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Garrett Lisi Responds to Criticism of his Proposed Unified Theory of Physics

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


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Weight diagram of Lisi's E8 unified theoryThis past December, Jim Weatherall and I wrote "A Geometric Theory of Everything" for Scientific American, describing progress on unified geometric theories of gravitation and the Standard Model of particle physics. My personal contribution to this progress, a developing model called E8 Theory, was introduced three years ago in a paper titled "An Exceptionally Simple Theory of Everything." Almost immediately after this paper appeared, physicists and the interested public began a lengthy process of considering and discussing this new theory’s merits and faults.

Not surprisingly, the initial response was largely critical, with most commenters encountering some unfamiliar mathematical structures in the paper and responding with appropriate skepticism. Much of this criticism was productive, helping me and others to develop the theory, while some was apparently motivated by physics politics rather than the search for a deeper understanding. Over the years, the many productive points of criticism have either been resolved favorably, answered by further development of the theory, or remain as open problems. Below, in an effort to keep the record straight, I describe the salient points of criticism and how they have played out:

1. Some physicists were initially mystified by the inclusion of both bosons and fermions in a single superconnection field — formally adding fields of different types and units, seemingly in violation of basic principles, as described here. However, others pointed out that this sort of formal addition was not so unusual (coming as it does from the well established "BRST" model in quantum field theory, with references noted in the original paper), and is not problematic since the separate parts of the superconnection do not mix. This kind of superconnection was then discussed more extensively and constructively by mathematicians.

2. The most vocal objection to E8 Theory was inspired by the dramatic apparent violation of the Coleman-Mandula theorem, which prohibits the unification of gravity and Standard Model forces in spacetime. This is one of the greatest no-go theorems in particle physics and had prevented work on such unification for decades; but further consideration uncovered an important loophole, which is described in our article and more thoroughly in a published paper by a colleague. Even if E8 Theory accomplishes nothing else, it has brought attention to this loophole, providing a new understanding of cosmology as the symmetry breaking of a unified gauge-gravity theory.

3. Several people pointed out that the dynamics of the theory described in the paper, matching those of gravity and the Standard Model, were not invariant under the full E8 symmetry. This was an important problem, because when describing a unified theory one needs to describe how the full symmetry dynamically breaks to produce the less symmetric universe we see around us. Such a description was quickly provided by others and expanded upon.

4. In what has turned out to be the most widespread and destructive criticism, some physicists were misled to believe that the structure of gravity and the Standard Model (including one generation of fermions with parity-violating interactions) does not embed in the structure of the E8 Lie group. This criticism was first made and widely disseminated by Jacques Distler and Skip Garibaldi. It gained more public attention on the blog of cosmologist Sean Carroll, who wrote that "[Distler] shows that you can’t even embed one generation [in E8]." Distler’s colleagues also wrote a letter to the editor of Scientific American decrying the lack of parity violation. This fact would seem very damning for E8 Theory, but it is simply not true. The structure of gravity and the Standard Model along with one generation of fermions (including their parity-violating interactions) does fit in E8, as I described explicitly in a recent paper. In their misleading argument, Distler and Garibaldi make unnecessary assumptions about how the embedding needs to happen, and then prove it can’t happen that way — a "straw man" argument.

5. Early on, it was pointed out that the theory does not accommodate all three generations of fermions in an obvious way, or describe their masses. This problem was identified in the original paper, with a potential solution coming from triality. As of one year ago I was extremely discouraged by this puzzle, but with some insights into triality gained at the recent conference in Banff I now think it may work. E8 gauge transformations related to triality might mix and describe three generations of fermions, but it is very tricky. This issue remains the most significant problem, and until it is solved the theory is not complete and cannot be considered much more than a speculative proposal. Without fully describing how the three generations of fermions work, the theory and all predictions from it remain tenuous.

6. When one embeds gravity, the Standard Model forces, and the 64 particle states of one generation of fermions inside E8, there are many particles left over. Among these "extra" particles are "mirror fermions" — partners to the fermions with all opposite charges (including opposite spins, making these different than antiparticles). Critics contend that these mirror fermions are bad, making the theory "nonchiral," and that the existence of physical mirror fermions has almost been ruled out by experiment. However, I see these extra particle states in E8 as providing a potential solution to the problem of the missing second and third generation fermions, since triality transformations can relate the 64 fermions of one generation to two other blocks of 64 in E8, including the mirror fermions.

7. There is not yet a consistent quantized description of E8 Theory. Although this is true, and remains an open problem, the formulation of the theory is compatible with the usual methods of quantum field theory. As E8 Theory develops, I expect renormalization and other quantum field theory or loop quantum gravity calculations will be carried out successfully. The lack of a fixed background spacetime does, however, make this difficult — a known problem with quantizing gravitational theories.

8. Old-school scientists have dismissed E8 Theory for not being peer reviewed and published. Personally, I am not climbing an academic ladder and I enjoy an open exchange of ideas, so I did not feel the need to submit my original 2007 paper to a traditional journal, although I was invited to do so. Most physicists today rely on openly posted electronic preprints rather than journals. However, two E8 Theory papers have now been peer reviewed and gone to publication without difficulty. One paper, describing 90% of the theory, including the full E8 invariant dynamics, was written with coauthors Lee Smolin and Simone Speziale and published in a peer-reviewed journal. Another paper, "An explicit embedding of gravity and the standard model in E8," which counters Distler and Garibaldi’s argument, was recently peer reviewed and accepted for publication in a conference proceedings.

All in all, despite an abundance of media hype and a mixed reaction from the physics community, I think things have gone well with the development of E8 Theory since its debut. Nevertheless, there are outstanding problems, and this is a young theory — far from complete. For me, the inviolable mathematical truth that the entire structure of gravity, the Standard Model forces, and a generation of fermions (including parity-violating interactions) is part of the structure of E8 is extremely compelling, and is telling us something important about the universe. It was a pleasure to be able to describe this structure for Scientific American readers in our article. The mathematical fact of this embedding will not go away, and it may, as I believe, prove important, or it may, as Distler et al. believe, be an insignificant coincidence. Regardless of what anyone believes, in physics, it is only nature’s opinion that ultimately matters.

