Saturday, January 19, 2019

Hossenfelder's plan to abolish particle physics is the most prominent achievement of diversity efforts in HEP yet

I guess that you don't doubt that that the Academia in the Western countries is leaning to the left. Well, that's a terrible understatement. It's heavily left-wing. A 2009 Pew Research Poll found that among scientists in the U.S. Academia, 55% were registered Democrats, 32% were Independents, and 6% were Republicans. The numbers have probably gotten much worse in the subsequent decade.

As we could conclude e.g. by seeing the 4,000 signatures under a petition penned by D.H. against Alessandro Strumia, out of 40,000 HEP authors that could have signed, the percentage of the hardcore extremist leftists who are willing to support even the most insidious left-wing campaigns is about 10% in particle physics. Assuming that the number 6% above was approximately correct, you can see that the Antifa-type leftists outnumber all Republicans, including the extremely moderate ones and the RINOs (Republicans In Name Only), and a vast majority of those 6% are RINOs or extremely moderate Republicans.

Because the extreme leftists are the only loud subgroup – you know, the silent majority is silent as the name indicates – they shape the atmosphere in the environment to a very unhealthy degree. It has become unhealthy especially because they have managed to basically expel everybody who would be visibly opposing them.

"Diversity" is one of the buzzwords that have become even more influential in the Academia than in the whole U.S. society – and even their influence over the latter is clearly excessive.

In practice, "diversity" is a word meaning to justify racist and sexist policies against whites (and yellows – who are often even more suppressed), against men, and especially against white men. Those are still allowed in the Academia but only if they "admit" that their previous lives and origin are non-existent; that they abhor masculinity and the white race and they deny that the white men have built most of the civilization; and that the whites, men, and white men have only brought misery to the world; and if they promise that they will dedicate their life to the war on the real i.e. evil men, whites, and white men.

The radically left-wing 10% of the university people are really excited about this hostility against the white men – they are as excited as the Nazis were during the Night of Broken Glass (even the pointing out of this analogy could cause trouble to you). The silent majority doesn't care or reacts with some incoherent babbling that seems safe enough to the radical loons which is why a kind of tolerance has evolved in between the radical left and the incoherent silent majority.

These moderate people say "why not", "it can't hurt" etc. when some white/men are forced to spit on their race and sex or when 50% of the females or people of color are hired purely through affirmative action. Sorry, Ladies and Gentlemen, but like Nazism, communism, and all totalitarian political movements based on lies, this system of lies and intimidation is very harmful and existentially threatening for whole sectors of the society and scientific disciplines, too.

We're still waiting for the first female physics Nobel prize winner who would say that she has found some institutionalized diversity efforts helpful – Marie Curie and Maria Meyer haven't been helped at all and Donna Strickland considers herself a scientist, not a woman in science, and is annoyed when her name is being abused by the feminist ideologues.

However, we already have a great example of prominent negative contributions to particle physics. Sabine Hossenfelder released her book, Lost In Math (whose PDF was posted by her or someone else on the Internet and you may find it on Google), and is writing numerous essays to argue that no new collider should ever be built again and particle physics should be suspended and 90% of the physicists should be fired.

For example, two days ago, Nude Socialist published her musings titled Why CERN’s plans for a €20 billion supersized collider are a bad idea whose title says everything you need (at least I believe you have no reason to contribute funds to the socialist porn). Ms Hossenfelder complains about the "eye-watering" €21 billion price of the most ambitious version of the FCC collider. Because she feels lost in math, you will have some suspicion that she chose the eye-catching adjective because she confused billions and trillions. But even if she did, it doesn't matter and she wouldn't change the conclusion because mathematics never plays a decisive role in her arguments.

On Wednesday, I discussed her text Particle physicists want money for bigger collider where she outlined some bold plans for the future of particle physics (more precisely for its non-existence), especially in the next 20 years, such as:
Therefore, investment-wise, it would make more sense to put particle physics on a pause and reconsider it in, say, 20 years to see whether the situation has changed, either because new technologies have become available or because more concrete predictions for new physics have been made.

No šit. Look, we are currently paying for a lot of particle physicists. If we got rid of 90% of those we'd still have more than enough to pass on knowledge to the next generation.

I am perfectly aware that there are theorists doing other things and that experimentalists have their own interests and so on. But who cares? You all sit in the same boat, and you know it. You have profited from those theorists' wild predictions that capture the public attention, you have not uttered a word of disagreement, and now you will go down with them.
And she wrote many theses along the same lines. From the beginning when this blog was started in late 2004, I was explaining that the jihad against string theory wasn't specifically targeting string theory. It was just a manifestation of some people's great hostility towards quantitative science, creativity, curiosity, rigor, mental patience, and intellectual excellence – and string theory was just the first target because it's probably the best example of all these qualities that the mankind has.

