The Emperor’s New Universe
(I am experimenting with a shorter, punchier, more polemical style for some posts, like this one. Not to replace the longer, more sober posts, but as an extra. Tell me what you think in the comments.)
Using Dark Matter to solve all our problems in cosmology has become a dangerous addiction.
As our problems grow (because there is clearly a basic flaw underlying our entire paradigm), we have to throw more and more Dark Matter at those problems, to make them (temporarily) go away. As a result, Dark Matter now makes up 26.8% of the mass energy of the universe. (The precision of the .8 is nice, huh? Very reassuring.)
But Dark Matter isn’t enough to solve our problems (because the true problem lies deep, and unexamined, in the heart of the theory itself), and so of course Dark Matter leads to the even harder stuff, Dark Energy. And so Dark Energy now makes up two thirds of the mass-energy of the universe. Sorry, Dark Energy now makes up 68.3% of the mass-energy of the universe. Can’t forget the .3! Got to reassure the media, and the funding bodies, and – above all – ourselves, that we have measured that new invisible thing we just made up (that will solve all our problems) extremely precisely – just as precisely as the old invisible thing we made up (that somehow failed to solve all our problems).
So, ordinary matter is down to 4.9% of the universe. (Not 5%: four-point-nine. Deeply reassuring precision.) If we keep going at this rate, ordinary matter – all the ACTUAL STARS AND PLANETS AND GALAXIES AND GAS AND DUST WE CAN ACTUALLY SEE, AND THAT WE KNOW TO EXIST – will soon be a rounding error, and the scientists will be able to disregard it entirely, with a sigh of relief, and get to work on an entirely theoretical universe made of matter you can't see, acted on by forces you can't feel, with everything placed wherever you’d like it to be, because nobody can see it to contradict you.
Look! The Emperor’s New Universe! Isn’t it beautiful, children!
EDIT: I got some excellent feedback, and criticism, below in the comments. So if you don’t like this post, no problem – go read the comments, where there is a lively discussion of all that is wrong with it. And thank you again to everybody who took the time to give me feedback on this experiment! Extremely helpful.
The Egg And The Rock is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.