Saturday, November 24, 2007


I come up with plenty of gems filled with the wisdom I've collected in my physics career, but I just have the problem of getting to a computer in time to type them up for this blog. One of these gems concerns the tone one often encounters in physics.

It's a hard thing to discuss, in part, because it's hard to pin down and describe. At its essence is contempt. If one were trying to "cook" up the sauce corresponding to this conversational tone, contempt would be the chicken broth base. There's subtle spice added so that the contempt may not be directed at the audience, but instead to others who don't understand.

Somewhat paradoxically, you need to speak as if only the very intelligent can understand while at the same time making the subject appear child's play. In such a way, it is very perilous to ask a question because that may indicate how little is understood. And if your audience asks a deep question or one to which you don't know the answer, by all means, hide this fact. Act as if it's a stupid question, but you need to do so in a viable way so that on the off chance your audience actually does understand things better than you, they don't see through your bluff.

If you've never encountered such a tone (meaning you've had very limited exposure to physicists), this description may not do you much good. An example is in order, and thus we get to the cause which engendered this post (three and four syllable words are like a touch of cinnamon when adopting this superior tone).

Now before I provide a link, let me say that I don't relish harping on fellow bloggers from behind the safety of my anonymity. I've got three reasons for doing so. The first is that this blogger, in the words our president might use, "brought in on" himself. Another is that I'm not really harping on him, personally. Jacques' been trained just as so many others have. And the third is to defend Jacques after appearing to be such a jerk. He's been trained that way. Arguably, one must act like this in his field to maintain the respect of his peers. In person, he seems a pretty reasonable guy.

So, if you've not read it, you might take a look at Jacques Distler's adventure into all that is E8/Lisi:

  • If you look at all the italics he uses in the first sentence, you clearly see that this is all beneath him. He doesn't see any benefit, but just had to speak up. Why so?
  • In the next paragraph he slams the Physics blogosphere (of which he is a member) and Sean in particular. Sean publishes a reasonable discussion of why he chose not to read the paper, a process of thought executed tens, if not hundreds of times by every active physicist every week or month. He further hammers home his point in the update by declaring "the Physics blogosphere as an intellectual wasteland." Umm, sure there's some garbage out there, but when Steinn/Sean/Chad/Doug/etc explains some recent paper, how can that not be considered intelligent? Just as garbage shows up on the Arxiv, some shows up on the blogosphere.
  • He finally gets to some physics where his "tone" becomes a bit more apparent (in contrast to just being a jerk). He mentions something that "Garret[t] never deigns to tell us" as if Garrett is somehow the one adopting a superior tone. What's funny is that Jacques gets corrected on this point later.
  • He then expresses vaguely directed contempt by explaining "for reasons that are obvious to anyone who has taken more than a passing glance at Garrett's paper." Right, "anyone" should understand this point...meaning you are a big idiot if you glanced at the paper and still don't know the reasons. This really serves no other purpose than conveying his contempt or bolstering his own ego.
  • In the comments, he really tries hard to provide good examples. He sighs at one point in explaining some horribly simple thing.
  • In responding to Garrett (yes, he actually tries to help Jacques, and one should really contrast their two ways of "talking"), Jacques asks Garrett to "enlighten" him...he couldn't use the word "explain" because that would imply Jacques didn't know something, and one can't do that (easily) in his field of competence. One must always maintain the attitude that you are the teacher and thereby any question is just an opportunity for the pupil to gain praise.
  • Jacques later advises Garrett that "it would be best to pick one story and stick to it." That just plain isn't nice.
  • Later, he brings out more italics saying he "really didn't want to post." But then why did he? And why must he protest so much (besides the logically inconsistency of not wanting to post yet doing it). Surely he knew he couldn't tamp down the media hype. Because other bloggers weren't being sufficiently critical? I've read quite a bit of criticism and skepticism in the wasteland. I wonder if it was because the skepticism was actually polite and reasoned (I didn't read Motl, though).
  • He follows this up with "I'm annoyed enough at the apparent intellectual standards of the physics blogosphere."


wolfgang said...

>besides the logically inconsistency of not wanting to post yet doing it.

This is not necessarily an inconsistency. People often do things that they do not really want to do.

Anonymous said...

Brevity is the soul of wit, and the Truth sets us free:
1) Lisi's paper does not present a theory of everything.
2) Lisi's paper makes no predictions.
3) Lisi's paper offers no novel, sensible calculations.
4) Lisi's paper is replete with errors, as noted by Distler et al, and it adds fermions and bosons.
5) Smolin called Lisi's paper "fabulous" and hyped it to the media.
6) Without reading and understanding the paper, Woit gave it a lot of attention on his powerful blog, further fueling the media storm.
7) Bee, who is employed by Smolin, presented the paper as gospel, and only backtracked and reason and logic were brought to the table by others.
8) Lisi's paper was knowingly mistitled.
9) Lisi must refrain from "ironic" lying titles in the future, so as not to confuse Fox News:,2933,311952,00.html :
Laid-Back Surfer Dude May Be Next Einstein — "For his part, Lisi self-mockingly calls his finding "An Exceptionally Simple Theory of Everything."
In the name of Truth and Science, the following must be done:
1) Lisi should retract his error-riddled, mistitled paper from, whereupon he can feel free to correct the errors, retitle it, and resubmit it, if it is still worth submitting.
2) Smolin should step forth and either apologize to the scientific community for calling the paper "Fabulous," or he should elaborate on what he meant by the word "Fabulous."
3) Peter should use his powerful and influential blog to aid in serving truth and science and setting the record straight.

Anonymous said...

There are many ways to be not even wrong, and both Lisi and the Bognavovs excell at being not even wrong.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but even though Lee Smolin calls Lisi's paper fabulous, it makes no predictions nor calculations and in fact does not unify gravity with the other forces, nor accomplish anything else except perhaps opening doors to book and movie deals via unsubstantiated hype, which we have faith Woit will do his best to discourage via his powerful and influential blog devoted to Science and Truth.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but simply stated:
1) The Bogdanov's papers make no concrete predictions. Lisi's paper makes no concrete predictions.
2) The Bogdanov's papers make no original concrete calculations. Lisi's paper makes no original concrete calculations.
3) The Bogdanov's papers are misleadingly titled. Lisi's paper is misleadingly titled.
4) The Bogdonavs have never presented an exceptionally simple theory of everything. Lisi has never presented an exceptionally simple tehory of everything.
Those are the facts. Now you might have preferred Lisi's youtube video, anti-string surfer image/ethos, and PDF formatting, but ultimately, at the end of the day physics is about physics, science is about science, and truth is about truth.

Angry said...

Wolfgang, I disagree with your position in all cases, but I'm perhaps a bit of an extremist. Ultimately, if you do something, it's because you want to. If I put a gun to your head, you'd rather do "it" then risk a bullet. But this isn't even an extreme case. There was no apparent outside compulsion to post on the topic, but instead some internal one.

Anonymouses: Really, this isn't the place to debate the merits of the paper or the behavior of Woit/Bee/Lisi/Smolin and whatever physics boogeypeople you might worry about.

wolfgang said...


> Ultimately, if you do something, it's because you want to.

Perhaps I read too much Dennett and in particular his "multiple drafts" model of consciousness.
And it probably depends on the exact definition of "want".

I was simply referring to the common(?) experience that we often do things we do not really "want" to do, but "have to" do anyways (e.g. go to a particular meeting or fill out IRS forms).

I would say that when I have to fill out a bureaucratic form there are (at least) two processes in my brain running in parallel, the one who fills out the form and the other who reminds "me" that I do not "want" to do this.

And I think Jacques tried to communicating a similar experience.

Angry said...

Wolfgang, Sure, it comes down to how we define terms. And yes, surely Jacques was trying to say something along those lines but it usually goes, "Boy, I really didn't want to, *but* I felt compelled to because..." Imagine I said, "I really didn't want to eat the ice cream." Well, absent any other reasons, I think most would tend to think, "Heck, this person ultimately decided that s/he *did* indeed want to eat it." He is leaving out entirely what motivated him to enter what he calls the Physics wasteland? (If I were starting a new blog, I'd go for that title!)

wolfgang said...

> If I were starting a new blog, I'd go for that title!

I think "angry physics" is not that bad - and expresses the ambiguity we talked about quite well 8-)

Anonymous said...

Lisi's merits aside, which anyways was not the true focus of your post, you are spot on about "the tone". One of the things I don't miss so much about the physics community.

Anonymous said...

The tone in modern physics is set by tenured physicists such as John Baez, who encourage young physicists to engage in ad hominem attacks and call other people crackpots:

Until Baez takes his federally & state funded crackpot index down off a univeristy website, bitterness, meanness, and uncivil discrouse shall rule.

David Sewell said...

tenured physicists such as John Baez, who encourage young physicists to engage in ad hominem attacks and call other people crackpots:
Okay, here's a reaction of a total outsider (non-physicist, been reading reactions in the blogosphere to the Lisi article after reading the New Scientist piece on it) to Baez's page: it's really not that awful. It's the kind of cautionary "here's what not to do if you want to be taken seriously" kind of thing I've seen many times and from many people in academia over the years. Heck, just a couple of weeks ago I was at a conference where one of the high-ups in the National Endowment for the Humanities gave a humorous five-minute summary of the Bad Grant Proposal in humanities computing, the one that commits all the cardinal sins and has no chance of getting accepted.
("I have no technical background myself, but we have a great Web guy who will put this online for us..."). It was pretty similar in tone to Baez's page.

Anonymous said...

perhaps you didn't hear me.

The tone in modern physics is set by tenured physicists such as John Baez, who instead of doing physics encourage young physicists to engage in anonymous ad hominem attacks and call other people crackpots:

Until Baez takes his federally & state funded crackpot index down off a univeristy website, bitterness, meanness, and uncivil discourse shall rule.

I simply don't see any use of calling Garret Lisi and Lee Smolin crackpots.

Anonymous said...

Congrats to Peter/Lee & Lisi.

I have never been so entertained:

I am literally in tears--laughing.

I was going to offer a mathematical critique of Lisi's theory, but I cannot top the thread.

Einstein, Newton, Feynman--even Lubos--please forgive us.

Anonymous said...

Please do not knock John Baez.

He is doing science a great service by calling out crackpots such as Garret Lisi and Lee Smolin.

Without Baez attacking crackpots, there would have been far less progress in physics over the past few years, with the wrong people getting tenure.

A crackpot by any other name would still be a Garrett Lisi.

Peter Woit said...

Some of the comments are also true classics

I really don't understand what it is about string theorists, I've never seen anyone in the math community behave anything like this. It's just bizarre that grown men think it's all right to behave in this way (I'm assuming the anonymous commenter is male, I can't imagine a woman acting like that).

Peter Woit said...

that was


amused said...

"Arguably, one must act like this in his field to maintain the respect of his peers"

Unfortunately this does seem to be true, so I guess one should make a suitable sociological renormalization when judging people from those circles as individuals. But let's give the guy credit for other qualities. Quite a few string theorists have the attitude that anything that is not string theory is not worth anything, but J.D. is not one of those. He readily acknowledges that there are plenty of non-string topics worth working on, and even blogs about some of these occasionally. I appreciate him for that.

Anonymous said...

Peter Woit writes at,

"I also think though that the “sociological” discussion is highly relevant. There is absolutely no reason for Distler to behave in the juvenile way that he does. He’s an adult, middle-aged man and should behave like a grown-up and like a professional. If he doesn’t understand this, others need to point this out to him.

If you don’t think this is a problem, that his behavior is acceptable, and mine is what you want to criticize from behind anonymity, that’s your choice."

Hey Peter. Baez is an adult, middle-aged man, and he's squirting out his crackpot index off a styate-funded university website. Peter--do you think Naez's crackpot index is professional?

One of the reasons that we have to remain anonymous is that Smolin et al are getting millions from the like of Goldman Sachs--Smolin has the funds to hire people who will sabotage your career if you criticize Lisi's nonsensical theories.

Goldman Sachs plays dirty:

Hey Peter--if you want to discuss the sociological issues, let's talk about teh sociological issues of the funding of PI.

Is Distler less professional that Goldman Sachs/PI?

Anonymous said...

Welcome to Hedge Fund Physics

Lead by Peter Woit, Lee smolin, and Garrett Lisi, here is the future of physics:

1) Find some random math from long ago, with a cool picture or two.
2) Make a youtube video and email it to PI.
3) Raise hundreds of millions from Goldman Sachs et al.
4) Hire bloggers and send out PR releases.
5) Make a list of the good groupthinkers.
6) Get pictures of the "chosen one" surfing and snowboarding and standing at Burning Man.
7) Give John Baez a government grant or two, and a tenured position to post and perpetuate a crackpot index encouraging ad-hominem attacks, while Peter Woit laughs and puts on a show, wringing his hands, saying, "oh me--how the tone has fallen!"
8) When Distler and real physicists criticize surfer-dude's non-theory, go after Distler's tone and manners, like the little girls/media manipulators that Woit/Smolin are.
8) Have Smolin shamelessly hype Lisi's non-theory to the media as "Fabulous", confusing and conning Fox News.
9) Have Garrett finally admit that the title was "ironic." Ha ha--get it? As Smolin raises millions of more dollars, sending the Fox News Story to Goldman Sachs et al. as prrof of PI's vast and great progress.
10) Let physics die, as one lives off Hedge Fund procedes whil referencing Plato, and Peter Woit pretends that he is against Not Even Wrong Theories, while all that he ever had was a secret envy and love of them. And now he has his own--Garret Lisi's "Exceptionally simple theory of everything."
11) I can just see Peter at Princeton today, at the geometric langlands conference, being hailed as a hero and getting an extra doughnut as he snickers and smiles and pats himself on the back for favoring convoluted, contorted, and deceptive mathematical masturbation over physics.

What it all comes doen to is that honor is gone from culture. Manliness is gone. The will to truth is gone. The tone was killed by little boys like Baez et al, calling honest, thinking physicists crackpots.

Physics has been replaced by Smolin/Woit/Lisi/Baez and their physics hedge funds/crackpot indexes.

Think about it:

Einstein/Pauli/Dirac/Bohr vs.


Einstein is Smolin's hero, and Pauli is Woit's hero, and to thank them they hype not-even-wrong Lisi theories and foster and encourage groupthink and media hype over science and philosophy.

Of course we must remain anonymous, as it is the only defence against media manipulators, ad hominen attackers, creators of "professional" crackpot indexes, hedge-fund funded hypers of non-theories, and self-appointed manner police, who outlaw truth and reason and then seek to destory you and physics by fighting like whiny, little gossipy girls.

I agree that the tone in physics must improve, and that Baez/Smolin/Lisi/Woit must lead the way starting today, by retracting Lisi's non-theory, apologzing to everyone they have ever called a crackpot, and giving back all the money that has funded and hyped non-theories.

ben said...

It's pretty funny how this comment thread provides such a prime example of that tone. You didn't even need to deconstruct Distler's post; all you needed to do was let the comments pile up and it would've proved your point.

guy in black helicopter said...


you think that "Of course we must remain anonymous, as it is the only defence against media manipulators", but you are wrong.
*they* know already who your are!

Anonymous said...

I think Garrett Lisi's paper and all the hype surrounding it demonstarted the tone.

Lisi literally told Fox News that the title of his paer was a lie. Is that professional? Does that set the proper tone?

The posts above just talk about the tone established by Woit/Smolin/Baez et al.

