Cosmology Physics

Rob Sheldon on why astronomers believe in dark matter

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3-D impression of dark matter via Hubble

Recently, we picked up on a discussion over at The Conversation on why astronomers think dark matter exists.

Rob Sheldon weighs in:

“As this article records, the evidence for dark matter, is abundant and all gravitational, but now known to be neither a mysterious particle nor a black hole. This leaves a tremendous parameter space of black, cold objects that are bigger than a pea and smaller than a Jupiter which fit the bill. Most, if not all the hype you read, is looking for more and more exotic particles, all the while ignoring mundane macroscopic things like comets and asteroids. The reason they ignore all these well known objects, is that modellers tell them it can’t be normal “baryonic” matter. But the models are all based on assumptions, and the assumptions are based on either theoretical shortcuts (1-D, isotropic, homogeneous needed by the modellers), or on model fits. When pressed to explain in detail, you discover the argumentation is circular. Just as Stan Robertson argues about black holes, the assumptions are widespread, and there’s a consensus for using them, but ultimately they are not based on empirical data. Like so many of the other 20th century models (population genetics, Darwinism, cladistics, global climate, no-zero-threshold, gravity waves, dark energy, origin-of-life), when we elevate our assumptions to the authority of empirical data, we enter a wilderness of our own making.”

Rob Sheldon is author of Genesis: The Long Ascent

See also: At The Conversation: Why DO astronomers believe dark matter exists? Is dark matter the Higgs boson, hard to find but eventually found, or the ether, once believed to pervade the universe? If twenty years pass with no dark matter, unfortunately, the needle will tilt a bit more toward the ether.

The Long Ascent: Genesis 1â  11 in Science & Myth, Volume 1 by [Sheldon, Robert]

Discover: Even the best dark matter theories are crumbling

Researcher: The search for dark matter has become a “quagmire of confirmation bias” So many research areas in science today are hitting hard barriers that it is reasonable to think that we are missing something.

Physicists devise test to find out if dark matter really exists

Largest particle detector draws a blank on dark matter

What if dark matter just doesn’t stick to the rules?

A proposed dark matter solution makes gravity an illusion

and

Proposed dark matter solution: “Gravity is not a fundamental governance of our universe, but a reaction to the makeup of a given environment.”

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