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String theory failed as scientific theory … ?

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Are people allowed to say this in pop science venues now, like something that is just true?

File:Calabi yau.jpg
5 dimensions in 2

From physicist Tom Hartsfield at RealClearScience:

String theory has been the darling of the theoretical physics community for decades. It has reigned as the dominant theory in prestigious US research institutions since the 1980s. Elegant books, TV shows, and grandiose TED talks have hyped it to the public. Brilliant theoretical physicists tell us that this theory is the best answer to the hardest problem that their field has ever attacked.

All that is fine, but here’s the unequivocal truth: string theory has failed as a scientific theory.

Discussing the conference last month, he pleads for empiricism, taking evidence seriously:

The fire igniting critics of string theory is not personal animus or professional jealousy. It’s the idea that a single theory has become so entrenched and popular in its field that its failures cannot be addressed truthfully. Now, physicists ask that the rules be bent or changed just to accommodate it. To loosen the principles of our fantastically successful scientific method just to allow for one passing theoretical fad to continue would be a disaster. More.

See also: Has Nature “got” what is at stake in the string theory controversy?

In Forbes: String theory is not science

Should scientists trust untestable theories

and

In search of a road to reality (where evidence matters again)

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Added in response to commenter’s question: 

tjguy at 1, one senses that a lot of people are asking that question.

Before we sacrifice testability and falsifiability in order to validate string theory:

1. Is string theory worth it, when one consequence is, you can’t ever tell then whether it is correct?

2. String theorists surely won’t be the only ones wanting the favour.

3. What is the case for public funding of science based on theories that cannot be tested or falsified? Much science today is expensive. One cannot decently ask people to pay for no-payload and no-payback.

3 Replies to “String theory failed as scientific theory … ?

  1. 1
    tjguy says:

    How does stuff like this ever qualify as a theory in science anyway?!

  2. 2
    News says:

    tjguy at 1, one senses that a lot of people are asking that question.

    Before we sacrifice testability and falsifiability in order to validate string theory:

    1. Is string theory worth it, when one consequence is, you can’t ever tell then whether it is correct?

    2. String theorists surely won’t be the only ones wanting the same favour.

    3. What is the case for public funding of science based on theories that cannot be tested or falsified? Much science today is expensive. One cannot decently ask people to pay for no-payload and no-payback.

  3. 3
    bill cole says:

    I agree testability is an important criteria for separating theories. Repeatable testing is part of the scientific method and core to what separates science from other methods of study.

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