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Dr. Sascha Vongehr [风洒沙], physicist and philosopher, studied phil/math/chem/phys in Germany, obtained a BSc in theoretical physics (electro-mag) & MSc (stringtheory) at Sussex University... Read More »


One more of the many crazy results of the idiotic “war on drugs” is that we have to pay lots of money for chemicals that actually cost next to nothing. For example, adding up time and money spent on health insurance, physicians, and pharmacies, taking care of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is plainly not a viable option for many poorer people or those with a tight schedule, say single mothers taking care of their kids while having a job. Nobody gets a year’s worth of medication; you have to go at least every month again or more frequently, especially in case of ADHD medicines, so to feed your doctor and the pharmacist. Got insurance?

It is that time of the year, the season, and a good excuse to contribute with something that can be at most only very loosely connected with science; maybe just to prove yet again that the life of a scientist is more than science and a square private life, although our official CVs sure look like that. The story I will tell today unfolded around this time of year, and it involves all the makings of a good Xmas story: lots of snow and cold overcome mainly by the warmth of hearts.

This is the last of the four part series about the Edge discussion between Lee Smolin and Leonard Susskind.

I previously discussed the physics and the philosophical issues. You will have by now understood who won the battle in my eyes. However, I would like to use this final opportunity to stress that we have yet again a clear showcasing of that it is, as so often, sufficient to merely analyze the style of argumentation in order to figure out who is not to be trusted.

The pharmaceutics industry, too many science bloggers, “skeptics” - they all tell us that we should trust science and that all those who speak out for “natural” solutions are none other but religious idiots, or even monsters, criminals who do not refrain from harming your child for financial benefit. They try to bang it into our heads: Also nature is just chemistry; the often not applicable always-been-there-anyways-argument.

As I explained with help of the example of the vitamins E and D, the “tree huggers” often get it right plainly by staying “natural”.

The title, “The 2010s will be to the 2060s what the 1960s are to us today” is in a sense the most uplifting quote I have heard in a long while (yeah, I know about all the bad things, too, whatever). Since the 60s also stand for quite some influence of psychoactive substances onto later influential, if not revolutionary science and technology that made especially the "2.0" of Science2.0 possible at all, and since indeed the 2.0 part is taking off right now (as is a new wave of psychoactive activity above and underground), I found these quite fitting to add to the topic of Science2.0.

This is PART III of the four part series about the Edge discussion between Lee Smolin and Leonard Susskind. After criticizing Smolin the last time in PART II, it is now time to turn on Susskind.

Leonard Susskind is well read, certainly enough to know about the measure (not “measurement”) problem in modern quantum physics (introduced in PART I).