Friday, October 24, 2008

Does Dark Matter matter?

Greetings to the Seminar Crowd ~

Your assignment for today's presentaion by Dr. Polhemus is to respond to the following 3 questions. Don't just state your opinion; try to justify your answers. Why do you think the way you do? Are you using logic to support your ideas? Emotion? Sense perception? Authority? Consensus? Faith? Something else?

A second part of this assignment is to respond/comment on the responses of at least two other responses.

  1. After listening to and viewing Dr. Polhemus, do you think dark matter exists? Did he convince you? Why or why not?
  2. What problems exist that may make it difficult for scientists to come to knowledge in an area like dark matter?
  3. Dr. P. gave several examples of times when astrophysicists have been wrong in the past, but because of new findings, they have shifted to a new way of thinking. (This is called a paradigm shift.) Explain a paradigm shift you have experienced. What was the original idea or theory, and what caused you to shift?

This is due by next Friday, Oct. 31.

352 comments:

1 – 200 of 352   Newer›   Newest»
ZoeW said...

1) To tell the truth I am still not 100% sure on the subject of dark matter. While Dr. P. did an excellent job of trying to use similes and vocabulary so that people with a lesser understanding of physics could understand what he has studied forever (relates to levels of understanding - the higher the level the less people understand it...) I still wasn't exactly sure of what dark matter was. Despite this, I still have the feeling that it exists. it's hard to explain, but I think that his certainty in it and the amount of visible proof shown helped me feel that dark matter could exist. I think that if he would have explained it without the powerpoint I would have been less certain, but the visual evidence (graphs, simulations, pictures = sense perception) made me come to the conclusion that dark matter was the truth. However, there was no counter-argument presented by someone who didn't think dark matter existed -who knows, if they had done a presentation with pictures they could have convinced me otherwise. Basically, this prompt brings to me the importance of visual learning for believing something in comparison to just auditory.

ZoeW said...

2) As he explained, finding evidence is hard due to the fact that it involves lots of money and high tech equipment to take pictures in space. Also, as dark matter is not really tangible like for example rocks on earth are, scientists have to look at other things that hint at its existence - like the gas clouds and clumps of galaxies. This method of proving by other things pointing to dark matter in turn brings up knowledge issues: methods of justification (only looking at evidence to help your hypothesis), possibility vs. probability (even when facts come up to disprove it, still think its possible),causation vs. correlation etc. In areas like dark matter, because its not tangible as other areas are in science like geology etc. there are limitations to justifying if your conclusion is correct etc.

ZoeW said...

3) Wow, paradigm shifts... For me, this phenomenon often happens with theories or ideas (ex: English class - go to one side of the room if you believe in X but then discussion causes me to change my mind and move to the other side), but seems to be most important with perceptions of people. I won't name names, but in a club I was in there was a boy who annoyed me a lot during the first couple weeks I joined the club. However, over the weeks as I got to know him he showed a lot of his better qualities. Being stubborn as i am, I ignored many of his nicer deeds because I was stuck in the mindset that he was annoying as I had met him on the first day. Luckily for me, I was paired up in a group with him and through more conversation and my friend's opinion that he wasn't horrible I became great friends with him (once I opened my eyes to his actual personality). For me, closer examination, a realization of my bias and a second chance were what caused my "paradigm shift" with the person.

Anna said...

1. After listening to Dr. Polhemus’ presentation, I’d have to say that he convinced me that dark matter exists. Dr. P explained the dark matter theory very well, but for a student who’s never taken a physics class, I found parts of the theory hard to grasp. I find myself agreeing with Dr. P through authority, as he has dedicated his life to the study of space, and therefore, is immensely knowledgeable in the subject area. His presented us with some empirical evidence with the photographs and charts, and I could logically see how he’s come to his stance on the issue. This reminds me of last year in TOK when we watched the video about Andrew Wiles and his proving of Fermat’s Last Theorem. There are only a handful of mathematicians in the world that understand what he is taking about, and so the rest of the population simply acknowledge his ideas, and accept the fact that they most likely will never be able to fully comprehend Wiles’ proof. To what extent are humans are willing to accept their ignorance for these types of complex theories? Is it in our nature to go the extra mile to gain understanding, or are we content with solely accepting something without questioning its authenticity?

Anna said...

2. Similar to Zoë’s response, I believe that the majority of scientific ‘fact’ is gained through empirical evidence. Labs are always being run, and people use their results to either prove or disprove their hypotheses. For astrophysicists, however, they do not have the privilege of holding dark matter in their hand to study it. This makes it difficult for researchers to justify their theories through the usual means of sense perception, as they can only study space through photographs and computerized models.

Anna said...

3. One example of paradigm shift is people’s change in political views. For me personally, both of my parents are very Conservative, and growing up, as most parents do, they imbedded their values and viewpoints into my mind. As a young child, one never questions the knowledge of their parents, and therefore succumbs to justifying their words by authority and acquaintance. Then, for me, when I got into school, I began to listen and explore different outlooks and viewpoints. Now, through consensus and self-awareness, I find myself in the middle of the political spectrum. Similar to astrophysicists, I have shifted my political standpoint from completely Conservative, to a more Liberal leaning moderate by critically questioning my previous beliefs, and modifying them to associate myself to a greater degree with the opposite political party.

kgibbs said...

1) He convinced me that something existed there that effects gravity, implying that it probably holds mass. However, it could be called, "the unknown" just as well as dark matter, because we don't even know if it is matter. The consensus of all the data he presented pointed to the existence of something. However, he also didn't give any evidence for the counter-claim. How reasonable is their explanation? I do hold faith that he isn't trying to pull the wool over our eyes, so he probably told us what he 'knows' in language we can understand.

kgibbs said...

2) It is difficult for scientist to come to knowledge about dark matter, because we have problems perceiving it. We don't know how to see it or even interact with it. Both of these things would give us more knowledge about it. All we have to observe are its affect of gravity. Another problem is how far it is away. How do we know if something else is affecting the data? We have to have faith in the data to perceive anything about dark matter, and we really don't know what that something is.

Janessa said...
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kgibbs said...

3) Hmm, a paradigm shift. When I first read American Childhood, I thought it was terrible and that it contained no real value. However, upon reviewing it further in class and hearing a couple IOP defending it I conceded that it had many good qualities and that it was and interesting was of displaying early childhood. I still wouldn't recommend the book, but my view of it changed.

Rachel said...

Dr. Polhemus convinced me. First of all, the man seems extremely intelligent, and because of that I am biased towards his beliefs, particularly in light of my own total ignorance on the matter. This, I suppose, falls under authority. The images he presented also provide me with sufficient empirical evidence at least to justify that something exists which we cannot see that is characterized by a considerable amount of gravity.

One rather impeding problem is that of size and distance. It took a while for the fact that the little fuzzy spots were not stars but galaxies, and that the universe is so large that there are galaxies whose light has not had enough time to reach earthly observers in all the time since they were born billions of years ago till now. But even more importantly, I have difficulty seeing why knowledge of dark matter should be pursued. To put it bluntly, I don't think Dark Matter matters. Even if it does exist, so what? We're having a tricky time managing the visible matter that we do interact with. Why in the world do we need to deal with something that is so irrelevant to our own doings (pragmatism)? At least, I assume it is irrelevant because we've managed to survive without knowledge of it in the past. Though the phenomenon is an interesting one, I still think the particle accelerator and the Dark Matter detection lab are just really expensive pollution. Granted, they are intriguing pollution.

Ok, the paradigm shift. I had one during the presentation. Prior to Dr. Polhemas' talk, I was under the assumption that energy is neither created nor destroyed. This premiss I've used to support my beliefs on post-death existence. Basically I equate living with energy. Because energy can't be created, reincarnation or some form of recycling of living energy made sense to me. I justified this belief with the cyclical nature of, well, nature: birth, death, rebirth, and all that. Natural process don't ever seem to use anything just once. On this premiss, I would apply that to spirits/souls/whatever that energy is. But then Dr. Polhemus said that the amount of energy in the universe is increasing or decreasing every day. There goes the first premiss that I built my theory on, out the window, and my theory with it. Oh well. My choices are either to scrap that theory all together, or alter it to accommodate Dr. Polhemus' information. Or I can inform myself better on energy behavior, since I know very little. My theory was probably wrong anyway because I don't have the further knowledge to justify it. Anyway, I cannot ignore Dr. Polhemus, though I would like to, because I respect his authority as a justification of truth.

Rachel said...

In response to kgibbs' insightful mention of language; I think the issue of it's name is an important aspect of Dark Matter. It implies the mysterious, the unknown. It also implies that scientists know more about it than Dr. Polhemus said they did, in that enough information exists to name it, when in reality they named it for the absence of knowledge. Calling it unknown source of density, or something equally unglamorous would probably be less misleading. Before the presentation, I thought Dark Matter seemed slightly sinister and very ominous, based simply on the name.

Regardless of naming, I believe in it for the same reason Zoe believes in it: because the man who is studying it believes. Between the developing knowledge claim that he presented, and the counter argument that he discounted (both on his own conviction and empirical findings, and the consensus of the scientific community's consensus) we are left with only one belief given that we trust his authority.

ZoeW said...

Going off of what Rachel and Anna said I really agree that because Dr. P. looks and sounds so authoritative on the matter it really persuades you to believe in what he is saying. This reminds me of the sense perception presentations we did last year: I was in the politics group and we looked at the election between Nixon and JFK. The first televised debates people sided with JFK as he looked better than a sickly looking NIxon did, even though the radio audience thought Nixon sounded better. This goes to show the effect presentation has on persuading people.

ZoeW said...

In response to Rachel's comment, I think that even if we can't see a visible reason to look for dark matter it doesn't mean it is pointless to look for. Yes, we have managed to get along without knowing its exact nature for years, but as with the discovery of gravity, people managed to get along without knowing what was making the apples fall on their heads but the discovery of what it was has lead to other knowledge. I think that exploring things is important even if an exact role for it may not be visible yet. This may be the science-lover in me (I could say a similar thing about why should we analyze books - it seems irrelevant to my life) but I think exploring the unknown is a great way to branch out, even if it isn't always pragmatic.

Eric Yin-Yang said...

1) I don't want to be repetitive, but I have to say that I too believe that there is definitely something there affecting the clumpification of galaxies. I don't care if it is dark matter or not; I am just convinced 100% that there are things in our universe that we are unable to perceive or have not perceived. I like how he put everything in layman's terms because I probably would have had no idea what he was talking about otherwise. I also know that he is one of the leading experts in his area, and this authority makes me automatically trust what he says. A combination of self-skepticism, logical analysis, and extensive research makes Dr. Polhemus a reliable source.

2) Well, if dark matter doesn't interact with anything, then there is obviously no way to examine its interactions... Until some really intensive research is done and some really intense technologies are developed, scientists won't be able to learn much about this "stuff." Like Anna said, science relies on physical justification to become actually of import. Dark matter is possible and probable, but nobody can ever actually study it, only its surroundings.

3)Paradigm shifts occur as people progress through their education. At young ages, history teachers teach history through a very patriotic, factual, and positive viewpoint. In elementary school literature, you learn spelling and grammar. In science and math, you learn landmark concepts without understanding why you are learning them. The books you read are all happy or funny, and mostly fictional or extremely condensed biographies. Then, comes a completely new way things are taught, during the late junior high and high school stages of education, which brings about a paradigm shift. No longer is the cotton gin this cool machine that helped farmers get cotton for clothes faster, it is the tool that extended the horrors of the once-declining system of slavery in the US for many more years. To conserve space, I assume you all have your own thoughts as to how your knowledge banks were turned upside down by reality and meaning.

Eric Yin-Yang said...

Moving back to the dark matter issue at hand, I completely agree with Rachel in that the research in dark matter is very irrelevant. One of my beliefs is that much of what is currently being researched in the field of astrophysics is of much less importance than what needs to researched on earth. The world has so many problems right now, and funding projects that determine whether something undetectable exists should not be prioritized until things are earth are fixed. Gigantic dark matter detectors will not solve global warming, starvation, war, disease, poverty, etc. you name it. I am not saying that such research is not important, only that the purpose has currently not been determined, as Dr. Polhemus even said during the presentation. "We don't know" what we can do with dark matter, but we do know what we can do with wind turbine technology, governmental budgeting, and cancer and AIDS cure research.

I don't feel like I have the authority to actually say this though because I lack knowledge on how other research in the fields of astronomy and astrophysics has affected our lives. Please feel free to refute what I say. My question to you all, hopefully to help me go through a paradigm shift, is: How have developments in our understanding of the universe helped our lives?

Drivebracket said...

1) I believe dark matter exists, and to be frank I believe completely through authority. This is an area in which I have no expertise to speak of, so if I cannot belive this then in my mind I might as well not believe in atoms or DNA.

Drivebracket said...

2)Problems for scientists in this area are almost eniterly perception related issues. We cannot accurately see what is out there to any degree in which things like dark matter are visible or apparent, so our knowledge of such things must be grasped through theory, Which I know throug logic and sense perception from what Mr.P told us.

Drivebracket said...

3)A good example of a paradigm shift that I went through would be when I finally decided to take HL Chem. I spent most of sophmore year wondering what it would be that I would go into, and eventually I decided on HL Art.Then one day I talked with some of my friends and I realized that taking anything but HL Chem would be a mistake for me, so I changed.

Drivebracket said...

As far as what zoew and kgibbs said about the existance of dark matter as a whole, I completely understand where you are coming from, but as far as my own mind goes, I have no room for uncertainty. I know nothing about this, so if I choose to doubt this scientific revelation then in my mind I might as well say that DNA is wrong and that deep in the ocean there is pudding instead of water. I also hold faith that he is telling us the truth, because logic would dictate that he is a teacher and that is what he is here to do, so why would he give us anything but the truth?

KatieA said...

After listening to Dr. P's presentation, I do think that dark matter exists. His convincing of me was done mostly through his position as an authoritative figure. Honestly, as a knower I am extremely limited when it comes to physics, and he is definitely an expert on the subject. He seems to genuinely believe that dark matter exists, and I am inclined to trust him as a source. I've worked with Dr. P through Science O. before, and he has been a trustworthy authority before, so I guess I don't have any real reason to doubt him. Also, based on the research he showed us, it is obvious to me that there has to be some sort of explanation for the seemingly lack of matter in the universe, and the theory of the dark matter is the most plausible that I have been presented with.
As for the second question, an obvious problem regarding scientists being knowledgeable about dark matter would be sense perception. Dark matter is not something that scientists perceive using their five senses, but there is empirical evidence to suggest its existence. Another potential problem could be the lack of consensus about the theory, especially when it was first introduced. This is related to the possible knowledge issues presented by the scientists' preconceived notions about gravity or personal theories that could be understandably difficult to let go and accept something completely different.
Ok, now for my personal paradigm shift. This actually happened just the other night. Last year,
I had started reading a the memoir of an Iranian professor of literature detailing a class she held in her home with female students. The book uses several novels as a sort of motif for the environment in Iran and for describing the women in the group. At the time, I really couldn't really get into and only got about a third of the way into it. However, I started reading it again the other night and I'm loving it. I think that my view of it has changed drastically because now I've actually read some of the novels discussed in the memoir. This additional knowledge has completely changed my perception of the book, partially because it allows me to have such a deeper connection to so many of the metaphors in the book that previously went straight over my head.

KatieA said...

I completely agree with what eric is saying about the use of funding for dark matter research. Maybe its because I'm slightly biased against physics in favor of bio or chem as a science, but it legitimately makes me angry sometimes to think about all of the things that could be accomplished with the amount of money that has been allocated to dark matter research. If I'm totally ignorant regarding the tangible benefits to society of realizing dark matter exists, please let me know what they are. Until then, I'm going to keep believing that using that money for stem cell research or humanitarian relief might be a more practical application.

KatieA said...

I was interested by anna's comparison to Andrew Wiles, and I think that it is a great one. I'm completely willing to admit that I am baffled by a lot of the evidence and research regarding dark matter, and I essentially have to take a leap of faith and trust people (Dr. P in this instance) to have an understanding of the topic and deliver the information to me in a professional manner. I remember from last year when we talked about how people like andrew wiles are essentially impossible to understand at a certain point, and the rest of us just have to accept it. Thanks for bringing that up, anna, because I think it has a lot of parallels to the whole concept of dark matter.

Shellie said...

1. I think that dark matter does exist. One, because Dr. Polhemus is rather brilliant, and it would be silly for me to contradict what he has spent lots of time and money on studying. Yet at the same time, it is really hard to believe in something you cannot see. "Seeing really is believing", as the saying goes. The graphs and charts and pictures he presented in the powerpoint were more evidence than I had ever seen before on the subject though, and they really were enough to convince me that dark matter does exist. If everything is made of matter, and 96 percent of our universe is unseen, it is still existing, and therefore has to be made up of something. For the time being, dark matter seems like a perfectly logical explanation for all this dark space in space. It would have been easier for me to understand the lecture if I was a physics major... Too bad I'm not. haha. There was no evidence for a counter claim presented though, which seems kind of pertinent to the subject, or whenever you are trying to prove anything. Perhaps an understanding of both sides would have helped in his lecture, and helped us students gain more knowledge about the subject. Having a powerpoint was a really good idea, as I, like many other, am a visual learner, and seeing what evidence he had helped me to understand more of what was going on.

Shellie said...

2. I think the technology available right now is a major restriction to the astrophysicists studying dark matter. We have definitely come a LONG way in technology but there are still a lot of unexplained things, and what we have right now cannot explain these things. Since dark matter can't be seen either, it makes research difficult because the scientists have to work off of things they see around the dark matter, like the galaxies, and dust clouds, etc. Trying to prove something you can't see exists is a rather difficult thing to do, like when people try to prove the existence of ghosts or aliens. I haven't seen one, so exactly how do I know they exist? And how can I prove their existence to other people? I'm sure there are a lot of other restrictions on top of these as well.

JuliaC. said...

I definitely agree with Zoe, I'm not quite sure what I believe about dark matter, it's such a strange idea, but Dr. Polhemus is a great authority on the subject, and he strikes me as a very nice person, so I am inclined to believe what he says. Not that those are very factual justifications. I would like to learn more, especially from a group of people who dont believe in dark matter, I think that would make things all the more interesting. Because dark matter is virtually undetectable it is difficult for scientists to prove or, for that matter, disprove it's existence. This difficulty is compounded by the fact that many of scientists' ways of knowing are impaired, since dark matter, if it exists, is far far away and scientists can't see or feel it for themselves. They are relying completely on the information and scant photos sent to them by satellite telescopes, which can make mistakes, just like humans. So concrete, truthful knowledge would be quite hard to come by. I have definitely had quite a few paradigm shifts, mostly toward people, but also toward subjects in school. I am awful at math, and in 10th grade I really struggled with it. In 11th grade I was lucky enough to have a really excellent teacher who explained things in a way that I could easily understand, and I was able to do pretty well on my IB test, despite my aversion to the subject.

Shellie said...

3. One paradigm shift I have experienced is definitely one with my religion. I was born and raised Catholic, and for the majority of my life, I believed God existed and created everything and this was the way things were, because my parents wanted me to be Catholic. Now that I have grown up a little bit, I have come to realize that I don't exactly believe what the Catholic religion says, and that I only did because I wanted to please my parents. I don't know that a God exists, or that there is a higher being out there, because again, for me, seeing is believing. And I'm not trying to diss religion in any way at all; it's cool that you can believe in that, but I can't at this point in time. I think that the Bible was put out there for your own interpretation and the way I was raised, the Bible was put out there with an interpretation, and that really bothers me at this point in time. Maybe someday I'll be Catholic again on my own terms, but not right now because the concept of a higher being is rather vague and I just cannot see it right now. A lot of things, like certain classes, and ways of thinking have kind of led me to this conclusion.

Shellie said...

I completely agree with Eric on his points about funding. It is really hard at this time to find funding for dark matter when there are so many other problems that people are trying to focus on, like diseases, the economy, global climate change, etc, to keep our whole world from falling apart. I guess compared to these issues, dark matter could be seen as a rather unimportant issue because it doesn't directly affect all 6 billion people on the Earth. I'm sure at least half of the people on Earth don't really know what dark matter is. Perhaps they have heard of it, but don't really know any theories behind it. But global climate change and diseases and problems with the economy are much more prominent in society and people hear about these and talk about them much more often then they do dark matter I'm sure. But then again, not knowing where 96 percent of our universe is is kind of a big deal, and when the opportunity presents itself, we should place more funding towards research in dark matter. But I think now is not the time, when we are so preoccupied with other things in our world.

Shellie said...

I also had a similar sort of paradigm shift as Rachel did. I was also under the impression that energy was constant, as I had learned that energy could not be created nor destroyed, only change forms. This is apparently not the case, as the amount of energy is equal to the amount of work done. This concept seems rather simple, but I find it totally mind boggling. What happens when there is no work? Is there just no energy? This doesn't seem logical because there always seems to be energy in some form or another in existence. Where did my theories and interpretations of energy come from then? I think I might have misinterpreted the data wrong when I was first learning about energy, which is rather disheartening actually. I wish I knew more about this subject because I am still really confused and don't know what to think about it.

