August 23, 2009 | David F. Coppedge

Are We at the Center of the Universe?

An alternative cosmology that doesn’t require dark energy may have the effect of putting the Milky Way near the center of the universe.  That’s not the only interpretation, but it is being considered.
    Space.com reported on work by mathematicians at UC Davis who solved Einstein’s field equations without dark energy.  If the big bang produced ripples in space-time, it could give the illusion that the universal expansion is accelerating without actual acceleration.  “One potential issue with this idea is that it might require a big coincidence,” Space.com said: “For the universe to appear to be accelerating at the same rate in all directions, we in the Milky Way would have to be near a local center, at the spot where an expansion wave was initiated early in the Big Bang when the universe was filled with radiation.”  Blake Temple of UC Davis acknowledged that it may look coincidental, but may reflect local conditions from our vantage point.
    Still, National Geographic News seemed alarmed by the suggestion.  This violation of the Copernican Principle (the idea that all observers in the universe get the same large-scale view) would be a “hard pill to swallow.”  It will take more work before the evidence in favor of dark energy is overthrown.  Space.com, on the other hand, called dark energy a “hasty fix to an inconvenient truth” in the 1990s – the discovery that distant supernovae were dimmer than expected and must be accelerating from us.  Temple argued that dark energy looked like a fudge factor.  That’s why the UC Davis team tried to find an alternative cosmology without it.  Meanwhile, as Science Daily reported, most astronomers are working hard to find the mysterious dark energy.

Dark energy and dark matter continue to be offered as occult phenomena that bind the consensus assumptions of cosmology together.  They serve no explanatory function.  What good is it to say that Mysterious Unknown Stuff (MUST) must exist? (02/28/2008).  Any storyteller can say that to prove anything.  Science is supposed to observe and measure things.  Let them work on that before expecting us to accept their placeholder for ignorance much longer.
    If it turns out our galaxy is near some kind of privileged location, that would be interesting, but does Christian theology require it?  No; our significance to God is not a function of our coordinates.  There are already so many “cosmic coincidences” that make our universe, galaxy, star and planet unique (watch The Privileged Planet), we don’t need another one that puts man at point zero in sector zero in quadrant zero in the big scheme of things (if there even is a way to measure a center, considering the intertwined relationships of light and time).  Creation physicist Dr. Russell Humphreys has argued from quantized redshifts that our galaxy must be near the center of the universe.  Even so, he does not claim that we are at the exact center.  But if we are not at the exact center, it would raise all kinds of additional questions – why not?
    The center might not be a good place to be, anyway.  We obviously don’t want to be at the center of the Milky Way (too crowded), or at the center of the sun (too hot), or at the center of the earth (too dark).  A comfortable place in the suburbs works out just fine so long as we can live, move, and have our being.  What matters is not living near the civic center of the universe, but near the rescue mission.  We want to be where a Savior was coming (Galatians 4:4-5).

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Categories: Cosmology, Physics

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