Confirmed Tesla quote; "Today's scientists have substituted mathematics for experiments"

Inti

Senior Member.
A few weeks ago in a flat earth argument a believer mocked me for "believing that mathematics proves anything". When I challenged this, he came back with the following ;
I had seen this before, and I was able to explain what the actual point probably was. But I was curious about the origin of the quite, and Googling seems only to produce more repitions of thd quote, without a precise source. Does anyone have more info about where and when Tesla said this, if he did?
 

Nth

Member
[GALLERY=media, 102]TeslaQuote by Nth posted Dec 14, 2018 at 4:52 PM[/GALLERY]

I've gotta be honest, given how often I see flat earthers drag this particular Tesla quote into conversation, the top left graphic in the image above, from the same article as the quote, has me sitting here giggling like an idiot. :D
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
[GALLERY=media, 102]TeslaQuote by Nth posted Dec 14, 2018 at 4:52 PM[/GALLERY]

I've gotta be honest, given how often I see flat earthers drag this particular Tesla quote into conversation, the top left graphic in the image above, from the same article as the quote, has me sitting here giggling like an idiot. :D
there's another Tesla "coil" quote i debunked and when doing so Tesla calls space the firmament, (sp?) which some bible people claim is proof of FE too.

https://www.metabunk.org/debunked-earth-is-a-realm-a-tesla-coil.t8466/
 

Nth

Member
there's another Tesla "coil" quote i debunked and when doing so Tesla calls space the firmament, (sp?) which some bible people claim is proof of FE too.

https://www.metabunk.org/debunked-earth-is-a-realm-a-tesla-coil.t8466/
I've seen that one make the rounds, too. Not to straight up bad-mouth all flat earthers, because some certainly do cross-check this stuff, but for folks who adhere so closely to the "do your own research mantra" and claim to be "truth-seekers", they seem to propagate a number of fake quotes.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
I've seen that one make the rounds, too. Not to straight up bad-mouth all flat earthers, because some certainly do cross-check this stuff, but for folks who adhere so closely to the "do your own research mantra" and claim to be "truth-seekers", they seem to propagate a number of fake quotes.
Now adays you have to fact check literally everything you read it seems. I like looking stuff up and even i get sick of it. But most people don't even think of looking things up or they don't know how to really.

I think the bottom line, if they quote anything from Tesla, is to point out (from Teslas own writings) that Tesla was a Round Earth shill to the max. :)
 

Rory

Senior Member.
This is the one that does my head in; I see it all the time:
Wikiquote has it down as 'disputed'; it's identified as originating with Ralph Bergstresser, the inventor of 'Purple Harmony Plates':
Apparently, they were buds:
That's about as far as I got with that one. I guess a debunk would have to prove they never met; doubt could be cast by showing they weren't friends or evidencing a tendency for Bergstresser to fabricate; and categoric proof is most likely impossible, in the absence of an audio recording or other witnesses.

Then there's "in all likelihood". Did Tesla say/write other things that were in alignment/contradiction with this?
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
or evidencing a tendency for Bergstresser to fabricate
like this?
 

Inti

Senior Member.
I was interested by the Tesla quote, aside from its (mis)use by a flat earther, because it reminded me of more recent criticism of various forms of string theory as untestable abstractions, a modern versions of the medieval scholisticist metaphysics. For instance, by Peter Woit in his book "Not even Wrong" - here he is talking about the issue;
http://rationallyspeakingpodcast.or...cusses-whether-string-theory-is-not-even.html

Not a topic I felt like discussing with a FE believers who was insisting that if the ISS was real, we should only see it "a streak of light", and was trying to claim tbat maths is a trick of the powers that be to deceive us
From what I've read, Tesla was engaged in an unsuccessful dispute with Einstein amongst others, an deeply at sea in the new physics of tbe 20th century. Later, he has become the darling of promotors of all kind of woo, to the extent of being tne kind of wizard figure in Christopher Nolan's film "The Prestige"
 
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Rory

Senior Member.
Just reading the full article for the OP quote, I see that Tesla believed "the idea of atomic energy is illusionary".
 

Nth

Member
I was interested by the Tesla quote, aside from its (mis)use by a flat earther, because it reminded me of more recent criticism of various forms of string theory as untestable abstractions, a modern versions of the medieval scholisticist metaphysics. For instance, by Peter Woit in his book "Not even Wrong" - here he is talking about the issue;
http://rationallyspeakingpodcast.or...cusses-whether-string-theory-is-not-even.html

Not a topic I felt like discussing with a FE believers who was insisting that if the ISS was real, we should only see it "a streak of light", and was trying to claim tbat maths is a trick of the powers that be to deceive us
From what I've read, Tesla was engaged in an unsuccessful dispute with Einstein amongst others, an deeply at sea in the new physics of tbe 20th century. Later, he has become the darling of promotors of all kind of woo, to the extent of being tne kind of wizard figure in Christopher Nolan's film "The Prestige"
As something of a side note here, it's interesting how almost a cult has developed around Tesla, particularly in how some individuals that I have personally interacted with seem to believe that the man was invariably right about everything he commented on. The quote from @Inti is more or less a case in point. I'd suppose that it has something to do with him being viewed as an anti-establishment figure (from his disputes with Thomas Edison) and the various myths that have arisen around him.

Anyway, regarding the quote itself, I think most would agree that Tesla, fundamentally, is not wrong. His quote calls out theoretical structures that "have no relation to reality", i.e. those without empirical backing, such as relativity (at the time) and string theory (today). As pretty as a theory may be, it can't be considered correct without evidence. However, I don't think Tesla would have a beef with basic geometry, for instance, and pretty much no globe earther is out there trying to prove curvature with relativity. :D
 
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