A Leiden University press release headlined Physical Reality of String Theory Demonstrated is being picked up and used to generate news stories in the media.
It starts off:
String theory has come under fire in recent years. Promises have been made that have not been lived up to. Leiden theoretical physicists have now for the first time used string theory to describe a physical phenomenon.
which follows the usual dishonest and misleading template for attempts to deal with string theory’s failure as a unified theory. The idea is to put out a press release announcing that string theory has finally lived up to its promise and shown its critics to be wrong, because of evidence it may work as an approximation method for some strongly coupled condensed matter or nuclear physics model. The fact that this has nothing to do with string theory’s continuing utter failure as a fundamental theory is carefully not mentioned, ensuring that non-expert readers of the press release will be misled.
A common excuse for this is that it is being done by journalists, with the scientists involved having no responsibility for the misleading material. In a news media story, conceivably this could be the case, but a university press release is something different. University researchers have both the right and the responsibility to ask for the retraction of a university press release that mis-characterizes their work. When they don’t do this, they make themselves responsible for actively misleading the public about this subject.
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