Via David Goss and Lubos Motl, the news that CNN’s Candy Crowley has a piece about Witten. Unlike Lee Smolin’s Why No “New Einstein”? piece, CNN more or less identifies Witten as the new Einstein. Witten is quoted as giving the following rather defensive statement about string theory: “I just think too many nice things have happened in string theory for it to be all wrong… Humans do not understand it very well, but I just don’t believe there is a big cosmic conspiracy that created this incredible thing that has nothing to do with the real world.” He’s kind of defending against a straw man, since virtually no one is saying string theory is “all wrong” or “has nothing to do with the real world”. It quite possibly can provide some sort of dual description of QCD, and that is what much research in string theory these days is aiming for. On the other hand, the conjecture that you can make a unified TOE using string/M-theory in 11 dimensions at this point shows every evidence of being all wrong.