Hundreds of physicists can't be wrong ... can they?

30 Aug 2012

At ... this is a somewhat amusing review that begins by saying one of the major criticisms of string theory is not to do with the theory itself so much as the theorists. The argument is they have formed a sort of cult of physicists, herded together with a shared concept they promote above all alternatives, quoting Smolin's The Trouble with Physics. The criticism smacks at the heart of science and the way popular ideas are liberally funded and less populist onces are sidelined. String theory has been very popular over the last 20 years, indoctrinating a generation of physicists, yet they have not produced any tangible evidence to definitively support their hypothesis. The sheer volume of physicists publishing papers on string theory and quoting other string theorists has projected the hypothesis on to the top of the pile and so much so that to criticise it is almost a heresy. We are, of course, aware the same thing has happened in climate science, possibly to an even greater degree as grant funding has deep pockets. The piece ends up by asking is this all leading a lost generation of physicists down the proverbial garden path to nowhere.