Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Scientific American, March 2003 - dark Matter

  1. Dec 4, 2003 #1
    Scientific American, March 2003 - "dark Matter"

    The Search for Dark Matter"
    Scientific American
    March, 2003

    Page 52: "For 70 years, astronomers have steadily gathered circumstantial evidence for the existence of dark matter, and nearly everyone accepts that it is real. But circumstantial evidence is unsatisfying.
    Either dark matter will prove to be real, or else the theories that underlie modern physics will have to fall on their swords.
    Page 53: Although cold dark matter has its own problems in explaining cosmic structures, most cosmologists consider these problems minor compared with the difficulties faced by alternative hypotheses.

    Page 54: To detect dark matter, scientists need to know how it interacts with normal matter. Astronomers assume that it interacts only by means of gravitation, the weakest of all the known forces of nature. If that is really the case, physicists have no hope of ever detecting it. " (Emphasis added.)

    Do you understand what "scientists" are saying? "Nearly everyone accepts" that dark matter "is real."
    They just can't PROVE that it exists.
    IF it "interacts only by means of gravitation, "PHYSICISTS HAVE NO HOPE OF EVER DETECTING IT"!
    IF it "does not prove to be real," then "theories that underlie modern physics will have to fall on their swords."
    (Though I was completely unaware that physics theories even carried swords, much less could fall on them and die.)
    Nearly EVERYONE in the scientific community "accepts" something they cannot PROVE and may NEVER BE ABLE TO PROVE! But it's not God. It's dark matter.
    I shall now paraphrase the first sentence excerpted from this article.
    For thousands of years, men have gathered circumstantial evidence for the existence of God, and nearly everyone accepts that He is real.
    Scientists, however, want "scientific PROOF" of God. But not of dark matter. Unproven and very likely even unprovable dark matter is accepted on the basis of scientific convenience - even necessity. God is rejected on that same basis that inanimate, invisible, undetectable dark matter is warmly accepted.
    This is what many men refer to as "science." They call this science "objective" and "unbiased."
    It denies God for "lack of proof" while accepting dark matter despite "lack of proof."

    This is absurd, but yet widely expressed and tolerated by many people who hold themselves above anyone believing in God.
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 4, 2003 #2
    Now for May, 2003 Scientific American

    Observational evidence strongly supports the Big Bang theory of creation. Penzias and Wilson were awarded the Nobel Prize for their discovery of the residual background microwave radiation said to be further evidence of this Big Bang.
    Incidentally, the Big Bang accords extremely well with the first sentence of the first book of the Holy Bible, viz
    "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth."

    Now to Scientific American magazine, May, 2003
    Page 41:
    "The simplest and most popular cosmological model today predicts that you have a twin in a galaxy about 10 to the 10 to the 28 meters from here. This distance is so large that it is beyond astronomical, but that does not make your doppelganger any less real. {EMPHASIS ADDED} The estimate is derived from elementary probability and does not even assume speculative modern physics, merely {Emphasis added again} that space is infinite (or at least sufficiently large) in size and almost uniformly filled with matter, as observations indicate.
    ...you will probably never see your other selves. {A little scientific humor there, folks}


    So there are so very many multiverses as to be incomprehensible in number, we are told.
    This, the authors say is "falsifiable", although they do not say precisely HOW it is "falsifiable".
    One must wonder whether all these "multiverses" were also products of "Big Bangs", and given that they were, did all these "Big Multiverse Bangs" take place simultaneously? Equally spaced throughout infinite time/space?
    What are the odds, huh?
    So the science and insuperable impossibility of the Anthropic Principle is countered by invoking Multiverses. Has anyone thought this through - how much MORE "impossible" it is to have countless IMPOSSIBILITIES, all carefully choreographed and timed?
    Anyone, anyone?
    I don't hear anyone.
    Let's separate real science from science fiction, shall we?

    "There's something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale return of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact."
    Mark Twain
  4. Dec 4, 2003 #3


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    I am no expert on dark matter. I don't know its standing in the astrophysical community. I think that the author in Scientific American is overstating things when he says all modern physics depends on it though.

    But all that is beside the point. Dark matter is a work in progress. Maybe it is a good theory, maybe not. There is some evidentiary support for it, but not yet enough for it to gain acceptance. The article says as much. The article says that it may not be falsifiable. If that is the case, it will NEVER be accepted. It will be treated exactly like God. It will be considered an idea that has no place in science.

    Religious zealots all seem to think that scientific theories must emerge in a state of perfection or be considered just another faith based belief system. It doesn't work that way. Flawed theories are proposed and the flaws are worked out in a dirty public process. If the flaws can not be worked out, the theory dies.

    For decades, the idea of luminiferous ether was well regarded, but not accepted as fact. It explained very well the wave nature of light. The only problem was there was no technically feasible way that it could be tested. When technology advanced enough, it was possible to verify it. It turned out to be a total bust. There was no "ether". Dark matter is in that position now. It is well regarded because it explains a lot, and is consistent with current physics. It may be verified, it may not. It will not get a free ride.

  5. Dec 4, 2003 #4


    User Avatar

    Multiple universes are allowed, and often even encouraged by a variety of mathematical attempts to describe the universe, and each is falsifiable in its own way. There is an additional Sci Am article on precisely this subject, which you seem to have missed. Well, you didn't expect a single article to cover the entirity of modern cosmology, did you?
    In fact, part of the inconvenient facts skirted by such probabilistic creationists is the reality that much of the importance of the anthropic principle is based on the imperfection of the universe. Initially, theorist suggested that certain measurements can show that the current state of the universe is forced by some sort of universal law. However, examination of the cosmological constant disputes that, because it seems dubious that any law, (or God) would specifically set the cosmological constant at a hugely small, yet non-zero amount. This suggested immediately the idea of many random throws of the universe dice...

    I also think you have been too judicious with your snipping, and so greatly distorted the meaning of the article. The idea of an infinite universe, which we at trying currently to investigate by the WMAP data is certainly not extra-ordinary. Nor does it require multiple big bangs. It requires only the big bang to have been an inflation event of an infinite universe, which there are some (albeit inconclusive) evidence to suggest this. And this is only one possibility.

    Noting, of course, that the conjecture follows the cloud of unscientific babble and hype that surrounds each discovery, not the stringent controls that are the essence of fact. The supression of such conjecture is the value of skepticism.

    Until you notice the waters above and waters below statement. Ah well...
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook