Yes, according to Rob Sheldon:
Woit & Hossenfelder & Wolchover are saying something more profound than they realize. It is not simply, as Wolchover put it, “a diphoton hangover”, or as Hossenfelder put it, “we are completely lost”, nor even as Woit said in his 2013 essay, a “nightmare scenario” in which,
“After centuries of great progress, moving towards ever deeper understanding of the universe we live in, we may be entering a new kind of era. Will intellectual progress become just a memory, with an important aspect of human civilization increasingly characterized by an unfamiliar and disturbing stasis?”
For Peter, as well as Sabine and Natalie, “progress” is the birthright of humanity, and “stasis” the curse. But imagine for a moment that you lived in 1350 AD as the Plague made its way northward from Italy and Constantinople. Would “stasis” be a bad thing?
And what exactly is this thing called “progress”? And why is it so important?
The late historian and philosopher of science, Stanley Jaki argued that what stymied Science (and presumably “progress”) in the Greek city-states, the Roman empire, the Chinese dynasties, the Baghdad caliphates, and the Hindu kingdoms, was not a love of stasis, but a failure of metaphysics. If we interpret the world wrongly, we don’t make progress. If we get obsessed with turning lead into gold, we don’t make progress on the heat evolved from heating cinnabar and reoxidizing it. If we think heat is an intrinsic property of matter, we don’t understand how to make a heat engine. The alchemists thought that they could make progress without metaphysics, simply by following more and more complicated recipes, but in the end, the recipes failed them.
I heard a story 2nd hand about how Xerox discovered that light made Selenium charge up, and that static electricity could attract finely divided ink (“toner”), and hence the miracle of xerography was born. But after 20 years, no one could improve on it. The recipes had panned out. So they hired a physicist to understand the physics of charged dust. Only after creating a physics model, were they able to improve on the process.
So by analogy, it was these metaphysical mistakes that stopped progress. And it is these same metaphysical mistakes that are stymieing particle physics. And cosmology. And space physics. And astrophysics. And high-Tc superconductivity. And origin-of-life. And anthropology. And climatology. And biology.
In fact, in every field that I have read the peer-reviewed literature, I find some 20th century model or paradigm that is dominating the field and stymieing progress. Why?
Because every single one of these 20th century paradigms is based on a 19th century metaphysics of incoherence, of randomness, of methodological naturalism, of materialism. The religion of the 20th century is the reason we can’t make progress in the 21st.
But the good news for Peter, Sabine and Natalie, is that there is a cure. It’s called coherence, design, teleology, purpose. And trust me, once you see what it can do, you won’t mind the opprobrium, you’ll be having too much fun.