The Starlight problem and YEC

I’m very interested to hear a Young Earth Creation response to the “Starlight problem”, and while the Church does not necessitate belief in YEC I know there are Catholics here as well as others who hold this belief.

The jist of this is that if the earth is between 10,000 and 6,000 years old then it is not possible for light to have traveled the billions of lightyears from distant stars to reach earth, and we would only be able to observe light from stars within a few thousand light years of earth. For more detailed information just google this, or check Wikipedia or RationalWiki.

The defenses I have heard in the past are A. That god Created the photons of light mid flight, and B. that in the age of creation the laws of physics were significantly different allowing light to travel faster.

The first arguement has generally been abandoned by apologists because it implys a deceitful god, which is contrary to Christian beleif. The second, while it cannot be disproven, has no evidence to support it either, the natural laws of science such a the speed of light in a vacuum have never been observed to change. And the Constance of natural law is one of the pillars of modern science.

So, I’m curious, are there other arguements from a YEC standpoint I have not heard? Or further arguement for the two states here?

I bolded the part I wanted to address because I think you are hammering away at something that is of no consequence to Catholic beliefs. The Church not only does not necessitate belief in YEC, it makes no efforts at all to defend a belief it does not subscribe to. Individuals can believe whatever they want about it, but the Church has no dog in the hunt.

Personally I’m not a YEC believer because it’s not necessary to believe that in order to believe in the inerrancy of the Bible or the truths of the Catholic faith. For some, though, they must take the Bible literalisticly (rather than merely literally) and so they have a dilemma when they come up against such facts as the speed of light.

Reading the CCC on the topic of biblical interpretation doesn’t seem to make a dent in some people’s need to hang onto YEC, for some reason, but it’s not a Catholic teaching, so I don’t see any reason for any Catholic to defend it. :slight_smile: :shrug:

Do you believe everything that scientists tell you that you yourself cannot measure?

Do you know the full shape of God’s universe?

Yes, I do. I don’t know about Skadi. :slight_smile: I believe what scientists measure because I find the scientific method a sound one for measuring the physical world around us, and so does the Church.

Do you know the full shape of God’s universe?

Does anyone? And how is that relevant?



I totally agree, that’s what I was taught in catholic school and I certainly respect the church for taking this position.

Yes, so long as it it published by respected scientist, shown by multiple different reasearchers, and published in a respected journal. Thanks to the scientific method science is not just a guess game.

And no, noone does, however through observation and science we can see and understand much of the physical world around us, and we discover more every day.

Precisely, we may all just be brains in tanks hooked up to computers for all we know. Such a theory cannot be disproven. But what makes science wonderful is that it is ALWASE changing, religious fundimentalists will cry “look science was wrong! Science has changed, how can you believe it! If it was gods truth it would never change!” But they miss the point. A YEC will refuse any and all evidence that does not fit their view and create an explination based on protecting their preconceived notions. Science admits when it is wrong and adopts new rules, laws, and explanations to account for new discoveries, and as science and technology move forward they discover new things and form a clearer picture of the world around us.

The parable I use is that the universe is like an unexplored island off a coast where two men are shipwrecked. One believes the traditional stories about how this island came about, what lives on it, and how it works. The other set out to travel the unexplored Island, discovering new creatures, mapping its shape, studying its ecosystem and geology, and attempting to use logic to understand how the island formed, how life operates on the island, and and why it does so in this way. No matter what the explorer tells or shows the other sailor he refuses to change his view of the island, and creates explanations for why the reality contradicts the traditional myths.

That’s, in escence, how I see the whole debate.

No. Their scientific findings/opinions/theories keep changing. Their estimate of the age of the earth or universe can vary by a billion+ years from one year to the next.

The speed of light is never constant. Gravity, other colors of light in the spectrum and other factors can affect it. I am not familiar enough with physics to hypothesize what it would take to account for light shift at the time of Creation/Big Bang, but I don’t think it’s unreasonable that some starlight would be bent toward our pale blue dot.

