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Stars just don’t form naturally—‘dark matter’ the ‘god of the gaps’ is needed


Published: 1 September 2015 (GMT+10)

‘Dark matter’ is an essential ingredient to form stars naturally given only standard known physics. ‘Dark matter’ is a hypothetical exotic form of matter, unknown to laboratory physics, which does not interact with or emit light in any way, hence it is invisible to all forms of detection within the electromagnetic spectrum, from radio-waves to gamma radiation. ‘Dark matter’ itself, therefore, is outside of standard known physics. It is made-up stuff that has been given one special property, which is that it gravitates, that is, unlike normal matter, it is a source of gravity only.

Detection of ‘dark matter’

Figure 1. Image of dark matter detected using advanced methods.

But has dark matter been discovered by any direct measurement? That is apart from inferring its existence due to anomalies like galaxy rotation curves where the motions of stars and gases in the arms of spiral galaxies do not follow the expected Keplarian law in line with standard Newtonian physics? No, it has not and that is after 40 years of searching in laboratory experiments. Yet it is believed to exist—a ‘god of the gaps’—and is essential, otherwise many astrophysical observations just do not agree with those expected by application of standard laws of physics. See Fig. 1 for image of dark matter.

Theoretical physicist Mordehai Milgrom has proposed an alternative to dark matter, called Modified Newtonian Dynamics (or MOND) wherein he slightly changes the law of gravitation on the very large-scale of galaxies to solve the problem of galaxy rotation curves and dynamics of galaxies on larger scales. In a 2014 New Scientist article1 Milgrom was asked by reporter Marcus Chown:

“Why is now a good time to take an alternative to dark matter seriously?”

To which he replied:

“A host of experiments searching for dark matter, including the Large Hadron Collider, many underground experiments and several space missions, have failed to see anything convincing. This comes on top of increasing realisation that the leading dark matter model has its failings. Among other things, it predicts that we should see many more dwarf galaxies orbiting our Milky Way than we actually do.”

This latter problem I pointed out in Why is Dark Matter everywhere in the cosmos? In this article I will focus more on the problem, not of galaxy formation, but of star formation, though the two are related. Without stars galaxies would not exist. But before I get to that consider the following.

Large scale computer simulations of the universe

A BBC news headline read “Universe evolution recreated in lab.”2 This story was about an international team of researchers who “…created the most complete visual simulation of how the Universe evolved.” They used a super-computer to create a model of the alleged early universe wherein they showed “… how the first galaxies formed around clumps of a mysterious, invisible substance called dark matter.” Fig. 2 shows the results of their simulation compared to the real Universe. The result looks very good, doesn’t it? Maybe they have solved the problem of the origin of the Universe?

Figure 2. The real Universe photographed by the Hubble telescope is on the left. On the right is what emerges from the simulation. Credit Ref. 2.

They were working not on the scale size of stars, but of large scale structure of the Universe and formation of galaxies. The article reports (my emphasis added):

“In the beginning, it shows strands of mysterious material which cosmologists call ‘dark matter’ sprawling across the emptiness of space like branches of a cosmic tree. As millions of years pass by, the dark matter clumps and concentrates to form seeds for the first galaxies.

They had to use dark matter as the ‘seeds’ or the galaxies would not condense in their simulations. Prof Carlos Frenk (Durham University) said (my emphasis added):

“You can make stars and galaxies that look like the real thing. But it is the dark matter that is calling the shots.

Without this unknown ‘god of the gaps’ you simply cannot make the simulations produce anything that looks like the real Universe. The laws of known physics will not allow that. Dr Vogelsberger of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) said (my emphases added):

If you don’t include dark matter (in the simulation) it will not look like the real Universe.

Finally cosmologist Dr Robin Catchpole (the Institute of Astronomy in Cambridge) adds what the reporter called a note of caution (my emphases added):

Although he hailed the simulation as “spectacular”, he added, “one must not be taken in by the sheer visual beauty of the thing. You get things that look like galaxies without them being much to do with the physics of how galaxies emerged.

