The Universe Has a Centre (apparently)

I shall begin with their existing “Evidence for Creation”. I’ll skip “Evidence for God” and “Truth”, as I’m not interested in that kind of argument (it should be evident that the ICR, unlike the Discovery Institute, make no attempt to hide their fundamental reliance on scripture) and I’ll leave “from Nature” for later. First and foremost are their (rather amusing) articles about evidence from Science that apparently back them up. Let’s bore down the tree and see what we get…

We find ourselves at an article announcing that The Universe Has a Centre. Now, you may think that I’ve given myself an easy one to do, but I assure you that it’s a direct drop from Evidence from Science, via The Physical Sciences and The Universe was Created. And no, it’s not the shortest article there, amazingly.

The article begins:

Our solar system appears to be near the center of the universe. Galaxies look the same, and are moving away from us in the same way, in all directions. The cosmic microwave background radiation comes to us very uniformly from all directions. These and other data strongly indicate we are located at a very special location by design.

There are a lot of problems with even this opening paragraph. Ignoring the statement that “Galaxies look the same” (if so, I wouldn’t be able to purloin nearly as good desktop backgrounds from Phil Plait’s blog), we come to the claim that everything is “moving away from us”, like the big bang happened right where we are standing, or thereabouts. While it is true that everything appears to be moving away from us, with the things that are further away moving faster than the closer ones, the inference from this that we are therefore at the centre of the universe is flawed. Imagine that the space time continuum is, rather than a trampoline, the surface of a balloon. “In the beginning”, as it were, said balloon was not inflated. Imagine the balloon has random dots on it, which represent places that you could stand and observe the universe from. As the balloon is inflated, keep your eye on one of the dots (if you’re going to do this for real, I recommend a pump, or alternatively a friend – I am not responsible for any eye strain caused by this little demonstration. Indeed, considering that it comes from Simon Singh’s Big Bang even the demonstration isn’t mine. Preform at your own risk). You will see all the other dots nearby retreat from it, with the further away dots moving the fastest. But this doesn’t mean that the point you put your eye on is the centre of this pocket universe. Rather, if you consider the universe to only include the rubber, it has no centre. Taking this to the real universe, we see all the galaxies rushing apart as a consequence of the expansion of the universe, and all the other galaxies see the same thing.

As for the microwave background radiation, it can be said that if the Big Bang happened anywhere, it happened everywhere. Because of this and the inflationary expansion of the universe, we see the CMB radiation coming at us from all directions, more or less uniformly, as they say. But this doesn’t show that we’re in a “very special location by design”.

You will remember that they say that we are near the centre of the universe. An interesting point is that by near, we are talking tens, if not hundreds of thousands of light years. If their little non sequitur was correct, our galaxy might be “near” the centre of the universe, but we are not at the centre of the galaxy. Not even close. Therefore, it might be assumed that the universe was created not for us, but for Trantorian aliens. A sobering thought…

Next Paragraph: (2 of 3)

Instead of accepting the obvious, recent models of physical cosmology assume the earth is not special and that everywhere in the universe the exact same observation of receding objects would be seen. Instead of a universe with an age measured in thousands of years, this assumption leads to billions of years.

Are they really trying to use Occam’s Razor on science? To continue a little from above, here is why having the earth (or Milky Way) not be the centre of the galaxy is the simplest choice: If we were really at the centre, and everything they say is true, somebody standing in the Virgo cluster of galaxies (say) would still see everything rushing away from them, in the same way that while a car may appear to you to be rushing away from you, to the occupants of the car, you’re travelling away form them. In short, “recent models of physical cosmology” are only assuming that you too are driving a car.

 In contrast, creation cosmologies explain the data better by starting from biblically-based axioms: the cosmos has a unique center and a boundary for its matter, beyond which there is at least some empty space; and on a cosmic scale of distances, the earth is near the center.

As you may have noticed, the ICR are basing their ideas on the bible, and are bending scientific observations to fit. A word to the wise – you’re supposed to do things the other way around.

Next up (in the archives series), a slightly longer article on… lots of things. Fine Tuning features prominently, for some reason. We’ll demolish that bridge when we come to it, as they say…

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One thought on “The Universe Has a Centre (apparently)

  1. Pingback: Interpret the Evidence (So It Matches Your Pre-Existing Beliefs) « Eye on the ICR

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