VENTILATING THE PHYSICS ESTABLISHMENT
Like the Roman Empire, physicists rose. Like the Roman empire, physicists are going through a phase of decline. The causes of their declivity: arrogance, hubris, puffery and limitless thirst for public adulation. These negative qualities are being aided by a decline in the positive qualities: breadth and depth of scientific imagination (as distinct from mathematical calisthenics), intellectual honesty (as distinct from bureaucratic and procedural cover of correctness), and a sense of service to the society (as distinct from a love of intellectual auto-stimulation.)
It is difficult – if not impossible – for even the science-conscious, thinking citizen to figure out that this decline is happening. The reason for this is that the three avenues through which this citizen could perceive the decline are actually corrupted.
THE QUALITY METRICS
The public perceives the quality of the scientific establishment largely from the high profile honors and accolades that they give themselves. These metrics have declined along with the establishment. You may have sometimes thought that Physics Nobel Prizes are being given for small matters, and then you dismissed that thought, saying ‘Nah! What do I know?!’. But you were actually right. Even bogus and fraudulent discoveries have begun to be anointed now. Today subtle but intense campaigns – political-style – are waged for the physics Nobel Prize in behalf of “candidates.”
The public’s main source of information is the media, and especially, the so-called science reporters. These are actually the touts for the establishment. Whatever line they are being fed, they will run with it. They will report this, get paid, go to Safeway and put food on their table. There is no way that these people are going to be the first to tell you that the quality is declining.
Today, almost all of the research in physics is funded by the Government. It has set up its own huge bureaucracy to interact with the scientific establishment and administer the funds. This is actually a cozy gravy boat for both parties, and no one is going to rock it. The same is true with the legislative body. They communicate only with the establishment, and ignore any input from outside the establishment. If somehow you, an outsider, can get them to look at a complaint against the establishment, they will consult a member of the establishment.
But now there is this blog site! And it is free. Nobody is making money off you by finding a new muckraking issue to write a bestseller about.
In addition to the timely blog posts here, you can read my extensive series of essays on the subject:
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