Monday, March 18, 2013

Free-thinkers sure don't like to be challenged.

Critic of Lawrence Krauss "disinvited" from debate on "nothing":

The annual Isaac Asimov Memorial Debate is the American Museum of Natural History’s biggest public event, drawing a sold-out crowd for an evening billed as bringing together “the finest minds in the world” to debate “pressing questions on the frontiers of scientific discovery.” 
But this year’s installment, to be held on March 20 under the heading “The Existence of Nothing,” may also be notable for the panelist who disappeared. 
Among the speakers will be several leading physicists, including Lawrence M. Krauss, whose book “A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather Than Nothing” became a cause célèbre in the scientific blogosphere last spring after a scathing review in the New York Times Book Review by the philosopher David Z. Albert. 
But Mr. Albert will not be onstage, having been abruptly disinvited by the museum several months after he agreed to take part. 
The tone of the dustup between Mr. Albert and Mr. Krauss — summed up by one blogger as “an ongoing cosmological street fight” that had broken out “broad media daylight” — would have certainly left those who saw both men’s names on early publicity material anticipating something closer to a wrestling match than dispassionate scholarly discussion. 
In his review Mr. Albert, who also has a Ph.D. in theoretical physics, mocked Mr. Krauss’s cocksure claim to have found in the laws of quantum mechanics a definitive answer to the vexing question of the ultimate origins of the universe. (So where did those laws come from? he asked.) Mr. Krauss countered with a pugnacious interview in The Atlantic, in which he called Mr. Albert “moronic” and dismissed the philosophy of science as worthless.//

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