I am not quite sure where this essay is going - perhaps I missed its main points. While there are many equivalent ways to explain a physical phenomena, as what Dirac said (quoted in the essay):
“It is not always so that theories which are equivalent are equally good,” he said, five decades later, “because one of them may be more suitable than the other for future developments.”
This essay also ruminates about theories being “mathematically perfect”, and how
What’s the point, theorists wonder, of the perfection found at every level, if it’s bound to be superseded?
I think this is mistaken; there is no rigorous way to define “mathematical perfection”. It’s pretty subjective. For every theory that I consider gross, I am sure that I can find someone who finds it beautiful.
I like the article overall, but think the language is borderline dangerous. What I mean is that someone who is a relativist can take the quote from Feynman and completely distort it. Or those who just think that scientific theories are based upon belief and not one is better than the rest. That is extremely wrong and dangerous. For example the phrase:
Feynman identified three approaches, each invoking a different belief about the world.
I don’t think that in today’s world (which was different from Feynman’s prime) Feynman or anyone else would or should say that Newton’s law of gravity was based on a belief about the world. It also fuzzies the difference between Newton’s law, which described the acceleration two masses feel from each other, and Newton’s theory of Gravity, or how gravity fundamentally worked. He didn’t have a good answer to this question outside of there was an infinite instantaneous force and wrote in a letter something like:
Gravity must be caused by an agent acting constantly according to certain laws, but whether this agent be material or immaterial is a question I have left to the consideration of my readers.
The calculation from Newton’s Law requires no belief or even understanding about how gravity actually works, other than that the law works well when gravity is not too strong or objects are not moving too fast or the distances are not too small. It would be wrong to suggest that Newton’s law of gravity is on any kind of equal footing with the equations of General Relativity. The article kind of hints about this when it speaks of the suitability for future developments or greater explanatory power with General Relativity but could be taken by some to just think that hey any ‘law’ of gravity is just as good as all the others.