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Colliding galaxies shed light on dark matter

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Astronomers have captured images of a powerful collision of galaxy clusters and say it may shed light on the behavior of dark matter.

They used NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and Hubble Space Telescope to study the cluster, known a MACSJ0025.4-1222.

They can see a clear separation between dark and ordinary matter, answering a crucial question about whether dark matter interacts with itself other than via gravitational forces, the researchers said on Wednesday.

"Dark matter makes up five times more matter in the universe than ordinary matter," said Marusa Bradac of the University of California Santa Barbara, who led the work.

"This study confirms that we are dealing with a very different kind of matter, unlike anything that we are made of. And we're able to study it in a very powerful collision of two clusters of galaxies," Bradac said in a statement.

Using optical images from Hubble, the team was able to infer the distribution of the total mass of both dark and ordinary matter in the cluster using a technique known as gravitational lensing.

This method uses the distortion that mass causes as light passes by another object between the viewer and whatever is being observed. Dark matter cannot be directly seen but it has mass and thus gravitational pull.

The Chandra X-ray images showed more clearly where ordinary matter, in the form of hot gas, was.

As the two clusters collided and merged at speeds of millions of miles (km) per hour, the hot gas in each cluster collided and slowed down, but the dark matter did not.

http://tinyurl.com/6mtodg

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Note they have never actually observed dark matter, no matter what this article may lead you to think; the situation is still the same as it always has been.

Their reasoning is still "light is behaving as if there were more mass than what is observable, so there must be some invisible mass--dark matter--influencing the light" without even thinking of questioning the possibility that perhaps light or gravity behave differently in their galaxy than what they expect. To use this as proof for dark matter is foolish.

I think a lot of the elite in Physics academia are closed to the very possibility that they may not know everything and that there could be new theories developed that are starkly different from the same ideas they keep regurgitating in failure. If a modern Einstein were to appear now and explain this strange behavior in galaxies without appealing to dark matter he would probably be called a quack and never be able to publish articles or get established in academia!

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But it is important that they publish these kinds of articles to make their progress sound very promising, because if the taxpayer were to learn that after pumping millions of dollars over the past few decades into astrophysics/cosmology research that all that has been established is that over 90% of what makes up the universe is a fairy tale substance that no one can see or understand... well, the serfs would probably storm the castle and some "important" people would lose their careers!

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Note they have never actually observed dark matter, no matter what this article may lead you to think; the situation is still the same as it always has been.

Their reasoning is still "light is behaving as if there were more mass than what is observable, so there must be some invisible mass--dark matter--influencing the light" without even thinking of questioning the possibility that perhaps light or gravity behave differently in their galaxy than what they expect. To use this as proof for dark matter is foolish.

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Could you give some idea what you mean by this? Are you implying that there physical laws in other galaxies don't follow the laws in our galaxy for the same phenomenon (light)? Or that there are some undiscovered laws?

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Note they have never actually observed dark matter, no matter what this article may lead you to think; the situation is still the same as it always has been.

Their reasoning is still "light is behaving as if there were more mass than what is observable, so there must be some invisible mass--dark matter--influencing the light" without even thinking of questioning the possibility that perhaps light or gravity behave differently in their galaxy than what they expect. To use this as proof for dark matter is foolish.

--------

Could you give some idea what you mean by this? Are you implying that there physical laws in other galaxies don't follow the laws in our galaxy for the same phenomenon (light)? Or that there are some undiscovered laws?

I'm saying they are approaching the situation with an incorrect methodology. They observe the rotation rate of a galaxy and note that the gravity provided by the observable mass isn't enough to gravitationally hold the galaxy together, so they say therefore there must exist some form of invisible "dark matter" that gravitationally interacts with the normal mass in the galaxy to hold it together. But there could be some other mechanism at play here that we don't even know about, yet this possibility is never seriously considered. Instead, they just say "well the dark matter must be there" and voila the existence of dark matter is confirmed (at least in their minds).

