A theoretical physicist who is known from TRF comment sections and who has published over 50 papers has directed my attention to a tirade by a young physicist D.H. written on his Facebook profile.
D.H. is also a good theoretical physicist who recently won a nice junior award – and his name and work appears in 15 previous TRF blog posts – although his background isn't solid enough for him to be considered a full-blown string theorist. Please keep his full name confidential – to protect his future – because what he has written is truly embarrassing. Quotes below will not be copied verbatim – my sentences will be almost exactly equivalent, however. The scrambling was done to make it harder for readers to search for the exact quotes and identify the author. Well, it's probably impossible to hide the name well – intelligent readers will probably realize that D.H. is so obsessed with the left-wing politics that he had to be a co-author of some nasty and personal Stalinist petitions we discussed in the recent months which makes it trivial to find his name.
Lots of articles on this blog discuss examples of left-wing activists who have spread over the Academia and made the life miserable for numerous "politically incorrect" colleagues. Some of those had to leave etc. But D.H. wants to bring these Stalinist practices to a new level. He wants the people who were generously allowed to stay to be prevented from respecting the people who are outside, like me, or discuss them or read their texts. Sending folks to the Gulag isn't enough for D.H.: people who remember those who left for the Gulag must be sent to the Gulag, too.
OK, let's look at the rant by the far left-wing fanatic.
This not quite shortish post will talk about a threat that the theoretical physics community has faced for dozens of months, others may choose to ignore it.It starts almost just like the schoolkids' parents' meeting dedicated to the word "prcat" in The Cosy Dens, a Czech cult movie. But it got intense very quickly, didn't it?
The problem is that the attention paid to Luboš Motl's website isn't diminishing.
No, really, it reminds me of the minutes from some communists' meetings where they complained that the youth or other citizens are still watching the West German TV channels or Hollywood movies. What can we do about it, comrades? Someone has an idea: Why don't we just ask the citizens to stop doing so?
And comrade D.H. has really severe reasons to be a concerned scientist:
If I trust some dialogues between me and fellow physicists, a sizable ratio of the community continues to absorb TRF through visual channels and a non-infinitesimal subgroup of those visual recipients of the data keep on taking Motl's opinions seriously (views on physics and maybe not just that). Witnesses have even reported that Motl's posts are occasionally referred to in discussions about the directions of the future research and/or hiring.Those things are written on the reactionary website so they must be banned, right?
If a Princeton physicist reads about Motl's theory of everything on TRF, which may appear soon, he is obliged not to be excited and remain silent. When it comes to these topics and many others, good concerned scientists are obliged to disagree. When Motl wrote that loop quantum gravity didn't reproduce general relativity in any limit, politically correct readers simply had to believe that loop quantum gravity was the future of physics. And the Institute for Advanced Studies is supposed to praise Sabine Hossenfelder's crackpot criticisms of naturalness because Motl thinks that the naturalness cannot completely disappear from physics. Because Motl has mocked the Flat Earth, the community must mock the Round Earth! It's that simple, D.H. proposes.
You should never read TRF but you must always contradict it! How it's supposed to be done isn't described in much detail but that's what D.H. demands.
Please, D.H., this is really ludicrous beyond any measure. When a sensible person – and she doesn't even have to be a top physicist or any physicist, for that matter – reads something that seems correct or persuasive or insightful, she can be enriched (and sometimes entertained). Wise people are open to learning something from anyone else, without any ideological filters, and they realize that if someone has personal or ideological prejudices so strong that they prevent him from agreeing with an idea or from appreciating it just because the idea was written by a politically inconvenient author and/or on an ideologically undesirable blog, these prejudiced people are simply dishonest and they're robbing their own soul, too. Also, they can't be trusted because they openly admit that they're not judging the truth according to the evidence but according to prejudices and ad hominem or ideological criteria.
And I mentioned loop quantum gravity and Flat Earth just to lighten the discussion. Every sane physics graduate students knows these theories to be rubbish. But this blog is sometimes addressing far more advanced questions than whether the Earth is flat or whether loop quantum gravity is a quantum extension of GR.
Wise people simply don't have such absolute filters "where they can learn things" and this is particularly true for theoretical physicists, especially the good ones.
A) Motl hasn't been an element of the community for a decade and he's superficial about the work made in recent 12 years. [...]I haven't been away from any scientific sub-community – I just left a job in the environment which was getting conquered by the kind of individuals whom I have always despised and who really represented an existential threat for me, as D.H. shows himself. Geography notwithstanding, my contacts with the community might be comparably intense to those of D.H.
