October 6, 2006

An experimental physicist complains that theoretical physics now consists of "theological speculation:"

Stanford's Burton Richter says:

"To me, some of what passes for the most advanced theory in particle physics these days is not really science. When I found myself on a panel recently with three distinguished theorists, I could not resist the opportunity to discuss what I see as major problems in the philosophy behind theory, which seems to have gone off into a kind of metaphysical wonderland. Simply put, much of what currently passes as the most advanced theory looks to be more theological speculation, the development of models with no testable consequences, than it is the development of practical knowledge, the development of models with testable and falsifiable consequences (Karl Popper's definition of science)."

I'm certainly not qualified to arbitrate this dispute among physicists, but it does remind me of how narrow is the expertise of the various biologists who are strident atheists, most famously "Darwin's Pit Bull," Richard Dawkins, who assumed that the theory of natural selection answers all possible questions about the universe. As I pointed out back in 1999, the Biological Imperialism of Dawkins, the philosopher Dennett, and so forth rested on their being strikingly uninformed and uninterested about some strange developments in 20th Century cosmology.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

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