Online media stories with skepticism about the multiverse continue to appear. The latest one is by Shannon Hall at Nautilus, with the title Is it Time to Embrace Unverified Theories? (I think it’s a general rule that the answer to all questions in titles is No). I like one of the comments on the piece, arguing that some speculative physics is best thought of not as science or religion, but as a game.
The article he is referring to is here:
Is It Time to Embrace Unverified Theories?
In the world of modern physics, there is change afoot. Researchers are striving so hard to leap beyond the mostly settled science of the Standard Model that they’re daring to break from one of science’s crucial traditions. In pursuit of a definitive, unifying description of reality, some scientists are arguing that scientific theories may not require experimental proof to be accepted as truth.
The philosophical tradition of defining scientific knowledge as inherently empirical, founded on observation, goes back centuries. And in the 20th century, Karl Popper, one of the few philosophers regarded as a hero among scientists, moved the paradigm one step further. He argued that a theory must be falsifiable to be scientific. So a scientist not only has to be able to support a theory with evidence; she also has to be able to show that there could be evidence that would prove it wrong.
Any movement that deviates from this tradition alarms most scientists. And now that alarm is spilling into the pages of prominent journals. More.
We can be sure of one thing: The multiversers wouldn’t be asking for this if there was any chance they had or ever would have had evidence.
P.S.: For what it is worth, Woit is mistaken in believing that “it’s a general rule that the answer to all questions in titles is No.” Innumerable instances of the opposite abound (e.g., Have we found King Tut’s tomb?) The true cause of interrogative titles, for the few who care, is the strict constraints on title character/word counts. It’s 60 characters for the search engine UD uses, for example. One of my (O’Leary for News’s) editors elsewhere allows only seven words. A question mark bypasses many characters; hence it’ll do in a pinch.
See also: Why multiverse advocates need non-evidence-based science (cosmology).
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