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String theory, not supported by evidence, posits extra dimensions … and therefore demonstrates them?

SciAm November 2007: string theory model/Lunch

At Not EvenWrong, skeptical mathematician Peter Woit tells us,

It had to happen. New Scientist managed to find a physicist willing to describe the OPERA result as “evidence for string theory”:

So if OPERA’s results hold up, they could provide support for the existence of sterile neutrinos, extra dimensions and perhaps string theory. Such theories could also explain why gravity is so weak compared with the other fundamental forces. The theoretical particles that mediate gravity, known as gravitons, may also be closed loops of string that leak off into the bulk. “If, in the end, nobody sees anything wrong and other people reproduce OPERA’s results, then I think it’s evidence for string theory, in that string theory is what makes extra dimensions credible in the first place,” Weiler says.

Update: hep-ph is chock-a-block with papers purporting to explain the OPERA results, using theoretical models of varying degrees of absurdity.

It took an experiment to show that it is absurdity, not business as usual. but don’t count on the usual cast of characters to see that, even dimly.

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