Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Holes in the Theory: A Review of David Rountree's Wormhole theory of the paranormal

Remember David Rountree, paranormal investigator who is almost certainly NOT a quantum physicist? Well he has a theory. Paranormal activity, ranging from ghosts and demons to Bigfoot via UFOs and everything in between are caused by Wormholes. And he wrote a deeply flawed paper on the topic for Research gate in Feb 2015.

Before I get on to the paper, Roundtree's profile at Reasearch gate is worth checking out, pictured below left:

It shows Rountree is no longer claiming to have a Phd in quantum mechanics, but is now "working towards a physics doctorate". Despite this his youtube channel, and other profiles, still proudly boast "quantum physicist" as a title (below)

The paper and theory in general suffers from major faults, which I'll attempt to show here:

1. Faulty Hypothesis

 Rountree's hypothesis is as follows:
"Information is emerging into our environment from points unknown; this information takes many forms, for audible, Electromagnetic, visual and environmental fluctuations.As such, there must be a conduit to allow this information to emerge. In science, the choice for conduits that could allow such an exchange of information are limited. In fact, I only know of two possibilities, the localized bending of time space that would allow dimension bubbles to occur, allowing the overlap of other dimension combinations that create a momentary alternative reality and Einstein Rosen Bridges or simply Wormholes"
Part of the problem with this is Rountree's definition of environment and points unknown, if a source for a sound is unknown is it logical to conclude that it must of arrived via some conduit? Does an unknown sound justify hypothesising other dimensions? Of course not. To assume an external source, as external as another dimension no less, one would have to first prove that there isn't a more mundane source, this would be a paper in itself. Rountree bypasses this, meaning that everything that follows is built on a faulty presupposition. 

Generally a hypothesis should ask a question, commonly "if I do this will this happen?" Rountree gives us a conclusion instead. His hypothesis is a statement of fact and as such, isn't a hypothesis at all.

Later in the paer he describes how this may link to paranormal entities:

"While it may be rare for physical matter to pass through a partial opening, it may be possible for a human or animal to pass through a complete opening unscathed. This may explain cryptozoological creatures, ghosts, and UFOs that appear and disappear seemingly at will. In order to develop a theory, we must design a series of experiments to determine what is at work to create the Paranormal Event Horizon. "

2. Rampant plagiarism 

Rountree then gives a definition of what wormholes are, lifted uncredited mind, from Wikipedia. Take a look at the comparisons:







Even the equations used in the paper are lifted wholesale from Wikipedia, this is clear from the font they are presented in:





I'll be frank, Rountree you are disgraceful. Also, either deeply stupid or massively arrogant? Did you honestly believe that no-one would notice this? Perhaps not, as your "paper" has only been viewed 100 times in nine months, several of which views are yours I suspect and at least two are mine.

You took all all of that from one page too! I didn't even have to search Google, it was just FUCKING THERE! You didn't even change a single word.

 You shouldn't be part of any community, you especially shouldn't be allowed to claim ANY scientific credibility. You are a fraud. You know what would happen to me if I was caught plagiarising at my University? I'd be thrown out. Unequivocally. Fucking gone. Bye-bye.

3. The actual claims don't stand up.

So its worth pointing out something here, which I'm sure everyone has already grasped, we simply don't KNOW if wormholes actually exist. In multiple sources Rountree states that they are an outcome of Einstein's theory of General Relativity. This simple isn't true, they are allowed by the theory, that's all. They aren't mathematically forbidden.

Laughably, in the following interview Rountree claims that wormholes MUST exist because Relativity is so well proven by its applications in Nuclear physics. The mass-energy equivocation used in this branch of physics is an outcome of SPECIAL relativity not GENERAL relativity! Now, the distinction between the two may not be clear to many layman, but this is a man who claims a PhD in quantum physics!

General relativity is well proven by things such as satellite communication and GPS systems, and evidence provided by the measurement of gravitational lensing and redshift, but wormholes are not intrinsic to the theory. They result from some of the associated maths.

