This is a very confused article. Ht @WKCosmo for drawing my attention to it.…
@WKCosmo The problem with this article is that it confuses two entirely different notions of simplicity. The first is relative simplicity, aka, Occam's razor. It's where all the stuff about Bayesian inference fits in.
Relative simplicity says: From two theories that explain the same observations, take the simpler one. Occam's razor is a *necessary* criterion for science to work. If it wasn't for it, you'd be allowed to add superfluous assumptions like "and god exists" to your hypothesis.
The article conflates Occam's razor with absolute simplicity, which is an entirely different criterion. That's the belief that the laws of nature should be simple, period. That's a belief, a wish, an aesthetic criterion, a metaphysical assumption -- it's unscientific.
That doesn't mean it's wrong. It just means that there's no reason to think it's right. The fundamental laws of nature might well be more *difficult* than the ones we currently have. That requiring absolute simplicity isn't a useful criterion for theory development is easy to see
It's easy to come up with theories that are simpler than our current ones. A universe without matter, eg. But that doesn't describe what we observe. Absolute simplicity thus eventually can only be scientifically justified if it's "as simple as possible" to describe observations.
And that, well, is Occam's razor again. The bottom line is that it's simply (cough) false to assume that just because Occam's razor is a good scientific criterion we should expect theories to become simpler with more evidence. It's a non sequitur.
Heady stuff, I know, and there's more to say about what that means for multiverse theories, but I'll leave it at this. I explained this all in my book Lost in Math:… /end

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More from @skdh

25 Jul
Why are people so disinterested in climate science and meteorology? I mean, in comparison to all things quantum or epidemiology? Serious question. Is there something intrinsically unsexy about climate science or is it a social phenomenon? (Unsexy because we don't talk about it?)
(deniers will be blocked; I don't have time for bullshit)
I'll collect some possible explanations that were mentioned in the comments below:

a) Climate science and meteorology is just more complicated and thus difficult to communicate

mentioned eg by @russellh777
Read 16 tweets
4 Apr
"There’s this avalanche of experimental numbers you have to put in by hand. But in string theory the Standard Model just pops right out. With just a few assumptions you get the entire Standard Model. "

That's just wrong. #StopHype…
People, as I have said many times before, if string theory was actually really simpler than the Standard Model, then physicists would actually USE IT to make predictions for the LHC. They don't. Why? Because it's useless.
It's the same with supersymmetry. People who work on it claim it solves problems and it improves the standard model. But no one who actually makes predictions for the standard model expectations uses supersymmetry. Why? Because it's useless.
Read 6 tweets
16 Mar
Everybody who is quoting the total number of thromboses in people vaccinated with #AstraZeneca to brag with their statistic skills needs to wake up. We're talking about an accumulation of recent cases of a specific type in close temporal order after vaccination.
Look, I am not saying that this is something to worry about -- I don't have any data. But maybe consider that the people who made this decision are not entirely stupid.
And since I am ranting already, let me point out that we'd be well advised to keep in mind the most important principle in all of science: Shit happens.
Read 7 tweets
3 Nov 20
The black hole information loss problem has been solved, again!
In case you haven't been following, that's for those of you who cannot fathom why I say that this problem is not solvable with math alone

As was recently claimed here…
Read 8 tweets
1 Nov 20
No, I am saying the black hole information loss problem cannot be solved with existing methods, so throwing money at it is a waste of time. Look at the literature of the past 40 years to see that what I say is correct.

I have said this many times before, but since this is twitter, let me repeat it again: Physics is not math. There are several mathematically consistent solution to the problem. We would need observations to find out which one correctly describes nature. There are no observations.
And there will not be observations because the Hawking temperature of the known black holes is too low to see them evaporating. And even if we did see them evaporating, this would not tell us anything about information loss.
Read 5 tweets
20 Jun 20
Here is something that should worry you. Each time I give a public lecture people come up to me and say they agree with me that building a bigger collider is currently a nonsense idea. It's a huge investment with little scientific benefit and basically no societal relevance 1/
I mostly get this from physicists of other disciplines (condensed matter physicists seem to feature prominently, but maybe just because there are many of them) but also from particle physicists who have left the field, both theoreticians and experimentalists 2/
Yet, there is not a single one of them on the public record willing to speak out. The reason I keep getting quoted by newspapers and magazines is simply THAT THEY CAN'T FIND ANYONE ELSE WILLING TO SPEAK OUT. 3/
Read 10 tweets

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