This has come up in a few threads as a side question, but I'd like to have a central discussion on this issue. The question I have is what evidence do you think will be needed to elevate the existence of Dark Energy to the same kind of level as the existence of things in the standard model, so say electrons for instance. The cosmological evidence makes a very strong case for the existence of Dark Energy, except of course that this conclusion is reliant on the theoretical framework of General Relativity. However, all observations in science rely on a theoretical framework in order to give them meaning. I've often heard it said that DE is merely in the theory to 'save the appearances' or some such phrase, since it hasn't been 'directly' detected in a lab. What I would like to know then is do you think that any amount of observational evidence not involving lab experiments will ever be able to settle the issue? I certainly don't think current observations are sufficient to make DE a robust theory, but I'm trying to decide whether hypothetical future observations could be sufficient either. If DE was something that literally had zero coupling to baryons, how could we ever detect it in a lab anyway? In this case the Universe is our lab, since the only way to 'see' DE is by large scale gravitational effects. Someone once told me that in many ways we are as far from the wavefunction of an electron on the lab as we are from a Quasar in space, and for the most part I think this is true. Lab experiments after all still rely on theoretical framework and are nothing more than observations of the action of physical laws. Why then are lab experiments held to be superior to the same kind of observations of the workings of physical laws we get from looking at the Cosmos?