Is string theory really science?

  • Thread starter kochanskij
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  • #26
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Well, I guess they say that the one's who can't do, teach. And last time I checked everybook at the local library about physics was written by a physics teacher... I don't see how that makes them a non-scientist, I feel that comment in itself is an uneducated opinion. Any book on string theory isn't very descriptive on how the theory actually works and tends to be a small foot note in the back of the book, a very generalized description. I think it keeps people from really being able to talk about it and how and why it works, because honestly I think no one really knows. But I do know that none of them claim that 11 dimensions is prefered in any way to any other amount of dimensions, and the "prediction of the string framework" in itself would be what adds extra dimensions since it would take extra dimensions in order to create that framework. It isn't testable because it doesn't predict anything that would act differently than any other theory that is testable. No significant difference, if it did predict a significant difference I would hope that they would be able to run a test to distiguish it.
 
  • #27
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If I could, I would develop a string theory that only uses 3 spatial dimensions and 1 time dimension and then say, "It couldn't be proven experimentally", just to screw with everyones head.
 
  • #28
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The scientific method says that if experiments or observations falsify a theory, that theory must be rejected.
String theory requires space to have 9 dimensions. But observation shows that our space has only 3 dimensions. This alone should falsify string theory.

I know that scientists have amended an ad-hoc hypothesis that 6 of the dimensions are curled up too tiny to observe. But there is no experimental evidence of this. And the theory does not predict or explain why 3 dimensions should be large and 6 tiny.

If you add enough ad-hoc hypotheses, any theory could be accepted. The Earth-centered universe could still be believed if you add enough epicycles and other unsupported ideas to explain the motion of the planets. But science usually rejects this kind of fixing up of a theory (mainly due to Occam's Razor). So, without ad-hoc hypotheses, shouldn't string theory also be rejected?

Does any future experiment even have the potential to falsify string theory? If so, what might that experiement be? If not, then string theory is not science. It is a religion.
Yes string theory is a religion. Some string theorists as Gates admit it:

String theory is often criticized as having had no experimental input or output, so the analogy to a religion has been noted by a number of people. In a sense that's right; it is kind of a church to which I belong. We have our own popes and House of Cardinals.
You would not criticize the whole scientific community by the insanity and dishonesty of a small group of people.
 
  • #29
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Gates wouldn't be the only one skeptical about string theory. I have noticed scientist who talk about it on TV seem more sure about it than in their own book...

On that page I couldn't help but notice, "The carrier of the gravitational force is the graviton; the carrier of the electromagnetic force is the photon; the carrier of the strong force are things called gluons. " Only one of these force carriers in quantum mechanics has been verified to actually exist. So then couldn't you say that quantum mechanics is also a religion? Then again, most religions do put the photon (or light itself) as the figure of their God.

I think string theory has just gotten stuck in a rut in the scientific process, it has just taken it a long time to get to the experimental phase, this is understandable since they keep changing the theory. I don't think the scientific process has a time limit it has to keep in order to stay sceince. We will just have to force ourselves to be patient enough for it to finish the process, and I predict we will be waiting for it to do this for a very long time. It could take the next greatest sceintist of all time to be able to prove or disprove the theory, not mention his ability to prove that to everyone else as well.

Personnaly, I would not persue string theory, because I think it is a little far fetched myself and would only lead to a dead end in a scientific career. I thought I would rather check out the worldlines of particles as though they themselves where strings. I wouldn't want to get caught up into a bunch of mathmatical hoopla.
 
  • #30
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One should better have scientific discussions, rather then books of opiniated non-scientists, who hardly can judge the subject.
I was about to post this but surprised took care of it. To OP: please read up more on the subject, there is a lot to string theory.
 
  • #31
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Thank you to all who posted an opinion about string theory. I am not saying that it is "wrong". I'm just saying that it is far from being proven correct.

In religion, one assumes that the Bible is true. If an observation is in conflict with it, we must figure out why the observation is wrong or our interpretation of it is wrong.
In String Theory, some scientists seem to assume the theory is true. If an observation is in conflict with it (like space having only 3 dimensions), they figure out why the observation is wrong (compactified dimensions or membranes).
If String Theory does not predict which of the 10^500 topologies extra dimensions should take, they assume there is an unseen universe for each one of them (landscape).
I think String Theory is sometimes being treated too much like the Bible, in that some people assume every word of it is true, no matter what observation shows.

We scientists understand the scientific process and the status of strings, but the general public does not. Popular writers like Brian Greene and Kaku should not say that string theory and its predictions are facts. They usually put string theory at the same level of confidence as relativity or quantum mechanics. These theories have been confirmed by thousands of experiments but string theory has been confirmed by none.
 
  • #32
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Thank you to all who posted an opinion about string theory. I am not saying that it is "wrong". I'm just saying that it is far from being proven correct.

In religion, one assumes that the Bible is true. If an observation is in conflict with it, we must figure out why the observation is wrong or our interpretation of it is wrong.
In String Theory, some scientists seem to assume the theory is true. If an observation is in conflict with it (like space having only 3 dimensions), they figure out why the observation is wrong (compactified dimensions or membranes).
If String Theory does not predict which of the 10^500 topologies extra dimensions should take, they assume there is an unseen universe for each one of them (landscape).
I think String Theory is sometimes being treated too much like the Bible, in that some people assume every word of it is true, no matter what observation shows.

We scientists understand the scientific process and the status of strings, but the general public does not. Popular writers like Brian Greene and Kaku should not say that string theory and its predictions are facts. They usually put string theory at the same level of confidence as relativity or quantum mechanics. These theories have been confirmed by thousands of experiments but string theory has been confirmed by none.
Popular books denouncing the dishonesty of some string theorists have been published and gained attention in the media up to a point that today many laymen are sceptics about the real status of string theory (nonsense)

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

Not Even Wrong: The Failure of String Theory and the Search for Unity in Physical Law
 
  • #33
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the string theory(means equation) clearly says that there must be 11 dimensions for string to move to make the system run. The equation is derived from approved physics equations and those are accepted by all physicists, then why some does not believe in string theory. if it is about that it can not be explained through experiments than the answer is that now the physics has reached such an extent that our power, energy, logic, vision and resources are too small to small, whereas we are too big to do experiment with strings.
 
  • #34
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What do you think of this:
http://arxiv.org/abs/0806.0051

There is interview with Dr James Gates, a string theory scientists, he says (or he and other scientists from his area) that computer code (one used in error correcting in computer science) - "Doubly-even self-dual linear binary error-correcting block code," first invented by Claude Shannon in the 1940's, has been discovered embedded WITHIN the equations of superstring theory

So this is like food for thought for all those who support idea that our universe is simulation :)
 
  • #35
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the string theory(means equation) clearly says that there must be 11 dimensions for string to move to make the system run. The equation is derived from approved physics equations and those are accepted by all physicists, then why some does not believe in string theory. if it is about that it can not be explained through experiments than the answer is that now the physics has reached such an extent that our power, energy, logic, vision and resources are too small to small, whereas we are too big to do experiment with strings.
I was watching http://www.amnh.org/news/tag/isaac-asimov-memorial-debate/ and Brian Greene said something along the lines of "I do not believe in string theory. I think it might be our best bet so far, and I'm enthusiastic about it."

You have to remember that belief in science comes from observation. A lack of observation does not mean it's not science, however. It just means you should not believe it. Science, in part (a large part), is the search for observations -- it isn't only a statement about what should currently be believed. So of course string theory is science.
 

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