Indeed, as the senior physicists who drive D.H. up the wall feel, I am not only a well-known champion of the discipline or the community but an informal de facto leader of that community, too. And the reasons are understood by D.H. himself – after all, he wrote those reasons just a minute ago. I continue to do research (I couldn't live without that), I am just not publishing technical results for others because others don't pay me a penny. But ask some real big shots whether they believe that my notebooks from recent years contain more valuable science than the papers by 50 affirmative action hires combined.
It's absolutely silly to present the year 2006 as some discontinuity. Nothing was qualitatively changed about physics or my relationship to it or my attention dedicated to new papers in 2006. The year 2006 was only mentioned as a break by D.H. because he is a demagogue and a manipulator who assumes that this statement could sound plausible to superficial readers. But you know, the people who matter have some clue. They know that nothing discontinuous occurred in 2006 and the number was only used by D.H. as a factually indefensible ideologically motivated attack on the scientific credentials of my texts. This abuse of science for ideological criteria is what was happening in the totalitarian regimes and it shouldn't be happening in the free world. All the better colleagues of yours know it, D.H., and those who fail to correct your pathological views are as bad as you at rating science.
The blog posts about physics are generally more superficial than professional papers – and what I would write in such papers – but that's because it's a different genre. I was repeatedly shown that it is a waste of energy to write too detailed or technical blog posts. I actually think that to some extent, it's true even for many papers that professionals publish. Especially when it comes to some technically demanding intermediate calculations, those are read by such a tiny number of colleagues – who often prefer to redo the stuff themselves if they're supposed to build on it, and it's preferred to do so in this way – that it could be useful to shift the culture a bit and make some papers somewhat more blog-like. If the writing were more focusing on the point and questions that readers care about, the enthusiasm for reading could go up and physicists would be getting more from the papers by others.
But in most cases, the superficial formulations on the blog don't reflect my actual knowledge or thinking that is usually much more refined than the caricatures on the weblog. (There are also cases in which I am a clear non-expert and my understanding doesn't go far beyond what I write.)
Again, the attention is paid to TRF by professionals in high energy physics because they find something useful or relevant on this website. Well, with all modesty, TRF is the most important informal website on this Round And Blue Not Green Planet that addresses topics that high energy physicists find relevant. The correlation obviously cannot be 100% perfect but it's roughly true that the more you agree with physics on TRF, the better theoretical or high energy physicist you are. Your senior colleagues, dear D.H., know it but I think that you know it as well – and that's the fact that frustrates you more than anything else.
I have always watched what was happening in many corners of theoretical and high energy physics and while my view on many topics may be imperfect, it is usually better for many professional readers than the absence of any similar perspective.
B) Expletives are unprofessional and shouldn't be allowed just because they're fun. [...]Indeed, sometimes the language on TRF is made spicier in the sake of entertainment. I don't really want the readers to be bored – and yes, you will get a dose of that stuff soon. And frankly speaking, even 30 years later, I still enjoy our victory in the Velvet Revolution that gave us the freedom of speech (among other things), or at least I believed that it did. The freedom of speech is a wonderful thing and it's too bad if someone fails to appreciate its importance and the happiness and the knowledge that it brings us. But a big majority of my tough words is meant rather seriously. The topics are rather serious – or at least I think that they are. I call a spade a spade. So the harsh language is just a relatively mild decoration of some very real opinions – and lots of wise people share those opinions of mine.
So there is nothing truly unprofessional about my saying that D.H. is on par with the spineless young communist or opportunist jerks whom I knew in the totalitarian regime in Czechoslovakia prior to 1989 who were doing everything they could to harm the people in their environment, just to climb a little bit deeper in the more powerful comrades' rectum. You are doing the same thing and you suck as a human being, D.H. You may be successful at encouraging some other [an unflattering word of your choice] like you to agree that the word [the same one] is unprofessional (I still believe that the search engines don't agree that [the same one] is unprofessional) but what's much more important than this arbitrary classification of words is what kind of human beings we are inside. And you, with your disgusting blackmailing and behind-the-scenes attacks and conspiracies, are a pile of junk if evaluated as a human being.
Incidentally, one reason why I don't have to be "professional" is that I am not paid for those things, as mentioned above, so I am not a "professional" in the normal sense of the word. Yes, it sometimes makes one more free.
C) Motl can't possibly disentangle science and politics because he is getting more vitriolic when minorities or female physicists are being discussed. [...]This is complete rubbish. Almost all the TRF blog posts that sit on the interface between science and social/ideological issues are about the need to separate the two – and all the people who really know me or who have read the blog carefully know that I view the separation as a priority and I am executing it whenever it's possible.
