Exploding Dark Islands
Many students of The Urantia Book start off quite impressed by its fabulous, “sci-fi” cosmology. But as naïve assumptions and misunderstandings about science get undermined, their interest in this “scientific content” can cool off. One student, who’d championed “Urantia Book science” for 20 years, recently hit this credibility wall. In a Urantia Book discussion forum, he asked (what he thought was) a rhetorical question:
“So, can YOU think of a novel scientific proposal of The Urantia Book that does not have a human origin? Can you think of something, anything, unique to the book that we might await science to discover independently?”
I could think of a few, but as a student of astrophysics, I’d become intrigued by one in particular. So I replied: “Here’s one: that black holes can explode.”
This caught him by surprise. He thought he knew a thing or two about black holes, and that they might be related to what The Urantia Book calls dark islands. But as everybody knows, black holes do not explode. Besides, where in The Urantia Book does it mention exploding dark islands? His scepticism was undented, but his curiosity was aroused.
This article is intended to tickle that curiosity. It begins with a quick review of black holes in section 1. Section 2 explores how such objects might explode. Section 3 points to a possible connection with the Higgs mechanism. Sections 4 and 5 reconsider the nature of spiral galaxies, and section 6 concludes.
- Black Holes – Some Background
Native physics currently proposes three types of “black hole”: (1) little ones, weighing from 3 to 20 times the mass of our sun, (2) big ones, weighing millions or billions of times as much, and (3) microscopic ones, that may weigh nothing at all. The first type are born when a big star dies. The big ones were proposed to explain what we see at the center of galaxies. The “microscopic” ones will not concern us here.
Let’s consider the first type first, since both mainstream physics and The Urantia Book start off with a similar story. These are known as stellar mass black holes, and weigh between 3 and 20 times the mass of our sun.
* * *
If some cooling and contracting mass (say from cold accumulation or the remains of a dead star) weighs more than about 3 times the mass of our sun, its own gravity will eventually make it collapse into a ball so small and dense that something weird happens: it disappears. What’s thought to happen is that when such an object shrinks below a certain size (see Schwarzschild radius), then any photons falling within the radius of that ball of space get trapped behind an apparent/electromagnetic horizon. The cooling and contracting object is still there, but light can no longer bounce off it for our telescopes to see. It becomes like a dark spot in space. In 1934, The Urantia Book referred to these as one type of dark island [Paper 15:6.11, page 173:1]. In the 1960’s, when mainstream science began to get interested, they became known by the catchy name “black hole.”
Our faintly glimpsed [Paper 195:7.5, page 2078.8] ideas of relativity explain this trapping of light by a bending of space. The idea goes that the mass of a black hole warps space, so that all local paths for photons spiral down into a funnel of curved spacetime. But in The Urantia Book we read that space is nonresponsive to gravity [Paper 11:8.3, page 125:6]. Which implies that this contracting mass is not bending space itself, merely perturbing a medium in which light appears to wave.
The formation of an electromagnetic horizon, and its effect on light, is no longer controversial. But what happens behind (inside) that horizon is. Current physics has no theory to explain how the collapse of matter can be stopped, once gravity squeezes it smaller than its Schwarzschild radius. So physicists have to take seriously the idea of total collapse—a star’s worth of mass-energy squeezed smaller than a grain of sand. The problem here is that as volume gets smaller, density gets bigger. By believing that a star collapses to a point (singularity), generations of students have been asked to believe in division by zero, and some embarrassing infinities that follow.
Einstein, among others, rejected this idea, claiming that nature would have a way to avoid such abuse of spacetime. Nevertheless, all agree that such a collapsing ball must shrink to a size smaller than its Schwarzschild radius, and thus be lost from view. This idea, of gravity hiding the light from a star, was first proposed by John Michell… in 1783! Such objects were first referred to as a “black holes” in 1964.
