Is the Search for Dark Matter an Act of Faith? - Issue 77: Underworlds

http://m.nautil.us/issue/77/underworlds/is-the-search-for-dark-matter-an-act-of-faith

“My sense,” I say to Christopher, “is that the search for dark matter has produced an elaborate, delicate edifice of presuppositions, and a network of worship sites, also known as laboratories, all dedicated to the search for an invisible universal entity which refuses to reveal itself. It seems to resemble what we call religion rather more than what we call science.”

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That’s a fine bit of freshman dorm philosophizing, perhaps just after discovering pot. This one too, though of course Douglas Adams was there first:

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Some people really are desperate to find a way to legitimize faith. The sentiment seems to be: Yeah I know it’s irrational, but you do it too.

Sure. But I disagree with this friendly chap. I see far more legitimacy to faith than he.

Which friendly chap? The journalist or the scientist? And why?

If they were using faith then they would announce that dark matter is made of weakly interacting massive particles and be done with it. The very fact they are running experiments to try and detect WIMPs demonstrates a lack of faith.

I view these experiments more as explorations than tests. They decide which area they think is best to search in, and then run the experiments. At the same time, other scientists are coming up other explanation that could be tested, such as MOND.

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