Even as E8 Theory remains a contentious topic among physicists, it has brought to light many interesting structures and possibilities in particle physics, and revitalized the use of weight diagrams for exploring some of this beautiful structure. In writing our article for Scientific American my coauthor and I, as well as the ever-helpful editors, were very careful to ensure its accuracy. I would be very surprised if critics were to find fault in the article’s veracity — although I am not surprised if some are unhappy with its existence.

Elementary particle fields of gravity and the Standard Model embedded in the structure of the E8 Lie group.





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  1. 1. rloldershaw 11:53 am 05/4/2011

    What would you say are the most definitive predictions that the E8 theory has to offer.

    By definitive predictions I mean those that are:
    Prior
    Feasible to test
    Quantitative
    NON-ADJUSTABLE
    Unique to the theory being tested.

    I have heard that the E8 predicts previously unobserved particles. Would these be its most definitive test?

    Robert L. Oldershaw
    http://www3.amherst.edu/~rloldershaw
    Discrete Scale Relativity; Fractal Cosmology

    Link to this
  2. 2. GarrettLisi 9:35 pm 05/4/2011

    Hello Robert,

    Until we figure out how E8 Theory can describe the three generations of fermions, it’s too soon to make definitive predictions. However, there are rough predictions, in that there is a collection of new particles that are compatible with the model. If new particles are seen that are compatible, that would be some rough evidence for the theory, and if particles are seen that are not compatible, then that would be strong evidence against it. The "menu" of compatible particles is described at the end of this paper:
    http://arxiv.org/abs/1006.4908
    For example, I would be very happy to see a collection of Higgs bosons, or a Z’, and unhappy to see superparticles.

    Best,
    Garrett

    Link to this
  3. 3. rock johny 11:48 am 05/6/2011

    Rock on Garrett! Always remember, the priests get their maintenance from the cultivation of mystery and hidden knowledge. The truth is simple and dissolves the foam of mystery and with it the cover behind which men hide. Keep fighting the fine fight bro!

    Link to this
  4. 4. vemayes 6:56 pm 05/6/2011

    Garrett,

    Is it not true that the criticisms listed as #4. and #6 are the same? By this I mean that since you have "mirror fermions" of opposite spin and charges, that your model is vectorlike? Isn’t it true that the product of one of your fermions with its mirror partner forms a Lorentz and gauge singlet, and shouldn’t this give large masses to these fields?

    Link to this
  5. 5. Postman1 8:05 pm 05/6/2011

    Let’s see, a real science article with intelligent comments, Am I still on the Scientific American site?

    Link to this
  6. 6. Mark Hamilton, Esq. 7:26 pm 05/7/2011

    just seems to me that some women have gravity or a tractor beam or something, lol … the far reaching implications of this paper seem to indicate Kurzweil’s time line is correct and that nano tech will get a boost.

    Link to this
  7. 7. Peter Burke 11:36 pm 05/7/2011

    I am a long time subscriber of Scientific American, and I would like to thank Scientific American for lending support to the “Exceptionally Simple Theory of Everything”. I have purchased just about every copy since before Murray Gell-Mann wrote an article on SU(3) symmetry and the eight fold way.

    I would like to see more public funds diverted to the continuation of this line of investigation. I am not a practicing theoretical physicist and have nothing to gain personally.

    Shortly after Garrett and James Weatherall published here last November, a highly disparaging of James article appeared on another blog site, the same site that has disparaged Garrett and Lee Smolin and many others. I disgusted in this sort of emotionalism; I want to see rational thought. Everyone is entitled to their opinions, but please be courteous. We need to encourage the next generation to be explorative.

    The one thing that has bothered me is that despite Garrett’s original paper being the most downloaded paper ever on arxiv.org, there have not so far been many who have joined this circle of investigation.

    Garrett, I think you could do more to explain the mirror fermions that appear in your model. I sometimes am unsure what you mean by there being 64 fermions in the first generation. In (2.5) of your June 2010 paper you have 16 fermions composed of left handed and right handed pairs. The left and right versions of each pair being related by triality in the explorer. For each of these there are anti particles and spin up spin down types making for a total of 64?

    Looking forward to your next paper.

    Link to this
  8. 8. Wilhelmus de Wilde 12:02 pm 05/8/2011

    Garett I think that your theory is an intellectual beauty, but that does not mean it is the truth of this moment.
    Personally I wonder if there is a theory of everything, or even is it nececerry, and even if your view has a mathematical and so logic base, this could mean that it can be one of the building stones of reality, i.e. you can experience reality in many ways, this is perhaps one of them.
    The fact that your idea gives scientists the possibillity of looking for more particles gives on one hand the appearance of testing, but it is not, new "particles" will always be found, life goes on, and you can always plan them in some diagram, this does not valuate the diagram nor the particle.
    Mathematics are the awareness of the human mind of infinities and singulairities, that does not mean that these "ideas" exist in our 4-d causal deterministic universe with its limits, paradoxes all over when we apply infinities etc.
    So if your theory (idea) has a basis of applicability, which in my opinion it has, because it gives us possible solutions, it must be regarded as one of the multiple ways that we try to explain the "reality" around us with our consciousness, thinking of reality is as being aware of the coulours of the rainbow, that are different for every individual.

    Wilhelmus

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  9. 9. drelliot 1:03 pm 05/8/2011

    Garrett’s "Theory" is not a physical theory, nor a scientific theory, according to the likes of Einstein, Newton, Galileo, Max Born, Feynman, and the Greats.

    Do not take my word for it, but heed the GReats.

