Today I was reading Not Even Wrong who quotes Susskind on the Multiverse:
In 1974 I had an interesting experience about how scientific consensus forms. People were working on the as yet untested theory of hadrons [subatomic particles such as protons and neutrons], which is called quantum chromodynamics, or QCD. At a physics conference I asked, “You people, I want to know your belief about the probability that QCD is the right theory of hadrons.” I took a poll. Nobody gave it more than 5 percent. Then I asked, “What are you working on?” QCD, QCD, QCD. They were all working on QCD. The consensus was formed, but for some odd reason, people wanted to show their skeptical side. They wanted to be hard-nosed. There’s an element of the same thing around the multiverse idea. A lot of physicists don’t want to simply fess up and say, “Look, we don’t know any other alternative.This then got me thinking along the lines of being "Turing Complete". As many of you may know, if you want to solve a problem that can be solved algorithmically, any Turing Complete framework will do the job.
Now back to Susskind's quote. He implies that people mostly didn't believe in QCD at first, but since everybody was working on it eventually it found the most success in physics. Did QCD become successful because it is really *the* correct version of what is going on in particle physics or is it because it was the most worked on framework and so ultimately was cleverly engineered to model reality?
Now, QCD makes successful predictions and so it is more than a framework, it is a successful scientific theory. However, part of me wonders if the physics community used a completely different approach to particle physics and if everyone worked on that alternative approach if eventually they would have found a completely different framework that not only explains particle physics but successfully makes predictions.
So how much of current physical theories are *exact* and *unique* versus how many have a "Turing Completeness" about them such that if the whole community works on them for decades, eventually they both fit the data and make successfully predictions?
So this becomes my question: Are the main theories in physics accepted because they are the unique theories that fit the data and make predictions or are they accepted because the community adopted them early on and cleverly molded them into models that fit the data and eventually make successful predictions? If the later, are these theories really unique? Is there a "Turing Complete" set of frameworks that can always describe the same underlying physics and coincidentally make successful predictions making them valid scientific thoeries?
And if this is all a set of "Turing Complete" frameworks, where one framework is favored by the community, can we ever know what is really happening versus what we have forced to work?