StarD said...
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Don Park said...

After listening to and viewing Dr. Polhemus, do you think dark matter exists? Did he convince you? Why or why not?
Personally... I went into the seminar with my "beliefs" already set. Yes i do believe in dark matter. With that said, i believe that Dr. P's seminar furthered my beliefs. I think the way that I do because most of the evidences presented has mostly lined up. Although a point of speculation for myself is that this information is all from a single source, Dr. P. I'm not saying that Dr. P's information is wrong or anything, but just stating that it technically is from a single source presented to all of us. Also I do believe authority plays a huge role in my belief as Dr. P is an expert presenting us the information.

What problems exist that may make it difficult for scientists to come to knowledge in an area like dark matter?
Dark Matter itself requires expensive and lots of equipments that are very advanced just to be seen. At the same time one thing that might support the Dark Matter theory might actually from an outside source, and thereby might alter our perspectives. To many, seeing is believing.

Dr. P. gave several examples of times when astrophysicists have been wrong in the past, but because of new findings, they have shifted to a new way of thinking. (This is called a paradigm shift.) Explain a paradigm shift you have experienced. What was the original idea or theory, and what caused you to shift?
The only paradigm shift that I currently remember right now was back when I believed that the word "approximately" was similar to the word "exactly". I had no idea what it actually meant and thereby when i meant exactly, I'd use the word "Approximately" just because it was big. Then when I found out what approximately actually meant, it was one of those moments where I really couldn't switch back.
ok horrible example. heres another one (didn't want to erase my awesome example)
To set the grounds straight, I'm a liberal. But when Rick Andrews explained to me about how back in the 90s or 80s or whenever people were freaking out about the global cooling rather than global warming, it really intrigued me. People change throughout time, and throughout time I think their beliefs change. What caused this panic of global cooling? I don't know nor understand but I could state that a paradigm shift has occurred. To save the environment (which of course should always be in motion) many people today are more aware as to the harms we have caused to the environment. Maybe Global cooling was incorrect, but global warming is correct. No idea, but for me who believes that global warming IS happening (Sorry to those conservatives out there), I think we should continue to take steps prevent a global catastrophe.

AmyLM said...

1) Initially after listening to Dr. Polhemus I would have to agree with the existence of dark matter, based simply on authority and consensus. He is a person of such intelligence and expertise in this subject area that it seems ignorant of me not to trust in the evidence he is presenting us with, even if I am incapable of comprehending it. Also, since the majority of the scientific community is offering their consensus to this theory it seems logical.

At the same time it is a little difficult for me to grasp a concept which I can’t physically sense. One question brought up during the presentation was particularly interesting, the question of what if the laws of gravity are incorrect? All the evidence he is presenting us with are based on calculation (for the most part), and to me more tangible proof would be more reassuring. (Not to discredit the validity of mathematical/scientific proofs, it is just more difficult for my brain to accept and process these justifications)

AmyLM said...

2) Similarly to what other people have been saying, since we can not run tangible lab tests on dark matter it is difficult for scientists to prove its existence. In order to attain our answers we are having to go to secondary sources and having to make the leap to what ‘cause’ is creating the ‘effect’. Also like Dr. P said, scientists become very emotionally caught up in their theories and it can turn into this cycle of searching for evidence to support your belief: you see what you are searching for.

AmyLM said...

3) I have experienced several paradigm shifts in recent years, mainly as I have grown up and learned not to automatically fall under my parents’ belief systems. Some of my essential moral beliefs have undergone some serious changes, such as a recent shift towards spirituality. Growing up I always learned that religion caused hatred, violence and that it had no true value, but as of late my view point on this has softened drastically as I see a lot of merit in having individual faith.

Anna said...

I’ve noticed that a lot of people have commented about the need for empirical evidence to support the theory of dark matter, and how it’s hard to grasp the concept of something that we cannot physically see or touch. In response to Don’s “To many, seeing is believing,” I wonder if in a sense, believing is seeing. Do we need to receive empirical evidence to expend our knowledge, or might the lack of sense perception have the ability to make our beliefs stronger? Take religion for example. One can’t visually conceptualize his or her faith, but yet, holds it in highest regard.

Simone S. said...
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Simone S. said...

Alright, I read through most of the comments but forgive me if I reiterate what's already been said.
1) Dr. P's authority as a knowledgeable person in the field and his presentation which included physical evidence as well as a logical explanation led me to think that dark matter does exist. And really, I didn't have a solid belief of what exactly makes up the universe before the presentation. So I was more likely to accept the theory of dark matter because it didn't contradict any pre-existing beliefs. The photographs and logical manner of the presentation helped to convince me as well as learning that there is a lot of data to back this theory up. So I suppose the combination of sense perception, logic and justification based on authority and consensus influenced me to think that dark matter exists.

Simone S. said...

2) Obtaining a sufficient amount of data is one problem that makes it difficult for scientists in fields like dark matter to deem their knowledge reliable and true. What is enough data? At what point are people convinced?
I think that it takes different data to convince different people. We're all biased towards accepting information as knowledge when its presented in a way that we understand. If Dr. P had simply talked about dark matter without visual representation, I would first of all be very lost and confused and this would lead to some skepticism. I am a lot less likely to believe things that I don't understand. However, Dr. P did have several photographs and explained it logically so it was easier for me to accept the existence of dark matter.

Simone S. said...

3) I agree with Rachel and Shellie that I had a moment of confusion when Dr. P explained that the universe was gaining energy when I thought energy was conserved, but changes forms. I also agree that I have a limited knowledge about the properties of energy and so I will have to obtain more information to assimilate this new knowledge into what I already know (or have learned) to be true.
For another example of a paradigm shit, I think the whole high school experience has been a paradigm shift for me. As a freshman I thought high school was big and scary whereas now I know that to be untrue. What I know to be true has changed largely due to familiarity and my emotional attachment to my experience in high school. Paradigm shifts can be caused when new information becomes available but I think a shift can also come about through changes in perception and emotion.

ethan_is_ninja said...

1. I think dark matter exists, based on Dr. P's visual evidence showing light curvature, which I found very interesting. I simply believe there cannot be anything else in the universe that can explain that peculiar phenomenon. Also, since Dr. P is a foremost authority on all things cosmic, getting his college degrees from institutions of higher learning that all us IB students aspire to attend. However, like Zoe said before, Dr. P had to break down his complex thoughts and ideas into elementary ones for us to understand, since none of us hold a Phd in Physics. I think that if Dr. P used the correct scientific language to express his knowledge, and if we understood that language, we would have a tighter grasp on what we know.

ethan_is_ninja said...

One major problem scientists experience is the lack of empirical evidence, due to the fact that our technology is not yet advanced to the extent that we can view, hear, smell and touch (who would want to lick a planet) objects millions of light-years away with clarity. I believe it will be a long time before we develop the technology necessary to collect empirical data on dark matter

ethan_is_ninja said...

Hmm, a paradigm shift...
Well, when I was a boy just starting to learn the violin, I absolutely despised it. I could make no music with it, just a cacophony of horror that could make Frankenstein scream. I could not figure out why my parents wanted me to play such a weapon of destruction, until I finally started getting ok. In high school, I started to read scholarly articles (wikipedia) on musicians, particularly classical composers. I realized that something in their music made it possible for it to transcend centuries of musical change, and yet still retain it's emotional potency. I began to appreciate the beauty of classical music, and learned to channel my thoughts and emotions through my music, turning me into a musician.

ethan_is_ninja said...

I agree with Eric's paradigm shift response. Throughout elementary school, students are loaded with lots of 'essential' information, but many students do not understand why the information is essential. In elementary school, nobody quite understands the true significance of the Civil War, but only understand that Lincoln was a good president because he freed slaves. In high school, we are taught to analyze what we learn and view it in a large historical context, as in how certain events affected certain events later. Also, i agree with Don's statement that seeing is believing with a majority of people. In America, I think, people don't need much to convince them, as evidenced by the Bigfoot pictures and UFOs. I believe that if a scientist can make a breakthrough and somehow capture dark matter in a photograph, he can revolutionize the world and turn many non-believers into believers.

Lauren P said...

After the presentation, I would say that i believe in dark matter. Though i cannot grasp what dark matter is, exactly, i was able to understand the examples he gave, and the basic ideas that supported his claims. The fact is that i am a logic person; it is hard for me to believe something exists if there is no proof for it. If he had given us an exact definition of what dark matter was, i would have been more skeptical, and wanted to know hard facts and example. But since he said that they only knew it was there because of the mass difference, i was able to better accept it. If an ultimatum had been given, it would have left dark matter with more holes in the theory. I can accept mush easier the idea that something is taking up mass, than i can an exact definition that has flaws.

Quite frankly, to obtain ways to "see" dark matter right now, the technology does not exist - if it ever will. Something that can penetrate the earth, the universe, everything, without being detected would be immensely hard to find. The first step, i think, to "seeing" dark matter would come with seeing its effects on other objects. And in a sense, this has already been met. By seeing how light bends around a group of galaxies we are able to see one of the effects that dark matter has made, a hand print on the universe; we see traces that it exists, yet we cannot see the thing the left the print itself. The next step, to actually see dark matter, could be next to impossible. I believe, just as it is impossible to see ultraviolet light, it will be impossible to see dark matter too. No one can see ultraviolet light, and scientists have yet to too. They see pictures with colored in blocks that REPRESENT certain wavelengths; they don’t see the wavelengths themselves. Similarly, technology could be developed to see more detailed imprints of dark matter on the universe, yet dark matter itself could be impossible to feasibly see, or accumulate, or touch.

There was one instance in which I experienced several paradigm shifts. In seventh grade in science class we were paired up with random partners in order to make a balloon powered vehicle. I was paired up with I girl I dint know, and It was soon apparent to both of us that we were going to run into some problems. The night before I had thought up several ideas on how to do the car, but when I told them to my partner, she said she also had some ideas, and didn’t want to use mine. I thought she was very stubborn, and oblivious to the irony, only wanted to use my ideas. That night she came over to my house so we could work on it. When we both started building parts, though, we realized that our ideas could work together if we both gave in a little on our original ideas. In fact, the reason why I had disliked her in the beginning was that I couldn’t see that we were almost too much alike for our own good! Now we are best friends, and though she lives in a different state, I talk to her quite frequently.

JuliaC. said...

I agree with Anna, that, in the case of dark matter, believing may well be seeing. If you can suspend your disbelief and open yourself to ideas on how and why dark matter exists, then maybe you would become a believer.

JuliaC. said...

My previous comment kinda of connects to what Lauren was saying, that when you believe in dark matter, you can more easily find evidence to support it, like the way that light bends around galaxies. Except she was more articulate than I

Amelia A. said...

1. I have seen Dr. P give this presentation once before, and the first time I saw it my mind was completely boggled. However, upon seeing the presentation a second time (and also doing a bit of reading) I am convinced that dark matter must exist. For one thing, it seems completely logical that it does exist due to the examples that Dr. P gave. It seems mathematically certain that dark matter is real. However, this logic comes mostly from authority. I take the logic presented by scientific figures such as Dr. P and several Nobel laureates as truth because I know that they have resources and knowledge that I don't to understand these concepts. For me, I don't think sense perception plays as big of a role in my understanding of dark matter. I can look at the pictures in the presentation and observe the gravitational bending of light, but I'm still mostly relying on people like Dr. P to see dark matter in those pictures for me.

Amelia A. said...

2. The biggest problem I see is that it is a highly undetectable particle. The fact that we have to use roundabout and obscure ways to "see" attests to this. There is also the fact that dark matter is largely removed from our position in the universe, however I think scientists will do as they have before and overcome this obstacle (though not necessarily with ease.) Scientists have already shown their prowess in understanding very removed concepts, such as the speed at which stars are traveling or the history of the universe. Researchers in astrophysics are already running experiments which strive to "create" dark matter and thus reach a better understanding of it. Despite these experiments, I think most of our understanding of dark matter will come from natural instances, such as bullet clusters and galactic collisions. The problem with this way of knowing, however, is that we have to wait for something informational like that to occur.

Amelia A. said...

3. I can't really think of any monumental paradigm shifts that I've had. I'm in agreement with many of you though about the fact that energy can be created threw me for a loop for a while (though Dr. P did somewhat explain that this maintains the conservation of energy theory due to potential energy, or at least that's what I got out of it.) The best example of a paradigm shift I've experienced (that I can think of right now) is my understanding of the Big Bang theory. My grandfather explained the Big Bang theory to me when I was in fourth grade, and though it didn't necessarily mean anything to me at that time, it sort of evolved into my own personal theory of the Big Bang. I had always thought that the big bang started with a monumentally huge ball of matter which exploded into the universe as we see it today. However, I recently learned that the original ball of matter was actually about the size of a fist. It took me a while to accept this fact, but eventually I did due entirely to authority figures telling me that is how it was.

Amelia A. said...

In a very belated response to Zoe's original comment, I would have to argue that Dr. P did as good a job as he could within his time constraints of exploring both the evidence for and against dark matter. He presented a variety of explanations for what we observed happening in the pictures, and explained that many of these ideas have a lot of merit. I think he didn't focus as much as people may have liked on possible alternate explanations because at this point the consensus among physicists is that it does exist. He did an excellent job (in my opinion) of walking us through the various theories and how we have come to accept the dark matter theory.

Simone S. said...

I agree with Ethan's explaination of his pardigm shift in relation to music. I have had a similar experience with playing the piano. Do you think familiarity and practice (as a justification) contribute to paradigm shifts?

Eric Yin-Yang said...

To simone and ethan, I am a musician too, but I didn't experience a paradigm shift in my years of playing piano. I think that at the very start, I like playing the piano a lot and even though I disliked practice, I was always still glad that I could actually play piano. simone, I'm not quite sure how to answer your question, but I will try. In terms of physical skills, I think that yes, practice and familiarity will eventually make a person start to like something they originally hated. this is probably because as you practice, you get better at whatever you are practicing and that increase in skill creates its own benefits, such as esteem and confidence, that override the fact that you used to not like the action. With other, more belief-based things, the more you become familiar with something, the more it will take to cause you to have a paradigm shift. Of course, this isn't by far something you can apply universally though.

Anna said...

In response to Simone’s question, I believe that familiarity and practice serve as one of the main reasons why a paradigm shift might occur. It seems that the definition of a paradigm shift relates to one’s movement of beliefs from one side of the spectrum to the other, and the only way we are able to modify our thinking is by getting ourselves acquainted with new ideas and theories. In the case of music, one may despise a certain genre of music as a child, but as they age, they are able to familiarize themselves with it by listening to or playing the music, only to find themselves enjoying the sounds, and contradicting their previous assumptions.

Simone S. said...

By familiarity I mean that the more people know about something or the more that they've heard about it, the more willing they may be to shift their thinking to support that knowledge. I think the accumulation of evidence (whether it is credible or not)does affect how willing people are to accept a new theory. This is seen in literature where verisimilitude is the accumulation of details to give the appearance of truth, leading the reader to believe in the reality of the story's situation. Simply by being exposed to something long enough, we could come to accept its presence. But since we think critically, we can sift through the accumulation of knowledge to sort out what is valid and what is not. And of course in fields like dark matter, scientific reasoning is checked several times by very knowledgeable people. I think the justification of familiarity may apply less to academic knowledge in science and more to knowledge that we are emotionally connected to.

Kathryn said...

After Dr. Polhemus' speech i am convinced that dark matter exists. He really talked about it in a way that i could understand, and i've never taken physics before so that was very helpful. i think familiarity was still a big knowledge issue for me though, because i have not heard any other theories than the one that Dr. Polhemus explained, so his authority makes me believe that dark matter does exist. He also had a convincing presentation through pictures that also made me believe that dark matter exists.

To find knowledge about anything to do with space would be difficult because a lot of expensive equipment is needed, but to take it a step further the dark matter that they are trying to prove exists cannot be seen. It would seem logical to say that it doesn't exist because how can it be there if we can't see it, but on the other hand it is one of the only theories that would explain the empty space that bends light and changes mass.

Paradigm shift...I would say a big one for me was understanding the significance of going through the IB program. I am a school of choic-er and in junior high I really resented IB because I went to Lesher instead of Webber (my neighborhood school), so i was seperated from all of my friends. Because of this I was always complaining about IB and how it served no purpose to my education and I wanted to make my own decisions about school. But now I realize that being in the IB program is a privelige. Both of my older sisters have graduated from the IB program, and both have great study habits for college and told me that it really helped them, especially in their first year. I now know the reason I'm doing this.

Kathryn said...

I can really relate to shellie's example of a paradigm shift. I was also raised catholic you could say, not strictly, but my parents took me to church every week and that was my religious connection. I was never a big fan of church, and thought i was just going because i had to, not because i actually believed in the religion. I am still not a very religious person, but through a camp this summer i started to get a better understanding of cathlocism, something i had never really grasped at church, and i'm starting to come back around to religion again, but this time by for myself, not someone else.

Kathryn said...

I really agree with everyone talking about the difficulties with dark matter being a lack of empirical evidence. I think it's true that most people need to see something in order to believe it, and dark matter is definitely hard to see, so for people to believe it might be far fetched. If however they are able to get a picture of it somehow or get visual proof, i think that there will be even more to learn from there.

whitepanda said...

I think that dark matter, the thing that we can't detect that can somehow add mass to space, exists. Whether dark matter is an apt term or not, eh...seems a little Star Trekkie (though I've never seen that before so..).
Anyways, I think that dark matter exists because of the evidence that Dr. P laid out, from the "clumping" and how there hasn't been enough time yet for the theoretical models to match what we actually have, to the way the light waves bend around the galaxies. This is all very convincing empirical (sense perception) proof, which I think is further solidified by Dr. P's authority, as Rachel said, the guy is pretty smart, and some of my own experience, because in AP Physics, we did a little programming and calculations to model a theoretical system, and it worked. On a tangent here, what if the dark matter is parallel universes or...god...??? eh...that's wierd to think about, because we would never know as the whole point of being supernatural is that you transcend basic rules of science...The scienctists are assuming that nothing supernatural is acting on the universe (which I agree with, but you could never know). Anyways, justifying my belief that dark matter exists...If it isn't dark matter, what is it???

I already said some things about why dark matter is hard for scientists to deal with, because it is nothing like they've seen before. Everything in science relies so much on the interaction of what you're testing. It has to do something besides bend some light waves and disprove a bunch of theoretical models. Scientists need to detect it and manipulate it. This could also just be beyond human understanding (ie the fifth dimension is beyond human understanding, or this human's understanding at least).

paradigm shift...hm...*about 30 minutes later* I've always thought that the Chinese Communist Party/Chairman Mao were okay people. People that abviously made mistakes but okay people nonetheless. No, not true...no. Reading sources by westerners vs. my parents perpective...totally different. In Western view: Mao was a womanizer, ruthless dictator, killed more people that Stalin and Hitler and a lot of other people combined, and never brushed his teeth. My perspective as influenced by my parents: sure the Cultural Revolutions was horrible and the USSR did nothing, and there was a famine, but this didn't seem like a direct result of Mao, more like the public. At least Mao unified the country, didn't rely on anybody for help, took a stand against those westerners, and my parents got by so...Or my parents could've sheltered me so they didn't want to say too much, therefore producing my skewed image of Mao.

Rebecca said...

1)I'm not completely sure that dark matter exists, but because I view Dr. P. as an authority, I'm mostly sure. What's holding me back is my lack of knowledge in the area. I have self-awareness in that I acknowledge that I don't have enough information to make a confident judgement. I found Dr. P.'s presentation very convincing, but I must acknowlegde that I was only hearing the facts from one side of the controversy. If I heard the facts presented by someone who fervently disagreed with the dark matter, I might be less convinced.

Nels said...

After listening to Dr. P, I do think that dark matter exists. Dr. P convinced me that dark matter existed out their. He did that with his use of logic. He explained each step they took into finding out about it, and explained each arguement for and against it. He then went on to show eventually how they arrived at the conclusion that dark matter exists. This attention to the counter claims view point showed to me a level of analysis and fairness to it. Then when Dr. P talked about how they really didn't like this discovery because it screwed things up, that was when i was wholely convinced. Dr. P showed that they had to put behind showed their knowing of a knowledge issue and trying to limit it. However, I do realize that there is the limitations of knowledge here, with the fact that we can't go out and go buy some dark matter in a store. That makes it pretty difficult for a scientist, much less joe the plumber, to say that dark matter exists. A person has to be able to do all the math and see everything to believe in dark matter.

I have experienced paradigm shifts in the past. One of them was that I used to think that the conservative view on politics was the right one. However, when i started looking at history and thinking about my experiences, I turned into a liberal.

