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Old 06-19-2008, 11:30 AM   #1
Stu Pidasso
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Should string theory be taught in science class?

This question is geared toward the folks that think intelligent design should not be taught in science class.

I ask it because String theory suffers the same fundamental flaw of Intelligent Design. Both theories fail to make any testable predictions.

Who's man enough(or woman enough) to admit to having an inconsistent position.

Stu
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Old 06-19-2008, 11:46 AM   #2
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Re: Should string theory be taught in science class?

Intelligent design should not be taught in science class ever. It should be taught in class however, but as a controversial position amongst theists. Call it 'religions class' or 'society class'. Even then it is always highly biased and brought with an agenda.

I can remember from 'Religion class' our textbook said something to the effect of: Lava rock in indonesia, was carbon-dated as being thausands of years old, when it was just 50 year old rock. It was listed as a reason why people believe the earth to be 6000 year old. In that this critique on carbon-dating is not valid, and is thrown in the basket of "thats why you can not always trust what those scientists say" you can see the agenda behind it, or spot the bias.

It useful to know where people get their doubts and views from.

String theory should be thought in psysics class as a rather controversial theory. Not everything that is thaught has to be proven true. Just dont teach it as true and valid or as long as it is brought unbiased and without agenda. So don't teach creationism in biology class. But talk about creationism and why people are deluded to believe in it. That will teach you something useful.
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Old 06-19-2008, 11:48 AM   #3
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Re: Should string theory be taught in science class?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stu Pidasso View Post
This question is geared toward the folks that think intelligent design should not be taught in science class.

I ask it because String theory suffers the same fundamental flaw of Intelligent Design. Both theories fail to make any testable predictions.

Who's man enough(or woman enough) to admit to having an inconsistent position.

Stu
This is nonsense. String theory makes tons of testable predictions. It makes all the same predictions in the Newtonian realm as Newtonian mechanics, it makes all the same predictions in the GR realm as GR, it makes all the same predictions in the quantum realm as quantum mechanics, etc. If there was evidence against any one of those theories it would be evidence against string theory.
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Old 06-19-2008, 11:49 AM   #4
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Re: Should string theory be taught in science class?

First they are devising methods to test string theory

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"Our work shows that, in principle, string theory can be tested in a nontrivial way," explained Ira Rothstein, co-author of the paper and professor of physics at Carnegie Mellon.
It looks like the LHC does have the possibility to show string theory false.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases...0124175443.htm


Also, I imagine 99.99% of highschool students will never have the background needed to even begin to study string theory in a non pop science type way. You need to be fairly advanced in your understanding of mathematics to really tackle this. You would have to understand Differential Equations, Noncommutative Geometry, Differential Topology,

Here is a paper called Noncommutative Geometry for Pedestrians
http://arxiv.org/abs/gr-qc/9906059

One would only be exposed to true string theory in a specialized graduate program. I have friends who are currently working on their Ph.D's in Physics and they say that most likely they will never take a course on string theory.

Intelligent Design has no rigorousness to it. It answers every question by saying Jesus did it. String theory at least attempts to explain it using the tools they have. It is quite possible that some result contradicts string theory, and at that point they can say it is flawed. However if some result contradicts intelligent design, all a supporter of ID has to say is "god works in mysterious ways"
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Old 06-19-2008, 12:26 PM   #5
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Re: Should string theory be taught in science class?

I'm no expert on string theory, but as it stands now I'd say it should not be taught at lower age levels of education no, and that is disregarding its 'difficulty'. That it seems somewhat controversial still is a major factor in play for my view on this.

I'm prepared to change my opinion on this, however, pending on sound argumentation.
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Old 06-19-2008, 01:22 PM   #6
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Re: Should string theory be taught in science class?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stu Pidasso View Post
This question is geared toward the folks that think intelligent design should not be taught in science class.

I ask it because String theory suffers the same fundamental flaw of Intelligent Design. Both theories fail to make any testable predictions.

Who's man enough(or woman enough) to admit to having an inconsistent position.

Stu
Here is my position:

1. String theories, though speculative, are nevertheless mathematically well-defined theories being actively researched at nearly every university physics department. Intelligent design posits no scientific theory at all, nor is being researched at university biology departments.

2. String theories have a substantial publication record in the peer-reviewed scientific literature. Intelligent design has no such publication record.

