It’s a lot like Darwinian evolution except that, in this case, people are willing to talk about it.
Hossenfelder: “So, what’s the scientist to do when they are faced with such a discrepancy between theory and observation? They look for new regularities in the observation and try to find a simple way to explain them.” Okay but the question of whether the terms “dark matter” and “dark energy” correspond to anything that actually exists could be a different one.
Rob Sheldon (offering an assessment): “I don’t really know why every new thing in particle physics turns into “dark matter”–perhaps because the street lights are so dim over there?”
One physicist now suggests that this “fifth state” of matter (the other four non-dark states are solid, liquid, gas, and plasma) might be information. But then information must be a physical thing…
It sounded like a great idea, no? Frustrating and weird separately but a breakthrough together? Not this one, it seems.
Sheldon: The recent publication of the Italians+Silk paper has now voiced the unspeakable: there is something wrong with the Lambda-CDM Big Bang model, and by inference, the 2011 Nobel Prize. Neither “dark matter” nor “dark energy” seem to exist in a form that makes the model work.
At Nautilus: “My sense,” I say to Christopher, “is that the search for dark matter has produced an elaborate, delicate edifice of presuppositions, and a network of worship sites, also known as laboratories, all dedicated to the search for an invisible universal entity which refuses to reveal itself. It seems to resemble what we call religion rather more than what we call science.”
Sabine Hossenfelder: Given how much brain-power physicists have spent on trying to figure out what dark matter and dark energy is, I think it would be a good idea to definitely settle the question whether it is anything at all. At the very least, I would sleep better.
“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.”
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 media release refers to “time before the Big Bang.” The idea that time did not begin, for our purposes, with the Big Bang would be contested by some. That raises arrow-of-time issues.
One group of physicists proposes an experiment to try to trick dark matter into revealing itself, involving a unit of energy called a “magnon.”
She doesn’t so much oppose it as she doesn’t want to “wait another 40 years for physicists to realize that falsifiability alone is not sufficient to make a hypothesis promising.” In any event, those who remember science from fifty or thirty years ago find this state of affairs odd.
Rob Sheldon: This article illustrates the reason why the scientific method is going extinct, not just in Darwin’s circular logic, but also in physics and cosmology.
What if the true state of things is something one is not supposed to discuss? That situation is very common and leads to similar conundrums.