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Big and Little

Peternosaint
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7/8/2016 8:30:56 AM
Posted: 4 months ago
What have the scientists come up with to indicate the biggest thing/structure ever known to man?

This one seems to be a bit tricky...What is the smallest thing known to man? I am not sure I understand this one.
RuvDraba
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7/8/2016 11:41:46 AM
Posted: 4 months ago
At 7/8/2016 8:30:56 AM, Peternosaint wrote:
What have the scientists come up with to indicate the biggest thing/structure ever known to man?
This one seems to be a bit tricky...What is the smallest thing known to man? I am not sure I understand this one.

As far as I know, the biggest single connected object presently observed is the Baryon Oscillation Spectroscope Survey (BOSS) Great Wall -- a gravity-bound web of galaxies connected by streamers of gas, all over one billion light-years across and somewhere between 4.5 and 6.5 billion light-years away, detected via Gamma Ray Bursts [https://en.wikipedia.org...] and first reported in 2014. [http://www.smithsonianmag.com...] [http://adsabs.harvard.edu...]

The smallest experimentally observed object I know of remains a quark, which is an elementary particle of the Standard Model of Quantum Mechanics. [https://en.wikipedia.org...] It's so small that its size can only be calculated statistically by seeing how easy it is to hit. The smallest experimentally-observed upper bound on its size that I know of is 0.43E-16 cm, with (because it's statistical) a 95% Confidence Limit [https://www.theguardian.com...][http://arxiv.org...]

As is always the case at the limits of observational methods, the accuracy of information is highly dependent on the range tools and methods available, so both ontology (what's there and how it connects) and measures may change with future information.
keithprosser
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7/8/2016 3:06:07 PM
Posted: 4 months ago
Reading up on those huge galactic structures, it is rather mind-blowing to think all those billions and billions of huge galaxies (not even just billons of stars!) were all packed into something smaller than a proton 13 billion years ago.... must have been a bit of a sqeeze.

Can't argue with Ruv about actual objects, but of course in some scientific theories do allow an infinitely big multi-verse and and zero sized singularites, but not many people think that anything physical can be literally infinitely big or zero sized.

That said, I think a case could be made for the biggest object known to exist would be the visible universe, although Rational_Thinker9119 might disagree it exists at all! He won't be happy until the universe consists of nothing but idealism theads.
RuvDraba
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7/8/2016 5:03:29 PM
Posted: 4 months ago
At 7/8/2016 3:06:07 PM, keithprosser wrote:
some scientific theories do allow an infinitely big multi-verse and and zero sized singularites
Yes. There's some conjecture that singularity at the centre of a black hole could be smaller than a quark -- but I've no idea how you could test that. :)

I think a case could be made for the biggest object known to exist would be the visible universe
Yes. Because technically every part interacts with every other part, it's connected by (attenuating) causality even if it's not materially contiguous. That gives us a ball of galaxies about 92 billion light-years in diameter, as measured at the time light is received. (Hence qualified because that wasn't its size when the light was transmitted, and while you're receiving the light the universe is busy growing to a bigger size than you'll actually see. :D)

, but not many people think that anything physical can be literally infinitely big or zero sized.
I think the empirical problem is how you'd test whether it actually were. The only scientific way to assess 'real' is to test some measurable behaviours within some confidence bound. What test assesses infinite or infinitesimal size? These ideas are describable mathematically -- we have language and rules for them -- but I don't myself know how to make them empirically meaningful.
Peternosaint
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7/9/2016 2:07:18 AM
Posted: 4 months ago
Thank you chaps! The galaxy is, so far, explained as the biggest, but who knows. And I did say known to man.

The smallest is described as Infinity. I am lost on this one. I know about the Jot, the iota, but Infinity as being small....Hmmmm! Any suggestions.

Our minds, because we don't have something to judge by, has trouble understanding infinity. We say, Ad Infinitum, (again and again in the same way; forever.) and we are happy to leave it at that allowing for the Latin phrase to explain that which we can't comprehend.

Always was and always will be puts the human mind into a bit of a dither, as there is no 'discipline of science' that has disagreed on that premise.

