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Dark Matter Riddle

July 06, 1993

* In response to "The Dark Matter Mystery," Column One, June 25:

It was weird. I was reading a book and decided to set it aside for a moment to glance at the newspaper and there was an article about the search for "dark matter" that would support the theory the book I was reading derides. The book is "The Big Bang Never Happened" by Eric Lerner.

Your article was interesting, but readers should be informed that the "gooey kablooie" (words from "Calvin and Hobbes" in the same issue) is facing some serious challenge. As I understand it, plasma cosmology offers a much more viable explanation of how galaxies formed. It doesn't need mysterious "black holes" or "dark matter" to do it, nor does it limit the duration or extent of the universe.

In his book, Lerner trounces the way theoretical cosmologists and particle physicists come to their conclusions. Observation and experimental work are beneath them and, like Galileo's critics, they refuse to look for themselves.

This is an important issue because the dominant view of reality has a profound effect on society. A universe that begins with a bang only to fizzle out (or go crunch) puts us in a different mind-set than one that is without beginning or end and constantly evolving.

It would be a travesty if we were to enter into the next century condoning a medieval mentality and teaching superstitious lore.

MERLIN J. BIRD

Torrance

* Although I have never heard the argument before, I am sure some theologian will conjecture that the missing matter in the universe is in actuality the omnipresence of God. As an atheist, may I beat him to the punch as the first to postulate this false conclusion as proof of a divinity.

FREDERICK L. BOON

Rancho Cucamonga

* Whoa! I just love it when you talk like that! "Dark Matter" posits an earnest, albeit accidental, endorsement of creationism. Descriptions of searches under way for "unknown dark matter" provide a delicious, thought-provoking intellectual banquet and cause wonder that science accepts that composite entities of so glorious and mysterious a universe remain partially unidentified while disputing origination commanded by a superior being whose reality, it is said, cannot be proven. To honor aggregate positions, consider that God's taste for excellence assuredly mismeasured no "excess gravity," but doubtlessly "rattled" an atom or two. Michael S. Turner well speaks, "It's very humbling."

And what is this stuff, "dark matter"? God knows!

SHIRLEY A. BELL

Orange

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