Friday, January 7, 2011

Has Peter Woit Lost His Mind ?

Now is the Winter of Peter Woit's discontent

No, he hasn't (not yet anyway), but if you skim read his latest article, "What the M Stands For" at his blog, you might think so.

It comes as a shock to many people when they read Peter Woit's book Not Even Wrong that he actually has a sense of humor, but he does. Mind you, I'm not suggesting he quit his day job and join the stand-up comedy circuit any time soon, as he is still an unabashed nerd (coming from me, that's a compliment), but now and then he breaks the stereotype and provides humor, as in the passage in his book about Ed Witten being an alien, and now on his wonderful blog, also called Not Even Wrong, here.

CyberWitten: Fust vee kill zee birds in zee Aflockalypse, zen vee hahvest zee humans for zair livers, aftuh distracting zair finest minds vis zee String Teary, so zay don't notice till eets too late. Zat is zee plan, so fah zo guud. Bwa-ha-HA!! I'll be back! ... vis knot teary or zum zing else to confuuz tem.

Peter is not without his critics of course, including this future CLASSIC reply to the next-to-last post at NEW, "Ancient History"

El Cid says:
A question, If you say that you aren’t an expert in string theory, what the hell are you criticising? You don’t know of what you are talking about. You aren’t a physicist, any longer. Maybe you’ve got in a Ph.D. in theoretical physics in a prestigious university long time ago, but now you don’t want to learn theoretical physics. why don’t you try to learn the hard and necessary math and then to try understanding string theory before to criticise the theory?
Because the only aim for you is to argue with the true physicists for laughing of them and your blog is only about sociology. Your book is for earning a lot of money with this dishonest behaviour. Because of this I hate you and I’m going to attack your blog. You are an enemy of science you are an enemy of the hard work.

Steve here. El Cid's reply is typical of String Theory defenders, offering up nothing but a vacuous mean-spirited attack of constructive criticism.

It's amusing for all of about 2 seconds.


Shecky R. said...

El Cid sounds a li'l El Loco...

Steven Colyer said...

Hi, Shecky,

Right? Mental illness is a terrible thing, the price we pay I guess for possessing the amazing electrochemical computers known as brains, which are highly sensitive to the environment. I actually feel bad for El Cid with his negative attitude, how long can the guy survive in this world? He can't be very happy.

I'd point out all of Cid's incorrect comments but life and time are too short. I'm surprised Peter let that through, but Woit is quite good at fighting his own battles. Nevertheless, that was pretty over the top, even for SuperStrings defenders. I think it's indicative of the passions this whole stupid debate stirs up.

Mr. Spocks, they ain't. :-)

And too bad, too. Logic. More people should try it, and keep the emotional hat at the door.