Is String Theory Science if it Isn’t Falsifiable?

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String Theory Drawing by XKCD - Is String Theory Science if it Isn't Falsifiable?I’m very intersted and curious about string theory. I’ve read everything I can find by Brian Green, Michio Kaku, and the other “faces of string theory” out there today. But it only takes a couple of exposures to prime-time, pop-science television shows on Discovery, NatGeo, or The Science Channel to realize that this is more the stuff of Star Trek than it is Neils Bohr and Albert Einstein. So, is string theory science if it isn’t falsifiable?

I am not a theoretical physicist, nor I would never claim to be an expert in the field. I am also not a positivist; I believe the scientific method should be rooted in falsification, but I’m agnostic enough to believe that theories which cannot be scientifically tested (or falsified) today may still be falsifiable at some point in the future.

A good friend of mine forwarded me an interview with Brian Greene, in which he insists that string theory is science — despite the fact that it isn’t falsifiable. And therein lies my problem with the entire postulate: if you say it enough times, and you yell it loud enough, and nobody understands it, and nobody questions it, then it becomes truth, right? Of course not.

When even a field’s leading proponents — and the people who claim to understand it best — admit they can’t prove any of its major tenets (contextually), well… that’s a problem. Of course, this is  theoretical physics

UPDATE April 29, 2014: thoughts from Kirk Holden and the Rough Beast of the Continuum 


 

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