In the Dark on Matter
(This TPOD first appeared on 2-28-06)
Since there is no
experimental or observable evidence that dark matter exists,
is it just a prop for the beleaguered big bang theory? This
highly speculative construct is now combined with one just
as fabulous--dark energy--to shore up current cosmological
In the 1930s,
astronomers Fritz Zwicky and Sinclair Smith were puzzled by
the motions they observed within the Virgo and Coma galactic
clusters. Everything seemed to be moving too fast to be held
in place by gravity. So they conjectured that something they
could not see was exerting a gravitational effect on these
clusters. But most astronomers were only marginally
In the 1970s,
however, astronomers began to examine the rotational motions
of spiral galaxies such as our own Milky Way. The rotational
speeds of the stars that make up spiral galaxies are far too
great, they said: At such speeds the constituent stars
should be flying apart. So astronomers, accustomed to
thinking only in terms of gravity, calculated how much
additional matter was required—and where—to fit the
observations. The idea of invisible material or “dark
matter” soon became essential if the observed motions were
to make sense gravitationally. Today astronomers say there
is far more dark matter than visible matter acting on
In the years
that followed the questions only deepened, as the proposed
“answers” grew more complex and bizarre and theorists
speculated about MACHOs—“ Massive Astrophysical Compact Halo
Objects”—and a presumed counterpart called WIMPs—“Weakly
Interacting Massive Particles”. Then the theorists began to
distinguish between “cold” dark matter and “hot” dark
matter, supplemented by “warm” dark matter and “baryonic”
beginning it has been a game accessible only to
mathematicians. But today, suspicions abound that the
theoretical excursions have no actual connection to anything
occurring in nature. As The Complete Idiot's Guide to
Theories of the Universe puts it, "there is no
experimental or observable evidence that dark matter exists.
It's a theory to make the big bang work".
Advocates of the
Electric Universe point out that astronomers can maintain
the “credibility” of this game only by insisting that
electromagnetism has no appreciable role in the organization
of cosmic structure. “And it isn’t as if the evidence for
galactic magnetic fields and therefore electricity is
lacking!” laughs Wallace Thornhill, who has devoted much of
his life to exploring the role of electricity in space.
What is the
nature of “missing matter”, and does it even exist in truth?
It is interesting to note that astronomers cannot answer the
first question, but do not doubt the answer to the second.
We see the contradiction ratified daily in the popular
scientific media. A story at the Universe Today website
begins, “Dark matter is a mystery. Astronomers know
it's there because they can measure the effect of its
gravity on stars and galaxies, but they can't see it”.
Perhaps the author does not realize that the confidence he
exudes rests entirely on the astronomers’ conjectures. Their
equations “work” only in an abstract world, and only because
the mathematicians have systematically excluded electricity.
The diagram at
the top of the page shows the universal confusion between
matter and mass. (It's a pity both words begin with "m", say
the electrical theorists; otherwise mathematicians might not
have gotten away with this sleight of hand). Everyone
recognizes the equation relating energy and mass (E =
mc2), but no one knows what gives matter
its apparent mass. One of the foundational principles of
physics states that matter cannot be created or destroyed.
Matter cannot be converted into energy or vice versa. In
other words, energy and matter are not equivalent and cannot
be lumped together as in the above diagram.
The truth is
that we have no real idea of the relationship between
matter, mass, and gravity. It is our ignorance of this
relationship that has permitted the big bang theory to
flourish and has created the “problem” of missing mass. Dark
matter was invented to rescue a gravity-driven universe and
to make the big bang work, even if the theory requires
“creation from nothing" and must violate, in its first
principles, every fundamental law of physics.
Is there an
alternative? Yes, plasma cosmologists are waiting in the
wings for working scientists to tire of the theorists’
mathematical escapades, and to think first of the things we
actually know. Grant the role of electricity on a
galactic scale, and the case for dark matter evaporates.
Plasma physicists have successfully demonstrated the
formation and dynamics of the classic spiral shape (spiral
galaxy) in laboratory electrical discharges. And
observations of magnetic fields in spiral galaxies match the
laboratory forms, which are known to be scaleable over more
than 14 orders of magnitude. The magnetic fields trace the
electric currents flowing along the spiral arms of galaxies.
Electromagnetic forces alone can thus produce the
classic structure and rotation of ubiquitous, magnificent
galactic formations. No dark matter required!
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