Cosmology Intelligent Design Multiverse News

Confessions of an ex-string theorist

Spread the love

From Columbia mathematician Peter Woit’s Not Even Wrong blog:

Today I happened to come across a really wonderful discussion there though, and wanted to draw attention to it, even though it’s from a year ago. It’s entitled A View from an Ex-String Theorist and consists of a long piece by someone who has recently left string theory, as well as some answers to questions asked by others. If you want to understand what string theory looks like these days to good theorists who are working on it, read what “No_More_Strings” has to say.

The suggestion that “string theorists” should stop calling what they do “string theory” is an excellent one. … If you didn’t have to start every grant application by explaining that you’re motivated by “our best hope for a theory of everything”, you might find it easier to work on something quite different, with no relation at all to quantized strings. More.

In other words, the best multiverse theory going is a bust.

But don’t expect that to make any difference when pop culture needs the multiverse so badly.

Follow UD News at Twitter!

4 Replies to “Confessions of an ex-string theorist

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    “our best hope for a theory of everything” will never be a mathematical theory of everything. Godel proved as much in his incompleteness theorem:

    Godel and Physics – John D. Barrow
    Excerpt (page 5-6): “Clearly then no scientific cosmology, which of necessity must be highly mathematical, can have its proof of consistency within itself as far as mathematics go. In absence of such consistency, all mathematical models, all theories of elementary particles, including the theory of quarks and gluons…fall inherently short of being that theory which shows in virtue of its a priori truth that the world can only be what it is and nothing else. This is true even if the theory happened to account for perfect accuracy for all phenomena of the physical world known at a particular time.”
    Stanley Jaki – Cosmos and Creator – 1980, pg. 49
    http://arxiv.org/pdf/physics/0612253.pdf

    Even Hawking himself at one time admitted, and apparently subsequently forgot, that, due to Godel’s Incompleteness, there can never be a ‘complete’ mathematical theory of everything,

    The nature and significance of Gödel’s incompleteness theorems – Princeton – 2006
    Excerpt: ,,Stephen Hawking and Freeman Dyson, among others, have come to the conclusion that Gödel’s theorem implies that there can’t be a (mathematical) Theory of Everything.,,
    http://math.stanford.edu/~fefe.....el-IAS.pdf

    In my honest opinion, “our best hope for a theory of everything” will be when physicists finally realize that a profound mistake has been made in physics. That profound mistake has been the removal of agent causality from physics.
    The presupposition of agent causality, i.e. God, behind the mathematical laws of the universe was presupposed by the Christian founders of modern science when they first started to discover some of the mathematical laws of the universe.
    In fact, on discovering the laws of planetary motion, Johann Kepler declared these very ‘unscientific’ thoughts:

    ‘O God, I am thinking your thoughts after you!’

    “Geometry is unique and eternal, a reflection from the mind of God. That mankind shares in it is because man is an image of God.”
    – Johannes Kepler

    Kepler was hardly alone in belief of God being behind the mathematical laws of the universe. Galileo stated:

    Mathematics is the language with which God has written the universe.
    Galileo Galilei

    Newton stated:

    “This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being. This Being governs all things, not as the soul of the world, but as Lord over all; and on account of His dominion He is wont to be called Lord God.”(Newton 1687,Principia)

    NEWTON’S REJECTION OF THE “NEWTONIAN WORLD VIEW”: THE ROLE OF DIVINE WILL IN NEWTON’S NATURAL PHILOSOPHY
    Abstract: The significance of Isaac Newton for the history of Christianity and science is undeniable: his professional work culminated the Scientific Revolution that saw the birth of modern science, while his private writings evidence a lifelong interest in the relationship between God and the world. Yet the typical picture of Newton as a paragon of Enlightenment deism, endorsing the idea of a remote divine clockmaker and the separation of science from religion, is badly mistaken. In fact Newton rejected both the clockwork metaphor itself and the cold mechanical universe upon which it is based. His conception of the world reflects rather a deep commitment to the constant activity of the divine will, unencumbered by the “rational” restrictions that Descartes and Leibniz placed on God, the very sorts of restrictions that later appealed to the deists of the 18th century.
    http://home.messiah.edu/~tdavis/newton.htm