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Well, Neptune’s existence was hypothesized after observing the orbit of Uranus. A massive black hole has been thought to exist at the center of the Milky Way to account for the gravitational force keeping it together. This is just using laws we have already induced to explain observation, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Where I have a problem with “dark matter” is that it's essentially a stolen concept. The basis for suggesting the existence of unobserved mass is the observation of phenomena that cannot be otherwise explained. Yet "dark matter" is used to explain theories, not observation. For example, dark matter is essential to the Big Bang. In fact cosmologists say that in order for the BB to work something like 99% of matter in the universe must be “dark”. So dark matter cannot merely refer to unobserved planets or black holes, but to a new kind of matter that exists everywhere but has yet gone undetected. Rather than reject the Big Bang, scientists latch onto dark matter. It is a complete invention that perpetuates fantasy, not science.

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I think a lot of the elite in Physics academia are closed to the very possibility that they may not know everything and that there could be new theories developed that are starkly different from the same ideas they keep regurgitating in failure. If a modern Einstein were to appear now and explain this strange behavior in galaxies without appealing to dark matter he would probably be called a quack and never be able to publish articles or get established in academia!

Mordochai Milgrom has proposed an alternative theory of gravitation which makes the problem of "dark matter" go away. Hist theory MOND (Modified Newtonian Dynamics) has been published in refereed physics journals. Not all physicists agree with him, but there has been no interference with his research or publications in respectable journals.

See the journal references in:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modified_Newtonian_dynamics

In the field of physics, experiment still trumps theory. Any theory must produce testable predictions which are empirically verified or falsified. That is the figure of merit for a theory: that it makes correct predictions.

Here is where it stands: Either some kind of object or substance accounts for non-Keplerian rotation curves or the current theory of gravitation is wrong. The question is wide open and will ultimately be answered by experiment

ruveyn

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I think a lot of the elite in Physics academia are closed to the very possibility that they may not know everything and that there could be new theories developed that are starkly different from the same ideas they keep regurgitating in failure. If a modern Einstein were to appear now and explain this strange behavior in galaxies without appealing to dark matter he would probably be called a quack and never be able to publish articles or get established in academia!

Mordochai Milgrom has proposed an alternative theory of gravitation which makes the problem of "dark matter" go away. Hist theory MOND (Modified Newtonian Dynamics) has been published in refereed physics journals. Not all physicists agree with him, but there has been no interference with his research or publications in respectable journals.

Probably because he was already an established physicist; a young physicist who just completed a PhD thesis on MOND and intended to pursue research on it further would probably have difficulty getting tenure. It also doesn't look as if he is presenting a real, developed, groundbreaking theory, but rather an after the fact mathematical modification (with no physical justification at all :) ) to simply match previously made measurements.

I should have made an addendum to my statement though, even if it flies in the face of mainstream theory, fashionable nonsense always seems to enjoy popularity (I'm not calling MOND fashionable nonsense though because I don't know enough about it)!

On a sidenote, I want to stress that I don't regard all of Physics academia in this way. My complaints would mainly be directed towards the areas of High Energy/Particle Physics and Astrophysics/Cosmology (the more abstract science research). Research areas like Condensed Matter or Solid State Physics I have no such complaints with, possibly because since the goal in mind is applying it to better technology, everyone's too busy focusing on practical results rather than trying to bend reality to match whatever crank theory they have developed.

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Well, Neptune’s existence was hypothesized after observing the orbit of Uranus. A massive black hole has been thought to exist at the center of the Milky Way to account for the gravitational force keeping it together. This is just using laws we have already induced to explain observation, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Where I have a problem with “dark matter” is that it's essentially a stolen concept. The basis for suggesting the existence of unobserved mass is the observation of phenomena that cannot be otherwise explained. Yet "dark matter" is used to explain theories, not observation. For example, dark matter is essential to the Big Bang. In fact cosmologists say that in order for the BB to work something like 99% of matter in the universe must be “dark”. So dark matter cannot merely refer to unobserved planets or black holes, but to a new kind of matter that exists everywhere but has yet gone undetected. Rather than reject the Big Bang, scientists latch onto dark matter. It is a complete invention that perpetuates fantasy, not science.

