Tuesday, January 20, 2009

GAL - and The End Of The World As We Know It

Now read on...

When does it start?

There are very few starts. Oh, some things seem to be beginnings. The curtain goes up, the first pawn moves, the first shot is fired (probably at the first pawn) – but that’s not the start. The play, the game, the war is just a little window on a ribbon of events that may extend back thousands of years. The point is, there’s always something before. It’s always a case of Now Read On.

Much Human ingenuity has gone into finding the ultimate Before. The current state of knowledge can be summarized thus:

In the Beginning, there was nothing, which exploded.

(Terry Pratchett, Lords and ladies (1993) p. 7)

Picture the scene: a group of shadowy individuals hollow a huge underground chamber beneath the Swiss Alps, and within its depths construct a machine capable of smashing particles together at unfathomable speeds (a machine, incidentally, that, as the second picture clearly demonstrates, bears an uncanny resemblance to the big laser in the Death Star). They proudly display a statue of the Hindu deity Shiva, the destroyer of worlds, doing an end-of-the-universe dance (as seen in the first picture); proving that, whatever else, at least someone involved has a sense of humour.

Their stated goal is to reconstruct the conditions existing at the time of the mother of all explosions - the Big Bang itself. Their ends are benevolent - unsatisfied with he current state of scientific knowledge on the subject (as unforgettably described by Pratchett above), they seek only (but nothing less than) enlightenment on the beginning of all things; however, the lust for knowledge that drives them has led them to the conclusion that the risks inherent in their project - the danger that their machine will create black holes that will devour the entire planet and everything on it - are risks worth running. They are beyond the reach of the courts. The day is rapidly approaching when they will press the big red button that may signal the End of history (really, though, this time)...

Science fiction or science fact? Almost entirely the former, it seems (although some director will doubtless try to pass it off as "based on a true story" at some point). For anyone who doesn't already know, the situation sketched above is the doomsday scenario portrayed by a number of critics of the Large Hadron Collider at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). Firstly, CERN isn't particularly shadowy; indeed, you can even take a tour of their facility just outside Geneva (which, incidentally, comes highly recommended). And the existence of the "big red button" for turning the machine on appears, amusingly, to be rather the creation of the media's willful ignorance of the science on which they report. However, the scale and ambition of the project is indeed breathtaking:

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is a gigantic scientific instrument near Geneva, where it spans the border between Switzerland and France about 100 m underground. It is a particle accelerator used by physicists to study the smallest known particles – the fundamental building blocks of all things. It will revolutionise our understanding, from the minuscule world deep within atoms to the vastness of the Universe.

Two beams of subatomic particles called 'hadrons' – either protons or lead ions – will travel in opposite directions inside the circular accelerator, gaining energy with every lap. Physicists will use the LHC to recreate the conditions just after the Big Bang, by colliding the two beams head-on at very high energy. Teams of physicists from around the world will analyse the particles created in the collisions using special detectors in a number of experiments dedicated to the LHC.

A number of critics - including some scientists - have raised a variety of concerns over the safety of the project, prime among which is indeed - believe it or not - the possibility that the LHC will create miniature black holes that will sink to the Earth's core and eventually devour the entire planet and everything on it. Everyone seems to accept that the first part of this - the creation of little black holes - is a theoretical possibility. Almost everyone - and everyone qualified in the field of particle physics itself - appears to agree that even if this does occur, however, the black holes would be unstable and would evaporate, due to "Hawking radiation", which explains why the planet hasn't yet been devoured by the black holes that are theoretically created by the cosmic rays that frequently strike the earth at the same velocity that will be generated by the LHC.

Apologies in advance to those to whom my inevitably simplistic, doubtlessly reductive and quite possibly inaccurate account of the scientific issues above will have caused offence. There are (a few) actual scientists in the critics' camp, but they appear to have no formal training in the relevant field. This page is a good resource for those interested in taking reading on the issue further, including the papers in which the concerns are raised and those containing expert rebuttals of the points made. The science is, of course, entirely beyond me; but falling back instead on lawyerly instincts and arguments, it is worth making the point that the overwhelming weight of authority insists that there is absolutely no cause for concern. To give one example, here are some of the comments made by Prof. Dr. Hermann Nicolai, Director of the Max Planck-Institut für Gravitationsphysik, on speculations raised by Professor Otto Rössler about the production of black holes at the LHC:

…[T]here is also not the slightest reason from the point of view of a theorist specialized in relativity to take these considerations seriously, since - in my view - they are based on an elementary misunderstanding of the theory of general relativity.
To conclude: this text would not pass the referee process in a serious journal.

This is a topic I have been meaning to post on for a while now, after having read an excellent five-part analysis of the legal issues to which it gives rise over at PrawfsBlawg by Eric Johnson (part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5). Each part is worth reading in full,(comments included), providing a reflection upon a different aspect of the (largely hypothetical) case. Johnson also makes some extremely interesting suggestions, to which I will return briefly below. However, one thing that struck me while reading his posts was the lack of any general conceptual structure within which to frame the issues that he identifies, or the recommendations that he makes. Another thing that struck me was how well-calibrated global administrative law appears to precisely this task.

There have, as far as I can tell, been 2 legal challenges to date, seeking an injunction against the operation of the LHC. Both were, it seems, dismissed for a lack of jurisdiction: one in the US (Sancho v. DOE), dismissed because the US Government's contribution of over $500 million dollars was not sufficient, and did not buy sufficient control, to qualify as a "major Federal action" under the National Environmental Policy Act; and a European Court of Human Rights preliminary judgment that appears to have disappeared without a trace (the complaint, in German, is here; it seems that the complainants were arguing that an earlier case, in which a contractual dispute against CERN was rejected on the grounds of the Organization's immunity from suit before the domestic tribunals of Member States, meant that the requirement to "exhaust domestic remedies" had effectively been obviated).

There are three aspects of Johnson's analysis that I want to look at here from a GAL perspective (contained in parts 4, 3, and 5 respectively; part 2 offers a more detailed outline of the science involved than I have above): technocracy and review, procedure, and immunity. and jurisdiction I'll deal with each briefly in turn.

