Rather than reply to every post individually, this is a collective thanks to everyone who replied. I have more than enough reading to keep me going for a while, along with a bunch of equations I understand, and some worked examples to give me a feel for the values involved. I couldn't have asked for more. My faith in the collective wisdom of this place is reconfirmed.
Examine what is said, not who speaks -- Silence betokens consent -- Love the truth but pardon error.
"Science is about questioning the status quo. Questioning authority".
In the absence of evidence, opinion is indistinguishable from prejudice.