A common objection to MOND is that it does not entirely reconcile the mass discrepancy in clusters of galaxies. This can be seen as an offset in the acceleration scale between individual galaxies and clusters. This is widely seen as definitive proof of dark matter, but this is just defaulting to our confirmation bias without checking if it is really any better: just because MOND does something wrong doesn’t automatically mean that LCDM does it right.

The characteristic acceleration (in units of Milgrom’s constant a0) of extragalactic objects as a function of their baryonic mass, ranging from tiny dwarf galaxies to giant clusters of galaxies. Clusters are offset from individual galaxies, implying a residual missing mass problem for MOND. From Famaey & McGaugh (2012).

I do see clusters as a problem for MOND, and there are some aspects of clusters that make good sense in LCDM. Unlike galaxies, cluster mass profiles are generally consistent with the predicted NFW halos (modulo their own core problem). That’s not a contradiction to MOND, which should do the same thing as Newton in the Newtonian regime. But rich clusters also have baryon fractions close to that expected from cosmology. From that perspective, it looks pretty reasonable. This success does not extend to lower mass clusters; in the plot above, the low mass green triangles should be higher than the higher mass gray triangles in order for all clusters to have the cosmic baryon fraction. They should not parallel the prediction of MOND. Within individual clusters, baryons are not as well mixed with dark matter as expected: they tend to have too much unseen mass at small radius, which is basically the same problem encountered by MOND.

There are other tests, one of which is the growth of clusters. Structure is predicted to form hierarchically in LCDM: small objects form first, and pile on to make bigger ones, with the largest clusters being the last to form. So there is a test in how massive a cluster can get as a function of redshift. This is something for which LCDM makes a clear prediction. In MOND, my expectation is that structure forms faster so that massive objects are in place at higher redshift than expected in LCDM. This post is mostly about clusters in LCDM, so henceforth all masses will be conventional masses, including the putative dark matter.

Like so many things, there is a long history to this. For example, in the late ’90s, Megan Donahue reported a high temperature of ~ 12 keV for the intracluster gas in the cluster MS1054-0321. This meant that it was massive for its redshift: 7.4 x 1014 h-1 M (dark matter and all) at z = 0.829, when the universe was only about half its current age. (Little h is the Hubble constant in units of 100 km/s/Mpc. Since we’re now pretty sure h < 1, the true mass is higher, more like 1015 M.) That’s a lot of solar masses to assemble in the available time. In 1997, this was another nail in the coffin of SCDM, which was already a zombie theory by then. But the loss of Ωm = 1 was still raw for some people, I guess, because she got a lot of grief for it. Can’t be true! Clusters don’t get that big that early! At least they shouldn’t. In SCDM.

Structure formation in SCDM was elegant in that in continues perpetually: as the universe expands, bigger and bigger structures continue to form; statistically, later epochs look like scaled-up versions of earlier epochs. In LCDM, this symmetry is broken by the decline in density as the universe expands. Consequently, structure forms earlier in LCDM: the action has to happen when there is still some density to work with, and the accelerated expansion provides some extra time (what’s a few billion years among cosmologists?) for mass to get together. Consequently, MS1054-0321 is not problematic in LCDM.

The attitude persisted, however. In the mid-’00s, Jim Schombert and I started using the wide field near-IR camera NEWFIRM to study high redshift clusters. Jim had a clever way of identifying them, which turned out not to be particularly hard, e.g., MS 1426.9+1052 at z = 1.83. This is about 10 Gyr ago, and made the theorists squirm. That didn’t leave enough time for a cluster to form. On multiple occasions I had the following conversation with different theorists:

me: Hey, look at this clusters at z = 1.8.

theorist: That isn’t a cluster.

me: Sure it is. There’s the central galaxy, which contains a bright radio source (QSO). You can see lots of other galaxies around it. That’s what a cluster looks like.

theorist: Must be a chance projection.

me: There are spectra for many of the surrounding galaxies; they’re all at the same redshift.

theorist: …

me: So… a cluster at z = 1.8. Pretty cool, huh?

theorist: That isn’t a cluster.

This work became part of Jay Frank’s thesis. He found evidence for more structure at even higher redshift. A lot of this apparent clustering probably is not real… the statistics get worse as you push farther out: fewer galaxies, worse data. But there were still a surprising number of objects in apparent association up to and beyond z > 5. That’s pretty much all of time, leaving a mere Gyr to go from the completely homogeneous universe that we see in the CMB at z = 1090 to the first stars around z ~ 20 to the first galaxies to big galaxies to protoclusters – or whatever we want to call these associations of many galaxies in the same place on the sky at the same redshift.

Jay did a lot of work to estimate the rate of false positives. Long story short, we expect about 1/3 of the protoclusters he identified to be real structures. That’s both bad and good – lots of chaff, but some wheat too. One thing Jay did was to analyze the Millennium simulation in the same way as the data. This allows us to quantify what we would see if the universe looked like an LCDM simulation.

The plot below shows the characteristic brightness of galaxies at various redshifts. For the pros, this is the knee in the Schechter function fit to the luminosity distribution of galaxies in redshift bins. We saw the same thing in protoclusters and in the field: galaxies were brighter than anticipated in the simulation. Between redshifts 3 < z < 4, the characteristic magnitude is expected to be 23. That’s pretty faint. In the data, it’s more like 21. That’s also faint, but about a factor of 6 brighter than they should be. That’s a lot of stars that have formed before they’re supposed to, in galaxies that are bigger than they should yet be, with some of them already clustering together ahead of their time.

The characteristic magnitude of galaxies in the Spitzer 4.5 micron band as a function of redshift in the Millennium simulation (black squares) and in reality (circles). This is a classic backwards astronomical plot in which larger magnitudes are fainter sources. At high redshift, simulations predict that galaxies should not yet have grown to become as bright as they are observed to be. From Franck (2017).

This has been the observer’s experience. Donahue wasn’t the first, and Franck won’t be the last. Every time we look, we see more structure in place sooner than had been expected before it was seen. I don’t hear people complaining about our clusters at z = 1.8 anymore; those have been seen enough to become normalized. Perhaps they have even been explained satisfactorily. But they sure weren’t expected, much less predicted.

So, just how big can a cluster get? Mortonson et al. (2011) set out to answer this question. The graph below shows the upper limit they predict for the most massive cluster in the universe as a function of redshift. This declines as redshift increases because we’re looking back in time; high redshift clusters haven’t had time time to assemble more mass than the upper most line. They project this into what would be discovered in an all-sky survey, and more realistic surveys of finite size. Basically nothing should exist above these lines.

The predicted maximum mass of galaxy clusters as a function of redshift from Mortonson et al. (2011). Each line is the predicted upper limit for the corresponding amount of sky surveyed. The green line illustrates the area of the sky in which El Gordo was discovered. The points show independent mass estimates for El Gordo from Menanteau et al. (2012) and Jee et al. (2014). These are significantly above the predicted upper limit.