Physicists also speculate that if wormholes do exist they  are highly unstable and incredibly small, as Rountree opens his paper with Hawking quote, its only appropriate  I continue with one:

“Down at the smallest of scales, smaller even than molecules, smaller than atoms, we get to a place called the quantum foam. This is where wormholes exist. Tiny tunnels or shortcuts through space and time constantly form, disappear, and reform within this quantum world. And they actually link two separate places and two different times.The tunnels, unfortunately, are far too small for people to pass through — just a billion-trillion-trillionths of a centimeter..." Stephen Hawking 
This Gives Rountree two problems: size and stability.

 What about stability? At current estimates a wormhole wouldn't even be stable enough for a photon to travel though it, not even light can traverse a wormhole. I don't care how spry Bigfoot is... he isn't coming through.

There is a loop hole to this, physicists speculate that cramming a excess of exotic matter into a wormhole may hold it open. Exotic matter would the matter with a negative mass that actually is repelled by gravity. The problem being that we just don't find exotic matter, the only known is negative pressure generated by the casimir effect.(Certain tetra quarks have also been discovered these are labelled "exotic matter" as they lie outside the standard model of particle physics, they don't have a negative mass however). If one could stabilise a wormhole this way, the likely hood is the introduction of traditional baryonic matter would immediately destabilise it. Physicists also speculate that quantum fluctuations could open a wormhole but this would severely limit the radius of the wormhole to a Planck length. So how small is small? 10^-33 cm in radius. So small that 10^40 of them could nestle on the surface of a proton. Good luck squeezing through that Casper.

So wormholes are highly speculative at the moment, and Rountree proposes that exotic matter, also speculative) is necessary to expand the wormholes and stabilise them, throw in the fact that Rountree bases much of theory on alternative worlds, and you have speculation based on speculation.... Its turtles all the way down. And even if we were to accept the existence of worm holes, its some leap to start linking them to the paranormal.

If you want to read more about what ACTUAL physicists say about wormholes click here.

4. Many paths are paved with bullshit.

Evidence from NDE and OBE

Roundtree claims in his paper:
People who experience NDEs or OBEs report being drawn to a long dark tunnel with light at the other end. Those who make the journey report a new world on the other side. 
So he believes that some how consciousness can separate from the body and travel down a wormhole, by definition he must also believe that a wormhole opens every time a person dies, or nearly dies. This consciousness can somehow view the resultant journey and world encountered, depsite not having... well eyes. Also Rountree is taking the shape of a wormhole hyper-literally here: the reason a tunnel shape is described is that is something that is fairly easy to picture.

There's Tom Baker having his NDE. Look its shaped just like 'is 'ead mam!

There is a quite rational explanation for why sufferers of NDEs see a tunnel shape. oxygen starvation. As G,M Worlee, a physician specialising in anaesthesia writes for Skeptical Inquirer (2004):
"Oxygen starvation can cause both tunnel and darkness experiences. The reason for this lies in the structure and functioning of the blood supply of the retina. The macula is the optical center of the retina; it has the greatest blood supply, while the flow of blood to the retina decreases with distance from the macula according to the inverse square law. Yet the oxygen consumption of each part of the retina is much the same, so oxygen starvation will cause failure of peripheral vision before causing total visual failure.  experiments with oxygen starvation in human volunteers prove this fact. This is why tunnel experiences occur only in NDEs caused by oxygen starvation, while toxins and poisons cause a “pit experience” before causing failure of vision. So oxygen starvation explains why not everyone has a tunnel experience during an NDE. Oxygen starvation also explains why the tunnel experience is not a true component of the NDE, but is instead a manifestation of the cause of the NDE (Greyson 1983)" (Worlee, 2004) 
As for these "other worlds" there's no reason we these can't be the hallucinations of a dying brain, or a living one in OBEs. Here's a question in this regard why do Christians always encounter Christo-centric religious figures during NDE, and Muslims Islamic ones? Could it be that NDEs are culturally informed hallucinations perhaps?

We must rule out these rational explanations before we start speculating about souls zipping up and down hypothetical tunnels in spacetime!

