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Old June 3 2013, 10:28 AM   #61
iguana_tonante
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Re: Strange Dark Matter Theory

Captain Nebula wrote: View Post
It is the height of arrogance to think that no one can learn this.
Of course, most people can learn this. It just takes a decade of continuous study. This is the crux of Flying Lemon's argument: credentials and titles don't mean shit, per se. But they show you have been subjected to a harrowing experience of learning and understanding, and so you have a firm grasp of the topic. If are going to study something deep enough to know it as well as a PhD, then you might as well get one.

Vulcan Logician wrote: View Post
Well sorry if I've wasted anyone's time by bringing juvenile ideas into this scholarly setting. Next time I have a half-baked hypothesis, I'll post it in the nether reaches of some science fiction show forum.
Well, if it helps (probably it doesn't), I don't think anything bad about your post. It's just a harmless, weird idea that popped into someone's mid. Also, it has some similarity with brane cosmology, so it's not completely out of the blue. What I'm arguing against is the position of "it doesn't make sense to me (i.e. I don't understand it), so it must be wrong".

Metryq wrote: View Post
Math is just a language, not "truth."
Maths is as "true" as you can get. Literally, you can't make it "truer" than that. But even ignoring that, if you don't speak the language, that would make your opinion about its literature somewhat... limited, don't you think?

Metryq wrote: View Post
But back to the original topic of dark matter, which was created as an ad hoc patch to a cosmology that could not properly account for the structure and movement of galaxies. Dark energy was added after that to balance out problems created by dark matter. Together, these patches make up 95% of the "stuff" in the universe.
On the other hand, why should the stuff in the universe be intuitive, easy to observe and understand for us? That's just anthropocentrism speaking. Quantum mechanics is definitely counter-intuitive and weird, and yet it's both formally correct and highly predictive. The universe isn't limited by the perspectives of puny brains.

Metryq wrote: View Post
The layman sees one group saying, "The universe is non-intuitive and incomprehensible. You'll just have to trust us." Meanwhile, another group of equally degreed and working researchers says, "It doesn't make sense to us, either. We'd like to suggest an alternative model."
Ah, "teach the controversy". I see.

Crazy Eddie wrote: View Post
To paraphrase someone smarter than myself:

What's weird is that there is nothing special about God, and all the talk against him is some irrational dislike that has no grounds. His existence would be no more weird than the existence of normal people, which are already here. There is no reason for all God to interact through the rest of the forces. And whatever is causing the mass discrepancy is not evenly distributed across space, so it's clearly omnipresent and very powerful, and we call omnipresent/powerful things "god" for some reason. If you like you can believe that God is, say, an invisible particle that doesn't interact through any of the fundamental forces except gravity, go for it, but it is theologically the same thing.

If that counterargument was conjured by "someone smarter than yourself", then I weep for thee.

Pavonis wrote: View Post
I wonder if lawyers and physicians have similar "insightful contributions" from non-expert amateurs. Do people just wander into their offices and offer free advice on how to go about their work?
Well, given the popularity of homeopathy and other similar "alternative theories" , I guess they kind of do.

Crazy Eddie wrote: View Post
They took their favorite theory and ran with it simply because nobody managed to prove them wrong.
Which is kind of how science works.

Crazy Eddie wrote: View Post
It is in that specific sense that cosmology and theology have begun to grow more and more similar: theories are assumed to be correct based less on corroborating data than on a lack of contradictory data.
I'd love to see the "data" in theology.

Also, given how many confirmed predictions have been carried out based on "dark cosmology", you are talking out of your arse here.
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Old June 3 2013, 12:20 PM   #62
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Re: Strange Dark Matter Theory

Did anyone ever consider that whatever keeps the universe expanding might “simply“ be a 5th force, weaker than gravity?
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Old June 3 2013, 12:24 PM   #63
Asbo Zaprudder
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Re: Strange Dark Matter Theory

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quintessence_(physics)
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Old June 3 2013, 06:57 PM   #64
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Re: Strange Dark Matter Theory

iguana_tonante wrote: View Post
I'd love to see the "data" in theology.
There's plenty of data. It just happens to come from a source that only theologians consider credible.