I agree with Rebeccan when she said that she would is more likely to agree with Dr. P because he is an authority figure. I am not the best person at physics person at my table in class, let alone in the world, so it becomes a matter of convienince when I choose to believe what Dr. P says.

Bismah A. said...

Personally, I thought that Dr.P did a good job of trying to simplify and explain such a complex concept in such a short time. Although he did a good job explaining however, I found myself just being unable to fathom things on the magnitude and the scale at which he was speaking. For me, it is extremely mind-boggling to try and fathom how big even the universe is, let alone the fact and implications of gravity not existing, or existing in extreme forces. This did lead me to doubt some of his explanations to an extent, but only because my mind isn't used to thinking of things in such a large context as space and multiple universes.

Tae said...

Given that I am yet uncertain concerning what dark matter is, I am not entirely sure whether or not I "believe in" it. I am still groping for implications. If dark matter exists, what does this mean? I suppose the universe will not change if we can definitively say whether or not dark matter exists, so my opinion really does not matter. I don't know enough about dark matter and space to judge whether or not it exists (and I can say with absolute candor that I prefer to confine myself to the global sphere). Given the vast and arcane nature of outer space, scientists must rely on technology (whether it is accurate or effectual or not) and are thus limited in their capabilities.
I used to believe that wisdom and knowledge are more important than pleasure. However, I now have deduced that regardless of how wise I am at death, if I live in misery, I will not have derived as much from life as I would have had I focused on obtaining happiness and pleasure.
I agree with previous people in that I don't see why dark matter shouldn't exist- although I also agree that the calibre of my understanding is not sufficient concerning this matter- and moreover, my world will probably not change regardless of whether or not dark matter exists.

Meredith Wheeler said...

1. I do think that dark matter exists. An interesting thing for me about watching this presentation was that it was the second time I had seen it. About a month ago, Amelia and I went to Starry Night to watch Dr. P give the presentation on dark matter, and after seeing it I felt the same way many of you seem to--that is, confused, but intrigued. After watching it for the second time, I feel much more prepared to discuss the existence of dark matter. I felt as though I understood about 50% of the presentation the first time vs. 90% the second time. Why do I mention this? I think my prior knowledge, that is, my memory of dark matter (however indeterminate) helped convince me of its existence when the same presentation was repeated. This justification helps me better understand language as a way of knowing. Because I was already passively familiar with the language, applying it to the images we were presented with helped me use sense perception to determine my opinion. However, I think what Zoe is saying is really interesting: that we can't be entirely sure because we weren't presented with a full counterargument. Though Dr. P alluded to the alternative hypothesis, there wasn't any visual presentation of the logic supporting them. I feel I would need to study dark matter for more than two hours in order to fully embrace its existence, though hearing the presentation again certainly solidified my existing justifications. I also think it's interesting that Nels and Rebecca, who are both in my physics class, discussed Dr.P's authority. I totally agree with this, and I think having him in class every day makes me respect his authority all the more.
2. In terms of dark matter specifically, the notion of "seeing" runs contrary to our traditional ideas of sense perception, since we can't visualize dark matter, we can only conceptualize it. Outside of the scientific community, this is problematic. I remember a woman approaching Dr. P, horrified, the first time I watched the presentation, asking him if the Hadron Collider would create a black hole and if antimatter (a la Da Vinci Code) was the same as dark matter. Because of this uncertainty, scientific research can cause fear to outsiders, who aren't really sure what goes on in laboratories and underground particle colliders. As a result, it can be hard to get funding from bureaucracy, resulting in less technological resources for the scientific community to substantiate their claims. Basically, I see it as a vicious circle (Eric alluded to this). Within the scientific community, I think that a knowledge issue that makes it difficult to come to terms with things like dark matter is familiarity. I can only imagine how difficult it is for physicists to contemplate the fact that Einstein's relativity might be wrong. Ultimately, though, I think this challenge yields more creative thinking.
3. My paradigm shift occurred after reading an article written about the Iraq war. I'll probably do a blog post on it soon so I don't want to give it away, but it was basically a posthumous tribute to a soldier by Christopher Hitchens, one of the war's early defenders. The soldier, Mark Daily, enlisted in part because of Hitchens' writing, and died in an IED explosion. I've always been liberal, and I'm still against the war, but the article made me totally rethink my rhetoric and my patriotism. I realize now that I can't passively accept freedom, I have to defend it.

Danya said...

1) I agree with the general consensus on this first question. Yes, I believe that dark matter matters, due to mainly a gut feeling, but honestly, I was kind of confused about the whole subject in all. Dr. P. presented it in an easy-to-comprehend manner, but, as Zoe said, he has been studying dark matter for years. It's kind of a crazy concept... but for some reason, I believe it. This could have to do with the way Dr. P. presented it; his visual and auditory evidence were very convincing, and I liked the way he conveyed the main points. In all, though, I was a little confused throughout the presentation.

Ben White Chocolate Olsen said...

1) To be honest I didn't completely understand everything that Dr. Polhemus was saying but I tried my best because I was very interested. Since I had no previous knowledge of what dark matter is I came in unbiased on the matter but I can say that after the presentation I think that there is a substance called dark matter. There seemed to be a substantial amount of evidence gathered by physicists despite the difficulties and this definately swayed my beliefs regarding dark matter. Dr. Polhemus' confidence in the existence of dark matter as well as the numerous visuals that he created lead me to believe that Dark matter does in fact exist.

2) It is very difficult for scientists to be 100 percent confident about their findings due to the inadequate equipment that they have at the moment but as time progresses so does our technology and they are becoming more and more confident about their findings of dark matter in space. Also I realize that insufficient funds contribute to the scientists inadequate technology.
3) Throughout my life I don't think that I have ever experienced a paradigm shift. The most important beliefe, to me, that I have is that there is a God. Throughout my entire life I have beliefed that there is a God. There have been instances where my beliefs in God have been challenged but these always seem to strengthen my beleif in God. I have always believed in a god mainly because that is what my faith tells but I will admitt that it is also because I have been raised to believe in God but my parents have never told me that they would love me less if I told them I didn't believe in God. My beliefs have for the most part have all been formed by myself. When I go out into nature or learn about how amazingly the body works I find it hard to not think that there was a higher being responsible in the creation of these things, and I believe this higher being is God.

Laura Jo Washle said...

1) I believe that dark matter exists. Dr. Polhemus has a great knowers perspective on this topic and he made some really good points that led me to believe in something so abstract. I have no reason not to believe what he has told us about dark matter because like many people have said before me, there was really no opposition given to convince me otherwise. By using the visual evidence and representations, Dr. Polhemus expanded his use of sense perception which helped a lot when he was explaining this confusing topic of dark matter. I also thought it was good that he kinda “dumbed” his presentation down so that people who had no previous knowledge with this subject ( I’m guessing most of us) could comprehend such an intangible theory. By making this presentation easy to understand, it became easier for me to believe in what he was telling us, weather this dark matter really exists or not.
2) There are many problems that exist when scientists are working with a concept like dark matter because it is an intangible theory that is VERY difficult to attain strong evidence on. Like Dr. P said, it would take tons of $$$$ to really test this dark matter stuff and come up with some hard evidence. Funding can be a big problem with a topic like this one because if we put billions of dollars into proving if dark matter truly exists…then what? What effect will this proof have on us individually? If it really exists, then we know we’ve been living with it for millions of years and it hasn’t really affected us, so why should we care once it’s proven? I know I’m being the devils advocate here, but this is most likely a question people with a lot of money want to know the answer to before they invest in such a huge project. If scientists don’t have an answer to this question, that could be a big problem.
3) I had a similar experience to Zoe’s. I once met a girl at a camp I attended that I really just didn’t like. I was convinced that she was the stereotypical cranky, popular, rich girl that annoyed me so much. I barely knew this girl, but I had a strong opinion about her that I accepted as truth. Well, like Zoe, after being placed in a group, and forced to work with this girl I learned that we had a lot of the same interests, and she was actually a really nice and intelligent person. My paradigm completely shifted from “knowing” I wouldn’t get along with this person to now knowing she was one of my best friends from camp that year.

Michael W. said...

After listening to Dr. P, I do think that dark matter exists. I think that he has convinced me because of his knowledge in the subject. Although I may just be blindly following the rest of the crowd, I think that it would explain a lot. Also, the fact that Dr. P, who is one of my teachers, is telling me that he believes it, I feel more inclined to do so. Further, it would be easier to just believe it. Some knowledge issues that I can see in me making these beliefs are availability, memorability, sparkle, visual presentation, and descriptive.

One problem that exists in letting scientists come to a full understanding of the subject, is the fact that at this point in time, technology is just not developed enough for us to see things so far away in the universe, or even to test if dark matter exists. I also would like to comment on what Eric and Meredith said. I agree that if one piece in solving the scientific problems is incorrect, the whole community would suffer because of familiarity.

I can't think of a good paradigm shift in my own life, but evidence that has caused me to change my view, would be at one time, I always thought that math was simple and almost always about computations. At one point, I looked at some theories that mathematicians had and I discovered that math is much more than just solving simple calculations, but instead required a lot of insight and creativity in solving problems.

Vladman said...

After listening to the presentation I would have to say that my opinion on dark matter is fairly neutral. Coming in to the presentation I didn't know anything about dark matter, and just assumed that since people talked about it, it existed. Now, since I know that scientists are unsure about the cause for this extra energy I would probably lean more towards there being an error in the physics equations used, and that a new one will have to be found (created). I feel that scientists will have their biggest problem in coming to face with the fact that their equations could be wrong, and I hope that if it is the case, they will not try and hold on to what they want to believe, and to move on to what is right. I can't really think of a time when I had a paradigm shift so I will use the presentation as it, since with no knowledge you tend to believe anything anyone with authority says about a subject, even though they too are people, no matter how much they know. I can't say I know much more than I previously did, but unless we are able to find actual evidence of dark matter I will hope that we continue to explore all the places where we could have made mistakes, as I doubt everything we have learned is perfect.

Brittany said...

1. I don't really know for sure, a lot of the things that Dr. P said were over my head and i didn't fully understand his justifications, but I accept it for the most part becuase it is easier that to reject our theories that we have had established for so long like gravity...
2. There are tons of things that would affect their ability to research what is out there. The most obvious would be just how enormous the universe is and how it takes longer than any of our lifetimes to travel very far, so scientists may make generalizations based on what is closer to home, without knowing what percent the rest of the universe is exactly like what is nearby.
3. A paradigm shift I guess that i have experienced was when i was little i didn't really care much about what i ate, but after I took different health classes, I stopped eating fast food, and later meat too becuase I changed the way that i looked at them becuase what i was doing wasn't working out as well as the new method might.. Not too philosophical, but it's the only thing that comes to mind at the moment.

Kelsey B said...

1. I guess that to tell the truth I would have to say that right now I am pretty convinced that dark matter exists. I have learned about dark matter before, or at least heard about and read some articles about it so the idea is fammiliar to me. I also though that Dr. P's evidence and the pictures and information that he gave us made a lot of sense to me. It all seemed very logical to me, what he was saying about how exactly scientists came to believe in or at least suspect the existance of dark matter. I think that the bigger question now is not whether or not dark matter exists, but rather on what exactly it is. I think that based on the evidence that Dr. P showed us, it seems to be pretty clear that something more exists than just what we currently understand, but I am still not completely clear on what exactly that something (dark matter) is, but then again I am not sure anyone is really sure what it is at this point.
2. I think that the biggest problem that makes it difficult for scientists to come to knowledge in the area of dark matter is the simple fact that they can't see it. Humans, especially scientists I think are pretty use to the fact that there are a lot of things, especially related to astronomy, that we can't actually phisically see in the classical sense, that is just with our eyes. So I think that scientists have gotten use to useing the different instruments and thechnologies that they have in order to gain knowledge about something and that is something that they are very comfortable with. However dark matter is not even "visible" with any of the technology that we currently have. Everything that we know about it coems from looking at the effects of it and looking at how the stuff that we can "see" interacts with it. This is a very indirect way of "seeing" something and I think that it probably takes some getting use to. Also maybe someday in the future scientists will come up with some instrument that can effectively "see" dark matter and we will have a much better understanding of what we are really dealing with, but until then we will just have to rely on inferences, which never seem as believeable as actually "seeing" something.
3. I guess that my biggest paradigm shift came in towards the end of last year and that was when I realized that everything didn't have to be black and white, that isn't a right answer and a bunch of wrong ones. Before that, I use to get in kind of a lot of fights with my parents over things that looking back on it, were really trivial. I was just convinced that I was right and that if they didn't see it my way then they were wrong and it was worth it to fight to the death to be allowed to go to a basketball game. I now realize that you have to pick your battles and I also realize that the "point" of having an argument with someone is not always to prove them wrong. I have learned that there is merit in listening to what they have to say even if I don't agree with them, there is value in the discussion even if they don't end up thinking the way I do.

I can also totally relate to what both Zoe and Anna said at the begining of this discussion. Zoe, I agree that it is really easy to get stuck in thinking that someone is really annoying and that you will never like them any better. I find myself doing that sometimes, interpreting everything they do as irritating, even if it really isn't that bad. Usually if I manage to stop thinking that way, I find that I like people more.
I also very strongly agree with Anna's statement about politics. I have a lot of really liberal and really conservative people in my family. From the uncle who is the head of the local "Impeach Bush" group in his town, to the ultra conservative Catholic cousins. From that I have realized that you really don't have to be so polorized, there is some middle ground. Personally I now consider myself pretty moderate, more liberal on certain issues, and more conservative on others.

Kelly C said...

1. Dr. P did convinced me that dark matter exists. He showed good evidence, including pictures, explanations, graphs, etc. This helped convince me that there is dark matter. Another reason he persuaded me is because he is an authoritative figure who is well studied on the topic. Therefore, because I had no previous knowledge it is likely that I am going to take Dr. P's view. It would be interesting, however, to hear about dark matter from someone who does not believe it exists. This would allow me to have a less bias assumption of the issue, considering I have only heard one side of the argument.

2. There are a lot of problems that face scientists when it comes to learning about dark matter. First of all, this is expensive, and the equipment to deeply investigate dark matter is costly and not easily accessible. Also, because dark matter is something that cannot be seen, it is a lot harder to prove that it exists. Many people need to see to believe. Scientists especially, need to be able to show solid evidence for a theory, which can be hard with something like dark matter. Instead of hands on experiments, dark matter must be studied through photographs and technology. This makes it difficult to learn about this area of science.

3. I experienced a paradigm shift when I lived in Spain. When I first moved there in seventh grade I did not like it. School was frustrating and the language barrier made every aspect of life difficult. After a few months passed however, I started to really appreciate the experience. I was learning more and more Spanish and being immersed in a rich culture. Communication became easier and I had more friends at school. By the time I moved back to Colorado, nine months later, I was sad to be leaving!

Janessa said...

1.) Honestly I cannot say if dark matter exists or not, and I cannot say if the atomic theory holds true because I have never seen it. I have seen why two atoms hold together (through covalent or ionic bonds) and why certain things act the way they do, which confirms different scientific theories, but can we actually see it? I can’t. I cannot disprove it, and neither can Dr. Polhemus, but does that mean that we hold it as true knowledge? Can we decide if something is true based on an hour lecture? Just because Dr. Polhemus has spent his entire life working with this, does that make it true? Not necessarily. Of course Dr. Polhemus is smarter than our entire school, and has more authority over this subject. So I say, does it actually matter if I’m convinced or not, because it’s over my head anyway. Once these genuses’s find out what the truth is, if they ever do, how will that benefit anything? Will it? Will it prove that there is a God or that there is not God and we came from a “fist sized ball of crammed particles?” Considering we don’t know what the other 90% of the universe holds, will this actually benefit the world and the issues that we are facing today? For me, it doesn’t “matter” if dark matter exists, and good luck to anyone trying to figure it out. I give you points for that, but I cannot relate which makes it harder for me to care. (maybe I’m just being absurd…)

2.) The problems that exist that make it difficult for scientists to come to knowledge in an area like dark matter is the fact that they CANNOT SEE IT!!!!! Sensory perception is nada in this line of work. From the fascinating pictures that Dr. Polhemus showed us, he could only see the effect of “dark matter”, not its actual substance. It must be so hard to study something that we cannot see, because it makes my assurance/confirmation of the knowledge shakier. It makes you question and doubt, and then question some more, until you ask yourself, is it even worth it? You only live once; do you want to spend your life looking for something that you may never come to see the answer to, or end of? Crazy!!!

3.) A paradigm shift I have experienced was the belief in a God. I believed unwaveringly that Jesus Christ the son of God died for our sins. I believed this because of authority, family and just general consensus. When I started looking outside the box and thought of what other people believed in and wondered why they believed their religion to be true. Then I had a crazy paradigm shift and asked myself, “what if I’m wrong?” What if Jesus Christ was just a man that had great morals and had a healing hand? Why doesn’t the Christian faith hold other “encounters” with God as true as with Jesus. Why don’t we believe in Mormonism? They believe that Jesus was a prophet, but that not just Jesus, but others experienced moments with God. Why does it just have to be Jesus who gets to talk to God? Why doesn’t God respond to my questions? Why can’t we have a nice conversation over some hot coffee? The main question that stumped me was, why do we (Christians) hold the bible as the “word” of God IF a bunch of “sinners” aka men wrote it!? and anyone who takes away or adds to the bible will be condemned. I just don’t get it. So, anyway, moving on, I decided that I hold the bible as true, but to a metaphorical extent verses literal. The bible has some amazing stories that have great morals and values, and I want to live a life filled with love and helping others, (all of which the bible greatly emphasizes by saying “love your neighbors as yourself”, etc) and I believe in God, but whether I believe that the son of God, Jesus Christ is true, I’m still pondering… any ideas?

Janessa said...

I agree with Michael, Meredith and Eric. Our technology, although we may have the iphone, still isn't as complex as we need it.(haha that’s a joke) If any puzzle piece is incorrect in the theory of "science" (gravity, matter, dark matter, etc) then the entire community would suffer and have to start rebuilding a foundation with which to base everything else off of…again. When Dr. Polhemus spoke, I thought, maybe there is a fluctuation in gravity. No one believed it because it would defy, (god forbid) Newton’s law. But what if his law is applicable to most things, but then something can interfere with it and cause fluctuations. It isn’t improbable because look at all the stuff we don’t know. I recall Dr. Polhumus saying that we didn't know 90% of what the universe holds… so how right are we on anything we have discovered?

Big D said...

1) Dr. P presented the argument for Dark Matter in an easy to understand format and in such a way that it stands out as the only theory that currently fits what astrophysicists have observed in Space. However because I do not have the appropriate knowledge to develop a sophisticated theory of my own, I therefore have to except that because many scientists have spent their effort and thought on this issue and have deemed their answer correct, therefore I must accept the hypothesis of the existence of Dark Matter
2) Two things stand out to me as the major knowledge issues behind the prove of the existence of Dark Matter. Because we cannot observe the effects of dark matter through our bodies regular sensory abilities, we must use technology to observe dark matter's existence. It is possible that the technology we have is insufficient or we have not looked at other information that would further our understanding. The second issue is a matter of the limitations of human creativity. Though our skills in innovation is great, sometimes the best ideas are a combination of a lot of luck and above average intelligence. The intelligence might be there but the luck is not always. If this is the case the answer to astrophysicists might exist outside of the realm of dark matter but we need only time for someone to realize it.
3) Paradigm shifts have occured for me with the acquisition of new skills or knowledge. My experiences with musical instruments, like Ethan though specifically on the guitar, have opened a new way of examining the details of musical composition. This agrees with Eric's description of paradigm shifts occuring over education however I believe that this is not limited to education in school but can be broadened to all learning that takes place over life. Each piece of information is a paradigm shift however small the information is. It is all about how the knowledge is used.

Vincent said...

well... i think that it exists yes. But i don't really see the point of why i should care. I was just left going "huh, that was interesting, time to move on with my life", I had no desire to look into it any further. I think that in a situation like dark matter, scientists will have a very big problem. from what i gathered, they can only "see" it in very special cases. and on top of that, they cant really see it at all, just see the affect is has on the particles around them. I think that a good example of a paradigm shift would not be with me, but with one of my friends Megan Jansen. In Jr high, she HATED me. Like not disliked... HATED me. but after we got out of lesher, we were re introduced when my older brother started dating her sister. When we met again, the relationship seemed different, she seemed to understand that boys were mostly anoying and she had what you like to call a paradigm shift and now we are very good friends.... the end.

SamanthaJo said...

