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Sascha VongehrRSS Feed of this column.

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 »


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).

Why is there anything? It is kind of conceivable that there could be no thing 'existing' at all – no world, no universes, no consciousness. However, there is at least something.

The opposite of “there is something” is “there isn’t anything (e.g. observed)” but not “there is (e.g. observed) some nothing”. This is important to avoid much ado about nothing. “Nothing” refers to the absence of anything. “Nothing” is not another something.

Physics hunts for the ultimate theory; at least that is what the media and people like L. Susskind and M. Tegmark tell us incessantly what physics is all about (god particle, ultimate string theory landscape, ultimate ensemble, and all that). If you are after the ultimate theory, Smolin