This post is a reaction to defense of string theory by Lubos Motl. It should be pointed out, such Don Quichotte stance is typical neither in context of limited string theorists group, whereas the most intelligent and productive ones - like Ed Witten - are already combining various concepts borrowed from other theories rather freely and without false sentiment to some particular theory. Simply because they're both technically, both mentally capable to do so. By AWT the optimal strategy in reality understanding is always balancing the formal and non-formal approach and its very pluralistic by its very nature.
Which is definitely not the strictly black and white view of people like Lubos Motl. Who even didn't understood, that the xkcq's cartoon picture advocated in his essay was ment as an apparent critique of his own defensive approach, based on arrogant mixture of attemps for biased demagogy and personal attacks often. His belief in selfevidence of string theory approach is simply so undeniable, it cannot be shaken by any logical argument, which should be punished with no mercy due "antiwhore" strategy. It's apparent, we are facing a very biased and secular (local) stance here - a sort of mental singularity.
This singular approach is an crystalline example of typical immature / expert stance, which makes Mr. Motl very useful for illustration of various boundary aspects of unparticle environment, the duality and supersymmetry principles in particular. From this principle follows, every revolution devours its own children in less or more distant perspective, string theory revolutions is no exception. Lubos stance is analogous the role of observer, who falls into black hole while applying a local Lorentz symmetry perspective in belief, it's just the space-time, what is deforming during this, not the path of light. By such way, he is allowed to keep is belief even though he is already spinning together with light in dense vacuum around black hole.
In real life such observational perspective would vaporize into accretion radiation together with its proponent, because laws of emergent geometry are undeniable: every isolated stance violates itself or the stance of other experts in less or more distant perspective, or they couldn't be more local, then the any other stance. By such way, the stances of many experts always tends to vanish mutually like interaction action of many isolated particles, only their common points (ironically just these most superficial ones) can cumulate under emergence of new ideas.
So, what problem really is with string theory? Well, none basically - with only exception, string theory is (not) a TOE by the same way, like any other strictly explicit and formal theory. In AWT the string concept has a strong and fundamental resemblance to dense particle gas fluctuations. By such way, AWT explains, what these strings and branes are and how they can emerge in our perspective. The stringy shape appearance of Aether density fluctuations is just a product of distant space perspective, which vanishes all higher dimensional geometries into quantum chaos, so that only 1D strings or 2D branes remains. The same effect we can observe inside of dense supercritical fluid, which appears to be full of strings. By such way, string theorists have guessed the geometry of fundamental pieces of observable reality without having a single idea about its emergent nature, required by less or more hidden causality of things.
No wonder, the idea of string was revealed just during study of interactions in very dense nuclear fluid (quark gluon plasma), where the stringy character of both particle fluctuations, both their interactions is most apparent. The strong point of string theory is, it revealed its highly dimensional character quite soon. The weak point of string theory was, it didn't recognized their emergent and implicit nature, by which each string consist of many daughter strings, which appears like pin-point particles from more distant perspective.
By AWT we aren't required to bother with formal details of whatever formal theory, because such theory is always defined by its postulate set and the formal predictions of it can be estimated by logical way. The another problem of string theory is, it was never strong in definition of its postulate set - it's rather a vague cluster of mutually less or more consistent sub-theories, weakly related by common methodology. Because it served as a grant and money source for many brilliant mathematicians, nobody has care, whether these methodologies are truly consistent mutually for many years. Nevertheless, some common aspects can still be traced here. For example, because string theory is proclamativelly based on Lorentz invariance postulate of special relativity theory, it can never predict Lorentz invariance violation by strictly rigorous way. From this reason the obstinate tendency of Lubos Motl to defeat the concept of Lorentz invariance appears a much more readable: every apparent violation of Lorentz symmetry would violate the string theory concept as well.
But string theory isn't just about Lorentz symmetry, it's a matter of quantum mechanics too, being one of dozens of quantum field theories, in fact - no less, no more. By AWT quantum mechanics is dual to relativity theory in Lorentz invariance postulate, which is strictly radiative time arrow based, so it violates it by introduction of many time arrows in concept of quantum uncertainty. If we accept, special relativity is less general approach, then general relativity, then the string theory based on combination of quantum mechanics and special relativity is apparently less general approach then for example quantum gravity approach based on combination of of quantum mechanics and general relativity. But the more general position of general relativity over special relativity remains questionable, though. We should rather talk about less or more distant perspective, then in terms of globality and locality here, because they could induce a false idea, more global theory is always better. Which is not generally true: more general theory is more separated for directly testable reality as well. And this relation has become another problem of string theory.
While experimental evidence of hidden variables theory was experimentally refused by violation of Bell inequalities, it's even quite strange, the very same quantum theorists are promoting theory, based on parameters in hidden dimensions, because this approach is exactly, what theory of hidden parameters means.
The relative success of string theory in mid of 80's of last century was rather product of good viral marketing due presence of some attractive persons in it (Eduard Witten, Brian Greene), then the testability and predictability, because every theory based on mutually inconsistent postulate set becomes poorly conditioned and it will diverge into tautology singularity or into landscape of infinitely many alternative solutions. This problem is common for every quantum field theory, quantum gravity in particular and string theory is facing it by the same way, like loop quantum gravity by introduction of ad hoced lower dimensional artifacts like strings, branes, quantum loops and spin networks. While string theory was first theory, which has used such approach, it plays a ungrateful role of pathfinder, who is predestined to become overcomed by more general approaches soon or later.
Dual approach of LQG - which is about twenty years younger, then string theory, by the way - is slightly more distant (but still not general) from this point of view. LQG is based on exsintric perspective, while string theory remains insintric, describing only properties of condensed space-time artifacts (i.e. particles), whereas LQG handles even the structure vacuum as well and it can predict the Lorentz symmetry violation. But LQG remains more adherent to limited ad hoced number of dimensions of our space-time in its formalism. As we can see, the strong point of every theory becomes a weakest point of other plural theories at the same area. Both string theory, both LQG theory appears like forks of quantum gravity theory and AWT can be considered both as a zero dimensional string field theory, both infinitely dimensional loop quantum gravity theory from this perspective.
The physicists soon recognized redundancy of low dimensional geometric constrains in gauge group theories (no matter, if they're called strings, branes or spin loops or foam) and they converted in less or more non-compact reformulations of quantum field theory based on various SO subgroups of Lie exceptional group, which are of pronouncedly emergent character. This trend culminated by Lisi Garrett's proposal of his ES TOE from end of 2007. AWT just makes another step further in this approach by logical elimination of ad hoced of gauge group concept from field theory, thus making description of reality fully driven by pure emergence.