Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Chaos in motion: a rare example of brains

The Internet is literally flooded with nonsensical reactions of extremely naive people who buy the theory that a scientific microbe can suddenly falsify all of string theory, without having written a single equation, simply by publishing a virulent book. Many people are simply unreasonable and they have always been. Unfortunately, it also includes at least two young people in science.

However, not everyone is gonna buy this silly fairy-tale. Who are the people whose opinions are gonna survive when all this stinking nonsense evaporates away? Ladies and Gentlemen, they're called

It is surely just a coincidence that it is a blog of rightwingers. The author of the article realizes several absurd assumptions that the simple-minded people buy. Let me quote their thoughtful response:

  • His premise is that it can't be a theory if you can't prove it. I guess I'll stand up and say bullshit. Many theories existed long before there was the ability to prove that they exist. In fact, I'd say that there are many portions of modern physics that still have no path to proof. Just because the ability to prove a theory doesn't presently exist, doesn't mean that it isn't a plausible theory. A case in point would be the atomic model. Democritus and John Dalton both proposed a theory based on the atomic model, but had no means to prove that it was true. They were indeed correct for the most part. But by Woit's argument, these models should have been ignored. Woit goes on even more insultingly: ...

Very true. A quote presenting a similarity between Horgan and Woit as a "devastating" argument against string theory follows, and the authors continue:

  • That is far from devastating. Merely throwing rocks at a theory doesn't make the person throwing right. This is the 'critics' model of science. If you don't know enough to actually produce a cogent theory, merely toss out invective and you'll be right. Sorry, if you can't produce a theory that is more plausible, and by Woit's standard, provable, then you are providing nothing to the field. Even more humorous is Woit's contention that physics is like the deconstuctionists. If that is where physics is, where would you place his specialty of mathematics? ... What a waste of air.

I don't expect Peter Woit to be able and willing to understand and accept the wise comments above, but I would certainly like to expect a European physicist who is younger than Peter Woit to be willing and certainly able to do so.

Well, the last observation that it is completely absurd from a mathematician to criticize someone else for an insufficient body of evidence is certainly a deep observation, but if they realized that the author of "Not Even Wrong" is a mathematician more on the paper than in reality, our friends could have found this otherwise important point of their criticism redundant. ;-)

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