Because the writer isn’t a politician, preacher, or other public figure, we won’t embarrass or promote him by using his full name. His first name is William. Excerpts from his letter will be enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary and some bold font for emphasis. Here we go!
Yesterday, I learned we’re being bombarded by “dark matter” called Weakly Interactive Massive Particles or “WIMPS.”
He learned that yesterday? Wikipedia informs us:
Dark matter is an unidentified type of matter distinct from dark energy, baryonic matter (ordinary matter), and neutrinos whose existence would explain a number of otherwise puzzling astronomical observations. The name refers to the fact that it does not emit or interact with electromagnetic radiation, such as light, and is thus invisible to the entire electromagnetic spectrum. Although dark matter has not been directly observed, its existence and properties are inferred from its gravitational effects such as the motions of visible matter, gravitational lensing, its influence on the universe’s large-scale structure, on galaxies, and its effects in the cosmic microwave background. … The most widely accepted hypothesis on the form for dark matter is that it is composed of weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPs) that interact only through gravity and the weak force. … Many experiments to detect proposed dark matter particles through non-gravitational means are under way; however, no dark matter particle has been conclusively identified.
That’s enough background. Let’s return to William’s letter. Having learned about dark matter only yesterday, his insights should be interesting. He says:
In a recent article, science editor Charles Choi said we can’t really PROVE this matter — which “makes up 5/6th of the universe” — exists, “since it’s silent, invisible and intangible.” He continued, “Billions of these particles rush through us every second” and added, “Roughly 35 impacts between dark matter particles and atoms (in our bodies) should happen annually.”
We can’t find the article to which William is referring, but he got that wrong. Dark matter isn’t 5/6 of the universe. Rather, it’s believed to be roughly that fraction of the mass in the universe. Wikipedia says:
The standard model of cosmology indicates that the total mass–energy of the universe contains 4.9% ordinary matter, 26.8% dark matter and 68.3% dark energy. [“Dark energy” is proposed as the cause of the accelerated expansion of the universe.] Thus, dark matter constitutes 84.5% of total mass [roughly William’s 5/6 figure], while dark energy plus dark matter constitute 95.1% of total mass–energy content.
After that, William tells us:
With billions passing through us every second, resulting in only 35 impacts on “human atoms” per year, one must assume these little fellows are lousy shots, we consist of mostly non-human atoms, or Choi needs to brush up on his research.
[*Groan*] Compared to the presumed size of dark matter particles, humans are mostly empty space, so collisions would inevitably be rare. William continues:
But then, this student of scientific methodology is also Christian, so what would I know?
Good question. Let’s read on:
If Christians believe in intangible things whose influence can only be felt, we are called superstitious fools.
You know where William is going with this. His conclusion is in his final paragraph:
Yet, considering “the Big Bang,” wherein the entire universe supposedly once fit in a space the size of the head of a pin — in a gulf of nothingness, because nothing had been created — and in WIMPS, it seems scientists are guilty of creating their own religion — fraught with even more intangibles, fanciful notions, and beliefs that can’t be proven. Knowledge with wisdom is a dangerous thing.
We’re not sure what William is trying to say with his final sentence, but we think that having neither knowledge nor wisdom is even more dangerous.
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