Don't shoot the messenger.

If ever there was somebody who could say absolutely nothing with a lot of words, it was Smolin:

It's painful to watch.

It's easy to see why Smolin/woit/Baez focus on the "tonality" and "tenor" and "tone" and "social issues" and "feelings" instead of physics and math.

Lacking aptitude and original content and conrtibutions, they play little girly games, calling this group in and that group out, sending out fake press releases with pretty pictures of E8 hoaxes and surfer studs, and uniting groupthinkers with meaningless lisi youtube videos with hot/sexy accents, as Baez calls anyone who deosn't agree with the Goldman Sachs-funded hype a crackpot.

A new book is coming into focus--one which shows how the Woit/Smolin/Baez/groupthink/fanboy/hedgefund/Lisi consortium is hellbent on killing logic, reason, and civil discourse.

What contributions in physics has come from PI, other than legions of groupthink fanboys who will destroy your career if you question Smolin's lackluster, contentless youtube performance, or his hyping of Lisi non-theories "fabulous?"

isaac said...

Hi pioneer1,

I'm afraid that you have, as so often, misunderstood something. Baez never called Lisi a crackpot. You may have a look (although you're probably not interested in) at "This Week's Finds in Mathematical Physics (Week 253)"

Good luck for your mission, though ;-)

Anonymous said...

Actually, Baez did call Lisi a crackpot, and in the process Baez dstroyed the once civil tone of physics.

Here is the irrefutable proof that Baez called Lisi a crackpot, straight from John Baez:

It is almost as if Lisi read Baez's crackpot index as a guide on how to create his theory.

The Crackpot Index
John Baez

A simple method for rating potentially revolutionary contributions to physics:
A -5 point starting credit.

1 point for every statement that is widely agreed on to be false.

Lisi makes many of these--from adding Fermion sand Bosons to the startling, fundamental errors pointed out by Distler et al.

2 points for every statement that is clearly vacuous.
Lisi's paper is littered with these, as are his press interviews--the very title is a lie, Lisi told Fox News.

3 points for every statement that is logically inconsistent.
Lisi's paper is littered with these, as are his press interviews--the very title is a lie, Lisi told Fox News. The title, as a lie, is not logical.

5 points for each such statement that is adhered to despite careful correction.

Lisi has yet to retract his error-ridded paper or change the title, after Distler, Steinn Sigurðsson, HIGGs, et al pointed out his erros, as well as his lying title.

5 points for using a thought experiment that contradicts the results of a widely accepted real experiment.

Lisi states that his theory might someday predict new particles that have never been found.

5 points for each word in all capital letters (except for those with defective keyboards).

This is Baez's index--not mine.

5 points for each mention of "Einstien", "Hawkins" or "Feynmann".

Lisi and Lee promoted Lisi as The Next Einstein--do a google search--Fox News et al picked it up.

10 points for each claim that quantum mechanics is fundamentally misguided (without good evidence).

10 points for pointing out that you have gone to school, as if this were evidence of sanity.

Lisi not only points out all his honors and awards, but he does it snarkily, with pictures of him surfing, like he's so smart he just surfed the whole time. Brilliant marketing.

10 points for beginning the description of your theory by saying how long you have been working on it. (10 more for emphasizing that you worked on your own.) Lisi gives a huge explantion of his career and not-even-wrong theory, which he has cut and pasted on several forums.

10 points for mailing your theory to someone you don't know personally and asking them not to tell anyone else about it, for fear that your ideas will be stolen. It's apparent Lisi did this in the pre-hype era--mailing it to Woit et al, as they prepared the well-funded media assault.

10 points for offering prize money to anyone who proves and/or finds any flaws in your theory.

10 points for each new term you invent and use without properly defining it. Adding fermions and bosons for starters--Lisi's paper is filled with misused terms, math, and physics.

10 points for each statement along the lines of "I'm not good at math, but my theory is conceptually right, so all I need is for someone to express it in terms of equations". That's exaclt what lisi says--he claims that his theory is a young theory, and all he needs is millions of dolalrs to hire postdocs to finish it. Yeah right--just like ST.

10 points for arguing that a current well-established theory is "only a theory", as if this were somehow a point against it.
It is almost as if Lisi read Baez's crackpot index as a guide on how to create his theory.

10 points for arguing that while a current well-established theory predicts phenomena correctly, it doesn't explain "why" they occur, or fails to provide a "mechanism".

10 points for each favorable comparison of yourself to Einstein, or claim that special or general relativity are fundamentally misguided (without good evidence). - Laid-Back Surfer Dude May Be Next Einstein - Science ...Laid-Back Surfer Dude May Be Next Einstein, Garrett Lisi, who spends most of his time surfing and snowboarding, may have come up with the Grand Unified ...

10 points for claiming that your work is on the cutting edge of a "paradigm shift". Stuff string theory - try E8 to explain the universe | The Register --

20 points for emailing me and complaining about the crackpot index. (E.g., saying that it "suppresses original thinkers" or saying that I misspelled "Einstein" in item 8.)

20 points for suggesting that you deserve a Nobel prize.

20 points for each favorable comparison of yourself to Newton or claim that classical mechanics is fundamentally misguided (without good evidence).

20 points for every use of science fiction works or myths as if they were fact.

20 points for defending yourself by bringing up (real or imagined) ridicule accorded to your past theories. Lisi is defended as being right and good becaus string theorists are meanies.

20 points for naming something after yourself. (E.g., talking about the "The Evans Field Equation" when your name happens to be Evans.) Checkout the hilarious Lisi wiki pages, penned by Smolin-funded fanboys you can bet.

20 points for talking about how great your theory is, but never actually explaining it. Lisi doesn't have a theory. It makes no predictions. It comes qith no calculations.

20 points for each use of the phrase "hidebound reactionary".

20 points for each use of the phrase "self-appointed defender of the orthodoxy". this is how Woit & Smolin et al attack Lisi's critcis:

30 points for suggesting that a famous figure secretly disbelieved in a theory which he or she publicly supported. (E.g., that Feynman was a closet opponent of special relativity, as deduced by reading between the lines in his freshman physics textbooks.)

30 points for suggesting that Einstein, in his later years, was groping his way towards the ideas you now advocate. LEE SMOLIN'S PR HYPE ARTICLES ALL STATE THIS:

30 points for claiming that your theories were developed by an extraterrestrial civilization (without good evidence).

30 points for allusions to a delay in your work while you spent time in an asylum, or references to the psychiatrist who tried to talk you out of your theory. Lisi's theory was delayed by his destitute homelessness, whence he lived in Tahoe and Hawaii.

40 points for comparing those who argue against your ideas to Nazis, stormtroopers, or brownshirts. SEE WOIT'S/BEE'S BLOG & ALL THE SMOLIN FANBOYS & COMPARISON OF LISI TO NIETZSCHE.

40 points for claiming that the "scientific establishment" is engaged in a "conspiracy" to prevent your work from gaining its well-deserved fame, or suchlike. SEE WOIT'S/BEE'S BLOG & ALL THE SMOLIN FANBOYS & COMPARISON OF LISI TO NIETZSCHE.

40 points for comparing yourself to Galileo, suggesting that a modern-day Inquisition is hard at work on your case, and so on. SEE WOIT'S/BEE'S BLOG & ALL THE SMOLIN FANBOYS & COMPARISON OF LISI TO NIETZSCHE.

40 points for claiming that when your theory is finally appreciated, present-day science will be seen for the sham it truly is. (30 more points for fantasizing about show trials in which scientists who mocked your theories will be forced to recant.) SEE WOIT'S BLOG & ALL THE SMOLIN FANBOYS & COMPARISON OF LISI TO NIETZSCHE.

50 points for claiming you have a revolutionary theory but giving no concrete testable predictions.

It is almost as if Lisi read Baez's crackpot index as a guide on how to create his theory.

So it is that Baez called Lisi a crackpot.

Andrew P. said...

Wow, that's quite a list there, anon. I like this one:
"mailing it to Woit et al, as they prepared the well-funded media assault"

To bad the Woit/Smolin/Bee secret cabal has finally been exposed.

I'm sure it won't be long before re-education camps open for string theorists so they can finally be 'cured' :-)

Angry said...

Peter Woit,
I really don't think this "physics tone" is confined to string theorists. Perhaps to theorists. And certainly not even all string theorists.

But also I wanted to make clear that I'm not talking about a tendency of string theorists to look down upon any other path to quantum gravity...we all have our biases and that's fine.

Finally, I've seen a similar (if not worse) tone in math circles. I recall one math guy catching me after one of my talks hammering me about a certain term with which I wasn't familiar, who was extremely dismissive of my work. Turns out it wasn't that big a deal and certainly had no implications for the validity of my work. I think he was just "protecting his turf."

Amused, I have tons of respect for Distler. I really meant this post as a defense of his behavior. He comes off as a jerk, but I know him not to be one. I'm just saying he's putting in writing the tone that is taught and rewarded. I've probably emulated it at certain points, but I try not to.

Regarding the anonymous folk(s) attacking John Baez. This is not the place. There are crackpots out there, and his post is a somewhat humorous listing of signs of that. Whether any given person is such a crackpot is beyond the scope of this post as providing a list not naming anyone in particular does not reflect any superior tone.

Anonymous said...

Angry--you are upset with the tone of physics.

You say that they are filled with contempt.

John Baez contemptuoulsy calls Lee Smolin, Ed Witten, and Garrett Lisi crackpots, and you say that is OK.

How can you support Baez's contempuous ad hominem attacks? How can you criticize the current one of physics, and than laud Baez for taking the tone down to the lowest of all possible levels--ad hominem attacks?

Do you really think Universities should be supporting contemptuous, ad hominem attackers? Do you think NSF knows about Baez's dark activities, and his constant assault on civility, decency, and the tone of physics, most recently manifested by the snarky condescension and namecalling directed at Garret Lisi?

Angry--ar you for a better tone in physics, or are you for Baez's snarky, ad-hominem-attacking tactics?

Anonymous said...

Peter Woit's main goal in life is to stay off of Baez's crackpot index.

That is why Peter refrains from presenting anything new.

The years of Baez's snarky namecalling and tormenting of those who think independently of him and his aging gang has Peter quaking in his boots.

For Peter is a very bright physicist. Baez's destruction of the civil tone in physics is why the Woits have to hide their contributions.

Look what happened to Lisi. Lisi presented his new theory, and as shown above, the tenured, titled Baez demolished it with his crackpot index, exposing Lisi's crackpottery for all to see.

Anonymous said...

I think John Baez's crackpot index is one of the greatest contributions to modern physics, and it's great that Baez is finally teaching a class on it at UC Riverside in 08:

Crackpottery 101: Using ad hominem attacks to intimidate the blogosphers from PI, raise grants, and get tenure. Explores the $70,000 difference between Garrett Lisi and the rest of the crackpots.

Arun said...

Angry Physicist:

If Lisi has wrongly described his paper (e.g., calling it a theory of everything when gravity is not quantized), then would not that **rightly** annoy other physicists who paid attention to it?

Isn't it a privilege, not a right, to have your work taken seriously by your academic peers, and therefore you must not abuse that privilege?

I'm no fan of J. Distler's internet persona; but isn't his contempt and annoyance readily explainable in this case?

Doug Natelson said...

Anonymous, I think you need to switch to decaf.

Anonymous said...

Walking down the halls of academia, you see all the tenured freaks, those who teach feminist and feminist that, and then you come across John Baez, who is destorying the careers of young physicists who are bold enough tothink differently.

Baez's generation has destroyed academia with their snarky, insider political games. there is some sort of deep-rooted hatred at the root of Baez's crackpot index.

Angry--you say that it is necessary for Baez to call people crackpots and to engage in ad hominem attacks as there are crackpots out there endangering Baez's tenure, and then you lament the decline in the tone of physics. Could you please elaborate?

Why is it that Baez gets to call people crackpots and engage in snarky, demeaning ad hominem attacks, but Distler doesn't get to apply logic, math, and reason?

Are you on Smolin's payroll too?

Anonymous said...

Good point--why does Baez get to blindly call people crackpots, insulting and demeaning the person without addressing any deeper issues, but then when Jacques Distler politely calls out Garrett's wrongly-titled "exceptionally simple theory of everything," Woit et al focus on Distler's tone?

I don't get it--didn't woit write a book called "Not Even Wrong?" Did not Pauli routinely call people out based on math and physics? So why is Woit so sensitive to Distlers just and ture questioning of Garrett?

Is it now illegal to question Smolin/Woit aproved crackpottery? What's next--do we have to pay our "protection" dues to PI so we don't end up on Baez's crackpot list?

Could someone please explain what the heck is going on?

Distler's critique of Lisi's hoax is fair and true and honest, based in physics, math, and logic. Distler's critique of Lisi' hoax is a lot kinder than Baez's blundering and blind sabotage of young physicists' careers, rooted in ad hominem attacks and namecalling.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with anonymous.

Distler's critique of Garrett's non-theory is rooted in the faulty physics and misunderstood math found in Garrett's non-theory, which was forced upon us by the Smolin team, complete with a misleading and ironic title--a "lying" title some might say.

Baez's crackpot index does not attack the ideas, so much as the man. Baez doesn't take the time to think and ponder, or to respect thinking and pondering, but he just goes straight for the destruction of Lisi's theory via a little cutesy point system, reducing physics to a little insider game, and destroying the once exalted tone of physics, along with his victim--in this case Garrett Lisi. Baez doesn't ask questions--he just shoots.

Distler genuinely wants to advance physics and help Lisi to do the same, utilizing math and physics. Baez just wants to play snarky insider games with his crackpot index, utilizing groupthink and polics.

Angry: the verdict is in. Baez must apologize to Lisi and refrain from future "crackpot" attacks.

Anonymous said...

The Lisi affair was a test of the Smolin/Woit blogosphere control center. It was a smashing success.

After years of playing second fiddle to speculative non-theories launched by their better-funded string theory rivals, Smolin/Woit wanted to demonstrate the robustness of the blogosphere weaponry they have been developing.

It was quite a formidable demonstration, and they are to be commended. Without any novel equations, predictions, or conclusions, they were able to get a TOE hyped in every major news outlet. I could hear the champagne corks popping when Fox News called Lisi the Next Einstein and pointed out the title of his non-paper was "ironic."

Sure, the hypesters destroyed his career, gave all the honest, hard-working Ph.D.'s the finger, and dissed distler and forced other physicists into anonimity so as to escape PI's massively-funded blogosphere death ray, and set a bad precedent for other young physicists, but seriously, have Woit or Smolin ever contributed anything original to physics? Why start now? Groupthink blogosphere experiments are more their style.

Angry said...

Arun: Lisi chose a pun for a title, and I suppose I can see that it might annoy people. People are annoying me all the time, claiming to be the first at something, putting out silly press releases, not mentioning my earth-shattering work, etc. But I don't think that excuses treating someone giving a good faith effort at physics with contempt. And if you don't think Lisi is acting in good faith (which I do, given his polite responses to critics), even then it wouldn't seem that contempt is the best way to deal with the situation.

Anonymous(es): I love it when you say that you have to agree with "anonymous." :)

Anyway, the comments here seem to have degenerated into something...less than desired so if I can I figure out how to close out the comments, I will do so. If not, I don't intend to respond anymore here.

Christine said...

What an odd spectacle.

muse said...


Anonymous said...