1) After Dr. P's presentation, I am very convinced that dark matter does exist. His explanations were convincing and were logical to me, but I think the main reason I am convinced is that I was predisposed to accepting Dr. P's information before the presentation even began. I am one of his students and I view him as an incredibly accredited authority because I experience his brilliance in class every day. I also knew beforehand that his methods for explaining things I don't understand make sense to me. Therefore as I was heading into the seminar, I felt like I had already made up my mind to trust what he would say. I do agree with kgibbs that the counter-argument was not supported and that should hinder Dr. P's argument, but that does not alter my opinion of dark matter's existence. This reliance on authority may hinder my ability to uncover truth, but I believe that my recognition of this reliance has allowed me to discover how I value the other ways of knowing.

2) I agree with Anna that it is difficult to justify the existence of dark matter because sense perception, which is an incredibly convincing justification, is not possible. For the astrophysicists themselves however, I believe emotion does play a huge role in limiting their knowledge. I know that if I were that passionate about finding the answers, my emotions would definitely construe the way I perceived the evidence and the way I explained my findings.

3) A paradigm shift I have recently experienced is my view of my younger brother. I have always viewed him as amazingly immature and never really realized that he was growing up. This year he came to Poudre as a freshman, and my view of who he is has been completely altered. I see how he interacts with others and how he forms his opinions, which indicates that - as weird as it is - he is maturing. He is more capable of understanding things in my life and of planning for his future. I'm sure my opinion of him, as well as those of my other younger siblings, will change many more times during my life. But in my opinion, an opinion is not permanent and is meant to be modified.

whitepanda said...

I don't remember who talked about this, but someone(s) mentioned a lack of a counter-claim/counterevidence to dark matter. That's all we were given in the presentation. There were little other theories mentioned, and when they were mentioned they seemed to be degraded when compared to dark matter. This is definitely a problem, because if there is only one thing to belive, that that's the one thing that we probably will gravitate towards. Where are the other options? (beside god and religion, but even then I think that dark matter can coexist with religious beliefs..I'm not sure though as I know very little about religion). Very few people thus far have disagreed, but what is there to disagree to when we have only been presented with one side of the story?

whitepanda aka Emilly

Alysia Dong said...

1. After listening to Dr. Polhemus on Dark Matter, it is hard not to doubt that dark matter actually exists. Dr. Polhemus pointed out many facts that convinced me that dark matter actually exists, we just can't see it. He provided many examples of why dark matter exists (the examples in complicated physics that I only half understood... ie. the lines and how that says that there is more mass than they can see). However, the scientists were wrong mulitple times, leaving me wondering if they are right this time. Have they actually found the correct answer in dark matter or are the wrong once again, like the times before? What makes them right now? And yet I believe Dr. P because he is talking about the latest findings in physics and I trust that he knows what he is talking about. Of course this new theory can change, but that what science is finding theories and then changing them when new discoveries are made that don't correspond with you old theory.
2. The universe is a complicated system that scientists had had to rethink their theories of how the universe works. One can never actually know if their theory is the correct one. One day it might be, but the next day a significant observation is discovered that changes your theories and all that you know at that time. The problems that make it difficult for scientists to come to knowledge in an area like dark matter is that you can not actually say for certain if it actually exists since you can't see it! Scientist have used deduction and observations to say that dark matter exists, but in order to actually know or comfirm the theory of dark matter, one must actually go into space and find some dark matter. As, this is impossible at the time( you need to go deep into space, which would take a long, long, long,... time) scientist can't confirm it and so it is difficult for the scientits to come to knowledge conserning dark matter.
3. A paradigm shift...hmm. A recent paradigm shift that I can think of is my idea of the ideas that the president candidates had for the nation. I used to believe one of the ideas (I won't say which) was correct, but as I started to learn more about that idea, research on that idea, and talk to other people about that specific idea, I started to shift my idea that the idea that this certain candidate was not the idea that I believed in even though the candidate had put it into such elegant words that seemed to relate to what I believed in.

whitepanda said...

I totally agree with what anna said (a lot) earlier about how we are more likely to believe Dr. P because we are too lazy to find out for ourselves. I certainly do not want to crack out my calculator and measure if the clumps are clumpy enough or the distance of the galaxiess using light shifts. There was this quote last year in my TOK class that was something like "you tell a man that there are 100 million stars in the sky and he will believe you, but you tell him that a bench is wet, yet he will reach out and touch the paint" (or something along those lines). This quote applies here a lot, and probably plays a role in why we believe in Dr. P. Because of the sheer difficulty and abstractednes of dark matter, we are less likely to question what has been told.

whitepanda aka Emilly

Danya said...

2) I can definitely see how scientists encounter problems when it comes to dark matter. I mean, it costs an unbelievable amount of money just to buy the testing equipment, much less to actually run the experiments. Also, we don't have the technology to actually PROVE that it exists, so while we can make inferences and we can estimate, there will be no physical proof until technology advances. Obviously, we can't travel far enough out to see it for ourselves.

3) I experienced a paradigm shift when I learned that my dad was getting remarried. At first, I was completely unsure about the idea... I think it was partly because of the social expectations that had been drilled into my head (I didn't want an evil stepmother/siblings). After it actually happened, however, I had to learn embrace change and not believe every stereotype I hear. I experienced the paradigm shift when I found that I actually enjoy spending time with my new (or at least new at the time) family members. :)

James said...

After listening to Dr. Polhemus I feel that dark matter does exist in some form in our universe. He had some very convincing evidence of the existence of dark matter that made me think it exists. One reason I eel dark matter does exist after listening to Dr. Polhemus's lecture is because Dr. Polhemus is possibly the smartest guy I now personally so anything he says i'm more likely to believe. Also, this subject is one that he has devoted a lot of his life to and I know from my physics class with him that he has a deep interest in this subject also.

Danya said...

I thought that Don's idea of paradigm shift in relation to global warming was very interesting. I experienced sort of a paradigm shift about global warming... a few months ago, I honestly didn't care. But, through the urging of my family and friends, I learned more about the issue, and now I hold it higher in importance than I did before. Has anyone else felt anything similar toward global warming?

James said...

In coming to knowledge about things such as dark matter scientists face many problems. First, they can't find direct evidence of it so they have to rely on. In the lecture for example, scientists had to rely on their knowledge of gravity and there observations to find evidence of dark matter. We have to keep faith in things that we've proved before to try and come to knowledge in such areas.

Hannah said...

1.I think Dr. P did an awesome job explaining dark matter in a way that would be comprehensible for students who are on a way lower level of understanding than he is. I am still not completely sold on the idea of dark matter, though. While he gave good justifications that it exists and while, like others have said before, it is hard to think he could be wrong because he is so intelligent I am still having trouble wrapping my mind around the concept of dark matter. To be honest, though, I have trouble wrapping my mind around astrology in general because it is so far away from what I deal with in my everyday life and what my reality is. Like what amylm said, it’s hard for me to believe 100 percent in something that I can’t physically know is there.

2.Like what others have said, I think a huge problem in coming to knowledge in an area like dark matter is the limits of technology. Technology has come a long way, however it’s still not advanced enough to provide actual images of dark matter and proof it exists other than through using cause and effect. Also, because it challenges some of our basic understandings of the universe and gravity it is harder to be accepted as knowledge because it’s unfamiliar.

3.I know I have had several paradigm shifts in my life, but now that I’m trying to think of them none are coming to mind. I guess, like samanthajo, one I’ve been through this year is my relationship with my little sister. I am very overprotective of her and always thought that she needed me to protect her because she is my baby sister. Our relationship was always me acting like her mother and her getting really annoyed and angry with me. She is a freshman at Poudre this year though, and as I’ve seen her interacting with friends and dealing with more mature situations I realized that she is a lot more capable than I thought and she doesn’t need me to be her mother she needs me to be her friend. We have become a lot closer and are able to talk about things I never thought we would be able to talk about before. I know our relationship and the relationship I have with my little brother will continue to change like this as we get older.

annelise gilsdorf said...

1. AFter seeing Dr. P's lecture I can say with moderate certainty that I do believe that dark matter exists. I think the primary justification that I had in accepting this belief was the knowledge that I gained through seeing Dr. P's explanation of the pictures and diagrams that he showed. It was interesting to me how much these helped my understanding. I could never have hoped to grasp the concept without the visual aids. This in itself started me thinking a bit about how much sense perception really does influence our knowledge.
2. The above statement brings me to my next point...
I was also wondering throughout the presentation if the absence of something can truly be considered sense perception and if it invalidates the theories upon which our knowledge of dark matter is based. I guess that I would say this was one of my primary questions about the problems that scientists may encounter. Obviously, as Dr. P. mentioned there are other problems to consider such as the enormous amounts of money that would be required to fully ascertain some information. Another limitation is the inability of scientists to take empirical evidence of dark matter. It is difficult to say something exists when we aren't sure what it is, and we can't even technically detect it. Is detecting the absence of one thing the same thing as discovering that something else has to fill the absence?
3. As far as paradigm shifts go...
I was raised in a conservative Christian home and grew up believing what my parents thought, in large part solely because it was what my parents thought. However, when I entered high school I was forced to confront my beliefs head on and evaluate them for what they were. I went through and did a lot of thinking and praying and after all of this I decided that I still did believe what I had before. This may not sound like a paradigm shift but I think that, although subtle, it was a very distinct one. I now look at my beliefs completely differently than I used to. They are mine. Not my parents and not my peers or teachers.

Danya said...

I also thought that Anna's paradigm shift views were really interesting, and although they didn't specifically pertain to me, I think the idea that a person can be converted from one political party to another is very prominent in the upcoming election. I had a question for Anna: when did this paradigm shift occur? Was it during this election season?

James said...

A paradigm shift that I've experienced deals with my religious beliefs. When I was younger my parents took me to church every sunday, I participated in youth group and other church related activities. This continued until I first started developing my own ideas and learning about the world. From here on out I asked my parents to allow me to stay home on sundays and eventually church was left out of my life. This shift in my beliefs was caused by the more logical (in my mind) views of science.

annelise gilsdorf said...

In response to Katie's comment about dark matter funding. I totally agree. It makes me wonder when the pursuit of knowledge becomes something that we should not try for any more? Is there a line to draw where it becomes pointless to try to discover things because it won't do anything. I guess I could connect it to the idea of pragmatism. Just because we can research something does it mean we should? Are there better uses of our resources or is the moral self-discipline to discover the truth the one thing that should take precedence?

Hannah said...

I totally agree with what Kelsey said about everything not being black and white. Similarly, I used to fight over all kinds of trivial things with my parents simply to argue with them and I was always so sure I was the right one. My mom always used to tell me that in arguing with them I never proved that I was right, just that I was capable of being immature and narrow minded. Over the summer and through TOK this year I have learned just how right she was and that while there is a point in standing up for my beliefs, there is also merit in what others say and I have to listen to other opinions too. I have also learned that it's good to stand up for what you believe in, but it's also okay to realize that some arguements aren't really worth it.

annelise gilsdorf said...

In response to Hannah's comment I can definitely relate to her not understanding dark matter because it doesn't apply to her life. I think that my understanding of the concept was hindered by the fact that it seemed like such an incredibly abstract comment. It's hard to justify your knowledge of something, regardless of how logical the justfications are, when you don't understand the knowledge that the logic is based on.

Hannah said...

I think Annelise brings up a good point with her paradigm shift comment. At least for me, when I was trying to think of a shift I went through I was trying to think of something big. For some reason the word shift makes me think of large changes, and I didn't really consider subtle changes that have affected me. It's important to keep in mind that sometimes the subtle changes can be just as (if not more) meaninful as large ones.

Megan said...

1.) I was really fascinated by Dr. P's lecture not because of the content, but because of his passion for the subject. Although it was extremely hard for me to grasp, I didn't lose interest because Dr. P spoke with so much excitement. Although I still don't completely understand the idea behind dark matter, I am fairly confident that it is a valid theory. As many people mentioned, Dr. P is probably brilliant and he is a very credible source. Because of his experience and my distance from the matter, I am willing to believe that dark matter exists. What occurs in the world of astropysics is never something that I think about. It is irrelevant to my life and the daily life of everyone. That is not to say that it isn't worth studying, but for me, my inability to understand and the complex ideas have no real importance. It would be very easy for Dr. P to deceive all of us with his lecture. How would we know he was being truthful? We couldn't because there is no way to test it. I thought his presentation used a lot of sparkle as a way of convincing his audiences. Everyone was awed by the beautiful swirling galaxies. His powerpoint was appealing and that made it more likeable for the audience.

Liz I. said...

1) Though the presentation as a whole was still way over my head, i'd have to say that i am pretty convinced that dark matter exists. it seems very probable based on Mr. P's presentation, however i am not fit to give a final say on the issue due to the scale of the issue and me not understanding it at all. however, i am convinced mainly through authority that dark matter most likely does exist.
2) the main problem that makes it hard to believe that dark matter exists is there isn't really any empirical data telling us that it exists, and it can't necessarily be perceived either, since we're not sure if its their. the fact that there is no empirical data yet to support dark matter makes it very hard for scientists to confirm that something like dark matter really does exist. empirical data is imperative in areas of knowledge like math and science, if there are no empirical perceptions or anything to emprirically be perceived, it is very hard for scientists to prove.
3) my original theory was to agree with my church on everything and life would be just fine and dandy (i am catholic). however, as i grew older and started to think more independently and noticed that i disagree with my church on many issues such as abortion and stem cell research (to name a few). this shift in my ideals was a turning point in my life because i realized that what the church says isn't necessarily what i should base my ideals and beliefs off of. my careful consideration of these opinions and my surroundings are what caused this shift in theories and ideals. i started being put in more liberal rather than conservative environments and started to believe what i was told by those people until the day came when i sat down and considered which side i really agreed with, and ultimately decided that for the most part i am more liberal than conservative (unlike the catholic church).

Rebecca said...

2)The lack of sense perception leaves dark matter up to interpretation. It becomes a language issue. Since we can't see or touch it, we have to come up with words and equations to represent it. Then we try to form theories based off of just that. Since there's less to go off, scientists can interpret dark matter differently depending on the meaning they ascribe it in their minds. That makes it very hard to prove or disprove any theories.

Megan said...

I have similar feelings to pretty much everyone about the problems that exist when determining knowledge about dark matter. I struggle with believing something that isn't tangible or that I can never actually see. It is probably invisible for a reason. We don't need to know about it, yet there is still some mertit in its study. Dark matter is so far away and we still know so little about it. I think Dr. P said that 90% (?) of the galaxy is missing. Should we even draw conclusions when we only have 10% of a whole? Another thing addressed in the presentation that could hinder our knowledge of astrophysics is the emotional investment scientists have. Dr. P said that it is very disappointing to them when something that they have put years of work into turns out to be wrong. I'm sure it is very tempting to pass something as "knowledge" even though it might be minorly flawed.

Hannah N said...

1) After the amount of information presented to us during this seminar, I have to conclude that dark matter MUST exist. Although it is an extremely complicated, not-entirely-understood topic, I do not see any other possibilities that could explain what makes up the majority of our universe. However, I do think that it is much more complex than even what we already believe it to be. It somewhat reminds me of "imaginary numbers" in math...it must exist somehow, but how that is we are entirely sure. (However I actually find more truth and purpose in dark matter than in imaginary numbers, to be completely honest). I can accept the concept of dark matter because of the examples Dr. P presented to us of the existence of dark matter...I can relate these ideas to everyday life. I also like how he explained, generally, what we DO know and what we still DON'T know, in order to provide us the opportunity to formulate our own opinions on the topic.

Kiah said...

In all honesty I was a little overwhelmed by the majority of the presentation. I feel like I should give a definite answer and say either I do or I don't believe dark matter exists. I want to say that I think it does exist but I don't feel like I understood the reasons and evidence behind dark matter to create a convincing argument either way. I believe that it does exist because of the way it was presented with enough evidence to support that it does exist. I think Mr. Polhemus presented the information very well and in a convincing way with lots of evidence in the form of pictures, graphs, and other visuals to help present what he was talking about. I don’t know the other side of the argument however, and I think that that is restricting my knowledge and judgment on the topic. I would like to have more than just one point of view before I give a definite answer.

Dark matter can not be physically touched or seen. To have an absolute definition of something that no one can see is nearly impossible. Most people need to be able to touch, see, of hear something to believe in it. Things aren’t so easily just taken on faith. Also, the research that is required is expensive. The equipment is not easy to come by and not exactly cheap. These all cause problems in working with dark matter and gaining knowledge in that area.

A paradigm shift that I have experienced is my view on life and its fragility. When I was younger I took everything for granted and assumed that I was invincible. I had had deaths occur around me, but never really knew the people very well or just thought it was because they were old. Then in third grade my dog was killed. I was up at my ranch with family and another family and we were walking back from climbing a rock. This was a walk we had taken hundreds of times and yet somehow this time everything would go wrong. We heard a single gun shot and that made us begin to call roll. All the people were accounted for so we started calling dogs. Only one of the two came. We called and called but the second dog never came. We walked home and were just hoping she had beat us home and would be waiting for us on the porch, she wasn’t. We searched late into the night and eventually had to go home since we had school the next day. After school we went back up for the next two days. On the second day we found what was left of her. We were only able to find her ribcage. It was a horrific awakening for me. I never really thought about the wildlife that was so close around me and how dangerous it could really be. It opened my eyes to not so pretty reality. I have gained a much healthier respect for wild animals and this was my first real insight on a death of someone close to me.

Megan said...

A paradigm shift that really influences my thinking and decision-making now was a program I did this summer. I went to Boston University to take classes for two weeks. I know it sounds naive and very odd but I thought that I wouldn't get along with people from other states because we have drastically different lifestyles. I didn't think that anyone from Florida (for example) could relate to someone from Colorado or vice versa. After a few days, no one really payed attention to where anyone was from. We all bonded even though we live in different places and do different things. I don't know why I thought this before, but I have come to realize that most people can get along- despite what state they are from.

Callie said...

From my limited grasp on the subject of dark matter from the presentation, I am somewhat convinced that it exists, even though I am not sure I understand fully understand the topic. I have a difficult time comprehending things that are bigger that the Earth, United States, Colorado, even Fort Collins, which presents a huge knowledge issue for me when attempting to understand the universe. It is very hard for me to fathom large amounts of things, so having dark matter as a sort of a space between the numerous other galaxies and stars makes sense to me. Of course, Dr. P was very convincing in his presentation with his pictures and diagrams. Having a visual to go along with the presentation made it more believable because I could see a visual of it, even if they were computer generated or changed to be visible to the human eye. Also, he seems like a good authority on the subject and he gave a very persuasive presentation. Since I knew nothing about the subject before the presentation, I believed most of what was said, because I have to believe authority in science or else it would be impossible for me to go and conduct every experiment to prove generally accepted concepts in science. Obviously, scientists face huge limitations when exploring things beyond what is visible to the eye. There is no way we can see everything such as the large amounts of things in the universe, or things that are not in the visible light spectrum. Scientists have to make inferences based on technology and/or logic. If one of their premises is wrong, then their whole theory is wrong, which is why some scientists might hesitate to come to a consensus on this topic. Also, it would be hard for scientist to come to a consensus on dark matter because of the availability of technology and money to continue research. Finally, it is really hard to prove something is there if you can’t see it and don’t know what it is, because many people are visual and need to see things to believe them and accept them as knowledge. An example of a paradigm shift for me is my view of American History. I used think that history was full of noble adventures and heroes and was very patriotic. After my junior high and high school history classes, I have learned that there are always at least two sides to a historical event that need to be taken into consideration. I have learned that history books tend to glorify certain figures and simplify events and it is necessary to look deeper into the subject to get a more balanced view. Its not that I have become unpatriotic from looking at history, I just have realized that some events in history are more complex than others and that some events in our country’s history I am proud of and some I am not.

kaitlynL said...

1.) I have to agree with megan, while I'm not completely sure if I agree with the concept of dark matter or not, it was just amazing how passionate he was about it. Whether or not it changed my beliefs is not the question, I don't think, I think it matters more that I learned something from the lecture, and while the subject of dark matter is a little confusing, I enjoyed listening to him speak because he is such a passionate person.
2.) Along with what most other people said, its mostly just the availability of equipment and energy to go up to space.
3.) I definitely relate to what Eric said, in terms of paradigm shifts. As you go through school, you are brought up believing silly things like "Columbus discovered the U.S." only to find out 3 years later that, actually, he didn't.

Flip said...

1) After Dr. Polhemus' speech, I must say I was quite impressed with his obvious exertise in the suject. I think he presented the data and theories very well, leaving out a lot of vocabulary that obviously we wouldn't have known, but that would also have made his topic much easier. With his conclusion, I am not sure that I can say dark matter exists with complete certainty. I think it is very probable, but it is still a very recent discovery, and many many theories like it have been disproved, and that is what I am still leaving room open for.
2) There are many problems here to come to this knowledge for scientists in this field. Like Zoe, and anna, and a few other people have said, with only empirical evidence suggesting the conclusion, and no other altenatives for testing the theory, we have very little else to base our facts on this subject on. We do not have the sensory perception that we have with so many other sciences on earth, and so much of this is based on prediction and theories, that error, as he explained, is common and even probable.
3) When I was younger, I felt that life was going to be a homogenous and simple series of events, however I have discovered quite the opposite. Life is divided into different setions, for me at least, and not by grades, but more my own personal levels of maturity. For each level, my perception of the world changes, and through reflection, I've learned life will not the same throughout.

