You’ve possibly been following my efforts over here to discuss and explain the several weaknesses in Smolin’s and Woit’s arguments and positions, and why the current “string debate” is all an overblown (and media-fueled) fake controversy. (See for example the series of posts entitled “More Scenes From the Storm in a Teacup”, the last three especially, (links: I, II, III, IV, V, VI); use the search engine for other instances.)
I’ve no idea what the effect of these discussions has been. Woit recently said “my views havenâ€™t changed at all”, and so has covered his ears and dug his heels in, while Smolin has written some sort of response on his website. I don’t hold out much hope for them, but I do hope that readers of these discussions can see that there’s been a fair amount of wool pulled over their eyes, to say the least.
What to do? What more to say? Whatever more I say, I cannot say it all any better than Joe Polchinski, a true master from whom we’ve all learned so much physics. Read his review in a guest post over on Cosmic Variance!