3. String theories do make testable predictions, even if they are beyond our current experimental capabilities. Intelligent design makes no testable predictions, even in principle.

Conclusion: String theories are appropriate to teach in a university level physics curriculum, though probably not at the grade school level yet because they are too advanced and speculative at this time. Intelligent design is not appropriate to teach as science at any level, for the reasons given above.

Now where is my "inconsistency?"
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Old 06-19-2008, 01:39 PM   #7
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Re: Should string theory be taught in science class?

Prediction. MaxRaker will not be able to resist the temptation to feed the troll.
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Old 06-19-2008, 01:41 PM   #8
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Re: Should string theory be taught in science class?

Also, all theories* that make predictions that can currently be tested have been falsified. The choice is not between string theory and some form of quantum gravity that we can test today, it is between string theory and some other theory that can't be tested yet.



*I should say all theories that don't involve some Ad-Hoc cutoff of gravity at the Planck scale
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Old 06-19-2008, 01:41 PM   #9
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Re: Should string theory be taught in science class?

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Prediction. MaxRaker will not be able to resist the temptation to feed the troll.
Good timing
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Old 06-19-2008, 03:21 PM   #10
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Re: Should string theory be taught in science class?

What "science class" are you talking about? Elementary school? High school? Undergraduate introductory physics? String theory already is taught at the graduate level (though not necessarily in a formal class setting). If you are talking about high school or lower, then no, string theory probably shouldn't be taught for the same reason that quantum mechanics isn't taught at that level.
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Old 06-19-2008, 03:42 PM   #11
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Re: Should string theory be taught in science class?

i think string theory is a great thing to be taught in high school science classes. most of the education kids get in science is at least 100 years old, it is good to remind kids that there are things still being researched, that we don't know all the answers. it should be taught in the context of, "we don't know the answer to this question, but this is the leading hypothesis right now". it is a hell of a lot more interesting than memorizing a bunch of mechanics equations and plugging in numbers like a lot of highschool classes do.
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Old 06-19-2008, 04:17 PM   #12
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Re: Should string theory be taught in science class?

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i think string theory is a great thing to be taught in high school science classes. most of the education kids get in science is at least 100 years old, it is good to remind kids that there are things still being researched, that we don't know all the answers. it should be taught in the context of, "we don't know the answer to this question, but this is the leading hypothesis right now". it is a hell of a lot more interesting than memorizing a bunch of mechanics equations and plugging in numbers like a lot of highschool classes do.
High schools wouldn't be able to find the teachers.
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Old 06-19-2008, 05:23 PM   #13
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Re: Should string theory be taught in science class?

They should both be taught, of course, to people who have made the decision to learn about them. Neither should find its way into anyone's curriculum by government legislation/force.
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Old 06-19-2008, 05:43 PM   #14
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Re: Should string theory be taught in science class?

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High schools wouldn't be able to find the teachers.
mine did, but it wasn't your average highschool. i think The Elegant Universe should be required reading as it seems a travesty that the vast majority of the population has no idea what the underlying principles of the universe are. the fact that people graduate high school without taking a physics class at all should be unacceptable. the class i took in modern physics in high school taught me more and did more to make me want to learn than any other class and it wasn't even close.

also putting the two on the same level is laughable. string theory isn't experimentally backed up but it is on the forefront of research and gives a glimpse into modern physics, creationism is a dated concept that has been long dismissed by most authorities on the subject.
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Old 06-19-2008, 07:05 PM   #15
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Re: Should string theory be taught in science class?

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mine did, but it wasn't your average highschool. i think The Elegant Universe should be required reading as it seems a travesty that the vast majority of the population has no idea what the underlying principles of the universe are. the fact that people graduate high school without taking a physics class at all should be unacceptable. the class i took in modern physics in high school taught me more and did more to make me want to learn than any other class and it wasn't even close.

also putting the two on the same level is laughable. string theory isn't experimentally backed up but it is on the forefront of research and gives a glimpse into modern physics, creationism is a dated concept that has been long dismissed by most authorities on the subject.
while i agree that most peoples understanding of even the most basic physical principles is pathetic, this request is pretty extreme for your average high school student. when i was in high school a lot of people i knew, myself included, were too busy getting high, drinking, gambling etc to even do your basic busy work, much less read something like the elegant universe.

i didn't take a physics class in high school and i think i've turned out ok, i just waited until college to focus on school and become a student of science.
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Old 06-19-2008, 08:18 PM   #16
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Re: Should string theory be taught in science class?