Their prediction was almost immediately put to the test by the discovery of El Gordo, a big fat cluster at z = 0.87 reported by Menanteau et al. (2012), who published the X-ray image above. It is currently the record holder for the most massive known object that is thought to be gravitationally bound, weighing in at 2 or 3 x 1015 M, depending on who you ask. That’s about a thousand Milky Ways, plus a few hundred Andromedas. Give or take.

El Gordo straddles the uppermost line in the graph above. A naive reading of the first mass estimate suggests that it’s roughly a 50/50 proposition whether the entire observable universe should contain exactly one El Gordo. However, El Gordo was discovered in something less than a full sky survey. The appropriate comparison is to the green line, which El Gordo clearly exceeds – by about 3 sigma. This is the case for both of the illustrated mass estimates as the high mass point has a larger error bar. They both exceed the green line by a hair less than 3 sigma. Formally, this means that the chance of finding El Gordo in our universe is only a few percent.

A few percent is not good. Neither is it terrible – I’ve often commented here on how the uncertainties are larger than they seem. This is especially true of the tails of the distribution. So maybe a few percent is pessimistic; sometimes that’s how the dice roll. On the other hand, the odds aren’t better than 10%: El Gordo is not likely to exist however we slice the uncertainties. Whether we should be worried about it is just a matter of how surprising it is. A similar situation arises with the collision velocity of the Bullet cluster, which is either absurdly unlikely (about 1 chance in 10 billion) or merely unusual (maybe 1 in 10). So I made the above plot by adding El Gordo to the predictions of Mortonson et al., and filed it away under

Recently, Elena Asencio, Indranil Banik, and Pavel Kroupa have made a more thorough study. They have their own blog post, so I won’t repeat the technical description. Basically, they sift through a really big LCDM simulation to find objects that could be (or become) like El Gordo.

The short answer is that it doesn’t happen, similar to big voids. They estimate that the odds of El Gordo existing are a bit less than one in a billion. I’m sure one can quibble with details, but we’re not going to save LCDM with factors of two in a probability that starts this low. El Gordo just shouldn’t exist.

The probability is lower than in the graph above because it isn’t just a matter of mass. It is also the mass ratio of the merging clumps (both huge clusters in their own right), their collision speed, impact parameter, and morphology. As they are aware, one must be careful not to demand a perfect match, since there is only one reality. But neither is it just a matter of assembling mass; that understates the severity of the problem. This is where simulations are genuinely helpful: one can ask how often does this happen? If the answer is never, one can refine the query to be more lenient. The bottom line here is that you can’t be lenient enough to get something like El Gordo.

Here is their money plot. To be like El Gordo, an object would have to be up on the red line. That’s well above 5 sigma, which is the threshold where we traditionally stop quibbling about percentiles and just say Nope. Not an accident.

Logarithmic mass as a function of expansion factor [how big the universe is. This is inversely related to redshift: a = 1/(1+z)]. The color scale gives the number density of objects of a given mass as a function of how far the universe has expanded. The solid lines show the corresponding odds (in sigma) of finding such a thing in a large LCDM simulation. Figure from Asencio et al (2020).

In principle, this one object falsifies the LCDM structure formation paradigm. We are reluctant to put too much emphasis on a single object (unless it is the bullet cluster and we have clickbait to sell) as its a big universe, so there can always be one unicorn or magnetic monopole somewhere. Ascencio et al note that a similar constraint follows for the Bullet cluster itself, which also should not exist, albeit at a lower significance. That’s two unicorns: we can’t pretend that this is a one-off occurrence. The joint probability of living in a universe with both El Gordo and the Bullet cluster is even lower than either alone.

Looking at Ascencio’s figure, it strikes me as odd not only that we find huge things at high redshift, but also that we don’t see still bigger objects at low redshift. There were already these huge clusters ramming into each other when the universe had only expanded to half its present size. This process should continue to build still bigger clusters, as indicated by the lines in the plot. The sweet spot for finding really massive clusters should be about z = 0.5, by which time they could have reached a mass of nearly 1016 M as readily (or not!) as El Gordo could reach its mass by its observed redshift. (The lines turn down for the largest expansion factors/lowest redshifts because surveys cover a fixed area on the sky, which is a conical volume in 3D. We reside at the point of the cone, and need to see a ways out before a volume large enough to contain a giant cluster has been covered.)

I have never heard a report of a cluster anywhere near to 1016 M. A big cluster is 1015 M. While multiple examples of clusters this big are known, to the best of my knowledge, El Gordo is the record holding Fat One at twice or thrice that. The nearest challenger I can readily find is RX J1347.5-1145 at z=0.451 (close to the survey sweet spot) weighing in at 2 x 1015 M. Clusters just don’t seem to get bigger than that. This mass is OK at low redshift, but at higher z we shouldn’t see things as big as El Gordo. Given that we do see them at z = 0.87 (a = 0.535), why don’t we see still bigger ones at lower redshift? Perhaps structure formation saturates, but that’s not what LCDM predicts. If we can somehow explain El Gordo at high z, we are implicitly predicting still bigger clusters at lower redshift – objects we have yet to discover, if they exist, which they shouldn’t.

Which is the point.

The image featured at top is an X-ray image of the hot gas in the intracluster medium of El Gordo from NASA/CXC/Rutgers/J. Hughes et al.

54 thoughts on “The Fat One – a test of structure formation with the most massive cluster of galaxies

  1. Dear Stacy,
    Thank you for this very nice post on the El Gordo cluster and for mentioning our work (Asencio et al. 2021). Regarding the last point you make about not observing bigger objects than El Gordo at lower redshifts, this should be explained by the fact that our local Universe is immersed in an underdensity bubble of ≈300 Mpc radius, as observed by Keenan et al. 2013. As it happens with El Gordo, such large density voids can’t be explained with a LCDM cosmology (see Haslbauer et al. 2020), but would arise naturally in a (vHDM) MOND cosmology. In our paper we also mentioned that this model is capable of predicting the existence of El Gordo-like objects at z ≈ 1.


    1. Thanks to Stacy McGaugh for this excellent article. Me and Elena gave a lecture describing the work and how it might be explained in a MOND cosmological model, discussed further in Haslbauer+ 2020 (MNRAS, 499, 2845):


  2. Stacy,
    Does the intercluster gas temperature vary at all with galaxy cluster size? and how does those temperatures compare with the gas temperature in the non-visible x-region in the immediate outer regions of galaxies of various sizes? In particular how does gas temperature decline in outer regions of galaxies compared to the outer regions of clusters.


  3. Not a criticism of the work described, just a general comment. When statements such as “rules out ΛCDM” are made, it needs to be clear what is meant by ΛCDM, especially if the people now claiming it is ruled out have previously criticized it because it can “fit anything because it has so many adjustable parameters”.

    One can’t have it both ways. If it can fit anything, then it can’t be ruled out. If it can, then one has ruled out a specific variant.

    It is ironic that some who have said that ΛCDM is not scientific because it has adjustable parameters and thus can, in principle, not be falsified are now claiming that it has been falsified.


