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Nature in the Balance

Are Balanced Forces Hiding a Deeper Understanding of the Universe?

Throughout human history the same side of the moon has faced the earth. This is because the moon’s orbital speed and rotational speed are precisely matched so that as the moon orbits, the same side always faces towards the earth. If you know a lot about gravity this makes sense. The earth’s tidal forces make bulges in the moon. The moon’s rotation causes these bulges to be off center, and the earth’s gravity provided enough torque on the bulges to slow the moon’s rotation until it matched the speed of its orbit. To ancient people, who didn’t know a lot about gravity, this balance would have seemed like an unlikely coincidence, and it may have hindered their understanding of astronomy.

Photo by malith d karunarathne on Unsplash

Phenomena like the near side of the moon abound in nature. In circular orbits the centrifugal force due to momentum is exactly balanced by the centripetal force of gravity. For elliptical orbits, like the moon, these forces are not matched exactly, but the imbalance cancels out with each orbital rotation, so the moon can continue in its seemingly unending procession. No doubt this cancellation is why it took until the 1680s for Newton to connect gravity with the moon.

Balance is not limited to astronomy. Electric charge plays a vital role in chemistry. The electric charge of a proton is exactly cancelled out by the charge of an electron, and molecules have exactly the same number of protons and electrons, masking the importance of properties to early chemists. Similarly the strong nuclear force was concealed for years, because quarks come in six different “colors,” but quarks never exist alone and these particles always add up to a colorless combination (the charges were named so that their combinations would be analogous to the way that combining red, blue and green light appears as white light).

In hindsight, the balance in some systems seems obvious. It wasn’t until 1628 that William Harvey realized that blood flow in the arteries is balanced with blood flow in the veins, and that blood circulates around our bodies.

So how does this apply to modern science? Today there is no greater mystery than the phenomena that are attributed to dark matter — phenomena that have resisted explanation for over 85 years. During this time many scientists have tried to explain dark matter. Some have tried using an unknown kind of particle, including WIMPs or axions. Some have proposed an unanticipated feature of gravity, like MOND. Others have proposed that we’ve missed larger objects, like primordial black holes or MaCHOs.

All of these theories are united in that they propose that there’s just one thing we’ve missed. “If only we knew about this one thing,” these theories seem to say, “that would explain everything.” If history is a guide, it’s unlikely that we’re wrong about just one thing. It’s much more likely that there is an unseen balance of nature that obscures the truth.

I proposed a theory to explain the dark matter phenomena, the entropy scale factor, that uses balanced changes to the scale of space and time. These balanced changes work to increase the effects of my theory on phenomena like galaxy rotation, while at the same time minimizing many effects used to test general relativity. I’m looking for collaborators to help with the calculations needed to test this theory. If interested, please email me at

More work will need to be done before we can tell if the entropy dependent scale factor is a useful theory of nature. But if I had to bet, I’d say that we’re not wrong about one thing with dark matter, we’re wrong about two things, and they’re balanced.




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Chris Watson

Chris Watson

Physician in Indianapolis thinking about information, space and time.

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