Yeah, someone needs to invent an alternative to Occam's Razor for these guys to use!

Kant's Glue? Develop a complicated theory that is removed from reality and stick as many extra assumptions onto it as you can?

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In the field of physics, experiment still trumps theory. Any theory must produce testable predictions which are empirically verified or falsified. That is the figure of merit for a theory: that it makes correct predictions.

If this is true, why do String "Theory" (it's not a physical theory because it can't make predictions) and the Big Bang Theory enjoy popular success amongst part of the Physics world?

I don't think the Big Bang Theory has even made specific testable predictions either, outside of the after-the-fact parametrization to match observations that were already made (this is wrongfully touted as evidence, and as a matter of "coincidence" this is the exact thing that anthropogenic global warming climatologists do when they say that their scaremongering climate or carbon cycle models are correct).

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In the field of physics, experiment still trumps theory. Any theory must produce testable predictions which are empirically verified or falsified. That is the figure of merit for a theory: that it makes correct predictions.

If this is true, why do String "Theory" (it's not a physical theory because it can't make predictions) and the Big Bang Theory enjoy popular success amongst part of the Physics world?

Not as popular as might think. There is a rebellion against String Theory brewing because it has not produced testable results. Lee Smolin (big in supersymmetry and loop gravity) recently wrote a scathing critique of String Theory entitled -The Trouble With Physics-. Peter Woit, a mathematician also wrote a criticism entitled -Not Even Wrong-. I think String Theory will be abandoned in the next ten years for lack of testable predictions. This will precipitate a change in the culture (I hope it does anyway) which is a move for the better. As long as enough physicists insist on testable predictions, the current obsession with String Theory will be abated (I hope it will, anyway). As soon a String Theory becomes unfashionable along with the Beauty is Truth nonsense, a healthier direction will occur.

There is an unfortunate tendency among physicists to behave like bosons. Bosons, unlike Fermions, tend to crowd together. I hope this lemming-like behavior will abate.

Physics best era was 1960-1975 with the rise and triumph of the Standard Model for Particles and Fields. This is far and away the best physics theory ever devised and is still unfalsified and highly predictive. If the find the Higgs Boson in the LHC that will definitely mark the Standard Model (which predicts the Higgs) as a believable theory. The bad news is that Standard Model does not combine with any current theory of gravitation, so physics will still have a split personality. One theory for gravitation and one theory for All The Rest.

ruveyn

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In the field of physics, experiment still trumps theory. Any theory must produce testable predictions which are empirically verified or falsified. That is the figure of merit for a theory: that it makes correct predictions.

If this is true, why do String "Theory" (it's not a physical theory because it can't make predictions) and the Big Bang Theory enjoy popular success amongst part of the Physics world?

I don't think the Big Bang Theory has even made specific testable predictions either, outside of the after-the-fact parametrization to match observations that were already made (this is wrongfully touted as evidence, and as a matter of "coincidence" this is the exact thing that anthropogenic global warming climatologists do when they say that their scaremongering climate or carbon cycle models are correct).

Karl Popper's theory of falsifiability has been refuted, and can be heard here.

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In the field of physics, experiment still trumps theory. Any theory must produce testable predictions which are empirically verified or falsified. That is the figure of merit for a theory: that it makes correct predictions.

If this is true, why do String "Theory" (it's not a physical theory because it can't make predictions) and the Big Bang Theory enjoy popular success amongst part of the Physics world?

I don't think the Big Bang Theory has even made specific testable predictions either, outside of the after-the-fact parametrization to match observations that were already made (this is wrongfully touted as evidence, and as a matter of "coincidence" this is the exact thing that anthropogenic global warming climatologists do when they say that their scaremongering climate or carbon cycle models are correct).

