Hofstadter strikes me as difficult, in a quiet way. He is kind, but he doesn’t do the thing that easy conversationalists do, that well-liked teachers do, which is to take the best of what you’ve said—to work you into their thinking as an indispensable ally, as though their point ultimately depends on your contribution. I remember sitting in on a roundtable discussion that Hofstadter and his students were having and thinking of how little I saw his mind change. He seemed to be seeking consensus. The discussion had begun as an e-mail that he had sent out to a large list of correspondents; he seemed keenest on the replies that were keenest on him.
“So I don’t enjoy it,” he told me. “I don’t enjoy going to conferences and running into people who are stubborn and convinced of ideas I don’t think are correct, and who don’t have any understanding of my ideas. And I just like to talk to people who are a little more sympathetic.”
This is very interesting to me. What I find strange about this is that I get the feeling the scientific world is not taking any of this seriously. In other words, I do not see serious discussions of this among physicists when they get together.
I would like to hear serious scientists taking these ideas seriously and giving a serious skeptical response—not that I necessarily want it to be the other side. I want the debate to be very seriously taken. I think this is all to Ray’s credit. He has raised some terribly important issues.
But brain's got tricks itself, you see
To get the bang but not the bite
I got this here vasectomy
My genes can fuck themselves tonight