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Do science hero stories stand in the way of progress?

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Lost in Math

Sabine Hossenfelder, author of Lost in Math: How Beauty Leads Physics Astray, raises the question:

If you believe that genius alone will do, then you are likely to believe it doesn’t matter how smart people arrange their interaction. If you, on the other hand, take into account that even big-brained scientists must somehow make decisions about what information to have a look at, you understand that it matters a lot how scientists organize their work-life.

I think that currently many scientists, especially in the foundations of physics, fail to pay attention to how they exchange and gather information, processes that can easily be skewed by social biases. What’s a scientist, after all? A scientist is someone who collects information, chews on it, and outputs new information. But, as they say, garbage in, garbage out. Sabine Hossenfelder, “How Heroes Hurt Science” at BackRe(Action)

She thinks that the problem is not a shortage of smart people but a shortage of smart people who grasp that they are simply “wheels in the machinery.”

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See also: Sabine Hossenfelder: Has The Large Hadron Collider “Broken Physics”?

and

Sabine Hossenfelder: Can Gravitational Wave Interferometers Tell Us If We Live In A Hologram Universe?

6 Replies to “Do science hero stories stand in the way of progress?

  1. 1
    Seversky says:

    Garbage in, garbage out is correct. Separating the garbage from the good stuff is the problem. Why should we think Hossenfelder is any better at separating the two than the others?

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    The main quest in science today is, ultimately, to find the “Theory of Everything” where our two most powerful theories in science, Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity, are finally unified into a single framework.

    The standard model, along with other deficiencies, fails to provide us with this resolution of Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity into the much sought after “Theory of Everything”.

    Physics beyond the Standard Model
    Physics beyond the Standard Model (BSM) refers to the theoretical developments needed to explain the deficiencies of the Standard Model, such as the strong CP problem, neutrino oscillations, matter–antimatter asymmetry, and the nature of dark matter and dark energy.[1] Another problem lies within the mathematical framework of the Standard Model itself: the Standard Model is inconsistent with that of general relativity, to the point where one or both theories break down under certain conditions (for example within known spacetime singularities like the Big Bang and black hole event horizons).
    Theories that lie beyond the Standard Model include various extensions of the standard model through supersymmetry,,,
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Physics_beyond_the_Standard_Model

    The main flaw in the standard model, that prevents scientists from ever unifying Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity into a single framework, is that, when the Standard Model was derived, consciousness and/or immaterial mind was left on the cutting room floor.

    In laying this fact out it is first important to note that the standard model grew out of the success of Quantum electrodynamics (QED). And to also note that QED unifies special relativity with quantum mechanics.
    https://uncommondescent.com/philosophy/theoretical-physicist-takes-on-panpsychism-bam-pow/#comment-670698

    Yet, Richard Feynman (and others) were only able to unify special relativity and quantum mechanics into Quantum Electrodynamics by quote unquote “brushing infinity under the rug” with a technique called Renormalization.

    THE INFINITY PUZZLE: Quantum Field Theory and the Hunt for an Orderly Universe
    Excerpt: In quantum electrodynamics, which applies quantum mechanics to the electromagnetic field and its interactions with matter, the equations led to infinite results for the self-energy or mass of the electron. After nearly two decades of effort, this problem was solved after World War II by a procedure called renormalization, in which the infinities are rolled up into the electron’s observed mass and charge, and are thereafter conveniently ignored. Richard Feynman, who shared the 1965 Nobel Prize with Julian Schwinger and Sin-Itiro Tomonaga for this breakthrough, referred to this sleight of hand as “brushing infinity under the rug.”
    http://www.americanscientist.o.....g-infinity

    This “brushing infinity under the rug” with QED never set right with Feynman.

    “It always bothers me that in spite of all this local business, what goes on in a tiny, no matter how tiny, region of space, and no matter how tiny a region of time, according to laws as we understand them today, it takes a computing machine an infinite number of logical operations to figure out. Now how can all that be going on in that tiny space? Why should it take an infinite amount of logic to figure out what one stinky tiny bit of space-time is going to do?”
    – Richard Feynman – one of the founding fathers of QED (Quantum Electrodynamics)
    Quote taken from the 6:45 minute mark of the following video:
    Feynman: Mathematicians versus Physicists – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=obCjODeoLVw

    One of the unintended consequences of “brushing infinity under the rug” in the unifying of Special Relativity with Quantum Mechanics was that quantum measurement itself was left on the cutting room floor

    As the following article states, “Although quantum field theory is fully compatible with the special theory of relativity, a relativistic treatment of quantum measurement has yet to be formulated.,,, Bell never completed his planned quantum mechanics textbook because he could not devise a suitably relativistic theory of measurement.”

