Scott’s Gauntlet

Scott Aaronson famously posted the remark

[Theoretical Computer Science], which by any objective standard has contributed at least as much over the last 30 years as (say) particle physics or cosmology to humankind’s basic picture of the universe

on his blog, to which the respectable Sean Carroll found it necessary to reply at CV. Since my comments at CV have a tendency to be deleted (mysteriously whenever they refer to alternative cosmologies) I thought I would post a few comments here. Mahndisa has kindly rescued some of them from the garbage can (see previous post here).

So Sean, if I might repeat my question: when you claim we have gained the insight of emergent spacetime, I would like to know which approach to QG you have in mind. The most promising approaches (if that means Strings, then consider the black holes of Kallosh, for example) use categorical ideas which lie at the very core of quantum computation. Since emergent spacetime is being touted as a huge advance in our understanding of the universe, I believe this strongly supports Scott’s argument.

It has also been pointed out that the Standard Model, in its original formulation, was a huge leap forward in our understanding. This is no doubt true. However, should it turn out that a rigorous form of the Standard Model relies heavily on categorical formalism, and not so much on the gauge concept, then even this part of physics (which it is an act of desperation to have to call upon) favours Scott’s point of view.

Sean’s latest reply to the crackpots (which I enthusiastically assure you includes yours truly) was: and will our more sensible commenters please remember that replying to crackpots is as crucial a part of the Crackpot Dynamic as the original crackpottery itself? Resist the temptation! I have kept the comment lest Sean suddenly decides to censor himself at some later date.

Today we should also mourn the passing of Christine Dantas’ wonderful Quantum Gravity blog, which appears to have gone to the great blogbone in the sky.

How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!

3 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden said,

    11 06 06

    Oh Damn! I just saw her blog go down. Oh well, I guess someone else will havta pick up the slack.

  2. 2

    Kea said,

    We do what we can.

  3. 3

    CarlBrannen said,

    I had not realized the trouble that neutrino masses were causing the standard model until I picked up the new Cambridge University book The Standard Model: A Primer at the conference discount in Hawaii.

    My copy turned out to have a few leaves loose in the appendix, but otherwise it is a wonderful book. Will post more on Physics Forums, likely when I’ve looked at the other book I bought there.

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