Technocracy and review
One of the key arguments against any form of legal evaluation of profoundly complex scientific issues is, of course, that few if any judges or lawyers can understand them well enough to formulate any sort of well-informed judgment upon the substance of such debates. This leads easily to the view that courts and lawyers simply shouldn't be involved in scientific debates, creating a kind of "scientocracy" in which majority views of scientists are placed beyond the scope of judicial review. Of course, within the broader field of GAL, it is often simply impossible for them not to be so involved - as the recent EU-Hormones decision of the WTO's Appellate Body amply demonstrates, there are very often occasions in which science and regulation are so inextricably interlinked that a reviewing tribunal cannot but consider scientific issues if it is to be able to perform its functions at all.

This is not true, however, in the case of the LHC; here, lawyers and judges could simply leave CERN and its activities to the scientists (which is, in fact, what it does at present). Given what is at stake in this and other cases - public interest issues par excellence, usually also involving the commitment of vast amounts of public funds - can we really rely on what is effectively an exclusively technocratic mode of governance and be sure that all of the relevant issues are being satisfactorily addressed? Martin Shapiro - amongst many others - has cast doubt on the asumptions underlying the preference for technocratic deliberation:

There are a number of reasons to be agnostic if not atheistic about deliberation. Most fundamentally, there is little reason to believe that people with substantial, long-term, material interests in achieving a particular outcome are going to abandon those interests and their dedication to those outcomes as sweet reason emerges from the talk fest.

It may be argued that science is different: the pursuit of truth can be distinguished clearly from the pursuit of interest; and the relative strength of a proposition can be evaluated in its own terms, divorced from the preferences and politics of those involved. This may be true - to an extent at least - in certain areas of science and with regard to certain issues (although again, as the Hormones saga has shown, where science isn't certain, politics can and should begin to colour the concept of "precaution"). Perhaps most importantly, however, it should be pointed out that the review mechanism upon which most scientists rely when faced with questions such as these - peer review - is often, even in the most respected of journals - much less of a profound and in-depth affair than most lay people suspect. Again, it is reasonable to ask whether, when the science involved speaks to the great political issues of our time or impacts upon matters of profound public interest, whether this type of essentially self-regulation is sufficiently robust.

Johnson puts the matter succinctly, noting that current discourse within the scientific community

... would seem to indicate a pervasive belief among high-energy physicists that lawyers and judges have no proper place in investigating and reviewing their experimental undertakings. If that is true, such a standpoint constitutes a substantial and direct threat to a cherished bedrock concept of modern society, the rule of law.

When it comes to a question such as whether the LHC might plausibly create a black hole, particle physicists can easily claim that no one, other than one of their own, has the depth of understanding required to weigh in....[But] the argument that no one but scientists can understand science, so no one but scientists should exercise control over experimentation, is not only an easy argument to make, it is too easy. Acceptance of such a view effectively vitiates the rule of law for a category of human activity which is potentially of ultimate importance. Thus, this ground should not be conceded. While the knowledge gap provides a tremendous challenge to providing meaningful and fair judicial review of leading-edge scientific research, it should not be permitted to bar the involvement of the courts.

This argument strikes me as persuasive; and nor is it difficult to see how it dovetails with the agenda of the GAL project more generally. In many ways, the essence of GAL is obviated if exclusively "technocratic" governance modes are adopted. As it becomes increasingly accepted, however, the discourse of global administrative law will provide both a language and a framework within which demands for this type of review of important scientific activities - not to mention contribute greatly to the creation of a culture in which they are likely to be successful.

We are still, however, left with a significant problem - the undeniable fact that, in many if not most cases, judges and lawyers are singularly ill-equipped to pronounce on the validity of one scientific proposition over another. Moreover, the normal lawyerly response to this - expert testimony - may be unsatisfactory in a number of circumstances: for example, where the science is hotly contested among experts; or, as arguably is the case with the LHC, where the community of experts capable of understanding and evaluating the issues is so small that we cannot be sure that a consensus has been achieved in a genuinely independent and autonomous manner.

Johnson's suggestion for overcoming this issue is essentially procedural (broadly understood) in nature, again dovetailing nicely with the GAL project (in its current form, at least):

While courts are not well equipped to evaluate theoretical science, they certainly are adequate to the task to investigating social dynamics, psychological factors, political influences, and organizational cultures. In evaluating a preliminary injunction request regarding the Large Hadron Collider, a court should scrutinize the culture of CERN and the particle-physics community, as well the political, social, and psychological context in which their decisions are made. Having done so, the court should then determine, with reference to those gathered facts, whether “serious questions” exist, and, thus, whether the case for a preliminary injunction has been made.

As I said, this passage is talking about an investigation into the "procedures" rather than the substance of scientific agreement in the broadest sense of the former term; and yet Johnson seems correct in his suggestion that there is nothing per se unreasonable about the idea of a court examining and evaluating such "psycho-social" processes in order to reassure itself that they were not subject to any pathologies or perversions that could have distorted the outcome. Any causes for concern could lead to a preliminary injunction against the activity in question, until they had been satisfactorily addressed.

We might even go further than this, and suggest that a more mature global administrative law would be able to develop and insist upon broad sets of procedural guarantees designed to weed out such pathologies ex ante, thus obviating the need for a reviewing judge to resort to ad hoc categories and tests in evaluating the ways in which agreement has been generated. The idea of a "global administrative law of science" is, of course, far from being realised, and would present a huge challenge to our collective institutional imagination, and yet it strikes me that it is one area that may well be interesting to pursue. I'll return to it in a later post.

For the moment, it is worth noting that, in the case in question the issue of the safety of CERN's activities appears to be left almost entirely for CERN itself to investigate and decide upon. I do not, of course, mean to imply by this that they have not done a full and thorough job in their investigations; to the contrary, as far as I can tell (not, admittedly, very far), the two recent safety reviews (the first in 2003, by a broup of independent scientists at the LHC Safety Study Group, then updated in 2008 by the LHC Safety Assessment Group to take account of new criticisms that had been raised) seem to be detailed and thorough, and at least confront head-on the concerns of critics with an impressive array of authority.

