Quantum theory and special and general relativity (which Carter, like many outsider physicists, rejects) aren’t entrenched for no reason. They seem to describe the world in a real way - having proven empirically robust and useful in various applications. Microchips, GPS satellites, and many other inventions rely on the remarkably precise predictions they make about how matter and energy interact. Wertheim points this out, but fails to adequately address the obvious question - given these theories’ successes, is it really all that much to ask that an outsider theory provide at least as much explanatory power?No, it isn't too much to ask, but it is too much to ask of these crackpots. But the most annoying aspect is equating a field such as physics, where an objective verification and validity exist, to something in the arts, where subjectivity and personal opinion rule.
Some outsider theories of physics might be evocative and beautiful, but if their proponents haven’t done the legwork (read: math) to show why they can compete with other, more established theories, why should we listen to them? Why should physics be an open endeavor in the same way most people would agree art should be (an argument Wertheim hints at repeatedly)? Since she sidesteps these questions, “Physics on the Fringe,’’ while often fascinating, doesn’t quite reach its potential.I'd say that anyone that equates those two fields is clueless to what science is.