So what’s the difference between these standard model “stellar mass” black holes, and Urantia Book dark islands? To astronomers, there’s no difference at all. As compact objects hidden behind an electromagnetic horizon, they will be discoverable only by their gravitational effect on nearby stars, and maybe as a tiny patch where light is bent in characteristic ways. But there’s one big difference: the hypothetical black hole is nature’s ultimate dead end; The Urantia Book’s dark island is nature’s most efficient bomb.
- Exploding Dark Islands
So what’s all this about dark islands exploding? Paper 41 section 3 sets the scene:
The enormous pressure, accompanied by loss of heat and circulating energy, has resulted in bringing the orbits of the basic material units closer and closer together until they now closely approach the status of electronic condensation. This process of cooling and contraction may continue to the limiting and critical explosion point of ultimatonic condensation. [paper 41:3.6, page 458:6] (emphasis added)
This paragraph begins by describing the formation of what’s called a white dwarf. If a cooling and contracting star weighs less than about 1.4 times the mass of our sun, then electron degeneracy pressure (a quantum effect) can halt the collapse. “Electronic condensation” is one way to describe the state of atomic electron shells in this first kind of compact object.
However, if the compacting object weighs a little more, then this process of cooling and contraction may continue to the next level—“nuclear condensation.” When electron degeneracy pressure is overwhelmed by gravity, electron shells are forced into atomic nuclei to combine with protons. The result is a neutron star, held up by another quantum effect, neutron degeneracy pressure.
Before going on, it’s worth pausing to consider the story so far. When we say “white dwarf,” we need to imagine the entire mass of our sun, cooled and contracted into a volume the size of the earth. When we say “neutron star,” we need to imagine that same amount of matter squashed into a volume only 10 km across—the size of a small city. Think about that.
Which brings us to the cutting edge of physics. Our “standard model” can handle neutron stars. After all, they’re just a collection of neutrons, packed very, very tight. But if we add a little extra mass to our cooling and contracting ball, then gravity wins and the neutrons start to melt. Here’s where our standard model falls short.
The problem lies in the way we model quarks. The standard model treats neutrons as more or less robust little structures, with a certain capacity to resist gravitational collapse. But we also model neutrons as triplets of quarks, so when the neutrons in a neutron star begin to melt, what happens next depends on how we model those quarks. Currently, we treat them as nothing but disturbances in a quantum field. Our mathematics allows these quarks to pair up in ways that allow “wave-functions to overlap,” so all those quarks in all those neutrons can theoretically form a condensate the size of a single quark. It’s this abstraction that allows singularities —the hypothetical black hole. Such theory predicts no way to recover this trapped mass-energy, so it seems that black holes must be nature’s ultimate dead end.
Here’s where the difference between “dark island” and “black hole” kicks in. The Urantia Book treats quarks not as abstract oscillations, but as clusters of huddling ultimatons. In The Urantia Book scheme, when gravity overwhelms a neutron star, “this process of cooling and contraction may continue” yet again. The idea is that another level of degeneracy pressure exists to halt the collapse. Recall that a neutron star is about 10 km across. If this next level of support falls below the Schwarzschild radius (say 4 km), then the cooling and contracting object still disappears behind its horizon (just like a black hole), but instead of total collapse to singularity, it stabilizes as a “dark island.” It’s in this dark, phenomenal, stable state that dark islands can be put to work:
The Dark Islands of Space. These are the dead suns and other large aggregations of matter devoid of light and heat. The dark islands are sometimes enormous in mass and exert a powerful influence in universe equilibrium and energy manipulation. The density of some of these large masses is well-nigh unbelievable. And this great concentration of mass enables these dark islands to function as powerful balance wheels, holding large neighboring systems in effective leash. [Paper 15:6.11, page 173.1]
Astronomers can now locate these dark islands. So far, all those found appear to weigh less than about 20 times the mass of our sun. Another thing about such objects is that as they get heavier (say by siphoning gas from a binary partner) they get smaller. So a 20 solar-mass dark island, held up by some sub-nuclear degeneracy pressure, may be less than 1 km across. When they say “enormous in mass” and “of unbelievable density,” they mean it. But let’s not forget that Urantia Book Paper 41:3.6 ends with a punch line:
This process of cooling and contraction may continue to the limiting and critical explosion point of ultimatonic condensation. [Paper 41:3.6, page 458.6] emphasis added
How many ways can we read “limiting,” “critical” and “explosion”? Here, the author explains that “this process of cooling and contraction may continue,” but only so far. Once gravity tries to force the component ultimatons into each other’s tiny space, the contraction stops. This marks the end of the line, the limiting and critical level of ultimatonic condensation. But he also says “explosion.” What sort of explosion might this be?
