Readers may remember Stephen Wolfram’s new theory of everything, about which leveller heads said, “It is absolutely possible that Wolfram has stumbled upon a deeper truth about the universe. But at the moment, he’s just another physicist with an idea. This idea should be taken as skeptically as any other that claims to explain the entire universe, meaning outside experts should check that it doesn’t contain glaring errors. Any strong hypothesis should be able to tell us something new and testable about the universe.”
Now, Ethan Siegel weighs in at Forbes:
When we use the word “theory” in a conventional sense, we talk about it the same way we’d talk about the word “idea” or “hypothesis.” We mean that sure, we have our conventional way of thinking about things that we generally accept, but maybe things are actually this other way instead.
To a scientist, though, a theory is a far more powerful thing than that. It’s a self-consistent framework that has the quantitative power to predict the outcomes (or sets of probable outcomes) of a large set of systems under a wide variety of conditions.
A successful, established theory goes even farther. It contains a large suite of predictions that agree with established experiments and/or observations. It’s been tested in a large number of independent ways, and has passed every test thus far. It has a range of validity that’s well-understood, and it’s also understood that the theory may not be valid outside of that particular range.Ethan Siegel, “3 Simple Reasons Why Wolfram’s New ‘Fundamental Theory’ Is Not Yet Science” at Forbes
We can tell what’s wrong with science today when we try to take Siegel’s dead-serious explanation of what he thinks a theory in science is and apply it to: Darwinian evolution theory
Of course, Wolfram’s ideas are not the new Einstein or Schrodinger. But court-enforced rubbish like Darwinism has corrupted the very idea of theory as Siegel tries to explain it.