Saturday, April 01, 2017

A g-load of Crap

Steve Hsu is a physics prof with degrees from Harvard and Caltech, so he's got to be a smart guy, right? He writes a lot about IQ and it's genetic basis, and is evidently involved in efforts to isolate and cultivate those genetic elements, about which he blogs frequently. He is also, IMHO, a nut-job on the subject of IQ.

He has, for example, expressed the opinion that genetic tinkering could produce humans with an IQ of 1000, something I think is as likely as genetic tinkering being able to produce a human who could run 100 meters in 2.0 seconds flat. Never mind that nobody has a clue as to what it means to have an IQ of 1000, or, for that matter, 210.

His latest is entitled, The brute tyranny of g-loading: Lawrence Krauss and Joe Rogan, by which he implies that explaining gauge symmetry to Joe Rogan is prevented by the fact that Rogan is not smart enough to comprehend it. Now I don't know Rogan from Adam, and have no opinion on his IQ, and Hsu's post is a lot less insulting than his title, but really?

I like to think that I have a modest understanding of gauge symmetry, and have also gathered that even really smart (heavily g-loaded) guys like Tony Zee are not sure exactly what gauge symmetry is really about. I have no doubt that one has to be reasonably bright to understand it, but am pretty damn sure that nobody can deeply understand it based on a twenty minute conversation (Larry Krause spent 20 minutes trying to explain it to Rogan).

Physicists and mathematicians typically spend many years of study before they get deeply into gauge symmetry and nobody, no matter how physically gifted, is going to be a pro level basketball player with twenty minutes of training, regardless of g-load and p-load.

Incidentally, if you want a twenty minute intro to gauge symmetry, I think it would be hard to beat the Wikipedia article I linked in this sentence.