Yep, now I'm just beginning to make a fool out of myself due to my lack of knowledge of all this stuff. You're right when you say that I'm just repeating the arguments in Smolin's book, however, I'm doing a poor job at that even (which is why I said in my first post that most of what I'm about to say is just my own bull). If you've got any recommendations on good textbooks to read, I'd appreciate it, but I doubt that I'll have time to get through them for quite a while.
Anyways, back to the topic at hand. You're right, the analogy I tried to use doesn't really work with "Group Theory", I should have mentioned Gauge Theories (and even though my knowledge of theory is limited, I should have known this at least
). But even with all the mistakes I have made, I still feel that I have a bit of a point:
From my understand Gauge Theory is and of itself is not a testable scientific theory, it is merely a principle for creating scientific theories (you know more theory than I do, so please correct me if I'm wrong), yet gauge theories such as the SM have been formulated from the Gauge Principle that correspond to existing data and have been able to predict new measurements to high degrees of acuracy. As a result, the "Gauge Principle" gains legitimacy. Perhaps String Theory should be referred to as the "String Principle" to differentiate it from a tested scientific theory and to show that it has more in common with the Gauge Principle than it does with the Standard Model or something? My other point was that in a comparison between the "String Principle" and the Gauge Principle, the Gauge Principle comes out the winner because specific gauge theories have demonstrated substantial predictive power.
As for the three points which represent 'my' problem with String Theory:
1) By "blatantly wrong", I'm not referring to the extra dimensions or anything like that. In fact, I kinda think the extra dimensions are cool. I'm more referring to those theories which do predict things or which rely on certain seemingly (also, sorry for using "blatantly", I should have known that it's typically a bad idea to use such strong words) incorrect assumptions.
2) I'd be interested to know about these low-energy consequences, how they could be tested, and why they haven't been tested already. It seems that many of the predictions of String Theory are also predicted by other theories which make no recourse to strings (e.g., Supersymmetric particles are predicted by the MSSM among others which have no reliance on String Theory). Are these low energy consequences of String Theory unique to String Theory (I'm actually wondering, this is not a rhetorical question)? Of course, either way, their discovery would lend credence to strings, but it's hard to call String Theory "testable" on account of these predictions unless String Theory is unique in making these predictions.
3) And I'd be willing to admit that the SM was substantially more shaky, scientifically speaking, until these unproved conjectures were resolved. I'm not arguing that String Theory is damned to failure because it's based on things which are unproved. I'm merely saying that the more unproved assumptions upon which something is based, the more shaky it is. If I'm not mistaken, String Theory is based on a descent number of unproved assumptions which varies depending on the variant of String Theory you're looking at. Also, from reading The Trouble with Physics, it seems that the majority of breakthroughs in String Theory have been the addition of a cool new [unproved] conjecture. If this is true, then much of the promise of String Theory may be somewhat illusory.
however, I'm probably the worst person to be putting forward the "experimentalist" position, my only credentials are having read half of "The Trouble with Physics" ... I haven't even finished it yet