No intellectually honest person accepts an astounding new view of the universe without proof, since that is the basic foundation of all scientific disciplines. However, recently politics, culture and even personality have dispensed with the need for real, unbiased evidence on too many occasions, eroding the sciences such that public confidence in their findings has ebbed dramatically.
The existence of "dark matter," for example, is an excellent case in point. It neither gives off or reflects light and is imperceptible. This purported substance is said to make up a vast bulk of the cosmos but can't be seen, smelled, heard, tasted or felt in any way — other than possessing weight and therefore conveniently used to remedy out of kilter equations having to do with rotational velocities of galaxies.
Science should abhor such conjectures created out of thin air and impossible to verify experimentally while nonetheless posing as truisms; they fly in the face of classical scientific methodology. Yet, concerning fashionable speculations that appeal to academia and the media, if some novel idea pleases politically or socially, great effort is made to dismiss with the decades or more of investigation that traditionally has been the crucible through which every hypothesis must pass and persevere before being granted the status of theory or law.
In that manner dark matter went from a premise to an undisputed fact in the relative blink of an eye. It's listed as such currently in every encyclopedia, including the oldest in existence, the Encyclopedia Britannica, notwithstanding that Vera Rubin, the great astronomer who is the supposed discoverer of dark matter, declared that she had accomplished no such thing.
Dr. Rubin is the researcher who found that the Andromeda galaxy is spinning too quickly; the galaxy itself doesn't have the mass, and therefore the gravity, to hold on to its peripheral stellar systems which should be flying off into space due to their velocity. This problem in celestial mechanics is indeed real, but as to what the answer should be it was not Vera Rubin who decided to toss the scientific method to the side and grasp at the simple yet bizarre option of inventing dark matter out of whole cloth.
The respected astronomer's view was sober, reserved, circumspect and wise: "If I had my pick, I'd like to learn that Newton's laws must be modified in order to correctly describe gravitational interactions at large distance. That's more appealing than a universe filled with a new kind of particle."
Vera Rubin passed away on Christmas Day, 2016, with the world's press ignoring the Gold Medal winner of the Royal Astronomical Society's own words on the matter, and printing instead their version of her seminal work in thousands of obituaries across the globe. Only Newsmax (6-12-2017), and precious few other news fonts, gave the deceased astronomer the dignity of allowing her to speak for herself.
Dr. Rubin is now though in the process of being heard properly. Her words echo in a stunning scientific paper published in 2020 in the esteemed Astrophysical Journal. An international team of astronomers are contending they've discovered indications that an "external field effect" has been found.
Their modified Newtonian dynamics (MOND) is precisely what Dr. Rubin suggested might account for the discrepancy between mass and rotational velocities in galaxies so incomprehensibly distant. In effect, MOND challenges dark matter by theorizing that our understanding of gravity isn't perfect and that the meticulous mathematical rules for measuring it everywhere and absolutely precisely might require slight alterations.
If they're correct that could mean that dark matter may be a fabrication, a colossal scientific blunder to join the epicycles of geocentrism, the ether that was said to permeate space, and the bodily humors that only bleedings could keep in balance. And if they're right science also owes an apology to all of us in general for precipitously abandoning the scientific method and to Vera Rubin in particular for standing by it.
David Nabhan is a science writer, the author of "Earthquake Prediction: Dawn of the New Seismology" (2017) and three previous books on earthquakes. Nabhan is also a science fiction writer ("Pilots of Borealis," 2015) and the author of many scores of newspaper and magazine op-eds. Nabhan has been featured on television and talk radio all over the world. His website is www.earthquakepredictors.com. Read David Nabhan's Reports — More Here.
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