newspaper] who took the examination and obtained an 80/80 on the mathematics portion. He was a Japanese national seeking to teach in California. He did not pass the English reading comprehension portion [which is why it made the newspapers - he was pissed he was being denied the right to teach], likely because he had not yet mastered the English language, even though he too was fast at mathematics problem solving. There are likely a few others who, over the past 24 years since I inaugurated the concept of acing the examination, have also aced that examination. You are not one of them.

However, I was not satisfied with that test, because as you mentioned, it did not test integral calculus or differential equations. So, the following year [1985] I took a non-required teacher credentialing examination given to people who were already classroom instructors, designed to measure one's competence to teach mathematics. It tested both pre-calculus as well as calculus and differential equations. But it was not a test of how well and quickly you could solve calculus problems. Instead, for example, it would have a calculus problem, and a student's efforts at solving the problem, and ask for the best analysis [multiple choice answers] at the student's difficulty at solving the problem. In other words, it was a test at how well you could teach calculus, etc. and not simply solve calculus problems. It should go without saying that one had to understand how to solve the calculus problem in order to understand the student's error in solving the problem.

I did not score perfectly. Indeed, I did not even finish the examination in the alloted time. I doubt that anyone did, as it was very lengthy. It was given exclusively to people already teaching in the classroom [mostly mathematics teachers] to measure their ability to be mathematics teachers. Most (roughly 90%) of the people taking the examination held degrees in mathematics [BA, BS, PhD]. I held a BA in Biology and a JD. While I did not obtain a perfect score [likely no one did], I scored in the top 20%ile of existing mathematics teachers. I did not consider that too shabby. I did not take the physics examination given to teachers of physics, as I believed it would be too simple, since I'd been working in physics almost exclusively since 1973 when I took that mathematics examination in 1985.

Now, as I understand it, you have not passed any objective examinations since your college days. Your 'orals' given by your buddy professors are not fully objective. Written objective examinations, such as the two I took, can be examined over and over, year after year, because they are objective. In other words, your ability to be a critic of someone who's taken objective examinations is now called into question.

It is indeed easy to be an armchair critic, sitting back and BSing about other people, spinning tales, ad hominems, and other fantasies. Why don't you try being in the arena sometime, instead of being in the audience criticizing those who are in the arena? Then maybe you'll see it's not as easy as you seem to think.

Because I don't check your 'Refugees' site unless someone emails me about it [as happened this time], if you expect me to respond to any response you post, you should email me at , and if you're civil, I'll respond.


Walter L. Wagner

Ilya said...

The last "objective" test that I've taken was probably a GRE some 20 years ago. I got a 740 on that, which I believe put me in top 5%ile or something. So, I'm no slouch. I'm also not a nuclear physicist.

Am I missing something here in thinking that a basic professional examination does not, in fact, qualify anyone as a nuclear physicist?

Eric said...

Now, as I understand it, you have not passed any objective examinations since your college days. Your 'orals' given by your buddy professors are not fully objective. Written objective examinations, such as the two I took, can be examined over and over, year after year, because they are objective. In other words, your ability to be a critic of someone who's taken objective examinations is now called into question.

So, basically, as I understand it: Mr. Wagner's implied position is that the thesis defense (a nearly-universal requirement for the awarding of a Ph.D in a specialty by an American institution) is less valid than a score obtained on a test administered by a state to determine the baseline competency of teachers who may only posess a Bachelor's-level degree in Education. Because the requirement of the thesis defense is evaluated by "professor buddies" but the everyman-teacher's evaluation is "objective."

As my friend MWT would say: o.O

At best, this demonstrates an utterly profound lack of understanding of academia. At worst, it suggests a misplaced, bitter envy and sense of entitlement. "You, sir, may have defended your years of work on proposed additions to the intellectual corpus against attacks by qualified representatives of the intellectual establishment, but I have solved established equations presented to me and several thousand other people and come up with solutions that matched the preparer's answer key--and I did so very quickly!"

Well, you know, I'm pretty good at Sudoku, myself, and can solve the Monday New York Times crossword with admirable celerity (Sunday's, I will confess, can sometimes be a bitch): that surely counts for some kind of academic recognition from somebody, somewhere, yes?

Oh, and a general P.S. to nearly anybody: statements like, "It is indeed easy to be an armchair critic, sitting back and BSing about other people, spinning tales, ad hominems, and other fantasies," if you manage not to write things like, "I was doing this in 1984 when you were likely a snotty-nosed kid." While I myself was indeed 12--and I understand your comment was directed at John, still--I am fairly sure my mother had introduced me to Kleenex at that age and my nose was only snotty during allergy seasons, a situation which I'm afraid has persisted into my sometimes-snotty-nosed adulthood.


Eric said...

AN EDIT: That last full-paragraph ought to have read:

Oh, and a general P.S. to nearly anybody: statements like, "It is indeed easy to be an armchair critic, sitting back and BSing about other people, spinning tales, ad hominems, and other fantasies," usually have more credibility if you manage not to write things like, "I was doing this in 1984 when you were likely a snotty-nosed kid." While I myself was indeed 12--and I understand your comment was directed at John, still--I am fairly sure my mother had introduced me to Kleenex at that age and my nose was only snotty during allergy seasons, a situation which I'm afraid has persisted into my sometimes-snotty-nosed adulthood.

My bad.

Eric said...

Oh, and I just noticed: "John the Pseudoscientist." Now that's clever. I'm not sure I could equal that. Writing as somebody who enjoys writing and the creative process, I was wondering, Mr. Wagner: was that the result of a laborious all-night brainstorming session, or were you able to just sort or reel that one off right off the top of your head, in a flash of inspiration, as it were? I'm personally not one for rhyming dictionaries, but I do find Roget's to be very helpful (I have to admit I'm very fond of the traditional-format Roget's arranged by category over the more-common "dictionary" style thesauruses, but my old paperbound copy of Roget's mostly gathers dust thanks to the availability of online reference materials). In any case, hats off to you if you come back again--I thought about e-mailing this compliment to you, but then I realized that you might be busy jotting down other such bon mots in a notebook or journal or perhaps simply on index cards for future use, and I imagined you seeing a "new mail" notice in your inbox and your writing process being catastrophically derailed, the very last thing I would want to think of happening to such a possible repository of scathing wit and flashing wordplay. In any case, my deepest thanks for this morsel of repartee you've tossed our way--and on a blog comment thread, too, instead of reserving it for some magnum opus! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Janiece said...

While I feel somewhat responsible for all this witty repartee, I do have to ask the critical question, already asked by Ilya and alluded to by Eric:

How does a high score on high school and bachelor level mathematics make Mr. Wagner more qualified to address the safety issues inherent in the use of the LHC than individuals who hold advanced degrees in physics?

And how do these "objective tests" justify the intentional use of an honorific ("Dr.") that was not earned? Please note that I am referring to Mr. Wagner's repeated use of this title in his public life, in spite of his lack of a Ph.D, M.D. or D.D.S. As previously discussed, the issuance of the J.D. does not justify its use in this case.

Clouding the issue with obfuscation, straw men and red herrings do not address the key issues that John (and I) addressed initially - that Mr. Wagner is simply not qualified to address issues related to particle physics.

JTankers said...

Former UC Berkeley cosmic ray researcher Walter Wagner is also a former Nuclear Safety Officer and an intellect known for beating his physics colleagues at chess (he has lost to chess Grand Masters more than once however), beating his teaching colleagues on objective tests (on CBEST math, all of them), and finding flaws in CERN's safety arguments (apparently not a single scientist at CERN noticed the flaws). I suppose one could argue that Albert Einstein was a patent clerk when he wrote Special Relativity, but I think most people would consider Albert Einstein a physicist, so is Walter Wagner, he earned it, show him some respect.

At least one scientist on this forum had the moral courage to objectively follow the facts rather than to just follow the crowd, that scientist earned my respect.

Demonstrate some integrity and pull off the mask you hide behind.

Anonymous said...

As mentioned before, I am not a Ph.D. holding scientist. I am also not an attorney. I am, however, capable of research on the question of the use of the title "Dr." I'm going to excerpt a little of that here:

Rule 7.1 of the American Bar Association's Model Rules of Professional Conduct states:

"A lawyer shall not make a false or misleading communication about the lawyer or the lawyer's services. A communication is false or misleading if it contains a material misrepresentation of fact or law, or omits a fact necessary to make the statement considered as a whole not materially misleading."

And while current ABA materials do not weigh in on the subject of use or misuse of the "Doctor" title, many states do, and response is mixed, ranging from outright prohibition to cautious acceptance. (Older ABA ethical opinions do prohibit the use of the term "Doctor".) The best statement of ethical position was from Texas:

"The Committee is of the opinion that under the Rules the use of the title "Dr.," "Doctor," "J.D." or "Doctor of Jurisprudence" is not, in itself, prohibited as constituting a false or misleading communication. The Committee recognizes that other professions, such as educators, economists and social scientists, traditionally use title "Dr." in their professional names to denote a level of advanced education and not to imply formal medical training. There is no reason in these circumstances to prohibit lawyers with a Juris Doctor or Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from indicating the advanced level of their education.

However, while use of the title alone is generally permitted, the context in which the title is used may cause use of the title to be a false or misleading communication.
[emphasis mine] For example, a lawyer otherwise qualified to use the title of "Dr." who advertises as "Dr. John Doe" in a public advertisement for legal services in connection with medical malpractice or other areas involving specialized medical issues may be making a misleading statement as to the lawyer's qualifications [emphasis mine] and may be creating an unjustified expectation about results the lawyer can achieve. Unless accompanied by an appropriate, prominent statement of qualifications and disclaimers, such use of the title "Dr." could readily mislead prospective clients and thus violate the Rules."

This seems to have significant applicability here.

Eric said...

Jeri: there are two standard bases for attorney ethics. Some states have based their rules of conduct on the Model Rules Of Professional Conduct and other states use the older Code Of Professional Responsibility as the model for their ethics rules. The RPC and CPR themselves aren't actually official rules--that is, an "RPC state" is one where the State Bar has taken the Model Rules you cite and adopted a version of the rules with whatever amendments, tweaks, changes, carry-overs, etc. the rules committee recommended and were approved.

As an aside: the ABA plays an important advisory role to state and federal attorney regulatory entities, but has no actual authority whatsoever. No state has to adopt an ABA-recommended rule or policy and no attorney has to be a member of the ABA. (Any practicing attorney must be licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction he's practicing in, or be waived in or given special permission to practice on a limited basis--usually with a local lawyer attached to the case or with some judicial oversight.)

Every state bar will offer "Advisory Opinions," a kind of "FAQ encyclopedia" if you will of questions and answers intended to keep the practicing lawyer out of trouble, or at least give him cover later on. (It's very, very easy for a lawyer to confront a situation in which every possible choice is dodgy--having an Advisory Opinion in his pocket ought to at least allow him to say he made the "officially and technically least bad decision possible" so he doesn't lose his license and livelihood for it.) They don't have much force except when an attorney is brought up before the disciplinary board and needs something to clutch in his hand and wave around and stick in his tormentors' faces, and they're subject to change any time the bar association decides that something is a bigger problem than they thought it was.

I can't--and I think I said something like this earlier--speak for every bar association in the country, but can only say as a general matter bar associations don't like attorneys calling themselves "doctors" without something more than a JD on the wall, and that as a specific matter that's a "hell no you don't" in North Carolina.

Eric said...

James Jr.: the best chess player I have ever known was a massive fuckup at every single other thing he ever tried. Including the time he blew off his toe while cleaning a gun. Nice guy, played chess like a fiend. Probably had some kind of ADHD thing going that allowed him to obsessively focus on the chessboard while he played. Not sure how he would have rated competitively, to tell you the truth. But the point, obviously, is that if he had ever been hired by somebody as a nuclear safety engineer, I would have consulted a NOAA map for prevailing winds before deciding which state I was going to move to.

Which is a long way of saying I'm less impressed by Mr. Wagner's chess skills than I am by the fact you even think it's relevant, James. I mean, really. And we've already dissected the significance, or lack thereof, of Mr. Wegner's unchallenged ability to "test well."

Mr. Wagner's credentials as a Nuclear Safety Officer have also been discussed at some length, as have his conclusions about the LHC. The reason physicists appear to have "missed" the items Wagner "discovered" is that the consensus from the physics community seems to be that Mr. Wagner is wrong. Saying that Mr. Wagner found flaws in CERN's safety that CERN scientists had missed is a bit like saying your grandmother discovered something your doctor missed when she diagnosed your late-stage pneumonia as a cold and prescribed chicken soup.

As for what you might suppose somebody might say about Einstein: even the most elementary research (i.e. typing "Albert Einstein" in a Wikipedia search box) would have informed you that Einstein was considered a physicist during his "miracle year" of 1905 because he actually possessed a physics degree and had previously published at least one paper (on capillary forces) in a prestigious peer-reviewed journal of the era. The fact that Einstein was a physicist who worked for a while as a patent clerk to pay his bills while he looked for a professorship isn't exactly an obscure one, either. If there's somebody who would argue Einstein was "just a patent clerk," I imagine they also believe that George Washington skipped a coin across the Potomac and that Portugal turned down Columbus because they thought the world was flat.

You seem to be easily impressed.

Anonymous said...

Eric - I heard the "hell no you don't" and the "what are you trying to compensate for, a little dick?" perspective from a source right here at home too, but didn't want to misquote him... so thought referencing the ABA more appropriate. ;)

Janiece said...

Let's play name that logical fallacy, shall we?

Former UC Berkeley cosmic ray researcher

Bare assertion fallacy. From all indicators, Mr. Wagner was a lab technician, not a researcher, since researchers typically hold advanced degrees in the field in which they research. Saying Mr. Wagner was a "researcher" based on his proximity to actual researchers does not make it so. It just makes this argument a subset of the "Is too!" defense. intellect known for beating his physics colleagues at chess (he has lost to chess Grand Masters more than once however), beating his teaching colleagues on objective tests (on CBEST math, all of them)...

False analogy. Just because Mr. Wagner is a proficient chess player and test taker does not make him a nuclear physicist. Please note that the key issues of our criticism was not that he is in general a dumb-ass, but that he was not a nuclear physicist or a "Dr." in the context of modern American culture and usage.

I'll let someone else pick the rest of them out, since I have other things to do this morning.

I will conclude by pointing out that Mr. Wager and his fan club still have not addressed the two main criticisms proffered: The assertion that he's a "nuclear physicist" and the disingenuous use of the honorific "Dr." I will continue to point this out, again and again, until the red herrings and equivocation is retired in favor of addressing these key concerns.

Anonymous said...

This comment is addressed to Janiece Murphy.

Yes, you are correct, merely testing well in mathematics does not make one a nuclear physicist. I previously mentioned that one other fellow who aced the CBEST mathematics, yet did not even qualify to become a kindergarten teacher, as he did not pass the reading comprehension, being a Japanese national with poor English skills.

Acing the CBEST does, however, say something about the individual's abilities. It places that person in the top .01%ile of the test takers. One cannot ace that test without having a good command of mathematics. You may rest assured that it does not mean that that person merely 'tests well'. But why don't you try it yourself. Take the test. See how well you do. If you can even score a 75/80, I would be impressed with your ability. Very few people can.

While I was sitting there, having finished the CBEST mathematics with two minutes left over, having checked all 80 answers twice, and sometimes three times on the more difficult problems, knowing that I had all 80 answers correct, I looked around me, watching the others furiously trying to finish, while I twiddled my thumbs. During that two minutes of rest and repose, the thought occurred to me that I could change all of my answers so that every answer was wrong, and still prove that I had solved all of the problems correctly. However, I restrained myself, and instead left all of the problems with the correct answers. But you are correct, merely being able to solve mathematical problems well and quickly does not make one a nuclear physicist, even though at that time I had recently completed a five year tenure as a nuclear physicist for the federal government.

Allow me to provide another brief vignette from my life.

In April, 2001, nearly 17 years after acing that CBEST, I happened to be attending a Health Physics symposium with about 50 of my colleagues, in Utah. I had flown in from Hawaii, but most attendees were from either Idaho or Utah, as it was a local chapter meeting. There was a presentation about the final disposal of the TMI nuclear clean-up waste, which had been completed only a few months earlier with the waste being put to bed in Idaho. There was also a presentation about a proposed 'temporary' storage of reactor casks in the desert of western Utah until the Nevada disposal site could be approved. The proposal included pouring a large concrete slab for the casks to sit upon.

I suggested that the concrete slab should be poured atop the casks, with the casks buried, even if not giving the appearance of being 'temporary', as it would protect the reactor cask waste from potential attack by multiple suicide pilots, which could conceivably volatilize the waste and make it airborne. At that suggestion, my colleagues chuckled, laughed, and ridiculed the prospect that there could ever be a coordinated attack by multiple suicide pilots within the borders of the US. Only one person stood in my defense, the presenter on the TMI waste disposal, who referenced the fact that the low-level TMI waste he had just put to bed was covered by a concrete slab.

A few months later in September, 2001, I wondered whether there was more I could have done or should have done to get my point across.