Kenshin_Himura said...

1) Well, I have studied dark matter before, and since I have been keeping up with what I can, I have a predetermined bias towards believing it is true. I also tend to believe authority figures, and thus, it reemphasized my predetermined notion that dark matter exists. I also would like to point out that Dr. P was very persuasive, and gave much more information involving the wonder of dark matter and how it helps the current theories, but he barely touched on what theories it disproves. I distinctly noticed that there was a "want" to believe, since any other theory would simply cause "ickyness." Along with that, he demonstrated a lot on how dark matter relates to some of the other things discovered (like neutrinos) and how a major discovery could be found so easily.... But, the fact that he did not mention anything after the "bullet cluster" paper meant the modern debate was left out.
Myself as a knower: I believe that dark matter exists, because I have studied it so much, I have a predetermined bias into believing it is true.

2) Well, the major problem that I see is the use of sensory perception. Since our modern day technology is nowhere near being able to detect it (yet), the ability to use modern experiments to try and "see" dark matter is beyond us. Also, while there is discussion about dark matter, it remains distinctly within the scientific community. No ordinary person with no background is going to go and randomly start discussing whether dark matter is a WIMP or condensed neutrinos... It also could not be accepted as true because of the difficulty of the sensory perception. We can all go outside, look up and see bright twinkling lights above our heads. Our senses are telling us that something is there. However, with dark matter, such avaliability is impossible (for now) This makes dark matter a very specialized area of science.
3) Ahhh... I have so many of those... Take for example, somethign simple, such as chemistry. Based on how I think, I have... unique methods of how to think through a chemistry problem. However, what tends to happen is that when a new concept is learned, I need to rethink my thoughts in order to accomodate with what we are being thaught. This is very similar to the dark matter discussion, because scientists needed to change their perspectives in order to fit the new theories.

Callie said...

I think that Alysia brings up a good point, What if scientists have this theory wrong, like they have been on some other issues? I think that as scientists are (hopefully) able to research dark matter more, they will find more evidence and put the pieces together, even if it means revising the theory. I thought Eric brought up an interesting point about the relevancy of funding research for dark matter because it does seem less important than some of the other issues our world faces today. I personally think that scientific funds should be used more for things on this planet with the justification that it might actually influence me. Yet I also realize that it is important to attempt understand what is going on in the universe because it might also affect me.

Hannah N said...

2) As with any theory or new idea, testing and experimentation is practically essential to further explain and justify it. However, "testing and experimentation" are not quite that easy when relating to dark matter. We aren't even sure how to approach the idea of dark matter...because it's nothing...and everything...all at once. As you can probably tell, I am absolutely flustered by this subject. I stated earlier that I do believe in dark matter. This is true, however I'm not sure it's even close to what we can guess it is. So yes, I think it exists, but how...I am still completely unsure. To achieve the best results out of an experiment, it's necessary to eliminate as many external factors as possible to isolate the thing that is being tested. We can't isolate dark matter. At least, we can't according to our understanding of it. If we could somehow remove the baryonic matter that is protons and neurons and leave behind "everything else" (what we can generally refer to as dark matter), then perhaps we would come to some better understanding as to the function and composition of dark matter. But obviously...this isn't possible. Honestly, all of the craziness that is in our galaxies is so beyond what makes sense here on earth that I struggle to come to terms with many astronomical theories, even the ones that are "better understood."

Lindsey Goris said...

1. After listening to and viewing Dr. Polhemus's presentation on dark matter, I am fairly certain it exists. I beleive this because the evidence he presented made sense logically. The way Dr. P. explained dark matter made sense to me, and the evidence all pointed towards the existance of dark matter without leaving any obvious holes or flaws in logic. (that I saw) I would also justify my beleif in dark matter with authority, obviously based on the fact that Dr. P. is the only source of information that I have on the subject of dark matter. My lack of other sources of information is definately a knowledge issue, and I agree with what Zoe said that if someone presented the counterclaim with evidence I might be convinced, or at least challenged to question my assumption. As this point in time, however, I do beleive in dark matter until someone proves otherwise.
2. I think that the primary knowledge issue with dark matter (and the most obvious) is that we can't observe it. we can see the effects of it, and make assumptions about it based on what is happening around it, but there is no way to actually observe dark matter itself with the technology currently available. This is particularly important here because although we can be relatively certain about the existance of dark matter (based on what I know from Dr P's presentation) we cannot know exactly *what* it is through observing dark matter itself, rather, we have to rely on indirect methods of observation.
3. In english I used to always insist that authors didnt use imagery, symbolism, etc. intentionally. I thought that lit devices had meaning, but I didn't understand how or why an author would actually think "oh if i repeat the word red a whole bunch to create color imagery it will make the reader feel a certain way..." I didn't beleive this because that's not how I would think about writing(If i ever wrote a novel)I changed this perspective though as I studied Literature. One example would be studying The Stranger, and absurdism this year. for some reason the connection between absurdism, and The Stranger made me see the significance of all the little details, and knowing that the author had specific ideals and philosophies made me realize that he did have a point he was trying to make, and through literary devices, motifs, etc. he was able to convey that point so much better. (actually my perspective shifted sophomore year, but The Stranger made a better example)

Rebecca said...

3) I had a paradigm shift in how I view good writing. I always thought good writing was like the stuff from the Enlightnment we read in 10th grade history. It sounds intelligent, but you have to read it 12 times over to understand it. Then I read an article by George Orwell arguing that this is exactly what good writing is not. I completely agreed with him. The point of writing isn't to sound smart, it's to convey meaning. If the meaning gets lost in the language, then it's not good writing. It's common sense that, for some reason, I've missed out on for the past three years. These days, I try to make my writing as crisp and concise as possible.

Rebecca said...

I've noticed that a lot of people have been commenting on whether or not the study of dark matter is relevant. I'm really unsure about this one. Immediatly after viewing the presentation, I was positive that study in this area was completely worthless. But after talking to Lauren P., I started to rethink that. Do I know for sure that it's worthless? After all, Dr. P. doesn't think it's worthless, and I do regard him as an authority. I can't think of a single practical application of dark matter. But then again, I know next to nothing about it. Who am I to say that it's worthless? I still believe that dark matter probably isn't a practical thing to study. But my self-awareness stops me from calling this a PJTB.

Hannah N said...

3) Well, it kind of took me a while to brainstorm up a paradigm shift I've experienced that I didn't deem to personal to share. I've most certainly had a lot...especially this year, and involving people. I think I struggle with change, in general. It's not that it doesn't happen for me, it's that I have a hard time accepting it when it does. For example, last year my younger sister when through a series of phases and changes that put her at distinct distance from me. This was really hard for me because her and I have always been best friends and when she wasn't talking to me or not "being herself," I just had a difficult time understanding and it even angered me at times. At some point, though, I came to the realization that this was something she needed to go through to find herself and that she was still my baby sister through and through. I had gotten so caught up in the idea that she was being ridiculous and "Fake" that I failed to recognize that she may actually need my support in her times of transition. So after that, I began to actually listen again and realized that I was simply overreacting and overthinking. And sure enough, we're close again. It was all because of this paradigm shift in my attitude towards her. There are other, similar situations involving relationships with friends and boys, but I won't get into those! :)

Lindsey Goris said...

So, way back somewhere in the middle of this blog post Janessa brought up the point that it is possible that Newton's laws were wrong, after all, and I thought that was a good point. I never considered it because the dark matter theory made so much sense to me, and because I base all my conclusions on Dr. P's presentation having done no additional research on the subject myself. but especially in regards to us not knowing about 90% of what's in space, it made me wonder how can we know so much about the behavior of bodies in space beyond our own solar system with our current technology? It also brought up the role of emotion in that scientists didn't *want* Newton's laws to be wrong and therefore they sought another explanation. I think it's entirely possible that there are other theories or possibilities with merit. It made me question my blind acceptance based on authority. Having said that, I still subscribe to the dark matter theory, but it did make me think.

Hannah N said...

I can completely relate to Callie's points on how topics like dark matter, although they can somewhat be condensed into a relatively short lecture and be placed on a screen or on paper, are SO much bigger than I can even comprehend. This is like what I was saying before about how everything is more complex than we can grasp. I like that we have figured out ways to break down the most complicated subjects into simpler, easier-to-understand terms, but evidently, it's just impossible to grasp some topics completely because they are so much bigger than us.

Rebecca said...

About 100 comments ago, Anna brought up Fermat's Last Theorem. I think it's a great connection to dark matter. They are similar in that they are both very high level concepts that very few people understand. Neither of them are tangible. The only way to understand them is by coming up with language and models to represent them. This makes it even more complicated. Taking these factors into account, it makes it very difficult to achieve consensus on concepts such as dark matter.

Lindsey Goris said...

I also noticed a lot of comments about how relevant dark matter is, and while I agree with some people that it is not directly relevant to our lives, and does not affect us in any way, I do beleive that it has value if not solely for the purpose of pursuing knowledge. I think that understanding our universe is important despite its being removed from our daily lives. I'm not sure exactly why I beleive this. It's partly just intuition, that perhaps discoveries in space with no practical application could lead somewhere. who knows? Anyways I think it has merit also simply for the fact that it is an extension of our knowledge and who doesn't want to learn, right? Okay, well maybe not everyone is interested in knowing things just for the sake of knowing things, but obviously Dr. P thought that it was important, and I'm assuming that all the other scientists involved in studies of dark matter care a great deal as well. For this reason it is important, if not always applicable to those outside the community of scientists, astronomers, physicists, etc. And in the significance that it has to these people, I think there is relevance if that makes any sense. As for relevance to the general public: I think it has the relevance that we ascribe to it. it doesn't affect our daily lives, but it does impact furthur studies in astronomy and physics, so I guess it depends on who you are, and what you do.

Nick Jordan said...

1. Yes I believe that dark matter exists. I didn’t know anything about it before Dr. Polhemus gave that lecture but it was really cool. I base this belief mostly on the authority of Dr. Polhemus. I understand that he possesses so much more knowledge about science particularly astronomy and physics, than I will ever know. It is good enough for me to believe his authority, because I know that he has done a huge amount of research and is a professional. He also goes along with the general scientific consensus which lends even more credibility to his knowledge.

2. A major issue that makes it difficult for scientists to attain knowledge on the cosmic scale is the use of faith. Because so little is known about the universe and the way the physics of it work, scientists must have a certain amount of faith to believe that certain assumptions and laws that are true here on earth still exist on a cosmological scale—like gravity.

3. My views on foreign language learning have been a major paradigm shift for me this year. Before this year in lower levels of German, I really didn’t understand what it took to be fluent in a language, and I really thought that I would be close to fluent by German 4 or 5. Now I see that this is not at all true. I feel that after this year I might be semi-proficient in German—if that, but really it takes living in a foreign country to truly internalize and know another language. I now know that not only is it hardly possible to be fluent by the fourth year, but it may not be possible for one to ever become fluent. In psychology I learned that plasticity of the brain and brain chemistry changes after childhood, so that language becomes harder to learn, and harder to cement in the brain.

Hannah N said...

Wow, Kiah...that story about your dog was really powerful to me. What was the gun shot all about? I'm really sorry that happened to you...I understand how a dog is actually a very important part of the family...and how they feel like everlasting companions :/ Also, I can see how an event such as that would really open up your eyes to reality...dang. That is a tragedy if I ever heard of one, bud :(

Nick Jordan said...

I think Zoe makes a really good point that we haven't heard a counter arguement to "dark matter exists" so we don't really know. And if now we heard a counter arguement wouldn't we still trust Dr. Polhemus's opinion more because we are now familiar with his views.

Karam said...

1) Overall, I have to admit that Doctor Polhemus convinced me on the subjust of dark matter. To begin, we all know that Dr. P is extremely intelligent in the field of physics and the specific topic of study of Dark Matter. One reason that I seem to put faith in this belief is that Dr. P seems to be an authority figure on the topic. His use of a visual presentation provided some effective empirical evidence that was somewhat easy to follow and understand. In short, I do believe that "dark matter" exists because of all the evidence that was visually presented to me, and I believe that because of the use of visual presentation, we were able to get a better understanding than just reading about it or listening to a lecture.

Karam said...
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Karam said...

2)One very obvious problem with studying Dark Matter is the fact that one cannot examine the interactions as it does not intereact to anything. It is possible that as time progresses and technology does too, scientists will eventually be able to extensively research the phenomenon known as Dark Matter. Perception also plays a significant role in the study of Dark Matter as "dark matter" isn't something one can see, feel, hear, or perceive, yet scientists still study this strange phenomenon.

Karam said...

3) As of now, I cannot think of any very life-changing paradigm shifts that have occured in my life, however, I believe the shaping of my "political views" have greatly changed over the past 5-7 years of my life. Being raised in a pretty moderate Islamic Arabic family, I was tought the beliefs of the Koran and I have governed my life by my religion ever since I was little. Now going off of this, growing up, I also soon began to develop somewhat "political views" because of all the problems that surrounded the country of my people (yes even back in the 90s). I began to soon become very liberal and supported Democrats solely because they were usually against the war on Iraq. As time progressed, and as I have become more informed about politics I have come to the realization that I don't truly and wholly support the democratic party, but going along with this, I definitely do not support the republican party. I now have shifted my thinking to more independent political views although many of my beliefs are included in the Democratic party's beliefs. Now in this election however, if I were able to vote, I would with out a doubt vote for Barack Obama because he supports many of my beliefs, but because of my change in thought with a paradigm shift in my political beliefs, my true loyalty would not belong to either candidate. Overall, this paradigm shift has given me a new way of thinking with politics as I now have a better understanding of where I lay on the political spectrum, although my shift in "thinking" was not too drastic.

Karam said...

Going off of Nick Jordan's discussion of his paradigm shift with foreign language, I do believe that they are many other factors to take in to measure before one can truly be coined "fluent" in a foreign language. I was born here in the USA but growing up I spoke both Arabic and English which made it easy for me to understand even if I never realized this. I am also in German level 5 with Nick, and I have also come to the realization that it is very difficult to become "fluent" in a given foreign language after only 4-5 years of study in a high school class. I did once believe that I could be fluent after level 5, but as I have experienced with learning Arabic, it is when a person indulges themselves into that given culture when they will finally become more "fluent."

Karam said...

I have to agree with both Zoe and Ethan on the topic of language and its barrier in understanding "Dark matter" to its fullest extent. I do believe his use of similes and simpler vocabulary made it easier for us to understand, but I agree that if we were able to communicate and understand the high level of scientific lingo that Dr. P uses, we would be able to understand Dark Matter to a greater extent.

Ryan Beethe said...

1) I was 100% convinced after Dr. P's lecture. Of course, that's not saying much since I was like 90% convinced before hand. Now however, I actually have justifications for being convinced. Firstly, I justify it on authority. Dr. P is really smart, and he thinks dark matter exists. Also, I justify it based on the scientific evidence that he showed us, particularly the bullet galaxy thing. I see that as pretty much undeniable proof; I'm not an astronomer, but I can't imagine any other explanation for that.

2) The obvious knowledge issue for them is that they can't interact with dark matter at all. It's tough to know anything about something with which it is impossible to interact. Also, supposing that the theory of gravity was severly flawed, it would be a long long time before all the scientists came around to abandoning a theory which we have held dearly for so long.

3) A paradigm shift is defined as "a fundamental change in approach or underlying assumptions" However, since a paradigm involves an entire community shift, I don't think it's possible to have a personal paradigm shift. But even if you're just asking for a shift in my world view, that's a huge change in someone's life, and that hasn't happened in my life.

Nonetheless, since I must give an example, I'll say this: my opinions about abortion have changed. I used to not really know where I stood on the subject, but I saw a sign on a billboard quoting a passage of the Bible, one which I don't remember. It was something like Psalm 139:15: "When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body." Again, it was not that passage but a similar one. One way or another, I realized that abortion is truly murder because even an unborn baby is still known to God. That knowledge validates the fetus' right to live, even if the parents don't want it.

Clementine said...

1. I'll say that yes, I do think dark matter exists. Overall, it was somewhat of a confusing presentation for me, since I've never taken an upper level physics class, but I got the basic gist of it, and this theory seems to make sense. Logically, from the different images and readings he showed us, dark matter could be an excellent explanation for the otherwise unaccountable phenomena astrophysicists have witnessed. Dr. P also did a great job of "dumbing it down" for us, since many of us were completely unfamiliar with the content he was explaining, and I think this helped further develop my opinion on the existence of dark matter. If the presentation hadn't been as user-friendly and simplified as it was, I don't think I would feel I had enough information to base my response on, but all of the visual images and similes he used really illustrated the topic to me. I think I also take a lot of this on consensus and authority. I mean, since I don't know a whole lot about physics, and I know that Dr. P knows quite a bit about it, then it's easy for me to say "Well, since he thinks it's true, it must be true." That's not what I'm saying, though. I think he makes a very valid argument for the existence of this still repudiated idea. Consensus also plays into my decision because it seems to me like many members of the physics community can agree that this is a plausible explanation for some happenings of the universe, so their "higher level" knowing influences me to say that I think the idea is right because they think it's right.

Clementine said...

2. There are way too many problems out there that make it difficult for scientists to come to knowledge about anything, let alone dark matter. For one, dark matter is not detectable as of yet (at least not to my knowledge). There are different manipulations of data and uses of different waves to detect certain things, but there is no surefire way to say "Yes, it exists" or "No, it doesn't." A particle hasn't been discovered yet that can definitively be called a "dark matter particle." This is a limitation of equipment. I'm sure there is a way of physically recording the existence of this matter, we just haven't built the technology capable of doing it. That's another limitation: the box that we live in. We keep creating new technologies, sure, but it's hard to break out of what we know to try something new and unheard of since we don't know what the result will be. It's that fear of the unknown, and I personally think that that keeps a lot of us from reaching our full potential, and indeed the entirety of the human race. Another problem is that so far, all of this is still conjecture. It's theoretical. Since there is no hard evidence to prove the existence of dark matter one way or the other, we have to leave it up to theory, and that makes a lot of things difficult. Theories are not exactly the most reassuring things in the world. To me, it's almost like saying "Well, we have this theory that this treatment will cure your terminal disease, but it could just as easily kill you outright, and we have no evidence to support it either way." When theories get created, we again like to stay within those parameters, and that again makes it difficult to move and think literally "outside the box."

Clementine said...

3. Hmm, paradigm shift...oh, I know. We've always had some pretty opposing viewpoints on medicine within my house. Since I want to be a doctor, I've got somewhat more faith in western medicine (the kind we all know - ERs, gurneys, blood transfusions, the like) than does my mother, who is more apt to turn to homeopathic remedies for colds, aches and pains, and other minor maladies. For a long time, I've agreed with her in that they are very helpful and much better for people than western medicine would have us think. Even today, with college coming up and my career in medicine becoming more and more cemented in my mind, I still think that. It's just that I also think that there is a lot of credibility to western medicine, too. I mean, what are you going to do if a person gets an axe lodged in their head? You're not going to put herbs on it and hope it heals up, and hopefully you're not going to pull a Steve Irwin and pull it out. You're most likely going to go to an emergency room, and chances are they'll be able to do something about that big hunk of blunt metal stuck in your skull. I'm not saying that they're necessarily going to be able to fix it, but they'll try their best and use every ounce of knowledge they possess to help you out of your current situation. Sometimes, though, I look at it from my mom's point of view. Recently, one of her older sisters died of complications from ovarian cancer, and I think my mom blames western medicine for her death. I can see why - I wouldn't know what to do if I lost my sister, either, and I would be extremely frustrated and angry. Apparently, my aunt had a very mean doctor at one point, too, who preferred to knock troublesome patients out with morphine rather than deal with their problems. That's obviously not the right way to work, but unfortunately, it happens, and it's not a pretty sight. That's not what western medicine really is, though. It is about taking care of the people that come seeking your aid, and the guy that didn't care about what happened to my aunt ought to be sued for malpractice and get his license taken away, no doubt in my mind. That's why I think there's validity to both homeopathic remedies and western medicine. I've experienced homeopathic remedies myself and know they work, and I also have a sense of consensus with my mother, along with an emotional tie that keeps me faithful in alternative medicine, but logically, I think western medicine also helps, and most of the time it does. There's also consensus behind that due to all of the doctors you always hear saying "This works, this doesn't," etc.

Clementine said...

I agree with Zoe's first post on whether Dr. P convinced us of the existence of dark matter or not. There was no alternate viewpoint/information presented. I even tried to coax Dr. P into telling us something about the alternative viewpoint by asking whether they've ever observed any colliding galaxies that behave differently from the one he showed us, but he answered no, he didn't think so. It is very difficult to form an opinion based solely on one standpoint. It's like picking your favorite in this presidential campaign after only having heard Sarah Palin speak - you haven't heard Obama or Biden, so you don't know anything about them, but since you've only heard her, she's the only one you're going to be able to base your opinion off of, severely limiting your knowledge and keeping you within a limited perspective.

