# Edge question for 2006 (Lee Smolin's answer)

The point I tried to make before it that the notion of background independence is not a clear cut one and Smolin just uses his intuition in labelling some theory as background independent and the other not. Actually, my construction is the Kretchmann comment to the importance of the idea of general covariance in GR (even the Newton Laws can be derived from a contrived covariant theory). So, Smolins arguments are more based on his intuition for naturalness than anything else. I don't say I do not have the same measurestick´´ but I prefer to refrain from such useless comments.

Cheers,

Careful

I have been browsing the Edge essays. Quite a number of non-physicists are saying something about physics. Have a look at the essay by Donald Hoffman, a cognitive scientist, entitled
A spoon is like a headache

http://www.edge.org/q2006/q06_3.html

MathematicalPhysicist
Gold Member
marcus said:
BTW what do YOU personally think is a dangerous idea?
especially in physics, cosmology, intellectual history, mankind's relation to the universe.

I don't mean dangerous like the idea of the all-powerful State is a dangerous idea, or some other totalitarian ideal, or Racial Purity, or God, or whatever. I would call those things not dangerous ideas but dangerous fairytale bullsh*t.

What I mean is, can you come up with some idea that is more of an intellectual earthquake (but in the same ballpark) compared to the ideas of Smolin, Rovelli, Susskind?
i think that the dangerous ideas are like: time travel possible, the question of to clone or not to clone human beings, and other ideas of the younger mathematicians/physicists filled with harry potter's and sci-fi films crave for unrealistic perspective of nature. (or if you want, an odd notion of what is real and what not).

i'm at the moment really satisfied as of yet with calculus,set theory, classical mechanics with sr, but there are some youngsters who at a young age want to know it all, even if it's not possibly, humanly possible.

something like this, i think.
what do you think folks?

loop quantum gravity said:
i'm at the moment really satisfied as of yet with calculus,set theory, classical mechanics with sr, but there are some youngsters who at a young age want to know it all, even if it's not possibly, humanly possible.
something like this, i think.
what do you think folks?
Good for you ! You do not need to know it all´´ at a young age, important is that you *understand* it deeply, that you always keep your eyes wide open and realize that theories are just models such that in case some of them would defy your common sense: you remain critical and actively look for better. Of course - take this from me - it is wise to withdraw your objections at the appropriate moments in time. :tongue: Moreover, listen carefully to those who are close to becoming professor emeritus. These people usually tend (on average) to convey more spontaneously what the *real* problems in phyisics are as opposed to the fashionable ones.

Cheers,

Careful

MathematicalPhysicist
Gold Member
thank you for the advice careful, and cheers too you as well. (-;

Kea said:
I have been browsing the Edge essays. Quite a number of non-physicists are saying something about physics. Have a look at the essay by Donald Hoffman, a cognitive scientist, entitled
A spoon is like a headache

http://www.edge.org/q2006/q06_3.html