Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Dark Days for Dark Energy

Over at Cosmic Variance, Sean Carroll says we shouldn't study dark energy:

Here’s a little homework assignment. Go back through the many posts I have made on this topic. Count up the number of times I have said that we should not actually study the question. While you’re at it, count up the number of times I have pointed to the many studies that have already been done about the question, including the post on which you are commenting. Compare and contrast.
Damnit, he's made up his mind! Don't confuse him with facts.

OOPS! Sorry - it seems he was actually talking about some other scientific question. My bad.

Now that I've made this big blunder, maybe I should try to clarify. It seems Clifford, rather innocently, I thought, started a post on Women in Physics. Naturally, this attracted the usual crowd, including our good buddy, Lumo. After a bit, Brad Delong joined the comments and got a valuable but painful lesson in Lumology - even though they were both more or less defending Larry Summers, Brad wound up a target. Despite the presence of both Lubos and Sean on the thread, lots of interesting stuff was said. Lee Smolin chipped in with some comments and examples.

Perhaps Sean felt he had to burnish his rabid doggie-style feminist credentials, so he started his own thread on the subject, from which I extracted the quote above.

Another fun comment, which, interestingly enough, I extracted from one of Lubos's comments, is:
“I just remembered some sage advice read on another blog:

# John Baez Says:
November 8th, 2005 at 11:42 pm

Sometimes it takes work to ignore Motl, but it always pays off.

Good advice, I think, for John and Brad and other smart guys with important work to do. But I usually can't resist.

UPDATE: Arun points out in the first comment that there is another plausible interpretation of Sean's remarks that makes my lame joke - ummm lamer. Without checking the experimental evidence - i.e. all Sean's posts on the topic, I prefer my original theory, which seems more consistent with Sean's round condemnation of anyone who suggests that there just might possibly be meaningful differences as Summers did.