Now, you may want to continue your games with ad hominems. That merely reinforces your own lack of credentials. The real point is that indeed, as james jr said, CERN did fail to discover the flaw in their analysis, leaving it for me to point it out to them. They tried to correct this with the Mangano report. Flaws in that report have also been detailed by others. The difference between protons-on-Lead, as on the moon with cosmic rays, and Lead-on-Lead, as at the LHC, is not even addressed, which blithely asserts they are the same thing. They are not.


Walter L. Wagner

Janiece said...

Mr. Wagner,

While I will readily admit to calling you a 'tard on my own blog in a satirical entry, my comments on this entry do not qualify as ad hominem attacks. Calling your credentials and credibility into question is not an ad hominem attack - it is legitimate criticism or someone who has chosen to place those credentials up for inspection. Accusing your detractors of calling you names without fundamentally addressing the legitimate criticism does not address the core issue.

Additionally, implying that I could not do better than you on a test that does nothing to establish your credibility as a particle physicist is a red herring at best. While your assertion is almost certainly true, my own inability to best you in the exam has no bearing whatsoever on your own credentials as a particle physicist, and the two core issues still remain.

Issue one: You simply do not have the education or credentials to speak with any credibility on the safety of the LHC. Your experience in the field of nuclear medicine and safety may allow you to more thoroughly understand the issues than a typically layman, but it still does not give you the same standing as a particle physicist with an advanced degree in the field. If that's bothersome to you, you could always return to school to seek such a degree. Note here that I am not putting myself forward as such an expert - I, too, am unqualified. The difference between us is that I know I am unqualified, and so make no assertions on the topic at hand. You did make assertions, publicly and repeatedly. It's pretty poor form to now claim your assertions, and your credibility in making them, are now off-limits. They are not off-limits, and if you don't care for the response to your assertions, then don't make them publicly.

Also on the subject of issue one, how does your participation in the meeting you describe, and the subsequent terrorist attacks of 9/11 pertain to the issue at hand? It seems to me an example of the association fallacy to assume your safety recommendation in that meeting should qualify you to discuss the safety issues of the LHC. Asserting the claim that because you somehow "predicted" 9/11 that makes you an expert on LHC safety makes no sense at all. Additionally, none of the information you present to support your credibility addresses the issue at hand - particle physics.

Issue two: I note that both you and your defenders have not addressed your use of the honorific "Dr." From where I sit, that failure, and your decision to use that honorific in lieu of the more traditional "Esq." implies an intent to deceive the public about your qualifications on the topic at hand. Note that I have not accused you of deliberate maliciousness - I simply assert that the impression your behavior leaves is one of deceit.

Please also note that in none of my commentary on this blog have I called your basic intelligence into question. For all I know, you are an incredibly intelligent individual - I simply have no way to judge. What I do know is that within the context of your public persona, you have made assertions that call your credibility into question, and you appear to be singularly unwilling to address those questions. Bringing up unrelated events in your life may cloud the issue in your mind, but the core issues still remain.

Eric said...

Mr. Wagner, nobody is disputing that you might be quite good at math or a very good chess player, or that you might also be skilled as a dancer or a star at the local karaoke night down the street. The question is and remains whether you're qualified to make pronouncements on the subject of subatomic physics, and how much weight ought to be given to someone who appears to be un- or under-credentialed in the field, and whose credibility appears to have been undermined by exaggerated or false statements about his qualifications made by him or on his behalf without correction.

Per the March 29, 2008 New York Times, your credentials as stated by a presumably-objective third-party are:

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.

I assume that if you had received a Ph.D in physics you would have told them; this is the presumptive threshold these days for one to be taken seriously as a physicist, and while it is certainly possible in theory for some exceptionally talented person with an undergraduate major in biology and undergraduate minor in physics to add something to the field, the specialization requires makes such a prodigy extraordinarily unlikely and this has been the case since around the time of World War II. Such a prodigy would need to impress his peers in physics--and so far nobody has cited a peer-reviewed journal article or parallel attainment on your behalf, Mr. Wagner. What has been mustered is that you're a talented chess player, aced a general math test for educators, and your own apparently-irrelevant anecdote about correctly guessing that somebody might crash a plane into something to destroy it (Jules Verne, as you may know, correctly guessed that somebody might launch a spaceship from Florida--nobody has claimed he was a rocket scientist for doing so). With supporters and defenders like that Mr. Wagner, nobody really needs to bother attacking you; as near as I can tell, you keep being damned with faint praise.

You may feel that continued questions about your credibility and qualifications constitute ad hominem attacks; that indeed may be the case as a formal matter, Mr. Wagner, but as a practical matter assessments of a source's credibility are commonplace and necessary: a man in a mental hospital (no, not you, this is an illustration, not an insult) might well prove correct when he says his wife is trying to kill him--nonetheless, that conclusion is reached in spite of his mental illness upon credible proof, not in ignorance of his condition.

I have not seen anything proffered by anybody that says you were anything other than a radiation safety officer for the VA when you were purportedly a "physicist for the federal government." A RSO is a regulatory official who uses physics in his job--but that hardly makes him a theoretical or laboratory physicist as the concept is generally understood. It's not necessarily an outright falsehood, but it is distorting and disingenuous to say "physicist for the federal govenrment" when you apparently mean you were a safety officer. Similarly, it appears that you have claimed to be a doctor based on a juris doctor degree, a practice that is generally frowned upon by bar associations (where it's not actively prohibited) and isn't accepted by the legal community in general--because it's considered distorting and disingenuous.

Your work on the LHC has been peer-reviewed by accredited and recognized physicists, and it seems they have disagreed with you. The credibility of these scientists certainly might be examined for a conflict of interest, but such a concern immediately rings hollow--aside from moral scruples, it's difficult to secure grants and publish papers from inside a singularity; and these men have qualifications you seem to lack.

So, one stacks the credibility of one with minimal qualifications (at best) who seems to have engaged in distortions and who was previously wrong in his claims about the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider nearly a decade ago against the credibility of several who have met the prerequisites of being accepted and acclaimed within their field. Who am I to believe? While I could be wrong about the CERN physicists, sound money seems to be against you, Mr. Wagner.

If these concerns with your credibility are faulty, you are welcome to rebut them and to defend yourself with showing how, for instance, you've publicly corrected others who represented you as a doctor, or point to a more substantial contribution to the field of physics than being credited as a "researcher" for doing the tedious gruntwork on a cosmic-ray project, or at the very least offer something more relevant than an anecdote about how you could have pointlessly sabotaged your own scores during a standardized exam after 78 minutes of strenuous calculation. At this point, I would be pleased to see such a defense merely because the defenses you and your supporters have offered so far have been an insult to the intelligence and common sense of every single reader to glance at them--you can beat a physicist at chess? (I suppose that beating a molecular biologist at backgammon would make you a leading expert on signal transduction pathways. If I'd known that was how science worked, I would have won myself a Nobel Prize already by camping out on the steps of a formidable science department, challenging all comers to games of Risk, and without having to be any good at math!)

Eric said...

(It seems that Janiece beat me to my main points while I was writing! :-) )

Anonymous said...

Dear Ms. Janiece Murphy:

I have never used the title "esq.", nor would I. I am not a practicing attorney, and have not been for nearly 30 years, when I removed myself from that field to work in physics. The references to ABA rules for practicing attorneys is wholly inapplicable, since I do not hang out a shingle, nor do I intend to, nor do I hold myself out to the general public as a practicing attorney in any way, shape or form.

And yes, as I mentioned before and I mention again, the theorists at CERN agreed with me that they had overlooked something in their earlier safety analysis, as also mentioned by james jr. and detailed elsewhere. I believe the fact that I spot errors of analysis on their part, which they recognize as such, speaks volumes as to my credentials.

Now that I have pointed out certain facts to yourself, and some of your more foul-mouthed adherents who have, thus far, not even apologized for their foul thinking, I would like to re-emphasize that if you applied yourself, having a 17-year history in the Navy, you might be able to pass the CBEST or its equivalent. If so, you might begin to recognize that being able to perform superiorly to PhD mathematicians and scientists who also took it along with myself does speak somewhat to my credentials.


Walter L. Wagner

Janiece said...

Mr. Wagner,

Issue one: Again, my ability (or lack thereof) to perform on the test you mention really is immaterial. Just as your own performance is. Mathematics are indeed the language of physics, but your mastery of the language does not imply you have a graduate level understanding of particle physics - only that you have the language to pursue such studies if you wished. I have already commented, more than once, that your general intelligence is not at issue here. And while I am proud of my Naval service, it's also irrelevant to this discussion. I'm not a scientist, by training or experience, I don't play one on T.V., and my qualifications are not the ones under discussion.

In that vein, I would be very interested in examining the reference where the CERN scientists admit that you discovered safety aspects of the LHC that they missed. Please note that directing me to a 300 page report is unhelpful - I have already commented that I lack the education and training to slog through that much material to discover the admission of their error. So a page number would be most helpful. If such a document exists, and it can be independently verified that the CERN physicists admitted publicly that you addressed an aspect of particle physics that they missed, then I will consider Issue one addressed and closed. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and your word that such an admission took place is insufficient in this case.

Issue two: I simply do not understand. You state that you would not use the title "Esq." because it would be misleading to do so. Yet you actively use the title "Dr.," knowing it misleads others into thinking that your post-graduate work relates to your ability to address particle (or nuclear) physics. From an ethical viewpoint, I don't consider this position defensible. How do rationalize this?

And unrelated to issues one and two, I will point out that being foul-mouthed does not necessarily translate to being foul-thinking. Under other circumstances, my own sailor mouth is quite impressive, and doesn't imply that I can't think logically or admit error. So while I don't think anyone here owes you an apology, I will allow my "adherents" to speak for themselves.

Eric said...

Dear Mr. Wagner,

As you continue to ignore pointed questions, offer evasive and non-responsive answers, or simply try to change the subject whenever it suits you, I will take it you have conceded every single criticism leveled at you in John's blog post and the subsequent comments, with the noted exception of your claim that "CERN theorists" agreed with you that they had overlooked something in their safety analysis.

Now that this is the only remaining issue of contention, perhaps you would like to offer the names of the "CERN theorists" who agreed with you and the specific points they agreed with you upon, and appropriate reference sources--e.g. page numbers from a specific document, as opposed to a generic "as detailed elsewhere."


R. Eric VanNewkirk, esq.

Anonymous said...


You are entitled to your opinions, of course, but that is what they are. Acing the CBEST does in fact imply a strong knowledge of mathematics and physics. If you had the ability to score highly in competition with persons holding PhDs in science and mathematics, who come close to but don't ace the CBEST, I'm sure you'd recognize that. But you don't, and I doubt that I'd be able to convince you in this forum. You'd have to take one of my courses for many weeks before you'd begin to get a glimmering of understanding of that principle.

As to the CERN scientists making reference to relativistic microblackholes that would be formed in nature, that was included in both the LSAG, as well as in the Mangano Power Point Presentation he gave at UC Berkeley. Email me at, and I'll point you more directly to that. Or you can research these issues more yourself.

I note that Eric now uses the title "esq.", or esquire, indicating that he's a knight's attendant. I'm not. I'm wondering if he knows a friend of mine who does North Carolina criminal defense. I certainly have not implied any concession of 'points of criticism', simply because I choose to ignore answering ludicrous claims. I'm wondering how he can justify using an astrological sign on his profile, while proclaiming to be scientific.


Walter L. Wagner

Anonymous said...

Oops. That was

Janiece said...

Mr. Wagner,

Yes, I am entitled to my opinion, just as you are - we simply disagree about the importance of your test. I still believe your performance on the test is irrelevant, and even though you seem pretty impressed with your accomplishment, you still fail to provide definitive information on how knowledge of bachelor level mathematics constitutes knowledge of particle physics. That says something about the accomplishment in question, in my opinion.

I will be happy to e:mail you at the address you provided, with the understanding that anything you provide to me will remain in the public domain, i.e., I am free to publish it here, or on my own blog. If those terms are unacceptable to you, please fee to provide the information here or on my blog. Once that information has been provided, I will again address Issue one.

While realizing I'm starting to sound like a broken record, ISSUE TWO. Your attempt to redirect the issue by issuing an ad hominem attack against Eric will not distract me, in spite of the fact that he is an attorney who actively practices law, thereby making his use of the term "Esq." entirely appropriate based on your own comments.

So I ask again, and will continue to ask again, and again, and again:

Issue two: I simply do not understand. You state that you would not use the title "Esq." because it would be misleading to do so. Yet you actively use the title "Dr.," knowing it misleads others into thinking that your post-graduate work relates to your ability to address particle (or nuclear) physics. From an ethical viewpoint, I don't consider this position defensible. How do rationalize this?

vince said...

Acing the CBEST does in fact imply a strong knowledge of mathematics and physics. If you had the ability to score highly in competition with persons holding PhDs in science and mathematics, who come close to but don't ace the CBEST, I'm sure you'd recognize that.

Sir, there is NOTHING in the CBEST mathematics test that even under the loosest possible construction tests anything that could even vaguely suggest anything resembling knowledge of physics, and you KNOW that. The test is designed to demonstrate basic math skills. Period. No matter how fast you took the test or how well you did, nothing in that test requires ANY knowledge of physics.

Further, the implication is that you did better on the test than persons holding PhDs in science and mathematics. In the first place, so what? The only thing that shows is you can do a better job of taking that test than someone else, which at best means you have a better grasp of basic math than they did, but also simply may mean you test better or have less test anxiety. Further, it implies you, in fact, did better than persons holding PhDs in science and mathematics without actually saying you did, and without any offer of proof beyond "The one fellow I spoke with who got the 79/80 [a fellow math teacher at the time who'd majored in mathematics at Stanford, and who held a PhD in mathematics, as I recall]". And I find it ludicrous that any person person would be, "awed that I, who had a Biology degree, not a Mathematics degree." I downloaded and took the practice test - it wasn't all that difficult. It's basic math. That's all.

So no sir, acing the CBEST does NOT, in fact imply a strong knowledge of mathematics and physics. It doesn't imply anything. It demonstrates the ability to add, subtract, multiply, and divide, a basic understanding of simple statistics, simple algebra, and the ability to recognize relationships in numerical data.

Yes, you need to be able to do all that to do physics. But it doesn't even begin to give you an understanding of physics, or the higher level math needed for serious physics.

Eric said...

Your desperation is adorable, Mr, Wagner: the horoscope information was provided because I neglected to remove a check from a box I frankly hadn't noticed until you called my attention to it.

But what on Earth could that have to do with your qualifications, hm? The attempt to deflect attention from the issues you still haven't answered is cute, but I think you'll find most people around here have longer attention spans than that. For instance, I doubt anyone else has forgotten your earlier statement that you wouldn't be favoring us with replies, or even revisiting John's blog--and here we find you're coming back and even researching us! Nor has anyone seen an explanation from you about the "doctor" business. Or an explanation of how the CBEST or a stint in a regulatory capacity for the VA qualifies you as a physicist. The astrology feint is awfully like your 9/11 feint--a bit of irrelevance that isn't fooling anyone.

Who's your friend in North Carolina, Mr. Wagner? I'd be curious to ask him about you should I wander into him at some point. It's possible he'd do a better job defending your qualifications than you have, yes?

JTankers said...

Vince that is a funny comment about test anxiety, perhaps we should just think of Dr. Einstein as "extremely relaxed" and Thomas Edison as uneducated and Bill Gates and Steve Jobs as college drop outs. Given enough time and effort you can educate a ham sandwich, genius self teaches.

Mrs. Murphy I don't know exactly what you and your friends are trying to accomplish, "Dr. Wagner" earned his Jurist Doctorate degree and the right to use his title if he chooses, I think the title fits his level of education and ability. I find this to be a discussing inquisition and recommend that this discussion end. I will answer.

The quote from the 1975 Time Magazine article "Bring it Back Alive" addresses well enough whether any notable cosmic ray research work was accomplished:

"credit for first spotting the monopole's track belongs to two technical assistants: Julie Teague, 31, at Houston and Walter Wagner, 25, at U.C."[7]

As to the question of discovering flaws with CERN's safety arguments, I think the following makes the answer clear enough. (Forgive the length, sometimes enlightenment takes effort).

In 2004 CERN announced what was previously believed to be impossible on Earth, the LHC might create micro black holes possibly at a rate of 1 per second[1]. CERN argued that micro black holes if created would evaporate instantly, apparently unaware that several papers concluded that Dr. Hawking's evaporation theory was flaw conjecture and does not exist[2][3]. CERN also argued that existence of Earth proves safety[4] disputed by Walter L. Wagner as noted in his affidavit to US Federal Court in Hawaii[5]:

"The flaw with that argument that was overlooked during their previous safety assessment was that any such novel particle created in nature by cosmic ray impacts would be left with a velocity at nearly the speed of light, relative to earth. At such speeds, a novel particle such as a micro black hole that might be created in nature, is believed by most theorists to simply pass harmlessly through our planet with nary an impact, safely exiting on the other side. These would be nearly impossible to detect in nature. Conversely, any such novel particle that might be created at the LHC would be at slow speed relative to earth, a goodly percentage1 would then be captured by earth’s gravity, and could possibly grow larger [accrete matter] with disastrous consequences of the earth turning into a large black hole. Essentially, any such safety argument would have to rely on a presumed cross-section for capture of a relativistic micro black hole being sufficiently large to stop such particle, either by a planet, star, or even neutron star, when in fact we have ZERO information on what such cross-section for capture actually is." [5] page 10.

