Science’s Path From Myth to Multiverse

In his latest book, the Nobel Prize winner Steven Weinberg explores how science made the modern world, and where it might take us from here.

Steven Weinberg, a physicist at the University of Texas, Austin, won a Nobel Prize in 1979 for work that became a cornerstone of particle physics.

Jeff Wilson

Steven Weinberg, a physicist at the University of Texas, Austin, won a Nobel Prize in 1979 for work that became a cornerstone of particle physics.


We can think of the history of physics as an attempt to unify the world around us: Gradually, over many centuries, we’ve come to see that seemingly unrelated phenomena are intimately connected. The physicist Steven Weinberg of the University of Texas, Austin, received his Nobel Prize in 1979 for a major breakthrough in that quest — showing how electromagnetism and the weak nuclear force are manifestations of the same underlying theory (he shared the prize with Abdus Salam and Sheldon Glashow). That work became a cornerstone of the Standard Model of particle physics, which describes how the fundamental building blocks of the universe come together to create the world we see.

In his new book To Explain the World: The Discovery of Modern Science, Weinberg examines how modern science was born. By tracing the development of what we now call the “scientific method” — an approach, developed over centuries, that emphasizes experiments and observations rather than reasoning from first principles — he makes the argument that science, unlike other ways of interpreting the world around us, can offer true progress. Through science, our understanding of the world improves over time, building on what has come before. Mistakes can happen, but are eventually corrected. Weinberg spoke with Quanta Magazine about the past and future of physics, the role of philosophy within science, and the startling possibility that the universe we see around us is a tiny sliver of a much larger multiverse. An edited and condensed version of the interview follows.

QUANTA MAGAZINE: As a physicist, how is your perspective on the history of science different from that of a historian?

Olena Shmahalo/Quanta Magazine

Weinberg’s new book explores the origins of modern science.

STEVEN WEINBERG: One difference, of course, is that they know more than I do — at least, in their particular field of specialization. Real historians have a much better grasp of the original sources than I could possibly have. If they’re historians of the ancient world, they’ll be experts in Greek and Latin, which I’m not even remotely knowledgeable about.

But there’s also a difference in attitude. Many historians are strongly opposed to the so-called “Whig interpretation” of history, in which you look at the past and try to pick out the threads that lead to the present. They feel it’s much more important to get into the frame of mind of the people who lived at the time you’re writing about. And they have a point. But I would argue that, when it comes to the history of science, a Whig interpretation is much more justifiable. The reason is that science, unlike, say, politics or religion, is a cumulative branch of knowledge. You can say, not merely as a matter of taste, but with sober judgment, that Newton knew more about the world than Aristotle did, and Einstein knew more than Newton did. There really has been progress. And to trace that progress, it makes sense to look at the science of the past and try to pick out modes of thought that either led to progress, or impeded progress.

Why did you focus on the history of physics and astronomy?

Well, that’s what I know about; that’s where I have some competence. But there’s another reason: It’s in physics and astronomy that science first became “modern.” Actually, it’s physics as applied to astronomy. Newton gave us the modern approach to physics in the late 17th century. Other branches of science became modern only more recently: chemistry in the early 19th century; biology in the mid-19th century, or perhaps the early 20th century. So if you want to understand the discovery of modern science — which is the subtitle of my book — that discovery was made in the context of physics, especially as applied to astronomy.

Theoretical physics is often seen as a quest for unification — we think of Newton, unifying terrestrial and celestial physics, or James Clerk Maxwell, unifying electricity, magnetism, and light. And of course your own work. Where does this quest for unification stand today?

