Saturday, January 27, 2018

Testing the Experts

A reader recently asked some important questions about how a non-expert can evaluate the opinion of the experts and determine whether or not the expert opinion has real validity. For instance, should the non-expert simply agree with the majority opinion of the experts? (You can find the discussion in the comments section within my post on The Grand Design.)

I have thought a lot about this question as has the reader who asked the questions, but I still don't have a definitive answer. So in this post, I will try to link together some diverse thoughts on this topic. Maybe my credentials as one of those "experts" in particle physics has helped me develop a worthwhile perspective.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

The Reports of the Death of String Theory may be Greatly Exaggerated

In a recent podcast, Dr. William Lane Craig discusses my blog post about the book The Grand Design by Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow. In his remarks, Dr. Craig says that he is surprised by Hawking's reference to String Theory because String Theory seems to have some fatal flaws. I have heard from others that String Theory has not lived up to the promise it seemed to show about 10 or 20 years ago. In this post, I will describe what String Theory is, why some people think it may be in trouble, and some theological implications of String Theory.

String Theory is a theoretical idea in physics that proposes that the most fundamental objects in the universe are one-dimensional objects called strings. In String Theory, the fundamental particles that we currently know make up the structure of the universe including leptons, quarks, and bosons, are composed of one-dimensional objects that are described as vibrating strings. Just as different vibrational modes of a guitar string will give different musical tones, so the different vibrating modes of the strings give rise to different particles.