Karl Popper's theory of falsifiability has been refuted, and can be heard here.

I'm not talking about falsifiability (I've never liked the idea of "falsifiability" and know that it is not a proper criterion for a theory), I'm just saying that String Theory is literally incapable of making predictions because it is still in such a primitive form, so it shouldn't even be considered a real physical theory yet. If a theory is incapable of making predictions that can be tested for positive evidence, how can you even call it a real theory? :huh:

If you are developing a theory, but haven't yet found a way to form a testable prediction from it, I'm not saying your theory isn't a real theory. What I am saying is if after years of labor the "theory" has shown itself to be incapable of making testable predictions, then what the heck is it? It certainly isn't a real substantive theory of reality.

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Just one last quick comment:

I remember a quote from Ayn Rand saying something to the effect that God can only be described in terms of what he is not.

Well, that's sort of what I feel like these Astrophysicists/Cosmologists are doing here. On the surface they appear to be making advances and dramatically furthering our understanding of the world, but all they really are doing is steadily progressing farther and farther away from reality while describing what reality really is not. Part of the universe is filled with dark matter, which is invisible, doesn't interact with normal matter, and is unlike normal matter (and every year it seems like this "part" gets larger). At the center of the Milky Way is a black hole which is an object with not finite density and no spatial extension. Filling the Universe is some mysterious force field called "dark energy" which is invisible, undetectable, and functions not like any force or field known, and there is not any source from which it is produced. This dark energy expands the fabric of spacetime into nothing, and has been doing this ever since the universe exploded from nothingness into nothingness billions of years ago for no reason... :huh:

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Not as popular as might think. There is a rebellion against String Theory brewing because it has not produced testable results. Lee Smolin (big in supersymmetry and loop gravity) recently wrote a scathing critique of String Theory entitled -The Trouble With Physics-. Peter Woit, a mathematician also wrote a criticism entitled -Not Even Wrong-. I think String Theory will be abandoned in the next ten years for lack of testable predictions. This will precipitate a change in the culture (I hope it does anyway) which is a move for the better.

What are their criticisms? I'm a little concerned because on the one hand you have the rationalists who try to explain reality without observing it, but on the other you have positivists who observe reality but don't believe science can explain anything. It's the Big Bang vs. the Uncertainty Principle. While I'm sure that a lot of scientists don't consider themselves in either camp, do you think they have the philosophy necessary to put things back on track?

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Not as popular as might think. There is a rebellion against String Theory brewing because it has not produced testable results. Lee Smolin (big in supersymmetry and loop gravity) recently wrote a scathing critique of String Theory entitled -The Trouble With Physics-. Peter Woit, a mathematician also wrote a criticism entitled -Not Even Wrong-. I think String Theory will be abandoned in the next ten years for lack of testable predictions. This will precipitate a change in the culture (I hope it does anyway) which is a move for the better.

What are their criticisms? I'm a little concerned because on the one hand you have the rationalists who try to explain reality without observing it, but on the other you have positivists who observe reality but don't believe science can explain anything. It's the Big Bang vs. the Uncertainty Principle. While I'm sure that a lot of scientists don't consider themselves in either camp, do you think they have the philosophy necessary to put things back on track?

Exactly--before taking Lee Smolin's book as a good thing, you might want to see what ideas he proposes in place of String Theory (my money is on them not being good).

He works at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Kitchener/Waterloo, Ontario. ("PI", as it is called, was created by money loaned from a technology company, and what an unfortunate waste of money it will be :huh: )

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Just one last quick comment:

I remember a quote from Ayn Rand saying something to the effect that God can only be described in terms of what he is not.

