Gregg Easterbrook is a senior editor at the New Republic, and gives every indication of being a complete moron. His column about Hawking’s recent talk on black hole information loss is a masterpiece of anti-intellectualism. He appears to believe that the problem with physics is that, in trying to understand the big bang, ideas have been invoked that “don’t do especially well on the common-sense test”.
Only someone with zero common-sense would think that common-sense is going to explain the state and dynamics of the universe billions of years ago when conditions were utterly unlike those in which humans evolved and continue to exist.
Thanks for pointing out the earlier Easterbrook piece about string theory. I had seen it a while back but forgotten about it.
Easterbrook seems interested not so much in criticizing string theory as in promoting religion. His older article is more of the same anti-intellectualism as in his Hawking piece, attacking physicists for trafficking in ideas that he doesn’t understand. It shows clearly what I see as one of the main dangers of where string theory is leading physics. If a scientific field abandons the standard norms of what is science and what isn’t, it will lose its credibility and people like Easterbrook will try and promote the idea that we can never understand much about the universe and try and replace science by theology. Wait till someone tells him about the recent “anthropic” nonsense….
I read the Beliefnet piece. Peter is right; he is a moron. He touts string theory’s resemblance to theology, apparently in the hope of promoting the legitimacy of the latter (understood as a belief in an “unseen realm of the spirit”).
But, Peter, he’s on your side, when it comes to
string theory! Check out
And, if you think about it, his argument against
string theory is remarkably similar to yours.
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