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The 4% solution: The ultimate Copernican revolution is “We’re different”?


In “The challenge of the great cosmic unknowns” ( New Scientist 24 January 2011),

Dan Falk reviews Richard Panek’s The 4% Universe: Dark matter, dark energy, and the race to discover the rest of reality:

As he nears the present day, Panek weaves together two separate yet closely related storylines. In the first, he takes us to sophisticated laboratories around the world where researchers are trying to isolate particles of dark matter. Their best guess is that dark matter is made of WIMPs (weakly interacting massive particles), which were created at the time of the big bang and are now fiendishly difficult to detect.

In the second storyline, we join the hunt for dark energy, which began in the late 1990s when two teams of researchers studying distant supernova explosions reached a stunning conclusion: that the expansion of the universe is not slowing down, but speeding up.

The Amazon site features an interview with Panek:

Q: Sounds like science is a pretty straightforward process of discovery and follow-up.

Panek: Straightforward, maybe. Pretty, no. As I show in The Four Percent Universe, the discoveries involved a lot of behind-the-scenes rivalries that sometimes turned ugly—rivalries that continue to this day. But in a way, these rivalries have been good for the science. When scientists who would like nothing more than to prove one another wrong wind up agreeing on a weird result, their peers can’t help but take the result seriously. Astronomers hate to say it—they’re as superstitious as anyone else, and they think they’ll jinx their chances—but there are Nobel Prizes at stake here.

Q: So this is real. Astronomers actually believe that 96 percent of the universe is “missing”?

Panek: Yes. They call it the ultimate Copernican revolution. Not only are we not at the center of the universe, we’re not even made of the same stuff as the vast majority of the universe.


