From Natalie Wolchover at Quanta, on the Dutch theoretical physicist Erik Verlinde, who argues that it doesn’t:
he latest attempt to explain away dark matter is a much-discussed proposal by Erik Verlinde, a theoretical physicist at the University of Amsterdam who is known for bold and prescient, if sometimes imperfect, ideas. In a dense 51-page paper posted online on Nov. 7, Verlinde casts gravity as a byproduct of quantum interactions and suggests that the extra gravity attributed to dark matter is an effect of “dark energy” — the background energy woven into the space-time fabric of the universe.
To make his case, Verlinde has adopted a radical perspective on the origin of gravity that is currently in vogue among leading theoretical physicists. Einstein defined gravity as the effect of curves in space-time created by the presence of matter. According to the new approach, gravity is an emergent phenomenon. Space-time and the matter within it are treated as a hologram that arises from an underlying network of quantum bits (called “qubits”), much as the three-dimensional environment of a computer game is encoded in classical bits on a silicon chip. Working within this framework, Verlinde traces dark energy to a property of these underlying qubits that supposedly encode the universe. On large scales in the hologram, he argues, dark energy interacts with matter in just the right way to create the illusion of dark matter. More.
The principal reason that the dark matter controversy is important is that there has never been a single particle of dark matter discovered, yet it gets rent-free space as an abstraction in thousands of physicists’ heads throughout their careers. How cogently we choose to handle the problem says a fair bit about the future of science.
See also: Aeon writer asks: Has dogma derailed the search for dark matter?
Is gravity an illusion?
How do dark energy and dark matter relate to ID?
Follow UD News at Twitter!