Magnetism is one of Ken Wheeler’s most intense obsessions. Find out why the Theoria Apophasis creator is wrong about magnetism and why experts in the field view him with derision.
Magnetism fascinates people. The attraction and repulsion we see when we play with magnets feels both magical and compelling.
Those qualities have also attracted their share of frauds like Franz Mesmer, from whose odd notions about magnetic healing we get the word “mesmerized.” Ken Wheeler seems to be trying to carry on Mesmer’s deceptive tradition.
Correctly understanding how magnets work is more difficult than people think. We couldn’t do it until scientists acquired a detailed understanding of both relativity and quantum mechanics.
Magnets Would Be Impossible Under Classical Physics
Eventually, Hendreka van Leeuwen proved in 1921 that magnets should be impossible if we rely on the traditional laws of classical physics. Her discovery led scientists to apply new principles from special relativity and quantum mechanics to the problem.
Modern physics shows that substances are magnetic due to a quantum principle. Electrons, like other fermion particles, maintain symmetrical wave functions, including their magnetic properties.
Particle physicists call these magnetic properties “spin.” Atoms have an overall spin based on the net spins of all their electrons.
Objects in which Atoms Have Aligned Their Spins
A magnet is an object in which all its atoms have aligned their spins by exchanging electrons. Science calls the process by which these atoms coordinate their spins “exchange interaction.”
This elegant, empirically proven explanation poses a threat to Ken Wheeler. He insists in the face of all facts and reason that electrons, quantum mechanics and relativity can’t exist.
In a vain attempt to prove the impossible, the Angry Photographer has cobbled together a loose amalgam of misguided and contradictory theories on how magnets work. These notions are based on outmoded, pseudoscientific beliefs.
“First Human Being on Earth to Uncover Magnetism”
Kentucky Ken claims to be “the first human being on Earth to uncover magnetism. and how it works.” He seems to mean this literally, and to be completely sincere about it, calling it “one of the greatest secrets of nature.”
As Professor Thomas Szaz famously wrote, “The widespread belief that the scientist’s job is to reveal the secrets of nature is erroneous. Nature has no secrets, only persons do.”
By that, he meant that nature doesn’t deliberately hide information about phenomena. The explanations are always there if we make the effort to observe them correctly
Notions Not Based on Observation or Even Original
The Angry Photographer’s bizarre notions about electromagnetism aren’t based on observation or even original . Although he denies any connection, he has largely derived, not to say copied, his ideas from a conspiracy theory called the Electric Universe.
Specifically, Ken Wheeler has scooped up his dogma from the obscure, eccentric, electrical engineer Eric Dollard, while giving him only scant credit. Ironically, when the Angry Photographer finally got to meet his source, Dollard rebuffed him.
Mind you, Dollard is a fake expert who doesn’t warrant much credit. He claims electrons don’t exist, that a disproven substance called the ether does, and that the Maxwell equations, which physicists and electrical engineers successfully apply daily, are “of dubious practical value.”
Eric Dollard’s Followers Deny Gravity or Nuclear Forces
Followers of the electric universe movement believe, in one form or another, that the only force of nature is electricity, or electromagnetism. They deny the existence of gravity or the nuclear forces.
While distancing himself from the movement, the idea of a single natural force is a central tenet of the Theoria Apophasis producer’s theories on magnetism.The Angry Photographer has self-published a book entitled Uncovering the Missing Secrets of Magnetism.
It purports to explore “the nature of Magnetism, with regards to the true model of atomic geometry and field mechanics by means of rational physics & logic.” The YouTuber behind Theoria Apophasis praises his own book, declaring that it “reveals a huge secret that’s existed for thousands of years.”
“Conjugate Magneto-Dielectric Geometry of the Universe”
The secret to which Ken Wheeler refers is his so-called “conjugate magneto-dielectric geometry of the entire Universe.” He bases his geometric model on two shapes, the torus (donut) and the hyperboloid (hourglass). His diagram may help.
Falsely Claims Shapes are Negative Images of One Another
The Angry Photographer claims that the two shapes are negative images of one another. They’re not. He claims that when combined, the two shapes form a sphere. They don’t.
The Theoria Apophasis host tells us the torus is the “magnetic” part of the field, the hyperboloid represents the “dielectric,” and the disc in the centre of the diagram is something he calls the “plane of inertia.” The British scientist behind the YouTube channel AB science explains why these are logical fallacies in more detail here.
