Arcadian Functor

occasional meanderings in physics' brave new world

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Marni D. Sheppeard

Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Dark Side

I'm a bit behind the times down here sometimes. I only just noticed, whilst passing the news stand at the supermarket, that the cover story of the last issue of New Scientist is about the possible non-existence of The Dark Force. I didn't need to open it to know that it mentioned David Wiltshire, but of course not Louise Riofrio, Matti Pitkanen or a whole of host of other quantum gravity researchers who think The Dark Force is absurd.


Blogger Matti Pitkanen said...

I am wondering how high the pile of anomalies must grow before colleagues begin to realize that the our beloved standard model is full of holes and has become science of excuses and selective memory.

Dark force is quite significant anomaly. In the framework of general relativity cosmological constant is certainly the only manner to explain the accelerated expansion. Super string models have hitherto "predicted" general relativity and giving up even this prediction would mean a final loss of respectability. On the other hand, if you want to keep face you must represent really good excuses for the wrong sign of cosmological constant.

Besides this there is Pioneer anomaly and Flyby anomaly, which also challenge general relativity and thus string models.

Then there are anomalous microwave lines from interstellar space discovered by WMAP around 2003 about which I learned only recently. And also monochromatic gamma rays from the galactic center at energy corresponding to rest mass of electron discovered at same year. If these are from decays of a particle with mass of about 2m_e then standard model might need a dramatic modification.

There is also the finding (around 2003 too, quite a year) that the abundances of heavier elements in an object at distance of about 10 billion light years are essentially the same as in solar system. The abundances should be much smaller if heavier elements are fused in solar interiors. Should we begin to take cold fusion seriously? The main stream physicist for whom cold fusion has become a symbol of pseudo science could hardly imagine anything more humiliating.

Difficult! The God of theoreticians is cruel for arrogants!

March 15, 2008 6:29 PM  
Blogger Kea said...

I am wondering how high the pile of anomalies must grow...

The mountain is already far, far higher than I would have dreamed only 10 years ago. And I have a feeling we have a way to go yet. I just hope I live long enough to see this debacle sorted out.

March 15, 2008 7:12 PM  
Blogger nige said...

New Scientist is a mainstream journal with two primary markets: job advert listings for students and "wacky" science articles for trade consumption, although for marketing purity the current editor being Jeremy Webb who, in an interview published by The Hindu here (where he gets his picture published!), is quoted as saying:

‘Scientists have a duty to tell the public what they are doing... ’

However, he (following his predecessor Alun M. Anderson) don't publish science per se if it's not financially expedient to publish it, i.e. if the science is being censored by the mainstream. For example, as Catt complains here, they claim they will take an interest if an idea gets past peer review and generates interest, but then they won't reply when you respond that Catt's work was published in a peer-reviewed IEEE journal in Dec. 1967 and was also discussed in articles or letters in almost every issue of Wireless World from 1978-88; instead Jeremy publishes stuff that makes the magazine money in the short term, as he reveals in a Daily Telegraph article, which quotes his editorial cynicism:

‘Prof Heinz Wolff complained that cosmology [dark energy belief systems, etc.] is "religion, not science." Jeremy Webb of New Scientist responded that it is not religion but magic. ... "If I want to sell more copies of New Scientist, I put cosmology on the cover," said Jeremy.’ (Emphasis added.)

On 30 August 2004, Jeremy emailed me to show off about his big-name star writers:

‘Paul Davies writes for us between zero and three times a year, writing as much about biology these days as he does about physics. He is invited to write.’

Helene Guldberg in an article for Spiked Science on 26 April 2001 reported that Jeremy Webb's behaviour had been sarcastic and rude towards her and others who disagreed with the New Scientist during ‘the horrendous event that was the New Scientist's UK Global Environment Roadshow’:

‘Webb asked - after the presentations - whether there was anybody who still was not worried about the future. In a room full of several hundred people, only three of us put our hands up. We were all asked to justify ourselves (which is fair enough). But one woman, who believed that even if some of the scenarios are likely, we should be able to find solutions to cope with them, was asked by Webb whether she was related to George Bush!

