Paraphrasing Carl Sagan, “there are billions and billions of people out there.” But not a one of them can explain why the universe isn’t acting like it should. Most of us know the universe is getting bigger, but scientists say it is expanding at a rate much faster than it should. Much like Michael Moore. The experts say something in the cosmos just doesn’t add up. No one knows why.
To quote an article on cnet.com: “For some time now there's been a mismatch in observations of the early universe done with the European Space Agency's Planck Telescope and what astronomers see when they measure the more nearby, modern parts of space with NASA’s Hubble Telescope.” (As the article points out, looking at distant parts of the universe with powerful telescopes is the same as looking back in time. Kind of like staring at Bernie Sanders).
Scientists say that they can’t reconcile what was occurring 13 billion years ago, as seen through the Planck Telescope, with what they see happening more recently, as viewed through the Hubble Telescope. At first, they thought this was due to a lack of precision in the measurements, but, after fine-tuning their tools, the discrepancy remained. This led researchers to recently claim that the odds that the discrepancy is due to user error-- or is simply a fluke—are 1-in-100,000.
The Space Telescope Science Institute’s Adam Riess, a Nobel laureate, stated: “This mismatch has been growing and has now reached a point that is really impossible to dismiss as a fluke. This disparity could not plausibly occur just by chance.” To which I would add: There are a lot of things that could not plausibly occur just by chance, Mr. Riess, one of which is the existence of planet Earth in the exact same position it occupies now with the exact same distribution of elements. The odds on that being a fluke are literally incalculable.
Riess characterizes this startling discrepancy as “the most exciting development in cosmology in decades,” and adds that it “strongly suggests there’s a piece missing in the puzzle that scientists have put together over the years to model the history of the universe.”
There’s more than one piece missing. There are far more pieces missing than we have in place. And there always will be. Perhaps that should be considered the most exciting—and humbling—development in cosmology.
The universe may be expanding faster than we can explain. Our intelligence and capacity for reason is not.
Truly intelligent people know that, whether they are scientists or rubes in fly-over country.