What is striking about CERN's activity in this regard, however, is the almost complete absence of any sense that procedural guarantees might be useful in securing and enhancing the legitimacy of conclusions. The reports have been reviewed and endorsed by The LSAG report has been reviewed and endorsed by CERN’s Scientific Policy Committee, a group of external scientists that advises CERN’s governing body, the Council. The Terms of Reference for the Committee, however, again give no real sense that processes are of any great import:

Decision-making processes

9. Except in the cases specified in paragraphs 5 (d) and 6 above, the SPC shall take its decisions by simple majority of its members present and voting (abstentions not counted). Consensus is desirable.

It is certainly arguable that in failing to set and keep to a more robustly-formulated set of procedural guarantees, CERN is missing a trick - and this on a number of levels. Firstly, it is losing a key opportunity to present itself as a transparent and accountable organization - two claims that would certainly increase its general legitimacy - and perhaps decrease some of the hysteria that has been generated over the LHC - without any real apparent risk of any adverse outcome for the project. Secondly, it loses the chance that any court that did agree to a review of the processes through which the scientific consensus had been reached will defer to its own procedural setup, thus potentially missing out on an opportunity to control the direction of judicial review. And thirdly, relatedly, it risks that an unsympathetic judge will create ad-hoc categories that fail to capture the degree to which the science really is settled, and undermine a consensus that had in fact been genuine and sound. Even if such a judgment would be extremely difficult to enforce, it could put significant pressure on CERN and the LHC, giving critics unwarranted ammunition in the process. If, on the other hand, CERN had in place a robust set of procedural guarantees ensuring transparency, participation and a genuinely independent process, then these risks woudl all be greatly reduced - particularly if they could point to the standards that they were applying as part of a more mature and generally accepted global administrative law of science.

Immunity and Jurisdiction
This brings us on nicely to last point that I wanted to discuss arising from Johnson's excellent blogs on the LHC: the related questions of immunity and jurisdiction. From a global administrative law perspective, there are two main possibilities for judicial review of the activities of an international organizations such as CERN: either by national courts or by an international body. The former appears certainly the most likely; indeed, Johnson's posts are mostly framed in terms of a hypothetical challenge before a US court. There are, however, two main difficulties with this route in the context of the LHC.

Firstly, as noted above, the challenge before the Swiss courts failed because of the Protocol on the Privileges and Immunities of the European Organization for Nuclear Research of March 2004, which provides in Article 5(1) that, excluding a few narrowly-defined exceptions, "in the exercise of its official activities, the Organization shall enjoy immunity from legal process" before the courts and tribunals of CERN Member States. This is a very common obstacle to the review of the activities of international organizations by domestic courts. Although there have been recent moves by a number of domestic and regional courts to discard this immunity should there not be a substantially equivalent access to justice mechanism available at the international level (see this paper by August Reinisch for more detail), these have to date been confined to staff disputes within international organizations. While the explicitly human rights rationale relied upon in many of these cases might lead us to expect that such an approach to immunity might be extended to the vexed issue of the impact of the activities of international organizations on third party rights, I am as yet unaware of any decision in which this has occurred. It is hard to imagine a more profound potential impact on third party rights than the destruction of the planet and all life on it; it would be interesting indeed to see whether a Swiss court would be as absolutist on the issue of immunity in this context as it was in the earlier contractual dispute.

Even if a domestic court did decide, however, to issue an injunction against the operation of the LHC, there would still be - as Johnson fully acknowledges - almost insurmountable problems of enforcement; indeed, it seems likely that only a Swiss court could make such an order effective. Certainly, courts may be able to stem the flow of funding from national sources, but would in all likelihood be insufficient to stop the machine being switched on at this stage. Short of military action (and Marko Milanovic over at ESIL:Talk! has sketched for us the entertaining - if probably exaggerated - argument that the way in which the US Government's legal advisors had framed the idea of "preventive self-defence", with the amount of "imminence" of a threat required inversely proportional to its "magnitude", would in fact entitle it to bomb Switzerland if it refused to turn off the LHC...), it is difficult to see what steps a foreign court could take to have its judgment enforced. CERN activities are different from many of those of other international organizations in this regard, in that they do not themselves require the mediation of national actors in order to be effective.

These issues combine to create the impression that, in this regard at least, national courts would not be the best fora in which to review the CERN's evaluation of the safety of its own operations. Of course, the other option - the creation of a supranational body with jurisdiction to do so - would solve all of these problems; it has the significant drawback, however, of not actually existing. To my mind, however, again here it is arguable that CERN is missing a trick, and again it is the general GAL framework that enables us to see clearly why this is so. Firstly, it would an independent review body would further strengthen the Organization's claims to accountability, thus increasing its legitimacy and decreasing the strength of opposition it faces. Perhaps most importantly, however, the creation of such a body would make it extremely unlikely that any domestic court would look to waive CERN's immunity and review its activities. This would result in more benefits along the lines suggested above - reducing the risk of unsympathetic judges giving unwarranted ammunition to critics, increasing skepticism among publics and perhaps even impeding the flow of funding. On the other hand, if the science is a clear as it seems to be, then CERN has little to fear from a genuinely independent and impartial scrutiny by a single international body of the ways in which that consensus has come about .

Unless, of course, the tribunal is as unnerved as I am by the Death Star thing...


