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Quantum mechanics requires a vacuum energy 40 orders of magnitude higher than that indicated by cosmological observations. Which side is most likely to be right,& when the truth is finally established beyond doubt,as one day it will be,won't this be extremely embarrassing for whichever group turns out to be wrong? Forty orders of magnitude is not a trivial error.

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  • $\begingroup$ I can't see the now deleted comments(s) before yours. But I think the problem is that they don't understand your question. Please give much more details. You might also try physics.stackexchange.com . $\endgroup$ – peterh Jun 9 '19 at 23:03
  • $\begingroup$ @peterh Just to clear things up, there are no deleted comments here. $\endgroup$ – HDE 226868 Jun 9 '19 at 23:20
  • $\begingroup$ Orthogonally to that, though, this question is too opinion-based, for two reasons: First, we have no idea as to what future theories of physics and cosmology will arise, or even which current ones will stand up to even more stringent tests at high energies and exotic conditions. Second, whether a result is embarrassing boils down to an individual's personal feelings. For all of these reasons, the question unfortunately isn't a good fit for the site in its current form. $\endgroup$ – HDE 226868 Jun 9 '19 at 23:22
  • $\begingroup$ Virtually all questions are opinion based;it is someone's opinion that there are fractional charges within the nucleus,that there are WIMPs which explain dark matter,& so on. Whether or not one side or the other would feel embarrassed if the view they have championed were discredited is a matter of opinion.but don't tell me that the side which is finally proved right won't be feeling triumphant. Scientists love to prove their rivals wrong,& well you know it. $\endgroup$ – Michael Walsby Jun 10 '19 at 8:10
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    $\begingroup$ Nobody on the "quantum mechanics" side thinks the "vacuum energy = extremely high value" calculation is correct -- it's obviously wrong. The debate is about why it's wrong, and why it's not exactly zero (as naive cancellation arguments might suggest) but is instead a very small, positive value. $\endgroup$ – Peter Erwin Jun 10 '19 at 13:25
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I'm not sure the language of "sides" really applies here. There is a model, one of the predictions seems to be wrong, so we will try to find a better model.

By way of analogy, look at the model of black-body radiation developed in the 19th century, one of its predictions was that an infinite amount of energy should be radiated at very short wavelengths. That prediction was ridiculous, so over the early part of the 20th century, people developed a better model, that "better model" became known as quantum mechanics.

There's nothing embarrassing about a model being wrong. All models are wrong, buts some are more useful than others. QM is a very useful model of reality in many many situations but seems to give some surprising values. So physicists try to find something better. There aren't "groups". This isn't a school playground. Being wrong isn't embarrassing, it just means the theories (or the observations) are incomplete.

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  • $\begingroup$ Sides, factions,groups? According to Shakespeare,a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. As for 'embarrassing',embarrassment is in the mind of the beholder. Some people,psychopaths for example,are never embarrassed at their lies & shortcomings being found out,likewise with politicians,some of whom are psychopaths. $\endgroup$ – Michael Walsby Jun 9 '19 at 18:23

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