    When the solution is simple, God is answering. -Einstein

    A physical theory can be satisfactory only if its structures are composed of elementary foundations. The theory of relativity is ultimately as little satisfactory as, for example, classical thermodynamics was before Boltzmann had interpreted the entropy as probability. -Einstein

    Max Born wrote, "All great discoveries in experimental physics have been made due to the intuition of men who made free use of models which for them were not products of the imagination but representations of real things." (E8 is not a physical thing, but merely a product of the imagination)

    Albert Einstein: Before I enter upon a critique of mechanics as a foundation of physics, something of a broadly general nature will first have to be said concerning the points of view according to which it is possible to criticize physical theories at all. The first point of view is obvious: The theory must not contradict empirical facts. . . (E8 predicts particles that do not exist and neglects to account for those that do) The second point of view is not concerned with the relation to the material of observation but with the premises of the theory itself, with what may briefly but vaguely be characterized as the "naturalness" or "logical simplicity" of the premises (of the basic concepts and of the relations between these which are taken as a basis) (The physical premises of E8 do not exist). This point of view, an exact formulation of which meets with great difficulties, has played an important role in the selection and evaluation of theories since time immemorial.

    “This most beautiful system [The Universe] could only proceed from the dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being.”
    Isaac Newton

    Albert Einstein: Once it was recognised that the earth was not the center of the world, but only one of the smaller planets, the illusion of the central significance of man himself became untenable. Hence, Nicolaus Copernicus, through his work and the greatness of his personality, taught man to be honest. (Albert Einstein, Message on the 410th Anniversary of the Death of Copernicus, 1953)

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  10. 10. drelliot 1:07 pm 05/8/2011

    Books on physics are full of complicated mathematical formulae. But thought and ideas (the fourth dimension is expanding relative to the three spatial dimensions at c), not formulae, are the beginning of every physical theory. –Einstein/Infeld, The Evolution of Physics (Lisi’s E8 is only complicated math without any novel physical thought nor ideas.)

    But before mankind could be ripe for a science which takes in the whole of reality, a second fundamental truth was needed, which only became common property among philosophers with the advent of Kepler and Galileo. Pure logical thinking cannot yield us any knowledge of the empirical world; all knowledge of reality starts from experience and ends in it. Propositions arrived at by purely logical means are completely empty as regards reality. Because Galileo saw this, and particularly because he drummed it into the scientific world, he is the father of modern physics–indeed, of modern science altogether. -Einstein , Ideas and Opinions

    Einstein says "all knowledge of reality starts from experience and ends in it," but Lisi’s theory neither begins nor ends in *physical* reality.

    Einstein: Mathematics are well and good but nature keeps dragging us around by the nose. (Lisi ignores nature in favor of mere mathematics)

    Feynman said, “math is to physics as masturbation is to sex.”

    Max Planck: That we do not construct the external world to suit our own ends in the pursuit of science, but that vice versa the external world forces itself upon our recognition with its own elemental power, is a point which ought to be categorically asserted again and again . . . From the fact that in studying the happenings of nature . . . it is clear that we always look for the basic thing behind the dependent thing, for what is absolute behind what is relative, for the reality behind the appearance and for what abides behind what is transitory. . this is characteristic not only of physical science but of all science. (dx4/dt=ic is the “basic, abiding thing” behind all relativity, entropy, and QM!)

    Einstein: Truth is what stands the test of experience.
    (Nobody has experienced any of E8)

    Heisenberg: Science. . . is based on personal experience, or on the experience of others, reliably reported. . . Even today we can still learn from Goethe . . . trusting that this reality will then also reflect the essence of things, the `one, the good, and the true.
    (Nobody has experienced any of E8)

    Link to this
  11. 11. drelliot 1:11 pm 05/8/2011

    Einstein: Time and again the passion for understanding has led to the illusion that man is able to comprehend the objective world rationally by pure thought without any empirical foundations–in short, by metaphysics. (MDT begins and ends with empirical foundations, while Lisi is mired in mere mathematical metaphysics!)

    Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius–and a lot of courage–to move in the opposite direction. -Einstein (E8 makes things bigger, more complex, and more violent.)

    Mathematicians may flatter themselves that they possess new ideas which mere human language is as yet unable to express. Let them make the effort to express these ideas in appropriate words without the aid of symbols, and if they succeed they will not only lay us laymen under a lasting obligation, but, we venture to say, they will find themselves very much enlightened during the process, and will even be doubtful whether the ideas as expressed in symbols had ever quite found their way out of the equations into their minds. -James Clerk Maxwell

    Geometry is not true, it is advantageous. -Poincare (the great mathematician!)

    In Einstein’s Mistakes, Dr. Hans Ohanian reports on how physics advances via the emphasis not on math, but on physical reality, “(Max) Born described the weak point in Einstein’s work in those final years: “. . . now he tried to do without any empirical facts, by pure thinking. He believed in the power of reason to guess the laws according to which God built the world.”" MDT exalts nature and the physical reality of a timeless, ageless photon, providing a simple, unifying physical model for entropy, statistical mechanics, relativity, and quantum mechanics.

    A good decision is based on knowledge and not on numbers. -Plato

    Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts. -Einstein

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  12. 12. drelliot 1:14 pm 05/8/2011

    In Disturbing the Universe, Freeman Dyson writes, “Dick [Feynman] fought back against my skepticism, arguing that Einstein had failed because he stopped thinking in concrete physical images (as MDT does!) and became a manipulator of equations. I had to admit that was true. The great discoveries of Einstein’s earlier years were all based on direct physical intuition. Einstein’s later unified theories failed because they were only sets of equations without physical meaning. Dick’s sum-over-histories theory was in the spirit of the young Einstein, not of the old Einstein. It was solidly rooted in physical reality.” In The Trouble With Physics, Lee Smolin writes that Bohr was not a Feynman “shut up and calculate” physicist, and from the above Dyson quote, it appears that Feynman wasn’t either. Lee writes, “Mara Beller, a historian who has studied his [Bohr's] work in detail, points out that there was not a single calculation in his research notebooks, which were all verbal arguments and pictures.” Please see MDT’s Fig. 1, presenting a physical model, at the end of this document. (Many more to come!)