CERN's LHC Safety Assessment group also acknowledged the safety argument flaw in a March 2008 email to me[6]:

"While it is true that a BH produced by cosmic rays would not be stopped by the Earth, there are many other "things" in the universe that could trap such CR-produced BH's, thus leading to visible consequences. This study is being completed, and will soon be documented in a report." [6]

In October 2007 CERN retroactively promised to have already begun addressing the LHC safety issue by a group of un-named experts "not themselves members of the LHC experimental collaborations" in response to concerns expressed by Walter Wagner[5]

"I had written to CERN expressing the concern that two safety arguments were seriously flawed; namely the “strangelet” argument and the “micro black hole” argument, which I detail infra. In response, they mailed me the Exhibit “A” letter, which was dated October 1, 2007 and which reads in pertinent part:"

“Dear Dr. Wagner
Thank you for communicating to CERN your concerns about
the ‘Operational Safety’ of the LHC. We can assure you that
CERN takes such issues very seriously.
Earlier this year we mandated a group of experts, not
themselves members of the LHC experimental
collaborations, to assess safety aspects of LHC operation.
This group is mandated to provide by the end of this year a
written report, which will be made available to the scientific
community and to the general public through CERN Web

The letter was signed by both Director General Robert Aymar and Chief Scientific Officer Jos Engelen.[5] #7 Page 3

I find it interesting that CERN announced the size and make up of their anonymous LSAG members only after the report was released: 4 CERN theoretical physicists and 1 physicist SPIRES identifies as from (CERN).

("not themselves members of the LHC experimental collaborations"? The only physicist I am aware of having been a long term active LSAG member was Dr. Mangano who clearly did commendable and honorable work, but did not necessarily prove safety[8][9][10][11].)

Good day.

[1] CERN Courier (2004), The case for mini black holes
[2] Dr. Adam Helfer (2003) Do black holes radiate?
[3] Prof. VA Belinski (2006) On the existence of black hole evaporation yet again
[4] CERN, The safety of the LHC
[5] Sancho v Doe - Complaint, Sancho v Doe - Affidavit of Walter L. Wagner in Support of TRO (March 14, 2008)
[6] LHC Safety Assessment Group, (16 Mar 2008)
[7] Time Magazine (1975), Bring is Back Alive,9171,913445,00.html
[8] On the potential catastrophic risk from metastable quantum-black holes produced at particle colliders - Dr. Habil. Rainer Plaga Rebuttal (2008)
[9] A Rational and Moral and Spiritual Dilemma - Otto E. Rössler (2008)
[10] Particle Accelerators, CERN, and Doomsday. Prof Shahn Majid (2008)
[11] A 1-in-1,000 Chance of Götterdämmerung, Will European physicists destroy the world? Ronald Bailey | September 2, 2008

MWT said...

Wow. This just goes on and on. o.O

"credit for first spotting the monopole's track belongs to two technical assistants: Julie Teague, 31, at Houston and Walter Wagner, 25, at U.C."

Speaking as a technical assistant in a science research institute ... what that means is that Julie Teague and Walter Wagner did grunt work. There are tons and tons of mindless tedious tasks involved in doing science that require minimal training, and they were hired to do some of it. That's all. It's not that impressive. :p Faculty tend to offload such tasks onto their grad students, who in turn offload them onto undergrads looking for "experience" (in the form of independent study projects). And while it's always fun to get credited in the acknowledgements of a primary literature paper (such as in Price et al 1975 [1]), it doesn't actually indicate anything. In my field (marine science), acknowledgements are routinely handed out to the boat crews - which in no way means nor implies that they're scientists.

Also, about that claimed detection of a moving monopole. Alvarez (1975)[2] pointed out errors in the analysis of the first paper, and Price retracted the claim (Price et al 1978 [3]). Conclusion: no monopoles were actually found. The End.

The only mention of Wagner in any of the above is in the acknowledgements of the first paper. As a lowly lab tech his only involvement would've been to spot what he was told to look for. Could've been as simple as "make note of any blue dots amongst all these thousands of red ones." Requires no specialized knowledge of anything, nor any skills that a trained monkey couldn't do. He had nothing to do with any of the scientific conversation that happened after that point.

So much for his claims to have done something credential-worthy involving nuclear physics.

[1] P. B. Price; E. K. Shirk; W. Z. Osborne; L. S. Pinsky (1975-08-25). "Evidence for Detection of a Moving Magnetic Monopole". Physical Review Letters 35 (8): 487-490. American Physical Society.

[2] Alvarez, L.W. (1975) "Analysis of a reported magnetic monopole."

[3] Price, P. B.; Shir, E. K.; Osborne, W. Z.; and Pinsky L. S. Further measurements and reassessment of the magnetic-monopole candidate Phys. Rev. D 18, 1382 - 1421 (1978)

Janiece said...

James, Jr.,

While I can appreciate your passion in defending Mr. Wagner, I have to say that he appears to be perfectly capable of defending himself. My "conversation" with him has been civil and I have made every effort to remain courteous on this forum, as has Mr. Wagner. This is more than I can say for you, by the way.

Your "recommendation" that the discussion "end" bears no weight here, since this is not your space. So unless your "James Jr." moniker is a Mr. Wagner sock puppet, I have to say it's really not up to you.

Now having said that, I will AGAIN return to the issues at hand.


Thank you for the information and references you provided above. Since Mr. Wagner has referred me (in e:mail) to your entry as documentation of his physics accomplishments, I will assume he agrees with your use.

In terms of Mr. Wagner's participation in the UC Berkley research, I believe MWT's comments are germane. I do not doubt that Mr. Wagner was involved, I do not doubt he observed the phenomena, I do not doubt he was conscientious. However, available documentation implies that he was, in fact, peripherally involved. This is substantiated by the fact that he was not published in his own right. Again, proximity does not make him a "researcher" in the way he would like others to believe. Please note that I am not belittling his very real professional accomplishments - I am asserting that he is trying to make them something other than what they are, especially in light of Alvarez' subsequent findings.

As to the rest of the documentation "proving" Mr. Wagner's discovery of LHC safety oversights, I do not have time this morning to give it the diligence it deserves. When I do have time, I will respond accordingly. In the meantime, I will consider that specific topic tabled.


I am in no way denying that Mr. Wagner earned a J.D., nor am I implying that this accomplishment does not require dedication and focus.

What I am saying is that in this country, at this time, the use of the honorific "Dr." implies an accomplishment that Mr. Wagner has not earned. The governing body that manages the profession in which his degree was awarded agrees. His assertion that the body in question (ABA) doesn't govern usage in his case because he doesn't actually practice is a red herring. His academic achievement either means he's an attorney, and common usage should apply, or it doesn't, and he shouldn't be using the honorific (since that appears to be his only advanced degree).

His continued use of the honorific implies a desire to deceive others in terms of his qualifications, especially in light of his activism relating to the LHC.

To put it another way, if Mr. Wagner was an educator who held a J.D. and used the honorific "Dr.," I would consider that merely pretentious. When seen in light of his involvement with the scientific community, including his lack of an advanced scientific degree, I consider it both pretentious and duplicitous. His continued refusal to address it has done nothing to dispel this opinion. It cannot be an oversight, nor is it beneath him to address this - he simply chooses not to do so.

Eric said...

I'm trying to stay out at this point--but I would like to amplify something Janiece pointed out:

To put it another way, if Mr. Wagner was an educator who held a J.D. and used the honorific "Dr.," I would consider that merely pretentious.

Indeed, in law school a key difference between a "Professor" and a "Doctor" is that a professor is an educator who holds a JD, while a doctor is somebody who holds a post-JD terminal doctoral degree (typically in law, when you're talking law school professors).

Yes, I realize Mr. Wagner isn't pretending to be a law professor--that's not the point. The point is that even on a law school campus, where you might think JDs would be called "doctors," if you address a professor as "Doctor So-and-so," he or she will typically correct you unless he or she has a PhD. Because it's considered pretentious and inappropriate even in the law school setting.

And now I'm back to lurking. I think Janiece, MWT and Vince are covering all the issues I still have with considerable aplomb, and I'm tired of repeating myself and seeing the same pattern of repetition or evasion in every response.

Eric said...

Okay, I'm delurking again, with another question for Mr. Wagner: Mr. Wagner, I noticed in the March New York Times article that you are listed as a graduate of the University of Northern California in Sacramento. I had some difficulty in learning more about this institution: is it the same entity as the University of Northern California, Lorenzo Patiño School of Law, or was there an unchecked error in your CV as it was reported in the Times article?

Thank you for any response.

Anonymous said...

One parting comment for MWT, who reports his astrological sign as Libra, and his zodiac year as Ox:

We tried to train monkeys, but we just couldn't get them to look into the microscopes. And no, there were no blue dots or red dots to look at - just a huge maze of millions of cones etched into plastic. Only after measuring them and analyzing their measurements could sense be made of them. I was in the fortunate position to be the only person working on that particular experiment, when a series of tracks stuck out from the 10s of thousands of others that were of interest. It was the computer's suggestion that the tracks were caused by a Z = 135. It was my suggestion that the tracks were instead caused by a magnetic monopole with field strength equivalent to Z = 137. My suggestion, and the data, was then brought to the attention of PB Price et al. After three years of badgering, he withdrew his assertion that the tracks had to represent a magnetic monopole, but neither he nor anyone else has suggested a plausible alternative. A doubly-fractionating normal nucleus does not fit the bill. But since you don't have the foggiest clue as to how the particle track-etch method works, I won't go into those details.

Anonymous said...

Above comment by:

Walter L. Wagner

MWT said...

Since you seem not to understand how Blogger works, let me just point out that the astrology/zodiac info is automatically tied in to our reported birthdates, and that the checkbox to display the info defaults to yes. There is no reason to read too much into the fact that the info is displayed on any given person's blogger profile (I note you made the same comment about Eric). Especially since the form for it didn't look that way when I last editted my profile a few years ago.

I was in the fortunate position to be the only person working on that particular experiment,

Who's Julie Teague then? And why do the acknowledgements of that first paper also list G. Blanford, H.H. Heckman, and R. Smith under "for assistance"?

More to the point, why don't the acknowledgements list "W. Wagner" under "for discussions" in the first paper, or "valuable conversations" or "discussions and important information" or "checking calculations" in the second paper, or "numerous ideas and valuable conversations" or "independent role in the analysis" in the third one? If your input was so valuable, shouldn't you be mentioned somewhere in the long lists of names that are in those acknowledgements?

After three years of badgering,
... by whom? :p Because as far as I can tell, it wasn't by you.

Here's what the acknowledgements say:

Price et al (1975)
We thank G. Blanford, H.H. Heckman, R. Smith, J. Teague, and W. Wagner for assistance; Clark Goodman, D. Hagge, and D. Kurz for support; and S. Ahlen, L. Alvarez, B.G. Cartwright, G. Tarlé, and L.W. Wilson for discussions.

Alvarez (1975) (slightly trimmed for the relevant parts)
I've had much help from several persons with special knowledge of the experiment. I'd like to thank Dick Eandi of Houston for several long conversations concerning the Cerenkov detector, Ed Hungerford for two valuable conversations concerning different aspects of the experiment, three persons with experience in the Price group -- Hank Crawford, Steve Ahlen and Gregg Tarlé -- for several discussions and important information, and Peter Fowler, for a phone call telling me first hand what I had previously learned third hand. I am particularly indebted to Rich Muller for checking every one of my calculations by an independent method.
Most importantly, I wish to thank Buford Price for his complete openness and obvious desire to have all the facts in the case made known.

Price et al (1978)
During the prolonged investigation of this controversial event, we were sustained and encouraged by many colleagues. We are indebted for numerous ideas and valuable conversations to S.P. Ahlen, L. Alvarez, B.G. Cartwright, P.A.M. Dirac, P.H. Fowler, A.S. Goldhaber, M. Goldhaber, J.D. Jackson, E.M. McMillan, and G.H. Trilling. We wish to record our indebtedness to R. Hagstrom for the independent role he played in the analysis. We are also indebted to P.H. Fowler for hospitality and assistance in interlaboratory comparisons of photodensitometry and of ultraheavy cosmic-ray tracks in emulsions. [the rest is about funding agencies, grant numbers, and institutions.]

Anonymous said...


Your questions deserve answers.

First, yes, I was under the impression that it required active participation on your part to provide you with an "astrological sign" I see where 'Eric' has removed his. I would suggest you do likewise.

I never met Julie Teague or spoke with her. She lived in Texas while I was in California. The balloon flight was returned in 1973, and she worked on the emulsion, and after a few months had identified the locations of a number of interesting candidate heavy cosmic rays [the object of the experiment was to obtain the charge and energy spectrum of higher-Z cosmic rays] from the emulsion sheet, with an 'estimated charge' for the particle. The candidate monopole particle was estimated to have been caused by a Lead nucleus. That data of hers was then set aside for 1 1/2 years, as the balloon flight was no longer of much interest, as the Skylab flight had been returned in late 1973, and the focus of analysis was on that experiment, which had a roughly 100-fold larger time-area exposure history.

Upon completion of the Skylab experiment, I was asked to do the analysis of the balloon flight from 2003, which Lexan stacks had been stored away and not analyzed. I was the only person in our group who could reasonably do so in a reasonable period of time. I had only 3 months, as I had announced I would be leaving the group at the end of July, 1975 to go to law school.

Initially, I sought out interesting tracks based on the locations suggested by Ms. Teague's data. However, it soon became apparent that the charge estimates were very poor, because there was only 1 sheet of emulsion, and that I would miss many interesting events if that data were used. Instead, I used the technique of scanning, via a scanning stereo-microscope, three sheets of the 32-sheet stack that I had developed for the Skylab experiment. This revealed numerous interesting events that had been missed by the emulsion, and Ms. Teague's data was abandoned for use.

So yes, technically, Ms. Teague spotted the track first [1-1/2 years before I saw it] and identified it as a probable Lead nucleus.

My preliminary steresocopic scan indicated that the monopole candidate would have large charge, and I was suspecting it would be subsequently measured to be a Uranium nucleus.

The data for all of the interesting events was gathered, during the weeks of July, and run through the computer during the last week. The data analysis of the tracks showed a very high charge of 135, and a very anomalous standard deviation at less than 1/2 charge. While reviewing the data, I recognized several anomalous characteristics, and in particular that charges in the region of Z = 135 should not exist in nature, as that lies in the valley of instability between the presumed islands of stability for transuranics. Accordingly, the idea came to me that instead it represented a magnetic charge of 137. There was enough uncertainty in the measurements, using 1600X oil-immersion microscopes, due to the wave-length of light making cones much smaller in diameter than that wave-length to essentially not appear. That could have easily given a systematic error, and I believed that the charge was therefore likely actually 137, not 135, and I suggested to PB Price that such was the case.

Subsequently, the top sheet [the one rejected by Alvarez as not being valid data, when in fact it was, which I won't go into here] data, and the Cerenkov data, was returned, about 1-2 days before my scheduled departure on July 31, 1975, confirming my initial suggestion.

Accordingly, I left all of the data I had generated, and my analysis, for Buford to write up for me/us to have published, while I vacationed on Maui in preparation for law school in September, 1975.

As to the others mentioned, I believe they were associates of the Texas staff who did the Cerenkov and Emulsion work, which I did not rely uoon for the initial identification as a probable monopole. I did not meet them either.

Also, while Alvarez' suggestion is possible, it is highly improbable. One would expect that there would be numerous doubly-fractionating nuclei that came close to, but did not mimic, a monopole, if such were a plausible route. Instead, the very first such presumptively double-fractionating nucleus exactly mimicked a monopole. No single fractionating or double-fractionating heavy nuclei were seen in either of those experiments, let alone ones that just happened to come close to having exceptionally high ionizations [very high impact energies, which are also rare] so as to mimic a monopole. I did a rough calculation, and one would expect roughly one billion doubly fractionating Pt nuclei, of all energy ranges and ionizations, before one would find one that mimicked a monopole. Under Alvarez' suggestion, we just got lucky and got one the first time.

But then, maybe it was. That's why it was 'evidence' and not proof. It would take about 2 more such candidates to establish the high degree of proof that science should demand. That's why I believe we should fund more research to 'find one and bring it back alive'.


Walter L. Wagner

Janiece said...

First I would like to thank Mr. Wagner for remaining courteous to me throughout our exchange. It cannot be easy to remain so while defending your reputation to someone you don’t know.

For the sake of continuity, and with apologies for the length of this post, I’m going to copy and paste portions of my e:mail correspondence with Mr. Wagner, along with my comments. I informed Mr. Wagner that this was my intent prior to his communicating to me via e:mail, both in the comments above, and again in my initial e:mail to him.