    1. Both these are true. LCDM makes predictions that have been falsified. LCDM has enough free parameters to fit anything. That’s because different people use this same word to mean different things.

      Of course one has to agree what LCDM predicts before you can test it. In my long experience with this, there is no widely agreed definition beyond “some dark matter and some dark energy.” Some people, including myself, have attempted to make specific, testable predictions. I’ve highlighted Mortonson et al here, because they were trying to do the right thing and made a prediction that is testable. The simulation Asencio et al analyzed also makes a [different] prediction. These predictions are specific to these works, and are not necessarily accepted as definitive. That’s when people start invoking new degrees of freedom.

      I have witnessed, on many occasions, seemingly hard, irrevocable predictions thrown under the bus whenever necessary. An early example was cuspy halo profiles – when I pressed people for irrevocable predictions in the previous century, that was one that absolutely had to be true. It isn’t. But does anyone take that seriously as a test now? No, they’ve invoked feedback as an intermediary deus ex mechina to translate from the true, pristine prediction of CDM into whatever observations require. I’ve seen this happen over an over and over and over and it is not science.

      It is the louder advocates of LCDM who routinely want to have it both ways. They succeed through the imprecision of their words. They all agree LCDM is correct, but if you press them, you discover than none of them really mean the same thing by it beyond the most rudimentary elements.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. If ΛCDM is a paradigm rather than a specific model then, of course, it can be changed in the face of new observations. Ignoring observations is not necessarily a bad thing, and theories of everything which claim to predict everything from pure logic have not fared well. On the other hand, a theory which can literally explain everything after the fact is not very convincing (but is not logically ruled out).

        Merritt (whose initials, ironically, are DM) is certainly guilty of wanting to have it both ways, so it is not just some in the ΛCDM crowd who are guilty of that.

        But inexcusable is ruling out some particular parameter combination, but not others which are otherwise allowed, then claiming that the whole paradigm has been disproved. That reminds me of creationists who harp on some minor debate, which they don’t even understand, in evolutionary biology, then claim not only that it disproves Darwinian evolution, but also that it proves that the Bible is literally true.


        1. I’m sorry, but I’m having real difficulty remaining patient with your line of argument. For over a quarter century, I have been asking my colleagues what would falsify the existence of CDM (never mind the Lambda). I almost never get a straight answer. On the rare occasions when I did, that item has subsequently been falsified, to the consternation of no one. They simply move the goalposts and gaslight themselves into believing that’s how it was all along. This has been going on for so long that entire generations of scientists have come to think of this as how science is supposed to work, since it is all they’ve ever known.


          1. As I’ve said, I’ve never worked on MOND nor on ΛCDM, so haven’t taken part in such debates. I’m sure that your experience has been different. I’ve never had to define ΛCDM as anything more than Λ and CDM. But even if ΛCDM is ruled out, that doesn’t rule out the Big Bang, or GR, or whatever, as some hyperbole would claim. If one admits that ΛCDM is not a theory of everything which makes predictions of all possible observations from first principles, then one shouldn’t claim that some observation rules out ΛCDM, but rather some specific variant of it.

            Certainly there is also cosmology which is independent of ΛCDM in the structure-formation sense, about which MOND (at least now) says nothing.

            There is an asymmetry, of course, and not just regarding the numbers of people in each camp. I’ve actually met young people at conferences who were interested in MOND, maybe even interpreted some of their own data in that context or at least explored the possibilities, but got disenchanted by the over-the-top rhetoric. Most of them just forget about MOND, whereas I at least try to keep a balanced outlook and drum up support for it where and when I can—-which is why I am so bothered by the exaggerated claims.
            That asymmetry also means that few ΛCDM people are concerned with MOND at all, much less go out of their way to criticize it. That might not be correct, but it is the way it is, so at least the perception from outsiders is that some MOND supporters are, shall we say, too enthusiastic. That might not be representative, but the loudest get heard.

            I really can‘t see how one can read Merritt’s book or article and say with a straight face that it is some sort of objective assessment. As I hope I have shown in my rebuttal, he gets many facts about the history of cosmology simply wrong. The enemy of one’s enemy shouldn’t necessarily be one’s friend, so when he is praised, or at least not criticized, despite such howlers as saying that dark energy was invented to explain the supernova data or, worse, that the cosmological constant—-which has been around since literally the first paper on relativistic cosmology, over a century ago—-has an equation of state (p=-&rhö;) which was specifically chosen to fit the observations (which is wrong in several ways), then it’s not hard to understand why people get the (and let me repeat, wrong) impression that there can be nothing to MOND.

            If I were a cynic, I would ask why MOND isn’t more popular since it does a good job in so many areas.



            1. Referring to this quote “If I were a cynic, I would ask why MOND isn’t more popular since it does a good job in so many areas.”
              I would say this is a systemic problem – young students, when looking for a field to study, typically come with some basic knowledge and expectations acquired on their own, mostly from science communicators (let’s say they have a general idea about the field they would like to study). But if MoND doesn’t get exposure, they don’t know about MoND and hence, they will not choose it as their carrier path. They’ll choose the prevailing model and they will produce work related to the prevailing model. And so you’ll get more exposure to the prevailing model, closing the loop.
              For instance, Phil Plait, a known science communicator, while he would talk on occasions about alternatives to LCDM, typically asserts in his posts that we Know that dark matter exists (implying that it is just of matter of when, not if, we discover its makeup) when, in reality, we just assumed it exists some time ago and then we forgot that we assumed it.
              Like you said, generally, the most vocal group is the more visible, and when MoND gets bashed in a very vocal way by Ethan Siegel, how it is supposed for an aspiring mind to seek an involvement in a field which seems a dead-end?
              If I was to look for some venues which openly and civilly discuss problems / alternatives of all competing models (not just LCDM vs MoND) that have a large outreach to the general public, I would say that I can’t find any.
              While excellent, dr. McGaugh’s work here on Tritonstation is not generally visible to the general public and to the aspiring young scientists.


              1. Ufff – too bad I cannot edit the post – it’s not the first time when I said carrier instead of career – and when I notice it, I find it so distracting…


        2. I have an objection to your general argument: yes, in order to be precise one has to clearly define the LCDM model, and only then you can judge if MoND disproves that model.
          However, MoND disproves several LCDM models, not just one / some very specific flavors of models.
          The existence of several LCDM models is something that also LCDM proponents seem to forget, the issue being that in order to fit some observed behavior, some of the models diverge in their assumptions . results in different scenarios. But on the other side, there is basically only a flavor of MoND (with some relativistic extensions).
          Because of this, in my view, we can safely say the MoND really disproves the whole LCDM paradigm and we’ve passed the point in which casual discussions have to include the specific LCDM flavor definition.


    1. In order to have a constructive discussion, one must define ΛCDM. It can be defined very narrowly, that can be ruled out, then falsely claimed a) that the entire paradigm must therefore be false and even b) that therefore MOND must be true. I see much of the motte-and-bailey fallacy in such discussions.


