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Lee Smolin — next thing you know he’ll be making room for ID

Wired interview with Lee Smolin on his upcoming book:

The Trouble With Physics: The Rise of String Theory, The Fall of a Science, and What Comes Next

From the interview:

“Smolin says that string theory is unconvincing — maybe even nonscientific — and that physicists have embraced it at the expense of other promising research.”

“… But string theorists say they could probably invent versions of the theory that work either way. We’d have to change our notion of what science is to accommodate this proposition. You just can’t do science on that basis.”

“Science moves faster when there is plenty of debate and controversy.”

“But the disagreement is not about whether string theory is worth pursuing. It’s about whether it should be the only thing pursued.”

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18 Responses to Lee Smolin — next thing you know he’ll be making room for ID

  1. “Science moves faster when there is plenty of debate and controversy.”

    Except with evolution. Evolution is a FACT®™ , so there is no need to show any opposing views, or to stir a debate and/or controversy around it.

  2. “Science moves faster when there is plenty of debate and controversy.”

    There is plenty of debate and controversy in the scintific communitry over evolution. Practically every book I’ve read on it recently has been attacking some aspect of it. It just isn’t the “controversy” controversy, although that may come in the future who knows.

  3. VOICEofREASON

    Gauging by your infantile word usage, lack of coherent argument and disregard for all the ID evidence/arguments put forth so far, I’m guessing Bill is going to boot you for this forum, and it won’t be soon enough.

    Moreover the irony concerning your above statement about debate consisting of multiple sides providing evidence and positive argument just makes me shake my head in pity for you. The reality of the situation is that the only evidence put forth thesedays by Darwinists is precicely this statement:

    “There is just soo-much overwhleming evidence”

    and the positive argument is:

    “You’re all just loony fundamentalist creationists trying to forcibly enact a theocracy, and nothing you could say would change our minds”

    So much for your evidence and positive argument.
    And thank you for pubicly demonstrating the correctness of my above summary with your little tirade.

  4. Bill already booted the infantile VoiceOfReason. So did I. Several times as he changed his name and snuck back in. He’s actually a full grown clown who plays an infant on the internet. No really. Literally a clown. It’s this guy here:

    http://clowninginthemidwest.wordpress.com/

    I also noticed Alan Fox is somehow commenting here again. He was booted numerous times under numerous names too.

  5. [Off Topic]
    Seems like Reuters is not the only one in the job of photo editing:
    http://littlegreenfootballs.co.....&only

  6. Thanks Dave for the link.
    And they say ID will take us back to the middle ages????? It appears as if the above clown’s (voiceoflunaticfringe) brain is busy evolving backwards.

    Now technically, would that be ‘re-volving’, ‘de-volving’, or prehaps ‘un-evolving’. Whatever the case, it’s what you get when you mix the circus and pseudo-science.

  7. Thanks for the tip, Davescot. Clowns have always creeped me out. He’s outta here… UHgain.

  8. … thank you for pubicly demonstrating the correctness of my above summary with your little tirade ….

    HEY, who is “pubicly demonstrating the correctness” on this board?!?! You shall be banned for exposure!

    What a funny clown!

  9. Sorry there tb,

    Guess my dyslexia has caught up with me again.

  10. Back on-topic:

    “Smolin says that string theory is unconvincing — maybe even nonscientific — and that physicists have embraced it at the expense of other promising research.”

    The problem with string-theory is that it hasn’t led to the construction of testable hypotheses. Of course, the distance from theoretical work to actual testing is not strictly defined; but at some point, all theories need to be put to empirical testing. The question is whether string theorists will ever be able to do this.

    On a more practical level, have too many minds been wasted on this detour, or will it eventually bear scientific fruit.

  11. “HEY, who is “pubicly demonstrating the correctness” on this board?!?! You shall be banned for exposure!

    What a funny clown!”