Also, given how many confirmed predictions have been carried out based on "dark cosmology"...
Almost without exception, none of those confirmed predictions appear to bear close scrutiny. The observations are invariably tentative and are based on an assumption of the presence of dark matter in the first place, the absence of which would in almost every case suggest a different explanation for the observations.
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Old June 3 2013, 08:03 PM   #65
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Re: Strange Dark Matter Theory

Ok, I'll bite. What is your explanation, anyway? That "electric sky" nonsense, or do you have a different pet theory?
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Old June 3 2013, 08:21 PM   #66
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Re: Strange Dark Matter Theory

iguana_tonante wrote: View Post
Ok, I'll bite. What is your explanation, anyway? That "electric sky" nonsense
Hell no.

Actually, I think it's pretty obvious: the predictions related to gravitational attraction and/or the composition and mass distribution of galaxies (or both) is flawed, so those starting assumptions should be corrected first before some unknown and undetectable "other" is inserted into the model.

IOW, scientists shouldn't be looking for exotic "dark matter" particles. They should be looking for other examples of gravitational behavior across galactic distances and/or re-examining the way they calculate the mass of galaxies. The simplest explanation is that they have either under-estimated the mass or under-estimated the effects of gravity at those distances.

Multiple choice: you are given a large wooden box that is labeled "bottled water." You estimate, from the volume of the box, the maximum amount of water the box could contain and therefore work out what its mass should be. Then you try to pick up the box and find out that it's actually 80% heavier than you predicted. How did this happen?
a) You under-estimated the weight of the water
b) You didn't account for the weight of the box itself
c) There's something else in the box in addition to water
d) There is a second invisible box sitting on top of the first box that you cannot see or feel.

Any one of those explanations could fit the facts, but d) is the least plausible by far. They also have different solutions:

a) Check the actual mass/density of water and derive the results yourself
b) Check the mass of the box (or a similar box) without its contents
c) Try to find out for sure what is actually inside the box
d) Devise a series of stupendously convoluted and expensive experiments using setups so sophisticated that the raw data from the results would fill a three-volume encyclopedia.

Again, d) is the least likely to yield meaningful results, especially if you're starting from the basic assumption that there IS an invisible box and that the experiment will eventually bear this out, one way or the other.
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Old June 3 2013, 08:36 PM   #67
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Re: Strange Dark Matter Theory

You're using the terms "weight" and "mass" interchangeably. The acceleration due to gravity might also not be what you think it is.
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Old June 3 2013, 08:57 PM   #68
iguana_tonante
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Re: Strange Dark Matter Theory

And of course, weighting a box of water is exactly the same thing of measuring the gravitational mass of astrophysical objects thousands of light years away from us.

Again, you are seriously underestimating the universe.

Crazy Eddie wrote: View Post
IOW, scientists shouldn't be looking for exotic "dark matter" particles. They should be looking for other examples of gravitational behavior across galactic distances and/or re-examining the way they calculate the mass of galaxies.
We did, and guess what? It was in agreement with a cold dark matter scenario. At the moment of writing this, there is no alternative theory that can adequately explain the behaviour of cosmological structures better than dark matter. And we are talking of a large interval of behaviours, from galaxy rotation curves to gravitational lensing of galaxy clusters. Will a better theory emerge in the future? Obviously, it's possible. Personally, I think that gravity might need some additional work to be completely understood (the above-mentioned brane cosmology is an interesting idea, for example), but as far as I understand it, we won't eschew dark matter in any foreseeable future.

Crazy Eddie wrote: View Post
The simplest explanation is that they have either under-estimated the mass or under-estimated the effects of gravity at those distances.
Since we are fond of educated quotes: "Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler".

