Let all flowers to flourish in the Garden of Science
Phil Gibbs has a very nice posting with title Physics on the Fringe: Book Review talking about the importance of allowing communication of all ideas in science. In Big Science heavy censorship had been accepted as something completely natural during last decades and mediocricy and conformism have become the main virtues of scientist. I encourage the readers to read the posting. I glue below my own comment describing by a concrete example how dangerous it is to censor out bottleneck ideas, and that sooner or later the community must face the truth in any case.
The best argument in favor of allowing all flowers to flourish in the Garden of Science comes from the development of particle physics during the last decades. One cannot speak of triumph;-).
The GUT paradigm (GUTP for short ) has been dominating during this period. One of its basic implications is the instability of proton. Quarks and leptons belong to single big multiplet of the gauge group so that baryon and lepton number are not conserved separately and proton decays. It has been however experimentally found that proton does not decay in any of he predicted manners (it could of course decay but not via the channels breaking B and L!). The fine tuning needed to keep proton stable enough has become standard challenge of any GUT. Also the low energy limit of string theory relies on GUTP. Everything in mainstream relies on it.
GUTP might be however wrong! We cannot prove this experimentally since it is always possible to fine tune the proton lifetime to be long enough. We can only show the theoretical implausibility of GUTP and proton lifetime has have already done that. Also the huge mass differences between particles fermions belonging to same multiplet of symmetry make GUTP implausible and suggest that something is lacking: the notion of scale. All this have been however put under the rug.
This inability to disprove GUTP experimentally makes things worse and Big Science with its enormous institutional inertia forces to continue on the wrong track: too many faces to loose. This is like trying to stop the march of a million army marching towards its destruction even when generals quite well know what will happen.
There are indeed theories outside the GUT paradigm but they have been systematically censored out. For decades ago the decision makers of finnish science made absolutely clear to me that work with non-standard theories is allowed only for retired professors. They also emphasized the necessity of critical mass: the age of individuals in science is over. Nowadays we would talk about group think instead of critical mass.
LHC is now demonstrating the failure of superstring approach and of the standard view about SUSY, and perhaps also the failure of Higgs paradigm. From this it should be only a small step to the realization that the entire GUTP has been totally wrong. My sincere hope is that this realization comes as soon as possible.
If this happens, we will return to the roots and ask questions, which could have been asked for four decades ago. Could baryon and lepton numbers be conserved separately as it indeed looks? What quark color really is: could it be that gauge theory description is only an approximation? Could standard model symmetries have some deeper meaning? This return to the roots could have been possible decades ago if the communication of alternative visions about fundamental physics would have been allowed.