171: String Theory

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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String Theory
This works on pretty much every level.
Title text: This works on pretty much every level.


String theory is an elaborate theory in theoretical physics for explaining how the universe works. When a new theory is thought up, the theorists will usually supply some predictions of future discoveries based on the theory; I suppose Randall is unimpressed with the quantity of such predictions that have been made by string theorists. String theory has also yet to provide any useful new knowledge to engineering science the way quantum physics has, and lacks the imagination-stirring philosophical implications that the general population associates with other fields -- for example, quantum scientists have Schroedinger's cat to talk about, and relativity gave us the twins paradox and (unscientific talk of) time travel, but string theory hasn't reached that stage yet.


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It should be noted that positive predictions are not sound scientific methodology. "If X, then Y will happen" doesn't prove X, because W and Q may also cause Y. You need falsifiability, the ability to disprove your model if it's wrong, in order to produce even a sound theory. Because of this, not only is string hypothesis not really sound science, but neither is a lot of Quantum Mechanics, which successfully predicts in sync with observations in a way that doesn't exclude other causes for the same outcomes. The geocentric model had a slightly better positive prediction success rate than quantum mechanics does...and they were wrong. Like the geocentric model, QM mostly made bad predictions at first, but its failures are constantly propped up with epicycles and deferents. Positivism and instrumentalism are bad science, and generally will lead knowledge in the wrong direction. — Kazvorpal (talk) 04:05, 6 October 2019 (UTC)