Employing exotic unobservable entities such as dark matter may be an escape from scientific rigor in more ways than one.

Recently, the notion that most of the universe is composed of dark matter took an evidential hit. Live Science said, “A sprawling collection of galaxies and star clusters surrounding our own Milky Way is challenging long-standing theories on the existence of dark matter, the mysterious substance thought to pervade the universe.”  According to a survey of satellite galaxies of the Milky Way conducted at the University of Bonn, dark matter theories fail to account for the arrangement of matter in a region spanning 10 times our galaxy’s diameter. The astronomers extended the impact of their findings to the entire universe:

“Our model appears to rule out the presence of dark matter in the universe, threatening a central pillar of current cosmological theory,” said study team member Pavel Kroupa, a professor of astronomy at the University of Bonn. “We see this as the beginning of a paradigm shift, one that will ultimately lead us to a new understanding of the universe we inhabit.”

The statement also implies that previous “understanding of the universe” was misguided or absent.

Last month Ker Than, reporting for National Geographic News, quoted an astronomer who said the finding of a huge structure of satellite galaxies surrounding the Milky Way puts cosmology “basically in a shambles.”  He referred to his other National Geographic article two weeks earlier that also questioned the existence of dark matter because it wasn’t detected where needed to explain the Milky Way’s halo.  That finding “could provide ammunition for skeptics who argue that the invisible substance is just an illusion,” he said.  About the same time, though, another National Geographic reporter claimed that dark matter particles hit the average human once a minute….

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