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      CommentAuthorLuke
    • CommentTimeFeb 11th 2008
     (963.1)
    You might have heard of Dark Matter, the mystical substance which absolutely has to be there, say the cosmologists, otherwise none of our sums work out. Nobody has ever observed it, detected it, or even implied it's effects apart from it's magic "it fixes reality to match our theories" property.

    So what happens when Polish observers detect a galaxy (NGC 4736) whose motion can actually be explained by all the visible matter? Without modifying gravity, or inventing mass, or anything? Many complain "That can't be right, it doesn't have dark matter".

    That's right - some scientists are observing data that fits existing theories and rejecting it because it doesn't include something they believe in.

    As another scientist, I'd like to say ouch. New Scientist article here.
    •  
      CommentAuthorJaredRules
    • CommentTimeFeb 11th 2008
     (963.2)
    You say it's dark matter, I say it's invisible unicorns.
    • CommentAuthorradian
    • CommentTimeFeb 11th 2008
     (963.3)
    Or noodly appendages?
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      CommentAuthorJay Kay
    • CommentTimeFeb 11th 2008
     (963.4)
    Or the Anti-Monitor?
  1.  (963.5)
    Funny how even scientists don;t know how their field works! Here's how it (often) goes: scientists pull a well-known move called 'inference to the best explanation': basically they infer the best hypothesis they can come up with to explain a given phenomenon or set of phenomena. In some cases, the hypothesis picks up empirical support, gets developed further and emerges as the leading theoretical contender; in others, it crashes and burns as the data undermine it. The hypothesis of 'dark matter' was proposed though just such an inference - it explains a lot but its way too early to say whether its close to the truth or not. This latest set of observations/calculations may be its undoing or they too may be explained away. But just because its unobserved and has little direct empirical support doesn't mean its false!
  2.  (963.6)
    It's the modern Phlogiston, or Aether - a handy model to fill in the holes in the observed data.
  3.  (963.7)
    I find it amusing that we insist that Dark Matter exists, but think a good portion of our DNA is "junk".. just a reminder that science isn't as objective as we like to think..
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      CommentAuthorChrisSick
    • CommentTimeFeb 13th 2008
     (963.8)
    Go easy on science, the alternative is religion and none of us want that, now do we?
  4.  (963.9)
    honestly, everything can be explained with chinese philosophy. and it's suprising how close quantumn physics is getting to understanding that!
    •  
      CommentAuthorJaredRules
    • CommentTimeFeb 13th 2008
     (963.10)
    Also see: Epicycles

    It's just an anomaly that no one can figure out, so they just call it "Dark Matter" and brush the problem off to the side until a new paradigm gets picked up that can solve the problem better..

    But I mean really? "The only explanation is that there's some undetectable mysterious mass out there!" That's not that much different from saying "God"
    • CommentAuthorzenbullet
    • CommentTimeFeb 13th 2008
     (963.11)
    Eventually Dark Matter will go away just like phlogiston did and it will all be fine.

    But I'm waiting on this one.

    Remember in the 1960s when they thought Barnard's Star had a gas giant?

    It takes a few years for reliable observations to be gathered, but I think it would be cool if it was true.
  5.  (963.12)
    ChrisSick - there's also the theory in Religious Studies that without Western Religion we never would have had science, so I'd suggest that's a false dichotomy. (Along the same lines as what Jared brought up).

    That said, I love science. Every toast I make is to it. It's been the basis of the reality that I so love, and I'm excited to see where it takes us.
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      CommentAuthornigredo
    • CommentTimeFeb 17th 2008
     (963.13)
    david bohm - wholeness and the implicate order
  6.  (963.14)
    One idea I have which would be awesome in a terrifying way, if true (or even plausible), would be if the gravitational effects attributed to "dark matter" were attributable to perfectly efficient Dyson spheres...
  7.  (963.15)
    Go easy on science, the alternative is religion and none of us want that, now do we?

    Well, we've always had both as far as documented history is concerned. Neither are going anywhere and will continue their yin-yang existence I guessing.

    Honestly, isn't it more fun that way?
  8.  (963.16)
    One idea I have which would be awesome in a terrifying way, if true (or even plausible), would be if the gravitational effects attributed to "dark matter" were attributable to perfectly efficient Dyson spheres...

    Hey, that's cool. Consider it stolen.

    Thanks!
    •  
      CommentAuthorobliterati
    • CommentTimeFeb 20th 2008
     (963.17)
    I'm having a time out until I can learn some manners.
    <a target="_blank" href="http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/080211-mm-dark-unification.html">Dark Fluid</a>. Totally brand new.