It hasn’t advanced very much, except for the fact that the theories we speculated about in the 1960s have been confirmed by observation. In the theory I developed in 1967 — Abdus Salam developed essentially the same theory, independently, in 1968 — a symmetry-breaking field played a fundamental role, manifest in a particle called the Higgs boson, whose properties we predicted, except for its mass. Now, thanks to experiments performed at CERN, the Higgs has been verified. So we’re on much more solid ground. But we haven’t gone any further. There have been enormous efforts to take further steps, especially in the context of string theory. String theory would unify all of the forces — the strong and weak nuclear forces, and the electromagnetic force, together with gravity. String theory has provided some deep mathematical ideas about how that might work. But we’re far from being able to verify the theory — much further than we were from verifying the electroweak theory 40 years ago.

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is scheduled to start up again this year, with twice the power it had during its initial run. What do you hope it’ll find — I’m not sure if “hope” is the right word — when it’s turned on?

“The Standard Model is so complex that it would be hard to put it on a T-shirt.”

Hope is exactly the right word! It depends on what new particles might have masses in the range that the LHC can probe. There are certainly things to look for. The most obvious thing is the dark-matter particle. We know from astronomy that five-sixths of the matter in the universe is something that doesn’t fit in the Standard Model of particle physics. But we have no idea what its mass is. Astronomers can tell us the total mass of this dark matter, but not the mass carried by each particle. If it’s a conventional dark-matter particle, known as a WIMP — “weakly interacting massive particle” — then the LHC might find it. It depends on how heavy it is, and on how it decays, because you never see the particle itself, you only see the products of its decay.

The LHC might also find signs of supersymmetry, a theory positing that known particles each have a partner particle — but again, we don’t know what the mass of those partner particles would be. And here, there’s an even deeper uncertainty: We don’t know if supersymmetry has anything to do with the real world. There could also be heavier quarks, perhaps even heavier versions of the Higgs particle.

It’s sometimes said that supersymmetry would be a kind of thumbs-up for string theory, which has been impossible to test in any direct way. If the LHC finds no evidence for supersymmetry, what happens to string theory?

Damned if I know! Unfortunately, string theory doesn’t make very specific predictions about physics at the energies that are accessible to us. The kind of energies of the structures that string theory deals with are so high, we’ll probably never be able to reproduce them in the lab. But those energies were common in the very early universe. So by making cosmological observations, we may get a handle on the physics of those incredibly high energies. For example, if the matter-energy density at the time of inflation was of the order of magnitude that is characteristic of string theory, then a great deal of gravitational radiation would have been produced at that time, and it would have left an imprint on the cosmic microwave background. Last year, scientists working with the BICEP2 telescope announced that they had found these gravitational waves; now it seems they were actually measuring interstellar dust. Further observations with the Planck satellite may be able to settle this question. I think that’s one of the most exciting things going on in all of physical science right now.

For theorists, is the ultimate goal a set of equations we could put on a T-shirt?

That’s the aim. The Standard Model is so complex that it would be hard to put it on a T-shirt — though not impossible; you’d just have to write kind of small. Now, it wouldn’t take gravity into account, so it wouldn’t be a “theory of everything.” But it would be a theory of all the other things we study in our physics laboratories. The Standard Model is sufficiently complicated, and has so many arbitrary features, that we know it’s not the final answer. The goal would be to have a much simpler theory with fewer arbitrary features — maybe even none at all — that would fit on a T-shirt. We’re not there yet.

Some physicists suggest that we may have to settle for an array of different theories, perhaps representing different solutions to string theory’s equations. Maybe each solution represents a different universe — part of some larger “multiverse.”

I am not a proponent of the idea that our Big Bang universe is just part of a larger multiverse. It has to be taken seriously as a possibility, though. And it does lead to interesting consequences. For example, it would explain why some constants of nature, particularly the dark energy, have values that seem to be very favorable to the appearance of life. Suppose you have a multiverse in which constants like dark energy vary from one big bang to another. Then, if you ask why it takes the value it does in our Big Bang, you have to take into account that there’s a selection effect: It’s only in big bangs where the dark energy takes a value favorable to the appearance of life that there’s anybody around to ask the question.

“You don’t have to verify every prediction to know that a theory is correct.”

