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Peter Woit on the multiverse and Templeton

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We like Columbia mathematician Peter Woit here because he seems to be both honest and sane, two qualities that are very useful but are not always found together:

With reference to legitimate concerns about the end of science, he writes,

The really odd thing about the review is that Gribbin uses the multiverse to argue that John Horgan’s claims about physics in The End of Science are wrong. This is just bizarre. Gribbin and his multiverse mania for untestable theories provides strong ammunition for Horgan, since it’s the sort of thing he was warning about. Actually, I don’t recall anything in Horgan’s book about the multiverse, and suspect the idea that physics would end up embracing such an obviously empty idea was something that even he didn’t see coming. As the multiverse mania gains strength, physicists are blowing past the “End of Science” to something that has left conventional science completely behind.

Woit probably doesn’t even know that some researchers are now claiming that human evolution is best explained by our descent from a pig-chimp hybrid.

In that case, we don’t know anything about human evolution.

Oh, he says this about Templeton:

The symposium was co-sponsored by the Templeton Foundation, with no theology or religion in sight. I think they’re mostly these days keeping the physics/math and theology apart, with this symposium and FQXI two good examples, and I’m happy to see that. My other main complaint about Templeton was always that they were pushing multiverse research since that fit into their agenda. These days I don’t see them doing so much of that, with multiverse mania being driven by much more dangerously influential sources. But maybe I’m less critical of them because they invited me to a very nice dinner after the talks…

Well, you can’t be crazy all the time, even if you are rich.

5 Replies to “Peter Woit on the multiverse and Templeton

  1. 1
    wd400 says:

    Woit probably doesn’t even know that some researchers are now claiming that human evolution is best explained by our descent from a pig-chimp hybrid.

    Some? Can you name a second?

  2. 2
    JoeCoder says:

    For a second, McCarthy lists this endorsement on his site:

    As a clinician and scientist with medical training it is a joy to find a theory so carefully and elegantly presented. My interest in the hybrid nature of modern man led me to Eugene McCarthy’s website and lifework. What a revelation! Surprising and shocking. Such is the nature of truth sometimes. Life will never be seen in the same way after reading this work.”

    Dr Chris Millar
    Ballarat, Victoria, Australia

    So that’s two. Still, “a small minority” would have been more accurate than saying “some”.

  3. 3
    Piotr says:

    Dr Chris Millar

    Any relative of Dr Millar from “O Lucky Man!” and “Britannia Hospital”?

  4. 4
    rhampton7 says:

    What does the honest and sane Peter Woit say about Intelligent Design?

    …everything I’ve seen about Intelligent Design indicates to me it is nonsense, and I’ve done my best to ignore those who promote such nonsense, whether they link to my blog or not…

    On the larger issue of how to deal with evolution-deniers, one reason I live in New York is because it’s easy to ignore such people here, they’re not much of a problem…

    I admire and congratulate people like Lawrence Krauss for their efforts to deal with the problems caused by such deniers…

    IDers like the bloggers mentioned above now can point to mainstream physics to justify their own untestable “theory”, Intelligent Design, or whatever other nonsense they find attractive because they like having a deity around. Yes, physicists need to fight pseudo-science coming from quarters like the IDers, but they at the same time need to fight pseudo-science coming from within their own community, which in the end may be even more dangerous.

    TL:DR
    ID is as much a psuedo-science as the multiverse or string theory.

  5. 5
    tjguy says:

    ID is as much a psuedo-science as the multiverse or string theory.

    Well, give the guy a break. You can’t expect him to be right all the time. At least he has the multiverse thing right.

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