I just finished Sabine Hossenfelder‘s book Lost in Math.
Whether pondering black holes or predicting discoveries at CERN, physicists believe the best theories are beautiful, natural, and elegant, and this standard separates popular theories from disposable ones. This is why, Sabine Hossenfelder argues, we have not seen a major breakthrough in the foundations of physics for more than four decades.
The belief in beauty has become so dogmatic that it now conflicts with scientific objectivity: observation has been unable to confirm mindboggling theories, like supersymmetry or grand unification, invented by physicists based on aesthetic criteria. Worse, these “too good to not be true” theories are actually untestable and they have left the field in a cul-de-sac. To escape, physicists must rethink their methods. Only by embracing reality as it is can science discover the truth.
My review is brief but accurate:
- Not in denial.
Most of the physics Hossenfelder discussed was over my head but it makes me happy to be reminded of what the brain of our species is capable of achieving.
I also very much enjoyed watching a great intellect take down other great intellects that are denying reality.
I’m pretty sure Hossenfelder’s a denial mutant. I wish she would read and discuss Varki’s MORT theory.
I will read her book again soon.
Hossenfelder blogs here, and makes physics videos here.
Here is a must watch 7 minute synopsis of the book by the author.
Her most recent video took down Trump using quantum mechanics.
Hossenfelder also makes music videos here and here. These are a couple of my favorites.
6 thoughts on “Sabine Hossenfelder’s Lost in Math”
Notes on debt:
Debt is a promise to produce more wealth in the future than we produce today.
Debt enables us to consume more wealth today than we could without debt.
Most wealth is created from finite natural resources using non-renewable energy.
When debt grows faster than wealth, debt is a good proxy for overshoot.
Today debt is growing about 4 times faster than real wealth.
This ratio has been increasing for many years and continues to accelerate.
The higher the overshoot, the more destructive the inevitable collapse.
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In addition to MORT, I am a fan of its converse, that is, one hears voices and sees visions that are not real. Nettle showed in his short and fascinating book ‘Strong Imagination’ (Oxford, 2001) that this madness also is part of human nature. Not only we deny the reality but also believe in fantasy.
Yes. In addition our memories change over time. I’ll check out Nettle’s book. Thanks for the tip.
Nice essay by Chris Smaje using whale oil as an example of how technology and economic growth really work.
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I like and respect Richard Heinberg. He’s the wise and polite statesman of human overshoot. I cut him some slack for not publicly calling for rapid population reduction because I know he knows that’s what needs to be done, but unlike me which few read, he has a large base of paying fans that he can’t upset.
His big picture essay today on modern history is very good.
In part 2 Heinberg shares his personal experiences trying to prepare for a post-carbon future.
I observe that Heinberg is still deeply dependent on fossil energy despite foresight and commitment, and despite living in warm and sunny food abundant California.
Most of us here in Canada have none of those things.
Tim Watkins today…