    Both Faraday and Maxwell presupposed God as a causal agent behind the mathematical laws of their scientific discoveries:

    The Genius and Faith of Faraday and Maxwell – Ian H. Hutchinson – 2014
    Conclusion: Lawfulness was not, in their thinking, inert, abstract, logical necessity, or complete reducibility to Cartesian mechanism; rather, it was an expectation they attributed to the existence of a divine lawgiver. These men’s insights into physics were made possible by their religious commitments. For them, the coherence of nature resulted from its origin in the mind of its Creator.
    http://www.thenewatlantis.com/.....nd-maxwell

    “The book of nature which we have to read is written by the finger of God.”
    Faraday, as cited in Seeger 1983, 101

    Yet, although God was presupposed to be behind the laws of nature at the founding of modern science, somehow God is now, without us ever being told, or shown, exactly why, somehow considered to be unscientific as a causal explanation for the mathematical laws of the universe. This is tragic since, with the denial of free will, it leads to the epistemological failure of science.
    Professor Budziszewski puts the epistemological failure that results for denying agent causality like this:

    A Professor’s Journey out of Nihilism: Why I am not an Atheist – University of Wyoming – J. Budziszewski
    Excerpt page12: “There were two great holes in the argument about the irrelevance of God. The first is that in order to attack free will, I supposed that I understood cause and effect; I supposed causation to be less mysterious than volition.
    If anything, it is the other way around. I can perceive a logical connection between premises and valid conclusions. I can perceive at least a rational connection between my willing to do something and my doing it. But between the apple and the earth, I can perceive no connection at all. Why does the apple fall? We don’t know. “But there is gravity,” you say. No, “gravity” is merely the name of the phenomenon, not its explanation. “But there are laws of gravity,” you say. No, the “laws” are not its explanation either; they are merely a more precise description of the thing to be explained, which remains as mysterious as before. For just this reason, philosophers of science are shy of the term “laws”; they prefer “lawlike regularities.” To call the equations of gravity “laws” and speak of the apple as “obeying” them is to speak as though, like the traffic laws, the “laws” of gravity are addressed to rational agents capable of conforming their wills to the command. This is cheating, because it makes mechanical causality (the more opaque of the two phenomena) seem like volition (the less). In my own way of thinking the cheating was even graver, because I attacked the less opaque in the name of the more.
    The other hole in my reasoning was cruder. If my imprisonment in a blind causality made my reasoning so unreliable that I couldn’t trust my beliefs, then by the same token I shouldn’t have trusted my beliefs about imprisonment in a blind causality. But in that case I had no business denying free will in the first place.”
    http://www.undergroundthomist......theist.pdf

    In other words, the denial of agent causality for ourselves leads to epistemological failure of science since it undermines our ability to be rational agents instead of mindless automatons.

    Sam Harris’s Free Will: The Medial Pre-Frontal Cortex Did It – Martin Cothran – November 9, 2012
    Excerpt: There is something ironic about the position of thinkers like Harris on issues like this: they claim that their position is the result of the irresistible necessity of logic (in fact, they pride themselves on their logic). Their belief is the consequent, in a ground/consequent relation between their evidence and their conclusion. But their very stated position is that any mental state — including their position on this issue — is the effect of a physical, not logical cause.
    By their own logic, it isn’t logic that demands their assent to the claim that free will is an illusion, but the prior chemical state of their brains. The only condition under which we could possibly find their argument convincing is if they are not true. The claim that free will is an illusion requires the possibility that minds have the freedom to assent to a logical argument, a freedom denied by the claim itself. It is an assent that must, in order to remain logical and not physiological, presume a perspective outside the physical order.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....66221.html

    Physicalism and Reason – May 2013
    Summary: So we find ourselves affirming two contradictory propositions:
    1. Everything is governed by cause-and-effect.
    2. Our brains can process and be changed by ground-consequent logical relationships.
    To achieve consistency, we must either deny that everything is governed by cause-and-effect, and open our worldviews to something beyond physicalism, or we must deny that our brains are influenced by ground-consequence reasoning, and abandon the idea that we are rational creatures.
    Ask yourself: are humans like falling dominoes, entirely subject to natural law, or may we stand up and walk in the direction that reason shows us?
    http://www.reasonsforgod.org/2.....nd-reason/

