|Feature Article - December 2019|
|by Do-While Jones|
The unsuccessful search for dark matter disproves evolution.
This could have been an Email column because Al inspired this article with his email to us. It could have been an Evolution in the News column because two science tabloids had cover stories about the search for dark matter in their most recent issues. Since we could not decide in which of those two columns to address it, we made it the feature article.
We sometimes get complaints from evolutionists when we include abiogenesis [the spontaneous origin of life from non-life] in our definition of evolution because abiogenesis is, quite literally, dead on arrival. Without abiogenesis, the theory of evolution is a non-starter.
On the other hand, Al wrote to tell us our definition of evolution doesn’t begin soon enough. He wrote,
In your last newsletter you wrote, “The controversial evolution we are addressing is, ‘The doctrine that unguided natural forces caused chemicals to combine in such a way that life resulted; and that all living things have descended from that common ancestral form of life.’ ”
This skips way too far. The controversial evolution I address is, “The doctrine that the cosmos: space, energy, matter, spontaneously created itself out of nothing. Then it expanded into stars, planets, and butterflies.”
Al has a good point. Evolution depends upon more than abiogenesis and descent with modification. It depends upon the Big Bang, too.
We haven’t written much about the Big Bang over the past 23 years. We tend to stay away from cosmology in general because it is so theoretical and squishy. It changes faster than we can keep up with it. Except for orbital mechanics, astronomy is mostly questionable speculation based on complicated mathematical models which are difficult to discuss with anyone who doesn’t have a double major in math and physics.
Because the math doesn’t work for things astronomers can see, they postulate the existence of things they can’t see and fold them into the equations to match their theory. They postulated “dark matter” to add some gravity to their equations. Then, when dark matter slowed their belief about the expansion of the universe too much, they added “dark energy” to push things apart. Dark matter and dark energy are simply “fudge factors” needed to make the equations support the desired conclusion.
Dark matter was controversial when first proposed. Then it was accepted as mainstream. Now it might be on its way out.
Dark matter and Santa Claus are things that evolutionists and children believe—despite the compelling scientific arguments against their existence. These irrational beliefs depend upon mysterious particles, or flying reindeer, which have never been seen. Astronomers and children stay up at night, looking to the sky for confirmation for their fantasies, but they will never see the proof of what they want to believe.
Eventually, children give up and accept reality. Astrophysicists haven’t yet reached that point of clarity. They haven’t given up on finding dark matter. Their current excuse for failure is that they’ve been looking for the wrong thing in the wrong place. Instead of looking for a man in a red suit coming down the chimney with a bag of toys, astrophysicists are starting to look for a man wearing brown coming in a panel truck full of packages; but UPS won’t deliver the solution they need, either. 1
Finally, we are done with the cute analogies! Let’s read what two popular science tabloids wrote last month.
The subtitle of the New Scientist cover story is:
We can't find any trace of cosmic dark matter – perhaps because our models of the early universe are missing a crucial piece, says astrophysicist Dan Hooper 2
The article begins by saying,
We see its effects in how stars move within galaxies, and how galaxies move within galaxy clusters. Without it, we can’t explain how such large collections of matter came to exist, and certainly not how they hang together today. But what it is, we don’t know.
Welcome to one of the biggest mysteries in the universe: what makes up most of it. Our best measurements indicate that some 85 per cent of all matter in our universe consists of “dark matter” made of something that isn’t atoms. Huge underground experiments built to catch glimpses of dark matter particles as they pass through Earth have seen nothing. Particle-smashing experiments at the Large Hadron Collider, which we hoped would create dark matter, haven’t – at least as far as we can tell. The hunt for dark matter was never supposed to be easy. But we didn’t expect it to be this hard.
Dark matter’s no-show means that many possible explanations for it that people like me favoured just a decade ago have now been ruled out. That is forcing us to radically revisit assumptions not only about the nature of dark matter, but also about the early history of our universe. This is the latest twist in a long-running saga: our failure to detect the particles that make up dark matter suggests that the beginning of the universe may have been very different from what we imagined. 3
Every high school kid “knows” that the Big Bang created hydrogen, and gravity caused the hydrogen atoms to form clouds which turned into stars and exploded, creating all the heavier elements that make up the universe. The problem is that gravity just isn’t strong enough to make hydrogen molecules attract each other.
We don’t need complicated math to prove that gravity isn’t strong enough to make hydrogen gas coalesce into a solid. The Moon (which is a lot heavier than a single hydrogen gas molecule) doesn’t have enough gravity to hold on to oxygen gas molecules (which are 8 times heavier than hydrogen gas molecules). That’s why there is no atmosphere on the Moon.
