“Was not their mistake once more bred of the life of slavery that they had been living?—a life which was always looking upon everything, except mankind, animate and inanimate—‘nature,’ as people used to call it—as one thing, and mankind as another, it was natural to people thinking in this way, that they should try to make ‘nature’ their slave, since they thought ‘nature’ was something outside them” — William Morris

Thursday, June 13, 2013

A Fierce Exchange

Sokal be damned. We can talk about science. 

Hi ****--I modified that citation, thanks to your kind input (was it you? a while back anyway). 

Sadly you appear to have absorbed the knee jerk "It must be nonsense unless I am saying it" ideology of the worst kind of eliminative materialist biology and psychology--but thankfully there are other scientific disciplines. 

Yours sincerely,

Timothy Morton
Rita Shea Guffey Chair in English

On Jun 13, 2013, at 1:13 AM, **** wrote:

Dear Professor Morton

Google Scholar alerted me to the fact that you had quoted our work on olfaction in Drosophila and supplied me with a pdf of your article. At first I thought it was a spoof but then I remembered that the defining feature of your field is the impossibility of distinguishing parody from the real thing. As far as I can tell, your article hovers comfortably at the level of Not Even Wrong throughout. I come with good news, however: at one point—when you quote our work— it hoists itself to the level of Plain Wrong: there is no entanglement in the quantum mechanism we propose for smell.

best wishes

Addendum: the author of the email might want to take it up with Nature news, since that is where I first heard of the (mis)interpretation of his or her work. 


DublinSoil said...

Oh, this is great! All the border patrols are in place....

Anonymous said...

My response (I have to disagree with you on this one.)


Quantum tunnelling as a mechanism of olfaction is a very separate claim from quantum entanglement between the subject of olfaction and the object smelled -- which is what I take your point to be.