Science – It’s No Longer Science As We Knew It – It’s Now Full of Statements of Blind Faith

The Ultimate Scientific Conjecture; it’s no longer science as we knew it!I have always held the belief that science is sacrosanct, comprising of a series of proven, testable and tested facts and theories that have stood the test of time. I have been obviously very wrong, damn wrong. Here is proof of my ignorance.There is a theory known as string theory a popular theory in science so revered and yet so unscientific! Sounds ridiculous. Yes it is, a scientific theory that is damn unscientific, a downright statement of blind faith, note I say blind faith not just a statement of faith. There is a world of difference between faith and blind faith.For a start, for starters like me, The NewScientist issue of 15th August 2009 gives me the little simplistic introduction of the problem that the string theory endeavored to solve.As most of us may not know, physics lack one coherent theory to explain the workings of nature from the minute blocks of nature to the large bodies like planets and the stars.The NewScientist publication points out that the two existing theories that explains most of the stuff observed in nature, that is the theory of gravity and the quantum theory do contradict and hence cannot both be true.Stephen Hawking also mentions this contradiction in his best seller, the Brief History of time. In an attempt to reconcile the two, the string theory emerged. The magazine goes on to say that ‘there is no agreement on how to get to one coherent theory.To attempt to solve the problem,a theory referred to as String theory is the avenue preferred by most physicists, it melds gravity and quantum mechanics by arguing that everything in nature arises from the vibration of tiny strings in 10 dimensional space time’.That is too heavy especially for me the terminology used and wow in ten dimension!??! I can hardly grasp anything beyond ’3D’ i mean three dimensions. Just hold your breath, You need not understand a bit of what I just quoted. I need not because the New Scientist goes on and speaks in a more common language.Before I quote the criticism of the NewScientist, I consider a book review of two works criticizing the string theory.A book review of two works of reputable scientific scholars highlight the great comedown of science that is the string theory. Lee Smolin and Peter Woit, two scientists criticized the string theory independently in their books. The books are ‘The trouble with physics: the rise of string theory and the fall of science’ and ‘Not even wrong;The failure of string theory and the search for unity in physical law’ authored by the two scientists respectively. The theory has been the dominant area of research in the last 20 years in the domain of unifying the two laws of science and as the authors note, ‘ the promise of the theory has remained unfulfilled’ As the book review notes. In science,a theory should make a prediction that should be tested and proven either true or false.Les Smolin and Peter Woit concludes that ‘String theory is unscientific because it has made no prediction that could prove it to be wrong or else.Another reason for dismissing the string theory approach is that it has so many variations of it, so much so that it is impossible to tell which is right. Its malleability, its flexibility also calls in for doubt, it is easily adaptable to adopt new discoveries that come into light and this has led many a prominent scientists including Richard Freyman, to say that ‘string theorists do not make predictions, they make excuses’Compare the theory as a ruler to measure the universe and its laws.Having a task of measuring the length of many objects you need a ruler. The ruler has to be stable and reliable. Just imagine having a ruler that is malleable and elastic, will you ever get the true measurements? This is the nature of the so called string theory, It is well said that apart from telling you something about the size of that thing or object that you are measuring, the process of measuring can also tell you something about the ruler, in this case, if you get the measurements of two objects to be equal yet the one is twice as long as the other, you can judge the reliability of the ruler.The authors continue to say that there is something worse, ‘the string theory has become more mathematically elaborate and its practitioners have begun to manipulate it as though the traditional scientific means of verification are totally unnecessary’ The authors goes on to say that ‘Even physicists and mathematicians are at odds over whether string theory is a series of abstract puzzles or whether it says anything about the real world!Obviously without testable predictions, it has little to say about the real world, if it speaks to human beings at all’ As the authors reckon that, the idea that beauty, especially beautiful mathematical models can point to scientific truth served Einstein well but sadly for science, it may have misled the later, our generation of theoretical physicists!The authors conclude that ‘the string theory is a mere conjecture and unworthy of being called a theory at all!Other options to the solution of the problem to the workings of nature, the solution to the theory of everything, like one highlighted by the new scientist known as the ‘loop quantum gravity’ (whatever that is) fair no better, as the New scientist admits. That is modern science for you. What a great comedown for science! Or has science ever been high on the pedestal? I doubt! It’s still the old fruitless human snooping into the God’s business.Do you still believe in science as the path to the truth? I conclude and agree with Naseem Taleb the skeptical empiricist and a Riskmanager who admires science and who observes that science is good but individual scientists are dangerous. Indeed the herding and group think is not a reserve for the lowly and we men and women on the streets, The NewScientist mentions that groupthink is also quite common even among scientists.Do you still believe that science is still faithful to its creed of remaining scientific?

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