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Old 2nd February 2011, 09:33 AM   #64
Tim Thompson
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Join Date: Dec 2008
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Lightbulb String Theory V

Originally Posted by Hercules Rockefeller View Post
Clifford Johnson debated Smolin and Woit on his blog Asymptotia under Scenes: Storm In A Teacup ...
Scenes:Storm In A Teacup
Clifford Johnson (Personal USC home page)
Clifford Johnson (Faculty USC home page)

I met Johnson at a talk he gave on string theory and had him autograph my copy of his book D-Branes (Cambridge Monographs on Mathematical Physics; Cambridge University Press, 2003). When I handed him the book he expressed some surprise that anyone actually bought it. It's a good book, I think, but you really have to be into that mathematical physics thing or it looks like a foreign language. I am not really surprised that Johnson would come out on top of such a debate, as I think I could probably out debate either Woit or Smolin on string theory and I know far less than any of them do about it on a technical level. But I understand the history and I think I understand the real weakness of the positions that Woit & Smolin take, and that weakness is philosophical more than technical, both of them being in the "give up and quit" camp for insufficient reasons.
The point of philosophy is to start with something so simple as not to seem worth stating, and to end with something so paradoxical that no one will believe it. -- Bertrand Russell
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