As galaxies and galaxy clusters were built up, dark matter played the role of scaffolding: it gathered into enormous clouds whose gravity attracted and pulled together the atomic matter that would ultimately form the luminous bit of galaxies. Without the gravity of dark matter holding stars in place, they would fly outwards, in some cases escaping into intergalactic space. Many galaxies would simply disintegrate.
The model of what happened after the Big Bang depends upon dark matter to provide enough gravity to pull it all together. If dark matter doesn’t exist, then the story about how stars and planets formed is mathematically impossible because there isn’t enough gravity to do the job. If there isn’t any dark matter, it disproves the Big Bang cosmology.
A decade or more ago, many physicists, including me, thought we knew what dark matter was likely to consist of: weakly interacting massive particles, or WIMPs. … But that story now seems rather a fairy tale. If dark matter does consist of WIMPs, we can estimate how much it should interact with ordinary atomic matter via the weak force, and so design experiments to detect it. … Over the past two decades, the size and sophistication of these experiments has hugely increased. The latest iterations are enormous, deploying anything up to tonnes of liquid xenon as their detectors. … But they too have failed to turn up WIMPs. The only experiment that even claims to have detected anything resembling dark matter goes by the name of DAMA. Most researchers think the signal it picked up is almost certainly produced by something else: a long list of other experiments have searched for the kinds of WIMPs that could have made it, but have seen nothing. 4
A pull-quote in a large font to the side of the main text of the article says,
“The longer we go without finding WIMPs, the more we must confront the possibility they aren’t there” 5
A shaded box next to the main text says,
A disturbance in the force
The main point of the article, as stated in the first part of that sentence, is that dark matter has never been detected—despite really expensive, elaborate experiments to find it. Attempt after attempt to find any dark matter has failed, and yet they say “the evidence in its favour [British spelling] is just too great!” Most astronomers remain confident it exists. Countless children have stayed awake on Christmas Eve watching for flying reindeer, without seeing a single one, but the evidence in their favor [American spelling] is just too great! Most children remain confident that they exist.
After presenting several fanciful possibilities, Hooper concludes his article by saying,
It is too early to say whether the right answer is one, some or none of the above possibilities. Perhaps an experimental breakthrough will change the game yet again. But the stubborn elusiveness of dark matter has left many physicists and cosmologists surprised and confused. In droves, we are returning to our chalkboards, revisiting and revising our assumptions – and with bruised egos and a bit more humility, desperately attempting to find new ways to make sense of a very dark and hidden universe. 7
Coincidentally, Discover magazine also had a similar article about the failure to find any evidence for the existence of dark matter. “Coincidence” means “happening at the same time;” but not necessarily by chance. I suspect there is a reason why New Scientist and Discover both chose to write about dark matter at the same time. They both ran the same picture supplied by the XENON collaboration.
The XENON experiment is a collaboration of 160 scientists, representing 24 different nationalities, and 27 institutions across the world. 8
Perhaps the XENON collaboration is worried about funding and needs some publicity to increase support for their fool’s errand.
Discover chose to present the issue as a horse race, perhaps because every race has to have a winner, no matter how slow the winner is.
In the annals of science, it will go down as a contest for the ages: the race to discover dark matter. This elusive substance has mystified us since the 1930s, when astronomers first realized galaxies needed some kind of invisible gravitational glue to hold them together. No one knew what it was, so the name dark matter stuck. Beggaring belief, the universe seems to hold more than five times as much dark matter as it does “normal” matter. This means it should literally lurk right under our noses, permeating and penetrating Earth as our solar system swings through our galaxy, which (like most massive galaxies) is brimming with the stuff.
Yet for all that seeming ubiquity, scientists know shockingly little about the universe’s dominant material. Dark matter could be made of one kind of particle or many. Those particles might be massively heavy or wispily light. We think it only interacts with other matter (and itself) via gravity, but dark matter could turn out to have interactions with any force of nature — known or unknown.