Evolutionists now say "There never was nothing", thus admitting that infinity does exist. These are my opinions.
RuvDraba
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7/9/2016 3:22:38 AM
Posted: 4 months ago
At 7/9/2016 2:07:18 AM, Peternosaint wrote:
Thank you chaps! The galaxy is, so far, explained as the biggest, but who knows.

Yes. Our ability to recognise big stuff is controlled by the tools we have to observe it. By its very nature, big stuff needs to be seen at a distance; we're limited in the distance we can observe from, and the more distant big stuff needs better tools. There's a list of large cosmic structures here: [https://en.wikipedia.org...]. You can see that in recent years the list has been growing, but there's also a theoretical limit of about 1.2 billion light-years in size -- and it keeps getting passed by bigger discoveries, which means the theory needs to be improved. But in the meantime, they keep looking and finding more. Nobody has ever looked this hard before, with tools as good as we have, so everything is new, and a lot is surprising.

The smallest is described as Infinity.
The smallest I know of that has been observed, Peter, is a quark. We don't know how small it is, but experiment can tell us how big it's not. :) They can test it by firing fast electrons at a proton and because they know what happens when a quark gets hit, they can tell how often it misses. The smaller a quark, the harder it is to hit one. Fifteen years of 'miss' data indicate that it can't be any bigger than a certain size, though it might still be smaller.

Smaller than that, and at the moment we can't really observe it as far as I know. There's only theory and conjecture, and different theories produce different ideas of how small stuff can get, and some theories have objects 'infinitely small' which means they'll always be smaller than whatever our smallest measure is, though how you can verify that, I don't know.

For myself, the very big and very small cease to be intuitive once I no longer know what to do with the data. Since I don't work in astronomy or quantum mechanics, after the size of galaxies and protons, the numbers start looking just like numbers to me, rather than insights into decisions I might ever make. :)

Evolutionists now say "There never was nothing", thus admitting that infinity does exist. These are my opinions.
I'm not sure about that, Peter. Evolution is a matter of biology, and biologists are now very confident that all the species on Earth had one common ancestral species, regardless of how new species formed. The mechanisms for forming new species are also fairly well mapped -- though they are still finding more mechanisms, and there are still some questions outstanding.

But before that -- the appearance of first life on Earth -- has multiple conjectures and they're still being explored. Some are looking promising, but that doesn't mean they're right.

And biologists don't really think much about the inception of the cosmos -- except to the extent that they think about how certain materials may have appeared on Earth (apparently, Jupiter and Saturn may help fling certain materials our way.)
Peternosaint
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7/9/2016 7:43:04 AM
Posted: 4 months ago
At 7/9/2016 3:22:38 AM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 7/9/2016 2:07:18 AM, Peternosaint wrote:
Thank you chaps! The galaxy is, so far, explained as the biggest, but who knows.

Yes. Our ability to recognise big stuff is controlled by the tools we have to observe it. By its very nature, big stuff needs to be seen at a distance; we're limited in the distance we can observe from, and the more distant big stuff needs better tools. There's a list of large cosmic structures here: [https://en.wikipedia.org...]. You can see that in recent years the list has been growing, but there's also a theoretical limit of about 1.2 billion light-years in size -- and it keeps getting passed by bigger discoveries, which means the theory needs to be improved. But in the meantime, they keep looking and finding more. Nobody has ever looked this hard before, with tools as good as we have, so everything is new, and a lot is surprising.

The smallest is described as Infinity.
The smallest I know of that has been observed, Peter, is a quark. We don't know how small it is, but experiment can tell us how big it's not. :) They can test it by firing fast electrons at a proton and because they know what happens when a quark gets hit, they can tell how often it misses. The smaller a quark, the harder it is to hit one. Fifteen years of 'miss' data indicate that it can't be any bigger than a certain size, though it might still be smaller.

Smaller than that, and at the moment we can't really observe it as far as I know. There's only theory and conjecture, and different theories produce different ideas of how small stuff can get, and some theories have objects 'infinitely small' which means they'll always be smaller than whatever our smallest measure is, though how you can verify that, I don't know.