In nature, ultimatons escape the status of physical existence only when participating in the terminal disruption of a cooled-off and dying sun. [Paper 42:6.3, page 476.5]
Here the author is talking not about the little explosions that go bang on the surface of white dwarfs. Nor is he talking about those flashy supernovae that mark the birth of neutron stars. Those small explosions merely rearrange matter. But this “terminal disruption” is something else: imagine all the finite and absonite energies bound into those clusters of huddling ultimatons; now imagine all this energy, well-nigh instantly released. Since the violence of an explosion depends not only on the total energy released, but also on the rate, an instantaneous release of 20 solar-masses worth of energy would surely catch our attention.
Well, yes and no. It’s safe to assume that such explosions are related to gamma ray bursts. But given the ultimatonic nature of such events, and the absonite ancestry of ultimatons, such events may be beyond what we call the electroweak scale (see Paper 42:5.3-4, ultimatonic and infraultimatonic rays). What we measure as “gamma ray burst” may turn out to be just the low energy, “electroweak” tail of an unmeasurable ultimatonic event. It’s this unimaginable release of energy I had in mind when I called The Urantia Book dark island “nature’s most efficient bomb”.
But wait, there’s more.
- Switching Off the Higgs Mechanism?
Since it’s (local, linear) gravity that causes all this matter to contract, and since we think of (local, linear) gravity as being caused by mass, and if such mass really is induced by a Higgs-type mechanism, then “pause to consider” what might happen if such a mechanism can be switched off.
First a technical detail. Mathematically, we model massive particles as quantum objects called spinors that flip very fast between states called left and right. It’s this rate of flipping (“chiral oscillation”) that defines a particle’s mass. Now, if we imagine these spinors not as mere mathematical abstractions, but as primitive (“pre-electronic”) clusterings of huddling ultimatons, then at this point of ultimatonic condensation, when even these primitive clusters melt, there’d be nothing left for the Higgs mechanism to flip. Which would mean, suddenly, no mass upon which (local, linear) gravity can act; no attractive force to constrain 20 solar masses worth of agitated ultimatons, each with their antigravity action engaged…
Ultimatons are capable of accelerating revolutionary velocity to the point of partial antigravity behavior, […] ultimatons escape the status of physical existence only when participating in the terminal disruption of a cooled-off and dying sun. [Paper 42:6.3, page 476:5]
20 solar-masses worth of e = mc2, released in a moment. “Pause to consider…”
If the Higgs mechanism really does switch off when all “flip-able” (chiral) structure has dissolved, this would help explain why dark islands must explode when they reach that “limiting and critical” size. And if the recycling of dead stars is a standard feature of the universe economy, then what a neat solution it becomes.
- Black Holes of the Supermassive Kind
A second type of black hole, proposed by cosmologists, is called “supermassive.” These are thought to be just like the stellar mass kind (apparent horizon surrounding a singularity), only millions or billions of times heavier.
Physicists assume that if such monster black holes exist, then they must be built up by merging thousands of the smaller kind. Of course, this assumption implies that middle-weights must exist, formed by the merger of just a few. But as discussed above, if cooled and compacted objects all explode when they reach a critical size (about 20 solar masses), then the merger theory would not work, and the existence of supermassive black holes becomes very hard to explain.
So why do cosmologists think supermassive black holes exist? They were invented to explain two things: (1) the orbits of stars close to a rotational center in the Milky Way, and (2) quasars—outflows from the centers of young galaxies. First some background, and then a few thoughts about an alternative that might explain both things.
