2017-05-27 14:11:49 UTC
Peter Woit: "It seems to me that we're now ten years down the road from the point when discussion revolved around actual models and people thought maybe they could calculate something. 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
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."
A sad reality, isn't it? A few years ago the orgy was still in full swing:
Michio Kaku, Brian Cox, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Brian Greene, Lisa Randall: "Now, listen carefully. The faster you move, the heavier you get. Light travels at the same speed no matter how you look at it. No matter how I move relative to you light travels at the same speed. No matter who is doing the measurement and no matter what direction you are moving the speed of light is the same. The speed of light is the same no matter what direction or how fast... As you travel faster time slows down. Everything slows down. Everything slows down. Time slows down when you move. Time passes at a different rate. Clocks run slow. It's a monumental shift in how we see the world. It's a beautiful piece of science. It's a beautifully elegant theory. It's a beautiful piece of science. It's a beautiful piece..."
The bacchanalia is over now, replaced by shock and horror. Einstein's malignancy killed science but did not die itself and is now growing unrestrained. Clever Einsteinians know what is going on, silly Einsteinians don't but they are still horrified by the gradual invalidation of the falsification requirement:
"This year, debates in physics circles took a worrying turn. Faced with difficulties in applying fundamental theories to the observed Universe, some researchers called for a change in how theoretical physics is done. They began to argue - explicitly - that if a theory is sufficiently elegant and explanatory, it need not be tested experimentally, breaking with centuries of philosophical tradition of defining scientific knowledge as empirical."
"Do physicists need empirical evidence to confirm their theories? You may think that the answer is an obvious yes, experimental confirmation being the very heart of science. But a growing controversy at the frontiers of physics and cosmology suggests that the situation is not so simple. [...] ...a mounting concern in fundamental physics: Today, our most ambitious science can seem at odds with the empirical methodology that has historically given the field its credibility." http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/07/opinion/a-crisis-at-the-edge-of-physics.html
"In recent years, however, many physicists have developed theories of great mathematical elegance, but which are beyond the reach of empirical falsification, even in principle. The uncomfortable question that arises is whether they can still be regarded as science. Some scientists are proposing that the definition of what is "scientific" be loosened, while others fear that to do so could open the door for pseudo-scientists or charlatans to mislead the public and claim equal space for their views."
Ethan Siegel is the only optimistic Einsteinian nowadays: