Pale purple pixel

The large scale structure of the universe

If you like Sagan’s concept of earth as a pale blue dot in a vast black cavern of space, you’ll love Dr. Stefan Keller’s take on our local group of galaxies. The Milky Way would be one tiny purplish pixel in the image above. Each lit speck represents a major galaxy, the larger dots are super clusters, thousands to millions of galaxies. The cosmos is revealed as sheets and filaments of starry matter separated by oceans of space-time hundreds of millions of light-years across filled with a thin haze of poorly understood ghostly particles.

We’re kind of sandwiched between two enormous voids which pin us into a filament linked at one end to the big Virgo galaxy cluster and to the Fornax galaxy cluster off to the other side,” Dr Keller said. The structure of the filaments were most probably shaped by interactions between dark and ordinary matter. “A consequence of the Big Bang and the dominance of dark matter is that ordinary matter is driven, like foam on the crest of a wave, into vast interconnected sheets and filaments stretched over the enormous cosmic voids,” he said.

It’s hard to drink that in and then try and imagine, if some sort of super being made it all, it made it for us exclusively. The idea that said super being is keeping a list and checking it twice, to find out who is naughty or nice, or that its terribly concerned with how long our beards are, what we eat on Friday, or who sleeps with who is beyond laughable.


  1. John Morales says


    It’s hard to drink that in and then try and imagine, if some sort of super being made it all, it made it for us exclusively.

    Nah — only a bit harder than thinking some magical being made Earth for us exclusively.

  2. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    I actually find the “who sleeps with whom” bit to be the least laughable.

    Still laughable, but the least laughable. If there be some being so ridiculously powerful as to believe the profligate waste of energy to create matter on scales unimaginable to humans was worth the effort to create said humans, then the idea that it might be interested in the *happiness* of those humans is not unimaginable. And given that a lot of happiness is found in our human relationships to each other, and particular delight is found in sex, then that seems much more reasonable than caring about beard length.

    Again, I’m not saying it’s reasonable to believe that super-clusters of galaxies were created billions of light years away so as to make human beings possible.

    I’m only saying that if SuperGod *did* do that, and if the hypothesis is correct that he created those distant super-clusters as part of an effort to create humans and make them happy, then SuperGod probably would care about whether we actually made use of our capacity for happiness, so deeply embedded in our nervous systems which are so disproportionately focused on and in our genitals.

    The weird thing is that the SuperGod is proposed not only to have created distant super-clusters as part of an act of love by someone who deeply cares about making humans happy, but also to forbid so many things which create happiness.

    One of the delightful things about Judaism is that it includes requirements that husbands “do right” by wives by having sufficient sex with them. None of the other Abrahamic religions appear to care about women’s sexual happiness, which, again, is a large part of human happiness.

    Sure it’s heterosexist, and there’s a lot to criticize in Judaism, but that there is actually somewhat consistent with the hypothesis of a SuperGod that cares about our happiness. A SuperGod that cares about who sleeps with whom only in ways that *prevent, make difficult, or forbid* such sleeping is bizarrely inconsistent with a SuperGod that wants us to be happy.

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