Tuesday, February 14, 2023

What do physicists want?

What do physicists want has always been a useful question for killing a few hours. There are lots of answers, tenure, a job, escape from the incel lifestyle things like that.

This being Valentine's day, and ATTPs Willard having opened the door with a rant on Post Normal Science (which, as Eli has pointed out is really Pre Normal Science, the point at which something has been observed, but no one quite knows where it came from, what it means or how to understand it.  

Science actually has a way of dealing with such situations but the initial flailing about to reach a useful understanding is later used by those who oppose action to obfuscate by insisting that still nothing is known, what is known is wrong, or at best that more research is needed.  Oh yes, natural variability.

But sometimes the initial flailing about for a scientific solution can produce long lasting Policy responses. These can be pernicious, and involve serious denial of reality.

Proposers of the discarded theories often still clutch them.

They attack the scientists. They always point back at the initial confusion.  Choosing up sides happens in the Pre-Normal Science stage before the scientific consensus emerges, but persists

Vested interests provide the money.)

But enough of that, Willard's rant soon turned to Sabine Hossenfelder's Ode to Beauty which she sees as a pernicious disease of physicists

Sabine, if Eli may say, is very confused about what physicists want, which is not a beautiful theory, but a terse theory which can be used to understand most everything or at least the next bottom most layer of most everything.

The problem is that nature may not be susceptable to a terse understanding at the Planck level and even if it were people may not be able to understand that description.

Eli has always worked on the theory that quantum mechanics may not be harder than we think but may be harder than we can think, in which case one takes what one can get and has another carrot.

Shut up and calculate.

1 comment:

Susan Anderson said...

I've stolen a bit of this, quoted on aTTP's latest about Covid origins. Maybe I should have asked first. Oh well ... I find the endless argument there counterproductive, and though it's not pre- in that case, the same sickness lingers on, infecting too many people who should know better, and giving undue weight to dishonest arguments.