For myself, the very big and very small cease to be intuitive once I no longer know what to do with the data. Since I don't work in astronomy or quantum mechanics, after the size of galaxies and protons, the numbers start looking just like numbers to me, rather than insights into decisions I might ever make. :)

Evolutionists now say "There never was nothing", thus admitting that infinity does exist. These are my opinions.
I'm not sure about that, Peter. Evolution is a matter of biology, and biologists are now very confident that all the species on Earth had one common ancestral species, regardless of how new species formed. The mechanisms for forming new species are also fairly well mapped -- though they are still finding more mechanisms, and there are still some questions outstanding.

But before that -- the appearance of first life on Earth -- has multiple conjectures and they're still being explored. Some are looking promising, but that doesn't mean they're right.

And biologists don't really think much about the inception of the cosmos -- except to the extent that they think about how certain materials may have appeared on Earth (apparently, Jupiter and Saturn may help fling certain materials our way.)

ME: I guess is that the confusion of these deep and meaningful things is the fact that there are no facts and it all depends on who is telling the story.

You raised the thought (And I am only proposing thought) about the large things in the universe, and the fact that they are far away but around the same distance from earth individually.

If this is the case then the large galaxies are closer to the Supposed big bang, and further out the galaxies are getting smaller and should eventually stop showing up completely. Similar to an outward explosion where in the parameters the particles are smaller, thus travel with the same force, further than all others.

Have I discovered something like Einstein would be proud of? or even you Ravo.
RuvDraba
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7/9/2016 8:40:16 PM
Posted: 4 months ago
At 7/9/2016 7:43:04 AM, Peternosaint wrote:
I guess is that the confusion of these deep and meaningful things is the fact that there are no facts and it all depends on who is telling the story.

Observations are very reliable these days, Peter: they're made by multiple people from different institutions in different places, who generally don't know one another except by reputation. They use different instruments and multiple methods; they measure precisely, repeatedly and exhaustively, and compare results. And they use methods refined over centuries to ensure they keep their hands behind their backs so that as much as possible, what they're observing is the subject, and not themselves. :) And anyone who doubts an observation can repeat it in some other way to quell their doubts.

So if we call observations 'facts' then there are reliable facts. But the challenge is always in making sense out of them. For example, when scientists study the cosmos, there's a staggering amount of it, so you can't observe everything in detail. You have to zoom in on this or that, scrutinise it and try to draw out general inferences.

A well-accepted principle called the Cosmological Principle says that you lose no generality by doing that: the universe appears to operate the same way everywhere, so studying a big enough section of it should be much the same as studying all of it.

We can't know that the Cosmological Principle is true -- we can only hope it is. But we can test whether it's false by testing certain predictions. One prediction is that our universe should contain no contiguous structure bigger than about 1.2 billion light-years across, since that's significantly denser than the universe appears to be over-all.

Unfortunately, the universe is sticking out its tongue at us on that, Peter. Several insanely big things -- like the BOSS Great Wall and the Sloan Great Wall and several Large Quasar Groups -- all recently discovered -- are much bigger than we expected them to be. So either our Cosmological Principle is undercooked, or the universe is somehow different to what previous observations have indicated.

I have no wisdom on which it is, but astronomers are conjecturing and looking for better information so they can pose a more accurate Cosmological Principle. And this is how scientists learn: by making predictions, getting them wrong and learning to make better predictions. Science is nothing if not careful people getting serial humiliated, and promptly owning their mistakes. :)

You raised the thought (And I am only proposing thought) about the large things in the universe, and the fact that they are far away but around the same distance from earth individually.
I imagine you're asking whether there's evidence that our Earth is at the centre of things. It would be very remarkable if were, since the odds of that occurring by chance would be infinitesimal.

The observable universe is around 93 billion light-years across. All that means is that our best instruments can sense out to around 46.5 billion light-years, but no further. Obviously, the distance they can sense is about the same in every direction, so much as every light-house keeper may feel like he's at the axis of the world, so we might feel we're at the centre of the universe too.

But the universe is full of galaxies, the galaxies are both flying apart and bumping with one another like dust-motes after a balloon has burst, and we're on a single planet attached to a single sun in a single galaxy, and our sun isn't anywhere near the centre of our own galaxy. It's about a third of the way in from an edge. It's not the oldest sun nor the youngest, nor the biggest, nor the smallest. And other galaxies don't dance around ours. In fact, a neighbour -- the Andromeda galaxy -- is about to barge into ours in about four billion years time, and another neighbouring galaxy called Triangulum may trip over us too. So our neighbours aren't terribly good dancers.