    In Dark Matters, Dr. Percy Seymour writes, “Albert Einstein was a great admirer of Newton, Faraday, and Maxwell. In his office he had framed copies of portraits of these scientists. He had this to say about Faraday and Maxwell: “The greatest change in the axiomatic basis of physics–in other words, of our conception of the structure–since Newton laid the foundation of theoretical physics was brought about by Faraday’s and Maxwell’s work on electromagnetic phenomena.”

    In his book Einstein, Banesh Hoffman and the great Michael Faraday exalt physical reality over mere math:

    Meanwhile, however, the English experimenter Michael "Farady was making outstanding experimental discoveries in electricity and magnetism. Being largely self-taught and lacking mathematical facility, he could not interpret his results in the manner of Ampere. And this was fortunate, since it led to a revolution in science. . . most physicists adept at mathematics thought his concepts mathematically naïve. "

    And so you see that GArrett Lisi’s E8 Theory is the exact opposite of *physics* as defined by Bohr, Einstein, Maxwell, Feynman, Max Born, Faraday, and Newton.

    Link to this
  13. 13. drelliot 1:14 pm 05/8/2011

    In Disturbing the Universe, Freeman Dyson writes, “Dick [Feynman] fought back against my skepticism, arguing that Einstein had failed because he stopped thinking in concrete physical images (as MDT does!) and became a manipulator of equations. I had to admit that was true. The great discoveries of Einstein’s earlier years were all based on direct physical intuition. Einstein’s later unified theories failed because they were only sets of equations without physical meaning. Dick’s sum-over-histories theory was in the spirit of the young Einstein, not of the old Einstein. It was solidly rooted in physical reality.” In The Trouble With Physics, Lee Smolin writes that Bohr was not a Feynman “shut up and calculate” physicist, and from the above Dyson quote, it appears that Feynman wasn’t either. Lee writes, “Mara Beller, a historian who has studied his [Bohr's] work in detail, points out that there was not a single calculation in his research notebooks, which were all verbal arguments and pictures.” Please see MDT’s Fig. 1, presenting a physical model, at the end of this document. (Many more to come!)

    In Dark Matters, Dr. Percy Seymour writes, “Albert Einstein was a great admirer of Newton, Faraday, and Maxwell. In his office he had framed copies of portraits of these scientists. He had this to say about Faraday and Maxwell: “The greatest change in the axiomatic basis of physics–in other words, of our conception of the structure–since Newton laid the foundation of theoretical physics was brought about by Faraday’s and Maxwell’s work on electromagnetic phenomena.”

    In his book Einstein, Banesh Hoffman and the great Michael Faraday exalt physical reality over mere math:

    Meanwhile, however, the English experimenter Michael "Farady was making outstanding experimental discoveries in electricity and magnetism. Being largely self-taught and lacking mathematical facility, he could not interpret his results in the manner of Ampere. And this was fortunate, since it led to a revolution in science. . . most physicists adept at mathematics thought his concepts mathematically naïve. "

    And so you see that GArrett Lisi’s E8 Theory is the exact opposite of *physics* as defined by Bohr, Einstein, Maxwell, Feynman, Max Born, Faraday, and Newton.

    Link to this
  14. 14. drelliot 1:47 pm 05/8/2011

    MDT and Socrates’ & Feynman’s Honorable Pursuit of Truth:
    MDT delivers an ultimate theory underlying Huygens’ Principle which Feynman’s many-paths formulation of QM also exalts, whereas Loop Quantum Gravity and String Theory only sustain a myth of an ultimate theory and thus perpetual funding. Nobel Laureates have referred to this present era as the dark ages of physics, where progress in physics is frozen in a block universe tied together with tiny, vibrating strings and little loops which nobody has ever physically seen, violating the fundamental maxim of science put forth by Galileo, Einstein, et. al. Feynman echoes the words of the heroic Achilles (whom Socrates referenced while defending philosophy as a virtuous pursuit in the Apology ) in defining science as an honest, honorable pursuit: “As I detest the doorways of death, so too do I detest that man who speaks forth one thing while hiding in his heart another.” (Achilles in Homer’s Iliad )

    "The first principle is that you must not fool yourself (with E8 theory)–and you are the easiest person to fool. … You just have to be honest (As Copernicus taught us to be) in a conventional way after that. . . I would like to add something that’s not essential to the science, but something I kind of believe, which is that you should not fool the layman when you’re talking as a scientist. . . I’m talking about a specific, extra type of integrity that is not lying, but bending over backwards to show how you are maybe wrong, that you ought to have when acting as a scientist. And this is our responsibility as scientists, certainly to other scientists, and I think to laymen. . . If you’re representing yourself as a scientist, then you should explain to the layman what you’re doing–and if they don’t want to support you under those circumstances, then that’s their decision." -Feynman, Cargo Cult Science

    Errors are not in the art but in the artificers. -Newton

    And so you see that Lisi’s theory is an attempt at "Cargo Cult Science," funded and hyped by the usual suspects, with no official publications supporting it in any reputable, scientific journals. The only official publications in peer-reviewed scientific journals are those by Distler et. al. showing why Lisi’s theory also fails on a mathematical level.

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  15. 15. GarrettLisi 8:08 pm 05/8/2011

    Johny: Thanks!

    vemayes: Good question. No, #4 and #6 are not the same. In order to relate them, and for your other statements to be true, you have to make some assumptions, including assuming how gravity interacts with the mirrors and how all particles get their masses. Maybe your (and Distler’s) assumptions there are correct, or maybe they’re not. My understanding is that we don’t know either of these things for certain, and that gives some room to play and try to figure out a fancy way to solve #5.

    Postman: Careful or you’ll jinx it.

    Mark: I wish those were the implications, but they’re not.

