A scientific freethinker draws on his Usenet posts to argue for reinterpretations of mainstream theories.
In this book, Prasad (God vs. the Universe, 2015, etc.) challenges scientific orthodoxy on subjects ranging from the role of carbon dioxide in shaping the Earth’s climate to the physical characteristics of the human soul. In presenting his arguments, the author also celebrates the culture of Usenet and other online discussion forums, where he developed and honed his theories over several decades. Prasad approaches established science with a contrarian’s enthusiasm, disputing the particle-wave dual nature of light, the conclusions of climate change studies, the customs of academic publishing, and Albert Einstein’s role in developing scientific theory. The book draws on a broad range of published research, though the papers’ authors would likely dispute many of Prasad’s interpretations of their work. Prasad writes in an excitable style, with more than 90 exclamation points appearing throughout the nearly 140 pages of the book’s body, and with unfettered confidence: “Judged on the basis of this principle [Occam’s Razor], my theory of light is superior to existing theories.” There is also a hint of the conspiracy theorist in the volume’s approach, particularly in the discussion of government-funded research into climate change, described as “massive corruption.” The author accuses climate researchers of ignoring the complexities of the system immediately before supporting one of his arguments with “This is what happened in reality, though the actual data are different, and these graphs are merely an example to clarify what really happened.” With its overabundance of exclamation points, italics, and all-caps text, along with its sense of entitlement (“My objection and my answers to all the other questions, including my explanation of light, need to be on the record and fully acknowledged”) and incredulity (“I felt that the totality of online information on these subjects was somehow subtly changing”), the book retains close ties to its origins in online postings without moving beyond Usenet into a more refined and coherent scientific argument.
While exploring a rich variety of topics, from climate change to Einstein, this collection of scientific thoughts lacks polish.