Spinning Yarns

In honour of the occasion, Sean decided to poke the string theory pile

It is an interesting thread, including the comments.

But, especially in view of some of the stuff there and here and over on Uncertain Principles and Backreaction on general issues in physics and science, it is worth remembering that string theory in particular, and the theoretical particle physics and quantum gravity in general are a small part of the physical sciences, and even a small part of theoretical physics.

Really. Most of physicists, even cosmologists, don’t have continual existential angst about the meaning of it all and whether our theory is the One True Theory of Everything.
Most of the time.


  1. #1 Blake Stacey
    April 2, 2007

    I must confess that I generally let my eyes go unfocused while I scroll through a Cosmic Variance comment thread. I generally stop for only a few names: Sean Carroll and the other hosts of course, Aaron Bergman, Jacques Distler, and a handful of others. (When John Baez shows up, it’s always worthwhile.) If they reference an earlier comment, I’ll go up and read it. I’m sure this introduces some selection bias, but hey, my online procrastination time is limited.

  2. #2 Sean Carroll
    April 2, 2007

    Don’t worry Blake, I do the same thing.

  3. #3 Blake Stacey
    April 2, 2007

    (sigh of relief)

    I mean, some great stuff has come up in the CV threads. Lots of discussions have had large magnitudes in the vector space spanned by “entertaining” and “informative”. The Weakless Universe and Aaron Bergman’s take on Smolin’s evolution-by-black-hole idea are just the first two examples which spring to mind. I’d actually like to see an FAQ, “open thread” type thing every now and again (though such things must certainly be tiring on the esteemed blog hosts).

  4. #4 Dr. Elliot McGucken
    April 3, 2007

    Imagine if all the hundreds of millions in tax, tuition, and foundation dollars were divided evenly amongst competing theories.

    Over the past three years, Peter Woit has run an amazing blog, but unfortunately there are no new postulates to be found on it regarding physics. There are thousands of posts pertaining to Lubos, but I could find no posts pertaining to new theories based up simple elegance and beauty, underlying physical reality.

    As each one of the following pages contains multiple refrences to Lubos, the result is thousands of posts pertaining to Lubos, at the expense of advancing physics:

    At any rate, I decided to help Woit out–let’s see if he allows comments pertaining to discussions of new theories, rooted in logic and reason–here’s the thread:

    Hello All,

    I recently counted the references to Lubos on Peter Woit’s blog, and they number in the thousands, culiminating in the above comment, linking to a video of Lubos which has not all that much to do with physics:


    Indeed, it is entertaining, but I am hoping that as we move forward, we can move away from the snarky insiderism and postmodern performance art, and towards discussing physical theories rooted in logic and reason, such as Moving Dimensions Theory, which unifies disparate physical phenomena with a simple postulate: “The fourth dimension is expanding relative to the three spatial dimensions. ”

    This simple postulate offers a physical model underlying and unifiying:

    1) length contraction
    2) time dilation
    3) the equivalence of mass and energy
    4) the constant velocity of light
    5) the independence of the speed of light from the velocity of the source

    1) action at a distance
    2) wave-particle duality
    3) interference phenomena
    4) EPR paradox

    1) Time’s arrow
    2) Entropy

    1) a fourth expanding dimension can be interepreted as many dimensions, each time it expands

    1) wave/particle duality
    2) time/space duality
    3) energy/mass duality
    4) E/B duality

    1) Gravitational redshift
    2) Gravity waves
    3) Gravitation attraction

    1) quantum foam
    2) the smearing of space and time at small distances
    3) Hawking’s imaginary time

    1) MDT explains away Godel’s Block Universe
    2) MDT unfreezes time
    3) Resolves Zeno’s Paradox


    The fourth dimension is expanding relative to the three spatial dimensions in a sphereically symmetric manner, in units of the Planck length, at the rate of c.

    This means that every point in three dimnesional space is always expanding into a fourth dimensional sphere with a radius of the plank length. A photon is matter caught on the surface of this quantized expansion, and thus energy is quantized. The expansion of the fourth dimension occurs at the rate of c, and thus the velocity of all photons is c.

    Check out the t-shirt with a simple proof of MDT:


    “The only way to stay stationary in the fourth dimension is to move at the speed of light through the three spatial dimensions. Ergo the fourth dimension is expanding at the rate of c relative to the three spatial dimenions.”

    How sad it is that when truth stares modern physicists in the face, they must close their eyes so as to get a postdoc or raise more funds for String Theory.

    Moving Dimensions Theory is in complete agreement with all
    experimental tests and phenomena associated with special and general relativity. MDT is in complete agreement with all physical phenomena as predicted by quantum mechanics and demonstrated in extensive experiments. The genius and novelty of MDT is that it presents a common physical model which shows that phenomena from both relativity and quantum mechanics derive from the same fundamental physical reality.

    Nowhere does String Theory nor Loop Quantum Gravity account for quantum entanglement nor relativistic time dilation. MDT shows these derive from the same underlying physical reality. Nowhere does ST nor LQG account for wave-particle duality nor relativistic length contraction. MDT shows these derive from the same underlying physical reality. Nowhere does ST nor LQG account for the constant speed of light, nor the independence of the speed of light on the velocity of the source, nor entropy, nor time’s arrow. MDT shows these derive from the same underlying physical reality. Nowhere does String Theory nor

    Loop Quantum Gravity resolve the paradox of Godel’s Block Universe which troubled Eisntein. MDT resolves this paradox.

    Simply put, MDT replaces the contemporary none-theories with a physical theory, complete with a simple postulate that unifies formerly disparate phenomena within a simple context.


    The fourth dimension is expanding relative to the three spatial dimensions.

    If at first the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it.

    -Albert Einstein


  5. #5 Ijon Tichy
    April 7, 2007

    Sean Carroll wrote:

    Don’t worry Blake, I do the same thing.

    Very interesting! A well-known physics blogger confesses to effectively skipping the comments (to his posts) of all but a few people. So much for “we love comments and aim to cultivate a lively and enjoyable space for discussion.” Maybe you should change that to “we ignore most comments, and only pay attention to those comments that come from a select group of people.”

  6. #6 Steinn Sigurdsson
    April 7, 2007

    Ars longa, vita brevis.

    Sean gets a lot of comments, he is unlikely to carefully read all of them…
    he also has a sense of humour.

  7. #7 Ijon Tichy
    April 7, 2007

    I apologise to Sean for being an idiot and I take back what I said.

  8. #8 jamie
    September 14, 2009

    To what extent can our limited set of observations be used to pin down the specifics of a “Theory of Everything”? In the limit where the links are arbitrarily tenuous, a “Theory of Everything” might become a “Theory of Anything”. A clear understanding of what we can and can not expect to learn about the universe is particularly important in the field of particle cosmology: taken from http://www.mathiverse.com/forum/beyond-the-stranded-model