My wife, who has much more practical experience with the mysterious functionings of IOs than I do, has pointed out that most privileges and immunities protocols also make specific provision for the settlement of private disputes. I went back to the CERN Protocol, and sure enough:


Disputes of a private nature

1. The Organization shall make provision for appropriate modes of settlement of:

a) disputes arising from contracts to which the Organization is a party;

the Organization shall include, in all written contracts into which it enters, other than those referred to in paragraph 1 d) of this Article, an arbitration clause under which any disputes arising out of the interpretation or execution of the contract shall, at the request of either party, be submitted to arbitration or, if so agreed by the parties, to another appropriate mode of settlement;

b) disputes arising out of damages caused by the Organization or involving any other non-contractual liability of the Organization;

c) disputes involving an official of the Organization who enjoys immunity from legal process, if such immunity has not been waived in accordance with the provisions of Article 5 of this Protocol;

d) disputes arising between the Organization and its officials;

the Organization shall submit all disputes arising from the application and interpretation of contracts concluded with officials of the Organization on the basis of the Staff Rules and Regulations of the Organization to the jurisdiction of the International Labour Organization Administrative Tribunal (ILOAT) or to any other appropriate international administrative tribunal to the jurisdiction of which the Organization is submitted following a decision by the Council.

2. For disputes for which no particular mode of settlement is specified in paragraph 1 of this Article, the Organization may resort to any mode of settlement it deems appropriate, in particular to arbitration or to referral to a national tribunal.

3. Any mode of settlement selected under this Article shall be based on the principles of due process of law, with a view to the timely, fair, impartial and binding settlement of the dispute.

Make of that what you will. On one hand, it seems to create a massive amount of wiggle-room for the Organization, in particular in relation to non-contractual damages and liability, where it doesn't even refer necessarily to third-party or judicial dispute settlement, but only what the Organization deems appropriate. On the other hand, it does seem to create some obligations, particular to settle disputes in a manner "based on the principles of due process of law"; it is certainly arguable that the "dispute settlement" measures taken by CERN to date - the commissioning of independent reports on the safety of the LHC - does not fulfil this. Of course, how one (and, indeed, who) might go about enforcing such an "obligation" in the face of CERN's recalcitrance remains an open question.

Here, incidentally, is CERN's own take on its own immunities, why they are there, how they came about, and what the new Protocol obliges them to do in terms of dispute settlement. Worth a read.


Unknown said...

As the lead plaintiff of the case Sancho vs. Doe, I might be considered biased towards the defence of the Natural Law that applies to this cause: any remote chance of mass-murdering - let us use the proper terms - 6 billion people must be considered an act of terrorism, which falls under the jurisdiction of the patriot act. When one considers the authority of truth, the laws of the scientific method and experimental evidence, it turns out that regardless of CERN's marketing campaign and 13 billion $ budget, with its industrial, scholar and political interests, the risk is huge and it grows as scientific evidence grows. If one considers the lies, these days called marketing of CERN, the situation of criminal negligence is obvious. 2 examples. CERN says lhc is safe cause cosmic rays do the same. False. Essentially the Large Hadron collider is a quark canon that deconfines millions of quarks with starking precission in collisions head-on, in small spaces achieved through a mergin process call stockasting cooling. This only happens inside stars where deconfined quarks with a force called the strong force, 100 times stronger than our weak electromatter start a chain reaction converting the star in a quark star, pulsar or black hole. In 100 years observing cosmic rays we have NEVER found a deconfined quark, as they are lonely atoms with weak forces. CERN says this never will happen because moons like our never become black holes. Wrong. The only object that produces today background radiation at 2.7k is a moon who has become a black hole, and acts as a gravitational mirror. Thus the most cmmon planetoid, a moon, converted into a black hole will produce the most common radiation of the Universe. Ergo many moons constantly become black holes. The nuclear company is a rogue company, from an industry with a long tradition of mass-murder from hiroshima to chernobyl. Only the present state of ignorance, arrogance, and fiction thought that pervades in the media and political establishment will allow a potential genocide with a probability higher than 50%, to happen on earth. Finally we asked the judge to wait for fermi satellite results on the fermi paradox, which seeks for evaporating black holes. The results came: not a single trace of black holes evaporating. This seems to prove why there is no sign of intelligent life among the billion planets: do all become black holes or quark stars shot by quark canons produced by nuclear companies with the benevolent acceptance of corrupted scientists, ignorant press and do-nothing politicians? i am afraid so. Regards luis sancho. Further more, the disqualification of cern on our credentials as scientists is bogus. I am the world chair of the science of (time) duality, widely regarded as the most advanced theory of time, which studies the universe not as they do, with the single arrow of entropy, energy and death, but also with the arrow of information and life, that physicists still deny.

Unknown said...

2 precisions to prove those enormous risks, given the fact that this is about to happen because the media today accepts the 'sent lies/news' of CERN's without making any research.
1) On the prove that moons become all the time black holes. You can calculate the temperature of the light reflected by a black hole of the mass of the moon here (second formula, 1st is the increasingly proved false hawking theoretical radiation):
Substituting the mass of the moon you obtain as the graph shows the exact form of the background radiation at 2.7k. Thus all local theories about the big-bang, imply moons are constantly becomng black hole. They are increasingly proved by experimental facts, like the lack of shadows from outer galaxies (hence if there is no shadows the radiation is local), as in here:
Thus, as today experimental evidence proves, the background radiation is local produced by moon MACHOS (moons that become black holes)
2) On the fact that the LHC is a quark canon that will produce quark stars. The question is how many deconfined quarks are needed to start an ice-9 reaction or mass bomb explained by Einstein's dual equation, M=E/c2 (mass-bomb) + E=Mc2 (big bang), which happen simultaneously? CERN will deconfine 1 million quarks. Well, recent papers prove 10.000 quarks are enough to start a mass-bomb that will create a nova or quark star as this paper proves:
You can find also a film we have produced explaining all this for visual people here:

Euan MacDonald said...

Many thanks for your comment - it's a pleasure to have someone involved in one of the cases discuss this with us.

I should stress again, however, that I have absolutely no grasp of the scientific issues involved whatsoever. As such, this is not the place to discuss them - please take these concerns to those qualified to respond to them, be it positively or negatively. Indeed, the whole point of the post was to argue - with prof. Johnson - that there is a proper place for lawyers without studying the substance of the science, and to locate that within a broader conceptual framework.

