Theoretical physics like a fly hitting a window pane?
|April 13, 2017||Posted by News under Cosmology, Intelligent Design, News|
From Peter Woit at Not Even Wrong:
Sabine Hossenfelder is on a tear this week, with two excellent and highly provocative pieces about research practice in theoretical physics, a topic on which she has become the field’s most perceptive critic.
The first is in this month’s Nature Physics, entitled Science needs reason to be trusted. I’ll quote fairly extensively so that you get the gist of her argument:
But we have a crisis of an entirely different sort: we produce a huge amount of new theories and yet none of them is ever empirically confirmed. Let’s call it the overproduction crisis. We use the approved methods of our field, see they don’t work, but don’t draw consequences. Like a fly hitting the window pane, we repeat ourselves over and over again, expecting different results. More.
Hossenfelder is right about the situation, surely. But physicists are not flies. They don’t keep hitting the pane just hoping it will somehow work. At this point, they know it probably won’t work. But no one wants to say we are on the wrong track. The right tract may not be Correct. Hitting the pane is painful but safer.
See also: 2016 worst year ever for “fake physics”?
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