Max Tegmark seems to have decided that my criticism here of the emptiness of ideas in his recent book is “similar to hate-mail I’ve been receiving from a Young-Earth Creationist”. Also, the fact that I have fans at a certain Intelligent Design blog shows that I’m “against the spirit of science”. Given this, I guess I need to formally make the statement that
I am not now and never have been a creationist.
More specifically, 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. Sometimes you’ll see trackbacks on my blog coming from such links, basically because while sometimes I delete them, other days I think ignoring these people means really not wasting any time at all on them (and I’ve had my own problems with people censoring trackbacks…). 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. For those living in other parts of the world where they’re more of a problem, you have my sympathy and concern. I admire and congratulate people like Lawrence Krauss for their efforts to deal with the problems caused by such deniers. For most of us, I think the best tactic is to ignore them, on the grounds that not doing so will just lead to getting more attention for them and their arguments. As part of this, any comments arguing pro or con about evolution posted here will be immediately deleted.
While I’m not joining Krauss and others in their admirable efforts, I do think there is one way I can contribute to dealing with the threat from this kind of nonsense. If physicists like Tegmark succeed in publicizing and getting accepted as legitimate mainstream science their favorite completely empty, untestable “theory”, this threatens science in a very real way. 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.
Update: It took about 5 minutes for this posting to attract dumb arguments about religion and they’re now flooding in. Sorry, comments closed.