Horror of a unique position

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The Horror of a unique position[1] is expression for embarrassment of naturalistic theorists who fear that our place, that is planet, Solar system or Milky Way galaxy could be extraordinary in the universe[2]. 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.[3] Horror of a privileged position leads to prejudice, 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". 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 effects of spatial curvature. The kinds of universes that would be compatible with these principles are belonging to the set of so called relativistic cosmological models[1] 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[4], "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."[5]


  1. 1.0 1.1 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.”
  2. 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” 
  3. Alex Williams, John Hartnett (2005). Dismantling the Big Bang. Green Forest, AR, USA: Master Books, 132. ISBN 978-0-89051-437-5. 
  4. SW Hawking, GFR Ellis. The large scale structure of space-time. 
  5. Gibbs,W.W. (1995). Profile: George F. R. Ellis: Thinking Globally, Acting Universally. 273 (4). Scientific American. pp. 28-29. 

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