Martin Radwin

Natural Philosophy Alliance

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Bob,

The way you posted in post #49 makes it appear as though the blocked section is a quotation from me. It is not. I was quoting from the Natural Philosophy web site, as is clear from looking at my original post for this thread. The fact that I included this quotation from the web site in no way means that I agree with it. I brought up the whole subject to see what kind of a response I would get from the people on Objectivist Living with a strong background in physics, such as you and Stephen Boydstun.

Martin

My appologies for the misatribution.

One the depth of quotes exceeds 1, I sometimes become confused.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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Just a P.S. on how theories are falsified. Theories are almost never falsified on philosophical grounds. They are falsified because there is contrary evidence that cannot be reconciled with the theories without making ad hoc hypotheses. When the ad hocs pile up to a gross and grotesque degree it is time for a new theory (see Kuhn). That is why people accepted Copernicus ideas about planets rotating about a central point. The old Ptolemaic theory was creaking at the joints and required belief in fantastic motions which had no physical basis. Once Kepler did away with the problem of circular motions, a new force law could be formulated that accounted for the observed motions. In short physical causes were found for the motions. All of the epicycles and equants of the Ptolemaic theory we plugged in to "save the appearances". The entire business became rickety and no one really believed that that is how planets -really- moved. All of the baggage was added just for reconcile the theory with the observations with no convincing reason to believe that the cosmos was really that way.

Most of the nay sayers disagree with current theories for -philosophical- reasons. That will not do. Only contrary evidence against current theories count along with reproducible experimental results supporting alternative theories count. Only one philosophical reason carries any weight. If a flat out mathematical contradiction can be found in a physics theory, it is in deep do do. Elevating one's intuition as a basis of disagreement without solid evidence against conventional theory or equally solid evidence for an alternative will not do. Intuition, by itself, lacks weight. Philosophical disagreement has little weight. Aesthetic reasons has some weight but little. What really counts is -evidence-, reproducible experimental evidence. That is why physics is not part of philosophy anymore. Physics is empirical down to its basement. A theory can only be glued to nature by way of evidence. A Kantian like effort to found physics on synthetic a priori judgments carries little or no weight.

Ba'al Chatzaf

I only just found this site, so sorry for coming in so late.

I'd have thought that Physics "is empirical down to its basement." too. Can anyone advise me of what's empirical about superstring theory and M-Theory? I'm trying to find some experimental evidence that validates it. The presence of a Higgs boson, as indicated by the most recent experiments at the Large Hadron Collider, validate the Standard Model.

James Satrapa

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I only just found this site, so sorry for coming in so late.

I'd have thought that Physics "is empirical down to its basement." too. Can anyone advise me of what's empirical about superstring theory and M-Theory? I'm trying to find some experimental evidence that validates it. The presence of a Higgs boson, as indicated by the most recent experiments at the Large Hadron Collider, validate the Standard Model.

James Satrapa

Read Lee Smolin's new book which is very critical of String Theory, M-Theory and Brane-Theory

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

There is another similar book written by a mathematician:

Not Even Wrong: The Failure of String Theory and the Search for Unity in Physical Law by Peter Woit

Lee Smolin knows whereof he speaks and writes. He was in the String Theory and Quantum Gravity business for 25 years.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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Lee Smolin knows whereof he speaks and writes. He was in the String Theory and Quantum Gravity business for 25 years.

Ba'al Chatzaf

Thanks you for that and for your very quick response. My local library has both books which I've borrowed and started reading. It seems on a quick scan of the books and some internet reviews that these theories have had no experimental verification, and nor for that matter has supersymmetry. Also seems like the last 20 or 30 years of particle physics has seen a dearth of results let alone breakthroughs that have characterised physics until recently. Sounds like it isn't technically even a hypothesis let alone a theory which makes it good company for the NPA fringe, speaking of unification.

I notice both books are 5 years old. Is there anything more recent or do they stand as the only published critics of modern particle physics from within the mainstream community. Has no one jumped else on their bandwagon or backed them up, or for that matter attempted to refute them?

Regards

James

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Thanks you for that and for your very quick response. My local library has both books which I've borrowed and started reading. It seems on a quick scan of the books and some internet reviews that these theories have had no experimental verification, and nor for that matter has supersymmetry. Also seems like the last 20 or 30 years of particle physics has seen a dearth of results let alone breakthroughs that have characterised physics until recently. Sounds like it isn't technically even a hypothesis let alone a theory which makes it good company for the NPA fringe, speaking of unification.

I notice both books are 5 years old. Is there anything more recent or do they stand as the only published critics of modern particle physics from within the mainstream community. Has no one jumped else on their bandwagon or backed them up, or for that matter attempted to refute them?

Regards

James

A certain amount of time has to be allowed to see if any new theories will bear fruit. I think Smolin has figured 25-30 years is long enough to see some substantial results.

Check arXiv.org for any interesting material.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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