On the topic of the test taken by Mr. Wagner in 1984 and its relevance to his physics qualifications:

Walter: And you and your adherents are mistaken. Being able to ace the CBEST is something that only highly qualified individuals are capable of doing. That degree of qualification does not come about by happenstance. One poster at that blogsite has noted that he believed the questions he tried [on a CBEST sample download] were not too difficult. Likely true. About half the questions are ‘filler', designed to eat up time and separate out the wheat from the chaff. It is only when you actually take the exam, all 80 questions with only 80 minutes, does its full nature come into play, and the few 'trick' questions, or ones that are exceptionally difficult, gnaw at you like an open wound. You may rest assured that, if it is still designed as it was in 1984 [and I believe it is], you will find that the closer one gets to acing the exam, the higher the degree of competency in science and mathematics in that person. Out of some 250,000 people [or thereabouts in the 1/4 century since we inaugurated that credentialing exam] desiring to enter the teaching profession and taking that exam, only a handful have aced it. Those in the top 0.1%ile are almost exclusively mathematicians and scientists, with PhDs or equivalent training and experience, who are entering the teaching profession. Those in the top 0.01%ile [those who aced it] are few and far between indeed. Of course, acing that exam does not make one a nuclear physicist. I never said it did. It does mean that that individual is highly competent, and almost certainly a PhD or equivalent in mathematics or physics.

Janiece: As previously noted, we will simply have to agree to disagree on the topic of your test in 1984. As the daughter of a man who completed graduate level work in both physics and mathematics (and based on his opinion), I still contend that
knowledge of mathematics does not imply knowledge of physics, especially particle physics, although the inverse is certainly true.

Walter: Yes, your dad is correct, doing well in mathematics does not necessarily imply being knowledgeable in physics. However, it is my experience that everyone who does well in mathematics [i.e, who does as I did ages ago, and studied Calculus through differential equations] has also taken quite a bit of physics, and
during their life's experience, also learned additional physics. While they might not be nuclear physicists, they are usually very knowledgeable in physics. Thus, there is a strong correlation between the two [as, for example, your father!].

While I understand the point Mr. Wagner is trying to make here, I must point out the logical fallacy inherent in his reasoning. Foremost, of course, is the appeal to authority fallacy, where Mr. Wagner appears to be believe his ability to do extremely well in a baccalaureate level mathematics certification exam implies his opinion on the safety of a particle physics device should have equal credence. Elements of the association fallacy are also present, where his competence in mathematics somehow infers competence in particle physics. Finally, Mr. Wagner is engaging in a hasty generalization when he implies that because an individual who has competency in one field usually has competency in another, then that’s the case with him, as well.

On a related note, I would have to say that individuals who have actually earned a Ph.D in mathematics or physics would probably take exception to Mr. Wagner’s assertion that his performance on this test indicates competence equal to “a PhD or equivalent in mathematics or physics.” If this was the case, then why bother with all those pesky dissertations and theses? Simply take the exam and pick up the sheepskin. It would certainly save everyone a lot of time and money. If there are any Ph.D’s in math or physics out there that agree with Mr. Wagner's, I would be most interested in your opinion.


On the use of the honorific “Dr.” when no Ph.D, M.D. or D.D.S. has been earned:

Walter: Also, I did not mean to imply that your adherent should not use the 'title' "esq." Certainly that is in vogue these days for attorneys to tack that title onto their name. I simply meant that I do not use it. Personally, I find it rather a silly title, that simply says [to me] that the person wants to be recognized for having some degree of ethical standing. I give that assumption of ethical standing to every adult, when I first meet them. Only if they thereafter do something to lose that standing do I thereafter no longer afford them that degree of respect. Perhaps I look upon the title as being 'silly' for a couple of reasons. First, when I was a kid watching Bugs Bunny, that was the title he used [Bugs Bunny, Esq.], and I'm always reminded of that. But more importantly perhaps, attorneys were not customarily using that title when I began practicing in the 1970s, but it crept into more frequent use in later years. As an honorific, it was meant to apply to males [the male squire of a knight], yet in the 1980s more and more female attorneys also began using it. While they might desire to be 'honored' by such 'title', I was not impressed in the least by them, or other attorneys, knowing what they learned in law school [having also spent three years doing the same]. In any event, if your adherent chooses to use that term to describe himself, it makes no difference to me. I simply do not use that title for myself.

Janiece: In terms of the use of the term "Esquire," I am aware of its history, and also the Bugs Bunny reference. Your desire not to use it is certainly your own business, and I am in no way asserting you should use it if it makes you uncomfortable. I was simply pointing out that in our current society, we use the honorific "Esq" for an attorney in the common usage, whether you agree with
it or not. My criticism of you was not about the use of "Esq," but of your use of the honorific "Dr.," as I've repeatedly expressed, and you've repeatedly refused to address. May I point out that if you were uncomfortable with "Esq.," but still wanted some outward symbol of your academic achievement, then placing the initials "J.D." after your name would have accomplished the same end without leaving your detractors the impression that you are deliberately attempting to

Walter: I have also, at times, used the term "J.D." following my name. Usually, I don't use any title, particularly when anywhere near a medical environment. While I have extensive knowledge/training in the medical field, and in particular in
difficult fields not studied by most physicians [i.e. nuclear medicine], obtained while holding a doctorate in law, I do not want people to confuse me with a practicing physician. Many physicians themselves ask me not to address them as "Dr.", but rather by their first name, as I am usually addressed as well. I would additionally not use the title "Esq.", as I chose not to be a practicing attorney as well, and don't want to confuse people into believing that I would represent them in court, even though I do have extensive
knowledge/training as a lawyer.

I’ll let Eric address the nuances of the available degrees in law, as he is certainly more qualified to do so.

But I have to ask (again): Why would Mr. Wagner use the honorific “Dr.” at all? He professes a desire not to confuse others in terms of his academic achievements, but occasionally uses a honorific not in common use for his academic achievement, and allows his adherents and journalists to use the term without correction. Again, I must say this appears disingenuous at best, deliberately duplicitous at worst. In either case, it’s the fallacy of equivocation. In spite of my admiration of Mr. Wagner’s courtesy on this matter, his choices surrounding this issue have lowered my opinion of his ethics and ability to be forthright.

Please note that I question his ethics on this matter because in an equivalent ethical situation, I would immediately correct the error, and I don't understand why he would not. As an example, I was a Senior Non-Commissioned Officer in the Navy. On the occasions when people have referred to my service as an "officer," I have corrected them immediately, because I was not an officer - I was an NCO. Both "officers," yes, but I considered allowing the misconception to continue to be dishonest, because the assumption implied I had achieved a higher rank than I had earned. I'm proud of my service, and I don't need to inflate it to impress.

I think Mr. Wagner’s inability to be forthright is at the heart of the matter on all these issues. Through multiple responses, Mr. Wagner has failed to answer questions in a direct manner, no matter how many times they’re asked, no matter how they’re phrased. His responses surrounding his qualifications have been equivocal at best, and most center around the bare assertion fallacy (“I’m qualified to address issues of safety in particle physics and particle accelerators because I say I am”). His adherents use the proof by example fallacy, claiming Mr. Wagner is akin to Albert Einstein. Additionally, there are so many straw men and red herrings in this discussion, it’s a wonder they haven’t sucked all the oxygen out of the room.

This discussion is starting to make my feet swell.

Random Michelle K said...

As an undergraduate I was lucky enough to work on two different projects. One looked at the effects of a gypsy moth pesticide upon other forest invertebrates. The second looked at the effect that raising ground temperature one to three degrees had on forest invertebrates.

As it was a small project, I was able to work on multiple aspects of the research, including creating the field materials, collecting soil and leaf litter samples on a regular basis, extracting field samples, preserving the invertebrates, as well as plain old data entry.

My boss and I talked a lot about the different field sites in the Fernow experimental forest, and as I helped to extract the samples, I knew what insects appeared in what watersheds and how the populations of each water shed differed. (I also knew where the stinging nettles were in each watershed, but that's something entirely different.)

After college I worked for several years at NIOSH. The projects in our lab allowed me to everything from cell culture to DNA extraction to Western Blots and even some cytogenetics. My name has appeared on peer reviewed papers and posters from the work I did there.


Despite the knowledge I gained from working on all these projects, I would NEVER claim to be either an entomologist or a microbiologist.

I was there to assist the researchers. Everything I learned was incidental, and in NO WAY comparative the years of research and study required for a PhD and if I ever claimed it was, me co-workers and friends who suffered under an abusive committee chair who frequently tried to sabotage their efforts, would come and kick my ass.

In a similar vein, being fire warden for my floor when I worked at NIOSH did not mean I was a fire fighter. Any such claim would be viewed as ridiculous by anyone who knew what the job entailed.

Comparatively, claiming that working as a radiation safety officer provides experience as a nuclear physicist is just as foolish.

There is nothing wrong with being broadly educated. In fact, I'm a prime example of it and have thoroughly enjoyed all of my interdisciplinary studies.

But I would never claim to be an expert on something, without having the years of education and research to back up that claim. To do so is arrogance personified, and frankly, I'm embarrassed for anyone who would think such claims would be acceptable.

And to save you the effort, I have astrological signs up on my Blogger profile, because it amuses me to have them there.

As most of the denizens here can tell you, I'm pretty easily amused, which is why I've avoided this discussion until now. Because although your inability to address the direct questions asked of you, and your reliance on faulty logic and slight of hand to try and "prove" your qualifications, are quite funny, they don't provide much in the way of long term amusement.

My theory is that if something fails to educate or amuse me, it's not worth my time.

JTankers said...

Hello Mrs. Murphy,

Your civility is appreciated, I am also a veteran.

Almost 2 decades ago I was a tank platoon leader with a computer science degree and a year of college physics, but I was humbled by the superior knowledge of practical physics my master gunner demonstrated (an NCO). My tank platoon later scored the highest in Europe not in small part because I was able to recognize superior skills when I saw them.

I see the same superior abilities in Dr. Wagner (JD). He discovered critical safety flaws which I detailed above and you have yet to comment on (please do). This discovery tends to indicate either Dr. Wagner is a genius (he is, clearly, look up the definition of genius) or CERN's apparent incompetence (have you read the article "CERN’s Dr. Ellis tells only half of the story" at

This is not about titles, this is not even about lawyer, chess guru, CBEST math champion, former cosmic ray researcher, nuclear safety officer, student of physics and someone I greatly respect Walter L. Wagner, this is about safety. What do the experts say, what is agreed to, what is disputed and how credible are the safety arguments on each side.

This is important and I want to repeat it. Multiple credible scientists believe the risk to Earth is unknown and may be high, regardless of CERN's statements (and statements commissioned by CERN[7]) to the contrary, the potential planetary safety issue is unsettled.[1][2][3][4]

If you want to investigate misinformation, I recommend investigating CERN's public relation's statements, presenting debunked arguments as facts[5], presenting chance of danger as zero[3][5], acts arguably of censorship including preventing papers challenging Hawking Radiation from the Wikipedia LHC Safety article[9][6] and preventing employees from expressing risk concerns[5].

Apparently the cause of the 19 September accident is still unknown and the LHC damage was considerably larger than first reported requiring replacement of up to 29 magnets[10]. Perhaps not too unexpected considering the "sprint"[7] CERN announced. Rather opposite of Dr. Habil. Rainer Plaga's recommendations to proceed slowly and cautiously.[1]

James Tankersley Jr.
Founder and Co-Administrator

[1] On the potential catastrophic risk from metastable quantum-black holes produced at particle colliders - Dr. Habil. Rainer Plaga Rebuttal (2008)
[2] Abraham-Solution to Schwarzschild Metric Implies That CERN Miniblack Holes Pose a Planetary Risk, Prof. Dr. Otto Rossler (2008)
[3] A 1-in-1,000 Chance of Götterdämmerung, Will European physicists destroy the world? Ronald Bailey | September 2, 2008
[4] Particle Accelerators, CERN, and Doomsday. Prof Shahn Majid (2008)
[6] CERN wins battle at Wikipedia, LHC history scrubbed, TWO MOSQUITOES
[7] CERN?s Dr. Ellis tells only half of the story - (2008)
[8], We must be wary of scientific research, Gerald Warner, (10 Sep 2008)
[9] Wikipedia LHC Page is Being Altered by CERN (July 2008)
[10] CERN releases analysis of LHC incident

Janiece said...

Mr. Tankers,

I'm sorry, but this is about Mr. Wagner's qualifications. If the issue was about the safety of the LHC, or CERN's credibility, then the titles and content of the posts would reflect that topic.

Please note that I am not implying the safety of the LHC is a trivial matter, unworthy of discussion. I am saying the safety of the LHC is not the discussion point here. If it was, I would not even participate, as I've already commentated that I'm not a scientist, and don't pretend to be one.

So while I understand and appreciate your concerns, this piece of misdirection will not work. If you wish to discuss the safety of the LHC, may I suggest you stick with your own website or blog, or blogs where LHC safety is the topic? Because I will not assist you in co-opting John's.

I still have not had time to give the information you provided a thorough investigation. As I'm sure you'll understand, I do have a day job, my own studies, and a life in meat-space that have a higher priority than this matter. In fairness, I am not willing to comment on the information without giving it a thorough vetting. Add to that the fact that my own education in physics is minimal (at best), and it promises to be tough slog.

So unless someone I know and trust has the time to review the information and comment, the matter will just have to wait until I have time to address it personally. Please note that my only interest in doing so (in this context) is to verify the veracity of Mr. Wagner's assertion that the CERN scientists admitted he found an error that they had missed - not to determine the safety of the LHC. I simply don't have the qualifications to comment intelligently on that matter, and since I'm a person who (usually) knows her limitations, I'm prepared to accept the consensus of those who are are.

Janiece said...

Sorry, that should of been "Mr. Tankersly"

Jim Wright said...

Mr. Wagner,

Reading this thread in detail, and comments you’ve made elsewhere, indicates, as Mr Tankersly has alluded to, that you are indeed a true polymath on the order of L. Ron Hubbard. You’ve clearly claimed have doctorate level knowledge and experience in Physics, Mathematics, Law, Biology, and Medicine. And as such, you’ve taken up the sword in defense of the planet, and asked us, its citizens to believe your claims at face value.

As has been stated previously in this thread, extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof and, while skeptical, I am willing to accept your self-proclaimed genius if presented with proper, verifiable, proof. As one of the people you purport to be defending, I think it is my right to know why I should believe you and not the rest of the accredited scientific community.

You can end this discussion easily and claim your place in the scientific community, by the simple expedient of presenting that proof – not the physics, but your universally recognized credentials. You claim the title “Doctor,” so far as I can tell this is based on an advanced degree in Law from a non- accredited institution and not in either Physics, Mathematics, or Medicine. For those of us on the short bus, please, succinctly state your credentials and certifications, including the institution granting them, to include Law, Physics, Mathematics, Biology, and Medicine. I am not interested in test results, allegorical or anecdotal evidence, only nationally accredited certification and education as recognized by each respective community, as follows:

Physics: degree or certification obtained, date awarded, and awarding institution.

Law: degree or certification obtained, date awarded, and awarding institution.

Mathematics: degree or certification obtained, date awarded, and awarding institution.

Biology: degree or certification obtained, date awarded, and awarding institution.

Medicine: degree or certification obtained, date awarded, and awarding institution.

Additionally, if it’s not too much trouble, please provide references from nationally recognized members of the mainstream legal, scientific, and medical community who recognize and acknowledge your credentials.

JTankers said...

Hello Mr. Wright,

First of all, thank you for your service to our country, a military career is a selfless and most honorable profession.

As for your comments... Perhaps you could send a similar request to the college drop out CEO of Apple Computer Steven Jobs (clearly also an engineering, software and business genius). Perhaps PHD's in Computer Science, Electrical Engineering and Business from accredited institutions would suffice as proof of real world success will not be accepted.

How do you think Steve Job's friend and fellow college drop out Steve Wozniak invented the first computer hardware and software I wrote code for, Apple hardware and software years before an army of PHD's at IBM could replicate the same genius.

Several institutions later awarded Steve Wozniak honorary doctorates of engineering (Dr. Wozniak, honorary PHD) because he proved his genius in the real world and far surpassed his learned peers in world changing ways. Steve Wozniak's computer science and electrical engineering genius is no less valid for having been self taught, rather it is all the more impressive as those who worked with him recognized.

Bill Gates was also a college drop out. Thomas Edison was a grade school drop. The safety issue is not about who has a bigger diploma, it is about who has a better argument.

Unfortunately the world of physics has become such a religious orthodoxy that it is heresy to challenge accepted ideas that careers, projects and reputations were built on such as Hawking Radiation[1] even when these ideas clearly shown to be fundamentally wrong[2][3][4].

The next advancements in physics may require genius outside the academic orthodoxy or heretics from within, like an Einstein who was rejected for teaching positions or and Edison who was invited to leave school but invented because there was need and he was able.

Don't dismiss Dr. Wagner (JD) because of what he lacks, try to recognize what he has. I find him more credible than CERN on the safety issue as I would have found Steve Wozniak more credible than IBM on he issue of personal computers. Have an open mind.

[1], Particle Creation by Black Holes, S. W. Hawking (12 Apr 1975)

[2] Do black holes radiate?. Dr. Adam Helfer (2003)

[3], On the existence of black hole evaporationyet again, Prof. VA Belinski (2006)

[4] Abraham-Solution to Schwarzschild Metric Implies That CERN Miniblack Holes Pose a Planetary Risk, Prof. Dr. Otto Rossler (2008)

Jim Wright said...

jtankers, My question wasn't directed at you, rather at Mr. Wagner, and I'd like him to answer it directly and without further evasion.

