When it comes to astronomy and astrophysics, the interplay between theoretical guess work and personal, unquestioned presuppositions is even greater, because we as men are limited to one specific vantage point in our abilities to study the heavens. Over the centuries as man has observed the heavens, they have developed a variety of models to help explain what it is he was seeing and how that relates to mankind’s place in the grand scheme of things.
The most popular theory right now is the big bang model, and though nearly all secular astronomers (and some religious) affirm this model as being the proper way to understand the formation of our universe, the big bang isn’t without its serious problems. Groups of astronomers have suggested theories to help explain the “unworkable” aspects of the model, and when those theories create more problems, more theories are developed to patch the holes the previous theories caused, all for the purpose of maintaining the integrity of the model.
A recent article illustrates what I mean:
That is tantamount to blasphemy. “Dark matter” is suppose to be this “invisible” glue which hold galaxies together, because astronomers presuppose that the visible matter doesn’t produce enough gravity to do the job. Hence, in order to explain the difficulty of regular, visible matter to produce the proper amount of gravity, an invisible, undetectable substance was thought up.
Invisible, undetectable substance? Reminds me of the atheists mocking vision of God as being a “flying spaghetti monster” or an “invisible pink unicorn,” but I digress.
Back in August, two astronomers in Arizona claimed to have observed dark matter separate from regular matter during the collision of two galaxies, but now it is believed their announcement was premature. A second group of astronomers, however, suggest there is good reason we have never observed “dark matter:” it doesn’t exist. They believe gravitational problems can be explained with alternative theories of gravity and with out the need to invoke the idea of “dark matter” to fill in the spotty places.
Its a good reminder that ‘science’ is fallible and is not the end all of discovering truth.
More on dark matter can be found here.