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Commentary by: Rick DeLano
President: Stellar Motion Pictures
Producer/Writer: The Principle

 

We give them money but are they grateful?
No, they’re spiteful and they’re hateful

—-Randy Newman, “Political Science”

Bill Nye made national headlines recently with his March for Science-related media interviews, wherein he insisted that “science is political”.

Darn right it is.

Always has been.

Always will be.

Never more so than at times when the prevailing scientific paradigm is teetering- a circumstance which comes ’round periodically, since science is, by nature, contingent.

“Settled science” is always just one experimental test away from relegation to the phlogiston file.

But we happen to live at a moment when the paradigm of paradigms -the one idea fundamental to the entire scientific enterprise- is teetering.

That fundamental idea is the Copernican Principle.

It states that we here on earth do not occupy or enjoy any special, privileged, or central position with respect to the largest scale structure of the universe.

Those who have seen “The Principle” and have followed our recent series of updates know that we have arrived at one of those potentially civilization-changing moments when the entire world-story which has shaped our thinking and our culture at deepest root- standard Big Bang Copernican Principle cosmology itself- stands on the verge of falsification, or at least of modification and redefinition on a scale sufficient to once again turn our view of our universe and of our place and significance in it upside down.

But capital-S Science, especially in this civilization and at this time- is political.

In a perfect world, science would proceed exactly as Albert Einstein proposes:

No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right. A single experiment can prove me wrong.”

But in this (imperfect!) world, generations of experimental challenges to reigning paradigms are either swept under the rug or, more typically, responded to by what the philosopher of science Karl Popper terms a “conventionalist twist”:

Some genuinely testable theories, when found to be false, are still upheld by their admirers — for example by introducing ad hoc some auxiliary assumption, or by reinterpreting the theory ad hoc in such a way that it escapes refutation. Such a procedure is always possible, but it rescues the theory from refutation only at the price of destroying, or at least lowering, its scientific status. (I later described such a rescuing operation as a “conventionalist twist” or a “conventionalist stratagem.”)

Consider anthropogenic global warming, conventionalist-twisted into “climate change” when the ice caps declined to melt on schedule and reality declined to deliver the hockey stick temperature rises predicted in the scandalous East Anglia University “research”.

Consider the astonishing conventionalist twist of Dr. Mary Schweitzer, who, having fully confirmed the existence of soft-tissue in dinosaur bones dated by “settled science” to 65-80+ million years of age, refused to test these soft tissues for C14, instead tossing some bird carcasses into a solution rich in iron for a couple of years and declaring the problem solved- gee! Who knew! Soft tissue can last 80 million years because iron!

Somebody ought to make a doc about that, by the way…

But the grand daddy of them all is about to hit center stage in the “conventionalist twist” department.

The grand daddy of them all is the Copernican revolution, which removed us not only from the center of the universe, but from our self- identification with the Christian cosmology involving the Incarnation of Christ in a universe created (intelligently designed) precisely for that Incarnation, on an earth that was the center and focus of the entire drama of creation.

Arthur Koestler, writing in “The Sleepwalkers“, captures the impact of this complete inversion of the human race’s view of itself and its place in the cosmos brilliantly:

(The Copernican revolution) “…transformed the European landscape, society, culture, habits and general outlook, as thoroughly as if a new species had arisen on this planet.”

Those who have seen “The Principle” have followed the course of that revolution in its crucially important scientific aspects, and have also been introduced to the new observations which have placed the Copernican/cosmological principle itself in doubt.

But consider the investment standard cosmology has made in the Copernican cosmological principle.

Like soft tissue in dinosaur bones, the earth-oriented alignments covered in our recent update “The Copernican Principle: Door Number One or Door Number Two?” simply should not be there, and a growing number of researchers are suggesting that standard cosmology itself might have to be reconsidered, should it turn out that these alignments cannot be explained by some unknown foreground or systematic error.

