Monthly Archives: April 2013

Dark Grey Matter

Standard

In which the Scientific Establishment align themselves unwittingly with the Spanish Inquisition (and no-one expected that).

The search is on for dark matter. It’s a fascinating topic but (dum dum dum) is it doomed to failure? (Of course this is no reason not to look.)

The point is, Why should everything in the universe be accessible to human faculties? On the face of it this is ludicrously anthropocentric: Humankind has a Godlike gift of omniscience?

No, we don’t.

Our minds evolved to do a very specific and local job, and they do it well, but you’ve got your head in the clouds ūüôā if you think this necessarily implies we can figure out how everything works.

It’s well established, by Godel, that there are limits to what we can know in the field of pure mathematics, or, as I understand it, any axiomatic system. Why should it be any different when we look elsewhere? (A: Because it’s not an axiomatic system. Or is it?)

Godel’s limitations are limitations of the logic we can apply, but there there is also a more hands-on consideration: In a sense we’re fortunate (but that’s not the right word, it mixes up the cause and effect) we can deduce so much about the universe because some of its constituent parts emit electromagnetic radiation and we can work with that. But that’s only because we’ve evolved to work with it here on Earth. It’s the same stuff down-here and out-there so it’s bound to be accessible to some extent. Comprehending dark matter confers no¬†evolutionary¬†advantage so why should we be able to understand it? Looking at the Sun has blinded us.

The search for an understanding of dark matter is* anthropocentric, and directly analogous to the search for an epicyclic, geocentric model of the universe in the light of Galileo’s¬†observations¬†of the moons orbiting Jupiter (and not the Earth).

The Catholic Church in the early 17th century attempted to retain humankind at the centre of all things physical, similarly the Scientific Establishment of four centuries later is attempting to retain humankind at the centre of all things metaphysical.

A little humility please?

*possibly (but I had the wind in my sails, and didn’t want to qualify anything)