      1. Cosmologists treat ΛCDM as “work in progress” so a definiton of it is never available. ΛCDM is a model containing dozens of parameters and hypotheses put together to fit as best as possible the observational data. The shapeshifting nature of the Big Bang theory, Standard Cosmological model, ΛCDM, Concordance Cosmology, or whatever it will be called in the future, is a source of frustration for observational scientists who need a lot of time to establish a few observational facts.

        I agree with you that in order to have a constructive discussion we must define what we are talking about. I propose to get out of the ΛCDM motte and bailey and explore other castles.

        I broadly define “ΛCDM” as a standard cosmological model that is based on expansion and all the models derived from it.

        Perhaps my comment should have been worded differently:


        I am not the only one to think of the Standard Model of Cosmology this way. Slightly rewording this line written four years ago: “… dark matter and dark energy …were invoked in response to observations that falsified the [Expanding Universe Cosmology] as it existed at the time”, my interpretation of Merritt’s statement makes complete sense.

        Stacy’s laudable observational work shows how the dark matter hypothesis is much weaker than what most cosmologists would hope for. But there is a lot more than dark matter and MOND hanging in the balance. MOND is not a cosmology, but cosmologists understand that their cherished expanding universe is seriously threatened by numerous tensions and the MOND phenomenology – that’s why the latter is not so popular (to answer your cynical question). It is clear that the anomalies seen as puzzles to be solved within the current expanding universe paradigm _are_ leading to its overthrow, and Stacy is part or the revolution.


        1. (I must have used some illegal escape characters!) My comment is:
          The increasing number of observations that are “massive blows for ΛCDM” will hopefully be considered as massive flaws of the model and force cosmologists to abandon the Expanding Universe Cosmology, or at least make them admit that there is a real crisis in cosmology.


          1. A good example of what I am criticizing: MOND explains some things better than the ΛCDM structure-formation scenario (which is obviously more than just a model based on expansion), which I agree with and is obvious to anyone who reads the literature, then you jump to questioning the expansion of the universe. Say what?


            1. All I’m saying is that your criticism of the debate ‘dark-matter vs MOND’ also applies to the debate ‘tired-light vs expansion’. As you write in Sonne und MOND: “hidebound defenders of the ΛCDM orthodoxy are blinded by their allegiance to a Kuhnian paradigm”. Cosmologists have falsified straw-man models of tired-light, but the tired-light phenomenology explains most things better than expansion (including some of the MOND phenomenology).

              Only good observational data and an open mind will help settle the debate, hence my gratitude to Stacy for his work.


              1. Just to be clear, that quote is a characterization of how some extreme MOND apologists such as Merritt see things.

                As for tired light, there are many, many arguments against it. There is a reason that it was never taken seriously.

                Give me one example where tired light explains something better than expansion, or better than MOND.


              2. As Phillip Helbig already mentioned there are a number of major problems with tired light:

                1. All interactions of matter and photons scatter light to some degree, distant objects would appear blurry, this is not observed.

                2. Tired light cannot predict the observed time dilation of high redshift supernova light curves

                3. Tired light cannot produce the CMB power spectrum without some serious fine tuning.

                4. It fails the Tolman test at more than 10 sigma.

                You can check out this page for a more detailed description of these points and references for them: http://www.astro.ucla.edu/~wright/tiredlit.htm


            2. Phillip: a quote that starts with “defenders of the ΛCDM orthodoxy…” doesn’t seem to describe extreme MOND apologists!?!

              In any case, tired-light (with a correct redshift-distance phenomenology) can produce a SNe Hubble law curve that fits ΛCDM very closely. Tired-light phenomenology is the best for the Alcock-Paczynski Test doi: 10.1142/S0218271817500559.

              Mark: Prof. Wright’s objections against tired-light are outdated and ignore new phenomena studied in modern quantum optics since the ’80s. This is exactly the strawman arguments Phillip and I are criticizing.

              Some light-matter interactions do not blur distant objects: the gradient force relies on the redistribution of photons from one light beam to another, with an energy loss due to recoil, and works with the low intensities of intergalactic space doi: 10.1002/9783527600441.oe005. Also, light can form phase-space gratings in the matter it’s interacting with and stimulate emission without blurring doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.75.2633. I don’t precisely know by which fundamental mechanism, but the statistical nature of quantum interactions can produce a temporal dispersion in the propagation of light that looks like time dilation of SNe light-curves.

              This richness of optical phenomena does not preclude a tired-light redshift, but these processes are never studied by astrophysicists.

              No more replies are allowed on this nested thread, and I’m off topic — a hint that it’s a good place to stop.


              1. Regarding the quote,did you read my paper? I even explained it here. Once more, for the last time: it is a slightly exaggerated example of how some extreme MOND apologists regard mainstream cosmologists.


  4. Regarding the pingback from Pavel:

    While it is nice to win an award, in this case it is not necessarily an endorsement of the contents. I don’t see any physicists, astronomers, etc. among the jury. As I‘ve said about the book, it is well written, but getting a prize for polished prose does not mean that someone has independently judged that its claims are true.


    1. Philip you protest too much. I note that I can’t find a single university undergraduate level textbook on Cosmology that even mentions MOND. Problems with David Merritt’s book (which is not primarily aimed at undergraduate students) pale into insignificance compared to university teaching being consciously or unconsciously censored in favour of an over hyped and blinkered academic orthodoxy.

      Over 30 years ago in the Catholic school I went to the school governors demanded that the pages of the biology text book discussing contraception be removed or otherwise glued together. I have secondhand books from Ireland (Passed by Catholic Church) and Argentina (Passed by Regime) from the semi-recent past with stamps of the presiding Censor passing them. If I don’t accept censoring from either church or state (which I don’t), why should I accept it from private universities – despite all your protests about the existing MOND literature – the basic issue is – What part of the MOND Canon is in your opinion suitable for undergraduates to help them make up their own mind as to the future direction of Cosmology?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, comparing the lack of MOND in undergraduate textbooks to Catholic censorship is another example of the over-the-top strawman attack which many in the MOND camp practice, but I‘ll answer nonetheless. As to MOND in undergraduate textbooks, let me ask: how much ΛCDM is in undergraduate textbooks? Practically none. Did you read my criticism of Merritt‘s article which I linked to here? I note that there are undergraduate texts which do mention MOND, but also that there are many other topics obviously important which are also rarely mentioned. Specialists tend to forget how broad an undergraduate textbook is.

        And any lack is not due to censorship in any form.

        Also, discussing MOND in the context of cosmology textbooks is a red herring, as MOND has very little to say about cosmology, and practically nothing when the textbooks were written. It is mainly concerned with galaxy-scale phenomena. I note that James Binney, an Oxford professor who literally wrote the book on galactic dynamics, and a very respected astrophysicist, is a MOND supporter. Pavel is a professor. Stacy is head of department. Bob is a professor (now emeritus). And so on. There is no grand conspiracy. There are many struggling academics who would like to be that suppressed. 😐

        As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve never worked on MOND and I’ve never worked on ΛCDM. However, I became interested in MOND at the latest when I worked at the same institute as Bob Sanders. I do what I can to drum up interest in it. But the main reason that it is probably not taken more seriously is that some MOND enthusiast repeat the mantra that anyone who disagrees with them is a hidebound defender of the orthodoxy trapped in a Kuhnian paradigm who continues to bullshit because that’s where the grant money is. Even if that were true, that wouldn’t help the MOND cause.