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mine did, but it wasn't your average highschool. i think The Elegant Universe should be required reading as it seems a travesty that the vast majority of the population has no idea what the underlying principles of the universe are. the fact that people graduate high school without taking a physics class at all should be unacceptable. the class i took in modern physics in high school taught me more and did more to make me want to learn than any other class and it wasn't even close.

also putting the two on the same level is laughable. string theory isn't experimentally backed up but it is on the forefront of research and gives a glimpse into modern physics, creationism is a dated concept that has been long dismissed by most authorities on the subject.
I thought some students graduating high school are barely able to read and write.
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Old 06-19-2008, 08:26 PM   #17
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Re: Should string theory be taught in science class?

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I thought some students graduating high school are barely able to read and write.
yeah, we should work on that one too.
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Old 06-19-2008, 09:13 PM   #18
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Re: Should string theory be taught in science class?

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Originally Posted by furyshade View Post
mine did, but it wasn't your average highschool. i think The Elegant Universe should be required reading as it seems a travesty that the vast majority of the population has no idea what the underlying principles of the universe are. the fact that people graduate high school without taking a physics class at all should be unacceptable. the class i took in modern physics in high school taught me more and did more to make me want to learn than any other class and it wasn't even close.

also putting the two on the same level is laughable. string theory isn't experimentally backed up but it is on the forefront of research and gives a glimpse into modern physics, creationism is a dated concept that has been long dismissed by most authorities on the subject.
I was pretty advanced in high school and I don't think I would've been ready for that book back then. I just read it at 24 and I barely* understood it.

*Some parts were way over my head.
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Old 06-19-2008, 09:22 PM   #19
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Re: Should string theory be taught in science class?

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I was pretty advanced in high school and I don't think I would've been ready for that book back then. I just read it at 24 and I barely* understood it.

*Some parts were way over my head.
A book like that is not really supposed to be understood fully. The fact that you realize that you didn't understand all of it means you probably got exactly what the author wanted you to get from it.
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Old 06-19-2008, 09:24 PM   #20
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Re: Should string theory be taught in science class?

And for the record I DO NOT want string theory taught in high schools. The string wars are bad enough as it is
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Old 06-19-2008, 09:29 PM   #21
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Re: Should string theory be taught in science class?

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I was pretty advanced in high school and I don't think I would've been ready for that book back then. I just read it at 24 and I barely* understood it.

*Some parts were way over my head.
i guess i was pretty lucky in having a teacher who was well qualified to teach from the book and gave me a good grasp of the things that someone without a physics degree could grasp. i still think that the concepts are important, anyone can understand the basic ideas behind GR and QM. maybe i am biased but i just think physics is as important as math and probably does more to get an understanding of how things work.
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Old 06-20-2008, 11:10 AM   #22
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Re: Should string theory be taught in science class?

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High schools wouldn't be able to find the teachers.
You don't need teachers for this. Just pop in a video for a day.
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Old 06-20-2008, 01:15 PM   #23
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Re: Should string theory be taught in science class?

Some people might be overlooking another important fact:

A theory isn't just taught because we think we understand it. It is taught because of the accurate predictions it makes AND... Because it is the best available explanation for something. I'm not sure if string theory is yet the best available explanation for anything. But evolution most definitely is. It beautifully explains the biological diversity we see today, while ID is no explanation at all.

Last edited by Lestat; 06-20-2008 at 01:21 PM.
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Old 06-20-2008, 02:05 PM   #24
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Re: Should string theory be taught in science class?

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Some people might be overlooking another important fact:

A theory isn't just taught because we think we understand it. It is taught because of the accurate predictions it makes AND... Because it is the best available explanation for something. I'm not sure if string theory is yet the best available explanation for anything. But evolution most definitely is. It beautifully explains the biological diversity we see today, while ID is no explanation at all.
Isn't string theory the "best" explanation which unites gravity with the other forces?
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Old 06-20-2008, 02:14 PM   #25
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Re: Should string theory be taught in science class?

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Isn't string theory the "best" explanation which unites gravity with the other forces?
I thought it was the only one, which was why it was given so much attention.
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