And very large structures will be more identifiable at distance than if they were close. I'm not sure we can say more than that.

If this is the case then the large galaxies are closer to the Supposed big bang, and further out the galaxies are getting smaller and should eventually stop showing up completely. Similar to an outward explosion where in the parameters the particles are smaller, thus travel with the same force, further than all others.

Unfortunately, the Big Bang has no centre. It's an explosion of space, not just matter and energy. Our universe is expanding, and it's not that some 'edges' are expanding into darkness -- the whole universe is expanding. So we can't point in some direction and say the Big Bang was over there. The spaces between lines on a ruler are part of the bang, and they're expanding, as is the space between galaxies.

Have I discovered something like Einstein would be proud of? or even you Ravo.
Peter, I would be beyond proud if any member was so well-read in science, they accurately anticipated a new discovery.

But the most important thing to do in science is actually much humbler than that: it's to set yourself up to be wrong. You do this by making a conjecture and then saying what we should observe if it's false. :) It's the opposite of how people act at dinner-parties, but it's the way science works.
Peternosaint
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7/9/2016 11:35:12 PM
Posted: 4 months ago
At 7/9/2016 8:40:16 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 7/9/2016 7:43:04 AM, Peternosaint wrote:
I guess is that the confusion of these deep and meaningful things is the fact that there are no facts and it all depends on who is telling the story.

Observations are very reliable these days, Peter: they're made by multiple people from different institutions in different places, who generally don't know one another except by reputation. They use different instruments and multiple methods; they measure precisely, repeatedly and exhaustively, and compare results. And they use methods refined over centuries to ensure they keep their hands behind their backs so that as much as possible, what they're observing is the subject, and not themselves. :) And anyone who doubts an observation can repeat it in some other way to quell their doubts.

ME: When your observations are into something as large as the cosmos, then any small mistake will be multiplied by the size of the area you are making you study upon. Would that be a correct assumption?

Scientists are human, with human weaknesses in character, so a great discovery could be tainted with, " I hope I am right." Yes?

So if we call observations 'facts' then there are reliable facts. But the challenge is always in making sense out of them. For example, when scientists study the cosmos, there's a staggering amount of it, so you can't observe everything in detail. You have to zoom in on this or that, scrutinise it and try to draw out general inferences.

ME: Apply the above questioning.

A well-accepted principle called the Cosmological Principle says that you lose no generality by doing that: the universe appears to operate the same way everywhere, so studying a big enough section of it should be much the same as studying all of it.

ME: I really, as an ordinary person with a certain amount of god logical thinking ability, have my doubts about the method.

Let's look at finding where we are in elation the the start of the big bang. ( Do you accept this as the beginning of everything?) The Big Bang is a hope filled theory that many eminent scientists and the general 'pebbles' of believers in evolution do accept.

So, it you start to look in the direction of what you think is the area that the BB happened, you are immediately lost in the enormity of the area to investigate. There are infinite directions around the earth that you can start to look from, and as far as I know, no one has found a direction to look as yet.

Once, with great shouting and celebration, someone finds that the direction of 'explosion' is coming from or going to as it passes the earth, then you can start to look at the size of the Galaxies in that direction until you find the largest collection of matter, as is the case with any explosion where the large matter is left closer to the source than the outer perimeter, which is more likely to be fine dust.

ASIDE: Where was all this matter stored before it was exploded?

We can't know that the Cosmological Principle is true -- we can only hope it is. But we can test whether it's false by testing certain predictions. One prediction is that our universe should contain no contiguous structure bigger than about 1.2 billion light-years across, since that's significantly denser than the universe appears to be over-all.

ME: Denser? I would suggest that there is such a state of euphoria attacked to these type of discoveries, that to use one minute part of the cosmos and say it represents the rest of the cosmos is a bit of a large guess, and not a scientific fact.

What I am saying here is that science, because of its awe inspiring "knowledge" says it is 'fact' then there are many that will accept that assumption...As a creation believing human, the only facts I would accept are the ones of Biblical reference.

There are science facts that were written in the scrolls of the Bible when humans were believing otherwise, but are now accepted as common knowledge.

However, your explanation are very interesting, but are you repenting all the science theorists?