        1. > how much ΛCDM is in undergraduate textbooks? Practically none.

          I don’t know how representative Ryden’s Introduction to Cosmology is but I’d say about 60 or 70 pages are directly about ΛCDM. Mainly in chapters 5 through 7 but also scattered bits in 4, 8, 9, 11 and 12. So about a quarter of the book. That’s not practically none imo.

          Still comparing modern cosmology to Peron’s Argentina or the Catholic Church… I mean wow. Godwin’s law strikes again. Can you imagine what the world would look like if Peebles pushed people out of airplanes over the South Atlantic? I’m sorry that’s not something that should be joked about but I mean it’s just so absurd.

          Indeed there is no grand conspiracy. I can see a certain measure of benign neglect but that is all. I just finished reading your “Sonne und Mond” and after I’ve checked a couple more things I’ll have something quantitative to say about this, this afternoon-ish.


          1. it depends on what you mean by the term ΛCDM. The debate between MOND and ΛCDM basically revolves around (pun intended) structure formation on the scales of galaxies or so. How much of her book discusses that? Not much, if at all, If you say well ΛCDM is the standard model and her book is within that framework then all of the book. Merritt’s point, however, was that it is never mentioned in undergraduate textbooks. First, that is demonstrably not true. Second, as discussed above, the nitty gritty of ΛCDM where there is debate with MOND is hardly mentioned either. Third, there are many other topics in cosmology which are not mentioned. An undergraduate textbook is a broad-brush survey of the field. As for the rest of cosmology, MOND doesn’t have much to say. In general, pitching the debate between MOND and mainstream cosmology is wrong, because there is little overlap. It is between different ideas of structure formation. Yes, that is discussed in many cosmology books, but mainly large-scale structure. The proper comparison would be with mainstream galaxy-dynamics people. How much more mainstream than James Binney can you get? Yet he is a supporter of MOND.

            Note that it wasn’t I comparing cosmology to Argentina or the Cahtholic church.

            I agree; no conspiracy, just some ignorance of the other side (mainly mainstream folks not knowing enough about MOND) and some strawman criticism (mainly from some MOND folks about ΛCDM). Why not vice versa? MOND people think more about ΛCDM than vice versa. As my late history teacher used to say, just an observation, not a judgement.


            1. I agree with much of this, but I would dispute the emphasis. There is a lot of ignorance of MOND among mainstream cosmologists, yes. Sometimes it is simply being unaware, which is where I started from – a quarter century ago. A lot of the time it is willful, prideful ignorance – I have had many people tell me, in effect, “I don’t need to know about that” because they are sure of the answer before the look at the evidence. That attitude is obviously unscientific but also disturbingly common, and it is fueled by straw man attacks on MOND . These are vastly more common than straw man attacks on LCDM.


              1. I think that many might be wrongly dismissive if asked about MOND, but most usually don’t mention it at all of their own accord. I am not aware of a counterpart to Merritt, say, who wrote an entire book trying to debunk MOND.

                Of course, the commentators here aren’t representative of the research community, so the problem isn‘t quite that bad, but it is hard to blame someone for getting a wrong impression if the first thing encountered is MOND, the second the statement that ΛCDM is bunk, and the third that the idea of the expansion of the universe is some sort of conspiracy theory used to get grant money. That’s an exaggeration, of course, but you get the idea.

                My honest evaluation is that there are some areas where MOND works very well and ΛCDM seems contrived, and there are others where ΛCDM works very well and MOND doesn’t have much to say, The main problem is lack of constructive dialogue. I think that the best way forward might be to emphasize the phenomenology more, casually mention that it is natural in MOND, and frame it as a challenge to convincingly explain it within another paradigm.


            2. > Note that it wasn’t I comparing cosmology to Argentina or the Cahtholic church.

              Oh certainly not! I was talking about the comment by James Arathoon you were replying to.

              > Merritt’s point, however, was that it is never mentioned in undergraduate textbooks

              Are you talking about Merritt’s “Cosmology and Convention” article? Because that is about graduate texts not undergraduate ones. Your “Sonne und Mond” commentary of his article also discusses his list of graduate texts so I’m thinking that “undergraduate” is a typo.

              Anyway as promised I have a couple of comments about “Sonne und Mond”. I’m hoping no one minds if I spam them here. I won’t do a point counterpoint because I agree with quite a large fraction of what you wrote and most of what I disagreed with would just bog down in semantics.

              To start with that aforementioned list of graduate texts from the “Cosmology and Convention” article. Merritt uses it as an example to show that graduate texts don’t or hardly mention MOND content. I’ve generally found that to be true. Though it turns out that about a third of that list does at least mention the existence of MOND/TeVeS, very few mention this in more than one or two sentences and even then usually dismissively. And by the three criteria Merritt sets indeed almost all books fail to mention any of the basic relevant information (DM experiment null results, universal scale a0, existence MDAR/RAR). Merritt makes one mistake though: “Relativistic Cosmology” by Ellis does mention the universal acceleration scale a0. Of the three books that provided more than 4 sentences on MOND (Ellis, Schneider and Peter+Uzan) only Peter+Uzan provides more than a page. Ellis contains no quantitative description of MOND whatsoever. I could not get access to Heacox’s “Expanding Universe” which you wrote was overlooked by Merritt so I can’t check whether it should have been included.

              The state of these textbooks gets worse than the silence on MOND that Merritt points out. “Dark Matter and Dark Energy: A Challenge for Modern Cosmology” (Matarrese et al, 2011) takes down of a completely fictitious MOND straw-man in a section on the Bullet Cluster. Basically it boils down to “In MOND the dark matter behaviour must be where the dense baryons are” therefore this picture disproves MOND. Which is obvious nonsense. The “dark matter” behaviour in MOND happens in low acceleration regions which is not where the baryons are most densely packed. Matarrese, Colpi, Gorini en Moschella apparently thought it would be a good idea to criticize a theory about which the apparently literally hadn’t read or understood the most important concept. I mean, yes this other picture of the Bullet Cluster is problematic for MOND as all clusters are but that is not what they said at all. It is a bad sign if a grad student from a completely different field can poke holes in your book by Ctrl-F’ing through it for less than five minutes. I corrected the same error on Wikipedia though, so maybe they just didn’t make it farther than MOND’s Wikipedia article.