This is very closely analogous to a question that astronomers have discussed for thousands of years, concerning the Earth and the sun. Why is the sun the distance that it is from us? If it were closer, the Earth would be too hot to harbor life; if it were further away, the Earth would be too cold. Why is it at just the right distance? Most people, like Galen, the Roman physician, thought that it was due to the benevolence of the gods, that it was all arranged for our benefit. A much better answer — the answer we would give today — is that there are billions of planets in our galaxy, and billions of galaxies in the universe. And it’s not surprising that a few of them, out of all those billions, are positioned in a way that’s favorable for life.

But at least we can see some of those other planets. That’s not the case with the universes that are said to make up the multiverse.

It’s not part of the requirement of a successful physical theory that everything it describes be observable, or that all possible predictions of the theory be verifiable. For example, we have a very successful theory of the strong nuclear forces, called quantum chromodynamics [QCD], which is based on the idea that quarks are bound together by forces that increase with distance, so that we will never, even in principle, be able to observe a quark in isolation. All we can observe are other successful predictions of QCD. We can’t actually detect quarks, but it doesn’t matter; we know QCD is correct, because it makes predictions that we can verify.

Similarly, string theory, which predicts a multiverse, can’t be verified by detecting the other parts of the multiverse. But it might make other predictions that can be verified. For example, it may say that in all of the big bangs within the multiverse, certain things will always be true, and those things may be verifiable. It may say that certain symmetries will always be observed, or that they’ll always be broken according to a certain pattern that we can observe. If it made enough predictions like that, then we would say that string theory is correct. And if the theory predicted a multiverse, then we’d say that that’s correct too. You don’t have to verify every prediction to know that a theory is correct.

When we talk about the multiverse, it seems as though physics is brushing up against philosophy. A number of physicists, including Stephen Hawking and Lawrence Krauss, have angered philosophers by describing philosophy as useless. In your new book, it sounds as if you agree with them. Is that right?

I think academic philosophy is helpful only in a negative sense — that is, sometimes physicists get impressed with philosophical ideas, so that it can be helpful to hear from experts that those ideas have been challenged within the philosophical community. One example is positivism, which decrees that you should only talk about things that are directly detectable or observable. I think philosophers themselves have challenged that, and it’s good to know that.

On the other hand, a kind of philosophical discussion does go on among physicists themselves. For example, the discussion we were having earlier about the multiverse raised the issue of what we expect from a scientific theory — when do we reject it as being outside of science; when do we accept it as being confirmed. Those are meta-scientific questions; they’re philosophical questions. The scientists never seem to reach an agreement about those things — like in the case of the multiverse — but then, neither do the professional philosophers.

And sometimes, as with the example of positivism, the work of professional philosophers actually stands in the way of progress. That’s also the case with the approach known as constructivism — the idea that every society’s scientific theories are a social construct, like its political institutions, and have to be understood as coming out of a particular cultural milieu. I don’t know whether you’d call it a philosophical theory or a historical theory, but at any rate, I think that view is wrong, and I also think it could impede the work of science, because it takes away one of science’s great motivations, which is to discover something that, in an absolute sense, divorced from any cultural milieu, is actually true.

You’re 81. Many people would be thinking about retirement, but you’re very active. What are you working on now?

There’s something I’ve been working on for more than a year — maybe it’s just an old man’s obsession, but I’m trying to find an approach to quantum mechanics that makes more sense than existing approaches. I’ve just finished editing the second edition of my book, Lectures on Quantum Mechanics, in which I think I strengthen the argument that none of the existing interpretations of quantum mechanics are entirely satisfactory.

I don’t intend to retire, because I enjoy doing what I’m doing. I enjoy teaching; I enjoy following research; and I enjoy doing a little research on my own. The year before last, before I got onto this quantum mechanics kick, I was writing papers about down-to-earth problems in elementary particle theory; I was also working on cosmology. I hope I go back to that.

This article was reprinted on ScientificAmerican.com.