But there is, always, a temptation to resort to a “conventionalist twist”, when something as basic as standard cosmology (or evolutionary biology) bumps up against observations that simply do not fit the paradigm.

Which brings us to a paper published on the Cornell University preprint site on April 14, 2017, titled “The cosmological principle is not in the sky“.

The title itself is enough to give me a jolt, since it amounts to a concise one sentence summation of one of the key arguments that made “The Principle” so uber-controversial when released.

Building upon the observations briefly recounted in “The Principle” special feature “New Science“,  this newly-posted preprint recounts an exhaustive study of galaxy distributions out to as much as a billion light years, as part of an effort to establish the so-called “Homogeneity Scale”; the point where the universe finally starts to look homogeneous, as the Copernican cosmological principle insists it should.

Unsurprisingly, even at these huge scales the universe is simply not cooperating:

The homogeneity of matter distribution at large scales, known as the cosmological principle, is a central assumption in the standard cosmological model. The case is testable though, thus no longer needs to be a principle. Here we perform a test for spatial homogeneity using the Sloan Digital Sky Survey Luminous Red Galaxies (LRG) sample by counting galaxies within a specified volume with the radius scale varying up to 300 h−1Mpc. We directly confront the large-scale structure data with the definition of spatial homogeneity by comparing the averages and dispersions of galaxy number counts with allowed ranges of the random distribution with homogeneity. The LRG sample shows significantly larger dispersions of number counts than the random catalogues up to 300 h−1Mpc scale, and even the average is located far outside the range allowed in the random distribution; the deviations are statistically impossible to be realized in the random distribution. This implies that the cosmological principle does not hold even at such large scales.”

Statistically impossible.

All righty then.

It is my hope that by this time the message is starting to sink in: study after study, paper after paper, the fundamental assumptions that underlie the entirety of the Big Bang Copernican Principle cosmology which has shaped our view of reality are being crushed by the data.

Instead, the data seem, in crucially important ways, to lend support to the ancient cosmology- you know, the one that every single one of us laughs at in derision, as if we had been hard wired to consider what is, after all, the testimony of Scripture and of our eyes themselves, something so ridiculous as to be considered insane.

It is the story of how this fundamental re-wiring of our minds was accomplished that consitutes one of the keys to “The Principle”.

It is one of the most fascinating episodes in all of history.

But pause here and recall Popper, earlier:

Some genuinely testable theories, when found to be false, are still upheld by their admirers — for example by introducing ad hoc some auxiliary assumption, or by reinterpreting the theory ad hoc in such a way that it escapes refutation. Such a procedure is always possible, but it rescues the theory from refutation only at the price of destroying, or at least lowering, its scientific status. (I later described such a rescuing operation as a “conventionalist twist” or a “conventionalist stratagem.”)

“…reinterpreting the theory ad hoc in such a way that it escapes refutation.”

Why, of course 80 million year old dino bones can have soft tissue. No big deal. Has to do with iron you see. See for yourself. It’s peer reviewed.

And standard cosmology can get along just fine without its fundamental assumption of homogeneity actually, you know, existing in the sky.

If the CP is not in the sky, where is it then in the Universe?… the CP may stay in the theoretical foundation of the modern physical cosmology (in the early era), but not in the sky (i.e., not in the present epoch, nor in the observed lightcone). That is, the celebrated modern cosmology paradigm does not demand the actual presence of CP in our observed sky.”
Got that?

The universe is not at all homogeneous.

But it doesn’t have to be, after all!

It is enough to say that it once was.

Back before we can ever hope to see it.

Nice.

That’s one way to protect an investment.

At this stage the important thing is to begin to consider not so much whatever patch-ups might be on the way, in order to prop up as much of standard cosmology as possible for as long as possible.

The important thing is to begin to consider in what ways the ancient cosmology presents us with a more truthful way of thinking about reality.

And that is where “The Principle” and “Journey to the Center of the Universe” come in.

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Comments

One Response

  1. James Bush says:

    Lol! I’m still laughing.

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