Sunday, November 10, 2013

Weekend Rebel Science Excursion - 25

Faith Detector
The dark stuff that makes up "26.8" + "68.3" (95.1) percent of the stuff of the universe or cosmos could be God, imagination, indiscoverable, or just plain old bad science (Wikipedia, "Dark matter").

It reminds me of the history concerning what establishment scientists thought about "germs" in the 19th century ("germs were considered to be tiny unseen entities which would pop into or out of reality, into or out of existence, at will").

The epidemics of disease which that bad science about the imaginary world brought upon us (What is Pseudo Science?) were horrific.

Regular readers know that the Dredd Blog System has been criticizing cosmologists for a similar and still furiously ongoing hypothesis, based on faith in a hypothesis rather than evidence in support of that hypothesis:
The basis of something that has never been seen, never been felt, never been measured, but a lot of people believe exists anyway, is faith:
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. By faith we understand that the universe was formed ... so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible ...
(Bible, Hebrews 11:1, emphasis added). What is seen in our universe by scientists is called matter. No faith needed.

What is not seen is what cosmologists and physicists are now calling "dark matter", and its existence really by definition is a matter of faith.

Dark Matter has never been seen, measured, touched, felt, put in a test tube, or any other things experimental, but scientists do believe that it exists.
(Rebel Science: The Dark Matter of Faith). Or as the New York Times puts it:
On Wednesday, an international team of physicists based in the same cavern of the former mine announced a new milestone of frustration, but also hope — this time in the search for dark matter, the mysterious, invisible ingredient that astronomers say makes up a quarter of the cosmos.

In the first three months of running the biggest, most sensitive dark matter detector yet — a vat of 368 kilograms of liquid xenon cooled to minus 150 degrees Fahrenheit — the researchers said they had not seen a trace of the clouds of particles that theorists say should be wafting through space, the galaxy, the Earth and, of course, ourselves, knocking out at least one controversial class of dark matter candidates.

But the experiment has just begun and will run for all of next year. The detector, already twice as sensitive as the next best one, will gain another factor of sensitivity in the coming run.

“Just because we don’t see anything in the first run doesn’t mean we won’t see anything in the second,” said Richard Gaitskell, a professor of physics at Brown University and a spokesman for an international collaboration that operates the experiment known as LUX, for the Large Underground Xenon dark matter experiment.
(Dark Matter Experiment Has Detected Nothing, Researchers Say Proudly). Normally one would find some competent evidence, form a falsifiable hypothesis, then test the hypothesis.

One of the foremost advocates of the dark matter of faith seems to be losing that faith, to instead begin to grasp normal science practices once again:
if the hypothesis fails then get rid of it, develop a new one based upon what has been learned during the falsification process:‘We are on the verge of finding out what dark matter is’, Professor Carlos Frenk told the British Science Festival in Bradford. Frenk, director of Durham University’s Institute for Computational Cosmology, predicts that within the next few months, ‘Either dark matter will be discovered, or our model of the universe is not quite right.’
(Heretics Deny The Dark Matter of Faith - 3). But in the dark matter faith world scientists are using a technique that religionists and philosophers use:
In [Dark Matter] in Proof, Nathan Schneider offers an entertaining, well written, and historically comprehensive account of the philosophical and religious business of presenting proofs for [Dark Matter]’s existence (and sometimes nonexistence). His is a frenetic dash through the history of philosophy of religion and theology that leaves little out (except, as he admits, the voices of women). Part intellectual biography, part history of philosophy, and part autobiographical spiritual-quest narrative, [Dark Matter] in Proof moves fluently and easily from ancient Greece to the internet age, looking at those who have tried to argue for their belief in [Dark Matter].
(Only God Knows). To emphasize the point, I inserted "[Dark Matter]" in place of "God" in that quote from a book review about trying to prove the existence of God.

Perhaps the dark matter scientists have found evidence of God during their faithful search for the unseen, the untouchable, and the not-yet-found object of their faith?

The previous post in this series is here.

A Persian band:

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