If you don't like the question I'm answering, complain to Komponisto, not me.

I wasn't complaining to anyone. And I don't dislike the question. I was just adding some relevant information. Anyway, I did reply directly to komponisto as well. See the end of my long comment above.

But what would you count as a conceptual problem?

If we did not have independent evidence that QFT breaks down at the Planck scale (since gravity is not renormalizable), I might have considered the Landau pole a conceptual problem for QFT. But since it is only a problem in a domain where we already know QFT doesn't work, I don't see it that way.

I don't think that's the normal use of "conceptual problem."

If physicists believe, as their verbiage seems to indicate, that QED is a real theory that is an approximation to reality, and they compute approximations to the numbers in QED, while QED is actually inconsistent, I would say that is an error and a paradigmatic example of a conceptual error.

What does it mean to interpret an inconsistent theory?

Stupid Questions Open Thread Round 3

by OpenThreadGuy 1 min read7th Jul 2012209 comments


From the last thread:

From Costanza's original thread (entire text):

"This is for anyone in the LessWrong community who has made at least some effort to read the sequences and follow along, but is still confused on some point, and is perhaps feeling a bit embarrassed. Here, newbies and not-so-newbies are free to ask very basic but still relevant questions with the understanding that the answers are probably somewhere in the sequences. Similarly, LessWrong tends to presume a rather high threshold for understanding science and technology. Relevant questions in those areas are welcome as well.  Anyone who chooses to respond should respectfully guide the questioner to a helpful resource, and questioners should be appropriately grateful. Good faith should be presumed on both sides, unless and until it is shown to be absent.  If a questioner is not sure whether a question is relevant, ask it, and also ask if it's relevant."


  • How often should these be made? I think one every three months is the correct frequency.
  • Costanza made the original thread, but I am OpenThreadGuy. I am therefore not only entitled but required to post this in his stead. But I got his permission anyway.



  • I still haven't figured out a satisfactory answer to the previous meta question, how often these should be made. It was requested that I make a new one, so I did.
  • I promise I won't quote the entire previous threads from now on. Blockquoting in articles only goes one level deep, anyway.