by PhilipJ on 26 June 2006
The truth is, the Science of Nature has been already too long made only a work of the Brain and the Fancy: It is now high time that it should return to the plainness and soundness of Observation on material and obvious things. It is said of great Empires, That the best way to preserve them from decay, is to bring them back to the first Principles, the Arts on which they did begin. The same is undoubtedly true in Philosophy, that by wandring far away into invisible Notions, it has almost quite destroy’d itself, and it can never be recovered, or continued, but by returning to the same sensible paths, in which it did at first proceed.
Robert Hooke in Micrographia, 1665
It is amazing to me that a complaint of science in the 1660s could, without the flowery language and odd punctuation, be said readily today as well. I’m not able to critique with any authority the trendy subjects in quantum gravity, but their lack of connection to experiment has made me question the validity of the entire enterprise. That the mathematics may be beautiful isn’t in question, but how long do we have to wait for some predictions to test before trying something new?