A few days ago, we talked about the lethal flaws of the Bohmian mechanics.
Evidence vs prejudices
You know, that wasn't a question to be answered by the priests according to their interpretation of the Scripture, either. The priests often found the question to be far too important to allow science to decide it. But that's why they were priests, not scientists. Some people simply can't get used to the fact that science can interfere with their basic beliefs and prejudices and it is science, not the prejudices, that offers us the only quasi-systematic method to find the right answers to any of these questions, including the very important ones.
- Probably no
A few days ago, Christine Dantas linked to an 2001 interview with Carver Mead, a semi-famous computer scientist who is also an armchair physicist. At that time, he published a book about Collective Electrodynamics, claiming that the photons don't exist because they're just collective illusions of the electrons, and that quantum mechanics has to be abandoned, too. To do so, he updated Cramer's transactional interpretation of quantum mechanics (which is closer to a fairy-tale about time machines than to an interpretation of quantum mechanics). A classic crackpot book.
If you read the interview, you will see the deep contrast in the types of arguments used by both sides. Richard Feynman, whose opinions about the character of quantum mechanics matched mine, was quoted as saying:
Things on a very small scale behave like nothing you have direct experience about. They do not behave like waves. They do not behave like particles ... or like anything you have ever seen. Get used to it.He also promoted the "shut up and calculate" approach to the interpretation of quantum mechanics, trying to stop his students from pursuing nonsensical philosophies. (But the specific quote, "shut up and calculate", comes from David Mermin.)
Well, what Feynman says is obviously true. There's a huge body of evidence that the microscopic world where quantum phenomena matter simply behaves nothing like the macroscopic world we are used to - i.e. the world that was studied by cutting-edge science a few centuries ago. It's not shocking that the laws needed to understand the microscopic world differ from the intuition of the people whose lives were dominated by macroscopic, nearly classical events. But some people simply can't get used to it.
Carver Mead is an example. He said:
Physics that does not make sense, that defies human intuition, is obscurantist: It balks thought and intellectual progress. It blocks the light of the age.Well, these words sound like a prayer from a religious zealot rather than words from a rational person. You know, Nature doesn't give a damn about human intuition. If you have good intuition to understand Nature, good for you. If you don't, that's too bad. But not even the light of the age allows you to blame or re-educate Nature when your intuition appears to be non-existent. And your lack of intuition for the observed phenomena is surely not a good reason to promote you to a spokesman of science!
It is my firm belief that the last seven decades of the twentieth will be characterized in history as the dark ages of theoretical physics.Almost like a Peter Woit multiplied by two. ;-) What a complete denial of the scientific method and the most important results of this method achieved in the 20th century. You know, the whole career (computers etc.) of this guy was made possible by the quantum revolution in theoretical physics but he still describes these developments as the "dark ages".
And that's their memo.
(Concerning heretics, Jennifer Marohasy talks about Jon Jenkins, an Australian professor who was effectively fired for a skeptical newspaper article about the catastrophic climate change. Science hasn't changed anything about the strength of people's religious and quasi-religious beliefs and their ability to do really nasty things to defend them.)
Steve Sailer has noticed a very cute article in The New York Times. New massive, gigantic, and representative nation-wide tests of 84 blacks (and even more whites!) after the inauguration show that all the IQ differences between ethnic groups became statistically insignificant. Congratulations, it is now time for everyone to celebrate!
After four more years of the removal of fake myths and the white science in general, most U.S. blacks will become able to contribute an idea for a footnote of a new revolutionary paper about the curvature of constitutional space. ;-)
If you want to read a somewhat more serious essay about the "stereotype threat theory" than the jokes on this blog, Cosmic Variance, or in the New York Times, open Sailer's Occam's butterknife.