Nautilus

Is It Time to Embrace Unverified Theories?

In the world of modern physics, there is change afoot. Researchers are striving so hard to leap beyond the mostly settled science of the Standard Model that they’re daring to break from one of science’s crucial traditions. In pursuit of a definitive, unifying description of reality, some scientists are arguing that scientific theories may not require experimental proof to be accepted as truth.

The philosophical tradition of defining scientific knowledge as inherently empirical, founded on observation, goes back centuries. And in the 20th century, Karl Popper, one of the few philosophers regarded as a hero among scientists, moved the paradigm one step further. He argued that a theory must be falsifiable to be scientific. So a scientist

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