Clementine said...

Simone S. definitely brings up a good point somewhere in the middle of all these posts. She said that since she didn't know a whole lot about what makes up the universe before walking into Dr. P's presentation, then she was more apt to believe what he was saying because the information he was presenting didn't go against any pre-existing beliefs of hers. This is really important in that since it didn't say anything against something she already held to be true, she accepted it. But what if it had? What if we all thought that the universe was made of multicolored Jell-O and Dr. P came in and told us it's energy? Would we be so ready to accept what he was telling us? I think not. Just as many others have, I'm sure, I've experienced times when people have told me things that I don't necessarily agree with and I've been less ready to believe them or to accept them as equally valid as my beliefs. Since then, I've learned that everybody has a right to their opinion and I respect them wholeheartedly, however, my opinion remains the same. I've heard of dark matter before, but I didn't exactly know what it was, so coming into this presentation, I already had the idea that it may exist, which probably influenced my choice of answer to the first question Ms. King posed us, but still, he said nothing to contradict any preconceived notions of mine, which made me much more likely to accept what he was saying than to reject it.

Simone said...

1) I think dark matter is an excuse that scientists have come up with to pad their calculations and to maintain everything they claim to know previously. At least, that is my first reaction. I mean, how can you know something's there, or claim to know it's there, but not actually see it or have a way of perceiving it? But I suppose anything is possible, and our spectrum of possibility is very limited to our one earth. But, in answer to number two, therein lies the problem. There are logistics and barriers to over come, all sorts of problems that make knowing about dark matter difficult. But the question I'm tempted to ask is why? Why do we care about the composition of our universe? Is there a point to knowing that galaxies millions of light years away are exploding or rotating or whatever? Considering the amount of resources and time these pursuits consume, is it worth it?
3) then I suppose at some point I will become convinced that these pursuits are necessary and then I will experience a paradigm shift. I hate paradigm shifts; they are unsettling and inconsistant and unpredictable. But that's what TOK is all about, so I suppose we must put up with them. And after taking TOK, I am going to admit that yes, I believe that we are all the better for them, because it keeps us humble.

tucker said...
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I. Kennedy said...

1. I am not convinced about the existence of dark matter. I think that it is a valid theory, since missing 90% of the universe's mass requires an equally drastic cause. However, there is no way to prove the existence of dark matter than to basically collect a jar of it and see what it is. Since we can't do that, I remain unconvinced, but open to the idea of dark matter. In essence, I'm saying that the logic used to "prove" dark matter's existence is a justification, but lacking the proof of sense perception is unconvincing.

2. Like I mentioned earlier, there is no way to collect dark matter, which makes it exceedingly difficult to learn about with sense perception. Instead, we have to rely on human constructs, such as math and physics. As Doc P mentioned, there is the possibility that those human constructs (like laws of gravity) are completely wrong. However, it is hard or impossible to determine if that is the case. This forces us to learn about dark matter by its effects on other things we can percieve. This gives rise to another problem: we don't know what the nature of the dark matter-other stuff interactions are.

3. I had heard about dark matter before, so it wasn't a major paradigm shift for me. What was suprising was the magnitude of the mass that was missing. I thought dark matter was some little trifle, and now it seems 9/10 of the universe is missing. That made the issue significantly more important, to me at least. Personally, I don't remember a major, head-spinning paradigm shift. I guess I change my views more gradually or something.

Erin said...

I recognize that I rely heavily on sense perception, particularly visual. However, I also see in myself a certain willingness to place a great deal of trust in authority. Having been taught to evaluate reliability of sources, I think I am relatively quick accept information as knowledge from what has been deemed a reliable source. This seems counterintuitive to the process of source evaluation, yet it can be easy to do so particularly once specific strengths and weaknesses of a source have been concretely identified. Is this a false sense of security, or is it a relatively accurate means of weighting a source's truth? I myself tend towards the latter thought. I recognize that a portion of this may be a simple desire for closure and a fear of weary cynicism. My emotions and established beliefs may cause at least initial rejection of opposing information, which is only natural. However, I do like to think that I am relatively good at entertaining such controversial material in a mind open to a well defended argument. There does come a time when I cannot question authority where my existing knowledge fails me, because then I have nothing with which to judge at all.

I think dark matter is one such circumstance. I am having immense difficulty evaluating the concept of dark matter on the level of personal perception, for obvious reasons. The enormous scale of what Dr. P. was saying was simply to big for me. I would look at his pictures and see white dots, only to be told that they were not stars but whole galaxies. I had difficulty enough thinking of them as stars. And yet, I wholly and completely believe that dark matter exists. In this field I completely distrust my own perception and my own knowledge because I have never had the experience of looking into the universe. Every image Dr. P. used to construct his argument for dark matter was foreign to me, so I had to rely totally on his guided interpretation (often via comprehensible similes). That his interpretation was logical and methodical, and tallied with both the logic of the world at my scale and the logic of the world on the universal scale as explained and substantiated via data by Dr. P. , convinced me to place full faith in his interpretation of the data. Where my personal perception and experience fails so completely I have no other option in regard to the knowledge of this field.

One method Dr. P. used to substantiate the argument for the existence of dark matter was the point that the absence of evidence isn't evidence for absence. He extended this reasoning to use the absence of matter as the evidence for the existence of something else. Presented in such a way, the "holes" in matter and in the laws that affect matter seem like highly likely evidence for the presence of dark matter. Almost as concrete as solid evidence itself.

I can only compare this paradigm shift to the sensation that accompanies the moment when I see the "double meaning" of an optical illusion. For example, when I see the second picture made up of the first (the vase rather than the faces) or the "trick" behind some play of color theory or perspective.

jeewonk said...

1. Well, I do have to agree with the majority of the people. I think dark matter exists. This is mostly because I know that Dr. Polhemus’ knowledge on the subject is so much greater than mine, and I don’t know what I would substitute “dark matter” with since I understand that there is something out there that we cannot see. I could see that Dr. P strongly believed in the existence of dark matter, and his authority definitely affected the way I viewed dark matter. But I also think my answer’s ‘yes’ partly because I’ve never cared about and probably will not care much about dark matter in my life. We tend to agree with or accept a lot of issues we don’t care much for. I’m not a physics person, that’s for sure. If someone were to tell me some law of physics was proven wrong, I could literally care less, but just say “Sure, if you say so.”

2. The biggest problem I see is that there is no empirical evidence. Sure, graphics, pictures, and numerous physics-related tests suggest that there is something out there, but we cannot physically “see” dark matter, hence its name. Sensory perception has a huge role in scientists coming to knowledge in an area like dark matter. I have a problem when it comes to scientists “knowing” materials. We will never know what’s really out there without further development of technology and without spending infinite amount of money. And even if we were to ‘know’ more about dark matter, we wouldn’t have the empirical evidence to prove its evidence, not to mention its structure, characteristics, etc.

3. Eric and many other people made similar comments on their paradigm shift experience, and I have to agree with them. I played the piano for 6 years when I was young. The songs became harder and harder and took longer time for me to practice and make a somewhat descent sound. I also couldn’t understand my father trying to get me to practice every single day. After taking a break for a year, I started to play again. But I found myself hating the piano more than ever. My teacher was making me play songs with all the ridiculous and never-ending octaves, and gosh, my hands were (well, still are) small! People laugh when I tell them why I quit, but that was a perfectly sound reason for me to quit. I hated listening to the sound of piano, and didn’t even want to go near one. 2 years later, I began to learn the flute, thinking that I might like a different instrument, and sure, I was right. I can now appreciate music, even if it’s Ravel’s impressionist piano song, and my way of thinking went from negative to positive.

christine said...

After listening to Dr. Polhemus, I believe that dark matter exists because that is the only explanation scientists have right now for the rest of the matter that makes up the universe besides the things we can see. It makes sense logically. If the things we can't see aren't solving the problem, then there must be something else, and that something else is most likely the thing we call dark matter. I've believed in dark matter ever since it was suggested and Dr. Polhemus gave an even better reason for me to justify my belief because he was able to provide a logical solution to a complex situation. Dark matter is obviously something that we can't see, and the science world justifies knowledge by "seeing" things, or the effects of "seeing" them.

A paradigm shift I experienced...
I used to think that the only type of art that was beautiful and perfect was ancient Greek, Roman, and Renaissnace art. I didn't like contemporary forms of art at all, and most of the time I still don't, but because I explore different types of art for art class, I was forced to open my mind and view other forms. I learned that Greek sculptures were what perfect forms were to their culture, and for some reason, my mind made the connection that perfect art was what the Greeks considered perfect. I know now that my opinion doesn't determine whether art is good art or not. "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder."

Michelle Madsen said...

I think he convinced me that there is something like dark matter that exists in the world. I dont know if it is exactly a dark matter just there has to be something. By logic that there is over 90% matter missing from the universe it would make sense that it is something that we have yet to define or figure out yet. From the photos that he showed us of the gases and all the other objects in the sky and there is still parts missing i can visually see that there needs to be something else though im not convinced that it is dark matter...i just don't have a term to call it something else. But the visual aid of his power point really helped me try and comprehend what dark matter is.

Michelle Madsen said...

I think that it has been hard for scientists to find dark matter exists because there are so many factors that could change what they find. Like they say it is easier to prove something dosn't exist than to prove it does. therefore it would make sense that trying to combine previous knowledge with a question previously unaddressed would have this effect of questioning theories and trying to put all into one theory that most scientists can aggree upon

Michelle Madsen said...

I come from really conservative parents and something that i have come to accept is gay marriage. I used to and still think that it isnt right in accordance to the bible but i think that if they want to get married than i shouldnt control someone else's life and their happiness. I wouldnt want someone telling me who i should marry so i want to give them the same courtesy. there are many people who go to vegas get drunk and get married only to divorce months later so if a straight couple can get married and divorced whenever they want to i dont see why a gay couple cant also, when they may even respect the bonds of marriage more so than another couple because they have had to fight for the right.

Michelle Madsen said...

i have to respond like zoe as well that even though i dont know for sure what dark matter is i have no knowledge in astrology in general and because of his authoratative way of presenting the information it was really easy to believe him when im used to taking information presented to me by teachers as the truth

Michelle Madsen said...

to those that said they needed emphirical evidence that dark matter exists i would say you really dont, you cant see air but in time we found a way to manipulate it and measure it and from that i think that in time we can do that with dark matter, its just new evidence and therefore with time, tests, and the need to know we will make a way to classify it for our general understanding

Audrey said...

1. Dr. P did convince me that there is a need for something to explain these weird phenomena that astronomers were witnessing, and dark matter is an elegant way to explain these. Also, I am inclined to believe him because he is so passionate about the matter; it seems like he would have researched it a lot and gotten as much information as he could before forming an opinion (this is authority justification, yes). So, for now I am happy to accept dark matter as reality. Unless I experience something or hear a more convincing argument to show me differently, I will continue to believe in dark matter.
2. Scientists have so many troubles when they are interested in finding out about things even just on the surface of our world (all the noise, noise, noise, NOISE), that it's sort of amazing that they can think they know anything about anything outside the very immediate. They have to contend with a lack of solid tangible evidence and instead draw conclusions from effects created by the presence of something rather than observing the thing itself.
3. In response to the paradigm shift question, I'm going to talk about how eye-opening my former job was, for approximately 15 minutes at least. I worked at Phone Based Research doing terrible surveys over the phone for a while. It was mostly dreadful, but I once did a political survey which was really interesting. I'm a liberal, so I kept just disregarding the responses of the conservatives with whom I spoke, thinking that I was right, until a guy told me a deeply revealing and personal story that illustrated why he was conservative and it became clear that he had reflected as deeply as I had in order to come to his conclusions. This experience led me to reevaluate my own conclusions and, more importantly, I now no longer just assume I'm right, even if I feel I have strong justifications for my beliefs. (I don't feel comfortable sharing the story the guy told me, especially since answers to those survey things are supposed to be confidential, so sorry I can't be more specific.)

Audrey said...

Michelle, I agree that probably scientists will find a way to quantify dark matter, but I'm not sure the faith that your beliefs will be justified in the future justifies your belief now...that's weirdly circular logic.

Audrey said...

Don--I think what went on was that they were predicting another ice age (since ice ages have come fairly regularly if you look at geologic history), but then when they did some more research it became apparent that we've been having this increase in greenhouse gases which is creating global climate change. So, the first prediction would have been correct if it weren't for the climate change breaking the pattern. This is as I understand it; people don't talk about these differences too much unless to use them to triumphantly declare that global climate change must not actually exist--the scientific establishment hasn't done a very good job explaining itself in this instance.

leahreynolds said...

1. To an extent I do believe that dark matter is out there, and through DR. P's explaination I can come to terms with the fact that it can be an answer to some to those inquiries out there. The photos throughout the presentation allowed be to (in a sense) see it for myself and the explainations for why things look the way they do made perfect sense for most of the time. I would have to say that I'm determining my knowledge based on authority and consensus because I don't know that much about physics. All of the time and energy Dr. P has devoted to exploring these ideas made it sound like he knew what he was talking about and thus I was more easily convinced on the idea of dark matter.

leahreynolds said...

2. Trying to create hypotheses and come up with new theories on something we can't touch or see without the use of high tech equipment is one of the major obstacles that scientists must overcome. Its also hard to come to conclusions based on fragments of information such as a picture taken by a piece of metal hundreds of light years away. Something that has never been seen before is so much harder to explain compared to something here on earth that can be justified with tangible evidence. Its also hard for scientists to come to conclusions because they are using information given to them by a machine which could be wrong. There are so many different obstacles that must be overcome in order to know if something is justifiably true and in the end you still don't know if you are correct. Its like what Mr. Malone demonstrated to us freshman year. We were never able to see one side of the cube because scientist never know if they have the right answer.

leahreynolds said...

3. A paradigm shift that I have experienced was becoming vegetarian. It all started with my mother (who is vegetarian) and my persuasive speech sophmore year. I decided to explore why someone would want to be vegetarian and discovered that animal cruelty is a big issue today. My Father is a big meat eater, and then here was my mom who was making my meat portions smaller and smaller. After doing some research, I was able to come to my own conclusion and decided to not support meat industries as they vialated animal rights. All of these factors led to my paradigm shift.

leahreynolds said...

I would have to agree with clem; its hard to base your opinion from one view point. It interesting that Dr. P did not really have anything to say about the opposing views of dark matter. For all the time he has invested I would assume that he has. That really makes me question whether or not he is really reliable or if its ok for me to base my understanding off of what he has said. Its just creating a long chain of biased people.

I also agree with simone that paradigm shifts occur all the time and are an important part of our lives. I think it shows our opinions and understandings of things developing based on new experiences and information. Without them we would have a problem holding a conversation with someone. It would only end in a fight and/or everlasting biases. With these transitions in our lives we can become well rounded, knowledgeable individuals.

tpau said...

1. I guess I'm not totally convinced that dark matter exists but I think that there is a strong possibility that there is something, and if dark matter is what you want to call it, then yes I think that the dark matter exists. By using logic he clearly defined his way of knowing that dark matter exists. I feel like I don't have a large enough basis to completly understand how dark matter works and to make an educated decision on if I believe it exists. I think that with his visual representation it made more sence and also with his explantion on the gravity pulls. But because I don't completly understand it by my self I have to rely on authority and take his word for it that dark matter exists. I agree with the generall consensus on whether or not dark matter exists, and that I believe it but it is very hard for me to wrap my mind around.

2. For a scientists it is very difficult to find proof and make guesses as to what causes something to happen. Like Dr. P stated our vision of space and the galaxy's is very limited due to many reasons, like financial support, and the lack of techno advances. I think that because we have such limited resources and ability we have to make many guesses and not all of which are correct. For example with dark matter it is extremely hard to percieve and monitor. So scientists have to make inferences about what is happening and make a name for how things are reacting. I agree with zoe's and ana's views on this subject. Most of the way scientists come about knowledge is through probability guesses.

3. For this one I would have to agree with Anna, though at a more broad perspective. Although I believe the political standing I think a major paradigm shift that occured to me was to start questioning everything that I thought was right. For example my parents always had certain view points about certain subjects and controversies. When I became more aware of what I thought personnaly and what my morals included I began to doubt what my parents said and looked at what I thought as a person instead of just agreeing blindly. Although I still somewhat agree with what my parents say I agree because I looked at the subject and agreed personnaly, not just because my parents told me so. I'm breaking away from a consensus and trying to look at things logically and with an openmind.I try to look at things from my own perception and make a decision off of that.

Noah P said...

I am mostly convinced of the existance of dark matter. Dr. P. used logic and consensus to justify his belief in the matter. Though the logic may be misleading because of an error made in earlier theories, Dr. P. made it sound like that was not very likely. As for truth tests, the existance of dark matter falls under both the coherence theory and the pragmatic theory. The existance of dark matter is precieved via many calculaltions that are based upon each other, so it fits under coherence. As for pragmatic, the theory of dark matter is the easiest and most effective way to explain the peculiar tendencies of light coming through space.
One of the biggest problems in Dr. P.'s explaination of dark matter was that the theory relied mostly off of previous calculations and inferences taken from them. He gave us examples of scientists being wrong before, and it seems to me that there is a decent sized probability that they may be wrong in this instance.
I agree with rachel on the paradigm shift on my views of energy. I was under the impression that energy cannot be created or destroyed, yet it appeared to me that Dr. P. said thhat there is energy constantly being created in the expansion of the universe. I may have been misintepreting the lecture, but what I gathered was that there is constantly being energy created in the universe. I am in no situation to judge the valitidy of this claim though, because I have virtually no knowledge in the area of physics.

lisaking said...

1) I believe dark matter exists mostly because I have no evidence or comprehension of why it wouldn't exist. As a science person I believe in the experts until I gain enough knowledge to respectfully challenge them. As Zoë said he gave a lot of similes and explanations that allowed us to relate to this but this hindered the technicality of the topic. I think that this is a situation where we will not know something completely ever.

2) I think the biggest hindrance, other than money for scientists, is emotion. You are trained to believe what has been discovered and simultaneously to explore new boundaries. This is a hard thing because on the one hand what was past is something you are used to and what you will find may make things really ugly. For example, transcription was nice and simple and perfect until we found introns that made it messy and unpredictable.

Note: I totally agree with Katie and Eric that physics funding is a little ridiculous. I am totally biased towards biology I know but I do not see any tangible solutions to human problems that can be solved by galactic issues that may or may not happen millions of years from now. Sorry physics nerds!

3) A paradigm shift for me is definitely death. I used to be scared of death like all people, and I still am but not as much. I have physically watched two people die at the end of a full and wonderful life after months and years of suffering. It isn't a bad thing. I have come to more firmly believe in the quality of life over the quantity. After watching people that I love go through the experience of death I am not as afraid as I once was. I have a firm belief in heaven not hell, if you have questions ask me, and it is comforting to me to know that there are people there waiting for me. I have a new appreciation for life because death isn't a constant fear. Now I would really love to live to be a ripe old lady of 120 but it doesn't hold the same mysticism and mystery that it used to have. So that would be my biggest paradigm shift.

- Elizabeth Bloemen

lisaking said...

1) At this point, I still don't feel that dark matter exists. Although Dr. Polhemus presented several graphs suggesting that there was other matter that was accounting for the results obtained, I feel that since we can't actually see dark matter, it is impossible for me to believe in it. Therefore, my primary justification for this stance is sense perception, or rather lack thereof. Additionally, I also feel that there is an element of authority that plays a role in my justification of my opinion. I will perhaps need to gain more information from Dr. Polhemus or books to place more faith in dark matter as I will need to see more facts in order to believe in this theory completely.

2) I feel that there are two primary problems that scientists can face when trying to gain knowledge in a topic like dark matter. One problem is that scientists, in any field, will often, intentionally or unintentionaly, aim to find data that supports their opinion on a subject or their hypothesis and will discard data that proves against their theory. Similarly, I feel that those scientists who are attempting to gain knowledge about dark matter face the same problem of solely analyzing data that shows evidence of dark matter. Another problem that I feel is important in realizing in such forms of knowledge retrieval, is technology. Often times, even when data really does inidicate that one's stance is correct on a certain topic, certain technological limitations may prevent a scientist from actually seeing the process/evidence to believe it. For instance, in the case of dark matter, one must rely solely on technology to prove a point since dark matter and the processes involved with it can't be physically seen.

3) There was a point in my life where I felt that equal distribution of wealth would be a realistic occurence in society. However, after studying more about other types of beliefs. I realized that my stance was fairly utopian and unrealistic, and that there are several ways in which individual projects can be organized to slowly cause a greater distribution of wealth, but not one that is complete. In this situation, I feel that I used authority (teachers, books, etc) to form my stance.
- Shilpa Junna

lisaking said...