For those of you who have devoted your entire lives to the pursuit of string "theory", I'm truly very very sorry. These things happen in science, like trying to turn lead into gold or fashion a crystal sphere that would put the Earth at the center of the universe. Now you have to make a choice, abandon your fruitless chase of a childish dream and pick up some serious work, or become more bitter and isolated with each passing day. It's time to let string "theory" die a quiet death and use what little time you have left to do something constructive with your life.

Really, the original idea that something found in the attic, an old guitar with strings out of tune, could be made to represent the fundamental nature of the universe was, you must admit, a long shot at best. In the clear light of day it seems laughable. We may well have chosen a half deflated basketball and sought to prove that all nature consisted of vibrating basketballs.

I'm not trying to make fun. I understand how heartbreaking this must be to you, but it's time to move on. String theory is proven to be wrong. It's as if the relativity theory said there were one times ten raised to the google power of possible relationships between matter and energy, and it's our job to find the one that matches our reality. No one would accept such a theory as correct. The fact is, if a theory even predicts one single thing that does not exist in nature, it is wrong. It's that simple. It's wrong. No amount of trying to fix it will work because the basic premise doesn't represent reality. The universe isn't made of strings. It probably isn't made of basketballs either. Perhaps it's made of E8 symmetry, perhaps not. Only time will tell. But being bitter and lashing out at people who mean you no harm will not change the facts. String theory is wrong, it was proven wrong by the very people who developed it. It predicts an almost infinite number of wrong answers. Even one wrong answer is enough to invalidate the theory. String theory predicts an almost infinite number of wrong answers. How wrong does something have to be before you give it up.

I'm really so very very sorry. Go and enjoy your family and your health. Perhaps you can teach and guide other young minds. But don't be bitter to those who come after you. In the end, we all really stand on the shoulders of giants and all of us will be wrong a lot more than we are right.

Anonymous said...

For those of you who have devoted your entire lives to the pursuit of loop quantum gravity and John Baez's crackpot index, I'm truly very very sorry. These things happen in science, like trying to turn lead into gold or fashion a crystal sphere that would put the Earth at the center of the universe. Now you have to make a choice, abandon your fruitless chase of a childish dream and pick up some serious work, or become more bitter and isolated with each passing day. It's time to let loop quantum gravity and John Baez's crackpot index die a quiet death and use what little time you have left to do something constructive with your life.

Really, the original idea that something found in the attic, an old guitar with strings out of tune, could be made to represent the fundamental nature of the universe was, you must admit, a long shot at best. In the clear light of day it seems laughable. We may well have chosen a half deflated basketball and sought to prove that all nature consisted of vibrating basketballs.

I'm not trying to make fun. I understand how heartbreaking this must be to you, but it's time to move on. loop quantum gravity and John Baez's crackpot index is proven to be wrong. It's as if the relativity theory said there were one times ten raised to the google power of possible relationships between matter and energy, and it's our job to find the one that matches our reality. No one would accept such a theory as correct. The fact is, if a theory even predicts one single thing that does not exist in nature, it is wrong. It's that simple. It's wrong. No amount of trying to fix it will work because the basic premise doesn't represent reality. The universe isn't made of loop quantum gravity and John Baez's crackpot index. It probably isn't made of basketballs either. Perhaps it's made of E8 symmetry and surfer dudes and goldman sachs-funded press releases, perhaps not. Only time will tell. But being bitter and lashing out at people who mean you no harm will not change the facts. Loop quantum gravity and John Baez's crackpot index are wrong, they were proven wrong by the very people who developed them. They predict nothing. Nada. Even one wrong answer is enough to invalidate the theory. Loop quantum gravity and John Baez's crackpot index predict nothing. How wrong does something have to be before you give it up.

I'm really so very very sorry. Go and enjoy your family and your health. Perhaps you can teach and guide other young minds. But don't be bitter to those who come after you. In the end, we all really stand on the shoulders of giants, such as Lee smolin and John Baez, and all of us will be wrong a lot more than we are right, except for Lee Smolin and John Baez, who can buy all the press releases they need to prove their dominance.

Arun said...

There's a pun in "theory of everything"?

Anyway, I see compared to the other physics blogs, you attract a better sort of poster, and I'm out of place.

Anonymous said...

What? A blogger comes over as pompous, self-aggrandising, self-righteous and BORING. Gosh, really? Whatever next?

Anonymous said...

john baez rocks as a physicist.

without him we wouldn't have . . . . . his crackpot index.

seriously--name one thing baez has accomplished.

jut one to justify his pomposity and bloated salary.

Anonymous said...

Woit/Smolin & Baez have the classic good cop/bad cop routine down pat.

Baez runs around calling people carckpots, snarking and intimidating, fostering a contempuous, hateful tone in the realm of physics.

Then Woit rides in on his high horse, and addresses those who question Baez's snark and contempt with, "how dare you question Baez's crackpot index? How the tone of physics has fallen, to suggest that a most-accomplished physicist like Baez can not call people crackpots and engage in ad hominem attacks!!"

Meanwhile Smolin hobnobs with Goldman Sachs et al to raise more funds for Lisi press releases.

After awhile it is easy to see why the Woit/Smolin/Baez team have made, and will make, no contributions to the realm of physics, but only to politics and crackpot indexes.

Physics requires a respect for truth--even more than math and politics.

Anonymous said...

John Baez believes global warming is happening:

This means that you can never call him a crackpot, and he can call anyone a crackpot.

That is what sceince is all about, which is why Al Gore won the Nobel in physics.

Get with the program people.

Anonymous said...

John Baez's UC Riverside is one of the lead candiates for hiring non-theorist Garrett Lisi:

That is why Baez has his crackpot index up. Baez must destroy the curious, the honest, and the humble with his crackpot index, so that he can raise funds to hire Lisi who knows how to play media games with non-theories hyped as TOEs, with ironic, lying titles, and with faulty math, and no physics.

Then Woit comes on "how dare you question Baez's crackpot index and Lisi's non-theory?!?!? How the tone has fallen--death to anonimity! take away their postdocs and salaries!" And smolin sends out a goldman-sachs-funded press release to fox news, who announces that lisi is the next einstein.

Welcome to the era of Baez/Smolin/Woit, where good physics is considered bad manners and philosophy--the love of wisdom--is contemptuous.

Anonymous said...

John Baez's UC Riverside is one of the lead candiates for hiring non-theorist Garrett Lisi:

That is why Baez has his crackpot index up. Baez must destroy the curious, the honest, and the humble with his crackpot index, so that he can raise funds to hire Lisi who knows how to play media games with non-theories hyped as TOEs, with ironic, lying titles, and with faulty math, and no physics.

Then Woit comes on "how dare you question Baez's crackpot index and Lisi's non-theory?!?!? How the tone has fallen--death to anonimity! take away their postdocs and salaries!" And smolin sends out a goldman-sachs-funded press release to fox news, who announces that lisi is the next einstein.

Welcome to the era of Baez/Smolin/Woit, where good physics is considered bad manners and philosophy--the love of wisdom--is contemptuous.

Anonymous said...

Someday all the woit/lubos blogs and smolin press releases and baez papers will be condensed into a sentence or two, as future physicists sum up the physics created by baez/smolin/woit/lubos.

they're already past their prime, and not one of them has had a new, original idea, other than to replace physics with politics, which isn't all that new, really.

in this era of decline where we're over in iraq fighting to defend baez's crackpot index and smolin's press releases and reality tv and paris hilton and clinton/juliani or whoever's federal reserve, of course the baez's are going to get all the fame and fortune.

let them have it, and treat it for what it is.

not physics, but entertainment, like american idol and myspace.

it's funny that this post is devoted tyo the contempt displayed in physics and the decline of the tone of physics. that's the least of our worries.

Anonymous said...

The tone found in modern physics is indeed troubling.

Gangs of snarky old men hyping fake theories to the popular media to raise funds for crackpot not even wrong theories, while motl & baez & lubos & woit are paid to uphold the pretense that snarky old men are actually against crackpot theories.

The proof is in the pudding, and the rest of this blog should be devoted to the tone of modern physics, set by the physical contributions of lubos/baez/motl/woit/smolin.

What are their physical theories of reality?

Links to papers with actual equations and physics would be great. i'm not just looking for links to their blogs. The non-theory Lisi hype doesn't count either.

chris said...

hey anonymous,

you can't retract a paper from arXiv. it was designed that way. that's the nice part.

Anonymous said...

One of the troubling trends throughout acadmia is "snarky old men" recruiting group thinkers and supporters and bloggers, and then encourgaing them to attack independent thinkers.

Oftentimes, the snarky old men and their group thinkers are supported by government, tax, and tution dollars, and/or large Wall Street banks--all methods for printing money.

These snarky old men, who failed their whole lives to contribute in a positive manner, are responsible for the decline in tone across all academia, as well as the media.

So now, in order to defend their money-hungry empires, the snarky old men put politeness and manners over physics and math, and many times they put women on the front lines, so that when you debate or question them, they can say that you are behaving without chivalry, and thus do not desrve a faculty position.

Basically, the snarky old men are not men. They spend their days in the back room, coming up with media campaigns and making lists, blackballing the unruly, independent thinkers, and writing checks to the conforminsts.

It's all politics now.

Why, I think I just explained ST/LQG/baez/lubos/davies/smolin/woit and the tone of modern physics.

At least lubos left academia--i'll give him that.

Anonymous said...

I agree with all the anonymouses.

Even peter woit loves anonimity, as he links to this blog penned by an anonymous blogger.

As soon as I get tenure and millions in funding for my not even wrong theory or blog, I will come out against anonimity, and I will call my congressman and demand the ip addresses of all my critics.

Anonymous said...

Indeed--Lisi's paper shall forever remain at This si a good thing.

In many ways, the Lisi affair was one of the best things that happened to physics in a long, long time.

Finally Smolin & Woit had to show thier hands. Finally PI had to lay its cards on the table. Finally all their loyal bloggers--Bee & Woit & Baez & who are now intimidating institutions into giving Lisi a postdoc for his non-theory, had to come forth and show their best attempt at replacing string theory.

Some of them defended it like this: hey, the string theorists started it, so we get a not even wrong theory too. nya nyaa nyaaa.

And like the String Theorists, the Lisi affair has again demonstrated that physics is not the realm of the groupthinkers, the blogosphere, the media, slashdot, PI, and tenured crackpot indexers, but it yet belongs to the einsteins, bohrs, and newtons: to the independent thinkers.

One thing is uqique to our time: never have so many groupthinkers been so well funded to groupthink all day and support Baez's crackpot index which I just checked out a few moments ago. How perfectly embarrassing to Baez. He obviously has no respect for new ideas.

And that's my final point. How arrogant of Smolin, Lubos, Woit, Baez, and all the other people mentioned above, to think that even though they have never offered anything new in the realm of science, they are yet capable of picking out who and who can't advance science.

Well, let what happened to Garrett Lisi be the lesson for all scientists. Do not peg your career on the self-appointed elites' opinions, but peg it on physics.

Anonymous said...

This is hands-down the best blog out there now.

And don't foget Davies/Templeton and their million dollar hoaxes, which not satisfied with killing science, also went after religion.

The purpose of religion has ever been to provide a moral framework--Einstein saluted this, and was humble before the Judeo Christian Heritage, as was Newton.

Well, science doesn't provide a moral framework that gives advice on marriage and relationships.

So Davies gleefully deconstructed all morality, and thus the vast and tragic decline of the family, civility, and science itself.

For withour religion, anything is possible, and suddenly elite scientists don't really have to be honest anymore, or perform science even, but just invoke groupthink.

And so you get the Davies/Lubos/Woit/Baez/Lisi/Smolin bicker-fest circus, sans science, sans religion, sans humility before God or the will to serve truth, as teh government grows, the family declines, we send troops to foreign shores to defend our new gods justfied by Davies and his anthropic principle, which is all one really needs for tenure these days, just as long as you cite Davies, as he discovered the self-worshipping tautologies which have replaced science, culture, art, literature, and physics.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget Krauss who stated that we are shortening the lifetime of the universe by observing it.

I am noty kidding you--this is what today's greatest minds have to offer. And like Bee, they always blame the hype on the press--not those who hyped it tyo the press--the well-funded pseudo-scientists:

Yet another tenured crackpot who John Baez's crackpot index doesn't apply to.

The inside joke about John Baez's crackpot index is that it is only to be applied to unfunded physicists, via an invocation of the anthropic principle. The last thing they want is some Einstein working in some patent office, as that would dispel the Smolin/PI myth that hundreds of millions of dollars are needed to advance physics. That is why Baez's crackpot index is so important--follow the money.

That's how the big boys and bully bloggers play these days--to shore up the funds for their faltering empires which have brought physics to a screeching halt for the first time in a couple hundred years. Baez's crackpot index is used to discourage new ideas, so that they can sell books called, "The End of Science," while raising student tuitions and brownosing their socialist university groupthink administrations.

The anthropic principle states that because Kraus and Smolin and Baez are well-funded with hundreds of millions, their crackpot theories are not crackpot theories, but only beauty that the universe cannot comprehend. And Woit delivers a lecture on "the end of science," or something at some fancy conference, giving them all a knowing, ironic wink.

If you wish to gain renown in the realm of physics these days, I would recommend a dual-degree in journalism and creative writing--I think this is what Brian Green and Lisa Randall have. John Brockman will then give you your own page at his website; where you can choose your favorite crackpot/anthropic theory and write and sell a snarky book about it. You would be wise to choose an "ironic" (lying) title as Garrett Lisi did, as that is what will get you on Fox News.

Incomprehensible and snarky puns are every but as important as incomprehensible and snarky physics.

Anonymous said...

The following mentions the ultimate goal of retirement. I think it explains a lot. How much prize money/grants has Davies won? How has he advanced science/religion?


"There is a foolproof way to spot a voodoo scientist. If a scientist claims to have a theory about a natural phenomenon but is unable to explain the theory in a simple language that the average layman can understand, one can be absolutely certain that he is as clueless about the nature of the phenomenon in question as anybody else. Voodoo science is not about understanding nature but about working at being so incomprehensible or so arcane to one's fellow human beings as to be regarded as brilliant. The weapon of choice of a voodoo scientist is mathematics. The truth is that a scientist's understanding of a phenomenon is inversely proportional to the number of math equations he uses to describe it. Neither Newton's gravity equation nor the equations of General Relativity explain why things fall. But what better way is there to hide one's cluelessness while presenting a façade of erudition than to use obscure equations to erect an impregnable mountain of obfuscation? Voodoo science is guru science.

A voodoo scientist can always count on other voodoo scientists to jump on his bandwagon and act as if they do understand his theory even though they are equally clueless. Vanity is not to be underrated. This creates a sort of tacit collusion among a group of voodoo scientists who may decide to specialize in the theory and build their careers around it. The idea seems to be to spend a great deal of time to learn the complex and carefully constructed rules of the game and hang in there long enough until one can be safely retired. I must say that many do sincerely believe in the importance and correctness of the theories they espouse but sometimes it is hard to tell the difference between a true believer and a hanger-on who merely decides to go along for the ride.

Examples of voodoo science masquerading as legitimate science are all around us: time travel, wormholes, black holes, dimensions curled up into little balls so tiny as to be undetectable, parallel universes, continuum physics, quantum computing, symbolic intelligence, machine consciousness, etc... It is all worthless crackpottery. Yet a few voodoo scientists have managed to amass small fortunes selling some of this stuff to an unsuspecting public, a public that continually thirsts for mysterious things to worship. Hopefully this site will wake a few people up." ::from

Anonymous said...