Science tells us there’s no such thing as a dielectric field or a plane of inertia. A magnetic object’s physical shape determines the shape of its magnetic field, so it’s not necessarily donut-shaped
Tinkering with Novelty Device Called a Ferrocell
Ken Wheeler seems to have come up with these geometric shapes by tinkering with a novelty device called a Ferrocell. Although the Angry Photographer never gives him any credit, Timm Vanderelli invented this entertaining gadget.
The Ferrocell consists of two panes of glass. Between the panes is a thin layer of fluid containing microscopic iron filings. A ring of LEDs surrounds the glass sheets.
If we hold a magnet up to a Ferrocell, the illuminated fluid produces all sorts of intricate patterns, like Spirograph drawings. The patterns are optical phenomena resulting from reflections of the LED light off the iron filings.
Ferrocell Patterns Don’t Show Field Generated by Magnet
These patterns don’t accurately represent the magnetic field. We know this because the lines in the Ferrocell intersect, which magnetic field lines can’t do. The YouTuber AB science also explains the logical fallacies of the Ferrocell in greater detail here.
Timm Vanderelli is another fake expert whose ideas the Theoria Apophasis host has embraced. Vanderelli falsely claims that the Ferrocell reveals magnetic fields, but as we’ve seen, it doesn’t.
Not only does Ken Wheeler adopt Vanderelli’s logical fallacies, he expands on them. The Angry Photographer has produced hundreds of videos in which he points to anomalies on a Ferrocell, falsely declaring without evidence or explanation that they vindicate his delusional notions about magnets.
Most Essential Property of a Magnet is Polarity
Probably the most essential property of a magnet is polarity, the principle that all magnets have at least two regions where the magnetic flux is concentrated. There’s no such thing as a magnet with only one pole.
As most of us have experienced, magnetic poles either attract or repel. Opposite poles attract one another, and like poles repel one another.
Probably the oddest claim the Theoria Apophasis host makes regarding magnets is his denial of magnetic polarity. He arbitrarily declares there can be no polarity or duality in nature.
Ken Tries to Claim Magnets Don’t Have Poles
Based on this unfounded assumption, Ken Wheeler argues that there is no location in a magnet corresponding to a pole. Instead, he tells his viewers that a magnet is a “point source energy object,” whose characteristics derive from “pressure mediation as against the plane of inertia.”
As “proof” of this peculiar notion, the Angry Photographer points to the fact that if we cut a magnet in two, each segment will have its own north and south poles. Supposedly, this disproves the polarity principle.
In Ken Wheeler’s mind, if magnetic poles existed, the north segment should only have north polarity, while the south segment should only have south polarity.
In Split Magnet, Atoms Retain Same Spin
The actual reason that the two segments are both bipolar has to do with the spin properties explained above. When we split the magnet in two, all the atoms in both segments retain the same spin alignment.
As a result, the polarities of each segment are identical. Since all magnets are bipolar, the poles of the two segments correspond to the poles of the original magnet, but on a smaller scale.
Beyond the Ferrocell’s illusions and his denial of the polarity principle, the central flaw underlying Ken Wheeler’s ideas about electromagnetism is his belief in “the ether.” We explain in depth how the Michelson-Morley Experiment disproves the ether’s existence under Field Theory – Why Ken’s Wrong.
Michelson-Morley Experiment Disproves Ether’s Existence
TheYouTuber Planarwalk also shares a more in-depth refutation of the Angry Photographer’s ethereal claims.
Charles Proteus Steinmetz is one of the field theory pioneers that the Angry Photographer refers to as “gods.” He had this to say about the ether.
“The mistake which led to the hypothesis of the ether was that wave motions were the only waves known at the time when the wave theory of light was proposed, and so the light wave was also considered as a wave motion and the question asked ‘what moves in the light wave?’
“A Wave, But Nothing Moves in It” – Steinmetz
“And this moving thing was called ether. Since that time, we have become familiar with waves which are not wave motions, but merely periodic phenomena. Thus the alternating current is a wave, but nothing moves in it. Thus we speak of waves of temperature etc, without meaning any material motion.
“The radio waves and light waves are electromagnetic waves, that is, periodic variations of the electromagnetic field in space.”
Having realized that electromagnetic waves don’t need a medium like the ether, scientists came to understand that electromagnetism has both wavelike and particle-like properties. which generated the revolutionary theories of relativity and quantum mechanics.
Relativity and Quantum Mechanics – Successful Theories
These are two of the most successful theories in the history of science. Although they’re counterintuitive, they’ve been confirmed by countless experiments and they’ve predicted phenomena that their originators couldn’t have known about. As we’ve seen, we now know relativity and quantum mechanics are the only reasons magnetism can exist.
