22 December 2010

The false beliefs of Mike Duff

Mike Duff, a seasoned string researcher, has now proven publicly that he prefers wrong beliefs over facts. As Peter Woit points out, Duff writes in letter to New Scientist:

... the modern-day ramshackle alliance between unqualified scientists, the blogosphere and many science journalists when confronted with the academic consensus of superstrings and M-theory as the most promising candidates for unifying gravity with the other forces of nature. These people are quick to cry "this is not science", while themselves resorting to pseudoscientific alternatives. 

There is no "academic consensus" on string theory. In fact, physics is about agreeing with experiment, not with "academic consensus". This way of reasoning - by the authority of the consensus - is typical of the times before modern science existed. No true scientist reasons in this way.

Worse, this complaint is written by somebody who in his talks always mentions the "multiverse", the most stupid concept ever introduced: a concept that cannot be defined properly (what is the difference between this universe and that universe?) and that cannot be proven by experiment. Whoever believes in the "multiverse" is an unqualified crank, not a scientist - and not even a pseudoscientist.

Obviously, Duff is nervous, because string theory is a failure, and he has devoted his life to it. We see from his writing that string theory has become a religion; nobody drops a religion if it makes wrong statements, because a religion is part of your value system and gives you strength and hope. But does string theory really deserve to be a religion? Why do so many people promote it to a belief system? Any pastor, rabbi or priest would be apalled when seeing this.  "Thou you shall have no other gods before me." Nevertheless, for some people, string theory has become another god.

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