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World Mag asks, will scientists embrace theories devoid of evidence?

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To ask that question is to answer it. World Mag here:

After decades of being touted for its mathematical elegance and adored for its explanatory power, supersymmetry was finally ready for experimental verification at Switzerland’s famous particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). While the LHC made some important discoveries, most notably the Higgs boson particle (sometimes called the God particle), scientists found nothing at all to confirm supersymmetry. After many a particle was smashed, crashed, accelerated, and spun, no supersymmetric “partners” could be found—a bitter blow for physicists ready to leap to the next frontier.

In the ashes of disappointment, “the specter of evidence-independent science” arose, according to Gleiser and Frank. They note that while some scientists are prepared to forfeit their pet theory in light of a lack of evidence, others are not. Many will just double down on supersymmetry, conjecturing that we don’t have the technology yet to discover the new particles.

“Implicit in such a maneuver is a philosophical question: How are we to determine whether a theory is true if it cannot be validated experimentally?” Gleiser and Frank ask.

It’s surprising they would even ask, in this day and age.

Start with celebratory firings of people who don’t convert to the current craze, or not in time.

Make young postdocs’ careers depend on repeating whatever approved noise they hear.

Treat with suspicion anyone who asks penetrating questions, however innocent, or shows undue attachment to microaggressions like evidence.

There, that wasn’t so difficult, was it? Science faculties will be happier for being indistinguishable from current arts faculties.

In many places, they will even be able to take their bong pipes to work.

See also: Will there still be science in 2020?

and Cosmology when evidence doesn’t matter

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5 Replies to “World Mag asks, will scientists embrace theories devoid of evidence?

  1. 1
    mjoels says:

    Wow, at least they gave this one a good shot. It could be worse, global warming and the non-statistically significant graphs, macroevolutionary conjectures that can’t be proven etc. All seem to be taken at face value. I blame the cost of education honestly. Someone spends 8 to 10 years and 100g on an education to find out its bs while doing research is going to do what now? Tell everyone it is bs and ruin what they perceive as their only career option and go into bankruptcy? Of course not. And if someone is gullible enough to go along with it then all the better right? Seems cynical I know, but reality is a harsh mistress when it shows its face. I always figured most of the reason these crackpot theories don’t get buried is because there is basically too much investment via government and higher education to say it’s wrong at this point without massive public overreaction and seeing STEM budgets cut overall. I applaud those brave cern researchers for daring to question the orthodoxy and look around for a possible change in direction. At least they are brave enough to entertain the possibility that their theory might be wrong because they lack empirical evidence. Besides, they can always change directions on research. Nothing says they cant, they are real scientists and real scientists shouldn’t be ideologically locked into theories. Especially ones that have no direct discernable proof.

  2. 2
    Virgil Cain says:

    A wise man once said “A flute with no holes is a stick”. A theory devoid of evidence is a musing (and many times amusing).

  3. 3
    mjoels says:

    Exactly.

  4. 4
    polistra says:

    A quibble: Your reference to bongs is probably uncalled for.

    It’s been 40 years since I consumed the stuff, but I seem to recall that pot brought me CLOSER to plain old reality and FARTHER from delusions. It relieves anxiety and dampens the status-drive that forms the main motive for bad pseudoscience.

  5. 5
    bornagain77 says:

    OT: ABC News – Mystery Helper (Angel?) at Highway crash 19 year old girl
    Witnesses Claim Miracle Man Saved Car Crash Victim With Prayer – video
    The mysterious rescuer is nowhere to be found and is not in any of the 70 photos taken of the scene.
    https://www.facebook.com/DrAndrewDoan/videos/880919481966659/?fref=nf
    http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/vide.....m-19921630

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