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Quadruple Vodka! Examples of the universe being deceptive

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The Lord is Subtle but he is not malicious.

Albert Einstein

I have second thoughts. Maybe God is malicious.

Albert Einstein

Look at the blue galaxies in this photo. Astronomers conclude the 33 of the blue galaxies are only 11 galaxies that are producing an optical illusion created by gravitation lensing (as predicted by Einstein’s general theory of relativity).

Image : This gravitational lens shows a strange blue objects stretched. They are spread in a circle in this picture, but are only multiple views of a single ring galaxy.

The analysis showed that at least 33 images of 11 different background galaxies are discernible in this image.

Predicted by general relativity by Albert Einstein, a number of gravitational lensing have been observed by Hubble. Sometimes, when the alignment between two objects is perfect, the image of the distant object can take the form of a ring of light surrounding the subject at hand.

In case of perfect alignment between the observed source (a star for example), and another stellar object (a black hole for example), the black hole in front will act as a gravitational lens or deflector.
The observer will not see the star as such but rather as a ring, this ring is appointed, the Einstein ring.
A star, although a mass much lower than that of a galaxy, can also act as a gravitational lens.
The effect is obviously much less powerful, it is called, micro gravitational lens.

and how about this one:

lensed quasars

At first glance, it seems that many are strangely elongated galaxies around the five brightest quasars, in white on the image. In fact, a cluster of galaxies acts as a gigantic gravitational lens that distorts and multiplies the luminous objects located behind. The five white points of light near the center of the cluster are in fact images of the same distant quasar.

When a scientist gave a talk about this phenomenon in cosmology class, my stomach turned, I thought to myself, “then what the heck can we ever believe about our observations.”

We presume the phenomenon isn’t wide spread because we don’t suppose there are that many gravitational lenses such as the one pictured above. Theory doesn’t predict that they are ubiquitous, but then again, our theories may be based on flawed observations to begin with! Like someone on Vodka, they might be seeing things, except this time we see multiple images of things while sober!

[the Vodka designation means the following material likely has errors but has data that are worth considering]

One amateur (whom I probably would disagree with 80% of the time) suggested the universe could be deceptive. He suggests the deception is ubiquitous. Let me say I don’t yet agree because theory doesn’t predict that we’ll have so many deceptive images as the one depicted above, and that such examples are rare. But do we really know? It may be worth considering. I’m not endorsing this website because I think there are most definitely some basic physics errors, but I’m indebted to Jerrold Thacker for at least getting me to think and for his kind reply to my queries. His website is here:

Please don’t base your physics understanding on this website. For example, his treatment of the Shapiro effect may be faulty…but it will get you to think about what you really believe.

1.HT: CentralScrutinizer who said:

It’s possible that the entire universe is a lie of sorts.

That was the inspiration for this discussion.

2. photo credits

4 Replies to “Quadruple Vodka! Examples of the universe being deceptive

  1. 1
    GBDixon says:

    Gravitational lenses are not deceptive. They are an exercise for the student.

  2. 2
    CentralScrutinizer says:

    Thanks for the post, Sal, but my statement regarding the universe being a “lie of sorts” was intended as something quite different than what you’ve posted here.

    I simply tossed that idea out there for all the Bible believers to chew on, since the Bible clearly says that God will “send a strong delusion” in the last days, which comports with what you were saying about the universe possibly containing contradictory evidence, etc.

    Gravitational lensing is explicable given current understand of physics. However, other things may end up being fundamentally contradictory no matter what hypothesis humans dream up, given what the Apostle Paul said, and assuming he was right. It is conceivable that the dots may never connect.

  3. 3
    scordova says:

    It was provident that there was an Einstein to give us gravitational lensing theories, otherwise we’d be postulating all sorts of illusory galaxies.

    Aslo, johnnyb makes this observation regarding how blessed we are to live in this time in he universe given a recent paper by physicist Lawrence Krauss:

    In the paper The Return of a Static Universe and the End of Cosmology, [Hat Tip: IDTF] the authors argue that in the (very, very far) future, we will no longer be able to detect the evidences that lead us to the conclusion of the big bang. And, in fact, our observational data would lead us to view the universe as static. IDTF thinks that this is evidence that we live in a privileged place and time in the universe. That may or may not be true, but the theoretical questions that this paper brings are far more interesting.

    Assuming that the paper is correct (and I certainly don’t know enough about cosmology to say anything there), then that means that we know that it is possible for the evidence to indicate a false understanding of the universe. Think about that — we have a paper that demonstrates that physical evidence can lead to a false understanding of cosmology even if the data is measured 100% accurate.


    If only to suggest, it is by grace than any of us know anything…

  4. 4
    CentralScrutinizer says:



    Some of the things he says are food for thought. However, The spinning gravitation fields as the cause of galactic shapes is a bit over the top. Especially ones where it’s quite obvious that two galaxies are colliding at right angles!

    How the hell do you get that out of a spinning gravity field?

    Anyway, I’d like to see some peer review for this stuff 🙂

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