In the 1950’s radio astronomers noticed clouds of hydrogen orbiting a common center in the Sagittarius part of the sky. In the 1970’s, this center was located, and called Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*). More recently, two teams have been mapping orbits of individual stars around Sgr A*. Their measurements imply that these stars are orbiting something with the gravitational pull of 4 million solar masses, but which is smaller than the distance of Mercury from the sun. The only way current physics can explain this is with a very, very heavy black hole—a supermassive one. Regarding the nature of such a beast, it’s worth noting that after 17 years exploring and speculating about Sgr A*, leader of the US team Andrea Ghez said: “But surprisingly, it seems that [these supermassive] black holes are not as hostile to stars as was previously speculated.” (TED Talk link)
Given current assumptions about space and matter, the idea of a “supermassive black hole” was not a bad first guess. If we assume only relativistic gravity and angular momentum, Sgr A* sure looks like something with the mass of 4 million stars packed into a volume 44 million kilometres wide. However, while cosmologists may be happy to take supermassive black holes for granted, astrophysicists point to problems. Such as angular momentum—all that mass should be “orbiting,” not dropping through an event horizon. Also, in a young, “big-banged” universe, such objects would not have had time enough to form.
So is Sgr A* simply an accumulation of collapsed matter, or something else? Alternatives need only explain the motion of a handful of stars in orbit around Sgr A*. For example, what if these stars are moving in a vortex, not orbiting a mass? Would this be a simpler solution? As it turns out, this appears to be what The Urantia Book predicts. The Urantia Book explains the origin of all spiral disks of stars, both big and small, as the handiwork of force organizers. Here’s a taste of what these guys are said to do:
Paradise force organizers are nebulae originators; they are able to initiate about their space presence the tremendous cyclones of force [Paper 15:4.4, page 169:4]
…they are nebulae creators. They are the living instigators of the energy cyclones of space [paper 29:5.5, page 329:5]
Upon the appearance of gravity response, the Associate Master Force Organizers may retire from the energy cyclones of space [Paper 42:2.12, page 470:3]
Regarding these “cyclones of space,” technically they are vortices in a condensate of “space potency.” When acted upon by the associate force organizers, this condensate evolves from a cyclone of “primordial force” into a rotating spheroid of “ultimata”. Here we should note that since this ancestral spheroid of ultimatonic mass is pre-electronic, it must be electromagnetically dark.
But let’s focus on the center of this vortex. We find not a supermassive accumulation of collapsed mass, but a transcendental agent acting as axis of rotation for a flattening sphere of dark matter. In Paper 57, we find a brief description of how this works:
875,000,000,000 years ago the enormous Andronover nebula number 876,926 was duly initiated. Only the presence of the force organizer and the liaison staff was required to inaugurate the energy whirl which eventually grew into this vast cyclone of space. Subsequent to the initiation of such nebular revolutions, the living force organizers simply withdraw at right angles to the plane of the revolutionary disk, and from that time for-ward, the inherent qualities of energy insure the progressive and orderly evolution of such a new physical system. [Paper 57:1.6, page 652:2] emphasis added
It was from this ancient cyclone of ripened force that most of the stars of Nebadon were born. But for astrophysicists, the interesting thing about this ancestral cyclone is that it was invisible:
“800,000,000,000 years ago the Andronover creation was well established as one of the magnificent primary nebulae of Orvonton. As the astronomers of near-by universes looked out upon this phenomenon of space, they saw very little to attract their attention. Gravity estimates made in adjacent creations indicated that space materializations were taking place in the Andronover regions, but that was all.” [Paper 57:2.2, page 652:5] emphasis added
While describing one of the “magnificent primary nebulae of Orvonton”, the author points out that the only indication of anything at all was some “gravity estimates” indicating some kind of “space materialization”. Which is just what we would expect—this “magnificent nebula” must remain utterly dark until the ancestral ultimatons have had time to huddle and cluster into leptons and quarks. Only then, when the core of this vast mass of ultimata has evolved to what The Urantia Book calls “the electronic stage”, can photons first appear.