Star formation’s essential ingredient

As Prof Carlos Frenk pointed out in the above quoted article,2 dark matter is essential to making stars, and he means naturally, that is, with only the known laws of physics.

The visible Universe has about 1011 galaxies containing about 1011 stars on average, totalling about 1022 stars. Thus their formation is foundational to the Universe. Without stars there would be no universe. However, from the secular perspective, the theoretical understanding of star formation is quite lacking, but theorists are hopeful and they are continuing research via computer simulations trying to reconstruct the past history of the early universe and star formation.

The main difficulty comes in modelling the physical process of formation, which involves gravity, highly turbulent gas dynamics, magnetic fields, radiation, molecular and dust chemistry. Star formation also involves an enormous range of length and time scales, assuming only naturalistic processes, which make simulations difficult, even with super-computers.

Figure 3. The telling of the story of star formation (Source: Spitzer Science Center. See Ref. 3.).

Nowadays, dark matter is added as an essential ingredient to all simulations on star formation because once any hypothesized cloud of hydrogen gas condenses to a certain size it comes into hydrodynamic equilibrium. This means the outward force on the cloud, caused by the accumulated pressure due to heating of the compressed cloud, equals the inward force on the cloud due to the mutual gravitational attraction of all matter in the cloud. At this point no further contraction can occur, unless something else is introduced to overcome this limitation.

You may hear the expression ‘virialized’ system. In such a state a balance has developed between the kinetic energy and the gravitational potential energy of the cloud. Once this is reached no further change can occur unless energy is radiated away from the cloud cooling it, which may take an indefinite period of time, and if the matter density is below a certain value cooling is impossible. The way around that is to start with much more dark matter than normal matter, which immediately overcomes this balanced condition. That is justified by the assertion that spiral galaxies comprise 85% dark matter.

Any primordial gas cloud—consisting mostly of hydrogen—is assumed to be the product of the alleged hot big bang origin of the universe, wherein only hydrogen, helium and a little lithium was supposed to have formed, via nuclear fusion.3 According to that story, after 3 to 20 minutes the temperature of the big bang fireball had cooled to where no more fusion could take place.

Initially the elements (H, He) were in the form of a hot plasma but after about 380,000 years the plasma cooled sufficiently that the electrons re-combined with the protons and other nuclei forming essentially only hydrogen and helium gas. From that gas it is supposed, after about a billion years, give or take (the model is flexible), the first stars formed.4 But, and this is a big BUT, there is no known law of nature (physics) that allowed the first stars to form from the alleged primordial clouds of gas.

Figure 3 shows the believed formation process of a star. But note that in Fig. 3(a) the simulation begins with a dense core, such that gravitational collapse can occur in Fig. 3(b). ‘Something’ is added at the beginning else nothing can happen.

The Jeans’ limit

Without this ‘something’, fundamental physics must necessarily be violated or the Jeans limit5 must be overcome by either compression of or cooling of the cloud. However, once this limit is overcome, gravity can take over [Fig. 3(b)] and compress the cloud further, to form the protostar [Fig. 3(c)]. But without a mechanism to overcome this natural limitation the cloud would naturally heat up and that would prevent further compression, resulting in equilibrium.

In computer simulations of star formation the computer program is usually started with an over-density such that the Jeans mass is already achieved, hence the limit is not a problem because the simulation is started past that point [as shown in Fig. 3(a) and (b)]. The Jeans mass =1/2 T3/2, where K is a constant, ρ is the cloud density, and T is the absolute temperature.

A universe without stars, that is, one that only has hydrogen and a little helium gas and the known laws of physics, is not the universe we live in. Naturalistically there are only 3 possible lines of investigation to overcome this problem, that is, to form stars naturally.

