Galaxy Evolution Problem: A Case Study in Criticizing Paradigms

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Posted on June 14, 2014 in Astronomy, Cosmology, Philosophy of Science, Physics

When you have a clear contradiction like this, you ought to focus on it,” say scientists who found problems with the leading theory of galaxy evolution.

The leading theory for the evolution of galaxies is wrong, scientists at Rochester Institute of Technology and Case Western Reserve University are saying.  Whether or not their alternative involving collisions is superior, they are using their experience as a platform to discuss bigger issues in the philosophy of science.

Dwarf galaxies that orbit the Milky Way and the Andromeda galaxies defy the accepted model of galaxy formation, and recent attempts to wedge them into the model are flawed, reports an international team of astrophysicists.

The study pokes holes in the current understanding of galaxy formation and questions the accepted model of the origin and evolution of the universe. According to the standard paradigm, 23 percent of the mass of the universe is shaped by invisible particles known as dark matter.

The astronomers noticed that dwarf galaxies surrounding the Milky Way and Andromeda spirals tend to inhabit orbital planes around their parent galaxies, instead of being located in clumps at random orientations, as predicted by theory.  Three recent papers trying to explain away those observations are flawed, the team of 14 astronomers from 6 countries concluded.  The astronomers used this disconnect between paradigm and observations to preach a sermonette on the need to question established beliefs:

The standard cosmological model is the frame of reference for many generations of scientists, some of whom are beginning to question its ability to accurately reproduce what is observed in the nearby universe. Merritt counts himself among the small and growing group that is questioning the accepted paradigm.…

Scientific progress embraces challenges to upheld theories and models for a reason, Merritt notes.

When you have a clear contradiction like this, you ought to focus on it,” Merritt said. “This is how progress in science is made.

Merritt’s team offered an alternative “tidal” model involving interactions with a galaxy cluster, but the moral of the story about questioning accepted paradigms does not necessarily require offering an alternative at all.  Sometimes making a U-turn on a wrong road can be considered progress even before a better road is chosen.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could get Darwinists to follow this rule?  How many “clear contradictions” to Darwinian theory have we uncovered in the past 14 years, most of them from secular scientists themselves?  Do they ever “focus” on them?  Rarely.  The “standard model” of neo-Darwinism is the “frame of reference for many generations of scientists,” too, but when anyone starts “beginning to question its ability to accurately reproduce what is observed,” they get shouted down, ridiculed and expelled.  Darwinism needs a “small and growing group that is questioning the accepted paradigm.… This is how progress in science is made.”

 

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