Ever since it was postulated in the early 1930’s, dark matter has been a mystery of physics and cosmology. Scientists have proposed countless theories and have done nearly as many experiments trying to detect and explain the phenomenon.
In a nutshell, scientists discovered that everywhere they looked in the universe, gravitational laws indicated that the observable motion of celestial bodies (stars and such) behaved as though there was more mass out there than we could see – a lot more. This invisible matter was dubbed “dark matter.”
As the measurements and calculations have been refined – assuming our understanding of the law of gravity is accurate on the scale of galaxies – the estimates of the amounts of dark matter and dark energy in the universe have been calculated to far outweigh the amount of visible matter and “normal” energy. See the graph (from Wikipedia) below:
While science has not been able to come up with much in terms of explanation or even detection of dark matter and dark energy, in 1843, Joseph Smith recorded a revelation that at least partially explains dark matter:
“There is no such thing as immaterial matter. All spirit is matter, but it is more fine or pure, and can only be discerned by purer eyes; We cannot see it; but when our bodies are purified we shall see that it is all matter.” (D&C 131:7-8)
That spirits were matter at all was a revolutionary concept at that time, but if we consider spirits to be made of dark matter, this becomes a key intersection between religion and science as to what can be real.
Although there are a lot of forms of invisible matter, the attributes of spirits indicate that they are made of a type of matter not yet understood by science, hence my classification of it as a form of dark matter. There is also some anecdotal evidence of spirits having a measurable weight in the experiments of Duncan MacDougall, which would support this theory.
While this is a mildly interesting thing to contemplate by itself, when we start considering the ramifications of this assertion, we find a number of potentially useful insights that could lead to greater understanding of dark matter.
First, let’s consider the nature of spirits. A spirit is the essence of the consciousness. To be complex enough to contain a consciousness, we need to have matter with properties that both allow aggregation and binding together, as atoms and molecules do with regular matter, with substantial complexity. To attain such a level of complexity requires particles which can be combined in many different ways. This would be further enabled by the existence of different types of particles. So, there are likely at least several different kinds of dark particles with different properties, which may be able to be combined into many different dark elements, and dark molecules.
Dark matter is affected by gravity, as that is how we know of its existence. We also know that spirits animate the physical body, so there is likely some potential for these dark particles to interact with the other forces (electromagnetic, strong force, weak force) that govern the behavior of regular particles. Alternatively, there could be some other force between dark particles and regular particles that allows them to affect each other – perhaps dark particles could affect quantum spin, for instance.
Considering these points and the fact that spirits are animate, it should be no wonder that the scientific community has had little luck detecting this kind of dark matter. The tests typical of the general scientific community look for as-yet-undiscovered particles consists of breaking apart or fusing known particles or waiting for stray particles to pass through their detection devices by chance.
I don’t know how to best to detect particles that may or may not be affected by the forces we currently understand and which may or may not be collected together in regular patterns. However, much of scientific progress starts with a hypothesis.
On the religious side, the quantity of dark matter in the universe indicates that there could be a lot more to the spirit world than we might guess.
Ultimately, the key point here is that spirits are real. Despite the inability of modern science to detect them, we have very good, logical explanations for how they can exist that fits the observed facts.