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  • Weinberg’s dislike of positivism and philosophy is identical to a refutation of the scientific method itself. From a scientific point of view, these statemetns are pure nonsense:

    “Similarly, string theory, which predicts a multiverse, can’t be verified by detecting the other parts of the multiverse.”

    “I think academic philosophy is helpful only in a negative sense — that is, sometimes physicists get impressed with philosophical ideas, so that it can be helpful to hear from experts that those ideas have been challenged within the philosophical community. One example is positivism, which decrees that you should only talk about things that are directly detectable or observable.”

    If you don’t create theories that are testable, then by definition, it isn’t science! Too many physicists have gone off the rails.

  • The very defining feature of the scientific method is that it rests on empiricism: to say that one doesn’t have to test each prediction of a scientific theory to know it’s correct countermands that very defining feature.

    Imagine Weinberg saying that about Newton’s law of gravitation, with respect to Mercury’s perihelion?

    Also, in the scientific method, you never know if a theory is “correct”, but merely effective. The moment an experiment disproves a single prediction of your theory, your theory stands invalidated, and that is PRECISELY how science progresses. That is precisely why the scientific method WORKS.

  • The multiverse theory is testable. It has been tested, and it is true. That theory is quantum mechanics which clearly makes most sense if and only if there is a multiverse.

  • It seems Weinberg’s channeling the ghost of Paul Feyerabend. Good for him.

    As for Hawking whining about philosophy, it’s likely the old pot and kettle story. If by ‘useful’ he means new technologies, i-crap, whatever, then the same goes for theoretical physics post Quantum Theory.

    If he means that philosophy isn’t useful for theoretical physicists, I take back my remark about ‘whining.’

  • Catherine/Arko,

    If you read Weinberg’s quote about positivism carefully, he says *directly* detectable or observable. It may be difficult to pull his intent out of a brief interview, but it seems what Weinberg was saying is that:

    1) A dominant *philosophy* can hamper the ability of a scientific community to look for creative solutions because of a kind of negative peer pressure. “One example is positivism, which decrees that you should only talk about things that are *directly* detectable or observable.” [emphasis added]

    2) There are often creative ways of looking around a seemingly blind corner to see what is really going on. He brings up QCD as a successful theory based on *indirect* observations that have lead to a very successful empirical/mathematical model.

    Do real “quarks” exist? The theory and math can only say that something “quark-like” happens. All we can say is that data has been collected during the transformation of a one *observable* subatomic particle into another *observable* subatomic particle data has been collected that implies the existence of an *unobservable* subsystem to which human beings have added a mathematical model … and the label “quark.” The mathematical models match the empirical data, not perfectly, but extraordinarily well. And yet, since no direct observation of a quark has ever been made, logical positivism says “quarks cannot be said to exist.” My guess is that Mr. Weinberg experienced logical positivistic attitudes in his personal life as a real prejudice and impediment to progress.

  • Dean,

    I get your point, but the title of the article includes “from Myth to Multiverse”. In other words, a speculation is made from string/supersymmetry/addyourfavoriteequation theory that the multiverse is real, when none of these theories have any empirical support whatsoever. It’s science fiction.

    There is nothing wrong with speculation of course, but there are many, many physicists today that have, shall we say, ‘fallen in love’ with their models. There are other physicists besides Weinberg who are basically saying the same thing – let’s drop the scientific method because our theories are too important. It’s a dangerous precedent. The scientific method is the only thing keeping scientists honest (and sane).

  • I read the book. Bravo – it’s great! Very digestible, and beyond Weinberg’s thesis that “modern” science started with ~16th century astronomy and physics, there are numerous fascinating insights into earlier epochs and past attempts to understand the natural world. Having dabbled in history-of-science literature (and having the perspective of a physicist myself), his approach of unapologetically viewing these developments through a modern lends broke new ground for me. A hundred Ph.D. theses will be born from observations in this book.

