Dawkins about the Conservation of Difficulty

Dawkins’s Law of the Conservation of Difficulty states that obscurantism in an academic subject expands to fill the vacuum of its intrinsic simplicity. Theoretical physics is a genuinely difficult subject. Envious disciplines, which I shall not advertise, conceal their lack of content behind billowing clouds of deliberate obscurity, hilariously lampooned by Alan Sokal in his hoax article, “Towards a transformative hermeneutics of quantum gravity”, published by Social Text to the subsequent embarrassment of that pretentious journal’s “Editorial Collective”.

Wanton obscurantism subverts the very point of science. If science seems difficult, it should only be because the real world is difficult. Yet a sufficiently skilled writer can cut through the difficulty without losing content and without dumbing down.

Richard Dawkins, Last call for budding science writers

[x]#509 fan dinsdag 27 april 2004 @ 22:30:52