My previous blog post generated quite a number of comments and much criticism. Let me summarize the main objections:
- What I describe is not pure theory but bad research.
- Pure theory is useful: consider the n log n lower bound on sorting.
- Our brains are bandwidth-driven machines, not standalone computers. You will only thrive given sufficient feedback. And peer review is a low-bandwidth high-latency feedback system.
- Pure theory is low-bandwidth Science: few results depend on it, whether it is useful or powerful is entirely a matter of opinion. It is pure because it is not tainted by external feedback.
- Theoretical results are the reason why we do Science.
- Pure theorists are likely to describe themselves as engineers.
- I have done and will do pure theory work. It is a very tempting trap.
- If a new Engineering concept seems like a good idea, wait before you make a book out of it. Try it out in practice first.
- If a theorem seems useful to you, wait before you make a career out of it. Can you relate it to anything in the world out there?