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Above: Chandra X-Ray Observatory estimates of the “total energy
In the Dark on Matter
Since there is no experimental or observable evidence that dark matter exists, is it just a prop for the beleaguered big bang theory? This highly speculative construct is now combined with one just as fabulous−dark energy−to shore up current cosmological dogma.
In the 1930s, astronomers Fritz Zwicky and Sinclair Smith were puzzled by the motions they observed within the Virgo and Coma galactic clusters. Everything seemed to be moving too fast to be held in place by gravity. So they conjectured that something they could not see was exerting a gravitational effect on these clusters. But most astronomers were only marginally impressed.
In the 1970s, however, astronomers began to examine the rotational motions of spiral galaxies such as our own Milky Way. The rotational speeds of the stars that make up spiral galaxies are far too great, they said: At such speeds the constituent stars should be flying apart. So astronomers, accustomed to thinking only in terms of gravity, calculated how much additional matter was required−and where−to fit the observations. The idea of invisible material or “dark matter” soon became essential if the observed motions were to make sense gravitationally. Today astronomers say there is far more dark matter than visible matter acting on galactic structure.
In the years that followed the questions only deepened, as the proposed “answers” grew more complex and bizarre and theorists speculated about MACHOs−“ Massive Astrophysical Compact Halo Objects”−and a presumed counterpart called WIMPs−“Weakly Interacting Massive Particles”. Then the theorists began to distinguish between “cold” dark matter and “hot” dark matter, supplemented by “warm” dark matter and “baryonic” dark matter.
From the beginning it has been a game accessible only to mathematicians. But today, suspicions abound that the theoretical excursions have no actual connection to anything occurring in nature. As The Complete Idiot's Guide to Theories of the Universe puts it, "there is no experimental or observable evidence that dark matter exists. It's a theory to make the big bang work".
Advocates of the Electric Universe point out that astronomers can maintain the “credibility” of this game only by insisting that electromagnetism has no appreciable role in the organization of cosmic structure. “And it isn’t as if the evidence for galactic magnetic fields and therefore electricity is lacking!” laughs Wallace Thornhill, who has devoted much of his life to exploring the role of electricity in space.
What is the nature of “missing matter”, and does it even exist in truth? It is interesting to note that astronomers cannot answer the first question, but do not doubt the answer to the second. We see the contradiction ratified daily in the popular scientific media. A story at the Universe Today website begins, “Dark matter is a mystery. Astronomers know it's there because they can measure the effect of its gravity on stars and galaxies, but they can't see it”. Perhaps the author does not realize that the confidence he exudes rests entirely on the astronomers’ conjectures. Their equations “work” only in an abstract world, and only because the mathematicians have systematically excluded electricity.
The diagram at the top of the page shows the universal confusion between matter and mass. (It's a pity both words begin with "m", say the electrical theorists; otherwise mathematicians might not have gotten away with this sleight of hand). Everyone recognizes the equation relating energy and mass (E = mc2), but no one knows what gives matter its apparent mass. One of the foundational principles of physics states that matter cannot be created or destroyed. Matter cannot be converted into energy or vice versa. In other words, energy and matter are not equivalent and cannot be lumped together as in the above diagram.
The truth is that we have no real idea of the relationship between matter, mass, and gravity. It is our ignorance of this relationship that has permitted the big bang theory to flourish and has created the “problem” of missing mass. Dark matter was invented to rescue a gravity-driven universe and to make the big bang work, even if the theory requires “creation from nothing" and must violate, in its first principles, every fundamental law of physics.
Is there an alternative? Yes, plasma cosmologists are waiting in the wings for working scientists to tire of the theorists’ mathematical escapades, and to think first of the things we actually know. Grant the role of electricity on a galactic scale, and the case for dark matter evaporates. (We can't say it disappears because we can't see it in the first place!) Plasma physicists have successfully demonstrated the formation and dynamics of the classic spiral shape (spiral galaxy) in laboratory electrical discharges. And observations of magnetic fields in spiral galaxies match the laboratory forms, which are known to be scaleable over more than 14 orders of magnitude. The magnetic fields trace the electric currents flowing along the spiral arms of galaxies. Electromagnetic forces alone can thus produce the classic structure and rotation of ubiquitous, magnificent galactic formations. No dark matter required!