Thursday, July 12, 2012

Dark Matter: "An Intriguing Aspect of the Universe"

I greatly appreciate the following, shared recently as a letter to the editor of the Star Tribune by Barbara A. Holms, the new president of one of my alma maters, the United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities .

The July 7 Letter of the Day ("Borrowing from Physics to Understand the World") asserted that dark matter "includes all those things that reek of darkness and negativity – wars, injustices, prejudice, poverty, murder, intolerance of differences, sickness and a lack of reverence for our earth."

It's unfortunate that we continue to regard darkness as evil when there is nothing scientific or cultural to support the assumption. This belief is often reinforced by religious symbols and texts that emphasize the blessedness of light and the demonic potential of darkness.

Harboring such negativity makes it more difficult to embrace our darker neighbors in the world community. Dark matter is not evil; it is an intriguing aspect of the universe.

Discovered by Vera Rubin, it appears to be an invisible, cohesive and predominant force in the cosmos. It is fascinating to note that the night skies reveal only 10 percent of what is actually there. The rest is dark matter and dark energy.

In a culture that assumes that darkness is a harbinger of evil, a marker of inferiority, and the opposite of all things good and virtuous, the unveiling of dark matter holds out other possibilities.

In the beginning, there is darkness. It is the womb out of which we are born, a genesis space for light and nurture and creativity.

– Barbara A. Holms
Star Tribune
July 12, 2012

See also the previous Wild Reed post:
Dark Matters

Related Off-site Links:
Dark Matter ‘Scaffolding’ of Universe Detected for First Time – Matt Roush (CBS, July 9, 2012).
Dark Matter Filaments Bind Galaxies (July 12, 2012).
CERN Turns LHC's Attention to Dark Matter – Brett Smith (, July 9, 2012).

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