Here’s the letter from the April issue and below it, my response:
DISAGREEING ON EVERYTHING – As theoretical physicists, we deplore the publication of A. Garrett Lisi and James Owen Weatherall’s, ‘A Geometric Theory of Everything,” as well as of zeeya Merall’s, ‘Rummaging for a Final Theory” [News Scan] in the September issue, which was PR-level praise of Lisi’s research that presented him as struggling against an entrenched establishment.
As you surely know Lisi’s views to be to say the least, controversial, basic editorial precaution would have required first consulting a reputable particle physicist. You would have learned that duly referenced and published work of Jacques Distler of the University of Texas at Austin and Skip Garibaldi of Emory University has shown that Lisi’s model cannot even reproduce parity violation.
This effect, experimentally verified more than 50 years ago, is a basic element of the overwhelmingly successful Standard Model of particle physics. Instead LIsi predicts a host of particles that do exist. His model simply fails to provide any correct physics.
Stanley Deser, Albion Lawrence & Howard J. Schnizer, Brandeis University
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So the academic inquisition wants to prohibit Scientific American from publishing Garrett Lisi’s E8? This happened to Baruch Spinoza who was more a philosopher for the 21st century than the 17th.
Spinoza prefigured the symmetry of Lisi’s E8 although he called it the ‘whole of nature’ or ‘God.’ For Spinoza and Lisi, symmetry is immanent,’ not a TOE hold (Theory of Everything), on transcendence.
Like reporters in a war, we are embedded in symmetry but only observe and report out of asymmetry. Consequently, all our dispatches are relative to the time and space we occupy. We know there is a whole story but we can only report on the part of it we observe. This is immanent symmetry.
Transcendent symmetry is a flight from the war hiding in the ideals of generalizations and universals of language. We stay at home in our own ideals and avoid the clash of ideas. This leads to an orthodoxy which is inquisitorial towards other ideas.
Thank you for publishing Lisi’s and James Weatherall’s article, ‘A Geometric Theory of Everything.’ (March 2011 – p. 55-61) For reasons discussed above, this title is a misnomer. It enriched my thinking.