Saturday, January 12, 2013

Philosophy Wire: Quasar, Cosmological Principle, black frogs…

136FEA3EE1F760E481FFA44FEAADD2B3_thumb[1]Philosophy Wire by Spiros Kakos [2013-01-12]:

What’s the biggest thing in the universe?  That would be a  cluster of quasars so large it would take a vehicle traveling at the speed of light 4 billion years to cross. The research has been published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

The structure, known as a Large Quasar Group, or LQG, is so massive scientists say it may challenge a fundamental principle of cosmology, laid out by Albert Einstein, which states that when viewed on a sufficiently large scale, the properties of the universe are the same for all observers. [source: Discovery News, Space.com] Based on the Cosmological Principle, no structures greater than 1.2 billion light years should exist in the cosmos. This group of quasars seems to defy this limit. At its widest point, the LQG is about 1,600 times greater than the distance between the Milky Way galaxy and its nearest neighbor, Andromeda, a span equal to about 2.5 million light-years, or 13 trillion miles.

Interesting huh? Sure. But something is odd here. Articles posting the news insist on using the word “appears”. How many counter-examples does a “principle” need to be discarded? Our dogmatism has a new cloak – it is called “Science”. If you see a lot of green frogs, then scientific induction will lead you to the “safe” conclusion that all frogs are green. But wouldn’t ONE black frog suffice for you to change your theory?

> Check the new philosophy blog Philosophy Snapshots !

> See the article Earth at the Center of the Universe? for a very “weird” application of the Cosmological Principle…

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