Betsy Speicher

The Trouble With Physics: The Rise of String Theory, the Fall of a Science, and What Comes Next

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7 posts in this topic

The Trouble With Physics, Book Suggested for rating by Bob Kolker

I can comfortably rate it a 9, even though I'm only done with the first 5 chapters. Though Smolin makes some statements that an Objectivist might take exception to, he is obviously honest and rational in his approach, and firmly wedded to a realist metaphysics and the value of experimental evidence in Physics. I'll have more to say about this excellent book when I've finished it. In the interim, I'll say that anyone who wants a fair overview of modern physics, with useful comments about String Theory, in a laymen's book, should pick this one up.

It stands, for example, in remarkable contrast to Brian Green's obscuratanist nonsense contained in the book The Elegant Universe, and the even more quasi-mystical and blatantly skeptic bull of the TV programs produced from it.

Jeff

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The Trouble With Physics, Book Suggested for rating by Bob Kolker

I can comfortably rate it a 9, even though I'm only done with the first 5 chapters. Though Smolin makes some statements that an Objectivist might take exception to, he is obviously honest and rational in his approach, and firmly wedded to a realist metaphysics and the value of experimental evidence in Physics. I'll have more to say about this excellent book when I've finished it. In the interim, I'll say that anyone who wants a fair overview of modern physics, with useful comments about String Theory, in a laymen's book, should pick this one up.

It stands, for example, in remarkable contrast to Brian Green's obscuratanist nonsense contained in the book The Elegant Universe, and the even more quasi-mystical and blatantly skeptic bull of the TV programs produced from it.

Jeff

Thanks for the recommendation. I used to study under Dr. Smolin at Syracuse University. At the time, I thought he was pretty anti-reality and subjective, and I went through a lot of frustration trying to decode his teaching. I hope this book indicates a significant move towards reason in his work. His brilliant mind is pretty much unequaled in physics, the above caveats granted. I'll have to read the book, and would love to hear what others think of it.

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Seeing this makes me think of Stephen. It never occurred to me that there was any dissent about the state of epistemology in physics until I read some of Stephen's posts on the subject a many, many years ago.

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Seeing this makes me think of Stephen.

Me, as well. I haven't read this book but it's a candidate. Stephen made some highly negative comments about string theory; I'd like to learn more what the fuss is all about, knowing very little about the subject.

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Seeing this makes me think of Stephen. It never occurred to me that there was any dissent about the state of epistemology in physics until I read some of Stephen's posts on the subject a many, many years ago.

There has been a recognition by Objectivists of serious epistemological problems in modern physics at least since the 1960's when Leonard Peikoff taught a course on phillosophy of science at Brooklyn Poly.

'String theory' is so bizarrely rationalistic on the face of it that I have deliberately never invested the time to delve into it myself, but Stephen had and I'm sure he would have had something knowledgeable to say about the Smolin book (which I have not seen either).

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'String theory' is so bizarrely rationalistic on the face of it that I have deliberately never invested the time to delve into it myself, but Stephen had and I'm sure he would have had something knowledgeable to say about the Smolin book (which I have not seen either).

Stephen would read the book but before he commented on it or reviewed it, he would probably call up or e-mail Dr. Smolin to make sure he understood his position correctly, give him a chance to clarify any dubious formulations, and thank him for the parts he found especially valuable. He got to meet many interesting people that way.

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