Science writer Baggott (Higgs: The Invention and Discovery of the God Particle, 2012, etc.) argues that many of the more esoteric theories that have captured scientific and public attention no longer abide by the rules of scientific exploration.
From supersymmetry to the holographic principle to the multiverse, the author dismantles the notion that a theory can be properly scientific without any observational or experimental evidence, calling such ideas "fairy-tale physics" loaded with "metaphysical baggage." Since some of these popular theories—for example, the idea that ours is one of an infinite number of parallel universes—hold very little or even no potential to ever be verified experimentally, Baggott criticizes the ways in which physicists produce content aimed at a general audience that tends to take such information at face value. A keener skepticism, he argues, is necessary in order to protect the definition of a traditional scientific method and retain space between theories supported by experimental evidence and theories that remain mere possibilities. Otherwise, the very notion of "reality" becomes muddled in the race to justify physics that remain on the fringe of fact. Baggott deftly guides readers through many of the most cutting-edge and bizarre-seeming theories that have found a strong following by leaders in the field, and he examines how each defies principles of testability, fact and even reality. The result is a book that is brave in its willingness to take on these scientific giants and provocative for its compelling, and well-argued, suggestion that modern physics may not be science at all.
Baggott pulls no punches in his accusation that modern physics has left the realm of reality and is, instead, its own brand of fiction.