It Seems the Idea of Dark Energy May Have Been Premature, After All

I ran across this today:

Is Dark Energy a Real Thing? Maybe Not, A New Study Suggests

According to prevailing cosmological theories, the universe is expanding, but not at a constant rate. As the universe gets older, its growth seems to accelerate over time, something that would be impossible without some sort of extra energy being added to the overall system. Dark energy, the theory goes, accounts for nearly 70 percent of all energy in the observable universe.

But a new study from Oxford has called dark energy’s existence into question, saying that the data is flawed or based on observations that previously assumed that dark energy was already a universal constant. If this is the case, then scientists may have to go back to reevaluate their understanding of the universe and how it works.

Dark energy and dark matter are two things that have troubled me for a long time about the current state of astronomy.  Not only is dark energy supposed to be 70% of all energy in the universe, but dark matter is supposed to be 96% of all matter in the universe – or 24 times the amount of matter we can actually detect.

These are two things that cannot be seen or felt or heard or sensed, even with our best instruments (which are extensions of our five senses, in a very real sense). To me, there was something crooked in Denmark, some way that the astronomers had gone down the rabbit hole and had misjudged something or assumed some things that would end up being not true.

So, now it appears that at least for dark energy, this is exactly what has happened.

This new study is even based upon the original study the “discovered” dark energy in the first place.  But the current study expanded the database ten-fold – which should give more statistically solid results.  And what ARE the results?

The researchers’ study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, found that the data in their study of supernovae supported the theory that the universe is expanding at a constant rate. Because the rate of expansion is constant, there is no dark energy being added to speed up the process. This theory reflects a model of steady expansion that was widely accepted before dark energy was hypothesized in the late 1990s.

Thus, whet we may have here is proof that in the 1990s astronomers had gone down a blind alley and are only now correcting themselves.

This is instructive on more than one level.  First, it’s good if scientists can correct themselves.  Second, it is good that they can correct themselves before going too far down a blind alley.  Both show that serious inquiry will eventually find a correct direction.

But now we have a slew of papers in the scientific journals that refer to dark energy, so if the conclusions of the new study are agreed upon, then those papers will need to be retracted or corrected.

Here is an example of science – MODERN science – thinking for a time that the facts in one area are one way, and that all thinking in other directions was a fool’s errand.  In other words, science can be wrong, and just because the consensus says one thing, it does not necessarily mean that that majority is correct.  Even shorter:  A consensus can be wrong.

So, the next time you read about some inquirer who thinks the majority may be wrong, remember that dark energy is not only not real, but it never WAS.  Take that and consider that maybe the iconoclastic thinker may have something to teach us.

In addition, if you think you see a flaw in a theory or hypothesis that everybody else thinks is true, don’t put yourself down.  Heck, the flaws you thought you saw may be real.  And if, once in a while, that happens, go ahead and smile.


4 responses to “It Seems the Idea of Dark Energy May Have Been Premature, After All

  1. AMEN to that!!!

  2. Ever seen this?

    There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don’t know we don’t know.

    And there are also the things we know that are wrong.

  3. James, thanks for your comment. I’ve been on that side of the fence since before 1982. So many astronomical theories are rife with only mildly defensible assumptions. I’ve shaken my head at them hundreds and hundreds of times. They pick one preferred interpretation (like Doppler red shift) and ignore anything that doesn’t agree. It’s an embarrassing field and one that has more imagination than scientific fact – and even the facts get spun to agree with the fantasies. The few astronomers who cast aspersions on the standard belief system get soon relegated to back corners of their field. I can’t say that I agree with everything the doubters argue, either, though. But a good deal of what they say has merit (IMHO, anyway).

    Hahaha – It was in October 1982 that I followed a train of thought – starting partly with the gravity issue in my Newton quote above. In rapid order, I was able to conclude that we simply didn’t know JACK about what gravity was, and without that knowing, every theory in astronomy was going to be proven wrong in the long term. I tried to explain gravity in some other way, and what fell out was remarkable. I ended up with the conclusion that there is a “black hole” at the center of every galaxy – there HAD to be. (I called it a “super node” – and there is a lot more to that that I won’t go into here.)

    Ironically, the very next day the Chicago Tribune had an article about astronomers thinking they’d discovered a black hole at the center of the Milky Way. It was some time before they concluded that every galaxy had one at its center. I’d beaten them to the punch on that by YEARS.

    A lucky guess? I didn’t guess. It fell out from the logic that started with gravity needing a solid scientific explanation. If gravity is something ELSE than some magical “attraction” of genuine physical masses (which I think I may have known all this time), then black holes are a natural end conclusion. Oh, it was long on qualitative arguments, which is a handicap – especially in my view of science, which MUST be quantitative. But when one’s train of logic leads to certain conditions/phenomena before anyone else gets there, it’s a good sign. But I figured that I would sit back and see where the evidence went over the upcoming years. (I do that – I am patient and don’t need to figure things out or have anything proven right now. Science is not a one lifetime process.) I can’t think of ANYTHING that’s come along to refute my thinking.

    But I don’t join up with others, either. I want the clarity of pulling in new evidence as it comes to ME, and fitting it into the real evidence as I’ve connected – or seeing reason to reject interpretations that seem flighty and really off-the-wall silly. The interpretation side of science is all about making connections – glimpsing connections – and then trying to let the evidence decide as it comes along in the future.

    Silly ideas? Like dark matter and dark energy? What idiots. It’s clear that the missing mass and missing energy aren’t real – just the missing EVIDENCE and missing brains with which to observe it correctly. We are maybe half a percent along the continuum on our learning about astronomical reality. At this juncture ALL theories are wrong. Certainly including mine. It simply cannot BE anything correct, since we don’t know SHIT yet – and it will be a long time before we do. The best we can hope for is hypotheses that give better glimpses.

    This Doppler red shift dead end is a monumental error, and it will be centuries in the undoing. And without the Doppler aspect of that, the expansion of the universe simply goes way. What replaces it? Gawd! Who knows??? A steady state universe? An oscillating universe? Some as yet unknown concept? My money is on the that third one. Like I said, we just don’t know enough. But at EVERY new article/paper, the authors feel the need to claim some all-encompassing perfect solution – when all they’ve done is found one data point or so. It’s fucking embarrassing for science.

    Arp has shown clear evidence that red shift is misinterpreted, but boy did they shut HIM down when he didn’t jump on the Doppler red shift bandwagon. Science is so f-ing political. And when they play their politics, who do they think they are kidding? In the future, when more is known, these academic politicians will be laughed at and mocked.

    Where does it go? I don’t know. But Doppler red shift is wrong. Had I been an astronomer back when that took hold, I’d have resigned and gone into honest labor.

    To me, astronomers are children’s book authors – conjuring up a magical picture that puts smiles on the faces of children, but the picture is only imaginary.

    • I have been down the path recently of realizing that even our sensual representations of the objective world in mind are not accurate. They may be utilitarian enough to permit our evolutionary success but not more. How much less so would be theories on the bigger issues, particularly ones involving no evolutionary test?

      In a way a gymnast may understand gravity more than the physicist.

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