From The Economist:
Persistence in the face of adversity is a virtue, of course. And, as all this effort shows, physicists have been nothing if not persistent. Yet it is an uncomfortable fact that the relentless pursuit of ever bigger and better experiments in their field is driven as much by belief as by evidence.
The core of this belief is that Nature’s rules should be mathematically elegant. So far, they have been, so it is not a belief without foundation. But the conviction that the truth must be mathematically elegant can easily lead to a false obverse: that what is mathematically elegant must be true. Hence the unwillingness to give up on GUTs and supersymmetry. New theories have been made by weaving together aspects of older ones. Flipped SU(5), for example, combines GUT with supersymmetry to explain the Higgs mass, the hierarchy problem and matter-antimatter asymmetry—and provides dark-matter candidates to boot. With every fudge applied, though, what were once elegant theories get less so. Some researchers are therefore becoming open to the possibility that the truth-is-beauty argument is a trap, and that the universe is, in fact, fundamentally messy.
That fundamental physics has got as far as it has is, essentially, a legacy of its delivery to political leaders of the mid-20th century of the atom and hydrogen bombs. The consequence of this was that physicists were able to ask for expensive toys—for who knew what else they might come up with. That legacy has now been spent, though, and any privilege physics once had has evaporated. This risks leaving in permanent limbo not only the GUTs and their brethren, but also the sceptical idea of Dr Hossenfelder that the Standard Model really is all there is. And that would surely be the most depressing result of all. More.
Of course, the anonymous Economist is airbrushing a problem. In addition to things that physicists want to believe, there are things they do not wish to consider, for example, that the Big Bang and the fine-tuning of the universe are real.
See also: The Big Bang: Put simply, the facts are wrong.
What becomes of science when the evidence does not matter?
The multiverse is science’s assisted suicide
The illusion of consciousness sees through itself.