Addressing all these possibilities, physicists have conjured up quite the stable of dark matter candidates. And like race horses, these proposed particle types are vying to win what you might call the Dark Matter Derby, competing through theories, experiments and observations. 9
Discover goes into detail about many competing theories. Since they are all wrong, and since we are limited by space, we won’t waste too much space on them. We encourage you to read the Discover article for yourself for more details. Here are a few summary statements, starting with mythical WIMPs and MACHOs:
The odds-on favorite, called a WIMP (for weakly interacting massive particle), has been a no-show despite intensive search efforts. Meanwhile, a once highly touted competitor called the massive compact halo object, or MACHO — cheekily named in opposition to the WIMP — has fallen out of contention, its very existence debunked. Some newer long shots, meanwhile, are poised to give the dark matter thoroughbreds a run for their money. 10
Despite multiple big-budget experiments in 2016 and 2017, WIMPs have disappointed. And in May 2018, the XENON1T instrument in Italy — the biggest WIMP search to date — likewise reported finding nothing. 11
And many physicists expected that the Large Hadron Collider — the most powerful particle accelerator ever built — would produce heavy, novel particles, including WIMPs. But a decade of operations with no heavy partners to show for it has instead made some physicists question the whole notion of supersymmetry. 12
|In the late 1980s, scientists got their hopes up that MACHOs — gobs of normal matter that were simply dim and tough to detect — could answer the dark matter question. These objects would range from planets to failed stars to black holes. Unfortunately, well-supported Big Bang models struggle to produce anywhere near enough regular matter for MACHOs to fill the cosmic ledger. More damningly, observations have consistently ruled out any vast populations of clandestine black holes, which should give themselves away when their gravity bends background starlight. An October 2018 study took out the last leg for MACHOs to stand on, putting serious constraints on the possibility of primordial black holes — hypothetical monsters born in the early universe — being the last plausible reservoir of significant unaccounted-for matter. Whatever the bulk of dark matter may be, MACHOs ain’t it. 13|
They have been looking for other particles called “axions” since 1977.
After a humble start, the axion is now surging in the race. Physicists originally came up with this particle to help fix a problem with the strong nuclear force, one of nature’s four fundamental forces. … Although the individual particles have a ridiculously low mass, the universe-forming Big Bang could have churned out axions in dizzying abundance — enough, in fact, to constitute all the dark matter in the cosmos. “A whole lot of the early universe’s energy gets dumped into these particles,” says University of Washington physicist Gray Rybka. “And because they don’t interact very much with anything else, you’d have all this leftover matter kicking about the universe.” Presto: dark matter! … Researchers are presently “tuning” ADMX through millions of frequencies representing possible axion masses, rather like travelers driving out in the sticks, trying to alight upon the right radio station to catch a snippet of song. “We just keep turning the knob,” says Rybka. “It’s exciting because an axion discovery could come at any time.” The search is slated to continue for at least a few more years.
As for this dark matter dark horse’s name, credit MIT physicist Frank Wilczek. He coined it in the 1970s after randomly seeing Axion detergent — still manufactured today — on a store shelf. Like a sort of talisman, the ADMX team has ordered a bunch of the suds online. “We wash our hands with it for good luck,” says Rybka. 14
They must be lucky because they are funded for at least a few more years! They need that much time because there are millions of places to look, and the mythical axions don’t interact much with anything else (because they don’t exist). They already have their excuses for failure!
Let’s not forget the sterile neutrino!
Once left in the dust as a dark matter candidate, the sterile neutrino has roared back into the race. It’s a hypothesized new type, or flavor, of neutrino. These ubiquitous particles currently come in three flavors and are all but oblivious to matter, passing clear through our bodies (and everything else) by the hundreds of trillions every second. But while everyday neutrinos will very occasionally touch matter via the weak nuclear force, the sterile neutrino would be even more hands-off; a clean freak, it never deigns to dirty itself with any interactions beyond gravity. … Theorists postulated that the flavor skew arose because some neutrinos were temporarily morphing into a fourth, sterile flavor before “returning” as garden variety electron neutrinos. … Assuming sterile neutrinos prove legit, they are still likely neither sufficient in mass nor number to constitute the bulk of dark matter. … Researchers have high hopes, in fact, that landing the sterile neutrino will crack the door open into a realm of new physics beyond the standard model, dramatically dubbed the dark sector.
This shadow realm could be an entire “unstandard model,” full of particle types that invisibly interact with each other, all around us. Dark photons, dark gluons, dark quarks and more would be on the table. All could be repositories of the extra stuff in the universe we standard model-centric beings perceive as dark matter. “There has to be a connection somewhere between the dark sector and the standard model,” says Van de Water, “and sterile neutrinos could be it.” 15
Physicists could be “SIMP-ly” wrong.
Could physicists be wagering on all the wrong dark matter horses? Hitoshi Murayama, a theoretical physicist at the University of California, Berkeley, thinks so. “There is actually something wrong with the traditional thinking about dark matter,” he says. Along with Yonit Hochberg at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Murayama recently helped develop the SIMP (or strongly interacting massive particles), a whole new breed of dark matter particle. 16
Remember, the front-runner in Discover’s horse race is the weakly interacting massive particle (WIMP); but there are two astronomical observations which require strongly, not weakly, interacting particles.