    Not So Real – Sheldon Lee Glashow – Oct. 2018
    Review of: “What Is Real? The Unfinished Quest for the Meaning of Quantum Physics”
    by Adam Becker
    Excerpt: Heisenberg, Schrödinger, and their contemporaries knew well that the theory they devised could not be made compatible with Einstein’s special theory of relativity. First order in time, but second order in space, Schrödinger’s equation is nonrelativistic. Although quantum field theory is fully compatible with the special theory of relativity, a relativistic treatment of quantum measurement has yet to be formulated.,,,
    Bell never completed his planned quantum mechanics textbook because he could not devise a suitably relativistic theory of measurement.
    https://inference-review.com/article/not-so-real

    That is to say, although they unified special relativity and quantum mechanics together in QED by “brushing infinity under the rug”, this unification between special relativity and quantum mechanics into Quantum Electrodynamics came at the unacceptable price of leaving the entire enigma of Quantum Measurement on the cutting room floor. Yet quantum measurement is precisely where conscious observation makes its presence fully known in quantum mechanics.

    The Measurement Problem in quantum mechanics – (Inspiring Philosophy) – 2014 video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qB7d5V71vUE

    As the following researcher stated, “It proves that measurement is everything. At the quantum level, reality does not exist if you are not looking at it.”

    New Mind-blowing Experiment Confirms That Reality Doesn’t Exist If You Are Not Looking at It – June 3, 2015
    Excerpt: Some particles, such as photons or electrons, can behave both as particles and as waves. Here comes a question of what exactly makes a photon or an electron act either as a particle or a wave. This is what Wheeler’s experiment asks: at what point does an object ‘decide’?
    The results of the Australian scientists’ experiment, which were published in the journal Nature Physics, show that this choice is determined by the way the object is measured, which is in accordance with what quantum theory predicts.
    “It proves that measurement is everything. At the quantum level, reality does not exist if you are not looking at it,” said lead researcher Dr. Andrew Truscott in a press release.,,,
    “The atoms did not travel from A to B. It was only when they were measured at the end of the journey that their wave-like or particle-like behavior was brought into existence,” he said.
    Thus, this experiment adds to the validity of the quantum theory and provides new evidence to the idea that reality doesn’t exist without an observer.
    http://themindunleashed.org/20.....at-it.html

    Thus since QED, and by extension the standard model itself, has left quantum measurement, i.e. conscious observation, on the cutting room floor by “brushing infinity under the rug”, then it necessarily follows that our best theory of the interactions of the fundamental particles of the universe, i.e. our best ‘theory of everything’ thus far, i.e. the standard model, will never include an adequate account of consciousness.

    As the following article states, (by the physicist restricting his vision to the realm of the physical as such), “It excludes the blueness of the sky and the roar of breaking waves”,,, “the fragrance of flowers and all the innumerable qualities that lend color, charm and meaning to our terrestrial and cosmic environment.”

    Lost in Math: The Particle Physics Quandary – 3 April 2019 – Wolfgang Smith
    Excerpt: ,,, The reason why “no one understands quantum theory” resides thus in the measuring problem.,,,
    Here we have it: the very Beschränkung, it turns out, which bestows upon the physicist his sovereign power to comprehend the physical universe, renders the measuring problem insoluble — i.e., to the physicist! — by restricting his vision to the realm of the physical as such.
    What is it, then, that this vision excludes?,, “It excludes the blueness of the sky and the roar of breaking waves” I wrote, “the fragrance of flowers and all the innumerable qualities that lend color, charm and meaning to our terrestrial and cosmic environment.” To which of course the “scientific” response will be: “But these are all subjective attributes: that color and that sound — that’s all in your head!” Here we have it: the Beschränkung is yet in force! It has not been transcended: the aficionados of physical science have apparently become de facto incapable of transcending it.
    https://philos-sophia.org/particle-physics-quandary/

    Yet, regardless of how ‘unbothered’ some physicist may be with the fact that they, with their standard model, have basically tossed consciousness itself by the wayside in their quest to find a theory of everything, we have VERY GOOD reason to believe that consciousness is central to any coherent understanding of quantum theory and is therefore not to be so easily dismissed from any ultimate ‘theory of everything’ that we may come up with:

    How Quantum Mechanics and Consciousness Correlate – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4f0hL3Nrdas

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    Moreover, the ‘free will loop-hole’ was recently (2018) closed in quantum theory by Anton Zeilinger and company. And therefore, Agent Causality, which is verboten, i.e. forbidden, in the materialist’s worldview, is brought back full force into modern science as was originally envisioned by the Christian founders of modern science.