Ken Wheeler desperately wants to believe in the ether. For reasons best known to himself, he fundamentally opposes both relativity and quantum mechanics.
The Angry Photographer stubbornly refuses to accept the dual nature of electromagnetism; that it has both wavelike and particle-like attributes. He also irrationally denies the existence of photons and electrons.
Ridicules Concept of Virtual Photons
The creator of Theoria Apophasis devotes an especially large amount of effort to cherry-picking evidence to ridicule the concept of virtual photons. He insists that “they’re not the input or output of any experiment.”
This is demonstrably false. As we show under Virtual Photons – Why Ken’s Wrong, virtual photons are the output of numerous experiments, including one that won the Nobel Prize for Physics.
The most peculiar aspect of this refusal to believe in photons or electrons is that the Angry Photographer is obsessed with digital photography gear. For example, he denies Einstein’s photoelectric effect. Yet every time he takes pictures, the sensors in his high-priced cameras convert photons into electrons exactly as Einstein discovered.
Brainchild of Eric Dollard’s Misguided Electric Universe
Although Ken Wheeler tries to take all the credit for his notions about magnetism, they’re essentially the brainchild of fake expert Eric Dollard’s misguided Electric Universe movement. He shares three logical fallacies with them.
He doesn’t want to believe in photons or electrons. He doesn’t want to believe that the speed of light is constant. Above all, he clings to the notion of the ether like an insecure child to a security blanket.
The YouTuber behind Theoria Apophasis has some other pseudoscientific jargon for the ether. He also calls it “counter space” and the “dielectric.” These are terms Ken Wheeler has lifted from Dollard, who fell into such disrepute that he found himself living out of his car.
Dollard Found Himself Living Out of His Car
In Ken Wheeler’s mind, everything is a disturbance (perturbation) of the ether/counter space/dielectric in various forms (modalities). Ice, water and steam are all the same thing, and so are gravity, magnetism and electricity. They’re just “incommensurate”(the same only different).
Of course, nature is under no obligation to make sense to the Angry Photographer. The best explanation we have that covers all the evidence is that there’s no ether, that both photons and electrons exist, and that the speed of light is constant in every frame of reference.
There’s another peculiar aspect to the Theoria Apophasis hosts’s ideas about magnetism. They don’t seem to have any practical consequences.
Ken’s Magnetism Ideas Have No Practical Consequences
This supposedly clearer understanding of how magnets work doesn’t seem to lead to more powerful magnets or better ways to produce them. There don’t seem to be any new applications for technology involving magnetism resulting from this theory at all.
In fact, this ether-based model doesn’t seem to change anything whatsoever in the realms of science or engineering. It appears to make no difference to our daily lives whether we believe it or not. So, it’s superfluous.
There’s a tragic aspect to Ken Wheeler’s obsession with magnetism. His self-published book on the subject runs 622 pages. He claims it took him twenty years to write and he’s uploaded multiple editions.
If All You Have is the Ether, Everything Looks Like a Magnet
Ken Wheeler is fond of saying, “If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” In his case, it’s more apt to say, “If all you have is the ether, everything looks like a magnet.”
All the time, labour, and expense that the Angry Photographer has devoted to his book on magnetism have been for nothing. His entire body of work on magnetism is empirically unsound and logically invalid.
Ken Wheeler’s work hasn’t come to the attention of many scientists. Most of the few who’ve noticed it haven’t had the patience to debunk it, and refuse to give his quackery a forum.
Scientist Specializing in Magnetism Debunks Ken Wheeler
There’s one notable exception. He’s the British physicist and YouTuber mentioned above, who uses the handle AB science. He specializes in magnetism.
Along with the above link, he’s created a complete series of videos in response to Ken Wheeler’s unsubstantiated claims about magnetism. He debunks all the Theoria Apophasis originator’s odd misconceptions about electromagnetism and physics in general.
Beyond that, AB science also points out the character flaws necessary to generate the Angry Photographer’s nonsensical books and videos on the topic.
Invents Meaningless Jargon and Misuses Scientific Terms
One of the most helpful contributions AB science makes is to draw attention to Ken Wheeler’s misuse of words and language. The Angry Photographer invents meaningless jargon and misuses the few genuine scientific terms on which he relies.
In the end, AB science leaves us with a portrait of a pitiable, insecure man. Ken Wheeler’s ideas are laughable, but his motivations inspire a sad kind of fellow-feeling.
We’re all vulnerable to this kind of motivated reasoning. Without the discipline of the scientific method, any of us could fall into the same trap as Ken Wheeler.
“There but for fortune go you and go I.”Phil Ochs