I think I can expalin it--Peter Woit is a string theorist at heart--he still putting his faith into Ed Witten:

"Peter Woit Says:

December 1st, 2007 at 9:44 am

It’s certainly my impression that if Witten had any ideas about how to make progress in string theory, he would be working on those. Unlike string theory, where people do seem to be stuck, the QFT/geometric Langlands field is one where there’s a lot for someone with Witten’s talents to do, and he seems to be enjoying working on this.

Please do not hold your breath for any new physics.

The Lisi affair demonstrated taht Peter does not understand representation theory, group theory, and physics; so no new physics is no big deal.

Not Even Wrong is something to aspire to with passion and vigilance. Another "ironic" title.

Anonymous said...


This blog should be bound and published as a book.

Anonymous said...

Lee Smolin is on the board of the organisation that gave Lisi the money for his faux non-theory:

Lee Smolin, Researcher, Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics
Smolin's research interests center on quantum gravity and also include cosmology, particle physics, string theory and the foundations of quantum mechanics.

Should this not be added to the one-sided wikipedia page?
Physicist Lee Smolin of Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, a string theory critic, has described the work as "one of the most compelling unification models I've seen in many, many years."[6]

Shouldn't Lee tell the press that he is funding the theories he's hyping, hoping to rais more money from Templeton?

Anonymous said...

Why is it OK for Peter Woit to hype the Lisi Mania and Woit's geometric-langlands-non-physics then accuse everyone else of jumping the shark along with his blogging head buddies?

Why is that "tone" approved?

Cannot everyone see where the demise in the "tone" and "tenor" of physics is coming from?

Anonymous said...

Dear `anonymous' whoever you may be, what you need to come to terms with is the fact that everything you are saying is completely irrelevant.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous,

I agree that what you said is irrelevant.

Are Peter Woit, Lee Smolin, Bee, and Baez destorying physics?

I think all their behind-the-scenes communications and relationships should be made public. Down with anonimity and backdoor, dirty physics and media hype. For instance, Smolin sits on the board of FQXi, which funded Lisi's research. Smolin then hyped the non-thoery to the media as "Fabulous."

First off, is it professional to hype a non-theory, which makes no predictions and is filled with amthematical errors, to the press? Secondly, is it professional to hype a non-theory that one helped fund to the popular press, and never call attention to the fact that one helped finance the not even wrong theory?

When you think about it, all of them (Smolin, Woit, Lisi) owe their fame not to advancing physics, but to poking fun at String Theory, and indexing crackpots (Baez), which is like shooting fish in a barrel. It's like the big bully who picks on all the little girls.

Come on--Michio Kaku, Lisa Randall, Lubos, Brian Green, Paul Davies, Polchinski, Susskind--these mental midgets and showboaters are not scientists, nor will they ever be.

But when it comes to moving beyond deconstructing String Theory, Smolin and Woit are impotent. Feynman said that math is to physics as masturbation is to sex, and while Woit masturbates with Geometric Langlands and Lisi, Smolin masturbates with LQG, Lisi, and pumping and dumping the latest not-even-wrong theory to Fox News, trying tyo score Lisi a book deal.

And does not Bee work for Smolin's PI? So ity makes sense that he would put her on the front lines, so that they can accuse Lubos of being anti-feminist when he criticizes Lisi's non-theory, using physics and math.

Wikipedia reports:

- She also has technical concerns about the lack of [[coupling constant]]s in the paper, which thus appears to rely on pulling a particular characteristic length scale out of nowhere. However, in the end, she states, "I think Garrett's paper has the potential to become a very important contribution, and his approach is worth further examination."< name=backreaction PI projects receive considerable funding from FQXI<>, and as Lee Smolin influences both<>, Sabine feels swayed to put positive spin on Garrett Lisi's non-theory that is based on faulty math and doesn't predict anything.

Many have suggested that this paper and the well-orchestrated and well-funded media storm were motivated more by political reasons than by physics. Some say that "Lisi Mania" represents physics "jumping the shark." <><>,<>

Anonymous said...

Is anonimity bad for physics as Peter Woit suggests? Probably not as bad as all the well-funded Smolin/Lisi/Bee/Baez hype.

Is anonimity bad for physics as Peter Woit suggests?

All this secretive funding and emails and conspiring: is this good for physics? Should not have Lee Smolin told Fox News that he helped finance Lisi's not even wrong theory, before hyping it as "fabulous"? Is this not a conflict of interest?

Who are all the anonymous fanboys who keep deleting the truth regarding Lisi's "not even wrong" page at wikipedia?

I agree with Peter Woit that we should end anonimity.

Who are the people deleting the facts from Lisi's "not even wrong theory" wikipedia page? Are they funded by Smolin, or FQXi, or PI, like Bee, Lisi, and several other fanboys/bloggers?

I agree with Peter Woit that they must step forth with their real identities, each time they delete the truth from wikipeda:
+ Physics professor [[Jacques Distler]] of the University of Texas at Austin, in a blog post, wrote that Lisi's embedding of the standard model and gravity gauge groups into E|||8||| is not consistent.|||[ A Little Group Theory …], ''Musings'', 21 November, 2007.||| Lisi responded in the blog |||||| and described the case on another forum, but has to date failed to respond to the fundamental issues that contrary to what his abstract and title state, Lisi's theory makes no actual predictions, and is in fact based on faulty math, as shown by Distler and others.

In his blog, physicist [[Peter Woit]] writes, "I'm glad to see someone pursuing these ideas, even if they haven't come up with solutions to the underlying problems." Woit described the personal attacks on Lisi in the wake of his paper as depressing. "Garrett is a serious and competent researcher who has pursued a non-traditional career path, and was recently awarded a grant to by the [[Foundational Questions Institute| FQXI]] organization."|||||| In the comments section of Peter's blog and on otehr blogs||||||, it becomes apparent that Peter did not actually read Lisi's paper nor take the time to analyze its shortcomings.

In the comments section of Peter's blog and on other blogs||||||, it becomes apparent that Peter did not actually read Lisi's paper nor take the time to analyze its shortcomings. He later admitted the criticism was legitimate.

She also has technical concerns about the lack of [[coupling constant]]s in the paper, which thus appears to rely on pulling a particular characteristic length scale out of nowhere. However, in the end, she states, "I think Garrett's paper has the potential to become a very important contribution, and his approach is worth further examination."||| PI projects receive considerable funding from FQXI||||||, and as Lee Smolin influences both||||||||||||, Sabine feels swayed to put positive spin on Garrett Lisi's non-theory that is based on faulty math and doesn't predict anything.
"'''An Exceptionally Simple Theory of Everything'''"|||A. Garrett Lisi, [ An Exceptionally Simple Theory of Everything] (PDF format), Cornell University Library, Submitted on 6 Nov 2007||| is a physics paper submitted to the [[arXiv|arXiv library]] on [[Nov. 6]], [[2007]] by [[Antony Garrett Lisi]]. His [[Theory of Everything|theory]] claims to unify all fields of the [[standard model]] with [[gravity]] using a 248-point [[E8 lattice|lattice]] of [[E8 (mathematics)|E|||8|||]] geometry. It has not been [[Peer review|peer-reviewed]] or published in a [[scientific journal]], but it has drawn a wide range of professional reaction and stirred public interest in the topic and its author. Lisi's theory has been shown|||||| to rank high on Dr. [[John Baez]]'s [[crackpot index]] beating out both [[String Theory]] and [[Loop Quantum Gravity]] for first place.

Anonymous said...

Under the leadership of non-physicists Lee Smolin and Peter Woit, physics is now run like a pump-and-dump hedge fund.

Ever since PI took money from Goldman Sachs,

Lee has been treating physics more like a hedge fund.

1) fund a not even wrong theory
2) hype it to the media and fox news as "fabulous" even though it doesn't predict anything and is filled with mathematical errors
3) watch on silently as anonymous editors delete the truth from wikipedia

this is just the tip of the iceberg.

from now on lee smolin should disclose to all the news outlets how he might be involved in teh financing of not even wrong tehories, as he pumps them and dumps them on the unsuspecting public.

surely lee's sitting on the board of fqxi, and determining what theories get funded, are a conflict of interest, when lee is them hyping the theories to the popular press.

fqxi funds a lot of PI research: "not even wrong" theories which are great investments and lead to book deals and movie deals if hyped right.

Has a single novel, meaningful equation ever come out of PI?

Have they ever advanced physics, like Peter Woit does every day, with every post?

Note all the grants for "not even wrong" PI research:

And note who sits on the board:

Does the model of snarky old men funding and hyping not even wrong tehories work in physics? Did not Einstein's and Bohr's and Feynman's systems work better?

Supposed we defunded PI and FQXI. Perhaps then physics would again be returned to its proper owners: physicists.

I mean Smolin says he is a physicist, but just out of curiosity, what physics has he ever contributed to? Would love tyo see it: meaningful equations, papers. Send it on!

Anonymous said...

Wherver Lee goes, a cold wind blows:

Look at all the Smolin/PI hype/influence that dominates this supposedly objective forum for physics.

Note the complete lack of physics, all the fanboy talk about Garrett Lisi, all the seventh-grade sociology, all the poles regarding where Garrett should postdoc.

It is as if they recreated the cave from book VII of Plato's Republic.

Woit calls himself a platonist or something--has he read Plato? Didn't he know that groupthink is what killed Socrates and Truth?

What's the connection between this forum and PI? They used to feature Kaku, but they got rid of him, looks like.

Anonymous said...

Now and then Peter Woit tends to criticize anonimity.

But he never asks the fanboys here to reveal themselves:

Nor does Woit speak out against the anonimity of the hedge funds which support Columbia and his blog:

Nor does Woit ever come out against the anonimity of the Federal Resever, which holds secret meetings and manufactires the money that funds Peter and hsi blog.

Peter never calls out the anonymous people who are raising Columbia's tuition, putting so many students into massive debt to fund not even wrong theories.

If Peter Woit is against anonymity, he should publish all the names and ips on his blog.

Anonymous said...

Dear `Anonymous' if that is indeed your real name. I just wanted to pass on to you that Lubos Motl and Jacques Distler invite you for a group hug.

Anonymous said...

I detect at least seven distinct anonymouses here--maybe more.

The era of big-money hedge-fund pump & dump physics is over.

You can bet that Woit/Smolin/Baez/Lisi had a few sleepless nights, to the degree they have consciences.

Peter Woit is a classic double-talkin'-jive mofo.

He writes a whole book called not even wrong, and then hypes a not even wrong tehory to the media. Actually Lisi's theory went beyond not even wrong. It was an outright LIE.

Lisi said that the LHC will definitively test his theory. That was an outright LIE, as his theory doesn't predict anything.

All of Lisi's hooks--his title--his promise of testability--his sexy youtube videos with english accents--were lies promoted by Smolin and Woit, and Smolin and Woit have given up on physics and dedicated themselves to groupthink and BS, as their greatest goal as hedge fund managers is not physics, but raising funds and getting the theories they financed on Fox News, in their pump-and-dump schemes.

Woit & Smolin have hedge fund and string theory envy.

And Peter Woit comes out against anonimity--well--which is better? Anonymous truth or outright lies and hype trumpeted by Lisi and Smolin?

I'd take the Truth any day, as would physics and philosophy.

Anonymous said...

I can just see Bee & Smolin sitting down in a nice, plush designer room at PI, and conferencing in Lisi and Woit on a state-of-the-art teleconferecce system, based on Baez's recent advances in quantum computing, which happens to be a non-crackpot field of legit research:

Baez might even beat out LQG on Baez's crackpot index.

The scene is straight out of Star Trek, with Smolin standing at the helm of PI, as they strategize on how best to take over physics with propaganda, non-theories, hype, lies, and fox news.

A mysterious stranger, a prominent hedge fund manager, conferences in and assures them that all is right. Just have Bee promote all the non-theories, as then when anyone criticizes the theories using math and logic and physics, they can be called a sexist pig.

Baez conferences in with some new amendments to his crackpot index whcih will better allow a defense of Lisi and LQG: the new addition reads: "The crackpot index is not to be applied to any theory that has received millions in funding or support from Canada."

"Eureka!" Lee squeels, and Lisi shares some new pictures of him surfing, wearing non-designer apparrel, so as to better support his destitute image.

Bee is playing darts on the Lubos Motl dartboard when Horgan conferences in for the talking points. "LQG @ THE LHC," I like the ring to that: let's run with it.

Anonymous said...

I love how the LQG/PI fanboys blame the failure of Lisi's hoax on Lubos & Distler, instead of physics and math.

Talk about sociology. . . I guess Lee Smoin has given up on physics (mot likely he's not going to accomplish anything new, or he would have by now) and will from now on be playing fanboy mind games in the blogosphere.

This is gonna be fun: far more entertaining than LQG. At least PI is accomplishing something.

I hope all the writers in Hollywood don't get mad at Lee & Lisi for crossing the picket line.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Peter Woit that all the Lisi mania represented Lee Smolin/PI jumping the shark.

Perhaps the most entertaining thing are the ridiculous Lisi wikipeida pages that have sprung up centered about his hyped surfing persona and fraudulent "theory of everything."

It's interesting to see where all the IP addresses derives from, that keep promoting Lisi lies while deleting the truth.

Fanboys have no shame.

Anonymous said...

And don't forget how many millions of $$$ PI has to support its fanboys.

Once upon a time physics was performed by physicists.

Today the name of the game for old, snarky men is:

1) raise funds
2) hire a bunch of groupthink fanboys--after about five postdocs, you can be sure they will be incapable of independent thought
3) hire a femals blogger/physicist and put her on the front lines
4) have her invite a surfer dude to your institute
5) hype it to fox news

book deals, movie deals, and more funding from goldman sachs will follow

no need for math that makes sense, actual predictions, physics, or truth.

groupthink is far superior to independent thought.

Aurimas said...

The tygers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.
William Blake, from "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell"

Books tell us that scientific debates on key issues were always heated and politically incorrect. To a certain degree, I see nothing wrong with contempt, argumentation ad hominem, low signal/noise ratio, etc. In my opinion, we should accept the scientific world as it is, not as it should be.

Anonymous said...

One of the great things about Baez/Lisi/Smolin/Woit is that they have totally banned and killed the true spirit of physics.

In its place, they have created this cave where fanboys must imitate their elders in watching mere shadows dancing on teh cave's wall, and ascribing vast and profound importance to them:

Read how Garrett has banned the discussion of physics from a physics forum: "The physics problems with the theory are all discussed in the paper. And this thread is not the appropriate place for listing or discussing them -- this thread is for discussing the math in the paper. "

Imagine Einstein commanding Bohr not to talk about the problems with his physics, but only his math.

What the ?#@$#@$#@??

Brevity is the soul of wit, and the Truth sets us free:
1) Lisi's paper does not present a theory of everything.
2) Lisi's paper makes no predictions.
3) Lisi's paper offers no novel, sensible calculations.
4) Lisi's paper is replete with errors, as noted by Distler et al, and it adds fermions and bosons.
5) Smolin called Lisi's paper "fabulous" and hyped it to the media.
6) Without reading and understanding the paper, Woit gave it a lot of attention on his powerful blog, further fueling the media storm.
7) Bee, who is employed by Smolin's PI it seems, presented the paper as gospel, and only backtracked and reason and logic were brought to the table by others.
8) Lisi's paper was knowingly mistitled.
9) Lisi must refrain from "ironic" lying titles in the future, so as not to confuse Fox News:,2933,311952,00.html :
Laid-Back Surfer Dude May Be Next Einstein — "For his part, Lisi self-mockingly calls his finding "An Exceptionally Simple Theory of Everything."
In the name of Truth and Science, the following must be done:
1) Lisi should retract his error-riddled, mistitled paper from, whereupon he can feel free to correct the errors, retitle it, and resubmit it, if it is still worth submitting.
2) Smolin should step forth and either apologize to the scientific community for calling the paper "Fabulous," or he should elaborate on what he meant by the word "Fabulous."
3) Peter should use his powerful and influential blog to aid in serving truth and science and setting the record straight.

