Questions regarding dark matter dynamics

  • I
  • Thread starter Buzz Bloom
  • Start date
  • #51
Drakkith
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
21,028
4,851
What part do you think they actually disagree with?
For starters, I'd say they would disagree with your understanding of their position and the thinking that the LCDM model is in serious jeopardy.

As it stands, the nucleosynthesis argument seems more like a case of special pleading, only so that LCDM can be considered exempt by falsification by the non-existence of exotic forms of matter.
They'd probably disagree with this as well.
 
  • Like
Likes nikkkom
  • #52
42
13
For starters, I'd say they would disagree with your understanding of their position and the thinking that the LCDM model is in serious jeopardy.
I wasn't actually trying to describe the mainsttream position with respect to whether or not LCMD theory is in serious jeopardy, although I probably was wearing my own beliefs on my sleeve. I realize that I hold a minority viewpoint as it relates to cosmology theory, but like I said, I simply see no controlled experimental evidence that requires the introduction of exotic forms of matter, nor do I see any evidence from cosmological studies that would require the existence of exotic matter to explain.

They'd probably disagree with this as well.
Perhaps you could explain how one might go about falsifying the existence of exotic forms of matter? We have already spent billions of dollars on lab tests and we've found no hint of anything exotic beyond the standard particle physics model. Normally speaking the onus of responsibility falls to the ones that are making the claim because it's technically impossible to prove a negative. I cannot "prove" that invisible unicorns do not exist in nature, nor can I prove that exotic forms of matter and/or energy do not exist.

Hypothetically speaking, it should be possible to falsify CMD theory, and LCDM theory along with it, but I haven't a clue how we might do that in the lab in any way that we have not already tried. What is the scientific value of consistent NULL results from billions of dollars worth of "tests" of various models of CDM?
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Likes Adrian59
  • #53
42
13
Sorry, but I fail to see how this is a valid criticism. Every theory in science is unproven and possibly wrong, so there's nothing unusual about not stating this outright.
https://arxiv.org/abs/astro-ph/0608407

I think there is something seriously wrong when one tries to claim that they have found 'proof' (rather than ordinary evidence) to support dark matter theory as was the case with that bullet cluster study. The "proof" which they claimed to find in 2006 was entirely (and subjectively) dependent upon the accuracy of their mass estimation techniques, and many studies since 2006 have called their baryonic mass estimation methods into question.

Even the terms they used to describe the evidence were not even "scientific" terms since theories are never actually 'proven', they are simply supported by evidence, or they are not. Only laws can be said to be 'proven' to some extent, but even laws can be overturned by new evidence. The terms which are used by the mainstream do seem to conflict with the concept of conservative science at times. 2006 was such a time and such an instance. In 2017 those boastful claims of 'proof' of dark matter from 2006 look pretty questionable. Did they actually 'prove' that dark matter exists, or did they "prove" that their baryonic mass estimation techniques were flawed and they needed to be fixed?
 
  • #54
Drakkith
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
21,028
4,851
I realize that I hold a minority viewpoint as it relates to cosmology theory, but like I said, I simply see no controlled experimental evidence that requires the introduction of exotic forms of matter, nor do I see any evidence from cosmological studies that would require the existence of exotic matter to explain.
Nothing requires dark matter. There are potentially several other possibilities other than dark matter. The problem is that nothing so far works as well as dark matter. Modified laws of gravity are even more problematic and require alteration of fundamental laws of nature.

Perhaps you could explain how one might go about falsifying the existence of exotic forms of matter?
Hypothesize a particular form of exotic matter and then make models based on its properties. If observations don't match the model then that's a serious blow to that particular type of exotic matter, potentially falsifying it. This is especially true if observations can be adequately explained by other models that don't use that particular type of exotic matter. If your model based on exotic matter can't adequately explain the observations and another model can, that's essentially a death-blow to that model.

Currently, models using dark matter agree with observations in many areas, though not all and not as accurately as we'd like. On top of that we don't yet have a better way of explaining our observations.

We have already spent billions of dollars on lab tests and we've found no hint of anything exotic beyond the standard particle physics model. Normally speaking the onus of responsibility falls to the ones that are making the claim because it's technically impossible to prove a negative. I cannot "prove" that invisible unicorns do not exist in nature, nor can I prove that exotic forms of matter and/or energy do not exist.
Indeed. Detecting dark matter candidates in our test labs would support dark matter models enormously. But the fact that we haven't found any yet isn't nearly as detrimental as you think given that dark matter isn't thought to strongly interact with normal matter.
 
