A Problem for the Creationists with a Limited Timetable: Supernova Starlight


#1

Many creationists maintain that the world is only a few thousand or a few tens of thousands of years old.

This assumption creates a problem for those creationists.

Though light travels fast – 186,300 miles per second – the Universe is so vast that starlight is slow compared to its size. It takes light, for instance, about 100,000 years to travel from one edge of our galaxy to the other – just our own galaxy.

If one looks in the southern quadrant on a clear night and looks a few degrees below Orion’s Belt, he or she will see a fuzzy white smudge. That smudge is the Andromeda Galaxy, which is “2 million light years away.” That means that what we are looking at is the light from Andomeda Galaxy which began the trip from where Andomeda was 2 million years ago (it isn’t even located there today) to where we are today.

When you look at Andromeda, you are looking at 2 million year old light.

Now, creationists with a limited timetable say that that is false – that that light from Andromeda is actually only a few thousand years old, and God created fake star light – starlight which didn’t *really *come from the star it seems to come from – in-place.

Now, here’s the new dilemma that position creates.

In 1987, astronomers saw a vast stellar explosion in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a dwarf galaxy orbiting ours, about 150,000 light years away.

That means that the starlight from the Large Magellanic Cloud is about 150,000 years old. Creationists with a limited timetable deny this – they say that the starlight we are looking at is fake, that we are still only looking at the fake starlight God created in-place in the sky a few thousand years ago, and that the real starlight won’t reach our eyes for, say, 145,000 years.

The problem with saying that, in the case of the 1987 supernova, is that that means that the star we now call “Supernova 1987A”…

antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap020331.html

…never really existed.

Since the light of the star’s self-destruction was buried in the alleged stream of fake starlight, the pre-explosion fake light stream never showed a star that ever existed, since behind the pre-explosion fake starlight stream was the explosion fake starlight stream.

Voila: According to those creationists, God created a “lie in the sky.”


#2

That’s an easy one. Six thousand years ago (give or take) God created a universe loaded with evidence that it was billions of years old to test whether we’d believe His Word or the evidence or our senses (via scientific instruments) and reason.

My tongue is firmly in cheek, but I’ve had fundies seriously make that argument to me.


#3

[quote=didymus]That’s an easy one. Six thousand years ago (give or take) God created a universe loaded with evidence that it was billions of years old to test whether we’d believe His Word or the evidence or our senses (via scientific instruments) and reason.

My tongue is firmly in cheek, but I’ve had fundies seriously make that argument to me.
[/quote]

So that leaves us a few options as i see it.

a) Universe is old; bible is wrong
b) Universe is old; bible is manipulated
c) God works in mysterious ways; bible is right


#4

[quote=atheos_sum]So that leaves us a few options as i see it.

a) Universe is old; bible is wrong
b) Universe is old; bible is manipulated
c) God works in mysterious ways; bible is right
[/quote]

d) Universe is old; young earth interpretations of the Bible are wrong.

There are many different interpretations of the Bible. Not all of them are right.

rossum


#5

Assumption - speed of light has always been the same.


#6

150,000 light years is the distance, not the age of the light.
The ‘Big Bang’ could have placed, almost instantaneously, matter, stars etc. at any distance. To an observer a second after the Big Bang his stars might appear 2 million light years distant, but not 2 million light years years old.


#7

Assumption: The we may blithely reject other assumptions based on experience.

I think that it is morally safe to assume that the speed of light is relatively constant as a function of time.

In fact, the perceived speed of light changes with the shape of space – the perceived speed of light slows down when light passes through a medium – for example, matter-jammed space – apparently because the shape of space itself changes in the direction on “condensation.”


#8

Creationists have always been aware of the issue of starlight (and craters).

For those who believe in an instantaneous creation of the universe, an emerging consmology has sought audience. A rough sketch is at:

answersingenesis.org/tj/v17/i2/cosmology.asp
answersingenesis.org/tj/v15/i1/starlight.asp
Media: answersingenesis.org/answersmedia/searchProcess.aspx?startDate=&endDate=&keywords=starlight&mediaType=1&mediaType=2&lengthMin=&lengthMax=&Submit=Search+Media

It is still raw in many ways, in part because there are not enough physicists dedicated to a creationist model (obviously). It is founded upon the concept of universe-expansion.

