A structure over twice as large as the previous record holder puts immense strain on theories of the universe.
Remember the “Great Wall” in 1989 that first threatened favored big-bang theories for the origin of cosmic structure? Well, that was puny – one sixth the size of a new structure reported by Space.com in “Universe’s Largest Structure is a Cosmic Conundrum.” This new discovery is within a year of last January’s announcement that a structure half as large, the Large Quasar Group, not only defied theory (1/12/13) but threatened to unravel the time-honored “cosmological principle.” Reporter Irene Klotz explains the problem:
Astronomers have found a mind-bogglingly large structure — so big it takes light 10 billion years to traverse — in a distant part of the universe.
The discovery poses a conundrum to a fundamental tenet of modern cosmology, which posits that matter should appear to be distributed uniformly if viewed at a large enough scale.
This is the “lumpiness problem” of big bang cosmology: how do you get lumpy objects from a smooth beginning? It was hard enough to explain relatively small lumps, like galaxies, or clusters of galaxies. Now, such an immense structure compounds the lumpiness problem by many orders of magnitude. The new structure is inferred from the distribution of gamma ray bursts. They ruled out other biases before concluding that “the structure from which they came spans approximately 10 billion light-years in diameter.”
The article leaves off with puzzled looks on the faces of astronomers like co-investigator Istvan Horvath, with the National University of Public Service in Budapest, Hungary: “For now, Horvath says he has ‘no idea’ how something that big could have evolved.” The more audacious of onlookers might be forgiven for suspecting that standard big-bang cosmology has been falsified by these observations.
“No idea” is an expression of ignorance. If Horvath has no idea how something that big could have evolved, he is ignorant that it evolved at all. Alternative: it didn’t evolve. That seems to be at least a logical possibility that rises above the level of ignorance.
Exercise: Try out your Baloney Detecting skills on Roger Briggs’ latest paean to scientism published by Live Science, “As Myth Marries Science, the Origin Story Matters.” It’s a typical secular rant about how science has superseded the imaginative origins stories of primitive people, before “science happened.” Count the glittering generalities and appeals to falsified claims masquerading as fact. He’s right about just one thing: “The origin story that science can now tell is our new creation myth.” He seems to forget that the Apostle Peter stated confidently that he and the other disciples did not follow “cleverly devised myths” but was an eyewitness of the Lord, and that John (another eyewitness) said, “In the beginning was the Logos,” not the mythos. The Apostle Paul asserted that unbelievers become “futile in their thinking” by failing to acknowledge the clear evidence for God in the things that are made (Romans 1:18–25). The time will come, he said, when people with “itching ears” will accumulate teachers according to their own desires, and will “turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths” (II Timothy 4:3–4). Argue your case: who has the creation truth, and who has the creation myth?