The antics of current scientists in attempting to rationalise their pragmatic use of formal relations (equations) gets weirder by the week.
The problem was made literally permanent by the victory of The Copenhagen Interpretation of Quantum Theory as the final overt switch in a long process within Physics that had always been present, but had previously managed to co-exist with an incompatible materialist standpoint. For though these two major elements regularly produced contradictions, there were always enough points of growth for these inconsistencies to be 'temporarily' shelved, to be addressed later.
For this overtly stated and steadfast standpoint impelled its disciples to reject physical explanations as always untrustworthy, and insisted that all 'true scientists' could only rely upon extracted (and abstracted) formal relations, which were the only 'truths' available to us that we can both discover and extract.
Theory, thereafter was deemed to be in Equations.
But that, I'm afraid, didn't solve it, for the simple reason that all equations are mere descriptions of phenomena: they are never explanations.
So, an amalgam of physical entities - the fundamental particles, with all sorts of 'add-ons', odd properties were found to be necessary to add substance to the purely formal (and hence totally disembodied) patterns and forms delivered by equations.
And this latest compromise was founded upon the surprising primacy of equations, which actually then (and unavoidably) became the True Field for all 'investigative research'.
'Entities' and 'Properties' of various kinds were identified with sub-forms within these entirely dependable equations. And, remarkably, experiments thereafter took on a completely inverted role within Science. Instead of being the source for new facts, they were conducted merely to prove or deny the latest formal theories (based solely upon maths forms).
But, as with all such compromises, while they allowed continuing researches and theoretical developments, there was still a major problem. The equations could not deliver Matter!
The extrapolation of patterns that elsewhere had been used to explain forces and fields were employed to 'bring' Matter into the same kind of patterns, and the Higgs Field and Higgs Boson were devised to create Matter - but as an illusion, rather than actual substance.
Of course, all of this only delayed the inevitable, and if you're honest, you would expect the evident, contradiction would surface once more. Physicality - particles were becoming an embarrassment, and the solution was to only include formal relations and absolutely nothing else!
If accepted, this would break the final concrete link with Reality, and move the whole study into the area of Pure Form - into what I have called Ideality. Indeed, 'theory' would be dead as a physical explanation, and without even the vestige of 'possible particles', the whole world of Sub Atomic Physics would become a mere subset of Mathematics. Idealism will finally replace Materialism entirely.