  1. Cool the cloud so it can continue to compress, increasing its density (ρ). Given sufficient time for cooling to occur eventually it is hoped the Jeans limit is overcome;
  2. Compress the cloud to overcome the Jeans limit, by employing, magnetic fields like in a tokamak6 to confine the hot plasma, or, some external force, e.g. a supernova, to compress the cloud beyond the Jeans limit;
  3. Introduce some new exotic matter that is unaffected by normal thermodynamic considerations, because it does not interact with normal matter, therefore it provides an added gravitational force on the cloud but without contributing to its heating. Thus it is used to overcome the problem of the equilibrium condition reached in the cloud preventing it from being able to collapse any further to form a star.

It has been proposed that a nearby exploding star (supernova) can compress a gas cloud, and it is hypothesized that our own sun formed after the supernova of a red giant in our galactic neighborhood. Shock waves are generated by the outward travelling blast waves. See Fig.4 showing (as ‘cosmic pearls’) the hot plasma travelling outward from the source of the central explosion. But the idea of the shock waves from a supernova needed to compress the gas cloud introduces a ‘chicken and egg’ problem and hence hardly qualifies as an explanation for the origin of the first stars, the population III stars, soon after the alleged big bang.

Figure 4. Supernova SN1987A’s Cosmic Pearls
Credit: P. Challis, R. Kirshner (CfA), and B. Sugerman (STScI), NASA.

Magnetic fields in the gas cloud are also being investigated. They are no help, but, in fact, an impediment to collapse, unless the cloud can remove the magnetic fields by diffusing away the ions that carry them. The main hope of forming stars is with cooling channels, via infrared radiation from molecular hydrogen, but that requires long periods of time, and thus the simulations start with a mixture of dark matter and hydrogen (normal matter). There is no hope to form stars without the help of the assumed dark matter, no matter (no pun intended) how many hundreds of millions of years you give it. Physics is still the problem.

The following is how a Scientific American article entitled “The First Stars in the Universe”7 described the process (my emphases added):

This cooling plays an essential role in allowing the ordinary matter in the primordial system to separate from the dark matter. The cooling hydrogen would settle into a flattened rotating configuration that was clumpy and filamentary and possibly shaped like a disk. But because the dark-matter particles would not emit radiation or lose energy, they would remain scattered in the primordial cloud. Thus, the star-forming system would come to resemble a miniature galaxy, with a disk of ordinary matter and a halo of dark matter. Inside the disk, the densest clumps of gas would continue to contract, and eventually some of them would undergo a runaway collapse and become stars.

The following was written at the head of a sequence of graphics illustrating the alleged formation of the first stars and galaxies.

PRIMEVAL TURMOIL The process that led to the creation of the first stars was very different from present-day star formation. But the violent deaths of some of these stars paved the way for the emergence of the universe that we see today.

This was illustrated with my Fig. 5 (copied) showing a protogalaxy made up of a mixture of dark matter and ordinary matter (hydrogen gas).

Figure 5. From Ref. 7, page 8. The first star-forming systems—small proto-galaxies—consisted mostly of the elementary particles known as dark matter (shown in red). Ordinary matter—mainly hydrogen gas (blue)—was initially mixed with the dark matter (original text).

The dark matter here is the ‘god of the gaps’ used to overcome the fundamental physics that naturally prohibits the collapse of the cloud to a star. In fact, it is assumed that most of the first proto-galaxies8 consisted of dark matter (of an unknown type of elementary particle9). The dark matter is given the needed properties to achieve the desired outcome. It does not emit radiation, which means it cannot be seen by normal electromagnetic detection methods; it does not lose energy because it does not interact with other normal matter particles. It is a ‘god’ that gravitates, creating strong gravitational forces, strong enough to overcome the resistance of the hot gas pressure in the cloud, causing the normal matter hydrogen to collapse into a star. This is just story telling at its finest.

It is further claimed that today we do observe stars forming where external forces, like shock waves from nearby supernovae, are not present. Most star formation allegedly takes place in the ‘density waves’ of spiral galaxy arms, which is a gravitational effect arising from the interactions of myriads of stars, gas, and dust orbiting in the galactic gravitational potential well. See Fig. 6.

