Feedback archive Feedback 2010

Sight and the centre of the universe

Image NASA There is good evidence to suggest that the Milky Way is close to the centre of the universe.
There is good evidence to suggest that the Milky Way is close to the centre of the universe.

This week’s feedback deals with two topics, Dr John Hartnett answers Frank T. from Canada about whether we need to know how close Earth was to the centre of the universe in the beginning, and Dr Jonathan Sarfati answers Thomas D. from Germany on how many receptors the human eye has.

Frank T. from Canada writes, with Dr John Hartnett’s response interspersed throughout:

Dear Sir:

I was re-reading your booklet titled, “How can we see distant stars in the universe?” by the two of you.

You speak of the earth being near the centre of the universe on page 17 and the article shown here refers to the earth as being near the centre as well: [Astronomy And The Bible]

I have a question. Has anyone used the known speeds and rotations and paths being travelled, of the earth, sun and milky way galaxy, to calculate backwards for a 6000 year period to try to come up with where the earth could have been located at the time of creation in relation to our present time and position? This work could then give us the centre of the universe.

No-one has made such a calculation that I know of but even if they did I don’t see that it would be of any help.

Firstly our solar system is very small compared to the Milky Way galaxy wherein we reside, so calculating where the solar system was 6000 years ago would not tell us too much about the centre of the universe. The reason for this is scale. When we speak about ‘near’ the centre of the universe we are speaking ‘cosmologically’ not locally. This means even if our galaxy was within 100 million light-years of the centre we could say it is near because the universe is so so large. Also no one is suggesting that the Earth or the solar system was at the exact centre at Creation. There is no suggestion there. In general we are referring to the location of our galaxy, which is a very big object, 100,000 light-years (1 light-year = 10,000,000,000,000 km) across.

Knowing this information should help to support the Biblical history of creation.

I do not think so. In a lot of these sorts of things God still expects us to believe by faith, i.e. trust in His Word. There will never be the ‘magic bullet’ that proves anything like this. In our booklet we offer evidence consistent with such an interpretation but not proof.

I would think that as God Almighty created the earth first and then created the sun, moon and stars later, that the earth would have been the starting point, the centre.

You may think that, but it does not necessarily follow that we are at or were at the exact centre physically. Certainly we are at the centre of His attention, but our planet Earth is not at the centre of the solar system either, that would not be a good place to live, neither is our solar system at the centre of the galaxy etc. To force some preferred notion of perfection by being at the centre could well be similar to the Aristotelian notion of perfect circles in astronomy of the solar system 2000 years back, which proved to be quite incorrect.

If this work has not been completed, wouldn’t it be worth the work and be valuable know where the centre is?

No, for the above reasons.

Please excuse me for such questions as I imagine this has already been accomplished. Would you please let me know the answer?

Your brother in Christ

Frank T.

I hope I have answered your question, but if not, please ask me.

Best regards


Photo stock.xchng Receptors in the human eye not only give us sight but also help regulate our sleeping patterns.
Receptors in the human eye not only give us sight but also help regulate our sleeping patterns.

Thomas D. from Germany writes:

Dr. Jonathan Sarfati:

Over 20 some years ago, Scientific American did an article on the eye.

One of the claims of the article, which I haven’t heard or read from another source, is that the human eye contains four light receptors (not three) which are for three different colors, but the fourth receptor they didn’t know what it was good for.

Since then I haven’t read or heard about the fourth receptor and its use in our vision.

What do you know about the seeming anomaly? Or is my memory not what it used to be and is playing tricks on me?


Dr Jonathan Sarfati responds:

Dear Thomas

The four different types of light receptor are the three types of cones, which are tuned to the primary colours of light (which is why they are the primary colours), and work best in bright light; and the rods, which are not sensitive to colour but work well in dim light. This is why it’s hard to tell colour in the dark. But there is a fifth receptor, relatively recently discovered, which is most sensitive to blue light, but is not perceived as sight, and is instead important for regulating melatonin production, important for circadian rhythms. Some totally blind people still have these light receptors, so have normal sleep rhythms. See this 2001 report Jefferson neuroscientists uncover novel receptor in the human eye to control body’s biological clock.

(Dr) Jonathan Sarfati

Published: 28 August 2010

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