Horror of a unique position
The Horror of a unique position is expression for embarrassment of naturalistic theorists who fear that our place, that is planet Earth, Solar system or Milky Way galaxy, could be extraordinary in the universe. They do not like the idea that we might be at or near the center of the universe because that would suggest that we are in a special or privileged position, perhaps put here on purpose by the Creator. They believe their commitment to so called absolute materialism as pseudo-religious dogma "cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.[note 1] Thus, since "there seems to be no other escape," they think to be in need to be willing to:
- accept scientific claims that are against common sense,
- take constructs marked with patent absurdity,
- tolerate unsubstantiated just-so stories[note 2]
- adhere to set of concepts that produce counter-intuitive material explanations and mystifying to the uninitiated.
This way, the horror of a privileged position leads to prejudice[note 3], violation of the Socratic principle, damning the alternatives, and clinging to the biased a priori assumptions such as those of uniformity and homogeneity of the universe. Consequently, atheistic cosmologists assert that "there must be no favoured location in the universe, no centre, no boundary; all must see the universe alike"[note 4]. In order to ensure this situation, they postulate spatial isotropy and spatial homogeneity, which is way of stating that the universe must be pretty much alike everywhere and in all directions. In their reasoning, they use circular argument hence claim that a favoured position is intolerable because it represents a discrepancy with the theory that postulates homogeneity. Then, in order to restore homogeneity, and "to escape the horror of a unique position", the departures from uniformity, which are introduced by the recession factors, must be from their perspective compensated by the second term in the Einstein's field equations representing the effects of spatial curvature.
Effort to hide philosophical criteria for model selection
The kinds of universes that would be compatible with these principles are belonging to the set of so-called relativistic cosmological models and they are being selected and favoured by mainstream scientists based on philosophical criteria. According to South African cosmologist George Ellis who in 1973 co-authored the book The Large Scale Structure of Space-Time with University of Cambridge physicist Stephen Hawking, "People need to be aware that there is a range of models that could explain the observations. For instance, I can construct you a spherically symmetrical universe with Earth at its center, and you cannot disprove it based on observations. You can only exclude it on philosophical grounds. In my view there is absolutely nothing wrong in that. What I want to bring into the open is the fact that we are using philosophical criteria in choosing our models. A lot of cosmology tries to hide that."
- It is symptomatic that naturalistic scientists often feel, similarly to Gnostic sects, being at war against "cruel world maker" usually identified with the God of the Old Testament whom they perceive, from their metaphysical position, as "tyrant". Such was the case when Richard Dawkins paid tribute to his late fellow Christopher Hitchens as a "great warrior [against all tyrants including God]" who was "in a foxhole", and "did not flinch". Slovak theologian Jozef Ondrej Markuš maintains that a man who lives in separation from God suffers from fear and doubts. Then, in order to mitigate this uncertainty fueled also by own misdeeds and transgressions, humans search for ways how to silence their own voice of conscience and escape the God's judgment by devoting to projects (aka Nimrodian aspirations) like the famous Tower of Babel mentioned in the Bible with ultimate goal to replace God by self-adoration and to feel like gods themselves.
- cf. 'Tolerant' in Moral relativism as TUMOR
- C. S. Lewis criticized this type of position on grounds that it depends not on positive scientific evidence but simply on an a priori metaphysical prejudice and at the same time he questioned modern naturalism as devised not to get in facts but to keep out God.
- cf.Cosmological principle
- Edwin Hubble (1937). The Observational Approach to Cosmology. Oxford University Press. “Such a condition would imply that we occupy a unique position in the universe, analogous, in a sense, to the ancient conception of a central Earth…. The hypothesis cannot be disproved, but it is unwelcome and would be accepted only as a last resort in order to save the phenomena. Therefore, we disregard this possibility and consider the alternative … But the unwelcome supposition of a favoured location must be avoided at all costs ... Such a favoured position, of course, is intolerable ... Therefore, in order to restore homogeneity, and to escape the horror of a unique position, the departures from uniformity, which are introduced by the recession factors, must be compensated by the second term representing effects of spatial curvature. There seems to be no other escape.”
- Richard Phillips Feynman et al. (2002). Feynman Lectures on Gravitation. Westview Press, 166. ISBN 978-0813-340388. “I suspect that the assumption of uniformity of the universe reflects a prejudice born of a sequence of overthrows of geocentric ideas...It would be embarrassing to find, after stating that we live in an ordinary planet about an ordinary star in an ordinary galaxy, that our place in the universe is extraordinary...to avoid embarrassment we cling to the hypothesis of uniformity”
- Alex Williams, John Hartnett (2005). Dismantling the Big Bang. Green Forest, AR, USA: Master Books, 132. ISBN 978-0-89051-437-5.
- Juli Weiner. In Memoriam: Christopher Hitchens, 1949–2011. richarddawkins.net.. Retrieved on August 4, 2013. “Farewell, great voice. Great voice of reason, of humanity, of humour. Great voice against cant, against hypocrisy, against obscurantism and pretension, against all tyrants including God. Farewell, great warrior. You were in a foxhole, Hitch, and you did not flinch. Farewell, great example to us all. Richard”
- Jozef Ondrej Markuš (2001). Prorok Daniel (Prophet Daniel) (in Slovak). Matica slovenská, 42–43. ISBN 80-7090-600-6.
- Richard Lewontin (January 9, 1997). Billions and billions of demons (review of The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark by Carl Sagan, 1997) 31. originally in 'The New York Review'. “"Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door."”
- C.S. Lewis (1965). Screwtape Proposes a Toast: And Other Pieces. Fontana books. ISBN 9780006224853.
- SW Hawking, GFR Ellis. The large scale structure of space-time.
- Gibbs,W.W. (1995). Profile: George F. R. Ellis: Thinking Globally, Acting Universally. 273 (4). Scientific American. pp. 28–29.