Let's, then, leave the scientific issues to those other fora in which thay can be competently discussed, and focus here on the legal claims alone. There are two points from your comment that I'd like to press you on, if I may. Firstly, what is the notion of natural law that you suggest applies to this case? And at what stage does a risk become "reasonably foreseeable" in such a way as to imply criminal liablity of the sort you imply in your use of the term "murder"? I have doubts that any legal system in the world would view "any remote chance" as a sufficiently robust standard in this regard.

Secondly, do you think that, given CERN's status as a European international organization, the Patriot Act is the best, or even a feasible, legal basis upon which to challenge the LHC?

Thanks again for your comment.

Unknown said...

Thanks for your reply Euan
1) No judge should renounce to rule in a matter that involves life and death because it doesnt understand the 'scientific questions involved'. This kind of opinion implies to consider scientists superior beings, gifted by supernatural powers and common reason of which as Descartes said, we are all equally gifted, unable to grasp truth. If that is so courts should not exist, because the scientific issues here are as SIMPLE as they come. Everybody can understand that 1+1=2 even if it is not a mathematician and spot a mathematician lying, when saying 1+1=3 for self-interest. The 2 lies of CERN, that cosmic rays are quarks and moons dont become black holes are extremely simple and easy to prove false with basic mathematics and basic experimental evidence. So you should not be submissive to the lies of scientists because judges exist to judge with the help of experts on the account that we are all intelligent enough to understand 1+1=2, in this case the fact that the lhc is a quark canon and never EVER a quark has appeared in cosmic rays. This is NOT complex science but facts which as any fact can be judge on documents. So the fact that a very simple formula accepted by all scientists in the world, created by Einstein, called M=E/c2 causes mass-bombs and another very simple one also deduced from Einstein gives you the temperature of a black hole with the mass of the moon. If you maintain the view you cannot understand simple scientific lies courts should all be closed and a dictatorship of scientists similar to that of priests who also claimed in the middle age they were the only ones to speak 'latin' with God, till Luther translated them, be established.
2) Regarding the legal issues. The patriot act has a section, paragraph we quoted in our case that expressely authorizes the american government to intervene with 'all due force', to seize and destroy lethal substances that can harm american lifes. A quark canon and a quark/mass bomb is the most lethal substance of the Universe and it will be the ONLY produce at the LHC. They wont produce cosmic rays but STRONG quarks. Your presumption that the patriot act is not preemptive is bogus since precisely it was created to AVOID BEFORE HAPPENING, acts of terrorism regardless of its ideological origin - scientific fundamentalism as in this case, by a group of people, quantum physicists that deny the arrow of information and life in the Universe and pursuit a 'final solution' based in the arrow of energy and death or by self-similar fundamentalist religions who believe you MUST convert mankind to their faith through violence. On those basis, we should have NOT detained the terrorists at 9/11, because any serious analysis of their future chances to kill 3500 people, by passing the security zone of the airports, seizing the planes, driving them with precision to the target, will prove them inferior to the chances of CERN to seize 10 billion lead atoms, driving them to precision to the target and mass them in enough numbers to start a nova reaction or mass bomb.
c) Finally the right to rebel against a tyranny when there is no legal form to do so, was established by the founder of natural law, a spanish jesuit, and it was invoked by the American revolutionaries and every lawyer that has tried to subvert a clear case of legal tyranny. No company able to produce lethal substances should be above the law. CERN is above the law because of the unfortunate circumnstances of the cold war, when France tried to create a 3rd pole of Nuclear Power and established with the help of the German scientists in charge of the german A-bomb crash effort the Nuclear Company. Accelerators are NOT telescopes studying the Universe, but tools used to smash atoms for military purposes, (in essence created to make small atomic bombs, as the 1st german one did, creating the first atomic fission). That they have helped to discover in the debris some particles till completing the standard model, today closed, is a collateral benefit that doesnt excuse their military use. That is why America, when the cold war ended, ended its SCC project. We are thus facing a military experiment of a bygone era, without legal control by a group of fundamentalist believers in an outdated theory of reality (the existence of only an arrow of death and energy) itself born of the the ideological bias nuclear physicists have towards energy, due to their military profesion. And all this is hidden by marketing, industrial interests, scholar ambitions, undue legal protection and the unwillingness of judge, the press and politicians to 'understand' the very simple scientific issues involved here, that can be resumed as this: if information and life exists in the Universe, as IT DOES, the arrow of entropy, energy and death is NOT the only arrow of reality hence:
A)Black holes have information and dont evaporate.
B) All big bangs cause a big crunch of mass/information and a pulsar of black hole will be created
C) to rehearse a big explosion on earth WILL NOT discover anything new about the Universe, because its meaning is being explored by scientists like this writer precisely by doing 'thought experiments' that involve both arrows of time, energy and form. And you just need paper, maths, intelligence and data already collected in all sciences for that

Unknown said...

In that regard, to clarify why judges can judge on scientific matters, as per godel and frege, it has been proved that mathematics is a language submissive to logic. Logic is the language of courts. Thus Logic has preeminence over mathematics and judges over scientists to discern truth. Example: Prove that moons become black holes based in logic
- The most common Planetoid in the cosmos is a moon.
- The most common radiation in the Universe is 2.7 k radiation
- Only a black hole with the mass of a Moon can produce, as a gravitational mirror, radiation at 2.7 K.
- Logic Conclusion: The most common event in the cosmos is a moon becoming a black hole and emiting radiation at 2.7k
This is BASIC aristotelian logic which any judge should understand if it is worth to be a judge. He MUST then ask proof of veracity of those facts, which is available in ALL standard books of astrophysics. And then rule:
CERN lies in its safety statements, hence it is NOT safe and is acting with criminal negligence.
We LIVE in a society which PRETENDS to be under the RULE of law, not under the rule of religion or science. If lawyers however accept that truth MUST be defined by religion or science we are NOT a legal democracy.

Unknown said...

