In a review of science writer Graham Farmelo’s of The Universe Speaks in Numbers: How Modern Math Reveals Nature’s Deepest Secrets, we hear that much cosmology is “speculative” rather than merely “conventional” science. We’d thought so but it is nice to hear it confirmed:
In the past, experiments played a vital role in developing theory and vice versa. For some time now that back-and-forth has not existed in certain fields where experiments are barely managing to test theories developed over decades. Wherever experimental data can be coaxed out of nature, it suffices to corroborate or refute a theory and serves as the sole arbiter of validity. But where evidence is spare or absent – as it is for a growing number of questions in physics – other criteria, including aesthetic ones, have been allowed to come into play both in formulating a theory and evaluating it.
Most of this is not conventional science, Farmelo admits. Rather, it is speculative science. But it is science nonetheless because it’s rooted in the two great theories of the 20th century: quantum mechanics and relativity.Manjit Kumar, “The Universe Speaks in Numbers review – should we believe in a ‘theory of everything’?” at The Guardian
Reviewer Kumar’s thought seems to be, as long as the speculation is rooted in the two great theories, it’s science. A need for evidence is an unreasonable burden.
See also: Sabine Hossenfelder: Can Gravitational Wave Interferometers Tell Us If We Live In A Hologram Universe?
Post-modern physics: String theory gets over the need for evidence
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