So in the end, I'm sorry, but you have nothing but wishful thinking and anti-establishment rage.
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Old June 3 2013, 09:47 PM   #69
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Re: Strange Dark Matter Theory

FlyingLemons wrote: View Post
If they suggest something that's nonsense, and then get all defensive to the point of physical violence when it's pointed out that their theory makes no sense, not so good.
iguana_tonante wrote: View Post
So in the end, I'm sorry, but you have nothing but wishful thinking and anti-establishment rage.
These comments about physical violence and rage startled me. Has someone here been threatened, maybe been mugged while they were posting to the forum, or perhaps these are reflexive comments—projecting onto others?
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Old June 3 2013, 10:03 PM   #70
iguana_tonante
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Re: Strange Dark Matter Theory

Maybe you should have read a bit better that Crothers buddy of yours:

Pasty-faced softies however, cloistered away in universities are not much of a challenge; but there are so many of them, like cane toads in the breeding season. And so I now make no bones about how I view blokes who, like K. Thorne and Ned Wright, prance about with long pony tails and matching sandals, or wear earings and otherwise dress and behave like girls (most "male" physicsts nowadays).
I must first apologise, as you for a gentleman I mistook. In all the email you sent me you included rude, arrogant, condescending, stupid, and insulting remarks. You have rightly earnt yourself a bloody nose, and if not for the distance between us I might well have visited you to deliver the causative blow, not because of your incompetent technical argument, but because your behaviour has been that of an arsehole. It seems that you are doomed to live and die a conceited shithead, and, moreover, a conceited shithead who cannot do even elementary geometry.
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Old June 3 2013, 10:09 PM   #71
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Re: Strange Dark Matter Theory

Your honour, his bloody nose is not a result of rage or violence, there is a much simpler explanation, he underestimated the effects of gravity and his head assumed a trajectory intersecting the doorstep.
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Old June 3 2013, 11:36 PM   #72
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Re: Strange Dark Matter Theory

Metryq wrote: View Post
These comments about physical violence and rage startled me. Has someone here been threatened, maybe been mugged while they were posting to the forum, or perhaps these are reflexive comments—projecting onto others?
What, you think I have a low opinion of "independent researchers" just because of their poor math? Hell no.

I get emails from several kinds of people outwith the physics community.

One kind is from people like a pensioner who likes to work through papers as a hobby in his spare time, and he has a few technical questions about how I reached a certain conclusion. He's not a physicist, but he does know his stuff, is curious and I'm happy to answer.

Another is from laymen, members of the public who might have seen something about a paper I've written in New Scientist or Scientific American. Again, happy to oblige as I feel that if physicists are working on research with public funding we should be more than willing to explain what we're doing to them if they ask.

The third category, however, is the "independent researcher", like Crothers etc. A common gambit is that they've solved it all in their heads, and that they want to show me, a professional physicist, so that I can "verify their theory" or basically do their math for them. Usually they have some story about how they've been rejected by others but they know that I'll believe them because I'm different and can see they've got the answer, right?

I now just ignore them because I learned from experience how it will go. A guy emailed me with his weird theory about how humans are here because we are the most effective means of pushing forward entropy, and that I needed to go and verify what he'd done to show he was right.

I engaged with the guy and patiently tried to explain that I didn't think there was much to his idea. I even went and wrote out all the math for him - and got a confrontational reply:

quack wrote:
"
YOUR A FCUKIN IDIOT. I just called you an idiot because you fully deserved it, moron.

You apparently can't offer anything more than baseless bullshit accusations and lame appeals to authority, instead of addressing the physics. I'VE BEEN LABORING FOR YEARS ON THIS AND YOU HAVE NO FUCKING CLUE.

Your a clown who's let me down just like all the others... I DID NOTHING WRONG. I was just studying gravity and following along with everybody else and then I REALIZED that we NEED to go back to 1917, Einstein but NONE OF YOU WILL LISTEN TO ME.YOU FUCKING CLOWNS are the ones that continually fail to recognize that I have repeatedly given sufficient evidence to warrent that Einstein deserves another little look-see before you can claim a damned thing".
He was incapable of the work himself, but wanted me to do his calculations for him to reveal the obvious truth that he was right. He was the grand genius, I was to be his Eddington who confirmed his spectacular realization... but because I explained some flaws in his math, I got this aggressive load of bullshit.

