String Theory Essays

String theory is majestic, in the eyes of its proponents, in that it encompasses, at least in principle as well as in aspiration, all that physical science purports to explain: both macroscopically – on the scale of the universe; and microscopically – on the subatomic or quantum scale at which General Relativity is thought to fail.It is at one and the same time utterly miserable and empirically impoverished in that it can, as yet, recite no litany of experimental successes to reinforce any of its as of now perhaps unjustified high hopes.

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Even an experimental falsification of the theory would be a welcome result.

Should string theory somehow be able to overcome its plethora of problems, then for religious believers its true majesty would consist not merely in its explanatory scope in regard to material reality, nor in its successful unification of all the fundamental forces of nature including gravity, but in that it could conceivably constitute a comprehensive material pointer to a reality that is not of this world.

But while string theory may purport to offer scientific solutions to scientific problems, we all know that no purely scientific theory can ever offer anything approaching a solid metaphysical foundation.

Thus any proposed or purported metaphysical majesty for string theory would be limited at best.

First I will side with those who maintain that string theory does not merit the status of a scientific theory, and secondly I will briefly consider the credentials of string theory in relation to the realm of religion.

When Mathematics Masquerades as Science If you were to visit the Rugby school in England you would find a plaque which states that in 1823 a certain student named William Webb Ellis picked up a soccer ball in the midst of competition and ran with it, with a fine disregard for the rules of the game. Many practitioners and students of science and its philosophy might espouse something similar concerning the nature of string theory in that its dream team of theoretical all- stars might be said to have utterly disregarded what we ordinarily consider to be the conventional, by this I mean empirical, way of doing science in a post-Baconian world.On the one hand string theory can be likened to medieval scientific theories of old in that it is a purely mathematical theory without experimental support.An important caveat to such a comparison of course is that medieval theories were much more qualitative than quantitative in nature.It is thought by many to represent a colossal attempt to trade atomism in for a theoretical framework involving multiple dimensions and vibrating Planck length pieces of primal string which supersede point particles as the basic building blocks of nature.String cognoscenti might also note that in recent years their theory has been enveloped within an even more extensive theory known as M-Theory which peddles in such exotica as multiple universes that are causally disjunct from our own.Many famous physicists including the internationally renowned Stephen Hawking have promoted the string theory believing it to be an important step in describing the fundamentals of nature.Both the relativity and the quantum field theory can be combined when examined using the string theory.Adopting a perhaps excessively critical attitude it is still by no means unfair to say that string theory is a theory en route to nowhere.It is a theory which, at its best, could conceivably capture the essence of material reality at its deepest level; or, at its worst, might be nothing more than an overblown tale with an overly complicated mathematical storyline.Its widespread use and discussion online brings all the detail and research data gathered over decades from experts both known and unknown to the world at large.A basic online search engine examination will reveal the extent of the information available.


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