My personal take:

I am one of many who refer to read the Genesis account, not as the creation of the entire univese, but of the earth & vicinity itself (in which the stars created on day 4 are actually planets, or a revealing of all the stars of heaven visible to earth). Many conservative theologians propose this as an agreeable solution to preserve an old age to the universe. (While is strictly adheres to the young age of the earth). I am less likely to say that God simply creates the illusion of a full heaven, though nothing is beyond His power.

…Why believe in Creationism? Theological reasons. Foremost, I am skeptical of admitting an evolutionary process involving death before the fall, etc. It seems wrong for there to be physical death and survival competition in a past age of “perfection.” I’m cool with people who embrace evolutionism, and an old age of the earth and the universe, but I am first and foremost a theologian, and I would need these querstions solved.


#9

Or…the universe could be very small, just a few light minutes, light hours, light days, or at most light years across. :smiley: That is Harold Camping’s view, the Family Radio preacher.

Camping’s Physically Small Universe

At this point we are ready to consider the proposal of engineer and radio Bible teacher Harold Camping (“What is the Size of the Universe?” [Oakland, CA: Family Radio, 1981] ), that the whole universe is really very small, only a few light-years across. Camping argues that the parallax method described above merely shows us that the thousand nearest stars are closer than the background stars, but it doesn’t tell us how far away these background stars are. All distance measurements used on the background stars, he says, are unreliable, being based on false assumptions. Instead, these stars lie in a thin spherical shell only a short distance further away.

Critical Examination of Modern Cosmological Theories by Robert C. Newman

Also Evangelicals and Crackpot Science by same author

Phil P


#10

http://www.chick.com/catalog/comics/images/106c.jpg

<ALERT – Small thread hijack>
I remember the above from a Jack Chick comic called Primal Man. I was always bothered by the “Young Moon” explanation. I thought he was trying to pull a fast one. It says that if 14,300,000 tons of metoritic dust falls on the earth in a year then the same amount falls on the moon. Huh? Wouldn’t less fall on the moon because it is much smaller than the earth?

:confused:

:tsktsk: tsk tsk Mr. Chick.


#11

From
The Meaning-Full Universe

[left]Bang to Bloom
[/left]
Since we began with Weinberg, we may visit his intellectual bailiwick first. Physics has become the queen of the sciences in modernity, precisely because we have adopted a materialist cosmology. A materialist cosmology is reductionist; that is, it assumes that everything — living and nonliving — can be reduced to matter in motion (as created from energy, propelled by the release of energy in a variety of reactions, and governed by a number of forces). This motion is not purposeful precisely because the materialist cosmology jettisons an intelligent creator. Purpose, design, and function are all accidents of the pointless, purposeless actions and reactions of matter and energy.

According to this view, the Big Bang is simply the initial explosion that set the whole thing in motion. This theoretical presumption thus demands that everything must be understood, ultimately, as “just a more-or-less farcical outcome of a chain of accidents reaching back to the first three minutes.” As a result, biology, which focuses on purpose, design, and function, is a provisional science, awaiting its ultimate reduction to the lifeless world of physics.

** But what if the Big Bang was really a Big Bloom?** We are accustomed to characterizing the origin of the universe as an enormous explosion. Perhaps it had more of the character of a flower rapidly unfolding from a densely packed bud, and it is a mere prejudice that keeps us from seeing the evidence before our very eyes.

For quite some time physicists, with the help of chemists, have been bent on reducing everything to the fundamental chemical elements; and further, reducing the elements, through a playback of the cosmic tape, to hydrogen; and finally, reducing even this origin to a set of fundamental laws somehow bound up in some even more fundamental mode of matter or energy.

But such reductionism is now being challenged as physicists have begun to unearth more and more evidence that the fundamental constituents, laws, and forces are fine-tuned and finely crafted for life. In short, it’s beginning to look like the universe is biocentric.