I'm exceedingly familiar with the history of computer science and engineering and the associated names in the field, and hold a couple of advanced degrees in that field myself - however I fail to see the connection between your reference and the question on the table. Both Woz and Gates achieved their initial success in the field when it was in its infancy - not at it's current stage of maturity. Neither individual with the education and experience they possessed at the time, could make significant entry into the modern field. Neither claimed expertise in fields outside their own. Additionally, Woz never cost me money as a taxpayer by going to court with the claim that IBM's products would destroy the world. Your comparison is false and incomplete.

Since you brought up my military service, allow me an analogy: When I had the bridge of a US Navy Cruiser, I was legally bound to only turn over my responsibilities of Officer of the Deck to a qualified relief. In order to be qualified that Officer must have completed proper and accredited training and certification, and passed a detailed and arduous verbal and written examination by competent and duly authorized authority, and then hold in hand his certification attesting to his authority to relieve me and take command. It does not matter if the person attempting to relieve had years of experience in the Navy, or owned his own sailboat, without proper certification he is NOT a real officer of the deck.

Mr. Wagner claims similar authority in the field of physics, but so far as I have able to ascertain, he is the equivalent of those who buy a Surface Warfare Pin and a fist full of medals and claim war hero status.

If I'm wrong in this regard, he should be easily able to prove it by putting his credentials on the table as requested. Then I will apologize and stand still while he punches me in the nose.

Mr. Wagner has cost me money as a taxpayer with his lawsuit, I don't think it is out of line for me to demand he prove his qualifications to do so.

And it's a simple request, either he is actually a Doctor of Science, or he is not. As the scientist he claims to be, the demand for his qualifications by myself and the others here, should be no surprise whatsoever, and one he can easily fulfill - if he is who he says he is.

Janiece said...

Mr. Tankersly,

While I recognize what you are trying to say, using the proof by example logical fallacy to try and prove your point will probably not fly with this crowd.

Sorry to interrupt, Jim, but this is the same fallacy Mr. Tankersly used in his remarks above.

Carry on -

Janiece said...

Late to the party again. Sigh.

Never mind.

Jim Wright said...

Janiece, agreed, however since jtankers failed to understand your explanation I attempted to explain it to him in different terms.

Mr. Wagner, in addition to the questions previously posed, and in acknowledgment of jtankers immediately previous comment regarding honorary de facto acknowledgment of non-degreed individuals in a field of endeavor: Please, state any such credentials you hold, i.e. an honorary doctorate from an accredited institution acknowledging your knowledge and experience of the field in question.

Jim Wright said...

Jtankers, I'm going to address you and your previous comments directly - but I do not want that to distract from my standing request for Mr. Wagner to put his cards on the table.

However, your comments have repeatedly demonstrated faulty logic and poor reasoning ability and I find it both irritating and distracting – and to be clear I am addressing your comments and arguments, not you personally, do not take my statement as an ad hominem attack.

You have equated mainstream science to religion. “the world of physics has become such a religious orthodoxy that it is heresy to challenge accepted ideas that careers, projects and reputations were built on such as Hawking Radiation, even when these ideas clearly shown to be fundamentally wrong.” Wrong, demonstratively wrong. Science challenges itself all of the time, need an example? Cold Fusion in a jar, which was widely accepted by the scientific community, however skeptically, and then tested. The claimed initial experimental results could not be duplicated and never have been – even by the initial claimants. And the theory was dropped. And Hawking himself has revised his initial hypothesis several times, and his theory has not been fundamentally proven or proven wrong.

You have thrown up unsubstantiated strawmen: “The next advancements in physics may require genius outside the academic orthodoxy or heretics from within…” Prove it. Give modern examples, not examples from the dawn of the last century. Modern scientific advancement is not in the stranglehold of Lord Kelvin, or limited by single choke points. Science is a highly competitive international endeavor, if valid science is ignored for personal or selfish reasons, it will be exploited elsewhere. With certainty, if Mr. Wagner’s concerns where based on even a smidgen of valid science, an institution competing with CERN would take up the flag if only for their own aggrandizement or national pride. Again, prove that your statement is anything other than a little school boy fantasy.

You’ve made repeated false comparisons: “Steve Wozniak invented the first computer hardware and software I wrote code for, Apple hardware and software years before an army of PHD's at IBM could replicate the same genius.” I fail to see how you writing code for the Apple II has any relevance to the current conversation. I did too, in fact I wrote code for MPX mainframes, DEC clusters, and PCs. So what? And IBM’s pursuit of a business model based on its history of mainframes and business machines has even less relevance, that was a lack of vision and innovation in the field of business, not a lack of engineering acumen. When IBM decided to turn its attention to the PC, it completed the engineering and science in short order – if you’re going to use examples from my area of expertise try to actually know what you’re talking about. However, to carry your comparison to its ridiculous conclusion, you neglected to mention the vast number of other innovators such as the Osborne, or Woz’s own LISA, that simply didn’t make the cut. A false analogy and incomplete data do not prove your claim that Wagner is either a genius or superior in knowledge to accredited experts.

And finally, you’ve attempted to plot a curve from a single point. For every Edison, there were literally tens of thousands who where nothing but quacks, cranks, and just plain wrong, as was Edison himself on numerous occasions. However even if I allow this comparison, i.e. that Edison was indeed a self educated scientist, the fact of the matter is that he was the founder of one of the earliest industrial laboratories with numerous scientific achievements to offset his failures and who surrounded himself with actual scientists and was widely acknowledged within his own lifetime in the emerging field of electromagnetic physics and engineering. Even his enemies such as Westinghouse and Tesla acknowledged this. Explain to me why Wagner is Edison, and Edison when he was correct, vice one of thousands of Edison’s wrong headed contemporaries or Edison when he was wrong. Show me Wagner’s actual, comparable scientific achievements and the widespread acknowledgment of his current high regard in the fields in question.

Bottom line, jtankers, you accept Wagner’s claims on faith out of a belief that mainstream science is evil and dangerous, and you’ve constructed a faulty house of cards to justify that belief. I don’t take science on faith, and if Wagner wants me to believe his extraordinary claims, he doesn’t need to pony up extraordinary proof – just the standard accreditation will do.

How about it, Mr. Wagner, are you going to answer my questions and clearly state your qualifications, or not?

Jim Wright said...

jtankers, before you reply, allow me one more observation:

You said: Don't dismiss Dr. Wagner (JD) because of what he lacks, try to recognize what he has. I find him more credible than CERN on the safety issue as I would have found Steve Wozniak more credible than IBM on he issue of personal computers. Have an open mind.

Here's the thing, tanker, Wagner has demanded that I, and the rest of the world, accept his expertise in this matter and yet offered no reason why I should take his word over accredited scientists. Then you come along, with even less authority and expertise and admonish me to take Wagner at his word. You are like an analog recording of an analog recording, you by your own admission have a limited understanding of the science, and are not in fact a scientist at all - and yet you have repeatedly asked us to take your word for Wagner's word.

So, while we're at it - put your credentials on the table, why should I take your word for Wagner's knowledge and accomplishments? In what way are you qualified to assess the veracity of his claims? Or are you just some guy whole stumbled across him on the Internet? Which is it?

And Mr. Wagner? I'm still awaiting your response, surely a man of your intellect keeps his resume handy.

JTankers said...

Please don't be offended if Dr. Wagner (JD) does not blog further, he is a busy man with a legal appeal to file.

Mr. Wright,

Gentlemen do not talk of "hitting" people in the nose when they don't agree with them and I am not interested in that type of discussion. Perhaps you could work on that.

Your worst point was suggesting that Thomas Edison "who surrounded himself with actual scientists" was not a scientist LOL! Look up the definition of scientist please.

I don't think Edison was nearly the intellect that Telsa was, but your point that Edison was not an actual scientist, that truely sizes up your argument, certification of ability trumping demonstration of ability (that is exactly backwards).

However you do make one good point, it can be difficult for most people to recognize superior intellect, to recognize the difference between genius and crack pot, that is well known.

You state that I "repeatedly demonstrated faulty logic and poor reasoning ability" Actually I don't have difficulty distinguishing between genius and crack pot, my own IQ has tested more than once as 140 or higher contrary to your rather ignorant ad hominem remarks.

Yes Hawking Radiation has been theoretically proven wrong by several PHD'ed professors, (several links are in prior posts above, I encourage you to at least read the relatively plain English summaries in the papers), and at least one CERN employee and Wikipedia administrator has actively worked to censor this information from LHC safety articles on the basis that non-existence of Hawking Radiation does not prove that the LHC is not dangerous[1], Wikipedia discussion history was subsequently and disturbingly deleted[2].

(Even the name sake of the particle the LHC is searching for, Dr. Higgs finds Dr. Hawking's thinking process to be fundamentally flawed[3], though I do agree that the Higgs particle is no more likely to be found than gravitons are[4]. Contrary to common believe and what you state, while Dr. Hawking was often proven wrong Dr. Einstein was not, recent studies indicate Einstien was probably correct even about quantum determinism[5] and he was correct about the cosmological constant the one time he thought he blundered! If CERN physicists respected Dr. Einstein more and Dr. Hawking's time reversal, negative energy and faster than light tunneling less[11] they might be more concerned about the possible safety risk from micro black holes as I am. Dr. Rössler's paper is the best on this subject I think.).

I do not accept Dr. Wagner (JD)'s claims based on faith. My independent theoretical physics work on pre-big bang mechanics[6] lead me to theorize the possible existence of reverse Hawking Radiation and when since I discovered that the LHC might create micro black holes I have been working on this issue daily.

I don't believe science is evil as you state, I love science. I just don't want reckless and virtually unregulated Nobel prize chasing to possibly end in global disaster like our financial markets recently did. I want reasonable balance with safety. I want CERN to at least follow Dr. Habil. Rainer Plaga's safety recommendations including proceeding slowly.[7]

My love of science helped me to be the only student in my high school physics class two and a half decades ago to ace the Special Relativity test (the physics instructor did not understand the subject very well and neither did his other students, I had to self study...).

As for my credibility, I don't expect you to respect less than a certified PHD, you have clearly demonstrated that.

I research study and quote credible papers from PHD'd professors of science that I find credible, including Astrophysics Professor Dr. Habil. Rainer Plaga who refutes CERN's astrophysics based safety arguments and visiting Professor of Physics Dr. Otto E. Rössler (famous for founding the field of Endophysics and inventing Chaos theory's Rössler Attractor) who also refutes CERN's safety arguments and supports Dr. Wagner (JD)'s arguments, in-fact he is also helping to sue CERN. Both of these scientists find Dr. Wagner extremely credible. I have spent months working with Dr. Wagner (JD), and I find him to be brilliant.

You indicate that you do not wish to engage in ad hominem attacks, that is a good goal, please stop.

My last name is not "tanker" nor "Tankersly" it is "Tankersley". Show some respect.
James Tankersley Jr.

I also make sure to add the Jr., I don't want to be confused with my father Dr. James Tankersley Sr. (a Dartmouth chemistry major and Harvard medical student and academic scholarship winner, his father taught mechanical engineering and his mother taught college math), my father coincidentally is former Navy like you and a gentleman like me.

I am here because I am genuinely concerned and I am not satisfied with CERN's lack of reasonable safety measures[9] and disinformation[10].

This discussion is growing old, forgive me if I don't wish to blog further.

Your questions have been reasonably addressed I think, why don't you study the responses. I am also not convinced that you are not on a mission to try to silence targeted people critical of CERN.

CERN announced months ago the assignment of 10 CERN physics to communicate with the public by blogging[12]. There are some circumstantial indications that CERN hired others to do the same[13]. If someone was paid to do assasinate the credibility of CERN critics I would consider that intellectually dishonest, would you?

Good day.

[1] Wikipedia LHC Page Is Being Altered By CERN (July 2008)
[2] CERN wins battle at Wikipedia, LHC history scrubbed, TWO MOSQUITOES (2008)
[3] Peter Higgs launches attack against Nobel rival Stephen Hawking, TimesOnLine (Sep 11, 2008)
[4] Mechanics of Inertial Model, Open Source (2008)
[5] Quantum randomness may not be random, NewScientist magazine (22 March 2008)
[6] The Pre-Big Bang Universe Model, Open Source (2008)
[7], We must be wary of scientific research, Gerald Warner, (10 Sep 2008)
[8] A Rational and Moral and Spiritual Dilemma - Otto E. Rössler (2008)
[9] On the potential catastrophic risk from metastable quantum-black holes produced at particle colliders - Dr. Habil. Rainer Plaga Rebuttal (2008)
[10] CERN’s Dr. Ellis tells only half of the story (2008)
[11], Particle Creation by Black Holes, S. W. Hawking (12 Apr 1975)
[12] Blogging Toward Startup (June 2008)
[13] Culture of Superiority? (June 2008)

Jim Wright said...

So, jtankers, you're an genius too?

You not only expect the world to take Wagner's supposed genius at face value, but now yours as well? No certification, no accreditation, just your word and his?

No, sorry, but no.

I've given both you and Wagner the benefit of the doubt, despite the vanishingly small possibility that you both may indeed be what you claim. It should be a simple enough feat for geniuses such as yourselves to prove your genius to a simple 'tween such as myself. Instead you have repeatedly failed to answer even the simplest query regarding your credentials, and made excuses for Wagner's failure to do the same. When confronted, you resort to claims of persecution and superiority beyond the comprehension of the common man.

You, Sir, strain my credibility.

You admonished me to have an open mind. Allow me to return the favor: Since you have such an open mind capable of entertaining all possibilities, you must certainly admit the possibility exists that Wagner, and yourself for that matter, are cranks, Charlatans, fools, dupes, and outright liars? Yes, by all means, Tanker Boy, keep an open mind, just not so open that your brain falls out.

An open mind must be balanced by healthy skepticism - otherwise you're nothing but a gullible fool, as you have so aptly demonstrated.

Now, answer the question before you, why should I take your word regarding Wagner's credentials?


One more thing, go back and read my comment again, I never said Edison was not a scientist. I said he was a self-educated scientist. Unlike Wagner, he was actually able to prove his genius.

For a self-proclaimed genius yourself, you seem to have trouble with basic comprehension.

MWT said...

(In response to Walter Wagner on October 15, 2008 11:48 PM)

First, yes, I was under the impression that it required active participation on your part to provide you with an "astrological sign" I see where 'Eric' has removed his. I would suggest you do likewise.

You suggest I do likewise.

Is this like the way you suggested things to Dr. Price about the likely charges of the particles? Or the way you left it up to Dr. Price to write up for publication on your behalf?

Are you even aware that you have no say whatsoever in what I choose to put on my Blogger profile? Any more than you had any say whatsoever in the actual science involved in the microscope scanning you did in Price's lab? Do you know how presumptuous you are?

You are not a co-author on any of the papers resulting from the studies in question. You aren't even in the acknowledgements, other than for "technical assistance" (grunt work) - and as you aren't the only person listed there, you were not the only person who did said grunt work. That means you had no involvement whatsoever in discussing the actual science with Dr. Price, regardless of how you want to play it out in your own head. The papers are the permanent record of what actually happened, not your version.

I have my own reasons for leaving the astrological info where it is. If you want to horribly misconstrue that to mean that I'm a devout believer of astrology, well, that's up to you. But it still won't make you a nuclear physicist, any more than a superior ability to take standardized tests or play chess does. And it still won't make you a "Dr.", especially when your law degree is from an unaccredited institution.

Eric said...

Let me delurk to add: I removed the astrological signs because I didn't realize they were there until Wagner made his snarky observation, and I actually had to look at several other people's profiles before I figured out that it must be optional.

If the settings allowed you to omit the Western Zodiacal sign and leave the Chinese, I would: I've used a piggy as an avatar at Ficlets because it amuses me that a pig/boar is the sign for my birthyear, and there are some personally amusing coincidences to that I won't go into.

All of which is, of course, a sideshow to Wagner's utter lack of qualification to call himself either a doctor or, as best as I can tell, a lawyer. (Wagner himself says he never took the Bar, and it appears he went to an unaccredited law school: this makes him a man with a law degree, not a lawyer; there's a difference. I can understand your confusion, however, Mr. Tankersley: it appears that Mr. Wagner is in the habit of not correcting people, such as the host of the Coast To Coast radio show, when they introduce him as "Dr. Wagner... an attorney....")

Janiece said...


If, as Mr. Tankersley suggests, Mr. Wagner will no longer be returning here due to his desire to file an appeal in a court that has no jurisdiction, then I will no longer be participating in the discussion.

My discussion was with Mr. Wagner, not with his Huxley-wannabe, Mr. Tankersley. If Mr. Wagner cannot be bothered to continue to engage in discussion, then I cannot be bothered to research this further or give any credence whatsoever to his claims.

Jim Wright said...

Janiece, agreed.
With that said, let me put the cap on it for anybody surfing in randomly:

While I am highly educated and experienced in electromagnetic theory and practical engineering, and while I have extensive experience in both field and laboratory situations, I am not a scientist, and I am especially not a physicist or an expert in nuclear physics. Hell, I'm not even a lab tech.
As such, I, like the vast majority of the population, am dependent on experts for information and knowledge at the layman’s level outside my areas of expertise.

