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No. 4: July 1978

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A New Cosmic Heresy

Often the simplest of observations will have the most profound consequences. It has long been a cornerstone of modern science, to say nothing of man's cosmic outlook, that the earth attends a modest star that shines in an undistinguished part of a run-of-the-mill galaxy. Life arose spontaneously and man evolved on this miscellaneous clump of matter and now directs his own destiny without outside help. This cosmic model is supported by the Big-Bang and Expanding Universe concepts, which in turn are buttressed by the simple observation that astronomers see redshifts wherever they look.

These redshifts are due, of course, to matter flying away from us under the impetus of the Big Bang. But redshifts can also arise from the gravitational attraction of mass. If the earth were at the center of the universe, the attraction of the surrounding mass of stars would also produce redshifts wherever we looked! The argument advanced by George Ellis in this article is more complex than this, but his basic thrust is to put man back into a favored position in the cosmos. His new theory seems quite consistent with our astronomical observations, even though it clashes with the thought that we are godless and making it on our own.

(Davies, P.C.W.; "Cosmic Heresy?" Nature, 273:336, 1978.)

From Science Frontiers #4, July 1978. 1978-2000 William R. Corliss