Read Peter's blog--he never quotes Einstein, nor Bohr, nor Feynman--he just gossips gossips gossips and follows around Witten from meaningless lecture to meaningless lecture as an old man fanboy--a manboy. Peter is a religious fanatic. He has faith that if you watch Garrett Lisi's youtube long enough, new physics will naturally emerge. Just like it has from Witten's profound and laborious mathematical masturbation.

"Physics is to sex what math is to masturbation." --Feynman

That is why Peter has rejected Feynman/Einstein.

Math is a great device to:

1) write meaningless entities down and pretend you're cool
2) pretend you're getting work done, when you're doing absolutely nothing
3) erect false, meaningless theories such as LQG and String Theory and Garrett Lisi Theory and then hire fanboys to belittle and laugh at anyone who disagrees, invoking John Baez's crackpot index

and physics dies, as indie physicists are snarked and belittled by the financial tyrants, rasing funds for media hoaxes which culminate in fallacious articles on fox news.

Anonymous said...

I would love to see the anonymouses on this blog debating Woit/Lisi/Smolin/Baez/Bee in an open forum.

Gone would be the multi-million dollar offices at PI, the corporate-level PR offices, the fanboys Lee leverages for his blogosphere campaigns. Gone would be the patented Woit snarky-larky supported by Columbia Hedge Funds/Endowments, the sexy english accents in the meaningless lisi videos, and Baez's silence regarding how his crackpot index actually shows that his own research is crackpottery. Gone would be all the anonymous fanboys, most likely well-funded, hacking away at the truth on lisi's wikipedia pages, and posting little links to fallacious support from non-entities, while suppressing physics and math.

yes--that would be fun. smolin has hundreds of millions and he states he is against fanboy groupthink, so it's time for him to assemble the forum.

One of my favorite things on Garrett's wikipedia "lisimani" page is the sentence regarding how Bee "feels" about his theory:

Imagine Pauli not "feeling" right about someone's tehory--ha ahahah.

We can expect more of this focusing on tone, tenor, and feelings, as the Smolin/Woit/Lisi/Baez teams moves in to deliver its multi-million dollar knockout punch to physics.

"Overall she is undecided about her feelings towards the theory. She writes that for her, "the attractive and the unattractive features seem to balance each other. To me, the most attractive feature is the way he uses the exceptional Lie-groups to get the fermions together with the bosons. The most unattractive feature are the extra assumptions he needs to write down an action that gives the correct equations of motion".[16]"

The most "attractive" element of Lisi's theory to Bee is the adding fermions and bosons.

Lisi is being groomed by the Smolin media team to become the next Witten, so that hundreds of millions might be raised by physicists for a new non-theory, as the public is starting to catch onto string theory.

Mind you, it is not the "not even wrongishness" string theory that Lee Smolin so detested, but it was only that he never got to cash in on it. So now he has his own not even wrong theory, and in order to beat Lubos in the blog wars, he has hired a woman to speak for him.

Anonymous said...

I too have been sickened by the fanboyism at:

They have killed physics and replaced it with snarky namecalling, wild conjectures, speculative non-theories, sycophantic fanboyism, and the result is. . . .

zero progress in physics.

As the forum is dominated by PI, we can expect that all the well-funded non-physics gushing out of PI will gush straight into the forum for years to come, on its way out to obscurity, as PI spends their millions upon millions of dollars on PR, press releases, feminist theory, feelings, tone, tenor, all punctuated with meaningless math that is the new god of the snarky-snarks who gather around john baez's crackpot index in joyful glee, and they feel smart as baexz and smolin and woit and bee stand up there like the headmasters in Harry Potter, congratulating them all for their the good manners they maintained while destroying physics.

OMG--that was kinda funny. I LOLed at the picture of them standing in tehir black robes, all pompous, as head studnet HArry "Garrett Lisi" Potter beats the evil Lubos not with math and physics, but politics, groupthink, and fox news.

Anonymous said...

Say what you wnat about Lubos, but at least he is not a liar.

He doesn't tell lies.

Can't say the same about Smolin/Lisi/Woit:

How could Lisi say that the LHC would test his theory when his theory doesn't predict anything? How could Smolin/Woit hype this, and then invoke Baez's crackpot index to true indie physicists crackpots?

Anonymous said...

Has any physics ever come out of PI?

What are they waiting for? Woit to start doing physics?

That could be a long, long time.

Anonymous said...

Hey, so-called Anonymous, you just engage in this relentless paranoid ranting because you refuse to come to terms with your own personal lack of merit.

Got a blog? Tell us about it.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if anyone's noticed, but this is our blog.


Peter Woiit and I are tired of all the anonimity in physics on the internet, and we need to know:

what are the real identities of all of people at hyping all of PI's non-physics?

who are all the people creating the garret lisi hoax pages on

who are the people deleting the truth from those pages? is PI in some way funding the forum/wiki editions?

why was garrett lisi the first to respond on peter's woit's blog when peter hyped garrett's non-theory? garrtt doesn't post there. did peter contact him and give him a heads up? was woit's hype day pre-meditated--coordinated with smolin/bee?

smolin sits on the board/advisory panel of fxqi, but fox news, nor any other media outlet reported on this glaring conflict of interest. for fqxi funded lisi's not even wrong theory, and smolin hyped it to the media as fabulous. also both he and lisi said that the LHC would test it. nut lisi's theory makes no predictions, so that was a lie. why is smolin allowed to lie? should he not disclose his personal interest in lisi's theory? should he not tell fox news an dthe rest of the press that he helped approve financing for it?

and then lisi was pre-hyped by bee. is she not supported by PI--lee smolin's institute?

wouldn't it be better if bee and smolin took a rest from the hype game? if lisi's theory is that good, does it really need to be
"sold" with hype and lying titles? how depressing that lee smolin thinks so. 'tis not the soul of a true physicist, who values truth over all else.

fqxi supports a lot of PI research.

is this what physics is all about now? choosing sides and picking your favorite not even wrong theory?

Peter Woit's biggest reason for supporting Lisi's theory was that Lubos didn't like it. Lubos saw that it was a veritable hoax, packaged with a fraudulent title, for it is not a theory of everything.

And then all the anonyous, snarky, ad-hominem attacks directed at Distler, for acting like a physicist and teaching us all something about representation theory--woit's supposed field of expertise, which he forgot in hyping garrett's paper.

i'm curious--what do the smolin/bee/woit/lisi team have up their sleeve? how are they going to beat string theory by becoming it?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous writes,

"Anonymous said...
Hey, so-called Anonymous, you just engage in this relentless paranoid ranting because you refuse to come to terms with your own personal lack of merit.

Got a blog? Tell us about it."

Lack of personal merit?

Garrett Lisi: Lies to the media and physics community about his theoyr of everything, claiming the lhc will lest it when that is impossible as his theory makes no predictions.
Lee Smolin: b.oth funds and hypes Lisi's lies
John Baez: Sits around with his cackpot index all day long, determining who is in and who is out--who gets NSF funding for crank quantum computing research and who deosn't.

none of them have ever contributed to physics--not one original thought nor meaningful calculation nor novel insight nor new equation, and so they had to declare the end of science and recreate physics in their own image: where a blog backed by tens of millions dollars replaces math, equations, and reality.

and thus peter woit is the greatest living physicist, second only to lisi.

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous said...
Hey, so-called Anonymous, you just engage in this relentless paranoid ranting because you refuse to come to terms with your own personal lack of merit.

Got a blog? Tell us about it."

Lee Smolin/PI/goldman sachs are using their hundreds of millions of dollars to redifine the english language. Major dictionaries are now updating the definition of the word "ranting":

ranting = calling out lisi's lies
ranting = exposing lee smolin's connection to the financing of lisi's theory
ranting = pointing out that peter woit was depressed by the reaction to lisi's lies. peter would have been happier if everyone would have just accepted, believed, and blogged about lisi's lies
ranting = pointing out that bee had no real reason to promote lisi's theory over the hundreds of other not even wrong theories out there, other than the way she felt about it.
ranting = the truth
ranting = distler using actual physics and math and logic and reason to show the fallacy of lisi's theory
ranting = pointing out that lee smolin's pi is funded by goldman sachs
ranting = exposing the PI/smolin/fxqi/lisi connections that fox news failed to fully realize and report on
ranting = pointing out that while peter woit often speaks out against certain forms of anonimity, he embraces other forms of anonimity and secretiveness that support his not even worng agenda
ranting = questioning john baez's crackpot index on a university website which is used to recruit loyal groupthinking fanboys to kill all new ideas, allowing baez to absorb nsf funding for that which defines crackpottery: quantum gravity and quantum computing: google it
ranting = physics
ranting = truth
ranting = math
ranting = reality

Anonymous said...

Even though Distler and serious physicists have pointed out that Lisi's theory is full of holes, Lee Smolin is now citing it:

And the PI fanboys are hyping the not even wrong/proven to be wrong nonsense:

"We study a unification of gravity with Yang-Mills fields based on a simple extension of the Plebanski action to a Lie group G which contains the local lorentz group. The Coleman-Mandula theorem is avoided because the theory necessarily has a non-zero cosmological constant and the dynamics has no global spacetime symmetry. This may be applied to Lisi's proposal of an E8 unified theory, giving a fully E8 invariant action. The extended form of the Plebanski action suggests a new class of spin foam models."

It is now clear that the Lisi mania was but a diversion. Lee put Lisi/Bee/Woit on teh frontlines, got fox news to report on it, and now it has become self-referential reality.

Lisi's wiki pages are based not on physics, but on media events inspired by false, lying physics.

But not so fast.

For in all his cynicism, Lee Smolin actually forgot about us.

The hidden variables.

The honest, hard-working, truthful physicists.

Anonymous said...

okay smartyrants, I challenge you to rant about

I hope you live up to your own impeccable standards of ranting.

"ranting = physics
ranting = truth
ranting = math
ranting = reality"

Hope I haven't caught you with your rants down. Or are you just rissing in the wind.

Anonymous said...

Even when this blog gets up to 100000 comments, it will not have begun to touch upon the vastness the lies, the deceit, and the falsehoods the lee smolin team is about to deluge us with.

lee smolin has hundreds of millions of dollars, tens of loyal fanboys, and absolutely no physics.

this is not a good combination. the first thing to go will be physics, truth, and reality.

i think it is bad form for lee smolin to cite lisi in his abstract, when it has been pointed out all over that lisi is a liar. lisi lied in the title of his paper, for his paper is not a theory of everything. lisi lied to the media in saying that the lhc would provide a definitive test of his thoery, as his theory makes no predictions.

lisi is a liar.

lee needs liars to support his multi-million dollar operation.

these are facts.

no amount of groupthink fanboys can kill the truth, no matter how much cash lee smolin wires to them.

Anonymous said...

"Even when this blog gets up to 100000 comments,..."

Hah! I knew you weren't a real scientist. You don't even know how to use scientific notation.

Anonymous said...

is smolin a real scientist?

why is he citing liars in his abstracts?

since when has scinece relied on lies and liars?

i'll tell you when.

when science raised hundreds millions of dollars and then realized it dind't have any science to justify it.

so it is that the groupthinkers had to hire fanboys, create mythologies, and call those who adhered to truth, logic, and physics crackpots.

Anonymous said...

woit will hype smolin's paper that cites garrett lisi just as soon as lubos points out that smolin's paper is crap as it references liars in its abstract.

woit doesn't actually read papers or do physics it seems. he is a sociologist who happens to know ed witten, who really isn't a physicist, but an applied sociologist who created string theory based on the fundamental forces of pscyhology and sociology--the need to feel liked by a group.

lee smolin is now applying witten's theory in hyping garrett lisi and letting all teh fanboys at into his new, little, well-funded club where the price of admission is buying into lies and vowing to defend smolin's physics against reason, logic, and physics.

this si fun to watch.

Anonymous said...

do smolin/baez/bee/woit/lisi really think that thier hundreds of milliosn of dollars and ten fanboys can transform lisi's lies into truth via fanboys deleting the truth from wikipedia and lisi lying to fox news/the press?
"So basically, you are telling me that your search for "Garrett Lisi" makes any other articles null and void that are under Antony Garrett Lisi, or other tags." No, I actually didn't say anything of the kind. I just stated a simple fact. And I might point out that "Garrett Lisi" will find anything "Antony Garrett Lisi" finds. "And the same day that you made your claim was also the day that the Indian article came out. You should have checked before making your claim." Has i occurred to you that the article might have started appearing on google news after I did the search that day? "If that isn't lying, I don't know what is. " How about what you are saying here? "Perhaps you should give Justin Khoury a wiki if you find him notable" Did you read what I wrote? My point was that Khoury isn't particularly notable by Wiki's criterion, and yet he is far more notable than Lisi. As for why I care... this is a case where a huge amount of misinformation has been spread about this theory. Millions of people across the world read that this guy is the next Einstein, etc. etc., all because he hyped his own theory (which is close to nonsense) and took in one credulous science journalist. I'd like for wikipedia to tell the truth, not the hype. At the very least it should be pointed out that 13 years after his first paper this guy has had zero impact on physics and is regarded as a crackpot by almost the whole field. (Incidentally 13 years after his first paper Einstein had revolutionized physics and was the most famous scientist in the world.)
A short burst of present news coverage, now apparently at an end, is precisely what has happened here. The flaws in this theory were apparent from the beginning to almost any physicist in the field that actually bothered to even glance at the paper, and they have now been clearly laid out in several blogs etc. The only reason it got any attention at all is that Lisi is an unusual figure, science journalists love countercultural rebel types, the paper had a clever name and some pretty pictures, and one or two fringe physicsts with some public exposure made mis-informed comments about it. It's now in the process of dissappearing from view.

Do Smolin/Lisi/PI/goldman sachs have enough capital to destroy physics and truth?

I would bet not.


Distler writes, "
I’m not going to talk about spin-statistics, or the Coleman-Mandula Theorem, or any of the Physics issues that could render Garrett’s idea a non-starter. Instead, I will confine myself to a narrow question in group representation theory. This has the advantage that

It’s readily decidable, on purely mathematical grounds.
Since it involves the starting point of Garrett’s analysis, a negative answer would render all of the other questions moot."

And so the PI/Smolin/Lisi team launched anonymous ad hominem attacks against distler.

Anonymous said...

Dear wAnonymousino, what do you want to be when you grow up?

Anonymous said...

When I grow up, I want to be a leading physicist, like Lee Smolin.

I want to raise funds from Goldman Sachs & the Canadian government to finance and hype not-even wrong Garrett Lisi papers with lying tiles and fraudulent claims and get fox news to buy into the spurious, deceitful hype, so that I can cite the not even wrong papers in my future not even wrong papers, because don't you know it's all about politics these days.

