Most scientists don’t read philosophy and that is a shame. Imre Lakatos is really the only philosopher who captures too often what I see in the scientific method. In some sense he is similar to Kuhn about science being paradigm oriented. I am posting this because of a discussion in what arguments people should stop using thread, which said those atheist physicists are ruining everything again, criticizing the idea that their bias’ might influence their theorizing. Lakatos thinks science defends the main theoretical pillars of its world view by changing anything and everything out on the logical periphery. And it is a bias.
I want to be sure to differentiate theoretical from observational science here. Observations using equipment is the best we can do in approaching objectivity in science, but even there, there are problems. But theory is NOT observation but an EXPLANATION of the observations in a unified story of how Nature works. How we handle fine-tuning is a theoretical issue. Lakatos says:
“The story is about an imaginary case of planetary misbehaviour. A physicist of the pre-Einsteinian era takes Newton’s mechanics and his law of gravitation, (N), the accepted initial conditions, and calculates, with their help, the path of a newly discovered small planet, p. But the planet deviates from the calculated path. Does our Newtonian physicist consider that the deviation was forbidden by Newton’s theory and therefore that, once established, it refutes the theory N? No. He suggests that there must be a hitherto unknown planet p’ which perturbs the path of p. He calculates the mass, orbit, etc., of this hypothetical planet and then asks an experimental astronomer to test his hypothesis. The planet p’ is so small that even the biggest available telescopes cannot possibly observe it: the experimental astronomer applies for a research grant to build yet a bigger one.’ In three years’ time the new telescope is ready. Were the unknown planet p’ to be discovered, it would be hailed as a new victory of Newtonian science. But it is not. Does our scientist abandon Newton’s theory and his idea of the perturbing planet? No. He suggests that a cloud of cosmic dust hides the planet from us. He calculates the location and properties of this cloud and asks for a research grant to send up a satellite to test his calculations. Were the satellite’s instruments (possibly new ones, based on a little-tested theory) to record the existence of the conjectural cloud, the result would be hailed as an outstanding victory for Newtonian science. But the cloud is not found. Does our scientist abandon Newton’s theory, together with the idea of the perturbing planet and the idea of the cloud which hides it? No. He suggests that there is some magnetic field in that region of the universe which disturbed the instruments of the satellite. A new satellite is sent up. Were the magnetic field to be found, Newtonians would celebrate a sensational victory. But it is not. Is this regarded as a refutation of Newtonian science? No. Either yet another ingenious auxiliary hypothesis is proposed or. . . the whole story is buried in the dusty volumes of periodicals and the story never mentioned again.” Imre Lakatos, “Falsification and the Methodology of Scientific Research Programmes,” in Imre Lakatos and Alan Musgrave, Criticism and the Growth of Knowledge, ( New York: Cambridge University Press, 1970), p. 100-101
Similar things are occurring with the search for Planet X going on right now. https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/planets/hypothetical-planet-x/in-depth/
Lakatos I believed used Newtonian physics because he was writing prior to the widespread knowledge that the outer stars in galaxies do not obey what we predict from general relativity; that knowledge broke through in around 1980. When Lakatos said they would look for a cloud, well in the Modern version of Lakatos’ tale, we have a cloud/halo of dark matter surrounding the galaxies being postulated. Kind of eerily similar to what Lakatos said. But there are problems with this fix.
“But now another cluster spoils the party. At a distance of 2.4 billion light-years in the constellation of Orion, Abell 520 also consists of two colliding clusters. But according to a team led by Andisheh Mahdavi and Henk Hoekstra of the University of Victoria in British Columbia, the dark matter in Abell 520 does not appear to be tied to the galaxies. Instead the lensing observations-carried out with the 3.66meter Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope on Mauna Kea in Hawaii-indicate that enormous amounts of dark matter are concentrated in the core of the colliding pair, where most of the hot gas is found but few galaxies are seen. As the team writes in its October 20 Astrophysical Journal paper, this dissociation between dark matter and galaxies "cannot be easily explained within the current … dark matter paradigm." Govert Schilling, “Dark Riddles,” Scientific American, Nov. 2007, p. 32
Further, years of searching have found nothing. https://www.newscientist.com/article/2117865-no-sign-of-seasonal-dark-matter-after-four-years-of-searching/ A recent group thinks it is ordinary gas; time will tell if they are right.
But no one is altering their view of gravity based upon the observations–and Im not saying they should, I’m just saying the theoretical bias makes us want to change other pillars of the theory, not the central pillar. And that makes theoretical science not completely objective.
Has science abandoned supersymmetry even thought it absolutely requires a partner particle for every known particle (called sparticles), and theoretically they should have been seen in the LHC but they are all missing in action. Supersymmetry is too valued an assumption to give it up that easily.
So when it comes to things like the fine tuning of the universe, I would contend that one of the central pillars of the world view of physicists is that of materialism and they will change everything peripheral to that view in order to maintain it. It is what we humans do. It is what Lakatos says we will do. Since saying we won the cosmic lottery by buying one ticket isn’t very convincing to save the pillar of materialism. But the multiverse is very handy-we won the lottery after buying an infinitude of tickets