Mr. Wagner claims to be such an expert, and in point of fact claims to be a multidisciplinary expert in highly specialized fields requiring extensive study, accreditation, and practical experience. His claims regarding the LHC are at odds with accredited and acknowledged experts in the field who hold advanced degrees from some of the most prestigious institutions on the planet.

If Mr. Wagner wants me to give his claim the same regard as accredited experts, then he needs to demonstrate precisely why I should do so. Since he will not, he obviously expects me to take his word at face value. Jtankers has equated advanced physics and engineering to a religion and as such is prepared to take Wagner’s word on faith. I on the other hand am not.

It is a simple request, and one any scientist would immediately understand. However, when confronted, Walter Wagner dissembles, evades, changes the subject, or runs away. He claims the title of Doctor in order to impress the ignorant, but the truth of the matter is this: Walter Wagner is no Doctor, degreed, accredited, or even honorary. He claims the title of Doctor based on a Juris Doctorate, and allows others to believe he is a Doctor of Science. This is a lie. In fact, his Juris Doctorate is a poor facsimile of the real thing and not worth the paper it is printed on, he is not even the attorney he claims to be - having never took the Bar. He has claimed equal status with actual physicists, when he was never anything more than a lab technician, and his claims get more and more outrageous as time goes on – in this comment thread alone he has laid claim to superior knowledge in physics, mathematics, biology, medicine, law, chess, and a host of other talents.

You know this man, he’s the braggart at the end of the bar, the one who claims to be a fighter pilot and Navy SEAL and Medal of Honor winner, a wall street broker, Porsche driver, scuba diver, Libra, big game hunter and cross-country skier, soldier, statesman, and friend to the working girl. You know this guy, he’s Cat Piss Man and a consummate bullshit artist. He’s nothing but a snake oil salesman.

If I need medical advice, I see a doctor. A real doctor, not a shaman, not a witch doctor, and sure as hell not a guy who claims to be a doctor because he got himself a plastic kiddie stethoscope from a box of Captain Crunch and once emptied bed pans at the behest of actual doctors. If I need medical advice and there is a dispute between the janitor and the entire medical community, my money is on the doctors every time.

Walter Wagner is a crank. A devious and clever crank, but a crank nonetheless and nothing more.

James Tankersley Jr. however, is something less, and something far more pathetic.

Despite his protestations of superior intellect, it is apparent from his posts here and especially on that he is mentally defective. He is precisely the type attached lamprey-like to any conspiracy theory. His claims become more and more bizarre with each new post, traversing the spectrum from reasonable if misguided at first to the latest where he claims the crown of misunderstood genius for himself. He is a deluded individual who believes that he is doing actual “independent theoretical physics work on pre-big bang mechanics” and he “works on this issue daily” by “research, study, and quot[ing] credible papers from PH’d professors of science that [he] finds credible.”

This is the equivalent of Joe the Plumber attempting to build a working time machine in his garage from broken stereo parts and an old Delorean DMC-12 – it’s amusing and it keeps him occupied, but it’s a sad little delusion nonetheless and sooner or later somebody is going to have to call the boys in white coats to come pick him up.

If you decide to buy a bottle of Wagner’s snake oil, James Tankersley Jr. is the type of people you’ll be keeping company with.

And really, have fun with that.

JTankers said...

For anyone reading this post please be aware that Mr. Wright (a retired Military Intelligence technician) repeatedly mis-represents what others write (for example I work on LHC issues daily not my speculative open source physics projects), he conveniently forgets that multiple credible senior (even famous) PHD'ed professors of theoretical sciences do conclude that LHC safety with respect to possible destruction of Earth in some unknown time frame has not been proven (see prior post references), and he obsessively focuses on the credibility of the messenger, launching vicious ad hominem attacks at attorney Walter L. Wagner (who is licensed to practice law in Hawaii contrary to what Mr. Wright implies) ignoring the real issue, possible credible LHC Safety concerns.

The net result of "zero risk" safety misinformation, censorship and attempts to discredit and silence critics is that the public is robbed of the opportunity to determine if more safety study or additional safety procedures are warranted, it amounts to a fraud on the public IMHO (in my humble opinion).

Random Michelle K said...

Dear tankers,

Considering that the man in questions said "I chose not to be a practicing attorney" in this very thread and has nowhere made mention of passing the bar (a requirement to practice law anywhere in the U.S.) I would say that both your reading comprehension skills and your grasp of reality are very much in doubt.

And considering that not even one single "credible senior (even famous) PHD'ed professor(s) of theoretical sciences do(es) conclude that LHC safety with respect to possible destruction of Earth in some unknown time frame has not been proven" has been listed, we remain singularly unimpressed with your claims.

And no, auto-erotic referrals to your own website don't count as credible references. I could go across the internet setting up website that claim "jtankers is a weenie" and my websites would be no more credible than your own in "proving" a cause. Let's stick with the gold standard for the sciences and go with articles in peer-reviews journals.

You want to impress us, send us dissents published in Science or Nature or the physics equivalent of those journals.

The "jtankers posted it so therefore it MUST be true" credibility test is an EPIC FAIL. Don't bring it up again unless you want to continue to be mocked.

And no, you don't deserve common courtesy. You're wasting my time, my friends' time, and the time of real physicists who have to refute the inane nattering of idiotic wankers such as yourself lest the general public stumble upon your delusional rantings and believe them to be true because they lack the scientific education to realize your head is shoved so far up your ass it's coming back out your throat.

Jim Wright said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jim Wright said...

Wrong again, jtankers,

First I'm a retired US Navy Officer, not technician - there's a big damned difference, sparky - and unlike you or Walter, I have the credentials to prove it, signed as it is by the President of the United States.

Second, Walter Wagner is not authorized to practice law in the state of Hawaii according to the Hawaii Bar Association and List of Authorized Attorneys in the State of Hawaii.

As far as misrepresenting what you write, dude, seriously, I quoted you exactly.

As to my obsession with the veracity of the messenger - you mean sort of like your obsession with Wagner's claims of LHC safety? Like that? Except Wagner's claims have been addressed in detail, and you still haven't answered my question. In this case the messenger is also the message writer and he has yet to prove his credibility. So, I will continue to demand prove of his credentials, just as I would of anybody making outrageous claims.

Seriously, jtankers, get some help.

Anonymous said...

Jim Wright:

I've had the opportunity to review some of your web page. Very interesting. However, your writing style in this blog leaves me [and likely others] with the impression that you have hidden anger issues. Is that why you're retired to Alaska, hiding-out/holing-up, as it were, in a wood-working shop? Are you satisfied with the way you left NSA, and what they're doing nowadays? I take it you're not.

I actually agree with much [in fact, almost all of what you wrote] of your sentiment. The Gitmo fiasco is not only a disgrace, but for those poor suckers wrongly incarcerated that you wrote about, a serious degradation of their human rights. That is YOUR navy that was doing that to them, right?

Now, I seriously doubt [as I also expressed to Janiece [whom I note comments a lot on your blog page] that I'll be able to convince you of my "credentials", whatever you imagine those should be, in this forum. I do not go around professing to be a Philosopher [though everyone has a philosophy, right?], or someone who doctors philosophy, or holds a doctorate of philosophy [PhD]. I just do, instead. I have worked professionally for many years in a medical setting with many persons who do hold PhDs and MDs, where some of my responsibility was to teach them the rudiments of nuclear physics as it pertained to their work. I still involve myself in that field. I never went around bragging about some piece of paper I held with a title on it. I just did my job, based on my knowledge.

Now, if you want to read some of my bloggings [as I've been privileged to read yours, which are decidedly of a more political bent, compared to mine which are at a scientific forum], I have about 800 posts over the past two years at Unlike most posts which are anonymous, mine are under my own name [which is why I don't do political posts there, though many others do]. I post primarily in biology and astrophysics. About half the people who post there are less than knowledgeable, and some are outright nuts, with a sprinkling of creationists mixed in. There is, however, a good cadre of well-educated bloggers, many of whom hold PhDs in various fields of science. My past posts are readily accessible to the general public. My most recent post is at: to give you a sample of my writing style. You are welcome to join that forum, and if you're civil I'll respond to your posts. I respond to most everyone, though there are a few nut-jobs who've tried to engage in ad hominems I do not bother with. They have usually been soundly denounced by others.

To correct matters somewhat, I did take a Bar exam 30+ years ago, and practiced law briefly, representing my clients in court. I left that field in 1979 and went back to work in physics. My wife worked for the State Bar, and she was tasked with the preparation, administering, and grading of the bar exam, under supervision of the Committee of Bar Examiners. I am quite familiar with that process. I am not presently licensed in any state, and have not sought to be licensed, though my pro se appellate writing style has caused appellate courts to confuse me with persons who are licensed in their state.

I would suggest that your ad hominems directed at jtankers are in poor taste. He has simply correctly pointed out that I brought to the attention of CERN a fact of physics they had overlooked in their initial safety analysis. They have acknowledged that, and sought to correct it in their recent safety study. It is still deficient, as pointed out by Dr. Plaga and Dr. Roessler. It is further deficient with respect to the strangelet issue, as I am continuing to point out to them, as well as other safety issues recently brought to my attention [not related to the accident that caused cryo-mountings to break free from their concrete moorings]. I would direct you to where some of my posts have addressed that issue at length. I'm sure the Theory Group at CERN reads what I write, scrutinizing it for any flaw. You should do the same.


Walter L. Wagner

JTankers said...

Dear Mr. Wright:

Now who is inflating their credentials!

You wrote here: "I'm a retired US Navy Officer"
On your web page you wrote: "I'm a retired US Navy Chief Warrant Officer"[1]

I was a commissioned officer in the Army and I know that "Officer" implies commissioned officer, not non-commissioned officers such as warrant officers.

Mrs. Murphy knows this and wrote on this blog:
"I [Mrs. Murphy] was a Senior Non-Commissioned Officer in the Navy. On the occasions when people have referred to my service as an "officer," I have corrected them immediately, because I was not an officer - I was an NCO. Both "officers," yes, but I considered allowing the misconception to continue to be dishonest, because the assumption implied I had achieved a higher rank than I had earned. I'm proud of my service, and I don't need to inflate it to impress."

According to Wikipedia[2]
"A Warrant Officer (WO) is a member of a military organization holding one of a specific group of ranks. In most countries they are effectively senior non-commissioned officers"

Again, I'm not impressed by titles, I am just pointing out apparent hypocrisy where I see it (and fyi [For Your Information], my commission document also starts with the phrase "The President of the United States of America" but if you check the document more carefully you might find that he is not the actual signer, he is a bit too busy for that!))

Next you wrote that I work on pre-big bang mechanics daily but what I actually wrote and what you apparently failed to comprehend was, and I quote: "since I discovered that the LHC might create micro black holes I have been working on this issue daily.". Read more carefully, I have been working on LHC safety daily since February of this year, usually hours per day, I am very concerned.

[1] Stonekettle Station
[2] Wikipedia Warrant Officer

JTankers said...

Dear Random michelle K,

Ignoring your parting less than civil comment, you write: "considering that not even one single "credible senior (even famous) PHD'ed professor(s) of theoretical sciences do(es) conclude that LHC safety with respect to possible destruction of Earth in some unknown time frame has not been proven" has been listed"

Have you not read this blog? Apparently not carefully.

I listed the two most notable senior PHD'ed scientists (noted many times on this blog) who conclude that LHC safety with respect to an existential threat to Earth has not been proven are astrophysicist Dr. Habil. Rainer Plaga[1] and visiting Professor of Physics Dr. Otto E. Rössler[2] (again, famous for founding the field of Endophysics and invention of Chao's theory's Rössler Attractor, look it up).

CERN and scientists commissioned by CERN produced (weak in the opinion of Dr. Plaga and Dr. Rössler) refutations to these concerns that are referenced at the Wikipedia Article "Safety of particle collisions at the Large Hadron Collider"[3].

A friend of mine who's intellect and accomplishments I also greatly respect, wrote this about this blog:

"I think the message that you and Walter are making is lost on these fools.

It is that the people that are concerned may not [all] be degreed particle physicists, but neither are they complete morons either. They are smart people with Masters degrees and PhD's and generally smart people who have dug deep enough to be concerned.

If they WERE particle physicists then they would probably be working for CERN. There is a clear bias that is if you are a particle physicist then it is worth the risk. Plus, you have to trust your fellow particle physicists. And if you speak out you will be fired.

There is also a second level bias, an unspoken rule that if you are a part of the "scientific community" you do not speak out against another part of that community. Your livelihood depends on it. You are also expected to trust other scientists.

So it makes sense that the people who would have concerns would be exactly like you, Walter, James, Otto, Rainier and Mark. You are the exact demographic.

That should be frightening to anyone willing to take a look with an open mind.
[Quote from a friend]

[1] On the potential catastrophic risk from metastable quantum-black holes produced at particle colliders - Rainer Plaga Rebuttal (2008)
[2] A Rational and Moral and Spiritual Dilemma - Otto E. Rössler (2008)
[3] Safety of particle collisions at the Large Hadron Collider, Wikipedia (2008)

Eric said...

Mr. Wagner, I have to admit I'm thoroughly confused.

According to the New York Times, you obtained your JD from "what is now known as the University of Northern California in Sacramento."

The only University that I have ever been able to find that has a name similar to that is the University of Northern California, Lorenzo Patiño School of Law, which was (according to Wikipedia) "founded in 1983 by Leonard Padilla in association with attorneys Heman Smith, Doug Nareau, Danny Brace, Jr., and the late Judge Lorenzo Patiño to provide a quality and affordable legal education."

However, you have written in this thread, "I had announced I would be leaving the group at the end of July, 1975 to go to law school," when responding to a question from MWT. Which means either you didn't graduate from Lorenzo Patiño, in which case I have no idea which "University Of Northern California" you did graduate from (I'm assuming a lot there, actually), or Wikipedia has an error in the date (which is certainly possible). Then there's that statement, "Upon completion of the Skylab experiment, I was asked to do the analysis of the balloon flight from 2003," which I'm assuming is a typo where you meant "1973," since you're talking about a paper published in 1975, but that didn't help keep things straight.

You subsequently write that you indeed did take a Bar Exam "30+ years ago," which means 1978 or before--however the earliest you could have taken a Bar if you began law school in September 1975 is the spring or summer of 1978, making your "+" a bit extraneous.

But then you also wrote, "I'd been working in physics almost exclusively since 1973 when I took that mathematics examination in 1985," which is at best sloppy writing, since you presumably (from your account) spent three (or four) years in law school, took a Bar, and "practiced law briefly, representing my clients in court. I left that field in 1979." Of course, I can see why you forgot about your legal career, since if you took the Bar in 1978 and left the law in 1979, you couldn't have practiced law more than, what, 15 months (I can't imagine you took a spring 1978 Bar exam if you began law school in fall 1975, since you would have still been in school; did your unspecified state offer a summer exam)? At any rate, there's at least four years between 1973 and 1985 when you were in law school and briefly trying your hand at the law.

But wait: if you did go to Lorenzo Patiño, were they accredited then, and they've lost accreditation since? (That's not good!) If they weren't accredited in 1978, most states wouldn't have allowed you to sit for a 1978 Bar Exam. Help!

And then there's what you wrote to Janiece, that she posted here (as she told you she would): "I would additionally not use the title 'Esq.', as I chose not to be a practicing attorney as well, and don't want to confuse people into believing that I would represent them in court, even though I do have extensive knowledge/training as a lawyer." First, the phrasing of "I chose," without some qualifying date, implies you chose not to take a Bar Exam, although it's vague enough to support the background you've added--yet most people would have phrased that along the lines of, "after practicing law for a little while, I chose to leave the field," or something like that. And then there's the latter part of the sentence, which is a torturous construction: most people would have written (if they had practiced law for a little while), "I have extensive knowledge/training and some experience as a lawyer."

This is all very confusing, because while your statements aren't necessarily contradictory, they're not necessarily consistent, either. You don't mention leaving physics for four years, and you waited some fifty-something posts before mentioning you really did practice law for awhile, and you might have solved some confusion if you'd answered my earlier question about whether your University Of Northern California at Sacramento is the only University Of Northern California at Sacramento that I've been able to find after a bit of online research, and you still haven't told us what state you were formerly licensed to practice in, and at one point it sounded like you weren't a lawyer and then you were.

In fact, it's all so confusing that even your supporter and loyal defender, poor Mr. Tankersley, was writing, "attorney Walter L. Wagner (who is licensed to practice law in Hawaii contrary to what Mr. Wright implies)," four days after you wrote, "I am not a practicing attorney," upstream in the very same thread Mr. Tankersley was posting in.

I was afraid my poor layman's mind would be confused by mathematical proofs and controversies; I'm slightly astonished that my poor lawyer's mind is confused by who the hell is Walter Wagner? I mean, I don't think I need to know when you were born or who your kindergarten teacher was, but could you at least clarify where you went to law school, when you graduated, where you took the Bar, and how long you actually practiced before resuming following the career arc determined by your undergraduate minor. I realize that you, or your followers, don't believe credentials are important, notwithstanding your unclear-but-persistent use of them; at this point, frankly, I'd just like to see your CV just to resolve my stupefaction at your storied and desultory career. Thank you.

Jim Wright said...

