One topic I will be writing about in this more general blog project will be how beliefs tend to cluster and what happens when certain “core beliefs” are challenged with what one might call “disconfirming evidence.” I haven’t seem much coverage of this yet, but a recent journal article publication provides evidence, that, if true, would fundamentally challenge the dominant origin theory of the universe. Scientists at the INAF-Brera Astronomical Observatory in Italy and the Astronomical Observatory of Paris-Meudon found a cluster of galaxies that appears to be several billion years older than possible under the evolutionary timetable that follows from the Big Bang model. The full article, Red sequence determination of the redshift of the cluster of galaxies JKCS 041: z ~ 2.2, in Astronomy & Astrophysics, is intended for a specialized audience. A press release at the INAF web site, makes the significance of their finding much clearer for the layperson, but only if you speak Italian. Here is a quote from the press release, courtesy of google translate:

It is the farthest cluster of galaxies ever observed. Thus, the oldest. A record. It is not just a record. To get an idea of the implications of the discovery of Stefano Andreon and Marc Huertas-Company (INAF-Brera Astronomical Observatory of the former, the Astronomical Observatory of Paris-Meudon second), we try to think of the babies. And how, slowly, begin to speak. They begin to stutter the first words within the year. To compose the two already know a few words, those who after the first. Every so often there will certainly be someone who started before everyone else, setting a new record.

But suppose that an infant, we have made a child of just six months, he leaps out with a “Mom, let’s stop here for today’s milk I guess I’ve had enough.” We would be dismayed. Are not merely the killing of a new record: a child would mean that radical rethinking. Would force us to reconsider from scratch all the models available to us of neurology, linguistics and developmental psychology. How can know when to make complex sentences would still be barely able to put together a simple syllable?

If true, this will be a very interesting case to watch.