‘When I pointed out that none of the speakers had presented any of the scientific evidence that challenged their doomsday scenarios, Webb just threw back at me, ‘But why take the risk?’ What did he mean: ‘Why take the risk of living?’ You could equally say ‘Why take the risk of not experimenting? Why take the risk of not allowing optimum economic development?’ But had I been able to ask these questions, I suppose I would have been accused of being in bed with Dubya.’

It's the same old story of arrogant stupidity:

‘If you have got anything new, in substance or in method, and want to propagate it rapidly, you need not expect anything but hindrance from the old practitioner - even though he sat at the feet of Faraday... beetles could do that... he is very disinclined to disturb his ancient prejudices. But only give him plenty of rope, and when the new views have become fashionably current, he may find it worth his while to adopt them, though, perhaps, in a somewhat sneaking manner, not unmixed with bluster, and make believe he knew all about it when he was a little boy!’

- Oliver Heaviside, Electromagnetic Theory Vol. 1, p337, 1893.

‘(1). The idea is nonsense.

‘(2). Somebody thought of it before you did.

‘(3). We believed it all the time.’

- Professor R.A. Lyttleton’s summary of inexcusable censorship (quoted by Sir Fred Hoyle, Home is Where the Wind Blows Oxford University Press, 1997, p154).

For a good explanation of the hatred of the mainstream peer-reviewers towards new ideas from outside the Party consensus, see Orwell's book 1984:

‘A Party member ... is supposed to live in a continuous frenzy of hatred of foreign enemies and internal traitors ... The discontents produced by his bare, unsatisfying life are deliberately turned outwards and dissipated by such devices as the Two Minutes Hate, and the speculations which might possibly induce a skeptical or rebellious attitude are killed in advance by his early acquired inner discipline ... called, in Newspeak, crimestop. Crimestop means the faculty of stopping short, as though by instinct, at the threshold of any dangerous thought. It includes the power of not grasping analogies, of failing to perceive logical errors, of misunderstanding the simplest arguments if they are inimical to Ingsoc, and of being bored or repelled by any train of thought which is capable of leading in a heretical direction. Crimestop, in short, means protective stupidity.’

March 16, 2008 2:13 AM  
Blogger nige said...

What is really weird is that the acceleration of the universe that is being accounted for by the ad hoc small positive cosmological constant is exactly what you'd expect from Hubble's expansion rate of v = dR/dt = HR

Acceleration, a = dv/dt = d(HR)/dt

= (H*dR/dt) + (R*dH/dt)

Since dH/dt here is zero because H is just a constant,

a = H*dR/dt

= H*v

= H*HR

which is the tiny amount of acceleration that has been observed, i.e. 6*10^{-10} ms^-2.

This is the tiny acceleration that shows up only on the largest distance scales, e.g. in distant supernova red-shifts and gamma ray bursters.

Lee Smolin comments in his 2006 book The Trouble with Physics that the amount of cosmic acceleration is by "coincidence" numerically like the value

a = H*HR = R/t^2 = cH

and equivalents you get by inserting (for a flat universe with no apparent deceleration due to gravity on large scales), R/t = c, H = 1/t, etc.

People just aren't thinking. Why can't they see that Hubble's empirical law v = HR mathematically leads straight to the expression for cosmological acceleration a = Hc?????

What part of the maths above (calculus 400 years old) is 'speculative'??? Why can't people think for themselves?

I'm not a believer in unexplained "dark energy", because the fact is that if you sort out quantum gravity correctly (using spin-1 gravitons, not spin-2),
then gravitons cause both the observed acceleration of the universe on large scales and simultaneously cause attraction between masses and energy on smaller scales.

March 16, 2008 2:36 AM  
Blogger L. Riofrio said...

Thanks again for the link. I was just writing a post mentioning the same article. We are winning.

March 16, 2008 7:51 AM  

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