To end this thread on my side, for those who prefer images, here is a utube 10 min. video (low/high quality) explaining in detail ALL the safety LIES
at CERN, proved by the standard laws of truth both in the scientific method and the law: experimental evidence, aka facts and logic
take care
'when all has been said, better to remain silent'
ludwig wittgenstein
Indeed, others should judge on logic truths, the philosopher of science can only give facts and logic proves

Euan MacDonald said...

Thanks for the rejoinders, Luis. I'll reply to each briefly in turn:

1) Again, I'd like to leave the substantive science out of the debate here; I confess to some doubts that it is as simple or as basic as you have presented here. I would, however, ask that people refrain here from casting aspersions on the bona fides of those working on the LHC; particularly as they are not here to defend themselves. I see no reason to suggest that an entire branch of the scientific community is acting in bad faith.

I do agree that no science should be beyond the reach of judicial review and control; I disagree that all science is accessible enough to judges for them to be able to usefully evaluate the substance. This is why I am in agreement with Prof Johnson, that the proper place for lawyers and courts in these fields is assurance of due process (adapted, of course, to the scientific field).

2) I never suggested that the Patriot Act was not intended to allow pre-emptive action. However, I still have real doubts that it is appropriate here. Firstly, even if it does authorise the US Government to take action in such cases, it doesn't compel it to - I think it unlikely in the extreme that a court could force the US government into the kind of extra-territorial enforcement action of the type you seem to envisage against CERN. The question, then, remains - what could a US court order? Secondly, it is worth pointing out that even if the Patriot Act "authorized" the US government to take action of this sort, it would still be - very clearly - against international law. Lastly, as an aside, I'm doubtful that the term "terrorism" is at all appropriate here. Notoriously difficult to define, but all definitions seem to agree that the desire to spread fear - or terror - is a vital element. It is clearly absent in this case.

3) The idea of a "right to rebel" against tyranny is an interesting one, but I find it entirely question-begging in this case. I think that, if there was a serious risk of destroying the planet, and CERN was pressing on regardless, then everyone would accept that there was a right to take action to stop it. However, this is precisely the issue in question - I realise that you are convinced of the rightness of your own arguments that you have put forward here, but particle physicists appear to be equally convinced of their own. To those of us unqualified to decide between them on the substance, we need to make a decision on how to go with one side rather than the other. Hence, my argument above that a provedural review of the generation of the prevailing scientific consensus could even increase the LHC's legitimacy in the eyes of the lay public.

4) I'm not convinced by the last point either, and for two reasons: firstly, law is not simply concerned with syllogistic progression, but also - indeed, often primarily, with the truth of the premises involved. Again, it is precisely these that are in issue in the LHC's case. Secondly, it strikes me as fallacious to argue that, if one can grasp the basics of syllogistic reason, one can eo ipso also understand the hugely complex mathematics that goes on in theoretical physics (I have seen enough of this myself to know that it would take me many long years of dedicated research to even give me a chance of understanding it - time that courts don't have).

Lastly, on a more general point, I think it important to recall that law is a practical form of reasoning, quite distinct from pure analytical reasoning - as such, we should look more to Aristotle's rhetorics rather than his analytics in seeking to udnerstand what the law does and how it does it.

Despite my disagreement on these issues, though, many thanks once again for taking the time to comment here.

Unknown said...

The issue is simple. The evolution of atomic weapons is crossing its 3rd horizon: after the atomic bomb (an energy bomb) and the hydrogen bomb ( an energy/mass bomb) now we enter the realm of quark bombs, pure mass bombs. So we move from mild E=Mc2 bombs to strong M=E/c2. The people at CERN knows it perfectly and lie. Those are facts nobody wants to review, not because they are arguable. But because the religion of the western world is technology. So machines MUST be good, even a quark canon MUST be good. So CERN knows it will be absolved by people like you who believes in science. Since they know the press, politicians and judge are blind by their faith. Never mind hiroshima and 40 years of cold war state 'terrorism', when the entire planet could be blown up by those physicists. You are blind to that too. So you say they possibly can't have intent to harm. Terrorism is about causing 'terror' by creating an event which can murder many people. This is a terrorist event that can murder millions. However since you 'believe' in science (without even wanting to learn about it - with your humble believer attitude: 'the high priests know I dont'), you play the role of an islamist practicioner, father of 2 anywhere in islam who cheers al-qaeda, cause he believes. Nothing objectively differentiates a Nuclear Company that brazenly is going to blow up the earth because nuclear machines have crossed the threshold of energy that allows this, and 'technology' MUST keep going... from muslim terrorism, except technology is your religion. So you think nothing is wrong with a people who believes there is no information and life but only entropy energy and death in the Universe (the dogma of physicists). Shivaitas never thought sacrificing children was a bad thing. But yes, an entire class of scientists, nuclear physicists dont give a damn if they blow up the earth, and unfortunately the rest cheers, Hail Hauer, Hail Cern. As they say in spanglish, good luck y buena muerte.

Unknown said...

In any case on my view, your post and that of johnson are misleading. There was a rule which i interpret within its limits, as favorable to us. "this should be an issue not left to scientists... the Congress should rule' - said Miss Hellen Gillmore. Now the congress can only rule in this issue under the patriot act, thus the rule implicitely argues for the use of the patriot act. And if we lived in a legal democracy not a technological theocracy, the congress should open NOW an inquire over this doomsday weapon and so should the European Parlament - yes a weapon, a quark canon that culminates 400 years of physicists' evolution of canons. 400 years ago Galileo published the first book on ballistics, 'military measures', latter considered the first book of physics. About a century ago, the biggest producer of canons in history, Mr. Nobel founded his prizes, marketing shouldnt disguise what physicists primary do, energy weapons. 50 years ago Hahn discoverer the fission of the atom in the first accelerator, kicking the nuclear weapon industry. The religion of death my friend is the one you are defending:
Mr. Nobel was called 'dr. death' in XIX c. press.
In any case my reasoning is clear: Miss Gillmore ruled -> only the patriot act applies here ->the patriot act is executive. Thus Mr. Obama can perfectly inquire and acting with the European executive place under the rule of law a group of military researchers who are not even under the commander-in-chief of europe or the US, cause they convinced their naive believers, doing quark bombs, aka big-bangs on Earth is 'good job'.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Mac Donald,

thank You very much for Your interesting analyzes.