  • #55
Drakkith
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
21,028
4,851
I think there is something seriously wrong when one tries to claim that they have found 'proof' (rather than ordinary evidence) to support dark matter theory as was the case with that bullet cluster study.
I agree that using the word "proof" is inappropriate. Unfortunately not everyone thinks this way. Though I certainly wouldn't consider it seriously wrong, just a minor mistake at worst.

Even the terms they used to describe the evidence were not even "scientific" terms since theories are never actually 'proven', they are simply supported by evidence, or they are not.
The fact that someone incorrectly uses "proof" rather than "evidence" has little bearing on the validity of the paper or the model/theory.

The terms which are used by the mainstream do seem to conflict with the concept of conservative science at times.
...because someone uses "proof" instead of "evidence"?
 
  • #56
42
13
Nothing requires dark matter. There are potentially several other possibilities other than dark matter. The problem is that nothing so far works as well as dark matter. Modified laws of gravity are even more problematic and require alteration of fundamental laws of nature.
Well, MOND doesn't seem to explain the Bullet Cluster data, but ordinary plasma and dust would probably do the trick.

Hypothesize a particular form of exotic matter and then make models based on its properties. If observations don't match the model then that's a serious blow to that particular type of exotic matter, potentially falsifying it. This is especially true if observations can be adequately explained by other models that don't use that particular type of exotic matter. If your model based on exotic matter can't adequately explain the observations and another model can, that's essentially a death-blow to that model.
WIMP theory was typically associated (not necessarily exclusively) with SUSY theory which seems to have made a host of predictions that were falsified at LHC. That hasn't stopped anyone from funding WIMP theories in general however.

Currently, models using dark matter agree with observations in many areas, though not all and not as accurately as we'd like. On top of that we don't yet have a better way of explaining our observations.
I suppose we'll just have to agree to disagree on that point. :)

Indeed. Detecting dark matter candidates in our test labs would support dark matter models enormously. But the fact that we haven't found any yet isn't nearly as detrimental as you think given that dark matter isn't thought to strongly interact with normal matter.
I think that the next LUX experiments, and possibly the Xenon1T experiments get us uncomfortably close to neutrino interaction. Does the weakness of the interaction have any influence on nucleosynthesis predictions or power spectrum predictions?
 
  • #57
42
13
I agree that using the word "proof" is inappropriate. Unfortunately not everyone thinks this way. Though I certainly wouldn't consider it seriously wrong, just a minor mistake at worst.

The fact that someone incorrectly uses "proof" rather than "evidence" has little bearing on the validity of the paper or the model/theory.
I agree with you that it's a minor mistake in terms of the impact on "scientists", but a lot of folks in the general public might just hear the term "proof" and in their mind it's a "done deal".

...because someone uses "proof" instead of "evidence"?
I'm picky. :)
 
  • #58
Drakkith
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
21,028
4,851
I suppose we'll just have to agree to disagree on that point. :)
Just as long as you realize you're disagreeing with most mainstream cosmologists, sure.

Does the weakness of the interaction have any influence on nucleosynthesis predictions or power spectrum predictions?
No idea, sorry.
 
  • #59
111
4
Quote from Drakkith in entry no. 59: 'Hypothesize a particular form of exotic matter and then make models based on its properties. If observations don't match the model then that's a serious blow to that particular type of exotic matter, potentially falsifying it.'

This is a good point though some, Stacy McGaugh for example, question whether this is actually what is happening since early experiments have failed to find exotic dark matter particles the goal posts are moving. The graph of cross section versus mass of possible WIMPs is constantly being redrawn as experiments fail to find the WIMP at a particular energy. So with each failure the line is redrawn to a new mass / cross section and the hunt continues.
 
  • #60
111
4
Hypothesize a particular form of exotic matter and then make models based on its properties. If observations don't match the model then that's a serious blow to that particular type of exotic matter, potentially falsifying it.
In addition to rotation curves, Bullet cluster, and nucleosynthesis, there's also the power spectrum of baryon acoustic oscillations, which so far I haven't seen mentioned in this thread - despite being the least burdened with uncertainties.
This means there are four independent data points, all suggesting the same conclusion, which is what makes DM such a strong hypothesis.
I have recently being trying to track down the original paper(s) relating to the interpretation of the CMBR anisotropy which is what I assume is synonymous with BAO. I have found papers by Hu and Dodelson from 2002, Hu and white from 1996 and Seljak from 1994 as well as a recent review by Tojerio 2006. The Hu and Dodelson seem the most comprehensive review and it was this paper that referenced Seljak (1994) for the relative heights of the peaks as determined by the ratio of baryonic matter to CDM. However, none of these papers appear to come clean as to how they directly derive the CMBR curves. It does appear that the theoretical derivation of the CMBR curves are very model dependent and as such it can be argued that the result is in the assumptions made for the model.
 