Same story with a lot of other theoretical physicists. We swap stories about them. It's not because we're "closed minded", just that many of the "alternative theories" make no sense and are sometimes just plain loopy. I've had emails from delusional "theorists" talking about something called "anti-magnetitism" being suppressed by a conspiracy of Jews and the British Establishment, and mailed manifestos talking about how gravity is really controlled by Atlantis. Of course!

Why are professional scientists often outright dismissive and scornful of "alternative theories"? Quite often because the authors are confrontational fruitloops who are very hard to engage with on any rational level. And at the end of the day, it just isn't worth giving them the time of day.

If I explain why they're wrong to them, I'm either just another Jewish scientist conspiring with Queen Elizabeth II to cover up the wonderful free energy field, or a "willfully ignorant neo-darwinian bully" or some other crap they make up.

There's a reason why many of these guys are out on the fringe: namely that many of them are shrill, ignorant punks who are incapable of showing basic manners, let alone an ability to engage in academic discourse.
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Old June 4 2013, 04:49 AM   #73
Crazy Eddie
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Re: Strange Dark Matter Theory

iguana_tonante wrote: View Post
And of course, weighting a box of water is exactly the same thing of measuring the gravitational mass of astrophysical objects thousands of light years away from us.

Again, you are seriously underestimating the universe.
On the contrary, I'm saying that our estimates for the mass of those distant objects is far from certain and difficult to determine for sure, as is the behavior of gravity at galactic/intergalactic distances. Thus the "invisible box" assumption is NOT the one that needs to be investigated and ruled out. To complete the analogy, we're talking about a "box" whose composition and basic properties are not fully understood in the first place, for which existing estimates of its mass and the distribution thereof have a huge degree of error, and for which any solid answer to those questions will be monumentally difficult to obtain in and of themselves. My feeling is that scientists are attacking the more fanciful and exotic theory but never sufficiently ruled out the simpler ones.

We did, and guess what? It was in agreement with a cold dark matter scenario.
Not exactly. What they found -- in various studies in the early 2000s -- was there was no direct evidence for the alternate explanations, which in a way came down to special pleading for dark matter. Not that I agreed with this particular explanation, but back in 2002 I read a paper in an astronomy journal that sought to debunk the theory that the higher-than-expected angular velocity of distant galaxies could be better explained by a higher-than-predicted population of large brown dwarfs and/or black holes and neutron stars that do not produce strong x-ray signals. The author called that theory "spurious" and concluded -- I kid you not -- that the lack of confirmed brown dwarfs in the Milky Way disproved this theory, and simply ignored the point about black holes/neutron stars.

I remember it now only because it was the first time a scientific journal ever made my jaw drop in disbelief. Mind you, it's not that I actually agree with the theory that brown dwarf populations or non-luminous massive stars by themselves work as an explanation. It's the counter-arguments AGAINST it are and have been deeply fallacious.

At the moment of writing this, there is no alternative theory that can adequately explain the behaviour of cosmological structures better than dark matter...
Actually there are dozens of theories, many of which are in the process of being tested as we speak. Dark matter isn't the most plausible one, it's merely the most popular.

And we are talking of a large interval of behaviours, from galaxy rotation curves to gravitational lensing of galaxy clusters.
And little else, it turns out. And even gravitational lensing models are based overwhelmingly on the assumption about the mass distribution of dark matter between galaxies whereas alternate models that assume only slightly different than expected mass distributions still managed to replicate the results.

In such cases, the support for the dark matter hypothesis has been based less on the evidence FOR dark matter than by the reseacher's skepticism for the alternate explanations.

