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Peter Woit on the quadrillion possible rescues for string theory: “pure, unadulterated hype”

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While commenting on the quadrillion new hopes for string theory, our physics color commentator Rob Sheldon noted that Columbia mathematician Peter Woit has also addressed the quadrillion:

As usual, this is just pure, unadulterated hype. It’s based on a PRL publication, also available as this preprint. I usually try to avoid this sort of editorializing, but I’m actually shocked to see that PRL is now publishing this sort of thing, which is infinitely far from having any connection to conventional science. Peter Woit, “This Week’s Hype” at Not Even Wrong

“infinitely far from having any connection to conventional science”? Wow.

We’re waiting for Sabine Hossenfelder too. But while looking to see if she had said anything, we came across a blog post attacking her:

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. Luboš Motl, “Hossenfelder’s plan to abolish particle physics is the most prominent achievement of diversity efforts in HEP yet” at the reference frame

Lost in Math

In the real world, many people were not surprised by Hossenfelder’s assessment of the situation
and she is actually threatening legal action against Motl for defamation regarding her expertise. Readers of her Lost in Math: How Beauty Leads Physics Astray, can judge for themselves. Generally, when they claim you’re anti-science for asking questions, examining the historical record, and doing the math, they don’t have a lot to go on, do they?

We don’t know much about Motl but he seems to think, oddly, that Hossenfelder is a diversity hire. Um, no. Mere diversity hires natter constantly about their identity. They write articles about how they were done wrong to by less diverse colleagues. They end up by guaranteeing that everyone is glad to see them go, whether they move on or up.

taking on the genuine scams and hypes in a field, AS SHE IS DOING? That’s a job for pros.

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See also: Quadrillion possible ways found to rescue string theory! Physicist Rob Sheldon comments Sheldon: It suggests that 30 years of string theorists have been searching in the wrong part of phase space. That promising solutions are not in the “weak interaction” swampland, but in the “strong interaction” wasteland. By limiting their search, they claim they have eliminated many previous solutions, and are closing in on “the solution” as one-in-a-quadrillion. Their track record would say otherwise.

One Reply to “Peter Woit on the quadrillion possible rescues for string theory: “pure, unadulterated hype”

  1. 1
    Polanyi says:

    So sad to see this silly attack by Luboš Motl, as he has written some rather interesting critiques of Bohemian mechanics, that was a good since he focuses on the science.

    Ironically, one could have raised this same criticism against him since some of the most prominent defenders of Bohemian mechanics are Jewish, i.e Sheldon Goldstein (not to mention that Bohm himself was Jewish!)

    Guess we can conclude that Motl is a defender of “Aryan physics” and just a closet anti-simite?

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