I agree with Zoe in that it is often hard to change your initial negative opinion of a person. However, I also feel that the same kind of paradigm shift can be applied to situations in which the initial opinion of a person was positive. In fact, I feel that in these situations it is often more difficult to cause a paradigm shift as one fails to believe in the significant changes from those of positive ones to negative ones in an individual. For instance, one of my friends from 10th grade (who will remain unamed) used to be a great person to spend time with and always used to be extremely cosniderate...however lately it has become harder for me to believe that she is now less cordial towards others and has had essentially a significant change in behavior.
- Shilpa

lisaking said...

I agree with Anna in that one of the primary problems for astrophysicists in gaining knowledge about dark matter is that they don't have the ability to actually see the matter that they are theorizing about. However, I feel that this isn't the only science in which such a problem may arise. Often times, in chemistry, experiments are conducted in which color changes must be observed and noted upon the adidtion of one chemical to another. Sometimes the color changes are very slight and changes in shade must be detected. However, the problem in this case, is that recording the exact amount of drops it took to yield a color change in the chemical will be difficult to observe, for each drop must be about the same size, and if one unintentionally used differently sized drops, the amount needed for a color change will be recorded inaccurately. In this situation, the actual "true" color change that takes place due to an exact amount of drops can't be observed.
- Shilpa

lisaking said...

1. After listening, do you think dark matter exists? Did he convince you? Why or why not?
I did not come out of this lecture with a solid opinion about dark matter. However, he definitely gave me reasons to believe that although we do not know at the present time for certain that dark matter exists, it is crucial that we continue investigating this subjects the way he has been. If I had to give a definite answer, I would say that yes, it does exist, which is definitely not a conclusion to which I would jump before having heard his lecture. I noticed that he used a lot of logical and sequential deductive reasoning and chain arguments that helped me follow his thought process to come to his conclusions.

2. What problems may make it difficult to come to conclusion?
I think one of the primary problems that limits the scientists' conclusions is the limitation of technology. As was mentioned in the lecture, there is only so much we can rely on that we really can see, and there is so much out there that we do not know even exists, or if we do, we have limitted ideas of the detail involved in these certain things. Until technology enables accuracy in our spectrum, our conclusions are limitted. Also, there is the problem of facing logical falacies in this research, whether it is conscious or subconscious. If scientists are in a certain mind-set, they may alter their evidence to support their claim as an exclussive truth claim when it may not be, even if they are not doing this on purpose.

3. He gave several examples when astrophysistis were wrong so they shifted. Explain a paradime shift in your life.
One paradime shift I underwent recently occurred when I was writing my extended essay rough draft. As I was reading over what I had written, I realized that one of my claims was making absolutely no sense to me, and it sounded as though an inexperienced seventh grader had written it, as opposed to a senior who had studdied the subject for six months. One of my claims about Roy Hargrove's jazz improvisation seemed significantly far-fetched, so I did some more research and rearranged it until it made sense. I had made a claim that proved itself to be a falacy, and reorganized it and shifted the evidence until it became more accurate.

- Brooke Jostad

lisaking said...

1. Dr. P's lecture on Dark Matter has effectively convinced me that dark matter exists. His use of visual props, basically the entire PowerPoint, provided strong empirical evidence that pointed towards its existence. As a student who has no physics background and only a rudimentary grasp on other sciences I came into the lecture as a blank slate. By talking about the different causes that could be creating the disturbances scientists are picking up on and using enough simple language I could understand, he provided background information. I believe the information he is telling me is correct because I hold him in a position of authority. He has extensive experience in this field and is effective at communicating his knowledge, which comes from the very tippy-top of the pyramid, to the general population who has no prior information about dark matter.

2. 2.It’s very difficult for scientists to come to knowledge in an area like dark matter because most of their truth comes from logic justifications and can’t be backed up from true sense perception since we aren’t capable of seeing black matter. Today, the technology that we have makes it possible for use to observe the effects of dark matter in distant galaxies but it can’t actually provide us with hard empirical evidence of dark matter.



3. 3.One paradigm shift I’ve experienced recently is that I realized that there is true merit in voting. Call me a cynic but based on observing the elections of 2000 and 2004 I became extremely jaded with the political process. I believed that since the president wasn’t directly elected from popular vote, and rather from the electoral college that voting was not a terribly important thing. Particularly because of the rampant accounts of glitches in electronic voting in Ohio in the 2004 election and all of the issues in Florida in 2000, I came to believe that the popular vote was not even respected enough by the government to insure that it would be accurately counted. The shift to my current view, which is that getting out to vote is an extremely important part of being a U.S. citizen, is mainly due to the current election. While I am admittedly getting a little fatigued by the constant election barrage over the last two years, I have gained new confidence in our elections. This is a truly historic year, and the first time that I personally have been excited about a candidate. This election is the first time I feel that the choice is not just between the lesser of two evils, but rather for a candidate that I can actually put my support behind.



I agree with what Alysia dong says about problems that make it difficult for scientists to come to knowledge in an area like dark matter. From listening to Dr. P talk, it seems that scientists create extremely logically and justifiable theories of how the universe works. These theories remain totally valid until some significant observation turns up that throws a wrench into the initial theory and necessitates re-investigation. Since dark matter and many other issues that scientists research can’t be seen, these significant observations make drastic impacts since each new discovery about these topics is based on deduction and logic.



In response to Vincent’s comment about whether dark matter exists and whether he should care, the question should be asked. Just because something can’t be sensed physically, is it still pertinent to our lives? Of course the go to example for this would be gravity, so steering away from that, what about sound waves that human ears can’t perceive but other animals can. Even dogs and cats have a broader rang of hearing and pick up on noises too high pitched for our ears. Just because I can’t physically sense the sound waves, they are still around me, and they still affect things around me, which in turn directly affects me. However, I can understand feeling detached from the issue of dark matter because it does seem far removed from everyday life.

Lauren P said...

Brittany, im going to have to disagree with you. Though it is true, as you put it, that you agree with dark matter "because it is easier than to reject our theories that we have had established for so long like gravity..." this is not necesarily the only reason you should suport something. Alot of old theories could be wrong, and simply believing in the because they are old can lead to problems; such is the case in some racist people today. Just because something is you've heard has been said or believed in for a long time, does not make it true, or a reason for believing. Those, in my opinion, come from facts and research.

In response to rebecca, i agree that there is a lack of sense perception. This, though, is not the only way you can know something. I myseelf am not religiouse, but i know that many are, and they do not use their senses to know that thier god exists. Though this example can't be testes scientifically, it is true that there are other ways to know or believe besides seeing tasting touching smelling and hearing.

Ben Baroch said...

1. I am not entirely convinced as to the existence of dark matter, but i think it is certainly a possible explanation for what seems to be 96% of missing matter in our universe. While highly unlikely that our calculations are this bad, is it not possible that the stuff we know about in our universe is just 96% heavier than we thought it was?
2. The problems that exist in making sure that dark matter exists are many. such as: how do we detect it? right now there are scientists trying to 'create' dark matter. but if we can not create matter,(which we can see and detect) how are we going to be able to create dark matter?
3.hmmm... this is the first time that i have heard this term. how peculiar. so, after some thought i have realized an occasion on which i had such a paradigm shift. It occurred to me in English class after the second read of Crime and Punishment. The First time through, i thought it was a waste of paper. however, upon further consideration and some revelations, i can to the realization that Dostoevsky actually knew what he was doing when he wrote that book. Granted i still think it drags on longer than necessary, but i do believe now that it is an integral piece of literature in the world and deserves to be studied.

Megan said...

It is late but I would like to respond to something that both Rebecca and Zoe discussed in their post. Although for the most part I agree with Dr. P, I didn't realize before that he hardly mentioned the other side of the argument. Like Rebecca said, I would question Dr. P's theory more if he had presented an opposition to his argument. In this way, I think his presentation was lacking. I would have liked to hear about the people who oppose the idea of dark matter? Isn't there anyone angry about the contructing of an enormous and costly research facility?

Also, Anna brought up the idea that humans are inclined to accept what is presented to them without questioning its authority. I think this provides so much insight into how humans function. For example, in the recent presidential election, candidates point fingers and make completely bizarre accusations. The American public buys into these because they come from authority figures. Also, it seems that most are just too lazy to find out the truth.

Ian B said...

I find that I believe that dark matter exists primarily because of the logical evidence based on generally accepted laws and theorems in physics and since Dr. P is an authority on other theoretical physics and speaks on the matter with such a passion, but I'm unsure of the terminology we use because the only thing our research [which itself is based on prior assumptions, such as the theory of relativity, Newton's Universal Law of Gravitation, Newton's three laws, &cetera] suggests is that it has mass. It does not interact with light so far as we can tell through sense perception, it does not appear to be charged - its nature is so mysterious to us that I don't believe we can really say we know it exists; at the least we can't say we know anything beyond that something's there, and even that is based on our other assumptions in our most basic of physical laws. I believe there are certain things we don't or can't know, and frankly I'm perfectly all right with that.

I underwent a paradigm shift in 9th grade after reading Edward Abbey's Desert Solitaire for my lit log - prior to that I usually had a somewhat industrialist leaning with respect to nature.
I've always looked for ways to make things better for myself and other people and believed that building things - roads, cars, motorboats, large houses, cities, bridges, dams - could improve on what nature gives us in all cases. Desert Solitaire really opened my eyes to a preservationist perspective in which most of the time nature cannot be improved upon. When I go hiking in the desert [which I unfortunately cannot do as often as I'd like] I no longer focus on the harshness and inaccessibility of the land but rather on its beauty and its vulnerability to the school of thought I once considered myself a part of. I accept the limitations of preservationism, as I can't imagine the world without any human impact or civilisation, but wilderness is a very powerful and important force in our lives that I feel we need to preserve. To quote Abbey in Desert Solitaire,

'Suppose we say that wilderness invokes nostalgia, a justified not merely sentimental nostalgia for the lost America our forefathers knew. The word suggests the past and the unknown, the womb of earth from which we all emerged. It means something lost and something still present, something remote and at the same time intimate, something buried in our blood and nerves, something beyond us and without limit. Romance - but not to be dismissed on that account. The romantic view, while not the whole of truth, is a necessary part of the whole truth. But the love of wilderness is more than a hunger for what is always beyond reach; it is also an expression of loyalty to the earth, the earth which bore us and sustains us, the only home we shall ever know, the only paradise we ever need - if only we had the eyes to see. Original sin, the true original sin, is the blind destruction for the sake of greed of this natural paradise which lies all around us - if only we were worthy of it. '

Kaelee said...

1) i agree a lot with what zoe w. has to say. After the presentation i had a thought the dark matter could exist. However it was hard for me to follow what Dr. P was saying and a lot of it seems to just be information he was pulling out of the blue with no justifications supporting him. Although he did use a lot of logic with the process of elimination and basically narrowing it down to no other possiblity but dark matter. In addition, him using the powerpoint was a huge help. In class we are talking about sense perception as a way of knowing and this definiatly helped in my beleif that dark matter could really exsit. One last thing is i would like to hear a counter agrument just to get an idea of the other side.

Kaelee said...

2) Claiming that anything is knowledge can take some time and thinking. Let alone for something that a small amount of humans know about and these human are strictly relying on teconology to bring back and get results. There are so many little things that could go wrong to mess up all the results, not to mention all the limitations. I think that Dr. P said that they don't know about 95% of what space truly is.

Kaelee said...

3) Paradigm shifts. . . i agree slightly with ben on this one. As a young child we only went to church on hoildays but my mom read the bible to my sister and i and so growing up i believed there was a God up there somewhere but it was really hard for me to fully understand how becuase i just knew this through authority. Then 7 years ago my baby brother past away and my whole outlook on life changed. including my belief in God. I started noticing the little life pleasures he put infornt of me and now i can say i am a true believer in God due to faith and authority!!

Ryan Beethe said...

Michelle said that she thought that maybe something like dark matter exists, but maybe it isn't actually dark matter. I'm no expert, but I'm pretty sure that dark matter isn't defined well enough to have something like dark matter that isn't actually dark matter. If that doesn't make any sense, I guess I'm just trying to say that we're pretty sure there is something there and we call that something (whatever it is) dark matter; if it's not quite what we think it is, it's still dark matter.

In response to Ben's question: "is it not possible that the stuff we know about in our universe is just 96% heavier than we thought it was?" Actually, for the stuff in our universe to account for all that mass, it wouldn't have to be 96% heavier, it would have to be 2500% heavier. That's a huge amount to be off by.

Jared said...

1) I am convinced by Dr. P for a couple of reasons. First, authority. Dr. P is like 50,000 times smarter than me, and if he is convinced beyond doubt that dark matter does indeed exist than I immediately assume that he is right. Second, the evidence that he gave was very convincing. Both in the problems that existed without dark matter, and how they were able to detect the exist of it. Obiviously some of it was over my head but I understood what he was saying enough to know why dark matter must exist.

Jared said...

2) Dark matter is a very tricky thing to detect which is the only reason that i doubt its existance. One example that struck me was the nuetrino, and how physists are able to detect a particle that can pass through a light year of lead, yet they can't find dark matter. This raises a lot of questions in my mind, no necessarily that it doesn't exist, more about what dark matter is (is it a particle similar to what we are familiar with?).

Persception was and is the biggest issue surrounding dark matter. Before dark matter was "proven" there were already implications of the need for it to exist. After the observation of the bullet cluster, persception of dark matter was what gave proof to its existance, however even after seeing it we still can't see it. To me dark matter will be something that is very likely but not proven until physists are actually able to perceive dark matter beyond star clusters in space.

Jared said...

3) I really enjoy physics and crazy theories that scientists have created, and generally i find them to hold a great deal of valor, however my greatest personal paradigm shifts are on the other end of the specturm. Religion is where I have fought to abtain truth the most in my life. And although I have always claimed to be a Christian, my beliefs have been my parents until the past few years. During this time I dug deeper into the explainations/origins of existance and i my religious beliefs have been personally proven. This created a validity in my beliefs that hadn't previously existed.

LN* said...

I have difficulty believing in something that I cannot perceive. If I can't see, touch, smell it, etc. I have trouble wrapping my head around it. Because there was so much visual evidence presented I have found myself taking Dr. P's word that Dark Matter does exist. However, the only reason this satisfies me is because the whole concept of Dark Matter is at a level that I cannot completely understand. It isn't very important to me personally, interesting yes, but it doesn't impact me in my day to day life. When something isn't important to me or doesn't necessarily impact me directly I find myself agreeing with someone with authority, a professional's opinion. I know that this isn't enough, but because I am not at the same level of understanding as Dr. P, and it is unlikely that I can reach it and have little desire to, this is my choice.

LN* said...

When you can't find concrete evidence it is hard to convince yourself, let alone other people, that something exists. I think science is one of the most difficult areas of knowledge to prove one's ideas because one piece of evidence that goes against your idea wipes everything out. Poof start over. I agree with Kyle in that it's hard to perceive dark matter. when you have to rely on maps and make observations that aren't necessarily valid it is hard to prove a point.

LN* said...

I've had a lot of trouble coming up with a time when I've had a Paradigm shift, simillar to Zoe i've had a lot of shifts with people I meet. I'm quick to judge and not proud of it, but over the years I've had more and more connections with people that I would never have guessed I would have. Another example I can think of is moving. I used to have a fear of moving, of leaving my comfort zone and friends, my security blanket. However, I was forced to move in 7th grade. It changed my life and my view of moving. I know think that it's extremely important to experience complete change, to be uncomfortable and unsure of yourself. It lets you see yourself in a different light. I became much more aware of my traits when I moved and now I'm not as opposed to moving, in fact I think it's almost necessary to do so sometime in your life.

lisaking said...

Tess said --

1. I do believe that dark matter exists. Dr. p presented all the evidence that points towards dark matter in his presentation. The subject of dark matter is very vague for me in that i still dont really know what it is which makes it easier to believe because there are still gaps to be filled. But with zoew that the visiual evidence with sense perception it provided makes it easy to believe that "something" is there. However, I believe that there are too many questions that still have to be answered about dark matter before i truly undertsnd it enough to fully believe it . Dark matter for me is a question of authority because it is whether i believe dr. p because i can't go out and acutaly test dark matter myself.
2. This happens in science every day because with thing and subjects as big and difficult to study ,like dark matter, scientist have to rely on justification and the possibility that this could be true which leads to bias issues and other knowledge issues that can't be overlooked until the theory is proven. an in response to rachels ideas i think that in science and in humanity in general we strive to know everything... no matter how unimportant or irelevant it is to our every day lives. it is human nature almost to be all knowing and understand what is around us and we need explanations for why things happen the way they happen.
3. In science it happens all the time where you learn some thing and then something else erases or changes your prior beliefs also known as paradigm shift. one example of this is when in chemisty at the elemntary and jr high level you would learn only basic facts about atoms and elements and then when you learn more about them it changes the way you think and you start to comprehend more about them which makes your perspective of the world change.

J.Malone said...

I think dark matter does exist. The fact that so many authoritative figures (who I respect) are convinced that such an incomprehensible concept exists, I am willing to trust their knowledge. And what hurt does it do to believe with faith? I for one would not want to be the outspoken person proved wrong if substantial and tangible evidence arises. Dr. Polhemus did a great job because his acknowledgement of past errors made me more willing to believe in dark matter. I like what Rachel said about the ambiguity of the word "dark matter". Though scientists have done much research on the topic, the connotation "dark matter" evokes is one of the unknown, prompting some to question its validity. Many have also commented that because of our relative removal from the immediacy of dark matter and its application to our lives, it is difficult to understand. I agree, but many other beliefs accepted by many (that Jesus is the son of God for example) remain difficult to comprehend, yet people pursue and believe them. Is the lack of confidence in dark matter due to its recent discovery--that it hasn't "existed" long enough for us to accept it? A paradigm shift I have experienced is when I attended a vocational program this summer. We did a breakfast search where we found someone homeless and invited them to breakfast. Thinking that this would be a great experience, that I would somehow come out feeling as if I had just done a beneficial thing was a mistake. I met Allen Simmons and he changed my thinking completely. He was so optimistic in his time of economic hardship and I came out learning more about life from Allen than I could have ever hoped to teach him.


Sarah Greenlee

J.Malone said...

Kelly's thoughts...

1.After listening to and viewing Dr. Polhemus, do you think dark matter exists? Did he convince you? Why or why not?: I think that really, in this matter, I'm not fully educated. I do have parents in the science field but physics and I aren't good buddies. I think that after this presentation I am leaning towards believeing. I use sense perception, the graphs as a way of knowing. I think that he convinced me when he showed other point of views and how they, in his mind, are possibly wrong. I think what really threw me over the edge was the fact that Dr. Polhemus had feelings about it and it really did change my perspective in thinking whether he was just looking at the logic. My knowledge: logic isn't advance so I feel that I'm not expereinced enough to fully come to a complete choice.

2.What problems exist that may make it difficult for scientists to come to knowledge in an area like dark matter?: There is one huge problem I can see with this knowledge: the fact that dark matter isn't even visible. I think that for humans to understand something that can't even be sturcturally shown is, atleast for me, not possible. I'm a visual learner, I need the actual structure to come to full faith and belief in the matter. I think that people that are more audio may come to temrs with this if the can hear it but that isn't even possible. One thing I forgot was the fact that there was a visual but it was so complex that I would have to atleast be in beginning calculus to understand.

3. Dr. P. gave several examples of times when astrophysicists have been wrong in the past, but because of new findings, they have shifted to a new way of thinking. (This is called a paradigm shift.) Explain a paradigm shift you have experienced. What was the original idea or theory, and what caused you to shift? : I think that everyone has been through this experience. I think an example that most of us have experienced is in elementary school when you thought that your parents knew everything. But when you went to your parents about something they didn't really understand they told you that they didn't know. For me, as a child, it was difficult to deal with. I still face that in a way of shock. When I come home and tell my parents about something in a class that they don't know I am a little bewildered. THEY DON'T KNOW??? HOW CAN THAT BE? But this theory has been proven wrong and I have learned to understand it, for a fact.

Kelly Rappe

JWolff said...

So...i was in vegas during this presentation. So I'm not sure if i can really say much on this topic, at least answering the questions...

sarah derosier said...

I don't believe in Dark Matter. I think it's possible that it could exist, but there isn't enough justification for me to believe completely. I suppose it's an emotional reaction to the thought of how vast the universe is. What are the odds that one small community of knowers, on one planet, in all of existance would correctly deduce the composition of the universe? I just think it's very unlikely.

sarah derosier said...

I think access to dark matter is the biggest difficulty in studying it. It's not like it can be measured, or even seen for that matter. The technology available for it's study is limited, and so is the use of it. To use Dr. P's example, because of limited funds scientists had to choose ONE direction in which to point their equipment instead of looking in every direction.

tucker said...