Thanks, this is a very interesting article and I looked further into Dr. Arps research and theories. However, in the 50 years senens his discovery scientific equipment has increased by leaps and bounds and the available data on this subject has increased several orders on magnitude. Several theories have been proposed to counter Arps, all of which have problems on some level, however his own theory contains problems aswell and is not generaly accepted. With the incredible volumes of data, little to none of which seems to coroborate his theory, it is seaming more and more likely that another explination for his findings exists, and what he measured may not have been a quasar at all but an extreamly distant high radiation galaxy, many of which have been discovered and match the measurements he recorded.

Also, if his finding were proven and redshift is an inherant property which does not necisarily correlate directly to distance and speed, this could actualy be a blow to scientific support for creation. The Big Bang is a creation event, whether seen as a natural occurrence or divine cause, and if disproven would mean the universe is potentially eternal, and what we observe by movement of all observeable stars away from a central point may actualy be the result of just a regional event.

You are certainly correct, space is not a perfect vacuum and dispite the incredible amount of emptiness reletive to matter gravity is certainly at play with observable light. However, the constant speed of light is not its speed in space but its speed in an ideal, perfect vacuum with no gravitational influence. We can account for the influence of gravity and gases such as the atmosphere with scientifically verifiable math equations which are way over my head. By knowing the mass of an object, its speed and direction and the angle and distance that the light passes by it at, you can predict the directional change of different frequencies of light. If you look at Jupiter in a telescope what you see just beyond the rim of the planet is actualy apearing slightly off because of gravity, and you can actualy see slightly around the planet. There is math to calculate the actual direction that came from and establish the actual position of the object.

That’s just what I understand the actual details are far beyond me, but better minds than me have demonstrated if.

And by the way, go pack go!

You are familiar with the superluminal (faster than light) motion as detected by the Hubble space telescope?…520…621B


Very interesting, ill research it more

Something to thank the Church for is the scientific method, which the Church promoted and sanctioned. Catholicism is based on both reason and revealed truth not on one or the other. It’s grounded in realities of how the physical world functions as well as how the human being functions. It’s not all devotions, smells and bells. It’s logical and satisfying to the whole person: mind, body, and soul. :slight_smile:

Wow I have never heard anyone go against the theory of relativity - which states the speed of light is a constant - and to go further how Einstein’s special theory of relativity is wrong.

His theory’s are being proven daily - ever use a GPS system - time dilation had to be calculated in or the whole system would not work. In other words (special theory of relativity) the rate of time passing on the satellite is dilated because its moving at a incredible speed and does not match the rate of time passing on earth and has to be calculated in or the GPS system can not pin point exact position. Don’t have to believe me look it up - its a fact.
Its weird stuff - its as if the universe will manipulate itself to keep the speed of light as a constant

Also its the fabric of space itself that is expanding to a incredible speed . the stars and galaxy are riding on the fabric of space away from us.

While historically there have proven to be a few flaws with einstiens therories your right that the faster an object mover the less time passes it by (assuming time exists and is not a construct of our mind).

However we know the reason light fractures when it passes through a prism is because differed frequencys are bent ever so slightly, and light does slow down slightly by passing through matter such as the atmosphere or the ocean. Incredibly slightly but measurablely changes. The speed of light we are all familiar with is the speed of light in a VACUUM.

Wrong the frequency changes not the speed of light better read again.

Really old forum here - not sure it’s being checked anymore - but here are my two cents.

Some basic problems with modern science: dating techniques being used are greatly flawed, when Mt St. Helens blew in the 19080’s, dating to newly formed rock at the site dated to 100,000 years. Many of the dating methods rely on heavy assumptions about then past environment on Earth. Doesn’t explain the Starlight problem though.

Some of my preliminary research has revealed that perhaps the speed of light isn’t constant.

There is strong support for the very real possibility that the speed of light is not constant and more concrete data showing that the red shift is not from the universe expanding.

This is where I started. I’m still in the process of digging up the journals and books it mentions.

Oops, didn’t catch how old this was.

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