Evidence from EVP and EMF

Rountree states:
"EVP appears in a room with no apparent source during a paranormal event." 
Rountree believes that EVPs are almost exclusively caused by electromagnetic fields, something I would contest, but let's grant him that. This this in no way proves the existence of wormholes.  EMF are ever present, we are surrounded by them. If EVP is a phenomena caused by EMF we could never conclude that the presence of EVP is evidence of wormholes. Also in his hypothesis Rountree refers to "audible fluctuations" both this and several comments Rountree has made in interviews available on Youtube, lead me to believe he isn't clear about sound not being an electromagnetic wave!

He must realise that actual "audible" frequencies could not traverse the Einstein Rosen bridge, as sound needs a material to propagate through, such material would, as stated earlier, collapse the wormhole.

Again Rountree is basing his proposed hypothesis testing on wild speculation.

Don't make me angry... evidence from gamma rays....

Through out the paper and in various interviews Rountree makes frequent reference to Gamma rays and recording them, presumably using a Geiger counter as his quoted values are given in Millrads, a traditional unit of measurement for that instrument.

During the two documented experiments in the paper Roundtree reports increases of up to
350 mR Hr^-1, which is high I'll concede, a normal yearly dose of radiation would be approximately 3100 mR Yr-1 in the US. It's not anywhere near as great as Rountree asserts in the interview I linked to above though. There he states that the background radiation he received equals that recorded after Hiroshima. Unfortunately for Rountree, he doesn't seem to understand the difference between Rads and Millirads (a thousandth of a Rad). According to New Scientist  August 25 1977, those 1 km from the Hiroshima blast received a dose of radiation in the region of 400 rads.

Not to worry David, you're only out by a magnitude of 10^3.

Rountree also gives no indication how he can presume to have identified the radiation spike as gamma rays, such a process would require the use of a spectrometer, or one of the various detectors mentioned here.

Brilliantly in the above interview Rountree claims that Gamma rays are not the most energetic form of electromagnetic radiation, he claims X-rays are more energetic. A fact that the host of the show actually contests, but Rountree sticks to his guns.

source Wikipedia 

That's fine as he has a far more fundamental issue with detecting gamma ray bursts from a wormhole.

Dave attests that the gamma ray bursts should evidence due to anti matter/matter annihilation occurring at the "event horizon" of the wormhole:

"Gamma radiation is present at the onset and throughout. This is due to the annihilation of sub atomic particles, specifically "Exotic Matter" (Matter with a negative mass) that is a requirement for a stable wormhole condition. This in turn ionizes the air."

Except annihilation shouldn't occur here because exotic matter is not antimatter! The key differences being anti-matter  acts just like matter, exotic matter does not, anti-matter has the same relationship with gravity as matter, exotic matter should not.

Dave has more anti-matter matters.

In the following interview he describes the emission of anti-photons. The major problem with this is that protons are their own anti-particles... in the strictest sense, there are no anti-photons. This is partly because photons are electrically neutral, neutrons also are electrically neutral, but as they comprise of an arrangement of quarks which AREN'T neutral, there is an anti-neutron.

Evidence from Ionic variations Rountree attributes large variations in Ion concentration in the atmosphere, to the increase in radioactivity which can indeed be a cause.

"Positive and Negative Ion Count dramatically increases sourced from the paranormal Event Horizon"
Leaving aside the fact that Dave is assuming a paranormal event is taking place and attributing qualities to it here, are there other potential causes of dramatic changes in ion concentration? Certainly an excess of electrical equipment can cause increased ionisation, could Rountree be taking base line readings before all his equipment is moved in? Also use of certain heating equipment can cause ionisation. Rountree concedes that heating systems are present during investigations.

Rountree makes quite a big deal about large concentrations of both positive and negative ions, this is not extraordinary, large pockets of negative ions will attract pockets of positively charged ions, and these pockets will not be static. They will move with air currents and be pulled around by fields generated by electrical equipment.

Evidence from Gravity fluctuations and time shifts

Rountree gives no indication of how he measured "gravity fluctuations" yet claims to have recorded them.
"Gravity Fluctuations - Gravity has minute fluctuations along three axes during the event in the Event Horizon.... 