Ms. O'Leary, this last statement in your article caught my eye:
Panek: Yes. They call it the ultimate Copernican revolution. Not only are we not at the center of the universe, we’re not even made of the same stuff as the vast majority of the universe.
Although I don't know enough to comment on the 96% of the universe they say is 'missing', the one thing I have been very surprised by, from what modern science is telling us, is that we, far from being removed from the 'center of the universe', indeed do have restored significance, even centrality, in the grand scheme of things in this universe. Thus, since I am certainly not sophistically trained in physics, I am always taken aback when I see those who are supposed to be leaders in this field of physics miss this obvious point of 'restored significance' for people in the universe by repeating the overturned mantra 'we are not central'. The first thing that caught my eye in this overturning of the Copernican principle, was the discovery of 4-D space time by Einstein.
When a reporter asked for a one-sentence description of the theory of (general) relativity, Einstein replied, "All my life I have been trying to get it into one book. And he wants me to state it in one sentence!" But he gave a simple overview: "It's a theory of space and time as far as physics is concerned, which leads to a theory of gravitation."
http://www.readersdigest.co.za/article/10170&pageno=2 I consider 4-D space-time an absolutely fascinating discovery. It turns out that 4-dimensional (4D) space-time was created in the Big Bang and continues to 'expand equally in all places' as far as the entire cosmos is concerned: Where is the centre of the universe?: Excerpt: There is no centre of the universe! According to the standard theories of cosmology, the universe started with a "Big Bang" about 14 thousand million years ago and has been expanding ever since. Yet there is no centre to the expansion; it is the same everywhere. The Big Bang should not be visualized as an ordinary explosion. The universe is not expanding out from a centre into space; rather, the whole universe is expanding and it is doing so equally at all places, as far as we can tell. http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/physics/Relativity/GR/centre.html Thus from a 3-dimensional (3D) perspective, any particular 3D spot in the universe is to be considered just as 'center of the universe' as any other particular spot in the universe is to be considered 'center of the universe'. This centrality found for any 3D place in the universe is because the universe is a 4D expanding hypersphere, analogous in 3D to the surface of an expanding balloon. All points on the surface are moving away from each other, and every point is central, if that’s where you live. Every 3D Place Is Center In This Universe - video http://www.metacafe.com/watch/3991873/ The other obvious thing modern science has revealed to us, that leading physicist always seem to ignore when emphasizing how 'non-central' we are in this universe, is the 'observer centered' quantum wave collapse of the universe to each point of unique observation in the universe: Quantum Enigma:Physics Encounters Consciousness - Richard Conn Henry - Professor of Physics - John Hopkins University Excerpt: It is more than 80 years since the discovery of quantum mechanics gave us the most fundamental insight ever into our nature: the overturning of the Copernican Revolution, and the restoration of us human beings to centrality in the Universe. And yet, have you ever before read a sentence having meaning similar to that of my preceding sentence? Likely you have not, and the reason you have not is, in my opinion, that physicists are in a state of denial… https://uncommondesc.wpengine.com/intelligent-design/the-quantum-enigma-of-consciousness-and-the-identity-of-the-designer/ And not only do we have the foundational evidence of General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics telling us that we not nearly as 'un-central' in this universe as we have been led to believe, but now we can also 'physically see' for ourselves that we have 'centrality' in this universe: The Known Universe - Dec. 2009 - a very cool video (please note the centrality of the earth in the universe) http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4240304/ I find it extremely interesting, and strange, that quantum mechanics tells us that instantaneous quantum wave collapse to its 'uncertain' 3-D state is centered on each individual observer in the universe, whereas, 4-D space-time cosmology (General Relativity) tells us each 3-D point in the universe is central to the expansion of the universe. These findings of modern science are pretty much exactly what we would expect to see if this universe were indeed created from a higher dimension by a omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, eternal Being who knows everything that is happening everywhere in the universe at the same time. These findings certainly seem to go to the very heart of the age old question asked of many parents by their children, “How can God hear everybody’s prayers at the same time?”,,, i.e. Why should the expansion of the universe, or the quantum wave collapse of the entire universe, even care that you or I, or anyone else, should exist? Only Theism offers a rational explanation as to why you or I, or anyone else, should have such undeserved significance in such a vast universe: Psalm 33:13-15 The LORD looks from heaven; He sees all the sons of men. From the place of His dwelling He looks on all the inhabitants of the earth; He fashions their hearts individually; He considers all their works. It is interesting to note that physicists and mathematicians have a extremely difficult time reconciling General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics. This conflict appears to arise from the inability of either theory to successfully deal with the Zero/Infinity that crops up in different places in each theory: THE MYSTERIOUS ZERO/INFINITY http://www.fmbr.org/editoral/edit01_02/edit6_mar02.htm Yet in "The End Of Christianity', by Dr. Dembski, the zero/infinity conflict, though not fully applied to the QM/GR problem yet, is suggestively dealt with in like manner by Dr. Dembski: The End Of Christianity - Finding a Good God in an Evil World - Pg.31 William Dembski PhD. Mathematics Excerpt: "In mathematics there are two ways to go to infinity. One is to grow large without measure. The other is to form a fraction in which the denominator goes to zero. The Cross is a path of humility in which the infinite God becomes finite and then contracts to zero, only to resurrect and thereby unite a finite humanity within a newfound infinity." http://www.designinference.com/documents/2009.05.end_of_xty.pdf Moreover there actually is physical evidence to support this position: The Center Of The Universe Is Life - General Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, Entropy and The Shroud Of Turin - video http://www.metacafe.com/w/5070355 Turin Shroud Enters 3D Age - Pictures, Articles and Videos https://docs.google.com/document/pub?id=1gDY4CJkoFedewMG94gdUk1Z1jexestdy5fh87RwWAfg bornagain77
Hi Denyse. I have to say that the current quest for dark matter and dark energy sounds mis-directed, because of the naturalistic assumptions underlying it. If we assume the universe is the creation of a personal Being who wants us to discover as much about the world as possible, then we wouldn't expect roadblocks that turn up with no clues, even after decades of expensive research. Instead, we'd look for a mathematically elegant theory that solves the problem of dark matter and dark energy naturally - the sort of theory that reflects the Mind of an Infinite Creator. One theory which claims to do so is Garrett Lisi's exceptionally simple theory of everything, which he discussed in Scientific American last year (see http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=a-geometric-theory-of-everything ). It is extremely elegant, and embodies the most beautiful geometrical structure known to mathematicians. It also makes testable predictions (which may be falsified by the Large Hadron Collider experiments) and purports to explain dark matter and dark energy. Another theory which caught my eye recently is cosmological general relativity, a theory defended by John Hartnett (see http://internal.physics.uwa.edu.au/~john/index.html ), a physicist and Associate Professor at the University of Western Australia who has published more than 80 peer-reviewed scientific papers. Hartnett endorses Cosmological General Relativity, a new theory originally developed by the late Prof. Moshe Carmeli from Ben Gurion University, Israel. The theory accounts for why the universe looks flat, without needing to invoke dark matter or dark energy. In fact, Carmeli actually predicted that the expansion of the universe must be accelerating in 1996, two years before observations revealed this striking fact. You can read more about it here: http://internal.physics.uwa.edu.au/~john/Cosmology_files/Press%20release.pdf . Would any physicist who is reading this care to comment? vjtorley
So again, we *are* special! kornbelt888
I predict that WIMPs will remain fiendishly difficult to detect. After all they have to hide from all the bullies. tragic mishap

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