Carlo Rovelli at the New Republic:
In my field, fundamental theoretical physics, for thirty years we have failed. There hasn’t been a major success in theoretical physics in the last few decades after the standard model, somehow. Of course there are ideas. These ideas might turn out to be right. Loop quantum gravity might turn out to be right, or not. String theory might turn out to be right, or not. But we don’t know, and for the moment Nature has not said yes, in any sense.
Science is not about certainty. Science is about finding the most reliable way of thinking at the present level of knowledge. Science is extremely reliable; it’s not certain. In fact, not only is it not certain, but it’s the lack of certainty that grounds it. Scientific ideas are credible not because they are sure but because they’re the ones that have survived all the possible past critiques, and they’re the most credible because they were put on the table for everybody’s criticism.
The very expression “scientifically proven” is a contradiction in terms. There’s nothing that is scientifically proven. More.
Hmm. There are other reasons, as a matter of fact, for believing a theory. It could be meeting a cultural or personal need.
In that case, the theory will seem much more credible than evidence warrants.
See, for example: The science fiction series at your fingertips (cosmology).
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