  • @Catherine re: your comment “If you don’t create theories that are testable, then by definition, it isn’t science! Too many physicists have gone off the rails.”
    I think the premise above doesn’t capture what Weinberg said. I believe Weinberg said that you don’t have to test ALL predictions of a theory. He didn’t say that you can prove a theory without testing ANY of its predictions. See his example of the quark which we can’t observe but which we know is there because so many other predictions of QCD have been validated empirically. In other words, he is saying that if a theory makes 90 empirically verifiable predictions and 10 unverifiable ones, and if, after a long series of experiments, the theory racks up a perfect score of 90/90 on the empirically verifiable predictions, then you are justified in holding the view that the phenomena predicted by the unverifiable predictions are actually “really” there, even though you never directly verified them empirically and you never will.

  • Dean,

    the idea that logical positivists insisted on *direct* verifiability, as opposed to some other kind, is a childish and naive picture of what logical positivism was.

    It always amazes me when I see people thinking that top philosophers, like Hempel and Carnap in this case, fail to see the most basic objections to their theories. Like, the internet can come up with a fatal response to their theories, and they missed it in the several decades they spent working on their research topic…

  • A large part of the problem of modern physics is that the scientific philosophies of the likes of Born, Einstein, and Newton hath been exiled.

    Newton believed in Physics as an Honorable pursuit, Science as a Noble pursuit, and Religion as an Exalted pursuit. In Principia he wrote:

    Rule I. We are to admit no more causes (multiverses, strings, loops, inflation, parralel universes) of natural things than such as are both true and sufficient (dx4/dt=ic) to explain their appearances.

    To this purpose the philosophers say that Nature does nothing in vain, and more is in vain when less will serve; for Nature is pleased with simplicity (dx4/dt=ic), and affects not the pomp of superfluous causes (inelegant strings, pseudoscientific M-theory, multiverses, hidden dimensions, bubble universes) .

    Rule II. Therefore to the same natural effects (relativity, quantum mechanics, time and all its arrows and asymmetries, the second law of thermodynamics) we must, as far as possible, assign the same causes (dx4/dt=ic).

    Einstein: When the solution is simple, God is answering. –Einstein

    Einstein: A physical theory can be satisfactory only if its structures are composed of elementary foundations. The theory of relativity is ultimately as little satisfactory as, for example, classical thermodynamics was before Boltzmann had interpreted the entropy as probability.

    Max Born: All great discoveries in experimental physics have been made due to the intuition of men who made free use of models which for them were not products of the imagination but representations of real things.

    Albert Einstein: Before I enter upon a critique of mechanics as a foundation of physics, something of a broadly general nature will first have to be said concerning the points of view according to which it is possible to criticize physical theories at all. The first point of view is obvious: The theory must not contradict empirical facts. . . The second point of view is not concerned with the relation to the material of observation but with the premises of the theory itself, with what may briefly but vaguely be characterized as the “naturalness” or “logical simplicity” of the premises (of the basic concepts and of the relations between these which are taken as a basis). This point of view, an exact formulation of which meets with great difficulties, has played an important role in the selection and evaluation of theories since time immemorial.

    How can we make sure that every grad student gets the opportunity to read these simple Truths?

  • i wish Quanta magazine would ask Weinberg, Hawking, Witten, et al, what they think of alternatives like LQG, NCG, Spinfoams, etc

  • Neglecting falsifiability and supporting the idea of multiverses do give a big boost to the further development of astrology.

  • The multiverse: I wandered about that during my stint at uni [HPS] and came up with the beer glass froth theory that we were one of the bubbles in the froth and an outside agency [natural] was feeding energy like the bubbles in the beer rising to the top. The beer itself is dark matter which I then called the AEther. [dark matter was hardly known then [to me]]. Of course we cannot get into the other universes as they have different laws so the point is mute in even extrapolating on that. I prefer [on no evidence] that this universe is infinite. Has a certain charm