Unfortunately, the universe is sticking out its tongue at us on that, Peter. Several insanely big things -- like the BOSS Great Wall and the Sloan Great Wall and several Large Quasar Groups -- all recently discovered -- are much bigger than we expected them to be. So either our Cosmological Principle is undercooked, or the universe is somehow different to what previous observations have indicated.

ME: I have commented on your words as I scrolled down, and this last statement has only confirmed what I was saying about the use of 'fact'.

I have no wisdom on which it is, but astronomers are conjecturing and looking for better information so they can pose a more accurate Cosmological Principle. And this is how scientists learn: by making predictions, getting them wrong and learning to make better predictions. Science is nothing if not careful people getting serial humiliated, and promptly owning their mistakes. :)

You raised the thought (And I am only proposing thought) about the large things in the universe, and the fact that they are far away but around the same distance from earth individually.
I imagine you're asking whether there's evidence that our Earth is at the centre of things. It would be very remarkable if were, since the odds of that occurring by chance would be infinitesimal.

The observable universe is around 93 billion light-years across. All that means is that our best instruments can sense out to around 46.5 billion light-years, but no further. Obviously, the distance they can sense is about the same in every direction, so much as every light-house keeper may feel like he's at the axis of the world, so we might feel we're at the centre of the universe too.

But the universe is full of galaxies, the galaxies are both flying apart and bumping with one another like dust-motes after a balloon has burst, and we're on a single planet attached to a single sun in a single galaxy, and our sun isn't anywhere near the centre of our own galaxy. It's about a third of the way in from an edge. It's not the oldest sun nor the youngest, nor the biggest, nor the smallest. And other galaxies don't dance around ours. In fact, a neighbour -- the Andromeda galaxy -- is about to barge into ours in about four billion years time, and another neighbouring galaxy called Triangulum may trip over us too. So our neighbours aren't terribly good dancers.


No Space left.

And very large structures will be more identifiable at distance than if they were close. I'm not sure we can say more than that.

If this is the case then the large galaxies are closer to the Supposed big bang, and further out the galaxies are getting smaller and should eventually stop showing up completely. Similar to an outward explosion where in the parameters the particles are smaller, thus travel with the same force, further than all others.

Unfortunately, the Big Bang has no centre. It's an explosion of space, not just matter and energy. Our universe is expanding, and it's not that some 'edges' are expanding into darkness -- the whole universe is expanding. So we can't point in some direction and say the Big Bang was over there. The spaces between lines on a ruler are part of the bang, and they're expanding, as is the space between galaxies.

Have I discovered something like Einstein would be proud of? or even you Ravo.
Peter, I would be beyond proud if any member was so well-read in science, they accurately anticipated a new discovery.

But the most important thing to do in science is actually much humbler than that: it's to set yourself up to be wrong. You do this by making a conjecture and then saying what we should observe if it's false. :) It's the opposite of how people act at dinner-partie
RuvDraba
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7/10/2016 1:34:14 AM
Posted: 4 months ago
At 7/9/2016 11:35:12 PM, Peternosaint wrote:
When your observations are into something as large as the cosmos, then any small mistake will be multiplied by the size of the area you are making you study upon. Would that be a correct assumption?

It is, Peter, but it's not the whole story. Science and engineering have long known that errors scale -- so measuring a foot and multiplying by 5280 gives you a different actual length for a mile than measuring a yard and multiplying by 1760. Scientists and engineers correct for scaling imprecision by measuring the same things in multiple ways at different scales, and looking for disagreement. The more disagreement there is, the more error in the methods. Once you know how much error is in your methods, you can refine the methods to limit the error to whatever you can live with.