  • #61
111
4
Apologies, the first sentence of my entry in no. 61 is an error that was part of no. 60.
 
  • #62
Drakkith
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
21,028
4,851
This is a good point though some, Stacy McGaugh for example, question whether this is actually what is happening since early experiments have failed to find exotic dark matter particles the goal posts are moving. The graph of cross section versus mass of possible WIMPs is constantly being redrawn as experiments fail to find the WIMP at a particular energy. So with each failure the line is redrawn to a new mass / cross section and the hunt continues.
That seems to be exactly what you should do if your experiments fail to detect something. If it takes an exhaustive search then it takes an exhaustive search.
 
  • #63
42
13
That seems to be exactly what you should do if your experiments fail to detect something. If it takes an exhaustive search then it takes an exhaustive search.
It's also possible to make an exhaustive search for something that does not exist. When is it time to call off the search? How much do we have to spend before we accept all the NULL results as evidence of non-existence?
 
Last edited:
  • #64
Drakkith
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
21,028
4,851
It's also possible to make an exhaustive search for something that does not exist.
Absolutely.

When is it time to call off the search? How much do we have to spend before we accept all the NULL results as evidence of non-existence?
I can't answer that. That depends on things like how difficult it should be to detect the particles, cost of the experiments, possible alternatives, etc.
 
  • #65
42
13
I can't answer that. That depends on things like how difficult it should be to detect the particles, cost of the experiments, possible alternatives, etc.
When I was a kid I heard the term "the grunion are running" from one my friends. I was really "skeptical" when I heard about grunions on the beach from my friend because I'd been to the beach many times at night and I'd never seen a grunion, and in fact I'd never even heard of them before and we lived pretty close to the beach. My mother explained to me that grunion were real and to demonstrate that they were real, she woke me up one night to take me to the beach to watch them come up on shore during a full moon to mate and go back to the ocean. I was amazed and excited because I'd never seen that before.

Unfortunately a few months later I fell prey to a "snipe hunt" adventure when I mentioned grunion to a couple of my older friends. They assured me that snipes were like grunion and I just needed to look for them at the right time, and the right place(s), I spent a long time searching for snipes one night at their urging. I looked and looked and looked everywhere they suggested. The kept telling me that they could "hear" them too, so they knew they were around here somewhere. I finally started to get suspicious when they kept changing their stories about what snipes looked like. Their stories kept changing over time and they got more and more elaborate in terms of why they were hard to find. That is what finally convinced me that snipes were not real and I wasn't ever likely to find them, so I finally stopped looking.

Dark matter has the same feel about it as my snipe hunt. There are conflicting hypotheses about the composition of DM, and the searches to date have been about as productive as my snipe hunt although vastly more expensive of course. I can't shake that "snipe hunt" feeling anymore, particularly after LHC and the last LUX and Xenon1T results.
 
  • #66
Drakkith
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
21,028
4,851
Dark matter has the same feel about it as my snipe hunt.
Look, you've repeatedly made it clear that you are highly skeptical about dark matter existing and you've given your reasons. That's fine. But there's no reason to continue to protest. Figuring out the laws of the cosmos is inherently very difficult and cosmologists have good reasons to include dark matter in the current standard model of cosmology, something that's most likely not going to change anytime soon (though it's always possible that new evidence will crop up tomorrow). You are certainly free to disagree with them, but keep in mind that there's really no reason for anyone to trust your opinion (or anyone elses) over the consensus of the mainstream community.

This thread has been off-topic since page 1 so I think it's time to close it.

Thread locked.
 
  • Like
Likes weirdoguy and phinds

Related Threads on Questions regarding dark matter dynamics

  • Last Post
Replies
3
Views
930
Replies
14
Views
5K
  • Last Post
Replies
4
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
6
Views
2K
  • Last Post
2
Replies
40
Views
6K
  • Last Post
Replies
12
Views
2K
  • Last Post
2
Replies
27
Views
5K
  • Last Post
Replies
13
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
3
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
20
Views
2K
Top