Although way too many Germans (and Austrians) wanted to present themselves as victims while Adolf Hitler was the only culprit of wrongdoings in the Third Reich, the actual history was very different. Hitler was mainly a symbol, a symptom of political and emotional preferences, frustrations, and wishes that were almost omnipresent among Germans of that time. He was a tip of an iceberg – the whole iceberg of the German society was a problem caused by an ideological phase transition that the society underwent sometime in the early 1930s.
In particular, anti-Semitism was powerful within the scientific community, too. A bunch of activists who sucked in theoretical physics have invented the "Aryan/German Physics" which was an ideology that basically prohibited modern theoretical physics as we know it. This ideology within physics still exists – the members call themselves "critics of string theory" instead of "Aryan physicists" but when it comes to the scientific methodology, the content is exactly the same.
During that time, in fact, in 1931 i.e. two years before Hitler took power, a bunch of anti-Semitic German scientists also wrote a notorious book, "100 scientists against Einstein". The number of authors of diverse and ultimately irrational criticisms of relativity was high, 28+19, which was rounded to 100. Einstein wisely responded by saying that if they were right, one scientist would have been enough.
If you attach 100 signatures to a book, you may create a mob that may be physically dangerous for the target of the lynching. But that high number simply doesn't invalidate the assertions by the target of that lynching. This trivial point – that you can't replace the truth by a high number of signatories – was apparently unknown to the "German physicists". But this principle is a cornerstone of the Western civilization and its attitude to disagreements: in our civilization, it's the arguments and evidence that matter, not the brute force.
And if you think that it's known to everybody today, you are wrong. It's exactly as unknown to the cultural Marxist physicists today as it was unknown to their German predecessors 80 years earlier.
Marina has linked to a new domain with a name that looks like a parody but I am sure that the authors mean it seriously:
ParticlesForJustice.ORG: Statement on a Recent Talk at CERN (PDF, Gizmodo, Nude Socialist)Just to clarify. If you are a layman and you ask whether particles care for social justice, the answer is: No, they don't. And everyone who suggests that they do – or, more generally, that political ideologies belong to particle physics – is a liar, demagogue, or a pseudoscientist.
At the bottom, you find some O(100) signatures. I know roughly 1/4 of the signatories in person. They even include a dozen of people who had an office next to mine at least for a week – at various loci of our spacetime while I was at Rutgers, Harvard, Santa Cruz, and Santa Barbara. The list includes instructors of courses I attended as well as a female student I helped to get to Harvard, the most brilliant undergraduate student in a course of mine, an additional student from a course, a fellow Fellow in the Harvard Society of Fellows, three co-authors of mine (out of 26), physicists whom I agreed with about very important things in physics, as well as those whom I disagreed with.
You can imagine it's rather scary to see that so many people who were so geometrically close grew into folks who are willing to join a similar mob of bullies – a mob that would have unavoidably attacked me as well if I failed to escape in time. On the other hand, it's wrong to focus on the bad news only. I am analogously pleased by a much greater number of names who could have been expected to be signed but at least so far, they haven't signed.
Some "women in physics" fun to make us relax and smile a bit.
These "100 scientists against Strumia" clearly represent a small minority of researchers in high-energy physics – and that is true even within the subset that I have known in person. But it is an extremely loud minority and a minority that arrogantly believes that they own the scientific process and that they may dictate the allowed and forbidden social and political beliefs to all of their colleagues. Everyone else has the duty to show them that they are very wrong and they overestimate their brute force much like their German predecessors 80 years earlier.
Let us go quickly through the content. The first sentence
The statement here is based upon widely reported events, publicly available slides, and eyewitness accounts.As you can see, a fundamental defect of this "statement" is already glaringly obvious in the very first sentence. They pretend to respond to Strumia's talk. But they don't even link to it.
I am sorry, comrades, but you are pushing other physicists to behave dishonestly, just like you behave dishonestly. You want them to breach the basic principles of the scientific integrity – and even ordinary honesty known to the regular people, too. An honest person can only denounce (or embrace) something that he or she has seen.
The first sentence among those written in bold face states:
We write here first to state, in the strongest possible terms, that the humanity of any person, regardless of ascribed identities such as race, ethnicity, gender identity, religion, disability, gender presentation, or sexual identity is not up for debate.This sentence is obviously meant to communicate the – absolutely false and libelous – point that Alessandro Strumia doesn't consider the members of those groups "a part of the humanity". Well, he does, and a reasonable judge could order you to pay millions of dollars just for this libelous remark directed against Prof Strumia.
The following paragraphs attack Strumia's research into the role of the two sexes in particle physics, as well as his research in particle physics itself. They never mention any statement by Strumia, at least not sufficiently accurately so that their writing could be counted as a credible response to his careful and quantitative argumentation. Instead, they just link to a dozen of papers in the grievance studies. The authors of the pamphlet suggest that these junk articles contain some evidence of an inaccuracy in Strumia's talk. But no example of such an inaccuracy is ever discussed.
The papers in grievance studies aren't science. They are ideologically motivated junk and they cannot become science just because a bunch of ideologues who also happen to be physicists cites them in a hateful and dishonest pamphlet. This pamphlet, just like the articles in grievance studies, never localize the problem in the way pioneered by Galileo (instead, the vaguer representation of Strumia's assertions, the better); they never test their hypotheses impartially; they never abandon hypotheses that have been proven incorrect.
