Friday, September 10, 2010

An enterprise very light on egg people seems to be reaching some dead ends.

I like reading "The End of Science" by John Horgan because it amounts to a series of reviews of what's up in various parts of science in the mid-1990's. I am reading it later, but still much of it is interesting news to me as I don't keep up on what's up with every part of science and how science practioners feel about how their field is doing.

I knew that some people think string theory will do wonders in theoretical physics and explain much (explain a specialized physics sense of "everything," make a theory of everything. Other people think string theory is so unprovable that it is like philosophy or art--mathematics for art's sake. That it isn't science because there is not imaginable way to prove it.

I didn't know before I read "The End of Science" that it is inaccurate to say "string theory." There are many string theories, and no way that can be agreed upon by people who like string theory to choose among them.

So maybe that's the end of physics. Things were stuck there in 1996 when the book was published and are stuck there more than ten years later. (This is a part of science the newspapers sort of keep me up on."

But the book explores many other parts of science that seem at an end in different ways--nothing new to explore, deep disagreements about which way that part of science should move.

So I'm kind of enjoying this as a sort of 200 level course in some science, and I'm noticing lots of science folks are frustrated.

Lots of men are frustrated. Almost everyone talking in this book is a man. I haven't read it all, and I know Lynn Margulis awaits me in the chapter "The End of Evoluttionary Biology?" but there are close to no women and they are running out of fertility.

I could say I hate to think that. I don't hate to think that. I think it's worth thinking about. I hate to say it, because folks get really hassled for saying things like that.