Oops, an update: I read a comment by Giotis which made me clear that I misunderstood the statement by D.H. He didn't write that I didn't separate science and politics. He wrote that they shouldn't be separated – only science done by the people with the right politics should be agreed with. Holy cow. I wouldn't even believe that someone could explicitly and openly write such a thing – which is why I misunderstood it. To judge scientists or science according to the scientists' politics is just incredibly wrong, morally and professionally, and I can't imagine to make a compromise about this fundamental point.
I rarely discuss physics by "minorities" – this word itself shows quite something about where D.H. belongs – because physics done by minorities represents an even smaller minority of physics than their fraction within the population (which makes them a majority somewhere, e.g. if we discuss non-whites in the U.S.). However, people of all races and groups of nations have gotten enthusiastic and positive reports on this blog – which includes right-wing and left-wing Americans and Western Europeans, Israeli, Indians, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, folks from the Philippines, Latin America, Mexico, Russia, Iran, Egypt, and many others.
Everyone who has a clue knows that the accusation that I get "more hostile when talking about physics by minorities" is just a pure and malicious lie, the kind of lie that scumbags like D.H. got used to saying on a daily basis.
The same is true about females. Relatively to the fraction that women represent in overall citations, I am rather convinced that the women's work is somewhat overreported on TRF. Many of the words that D.H. mentioned are linked to one particular person, Sabine Hossenfelder, and she got so much exposure on TRF because she represents a huge fraction of the fake physics experts who are really just attacking physics although they're at most mediocre "also members" of that craft – but who became darlings with the anti-science and left-wing inkspillers in the media, anyway.
Note that I still spell Hossenfelder as Hossenfelder, which differs from the spelling of Sm*lin and W*it. So the amount of the visible vitriol hasn't reached the Šmoitian levels yet. She is getting more attention than others, including Sm*lin and W*it, because those two men and others simply became irrelevant in comparison with her. (It is not hard to guess what is the main reason why the "progressive" press prefers to promote Ms Hossenfelder over Mr W*it or Mr Sm*lin.) If you look at the ensemble of people whose dishonest attacks on science have been heavily criticized on this website, you will see that a majority of those were men, as expected. To say that I am sexist just because I dare to criticize an obnoxious female fake physicist means to be a dirty self-evident demagogue. Needless to say, just like in the case of "minorities", this type of lie is mass-produced by left-wing activists like D.H. Some of those should be sued and their lives should be devastated – maybe some of the others could learn the lesson that what they are doing is unacceptable.
Sabine Hossenfelder is an intellectual prostitute, for many reasons. This is true in quite some literal sense. For example, she collects lots of dollars for an hour of discussions with crackpots in which she pretends to be a know-it-all physicist. This physics-for-money activity is an example of prostitution that contaminates the image of science, especially because none of the people participating in these events is a credible physicist.
The last droplet has fallen. The non-terminated pseudo-tolerance of this heretic by the body of physicists is not fine. What lesson can junior physicists learn when such social interactions are labeled "fun", when senior physicists dare to say "he might be insane, but his physics is just right"? We can improve things relatively to that and it's our duty to do so. My reading of TRF has been irregular but from this moment, I will ostracize every person who would apparently want to talk about Motl or his texts. I urge you to do the same.Very nice, D.H. If you ostracize the people just because they read TRF or talk about it, you're just proving once again that you are a prejudiced dishonest jerk. You can't change the facts, anyway, because it's ultimately legal for people to talk about me or this blog – or read it in the privacy of their offices and homes. And when I am right, the better people just know that I am right whether you and similar jerks like it or not. And the ethical subset of those will even keep on crediting me with the ideas they got from me. Your fantasies that you could prevent physicists (who are often much more achieved than you are) from reading ideas on this blog are just fantasies of a horny clueless extreme left-wing activist – I recommend you to jump into Lenin's coffin in the mausoleum in Moscow to get the satisfaction that you're hopelessly looking for at a completely wrong place.
Under the rant by D.H., there were some comments by brain-dead people saying "finally you said it about the heretic" and some comments from the more "clueful" Facebook friends of D.H. who pointed out that I am always on the side of the truth. But you can imagine how dangerous the university environment had to look to me a decade ago – given the fact that not just my own views but even other scholars' references to me have been turned into offenses by the likes of D.H. – despite my being thousands of miles (and seemingly 12 years) away. The atmosphere created in the university environment by the likes of D.H. is probably worse than you can imagine – and probably worse than when "Aryan Physics" was being promoted among German scholars.