Or I want to be a leading physicist like John Baez, with a crackpot index of my own by which my fanboys can exalt and worship my crackpot research, while criticizing and crucifying any idea Bee does not feel good about.

Or I want to be a leading physicist like Peter Woit who is still a Witten Fanboy after all these years, and who was "depressed" about people finding out that Garrett Lisi's paper had a lying title and made false claims as to testability. I want to reformulate physics as that which is based on feelings and manners and politeness, even though i worte a book with a title inspired by pauli, but don't you know i was being ironic.

Wne I grow up i want to become a groupthinking postdoc at PI, where my salary will depend on my loyalty to Lee and Goldman Sachs, and where I will get to participate in organizing media campaigns to hype false theories of everything, coordinating all our loyal supporters in teh blogosphere, and uniting them all not in the love of physics, but in peter woit's/lee smolin's hatered of lubos motl's blog, and general detestation of distler's sound math and physics.

What do you want to be when you grow up? A fanboy editing Lisi's hilarious wikipedia pages?

Anonymous said...

I wonder if it ever depresses Peter that Lisi's paper, complete with its lying title and spurious, false claims to testability, has now become an offical contribution to physics, based entirely on a hoax--a self-referential, well-funded, and well-orchestrated hype crusade.

I wonder if it ever occurs to Peter and Lee that Lisi's paper goes against all the morality they preached in their books, thusly rendering them irrelevant and meaningless; while shwoing that they were written not for intrinsic belief nor higher idealism, but for egoism and greed.

Anonymous said...

The Future of Physics:

I have seen the future of physics. It is contained in this thread.

Note the fanboy gossip. Note the polite shuffling around the fact that Lee Smolin financed and hyped Lisi's paper, because Lee knew he would soon be putting his own paper out.

Note the complete lack of physics.

Note how the self-references actually becomes real physics in teh fanboys minds.

Note how groupthink exalts a lying peper, with a lying title and false claims to testability as deep and profound that merits discussion.

Note again the complete lack of physics.

Note this post: "dumdumtitllydumdum
I wonder if "bee" has something in the works."

Note Marcus being loyal to his Master Lee Smolin, as if Scientific American and Fox News are going to run with Lee's paper based on MArcu's BS assessment: "I am still impressed by the solidness and carefulness of the paper, but maybe it is not so surprising on second thought."

The paper cites a hoax paper in its abstact--a hoax paper with a lying title and claim to testability.

This impresses Marcus.

I wonder if this depresses Peter. I would imagine it makes him joyful and gleeful, as although the paper is a complete hoax, Lubos didn't like it, which is all that really matters to Peter, providing him ample cause to embrace the hoax/fraud/unfounded claims.

Hwo does one fight sociology?

Anonymous said...

Congatulations Anonymous, you are a rising superstar in the blogosphere.

Bee has made a post just about you!

Anonymous said...

(just in case)

Congatulations Anonymous, you are a rising superstar in the blogosphere.

Bee has made a post just about you!

Anonymous said...


physics neophyte on Dec 7th, 2007 at 9:07 pm
Would the experts care to chime in on Smolin’s

mark on Dec 10th, 2007 at 8:00 pm

"I wish Lee Smolin would read Jacques Distler’s blog more often.

The group theory part of Lisi’s paper has been completely debunked and yet, Smolin completely ignores this and gives Lisi his stamp of approval.

The scientific standards of the LQG community seem to be really low these days."

Just ordered this book:

The Rise of String Theory, The Fall of Science, and What Comes Next: Getting Fox News to Hype Garrett Lisi Hoax--The Pinnacle of LQG. by Lee Smolin

Ardent said...

I am a physics enthusiast, not a physicist. It is not my life's work, and I've not been formally trained in the workings of physics above a single college level physics class. I am fascinated, however, with the workings of the universe, and of the psychology of those who would dedicate their lives to discovering the how of the cosmos.

I had a rather romanticized view of physics life-devotees until I read this blog. I didn't realize it could get so hateful. I can admire great pathos for knowledge, but why all the disrespect? It seems counterproductive to be attacking other researchers, concentrating resource on humiliating others instead of advancing understanding of the universe. It seems dangerously filled with hubris.

Anonymous said...

The only contempt is how much Lee Smolin hates physics.

While still ignoring Distler's demonstration that Lisi can't even get first-generation solutions for his non-theoyr, Smolin writes:

Lee Smolin on Dec 11th, 2007 at 10:15 am
I did look at Dsitler’s blog and there is, to my understanding, only one issue was raised in his discussion of Lisi’s paper that was not already raised by Lisi himself in his paper and talks: this is that Lisi muffed the nomenclature for non-compact forms of E8.

***No Lee--Lisi didn't just muff the nomenclature, but he lied to the press when he said his theory could be tested by the LHC. And you lied to the press, when you called anon-theory fabulous. Lee continues:

The question is whether the open issues are solvable issues or not. Distler thinks not, Lisi thinks perhaps yes. I don’t see what there is to be gained by arguing, the burden of proof is on whether the issues can be solved and so the only thing to do if one is interested is to work on them. Some of the open issues are straightforward to address, given that there is a literature on this kind of unification, beginning with Peldan in 1992. So in my recent paper I describe how to make a fully gauge invariant action for proposals of Peldan and Lisi’s type, and I also suggest an alternative approach for the fermions which mght resolve some of the other open issues. The gauge invariant action is, btw, the starting point for quantization using LQG and spin foam methods.

***Lee is still ignoring Distler's cimplete and utter refutation of Lisi's premise and theory. But Lee likes saying things like, "the starting point for quantization using LQG and spin foam methods," as it makes him feel like he's doing physics. This is a sickening abuse by a man with great funding and power. Lee continues:

I don’t understand the fuss about the CM theorem, which concerns global symmetries of the S matrix. In a gravitational theory, which Lisi’s is, global symmetries are symmetries only of solutions or of asymptotic conditions and are not the same as the local gauge symmetries. Indeed, even though my local gauge symmetry is some semi-simple G, I display a solution whose global symmetry is a subgroup of G, namely SO(4)+H where H is the largest compact subgroup of G/SO(4). (The same would work with Lorentzian signature.)
Even if G=E8 this is in accord with the CM theorem. . . .In case it comes up, let me emphasize that while I do think that Lisi’s paper has enough interesting about it that it is worth working on the open issues, I also think that the press coverage was premature and told that to the journalists who contacted me. The “Fabulous…” quote by me was taken out of context-it was a remark made spontaneously to a few people just after hearing his talk and quoted-in some cases without permission-and without the cautionary statements that I empahsized to the journalists that contacted me. "

***Dear Lee--why were journalists contacting you? All teh Lisi pictures, all the hype, all the coordinated and sudden blogging and support by the chosen bloggers. Why were journalists even contacting you in the first place? Hundreds of non-theories get published at every week. Granted, not all of them are funded by fqxi, whose advisory panel you sit on, but why doesn't the press cover all these "fabulous" theories? Why not write a letter to Fox News and the hundreds of media outlets, stating the Truth? Lisi's theory makes no sense on both the mathematical and physical level.

Lee continues:

"Finally, let’s put this in context. Often the first publication of an important new idea is incomplete and comes with open issues. (Consider Glashow’s 1961 paper on the weak interactions or the 1954 Yang-Mills paper, among many others.) Lisi’s paper is a candidate for such an idea. He himself is honest and consistently emphasizes the high risk nature of his proposal and the open issues and weak points, in his paper, talks and conversations. My view is that the idea deserves some time to see if it works out. Meanwhile, there are better developed ideas about unification such as Chamseddine-Connes that deserve more attention and investigation than they are getting."

Sure--take all the time you want. But all we ask is that you stop giving all the hard-working physicists and perpetual postdocs the middle finger from your multi-million dollar propaganda and intimidation machine. Stop promoting and hyping non-tehories in the blogosphers, in the mass media, in PI forums, and on wikipedia pages (Lee--if you really meant what you said, you would edit Lisi's wikipedia pages accordingly).

There is can be no greater disservice to physics than hyping lies and deceit, while ignoring physics and math. We all thought you'd written a book about this, but now it seems the book was written as a "how-to" handbook for non-theories.

Anonymous said...

You are just so angry that you're NOT EVEN ANGRY!

Anonymous said...


Big Bully Lee Smolin fights like a little girly girl with ad hominen attacks, snarky sayings, name-dropping, and meaningless mathematical phrases.

But he refrains from technical arguments, as to Lee it is all sociology.

Dister writes at:


If you have any technical critiques of my two posts on this subject, please leave them in the comments on my blog. If you just want to make ad hominem attacks, please go ahead and do that over here."

Although Lee and his PI have never contributed to science in a meaningful manner, the big multi-million-dollar funded bully fights like a little girl. When he comes out from hiding behind his little blogosphere fanboys, he just launches into ad hominen attacks.

Let's break down Lee's game:

Lee writes,

(Parenthetical comments added)

Dear Vincent,

I haven’t responded because unfortunately I’ve been swamped with other priorities (raising funds from goldman sachs and the canadian government) and haven’t had time to check this out in detail. But since there have been repeated requests, here is what I am thinking about this.

1) There is no issue for the euclidean, compact case.

3) Distler does not point to a specific step in Lisi’s paper which he claims is incorrect (Lee has thus far ignored Distler's critique which points to multiple false steps, a flawed premise, false claims, and misappropriated math). This makes me wonder if Distler’s claim is a non-sequitor or based on a misunderstanding (awesome--a multi-million dollar ad hominem attack. Lee has had years to perfect these). While I haven’t checked in detail, I am puzzled that there is no mention in Jacques’s post of the Pati-Salam chirally symmetric theory, as that is what Lisi’s paper shows is embedded in E8. While I haven’t worked out the details, the Pati-Salam is a vector theory where parity is only broken spontaneously. Fermions in the Pati-Salam model are in parity symmetric reps, because of the overall parity invariance of the theory. In Pati-Salam parity is broken spontaneously, leaving chiral fermions at low energy. As I haven’t checked the details I don’t know if this is the answer to Distler’s objection but the fact that it is nowhere mentioned is worrying (Lee thinks that name dropping is doing physics. If only he would say Pati-Salami twenty more times, Distler pointed out that Lee's comments on Pati-Salami meant not all that much, but we all ordered Pati-Salami sandwhiches).

4) Distler was largely wrong in his previous post as he been several times before in discussions on other issues (another ad hominem attack. awesome!! because Distler has been wrong before, he must be wrong now. because Einstein and Newton and Bohr had all been wrong before, F=ma, E=mc^2, and everything Bohr ever said is malarky). The one criticism he made that was correct and not mentioned already by Lisi had to do with the nomenclature of non-compact forms of E8. So I would urge caution (Lee urges caution. Instead of addressing Distler's rock-solin points of contention, Lee urges caution). This is a highly technical issue that needs care to get it right (I can see Lee calling an abulance for beter care).

4) Distler’s last remark “And, no, I don’t intend to comment on the REST of Smolin’s paper….” implies he believes that something in his post addresses something in my paper. But there is nothing at all in this post relevant to the results of my paper. Even ignoring the condescending tone (when Lee gives the finger to the thousands of hard-working postdocs by funding and promotinga surfer-dude's BS to fox news and major media as fabulous, he is not being condescending), this seems to me sloppy and makes me cautious about accepting his conclusions about other things without checking (Lee is being cautious. Because he cannot undertsand Distler's rock-solid math, and because he prefer's Lisi's lies, handwaving, non-math, and non-theory which he helped fund, he is driven to deliver top-notch little grily ad hominem attacks against distler, backed by hundreds of milliosn of dollars and an ever-dwindling number of blogosphere fanboys. Peter's gone silent on the whole Lisi affair. I think Lee is making Peter "feel sad.")

If I can add, I fail to see the value of these one sided arguments where one side plays fair and admits mistakes and open issues and credits strong points on the other side, but the other side plays nasty hardball (Hey Lee--just because you get your fanboys and fgangirls to do your dirty work, do post falsehoods throughout the blogosphere, in the media, and on wikipedia, does not mean that you aren't engaging in dark, dervish behavior). Not only is it not fun, it is of little positive scientific value and indeed it’s counterproductive as this kind of nasty debate has been the source of many falsehoods and misconceptions, because those who originate them never apologize or admit error (yes--it is time for Garrett Lisi to admit he was wrong, completely wrong, and not even wrong, write a letter to all teh misled major media outlets, and remove his wikipedia pages, as wikipedia is a place for facts. If Lee wants to put up a wiki page, he could have his fanboys erect one called "The Garrett Lisi Affair," reporting on how all of Lee's sociological tactics, groupthink, and propaganda cannot trump math and sicence, as demonstrated by Distler). In the exchanges with Lisi so far we have Lisi himself emphasizing the open issues and questions (actually Lisi hyped a faper with a false title and told the popular media it could be tested at the LHC. Lisi's lies certainly did not emphasize teh open issues), and the other side making a spectacle of arrogantly criticizing him for issues that they didn’t realize he had already discussed (Lee & Lisi have yet to respond to Distler's rock-solid mathematical dispensal of Lisi's premise and non-theory).

There is nothing wrong with making mistakes, but the spirit of science requires that we acknowledge them (Time to step up to the plate Leee, and edit Lisis's wikipedia pages, acknowledging your mistakes). I would strongly urge those who want to criticize other physicists’ work in a public forum do it professionally, without personal attacks and with a constructive and fair attitude (while John Baez and his loyal PI fanboys get to keep his crackpot index on a univeristy website, snarking anyone Lee/Baez commands them to). Most importantly, if you criticize, then be fair and acknowledge when your own criticisms have turned out to be wrong and be generous about acknowledging when your criticisms have been answered by further work (Lee--one more time--you and Lisi are tyotally ignoring Distler's rock-solid demonstration that Lisi's theory is completely flawed. How come neither you nor Lisi respond at Distler's blog?). If we all played fair in these ways I think that more of these online debates would end in agreement and increased understanding (Yes--we should play fair. Since Distler is doing all the heavy-lifting, he should get half of PI's funding.)

I don't think that Lee has realized that the internet was invented. Gone are the days when we aren't allowed to criticize the pure hype Lee hypes for non-theories on Fox News.


Anonymous said...


Garrett Lisi has yet to respond to Distler's thorough critique and nullifaction of his non-tehory which Lee Smolin hyped to fox news and popular media as "fabulous" despite the fact that Lisi's theory was filled with lies as to its testibility and made no predictions:

Here are Garrett's posts at a foum which is dominated by PI fanboys--do they receive any funding from PI, or FQXI, or any other institution that Lee Smolin leads/influences?

Smolin & Lisi, backed by hundreds of millions in funding, are now engaging in ad-hominem attacks, instead of responding to the technical arguments presented by Distler, who writes, "": So, just so there’s no ambiguity, let me go back and point out that Lisi’s proposed embedding of G does not even “get the first generation right.” --

garrett ignores the technical discussion and engages in ad hominem attacks to defend his flas claims to testability and his non theory at:

garrett is Offline:
Posts: 275 Hello MTd2,
"This issue of non-compact subalgebras of non-compact real E8 is pretty tricky. Jacques is trying to pass this stuff off as obvious, but having a hard time doing that since he's been making mistakes. I did the calculations using compact real E8, and figured I could change the signature of part of the Killing form to get a non-compact version, by inserting an i in the roots -- but this was probably naive on my part. In the paper, I do use so(7,1)+so(8), and I though this was in E IX, but it isn't. Jacques asserted in a comment to his first post that so(7,1)+so(8) is in split real E8. This was news to me. Then, in his second post, he said so(7,1)+so(8) isn't in split real E8, as if I were the one who initially said it was. Also, in his second post, Jacques asserted that spin(12,4) was in split real E8 -- another mistake -- then he went back this morning and edited that out of the post, without noting his error.

