Nobody expects the Strings Inquisition

The Spanish InquisitionThe recent comments by you-know-who against the positive press that Peter Woit’s book Not Even Wrong is receiving just reminded me (by some weird association of ideas) of this epoch-making gag by Monty Python. I was about to write an entry on my recently ordering this book and planning to read it on a trip next week, but now i’m scared of confessing having bought it! (and, anyway, Christine Dantas has recently put quite nicely almost my exact feelings on this matter). Imagine, i might even like it, and got immediately classified as a crackpot and a nincompoop by the theoretical physics community!

I’m trying hard to respect string theory and theorists (and even plan on reading Zee, Weinberg and Zwiebach’s books, already waiting on my shelf). Why, i even admire several string theorists. But it would help if someone told me that Motl is not the string community’s spokesman. Or to read every now and then a bit of self-criticism from said community (something in the vein of Smolin’s comments in, say, Three Roads to Quantum Gravity). For if the (so to speak) dialectic battles between those two are to be taken as the kind of discussion we theoretical physicists favour these days, poor Monty Python are just out of business. Paraphrasing Erwin Schrodinger, i wouldn’t like it, and i would be sorry i ever had anything to do with it.

Update: Christine’s again right on the spot. And this is much, much closer to the kind of discussion i was asking for!


3 Responses to “Nobody expects the Strings Inquisition”

  1. Fabio Says:

    Lubos is indeed an embarrasment to all of theoretical physics. Even in those cases where I think he is right in substance, by association his net value added is negative.

  2. island Says:

    You guys are too quick to blame unscientific behavior and every wild claim that stringers make on Lumo, alone.
    Abstract: Most advances in the history of science have been marked by discoveries about nature, but at certain turning points we have made discoveries about science itself. These discoveries lead to changes in how we score our work, in what we consider to be an acceptable theory.

    Gag me with a chopstick…

  3. Luis Sanchez Says:

    I actually had a similar problem recently (read it here) concerning the stubborn attitude of some theorists that seem to think that the universe just exists in their equations.
    Anyway they just represent a small fraction of the community and are easily recognizible, what concerns me is the effect they can have on the mind of young people new to the field, I remember a talk six months ago about calculating some nature’s constants using numerical arguments, the arguments were very similar to ones used by Eddington nearly a century ago and now considered to be spurious (look at Hans Bethe’s position).
    On the particular Lubos issue I have mixed opinions, if you remove his really rude comments there is many good content scattered in his blog.

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