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I have grown up in Germany
and throughout my education I have been told over and over and over again
to not form my opinion based on the opinions of others.
I have been warned by everyone from the neighbors to my grandparents
that people in large groups
can come to believe unbelievable things,
if only sufficiently many other people believe those things too.
It’s not knowledge I thought I’d ever need.
I mean, it’s not like I’m in the military – I’m a theoretical physicist.
But then I was at this large conference and one speaker after the other
repeated the same arguments, arguments to believe in a particularly beautiful theory called supersymmetry.
It was like a profession of faith, really, and it freaked me out.
I wanted nothing to do with that and I began working on something else.
That was 15 years ago.
I had assumed that this belief would go away if no evidence was found to support these ideas.
But that hasn’t happened.
Instead, it has become accepted practice to amend theories that run into conflict with experiment.
The result is that now in the foundations of physics most theories are pretty but unfalsifiable.
And no one sees anything wrong with that.
Because everyone does it.
It’s a failure of science to self-correct.
It’s something that shouldn’t happen.
But it’s happening.
And it’s not just physics.