Well, that's sort of what I feel like these Astrophysicists/Cosmologists are doing here. On the surface they appear to be making advances and dramatically furthering our understanding of the world, but all they really are doing is steadily progressing farther and farther away from reality while describing what reality really is not. Part of the universe is filled with dark matter, which is invisible, doesn't interact with normal matter, and is unlike normal matter (and every year it seems like this "part" gets larger). At the center of the Milky Way is a black hole which is an object with not finite density and no spatial extension. Filling the Universe is some mysterious force field called "dark energy" which is invisible, undetectable, and functions not like any force or field known, and there is not any source from which it is produced. This dark energy expands the fabric of spacetime into nothing, and has been doing this ever since the universe exploded from nothingness into nothingness billions of years ago for no reason... :D

I'm sorry but cosmology doesn't necessarily have to make sense earth-bound apes. In fact, it almost certainly won't.

"In astronomy and cosmology, dark matter is hypothetical matter that does not interact with the electromagnetic force, but whose presence can be inferred from gravitational effects on visible matter. According to present observations of structures larger than galaxies, as well as Big Bang cosmology, dark matter and dark energy account for the vast majority of the mass in the observable universe. The observed phenomena which imply the presence of dark matter include the rotational speeds of galaxies, orbital velocities of galaxies in clusters, gravitational lensing of background objects by galaxy clusters such as the Bullet cluster, and the temperature distribution of hot gas in galaxies and clusters of galaxies. Dark matter also plays a central role in structure formation and galaxy evolution, and has measurable effects on the anisotropy of the cosmic microwave background. All these lines of evidence suggest that galaxies, clusters of galaxies, and the universe as a whole contain far more matter than that which interacts with electromagnetic radiation: the remainder is called the "dark matter component."" -Wikipedia

Dark matter is basically matter that does not interact with electromagnetic waves, but who's presence can be inferred by observing gravitational interactions between bodies. Where did it come from? Why doesn't it interact with normal matter? Why can't it be directly observed? We don't know. But it is there. So, until we know more, we call it "dark matter"

In a somewhat related subject, black holes can't be directly either. Because their gravity is so great, they cannot be directly observed, since even light cannot escape. However, the matter swirling around it before it crosses the "event horizon" can be seen very easily as the intense gravitational tidal forces heat the matter till it becomes an intense EM source. These brilliant EM radiation sources can be seen across the universe as solar systems worth of matter are ripped apart atom from atom. In our own galaxy, stars many times larger than our sun have been observed in extremely warped elliptical orbits moving at large percentages of the speed of light, orbiting.....nothing. Nothing, that is, visible.

"Astronomers are confident that our own Milky Way galaxy has a supermassive black hole at its center, in a region called Sagittarius A*:

* A star called S2 (star) follows an elliptical orbit with a period of 15.2 years and a pericenter (closest) distance of 17 light hours from the central object.

* The first estimates indicated that the central object contains 2.6M (2.6 million) solar masses and has a radius of less than 17 light hours. Only a black hole can contain such a vast mass in such a small volume.

* Further observations[42] strengthened the case for a black hole, by showing that the central object's mass is about 3.7M solar masses and its radius no more than 6.25 light-hours." -wikipedia

So stars are orbiting something really massive, small, and not visible. Black hole anyone?

"In physical cosmology, dark energy is a hypothetical exotic form of energy that permeates all of space and tends to increase the rate of expansion of the universe.[1] Dark energy is the most popular way to explain recent observations that the universe appears to be expanding at an accelerating rate. In the standard model of cosmology, dark energy currently accounts for 74% of the total mass-energy of the universe...According to extensive sky surveys the redshift in light coming from distant galaxies is proportional to their distance. A value for q measured from standard candle observations of Type Ia supernovae, which was determined in 1998 to be negative, surprised many astronomers with the implication that the expansion of the universe is currently "accelerating"" -Wikipedia

Where is the energy causing this acceleration expansion coming from? Why is it accelerating? We don't currently know. Maybe someday we will. Until we have more information, physicists call this force "dark energy"