Walter Wagner,
Let’s stop this now, shall we?

You, sir, are a fraud.

Every single credential you’ve put forth is a fabrication, fraudulent, irrelevant, or exaggerated beyond recognition. In fact, with the single exception of a graduate degree in Biology from Berkeley, you have absolutely no accreditation. Your so-called JD from an unaccredited diploma mill has no bearing on the issue at hand in any way whatsoever, and you know it. You’ve lied outright by exaggerating your accomplishments and made wildly inaccurate accusations, such as accusing Dr. Price of stealing your work. You’ve published no papers. You’ve conducted no experiments. You’ve tried no cases. Your single greatest claim to fame is an alleged acing of the California Basic Educational Skills Test. The very fact that you even bring this up shows how far you’ll reach to claim credibility, and how little you understand about statistics and data acquisition and testing bias and the basics tools of the scientist. You claimed repeatedly and at great length that your performance on the CBEST places you squarely in the realm of the particle physicist, yet you failed to mention how many actual particle physicists took the test, or how many actual mathematicians with PhDs in mathematics took the test. See, Walter, people who teach high school physics, generally aren’t practicing research scientists. For your claim to hold relevance, you’d need to run a double blind test against a control group of average citizens, a test group of teacher applicants who normally take the CBEST, and a group of actual physicists and mathematicians of the caliber currently working at CERN, and you’d have to do it with a large enough sample series to make it valid. I call shenanigans on your CBEST score, it means just about as much as James Tankersley’s high school test in Relativity, i.e. exactly dick.

For the record, every single regular commenter here at Refugees has the minimum of a graduate degree, many of us have Masters, and a number have actual Doctorates, a number work in academia or in the sciences. Hell, I have even served as a US Navy Radiation Safety Officer as part of my duties as Nuclear, Chemical, and Biological Warfare Unit Supervisor. Many of us have taken undergrad physics, and a number of us have worked as lab techs the same as you did and our qualifications in this regard are no different than yours, i.e. we’re not particle physicists either.

The simple fact of the matter is that nicest thing I can say about you is that you are a petty little man with delusions of grandeur and who has over exaggerated your minimal accomplishments. But truthfully, it is far, far worse than that – you are a liar, a fraud, and a fake. Those of us with military backgrounds recognize you Walter Wagner, we’ve seen a hundred just like you, liars who pin on medals they are not entitled to and march in parades and tell somebody else’s war stories, wannabe heroes who never had the courage or the wherewithal to do what it takes to actually wear the uniform. And you are no different, you claim genius, but can’t obtain an actual degree from an accredited institution in any field you pretend expertise in. Genius? I think not. On the face of things, you are nothing more than a clever little con man, if not particularly intelligent and the only way you should have access to the LHC is as part of a tour group.

You are no more a doctor, a scientist, or a lawyer then some shiftless punk who dresses up in camo and plays paintball on the weekend is a Marine. You claim that because you’ve stepped outside and looked up at the stars you’re an astronaut – when what you really are is nothing but a snake oil salesman whose chief accomplishment is deceiving the mentally deficient and the gullible.

You’ve cost the American taxpayers money, and continue to do so. You’ve distracted actual scientists from actual science. You’ve stirred unsubstantiated panic in the public. You’ve incited hysteria and death threats.

And you’ve done it solely to stroke your ego to criminally outrageous levels.

You, sir, are a fraud and a scoundrel and I'd just as happy if you'd stay the hell away from my website.

Anonymous said...

And just a minor observation - "took the bar" != "passed the bar". I'm sure you've noted this, though.

Eric said...

One clarification: it occurs to me, Mr. Wagner, that you could be licensed to practice and still not practice (and some people remain licensed for various reasons without practicing law); for Mr. Tankersley's benefit (since he seems to think you're licensed to practice), Mr. Wagner wrote in an earlier comment, "I am not presently licensed in any state, and have not sought to be licensed, though my pro se appellate writing style has caused appellate courts to confuse me with persons who are licensed in their state."

I admit, this statement adds to my roiling confusion--you have not sought to be licensed recently, I take it, since you once sought to be licensed (and were licensed, you say) 30 years ago (forgive me for omitting that unnecessary "+")?

Before I move on: I regret to be the bearer of bad news, Mr. Wagner, but given the deplorable state of legal writing these days (law schools were actively struggling with this very issue when I was in law school eleven years ago), an appellate court remarking on some confusion isn't really a compliment, though I imagine if they said it, they probably meant it nicely. Frankly (I'm probably not supposed to say this, but), the writing from most appellate benches could be improved upon, too.

JTankers said...

Hello Eric,

Perhaps this will help: Sancho v Doe - Affidavit of Walter L. Wagner in Support of TRO [1]


I, Walter L. Wagner, affirm state and declare, under penalty of perjury of the laws
of the State of Hawaii, as follows:

1. I am a nuclear physicist with extensive training in the field. I obtained my
undergraduate degree in 1972 at Berkeley, California in the biological sciences with a
physics minor, and graduate degree in 1978 in Sacramento, California in law.

2. Commencing in 1973 I worked extensively in cosmic radiation research at
UC Berkeley, Physics Department, Space-Sciences, and am credited with discovery of
a novel particle only previously theorized to exist [by Nobelist P.A.M. Dirac], namely a
magnetic monopole. That discovery still remains controversial as to the identify of that
novel particle, and numerous searches for magnetic monopoles are still currently
underway, or proposed, including at the Large Hadron Collider [LHC].

3. Commencing in 1979 I began employment as a federal nuclear safety
officer with the US government, from which I am currently retired, though I remain in
frequent contact with my former duty station. My federal duty station was with the US
Veterans Administration, and I managed an extensive program of nuclear safety
involving usages of ionizing radiations from machines [X-ray, CT, etc.], and from a wide
variety of radioactive materials produced by particle accelerators, in nuclear reactors, or
extracted from nature [principally uranium and its radio-daughter radium]. This work
involved enforcement of the regulations of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the
US Department of Energy, and the US Department of Transportation. Essentially, my
job was to look for and root-out the safety flaws overlooked by scientific researchers as
it pertained to nuclear physics, as a protection not only for the researcher’s own health,
but for the visitors and population at large.

4. Following retirement from federal employment I embarked on teaching
science and mathematics for many years to grade school and college students. I was
noted for having obtained the highest test-score on the basic teacher credentialing
examination in California [CBEST] where I initially began teaching. I am presently
likewise retired from that field, though I still engage myself in formal programs for
science education, including the Journey Through the Universe educational outreach
program hosted annually by the Big Island astronomy community, where I live. Such
educational endeavors included periods of time as an instructor at Punahou, Iolani, and
several other schools in the Honolulu district.

5. I have remained active in the field of theoretical nuclear physics, and
serve as a science editor for Wikipedia, having numerous articles and revisions in
nuclear physics to my credit, and I am very familiar with the editing procedures and
processes, and with the nuclear physics editors at Wikipedia. I have been active in the
field of theoretical micro-black-holes being created by advanced colliders since
publication of my work in Scientific American in July, 1999.

[1] Sancho v Doe - Affidavit of Walter L. Wagner in Support of TRO

Eric said...

Mr. Tankersley: I am not being sarcastic when I say I appreciate the effort, but your response doesn't help. It does not explain where Mr. Wagner went to school. It does not even say he went to law school or received a JD, since there are master's programs in legal studies (e.g. Google shows that UCSD offers a master's in "health law"; in the U.S., a LLM--a master's degree in law--generally follows a JD, so Mr. Wagner presumably doesn't have that).

Nor does his affidavit mention Mr. Wagner sitting for a Bar Exam, passing a Bar Exam, being licensed to practice law at any time in his life, or having practiced the profession of law in any part of the world, ever.

Indeed, Mr. Wagner's affidavit is unnecessarily vague all around. Read it Mr. Tankersley--I'm not being rude, I'm asking you to really look at not only what Mr. Wagner says, but what he doesn't say, and to ask yourself why he doesn't say it.

Finally, Mr. Tankersley, I understand that you respect Mr. Wagner. Your loyalty is commendable--but you've contradicted his own statements in your attempts to defend him. I understand your desire to help him, but you're not helping him, and I suspect it's because he hasn't really helped you: I suspect he's told you things about his background that aren't exactly accurate, and hasn't corrected things you've assumed, and now you go forth in good faith and repeat things you think are true but might not be. In which case, Mr. Tankersley, you've been had. Look at what's in front of you: much of what you've claimed on Mr. Wagner's behalf can be checked, e.g. you can easily find out if he's licensed to practice in Hawaii (or any other state) just by checking the relevant state's online directory.

Mr. Tankersley, Wagner is using you as a stalking horse to put forth the things he can't really get away with saying. Scroll back through these posts on this thread, Mr. Tankersley: he's contradicted you, but has he corrected you? Has he asked you to stop saying he's licensed to practice law even when he's admitted he isn't in his own words here? Why hasn't he? Because it's useful to him to let other people say something that could get him into legal trouble if he said it himself. You're his cover, somebody who can say things that he can noncommittally nod to, neither agreeing or disagreeing, so that some people will believe they're true but if anyone comes after him for fraud or similar business (e.g, the unauthorized practice of law), he can truthfully claim he never said such things.

Quit him, Mr. Tankersley.

MWT said...


Is there any part of that affidavit left that we haven't thoroughly debunked yet?

Janiece said...

Mr. Tankersley,

I strongly advise you to cease trying to use my comments about SNCO's and commissioned officers to score points off of Jim. His subsequent comments in terms of Navy rank and commissions are exactly correct, and since we worked in similar (but not identical) fields, I'm quite familiar with his career path. You obviously are not, and you're embarrassing yourself. You are 100% incorrect. Jim was a fully commissioned officer (though not a line officer). I, however, could be categorized as a "technician," albeit a senior one. And I'm damn proud of it, too, since Senior NCO's run the day-to-day business of the Navy.

Mr. Wagner,

My relationship with Jim is, quite frankly, none of your damn business. My virtual presence on his blog has no relevance to this discussion. Is there some reason you brought it up, other than as a stalking horse?


As a point of clarification, I have not, in fact, finished my Bachelor's degree. Since I keep changing my major (8 times so far), and my earning potential is currently maxed out whether I have a B.S. or not, I'm continuing on the 20 year plan and taking whatever classes interest me. Maybe I'll graduate by the time I'm 60, and you can all come to my party. I'll even promise to break out the good beer.

MWT said...

Jim said: with the single exception of a graduate degree in Biology from Berkeley,

Undergrad degree, Jim. Just to clarify.

JTankers said...

Hello Eric,

Your response is thoughtful and logical, but I find Walter Wagner's motives to be selfless and his assements logical, I will not stop supporting him.

Astrophysicist Sir Martin Rees is probably correct that "Earth and human survival are in far greater danger from the potential effects of modern technology than is commonly realized, and that the 21st century may be a critical moment in history when humanity's fate is decided"[1] Dr. Steven Hawking stated similar just weeks ago.

At a minimum we want experimentation to proceed with reasonable caution as Dr. Plaga detailed in his recent paper, feasible measures to reduce but not eliminate potential LHC risks[2].

[1] (Our Final Century: Will the Human Race Survive the Twenty-first Century?), Sir Martin Rees (2003)
[2] On the potential catastrophic risk from metastable quantum-black holes produced at particle colliders - Dr. Habil. Rainer Plaga Rebuttal (2008)

JTankers said...


"Assessments" and
[2] On the potential catastrophic risk from metastable quantum-black holes produced at particle colliders - Dr. Habil. Rainer Plaga Rebuttal (2008)

Anonymous said...


Well, It appears I've hit a sore spot of some sort with Jim Wright. I note that he has many of his faithful here who also post at his blog page. Perhaps now they're seeing a 'meaner' side of him. Perhaps my comment about being 'holed-up' in his wood-carving shop in Palin country bothered him. Anyway, I believe I'll do as he requests, and quit posting at this blog, because obviously the truth bothers him, and sets him off on rantings and ravings, and Lordy knows what he might be capable of, with his training in biological warfare, radiological warfare, etc. A grim business indeed.

And yes, I worked as a radiological protection officer [I still do work with colleagues in that field - I have a meeting in April, 2009 to attend], but my work in that field commenced ages [nay, more like only a decade or so, when Jim Wright was in HS] before Jim Wright put on the uniform, I believe. And no, I've never worn a uniform, never marched in parades with a uniform, never pinned medals on me, or done any of the other things he's alluded to as the kind of individual I am. Judging from how he knows so much about such kinds of individuals, it makes one wonder where he came up with the knowledge. Personally, I have great respect for most of the men and women who wear the uniform, even though that was not my career path.

As I've said, my 'credentials' are only what I've said they are, nothing more, nothing less.

So, do you think any of these mental giants will someday have themselves tested, by either a BASIC test such as the CBEST, or an advanced test such as the National Teacher Examination? I'd really like to know how they measure up.

By the way, if you ever want to speak with me, send me an email [] and I'll give you my phone number. I owe you a thank you for your comments posted here.

Walter L. Wagner

Anne C. said...

Mr. Wagner:
It is so amusing that you think the only standardized test worth considering is the one that had a part at which you did well. I assure you that there are other professions besides that of teacher that require licensing exams. Most people who take them and do well, however, don't get too excited about the results, as they are too busy doing well at their professions.

Mr. Tankersley:

I join the consensus here that pities you. Posting the affidavit shows exactly how little you really understand. The affidavit that you posted directly contradicts statements that Mr. Wagner posted. That means one of two things - Mr. Wagner lied on the affidavit or Mr. Wagner lied here. No additional information is really necessary, just compare the two. I know you really want to think well of your hero, but in my opinion, a hero and a liar are rarely the same man. You seem well entrenched in your decision to avoid any truth about Mr. Wagner. For that, I pity you.

JTankers said...

Hello anne c.

There is a third option, your reading comprehension and logic may be flawed.

Read what attorney Eric writes on this blog, he appears to the be the most intelligent poster on your "team". Not that I accept what he says is correct, he just demonstrates the highest accuracy
in reading comprehension and logical analysis.

Again, my concern is the safety message, not the messenger.

Walter Wagner's message is NOT misinformation, CERN's message IS misinformation.

You are focusing on exactly the wrong issue. Its the message not the messenger.

Jim Wright said...

Walter Wagner,

The only sore spot you’ve hit with me is the one where I detest braggarts, liars, frauds, and charlatans.

I live in Alaska, because, (follow me here), because I’m an Alaskan. I work in my woodshop because it pleases me to do so, and because I don’t actually have to work for a living and I can't fish every single day. You’ve read one post on my website and decided that I must have “anger issues.” Um, if you read “Death From the Sky” will you suddenly decide that I have “Cat Issues” or “Humor Issues?” If you read the articles discussing woodworking will I have “Saw Dust Issues.” Meet Walter Wagner, psychologist, among his many other talents.

For the love of God, Wagner, your attempts to derail the questions before you are childish and transparent. As I noted above, when confronted, Walter Wagner dissembles, evades, changes the subject, or runs away – and you continue to prove the validity of my observation with every single comment.

Walter Wagner: As I've said, my 'credentials' are only what I've said they are, nothing more, nothing less.

Well, that’s the whole damn point, Wagner, you haven’t said diddly, except to avoid the questions repeatedly. You’ve dodged and dissembled and thrown up smoke screens, you’ve used every logical fallacy in the book, you’ve attempted blow smoke up my ass and butter me up with false flattery and when that didn’t work you turned to derision and dismissal and bullshit psychoanalysis. All in an attempt to divert attention away from the fact that you are full of shit.

Prove me wrong, Wagner, answer the questions:

When and where didn’t you obtain your JD? Specifically the institution and year.

When and where did you take and pass the Bar? Specifically what state and what year and which exam cycle?

When and where did you practice law? And for how long?

As Jtankers so helpfully pointed out above, you used your so-called law degree as to lend weight and authority to your lawsuit. You did the same in the interviews you’ve given. You claim authority, I say it's bullshit and that you have none. Prove me wrong, answer the questions directly and without further evasion.

These are simple questions, if you are who you say you are, you’ll have no trouble answering them. But the simple truth of the matter, and what has become patently obvious, is that you are NOT the man you say you are. You are exactly as I have stated: a liar, a fraud, and a charlatan.

You, sir, are a crank.

One more, very important thing, this line: Judging from how he knows so much about such kinds of individuals, it makes one wonder where he came up with the knowledge. I’ll warn you once, and once only: You’re going to want to be real careful with that kind of bullshit, Wagner. I am a highly decorated combat veteran, who served honorably, who served in Iraq and elsewhere, and who has documented proof of every single award, commendation, promotion, certification, rank, and position that I earned. My record, Wagner, is a matter of public record, and a number of folks that served with me, and that I got home alive, read my site every day, many come here to laugh at you - some, Walter, live in Hawaii. Don’t ever try that type of insinuation again.
MWT, it was a typo and you are, of course, correct.

Janiece, Aye, and yet without a degree you still have more documented education from valid institutions then Wagner can pony up with his fake degree and bullshit credentials.

jtankers, you just don't get it do you? The messenger, is the message writer. His credentials are central to his arguement. Even he thinks so, otherwise he wouldn't have stated them in the affidavit you posted. As Eric noted, you're being used. Wagner is a con man, and your his patsy.

