Monday, April 30, 2007

Dark Energy Debunked Still More

Re: Dark Energy Debunked

O.K. Suppose the expansion of the universe is accelerating against all previous hypotheses that it should be decelerating. How could it be?

Well, Dark Energy is one explanation. Dark Energy is supposed to act, physically and mathematically, like negative pressure. It is as if the universe was immersed in a big vacuum, except that it is already a vacuum. But, it may be what is called a "false vacuum" with many more quantum entities seething just below the level of detectability (without huge accelerators probing muon decay, that is).

The true vacuum would act on our false vacuum universe the same way that a vacuum would act on a balloon, and, as the membrane got thinner, it would weaken. This is because the tension or overall force had surpassed the elastic limit and the expansion rate of the balloon would therefore accelerate. The tension seems to have surpassed the elastic limit of our universe about 9 billion years ago, it is said.

But this is just analogy. It is meaningless if it does not lead to a testable result or deduction. We cannot apply a force to the universe as a whole nor to spacetime. We cannot stretch spacetime in an experimental apparatus.

Perhaps spacetime stretches naturally as a result of the expansion that has already gone before. Then, as the receding galaxies recede faster from one another depending on their distance, it constitutes increased stretching of spacetime. As a matter of fact, the relativistic redshift is said to result from a "stretching" of spacetime.

But, I am only restating my analogy in different words (dodging or begging the question). This is not experimental or observational proof.

We need to put spactime in a sort of tensiometer to stretch it until it deforms more rapidly or else breaks. We need to find a way to rip spacetime. And hope that we do not tear a hole in the universe that will swallow us up!

This is all unproductive speculation. It would be more productive to follow the lead that this Dark Energy conclusion, reached by reductio ad absurdum, has given us. Carrying an argument to its extreme this way, to the point where an absurd contradiction occurs, is a standard method of proving logical falsehood.

Dark Energy proves itself false.

Let's work on this!

Then the calculations that indicate that the theoretic prevalence of heavier nuclei in the early universe are wrong, and the premises leading to this conclusion of too few heavy nuclei, need to be revised. Furthermore, the premises behind the interpretations of observations of too little "grey dust" that is made of such heavy nuclei (Be, B, C, N and O with traces of Mg, Al and Si) must also be wrong. There is a goldmine of research opportunity here!

Yes, scientists have made an 180 on the deceleration/acceleration trajectory of their thinking. And, yes, there could indeed be 1,000 million big bangs and other even weirder local parcels in a truly infinite universe. So, what is so special about it, even if our packet of the universe's expansion rate is accelerating. Who gives a rat's ass?

Well, we do, because we are here. And we do indeed live in a universe that just happens to have physical constants that support its existence and the existence of intelligent life. Presuming that we are indeed intelligent, that is. So, it matters to us because such conundrums fascinate. The irony is irresistible.

Another explanation of accelerating expansion is that spacetime is exploding. The negative pressure that shows up in relativistical equations is itself only relative. From the outside, looking in - even with an explosion - the pressure is negative. Just as energy is negative if it is released from the inside to the outside. The result is the same as before.

Except it is more like the original "phase change" that the "false vacuum" underwent at the time of the Big Bang. When water begins to boil, the expanding bubble drinks in more vapor at an accelerating rate because its surface area is increasing so rapidly that it ensnares more and more liquid, allowing it to turn into vapor. The false vacuum returns to its ground state, the true vacuum state, releasing energy that goes to accelerate the expansion rate. The bubble of spacetime that is our universe increases in size at an exponentially increasing rate, like a bubble of steam that grows larger so fast that it almost explodes out of the tea kettle.

These two scenarios are called the "quintessence" hypothesis and the "cosmological constant" hypothesis, respectively. Not only do we have to prove Dark Energy exists, but we have to distinguish between these two alternatives!

It would be much simpler to suppose that the premises underlying theoretical calculations and observational interpretations about the disparity between luminosity distances and redshift distances to far off type 1a supernovae are wrong.

Another alternative would be that the universe is growing. Spacetime may be reproducing itself and it is doing so at the usual exponentially increasing rate typical of a population of living organisms. The spacetime population underwent an initial accelerating increase initially (the BB), slowed down when waste products (like neutrinos) accumulated and sped up again when the volume increased sufficiently (and neutrino density decreased enough) for a new growth spurt to begin. Perhaps the conclusion should be, from this if it is true, that the universe is alive!

Gary Kent


L. Riofrio said...

Juat happened across your blog. You are reight that "dark energy" doesn't exist. You could write a good book on this.

Anonymous said...

Gary, your non-jargon writing style is so refreshing! Wikipedia is legalese by comparison.

The idea that the Big Bang is energy escaping from a black hole in another universe is an idea that I came up with, based on things I have been reading over the years. When I read your post I got the further idea that maybe the mother black hole is still adding energy into our universe. Further, the mother black hole is probably spinning with very high energy (dragging our universe around? In this case, our universe should be flattened and flatten more and more over time. The mother black hole may have uneven mass distribution, adding to the effect.)

I put a lot of weight onto your idea that light from the 1A super novae, used as standard light sources, could be getting attenuated by intervening particles. The probability of attenuation of the light would increase with distance. However, if the luminosity discrepancy is perfectly proportional to red shift magnitude, then the intervening particle idea would seem flawed since the intervening particles would not be uniform due to clumping caused by gravity.

jomeis at netzero dot net

The Adventurer said...

