A commenter on our website asked some very useful questions concerning the recent update “Another Shocker- Galaxy Types Arranged Around Earth“.
Since these questions provide an opportunity to address some of the fundamental concepts involved in the approaching paradigm shift in our cosmology and world view, I present in a slightly modified form my response to his questions, and I extend a personal “thank you” to Father John Matthew Fewell for raising them.
Father Fewell raises concerns that a geocentric universe ought to provide us with symmetry, not asymmetry, in order to reflect harmony and order in creation.
Shouldn’t “symmetry” be found, rather than “asymmetry”?
First off, we are not permitted, in science, to impose our metaphysical preferences on the data.
We can use our metaphysical preferences to generate hypotheses (the great physicist Richard Feynman prefers the less gussied-up term “guesses”).
Aristotle considered the circle to be the most perfect form; the heavenly bodies must therefore all orbit the earth in perfect, circular uniform motion.
Can’t get more ordered and symmetrical than that.
But that is not what we observe.
Kepler famously tried using inscribed and superscribed boundaries of nested Platonic solids to generate what he thought would be the most beautiful, elegant way to derive the distances between the planets.
He was pretty close too, at first, and figured he must be on the right track.
But another fellow named Tycho Brahe was instead doing observations.
Exhaustively careful ones.
Kepler quickly learned that his celestial spheres, which transported him to ecstasy because of their elegant adhesion to his Platonic metaphysics, DID NOT EXIST.
Fr. Fewel asks whether, under the Copernican Principle, the universe is “asymmetrical,” with no up, no down, no order.
The Copernican Principle states that there is no up, or down, or left, or right, precisely because it is symmetrical.
The Copernican cosmological Principle postulates that on its largest scales the universe is symmetrical when viewed from any point within it.
Like the outcome of an explosion.
Say you went to the flattest and most featureless desert on earth.
Do a slow 360, and notice everything looks the same in every direction.
No special directions, no special locations.
It would look the same if you walked over here or walked over there.
Now, take a really really round boulder, and stand on top.
DO ANOTHER SLOW 360.
Notice that it looks the same- nothing in any direction but lone and level sands, stretching far away.
No special direction…….but a special location.
So, not homogeneous.
Now get down off the boulder and do another slow 360.
Notice now it is NOT isotropy, there is one direction in which there is a really really round boulder.
Now, think of the desert as the universe.
It might not be the whole universe- maybe there is something different beyond what we can see.
But the desert is like the observable universe.
The special place from where it LOOKS isotropic- the boulder- is earth.
BUT if you developed the ability to examine the exact type of rock forming the sand, and you discovered that in one particular direction, the sand seemed to be made of a completely different type of rock- and that direction ran smack dab through the middle of the boulder, you would begin to suspect that desert had some highly non-random properties, like something (or Somebody) had left the sand and the boulder as a special direction.
We end our thought experiment with a bang.
Stick some dynamite in a hole you drill to the boulder’s center, and blow it up.
Notice that the fragments will be pretty symmetrically distributed.
Pretty much the same number and type of fragments no matter which direction you look from where the boulder was.
Now go in and arrange some of the fragments in to the letters “I DID THIS”
Notice that the distribution is now ASYMMETRICAL.
It is not isotropy.
It is instead ordered.
The Big Bang cannot survive asymmetrical, anisotropic structures on its largest, cosmological scales.
These structures are now observed all over the place, in galaxies, in quasars, and in the Cosmic Microwave Background itself.
And they are picking out a special direction across the universe, related to us here on supposedly insignificant earth.
Prepare for the greatest change in our view of our place and significance in the cosmos since the Copernican Revolution.
It is at hand.