    And allowing the Agent causality of God ‘back’ into physics, as the Christian founders of modern science originally envisioned,,,, (Isaac Newton, Michael Faraday, James Clerk Maxwell, and Max Planck, to name a few of the Christian founders),,, and as quantum mechanics itself now empirically demands (with the closing of the free will loophole by Anton Zeilinger and company), rightly allowing the Agent causality of God ‘back’ into physics provides us with a very plausible resolution for the much sought after ‘theory of everything’ in that Christ’s resurrection from the dead provides an empirically backed reconciliation, via the Shroud of Turin, between quantum mechanics and general relativity into the much sought after ‘Theory of Everything”. Here are a few posts where I lay out and defend some of the evidence for that claim:

    (April 2019) Overturning the Copernican principle
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/bill-dembski-and-colleagues-create-an-updated-magnifying-the-universe-tool/#comment-675730

    I will reiterate my case for Christ’s resurrection from the dead providing the correct solution for the much sought after “Theory of Everything”.
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/bill-nye-should-check-wikipedia/#comment-671692

    (February 19, 2019) To support Isabel Piczek’s claim that the Shroud of Turin does indeed reveal a true ‘event horizon’, the following study states that ‘The bottom part of the cloth (containing the dorsal image) would have born all the weight of the man’s supine body, yet the dorsal image is not encoded with a greater amount of intensity than the frontal image.’,,,
    Moreover, besides gravity being dealt with, the shroud also gives us evidence that Quantum Mechanics was dealt with. In the following paper, it was found that it was not possible to describe the image formation on the Shroud in classical terms but they found it necessary to describe the formation of the image on the Shroud in discrete quantum terms.
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/experiment-quantum-particles-can-violate-the-mathematical-pigeonhole-principle/#comment-673178
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/experiment-quantum-particles-can-violate-the-mathematical-pigeonhole-principle/#comment-673179

    Supplemental notes defending the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin:
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/viruses-devolve/#comment-674732

    To give us a small glimpse of the power that was involved in Christ resurrection from the dead, the following recent article found that, ”it would take 34 Thousand Billion Watts of VUV radiations to make the image on the shroud. This output of electromagnetic energy remains beyond human technology.”

    Astonishing discovery at Christ’s tomb supports Turin Shroud – NOV 26TH 2016
    Excerpt: The first attempts made to reproduce the face on the Shroud by radiation, used a CO2 laser which produced an image on a linen fabric that is similar at a macroscopic level. However, microscopic analysis showed a coloring that is too deep and many charred linen threads, features that are incompatible with the Shroud image. Instead, the results of ENEA “show that a short and intense burst of VUV directional radiation can color a linen cloth so as to reproduce many of the peculiar characteristics of the body image on the Shroud of Turin, including shades of color, the surface color of the fibrils of the outer linen fabric, and the absence of fluorescence”.
    ‘However, Enea scientists warn, “it should be noted that the total power of VUV radiations required to instantly color the surface of linen that corresponds to a human of average height, body surface area equal to = 2000 MW/cm2 17000 cm2 = 34 thousand billion watts makes it impractical today to reproduce the entire Shroud image using a single laser excimer, since this power cannot be produced by any VUV light source built to date (the most powerful available on the market come to several billion watts )”.
    Comment
    The ENEA study of the Holy Shroud of Turin concluded that it would take 34 Thousand Billion Watts of VUV radiations to make the image on the shroud. This output of electromagnetic energy remains beyond human technology.
    http://westvirginianews.blogsp.....in-is.html

    Happy Easter everyone. He is Risen, He is Risen indeed!