This behavior makes me pretty wary. Despite his hostility and mistakes, I've learned a bit of useful math from the discussion with Jacques, and will see what I can do with it. I may be able to get things to work with so(7,1)+so(1,7), or with so(12,4), or I might have to try something more drastic. I already knew I was going to have to do something significantly different to get the second and third generations to work in this theory, so, really, not much has changed -- there are now just more clues.



Hey Garrett & Lee--when are you going to use that hundreds of millions of (PI/FXQI) dollars to actually engage in a technical discussion, instead of promoting false theories with lying titles and lying claims to testability at the LHC, and then engaging in ad hominem attacks against true physicists?

Even Woit is getting impatient with you guys.

Yeah--let's get a new blog going.

1) no more lying (Lisi's title/claims, etc.)
2) No more ad hominem attacks (Lisi/Smolin tactics)
3) more disclosure about funding/ hyping tehories (Smolin funding/hyping lisi's theory)
4) more disclosure about the vast amounts of cash supporting non-theories which are created to recruit fanboys and groupthinkers.

Anonymous said...

Yes! The goal of our new blog will be a more exalted tone in the realm of physics.

We will get Woit and Smolin to encourage their good friend John Baez to take his snarky state and federally funded crackpot index down from the website. Woit and Smolin are always wringing their hands over the fallen tone and tenor of physics, and we look forward to them actually doing something about it.

And from now on, instead of using ad hominem attacks, Smolin will be encouraged to debate Distler with technical arguments.

What should our new blog be called?

As long as Lee and Peter support state and federally funded physicists calling people crackpots, we will know that they are being insincere in their lamentations and hand-wringing.

This blog is gonna kick a. Imagine a Not Even Wrong blog that wasn't married to big-money physics, the growth of the government, and Lisi hype.

What should we call it? Feedback would be great from the exalted scholars who have posted here so far.

Anonymous said...

Count me in!

We need a new, impartial blog that is loyaly to truth and physics!

They are treating physics like basketball these days. Choose a team and isgn up to become a fanboy.

Lee leverages this new aspect of physics, but he has immense pressure to actually create new physics, due to teh multi-million-dollar PI price tag, which, correct me if I'm wrong, has so far produced no physics.

The whole Lisi affair shows just how desperate Lee is getting.

We need a free blog, independent of vast state, foundation, and federal, and tax, and tuition funding to report on the simple truth: LQG/ST/LISI does not equal physics, but a sociological experiment and entertainment where we get to watch grown men fighting like little girls.

Anonymous said...

Distler is my new hero.

He holds physics and math above popular opinion.

Lee Smolin's entire strategy is to base physics and math on popular opinion--hence the lisi hoax, the ad hominem attacks, the group thinking across certain blogs and forums, and the refusal to debate Distler as man, using math and physics, but instead encouraging ad hominem attacks, side-swipes, ironic surfer-dude winks, and anit-physicism.

And who is this Bee person? What physics has he done?

I'll look forward to your new blog, peeps.

Anonymous said...

I have been shocked, amazed, and saddened how John Baez, Peter Woit, and Lee Smolin have rejoiced in calling physicists crackpots, and encouraging their fanboy grad students/postdocs to do the same.

Baez's crackpot index is a sign of the times, and it is the badge of Smolin's, Woit's, and Baez's impotence in physics.

Einstein, Bohr, Feynman, Newton, and Dirac all lead by exalting us with new equations and physics.

Baez/Smolin/Woit/Susskind/Witten can be found snarking, smirking, sneering, laughing, pointing, tearing down, smirking some more, and engaging in ad hominem attacks to defend their non-theories and meaningless math.

These are our leaders, and the tone of physics is set by them.

I agree that Baez needs to take his crackpot index on down, or at least start conducting and promoting non-crackpot research.

Anonymous said...

I would love to read a blog battling all the well-funded snarky insiderism.

Anonymous said...

Hey Anonymous, all your multiple personalities appear to be clones. You could have quite a community over at your new blog (though it's not clear that your blog would involve computers). I won't be joining you to feed the troll, since you seem to feed off yourself(s?).

Anonymous said...

I count at least eight distinct anonymouses here--perhaps nine.

And I have heard that Bee, Smolin, and Lisi are all the same person, which better explains why they are unable to respond to distler's technical overture and how they have come up with no new physics, as all of PI and FQXI is just one person--Lee Smolin.

Smolin funds the non-theories.
Smolin hypes the non-theories.
Smolin blogs about the non-theories.
Smolin creates wikipages devoted to the non-theories.
Smolin talks to the press about how fabulous it all is.

And unfortunately, this leaves Smolin with no time for physics.

Anonymous said...

Check out how Lee gets his ass handed to him on a technical level.

And then check out how Lee's PI's Bee changes the subject and goes after teh "tone" of physics.

Here's how it works.

1) Smolin arrogantly helps finance a not even wrong lisi theory.
2) Smolin arrogantly calls lisi's not even worng tehory fabulous.
3) Smolin arogantly orchestrates bee/pi fanboys multi-million dollar media festival to hype and promote lisi's non theory.
4) Smolin and his fanboys engage in ad hominem attacks against lisi's critics.
5) Smolin arrogantly refuses to debate Distler using physics, instead using arrogant ad hominem attacks.
6) Smolin arrogantly states that Distler is wrong, when distler is right.
7) Lisi arrogantly maintains his hoax theory is right and good and true, while arrogantly refusing to address Distler's fair and just concerns.
8) Smolin/Lisi/Fanboys arrogantly hype Lisi's theory and arrogantly lie to fox news and multiple major media outlets that the LHC will test Lisi's non-theory with the lying title.

Humility before truth and physics makes one arrogant before the liars and groupthinkers and hypsters and incompetent. Bee should print thi ssnetence out and include it in her signature.

Anonymous said...

Bee is going to help out with our new blog I hope.

As she is against arrogance in physics, she is going to write an essay on why Baez's crackpot index--the very definition of snarky arrogance--must come down.

Thanks Bee!

Anonymous said...

yes. our new blog is going to be dedictaed to bee.

we are going to battle all the meanie-meanies out there who have been responsible for the decline of tone in academia.

they better watch out when our new blog launches.

Anonymous said...

john baez is one of the biggest meanie meanies.

certainly bee will write a letter to him and his chairman, asking him to stop it with the promotion ad hominem attacks encouraged and perpetuated by his crackpot index. baez's crackpot index has destoryed string theorists, loop quantum gravity researchers, and now garrett lisi. we must stop this ad hominem assault on physicists.

or maybe bee is being ironic? perhaps she doesn't really want to change the tone of academia, but just distract us all from the fact that she's not really doing any new physics, by posing as an agent of change and superior virtue, while silently smirking and winking at john baez as the nsf funds/pi funds/fqxi funds roll in for certain "professional" crackpots.

well, we hope that bee is sincere. we hope that she posts her letter requesting baez to take his mean-spirited, snarky, smirking crackpot index down off his website, as a first step towards exalting and enhancing the tone of physics.

as a matter of fact, we should launch our new blog with a copy of bee's letter to baez regarding how his crackpot index, which attacks the individual and exalts the well-funded groupthinkers, has destroyed the tone of contemporary physics. what should we call our new blog? not even wronger?

Anonymous said...

Peter Woit hates anonimity becuase it undermines his favorite method of destruction--the ad hominem attack.

Woit & Smolin do not deal in ideas.

Their books contain no new physics. Just gossip and opinions.

They fight like little girls, organizing blogosphere tea parties, sending out cutesy invitations to fanboys, and invoking john baez's crackpot index against true physicists.

The Lisi affair demonstrated that Woit doesn't understand Group Theory and Representation Theory.


And even after Lisi ios exposed a hundred itmes over, Woit yet acts like a little girl, ignoring the fact that he hyped a complete hoax on his blog.

Smolin/Woit want identities so that they can set their well-funded machine in seek and destroy mode:

Peter Woit on Dec 17th, 2007 at 10:51 am

I don’t recall ever seeing you reveal your actual identity in any of your postings, so I don’t know who you are, and I assume the same is true of Lee.

“I’ll let you be the judge of your own opacity.”

“you might want to take a look at the chapter on fermions in any modern book on quantum field theory.”

are among the things you’ve written here that I think could be described as the particle physicist’s equivalent of trash talking. I strongly suspect that if your real name was on the comments you might have decided to, in your words, “Take a deep breath”, and express yourself in a different manner.

Eric on Dec 17th, 2007 at 11:12 am
All you’re trying to do by complaining about anonymous comments is distract attention from the fact the Lisi’s paper has been shown to be completely wrong and Smolin et. al. have completely embarassed themselves. From where I stand, HIGG’s comments have been very reasonable and on point.

H-I-G-G-S on Dec 17th, 2007 at 11:14 am
Dear Peter,

In a world where the internet can quickly provide personal information I think having a pseudoynm is perfectly appropriate. You can disagree, but please stop attacking me on this point. As to whether the
above was trash talking or appropriate responses to Lee’s unjustified attack on Distler, I’ll let readers make their own judgements.

Let me make one final point. You often complain about ad hominem attacks
and about people who attack you based on your publications or record rather than on the content of your posts. Please treat me in the way you wish to be
treated. You attack me personally for not revealing my true name or for “trash talking”, even after I offered an apology and then provided the details requested about my judgement of Lisi’s work. I’d appreciate it if you would not do this in the future. I of course am more than happy to respond to critical comments about the physics issues I am discussing.


p.s. as for the “deep breath” comment, I had the definite impression that Lee was responding quickly, without thinking things through, and was thus missing the important fact that \psi_R^* is left-handed and that this accounted for the discrepancy with Distler. Taking a deep breath and having a look at a QFT textbook seemed to be precisely what he needed to do. from:

There you have it. The Lisi/Smolin/Woit team is compeltely incompetent when it comes to physics and math, and so they have set up a polical machine to pump the blogosphere with propaganda, and destroy true physicists with ad hominem attacks.

Let's see how long their childish and totalitarian tactics last. Goldman Sachs and the Canadian government won't fund Smolin forever if he keeps it up with the hype, fantasy, and ad hominmen attacks.

Anonymous said...

Hey Peter.

If you're so against anonymity, how come you never crusade against all the anonymous hypesters who created the propaganda pages for Lisi's non-theory.

If you're really against anonimity, and if you're really for truth, beauty, and physics,

1) log on to wikipedia as Peter Woit
2) Delete Garrett Lisi's pages that are filled with misinofmration and media hype
3) Create a new page devoted to the Garrett Lisi affair, including Distler's and Higg's et als sound math and physics.

Peter Woit, you can do the world a great service here by fighting the anonymous fanboys who created false and errant pages on wikipedia.

Anonymous said...

The Lisi affari was awesome.

It provided a glimpse into the technical ability of Woit and Smolin and Bee.

It is easy to see why they prefer postmodern propaganda over physics.

Their incompetence, immaturity, and vicious longing to engage in ad hominem attacks is now immortalized throughout the blogosphere.

Sure--they will still send groupthink fanboys to forums and blogs and wikipedia to snark and intimidate, but they will ultimately be defeated by truth.

A big thanks goes out to Distler and HIGGs and others who fought the good fight and kept the spirit of physics and truth alive, against Smolin's intimidation and ad-hominem-attacking hype machine backed by the multi-million/billion dollar Columbia and PI endowments.

Anonymous said...

one solution to the anonimity conundrum is this:

equal pay for anonymous truth tellers and lis hypesters/liars/ad hominem-attackers

when the hypesters/liars/ad hominem attackers/pi fanboys are backed by hundreds of millions of dollars, you would be a fool to reveal your identity, for the groupthinking fanboys have plenty of cash to spend the rest of yoru lfietime destroying you and your reputation.

that is why woit hungers after HIGGS identity. unable to defeat HIGGS in the arena of physics and ideas, Woit longs to detsory HIGGS in the realm of the pi-primed blogosphere, where tyhe end of pure propaganda and politics are garrett's hilarious, fallacious wikipedia pages, which are yet prsented as science, and are protected by the pi fanboys as if they the ark of the covenant.

for smolin needs a myth to unite his army of groupthinkers.

i was reading his 3 roads to quantum gravity the other day. lee is obviosuly not much of a physicist. while containing no new physics, teh book also convolutes and contorts physics. some of the sentences had me laughing aloud. i will share them on our new blog.

Mitchell said...

Two minor points:

1) Goldman Sachs is very low on the list of Perimeter Institute sponsors - the funding page records one donation of at most $5000.

2) There is zero evidence that anyone from PI or backed by PI is editing those Wikipedia pages.

Anonymous said...

LOL, nice one Mitchell.

Now Anonymous (yeah you, the paranoid ranting loser), to maintain a sense of proportion, I think you need to rant about the Canadian Government about 220,000 times (or more).

And to end on a positive note of encouragement, I THINK YOU CAN DO IT!!!

Anonymous said...

Well who is editing those wiki pages?

Let's do a reverse-DNS on the ips....


just a second here.....


oh my oh my....

it seems like it's....

you're not gonna belive this.... toon in to our new blog!!!

only $5,000 from goldman sachs

only $5,000

that's still a lot to pay for a bunch of non-theories

and then there's the irony of all the anonimity involved in the securitzation of subrime loans, and passing off the risk to someone else... but this kind of anonimity is above peter woit's pay grade. peter only wants the names of the people lkike HIGGS as they know more group theory than he does, and he needs to intimidate them and their careers with ad hominem attacks.

they got lisi's non-theory on fox news as a theory of everything, without equations, without predictions, without a theory. their power is immense, it grows by the minute, and the wise would be wise to fear them. imagine if bee knew your name. in twenty-four hours she could get some serious ad hominem attackage in, if she's not too busy doing physics. i was trying to find some of her publications. does anyone mind sharing? she appears as an expert in physics on the garrett lisi wiki page, but when you click on her name, it doesn't lead anywhere. links would be great!

Anonymous said...

Which anonymous are you calling the paranoid, ranting loser?

I hope it's not me.

If that shows up on my tenure review, I'll end up over in Prague with Lubos.

Anonymous said...

Yeah--here we can see why it is good to be anonymous.

All the rich physicists such as Bee, backed by the Canadian government and goldman sachs to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars launch ad hominem attacks against those who question their non theories and the fraudulent wiki pages and vast media spectacles that have replaced physics.

What you get is a dangerous situation.

Non-physicists such as Bee, who doesn't seem to have ever written any prfound physics papers, are now capable of destroying you on the blogosphere.

Think about future job interviews.

Someone googles your name and finds all of Bee's ad hominem attacks.

They don't know that she's basically a hired gun who doesn't really do physics, treating physics not as physics, but as a sporting event. They just see her prestigous position, never read her non-papers, and bammo, you're out a job.

You will not be able to feed your wife and children. Most likely your wife will leave you, which is exactly what the feminist movement and economists (dismal scientists) want.

Where is PI's physics. I've been cruising their sight. Now that LQG has proven a complete faith-based dead end and the Garrett Lisi hoax has run its course, what are they going to do?

Seems like Smolin is losing his credibility.

Soon we anonymous physicits won't have to fear destruction at the hands of teh non-physicits, as it would seem their well-funded reign of terror and groupthink is coming to an end.

