Academics Have a Sense of Humor Too

by Max Andrews

I was just doing some research on my thesis, which evaluates the fine-tuning argument for design from physics and cosmology as it stands in relation to the multiverse.  I use the Cornell arXiv database for most of my pre-print articles. I did a search for the anthropic principle and I found this paper written by Douglas F. Watson titled “On the Anthropic Principle in the Multiverse:  Addressing Provability and Tautology.” I have never heard of this physicist and the paper seemed fairly simple to read.  Well, I’ve been quite busy for the past couple days so it’s been sitting in one of the tabs in my browser for quite some time.  Tonight I got my desk a little more organized and decided to get some reading done.  I started reading and discovered that some of his footnotes were quite odd like, “This may or may not have been ‘borrowed’ from a recent talk by Alan Guth.” Who does that?  It then goes on to talk about how his acronym is better than one of his colleagues and how the other paper’s citation count renders their theory irrelevant.  He closes the paper with,

We conclude that time will tell whether or not you matter, however further consideration of the blatant circularity of this entire argument needs to be investigated which has the potential to render this entire paper ipso facto meaningless… Assuming no permanent blacklisting, DFW would like to thank any future employer.  DFW is funded by his adviser in exchange for a modest publication rate along with superlative and punctual morning coffee.

Even though this database is very credible and has excellent papers, I couldn’t get upset of Watson’s paper.  I kind of wish I had found it while in the middle of a long series of research.  This humor would have lightened the load a bit.  Notice his figure I share below.  I’m not saying I agree or disagree, but you can’t help but smile.  So, I guess this isn’t really a paper, but rather a scholastic comic strip maybe?

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3 Comments to “Academics Have a Sense of Humor Too”

  1. Love it! You might also enjoy http://www.philosophybro.com, in a similar vein. It’s a little coarse sometimes, but this is a seriously wise bro.

  2. “‘On the Anthropic Principle in the Multiverse: Addressing Provability and Tautology.’ I have never heard of this physicist and the paper seemed fairly simple to read.”

    So says you! 🙂 That sounds like a three hour read for someone like me!

    • Well, I scanned it first to see how much math was in it before I made that assessment but I did need research on the AP and assessing whether or not it was a tautology… 🙂

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