It seems to me that at least in the case of Sabine Hossenfelder, people see that I was right all along. This movement is just a generic anti-science movement and string theory or supersymmetry were the first targets because they are the scienciest sciences. But the rest of particle physics isn't really substantially different from the most prominent theories in theoretical physics, and neither is dark energy, dark matter, inflationary cosmology, and other things, so they should "go down" with the theories in theoretical physics, Hossenfelder proposes. It makes sense. If you succeeded in abolishing or banning string theory, of course you could abolish or ban things that "captured less public attention", too. It is just like in the story "First they came for the Jews...". And it's not just an analogy, of course. There's quite some overlap because some one-half of string theorists are Jewish while the ideology of the string theory critics was mostly copied from the pamphlets that used to define the Aryan Physics.

Well, as far as I know, Peter Woit and Lee Smolin – the prominent crackpots who hated string theory and played Sabine Hossenfelder's role around 2006 – have never gone far enough to demand the suspension of particle physics for 20 years, dismissal for 90% of particle physicists, and other things. So even people from this general "culture" were surprised by Hossenfelder's pronouncements. For example, Lorenzo wrote:
Sabine, I [have been licking your aß for years] but I fear that recently your campaign against particle physics is starting to go a bit too far. [...]
Well, regardless of Lorenzo's sycophancy as well as paragraphs full of arguments, he was the guy who was later told that he had to "go down" as well, in another quote above. Many others have been ordered to be doomed, too. OK, why was it Ms Sabine Hossenfelder and not e.g. her predecessors Mr Peter Woit and Mr Lee Smolin who finally figured out the "big, simple, ingenious idea" – the plan to demand the death for particle physics as a whole?

The correct answer has two parts that contribute roughly equally, I think. The first part is analogous to Leonard's answer to Penny's implicit question about his night activities:
Penny: Oh, Leonard?
Leonard: Hey.
Penny: I found these [Dr Elizabeth Plimpton's underwear] in the dryer. I’m assuming they belong to Sheldon.
Leonard: Thanks. It’s really hard to find these in his size. So, listen. I’ve been meaning to talk to you about the other morning.
Penny: You mean you and Dr. Slutbunny?
Leonard: Yeah, I wanted to explain.
Penny: Well, you don’t owe me an explanation.
Leonard: I don’t?
Penny: No, you don’t.
Leonard: So you’re not judging me?
Penny: Oh, I’m judging you nine ways to Sunday, but you don’t owe me an explanation.
Leonard: Nevertheless, I’d like to get one on the record so you can understand why I did what I did.
Penny: I’m listening.
Leonard: She let me.
OK, why did Leonard have sex with Dr Plimpton? Because she let him. Why does Dr Hossenfelder go "too far" and demands the euthanasia for particle physics? Because they let her – or we let her. Everyone let her. So why not? Mr Woit and Mr Smolin didn't go "this far" because, first, they are really less courageous and less masculine than Ms Hossenfelder; second, because – as members of the politically incorrect sex – they would genuinely face more intense backlash than a woman.

The second part of the answer why the "big plan" was first articulated by Ms Hossenfelder, a woman, and not by a man, like Mr Smolin or Mr Woit, is that it is more likely for a woman to grow hostile towards all of particle physics or any activity within physics that really depends on mathematics.

Mathematics is a man's game. The previous sentence is a slogan that oversimplifies things and a proper interpretation is desirable. The proper interpretation involves statistical distributions. Women are much less likely to feel really comfortable with mathematics and to become really successful in it (they are predicted – and seen – to earn about 1% of the Fields Medals, for example), especially advanced mathematics and mathematics that plays a crucial role, primarily because of the following two reasons:
  1. women's intellectual focus is more social, on nurturing, and less on "things" and mathematics
  2. women's IQ distribution is some 10% narrower which means that their percentage with some extremely high mathematical abilities, and this extreme tail is needed, decreases much more quickly than for men (the narrower distribution means that women are less likely to be really extremely stupid than men, too)
Smolin, Woit, and Hossenfelder are just three individuals so it would be a fallacy to generalize any observations about the three of them to theories about whole sexes. On the other hand, lots of the differences (except for her being more masculine than Woit and Smolin when it comes to courage!) are pretty much totally consistent with the rational expectations based on lots of experience – extreme leftists would say "prejudices" – about the two sexes. Ms Hossenfelder, a woman, just doesn't believe that the arguments and derivations rooted in complex enough mathematics should play a decisive role. She has very unreasonably claimed that even totally technical if not mathematical questions such as the uniqueness of string theory are sociological issues. It's because women want to make things "social". Well, Lee Smolin has also preposterously argued that "science is democracy" but he just didn't go this far in the removal of mathematics from physics.

