String Theory: The Best Explanation for Everything in the Universe.
String theory (or, more technically, M-theory) is often described as the leading candidate for the theory of everything in our universe. But there’s no empirical evidence for it, or for any alternative ideas about how gravity might unify with the rest of the fundamental forces. Why, then, is string/M-theory given the edge over the others?
At Not Even Wrong, Peter Woit answers a question with a question:
In a time when the credibility of science is under attack, does anyone else see a problem with telling the public that the “Best Explanation for Everything in the Universe” that science has is a “theory” for which we have no definition or equations, no experimental evidence, and no likelihood of ever getting any? More.
That question arose when the article hit the radar here too. Wolchover deserves credit for not just releasing a flight of hot air balloons about the problem, the way many science mags would do.
From now on, science theories will probably depend more and more on political muscle instead. With the right sort of public, that stands in quite well for progress. Success means never engaging in WrongThink, however defined.
The post-modern doldrums may be affecting science magazine publishing. Quanta, published by the Simons Foundation, was said last May to be one of the many high-end pop science magazines struggling to even survive:
Hope pervades these stories of innovation, adaptation, and transformation. It’s imaginable that physics-focused magazine readers will themselves hold high hopes for the churn at one more somewhat new magazine, Quanta, which this month told readers, “We have completely re-engineered and redesigned the site.” If having “formidable” science journalists bolsters hope, such readers will want to know that Undark uses that word to describe Quanta’s staff. Here’s hoping Quanta can fulfill the vision it expresses… – Steven T. Corneliussen, Physics Today More.
Unfortunately, the pop science mag industry’s problems cannot really be resolved by new website designs. Willingness to ask hard questions about current directions would get a very lively discussion going but one senses that few or none will risk it.
Added, and at 3 below:
asauber at 2, that is doubtless true but there is something else. Science media tend, relative to other media, not to be even constructively critical resources on the subjects they cover.
Too busy waving pom poms pompoms for “science” generally to think things out in the way that’s needed.
Also, like most cultists I have met, they are obsessed with why the rest of us don’t “believe” things that seem unbelievable to us, if not to them.
If a person chooses to be literate, I wouldn’t recommend them as a resource, in many cases. Literacy is wasted where there is no genuine interest in the bigger picture.
See also: String theory is alive, there just isn’t any evidence for it.
Question for multiverse theorists: To what can science appeal, if not evidence?
Post-modern science: The illusion of consciousness sees through itself
Nature, as defined today, cannot be all there is. Science demonstrates that.
Can the rot of naturalism be stopped? Relating information to matter and energy might help