(1) I am pretty convinced that dark matter exists after listening to Dr. Polhemus. He gave (in my opinion) some really good evidence and despite his examples of scientists being wrong, he appeared to have more evidence that proves that there is dark matter. I do recognize, however, that my opinion is based on the fact that Dr. Polhemus is a authoritative figure and just happens to be the first person ever to really ever explain Dark Matter to me…which also feels way over my head. Basically, I trust his judgment.
(2) The biggest problem in my opinion is that there is no direct sense perception. All of the pictures and a lot of the evidence is based on manipulated images through man made machines.
(3) A paradigm shift that I have experienced is one that I think most children go through. It is really simple actually. When I was young, I believed there too be monsters under my bed. (I know, not real life changing, but still). It had never really happened until I saw the movie Grimlins, and my friend’s brother played a joke on her that made us believe that Grimlins were real. So I took action against them. I didn’t wear black (because that’s what they were attracted too) and I blockaded myself in pillows from all the sides of the bed. It wasn’t one event specifically that made me realize the truth, it was the fact that despite how scared I was when I was forced to get out of bed when it was dark, there was never an ugly arm that reached out and grabbed me. I had dropped things under my bed and no matter how many times ventured down to get the lost item, there was never a monster sitting there waiting for me.

PurplyPurp said...

I think dark matter exists. The visual representations have improved in resolution and accuracy, and the fact that we can 'see' galaxies that are actually behind other galaxies solidified it for me. Nonetheless, you must trust the math of what the Dr. is saying because none of us could even understand it without putting it into very simple forms. Dark matter for me is both logical and an issue of faith. Although we can detect, or imply that dark matter is their, there is no 'dark matter in a bottle' for us to look at. We cannot qualify it to be a part of the real world because it occurs on such a larger spectrum that it means nothing, so far...A paradigm shift in my own life was when I thought that my parents were super heros, only to find out later in life that they are just normal people.

PurplyPurp said...

I think dark matter exists. The visual representations have improved in resolution and accuracy, and the fact that we can 'see' galaxies that are actually behind other galaxies solidified it for me. Nonetheless, you must trust the math of what the Dr. is saying because none of us could even understand it without putting it into very simple forms. Dark matter for me is both logical and an issue of faith. Although we can detect, or imply that dark matter is their, there is no 'dark matter in a bottle' for us to look at. We cannot qualify it to be a part of the real world because it occurs on such a larger spectrum that it means nothing, so far...A paradigm shift in my own life was when I thought that my parents were super heros, only to find out later in life that they are just normal people.

sarah derosier said...

A paradigm shift I experienced was in my attitude toward religion. A few years ago I believed in a literal interpretation of the Bible and the application of those principles to everything. I wouldn't even say "Oh, my God" because I thought it was taking the Lord's name in vain. Slowly, my frame of mind changed. Now, I definitely believe in a distinct seperation of church and state, and that same sex marriage should be legal among other less conservative things. I didn't stop believing in my traditional ideals, but became capable of seeing the difference between staying true to my own ideas and interfering with others'. What caused me to shift was the revelation that just because I hold something to be true or moral, doesn't mean that it should be applied to everyone.

Rick_Andrews_Director said...

1). Based off of what Dr. P said, I am confident that Dark Matter exists in the universe. I justify this for a few reasons. The first being Dr. P's incredible amount of intelligence in this subject, so I believe because he is an authority in that area. Also, Dr. P mentioned that the vast majority of all physicists believe that Dark Matter exists, so in that case I believe in Dark matter due to sheer consensus. Also, his arguments made sense and were very logical to me, and I am a knower that greatly values logic and reason over other ways of knowing.

2). Like others have already said, it is difficult for scientists to acquire knowledge in an area like Dark Matter simply because of how limited they are in studying it. They can't hold dark matter, or create it(but they are trying!), all they have to study are some glossy pictures and their great understanding of physics. If they had the capability of holding the dark matter, studying it, manipulating it, then some fo their theories could actually become fact. Because of their limitations in studying it, their theories on dark matter can only be just that: theories.

3. A paradigm shift, wow... I think I'm going to have to agree with Eric, Ethan, and others' idea on our progression throughout school. Constantly our ideas and beliefs on a topic are changing from one year to the next and even from one discussion to the next at times. I have also made paradigm shifts in political beliefs from time to time (Don't worry, I won't get preachy!), and usually for the following reasons. The most important reasons why I would make a paradigm shift is because of logic. If the other argument makes sense to me, then I shift to that side of the argument. the one problem with doing this is that multiple opinions can have very logical arguments, and it is usually in those cases that I have to listen to my intuition.

Rick_Andrews_Director said...

I actually agree with LN* here. Because Dr. P used a lot of language and lingo that we were not familiar with, we were unable to really question anything he said. We just assumed that because he is smarter than us and knows so much more about this topic than us, that we just agree with him because it will make our lives easier. There also is the issue that because we are not on the same level as he is, it is much more difficult for us to identify how biased his presentation may have been. Maybe there is this huge argument against Dark Matter that he didn't mention. Again, because he appears as an authority and because we do not have as much understanding on the topic, it is much more difficult for us to challenge the information, and therefore we are more likely to simply accept it.

Rick_Andrews_Director said...

I really like tucker's paradigm shift dealing with monster's under his bed. I have another example of a childhood paradigm shift: Belief in Santa Claus. I know, it seems pretty trivial now, but when you are a kid, but when you are a kid, realizing Santa doesn't exist is pretty mind blowing! My shift from belief in Snata Claus to, well, not believing in Santa Claus was due to two things. First, when lots of kids started telling me Santa wasn't real, I began to accept the popular consensus on the topic. Also, I started to use simple observation (such as the fact that Santa's "handwriting" was the same as my Dad's) that helped me logically figure out the truth. I think kids are more susceptible to paradigm shifts because of how easily swayed many of them are. I'm not saying that adults have paradigm shifts, they definitely do, I;m just saying it seems to be more common in childhood.

Ariel said...

1. After Dr. P.'s presentation I feel more informed on the m atter of Dark Matter, but I still am not sure of what I believe on the subject. The presentation made it more clear to those of us, like me, who otherwise would be clueless on the subject what exactly scientists and professionals think dark matter is. It was interesting how big of a role percetption as well as logic played into their knowledge and theories around Dark Matter. According to my knowledge, their mathematical computations (logic) did not match up with their perceptions (the things they see through telescopes and satelites), causing the problem altoghether. In expressing my opinion on Dark Matter it is important to take into account that I am not a science interested person and therefore have little to no prior knowledge on the subject nor do I care much whether there is or isnt Dark Matter in the universe. This makes me almost impartial one way or the other. I am probably leaning towards believing that Dark Matter does exist simply through authority; I trust Dr. P. and other scientist's research better than my own personal judgements becasue they are experts in the field and have more experience and knowledge on the subject.

Ariel said...

2. According to Dr. P. scientists came up with Dark Matter after comparing their perceptions (things they viewed thorugh telescopes) and their mathematical equations and answers. When it comes down to subjects such as dark matter, it seems difficult for scientists to gather data because of the fact that Dark Matter is so far away, in space, but through technology, equations, and different ways to compute aspcets of astrological data, they can come to conclusions about Dark Matter. It does become a bit of a knowledge issue if one way of gaining knowledge doesn't correspond with another, like in these scientist's cases. When computations dont agree with perceptinos individuals are led to challenge their perceptions because traditionally, logic is considered one of the most important ways of knowing, but is it really possible to decide or say which WOK can be trusted most? Hm...

Ian Schmid said...

After listening and observing Dr. Polhemus's presentation, i believe that something like dark matter is in space, but there are too many intangebals to be absolutely sure. He explained to us that phisysists cannon prove dark matter. Once dark matter can be proven, I will believe it 100%, but untill then, I will still be skeptical. Dark matter is very hard to prove because it is intangable, which means that the scientist have to make some kind of detector of dark matter. Once, when I was very little, I really liked the Kansas City Cheifs, because they wore red (my favorite color) on their uniforms. As I grew older, and a harder die-hard Broncos fan, I realized that the Cheifs are one of the Bronco's bitterest rivals, thus changing my opinion.

Ian Schmid said...

in response to Kyle Gibb's paradigm shift experience, I must say that I feel the same way about american childhood. When I read it this summer, I though it was the worst book I had ever read, but after Mr. Hlwaty explained it to us, and really showed the underlying meaning to Dillards words, I understood and appreciated the book alot more

Nick said...

1. As far as dark matter goes, I agree with Dr. P that something (I admittedly lack knowledge in this area) is taking up space in the universe, but I can't comment on what exactly that something is. Dark matter sounds like a good explanation, but the one issue I have with this explanation is that there is no way to test for the existence of dark matter. The pie chart that Dr. P showed us in the presentation definately proved to me that there is something out there taking up space, due to the amazingly small percentages of things like planets and other heavy elements, but I definately think that scientists should keep studying and looking for either a new explanation or some physical proof of the existence of dark matter. The graphs, charts, and pictures that we were shown during the presentation were definately comvincing, but I would love to see some scientifical proof of these theories.

B. Wurz said...

I think I am convinced that dark matter exists. I don't think it's a very hard thing to believe, as simple as...evolution, or gravity. I know astrophysicists have been wrong, but it just doesnt seem logical for them to be wrong in this case. Or, if they are, they might be wrong in a specification about dark matter, but not about the whole concept.

B. Wurz said...

In response to Ian and Kyle's comments concerning a paradigm shift around American Childhood, I don't think I experienced one. I thought the book was not very good, but had valuable parts. For me, the class discussion and IOPs only reinforced what I thought, especially after Callie did her bit about Annie Dillard seeing a psychiatrist.

Nick said...

2. There are many problems that scientists face in the process of attempting to understand things like dark matter. In the case of dark matter, the main problem is obviously the fact that, thus far in the research process, there is no way to prove its existence. Another one of the serious problems that a majority of scientists encounter, especially in this area of study, is money. The kind of equipment needed to gather information about something this vague and intangable would be insanely expensive, and most scientits who are working in this area simply dont have the funding to be able to conduct in-depth experiments. Another possible issue is that would definately be a problem is the fact that so many other factors can come into play in something like this. The bend of light could be the cause of dark matter, or it could be caused by something entirely different.

Rachel said...

So obviously I am a little late to be posting, kinda hard to remember when you aren't in the class. Woops.
1)Anyways after the lecture Friday I was left slightly confused and bewildered. This sensation was due to the immense concept that I had never been exposed to and I was expected to understand it in under three hours. Yet I left the lecture with a formed opinion solely based on my faith in the education that Dr. P poses and the evidence that the scientists have presented us with. Obviously this wasn't a very justified opinion due to the one sided argument I was basing it on as well as the fact that this is a very complex idea to think about let alone understand after one lecture. But despite these I found myself convinced that dark matter exists.
2)As for this question Zoe basically stole the words right out of my mouth. The limitations on the research are mainly due to money and the technology they need not being available yet. Also if you think about it dark matter is going to be very hard to prove even with the money and technology because as Zoe said it is not tangible thus unless we happen to bump into it, we will never really know.
3)A personal example of paradigm shift is just like Anna's, a political one. Growing up in an extended family of mixed politics with strong conservatives as parents, I just generally accepted my parents and brother's political views and took them as my own. The second time that Bush was up for election, I backed him with unwaivering support. Since then I have developed my own beliefs and ideas by seeing how ignorant I was before.

-Rachel Broersma

Nick said...

3. I used to hate bowling, and believed that it took no skill at all. Then I actually went bowling and realized how difficult it actually was, and gained a newfound respect for it and those who can actually succeed at it. I know this is a rather weak example of a paradigm shift, but it's the only one that I could think of.

SusieP said...

1) I believe that dark matter does exist however the knowledge I have on this topic is not sufficient enough to have an accurate understanding. The reason for my opinion that dark matter does exist is based off my sense perception as I could comprehend the pictures and graphs that Dr P. showed in his slide show. One of my strongest ways of learning is visual so these images helped convince me that dark matter does exist. On the other hand because dark matter is for the most part just a concept it is hard to grasp the actuality of its existence. Overall I was able to reach my opinion based on the evidence presented but as I'm not an expert in this field my knowledge would not be reliable enough to make concrete conclusions.

SusieP said...

2) One of the most challenging aspects of dark matter for scientists is that its observed force conflicted with the force scientists expected. This controversy caused scientists to question what they really new. For example they doubted their theory on gravity as well as doubting Newton's laws. However through advanced technology such as the WMAP telescope, researchers detected the glow of plasma radiation in dark matter. Through this technique researchers gained a better understanding of dark matter but are still unable to completely explain it. Dark matter is a great challenge for scientists as it is a intangible. Science is based on the ability to predict, measure, and draw conclusions. Because dark matter is intangible it has been difficult to make much progress.

AmyLM said...

Something that Katie said in one of her posts really caught my attention. She mentioned that she was basing her knowledge on dark matter primarily off of authority, and since Dr. P seemed to really believe in it she was inclined to trust him. That made me think, didn't he explain to us how before this theory came about he was convinced of another one and was saddened when he realized it was incorrect? I think this shows that for this area of knowledge even our authority figures have limitations and we should educate ourselves before reaching a conclusion. (This is not to discredit Dr. P and his obvious brilliance!)

SusieP said...

3) Paradigm shifts are extremely important for evolution of the world. Without paradigm shifts, the ability to change is significantly limited. Dealing with issues in various ways is a key factor to the development of an individual and society. Recognizing problems is the first step to accomplishing a successful shift in thinking and acting. For example, before I was aware of environmental issues I wasted materials and resources, ignorant of the consequences. Then I experienced a paradigm shift when I became aware of the delicate balance needed between society and its fragile environment. Through this awareness I was able to change my own actions to contribute to the preservation of our world. Before I throw anything away I check to see if it is recyclable, I consume less gas by driving a hybrid car, and I try to make sure all the lights are off when I leave a room or my house. These are just some of the ways I shifted my thinking and actions to contribute to a greater cause.

alm said...

I think what Meredith was saying about using language as a way of knowing is really interesting. I agree that this first time most of what Dr. P was saying went right over my head, and a little bit of prior knowledge would have been useful. It's like going back to the pyramid of knowledge: Dr. P is way up high and I am sitting at the bottom looking up at him, by understanding the vocab a bit more it would have helped me to get up a bit nearer to him and perhaps, as Meredith said, grasp and accept more of the concepts being presented.

AllenZhu said...

1) Ok. Dr. P is good at talking about what he talks about. He's amazing at being smart, so I think I can easily trust him with the information that he is giving. He knows quite a lot about dark matter and honestly, I'm not sure how much I could comprehend, but I think I have a decent understanding of what it is. As to whether it exists or not..., that's a difficult question. It does seem very believable, especially with the way that Dr. P explained it. I think what really got me was the fact that there is a lot of stuff out there that we don't know. So, we can recognize things like planets and stars and things like that, but there is a portion of the universe that we cannot or see or perceive or recognize, but we realize something is out there. Dark matter seems like an excellent explanation for that empty space, especially with the adequate information that he provided and the excellent powerpoint and pictures that helped us to see what he was talking about. What I would like to see would be some evidence of why dark matter doesn't exist. It's easy to believe something when we have one side of the argument, so obviously knowing both sides of an argument is important before making a choice in a matter of belief, like the belief of dark matter. Yeah, but it was a good presentation and right now I do kind of believe in dark matter because Dr. P has that authority in this area of science and his presentation was very logical and well presented. The sense perception was also very helpful in helping me understand what dark matter was and influence my choice of belief on that topic.

SusieP said...

katie discussed Dr. P's passion about this topic and I agree that it influenced my own opinion on dark matter. It contributed to my believe that dark matter does exist. I also agree with amylm that authority is limited but when authority is mixed with passion it is even more convincing. It is not authority alone but a sense of conviction which results in improved trust and believability. Imagine if Dr. P. had shown no passion on this topic and presented only boring facts. We would lose our own motivation to understand the topic. Therefore our knowledge would be even more limited because we would not have been driven to reflect on it further. Because Dr. P. found the topic so intriguing I became curious myself.

AllenZhu said...

2) One of the biggest problems that exist for scientists concerning dark matter, is that dark matter is hard to perceive. There seems to be a lot of indirect evidence of dark matter and not much direct evidence. An average person would not recognize dark matter from any of the pictures that Dr. P showed us, unless they had Dr. P telling them and pointing out the spots that show why dark matter may exist. There is quite a lot of universe out there, but looking closely at that universe can be a challenge, which brings me to my next point. Money, and technology, is a big issue. That always seems to be a constant struggle in any branch of science. Technology is always a limitation, but without technology, we would not have come up with the term dark matter, so technology can always be improved on, but there is too much to be improved on so technology should be satisfactory. Money is also a problem because most of the times, there isn't enough of it. It can used to gather more evidence or improve technology. So overall, it does play a big role in our perception of dark matter, can't have too much of it. Intangibility seems to come up a lot in this blog and is a great word to describe dark matter and how much there is to learn even though its "intangible" and way harder to understand than almost any other topic, still progress seems to be made.

AllenZhu said...

3) Ok, perfect example of a paradigm shift. Maybe not so perfect, but I like it. The original idea/theory that I used to hold dearly to heart was that politics didn't matter. Haha. Obviously, I have changed my mind about that. I grew up in a family that didn't vote much, didn't follow politics much so I didn't get exposed to it, so I didn't have any political views. Now, especially with all the previous election excitement going on, I have gotten into politics, at least a little bit. Before, I only knew the candidates names, but now my understanding has increased and I might even be super interested in the next election. So that original idea of not caring about politics was completely blown away by the excitement of the election coming up and all the action going on and so now I'm interested in politics, way more than before, and I've been listening to NPR more closely/intently/better to learn about what's going on. It's been a good paradigm shift.

CJ said...

1) After listening to and viewing Dr. Polhemus, do you think dark matter exists? Did he convince you? Why or why not?

Quite frankly I think that Dr. P explained himself very well and used many of the graphs and pictures to his advantage allowing us as students, who are on a much lower level of understanding than he is, to grasp the main concepts of this complicated hypothesis. He used logic and consensus to present his side of the story and left qualms in me about its existence. These are very good justifications for the given situation and I believe many of us believed him not only from the solid logic he presented, but from the fact that the consensus he is referencing is coming from a community of knowers who are on a level far above us, so, one could almost argue who are we not to believe him or the community of knowers he is a part of? Given these justifications I see no reason to think dark matter doesn't exist. Could there be other options or forces at work instead? Yes, but from the information we as humans currently possess it is the best explanation of what we are seeing in the universe. Also, I would completely agree with Rachel on the fact that we view Dr. P as an authority and from this simple fact we are pre-disposed to believing what his opinions on the matter are and this is something we can't overlook when accounting for our personal biases and knowledge issues.

2) What problems exist that may make it difficult for scientists to come to knowledge in an area like dark matter?

I think in this instance we are mostly inhibited by physical limitations, mostly in technology. We cannot by any means know anything for sure in areas of space as far away as most of the galaxies and star clusters they are using to justify their dark matter beliefs so much of what we know is dependent on the technology we actually can use which is very inhibitory to understanding dark matter. These limitations force scientists to depend on nearly sense perception alone with only mathematical equations to back up what they are seeing. An issue with this is that looks can always be deceiving and we may not be getting the full picture when it comes to these obscure forces of mass and gravitational pull 5 billion light years away.

Dr. P. gave several examples of times when astrophysicists have been wrong in the past, but because of new findings, they have shifted to a new way of thinking. (This is called a paradigm shift.) Explain a paradigm shift you have experienced. What was the original idea or theory, and what caused you to shift?

I honestly can't think of a paradigm shift except relevant to my life except for politics so I'm sorry for repeating this subject. I (like almost every child does) always thought my parents were infallible, especially when it came to politics. Well, as I had to make my own decisions on the candidates I started doing my own research and forming my own opinions and when I came back to discuss politics with my parents there was this immense disconnect on views. It was at this point that I realized how one-sided their beliefs had become after seeing so many elections and their sources for their information was one-sided as well. This was a good wake-up call for me to stop depending on my parents (or others for that matter) for opinions and to formulate my own which was a complete shift in my way of thinking


Also, let me just comment on...well actually I can't find the comment to quote the person as there are what seems like a billion responses, so just know that it was about dark matter being irrelevant and it was this person's view that we could be funding other more important things. Well, I am going to have to respectfully disagree with you. Now, I know I have bias as I sat through the presentation soaking up what Dr. P was saying and was simply drawn in by the subject so I am a little biased, but I think that this is what we need to spend our money on. Paris Hilton buying a 2 million dollar, diamond studded cell phone is where the real bad spending is at. We need to support our scientists as no matter what, these discoveries are going to affect us sometime down the road and simply not funding it because it won't happen in our lifetime is almost selfish (obviously that wasn't directed at anyone who feels differently).

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