Such biocentrism turns Weinberg’s universe upside down — or more properly, turns it right-side up again. If we could replay the cosmic tape according to the biocentric view, we would not see a chaotic explosion — a Big Bang that happens to create, quite offhand and by accident by humanly unimaginable precision, whereupon the newly forged elements emerge from the fire as shining parts and rush toward their biological conclusion.

more…


#12

If a doctor examined Adam moments after God had breathed life into him, how old would the doctor have determined Adam to be, not knowing that he had just been created?

God created a universe full of complex feed back mechanisms and relationships that were already in motion, much like Adam’s body. When God put lights in the sky, He did so with however many years of light history were necessary for that light to reach the earth, otherwise those lights in the sky would not have been visible then and most still would not be today.

I’m not actually fussed about this issue. All that is important to me is God made everything.

John


#13

It’s true that God made everything. That’s the main theological point. But why insist that the bible teaches scientific knowledge when it obviously doesn’t? We don’t look to the bible for instruction about chemistry, the periodic table, or quantum physics; so why do we try to use it to argue astronomy and geology?


#14

[quote=JimG]It’s true that God made everything. That’s the main theological point. But why insist that the bible teaches scientific knowledge when it obviously doesn’t? We don’t look to the bible for instruction about chemistry, the periodic table, or quantum physics; so why do we try to use it to argue astronomy and geology?
[/quote]

Because truth is a superset of science. If you know the truth about something it gives you a means to discover its purpose. It gives you relevant information.


#15

[quote=prodromos]If a doctor examined Adam moments after God had breathed life into him, how old would the doctor have determined Adam to be, not knowing that he had just been created?

John
[/quote]

Adam is a hypothetical being, but ASIDE from that problem…

An Adam created by God would presumably have had non-deteriorated cellular mitochondria.

A doctor, using today’s instruments, would seemingly have said, “My gosh! This belly-button-less fellow seems to be a few minutes old!”


#16

[quote=BibleReader]Adam is a hypothetical being, but ASIDE from that problem…

[/quote]

Since when?


#17

[quote=buffalo]Since when?
[/quote]

We have spent weeks hashing this one through. I won’t do it here. It will ruin the thread. If you like, start a new thread, and will dance the Adam dance one more time.


#18

[quote=BibleReader]We have spent weeks hashing this one through. I won’t do it here. It will ruin the thread. If you like, start a new thread, and will dance the Adam dance one more time.
[/quote]

OK - go here


#19

The Big Bang, the law of entropy, an exponentially accelerating universe, surely energy and matter would have dissipated aeons ago instead of defing the laws of entropy and gathering together to form stars and the ultimate contradiction, the life of a creature which grows in complexity in time.


#20

[quote=Verbum Caro]http://www.chick.com/catalog/comics/images/106c.jpg

<ALERT – Small thread hijack>
I remember the above from a Jack Chick comic called Primal Man. I was always bothered by the “Young Moon” explanation. I thought he was trying to pull a fast one. It says that if 14,300,000 tons of metoritic dust falls on the earth in a year then the same amount falls on the moon. Huh? Wouldn’t less fall on the moon because it is much smaller than the earth?

:confused:

:tsktsk: tsk tsk Mr. Chick.
[/quote]

It’s not just a size problem, either. The Moon pulls in about 1/8 as much with 1/8 the gravity, and then the Earth competes very successfully with the Moon’s gravity, so let’s re-factor-in that 1/8…

1/8 x 1/8 = 1/64.

Then the Moon has about 1/13 of the Earth’s surface area.

1/8 x 1/8 x 1/13.

And then the Moon reduces almost no meteorites to powder – meteorites vaporizing and then recondensing in Earth’s atmosphere does that. The Moon has no atmosphere. On the Moon, meteorites just bore-in, for the most part. Let’s reflect that with a blind goes – 1/10, although that’s probably too high.

1/8 x 1/8 x 1/13 x 1/10 x 14,300,000 tons.

Hmmmm. That comes out to a mere 1718 tons of dust per year. Hey! That makes what the astronauts saw just about right, for, say, a 3 billion year old Moon.


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