              I think the ignorance about MOND should be clear from the above but you made an additional point about this (besides him missing a book). Namely that MOND just isn’t important enough to warrant inclusion. In your words “even particularly interesting trees might not be mentioned when writing
              a book about a forest”. To support this you compare a MOND review with 500+ references to a review of the Dyer-Roeder distance with 280+ references (written by you apparently) and note that the books listed almost never mention the Dyer-Roeder distance either. I think this is a bad argument. First the number of sources a review uses doesn’t determine how important a review is. I could write a review on the hydrogeology of the Qattara Depression and use 1k+ references but that wouldn’t make it more important than Famaey and McGaugh’s review of MOND if nobody ever reads it. If we want to compare the importance of an article the metric to use is the number of times it has been cited (735 times for the MOND review and I’m assuming 0 times for your Dyer-Roeder distance review since I couldn’t find it on ADS or scholar so no one else can have either and it came out late last year). Second, even that wouldn’t be a fair and relevant comparison of the importance of entire topics since they can have many more papers than the two you picked. Going by the number of times “MOND” is mentioned in the full texts of ADS (3646 times) and “Dyer-Roeder” (58 times, 67 if you include alternative spellings) the Dyer-Roeder distance (whatever it is) is just way less important than MOND.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. Yes, I was referring to his article. There is, of course, a lot of overlap with his book. As to graduate, undergraduate, postgraduate—-the borders are fuzzy. But I would expect MOND and other topics other than the basic stuff to be mentioned even less in undergraduate than in postgraduate books.

                Heacox mentions it briefly. His is a very interesting book, in spite of the fact or perhaps because he has never worked in cosmology, as far as I could tell. So it might be a more objective view in some sense.

                Of course the implicit assumption is that MOND should be mentioned. What about the Dyer-Roeder distance? I’m sure that almost every cosmologist has heard of it, some have calculated stuff with it, but it is mentioned even less often than MOND in such books. I think the reason in both cases is not some sort of conspiracy, but rather that people who work on a specific topic tend to forget how small a fraction it is of a field as surveyed in a broad-brush introductory text. A planetary scientist reading an introductory or even graduate-level astronomy text might scream WHERE IS THE NICE MODEL?

                The non-detection of dark matter in the lab is a red herring for several reasons. First, there are examples of particles having been predicted but detected only decades later. Second, dark matter might not be a WIMP. There are other serious candidates. Third, what would be the response if someone said that they would accept MOND only if MOND effects could be demonstrated in the lab?

                As you say my review is quite new but it is on both ADS and Google Scholar and even arXiv. The last time I looked it had three citations. (Of course, many factors determine how often something is cited.) As to which is more important, that is a question which is difficult to formulate, much less answer. However,the Dyer-Roeder distance affects the very basic foundations of observational cosmology, so it is hard to argue that it is less important than MOND for cosmology. Of course, it is mostly irrelevant in the field of galactic dynamics. So perhaps I should argue that the injustice here is much greater than in the case of MOND. 🙂


              2. Thesre is some irony, of course, in at least not disagreeing with Merritt when he says that MOND is so important that it should be mentioned more often, but disputing my comparison involving the Dyer-Roeder distance by claiming that it can’t be that important because it isn’t mentioned very often. 🙂


            3. I’d also like to mention the following passage from your Sonne und Mond commentary:

              I would be exaggerating only somewhat if I said that Merritt’s criticism [of Λ and CDM] makes the same mistake as the arguments regarding the shape of the Earth which were criticized by Asimov, who noted that a refinement is not the same as a revolution: The idea that the Earth is a sphere is not falsified by the refinement that it is an oblate spheroid, or slightly pear-shaped, or whatever shape current observations say that it is. There is a difference between evolution and revolution and one shouldn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.

              While I completely agree that the current geoid models do not falsify the “Earth is a sphere” theory I don’t think this analogy works. The values for ΩΛ and ΩDM are way large compared to Ωb. Starting from an initial worldview at the start of the 20th century which did not contain significant amounts of dark matter or energy we went to ΩΛ+ΩDM+Ωb=0.7+0.25+0.05=1 (the existence of dark matter was considered a possibility not a probability and the community did not stand behind early observations implying “dark objects” outweighing ordinary matter). In your analogy that is equivalent to going from a polar to equatorial ratio of 1:1 to a ratio of 1:19. The actual ratio of the polar radius and the equatorial radius is 1:1.0034. So the “ΛCDM Earth” would be about as flat as an American pancake. That looks like a revolution to me.

              I want to stress that I’m not equating the modern day lunacy of flat eartherism with ΛCDM. The first is a dogged denial of every observable fact about the shape of the Earth we have by crazy conspiracy theorists. The second is a scientific theory that fits a lot of cosmological data that just happens to make a couple of questionable inferences that could end it up on the Nobel Prize pile or on the “huh well it was a nice try” pile. I’m just applying the actual numbers to your analogy.


              1. I think that applying the numbers is misleading, for four reasons. First, Merritt seems to think that there is something wrong with refining the measurement of a parameter when more and better data are available, so it is the refinement itself, not the magnitude, which he takes issue with. Second, back when data were sparse, it was fine to assume something is 0 as long as there was no evidence to the contrary; measuring a finite value is not some big paradigm change. In fact, many authors mentioned the cosmological constant then later explained why they set it to zero for some calculation. Third, inventing a new parameter would be a revolution, but his claim that dark energy was invented to explain the supernova data is about as wrong as a statement about the history of science can be. Fourth, the basic premise is that there was a jump from just baryons to mostly unknown stuff. But that corresponded to the jump from the Earth, or at most our galaxy, to the entire universe. That is one of my biggest disputes with some MOND proponents, namely that there is something inherently disturbing about the fact that most of the Universe is not made of the same stuff that we are made of. I would find it rather surprising were it the case that on such much huger scales nothing new is discovered. (Ironically, a common argument is that while GR is well tested in some regime, it isn’t outside of that, so it shouldn’t be a surprise if it doesn’t hold everywhere.)

                I’m glad that you agree with a large fraction of what I wrote.


  5. I think there may be a small typo in the paragraph about Megan Donohue’s work: “This meant is was massive for its redshift”. I’m guessing ‘is’ should be ‘it’.


    1. Are my comments regarding the point charge basis of nature no longer allowed here? If so, a warning would have been appreciated. If I’m still welcome then there is a comment missing. It’s kinda funny in a way to get censored making a comment about how nature really works on an article about an underdog theory that other comments suggest is essentially censored. Anyway if you want to know how the universe really works you know how to find me. I can fill in the gap below the standard model all the way to the SMBH and its jets with a mathematic and geometric point charge architecture that pretty much fixes all the major tensions and open problems. Best, Mark


      1. You crossed a threshold that would have provoked a lengthy and harsh discussion from other readers. Derision, even. As one with considerable experience with such discussions, I guarantee that you did not want to go there, even if you think you do. I know I don’t: I’m not hosting an intergalactic kegger here.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Fair enough. I don’t know about that line and those sensitivities. Actually I would like to get more facts on that subject but don’t know where to look. That’s even if we’re talking about the same line. I would also like to understand why the response would have been harsh or deriding. Someday, if we ever converse 1×1 I’d like to hear about those discussions, just as a history lesson. No, that’s not my interest at all, except obliquely perhaps as a potential cause of the attitude of particle physicists and astrophysicists with regards to new well expressed ideas from independent ideators. Ok, so as long as I stick to immutable point charges and the emerging theory around them I hope we’re good.


