February 2, 2016 | David F. Coppedge

Occult Cosmology Mutters Dark Matters

New instruments and projects will seek to find influences that no scientist understands.

Humility before the dark forces: Even the wizards are in dread and awe of dark occult phenomena. Thomas Kitching, lecturer in astrophysics, intones on The Conversation:

We live in interesting times. For thousands of years, we have thought we knew what the universe – and everything in it – was made of: normal matter, the kind that make up the elements of the periodic table.

However, the discovery in the 1990s of a completely unknown force dubbed dark energy that makes up 70% of the cosmos – causing it to expand at an accelerated rate – has taught us to be humble. Since then, astronomers have begun investing billions of pounds in experiments which aim to find out what this mysterious phenomenon is. What they discover is guaranteed to change physics forever.

Put similar words in the mouth of a witch doctor, and the comparison is apt. Kitching goes on to describe scientific tests of dark energy and some proposals for what it might be. In the end, though, he confesses, “all of these explanations may be wrong, dark energy could be something even stranger.” Just keep those billions of pounds [or dollars] flowing.

Calling up the dark matter: An article on Science Daily discusses the next 25% of mysterious unknown stuff [MUST] that shineth not. But lo! The wizards with their crystals might see the light. “Bright sparks shed new light on the dark matter riddle,” the headline reads: “Highest sensitivity detector ever used for very light dark matter elementary particles.” The CaWO4 crystal may shed light on the “unsolved riddle” of matters we know not of.

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In the philosophy of science, an “occult force” does not have to conjure up visions of witches or magic. It can refer to any unknown entity that appears to cause an observable effect. Gravity has been called such. Alexander Rosenberg, in Philosophy of Science: A Contemporary Introduction, page 85, he says: “Gravity thus seems an ‘occult force,’ whose operation is no less mysterious than those which non-scientific explanations like astrological horoscopes invoke to allay our curiosity. And the same may be said of other such unobservable notions.”

For a limited time, scientists can appeal to unobservable phenomena as placeholders for ignorance in part of a larger theory that they feel has merit. This has led to other important historical discoveries, like oxygen and epigenetics. Think of the aurora borealis, or northern lights.  Early humans watching the amazing light show were certainly baffled by its cause. It took years of research into magnetic fields and the solar wind to understand what is going on.

But if the appeal to occult phenomena goes on indefinitely, and never finds empirical support, it becomes, like Rosenberg says, no better than astrology. It’s not science, even if scientists are working on the problem with scientific instruments, until it comes out of the darkness.

It shouldn’t take as long as it used to. Methods, basic science, and instrumentation have progressed fantastically since the aurora was figured out. These days, to attribute 95% of reality to mysterious unknown stuff should rightly humble our science wizards. Cosmologists have been using the empty labels “dark matter” and “dark energy” for many years now. The most sensitive detectors have failed to turn up anything. How much time do they get? How much money should they be allowed to spend?

At some point very soon, they should put up or shut up and get their own money. Better yet, they should think outside the box and question the assumptions of any theory that requires ridiculously copious amounts of occult phenomena. It’s slavish devotion to the big bang that accounts for much of the current occult belief.

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