Intellectual Humility

Not long ago, astronomers made a huge claim about evidence verifying the "Big Bang." Scientists connected with the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics announced they had detected gravitational waves from the earliest moments of the universe, when it was only fractions of a second old. These waves, so they said, were evidence of the Big Bang.

Now the astronomers say they might have spoken too soon. From the June 19, 2014 New York Times

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A group of astronomers who announced in March that they had detected space-time disturbances — gravitational waves — from the beginning of the Big Bang reaffirmed their claim on Thursday but conceded that dust from the Milky Way galaxy might have interfered with their observations... 
 

The authors [of a new study of the original data], led by John Kovac of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, write that they stand by their discovery — but they also now acknowledge that it is possible that interstellar dust might have produced much or even all of their signal. New data expected within weeks from the Planck satellite of the European Space Agency and other experiments should help clarify the situation, the authors say.

 

 

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