As totalitarian minds always do, they also attack Strumia's professional credentials. Be sure, I've seen a lot of this "methodology" during communism, too. All athletes or artists who emigrated etc. were suddenly discovered to be lousy professionals etc. You know, Strumia has over 30,000 citations according to INSPIRE and over 40,000 according to Google Scholar. They only try to cherry-pick some negative statements to make his record look less impressive. One-third of his citations were earned because he was a member of the CMS collaboration at the LHC, we hear. That's great but even without those papers, he has still earned an impressive 20,000 citations outside large collaborations. And on top of these impressive 20,000 citations, he has shown his immense versatility by having worked as a member of the famous experimental team. How many signatories can match him?
Also, we read that it's bad that he wrote numerous papers about the 750 GeV diphoton excess which was "statistically insignificant" and it went away. Now, it went away but whether it was "statistically insignificant" depends on the definition of the adjective. It was a more than 4-sigma excess! 3 sigma is enough to count as statistical "evidence" in particle physics, 2 sigma is commonly referred to as "statistically significant" in softer scientific disciplines, and the signatories' cultural comrades in grievance studies are usually satisfied with 1-sigma or 0-sigma evidence. So I would say that the label "statistically insignificant" is "mostly untrue". But a tiny potential for interpreting words as "true" from some perspective is always enough for writers of demagogic texts.
While the diphoton anomaly went away, it was really a matter of luck. Nature wasn't generous to give us a new particle to be discovered. But in spite of that outcome, Strumia's better-than-average papers on the anomaly showed that he's capable of producing clever ideas when there's some interesting observation and these very same skills would clearly be useful for particle physics even if and when the excess would turn out to be genuine new physics. No one could have known for sure whether the excess would go away in advance which is why references to the fate of the excess are inconsequential for a fair appraisal of Strumia's scientific qualities.
On top of that, lots of the signatories have worked on some "new physics" (and even on the same diphoton anomaly, e.g. the pamphlet's author #1 Matt Buckley) throughout much of their careers so they could be "criticized" exactly in the same way as they criticize Strumia. Every sane person sees that they're not being honest. They use double standards and their attack on Strumia's scientific credentials is self-evidently politically motivated and it is not objective.
In a list, they vaguely refer to 8 assertions by Strumia. Their response is always "discrimination". It's the universal answer to every question, just like "wakalixes". It's all "discrimination" and reference to random papers in grievance studies must always be considered superior. They make it clear that they don't want to look into any Strumia's argument rationally. They don't even want to hear what he is actually saying. Sadly, grievance studies are just worthless garbage and they don't contain an epsilon that would seriously weaken any of Strumia's arguments.
Several additional paragraphs say that it was "grossly unethical" for Strumia to say the truth. It's the last paragraph that really makes the comparison of the signatories to tough Nazi activists or officials appropriate:
Finally, we would also like to underline how grossly unethical it is to misrepresent the topic of one’s talk to workshop organizers to promote an agenda which is antithetical to the workshop itself. To personally attack one of the organizers during said talk is even worse. We hope that Strumia's professional colleagues and superiors will take all these points into careful consideration in all future decisions involving him. We also hope that the entire community has learned from this incident that speakers for workshops on gender -- or other ascribed identities -- in physics should include recognized experts, with a track record of speaking and publishing in an appropriate manner on the topic at hand, and moreover that organizers should seek guidance from such experts. In addition to other disciplines, physics and astronomy are home to many in-house experts on the sociology and philosophy of physics (e.g. (7), (8), (9), (10), (11), (12), (13), (14), (15), (16)). This moment reminds us to pay attention to their work.The first sentence just tries to character assassinate Prof Strumia. In reality, he did nothing whatsoever that could be considered unethical. He just gave a lecture – with the content that he prepared as carefully and using the same method that he, an achieved particle physicist, uses in natural sciences – about the topic that the workshop should have been dedicated to.
It was not only his unquestionable right guaranteed by the basic laws and principles of the Western civilization. He really had a duty to do what he did as a scientist. Indeed, his talk was antithetical to "an agenda" that some organizers favored but it was fully compatible with the topic of the conference and scientific conferences are only allowed to be constrained by a topic, not by someone's agenda! Even if you thought that "agendas" are allowed to constrain conferences at CERN, the agenda wasn't clearly written anywhere. The description of the conference doesn't say that "only the demagogic, unscientific, cultural Marxist propaganda would be allowed at the workshop". Because such a restriction wasn't even explicitly stated anywhere, Alessandro Strumia couldn't have been constrained by it.
The second sentence says that "it's even worse to personally attack an organizer". But for some reasons, a nasty attack such as this letter signed by 100 bullies is OK, isn't it? And I don't count hundreds of additional, nastier, members of lynching mobs at the social networks. Of course, things get really nasty in the following sentence:
We hope that Strumia's professional colleagues and superiors will take all these points into careful consideration in all future decisions involving him.In other words, the signatories urge all officials and committees to fire Strumia or cause him serious personal harm – because the truth he said is just politically inconvenient for the signatories. It is a huge sin to act like this and I am not sure I can ever forgive the signatories. But if you find a malicious personal attack on one senior scientist to be OK enough, look at the subsequent sentence:
We also hope that the entire community has learned from this incident that speakers for workshops on gender...What are they saying here? When you translate this sentence to plain English, it says
We also hope that all other physicists have noticed that we will start to destroy them personally if they say anything that resembles the inconvenient truth presented by Alessandro Strumia, we also hope every particle physicist to be scared to death now and shut his mouth...These radical nut jobs openly want to threaten and blackmail the whole scientific community. No scientist who deserves the name will be intimidated by your blackmail.
When translated to plain English, the final sentences say that SJWs who are spread across the university departments should dictate the only possible "truth" about all these matters that every member of the scientific community will be obliged to mindlessly parrot – or face existential troubles.
What about the other members of the scientific community: Will you allow a future as designed by these cultural comrades who simply hate – and who want to completely destroy – the freedom of expression, basic academic freedoms, and everyone who likes these pillars of our civilization?