2017-06-15 08:51:02 UTC
Thibault Damour: "The paradigm of the special relativistic upheaval of the usual concept of time is the twin paradox. Let us emphasize that this striking example of time dilation proves that time travel (towards the future) is possible. As a gedanken experiment (if we neglect practicalities such as the technology needed for reaching velocities comparable to the velocity of light, the cost of the fuel and the capacity of the traveller to sustain high accelerations), it shows that a sentient being can jump, "within a minute" (of his experienced time) arbitrarily far in the future, say sixty million years ahead, and see, and be part of, what (will) happen then on Earth. This is a clear way of realizing that the future "already exists" (as we can experience it "in a minute")."
Einstein struck a chord - at that time the gullible world badly needed miracles, on the one hand, and non-religious but still god-like prophets able to produce such miracles, on the other. Einstein's idiocies were embraced and since then countless sycophants have been making their living by singing dithyrambs and developing the idiocies in all directions. Science died and nowadays potential dissidents apparently have nothing to defend - the question "If Einstein's relativity is wrong, what replacement do you propose?" does have some creepy relevance.
Einstein's schizophrenic world was a calm and serene place to live in but a few years ago string theorists, the most insane and aggressive vanguard of the Einsteinian army, started a campaign against the requirement for empirical falsifiability. Einstein's general relativity has never been falsifiable but most Einsteinians don't know that and sincerely accept the requirement, so an internal war immediately began:
George Ellis and Joe Silk: "This year, debates in physics circles took a worrying turn. Faced with difficulties in applying fundamental theories to the observed Universe, some researchers called for a change in how theoretical physics is done. They began to argue - explicitly - that if a theory is sufficiently elegant and explanatory, it need not be tested experimentally, breaking with centuries of philosophical tradition of defining scientific knowledge as empirical." http://www.nature.com/news/scientific-method-defend-the-integrity-of-physics-1.16535
Adam Frank, professor of astrophysics at the University of Rochester, and Marcelo Gleiser, professor of physics and astronomy at Dartmouth College: "A Crisis at the Edge of Physics. Do physicists need empirical evidence to confirm their theories? You may think that the answer is an obvious yes, experimental confirmation being the very heart of science. But a growing controversy at the frontiers of physics and cosmology suggests that the situation is not so simple. [...] ...a mounting concern in fundamental physics: Today, our most ambitious science can seem at odds with the empirical methodology that has historically given the field its credibility." http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/07/opinion/a-crisis-at-the-edge-of-physics.html
Frank Close, professor of physics at the University of Oxford: "In recent years, however, many physicists have developed theories of great mathematical elegance, but which are beyond the reach of empirical falsification, even in principle. The uncomfortable question that arises is whether they can still be regarded as science. Some scientists are proposing that the definition of what is "scientific" be loosened, while others fear that to do so could open the door for pseudo-scientists or charlatans to mislead the public and claim equal space for their views." http://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/features/what-happens-when-we-cant-test-scientific-theories
Nowadays some protesters (Ellis, Silk, etc.) are silent - perhaps they now know that string theorists are invincible. Yet Sabine Hossenfelder and Peter Woit continue the fight and dangerously make generalizations going far beyond the string calamity:
Sabine Hossenfelder: "Many of my colleagues believe this forest of theories will eventually be chopped down by data. But in the foundations of physics it has become extremely rare for any model to be ruled out. The accepted practice is instead to adjust the model so that it continues to agree with the lack of empirical support."
Sabine Hossenfelder (Bee): "The criticism you raise that there are lots of speculative models that have no known relevance for the description of nature has very little to do with string theory but is a general disease of the research area. Lots of theorists produce lots of models that have no chance of ever being tested or ruled out because that's how they earn a living. The smaller the probability of the model being ruled out in their lifetime, the better. It's basic economics. Survival of the 'fittest' resulting in the natural selection of invincible models that can forever be amended." http://www.math.columbia.edu/~woit/wordpress/?p=9375
Peter Woit: "I think the worst thing that has happened to theoretical physics over the past 25 years is this descent into ideology, something that has accelerated with the multiverse mania of the last 10-15 years."
Peter Woit: "As far as this stuff goes, we're now not only at John Horgan's "End of Science", but gone past it already and deep into something different." http://www.math.columbia.edu/~woit/wordpress/?p=7266
However string theorists have their Azog who knows no limits - soon Sabine Hossenfelder and Peter Woit will be humiliatingly defeated:
Lubos Motl: "Sabine Hossenfelder has shown us once again how convenient the life on the border of the scientific community is for dishonest and incompetent science-hating charlatans and saboteurs similar to herself." http://motls.blogspot.bg/2016/06/parasites-in-scientific-community-have.html
Lubos Motl: "Many people have often told me that "it shouldn't be relevant" that e.g. Peter Woit's grandfather was one of the key politicians in his Baltic country when the murder of 40,000 Jews was organized in Riga in 1941. Woit can't be held responsible for the acts done by his grandfather in 1941, can he? No, he can't, but this hypothetical but non-existent acausal influence isn't the only possible source of problems resulting from Woit's ancestry. You know, there existed actual influences that are real and didn't contradict causality. Woit's grandfather educated his kids in a certain way and those educated their kids in a certain way. Peter Woit is one of those that belong to the latter group and when it comes to theoretical physics, he thinks and talks exactly like a brain-dead Nazi. And this is a problem for me, whether you kindly "allow" me to realize this problem or not. History can't be changed but we may make sure that some of its worst mistakes aren't done again in the future. And to do so, it's damn too important to emphasize e.g. the Nazi roots of Woit's campaign against theoretical physics." http://motls.blogspot.bg/2017/06/lhc-null-results-havent-changed.html