Categories
Aliens astronomy Cosmology Physics Science

Materialists believe in dark unseen life

Awhile ago I wrote about Lisa Randall, Professor of Science at Harvard University, a theoretical physicist and cosmologist, who proposed that the dinosaurs went extinct due to the actions of unseen dark matter.¹ There now appears again an article in the popular science magazine Nautilus with the title “Does Dark Matter Harbor Life? An invisible civilization could be living right under your nose.”² It would appear to be excerpted from Randall’s book Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs. In the article Randall asserts that we may, in fact, be kind of racist against dark matter, well, at least, we are biased towards ordinary matter, where, she claims, in fact, that dark matter is the stuff that holds galaxies together so it is really important stuff.

The common assumption is that dark matter is the “glue” that holds together galaxies and galaxy clusters, but resides only in amorphous clouds around them. But what if this assumption isn’t true and it is only our prejudice—and ignorance, which is after all the root of most prejudice—that led us down this potentially misleading path?

People in foreign relations make a mistake when they lump together another country’s cultures—assuming they don’t exhibit the diversity of societies that is evident in our own. Just as a good negotiator doesn’t assume the primacy of one sector of society over another when attempting to place the different cultures on equal footing, an unbiased scientist shouldn’t assume that dark matter isn’t as interesting as ordinary matter and necessarily lacks a diversity of matter similar to our own.² (emphasis added)

randall-article
Illustration by Jackie Ferrentino from Nautilus article, representing (I assume) dark life.

She goes on to promote the possibility of dark life, invisible creatures living on dark planets around dark stars in dark parts of galaxies. She suggests dark matter may be much more than just amorphous matter, but have a rich life with dark forces and therefore this implies a dark invisible universe of creatures we cannot detect. Sure sounds like good material for a sci-fi story.

Partially interacting dark matter certainly makes for fertile ground for speculation and encourages us to consider possibilities we otherwise might not have. Writers and moviegoers especially would find a scenario with such additional forces and consequences in the dark sector very enticing. They would probably even suggest dark life coexisting with our own. In this scenario, rather than the usual animated creatures fighting other animated creatures or on rare occasions cooperating with them, armies of dark matter creatures could march across the screen and monopolize all the action.

But this wouldn’t be too interesting to watch. The problem is that cinematographers would have trouble filming this dark life, which is of course invisible to us—and to them. Even if the dark creatures were there (and maybe they have been) we wouldn’t know. You have no idea how cute dark matter life could be—and you almost certainly never will.

Though it’s entertaining to speculate about the possibility of dark life, it’s a lot harder to figure out a way to observe it—or even detect its existence in more indirect ways. It’s challenging enough to find life made up of the same stuff we are, though extrasolar planet searches are under way and trying hard. But the evidence for dark life, should it exist, would be far more elusive even than the evidence for ordinary life in distant realms.

Dark objects or dark life could be very close—but if the dark stuff’s net mass isn’t very big, we wouldn’t have any way to know. Even with the most current technology, or any technology that we can currently imagine, only some very specialized possibilities might be testable. “Shadow life,” exciting as that would be, won’t necessarily have any visible consequences that we would notice, making it a tantalizing possibility but one immune to observations. In fairness, dark life is a tall order. Science-fiction writers may have no problem creating it, but the universe has a lot more obstacles to overcome. Out of all possible chemistries, it’s very unclear how many could sustain life, and even among those that could, we don’t know the type of environments that would be necessary.² (emphasis added)

Categories
Aliens astronomy Cosmology Creation/evolution Physics

Where materialism logically leads

First there was dark matter, then came dark energy, then dark photons and now there is talk of dark stars, dark planets and even dark intelligent life, in a whole dark galaxy within our Milky Way galaxy.

Starry Night
Figure 1: (Caption excerpted from Ref. 1) Vincent van Gogh’s ‘Starry night’ painting blends reality with an other-worldly starry universe. (Photo: Museum of Modern Art, made available by Wikimedia Commons)

In an article musing on such claims,1 where the van Gogh painting “Starry night” is highlighted, in the caption to the painting is written, “Perhaps he knew something about the nature of the universe that we are just beginning to understand.” As much as I like the paintings of Vincent van Gogh, I don’t think he knew or envisaged, in the swirls illustrated in his painting (Fig. 1), anything about invisible dark matter or a dark galaxy within ours. To suggest otherwise surely must be a joke, because physicists today know nothing about so-called dark matter and dark energy. It is called dark not because of what they don’t know, but because of what they do know.

This ludicrous situation has developed in astrophysics because of the initial assumption of materialism (matter and energy is all there is) and the dogmatic insistence that it must be rigorously applied to the origin and structure of this universe. As a result when physicists observe the rotation speeds of stars not only in our own galaxy but also in many thousands of other spiral galaxies they find that the stars in the spiral disks are moving too fast. They are moving so fast that in the assumed lifetimes of the galaxies, of order 10 billion years, the galaxies should have been eviscerated because their stars should have flown away from the galaxies, which could not hold onto them.

halo DM
Figure 2: Alleged spherical halo of dark matter around a typical spiral galaxy.

To fix this, the standard approach is to posit the existence, around every galaxy, of a spherical halo of dark matter (see Fig. 2), that has just the right density, distribution and gravitational properties to solve the conundrum but neither emits nor interacts with electromagnetic radiation. Because astrophysicists cannot explain these high rotational velocities with standard tried-and-tested Newtonian physics, they have concocted the notion that galaxies really comprise between 80% to 90% dark matter—stuff that is everywhere but we cannot see or detect it by any method.2 The article1 states that the majority of today’s physicists believe this. That may well be the case, but I don’t and I’m sure I qualify as a real physicist.3 In any event, truth is not determined by majority opinion.4