As such its difficult to comment on how he achieved this, also its difficult to conclude whether any fluctuations were significant as Rountree fails to cite any data, he simply states changes occurred.  The easiest way to measure such fluctuations I suppose, would be to constantly measure the force acting on a object of known mass, I'm not sure that an experiment of such a nature could be sensitive enough to measure minor fluctuations, assuming that major fluctuations would be cited.

With so called time shifts Rountree states he is using a Naudin Time Shift Detector, researching the said device leads be to believe its pseudo-scientific at best. Laughably the manufacturer does seem to even know the best operating parameters for the device: See below.

If time-dilation due to gravitational effects is as easy to measure as two crystal clocks it makes physicist's endeavours flying caesium clocks around the world seem like a wasted effort. The first of those experiments, conducted by Hefele and Keating in 1971 registered a variation of 57 and 273 nanoseconds with an error bar of between +/- 10 and +/- 7 nanoseconds. This minuscule difference resulted from an elevation of 10km above sea level. More recent experiments have placed atomic clocks at altitudes of roughly the same as this and yielded similar results, although prescion has improved.

Rountree placed his clocks a metre apart, with no altitude difference.... make your own mind up.

Evidence from Cold spots 

"The blob of cold was measured at 41 degrees F, while the ambient temperature readings were consistently 74 degrees F. The Blob of Cold was not stationary, but rather moved about, changing direction several times (five in all). No air currents were measured in the room, and while cold air was leaking in from outside, the temperature differentials were confined to near the windows and doors. Some convection currents were present, but again these were caused by the heating system, which was on"

Rountree never tells us exactly how this "cold blob" is measured, was he using heat sensitive cameras or thermal imaging? Or was he using a traditional laser thermometer? If it was the later, then there is no way Dave could have tracked his "blob". Laser thermometers measure the temperature of what ever surface they fall on. If the pointer is moved from an internal wall with a heat source to an external wall or window, there's your drop in temperature.

Also "air currents were measured in the room, and while cold air was leaking in from outside" how does Dave propose this air was coming in then? There must be an air current. Also if there were convection currents then there WERE air currents.

 "temperature differentials were confined to near the windows and doors" This is exactly what we would expect from poorly insulated windows and doors. Let's take a look at the effort Dave goes to to properly insulate a room during an investigation, not much it seems.

Also if Rountree is proposing particle annihilation at the edge of a wormhole this should result in a dramatic INCREASE in temperature as energy is released. Why would a fundamentally exothermic reaction suddenly become endothermic?

Because that is what it would NEED to be to fit Rountree's conclusion.

Evidence from "vile vortices" and psychic powers

At this point in the paper Rountree abandons science completely. He tells us in no uncertain terms that wormholes exist, and these have been mapped! OK, what's your paper for again?

"Other researchers have discovered parallel phenomena that may be related to this condition. For example, Ivan T. Sanderson proposed based on his documenting of disappearances around the world, that there were a series of vortices located at regular intervals around the world."
Sanderson's work has been heavily criticised, much of it rests on anecdote and salty sea dog tales. Author Paul Begg examined Sanderson's claims for Unexplained magazine and found many of the ships he lists as being lost of "vile vortices" were simply victims of poor weather conditions, he also found that Sanderson and others had changed the location of other maritime accidents to better fit the theory (Begg, "Tales from the Bermuda Triangle"reprinted in Out of This World: Mysteries of Mind, Space and Time (Caxton, 1989))

Rountree continues
"Another example that is well known is the fact that researchers for many years have documented and mapped locations of vortex activity in Sedona, Arizona"
Its a "well-known fact" is it. Wait, let me call some one.

"Hey Sasha!
Sasha...Stop looking for wormholes! Yeah, we got 'em!... No... it wasn't Hawking.... it was Rountree.... Rountree... David....
No, he's not a physicist, he's a douche...
YEAH that's him,,,,HA! Yeah, he is...
Hey, what you doing with that flask?
 Oh....That's crazy....
There now they know.

Someone should also inform the Nobel committee.

