Monday, February 3, 2014

Mocking a unified theory of quantum gravity

I identify with Brewster here. A unified theory of quantum gravity would not be a scientific breakthrough.

Philosopher Massimo Pigliucci partially explains what is wrong with Sean M. Carroll's justification of untestable theories.

He is way too easy on Carroll. String theory and the multiverse are pseudoscientific because they do not make testable predictions. They are not falsifiable. He says that they are "speculations somewhat grounded in well established physics" but they are metaphysical speculations, and the well established physics gives no reason to believe the speculations. The Popper notion of falsifiability works fine for dispensing with these ideas as unscientific.

Update: A comment on a new relativity book says:
“Maybe there’s a lesson here for some of today’s string-theory sceptics?”

It doesn’t matter how empty an argument is, you can always count with someone comparing it to Einstein and relativity. That’s a rule that works both with cranks and people with reputation.
Yes, that is right, and that is why this blog pays so much attention to the history of relativity. If the story is going to be used to justify all sorts of other endeavors, then it is important to get the story right.

1 comment:

  1. Back in the last century, this was a topic that would have been very exciting if someone announced a unification of gravity and quantum mechanics.

    Today with the internet, people are bored by stuff like this. It doesn't capture people's imagination anymore. After all, what are the applications of such a theory? It's not going to cure cancer.