  • I believe that it is very normal and quite “human” for an 81-year old to try to look back in his life in as positive a way as possible. Prof. Weinberg’s ideas (as succinctly presented here, I have not read the book!) remind one of Lord Kelvin’s famous comments at the beginning of the 20th century (a perfect candidate for a current “detail to be ironed out for physics to end” is dark energy, about which we have not the slightest idea).
    I believe that his ideas about philosophy are useful as opposite extremes to some extremes of the philosophers themselves, but wrong; I think he confounds “model success” with “truth”. For example, sure, QED can calculate properties of the world to the n-th decimal place, but I am not convinced that renormalization and especially perturbation theory is the “truth” about how the world works.
    Also I find quite questionable the idea that Newton, with his astrology and mysticism, knew more about the world than Aristotle, who had a much less pronounced place for the supernatural in his worldview and wrote (or tried to write) critically about everything from literary criticism to cosmology.
    The social construct idea, is, I believe, also equally wrong at its extreme as its extreme refusal; For example, maybe the models, or the description of the models of each theory, the part of the forefront of research that trickles down to the layman is clearly socially influenced if not socially defined. The ideas behind the mathematics of the models, i.e. the description/explanation that the scientist him/herself uses to describe the model to him/herself and generalize, surely has some educational/social component also. But more research 😉 and more philosophical thinking need to be done here.
    So, old, evidently brilliant and multiply rewarded people *should* continue being active and influential, but they should be criticized a bit more harshly by star-dazed science journalists.

  • Mathematical methods of progress, scare the living daylights out of me. Yes, via mathematics you may get somewhere, yet you may not understand exactly where it is you are. For instance, under the topic of Einstein’s theory of Special Relativity, you often here people say that there is no such a thing as being at absolute rest in space, nor do they accept the existence of absolute motion, and sometimes they even say that there is no such a thing as absolute Space-Time.

    Thus they have accepted a theory, and that theory, in their minds, is said to have no absolute foundation. With the absolutes still missing, there is no way in which one may absolutely understand that which they are dealing with.

    However, if you examine the idea of having “absolute” motion that is ongoing within an “absolute” 4 dimensional Space-Time environment, and do so using nothing but your mind and simple geometry, this leads you to fully and independently understanding Special Relativity, along with independently creating all of the SR equations. No previous knowledge concerning physics is required to achieve this.

    But most importantly, the absolute foundation is exposed. Also, understanding comes first, then equations follow. See http://goo.gl/fz4R0I for the how to do it.

  • “It’s not part of the requirement of a successful physical theory that everything it describes be observable, or that all possible predictions of the theory be verifiable. ”

    Therein lies the mathematician’s dodge. It may indeed not be necessary in the realm of mathematics for a model to accurately describe physical reality but it is a requirement of science that the model do exactly that. And to the extent that modern science has set aside the empirical requirement, modern science is a failure, an intellectual dead end. That Mr Weinberg does not understand this speaks to the extent to which he is only a mathematician, not a scientist. Science is about what is, not about what can be conjured by the mathematical imagination.

    “It hasn’t advanced very much, except for the fact that the theories we speculated about in the 1960s have been confirmed by observation……Now, thanks to experiments performed at CERN, the Higgs has been verified.”

    The Higgs may have been verified and confirmed to the satisfaction of mathematicians but to the few scientists still extant in the world it has not been actually detected, only inferred. Therefore scientifically speaking the Higgs does not exist in reality but only in the same realm of the human imagination that also harbors the unicorn.

    I do not wish to denigrate Mr Weinberg’s beliefs insofar as they reflect his personal views. I do however strongly object to any attempt to pass them off as scientific in nature. That which cannot be demonstrated to exist in reality cannot be claimed to exist in reality

  • Dean Waters,

    “The mathematical models match the empirical data, not perfectly, but extraordinarily well.”

    This is a false statement. The models do not match the empirical data since the empirical data do not contain any direct evidence of the existence of quarks which are a prediction and a requirement of the model. Ignoring that failure and concentrating only on the models successful predictions of quotidian particles represents an upending of proper scientific methodology. Mathematical formalisms have now supplanted empirical rigor in the scientific academy and as a consequence science has withered and been reduced to an afterthought.

