So I’ve argued in three of the previous four posts (oh, just go look; I’m busy and I’m not going to repost links) that one of the signs that a so-called scientific controversy is really just bullsh!t is if it floats to the surface of popular consciousness. I may need to moderate that claim a bit, as it appears that one of my favorite examples is, in fact, surfacing. All this, without any significant influx of money from the fossil fuel industries to manufacture the appearance of controversy!
See, for example: http://www.npr.org/blogs/13.7/2015/01/27/381809832/the-most-dangerous-ideas-in-science?utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=npr&utm_term=nprnews&utm_content=20150127
Despite the article being on NPR’s site, I don’t think this issue is exactly rising to public consciousness. Perhaps I’m just tired, or perhaps I’m getting stupider, but I didn’t find this the easiest read, and I don’t think most nonscientists would either. Furthermore, even though it involves specific examples such as string theory, the issue here is the applicability of the scientific method itself when it comes to the very basis of explaining the universe—the boundaries of what science can show empirically.
Instead of “needing new rules,” isn’t it plausible that scientists must accept that these limits exist and that theories at the farthest margins of human inquiry may simply never be provable in the sense that evolution and climate change have been proven to exist? Saying that string theory may be the “best candidate” for explaining cosmology is not the same as saying string theory is true. Neither is saying that a theory “must be included in our considerations” if it “predicts entities that can’t be directly observed” but scientists can show “indirect consequences of their existence.” Maybe the outermost realm of theoretical physics really will be “a no-man’s-land between mathematics, physics and philosophy that does not truly meet the requirements of any.”
Perhaps I’m missing the point; I feel I lack a solid hold on the arguments presented in the article, especially at 2:53 a.m. Indeed, I feel like a little kid playing in the big kids’ part of the schoolyard. But I think your claim remains intact, Gary.