    Peter: Thanks for the good insights and advice. The criticism that other physicists haven’t been picking up E8 Theory is somewhat valid, but hardly surprising since I’ve mostly been working alone for a decade. But there have been some exceptions, including a very fruitful conference in Banff in which I spent a lot of time laying out the theory to a very interested room full of mathematicians and physicists. And I think a lot of good will come of that. However, I largely blame criticism #4 for dissuading many physicists from investigating this theory more deeply. This is bad, but also good, since it’s given me time to work on #5 on my own at a more casual pace, without competition. In any case, what will matter in the future, sociologically, is what the physics students will pick up as interesting. As to your technical question at the end: For one generation of fermions, we have electron, neutrino, and three colors of up and down quark — making eight. Then each has left and right handed parts, each with spin up or spin down, and particle and anti-particle states. That makes 64 states total for one generation of fermions. You can also see this by counting eight real degrees of freedom for each of these eight Dirac fermions. Subtract four if you don’t like right handed neutrinos.

    Wilhelmus: Thanks. I believe that our universe can be successfully described using mathematics, and thinking about consciousness is fun but mostly clouds the issues.

    drelliot: Err, thanks for sharing your opinions and a bunch of quotations. Good luck with your own path.

    Link to this
  16. 16. drelliot 8:27 pm 05/8/2011

    Dear Garrett,

    Those weren’t just "a bunch of quotations," nor where they my "opinions."

    They were the profound, exalted words of Einstein, Bohr, Newton, Feynman, Galileo, Heisenberg, et al.

    The fact is, that according to the Greats, your theory is not a *physical* theory, no matter how much funding/hype it receives.

    And in physics we don’t choose "paths," as you have done, but rather, we follow the one path defined by physical reality and physical experience.

    That you scoff at the Greats who defined physics and science speaks volumes as to your guiding philosophy, further characterizing the handwaving not-even-wrongishness of all the relntless, well-funded Garrett Lisi E8 hype. :)

    At some point you would might wish to listen to the vast and great wisdom of Einstein/Bohr/Planck/Dirac/Heisenberg/Galileo and Feynman, while also focusing on physics instead of mere mathematical mysticism, hype, and editing your wikipedia page in an attempt to replace peer-review, scientific journals, science, truth, logic, reason, and beauty.

    For there are higher truths than Peter Woit’s blog even!

    Link to this
  17. 17. drelliot 10:44 pm 05/8/2011

    Dear Garrett,

    You write, "Old-school scientists have dismissed E8 Theory for not being peer reviewed and published. Personally, I am not climbing an academic ladder and I enjoy an open exchange of ideas, so I did not feel the need to submit my original 2007 paper to a traditional journal, although I was invited to do so."

    Which journal invited you to submit the 2007 paper? Please do share!

    Also, if peer-reviewed journals are only for "old shcool" scientists, should "new school" scientists abandon the peer-review process and instead edit their wikipedia pages?

    The following is from:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:An_Exceptionally_Simple_Theory_of_Everything

    "The Greater Goal of The Smolin-Lisi Enterprise?

    Reading through the above discussion, I am quite amazed that scientryst (lisi?) is actively trying to define peer-reviewed and published scientific articles as untrustworthy and unreliable, while trying to define popular articles and blogs and well-funded hype as trusted and reliable. Is this really happening? Really? Please discuss."

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  18. 18. drelliot 11:05 am 05/9/2011

    Even though Garrett Lisi is always claiming that he does not like the media attention, he does everything possible to gain the media limelight. For instance, he never asks Lee Smolin to stop hyping him as the next Einstein, nor does he back down from hyping himself into his own TV show. If one views his wikipedia page, one can see how Garrett Lisi collected all the popular media articles generated by the hype funded and flamed by Lee Smolin. Were it not for the popular media articles, there would be no Wikipedia page, representing the fact that Garrett Lisi is naught but a media creation, with no scientific backing nor reality. Garrett is very conscious of this, so in all the media interviews he seeks out, he tries to cast all the self-generated and Smolin-generated/funded media hype as something he does not covet, willfully imbibe in, fondly cherish, and passionately perpetuate; whereas the exact opposite is true.

    Again, Lisi far pefers the popular press over the profundities of Einstein: "Einstein: Time and again the passion for understanding has led to the illusion that man is able to comprehend the objective world rationally by pure thought without any empirical foundationsin short, by metaphysics. (MDT begins and ends with empirical foundations, while Lisi is mired in mere mathematical metaphysics!)

    Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of geniusand a lot of courageto move in the opposite direction. Einstein (E8 makes things bigger, more complex, and more violent.)"

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  19. 19. drelliot 11:54 am 05/9/2011

    Above you can see Garrett Lisi scoffing at the sublime wisdom of the likes of Einstein, Bohr, Heisenberg, Newton, and Feynman, deeming them "old skool" and not cool.

    Well, it is time for Lisi/Smolin to stop the charade in fooling the layman into thinking what they are doing is science via relentless, orchestrated media hype.

    Smolin/Lisi–instead of bullying your way into the pages of Sciam with misleading hype and scoffing at Feynman who actually performed physics, you should take Feynman’s brilliant words to heart:

    "But this long history of learning how not to fool ourselves–of having utter scientific integrity–is, I’m sorry to say, something that we haven’t specifically included in any particular course that I know of. We just hope you’ve caught on by osmosis.

    The first principle is that you must not fool yourself–and you are the easiest person to fool. So you have to be very careful about that. After you’ve not fooled yourself, it’s easy not to fool other scientists. You just have to be honest in a conventional way after that.

    I would like to add something that’s not essential to the science, but something I kind of believe, which is that you should not fool the layman when you’re talking as a scientist. I am not trying to tell you what to do about cheating on your wife, or fooling your girlfriend, or something like that, when you’re not trying to be
    a scientist, but just trying to be an ordinary human being. We’ll leave those problems up to you and your rabbi. I’m talking about a specific, extra type of integrity that is not lying, but bending
    over backwards to show how you are maybe wrong, that you ought to have when acting as a scientist. And this is our responsibility as scientists, certainly to other scientists, and I think to laymen."

