String Theory Jocks, Macro Evolution Jerks ~ BitterSweetLife

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

String Theory Jocks, Macro Evolution Jerks

The latest edition of WIRED magazine had a fascinating interview piece with Lee Smolin, a theoretician who challenges String Theory, the swank "theory of everything" championed in recent years by Brian Greene. I'm always intrigued when Physics merge with transcendent reality, and so I've been interested in String Theory for some time. However, this piece also provides what I think is a remarkable parallel to the current Intelligent Design vs. Evolution debate. Check this excerpt, then go read the rest.

WIRED: Yet you essentially accuse string theorists of being the jocks of theoretical physics. Smolin: A lot of people are frustrated that this community that styles itself as dominant – and is dominant in many places in the US – is uninterested in other good work. Look, when we have quantum gravity meetings, we try to invite a representative from each of the major opposing theories, including string theory. It's not that we're so very moral; it's just what you do. But at the annual international string theory meeting, they've never done this.

I should note, to avoid confusion, that the analogy breaks down after a certain point. Stephen Jay Gould ("We are here because one type of fish had a particular fin anatomy") never possessed the hipster aura of Brian Greene.

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Culture. Photos. Life's nagging questions. - BitterSweetLife