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Claimed dark matter ‘find’ won’t help end ‘big bang’ crisis

After reading an online article about the purported discovery of dark matter, a supporter named Neville emailed CMI for a creationist perspective.

The author A/Prof. John Hartnett, “in the middle of the action”. He earlier let his views about dark matter be known: “If you give a name to an admission of gross ignorance—‘dark matter’, ‘dark energy’—then you may eventually believe you have explained something!”

A/Prof John Hartnett answers:

A theorist has an idea about the mixing (coupling) of dark matter axions with normal matter through an S/N/S junction. Firstly, the axion is a theorized particle in the WIMP (Weakly Interacting Massive Particle)category but this expected particle with a mass of 1 μeV is in the WISP (Weakly Interacting Slim Particle) category. The latter is what I have been searching for in a lab experiment—a 53 μeV mass paraphoton—for four years.1 In all these type of experimental searches, these types of putative particles cannot be directly observed but only by their expected effects on normal matter and radiation sectors. So a theorist calculates the magnitude of the mixing parameter (nowadays < 10-8, or much lower) and they run experiments to put an upper limit on it. So if you get a signal—instead of just noise—the signal is from real normal type radiation, thus you have to exclude all possible spurious signals, and usually the detection expected is extremely small so it becomes extremely problematic to definitively say—even if you had an unknown signal—that you have made a detection.

Maybe an analogy might be like saying you have a sealed packet of food and your theory says you should let hundreds of billions of maggots crawl over the outside of the packet and if a maggot appears inside the packet you have proof of a dark matter particle that passed from outside to inside. First one maggot transformed into the dark matter particle that can freely pass through the wall of the packet because it does not interact with normal matter, then it transformed back into a maggot on the inside. The only problem is that you would have to eliminate any possibility of a false detection by some other source generating the maggot inside the packet. Spurious noise sources are many and hard to eliminate. If you found a maggot in the packet you would not for a minute blame the source on some exotic form of matter, would you?
The mere fact that the axion has been invoked over the past 40 years for at least four different reasons—to solve some problem in physics—shows it to be a sort of “god of the gaps” for the physicist; dark matter, even more so, in all its incarnations. A claim of dark matter detection will need extraordinarily strong experimental evidence—from multiple experiments. A new particle is always possible. But the reason it is invoked is because the standard LCDM big bang model does not work without it and dark energy. It is woefully found wanting. There are some mainstream people now discussing “discarding” the standard model because of what they call the “dark matter crisis”.
If you base your theology on the big bang—because it has an origin in time—then you are ignoring the elephant in the room.
The big bang has only one appealing fact to believers in the historicity of the Genesis account; the fact that it had a beginning in time.
And here are some problems with the big bang model:
  1. No Creator; either the universe created itself or there is an unknown naturalistic cause for the initial expansion.
  2. A priori it started in a low entropy condition smoothly expanding uniformly in all directions. How did it get that way?
  3. If you include ‘inflation’, that started without a known cause and stopped without a known cause.
  4. It involved the spontaneous creation of energy, space and time from nothing, where nothing means nothing, not even space or time.
  5. Why did it bang? No-one knows. How did it start? The physics does not exist to describe it. A “god of the gaps” here.
  6. The universe must be homogeneous and isotropic on largest scales, but we observe something different on all scales.
  7. The universe has no center and no edge; the big bang was everywhere.
  8. Currently the big bang universe is open and infinite; so it must have always been infinite in extension.
  9. How could a zero dimension universe become one of infinite size? From the explosion matter and anti-matter formed from pure normal energy? But we only observe normal matter. A particle asymmetry is therefore assumed but theoretically and experimentally cannot be justified.
  10. Stars must form from hydrogen and helium gas initially, but without dark matter conveniently at the right density at their putative centers where they form, no star will/can form. Without dark matter physics must be violated.
  11. Same problem exists for formation of galaxies and clusters of galaxies. So in all simulations an initial concentration of dark matter is assumed.
  12. The universe is Euclidean. Why is that? It is unknown, and the standard model requires that it has always been so to within a part in 10^50 over the history of the universe.
  13. Why is the cosmic microwave background radiation so uniform (3°K)? This must mean that the universe came into thermal equilibrium early in its history, but light we see today from opposite sides (horizons) of the universe only now reaches us and has never mixed—the horizon problem—which needs superluminal light to solve it, because inflation cannot.
  14. How do you know the universe is expanding? You can’t measure it experimentally so you must assume it to be so without proof. Faith; blind faith required.
  15. How do you know the expansion of the universe is accelerating? Only by applying the standard model with dark matter and dark energy to the observations. Two fudge factors are required to come to that conclusion.
  16. What is dark energy? It is not normal energy that we know like electromagnetic photons, i.e. radiation. It has the effect of anti-gravity. Normal energy gravitates—does not anti-gravitate.
  17. You cannot experimentally test your big bang universe model on the actual universe, because we don’t know what the universe should look like—cosmic variance problem. Humans then judge what a good simulation looks like.
  18. Why does the axis of evil exist—the axis seen in the temperature anisotropies of the CMB radiation? The axis is a real effect, proven by three different independent sets of observations, using different equipment on separate satellites.
  19. Why do galaxy clusters not show a foreground shadow if the CMB is the afterglow of the big bang fireball? They should but they don’t. [Ed.: This argument is no longer tenable—see Dr Hartnett's article “Creation argument against the big bang no longer sustainable—CMB shadows and galaxy clusters”, J. Creation 32(2):3–4, 2018; https://creation.com/cmb-shadows-argument-do-not-use.]
  20. Millions of spiral galaxies rotate too fast and hence they need a universe of 85% dark matter, but it is not observed in the lab. If it is so ubiquitous why has it not been discovered after 40 years of searching?
  21. There are many more problems—like the cosmological constant problem, the monopole problem, the isotropy problem, the smoothness problem and the anthropic universe (also called the Goldilocks universe) where it is finely tuned for life to exist.
  22. Lastly, why are atheists so determined to eliminate a Creator from their universe? Even now the origin in time is the one thing they hate the most about the standard model and they want to find a way that either the universe had no beginning or that it had many possible beginnings and humans sample several of them simultaneously, which makes no sense at all. But that is Professor Stephen Hawking’s idea.
So as they say in the used car business: “buyer beware!” The big bang timeline completely contradicts the Genesis 1 account in both order and content. Christians and those like Dr Hugh Ross who buy into a godless theory for their theology will be left wanting and denying His Word.
The only truth is the truth that glorifies the Creator (there is only one) and that means adherence to His Word. The big bang came from man, from atheists and those who deny the divine Word.
Published: 25 January 2014

References and notes

  1. S. R. Parker, J. G. Hartnett, R. G. Povey, and M. E. Tobar, Cryogenic resonant microwave cavity searches for hidden sector photons, Phys. Rev. D. 88:112004, 2013. Return to text.