    Yes–with great power and financing and media bully pulpits comes great responsibility.

    Bruno: After it hath been seen how the obstinate and the ignorant of evil disposition are accustomed to dispute. . . although others are so wary that without losing their composure, but with a sneer, a smile, a certain discreet malice, that which they have not succeeded in proving by argument — nor indeed can it be understood by themselves — nevertheless by these tricks of courteous disdain they pretend to have proven, endeavouring not only to conceal their own patently obvious ignorance but to cast it on to the back of their adversary. For they dispute not in order to find or even to seek Truth, but for victory, and to appear the more learned and strenuous upholders of a contrary opinion.

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  20. 20. Wilhelmus de Wilde 12:24 pm 05/9/2011

    Thanks for your reaction Garrett, of course it is your opinion that math can describe our universe, you are right but the limitations of our Universe are not the same as in math, I will not begin a discussion here about consciousness, it is not the place, if you are interested read my essay on FQXi, http://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/913
    part of the contest "Is reality digital or analog", the title is "Realities out of Total Simultaneity", you can comment it there or on my e-mail :
    wilhelmus.d@orange.fr

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  21. 21. MCMalkemus 1:39 pm 05/10/2011

    While not a mathematician in the symbolic sense, I have a high degree of capability in visualization: Lisi’s representations makes complete sense. If they are incorrect, something is amiss with the universe, which is unlikely.

    Standing up to a high priesthood of established scientific paradigm in any discipline takes courage, something Garrett has developed to a high degree, likely with surfing.

    Keep up the grand work Garrett, many of us are behind you!

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  22. 22. drelliot 12:56 pm 05/11/2011

    Dear MCMalkemus,

    Lisi is not standing up to the high-priesthood of science–he is funded and promoted by them!

    Lee Smolin et al. of the Perimiter Institute (the high priests) and FQXI (the high priests) funded Lisi numerous times, while hyping his non-theory to the press at all levels! Lisi gladly partook in all this hype, proclaimining that he was the next Einstein, although, unlike Einstein, he never published any peer-reviewed papers in journals.

    Jesus and Socrates were put to death by the high Priesthood. So were Bruno and Thomas Moore, as well as Cicero. They all spoke the truth first an foremost.

    Garrett Lisi merely plays hype games, telling lies as he claims the LHC will test his E8 theory, which simply isn’t true. These hype games are funded, furthered, and promoted by the High Priest Smolins/Woits et al. to the detriment of science.

    Lisi is like the false preachers who claim all of Jesus’s/Cicero’s/Galileo’s courage while holding a surfboard, while in reality raging against the soulful, truthful, exalted nature of all true, enduring science, as they are funded by the High Priesthood of non-theory, fail anti-science.

    Look closely at Lisi, and you will see little difference between his theory and his antics, and that of Smolin/Woit/String Theory priests, all of whom hold non-physical, mathematical abstractions superior to physics, countering the noble, exalted spirits of Heisenberg, Planck, Einstein, Born, Feynman, Newton, Galileo, and Copernicus. Smolin/Woit/Lisi–the high priests of non-theory anti-science and champions of fail after fail, are all part of the stringy/loopy/handwaving anti-science regime/priesthood.

    This is why they dimsiss and ignore the Greats such as Einstein:

    Max Born: "All great discoveries in experimental physics have been made due to the intuition of men who made free use of models which for them were not products of the imagination but representations of real things." While the pseudoscience of strings, branes, loops, and lisi E8 are all based on mere imaginiatve phantasms, Moving Dimensions Theory–MDT–is rooted solidly in empirical, physical reality.

    Max Planck: Let us get down to bedrock facts. The beginning of every act of knowing, and therefore the starting-point of every science, must be our own personal experience. (All physicists have personally experienced the double-slit experiment, and as relativity tells us that photons remain stationary in x4, x4 must thus be propagating at c with both a wavelike and quantum nature!)

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  23. 23. drelliot 1:02 pm 05/11/2011

    Albert Einstein: But before mankind could be ripe for a science which takes in the whole of reality, a second fundamental truth was needed, which only became common property among philosophers with the advent of Kepler and Galileo. Pure logical thinking cannot yield us any knowledge of the empirical world; all knowledge of reality starts from experience and ends in it. (THERE IS NO REALITY FOR STRINGS NOR e8 NOR TINY, LITTLE LOOPS!) Propositions arrived at by purely logical means are completely empty as regards reality. Because Galileo saw this, and particularly because he drummed it into the scientific world, he is the father of modern physics–indeed, of modern science altogether (AND THUS LISI/SMOLIN/WOIT, BY IGNORING GALIELO/EINSTEIN, ARE THE WELL-FUNDED DESTROYERS OF MODERN PHYSICS! ). -Einstein, Ideas and Opinions MDT honors Galileo and Einstein, as it both starts and ends in experience!

    Einstein: Mathematics are well and good but nature keeps dragging us around by the nose. MDT’s simple math dx4/dt=ic honors nature!

    Max Planck: That we do not construct the external world to suit our own ends in the pursuit of science (LIKE LISI’S E8/SMOLIN’S LITTLE LOOPS DO), but that vice versa the external world forces itself upon our recognition with its own elemental power, is a point which ought to be categorically asserted again and again . . . From the fact that in studying the happenings of nature . . . it is clear that we always look for the basic thing behind the dependent thing, for what is absolute behind what is relative, for the reality behind the appearance and for what abides behind what is transitory. . this is characteristic not only of physical science but of all science. (dx4/dt=ic is the .basic, abiding thing. behind all relativity, entropy, and QM! MDT begins and ends in physical reality!)

    Einstein: Truth is what stands the test of experience. (NOBODY HAS EVER EXPERIENCED LISI’S E8 NOR THE HIGH-PRIESTS LOOPS!)

