From: Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Mon Nov 27 2000 - 00:50:52 MST
"Eliezer S. Yudkowsky" wrote:
> GUTs are epicycles. GUTs are another pet peeve of mine. Who moved these
> people's cheese? Why are they wasting time - I won't say "wasting money",
> since "a physicist's salary is never wasted", but why are they wasting the
> far more precious resource of physicists' time - on searching for
> particles? We will see no new interesting theories and no new interesting
> technology as a result of applying the reductionistic paradigm that took
> us down to the quark level, because that is no longer where the real
> questions are.
Let me clarify the phrase "reductionistic paradigm". I don't mean that
reductionism in general will stop working, of course; we appear to live in
a reductionist Universe. I mean that the specific method of looking for
new particles with higher energies has played itself out, and so has the
theoretical method of trying to explain particles as spacetime donut
holes. The next major discovery may take us below the quark level;
however, this won't happen because we were *trying* to "move below the
quark level", but because a discovery had far-reaching consequences which
changed our picture of the character of physical law.
Or, like relativity, the next major discovery may involve no changes
whatsoever in our description of the particle families.
> GUTs throw hugely increasing amounts of complexity in
> exchange for vanishingly small returns of prediction, and this should be
> enough to tell us that GUTs are on the wrong track.
(Hence the fighting word "epicycles", BTW.)
-- -- -- -- --
Eliezer S. Yudkowsky http://singinst.org/
Research Fellow, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence
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