Determining the Center of the Universe


Are we or aren’t we special? The debate continues!

Twice in the past year—May 17 and October 4—we’ve reported on the debate over earth’s position within the vastness of the universe. Are we in a mundane, seemingly random spot in the universe? Or are we in a central, special location suspiciously advantageous for observing the universe? The previous news items have covered tests proposed to answer the question—albeit tests based on information yet to be collected or new space probes yet to be launched.

Now, University of British Columbia astrophysicists believe they have solved the problem through a study of such astronomical data as the cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation, a faint glow of energy coming from all directions (that is, not generated by stars) that big bang supporters claim is an “afterglow” of the big bang. According to PhysOrg, the new research—which is forthcoming in the journal Physical Review Letters—finds that “void models, unlike standard dark energy models, do a very poor job of explaining all of the latest data, taken together.” (Void models are a type that consider the earth in a “special” place.) The article continues, “The new study helps to solidify our place in the Universe as a completely typical and unremarkable one.”

Since all of our perceptions of the universe are rooted in observations made from the earth (or very close to us, relatively speaking), a great deal of interpretation—and presuppositions—are required to even guess at where we might be within the universe. Besides, though there is ample evidence of the privileged condition of earth within the solar system and the galaxy, secular astronomers interpret this away, saying that if everything wasn’t so perfectly suited for life, we wouldn’t be here to make note of it! Thus, regardless of where earth is believed to be within the universe, we can still see God’s hand at work, and others can still blind themselves to it.

Another example of the role of presuppositions and interpretation in the field of astronomy came late last month, when astronomers reported their puzzlement over the strange case of missing hydrogen in the far edges of the universe. The discovery (or lack thereof, more accurately) contradicted big bang wisdom, which held that “hydrogen was expected to be more abundant so early in the life of the universe because it had not yet been consumed by the formation of all the stars and galaxies we know today” (this is based on the idea that by looking at distant stars, we are seeing billions of years into the past). Even so, the astronomers big bang beliefs are undeterred by the missing hydrogen, and they’ve unsurprisingly come up with an explanation for the missing hydrogen that upholds their paradigm.

Further Reading

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