Let’s unpack this. Firstly, even if it is true that the existing matter in the spiral arms of galaxies provided the needed gravitational potential well that causes the gas clouds to collapse into stars, this does not solve the problem of the first stars. Secondly, the argument used here—‘density waves’—is a theory to support the development of spiral arm structure that has the same problems as most of astrophysics—the need for dark matter. Because of the anomalous rotation curves of stars and gases in the disk regions it is supposed that dark matter exists in a halo surrounding the galaxy, and is found everywhere but in the core, where you would most expect to find it. But it is not needed there. Remember, it is not observed, only inferred to exist to solve problems with the motion of stars.

The ‘density wave’ theory is also used to support the notion of how a 10 billion year old galaxy can appear to have only one or two rotations (windings) in its spiral structure, when with a rotation period of 200 million years it should have 50 windings in the spiral structure. Astronomers sometimes call this the ‘wind-up problem’ of the spiral arms. The problem occurs because the inner parts of the disks of these galaxies are observed to rotate faster than the outer parts. Galaxies are not solid bodies and as they rotate they should wind up so much that their spiral structure should have been destroyed over 10 billion years of their alleged lifetime. This latter observational fact is something that biblical creationists have for a long time used as evidence supporting a young universe. The galaxies were, in fact, created almost just as we observe them, so there is no ‘wind-up problem.’

Figure 6. Bode’s galaxy showing strong emission from clouds of hydrogen gas (coloured pink). These regions in spiral arms are claimed to be active star forming regions.

So this is all part of the story telling. Are gas clouds, in the act of collapsing into stars, actually observed in these galaxies? Well no! Intense emissions signal to astronomers active young new stars, so accordingly they report star-forming regions. But the very luminous emissions from hot hydrogen gas do not tell you how the stars were formed. Any biblical creationist model must also account for the first stars as well as stars forming in galaxies, but because the Genesis account says God made the stars on the 4th day of Creation we know that the first stars were formed by God supernaturally on that day. And because there is still this problem of the Jeans limit it is unlikely that many stars would have formed after the 4th day of Creation week.


One must invent unknown stuff—dark matter—with the right properties—the unknown ‘god of the gaps’—to get stars to form naturalistically. Without it, it just can’t happen!

But why invent this unknown stuff? There are various areas in astrophysics and cosmology where dark matter is invoked to solve some problem. But more fundamentally why invent a ‘god’ to overcome established laws of physics to explain star formation? Is it because if they don’t astronomers will have to admit that materialism fails and that there is more to the Universe than hydrogen, helium, some heavier elements, magnetic fields, radiation and the laws of physics?

References and notes

  1. Chown, M., Forget dark matter—embrace my MOND theory instead, New Scientist 222(2967):26–27, 3 May 2014. Return to text.
  2. Ghosh, P., Universe evolution recreated in lab, bbc.com, 7 May 2014. Return to text.
  3. The physics of the universe, physicsoftheuniverse.com, accessed 2 July 2015. Return to text.
  4. These are called population III stars, called metal poor (where metal means any element of an atomic number greater than helium). Their lack of detection has been a big big bang problem for a long time. The first population III stars are predicted to have formed at redshifts of about z = 10-30. The James Webb Space Telescope, tentatively scheduled for launch in 2018, is hoped to be able to detect some of the first galaxies, but it is doubted that it will be able to detect the first stars, the population III stars. The reality is that all stars ever observed, even in the Hubble Ultra-Deep Field, are not population III stars. Return to text.
  5. Jeans instability, wikipedia.org, accessed 2 July 2015. Return to text.
  6. Tokamak, wikipedia.org, accessed 01 July 2015. Return to text.
  7. Larson, R.B., and Bromm, V., The First Stars in the Universe, Special Edition, “The Secret Life of Stars”, Scientific American 14(4):7-9, 2004. Return to text.
  8. Ref. 7, p. 8. Return to text.
  9. Hartnett, J.G., Dark Matter and the Standard Model of particle physics—a search in the ‘Dark’, September 2014; creation.com/dark-search. Return to text.