    (1) rationality implies a thinker in control of thoughts.
    (2) under materialism a thinker is an effect caused by processes in the brain.
    (3) in order for materialism to ground rationality a thinker (an effect) must control processes in the brain (a cause). (1)&(2)
    (4) no effect can control its cause.
    Therefore materialism cannot ground rationality.
    per Box UD

    Quantum Mechanics is absolutely screaming for agent causality to be let back in physics. For instance, in regards to free will, in the following experiment, the claim that past material states determine future conscious choices (determinism) is directly falsified by the fact that present conscious choices are, in fact, effecting past material states:

    Quantum physics mimics spooky action into the past – April 23, 2012
    Excerpt: The authors experimentally realized a “Gedankenexperiment” called “delayed-choice entanglement swapping”, formulated by Asher Peres in the year 2000. Two pairs of entangled photons are produced, and one photon from each pair is sent to a party called Victor. Of the two remaining photons, one photon is sent to the party Alice and one is sent to the party Bob. Victor can now choose between two kinds of measurements. If he decides to measure his two photons in a way such that they are forced to be in an entangled state, then also Alice’s and Bob’s photon pair becomes entangled. If Victor chooses to measure his particles individually, Alice’s and Bob’s photon pair ends up in a separable state. Modern quantum optics technology allowed the team to delay Victor’s choice and measurement with respect to the measurements which Alice and Bob perform on their photons. “We found that whether Alice’s and Bob’s photons are entangled and show quantum correlations or are separable and show classical correlations can be decided after they have been measured”, explains Xiao-song Ma, lead author of the study.
    According to the famous words of Albert Einstein, the effects of quantum entanglement appear as “spooky action at a distance”. The recent experiment has gone one remarkable step further. “Within a naïve classical world view, quantum mechanics can even mimic an influence of future actions on past events”, says Anton Zeilinger.
    http://phys.org/news/2012-04-q.....ction.html

    In other words, if my conscious choices really are just merely the result of whatever state the material particles in my brain happen to be in in the past (deterministic) how in blue blazes are my choices instantaneously effecting the state of material particles into the past? The preceding experiment, and other like it in quantum mechanics, are simply impossible for any coherent materialistic presupposition!

    And when we rightly let agent causality, God, back into physics, as the Christian founders of modern science originally held, then a empirically backed resolution between Quantum Theory and Relativity is achieved in the resurrection of Christ from death:
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-548425
    Verse:

    Colossians 1:15-20
    The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

    Thus “our best hope for a theory of everything” will never be a mathematical theory of everything, but “our best hope” has been and will always be in Christ and in Christ alone!

  2. 2
  3. 3
    ppolish says:

    Gluons are fine tuned. Disturbing fact to many yikes. But Supersymmetry, (SUSY), consistent with and predicted by String Theory, predicts “gluinos” that offset the fine tuned gluons.

    So, fine tuned gluons + perfectly opposite gluinos = no fine tuning?

    What? Seems to be “double fine tuned” to me. Ying and Yang, Reap what you sow.

    Gluinos are one of a plethora of “Super Partners” predicted by SUSY/String. LHC Run 2 is now underway and “gluinos” are the favored candidate to show up first. Lots of fingers crossed:) Seriously exciting times in high energy physics.

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    OT: Biologist in TEDx Talk: Life’s “Complex Interacting Molecular Machines” Appear “Built by an Engineer” – Casey Luskin – June 10, 2015
    Excerpt: when I look through a microscope at a humble bacterium — ,,,
    On the one hand it’s extremely well organized, but on the other hand the sheer scale of all of this unfamiliar well-organized stuff that happens in there makes me feel that I’ve stumbled onto an alternate landscape of technology that’s built by an engineer a million times smarter than me.
    – Stephen Larson – “Digital biology and open science — the coming revolution,,,
    I (Casey Luskin) highly recommend watching the talk in full.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....96761.html

Leave a Reply