Occam’s Razor and Dark Matter

New Scientist Space:

Astronomers realised in the 1970s that the gravity of visible matter alone was not enough to prevent the fast-moving stars and gas in spiral galaxies from flying out into space. They attributed the extra pull to a mysterious substance called dark matter, which is now thought to outweigh normal matter in the universe by 6 to 1.

But researchers still do not know what dark matter actually is, and some have come up with new theories of gravity to explain the galaxy observations. MOND, for example, holds that there are two forms of gravity.

[…]

Now, Joel Brownstein and John Moffat, researchers at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics and the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, say another modified gravity theory can account for both galaxies and galaxy clusters.

The theory, called scalar-tensor-vector gravity (STVG), adds quantum effects to Einstein’s theory of general relativity. As in other branches of physics, the theory says that quantum fluctuations can affect the force felt between interacting objects.

Dark matter never sat well with me, because it seemed like a straightforward application of Occam’s Razor should have ruled it out. Observations didn’t match our theories, so instead of adjusting the theories we invoked a new entity, an undetectable kind of matter that filled 75% of the universe. Um, yeah… that makes sense.

So, in my amateur opinion at least, this makes a heck of a lot more sense. It’s the simpler solution.

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