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The Emperor's New Matter

Darkmatterlg_2 Dark matter is the modern fairy dust that makes everything (cosmologically) better.  Upon observing that the universe would need to have several hundred times more mass than we can see to be consistent with modern theories, many scientists apparently thought "Fair enough, there must be several universes worth of invisible magic stuff hiding throughout the entirety of existence".  Rather than the crazy heresy of "Maybe our theories need a little work".

Lots of very smart people have come up with a huge variety of explanations for this absentee material, from ultrarelativistic non-baryonic matter (yes those are real words, even though it sounds like they just smashed together some sciencey sounding stuff), to effects from other universes.  The latter is supported by brane theory, but when you're combining both dark matter and superstring theory you might as well throw in "A wizard did it" to explain all the flaws.

Normally people who constantly look for fictional things are labeled as crazy, and this scientific search may have reached psychosis point with spiral galaxy NGC 4736.  A team from the Polish Academy of Science have observed a spiral galaxy that doesn't need the dark stuff.  This galaxy can be entirely explained in terms of the matter we see and the theories we have, and in a shocking reversal of the whole "Scientific Method" process other researchers are criticizing the find - because the observations don't support the invisible thing they believe in. That's not science, that's religion.

Another suspect for this maybe-missing-matter is the neutralino, and we'll have to ask you to believe us that we're not just making up words at this point.  As a heavy, stable, weakly interacting particle it has all the right properties to hang back and just "be there" in the invisible way dark matter is expected to be, with only the usual slight flaw of being an utterly hypothetical string symmetric construction - but maybe not for long.  NASA's gamma gazing GLAST satellite is planning to survey a radiation map of the sky for comparison with neutralino predictions, meaning it will be testing for dark matter, string theory and supersymmetry.  No word yet on whether it's fitted with a unicorn detector too.

Posted by Luke McKinney.


Not seeing what isn't there http://space.newscientist.com/article/dn13280-galaxy-without-dark-matter-puzzles-astronomers.html

GLAST going for gamma rays http://space.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn11743&feedId=space_rss20

Comments

Thank you for posting this. It's amazing to me that so many people in the scientific community have jumped on the "dark matter" "dark energy" bandwagon. Instead of wasting time looking for something that isn't there, they need to re-work their theories.

If you think dark matter religion is hypocritical "science", you should look at the "science" of archeology. That field takes wishful thinking to the most absurd levels.

Thank you for finally posting an article critical of "dark matter".
I am an archeology nut and I agree that their are some wild ideas generated by some bone scraps and hearth remains. However, this pales when I listen to Dr Gay and Fraiser discussing dark matter like it really exists. Maybe they should host a show on magic universe dragons that help the galaxy faries hold everything together.

Have been enjoying Luke McKinney's postings. Nice to read someone who is at once technically literate, can write coherent sentences, and actually has a sense of humor.

Especially like this post. Have been saying for a long time that the "dark matter/dark energy" terms describe nothing actual except our own lack of knowledge. May be wrong but I am betting that there are no Higgs bosons and no WIMPs. Thank you for pointing out the entirely suppositional nature of most current theory.

It is hubris of the highest order--and therefore entirely human--to think that when the universe shows you have not accounted for 96% of its mass, it is not your theories which are out of whack, and to tinker with them to get the results you want.

My own notion of the nature of "dark matter" is that if mass curves space, curved space would register as mass. Why would space be curved in the absence of matter? Who knows? Why would space expand, as is supposed in Big Bang theories?

Re Big Bang and other things: I get the overwhelming impression that today's scientists cannot tell the difference between running computer simulations and doing research. They take the simulation which produces results nearest the actual state of things as being "real." But the essence of quantum mechanics is to realize that many possible past states could have led to currently observable results. The same is true of any computer simulation. The fact that your simulation produces matching results does not indicate that your simulation matches the past.

Dark energy? Have a simple theory for that too. The acceleration of gravity. We are actually falling toward the singularity at the heart of the universe. It only seems like expansion because of the terrific warping of such gravities. The Big Bang and the Big Crunch are one and the same event, forever isolated from our observation.

Of course these notions have no evidence behind them. But as McKinney points out, neither do the theories of the top scientists.

Attributes I would like to see in more scientists: Sticking to demonstrated facts, general shrewdness, and above all appropriate humility.

The universe is what it is, not what we say it is. The species should have learned this lesson by now.

Thanks, Mr. McKinney.

Have been enjoying Luke McKinney's postings. Nice to read someone who is at once technically literate, can write coherent sentences, and actually has a sense of humor.

Especially like this post. Have been saying for a long time that the "dark matter/dark energy" terms describe nothing actual except our own lack of knowledge. May be wrong but I am betting that there are no Higgs bosons and no WIMPs. Thank you for pointing out the entirely suppositional nature of most current theory.

It is hubris of the highest order--and therefore entirely human--to think that when the universe shows you have not accounted for 96% of its mass, it is not your theories which are out of whack, and to tinker with them to get the results you want.

My own notion of the nature of "dark matter" is that if mass curves space, curved space would register as mass. Why would space be curved in the absence of matter? Who knows? Why would space expand, as is supposed in Big Bang theories?

Re Big Bang and other things: I get the overwhelming impression that today's scientists cannot tell the difference between running computer simulations and doing research. They take the simulation which produces results nearest the actual state of things as being "real." But the essence of quantum mechanics is to realize that many possible past states could have led to currently observable results. The same is true of any computer simulation. The fact that your simulation produces matching results does not indicate that your simulation matches the past.

Dark energy? Have a simple theory for that too. The acceleration of gravity. We are actually falling toward the singularity at the heart of the universe. It only seems like expansion because of the terrific warping of such gravities. The Big Bang and the Big Crunch are one and the same event, forever isolated from our observation.

Of course these notions have no evidence behind them. But as McKinney points out, neither do the theories of the top scientists.

Attributes I would like to see in more scientists: Sticking to demonstrated facts, general shrewdness, and above all appropriate humility.

The universe is what it is, not what we say it is. The species should have learned this lesson by now.

Thanks, Mr. McKinney.

Apologize for the double posting of such a long comment. Every time I try to exit the comments page, it prints my comment again. I have to leave the internet entirely and return in order to avoid this. Anybody else having that problem?

No.

No.

Uh... yes.

Uh... yes.

That's funny, Bosco. Nice work.

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