To what extent are concepts like string theory, quantum mechanics, etc true?
It's a whole new concept for me, as I understand it string theory is one of many theories that attempt to piece together the "theory of everything," which would then make it True in principal? I'm asking because I read Stephen Hawkings Grand Design and I watched the BBC special about his information paradox and I'm now more confused than ever. Are any of the claims made by physicists testable or verifiable and if they are not what are the chances that they will be now that we have the LHC? Also I had a discussion with some friends regarding the validity of quantum mechanics and theoretical physics and the consensus among non scientists seems to be that these theories are equally as absurd as belief in god since they cannot be proven with testing. I understand that these theories are mathematically sound and have a functional internal logic according to the physicists but it's difficult to explain this concept to someone who is telling you the idea of multiple dimensions is absurd. Also I can't exactly walk them through these complex equations since I don't fully understand them myself. If anyone can provide some links or a good beginners book to understanding this stuff that would be great.