Dark Energy smells a lot like Aether

Ever since the birth of science and physics in ancient Greece, even before Plato, natural philosophers have been attempting to explain the nature of the universe. However, when they tried to explain the cause of certain unexplained natural phenomena, such as the way lihjt propagates, they resorted to an imaginary and undetectable, yet ubiquitous substance that they called aether. It wasn't until the early 20th century, when Einstein's Theory of Relativity showed that light can travel in a vacuum and gravity is caused by the curvature of space by mass, that aether became obsolete.
When Einstein published his General Theory of Relativity, his Gravitational Field Equations predicted that the universe would collapse under its own gravity. For some philosophical reason, Einstein couldn't accept the concept of a contracting universe, so he invented the Cosmological Constant which opposes the force of gravity. Thus even Einstein succumbed to the temptation of the creation of undetectable phenomenon in order to explain mathematical discrepancies and preserve his theories. Einstein was forced to shelve the Cosmological Constant when his contemporary, Edwin Hubble, measured the periodicity of variable stars and red-shifts of distant galaxies and demonstrated that the universe was expanding in every direction.
Since then astrophysicists have been observing the motions of stars and estimating the mass of the galaxies that these stars reside in. Sometimes the estimated mass of a galaxy is too small to explain the motion of the stars within those galaxies. These astrophysicists have postulated the existence of "Dark Matter" to explain the motion of stars. Dark matter is incredibly dense matter that neither emits nor reflects light. Black holes are a popular example of dark matter.
In the last decade, astrophysicists have been studying certain Supernovas which they feel represent a standard candle for brightness in the universe. Their observations along with the assumption that these supernovas represent a standard candle have led them to conclude that the expansion of the universe is accelerating. In order to account for this, they have revived the concept of the Cosmological Constant but have renamed it Dark Energy.

Gary Kent said...

To L. Riofrio,

I am skeptical of the effort to invoke an ad hoc explanation for phenomena that tend to disrupt the so-called consensus. When we have to "suspend disbelief" as if we were watching a science fiction movie, it's time to get suspicious. Dark energy seems unprovable and nobody can think of critical experiments that would confirm its existence. Not enough credence is given to alternate explanations.

Some scientists seem addicted to "weird science". I think it may be that they get more funding if they link their research to strange mysteries, the stranger the better. But the mystery of dark energy is almost supernatural. Some scientists seem willing to accept a supernatural interpretation of nature as if it actually explains something.

I say shame on such "scientists" who should be capable of doing better.

Gary Kent said...

To Anonymous,

The idea of a spinning universe has been expressed before. But the objection is that spin would leave a trace in the cosmic microwave background radiation. It would not be isotropic, for instance. It should alter the pattern of polarization too.

But, the universe as a whole would not be subject to the physical laws that govern objects within it. So, the universe could spin on all three axes, not just one. Then the acceleration that is observed to be occurring now could result from the effects of spin and such spin would not leave a trace in the CMB.

The idea that the Big Bang results from regurgitation from a supermassive black hole is an old one. It fits with the cyclic theory wherein the universe expands and contracts periodically. But we need to get the facts straight regarding what is actually observed before we can move on to more interesting stuff.

What I meant to say about supernovae 1A was that they appear to be so very far away that they tend to disprove the idea that there is a lot of "grey dust" that attenuates the signal. Then, since the universe would at that time have been expanding at a faster rate than was believed through application of Hubble's Law, our universe must be expanding NOW at a faster and faster rate.

I do not think that this conclusion follows from the facts. It is quite illogical, in fact. If the correct interpretation is that the universe underwent accelerating expansion THEN, why, there is no problem and dark energy does not exist.

Yup. Dark energy reminds me too of the now defunct aether.

Gary Kent said...

To Anonymous Joe,

Thanks for the complement. Science is all about gathering and organizing facts of nature, developing explanatory theories and then usning them to actually expain. But, its no good explaining things like, say, relativity to the likes of Einstein. So many scientists seem to wish to preach to the choir. Maybe this is all they can do.

And, they like to use jargon and an impregnable impenetrable demonstration of their mastery of jargon to impress us all with their high IQs. This is no way to communicate.

It appears that "grey dust" does not attenuate the signal from distant objects. The distant supernova results show that they are farther away than even their red shifts would indicate.

If they are ACTUALLY farther away, then grey dust is not a factor since its effect would be to let truly "near" objects seem to be be farther.

Gary Kent said...

To the Adventurer,

Yes, dark energy smells like the aether.

What bothers me is the eagerness of some scientists to accept a hypothesis that even they admit is unprovable with no critical experiments possible. We are supposed to dump the principle of science that holds that all knowledge of nature must be supported by experimental facts. If not, then it's not knowledge. It's just speculation or worse, an appeal to what amounts to the supernatural.

One might say that dark energy is an illusion resulting from our relativistic perspective on the surface of the universe, not at its center. The center of a polydimensional universe is not everywhere as mathematicians sometimes say, it is NOWHERE.

Acceleration that is observed NOW actually occurred THEN. The universe actually does follow a relativstic scheme.

The Adventurer said...

Until we have a consistent theory of Quantum Gravity that explains how space is created by energy, the jury will remain out on the concepts of inflation and dark energy. Are any of you aware of one?
By the way, if you are skeptical about Dark Energy then please visit my new blog debunking the many worlds theory at