You might think that physicists and cosmologists are making it up as they go along, but it seems to me this sediment comes from ignorance. It was only last year that it was discovered that our own galaxy, contrary to what was originally thought, is actually a bar spiral galaxy, not just a spiral. You might be surprised to know how much work went into just to find out just that little peice of information.

z

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I'm sorry but cosmology doesn't necessarily have to make sense earth-bound apes. In fact, it almost certainly won't.
I'm not sure what this means; if we live in a rational universe then we should expect things to make sense.
"In astronomy and cosmology, dark matter is hypothetical matter that does not interact with the electromagnetic force, but whose presence can be inferred from gravitational effects on visible matter. According to present observations of structures larger than galaxies, as well as Big Bang cosmology, dark matter and dark energy account for the vast majority of the mass in the observable universe. The observed phenomena which imply the presence of dark matter include the rotational speeds of galaxies, orbital velocities of galaxies in clusters, gravitational lensing of background objects by galaxy clusters such as the Bullet cluster, and the temperature distribution of hot gas in galaxies and clusters of galaxies. Dark matter also plays a central role in structure formation and galaxy evolution, and has measurable effects on the anisotropy of the cosmic microwave background. All these lines of evidence suggest that galaxies, clusters of galaxies, and the universe as a whole contain far more matter than that which interacts with electromagnetic radiation: the remainder is called the "dark matter component."" -Wikipedia

Dark matter is basically matter that does not interact with electromagnetic waves, but who's presence can be inferred by observing gravitational interactions between bodies. Where did it come from? Why doesn't it interact with normal matter? Why can't it be directly observed? We don't know. But it is there. So, until we know more, we call it "dark matter"

In a somewhat related subject, black holes can't be directly either. Because their gravity is so great, they cannot be directly observed, since even light cannot escape. However, the matter swirling around it before it crosses the "event horizon" can be seen very easily as the intense gravitational tidal forces heat the matter till it becomes an intense EM source. These brilliant EM radiation sources can be seen across the universe as solar systems worth of matter are ripped apart atom from atom. In our own galaxy, stars many times larger than our sun have been observed in extremely warped elliptical orbits moving at large percentages of the speed of light, orbiting.....nothing. Nothing, that is, visible.

"Astronomers are confident that our own Milky Way galaxy has a supermassive black hole at its center, in a region called Sagittarius A*:

* A star called S2 (star) follows an elliptical orbit with a period of 15.2 years and a pericenter (closest) distance of 17 light hours from the central object.

* The first estimates indicated that the central object contains 2.6M (2.6 million) solar masses and has a radius of less than 17 light hours. Only a black hole can contain such a vast mass in such a small volume.

* Further observations[42] strengthened the case for a black hole, by showing that the central object's mass is about 3.7M solar masses and its radius no more than 6.25 light-hours." -wikipedia

So stars are orbiting something really massive, small, and not visible. Black hole anyone?

"In physical cosmology, dark energy is a hypothetical exotic form of energy that permeates all of space and tends to increase the rate of expansion of the universe.[1] Dark energy is the most popular way to explain recent observations that the universe appears to be expanding at an accelerating rate. In the standard model of cosmology, dark energy currently accounts for 74% of the total mass-energy of the universe...According to extensive sky surveys the redshift in light coming from distant galaxies is proportional to their distance. A value for q measured from standard candle observations of Type Ia supernovae, which was determined in 1998 to be negative, surprised many astronomers with the implication that the expansion of the universe is currently "accelerating"" -Wikipedia

Where is the energy causing this acceleration expansion coming from? Why is it accelerating? We don't currently know. Maybe someday we will. Until we have more information, physicists call this force "dark energy"

You might think that physicists and cosmologists are making it up as they go along, but it seems to me this sediment comes from ignorance. It was only last year that it was discovered that our own galaxy, contrary to what was originally thought, is actually a bar spiral galaxy, not just a spiral. You might be surprised to know how much work went into just to find out just that little peice of information.

z

Ok, this was a rehash of the standard PR spiel that we can read everyday in a BBC headline or in a National Geographic :D

The existence of Dark Matter or Dark Energy certainly hasn't been proved, if for one reason simply because it doesn't even have a defined physical identity; like a Christian with God Cosmologists can only define what dark matter and dark energy isn't.