Readers’ comments

Jon Stephan E.
When you mention that dark matter is needed for anomalies in galaxy rotation curves, I'm curious if time dilation effects could account for it? That is, it only appear that way to us, the observers.
John Hartnett
Assuming that the Doppler effect correctly gives us the rotation speeds of the stars and gases in the disks of spiral galaxies, which I have no reason to doubt, then I think time dilation cannot help. Within the rest frame of the galaxy (if your could imagine yourself at the centre of it, and moving with it) the speeds of the stars and gases around the centre are as they are commonly reported, which is much faster than they should be in Keplerian orbits. That is, too fast according to standard Newtonian physics.
Robert B.
You seen resolute in your opposition to dark matter; yet I don't see how the existence of dark matter conflicts with a recent creation. The secular world in their quest for dark matter may discover the "smoking gun" of how God may have created a bubble of slower time local to our solar system. The evolutionists may be doing creationism a huge favor. We'll see...

I suppose by extension of your earlier comments that galaxies were created with apparent age including being in the act of colliding with other galaxies, that you would also say that Sagittarius A or NGC5128 was created recently, essentially as we see it now.

The radio jet leaving NGC5128 is composed of material that is moving at 50% of the speed of light. The 1 million LY length of the stream would imply to many that this is something that's been going on for 2 million years.

I find that phenomenon categorically different than the fact that our sun is a mature star. In Genesis, when we are told that God made a"... greater light to rule the day" it follows that me made the sun with a already hot surface and already producing light.

When God created life on the Earth, I'm pretty sure most living things were created mature. To extend that notion of an "appearance of age" to things happening on a cosmic scale "feels" wrong to me. That's why I favor a cosmology that allows a differential flow of time

I guess we'll have to agree to disagree. Thanks again for your kind answers.
John Hartnett
I am not about being dogmatic about anything, apart from the historical narrative of the Genesis account. I was trying to show you that you were being so. I pointed to your assumptions to try to help you see that you were making them. On the sun, I agree it is obviously a mature creation, but the idea that light that we see now originating as gamma photons in fusion reactions in the core, needs more consideration if those photons take 100,000 years to reach the surface. One must either assume a uniformitarian age or that God created the sun with all gamma photons in situ at all stages from the core. There is little difference in that to colliding galaxies, or million light-year long jets of material from AGNs. But I do not rule out relativistic time dilation cosmologies. I am open to whatever explains the universe but remains consistent with the 6-day creation of Genesis. We all should be.
Robert B.
Thank you for your response, but I still don't understand how to dismiss the evidence of the many images of galaxies in collision with signs that they have been gravitationally interacting for hundreds of thousands if not millions of years. They are easy to find on Google images.

Adam likely would not see hundreds of tree rings in a tree that he might have cut down shortly after the creation. CMI has stated that probably Adam and Eve didn't have belly buttons and that the first trees didn't have rings because that would make God into a deceiver by creating evidence of events and processes that never occurred.

When I see two spiral galaxies that look exactly like I might expect if they have been interacting for far longer than 6 thousand years, I have a dilemma when I also acknowledge a Genesis 1:1 Creation 6000 years ago. I should say HAD rather than HAVE because you and Dr. Humphreys solved that dilemma by reminding me that all clocks do not have to run at the same rate. For that I am grateful to you both.

The travel time of light is not the only problem that needs to be addressed. When we see streams of matter between the partially distorted, colliding galaxies, that is evidence of processes that took ages to occur unless your reference to uniformitarianism means that I shouldn't assume that mass and gravitation have always acted consistently. Or did God create these structures as we see them now and give them the "appearance" of having been interacting for millions of years?

Humphreys' first cosmologies and the variants that involved different rates of clocks solved the dilemma of the young Earth /old Cosmos better than anything else I've seen.