    Werner Heisenberg: Science. . . is based on personal experience, or on the experience of others, reliably reported (NOBODY HAS EVER EXPERIENCED LISI’S E8 NOR THE HIGH-PRIESTS LOOPS!). . . Even today we can still learn from Goethe . . . trusting that this reality will then also reflect the essence of things, the .one, the good, and the true. (NOBODY HAS EVER EXPERIENCED LISI’S E8 NOR THE HIGH-PRIESTS LOOPS/MULTIVERSES!)

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  24. 24. drelliot 1:05 pm 05/11/2011

    Albert Einstein: Time and again the passion for understanding has led to the illusion that man is able to comprehend the objective world rationally by pure thought without any empirical foundations.in short, by metaphysics. (MDT begins and ends with empirical foundations!)

    Albert Einstein: Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent (String-Theory’s 30+ dimensions, LQG’s tiny loops/octopis nobody ever sees, Lisi’s violence against Truth). It takes a touch of genius–and a lot of courage–to move in the opposite direction.

    Max Born: "All great discoveries in experimental physics have been made due to the intuition of men who made free use of models which for them were not products of the imagination but representations of real things." While the pseudoscience of strings, branes, loops, and lisi E8 are all based on mere imaginiatve phantasms, Moving Dimensions Theory–MDT–is rooted solidly in empirical, physical reality.

    Albert Einstein: Before I enter upon a critique of mechanics as a foundation of physics, something of a broadly general nature will first have to be said concerning the points of view according to which it is possible to criticize physical theories at all. The first point of view is obvious: The theory must not contradict empirical facts. . . The second point of view is not concerned with the relation to the material of observation but with the premises of the theory itself, with what may briefly but vaguely be characterized as the "naturalness" or "logical simplicity" of the premises (of the basic concepts and of the relations between these which are taken as a basis). This point of view, an exact formulation of which meets with great difficulties, has played an important role in the selection and evaluation of theories since time immemorial.Dr. E’s Moving Dimensions Theory begins and ends in empirical facts!

    Sir Isaac Newton: "If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants." MDT honors the Greats whilethe pseudoscientists scoff at the Greats.

    Richard Feynman: "Learn from science that you must doubt the experts. . . . Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts." YES! One must doubt the high priesthood of Lisi/Smolin/Woit! Especially considering their track record of failure!

    Galileo: "In questions of science, the authority of thousands is not worth the humble reasoning of one individual." MDT was not built uipon fiat-funded pseudoscientific hype! It’s mathematical equation dx4/dt=ic is backed 100% by both theory and experiment!

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  25. 25. RolliniaDeliciosa 5:04 pm 11/30/2011

    Can we *PLEASE* get a moderator to clean up the abusive commenting on this thread?

    Link to this
  26. 26. newtspeare 6:49 pm 05/1/2012

    I would not say that Drelliot’s comments are unacceptably abusive, as they are mostly genuine criticism’s of Lisi’s model. Actually they are quite insightful, as it does seem fashionable for mainstream nonsense-mongers to seek to wear the mantle of Galileo, when anybody criticises their rubbish; Gell-Mann did so about the initial criticism of his quarks fiasco. That said, I cannot find any evidence that Drelliot’s MDT is any more scientific than either E8 or quarks; the real theory of everything is of course Squish Theory.

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  27. 27. ewjewj 5:15 am 05/15/2012

    Unification is best visulised and described:
    1. The 1st law of the universe is to expand
    2. the 2nd law of the universe is that it must acheive equilibrium with everything.
    3. Absolute Relativity is best expressed as Ut,,x,y,z. Where Ut is the Universal time or velocity of expansion.
    4. The expansion Ut is creating New Space second for second. If the 1st law of the universe fails then this extinquishes everything as it determines the association and dissociaton of matter in the standard model cohesive interactions.
    5. The ability of the New Space determines the velocity of light , overcomes the Horizon Problem and Equilibrium of a Black Hole, and the ability of suns to react helium.

    The new theory (Ut,x,y,z) is in a book called Absolute Relativity – theory of everything read recently. It explains in very simple terms with images how the local and big universe determines the character of everything from the creation of matter to the ability of a butterfly to flap its wings. Simply the universe has to expand this is the generator. If it stops or slows will be the end of everything with or without a supernatural God Particle. The universe is providing New Space and determines the frequencies acheivable in the standard model of atomic particles. If the universe slows or stops expanding locally ( universally ) all atoms will simply become simultaneously extint. Which means the end of everything in a huge atomic fission spread across the entire universe in less than 1 sec, on the basis that the universe is time symmetrical. It will not end in a big crunch as Hawkings advises but a Big Fission. The energy released in this universal fission will cause the universe to expand again. Over and over. The universe is like a huge heart. It beats out ( expands )after a universal fission, when that energy cannot sustain the exponential expansion at the periphery the value of its expansion ( acceloration )will fall. As soon as that point is reached – all the atoms it has created during its expansion revert back to energy. Atoms can only exist in an expanding universe as they need space of the Primary Dimension to move – contained Euclids 3 spatial dimensions. No need to invent new particles or fields. It is easy to understand, and once read leaves no confusion. Unlike many unification Theories. Newton was a Great Man, made greater by Einstein. It is a pity Einstein discounted the idea of Newtons that a background Absolute existed. Since 1905 we have lived in the scientic dark ages. Yes the speed of light is locally constant. But light does NOT determine its own velocity in isolation. It merely reflects the expansion of ‘Ut’ creating the Primary dimension into which light can have the ability to move. It is simply nothing more than a visual indicator of the expansion and creation of New Space second for second. Fascinating reading and the best concept around and New!