Before getting into juristic issues, let me mention some of the current news about the LHC:

There is a new study of the quite reknowned physicists Roberto Casadio, Sergio Fabi and Benjamin Harms, just submitted on 19 Jan 2009: "On the Possibility of Catastrophic Black Hole Growth in the Warped Brane-World Scenario at the LHC”, stating: “We conclude that, for the RS scenario and black holes described by the metric (6), the growth of black holes to catastrophic size does not seem possible. Nonetheless, it remains true that the expected decay times are much longer (and possibly >> 1 sec) than is typically predicted by other models, as was first shown in Ref. [4]."
Rainer Plaga, who developed a prominent and alarming risk-scenario with semi-stable Black Holes (arxiv.org/abs/0808.1415v2) refers a lot to Casadio and others. Beside CERN’s Giddings, Plaga is also mentioned in the acknowledgments of this new paper:

Current article at Fox News:
or: http://www.vnunet.com/vnunet/news/2235312/lhc-safe-thought
Link to the ‘Physics arXiv blog’, where the study is discussed:

Also see a very interesting article by the physicist and author Mark Buchanan in the 'New Scientist': “How do we know the LHC really is safe?” 21 January 2009 by Mark Buchanan. It is about a quite new study of the 'Future of Humanity Institute', University of Oxford, developing new, integrated methods of risk-evaluation: "Probing the Improbable: Methodological Challenges for Risks with Low Probabilities and High Stakes"
by Toby Ord, Rafaela Hillerbrand, Anders Sandberg: "While the arguments for the safety of the LHC are commendable for their thoroughness, they are not infallible. Although the report considered several possible physical theories, it is eminently possible that these are all inadequate representations of the underlying physical reality. It is also possible that the models of processes in the LHC or the astronomical processes appealed to in the cosmic ray argument are flawed in an important way. Finally, it is possible that there is a calculation error in the report.
However, our analysis implies that the current safety report should not be the final word in the safety assessment of the LHC."

Mark Buchanan in the 'New Scientist': "Ord and his colleagues rightly stress that further elaboration of the arguments for the safety of the LHC might well reduce the chance of the overall argument for its safety being wrong. But until this kind of work has been done, they suggest, the current safety report cannot be seen as the final word, which seems entirely reasonable to me.
This is an area where it is crucial to focus on the logic, because our intuitions are no help. Most of us, I suspect, have a gut feeling that certain things 'could never happen' and that 'people who worry about this are crazy'. Sadly, the fact that we haven’t destroyed ourselves yet is no guarantee that we never will.
It’s easy for any of us to be seduced by the nature of logical thinking and its illusion of certainty. We generally strive to become aware of what former US defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld famously called the 'known knowns' and the 'known unknowns', but are perilously ignorant of the 'unknown unknowns', and, worse, blithely unaware of our own ignorance. This becomes particularly dangerous when it hides flaws in an argument we are relying on for reassurance that potentially catastrophic events are virtually impossible.
It’s easy to be seduced by the nature of logical thinking and its illusion of certainty."

By the way, Prof. Otto Rossler has also just published a newly revised study about the stability of Micro Black Holes and the great 'philosopher of speed', Paul Virilio has just strongly criticized the LHC (see on our website).

We don't know what else would be needed to initiate a broad multidisciplinary and external risk-evaluation of the LHC.


Concerning the question of jurisdiction: We filed our complaint at the European Court of Human Rights because of these reasons: As You probably know, a complaint at a Swiss court was dismissed, referring to the extraterritorial status of CERN.
The highest authority of CERN is the CERN-council. This consists of representatives of the 20 member states. So the ECHR must have jurisdiction for the 20 member-states (art. 2 about human life and art. 8 about nature). The ECHR dismissed our petition for interim measures last August after three days only - as it is usual without giving any reasons. Now the 'rest' of our complaint - with two additions meanwhile – is still in the 'waiting cue'... (In case another petition for interim measures could be necessary.)

Dr. Richard Webb, an expert on reactor-safety and another critique of CERN's 'big-bang-machine' (he even cannot exclude a disastrous nuclear fusion following a possible 'loss' of the high-energy-beam) found out that Switzerland does actually have the right to intervene if dangers for the country arise. In the contract between Switzerland and CERN from 11 June 1955 (http://www.admin.ch/ch/d/sr/c0_192_122_42.html) it says (translated by myself from German, it seems like there is NO English contract, though UK is a CERN member as well.):

Article 26 Security of Switzerland

1. The present agreement does not affect the right of the Swiss Federal Council, to take appropriate precautions in the interest of safety of Switzerland.

2. If it is considered necessary by the Swiss Federal Council to apply the first section of this article, the Swiss Federal Council will contact the organization [CERN] as soon as circumstances allow, to adopt measures together with the organization to protect it's interests.

3. The organization will work together with the Swiss authorities in order to avoid any disadvantages resulting from their work for the security of Switzerland.


It sounds like this could open also a juristic possibility in Switzerland. I don't know if this played any role in the dismissed complaint in Switzerland.

Concerning the ECTR, the fist and logical step seems to be the initiation of an external, real risk-evaluation in a broad and multidisciplinary way. There has not been anything slightly deserving this name yet. Until now, only CERN itself seems to feel responsible for it's own risk-evaluation and the safety of their big-bang-machine. We consider this to be simply a great scandal and a gray-zone that should urgently occupy the ECHR.

Finally, high-energy and nuclear experiments of this magnitude and increasing potential must generally become an issue for some kind of global regulation, for example by the IAEA of the UN or a new UN-organization, to be established.

I would be very interested about Your opinion.

Best regards,
Markus Goritschnig

Euan MacDonald said...