The clock synchrony cosmology seems to make God a deceiver as much as belly buttons on Adam and Eve would have.
John Hartnett
It seems to me you have a problem with the idea that God could created a mature universe. Galaxies in all different states, including collision, would be in such a universe. But I suggest then that our sun may be a bigger problem to you, because no time dilation cosmology, like either of Humphreys first and second models, could explain a 5 billion year old sun. The real problem arises in the fact that we see light from the sun now, 6000 years after creation. If we only consider uniformitarian principles, that light originated in photons from fusion reactions in the sun's core, which took at least 100,000 years to come to the surface, so that we might see them.
Jeremy W.
Love the photo of the Dark Matter. It is such a revealing image. I must say I gasped at the majesty of it. :P
Robert B.
My question reached past the narrow issue of how Stars came to be that was the focus of this article. I wondered about an explanation of the cohesiveness of galaxies and your answer spoke of cosmic expansion. I guess I deserved it.

Galaxies in collision are evidence for ages of elapsed time as we see these galaxies tearing each other apart. This makes theories about the possible expansion of the universe moot to me.

When the Bible says that in six days, God created the Heavens and the Earth and all that in them is, combined with the apparent vast ages of the colliding galaxies, we have a dilemma that cannot be brushed aside by redefining clock synchrony.

That seems like a semantic trick to me. Did the nuclear detonation that we know of as Supernova 1987A "really" happen in 1987 when we saw it? Isn't that sort of facile?

The simplest explanation of the observed non-Keplerian flat rotation of spiral galaxies is dark matter. As I stated before, a swarm of small black holes may very well populate the interstellar space of this and every other galaxy. That doesn't threaten a Biblical world view at all. "There may be a small black hole in the center of every star that served as the "seed" to get a diffuse cloud of hydrogen to coalesce. Indeed, how would the stars act differently than they do now if this were the case? It would have no effect on Bible interpretation either if we allow that God did a quicker "fiat" creation for the Earth, Sun and some other nearby things and also created a bubble of slower time around those things somehow."

Something akin to Humphreys original cosmology even suggests an explanation for the results of the RATE experiment but whatever new theory we propose, must accommodate fact of the colliding galaxies and of the young Earth.
John Hartnett
When you write that colliding galaxies means immense age, you are implicitly assuming a uniformitarian worldview. You have a set of assumptions, which may, in your mind, be reasonable assumptions, but they are unproveable nevertheless and so that should be acknowledged. Hence it does not necessarily follow that there is any dilemma at all.

Of course supernova 1987A "really" happened in 1987 when we saw it, but it is not semantics. It involves real physics and our understanding about the universe. The clock synchrony argument is a valid proposal in solving a light travel time problem. The main question there is: Is that the convention used by the Author of Genesis?

The simplest explanation of the observed non-Keplerian flat rotation curves of spiral galaxies is not dark matter. The reason for this is that the dark matter needs properties that are exotic. If it only gravitated, as supposed, it should pile up in the centre of the galaxies, but the modelling puts most of it in a spherical halo around the galaxies. Also in a study of dwarf galaxies, which should comprise 99% dark matter according to modelling, cold dark matter is inconsistent with observational data. It should pile up in the centre but the dynamics of the system indicate uniform distribution. See Why is Dark Matter everywhere in the cosmos?.

Other explanations for dark matter are on offer: new physics, where a few forms have been suggested (MOND, Carmeli) or, in the case of spiral galaxies, if their density profile slightly departs from an exponential roll off, departing slightly from their luminosity as a function of radius, you can explain the dynamics without dark matter.

Let's keep an open mind, but fixed on the Genesis account as literal history.
Robert B.
I'm jumping the gun here, I know the focus of this article is stellar formation and not galaxy cohesion but dark matter is essential for a natural explanation of each phenomenon.

Ever since the ground breaking concepts offered by you and Dr. Humphreys, I have been comfortable with the idea that while the Earth is young and the creation week occurred 6000 years ago; that day four of that week began the start of however many billions of years of intergalactic time that everything else took since clocks can run at different rates from each other.

