Sunday, January 31, 2016

Inactive Black Holes and Dark Matter

I recently watched the PBS NOVA presentation of the science documentary called "Particle Fever."  The documentary is 99 minutes long, and PBS had a two hour time slot to fill, so they filled it with pieces of some "science cartoons."  They weren't jokey cartoons created to humorously illustrate scientific concepts, they were serious explanations scientists had given to media people on some occasion, and cartoonists had then illustrated those explanations via animation.  I was particularly fascinated by a "cartoon" from 2012 about "dark matter."  I ended up watching it twice, and the next day I did a search on YouTube to see if I could find it there.  I did.  It came from parts of the cartoon below.  (Other parts came from HERE and HERE):

I'd never before heard of "Dark Matter" described as "blobs of stuff."  Dark Matter has never been something I've been particularly fascinated with, so I probably just hadn't been paying serious attention.  I only recalled Dark Matter being described as something unknown, an unknown mass that was only detectable by the gravitational force it exerted on galaxies and elsewhere.  In the above cartoon, at about the 2 minute mark they talk about "strong lensing" and how "blobs" of dark matter will distort what we see if there is a "blob" of dark matter between us and some distant galaxy.

My jaw dropped open.  Somehow I'd never heard Dark Matter described that way before!  I realized it's the same thing that would happen if a black hole was located at that spot!  I could only conclude that, obviously there is some connection between black holes and dark matter!  They might even be the same thing! 

But, I also realized that it wasn't very likely that I would be the first to see that connection.  So, I did a Google search for the difference between black holes and dark matter.  I quickly found an article titled "No direct link between black holes and dark matter."  But it merely argues that scientists don't see any connection between the massive black hole at the center of a galaxy and the dark matter that seems to be embedded among the stars that form the galaxy itself.  That's an answer to a very different question!

Searching further via Google, I found an article titled "Surprising Link Found Between Dark Matter and Black Holes."  It says that there seems to be a relationship between the amount of dark matter scattered around in a galaxy and the size of the black hole at the center of the galaxy.  Another article titled "Dark Matter Guides Growth of Supermassive Black Holes" says the same thing.  That also wasn't what I was looking for.  It discussed questions I wasn't ready to ask.

On a less prestigious source, I found another article titled "Are Black Holes Made of Dark Matter?"  It concludes by arguing that the answer is "No."  But, the question for which I wanted to find the answer was just the reverse: "Is Dark Matter Made from Black Holes?"

Then I found an article titled "Is Dark Matter Made of Tiny Black Holes?"  Except for the word "tiny," it was very close to the question I wanted to ask.  The article contains this information:

The consensus right now is that dark matter consists of a new type of particle, one that interacts very weakly at best with all the known forces of the universe except gravity.  As such, dark matter is invisible and mostly intangible, with its presence only detectable via the gravitational pull it exerts.

However, despite research from thousands of scientists relying on the most powerful particle accelerators on Earth and laboratories buried deep underground, no one has yet detected or created any particles that might be dark matter. This led Kim Griest, an astrophysicist at the University of California, San Diego, and his colleagues to investigate black holes as potential dark matter candidates.

The consensus right now is that dark matter consists of a new type of particle, one that interacts very weakly at best with all the known forces of the universe except gravity. - See more at:
Ah!  That fitted very well with the description I gave on my Facebook group for what is at the center of a black hole.  I wrote that "singularities" were just a way of saying there was some unknown factor somewhere, it didn't mean there was actually a "singularity" at the center of a black hole.  And, to me, "portals" into another dimension were just "fictions" that some scientists use to describe what else might be at the center of Black Holes.  It's a mathematical model that cannot be proved or even confirmed.  The way I visualized Black Holes was that they had some kind of "super-dense" matter at their centers.  I wrote:
I imagine that the "super-dense" matter would have to be purified quarks and leptons or whatever smaller particles quarks and leptons might be made of.  It couldn't be atoms. Compressing atoms is what caused the chain reaction that created the black hole in the first place.
I began visualizing Dark Matter as being inactive Black Holes which have gobbled up everything in their vicinity and no longer have anything nearby to grab onto.  Since they aren't pulling in or pulling apart anything, they do not generate the tell-tale X-ray signatures of "active" Black Holes.  And they are too far away from any individual stars to show any noticeable affect on the orbits of individual stars.  Furthermore, they don't have to be "tiny."  They just have to be far enough away from any "food source" that would allow them to become "active."  They're like fish traps in a lake where all the fish have been caught and removed.  The traps still exist, but they're not doing anything.