With astronomy, it used to be that the biggest source of error was the lens of the human eye, because it made everything in the night sky a twinkling light, except the moon. Then we got precision glass lenses in telescopes, and could tell that planets were worlds, not just lights. Then the biggest source of error was in the limits of visible light, so we started using radio-astronomy and learned that stars were suns and what they were made of. Then the biggest source of error was our atmosphere, so we began using space-telescopes like the Hubble, and learned that the universe was expanding and cooling, and had once been small and hot. The Hubble is now 26 years old, and not the only space-telescope we have, so we're now able to compare data and work through the residual errors of these new methods. That's the gig of being a scientist: dealing honestly and diligently with serial ignorance, mindful of the errors in the methods. :)

Scientists are human, with human weaknesses in character, so a great discovery could be tainted with, " I hope I am right." Yes?
Yes, that happens all the time. Scientists can conjecture on personal hopes, but (unlike philosophers or theologians) can't declare knowledge from conjecture. In science, before a conjecture can be declared knowledge it has to make a long series of specific, significant, independently testable predictions. Then other scientists get to test it independently, and criticise it, and demand new and more precise predictions. Only if it survives that process with all its predictions fulfilled is it declared knowledge, and even then, only for as long as it can predict reliably.

When scientists bypass this process with new and contentious results, disaster strikes. This happened in Pons' and Fleischmann's announcement of Cold Fusion in 1989. They announced in popular media before presenting it to fellow scientists for rigorous testing. When independent scientists couldn't reproduce their results, the scandal rocked the profession, and wrecked their careers. As harsh as public opinion can be on celebrity peccadilloes, the criticisms of the scientific community on bad science is far worse. Scientists accept ignorance and error because it's part of the job, but there's neither mercy nor forgiveness for dishonesty or willful negligence.

The Big Bang is a hope filled theory that many eminent scientists and the general 'pebbles' of believers in evolution do accept.
I don't view Big Bang as the 'start of everything'. I believe it's the point from which observable causality is presently meaningful. I'm sorry for what may seem like an evasion, but it's a critical distinction, which I explain more below.

So, it you start to look in the direction of what you think is the area that the BB happened, you are immediately lost in the enormity of the area to investigate.
Not quite, Peter. Every direction you look in, you can see evidence that the Big Bang occurred. Also at every scale from individual stars to large structures of galaxies. Also even where you point telescopes at darkness, there's still radiation confirming BBT.

ASIDE: Where was all this matter stored before it was exploded?
As energy. Matter is cool, condensed energy, and the amount of energy in our universe appears to be constant -- it just changes configuration. The question 'what was the energy doing before it exploded' is legitimate, but hard to answer because space and time are shown to depend on matter, so causality itself loses meaning if there's no matter, but just energy.

I would suggest that there is such a state of euphoria attacked to these type of discoveries, that to use one minute part of the cosmos and say it represents the rest of the cosmos is a bit of a large guess, and not a scientific fact.
It's a testable hypothesis, diligently tested and presently undergoing revision -- business as usual.

As a creation believing human, the only facts I would accept are the ones of Biblical reference.
I'm aware, Peter, and also aware of the cultural and psychological attractions of doing so. But there are legitimate reasons most developed-world Christians no longer believe the Bible is purely factual, even though once, every Christian did.

Are you repenting all the science theorists?
No. Science doesn't claim absolute truth -- only accurate repeatable prediction. It's always frustrating for science to get things wrong, but not professionally embarrassing because error is expected. On the other hand, if one were to declare the absolute truth of revelation, and then get any matter of fact or prediction wrong, that would be intellectually devastating because one has already claimed inerrance.

I have commented on your words as I scrolled down, and this last statement has only confirmed what I was saying about the use of 'fact'.
People who demand that 'facts' are based on unshakable belief can find it hard to accept that facts are built from observation, and that observations are by nature imprecise, and only partial. It's easy to mistakenly believe that if you only have contingent truth, that you have no knowledge. In reality though, science is amazingly effective at prediction across almost any topic you can name, and anyone of any faith or none, can use it.

You raised the thought about the large things in the universe, and the fact that they are far away but around the same distance from earth individually.
We can only see so far, so whatever we see is never further than that, and certain things can only be seen at some distances. But if we can see 46.5 billion light-years in every direction (allowing for stars and galaxies partially blocking our sight), then there are a dozen big galactic 'walls' (really filaments of gas joining up galaxies) within 500 million light-years of the Earth, or only 1% toward our current 'horizon'. [https://en.wikipedia.org...] It wouldn't bother me if Earth had a special place in the universe, but I've never seen any evidence that it has; there's lots of evidence that it hasn't; and there are four major and independent bodies of evidence that the BBT is accurate (please poke for details if interested), while I'm aware of no significant observation to show that it's not.

No Space left.
(That's why I edit and summarise. :D)