Nikola Tesla is someone to whose authority Ken Wheeler constantly appeals. Find out how the inventor of alternating current became just as erratic and eccentric as the Angry Photographer in later life and was no longer a credible source.
There’s no denying that Nikola Tesla was a genius. Although he’s somewhat less well known than Thomas Edison, for whom he once worked, Tesla’s contribution to electrical engineering was at least as important.
Ken Wheeler seems to have enormous respect and admiration for Tesla as a physicist and inventor. When he quotes Tesla in his videos, he intones like a clergyman about to quote from the most hallowed of scriptures.
The Angry Photographer’s respect doesn’t always extend to acknowledging Tesla’s ideas when he wants to take credit for them. Even so, the creator behind Theoria Apophasis often appeals to Tesla’s authority when pushing odd notions that deviate from the expert consensus of mainstream science.
Greatest Contribution Was Inventing Alternating Current
Tesla’s greatest contribution to our modern lives was inventing alternating current (AC) in 1891. Any time we plug any device into a wall socket or flip a light switch, we should spare a thought for Tesla.
Unlike the direct current (DC) we get from battery power, AC power changes direction roughly 60 times per second. This provides a steadier supply of electricity that doesn’t overpower electrical outlets. We have Tesla’s AC power to thank for the massive power grids on which our modern society depends.
Nikola Tesla also invented the AC induction motor and licensed it to Westinghouse. It became the basis of Westinghouse’s polyphase power distribution system, and the deal made Tesla extremely wealthy for a time.
Tesla Did His Best Work as a Young Man
Unfortunately, like many geniuses, Tesla did his best work when he was a young man. In later life, he became increasingly erratic, and his ideas wandered off into fringe areas of pseudoscience and “woo.”
Tesla’s downfall began when he built an enormous structure on Long Island called the Wardenclyffe Tower. He intended to use Wardenclyffe to outpace Marconi’s ability to transmit transatlantic radio signals and even to distribute wireless electric power.
The operation dragged on, and investors lost faith in the project, with some even calling it a hoax. Wardenclyffe ground to a halt in 1905. Tesla’s royalty money from Westinghouse ran out, and he suffered a mental breakdown.
Suffered a Mental Breakdown
The mortgage holder foreclosed on the property in 1915. Having seized the property, he decided to demolish the tower nobody wanted to buy. He did this using explosives to mark the Fourth of July in 1917.
From then on, the bankrupt Tesla started checking into one hotel after another. He’d leave an unpaid bill behind every time he changed residences.
Despite his intellectual brilliance, Tesla became set in his ways. He refused to believe several groundbreaking discoveries from the early 20th century. This left the formerly celebrated scientist lost and left behind in the modern world he had helped to create.
Denied that Protons, Neutrons and Electrons Could Exist
When Ken Wheeler cites Tesla, it’s invariably to ideas that Tesla espoused during those later, oddball years. For example, like the Angry Photographer, Tesla refused to accept that subatomic particles like protons, neutrons and electrons could exist.
Also like the Theoria Apophasis creator, the mercurial, older Tesla was particularly hostile toward Albert Einstein. Ironically, Einstein gained renown in what historians call his “Miracle Year. “
Einstein earned his PhD, showed how Brownian Motion works in atoms, explained the photoelectric effect, published Special Relativity, and proved that E=Mc2, all in 1905. That was the year in which Tesla suffered his breakdown.
“A Long-Haired Crank, Einstein by Name”
Tesla composed a poem about Einstein that went like this:
“Too bad, Sir Isaac, they dimmed your renown,
And turned your great science upside down.
Now a long-haired crank, Einstein by name,
Puts on your high teaching all the blame.
Says: matter and force are transmutable,
And wrong the laws you thought immutable.”
Ken Wheeler delights in mentioning that “long-haired crank” description of Einstein at every opportunity. Tesla was very fastidious about his appearance, but he’d become a much bigger crank than Einstein at this point.
The Angry Photographer also never misses a chance to quote Tesla’s description of the Theory of Relativity as “a beggar wrapped in purple whom ignorant people take for a king.” Michelson and Morley had discovered that the ether didn’t exist, and Heinrich Hertz had proven that electromagnetic waves propagate in a vacuum. Charles Proteus Steinmetz had called the ether hypothesis a “mistake.”
“Beggar Wrapped in Purple Whom People Take for a King”
Yet Tesla had become a fake expert, stubbornly insisting that Hertz had found “nothing else but effects of longitudinal waves in a gaseous medium, that is to say, waves, propagated by alternate compression and expansion. He had observed waves in the ether much of the nature of sound waves in the air.”
The Theoria Apophasis creator often cherry-picks this quote, but conspicuously leaves out the word “gaseous.” Tesla argued that space is not a vacuum, but instead “all space is filled with a gaseous substance.”
Tesla even believed that sound would be able to travel through the ether in outer space, and much faster. Of course, we now know that space is a virtual vacuum, containing no such gas and that, “in space, no one can hear you scream.” Much to the chagrin of both Tesla and Ken Wheeler, there’s no such thing as the ether. We explain this in detail under Field Theory – Why Ken’s Wrong, and the YouTuber Planarwalk debunks Ken Wheeler’s ether claims here.
“All Space Is Filled with a Gaseous Substance”
The aging inventor also stubbornly denied Einstein’s realization that the speed of light is fixed in all frames of reference, while “time is suspect.” Ken Wheeler often points to this in support of his own claims that light doesn’t travel at a fixed speed, but rather is merely a wave in the ether.
Tesla insisted that he had measured cosmic rays travelling fifty times faster than the speed of light as far back as 1896. He didn’t, of course; that’s a physical impossibility.