Images of colliding galaxies were compelling evidence of processes that seemed to require vast ages to explain unless God contrived to fool us. You and Dr. Humphreys rescued me from this previously unsolvable dilemma.

Now you seem to be repudiating yourself. In this article and others linked to it, you seem to be advancing the idea that stars/galaxies were created much as we see them now without any instrumentality and the required vast ages of elapsed time to explain them.

As a young Earth Creationist myself, you made me comfortable with the notion of dark matter to explain Creation on a cosmic scale. Interstellar space could be swarming with something like small black holes or neutron stars without contradicting Genesis 1:1 beginning 6000 years ago. In fact ever since Humphreys put forth his ideas in "Starlight and Time", I've been hoping that some huge reservoir of mass proximate to the Earth would be discovered as the residue of the "expanse" posited by Humphreys as the instrumentality God used for the time differential we observe.

Bottom line: Are YOU no longer comfortable with the notion of vastly different rates time for the Earth vs the Cosmos? Because that seems the net effect of what you are arguing here
John Hartnett
Since the publication of Does the Bible really describe expansion of the universe? Dr Humphreys and I have started to look at the cosmological idea that the Universe is static--i.e. not expanding. Humphreys is now working on his third cosmology wherein he uses the tension of the fabric of space to achieve time dilation similar to his second cosmology. Since my second cosmology relied on an expanding universe I also have started to develop alternate ideas. See Is the Universe expanding? and A biblical creationist cosmogony and Speculation on redshift in a created universe. In Starlight and time: Is it a brick wall for biblical creation? I give an overview of various creationist solutions to the starlight travel time problem and indicate which are my favoured positions. In my view when we become convinced what the Bible says is true—it does not describe an expanding universe—we must not be stuck on some past notion/model because it can explain some features of the cosmos, after all it is only a model. There are possibly many models that can explain the same thing--that is the nature of cosmology.
Aleksandar K.
Aside the ‘chicken and egg’ problem with the theory that a nearby exploding star (supernova) can compress a gas cloud, can such a shock wave ACTUALLY compress a gas cloud? Could it theoretically have enough force? Even if it has enough force, wouldn't such force cause turbulence rather than have a compression effect? And turbulence works against gravitational collapse, to my knowledge. I don't know how the physics work in a cloud that is may be light years across but it kind of sounds fishy to me...
John Hartnett
These are good questions you ask and the answers depend on the details. Models and hydrodynamic simulations are applied but there are many boundary conditions that are input and these affect the outcome of the simulations. It appears that introducing turbulence into the model is a good thing. It breaks up the cloud and causes local areas to become denser as the cloud fragments. Also most models describe a denser core of a larger cloud. This is the case in the solar system nebular hypothesis. But the exact details of how that core became overdense are glossed over because there is no natural way to achieve it. Hence the need for dark matter.
Guy G.
As a practicing dentist with only a high school to first year of college knowledge of astronomy, I have a hard time putting it on the same level as other aspects of genuine science....i.e. dental materials science, because of the limitation of observational data. I've affectionately thought of astronomy as akin to me studying decay causing bacteria, with the caveat that I have to make all my observations using a telescope, and I can't get any closer to my subject teeth and bacteria than a football field's distance. I wonder what dentistry would be like with that limitation.
Geoff C. W.
And God said: "Let there be light... oh, and you'd better throw in 85% dark as well, or we won't be able to get this thing to work..." (Moses missed that second bit).
And so dark matter is everywhere - except where it's not needed. How very intelligent of it!
And I see that "The process that led to the creation of the first stars was very different from present-day star formation". I thought evolutionists were always on about present processes showing us what happened in the past!
Actually, I can't see a problem with the dark matter theory. If we started with nothing, and it exploded, dark matter is as likely to "appear" as anything else!
P.S. Had a brainwave while reading this article, though I'm loathe to mention it, as the evos might actually take it seriously. If dark matter controlled the appearance of stars from a primordial gas cloud, why can't we have dark acids controlling the formation of amino acids from our own primordial soup? Now there's an idea with merit! Solves all the impossibilities dogging that theory.
P.P.S. Loved the image of the dark matter (Figure 1). :)
Mark E.
Dr Hartnett, I totally love your work. You are a great encouragement to me and many. Thank you.

