Started by Unbeliever, July 08, 2019, 02:29:34 PM
Quote from: josephpalazzo on July 15, 2019, 11:32:03 AMThere would be no harm done except some of these people are now trying to change the very definition of what is a scientific theory. Unknown to the public there is a deep riff between those who want to consider such things as multiverse, parallel universe, etc. as valuable fields of research and those who see the futility. So much so there is an attempt to revise the traditional concept of what is science. The danger is that we might end up in the obfuscation that prevailed the Medieval Age. https://platofootnote.wordpress.com/2018/01/22/peter-woit-vs-sean-carroll-string-theory-the-multiverse-and-popperazism/
Quote from: trdsf on July 16, 2019, 07:01:52 PMA theoryâ€"even a hypothesisâ€"still lives and dies by observation. The philosophy around it gives me a headache; I'll just put forth the following, to illustrate my thinking on the matter of the scientific method: 'String theory', since it lacks a definitive test at this time, does not deserve to be called a theory just yet.So long as the maths behind the string hypothesis (or the string proposal or whatever you want to call it, but it's not a theory yet) continue to make sense, it's not unreasonable to keep using it anyway, but always with a nervous glance over one's shoulder.Having the math on your side is a good thing, because math predicted black holes and antimatter in detail before they were observed, but:Keep looking for confirmation because until you have that, it's just a pile of pretty math and not an observed fact.
Quote from: josephpalazzo on July 16, 2019, 07:23:16 PMI could live with that... butThe people who run the physics department in the most renown universities are String theorists. And so when they hire in their departments, they will choose a string theorist. When they have grants for postdocs, they get students whose area of research is going to be ST. Since the 1980's the string theorists have dominated the scene, and there is little room for anything else. Furthermore, they are pushing for more research into ST. There is only so much money flowing around. And there is a schism since more voices are now speaking out against this domination. Here a recent post at Columbia: http://www.math.columbia.edu/~woit/wordpress/?p=11116 - the comments are an indication of the tone prevailing in physics.
Quote from: trdsf on July 17, 2019, 03:32:34 AMScience has got itself caught up in blind alleys before, and string theory has come and gone and come again and if it ultimately proves a fruitless pursuit, will go again. The number of times that physics has been declared "complete" is finite, but fairly large.Remember, Maxwell's equations were considered the final mathematical proof of luminiferous Ã¦ther theory, and physics was "done". Michelson and Morley were out to confirm that... and of course they couldn't.Someone somewhere will always want to do the "let's just check that" step, even if they think they're just confirming something "obvious". So I really don't share your concerns, at least not at this stage. It is the great strength of science that it is ultimately self-correcting, even if they take the long way 'round.
Quote from: Unbeliever on July 17, 2019, 02:21:07 PMPaul Dirac didn't believe in antimatter when it came from his equations, but it was only a few years later that it was confirmed by experiment. Sometimes we need to take the math seriously, even if it implies things that are hard to credit.
Quote from: Unbeliever on July 17, 2019, 02:26:57 PMBut in order to be worth anything at all there have to be predictions that can be observed or not. Without that there's no way to find out which hypotheses are worth pursuing.
Quote from: josephpalazzo on July 17, 2019, 02:57:01 PMIt was predicted in 1928 and observed in 1932. We have a drought in prediction since the 1960's, more that 50 years.
Quote from: trdsf on July 19, 2019, 05:38:34 AMI think that's more a function of the incredible success of the Standard Model; outside of the Higgs, most of its predictions were fairly rapidly confirmed (all quarks but the top were confirmed by 1977), and the Higgs remained the outlier and the focus of all searches. There are a few outstanding predictions not yet confirmed, mainly a few esoteric high-energy and low-probability hadrons, and 'glueballs' (particles composed of gluons)... and of course the elusive graviton (if there even is one).Where the breakthroughs are going to come are in the things the Standard Model doesn't explain: neutrino mass, neutrino oscillations, matter-antimatter asymmetry, gravitation, dark energy and the accelerating expansion of the universe. It's also incompatible with General Relativity.I expect the next big steps will come from unexpected observations (like the accelerating expansion) rather than prediction confirmations. Finding a supersymmetric particle or a primordial monopole would do nicely.