Cosmology Intelligent Design Physics

Sabine Hossenfelder asks if reductionism has run its course

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Lost in Math

Hossenfelder, author of Lost in Math: How Beauty Leads Physics Astray, asks, how far down the universe can we realistically go?

In summary, history does not support particle physicists’ belief that a deeper understanding of natural law will most likely come from studying shorter distances. On the very contrary, I have begun to worry that physicists’ confidence in methodological reductionism stands in the way of progress. That’s because it suggests we ask certain questions instead of others. And those may just be the wrong questions to ask.

If you believe in methodological reductionism, for example, you may ask what dark energy is made of. But maybe dark energy is not made of anything. Instead, dark energy may be an artifact of our difficulty averaging non-linear equations.

It’s similar with dark matter. The methodological reductionist will ask for a microscopic theory and look for a particle that dark matter is made of. Yet, maybe dark matter is really a phenomenon associated with our misunderstanding of space-time on long distances. …

The root of our problem may instead be that quantum theory itself must be replaced by a more fundamental theory, one that explains how quantization works in the first place.

Sabine Hossenfelder, “Has Reductionism Run its Course?” at BackRe(Action)

She definitely does not think that looking for shorter distances and smaller particles is the answer.

See also: Sabine Hossenfelder Explains The Problem With The “Many Worlds” Hypothesis


Rob Sheldon Responds To Sabine Hossenfelder On The Hologram Universe

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3 Replies to “Sabine Hossenfelder asks if reductionism has run its course

  1. 1
    polistra says:

    Nonsense. The only scientific question is “How do I get more grants?” Bigger and bigger particle accelerators are the optimal answer to the only question in science. Each increase in energy “finds” more “particles” which are actually just resonances, and each increase gives the grant-seeker a chance to say the magic words “More research is needed.”

  2. 2
    vmahuna says:

    Polistra @ 1
    I COMPLETELY agree with you. And you ain’t gonna get no grant for proposing to confirm that what’s currently accepted as true/valid is true and valid.
    And for the extra bonus round, if your first study “hints at deeper problems” or some such crap, you can parlay 1 dumb idea into 20 years’ of funding before retiring as an “esteemed luminary” or something.

  3. 3
    Seversky says:

    Actually, if you want the big bucks, you should set up your own church as a prosperity gospeler. You just tell the congregation that God has appeared to you in a dream and said that you need a fleet of private business jets to help spread His Word and they’ll soon cough up the readies.

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