I wondered if the term "inactive black hole" was something else that others had thought about before.  Sure enough, a Google search found that they had, although "dormant black hole" might be a more common term.  I didn't like the word "dormant," since it implied an habitual routine.  And the articles were far from what I was looking for.  They seem to talk mostly about black holes at the center of galaxies which no longer seem to be spraying out X-rays -- or which no longer spray X-Rays in our direction. 

The way I was seeing things, if one looks at this information logically, the whole idea of dormant or inactive black holes should put an end to all talk of "singularities" and "portals" to other dimensions.  If a black hole were a "singularity" or a "portal," it should disappear when it runs out of fuel and becomes inactive.  Why would the "singularity" exist, and what would keep the "portal" open, if nothing was falling into it or going through it?  Besides, how can there be tiny and super-massive "singularities"?  Anything that is "infinitely small" is just one size: "infinitely small."  There can't be a BIG infinitely small.

And an inactive portal to other dimensions makes no sense, either.  Apparently, the only reason they come up with the idea of a "portal" to another dimension was to explain how all those stars and other material can plunge into a black hole like it was a bottomless pit.  Their answer: it has to come out somewhere else -- in another universe.  But, if it comes out somewhere else, how can the black hole get larger and larger?

It seems to me that the only logical way you can have black holes that come in various sizes, while also having the capability to get larger AND to merge with other black holes, is if everything that falls into a black hole is stripped of all of its electromagnetic properties (i.e., positive and negative charges) so that the remaining particles are electromagnetically neutral and can be stacked together like a pile of bricks - or compressed into a solid ball of inert particles (or maybe Higgs bosons).  It would just be a (temporarily?) stable gravitational mass.  
Mathematicians would probably hate that idea.  "Singularities" and "portals" can be converted into mathematics, but they evidently can't mathematically create a stable gravitational mass of the size needed to form a black hole.  And it seems that mathematicians are leading the search to explain what is at the center of a black hole.  Which reminds me of something Albert Einstein once said:

Since the mathematicians have invaded the theory of relativity, I do not understand it myself anymore.
I see two unanswered, interconnected questions: (1) What is at the center of a Black Hole? and (2) What is dark matter?   Those question may need to be answered logically before the answers can be confirmed mathematically.  

Logically, it seems to me that Dark Matter is very likely just inactive Black Holes.  And the centers of all black holes consist of neutral particles (with mass) that can be stacked together (and/or compressed) without any nuclear fusion taking place. (The cartoon says that at one time people thought Dark Matter might just be a collection of neutrinos.  But they decided neutrinos don't have enough mass to account for what was known about Dark Matter.  So, the centers of black holes must also consist of something with more mass.)

Once you form an image of inactive black holes, you can then start visualizing them being slowly drawn together by their massive gravitational force to form larger and larger black holes. 
It seems that, instead of using the Large Hadron Collider to break things apart, the focus should be on how neutral particles can be created and compressed together without causing nuclear fusion.

But, I'm not a scientist.  I'm just a guy who is fascinated by science. 

Friday, January 15, 2016

Analyzing the "Rational Scientific Method"

Having argued with Rational Scientific Methodists ("RSMists") on Facebook for about six months, and having been thrown out of several of their Facebook groups for asking questions they don't like, it seems to be time to write an analysis of what I learned about RSMism.

First of all, RSMism is not "rational," it is not "scientific," and it's not even a "method."  What they seem to believe to be "rational" is actually something they RATIONALIZED, i.e., it is something they twisted and distorted to make it fit their beliefs.

Secondly, there is absolutely nothing "scientific" about their actions or their beliefs.  They seem to be thoroughly ANTI-SCIENCE.  They believe the great scientists like Einstein, Bohr, Oppenheimer and Feynman are "idiots."  RSMist beliefs have almost nothing to do with science.  It is really all about SEMANTICS.  They have created some bizarre word definitions which are at the core of their belief system.  They seem to believe that their WORD DEFINITIONS control the universe.  Anything that conflicts with their word definitions is deemed "impossible."  Any attempt to discuss science with them turns immediately into an argument over word definitions, and only their definitions are considered valid.  Until you accept their definitions as the only valid definitions, you are not even worth talking with.

