Theory of Everything (TOE) in Post-Truth Science
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Pentcho Valev
2017-12-25 12:47:39 UTC
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Peter Woit: “Most experts think M-theory sucks as a TOE, but that alternatives also suck, and many feel maybe M-theory sucks less.” http://www.math.columbia.edu/~woit/wordpress/?p=9894

Pentcho Valev
Pentcho Valev
2017-12-26 15:41:16 UTC
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Einstein’s text below suggests that a physics theory is either a not-even-wrong empirical concoction or a deductive construction "built up logically from a small number of fundamental assumptions, the so-called axioms":

Albert Einstein: "From a systematic theoretical point of view, we may imagine the process of evolution of an empirical science to be a continuous process of induction. Theories are evolved and are expressed in short compass as statements of a large number of individual observations in the form of empirical laws, from which the general laws can be ascertained by comparison. Regarded in this way, the development of a science bears some resemblance to the compilation of a classified catalogue. It is, as it were, a purely empirical enterprise. But this point of view by no means embraces the whole of the actual process ; for it slurs over the important part played by intuition and deductive thought in the development of an exact science. As soon as a science has emerged from its initial stages, theoretical advances are no longer achieved merely by a process of arrangement. Guided by empirical data, the investigator rather develops a system of thought which, in general, is built up logically from a small number of fundamental assumptions, the so-called axioms." https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/einstein/works/1910s/relative/ap03.htm

That is, except for special relativity which is deductive, theories and models in today's fundamental physics are not-even-wrong empirical concoctions, "invincible models that can forever be amended":

Sabine Hossenfelder (Bee): "The criticism you raise that there are lots of speculative models that have no known relevance for the description of nature has very little to do with string theory but is a general disease of the research area. Lots of theorists produce lots of models that have no chance of ever being tested or ruled out because that's how they earn a living. The smaller the probability of the model being ruled out in their lifetime, the better. It's basic economics. Survival of the 'fittest' resulting in the natural selection of invincible models that can forever be amended." http://www.math.columbia.edu/~woit/wordpress/?p=9375

Mavericks in Einstein cult should try to understand that pseudo-scientific models they criticize are actually metastases of the original malignancy, general relativity:

Peter Woit: "If, as seems increasingly all too possible, we're now at an endpoint of fundamental physics, with the field killed off by a pseudo-scientific argument..." http://www.math.columbia.edu/~woit/wordpress/?p=9444

Peter Woit: "I think the worst thing that has happened to theoretical physics over the past 25 years is this descent into ideology, something that has accelerated with the multiverse mania of the last 10-15 years." http://www.math.columbia.edu/~woit/wordpress/?p=9375

Peter Woit: "Many are worried about the status of science in our society, as it faces new challenges. I don't see how the physics community is going to continue to have any credibility with the rest of society if it sits back and allows multiverse mania to enter the canon. Non-scientists taking science classes need to be taught about the importance of always asking: what would it take to show that this theory is wrong? how do I know this is science not ideology?" http://www.math.columbia.edu/~woit/wordpress/?p=9469

Peter Woit: "As far as this stuff goes, we're now not only at John Horgan's "End of Science", but gone past it already and deep into something different." http://www.math.columbia.edu/~woit/wordpress/?p=7266

Peter Woit: "This all of a sudden made things clear: what is going on is "theatrical physics", not "theoretical physics"." http://www.math.columbia.edu/~woit/wordpress/?p=9691

Sabine Hossenfelder: "Many of my colleagues believe this forest of theories will eventually be chopped down by data. But in the foundations of physics it has become extremely rare for any model to be ruled out. The accepted practice is instead to adjust the model so that it continues to agree with the lack of empirical support." http://www.nature.com.proxy.readcube.com/nphys/journal/v13/n4/full/nphys4079.html

Sabine Hossenfelder: "The current situation in the foundations of physics is a vivid example for how science fails to self-correct. [...] I just meant to say I have debated back and forth with myself for a long time whether I should publicly denounce most of the research in my field as nonsense. It would have been easy enough to write a book about something else, you know, the usual science cheer leading stuff. But it's just not me." http://backreaction.blogspot.bg/2017/10/book-update.html

Pentcho Valev