Rereading that article today, there’s little I would change. Its argument is even more valid now than then. The problems of the theory and how it was pursued evolved over the next twenty years in ways far worse than what I could have imagined back then. In particular, the “multiverse” argument explaining away why string theory predicts nothing is something I could not have conceived of in 2001. The tribalistic sociology that has led to a large group of people calling themselves “string theorists” when what they do has nothing to do with string theory is also something I would have thought impossible.
In many ways, twenty years of further failure have had less than no effect. Lubos Motl is still arguing that string theory is the language in which God wrote the universe, and Michio Kaku has a new book about to appear, in which it looks like string field theory is described by the God Equation. Ignoring these extreme examples, string theory remains remarkably well-entrenched in mainstream physics: for example, my university regularly offers a course training undergraduates in string theory, and prestigious $3 million prizes are routinely given for work on the subject. The usual mechanisms according to which a failed scientific idea is supposed to fall by the wayside for some reason have not had an effect.Peter Woit, “20 Years Later” at Not Even Wrong
He doesn’t seem to get the fact that string theory was a religious movement that was bound to end badly. The most distressing victim is science. But then that was well before the war on math, wasn’t it?
See also: The multiverse is science’s assisted suicide