    In this brave new world empirical reality is deficient. It lacks the necessary objects, entities, and events that are required by the baroque mathematical models of the scientific academy. The academy then insists that this is somehow a failure of empiricism and therefore the negative empirical results of scientific experiments can be ignored. And so we have two standard models, of cosmology and of particle physics, that bear no resemblance in their features to the physical reality they claim to describe. A far from exhaustive list of the imaginary bestiary populating the two standard models includes dark matter, dark energy, quarks, gluons, gravitons, gravitational waves, expanding space, curved space, W and Z particles, the Higgs boson, inflation and the big bang. None of them are supported by the empirical observations that science requires.

    All of your remarks regarding QCD apply equally well to Ptolemaic cosmology. The question at hand though is whether the models offer a clear and reasonably accurate description of physical reality. In both cases the answer is no. There are no epicycles and there are no quarks. Both models misrepresent the nature of physical reality.

    Apparently, to mathematicians, the functionality is all that matters and a math tool’s implications for physical reality can be ignored. However, science is fundamentally an inquiry into the nature of physical reality using the complementary probes of logic and empiricism. Mathematical tools are derived within the logical branch but if their structures are not constrained by the empirical requirement of science, then the models themselves become untethered from science. Such models become free floating denizens of the human imagination. They may be useful in some limited sense but they misrepresent the very structure of physical reality as revealed by empirical observations and measurements. Models such as QCD are in their essence unscientific in nature.

  • Science is simply the search for truth. Historically, the ‘scientific method’ has served us well, but I think science (especially physics) is nearing a boundary that will keep us from directly observing some aspects of the universe. If we believe that there are entities that are unobservable, or true statements that are not provable, then we must accept that eventually we will develop theories that may be true, but are testable only by checking their consistency and whether or not they lead to secondary predictions that can be verified. What if the structure of the universe is forever unobservable at Planck scales? What if a large portion of the ‘machinery’ of the universe doesn’t interact with us baryonic creatures and our baryonic instruments? What choice do we have than to hypothesize machinery or equations and see if they lead to correct predictions, even if the structures or machinery can never be proven to exist? I think common sense tells us that we will reach a limit beyond which we will never be able to probe. That doesn’t mean that nothing exists beyond that limit.

  • The scientific method imposes not a rigorous constraint upon ones ability to successfully disprove a hypothesis, it shines light upon how that hypothesis, if not outright rejected, may be improved upon and reinvestigated. The logical methodology and simplicity of such a step by step approach eases the 'brain data strain' of addressing raw empirical data (I.e., simply put, lots of numbers resulting from variable mathematical equations deriving from the hypothesis.). The use of logic in the organization of the methodology of the process of thinking is rooted, developed, and shown to be self evident in the works of philosopher-scientist-hermetics such as Plato, a philosophical precursor to the much esteemed, more specialized modern 'scientific method.'. Thus the use of philosophical models as starting points in generating hypothesis to be subjected to this approach would seem inherent to the approach itself. In my humble opinion, in a brave new world (that's always been there) of scientific exploration where we as scientists are exploring phenomenon such as particles behaving one way when looked at, and another way when detected, a philosophers approach on the issue of 'how' to think about a hypothesis, but not 'what' to think of empirical data is something I find to be refreshing.

  • There is critical wrong logic in Weinberg’s comment!
    According to the "quantum mechanic" there is "Schrödinger's cat" existence!
    But no body believe that ridiculous cat's reality!

    Same logic!
    According to the "string theory" there are "multiverse" existence.
    But I don;t believe that crazy "multiverse"!!!
    Cause that is not science but religion or belief something like that….

    Yes "string theory" might be RIGHT. But that is not require us to believe those "multiverse"! Such Like a case of Schrödinger's cat!!!!!!

    In short Weinberg wrong logically!

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