Janiece said...

Mr. Wagner,

You know, I've tried really, really hard to remain courteous on this space, in spite of my growing suspicions of you. It seems you cannot do the same, and by making this personal, you gave me the right to set the record straight in whatever way I choose. Please note that my previous courtesy was extended not because you earned it, but because I chose to extend it. Now? Not so much.

1. You are a megalomaniacal crank. In spite of my numerous requests for clarification and ethical justification, you continued to evade and engage in logical fallacies. If your true position was "I don't have to justify myself to you, so fuck off," then you would of said so, and stopped visiting this site. Instead you returned again and again, making ever more complex and unlikely claims as to what a grade-A genius you are. Surely, you are a legend in your own mind. Pretentious bastard.

2. Original scientific thought is not the same as the ability to accurately complete a baccalaureate level mathematics exam 25 years ago. Your perfect score is not equivalent to the Nobel Prize, and your attempt to make it seem like it is is a sad, pathetic attempt at self-aggrandizement. You're not a physicist - you're a failed scientist and you really need to either go back to school so you can succeed, or shut the fuck up. As Anne notes, my own profession requires certification exams, too, but you don't see me crowing about them all over the Internet.

3. Clearly your impeccable research credentials and ability to get to the root of things failed to lead you to the obvious conclusion that the people who comment on this blog (and others) are part of an on-line community called the "UCF." We make no secret of our community, and in fact counter-post quite frequently. Your stunning discovery that we "follow" each other ranks right up there with your stunning physics discoveries. I.E., non-existent. Have you always been this easily impressed?

4. If you think Jim's personality is a surprise to anyone who knows him, you're even more clueless than I thought. I said my relationship with Jim was none of your damn business - and it isn't - but don't fool yourself into thinking I don't know exactly who he is. He's a grumpy curmudgeon who speaks him mind, to be sure...but he's also honorable, a characteristic you clearly do not share.

Which brings me to my last point...

5. Do you honestly expect us to believe that you aren't already in contact with ole James? Seriously? Such a transparent trick (implying he's an anonymous advocate in order to increase your credibility) might work on the weak-minded dullards you're used to roping in, but here? Not so much. A rudimentary Google search places his moniker and your name in close proximity all over the Internet. An ego driven bitch such as yourself would never allow such a thing without reaching out to your butt-monkey.

I'm not sure who you think you're fooling, but I'll say I was right the first time - you, sir, are fucking 'tard.


Mr. Tankersley,

Until and unless you address all the logical fallacies I pointed out in your posts, you're really in no position to talk about Anne's reasoning ability. Seriously, dude. Seek help.


John, I'll be cross-posting to HCDSM, but I'm outta here. Good luck trying to address this example of asylum bound dumbasses. It would take a whole team of psychiatrists a millennium to unravel the sociopathy in this relationship.

Oh, wait, they don't have a millennium - the LHC will destroy us all next summer!


Random Michelle K said...

It appears I've hit a sore spot of some sort with Jim Wright. I note that he has many of his faithful here who also post at his blog page. Perhaps now they're seeing a 'meaner' side of him.

MY GOD! I never KNEW! None of us did!

Does this mean we have to send back our awards and kudos from the "Jim Wright is an asshole" contest?

JTankers said...

Hello Janice,


Interesting exercises your team plays with misinformation, misdirection and "Hijack"ing.[1]

I think your team's coordinated efforts targeting Walter Wagner are misguided.

The issue (the message) is very complex no doubt, but not so complex that you can not at least conclude as the Federal Judge Hellen Gillmore did when dismissing the Federal Case in Hawaii:

"It is clear that Plaintiffs’ action reflects disagreement among scientists about the possible ramifications of the operation of the Large Hadron Collider. This extremely complex debate is of concern to more than just the physicists." [2]

Think about the morality of the big picture, you are attempting to silence critics of LHC safety issues that you don't understand and those critic's concerns may be valid. The issue should be discussed not silenced.

[1] International Hijack™ Day, Polybloggimous "Ideas get in but they don't get out" (2008)
[2] ORDER GRANTING FEDERAL DEFENDANTS’ MOTION TO DISMISS, Chief United States District Judge Helen Gillmor (26 Sep 2008)

Random Michelle K said...

Team? I'm a member of a team?

Damn. I thought I was a sycophant.

If I try harder can I be a nattering nabob of negativity?

Jim Wright said...

I love the fact that crankersley used Polybloggimous as a supporting arguement. Just hysterical for so many reasons.

Anne C. said...

I'm going to be an "adherent" and buy a Costco sized tube of superglue for the "team." :)

Eric said...

Mr. Tankersley, nobody here has tried to silence Mr. Wagner. If anything, we've asked him to speak up: to tell us what he's done and where he's done it and how and when. If he cannot do those things, yes, he should be silent, not because it's in the interest of European physicists, but because it's in the public interest for debate to be informed, and an individual's interest not to play a fool.

Mr. Wagner seems to be more interested, for whatever reason, in promoting an agenda of fear, uncertainty and doubt than he is in laying the foundation for his own credibility. Without knowing why he's qualified to make his claims, there's no reason to take them any more seriously than somebody's claims that crystals can cure cancer or extraterrestrials built the Egyptian pyramids. Indeed, there's a bleak corollary: if he appears to be deceptive in what qualifications he does have, it makes all of his remaining claims less credible, as well.

It is true that you and Mr. Wagner have stumbled into a den of friends and comrades-in-blogging arms: we disagree on any number of issues, from food to politics, but we are indeed regular followers of each other's work. This isn't a secret: most of us have an emblem on our blogs that was made by one of our best-loved members. I can understand, I suppose, some feeling of confusion or disappointment, then, that some ad hominem attacks have gone astray: you may be surprised to know that Jim and Janiece have been very patient with Mr. Wagner; that we're all very aware of John's CV; and that your own footnote to Nathan's mischievous blogging habits are not only famous in this circle, but irrelevant, since there have been as many hijacks to this comment thread as there have been comments (on point or no) by our Nathan--none, to be exact.

Finally, Mr. Tankersley, I would not read too much into Judge Gillmor's order throwing Mr. Wagner's motion out of court. In a motion to dismiss, the Court is obligated to consider the case in the light most favorable plaintiff--that is, the judge has to pretend everything the plaintiff argues is true regardless of whether it would survive a full hearing on the merits. The presumption favors the plaintiffs, and is weighted towards the case going to full hearing. Mr. Wagner and the enigmatic Mr. Sancho failed to win, in other words, at a stage where the game was stacked in their favor--although, in fairness, no decision was reached on the merits of their physics argument, the judge rather predictably held that Wagner [i]Wagner wasn't even in the right courtroom[/i]. What's a little surprising in her opinion, though, is that Wagner and Sancho [i]failed to establish sufficient facts, or any facts, that showed the court had jurisdiction over the Federal agencies named in their motion[/i]. In other words, while it's sort of self-evident that you can't sue Europeans who stay in Europe in a Federal District Court, you [i]can[/i] sue Americans, except Wagner and Sancho failed to show they [i]should[/i] be allowed to, by failing to show any evidence the DOE and other agencies actually have more to do with the LHC project than selling them magnets and getting to look at the results.

The language the judge uses, that the subject of concern, etc., is a standard bone thrown to the loser--"thank you for trying, we can tell you really care about this, but goodbye." It means very, very little, and if Mr. Wagner had spent more than 15 months (or however long) he'd probably be used to that kind of thing, because it happens all the time. Practicing lawyers usually go home or back to the office and curse about it to their colleagues or anyone who will listen when they get stock platitudes like that. I'm sorry to have to be the one who tells you that that sentence isn't actually a present from Santa, Mr. Tankersley, but Mr. Wagner either believes in Santa or is insisting to you that Santa exists if he's telling you that statement is anything other than an inconsequential pat on the head.

Eric said...

(Meh, I slipped into the wrong formatting, and I meant to say "Nathan's mischievous blogging habits are famous," not that Mr. Tankersley's footnote was famous, but close enough; I'll leave the comment....)

Jim Wright said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jim Wright said...

That's OK, Eric, I can't seem to type a comment without at least one typo in critical parts:

In my questions to Wally I meant to say: When and where did you obtain your JD? Specifically the institution and year - instead of "Where didn't you..."

I would have corrected it, but it's obvious that he isn't going to answer anyway.

And I'm not sure what jtanker's point is regarding our group - Um, he came to us, not us to him. We didn't invade his website, he dumped his dreck on us. I don't see how it's our fault that he didn't actually look around first or learn about us before he open his mouth - but that does seem to be the hallmark of his 'research' abilities.

Anonymous said...


Well, it does look like UCF, as they seem to call themselves, is a varied group who like to spew foul language to try to show how tough they are.

And for those who are reading Janiece's posts, I have never spoken with Jtankers, and indeed I've never seen a photo of him, and would not recognize him on the street if I saw him. That might change in the future. I know him only by his internet reputation and a few emails we've sent each other, and I consider him to be an officer and a gentleman, based on his posts at various forums where I've read his postings [unlike some postings from others I've read].

As for Eric's parting comment, he's apparently reached a different opinion than I. I believe the physics escaped the grasp of Judge Gillmor. Instead, she detailed extensively in her 25-page opinion the case law that pertains to federal jurisdiction when federal involvement is minimal. I believe she's actually looking for new case law to be made on this issue [she certainly researched it herself extensively], and that's what will happen, in that I believe the appellate court will almost certainly issue a published opinion, rather than a non-published one. I also believe that the appellate court will conclude that federal jurisdiction is present with respect to the federal defendants, and send it back to the trial court for further proceedings. Eric is invited to read that appellate opinion when it has been issued. He should at least read Judge Gillmor's trial-court opinion.

Since it appears that none of the UCF members are actually interested in science blogging at I'll not bother further with them, unless they post at our forum. I'll leave them to wallow around in their ignorance posting their blogs at their UCF forums.

Thanks for showing your civility in the face of such crudeness.

Walter L. Wagner

Random Michelle K said...

Sock puppet #1: "Gee, you're awesome Mr. Walter!"

Puppet Master: "Thank you my friend! Would you like to get together for a drink later and discuss how awesome we are? Because that club of meanie poo-poo heads refuse to accept my credentials on my say-so alone, we must stick together in the face of adversity! Obviously you recognize my genius, when these heathens were incapable of doing so, would you like a job as my side-kick?"

Jim Wright said...

Um, Walter?

One more question in addition to the ones I've already posed:

You said (and let me quote here so there's no misunderstanding): "I have been active in the
field of theoretical micro-black-holes being created by advanced colliders since
publication of my work in Scientific American in July, 1999"

Here's the thing, I get SciAm and have for a long, long time. I happen to have a copy of the July 1999 edition. It took me a while to find it. I eagerly looked for your 'work.'

Here's the part I don't get: Why is it in the Letters to the Editor section?

Um, articles from contributing scientists/authors are usually in the main portion of the magazine. How do you explain this?

Also, can I call myself "published" if I write a letter to the editor?

Dude, seriously, you are making me squirt chocolate milk out my nose. A letter to the editor is published work? This is like saying that because you once spoke to a priest, you're the pope.

Seriously, Walter, what the fuck?

And Dr. Wilczek of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, who addressed your "Work" in SciAm was hell of a lot nicer than me, but the end result is the same, he very politely called you a crank.

Jim Wright said...

Oh, and Walter? Would you really like us to all come over to your place? Because, um, we could - and we could bring this entire thread along.

Anne C. said...

LOL! Michelle, you crack me up. :D

vince said...

Well, it does look like UCF, as they seem to call themselves, is a varied group who like to spew foul language to try to show how tough they are.

Yes, we are varied. Yes, most of us have been known to use foul language when angry or seriously annoyed. Try to show how tough we are? Have you even bothered to read our blogs? We all have strong opinions, and if you bothered to read review them over, say the last 3 or 4 months, you'd see we often disagree with each other, occasionally disagree strongly. But not one of us has ever tried to bully someone else. We do, however, have no problem calling out crap when we see it.

Since it appears that none of the UCF members are actually interested in science blogging at I'll not bother further with them, unless they post at our forum.

I headed over to the site you mentioned. It looks like it might be a fun place to visit and even participate in, but it certainly isn't a serious place for science blogging, not with topics such as "Why are girls so irrational and illogical?" in the science section. And science is only one section of the site. Other sections include World, Life, Subcultures, Philosophy, etc. There's nothing wrong with this, but your implication is that the site is a serious science blogging site, and it's not. Another half-truth by you at best. And you want us to post at your forum, but you don't identify which forum it is. Disingenuous of you, isn't it? You won't play here any longer (you came of your own free will, remember?) and you practically dare us to come play at your house, but then you don't tell us where exactly that is.

Sorry sir, I saw you palm that card.

Anonymous said...


You should hurry back. Yes, there are many subforums, even one called cesspool. As I mentioned, I typically post in the Science section, primarily in Astronomy, Physics, Earth Science and Biology, and occasionally in a few others. And yes, I mentioned there are lots of weird/extraneous threads. I do not participate in them. But you will find that if you stick to the pure science sections, there will often be an interesting thread. The moderators in the science sections are generally quite good [though I've been known to have disputes]. Watch out for the trolls, wackos and creationists. Thanks for refraining from using the Carlin-7.


Walter L. Wagner

Jim Wright said...

Ah good, Walter Wagner, I was afraid you'd left, you know, like you said you would.

Since you've decided to hang around, could you please address my last couple of questions:

- Do you consider a letter to the editor a published work? Yes or no?

- When and where did you get your JD?

- When and where did you pass the bar?

Walter, please, I've tried to make it as easy as I can. Three quick answers is all I'm asking here. I'm planning an article on you tomorrow, come on throw me a bone here.

Random Michelle K said...

Gee, *I* didn't use words you couldn't use on TV . How come I'm being lumped in with all these potty-mouths?

Jim Wright said...

Additional thoughts:

here and here

And it looks like Walter Wagner isn't going to reply. True to form, to the the last.

Janiece said...

People are who they are, Jim.

Wishing it away doesn't make it so.

Jim Wright said...

Ha, that's true, Janiece.

vince said...

And a comment at MWT's post links to this post which examines the claims and creditably of the the two names that are most quoted by LHC doomsday proponents - Dr. Rainer Plaga and Dr. Otto E. Rössler.

Jim Wright said...


The details of Wagner's law school have been run to ground by Eric.

Don't piss off a real lawyer, that's what I'm saying here. You probably don't want to fuck with the members of the UCF either, just sayin'.

Wagner started out at an accredited school, then transferred to an unaccredited school, the reason for which is beyond disturbing. This guy is one sick fucking puppy.

Details in the update on Giant Midgets.

The summary post on Stonekettle Station is now in continuous updates.

I've noticed that both Wagner himself and James Tankersley are conspicuously silent, though we know they are both reading this.

Just to summarize:

- Wagner is a liar, a fraud, a charlatan, and mentally ill.

- He has irrefutably lied about claims regarding his accomplishments here in this thread and pretty much everywhere else including major media reports. In fact, he's lied about pretty much every single thing he's said, with the single exception of his name.

- He's been convicted of rather disturbing crimes, especially disturbing given his record of hanging out around grade schools and knocking on people's doors and representing himself as a Government Officer.

- And he's currently under indictment for alleged embezzlement.

But his claims regarding the LHC, yeah, those are good. Sure, uh ha, color me just a little skeptical here.

Sometimes, jtankers - it is the messenger.

Care to comment fellas?

Anonymous said...

*wipes the tears from her eyes*

It is a true shame that I have been gone from the intarwebs for so long. I really have to thank all the members for making laugh hysterically for the last 1/2 hour.

I'm really sorry that you all had to waste precious time in crafting intelligent responses to the rampant asshattery. Just think, that could have been time taking math tests and associating yourself with members of the scientific community for your 15 minutes of fame.

I am still amazed that over all these posts, the three simple questions were not answered directly. I guess it's just too much to speak the truth these days.

Anonymous said...

I know this topic is a little old, but I just noticed Walter says something along the lines of "Well come over to SciForums to discuss things!" and I happen to be a poster there.

I have tried to discuss things with Walter there. I've asked him to provide mathematical/quantitative backups to his claims about Hawking radiation, quantum tunneling around an event horizon, the likelihood of black hole production and their danger. I've provided him with links to graduate level material on Hawking radiation as a "Here's an example of the level of detail I want you to provide.". Nothing. Months of silence or just ignoring requests and when I PM him to 'prod' him into responding I'm being insulting towards him.

And Walter, if you think getting 80/80 on a teachers maths test is 'amazing' or whatever, you're very much mistaken. The friends of mine who are now doing teacher training were generally not the best students in the class (obviously this doesn't apply to all teachers). The ability to speak English doesn't make someone a poet. Pretty much everyone I went to university with on my course was better at the course (ie mathematics) than their old school teachers. And only a tiny percentage of us went on to do particle physics, it's very competitive and very difficult. Not that you would know.

Feel free to put me in my place over on SciForums. You haven't managed it yet.

- AlphaNumeric

PS : For those who have not had enough of Walter's ignorance, lies and avoidance, the thread in question is :
Paul is Walter's crackpot friend. Or at least they share common delusions.

James J E Randall said...

I'm a Leo! Yay! x

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