Lastly, here's what one of the originators of RSMism, Monk E. Mind, provides as his description of their "method":
The Rational Scientific Method is how intelligent beings can objectively and rationally explain phenomena and arrive at rational conclusions about reality. Using this method is how we can achieve an understanding of the world around us.
But, first you have to accept their word definitions as unambiguous gospel.  If you don't, the method turns into nothing but endless arguments over word definitions.  Here are the definitions of some key RSMist words:

        Universe: matter (atoms) and space (nothing)
        Concept: the relationship between two or more objects
        Object: that which has shape
        Space: that which does not have shape
        Exist: matter + location
        Location: the set of static distances from one to all other objects
        Motion: Object + 2 or more locations

Their philosophy says that everything must be either an object or a concept.  RSMists also have a pathological aversion to ambiguity, so those definitions must apply universally.  There can be no 
alternative or secondary definitions.

It wasn't long after I began arguing with them that I concluded that their name should really be "Rationalized Semantic Methodists," since they just argue about word definitions while acting like members of a high school clique who not only claim to be superior to all others, but who also verbally attack anyone who does not believe what they believe.

Since it seems clear that they are also anti-authority, I asked one of them if he also believed in a number of conspiracy theories.  He believed in some (9/11, JFK, MLK, Sandy Hook) but not in others (the moon landing "hoax" and the theory that the International Space Station doesn't exist).  I was going to ask others if they also believed in various conspiracy theories, but they don't like any definition of the term "conspiracy theorist," so I was never able to get a discussion going on that topic.

 They do not believe in evidence.  They declare so emphatically.  Evidence can be ambiguous, and anything that can be ambiguous is something they don't want to have anything to do with.  That is why they created their supposedly "unambiguous" word definitions.

But, it's very clear that it is all just a cover for the fact that they do not understand science, and they cannot accept that others understand science, since the experts themselves state that they do not understand it!  RSMists seem to believe that anyone who admits to not understanding something is a total idiot.  Albert Einstein admitted there were many things about the universe that he did not understand, so, in the eyes of RSMists, that makes Einstein an idiot.  If everyone would just use their word definitions, there would never be anything that you do not understand.  Here are some of their arguments:    

A hole does not "exist," i.e., it does not consist of matter at a location, therefore Black Holes are impossible. They cannot exist.  So, there's nothing about them to not understand.

The Big Bang never happened, since the universe consists of atoms and space, and you cannot create something out of nothing.  So, there's nothing about Black Holes to not understand.

Gravitation and quantum mechanics are theories that cannot be reconciled, so they are just temporary theories that might be invalidated tomorrow.  So, there's nothing about them worth knowing.  

Aging and decay are not physical objects, therefore they must be only concepts, i.e., they are just in the mind of the observer.  So, there's nothing about them worth knowing.

What all this means is that there is no way to have an intelligent conversation with an RSMist.  RSMists believe that their word definitions supply all that anyone needs to know about the universe.  They believe that discussing their word definitions IS real science, and what scientists do is nonsense.

What they are really doing, of course, is mental masturbation.  Here are some definitions of "mental masturbation":
1. In academics it is the practice of using faulty premises to draw a conclusion.

2. The pretense of superior knowledge or intelligence by claiming conjecture, theory, feeling or opinion as fact.

3. Intellectual activity that serves no practical purpose.  

4. The act of engaging in intelligent and interesting conversation purely for the enjoyment of your own greatness and individuality.

5. The act of engaging in useless yet intellectually stimulating conversation, usually as an excuse to avoid taking constructive action in your life.

6. Overly intensive self gratifying procrastination, thought and contemplation for a subject not necessarily warranting such effort.  

It's a shame that RSMists will just change the subject or run away when confronted with questions they do not like.  For example, if the universe consists of only atoms + space, what is light?  Is light an object or a concept?  What is heat?  Why can we see through glass but not through steel?  What is sound?  Do electrons exist?  I'd still really like to have them answer those questions.