Worth noting here is that the above describes the evolution of a baby disk of stars in the superuniverse age. But further along in this section we read that the birth of these nebulous spirals is much the same in the outer space levels, only on a larger, “master universe” scale:
The near-by star students of that faraway era, as they observed this metamorphosis of the Andronover nebula, saw exactly what twentieth-century astronomers see when they turn their telescopes spaceward and view the present-age spiral nebulae of adjacent outer space. [Paper 57:3.2, page 653:2]
To sum up, in this scenario, the simple assumption of a supermassive black hole is replaced by some kind of superfluid vortex anchored to an absonite axis imposed by the pre-echo of the transcendental presence of a force organizer. In this case, those tell-tale stars orbiting Sgr A* would not be in simple orbits about a supermassive mass; they’d be interacting with a superfluid flow.
Which raises a question: what happens when that force organizer leaves? Is his transcendental action replaced with some equivalent effective mass, or does some anchoring, absonite axis remain? Who knows! But given the discussion above, it’s likely to be something more interesting than a mere accumulation of dead stars.
Quasars (“quasi-stellar radio sources”) are the other reason why cosmologists think supermassive black holes must exist. The thing about quasars is that they seem to be too bright. They all have high redshift, which is thought to imply great distance. But if they really are at the distance implied, then physics struggles to explain how so much energy is released from such a small volume of space. Current theories call on relativistic outflows from accretion disks around supermassive black holes. But what if their redshift is not a true indicator of distance?
“Redshift” refers to the shifting of spectral features to longer wavelengths. But wavelength is determined by “cycles-per-second,” so redshift is a very time-dependent thing. Anything that affects the rate of flow of time will invalidate naïve assumptions based on “redshift = distance”. For example, if the ancestral disks of dark matter (within which galaxies evolve) really are spun up by master force organizers, think about the timelike commotion when a transcendental force organizer “…exits, stage right”.
“Subsequent to the initiation of such nebular revolutions, the living force organizers simply withdraw at right angles to the plane of the revolutionary disk, … ” [Paper 57:1.6, page 652.2]emphasis added
A transcendental force organizer “withdrawing at right angles” from the center of his disk must surely leave behind some timelike repercussions. Could this explain the quasar-like commotion and anomalous redshifting that we measure at the center of young galaxies?
“Pause to consider…” the centrifugal forces, the angular momenta, the gravitational perturbations and timelike distortions associated with a super-galactic disk’s worth of ultimatonic dark matter, locked onto the absonite presence of an associated transcendental Master Force Organizer. Since galaxies are enduring components in a future-eventuated master universe, it’s not hard to imagine them being anchored by absonite axes. And what better way to dial up high redshift than to pass light through an absonite anomaly?
In Paper 101 the author states “The cosmology of these revelations is not inspired.” [Paper 101:4.2, page 1109:3] Some students read this as “we have revealed nothing new”, then overlook what the authors were free to do.
In the spirit of “authoritative elimination of error” [Paper 101:4.6, page 1109:7], the authors explain (1) that our assumptions about cosmological redshift are erroneous, and (2) that matter is something more than a mathematical abstraction. With these two simple hints, they reset the foundations of our physics.
One feature of these new foundations is that matter is made from ultimatons. This article points out two implications of such a fact: that stellar mass black holes can explode, and that spiral galaxies must be embedded in vast disks of dark matter.
Now hold it right there. Correcting erroneous assumptions about redshift is one thing, but revealing the ultimaton? Would this not violate their “prime directive,” those pesky “limitations of revelation”? [paper 101:4, page 1109:2]
That’s a good question, which we can only answer with another: if the ultimaton is not discoverable by finite means, do those limitations apply?
Native physics is quivering on the brink of discoveries that will move it beyond last century’s standard models. Think what it could mean if these inevitable breakthroughs were triggered by students of The Urantia Book.
Nigel Nunn, November 2014