The only reason that dark matter/energy is the only possible agent that can explain the bizarre behavior that cosmologists observe is because they are operating on the false assumption that the Big Bang really happened; an unquestioned belief in what is a physically impossible scientific theory is leading them to the end of a blind alley where the only way they can "salvage" the Big Bang is by dreaming up new undefinable entities like dark energy/matter. It's just like when the Earth was believed to be the center of the solar system, and that incorrect scientific belief resulted in all sorts of more bizarre subsequent theories to try to make sense of the "contradictory" phenomena that they observed (Mars stopping in it's orbit, drifting backwards, then resuming forwards by the aid of angels).

The only way you could have proof without direct detection is if you could prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that one and only one mechanism could be behind the observed phenomenon. That hasn't happened, and I'm sure that if anyone had a fat salary, tenure at a scientific institution, good computers, spare time and a wild imagination he could dream up and mathematically model all sorts of bogeyman, phantom entities to explain these phenomena.

However I don't have any problem with black holes, but I just wish astrophysicists wouldn't be so smugly certain that they've detected one.

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The existence of Dark Matter or Dark Energy certainly hasn't been proved, if for one reason simply because it doesn't even have a defined physical identity; like a Christian with God Cosmologists can only define what dark matter and dark energy isn't.

To put this in a simpler way:

If you can't even tell me what it is, then how can you say you've found it? If you don't even know what it is, how do you know you've found it?

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Imagine you are standing at a cliff, observing a very dense and sprawling forest beneath you. Now imagine that you see trees start to fall over in certain patterns, and in certain ways. You are so far away, and the cover of the forest canopy is so thick, that you can not see what is toppling the trees. However, from observing the fact that the trees themselves are falling, and observing that they are doing so in certain patterns, and under certain conditions, you can make hypotheses about what the agent is. You can tell that it must be of a certain size, moving at a certain rate, with a certain amount of energy to fell that many trees, etc. Assigning a concept to this agent has nothing to do with any kind of mysticism. It only becomes mysticism when you take what little facts you do know, the hypotheses that appear to work, and exerting them as a placeholder for more complex computations. I would not doubt that there are those in the Physics world who are taking a more mystical approach to some of these concepts. I do not believe, however, that it is fair or just to smear a large group of educated and intelligent scientist because of certain assumptions about certain individuals. It is much better to single out those individuals who are indeed inserting mysticism into physics and expose them for the mystics they are.

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Imagine you are standing at a cliff, observing a very dense and sprawling forest beneath you. Now imagine that you see trees start to fall over in certain patterns, and in certain ways. You are so far away, and the cover of the forest canopy is so thick, that you can not see what is toppling the trees. However, from observing the fact that the trees themselves are falling, and observing that they are doing so in certain patterns, and under certain conditions, you can make hypotheses about what the agent is. You can tell that it must be of a certain size, moving at a certain rate, with a certain amount of energy to fell that many trees, etc. Assigning a concept to this agent has nothing to do with any kind of mysticism.

Let’s change the example a bit to better fit the reality of the situation. Imagine that you don’t see trees fall over, but you’ve decided they are falling anyway because you like the idea. In the absence of any physical evidence that trees are falling down, you decide that only invisible trees are falling. You can’t detect these trees except you know they exist because, as you’ve already decided, trees are falling.

