Dragonfly 44: What Dark Matter is Telling Us

The data shows that modern science is badly in need of a theory to replace what is known as “dark matter.”  This blog proposes a radical alternative to the theories making the rounds in physics.  But the approach presented here may only seem radical to some readers because the existing theory is radically wrong. So I invite comments comparing the theory presented here with the governing theory supported by orthodox science. According to modern science, an invisible form of matter, known as dark matter,  makes up 23% of the total matter in the universe.  Only 4% of the total mass, according to this view of...

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The Humor of Michael Shermer

Michael Shermer, the publisher of Skeptic Magazine and columnist for Scientific American, represents the best and worst of modern science.  On the plus side, he writes well, typically picks interesting topics,  and gives me a lot material to write about.  On the negative, he displays the sort of overly-confident, “it is true because I said it is” attitude that is all too prevalent in modern science. One of his favorite topics, which he writes about in the October 2015 issue of Scientific American, is the distinction between science and pseudoscience.  This time he pokes fun at the Electric Universe conference at which he was recently asked...

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Time to Write the Obituary of the Particle-World

            According to modern physics everything is made up of atoms, which is to say particles. Our entire modern worldview, from space exploration to the Large Hadron Collider, and modern medicine, is premised on the notion that particles – electrons, neutrons, quarks, the Higgs boson, DNA, germs, viruses and cancer cells – are the ultimate constituents of the universe.  These particles, we imagine, exist out in the world, free-standing little things, with an existence independent of perception, independent of consciousness, independent of mind.             According to quantum theory, the leading scientific theory of the physical world, particles do not exist, except in our imagination.              Does...

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Changing Thought-Leaders: My Interview with Greg Moffit on Legalise Freedom

Scientific materialism — the form of science predicated upon the belief that dead matter is the ultimate reality — is slowly fading away.  My current thinking is that we believe in this worldview not because it is right, logical, or even plausible, but because the leading scientists all operate within a system of thought that assumes it is true.  Since science is the most authoritative intellectual discipline, we happily go along with the will of our thought leaders.  After all, who are we to question all of these professors and Nobel-prize winners? But it turns out that scientists do not believe in materialism because it is correct, but...

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Why Mathematics is Unreasonably Effective at Explaining the Physical World

In his famous article, The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics, physicist Eugene Wigner pondered how it is that mathematics is so effective at explaining the workings of the physical world.  This is the same topic of the recent NOVA special, The Great Math Mystery, which offers a very well-done and interesting account of how mathematics governs the universe from the smallest particles to the sweeping spiral galaxies of the heavens. The effectiveness of mathematics in mapping the workings of the universe, however, should also give pause to anyone who believes that materialism is the final word not only on how the world works, but on science itself....

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Our Strange World of Dark Matter

Chasing a failing worldview is like heading down a dead-end street: the signs that the street is coming to an end may be all around you, but bullheadedness keeps your foot firmly on the accelerator; after all, this is where everyone else is going.  But then the dead-end comes and, once again, you have this thought that perhaps you should have paid more attention to the warning signs.  Social and peer pressure are powerful forces, however, and it is a rare soul who challenges the march of the masses. This brings us to dark matter, which is thought to make up 83 percent of the matter in the universe. But dark matter...

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The New Natural Science

The Greek philosopher, Aristotle, wrote that “For all men begin .  .  .  by wondering that things are as they are.” A central problem in achieving scientific respectability for the field of spirituality is the words we use to describe what we are talking about.  Science uses terms that describe hard, physical objects and forces; things we can touch, see, and measure: subatomic particles, cosmic rays, the electromagnetic force, gravity, neurons, and genes.  The field of spirituality or consciousness, however, has not yet come up with a word to describe itself that sounds scientific.  The word “spirituality” sounds religious, which is out-of-bounds for science.  “Consciousness” is better, but this term...

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Parallels between the God Particle and the Hard Problem of Consciousness

The cover of the new issue of New Scientist highlights the improvements made to the Large Hadron Collider in Europe, not only the world’s most advanced atom-smasher, but the most sophisticated piece of technology ever built by humankind.  The cover says, “Forget the Higgs, Now we’re searching for the root of reality.”  Meanwhile, at the other  end of the scientific spectrum, neuroscientists remain lost in the quagmire of solving the so-called hard problem of consciousness, which, according to David Chalmers is “the question of how physical processes in the brain give rise to subjective experiences.” So with the Large Hadron Collider, the question is whether physicists will...

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UFOs as a Commentary on a Divided Worldview

Probably no topic so divides science and the “new age” as UFOs.  A recent column in Astronomy Magazine entitled, “Let’s cut the UFO crap,” makes the point that it is only naivete about the cosmic distant scale than allows people to believe in UFO’s.   This is a powerful argument when one considers distant scales.  The closest star to the Earth other than the sun is Alpha Centauri, which 4.37 light years — or over 25 trillion miles away.   An extremely fast spacecraft traveling at 100,000 mph    (the record for a manned spacecraft is just under 40,000 mph)  would take about 28,000 years to...

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Michael Shermer and 360 Degrees of Skepticism

Michael Shermer is the publisher of Skeptic Magazine, the author of many popular science books, and a regular columnist in Scientific American.  In his book, The Believing Brain, he tries to explain how the common person comes to believe in strange things, such as God, miracles, Heaven, the survival of the soul after death, and psychic phenomena.   According to Shermer, “reality exists independent of human minds, but our understanding of it depends upon the beliefs we hold. ”  (Believing Brain, 5).  In a tell-tale sign of his materialistic tendencies, he criticizes claims of psychic phenomena by stating that “until psi proponents can explain how thoughts...

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