Your responses display to me a number of basic misunderstandings, both of the law and my position. I will try to clarify what I mean below. However, at the outset I'd request again that you refrain - here, at least - from referring to an entire branch of the scientific community as "liars"; quite apart from anything else, from the perspective of someone not yet convinced by your claims, it does your argument no favours at all.

1) I do not "believe" in science - the very idea is absurd. I do believe, however, that the issues are not "simple", and that many years of study is needed to evaluate them properly. I have neither the time nor the inclination to make that study in every single field - indeed, it is not possible (I very much doubt, for example, whether the particle physicists at CERN are able to evaluate the substance of the issues surrounding climate change).

2) On what basis do you assert that Congress can only "deal with" this issue under the Patriot Act? This just strikes me as incorrect (although it depends, of course, on what they are seeking to rule).

3) This statement "Thus Mr. Obama can perfectly inquire and acting with the European executive place under the rule of law a group of military researchers who are not even under the commander-in-chief of europe or the US" - is largely correct (although the idea of "European executive should probably be nuanced). But a) there is no need for the Patriot Act to assert Obama's right to take diplomatic action over an issue about which he is concerned (but legally could enforce nothing without the support of CERN Member States); and b) Of course European States have the legal power to stop CERN. This is simply not in question. The point, however, the key point, is that the political will to do so doesn't exist, because neither the US nor European Governments agree with your position.

4) Given this, for a court case to be successful, you are going to have to find some legal provision that does not merely authorise but actually compels these governments to take action against their will. I don't think that even your preferred basis for action, the Patriot Act, contains this sort of provision, even if it were applicable.

5) For all your talk of the "rule of law", it is actually your position that seeks to remove the debate from that of law and put it in the realm of international politics and diplomacy. The - essentially procedural - approach to the legal review of CERN's actions is much more in keeping with the Rule of Law ideal and tradition than are your arguments.


Thanks for your contribution. On the new developments, I will say little, except to note that the type of review that I have advocated here would certainly seek to ensure, to the extent possible, that any concerns raised had been sufficiently and persuasively taken into consideration in the decision-making process. However, we are in agreement that judicial oversight of this process - even accepting that the judges themselves cannot evaluate the substance of the issues - would be appropriate.

On the case that was dismissed before a Swiss court on the basis of CERN's immunity - was this a case relating specifically to the risks of the LHC? Or an earlier case, relating to a contractual dispute? If the former, I'd be very grateful for a copy of the judgment, if you had one.

On the issue of CERN's immunity, I suspect that the contract that you note would have been superseded by the new Protocol on Privileges and Immunities that I refer to in my post (assuming, of course, that this has been ratified by the Swiss parliament). That protocol contains no such exception. However, as I have noted elsewhere, there is a growing trend for domestic courts to overturn the immunities of IOs where there is no equivalent dispute resolution mechanism available at the international level (see e.g. http://www.iilj.org/publications/2007-11Reinisch.asp). To date these have involved only internal staffing disputes; however, given the explicit human rights rationale of most of the judgments (including some before the ECtHR), it would seem plausible to suggest that the same logic could be extended to the issue of violations of third party rights...

Unknown said...

- my interest in an executive response is based in the fact i dont see courts acting properly and time is running out... i see this today as a national security problem, more difficult because it is 'internal terrorism', which is far more difficult to stop covered under amazing 'industrial marketing'. In essence the 3rd horizon of evolution of atomic weapons is marketed as an experiment when it is the swang song of a military left-over lab of the cold war.
- liars and fraud are proper expressions on this case. as the experiment is marketed to find the 'god's particle'. A recap of his history. Nambu found that a top quark (the heaviest quark/mass known) if deconfined in big numbers will create a huge gravitational force. He receive this year the nobel prize... Why? Goldstone copied his equations and Higgs copied from goldstone. It is like saying: 'you are brunette' and 'you have brown hair'. It means the same. Higgs just changed the mathematical words. And said the top is a new particle i found. Smolin and Zee 2 americans proved it was the same particle. It got even published main stream sciam. But physicists keep the idea 'it is different from the top' cause the top is discovered and nobody would have given them 13 billion $ to make a machine to find a particle already discovered. So lederman invented the myth and sold the project to Reagan. Now, among physicists there is much private laugh about this. And this year they didnt give the nobel to higgs, cause they know the scam but to nambu, because they know they will just produce a massive quantity of tops. Scam and fraud. Problem is tops have all the numbers to be the atoms of black holes...
- Belief, by that i mean you think physicists are idealists, that they are not, cynical workers in an industry that handles 13 billion $, related to proven genocides from hiroshima to chernobyl, hardcore people my friend. And unlike most of us, scientists, with 'attitude'. They 'despise' literally the arrow of life and information. And i could write an entire book of insulting remarks made by them, when in fact, what they do today in spacetime theory is miles behind what we do in duality, chaos and fractal theory by using 2 arrows of time instead of one of entropy=energy=death as they do.
All in all if you can help markus, the issue will be decided ultimately by europeans, i tried my best in america thinking judges will be more open minded but we failled.

Unknown said...

pd. a remark on the language. You are right in which i lack the 'temper' of anglosaxon writing, prefer strong words/truths that put off people, such as terrorism. take the accusation of terrorism. To me the most eviL=anti-live crime is to kill innocent non-combatant people. This hyneous act was performed by nazis in concentration camps. But also by allies with mass-bombing of cities filled with women and children, like dresden, hamburg, tokyo and hiroshima. Hitler forbade bombing london when he had air superiority cause it considered it rightly a coward crime. Yet we 'absolved' our technology provided by physicists and went on with it. The first conseuqence was an even tougher brutality of the axis in their treatment of prisoners in which they revenge. But the important consequence comes now: because air bombing is what we did, it's ok. So we got vietnam and it was ok. Baghdad and it was ok. And now physicists who make those bombs are ok if they make a huge bomb in cern, no responsability. Now imagine those people were running a concentration camp and killing randomly inocent people, woudl that be ok? would they be hold responsible? But we have emptied with 'soft language and soft laws' the responsbility of CERN, since hiroshima was ok. and of course reality bites back now to hunt us.

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