    Comment by tb — August 29, 2006 @ 7:52 am

    Actually, if you Google “Certified Pubic Accountant”, you’ll be shocked to see how many bean counters are exposing themselves (or others?) this way. “Pubic Relations” are also shockingly widespread on the Internet. ;)

  12. I heard a while back that CERN was planning on testing particle supersymmetry in 2007. Found this recent article on the subject:

    http://www.seedmagazine.com/ne.....p?page=all

  13. Zachriel: “The problem with string-theory is that it hasn’t led to the construction of testable hypotheses. Of course, the distance from theoretical work to actual testing is not strictly defined; but at some point, all theories need to be put to empirical testing. The question is whether string theorists will ever be able to do this.”

    I’m not sure of your point here. Is this a swipe at ID?

    Let me note that based on other comments of Smolin I’ve read, the primary reason he considers ‘string theory’ not to be ‘real science’ is that it is an entirely mathematical construction which relies completely on the existence of hypothetical multi-dimensions, dimensions that don’t conform to our common, eveyrday, experience of reality. Certainly, mathematics and physics go hand-in-glove; but in the case of string theory, it’s a mathematics that seems completely divorced from physical evidence–in other words, it’s completely hypothetical. Only secondarily do you have the problem that it is not ‘experimentally’ testable. However, with the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) about to come on line at CERN, it’s possible that the “Higg’s Boson” will be glimpsed, which is the Holy Grail of string theory. If the LHC doesn’t find this Higg’s Boson, that should be about the end of string theory. I’m, personally, rooting for them not to find the Higg’s boson since I think string theory is needlessly abstract, and therefore wrong. Not finding the Higg’s boson would allow other theories to develop, but now using the ‘best minds’ in physics–which are currently (wastefully) pursuing string theory. We can only hope the same thing soon happens to Darwinism, and for the exact same reasons.

  14. PaV: “I’m not sure of your point here. Is this a swipe at ID?

    Um, it’s a friendly swipe at string theory. To be considered a valid scientific theory, it must make predictions of empirical phenomena. A great deal of latitude is given to theoreticians, and there is often a gap between a conjecture, the development of a theory, relevant falsifiable hypotheses, testing, and confirmation. So the question is whether string theory can ever make testable predictions.

    PaV: “Let me note that based on other comments of Smolin I’ve read, the primary reason he considers ’string theory’ not to be ‘real science’ is that it is an entirely mathematical construction which relies completely on the existence of hypothetical multi-dimensions, dimensions that don’t conform to our common, eveyrday, experience of reality.

    No one has a problem with mutliple-dimensions, but they do have a problem with something being an entirely mathematical construction that has no real-world consequences and still being called science.

    Personally, I have no problem with string theory, but many professors are beginning to worry that physicists will spend their lives chasing a phantom, an intellectual dead-end. It is important to keep the eye on the scientific method, which is grounded in empirical prediction.

    PaV: “However, with the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) about to come on line at CERN, it’s possible that the ‘Higg’s Boson’ will be glimpsed, which is the Holy Grail of string theory.

    The Higg’s Boson is a prediction of the Standard Model. There is no available test to distinguish between the various string theories and other, less elegant solutions.

  15. Zachriel: My understanding is that the Higg’s boson would confirm the ‘supersymmetry’ assumptions of the Standard Model. Doesn’t ‘string theory’ rely on that ‘supersymmetric’ structure as well?

  16. PaV: “My understanding is that the Higg’s boson would confirm the ’supersymmetry’ assumptions of the Standard Model. Doesn’t ’string theory’ rely on that ’supersymmetric’ structure as well?

    It’s consistent, but so are lots (an infinite number) of possible assertions, including a multitude of different string theories. Why introduce multiple dimensions to explain what can be predicted with fewer? String theories may still have something to offer, but it will probably require additional evidence or mathematical methods before they yield fruit. At this point, strings are still rightly considered somewhat speculative. String theoreticians are aware of the problem: All scientists agree that valid theories must, at some point, be subject to empirical verification.

  17. Zachriel:Why introduce multiple dimensions to explain what can be predicted with fewer?

    That’s my position exactly. Smolin appears to be very excited about his latest work. I’m looking forward to see how well it stands up to testing.

  18. PaV: “That’s my position exactly.

    I’m rather fond of string theory, myself. But nobody asked my opinion at the Creation.

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