Regarding all the 'dark' attributes being invented and our criticism of 'their' use as a 'god of the gaps', I can't help but think that we should be referring to these as their 'Dark God' or 'God of Darkness' as opposed to our 'God of Light'.
E. V.
I want to thank Dr. JH sincerely for taking the time to explain these problems (and the atheistic faith) to the lay person. It must take some considerable time to write articles like these.

If I may ask only one question (out of curiosity (no pun intended with the Mars traveller)): Is it now standard for most creationist cosmologists/relevant researchers to regard 'dark matter' (and the other dark physics) with scepticism? (Of course the arguments that this is realy a 'god of the gaps' for materialism, makes perfectly sense).

Kind regards,
John Hartnett

To answer your question: I don't know. I do know of one creationist astronomer who is ok with dark matter, and I know of other creationist scientists who are not. But I don't know what the general opinion of creationist scientists is.
Doug L.
I have one question and one small criticism. You mentioned that dark matter is not supposed to lose energy. But if it's dark then wouldn't that violate known laws of thermodynamics related to black body radiation? Or is this just one more attribute which was invented to support star formation via dark matter?

My small criticism is that you didn't mention gravitational lensing which does seem to support the existence of some kind of dark matter. Wouldn't you agree? I always thought it gave a lot of credibility to the idea of dark matter. I'm not at all saying that dark matter is a credible cause for star formation or galaxy shape, only that it seems likely (to a non-astronomer/physicist) that some kind of unknown dark matter exists in this strange universe we live in. Saying that has all these other magical properties is another thing: atheistic/naturalistic scientists fantasizing anything rather than admit God as the source.
John Hartnett
On your question, most definitely dark matter has been given new properties that if it truly existed would violate known physics, hence the point, it is invoked as a sort of substitute for new physics. It is call 'dark' because it does not emit radiation in the photon sector (i.e. normal electromagnetic radiation).
But when required it can be given the needed properties. Dark matter particles can apparently decay when needed, causing the IGM to emit more light than expected. Also ‘dark photons’ have been proposed, which result from interactions with 'dark matter' particles, but we can see those hypothetical 'dark photons.' More dark side madness.

On gravitational lensing: In a sense you may be arguing for an 'unknown' to support an 'unknown.' The only evidence for gravitational lensing is from the cosmos and hence not testable in the local laboratory. I have previously pointed out that not all is well in that regard either. See Missing matter mostly missing in lensing galaxy and Has ‘dark matter’ really been proven?.
René D.
How sad and tragic it is to see the demise of true science because of the vast majority of scientists who have stubbornly committed themselves to pure materialism and who are going to any length in their desperate efforts in order to rescue their unattainable 'Big-Bang' theory (aka cosmic evolution), which is part of their equally unattainable general theory of evolution, and how ironic it is those same scientists (Richard Dawkins, Lawrence Krauss et al.) who are constantly accusing us Biblical creationists by using the 'god of the gaps' in order to explain the origin and formation of the universe, have to come up with not one, not two, but even three 'gods of the gaps,' namely 'dark matter', 'dark energy' and 'time'. In their cosmic and stellar evolution theory, dark matter and dark energy are the heroes of the plot and in their general theory of evolution, time is the great magician who created life in all its diversity. A frog turning into a prince by a kiss from a princess is a well known fairy-tale, but - given enough time, according to the evolutionists that is - it really happened long ago and far away!
May God open their eyes one day and show them His absolute truth so that they too may see the theory of evolution for what it really is: a full-fledged religion, a blind faith at that, and not even that: it is a fairy-tale for grown-ups.

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