There’s an interview with Susskind in the latest issue of New Scientist by Amanda Gefter, entitled Is String Theory in Trouble? Susskind makes many of the same points as in his recent book The Cosmic Landscape: mixing up positivism and falsifiability, attacking those who ask for falsifiable predictions as “Popperazi”, and saying that the best he can come up with as a prediction from his ideas is the very long-shot that the negative curvature of space due to its origin in bubble nucleation has not been made vanishingly small by inflation.
There’s a discussion forum about the article on the New Scientist site that people might want to contribute to.
Update: Ken Silber writes in to point out that William Dembski, one of the most prominent Intelligent Design ideologues, has now latched on to the string theory controversy as evidence that mainstream science is no better than ID. Dembski has both comments on Susskind and comments on David Gross’s admission that string theory is in trouble.
I’ve been pointing out to string theory partisans for a while that they need to publicly confront Susskind and his followers over their abandonment of the scientific method, otherwise they will have no argument against Intelligent Design. Susskind is making all this much worse with his dismissive comments about the falsifiability of evolutionary theory, as well as the following from the New Scientist interview:
If, for some unforeseen reason, the landscape turns out to be inconsistent – maybe for mathematical reasons, or because it disagrees with observation – I am pretty sure that physicists will go on searching for natural explanations of the world. But I have to say that if that happens, as things stand now we will be in a very awkward position. Without any explanation of nature’s fine-tunings we will be hard pressed to answer the ID critics. One might argue that the hope that a mathematically unique solution will emerge is as faith-based as ID.
Update: Susskind is fast becoming the darling of the IDers. A new posting on the web-site “Intelligent Design the Future” run by the Discovery Institute links to a review by IDer and nuclear physicist David Heddle entitled Susskind’s Sophie’s Choice.
Susskind has presented the physics community with what is, for some (not this writer), a Sophie’s Choice: a hidious, complictated, unfalsifiable String-Theory Landscape, or Intelligent Design.
Last Updated on