    The Minimal Facts Approach to the Resurrection of Jesus:
    A high quality interview with Gary Habermas giving an overview of the Minimal-Facts approach to the Resurrection of Jesus. A must-listen and a great place to start research into the historical evidence for the Resurrection.
    https://www.themindrenewed.com/interviews/2014/105-int-046

    Shroud of Turin: From discovery of Photographic Negative, to 3D Information, to 3-D Hologram – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-TL4QOCiis&list=PLtAP1KN7ahia8hmDlCYEKifQ8n65oNpQ5&index=5

    Turin Shroud 3-D Hologram Reveals The Words ‘The Lamb’ on a Solid Oval Object Under The Beard – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Tmka1l8GAQ

    John 20: 6-8
    Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed.

  4. 4
    AaronS1978 says:

    That’s actually Sabine Hossenfelders point. No matter what is said and how forceful it is said, science is and only ever will be as good as the people doing it. The information will be influenced by their points of view regardless. Often the Philosophical interpretation of the findings is where most of the contention comes from anyways. Sometimes it’s the philosophical interpretation that motivates the science. Good examples of this is this site UD and WEiT. Both sides will interpret scientific findings entirely different ways based off their personal viewpoint. A better example though is Patrick Haggard. He is a neuroscientist that studies free will and every single one of his experiments are about how free will doesn’t exist and every single one of his interpretations are on how there is no free will no matter what. Even though many of his findings can be interpreted both ways. In in one of the studies he discovered that RP didn’t have a correlation between time of action and time of well in many cases. So he decided to go further because free will obviously could not exist and went out of his way to find out that LRP Which was activity found on one hemisphere of the brain or the other, previous to the action, did have a correlation in time to the actual action. It was immediately interpreted that here was the brain obviously making its subconscious Decision to move, We have no free will! Patrick Haggard has done it again! The reality is though the lateral readiness potential in many cases also correlated with time of will or was after time of will. His work on the SMA Has also been interesting and can be interpreted in many different ways. All of his interpretations are we have no free will. You’ll never find him writing a paper about how we have free will and why.

    Just like how I will never see athiest write a paper on the existence of Jesus and why Jesus was the son of God. But we will definitely see a lot of papers on why Jesus was a myth

    Now any atheist reading what I just said would immediately say “well the same can be said about religious people and how they all interpret everything is being God exists”

    Yep my point exactly. But I’m not saying that my beliefs don’t influence my science. I also don’t claim that my belief is the only intellectual standpoint that you can have to do science, however I have heard that said a great deal of times form many academic atheists. It is repeated over and over again and that is all I heard when I was going through college

    I would often ask why they thought that their belief that God does not exist does not influence their science and they would always say because there’s a natural explanation for everything. And I would tell them “and that’s why you’re atheism has influenced your science, you’ve already disregarded several possible answers to this universe and you will not look into them because of your own personal belief.”

    I often look at science papers to see if the person is agnostic and I can generally tell especially when it comes to free will science and it’s interpretations, that they will often have two interpretations of their data one supporting no free will and the other supporting free will.

    But there is much truth in Sabine Hossenfelder s comment no matter your view.

  5. 5
    Seversky says:

    The recognition that our observations are theory-laden goes back a ways and it make sense. I can look a tree rings and just see a series of concentric rings of different colors in the cross section of a tree-trunk. A dendrochronologist can look at the same rings and infer things about the history of that tree when viewed in the light of his vastly greater knowledge of trees and climate. We all do the same to a lesser or greater extent as, indeed, we must to make some sort of sense of the world.

    In part, what drives our knowledge and science forward are the anomalous observations that are difficult to fit within our pre-existing framework of knowledge. If the observations are confirmed then the explanatory framework needs to be adjusted or, if the worst comes to the worst, replaced with something new. In spite of the way some complain about science changing its explanations in the light of new information, it’s actually not a bug, it’s a feature of the process. It’s what science is supposed to do.

    Of course, at the outermost frontiers of science, observations may be hard to come by so science tries to plot a course forward using inferences, hypotheses and speculative theories. There is nothing at all wrong with this as long as you are clear that they are just provisional explanations and don’t assign them an unwarranted certainty. This is important because it is human nature to advocate for your preferred explanation, the one in which you have invested a great deal of time and resources, over all others. The risk here is that the life’s work of a venerated senior scientist may be accorded greater respect than is due from the actual arguments and evidence. Of course, that eminent scientist may be right but ideally that should be determined by the weight of argument and evidence not reputation.

  6. 6
    ET says:

    The weight of any argument is in its ability to be tested. That is why materialism and evolutionism are so bogus.

    The only reason probability arguments exist is because there isn’t any other way to test the argument being made. And then they rail against us for using probability arguments, all the while not realizing that without those they don’t have anything.

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