Disdain for Experiments
There is a tendency for many physicists to look down on experimentation. Especially among those in string theory. As though they are somehow above the need to properly demonstrate that their theories have any connection to reality.
To be fair, many of them would like to show that their theories are true. They do not accept that to do this they must perform experiments and verify that their theories are correct. No, many of them have been firmly convinced that physical reality is unknowable. And that experiments are of limited use.
How, then, do they believe that they are to show that their experiments are true? By showing that their theories are mathematically consistent. And that they are consistent with what we already know.
As irrational as this is, it is entirely consistent with the widespread rejection of reality.
Why bother performing experiments when the world around us is merely mathematical appearances?
What we observe has no identity anyway, unless we happen to be looking at it, after which it returns to some ghostly phantom state.
How, then, do they think they should try to verify the truth of their claims? Through mathematical argument. By showing that their theories are mathematically consistent with their rationalistic premises.
Do we really need experiments? What role do experiments play in physics? Do we need them at all?
We should be clear what we mean by experiments and to set some careful criteria for what qualifies as a proper experiment.
I will use the definition of an experiment from the book The Logical Leap (a book, by the way, which I highly recommend). Here it is:
“The method of establishing causal relationships by means of controlling variables.” – The Logical Leap, 35
If you want to know more about experiments and why they are so crucial to science, I suggest you read the book or wait for us to cover it.
We will simply elaborate by saying that experiments are the procedural means by which one shows that a hypothesis is either true or false. The experiment needs to be set up so that within a given context of knowledge, the observed facts show that since A causes B, then the nature of the things being studied must be C.
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