Anonymous said...

The Smolin/Woit/Baez/Bee reign of terror is FINALLY COMING TO AN END!!!


The Lisi affair smoked them out.

Love this thread:


"Geez! on Dec 18th, 2007 at 11:50 am


What is frustrating to the rest of us is that you always declare that you are making progress without anything technically correct and concrete to back it up. Just because you say it or write a paper about it doesn’t mean any progress has been made. No one is convinced by your paper–relying on your previous mechanism for getting fermions that in turn made absolutely no sense doesn’t make anything any better. Unfortunately physics needs equations and ideas and not just pretty pictures and wishful thinking.

I think you have a lot of nerve to assume that people should take you seriously when you have demonstrated above that you don’t understand the most basic things about field theory–what the PS model is, what parity means, what chirality means, that you can’t get a chiral from spontaneous breakdown of a vector theory and so on. Maybe to journalists or anyone that doesn’t know technical details of physics, your discussion with Jacques looks like “healthy dialog”. But to those in the know it is a complete embarrasment. Jacques had to teach you things I’m sure he has taught for years in his beginning field theory courses. This has nothing to do with the esoteric details of E8, but with basic, elementary QFT.

And why isn’t Peter Woit, prophet of the importance of representation theory in physics, chiming in on the group-theoretical issues with Lisi’s proposal? Still too busy complaining about manners? All of you alternative physics people can never put your money where your mouth is when it comes to physics discussion. Impartial external observers should take away the obvious lesson from this…"


"Lee Smolin on Dec 18th, 2007 at 11:04 am


huh? You made a list of criticisms which I responded to by explaining how some of them are solved or addressed in subsequent work. Your response is highly unprofessional, it has no content except a statement of your unwillingness to engage in a scientific discussion based on results in papers (THERE ARE NO RESULTS IN LISI'/SMOLIN'S WOIT'S PAPERS!!). So why should anyone take anything else you have to say seriously?

Don’t you understand that to be taken seriously a scientist who wants to criticize other scientist’s work must be professional and precise in their criticisms (HOW CAN ONE PRECEICELY CRITICIZE COMPLETE BS? HAHAHAAHAHH!!! A NEW SMOLIN TECHNIQUE--> WRITE COMPLETE BS, AND WHEN SOMEONE CRITICIZES IT, CRITICIZE THEM FOR TALKING ABOUT BS!!! HAHAHHAAH!!) The point is to convince other scientists to change their minds and to do this you must show your respect for them and you must reason with them (YEAH JUST LIKE SMOLIN/WOIT/LISIS SHOWED THEIR RESPECT BY HYPING A NON-THEORY WITH A LYING TITLE TO FOX NEWS). When you degenerate from reasoning with people to insutling them, you are behaving unprofessionally because you hurt both the processes and the reputation of science (LEE/WOIT DO NOTHING BUT INSULT!!! THEY ARE NOT CAPAABLE OF SCIENCE!!!). It matters not the context in which you do this.



Eric points out: "Eric on Dec 18th, 2007 at 11:14 am

Oh boy, here we go again with smokescreen tactic that Woit/Smolin use whenever they’re losing an argument of accusing the other side of being impolite."

So much for the LQG/Lisi movie deals and book deals. PI will have to find new investors soon.

Anonymous said...

Lee Smolin & Bee & Lisi are giving physics and physicists a bad name.

If they packed up shop, gave all tehir money back, it would save us time.

We could concentrate on physics instead of having to police their media hype and lies based on Smolin's/Lisi's/Bee's complete lack of understanding of basic group theory and fundamental representation theory.

Did they even go to grad school?

Anonymous said...

We have to be fair to Bee.

How did she get her cushy blogging job?

What are her papers/publications?

I hope they are more than the typical meaningless groupthink mumbo jumbo.

She should think twice next time before bringing too much attention to a complete non-theory such as Lisi's which Smolin helped finance and hype.

But unlike Bee/Smolin, I do not believe in ad hominem attacks.

Let's talk about her physics.

Where might we find it? What journals/links?

Anonymous said...

Backed by hundreds of millions of dollars form the Canadian government and goldman sachs, Smolin launches more ad hominem attacks:

"Unfortunately this is not the first time myself and other people who see a value in being fair minded have tried to have a constructive debate with Distler, HIGGS and others of their posse of anonymous detractors. They always use the same tactics and the result is always the same. They never admit error but they decrease their credibility in the eyes of fair minded people."

Smolin hyped lisi's non-theory with a lying title and false claims it could be tested.

Then he launches ad hominem attacks against the honest physicists who point out the lies, his hype, and the fallacies in his math a physics.

Note how much Lee can talk--on and on and on and on--without ever presenting an equation. Note all the ad hominem attacks and sociological theories. Note how he spends his time thickening the smoke screen behind which he hides his hundred-million-dollar sham--teh complete lack of physics or any advancement of physics from his career, his papers, his institute, his books, and his most verbose verbiage.

Not only does he have no physics, the man also has no shame.

Is it any wonder we have to keep anonymous, as hundreds of millions of dollars can buy him tens of postdocs and fanboys to propagate and perpetuate his mythology, which means trying to destroy true physicists via ad hominem attacks, time and time again.

Lee writes, "So what is really happening here? What has happened is that one very smart, but intellectually isolated young theoretical physicists has made a bold and risky proposal for unification of physics. Due to his personal circumstances, he got much too much media attention-something everyone including him agrees about and several of us including myself tried to stop."

Lee--you guys lead with Lisi's personal experiences. And you did nothing to try and stop it. How come you haven't edited his wiki pages tyo show that the whole event was a risky hoax, that ultimately bore no fruit whatsover, and is riddled with fallacies? Lee--you could have refused to talk tyo the media, or told the truth about lisi's non-tehory, but you lied about it and hyped it in article, after article, afater article. Where are your letters that you sent to the media frenzy you whipped up, trying to quell it? Please do share.

Lee continues: "A bunch of people who think they own the territory of unification are enraged. They react with all the classic symptoms of territory defense that the sociologists of science have catalogued. More troubling for them, Lisi’s proposal is set in the language of LQG, a rival approach which they already irrationally oppose because they think it threatens their hegemony over the territory of unification. The resulting behavior displayed makes my tentative conjectures about group-think look way too cautious, here we see all the classic signs of intellectuals acting irrationally because they feel their territory is threatened.

Hey Lee--you are the ultimate groupthink leader. Go by and Bee's blog and Woit's blog and the rest of the media outlets who followed your groupthing lead. Indeed--Lisi's theory is set in teh language of LQG, thusly further exposing teh complete and utter bankruptcy of LQG?--a purely groupthink tehory that has never made one valid prediction nor contribution to physics. Lee--it is you and your groupthink fanboys who think you own unification. That is what motivated Lisi's lying title, as well as his false claims that his unified theory cpould be tested at the LHC.

Lee--here's a proposal. Stop promoting and hyping non-theories with fraudulent titles and false claims, and leveraging yoru fanboy groupthink network to inspire a media storm about teh non-theory. you and your fanboys have hundreds of millions of dollars, and it is sad that LQG/lisi are the best you can do, but please do not blame this on Distler and honest physicists.

Anonymous said...

Peter writes:

"Peter Woit on Dec 19th, 2007 at 1:41 pm

I guess with

“Further discussion would require your understanding what the phrase “chiral fermions” means.”

we have your response to Lee’s

“I propose we either improve the tone drastically or close this discussion now.”

Why do you think it it’s a good idea to try and discuss a scientific issue with someone in the nasty, insulting way that you do? It’s completely unnecessary, just impedes the process of understanding each other’s arguments, sets a really bad example for the young, and discredits this subject in the eyes of outsiders. Why keep doing it?"

Hey Peter.

Why do you and Lee keep on projmoting LQG and lisi's non-theory that has a fallacious title and was sold and hyped with fallacious claims?

Why are manners and hype and fallacies more important than Distler's simple, elegant command of physics, group theory, and math?

Jacques understands physics, as did Wolfgang Pauli whose phrase you pilfered for your book.

If you guys can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen.

Really--you and Smolin are the embrarrising ones, teaching the young the virtues of groupthink, obedience to lies and hype, and polical machinations that can be used to discredit those who perform sound math and physics such as Distler.

When are you and Lee actually going to start doing physics and coming up with novel eqations, math, and proposals.

Anonymous said...

Our upcoming blog is gonna rock. Any more ideas of what we should call it?

Distler totally owns Peter--the net's most notorious collector of IPs and identities for the use in childish ad hominem attacks against those who present sound mathematicla and physical arguments that oppose Smolin's "hundred-million-dollar" hoaxes that make false claims to testability and come fully equipped with fraudulent titles, as Lubo and others have pointed out.

Peter hides behind his not-even-wrong blog with his not-even-wrong pretensions, collecting ip addresses and identities of true physicists, so he can launch ad hominem attacks against them when they point out hoxes such as the lisi hoax and the smolin LQG hoax.

But ditler politely owns Peter, pointing out that Peter never contributes on an intellectual level, but only on a little-fanboy ad hominem attacking level:
"Peter Woit on Dec 19th, 2007 at 2:19 pm
The schoolyard taunts about chiral fermions seemed oddly familiar, I just realized why. If you want to see the Distlerian method of scientific argumentation about fermion chirality in a simpler SM context, stripped of the complexities involved in non-compact real forms of E8, take a look at the comment section here

which was one of the first postings on my blog more than three and a half years ago. Jacques started off by submitting anonymous insulting comments as “Field Theorist”, but his style was immediately recognizable, so he had to give up on that fairly quickly.

Jacques Distler on Dec 19th, 2007 at 2:31 pm
Just curious, Peter, but do you have anything, anything whatsoever to contribute, vis-a-vis the substance of this debate?

I thought you were a great fan of representation theory. And you do (I assume) know what chiral fermions are.

If you have something of substance to contribute, now would definitely be the time to do so."

Anonymous said...

Man, you physicists act like a bunch of faggots fighting over a purse. In the real world all of you would get your pale asses kicked.

Anonymous said...

wow, am I glad I left physics. what a bunch of wankers.

ConcernedLayman said...

This is not aimed at any particular post, person or anonymous entity, but rather a shotgun fired randomly while wearing a blindfold.

What a bunch of pathetic bull excrement some of you people are heaving about. If ever science is like religion and high-school clearly it is in the area of theoretical physics with its often unprovable theories sold as fact and infantile bickering and bashing that passes for criticism. History shows us that as science progresses many theories come and go, some lead to real knowledge and understanding, while most belong on a list of 'intellectual' fairy tales. Humanity is not perfect, not every theory can be correct, we need fairy-tale theory to spur discussion (not to produce a climate of hatred and conflict but rather to promote thought.) And, on occasion what is first dismissed as fairy tale is later shown to have at least some validity.

Today, grade-school nonsense permeates the scientific culture as people scramble to seem witty or intelligent among their peers by attacking others personally, deriding or dismissing what they don't agree with often with no more evidence than the arguments they rail against. If the same energy was spent on seeking real knowledge as is spent on character assassination (note the two "ass"es, it is symbolic of the flatulence I determine to be rising out of both sides of this and similar 'discussions') humanity might be more properly served by science.

As an outsider to the physics community (albeit one with a great interest in how things really work) I think the child-like and pseudo-intellectual manner in which many 'modern' scientists act is epidemic and appropriate as it illustrates quite clearly that universities produce far to many graduates and post-graduates. It seems to me that the majority of them are nothing more than dancing bears eager to please the crowd their trainers for some tasty treat.

Why not just take a page from the anthropocentric global warming camp and simple claim consensus for any pet theory you choose to champion. This way no discussion would be needed, no empirical study, no need for reason, or logic or intellectual discourse and most importantly you can ride smugly on your high-horsie all the way across the school playground. Meanwhile, somewhere, real science can be done by the minority of truly intelligent people in the scientific community and in time their work will rise as sweet aromas from the putrified swamp that passes today as the scientific intelligentsia.

If you are offended by this commentary perhaps you should remove some of the buckshot from your arse now.

Yasmeen Elsayed said...

شركة كشف تسربات المياه بالدمام
شركة تخزين اثاث بالدمام
شركة نقل اثاث بالدمام
شركة عزل اسطح بالدمام
شركة رش مبيدات بالدمام
شركة تنظيف خزانات بالدمام
شركة تنظيف بيارات بالدمام
شركة تنظيف موكيت بالدمام
شركة تسليك مجاري بالدمام
شركة مكافحة حشرات بالدمام
شركة تنظيف شقق بالدمام

Yasmeen Elsayed said...

شركة تنظيف منازل بالدمام
شركة تنظيف فلل بالدمام
شركة تنظيف بالدمام
عزل وتنظيف الخزانات
خدمات التسليك والتسربات
نقل وتخزين الاثاث
مكافحة الحشرات ورش المبيدات
خدمات التنظيف
شركة تنظيف مسابح بالمدينة المنورة
شركة تنظيف موكيت بالمدينة المنورة

Yasmeen Elsayed said...

شركة تنظيف منازل بالدمام
شركة تنظيف فلل بالدمام
شركة تنظيف بالدمام
عزل وتنظيف الخزانات
خدمات التسليك والتسربات
نقل وتخزين الاثاث
مكافحة الحشرات ورش المبيدات
خدمات التنظيف
شركة تنظيف مسابح بالمدينة المنورة
شركة تنظيف موكيت بالمدينة المنورة

Yasmeen Elsayed said...

شركة تنظيف منازل بالمدينة المنورة
شركة تنظيف مجالس بالمدينة المنورة
شركة تنظيف فلل بالمدينة المنورة
شركة تنظيف شقق بالمدينة المنورة
شركة كشف تسربات المياه بالمدينة المنورة
شركة تسليك مجارى بالمدينة المنورة
شركة رش مبيدات بالمدينة المنورة
مكافحة حشرات بالمدينة المنورة
شركة تخزين عفش بالمدينة المنورة
نقل عفش بالمدينة المنورة

Yasmeen Elsayed said...

غسيل خزانات بالمدينة المنورة
شركة تنظيف بيارات بالمدينة المنورة
شركة تنظيف بالمدينة المنورة
عزل وتنظيف الخزانات
خدمات التسليك والتسربات
نقل وتخزين الاثاث
مكافحة الحشرات ورش المبيدات
خدمات التنظيف
شركة كشف تسربات المياه بالدمام
شركة تخزين اثاث بالدمام

Yasmeen Elsayed said...

شركة نقل اثاث بالدمام
شركة عزل اسطح بالدمام
شركة رش مبيدات بالدمام
شركة تنظيف خزانات بالدمام
شركة تنظيف بيارات بالدمام
شركة تنظيف موكيت بالدمام
شركة تسليك مجاري بالدمام
شركة مكافحة حشرات بالدمام
شركة تنظيف شقق بالدمام
شركة تنظيف منازل بالدمام

Yasmeen Elsayed said...

شركة تنظيف فلل بالدمام
شركة تنظيف بالدمام
عزل وتنظيف الخزانات
خدمات التسليك والتسربات
نقل وتخزين الاثاث
مكافحة الحشرات ورش المبيدات
خدمات التنظيف

furniture jepara said...

very amazing post, I like It, Thank you for presenting a wide variety of information that is very interesting to see in this artikle, good job adnd succes For you

karimun jawa
or mebel jepara
and kain tenun
Up tenun rangrang
and model baju tenun
and tenun sutra
and tenun troso,
and kain endek bali