In 1915, Einstein published his theory of General Relativity. His field equations showed that the presence of matter warps the fabric of space itself, causing gravity.
General Relativity – Matter Warps the Fabric of Space Itself
A team dispatched by Frank Dyson, the Astronomer Royal, confirmed this during the total solar eclipse of 1919. With the midday sun blocked, the teams could measure the sun’s gravity warping the path of the light from background stars.
Setting impossible standards of proof for Einstein, Tesla firmly rejected the idea that space could curve. He said, “I hold that space cannot be curved, for the simple reason that it can have no properties. Of properties we can only speak when dealing with matter filling the space.
“To say that in the presence of large bodies space becomes curved is equivalent to stating that something can act upon nothing. I, for one, refuse to subscribe to such a view.”
NASA’s Gravity Probe B Confirmed General Relativity in 2011
In 2004, NASA launched Gravity Probe B to test Einstein’s theories with greater accuracy. Researchers from Stanford University analyzed data from the satellite in 2011. They verified yet again that General Relativity accurately predicts the curvature of space due to the presence of matter.
Despite this, Ken Wheeler continues to deny that matter curves space. He’s also very fond of repeating Tesla’s odd distinction without a difference between properties and attributes, even though the two words are synonyms.
The increasingly mad scientist even denied Einstein’s foundational equation E=mc2. Tesla denied the equation’s implication that nuclear forces could release enormous amounts of energy.
Tesla Denied Einstein’s Foundational Equation E=mc2
He said, “as to atomic energy, my experimental observations have shown that the process of disintegration is not accompanied by a liberation of such energy as might be expected from the present theories.” In a later interview, he claimed “I shattered atoms again and again. But no appreciable energy was released.”
On his 75th birthday, Tesla claimed to be on the verge of releasing a theory that would supersede Einstein’s entire body of work. He told Time Magazine he had developed “An explanation based upon pure mathematics of certain things which Professor Einstein has also attempted to explain.
“My conclusions in certain respects differ from and to that extent tend to disprove the Einstein Theory. My explanations of natural phenomena are not so involved as his. They are simpler, and when I am ready to make a full announcement it will be seen that I have proved my conclusions.”
Mother Nature Under No Obligation to Seem Simple
Like Tesla, Ken Wheeler often appeals to simplicity to justify his pseudoscience. Of course, it’s a logical fallacy that Mother Nature is under any obligation to seem simple to Ken Wheeler or even to Nikola Tesla.
Tesla’s “conclusions” were never released and nothing in Tesla’s personal papers remotely resembled what he promised Time Magazine. The claim seems to have been nothing more than a publicity stunt.
Ken Wheeler subscribes to another bizarre pseudoscientific concept called “scalar field theory.” It’s a set of quack ideas propagated by a modern day fake expert and charlatan named Thomas E. Bearden.
Quack Ideas Progagated by Charlatan Thomas E. Bearden
In his document entitled Fields, the Angry Photographer defines the term “scalar” as “Trans-luminal sub-matter. Measured in volts per-seconds. No transverse component, longitudinal torsion-energy. Powerful and destructive energy-dissipation force-captivation of the Aether.”
This notion of scalar energy has its roots in some of the peculiar notions Tesla came up with in his late seventies. He claimed to have harnessed a new form of energy not derived from conventional electromagnetic waves.
Believers in scalar fields claim that their energy source differs from conventional light or radiation. Scalar’s enormous power allegedly derives from the fact that it has no transverse waves and no net directionality, which focuses the field’s intensity. If that sounds like word salad to you, you’re absolutely right.
Supposedly Unleashes Unimaginable Amounts of Power
This scalar energy supposedly unleashes unimaginable amounts of power. Tesla claimed, “My apparatus projects particles which may be relatively large or of microscopic dimensions, enabling us to convey to a small area at a great distance trillions of times more energy than is possible with rays of any kind, Many thousands of horsepower can thus be transmitted by a stream thinner than a hair, so that nothing can resist”
This all-powerful death ray never materialized, and it isn’t mentioned in Tesla’s papers either. Despite this, conspiracy theorists, including Ken Wheeler, claim that the Russians stole the technology at some point.
Rumour mongers assert that Tesla’s sketchy invention was the basis for the notorious Russian weather ray. Attackers also allegedly used scalar energy to shoot down the space shuttle Columbia, or so the story goes.
Nikola Tesla Came to a Humiliating and Tragic End
Nikola Tesla eventually came to a humiliating and tragic end, dying alone and deeply in debt in one of those unpaid hotel rooms. A chamber maid discovered his remains days later. Westinghouse covered his bill.
On a brighter note, more than 2,000 people attended his funeral, also funded and organized by Westinghouse. They felt they owed it to him for his early work.
Summing up, Ken Wheeler is wrong to appeal to Tesla’s “authority” to support his dubious notions about science. The Angry Photographer regularly shouts at his critics, “Do you think you’re smarter than Nikola Tesla? Well, you’re not!”
Don’t Have to Be Smarter than Tesla, We Were Born Later
We don’t have to be smarter than Nikola Tesla to recognize his misconceptions and mental decline. We just have to have been born later.
The aging Tesla is an ironic role model for Kentucky Ken. In later life, Nikola Tesla was behind the times, stubborn, opinionated, egotistical, arrogant, and ultimately dead wrong.
The only difference between the two men is that Tesla made a revolutionary contribution to society in his youth, while Ken Wheeler has no accomplishments to which he can point.
Sad but true.
NIKOLA TESLA on the secret of LIGHT & what it is. The ETHER
The Rise and Fall of Nikola Tesla and His Tower
Tesla versus Einstein
Magnetism – Why Ken’s Wrong
Light – Why Ken’s Wrong
Field Theory – Why Ken’s Wrong