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Is String Theory Science?

John on January 6, 2006 at 6:44 pm

David Heddle at He Lives has a must read piece about a new paper published in Nature titled “Our Universe: Outrageous Fortune.” I don’t have a subscription so you’ll have to read David’s discussion, but you’d want to anyway. He says almost everything I’d want to say about it anyway.

The one thing I’d add is that this very much backs up what I said about string theory here. Whatever it takes to avoid what Arthur Eddington called “anti-chance” (in 1931) they’ll prefer, even if it means accepting the most absurd impossibilities. Here are Eddington’s actual words:

We are unwilling to admit in physics that anti-chance plays any part…we sweep anti-chance out of the laws of physics — out of the differential equations. By sweeping it far…we fancy we have got rid of it. It is only when some of us are so misguided as to try to get back billions of years into the past that we find the sweepings all piled up like a high wall and forming a boundary — a beginning of time — which we cannot climb over.

I think a quote by physicist Christopher Isham is also appropriate here:

Perhaps the best argument in favor of the thesis that the Big Bang supports theism is the obvious unease with which it is greeted by some atheist physicists. At times this has led to scientific ideas, such as continuous creation [steady state] or an oscillating universe, being advanced with a tenacity wich so exceeds their intrinsic worth that one can only suspect the operation of psychological forces lying very much deeper than the usual academic desire of a theorist to support his/her theory.

Based on this article, I think we can add string theory to that list.

[HT:Grey Thoughts, which is becoming a daily read for me.]

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