The “luminiferous aether” has morphed to “dark matter” but we still don’t know why an apple falls…

A new paper claims to have found evidence of dark matter near the sun.

“We are 99% confident that there is dark matter near the Sun,” says the lead author Silvia Garbari. In fact, if anything, the authors’ favoured dark matter density is a little high: they find more dark matter than expected at 90% confidence. There is a 10% chance that this is merely a statistical fluke, but if future data confirms this high value the implications are exciting as Silvia explains: “This could be the first evidence for a “disc” of dark matter in our Galaxy, as recently predicted by theory and numerical simulations of galaxy formation, or it could mean that the dark matter halo of our galaxy is squashed, boosting the local dark matter density.”

But I cannot help thinking that “dark matter” and “dark energy” are no different  conceptually to the theories of phlogiston and luminiferous aether . They are plausible artefacts created to explain observations but are not themselves observable. I am not particularly convinced when

ordinary matter accounts for only 4.6% of the mass-energy content of the observable universe, with the remainder being attributable to dark energy. From these figures, dark matter constitutes 83%, (23/(23+4.6)), of the matter in the universe, whereas ordinary matter makes up only 17%. (Wikipedia – Dark matter)

Why there should be interaction between masses at a distance is still a mystery. We can observe and describe and even predict such gravitic effects but we still do not know what causes gravity. We still do not know how distant bodies communicate their mass to each other and the idea of some form of medium connecting them whereby they can communicate to each other remains compelling.

Wikipedia – Aether theories:

In the 19th century, luminiferous aether (or ether), meaning light-bearing aether, was the term used to describe a medium for the propagation of light (electromagnetic radiation). However, a series of increasingly complex experiments had been carried out in the late 1800s like the Michelson-Morley experiment in an attempt to detect the motion of earth through the aether, and had failed to do so. ….. From the 16th until the late 19th century, gravitational phenomena had also been modeled utilizing an aether.

Albert Einstein’s  theory of relativity  replaced the aether when he proposed that spacetime is curved by matter, and that free-falling objects are moving along locally straight paths in curved spacetime. But even Einstein thought of his gravitational field as an aether:

Einstein sometimes used the word aether for the gravitational field within general relativity, but this terminology never gained widespread support.

We may say that according to the general theory of relativity space is endowed with physical qualities; in this sense, therefore, there exists an aether. According to the general theory of relativity space without aether is unthinkable; for in such space there not only would be no propagation of light, but also no possibility of existence for standards of space and time (measuring-rods and clocks), nor therefore any space-time intervals in the physical sense. But this aether may not be thought of as endowed with the quality characteristic of ponderable media, as consisting of parts which may be tracked through time. The idea of motion may not be applied to it.

A commenter at  Discover Magazine puts it rather nicely:

Juan Ramón González Álvarez Says:
June 19th, 2012 at 3:05 am

The common astrophysicists/astronomers’ claim that dark matter is the aether of the 21st century is rather accurate.

The aether was theoretically postulated to account for certain observations. It was never found in direct experiments. In fact, experimental results were in contradiction with aether predictions.

Dark matter was theoretically postulated to account for certain observations. It has been never found in despite of hundred of direct experiments made up to the date. There exists a broad range of experimental results and observations in disagreement with the dark matter model.

And we still don’t know why the apple falls to earth.

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One Response to “The “luminiferous aether” has morphed to “dark matter” but we still don’t know why an apple falls…”

  1. mpc755 Says:

    Aether has mass and physically occupies three dimensional space. Aether is physically displaced by matter.

    Displaced aether pushing back toward matter is gravity.

    Now we know why the apple falls.

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