Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Update to: Observational Evidence for Cosmological Coupling of Black Holes and its Implications for an Astrophysical Source of Dark Energy

Full post cataloging the reactions to this paper here.


The new theory hasn’t passed without controversy in physics circles, with many researchers unwilling to accept this cosmological coupling just yet.

“I can spot things that are troubling,” Universidad ECCI cosmologist Luz Ángela García tells Physics World. “Saying that their observation sets evidence for black holes being made out of dark energy seems like a long shot, in particular, because we cannot perform measurements ‘inside’ the black hole.”

García is also troubled by the fact that by linking dark energy to black holes, the team’s theory connects this force to the life cycle of stars, describing it as “very risky”. This is because when scientists consider the energy–matter content of the universe, black holes and thus dark energy in this model have already been accounted for in the 5% “ordinary matter” proportion of the energy–matter content of the universe.

Finally, García notes that the timeline of the universe leaves a gap of two billion years that the team’s theory struggles to fill.

“The peak of the number of black holes and quasars coincides with the peak of the star formation history approximately 10 billion years ago, and after that there’s a rapid decline in the number of these massive objects,” she explains. “On the other hand, the kickstart of the dark-energy domination occurs more or less eight billion years ago.”

This article has a quote from Dr. Farrah regarding the "controversy":

Farrah himself concurs that the mystery of dark energy is far from solved, acknowledging that while the two papers provide evidence of an astrophysical source for dark energy, their argument needs much more scrutiny.

“Dark energy remains a deeply mysterious phenomenon,” Farrah concludes. “I would say our papers raise the possibility of black holes as a source for dark energy and provide an ‘interesting hypothesis’, but at present, no more than that.”

I put "controversy" in quotes because while there is a lot of disagreement in the community about the validity of the theory, "controversy" has a very gross inappropriate drama-esque association with it. Fundamentally, nothing about the paper is inappropriate or "controversial" in this sense. Farrah and his team split the work into two distinct volumes; the first providing a solid report on an exciting data analysis, leaving 100% of the interpretation for the second volume. Do you notice how no one is casting much doubt on the first of the papers? It's because their actual data analysis is excellent; it's the interpretation scientists are disagreeing on. Farrah recognizes this himself in his quotes and interviews. Not only was it a smart thing to do (to avoid any "guilt by association" with the data analysis), it was also (in my opinion) a very responsible thing to do. The data are untainted by the interpretation, and the interpretation is not lent undue credibility by the solid data analysis.

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