The Big Bang is the phenomenon that “dark matter” is supposed to explain, only the universe had no beginning. But many scientists think it did, for probably various reasons. Maybe for some it’s religious reasons, while for others they just have a bad metaphysics. What makes the idea ludicrous though is these are scientists and they are supposed to base their theories on evidence. The evidence they offer is the redshift of light from the stars and the cosmic radio background. Now certainly these things mean something, but they don’t mean that existence began in an explosion (of what, if it’s the beginning?). But their attraction to this idea is so strong that even when they realize their observations don’t account for the amount of matter needed to do what they think it did, they hold onto it anyway. Instead of abandoning the theory, they invent ways the theory could be true despite evidence to the contrary. It’s much like Intelligent Design “scientists” claiming that light coming from distant stars originated 10,000 light years from the Earth. There’s absolutely no basis for it. Now whether you call this mysticism or evasion, it’s still bullhonkey, not science.

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But their attraction to this idea is so strong ----------

Pun?

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But their attraction to this idea is so strong ----------

Pun?

:D Sadly, my puns are generally unintended.

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Imagine you are standing at a cliff, observing a very dense and sprawling forest beneath you. Now imagine that you see trees start to fall over in certain patterns, and in certain ways. You are so far away, and the cover of the forest canopy is so thick, that you can not see what is toppling the trees. However, from observing the fact that the trees themselves are falling, and observing that they are doing so in certain patterns, and under certain conditions, you can make hypotheses about what the agent is. You can tell that it must be of a certain size, moving at a certain rate, with a certain amount of energy to fell that many trees, etc. Assigning a concept to this agent has nothing to do with any kind of mysticism. It only becomes mysticism when you take what little facts you do know, the hypotheses that appear to work, and exerting them as a placeholder for more complex computations.
If this is the analogy you chose to try to explain your point then I don't think you were really understanding the significance of what I was trying to say.

Mainstream cosmologists believe in the Big Bang theory, and this theory is an impossibility by it's very nature. If you hold onto a belief in a wrong physical theory you will necessarily run into contradictions between what you observe and the theory. When they do run into this, instead of questioning the theory they simply "solve" the problem by invoking dark energy, dark matter, inflation, entities or fields of which we have no evidence that they actually exist, other than they allow the failed theory to "work".

Allow me to modify your forest analogy:

You are observing a forest and you see trees falling over and hear men yelling "Timbbbeeerrrrr!!". This confuses you, because you believe that lumberjacks don't exist. Instead of questioning your belief that lumberjacks don't exist, you begin to concoct very exotic theories of how the trees managed to fall over. You theorize that there are "dark deer" who are very difficult to observe but are enormously large, and when they run through the forest they occasionally bump into a tree and knock it over. "Timber" just happens to be the mating bellow they make to attract other dark deer.

Preposterous as it sounds, you just know that these dark deer must exist, because it's the only way to "make sense" of the bizarre observations.

I would not doubt that there are those in the Physics world who are taking a more mystical approach to some of these concepts. I do not believe, however, that it is fair or just to smear a large group of educated and intelligent scientist because of certain assumptions about certain individuals. It is much better to single out those individuals who are indeed inserting mysticism into physics and expose them for the mystics they are.

These people deserve to be sharply criticized for what they are doing because they are doing it in the name of Physics. Thanks to these people and the clueless magazines that glorify them in articles the public at large has lost any meaningful notion of what Physics is and what the proper process of Science is supposed to be; Physics to them is "stuff that doesn't make sense, that you can't wrap your mind around, that defies intuition, that melts your brains just trying to understand it".

Physics as it is popularly represented literally defies reality, it is: time travel, extra hidden dimensions, creation of the universe from nothing, the universe being a hologram, multiple universes coexisting, invisible energy fields that push the "nothing" of space apart, ad nauseam. In short, it is depicted as the irrational, as something that is beyond the grasp of an average mind, an understanding that can only be felt through "intuition" by the "enlightened" minds of these cosmologists, who play the part of Shamans in our increasingly mystical age.

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...who play the part of Shamans in our increasingly mystical age.

And unlike the real, cool shamans, they can't dps or AoE heal very well :D

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