  6. This is probably way off-topic, but do you know of any studies that look at relationships between rotating gravitational fields and MOND? All I have been able to find are small effects like the Lense-Thirring effect, and the flyby anomaly, in which the rotating body is approximately rigid and approximately spherically symmetric, neither of which applies to the centre of a galaxy. Thanks in advance for any comments.


  7. I’d like to describe a relevant portion of the immutable point charge universe where a 3D Euclidean volume is the vessel for absolute space and absolute time, which are abstract concepts only tethered to the behavior of a density-1 of equal and opposite point charges, the electrino -e/6, and the positrino e/6. The second and only known other free parameter is the density-2 of energy the point charges carry as the sum of electromagnetic potential and kinetic energy. All else is emergent. Particle composition is written as electrinos/positrinos such as 9/3 for an electron or 18/18 for a neutron. An electron neutrino is 3/3 or more geometrically (-/+) (-/ +) (-/+) as three nested dipoles at different energy scales. This 3/3 gyroscopic structure is Noether’s theorem in action. And the GR-QM bridge. Suffice it to say all gen I fermions have a 3/3 energy core that transacts energy in h per spin quantum number. Or if you prefer to think in flywheels then use h-bars. Long story short Einstein’s spacetime really is an aether of point charge structures and the best I can figure the free space aether contains a lot of low energy neutrinos (3/3), photons (6/6 or (3/3)(3/3)), or other point charge detritus with similar behaviour. Since this aether is the transducer for gravity and does all the curvy stretchy GR behaviour you really should develop a dualistic cosmology that maps to absolute flat space and absolute time. That would be a good bridge. In this new way of looking at things you would be looking at modeling the scalar of spacetime aether energy and the vector gradient. If you can do this precisely it will tell you a lot about the photons we observe. In other words you need to know the provenance of the photons. Which galaxies did they pass through and when did that galaxy’s SMBH last jet? Since your forensic archaeological map of spacetime energy and gradient are essentially the implementation of gravity, now you can tie everything together and replace Newtonian, GR, and MOND with models of the real physical structures in terms of the actual point charge basis of nature. Of course the models will still need to be carefully built and reliably abstracted into more efficient simulation. Ok, I’ve gone on too long and yet there are so many more fun and amazing features of the point charge universe.


    1. Show us a quantitative, testable (i.e. potentially falsifiable) prediction which your theory makes and others don’t. That is a necessary condition for being a scientific theory. (Note that it is not sufficient; saying that the Moon is made of green cheese is a testable prediction, but most would agree that that is not enough to make it a scientific theory). Otherwise, you are wasting not only your time.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Dear Phillip,
        Frankly, it is long past time for particle and astro physicists to look into the insights I have gifted them. I’m just a hobbyist with 50+ US patents, BSEE RPI, MS CMU, who happened along and didn’t believe the incorrect narratives that have been proffered at the smallest and largest scales and found the bridge between them by sifting through the bone pile of physics and cosmology. Let me turn the problem around on you. Whom in physics history was assigned the task of checking out immutable point charges with characteristics of the Planck scale at low and high energy limits? Physicists have fields, strings, loops, and all kinds of other exotic ideas but NO ONE vetted immutable point charges? Why not? Point charges work great except for that singularity issue which is easily dispensed with by giving the point charge an immutable surrounding volume. Anyway, I am well inside astrophysicist and particle physicists territory now and it is really time for the fields to start doing the research rather than some lucky hobbyist. But of course, as long as I am alive I’ll continue to progress ahead and hope someone out there still has some creativity and imagination to understand such simple concepts. Best, Mark p.s. you all realize, I hope, that Wilczek and others are talking more and more about spacetime being particulate. Anyway, I’ll try to continue to gift these ideas to Stacy and community as I see more incorrect science here. I know you are all doing your best and it is unfortunate that science got inside-out on the smallest and largest scales, but you all have time left in your careers and can usher in this incredible new era. Actually I want you all to get going on it because I want to know all the answers to how nature and the universe work! Here’s quantitative: besides all the major existing tensions and unknowns in physics and cosmology the JWST will blow LCDM up because we will see many more things that are far too old for a big bang cosmology. So those will be astronomers numbers, tests, and conclusions. I’m offering a fairly solid narrative that keeps all the existing math and observations but tosses the interpretations below fields and the standard model. I’d be happy to show anyone the point charge formulas for standard matter particles and the math that goes with it. Just let me know and we can set up a zoom. p.p.s., please don’t anyone advise publishing lest you are willing to sponsor me on arXiv.


          1. Dear Phillip, I am not a scientist and have no aspirations to be one. I don’t enjoy stepping on all physicists toes (just the bullies), I think the scientific publishing system is broken in major ways, and would only publish the old school way if it were open access. I might just stop with arxiv. I really am unhappy with the journal model. I have very different motivations not having a career to tend. The larger point is that journals simply won’t even consider an outsiders work, especially someone who has found how to fix everything by turning science inside out. Also, I think the best future is gig economy and self publishing for science professionals where they can be independent and have more power in the relationship with universities and institutions. (part of my larger plan).


            1. There are many open-access journals. Many are not taken seriously because they stray too close to vanity publishing. Others allow one to put the paper on arXiv, but arXiv has massive problems of its own. However, there are enough traditional journals where one can publish for free and even if the journal itself is subscription based (money has to come from somewhere, and people paying to read is usually a better support of quality than writers paying to have their stuff published), there are enough which allow one to make the paper publicly available elsewhere.

              As to journals not considering the work of outsiders, of course they do. There are some exceptions, but by and large if you want your work judged by people capable of judging it, submit it to a journal. Of course, that doesn’t guarantee acceptance; that’s the whole point of review. But saying that rejection is evidence of bias is not far from Trump saying that the election was rigged if he lost but not if he won.


        1. Mark,

          “Physicists have fields, strings, loops, and all kinds of other exotic ideas but NO ONE vetted immutable point charges? Why not?”

          This is a nonsensical and inaccurate quasi-statement on so many levels:

          In the real world, there is the long observed phenomenon of electron-positron pair creation, as well pair annihilation; so why do you say the point particle is “immutable”? Perhaps you are vaguely claiming the ‘point charged particle model’ itself is immutable? Although I don’t no how you would go about proving that without being able to foresee the future.

          Why is “NO ONE” stressed (shouted)? One of the prime motivations for the development of string theory, over more than 40 years, is the unsatisfactory nature of the point charged particle model for leptons, like for example electrons and positrons.

          In making the above quasi-statement, pretending to be a question, you also do a great disservice to independent thinkers who have researched other possibilities to the point charged particle quite extensively and even in some cases managed to get their ideas published; an example is Stephen N. Lyle with the book “Self-Force and Inertia. Old Light on New Ideas”. Stephen Lyle doesn’t claim a solution, does not make liberal use of unclear terminology or undefined concepts, and does not fill his book with over-hyped unsubstantiated claims devoid of any wider context. In particular he reflects clearly on differing view-points and interpretations to his own.