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  28. 28. ewjewj 5:35 am 05/15/2012

    “When the solution is simple, God is answering”. -Einstein

    Thank you Drelliot for the Einstein quote. Most appropriate.

    ut,x,y,z. You can only have x,y,z spatials if Ut exists first and is moving orthogonally ( and to have the luxury of atoms in the region of 300Kms to provide new space second for second to determine the cohesive frequencies in the atomic standard model). Not a static elastic field as Newton and Michelson believed. If they had thought of it as above then we would have had the Unification Theory in the 17th Century!! And Einstein would not have discounted it in the 20th!

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  29. 29. ewjewj 5:38 am 05/15/2012

    sorry 299,000 km/second not 300kms = typo. In any event the velocity of recorded local light speed.

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  30. 30. drelliot 1:44 pm 08/27/2012

    Dear newtspeare,

    Actually MDT is entirely scientific in the spirit of th Greats!

    You will enjoy this article and the associated papers:

    http://herosjourneyphysics.wordpress.com/2011/07/11/why-string-theory-m-theory-lqg-multiverses-and-parallel-universes-are-not-physics-and-why-moving-dimensions-theory-mdt-is/

    Why String Theory, M-Theory, LQG, Multiverses, and Parallel Universes are NOT Physics, and why Moving Dimensions Theory (MDT’s dx4/dt=ic) IS

    Best,

    Dr. E :)

    MDT Honors the Greats’ Definition of Science

    Einstein and Galileo embodied and exalted the heroic spirit in which Moving Dimensions Theory was conceived:

    “But before mankind could be ripe for a science which takes in the whole of reality, a second fundamental truth was needed, which only became common property among philosophers with the advent of Kepler and Galileo. Pure logical thinking cannot yield us any knowledge of the empirical world; all knowledge of reality starts from experience and ends in it. (Yes! Moving dimensions theory begins in experience–the double slit experiment, entropy, relativity, nonlocality, time and all it arrows and asymmetries, and it ends in experience, by providing a physical model predicting all these entities!) Propositions arrived at by purely logical means (String theory, loop quantum gravity (which might not even use logic)) are completely empty as regards reality. Because Galileo saw this, and particularly because he drummed it into the scientific world, he is the father of modern physics—indeed, of modern science altogether. -Einstein[i], Ideas and Opinions

    Einstein’s above quote is quite prominent in its complete absence from today’s leading “physics” books and blogs, as are many of the Greats’ quotes below, wherein the Greats define what science is and ought to be–wherein they define what science has ever been. Einstein states that, “all knowledge of reality starts from experience and ends in it,” and a glaring problem with string theory is that nobody has ever seen a tiny little string (and thus ST does not begin in experience), nor measured one, nor conceived of an experiment that would allow us to see strings (and thus ST does not, and cannot end in experience either). Nor has anyone ever seen a multiverse, nor come up with a way of measuring or detecting multiverses. Nor has anyone ever come across any of the tiny, little loops of loop quantum gravity, nor any way to detect nor measure tiny little loops. So it is that all these non-theories begin in the imagination, and end in it. One will hear their proponents singing of the great beauty of their theories, but then, when one asks them for the fundamental equation, they are unable to produce any. Indeed, it turns out there are millions of equivalent non-theories with various amounts of dimensions, with ever-changing math which never adds up to predict anything we see in physical reality. In that sense, the theories are actually quite ugly. Especially when compared to the simple beauty of Moving Dimensions Theory’s simple, fundamental, far-ranging equation, dx4/dt=ic, which predicts nonlocality, entanglement (the fundamental characteristic of QM according to Schrodenger), entropy, time and all its arrows and asymmetries, and from which all of relativity is derived. dx4/dt=ic is more fundamental than relativity’s two physical postualtes, as both of relativity’s postulates arise from it.

    Karl Popper: Good tests kill flawed theories; we remain alive to guess again.

    Karl Popper: Science must begin with myths, and with the criticism of myths.

    Karl Popper: In so far as a scientific statement speaks about reality, it must be falsifiable; and in so far as it is not falsifiable, it does not speak about reality.

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  31. 31. David Wishengrad 3:31 pm 06/26/2013

    Garret addresses some concerns with his theory.

    However, he does not address what is most important and, from what I can tell, no one has brought forth.

    Vemayes mentions truth. Postman1 mentions real. Wilhelmus de Wilde mentions truth and reality. Drelliot mentions God, real, obvious, and simplicity.

    This is not even a theory of everything, as a theory has a possibility of being correct.

    Here is the evidence:
    The theory does not account for life being the most important thing in life. So, it is not everything. In factual reality, life is the most important thing in life. We can empirically show that without life one cannot debate this truthful reality.

    Whether we call, “The most important thing in life is life”, a self-evident truth, a given law, or just or reality, it remains provable and our universally observed observation.

    Additionally, we can’t change our past. This so called theory of everything does not address this self-evident truth either.

    For whatever reason, Garrett has completely dismissed the root of observable reality.

    Now, if anyone wants to argue that the most important thing in life is not life, then please do so without using life and we can consider it. Otherwise, no matter what you state will be a hypocritical statement proving life is, indeed, most important.

    Yet, the truth is as important as life itself. Life is a truth and the two go hand in hand as one.

    Garrett, this isn’t a fancy Spirograph game. While you are tanning on the beach, surfing, and enjoying life, life is being slaughtered and enslaved everywhere. You seem to think that this doesn’t matter, but it does.

    I am talking about what is factually MOST IMPORTANT here by our mutually observed reality. This trumps anything else, ANYTHING. We are killing over 50 billion animals a year for nothing more than personal enjoyment; wars, enslavement, suicide, pollution, death and suffering are everywhere. The only thing we have to fix this world is truth and life. Both of which are real and exist and neither of which did you even consider before make such a boastful and ignorant statement of a theory of everything.

    We don’t need a theory of everything. We already have everything: Truth and Life. What would be helpful is for everyone to willfully choose to accept the truth when presented, myself included.

    Spend a day with me looking at the suffering and hearing the cries that continue because people ignore the basic self-evident truth of all.

    The arrogance of your claim is only surpassed by your ignorance of the existence of truth.

    Link to this

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