Just to be sure, I am not saying that Ms Hossenfelder is a typical feminist. She is not. She hasn't been active in any of the far left compaigns. But her relationship towards mathematical methods places her among the typical women. She has been trained as a quantitative thinker which made her knowledge surpass that of the average adult woman, of course, but training cannot really change certain hardwired characteristics. On the other hand, a feminist is someone who believes that it is reasonable for women – and typical women like her – to have close to 50% of influence over physics (or other previously "masculine" activities). So what I am saying is the following: it is not her who is the real feminist in this story – it is the buyers and readers of her book and her apologists. Non-feminists, whether they're men or women, probably find it a matter of common sense that her book might be poetry or journalism but her opinions about physics itself just cannot be considered on par with those of the top men.

In the text above, we could see one mechanism by which the diversity efforts hurt particle physics. They made it harder to criticize a woman, in this case Ms Sabine Hossenfelder, for her extremely unfriendly pronouncements about science and for the bogus arguments on which she builds. Because the simply pointing out that Hossenfelder is just full of šit would amount to a "mansplaining" and the diversity efforts classify these things as politically incorrect, the political correctness has helped to turn Ms Sabine Hossenfelder into an antibiotics-resistant germ.

The second mechanism by which the diversity efforts have caused this Hossenfelder mess is hiding in the answer to the question: Why did Ms Hossenfelder and not another woman start this movement to terminate particle physics?

Well, it's because she is really angry. And she got really angry about it because she has been more or less forced – for more than 15 years – to do things she naturally mistrusts, according to her own opinions. Indeed, my anger is the fair counterpart of that, as explained e.g. in the LHC presentation by Sheldon Cooper. ;-) She had to write papers about the search for black holes at the LHC, theories with a minimal length, and lots of other things – usually with some male collaborators in Frankfurt, Santa Barbara, and elsewhere. But based on her actual experience and abilities, she just doesn't "believe" that anything in particle physics has any sense or value.

This admission has been written repeatedly. For example, a conversation with Nima Arkani-Hamed in her book ends up with:
On the plane back to Frankfurt, bereft of Nima’s enthusiasm, I understand why he has become so influential. In contrast to me, he believes in what he does.
Right, Nima's energy trumps that of the FCC collider and he surely looks like he believes what he does. But why would Ms Hossenfelder not trust what she is doing? And if she didn't trust what she was doing, why wasn't she doing something else? Why hasn't she left the damn theoretical or particle physics? Isn't it really a matter of scientific integrity that a scientist should only do things that she believes in?

And that's how we arrive to the second mechanism by which the diversity ideology has "caused" the calls to terminate particle physics. The diversity politics is pushing (some of the) people into places where they don't belong. We usually talk about the problems that it causes to the places. But this "misallocation of the people" causes problems to the people, too. People are being thrown into prisons. Sabine Hossenfelder was largely thrown to particle physics and related fields and for years, it was assumed that she had to be grateful for that, the system needed her to improve the diversity ratios, and no one needed to ask her about anything.

But she has suffered. She has suffered for more than 15 years. To get an idea, imagine that you need to deal with lipsticks on your face every fudging day for 15 years, otherwise you're in trouble. She really hates all of you and she wants to get you. So Dr Stöcker, Giddings, and others, be extraordinarily careful about vampires at night because the first vampire could be your last.

The politically correct movement has first forced Sabine Hossenfelder to superficially work in theoretical high energy physics (a field whose purpose is to use mathematical tools and arguments to suggest and analyze possible answers to open questions about the Universe) and although she never wanted to trust mathematics this much, she never wanted to derive consequences of many theories although at most "one theory" is relevant in the "real life", and she certainly didn't want to continue with this activity that depends on the trust in mathematics after the first failed predictions (genuine science is all about falsification of models, theories, and paradigms and failed predictions are everyday appearances; scientists must continue, otherwise science would have stopped within minutes the first time it was tried in a cave; in the absence of paradigm-shifting experiments, it's obvious that theorists are ahead and they are comparing a greater number of possibly paths to go further than 50 years ago – not everyone would like it but it's common sense why the theoretical work has to be more extensive in this sense).

And the PC ideology has kept her in this prison for more than 15 years.

And then, when she already emerged as an overt hater of particle physics, the same diversity ideology is turning her into an antibiotics-resistant germ because it's harder to point out that she isn't really good enough to be taken seriously when it comes to such fundamental questions. And it seems that some people don't care and in their efforts to make women stronger, they want to help her to sell her book – it seems that the risk that they are helping to kill particle physics seems to be a non-problem for them.

These are the two mechanisms by which the politically correct ideology threatens the very survival of scientific disciplines such as particle physics. So all the cowards in the HEP silent majority, you're just wrong. PC isn't an innocent cherry on a pie. PC is a life-threatening tumor and the cure should better start before it's too late.

And that's the memo.

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