måndag 6 juli 2009

Perplexion and Collapsing Illusions

A physicist, philosopher of science, physics teacher or writer of popular science usually gives the impression of understanding both the curved space-time of relativity theory and the collapse of the wave function of quantum mechanics, while a Nobel Laureate of Physics like Richard Feynman can pride himself of not really understanding any of the two pillars of modern physics: relativity and quantum mechanics. How can this be? Who is right? Is the highest degree of understanding in modern physics, to not understand?

Seeking an answer I have become increasingly astonished and alarmed, and I am not alone: Physicists like Peter Voit in Not Even Wrong and Lee Smolin in The Trouble with Physics claim that modern physics dominated by string theory, is a science in a state of serious crisis.

I get the impression that the worst aspect of Einstein's science, or pseudo-science, which met so much opposition when it was first presented, has spread like a pandemi with the following symptoms:

Physics is the science of reductionism per se in charge of the Basic Principles of Everything in a heroic search after a Grand Unified Theory GUT or Theory Of Everything TOE. The answer is presented as a string theory in a 10-dimensional space-time on a scale 20 orders of magnitude smaller than atomic scales.

But small scale extra space dimensions is the opposite of reductionism: If increasing the magnification of a microscope, you do not see the picture simplifying, but on the contrary you see increasingly complex structures appearing, like extra space dimensions, then your reductionist approach is leading nowhere and you cannot just continue pretending that things are in order:Microscopics upon microscopics is contradictory.

But physicists continue further and further out on a branch that seems to have lost connection to the tree of science, steadily increasing the bet to Big Bang, which cannot be called. Listen for example to
In Superstrings and the Search for The Theory of Everything by David Peat, this is with reference to Yoichiro Nambu, the creator of the original string theory and awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2008, described as "postmodern physics" in which
  • rather than thinking in terms of crucial experiments and observations, physicists have to begin by investigating the theory's formal mathematical structure
  • the theory and its mathematical language are probed, recast and related to other theories.
Lee Smolin states in a CBC-interview:
  • This idea that some thousand very gifted very highly placed people around the world have worked on something passionately for two decades without a hint of how to test it experimentally, that is unlike anything that has ever happened before in the history of physics.
2004 Nobel Laureate David Gross expresses at Stringso7 the failure of string theory as follows:
  • We still do not understand what string theory is. We do not have a formulation of the dynamical principle behind ST. All we have is a vast array of dual formulations, most of which are defined by methods for constructing consistent semiclassical (perturbative) expansions about a given background (classical solution).
In The Coming Revolution in Physics David Gross says: 
  • We need new rules of physics, because we are faced with new questions, which we have not had the tools to address before. We are forced to discuss the whole Universe, the beginning, the boundaries, the end. You can´t avoid them in a theory of quantum gravity... What are the rules to construct a space-time history of the Universe? We may not have the right framework to discuss these rules...Ed Witten said that space and time may be doomed... which scares some people...We have evidence that space is an emergent phenomenon, that somehow it is not fundamental....String theory, whatever it is, cannot be based on space as a fundamental concept...How would you start formulating physics without the concept of time? String theory has many hopes for the future...
What are we ordinary scientists, mathematicians and taxpayers supposed to get out from such messages, but complete perplexion? Goodbye to experiments and observations. Wellcome to pseudo-science. How can we on this ground maintain a belief that physics is the basis of science? Are your illusions like mine collapsing like wave functions? Any answer?

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