Thursday, October 05, 2006

Nature: String theories dominate for good reason

Volume 443 of Nature from October 5th, 2006, has an editorial on page 482 called
We normally use the singular term "string theory" since the mid 1990s when we learned that there is really one theory only with many states. The editorial starts with the "sweet" Standard Model, its triumphs, and its shortcomings. The text also explains that the non-trivial character of the experimental tests of physics beyond the Standard Model reflects the magnitude of the task. Finally, they say, the pursuit of string power deserves undaunted encouragement.

However, the same issue also has a
for the two recent not-quite-serious books on page 491, including photographs of their authors. The author of that article called me, and since the very first moment, I knew that he was a rather closed-minded person who wouldn't be ready to learn anything from our discussions whatsoever. Nevertheless, I tried as much as I could.

At the very beginning of the conversation, he also told me that our discussion was being recorded - he announced me this fact as if I were a criminal whose testimony would be used against him. ;-) The style reminded me of the stories how my relatives described the interviews with the communist secret police. He was already decided what to write and my long discussion with him was almost completely useless because he has learned nothing and he has written nothing important even though I explained him what's wrong with virtually every statement that he eventually included in his bizarre article.

As expected, the author of that article is, much like dozens of others, uncritically parroting many strange things from the blue anti-physics book. He also describes my reviews of the books at in an insulting fashion. When he says that my reviews have been removed, it is also misleading. The correct comment should have been that my reviews have been removed about 37 times so far, ;-) and it should have also said that they were removed by an organized mailing list of fans of the "Not Even Wrong" blog who keep on clicking on a certain button whenever an inconvenient review appears on that page.

Comment: I certainly did write the reviews, and you can check the "real name" at However, I didn't write about 1/2 of postings signed with my name at various blogs. It is completely impossible to enumerate all such fake postings and comments of "mine".

The article on page 491 also fails to mention that the value of my reviews of the books exceeds the value of the books themselves - it only mentions that titles of the reviews but nothing about the content (unlike the junk books that are given several pages in the magazine) and he explains nothing whatsoever about the important reasons why the books are not a source for a serious discussion. But I did succeed in one thing: when Mr. Geoff Brumfiel called me, I convinced him to talk with some real physicists.

He apparently did so, and thus we can at least learn from Lenny Susskind that many people in the community are angry and "struggling to deal with the criticism". But the reader can't learn why the physicists are exactly angry and what's so terribly wrong with the books. Well, shoddy journalism. Mr. Brumfiel simply doesn't find it important enough. He at least quotes Polchinski's comments about the relevance of string theory for RHIC and the disappearing boundary between string theory and the rest of physics.

Finally, George Ellis from South Africa has another
of the blue anti-physics book on page 507 of the same issue of Nature. It's just amazing how our society supports these negative contributions. It's enough to write something controversial - more precisely, it's enough to write something about an important topic that is completely untrue - and you can be sure that the journalists and effective journalists will make a hero out of you. In reality, they would deserve something completely different.

I assure everyone that what is written on page 507 is simply garbage, much like most of the page 491 and many other pages of many other sources.

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