Look, I don't care what paranormal investigators have "mapped", people used to map dragons over dangerous areas of sea, hell... clearly some people still do. That doesn't mean we should accept dragons existed. Evidence would be good.
" In a recent experiment at the Shanley Hotel, Tracy Ray, and Eric Risinger both experienced extreme feeling of well being while in the event horizon of a detected wormhole."
A) We can't detect wormholes. Sorry Dave.... physics is not lagging behind you.

 B) In science we generally don't deal with subjective "feeling", they are too messy with too many variables. That's something that many paranormal investigators simply have never got their head around. Feelings aren't evidence.

C) Many physicists suspect that the major difference between a black hole and a wormhole is that wormholes lack an event horizon. If an object with an event horizon appeared in front you, you simply wouldn't need gamma ray detectors and crystal clocks to see it... it would be black.... light can't escape from an event horizon. This is the factor which makes black holes so difficult to see in space, you'd have no trouble spotting one opening in a hotel room though!

" While both of these individuals have certain gifts, with Tracy being a full blown PsychicMedium-Empath, and Eric has some degree of psychic ability, other non-gifted team members on the peripheral of the event noticed a feeling of peace and calm."

She isn't a full blown psychic, and he isn't part psychic, you simply can't claim that because its utterly unproven.

More subjective personal experience
"Phantom Smells, odors and aromas: Low frequency high gain EMF can affect human perception. This has been documented by numerous medical, psychological and physiological studies and by the military. It is presumed that this may be a contributing factor."

Citations? I'm aware of research into the area but its hotly debated and heavily criticised, as is Michael Persinger's "God helmet" which research Rountree does cite. Criticism of this can be found here. A major flaw with said research being complete failure to replicate Persinger's results.

Even if we grant that EMFs can cause changes in perception, why would this go anyway to proving that such fields are generated by wormholes?
"Visual Stimulation: Aside from frequency stimulation of the perception, another factor is in play. If indeed we are dealing with a wormhole, there is a theoretical condition known as the holographic boundary effect. This has been documented at the University of Amsterdam as outlined in the following paper: Projections can occur on this holographic boundary to create visual stimulation, i.e. a holographic projection or hologram"
But Rountree's experiments don't report visual stimulation, this is only relevant if we recourse to the paranormal paradigm of the visualisation of ghosts, which is unproven. Its shoe horned in here as Rountree believes it strengthens the correlation despite his actual research showing no data in this regard. Why was this phenomena absent from the wormholes Rountree purports to have detected?

"ORBS: Cold plasma is formed as a result of the gamma radiation ionizing the air, creating a fourth state of matter, plasma. This plasma is cold plasma, held stable by an encapsulating low frequency electromagnetic field. The cold plasma emits light in the UV spectrum"
More shoe horning, orbs are a well explained phenomena, not paranormal in the slightest.

Rountree needs to demonstrate how his orbs are in anyway different than orbs caused by natural objects such as dust. He simply states this is plasma, cold plasma at that which is generated using highly directed lasers on super cooled materials, to strengthen his correlation again.

Rountree's Conclusion

"Based on our studies and independent confirmations by other researchers, we now have a theory on the paranormal that makes predictions and can be documented. In conjunction with Thomas Fusco's Theory of Supergeometry, we believe that we have finally mapped out the effects of a paranormal occurrence, and have provided conditions to monitor and document said events"
Yet nothing Rountree has described is paranormal. This is a bold faced assertion based on nothing more than what the paradigm for paranormal occurrences is held to be. Rountree has gone out and used the same methodology every ghost-hunting team uses under the guise of detecting wormholes. He's then found exactly the same data he would of found on a traditional paranormal investigation and used it to link ghosts and wormholes. Its staggering.

" IF the human consciousness survives death, and this is based on NDE's (Near Death Experiences) in which the subject has been dead for longer than 7 minutes and all brainwave activity has ceased) where the subject passes down a long dark tunnel to emerge in a world of brilliant light with all their dead family present, then a wormhole would match the experiences related. Additionally, this universe would be made up of pure energy."
That's one hell of a big "if", especially seen as there is no evidence of consciousness surviving death. Following this Rountree descends to laa-laa land. It sounds lovely, but this is the conclusion of a scientific paper! Oh and additionally its made of pure energy... just 'cause.

