Scalar Field Theory

Scalar Field Theory, brought to you by Thomas Bearden

Over at (incidentally, named the physics-crackpot website name most likely to be mistaken for a shampoo), Tom Bearden has devoted his life to an alternate theory of electromagnetism that he calls “scalar field theory”. The gist seems to be somehow involving how electromagnetic forces are created, with a pinch of discussion of vacuum energy, specifically how to get free energy forthwith. Now to get to the nuts and bolts of the theory — the theory is … the general idea is that… [sigh] … I have to admit, I just don’t have the energy to sort through all this. This guy’s work might be pure genius, completely and utterly correct, but I will never know because I cannot break away from this bag of Cheetos. I apologize for the uncharacteristic lack of rigor, but I’ll make it up to you by discussing more superficial aspects of the page in a superficial and dismissive manner.

Near the top of his website, there’s a nice picture of him expounding from his living room, apparently taken from an instructional DVD that you can buy from the website. He’s got the usual intense look in his eye, the kind of look where you can see white eyeball all the way around his irises (try it in the mirror, believe me, no better way to look intense).    That lamp next to him looks like the veiny brains on the aliens in the first Star Trek episode.   Scrolling down, you can see (among other things) a picture of his “Motionless Electromagnetic Generator” invention, head shots of old bald dudes in horned-rim glasses, the chairman of Honda (for some reason), and the front covers of some of his books. Gotta hand it to him, he’s hawking the merchandise well. He certainly subscribes to conventional theories about capitalism.

I note from reading wikipedia that he’s working on a modified version of the Wankel Rotary Engine. I’m sure I’m thinking what you’re thinking — ’bout time someone finally cleaned up that damn Wankel Rotary Engine. Whatever it is. He also has a patent for an “energy for free” device, something called a Motionless Electromagnetic Generator, advertised to generate one hundred times the output power that you put in. I could use some of that, getting near the bottom of this Cheetos bag… once you get to the bottom, the average size of Cheetos particles (hereby denoted “Cheeticles”) gets so small, they’re hard to pick up…

Alright, let’s pull ourselves together and look at the Bearden tally, shall we?

1. Terrible english: Well, I can’t say I found so much as a typo. I wouldn’t say the prose is as gripping as, say, a Tom Clancy novel or a TimeBlimp essay, but he’s eminently understandable. One out of ten.

2. All Science Is WRONG: He has major disagreements with all of Electromagnetism, which is a pretty major chunk of physics theory, though not as sexy as Quantum Mechanics or Einstein’s Relativity. I give him credit for focusing his attack at some important foundational questions in physics, questions that you would need some decent background study to know about — he didn’t go for the obvious targets that an amateur crackpot would (like , for example, attacking Einstein), but rather topics you’d need to be an insider to appreciate (like the self-force problem for electrical charges). Seven out of ten.

3. Irritated, emotional language: Eh, not the best I’ve seen, not the worst I’ve seen. There is certainly a sense of passion and urgency you don’t get in your typical Applied Physics Letters paper, but he keeps a lid on things — no ominous threats like Yun-Qi. Now that I think of it, the language and rhetoric is calibrated pretty closely to the level of an infomercial. And considering how often he mentions his books and DVDs for sale, maybe that’s what this website is.  Could it be that I’m not dealing with a honest crackpot, but rather the pseudoscience equivalent of The Power of Orange?   Four out of ten.

4. One extremely long and ugly webpage: Oh yes. Oh god yes. It’s not the worst I’ve seen, but it certainly is far from conventional website design. The main page consists of feet after feet of random comments, links, and images, all scrolling down down down as he adds updates (probably over the course of years). Click on a link or two at random, and it soon becomes apparent that the site is HUGE, with links going everywhere. Why is this such a common format for these guys? You’d think such proud nonconformists wouldn’t adhere to what seems to be an accepted webpage format for crackpots, namely the horrendously-long single-webpage-stream-of-consciousness format. And why do the fonts jump around in size and formatting? It’s like reading a ransom note. I will happily admit, however, that there is a nifty little interactive animation at the top of the site — drag your mouse over where it says “The Tom Bearden Website” near the top, where it looks like fireworks are being set off behind the letters. Cool, eh? That animation is probably how he’s deploying his mind control commands. Eight out of ten.


5. Completely new definitions: Hard to tell — certainly he doesn’t coin any new words. He might have redefined existing physics terms, a common practice among the more intelligent of these crackpots. Thanks to my inexcusable laziness, I timidly must admit that I don’t know for certain if he’s using the oodles of jargon correctly. If he is, he covers his tracks well enough to fool me — clearly a sophisticated hombre.  Oop, dropped a Cheeto… Three out of ten.


His grand total? A fairly low 23. Not at the head of the pack.  Maybe I should cook up an infomercial on how aspiring physics crackpots can increase their scores, perhaps with a DVD for sale on my website. Yeah, I could, but then again, these Cheetos are dang tasty…


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