It's also worth pointing out that modified gravity is consistent with virtually ALL of those observations. The only reason scientists question modified gravity is because they're uncomfortable with the idea that general relativity may be at least partially incorrect and/or inapplicable. Relativity itself has become a kind of academic sacred cow that scientists and engineers are reluctant to give the appearance of questioning, even when the theory itself is legitimately inapplicable.

Crazy Eddie wrote: View Post
The simplest explanation is that they have either under-estimated the mass or under-estimated the effects of gravity at those distances.
Since we are fond of educated quotes: "Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler".
At the risk of inviting a subjective value judgement: when you a discover a contradiction between the model and reality, which solution is simpler?
- Theorizing that reality contains an undetected and fundamentally undetectable factor that is causing the variation
OR
- Theorizing that your model is in some way flawed

"Dark matter" proceeds from the former assumption: the model WOULD work if the universe was heavier, therefore assume the universe is inexplicably heavier and search for the reason why. I'm proposing the alternate hypothesis: the model DOESN'T work and should be replaced with a better one.
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Old June 4 2013, 10:11 AM   #74
iguana_tonante
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Re: Strange Dark Matter Theory

Crazy Eddie wrote: View Post
To complete the analogy, we're talking about a "box"
Your analogy is bunk. You are assuming a whole bunch of "common sense" similarities between situations that have no reason to be in relation to one another. That, to quote yourself, is bad science.

Crazy Eddie wrote: View Post
My feeling is that scientists are attacking the more fanciful and exotic theory but never sufficiently ruled out the simpler ones.
I appreciate your feeling. I'll take it in due consideration.

Crazy Eddie wrote: View Post
We did, and guess what? It was in agreement with a cold dark matter scenario.
Not exactly. What they found -- in various studies in the early 2000s -- was there was no direct evidence for the alternate explanations, which in a way came down to special pleading for dark matter.
Which, as I said, is kind of how science works. We work with the current paradigm, until a better paradigm comes along. Strong emphasis on better. We don't throw it away "just because".


Crazy Eddie wrote: View Post
Not that I agreed with this particular explanation, but back in 2002 I read a paper in an astronomy journal that sought to debunk the theory that the higher-than-expected angular velocity of distant galaxies could be better explained by a higher-than-predicted population of large brown dwarfs and/or black holes and neutron stars that do not produce strong x-ray signals. The author called that theory "spurious" and concluded -- I kid you not -- that the lack of confirmed brown dwarfs in the Milky Way disproved this theory, and simply ignored the point about black holes/neutron stars.
Probably because the population of black holes/neutron stars/brown dwarfs needed to explain the behaviour was thousands of time higher the upper end of expected interval determined from stellar evolution.

Crazy Eddie wrote: View Post
Actually there are dozens of theories, many of which are in the process of being tested as we speak. Dark matter isn't the most plausible one, it's merely the most popular.
And when they'll start giving some results, I'll be overjoyed. Until then, business as usual.

Crazy Eddie wrote: View Post
It's also worth pointing out that modified gravity is consistent with virtually ALL of those observations. The only reason scientists question modified gravity is because they're uncomfortable with the idea that general relativity may be at least partially incorrect and/or inapplicable. Relativity itself has become a kind of academic sacred cow that scientists and engineers are reluctant to give the appearance of questioning, even when the theory itself is legitimately inapplicable.
That's bunk. Astrophysicists wold be thrilled to find a hole in GR. We are a cutthroat bunch. We crave dismantling other people's theories. That's how we work. Prove good ol' Albert wrong? That would make any scientist cream his pants. The fact that nobody has been able to do that so far is a testament to the robustness of GR.
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Old June 4 2013, 10:26 AM   #75
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Re: Strange Dark Matter Theory

Yeah, I've never understood this idea that academics are busy hiding things together - I'd (metraphorically) cut the throat of my colleagues as soon as look at then when it comes to research - where's the fun in academia otherwise? You might as well be a teacher.*


* nothing wrong with being a teacher, I was a teacher but I'm an academic we are a different beast.
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