" I would further postulate that the energy that forms the consciousness would use these same conduits to enter the womb/fetus prior to birth. Thus, energy conservation is preserved."  
Just because a theory doesn't violate an important physical law doesn't mean its valid. Also if this is the case why is Rountree investigating dusty old houses and not maternity wards? Why aren't there major "vile vortexes" over every hospital, this is, by Dave's theory where most wormholes open after all.

My Conclusion

Rountree's whole premise in the paper is built on a bedrock of totally unproven presuppositions, which range from the plausible but hypothetical to the outright nonsensical.

  • Wormholes- hypothetical but mathematically sound. Some physicists would say the logical extension of General Relativity, others would describe them as a result of leftover or or loose mathematics in the theory. As wormholes are speculative so to are their properties. If their detection is so easy, would Fermilab or CERN not of accomplished this before a paranormal investigator with limited resources?
  • Alternative dimensions- hypothetical and highly speculative. Most physicists would maintain that if these alternative dimensions DO exist we should not consider them in the manner presented in science fiction-they may be curled up spatial dimensions, not worlds populated with Bigfoots. 
  • Exotic matter-matter with a negative mass that therefore experiences repulsive gravity. 
Highly unlikely

  • NDES and OBES represent a separation of mind and body. There is simply no evidence for this Cartesian duality, neuroscience and psychology offer rational explanations for such phenomena.
  •   Pseudo scientific measuring techniques such as using crystal clocks.
  • Persinger's God helmet research.
  • Alternative universes are pure energy.

Batshit- no evidence what-so-ever

  • Vile vortexs
  • Psychic abilities
  • A wormhole opens any time a person dies or is born-if this is the case why are Gamma ray levels and massive gravity fluctuations not registered around hospitals frequently?
  • Demons and ghosts use said portals to escape other dimensions. 
  • Alternative universe you are sucked into upon death is the same one that your family and friends also were sucked into. Lucky that.
Above all this there is a fundamental non-sequitur in operation here, Rountree has assumed the properties of wormholes to be the same as the properties of alleged paranormal phenomena when neither has been proved to exist and therefore measured. When the science doesn't fit, such as particle annihilation producing energy not absorbing it, this is ignored to maintain the correlation. His whole theory is based upon a correlation between two non-existent metrics. For the paranormal aspect it builds on decades of unverified results and associations. Even it Rountree had conclusively demonstrated detection of wormholes this in no-way links to paranormal phenomena and in no way shows it to exist.

Rountree also fundamentally misunderstands science and even basic measurement. His motodology is sloppy and poorly documented:

  • Confuses X-rays and gamma rays
  • Confuses rads and millirads 
  • States existence of "anti-photon"
  • States that wormholes have event horizons, which is not consensus but also punches a fatal flaw in his methodology.
  • Fails to clearly state methodology-omits vital information regarding certain pieces of equipment
  • Fails to once state a margin of error for collected data. 
  • Confuses anti-matter and matter with negative mass
  • Fails to realise that matter annihilation would create heat
  • offers subjective "feelings" as evidence
  • Shoehorns data into per-existing paranormal associations. 
  • Failure to consider other causes for collected data
This is the tip of the iceberg, I'm sure that those more qualified than I could find more errors.

Then there's the plagiarism. 

If you think me unfair to hold Rountree to such exacting standards consider that it is he who is claiming this as a legitimate scientific paper. He boasts in interviews that in years to come science will acknowledge his work. He is placing himself on a pedestal. If he wants to claim legitimacy in science to those either too gullible or too sycophantic to challenge him, then he must submit to peer review. 

Maybe based on this review he should stick to his "Shamanistic practices" instead of deceiving followers and friends with important sounding concepts used in incomprehensible ways. Larry De Paul, a commenter on Facebook page Paranormal Bullies,  summed up Rountree's science obsession and the man himself, better in one line than I could in a whole blog:

“If you can't dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit.”