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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

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987