Dark matter behaving in this boisterous manner would help explain two key astronomical observations that buck against WIMPs. The first concerns some colliding galaxies: In one example, astronomers inferred that a great amount of dark matter had detached from its host galaxies in a celestial smashup happening some 1.4 billion light-years away. This suggests the dark stuff pushes against itself and cannot readily flow together with the visible stars and gas as WIMPs should. However, a second analysis using more accurate measurements now suggests perhaps the dark matter may not have separated from its galaxies after all — nothing can ever be simple in the dark matter business.
The second puzzling observation involves the screwy distribution of dark matter within smaller galaxies. Computer simulations show that due to gravity, WIMPs should glom together, forming dense clumps of dark matter in the centers of galaxies; they should also coalesce into chunks out in space. Yet observations clash with those predictions. Galactically, dark matter seems too evenly spread out, and astronomers have never found the chunks the WIMP model predicts. The findings better support a dark matter that doesn’t play nicely: the SIMP model.
One more thing points to SIMPs. There should be enough of them to explain away all of the universe’s dark matter, unlike the more complicated theories other particles require. “SIMPs can be 100 percent of dark matter without any problems,” says Murayama. 17
The only force definitely felt by both matter and dark matter is gravity. Accordingly, some researchers have created gravity-only models of the dark stuff, dubbed GIMPs: gravitationally interacting massive particles. … Alternatively, physicists have conjured GIMPs as elementary particles required by theories of our universe that include an extra fifth spatial dimension. Best we can tell, though, there’s still just the three, plus time. 18
Finally, there is the PIDM.
Perhaps the wildest horse in this herd, though, is Planckian interacting dark matter (PIDM). It consists of individual particles that each could weigh as much as 10 quadrillion protons. PIDM that spawned in the early universe should have left an indelible imprint on the Big Bang’s relic afterglow, called the cosmic microwave background, which researchers study for clues about the universe’s origins. Next-generation instruments could be sensitive enough to answer whether this dark matter horse wins it all — or needs to be put out to pasture. 19
Next-generation instruments could be sensitive enough to detect Santa’s sleigh as he travels from house to house; but we doubt that, too, because no matter how sensitive instruments become, they can’t detect something that isn’t there.
People who believe in dark matter don’t believe in it because of overwhelming scientific evidence—they believe in it in spite of overwhelming scientific evidence. People who believe in Darwinian evolution don’t believe in it because of overwhelming evidence in the fossil record—they believe in it despite the overwhelming abundance of fossils that should be there but can’t be found.
As Al pointed out, what people are really interested in is the larger question, “How did we get here?” This question includes not just people, but plants, animals, and the universe itself. You can’t separate evolution from the Big Bang and abiogenesis.
The Big Bang theory depends upon the universe having an overwhelming amount of dark matter. Many sophisticated experiments have been performed to try to detect dark matter. They all failed. The number of people who have tried to confirm the existence of dark matter is roughly equal to the number of children who have tried to confirm the existence of flying reindeer on Christmas Eve. They have all failed for the same reason: Dark matter and flying reindeer don’t exist! A reasonable scientist would accept the experimental proof that dark matter doesn’t exist and conclude the Big Bang theory is false.
For decades, evolutionists have tried to create life from non-life on purpose, and have failed. But they still believe it happened by accident. For decades, evolutionists have tried to prove descent with modification can produce fundamentally different forms of life, and have failed. But they still believe it. They don’t believe because of scientific evidence. They believe in spite of scientific evidence.
Evolutionists like to frame the question as if you have to choose between science and faith. They ask, “Are you going to be rational, and accept a scientifically verified explanation?–or are you going to believe a silly, superstitious fairy tale?” The truth is that there is no scientific explanation. You either have to have faith in a theory which depends upon dark matter and unknown forces which defy the verifiable laws of physics, or you have to have faith in a supernatural explanation. It isn’t a case of science versus faith—it is a question of faith versus faith. In fact, any origin theory built on the Big Bang, abiogenesis, and evolution is not scientific.
Evolutionists are absolutely certain that dark matter exists, despite the fact that for decades every attempt to detect any dark matter has failed. When an experiment disproves a scientist’s theory, a real scientist rejects the theory. Evolutionists aren’t real scientists because their faith in evolution trumps the truth revealed by the scientific method. Experiment after experiment has failed to prove the dark matter conjecture. A reasonable person would accept the results of all these experiments and admit that dark matter doesn’t exist. Since dark matter is fundamental to the Big Bang theory, the theory must be wrong!
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2 Dan Hooper, New Scientist, 13 November 2019, “Why dark matter's no-show could mean a big bang rethink”, https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg24432560-600-why-dark-matters-no-show-could-mean-a-big-bang-rethink/
9 Adam Hadhazy, Discover, November 15, 2019, “What is Dark Matter Made Of? These Are the Top Candidates”, https://www.discovermagazine.com/the-sciences/what-is-dark-matter-made-of-these-are-the-top-candidates