Biocurious is a weblog about biology, quantified.

Is Common Sense too Uncommon in Science? (no)

by Andre on 16 August 2005

John Horgan recently wrote an Op-Ed piece in the New York Times called In Defence of Common Sense. When I read The End of Science I disagreed but was entertained and stimulated. This time though I think Horgan has gone downhill. His position is so weak that I feel like he’s actually against common sense and he’s using his “defence” as an opportunity to erect a straw man for others to obliterate. The idea that modern physics doesn’t conform to common sense is now such a stale idea that I’m going to stop writing about it right… now. But if you’re still interested you can read a pretty good response by Leonard Susskind here.

The original piece was also discussed by Peter Woit and Lubos Motl.

Update: Peter Woit has further comments on the article and Susskind’s response to it. He talks specifically about testability in string theory which is certainly a big issue regardless of your opinion on the outcome of efforts to address it, but I still maintain that Horgan’s appeal to common sense is stale. A few others seem to agree.



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