          The problem you are in fact referring to in your post (that only you have studied in recent years apparently) is one of the major unsolved problems of Modern Physics (the problem of the infinite self-energy of the point particle model and how it is finessed via the renormalization process within the standard model of particle physics). That you claim to have solved the problem (and many otherwise unsolved physical problems to boot) typically with just a few choice words, very often lacking in clarity or definition or plausibility or historical context; and all this together with absolutely no evidence of mathematically consistent approach which actually yields the claimed results. This is all laughable and extremely insulting to those who have genuinely thought about such problems, and its wider contextual meanings, for a lot longer than you have.

          Physics is an exceptionally hard subject If you ever come to realise that the vast majority of your initial and currently favoured over hyped claims are false or otherwise mutually inconsistent, then you will have at last made it to the thinking for yourself physics community. Otherwise I fear you will remain forever stuck in a mental cage securely constructed by your own unquestioned delusions.

          Once you can honestly question and evaluate why your own new physical ideas repeatedly fail or miss the point entirely, and identify new things you must learn or research to understand these mistakes more clearly, you might then have a better chance of evaluating why and how other peoples ideas might fail, perhaps sometimes in an analogous manner to your own.

          String Theorists can’t really be criticised for their motivation, effort or mathematical abilities. However they can be criticised, I think, for continually over hyping their actual end-product (decade after decade Pied Piper style), enticing a disproportionate number of young theorists to the study of the field as a result, with many other avenues of theoretical study essentially left for dead.

          One can think of a few other academic fields where such gross distortions have happened in recent times (one being the subject of this blog). A particular egregious one is that of economics, a subject with many over-hyped models, that could not even in principle have predicted the great recession of 2007-8, or more to the point, even sensibly accounted for the recession after the fact; leading to students of economics at many prestigious universities vigorously campaigning for major changes to what they are taught. I can’t imagine students of physics rising up in quite the same way.

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          1. Dear James,

            Thank you for responding and I’ll just breeze through and ignore the insults because I know that is how some physicists respond and I presume that is from being pestered constantly since the fields are in a preposterous state of crisis and to make matters worse, history has yielded wrong interpretations which blocked insight into nature, making physics and cosmology so incredibly difficult. So I’ll grant the benefit of the doubt that had those historical errors not happened none of us would be hurling insults or accusing a person bearing gifts as being disrespectful. So I am giving you all a pass or out due to the fact you are building on priors that are incorrect. Again I don’t take any pleasure in this and nothing would please me more than for you all to be on the right track and me enjoying outreach videos and posts in my retirement. I’ll respond with more technical info to your points, but please don’t hold me to your standard of science. I am a catalyst, a creative problem solver who is here to help physics and cosmology back on track after 134 years.


          2. Let’s talk technical about electron-positron pair creation as well as pair annihilation in the point charge universe. First, there are two types of point charge, the electrino -e/6, and positrino at e/6. Everything else including Einstein’s spacetime is emergent structure made from electrinos and positrinos. The notation is electrinos/positrinos. An electron is 9/3. It could also be written more geometrically as (6/0) (3/3), i.e., an electron personality of six electrinos at -e/6, resulting in -e charge as expected, which are surrounding a generation I fermion energy core (3/3). The anti-electron or positron is 3/9 or (0/6) (3/3). Again the fermion core appears. It is also present in the up quark (1/5)(3/3) and down quark (4/2)(3/3). You can trace the total count of electrinos and positrinos for typical reactions like neutron (18/18) decay. So if the spacetime aether is chock full of tired photons 6/6 = (3/3)(3/3) or electron neutrinos (3/3) and other detritus or low energy structures like who knows low energy 9/9 Z bosons or perhaps 12/12 (axions? gravitons?) all averaging 2.7K black body. Electron (9/3) + positron (3/9) will react, not annihilate. The 12 electrinos and 12 positrinos will form one or more particles, typically two photons, each 6/6. Now about those 6/6 photons, each is a mated fermion core with an anti-fermion core. Thus in the (3/3)(3/3) geometry the outer dipoles of each core COUNTER-rotate in a plane orthogonal to the photon’s direction. (CAPS = emphasis). This counter-rotation of point charge dipoles is the explanation for Malus’s Law and polarization. Can you see how counter rotating point charge dipoles would cancel each others electric field except in the plane defined by the closest passing points at our measurement scale? Now let’s talk about pair production. If spacetime is composed of old tired fermion engine based structures (i.e., a lot of 3/3, 6/6, 9/9, etc) then they are poised to join reactions as vessels for energy, some of which split or launch as matter/anti-matter. Occasionally random higher than average energy detritus in the spacetime aether happens to collide and produce a particle/anti-particle pair.

            p.s. the current state of my research is linking up the point charge geometry of standard model structures to Noam Why’s model at noamwhy.com. In January 2021 Noam appeared and revealed a simple equation from which you can derive the standard model particles including spin, anti-ness, and color and then go on to calculate some particle masses accurately. It appears Noam is not aware of point charges, but I can mathematically link point charge geometry to Noam’s equation, and if this linkage holds, advance the overall point charge theory considerably. Now this linkage gets into the alignment and energy relationship of the six rotating point charge dipoles in a fermion (most -/+ and others -/- or +/+) and weak mixing angle. Making physical sense of all that in point charges while reading the QM view is mind blowing even though I can see it is simple mathematically with the point charge geometry. And this gets back to where I ask : Is the general consensus of physicists and cosmologists that they want some lucky hobbyist who somehow stumbled onto the idea of point charges combined with immutability to be making these discoveries from first principles with closed form solutions (thanks to another independent ideator)?

            p.p.s. I’ll look into your point charge reference. Thanks.


  8. We made predictions for Tuc II in https://arxiv.org/abs/1505.07465. It would take a whole post to disentangle this, but the short version is that the don’t measure enough stars to say anything useful, I doubt this system is in dynamical equilibrium (a prerequisite for all of the math to apply), and in particular I see no way that the outermost star is bound and in equilibrium, even if it really is a member: if I remember right, it is 9 kpc away from the center of a tiny dwarf that is only 59 kpc from the center of the Milky Way. That’s like saying that Mercury is more bound to Venus than it is to the sun. Makes sense, if you ignore the sun.

    As for tidal stripping removing dark matter, yes, that’s what has to have happened if we’re to understand dwarfs devoid of dark matter in the context of LCDM. This is hardly a new concept (see, e.g., https://arxiv.org/abs/0705.1356), there are entire projects dedicated to looking for this effect (including one of our own: https://arxiv.org/abs/1509.05404). So I presume this new simulation is specific to DF2 & DF4. I’m sure it can be arranged; what is puzzling is that we can use MOND to predict which dwarfs we will need to invoke this effect for – see https://tritonstation.com/2018/09/14/dwarf-satellite-galaxies-iii-the-dwarfs-of-andromeda/

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