Emotional about dark matter
Dark matter has become a subject of heated debates. There is very heavy tendecy to believe on existence of dark matter in the standard sense, that is dark matter appearing as a spherical halos around galaxies. This belief is now challeged by experimental facts.
- Indications for new particles such as that found by Fermi is automatically interpreted as indications for dark matter. This is strange and based only on the belief that the main stream view is correct. The signals could be real but need not have anything to do with galactic dark matter halo.
Here the situation resembles that for Higgs. Despite the fact that the decay signatures of the bump differ from those for standard model Higgs, Nobel prizes have been already shared by some bloggers for the discovery of Higgs.
- Dark matter is automatically identified as spherical halo of galactic dark matter. There are actually three quite recent observations challenging the existence of this halo. One of the observations led to the claim that the environment of solar system does not contain dark matter as part of galactic halo as it should do. As Resonaances tells, this claim was challenged by another group arguing that a change of the model for velocity distributions of stars allows to get the dark matter there. Non-specialist cannot say anything about this. But again Lubos made without hesitation the conclusion, which fits with his beliefs and wishes: the problem is settled, dark matter halo is there.
- This tendency to draw very rapid conclusions looks strange in the light of the fact that there are two other observations challenging the dark matter halo (see this and also the earlier posting). About these findings neither Resonances, Lubos, nor Sean Carroll say nothing.
Sean also wonders why people get so emotional about dark matter. My guess is that possible end for funding makes anyone emotional;-). We still remember how bitter the fight to save the status of string theory as the only possible theory of everything was. It is now over: no string theorists have been hired during this year as Peter Woit reports but still some true believers are raging.
If you were not born yesterday, it might occur to you that galactic dark matter halos define one of the basic assumptions of - I dare guess all - recent models of cosmology receiving funding. The incorrectness of this assumption would mean a catastrophic re-distribution of funding. Researchers meet a painful moral challenge: facts or funding? It is certainly always possible to play with parameters to get rid of experimental findings which do not fit the paradigm.
Personally I want to keep my mind open. It is easy to be honest, when one has nothing to lose anymore! TGD based explanation for the velocity distribution of distant stars around galaxy relies on magnetic flux tubes carrying dark matter having galaxies around them like pearls in necklace. No halo is needed to explain the velocity spectrum and the prediction is free motion of galaxies along the flux tubes. TGD predicts also dark matter as a hierarchy of phases with non-standard value of Planck constant. The guess is that there contribution to the mass density is small as also gravitational effects but this is just a guess.
Theoretical particle physics has been in a state of stagnation for four decades. This is a statement which I read more and more often in physics blogs. The statement is true. My conviction is that things went wrong when GUTs became the paradigm. To my view already standard model is partially wrong: color is not spin-like quantum number at fundamental level although it is so in an excellent approximation. And there are indeed experimental anomalies supporting the new view about color. Whether Higgs is there or not will be seen in near future. TGD prediction is that Higgs is effectively replaced by entire scaled up variant of hadron physics.
After GUTS came SUSY and then string models became the paradigm. Strings theory period is over, and SUSY in standard sense fighting desperately for survival. Also dark matter halo is getting thinner and thinner!
What about GUTS? Is the GUT paradigm the one that goes next? For instance, Nima Arkani-Hamed has talked about return to roots. The basic prediction of GUTS is the instability of proton to particular kind of decays. Nothing has been detected despite continual efforts but this fact has gone un-noticed. It does not require too much cynicism to understand the reluctance to notice the obvious. If proton is stable, practically 40 years of particle physics theory comes stumbling down. This would have really tragic implications for funding!
Addition:Lubos has become even more emotional about dark matter. Lubos refuses to consider any other than the standard view about dark matter and sees different views as a denial of dark matter. There are now three experiments suggesting strongly that galactic dark matter does not form a spherical halo around the galaxy. As mentioned, Lubos is completely silent about two of these experiments: this kind of intellectual in-honesty is part - maybe even unconscious part - of the psychology of denial.
As explained, TGD allows to understand the existing findings: in this model dark matter is carried by string like objects defined by magnetic flux tubes - stringlike objects albeit not fundamental strings. Just by getting rid of the obsession of fundamental strings and replacing them with 3-D objects one would obtain a theory that works, and predicts that the Universe is filled with string like objects having a concrete physical interpretation whereas the strings of string models have no physical counterparts! How simple but how difficult to accept! If Witten had discovered TGD it would have been for decades the theory of everything:-).
Addition: An interesting new twist in the fight for the survival of galactic dark matter halos has emerged. Recall that Bidin, Carraro, and Mendez claimed that the upper bound for the density of dark matter in the nearby environment of Sun is considerably ower than predicted by the galactic halo model. Then Bovy and Tremain stated that the analysis contains error and that their own analysis gives the value of dark matter density predicted by the halo model. Lubos declared with necessary ad hominems that the situation settled: galactic halo is there just as high priests of theoretical physics have decided. Now Hontas Farmer wrote an interesting informal article claiming that the argument of Bovy and Tremain contains a logical error: the predicted density appears as input! Warmly recommended: at least I regard real analysis as more interesting that fanatic claims peppered by ad hominem insults.