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String theory useful even if unconfirmed?

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So we’d think from science writer K. C. Cole at Quanta:

And then physicists began to realize that the dream of one singular theory was an illusion. The complexities of string theory, all the possible permutations, refused to reduce to a single one that described our world. “After a certain point in the early ’90s, people gave up on trying to connect to the real world,” Gross said. “The last 20 years have really been a great extension of theoretical tools, but very little progress on understanding what’s actually out there.”

Many, in retrospect, realized they had raised the bar too high. Coming off the momentum of completing the solid and powerful “standard model” of particle physics in the 1970s, they hoped the story would repeat — only this time on a mammoth, all-embracing scale. “We’ve been trying to aim for the successes of the past where we had a very simple equation that captured everything,” said Robbert Dijkgraaf, the director of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. “But now we have this big mess.”

Like many a maturing beauty, string theory has gotten rich in relationships, complicated, hard to handle and widely influential. Its tentacles have reached so deeply into so many areas in theoretical physics, it’s become almost unrecognizable, even to string theorists. More.

We used to call that rubbish.

If string theory helps on the quest for a multiverse, it doesn’t matter whether it is rubbish or not in the eyes of many people, as this article demonstrates. That’s what the rest of us need to get used to.

At Not Even Wrong, Peter Woit hasn’t quite got used to it. He writes in response,

Quanta Magazine has over the past couple years been establishing a well-deserved reputation as the smartest and best science journalism around. At the opposite extreme, over many years of interacting with science journalists, the most embarrassingly incompetent one I’ve run across has been KC Cole, so I was surprised today to see that Quanta has published a piece by her.

Could he possibly share our unease that something entirely unsupported by evidence could nonetheless be useful in science?

The article has all sorts of interesting quotes from experts about the state of string theory these days, mostly indicating that people have given up on it and are trying to figure out how to move on. …

Um, yes.

A serious journalist who talked to all the people Cole did would likely have noticed the obvious and framed the same material quite differently: string theory hasn’t worked out and theorists have moved on to other things, with the center of gravity of the subject now the deeper study of quantum field theory. More.

Woit, a mathematician at Columbia, may not have got used to this new mood yet: Evidence does not matter now. The main thing is to confirm the needed talking points.

Relax, it is just post-modernism hitting the sciences. Hard, yes we know it is hard.

See also: The war on falsifiability

and

The multiverse: Where everything turns out to be true, except philosophy and religion

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3 Replies to “String theory useful even if unconfirmed?

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    Godel. a Christian Theist, proved, with his incompleteness theorem, that finding a purely mathematical ‘theory of everything’ was fantasy.

    Mathematicians Bridge Finite-Infinite Divide – May 24, 2016
    A surprising new proof is helping to connect the mathematics of infinity to the physical world.
    Excerpt: Hilbert tasked mathematicians with proving that set theory and all of infinitistic mathematics is finitistically reducible, and therefore trustworthy. “We must know; we will know!” he said in a 1930 address in Königsberg — words later etched on his tomb.
    However, the Austrian-American mathematician Kurt Gödel showed in 1931 that, in fact, we won’t. In a shocking result, Gödel proved that no system of logical axioms (or starting assumptions) can ever prove its own consistency; to prove that a system of logic is consistent, you always need another axiom outside of the system. This means there is no ultimate set of axioms — no theory of everything — in mathematics. When looking for a set of axioms that yield all true mathematical statements and never contradict themselves, you always need another axiom. Gödel’s theorem meant that Hilbert’s program was doomed: The axioms of finitistic mathematics cannot even prove their own consistency, let alone the consistency of set theory and the mathematics of the infinite.
    https://www.quantamagazine.org/20160524-mathematicians-bridge-finite-infinite-divide/

    Cantor, Gödel, & Turing: Incompleteness of Mathematics – video (excerpted from BBC’s ‘Dangerous Knowledge’ documentary)
    https://www.facebook.com/philip.cunningham.73/videos/vb.100000088262100/1119397401406525/?type=2&theater

    “Clearly then no scientific cosmology, which of necessity must be highly mathematical, can have its proof of consistency within itself as far as mathematics go. In absence of such consistency, all mathematical models, all theories of elementary particles, including the theory of quarks and gluons…fall inherently short of being that theory which shows in virtue of its a priori truth that the world can only be what it is and nothing else. This is true even if the theory happened to account for perfect accuracy for all phenomena of the physical world known at a particular time.”
    Stanley Jaki – Cosmos and Creator – 1980, pg. 49

    Vern Poythress, after, among other things, examining Godel’s proof in detail, comes to the conclusion that an “anti-theistic philosophy of mathematics is condemned to oscillate, much as we have done in our argument, between the poles of a priori knowledge and a posteriori knowledge”

