Harv,
Here's what I think, bearing in mind that even though what I think may have nothing to do with what Dick thinks, what I think is what matters to me.
I am still intrigued as to how Dick manages to get the equations of physics from nothing. What he is doing is obviously a trick, he has admitted that himself, but the fact that such a trick is possible is puzzling in itself. Dick's idiosyncratic use of language does not help anyone understand what he thinks of it; one moment he'll say his paper is irrelevant, the next moment he'll say it's fundamental. So we must figure out by ourselves what his trick means. Paul believes it's a mathematical theorem. Yanniru also has a well-thought explanation. I disagree with both of them.
I used to think his trick meant that physics, being a tautology, does not convey any information about reality. Now, I didn't "discover" that physics is a tautology thanks to Dick's work, I always thought so and I was actually surprised to learn some people think otherwise. This is of course a controversial subject, but let's focus on the fact that I'm convinced physics is tautological. After all, I'm trying to explain myself.
So, on thinking about the issue I discovered something I didn't know before: even a tautology conveys information. In fact the whole point of a tautology is to convey some information. So physics does tell us something about the world after all. All is well. And Dick is obviously missing a point.
Where's the blue-collar thing in all that? Well, it's not in Dick's paper, it's actually in some of the things he says. Since I already thought that physics is tautological, there isn't much in his paper that caught my attention. As far as I was concerned, it was just a mathematical demonstration of something I intuitively "know". It was more his general outlook on life that I found interesting, as I happen to share many of his opinions. But in his eagerness to earn recognition he started, from my perspective, to betray the ideals I thought we shared, to the point where I'm no longer sure we ever shared those ideals.
So that is, in a nutshell, the story between Dick and I. It has very little to do with his paper, which is probably the reason he eventually figured out I'm not the guy he was looking for.
I'd be very surprised if you suspected much of that. |