Evolution in the News - June 2015
by Do-While Jones

Dark Matter of Faith

You have to believe in dark matter.

Normally, we would let this news item slide; but since it ties this month’s feature article and email together, we had to include it in this newsletter, even though it is only peripherally related to evolution. Our feature article makes the point that, unlike old science (in which something had to be observed to happen spontaneously in nature, or forced to occur in the laboratory), new science says if enough scientists think something could have happened, it must have happened (despite the fact that measurements prove it didn't). The email column explored the premise that atheism might force otherwise rational people to believe irrational things. Because we were writing about these two subjects, the following news item in Scientific American immediately caught our attention:

For decades the story of dark matter has been one revelation after another about what this mysterious material is not [emphasis in the original], a gradual winnowing of possibilities that has made physicists increasingly nervous. What happens when the last candidate gets crossed off the list? Will we be doomed never to glimpse the nature of the stuff that contributes about 25 percent of all mass in the universe? 1

The Big Bang theory is a mathematical model of what could have happened right after time and space began spontaneously about 15 billion years ago, assuming certain unverifiable initial conditions. Since the mathematical equations say it could have happened, it must have happened. The unverifiable model can’t be wrong.

The Big Bang theory calculated a certain amount of total mass in the universe. But, when astronomers estimated the number of stars, and estimated how much they must weigh (including the planets that must orbit them, and dust and gas), they realized that the measured (actually, estimated) mass of everything in the universe added up to only about 5% of what the theory predicted. Therefore, there must be a lot of “dark matter” which can’t be seen by telescopes.

Eight years ago, we reported that astronomers believed that 90 to 98 percent of all the mass in the universe is “dark matter.” 2 The recent Scientific American article said that only 25% of the mass is dark matter. That’s because the more calculations the astronomers made, the harder it was to reconcile the measured rate of expansion of the universe, and the motion of celestial bodies, with the gravitational effect of that much mass. So, they postulated that most of that mass had to exist in the form of energy. (The famous equation E = mc2 relates mass to energy.) They call this mysterious energy, “dark energy,” which seems to act like anti-gravity, making the universe expand faster than it would if all that dark matter existed as matter.

So, as of right now, the official story (according to Wikipedia, which is subject to change) is,

Dark matter neither emits nor absorbs light or any other electromagnetic radiation at any significant level. According to the Planck mission team, and based on the standard model of cosmology, the total mass–energy of the known universe contains 4.9% ordinary matter, 26.8% dark matter and 68.3% dark energy. Thus, dark matter is estimated to constitute 84.5% of the total matter in the universe, while dark energy plus dark matter constitute 95.1% of the total mass–energy content of the universe.

Astrophysicists hypothesized dark matter because of discrepancies between the mass of large astronomical objects determined from their gravitational effects and the mass calculated from the observable matter (stars, gas, and dust) that they can be seen to contain. Dark matter was postulated by Jan Oort in 1932 … 3

In physical cosmology and astronomy, dark energy is an unknown form of energy which is hypothesized to permeate all of space, tending to accelerate the expansion of the universe. Dark energy is the most accepted hypothesis to explain the observations since the 1990s indicating that the universe is expanding at an accelerating rate. 4

The 90 to 98 percent estimate of dark matter in 2007 has been refined to 95.1 %, of which 26.8% is actually (undetected) matter, and the rest is (unexplainable) energy. Scientific American rounded 26.8% down to 25%. Doesn’t Scientific American know that the matter (which has never been observed) has been measured to an accuracy of one tenth of one percent?

Astronomers have known since 1932 that the measured amount of mass in the universe is nowhere close to the amount of mass predicted by the “standard model of cosmology” (i.e., the Big Bang). They have been looking for the missing mass ever since. Now, Scientific American is worried that we might “be doomed never to glimpse the nature of the stuff.”

In old science, if scientists tried vigorously to verify a theory for 83 years without success, the theory would be rejected. But in new science, if there is even the slightest chance that the theory might be correct by some reason that nobody knows, and if that theory supports the creation myth of atheism, then the theory must be correct. Furthermore, anyone who doesn’t believe the Big Bang must be anti-science!

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1 Scientific American, June 2015, “Dark Matter Drops a Clue, pp. 15-17, http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/dark-matter-particles-interact-with-themselves/
2 Disclosure, June 2007, “The Dark (matter) Side of the Moon”
3 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_matter
4 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_energy