    A BIBLICAL VIEW OF MATHEMATICS
    Vern Poythress – Doctorate in theology, PhD in Mathematics (Harvard)
    15. Implications of Gödel’s proof
    B. Metaphysical problems of anti-theistic mathematics: unity and plurality
    Excerpt: Because of the above difficulties, anti-theistic philosophy of mathematics is condemned to oscillate, much as we have done in our argument, between the poles of a priori knowledge and a posteriori knowledge. Why? It will not acknowledge the true God, wise Creator of both the human mind with its mathematical intuition and the external world with its mathematical properties. In sections 22-23 we shall see how the Biblical view furnishes us with a real solution to the problem of “knowing” that 2 + 2 = 4 and knowing that S is true.
    http://www.frame-poythress.org.....thematics/

    Even Hawking himself agrees with Godel:

    “Note that despite the incontestability of Euclid’s postulates in mathematics, (ref. on cite), Gödel’s incompleteness theorem (1931), proves that there are limits to what can be ascertained by mathematics. Kurt Gödel (ref. on cite), halted the achievement of a unifying all-encompassing theory of everything in his theorem that: “Anything you can draw a circle around cannot explain itself without referring to something outside the circle—something you have to assume but cannot prove”. Thus, based on the position that an equation cannot prove itself, the constructs are based on assumptions some of which will be unprovable.”
    Cf., Stephen Hawking & Leonard Miodinow, The Grand Design (2010) @ 15-6

    Bruce Gordon eloquently sums up the situation here in this article:

    BRUCE GORDON: Hawking’s irrational arguments – October 2010
    Excerpt: ,,,The physical universe is causally incomplete and therefore neither self-originating nor self-sustaining. The world of space, time, matter and energy is dependent on a reality that transcends space, time, matter and energy.
    This transcendent reality cannot merely be a Platonic realm of mathematical descriptions, for such things are causally inert abstract entities that do not affect the material world,,,
    Rather, the transcendent reality on which our universe depends must be something that can exhibit agency – a mind that can choose among the infinite variety of mathematical descriptions and bring into existence a reality that corresponds to a consistent subset of them. This is what “breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe.” Anything else invokes random miracles as an explanatory principle and spells the end of scientific rationality.,,,
    For instance, we find multiverse cosmologists debating the “Boltzmann Brain” problem: In the most “reasonable” models for a multiverse, it is immeasurably more likely that our consciousness is associated with a brain that has spontaneously fluctuated into existence in the quantum vacuum than it is that we have parents and exist in an orderly universe with a 13.7 billion-year history. This is absurd. The multiverse hypothesis is therefore falsified because it renders false what we know to be true about ourselves. Clearly, embracing the multiverse idea entails a nihilistic irrationality that destroys the very possibility of science.
    Universes do not “spontaneously create” on the basis of abstract mathematical descriptions, nor does the fantasy of a limitless multiverse trump the explanatory power of transcendent intelligent design. What Mr. Hawking’s contrary assertions show is that mathematical savants can sometimes be metaphysical simpletons. Caveat emptor.
    http://www.washingtontimes.com.....arguments/

    Godel also stated that it was possible that “God can play the role of a person”:

    The God of the Mathematicians – Goldman
    Excerpt: As Gödel told Hao Wang, “Einstein’s religion [was] more abstract, like Spinoza and Indian philosophy. Spinoza’s god is less than a person; mine is more than a person; because God can play the role of a person.”
    – Kurt Gödel –
    http://www.firstthings.com/art.....ematicians

    And when the Agent causality of Theists is rightly let ‘back’ into the picture of modern physics, as the Christian founders of modern science originally envisioned (Newton and Maxwell among others), and if God is allowed to ‘play the role of a person as Godel held to be possible, then an empirically backed unification between Quantum Theory and Relativity is readily achieved by the resurrection of Christ from death:

    Special and General Relativity and The Resurrection of Jesus Christ as the “Theory of Everything” – video playlist
    https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLtAP1KN7ahia8hmDlCYEKifQ8n65oNpQ5

    Resurrection of Jesus Christ as the Theory of Everything – Centrality Concerns – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8uHST2uFPQY&list=PLtAP1KN7ahia8hmDlCYEKifQ8n65oNpQ5&index=4

    Verse:

    Colossians 1:15-20
    The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

  2. 2
    davidt says:

    I think you are confused between monomeism and monotheism. Monotheism starts with dependencies, monomeism starts with human cranium or mind or me reading a book pretending I understand the text let alone the topic, god. Ironic to say the least. Kind of like laws of physics in religious drag.

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    OT: David Wood posts a new video exposing the absurdity of Islam every time a jihadi goes on a killing spree trying to ‘win converts’ to Islam. Here is his latest in response to last weekend’s Islamic ‘outreach’ to win converts:

    Fun Islamic Facts 12: Muhammad Explains the Weather (David Wood)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YpJJQDm_lBM

    Welcome to “Fun Islamic Facts,” where I share fun facts about Muhammad and the Qur’an whenever jihadis go on a killing spree.

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