An overview of the light travel time problem, how creationists have addressed it, and the dasha solution

"...there is abundant evidence that astronomical distances are at least qualitatively correct, with many galaxies being millions of light-years away....Therefore, doubting astronomical distances is not a productive way to address the light travel time problem." - AiG

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dgszweda's picture

I find this article unimpressive.  First they are trying to resolve current challenges to scientific understanding with the creation account by using today's theories.  They are just throwing out possibilities that in some cases don't fully resolve the scientific issues, they just lessen them.  Second, they are trying to resolve it by relying on today's theories that are flawed to begin with.  The theory of relativity was brilliant and it resolved huge issues that began to creep up in classical mechanical models as our understanding of the universe has grown.  But in reality there are challenges with the theory of relativity and we would be very naive to think that the theory of relativity will not one day be supplanted by another theory that is even better and resolves the current challenges.  That will only take place when our understanding of how things work further matures and we develop a new model.  There is nothing magical about relativity.  It is a model that was created to explain the world around us and accommodate gaps that we had in things such as Newtons laws around gravity.  It has been tested and shown to be very accurate, but as time has gone on we have begun to see gaps in the theory of relativity, such as accommodating for dark matter.  So as our theories change, the explanation for AiG will no longer be valid and creationist will be stuck trying to explain creation and resolve it with what we see today.  All the while not doing much of anything to further our faith in Scripture.

Mark_Smith's picture

Dark matter's existence does not rely on a theory of relativity. There are multiple streams of evidence for a need for dark matter beyond "gravity", which is what I assume you mean.General Relativity is an observation of how the universe works. It is heavily verified. It is NEVER going away as a "theory". People might find out more about it, and find new ways to manipulate the universe, but this is not one that is going away. Matter causes spacetime to curve, and spacetime tells matter how to move!

Now, 20+ years ago astronomers began to see that regular matter does not account for all the matter in the universe. They used GR to calculate what they expected and found the universe had a bigger value than predicted. This is NOT a failure in GR!!! It is a failure of our standard model of particle physics to account for everything out there.

Mark_Smith's picture

and reviews the basic problem of light travel time in cosmology and its relation to a young Earth creation theory.

First, it rejects the "mature creation" theory. Really this one needs to go. It is the most common response I get from most people, but it is a real stinker.Here is the problem with a mature creation. If it is true that God created an enormous universe with young stars, old stars, dead stars, fully developed galaxies, newly forming galaxies, black holes, fusion powering stars, etc., but a large amount of time did not pass in creating it, you certainly arrive at a solution to the apparent incompatibility between modern science and YEC. Yes you did. You did it by destroying the existence of science for anything "out there." How? You eliminated completely the natural processes needed for things to work. Stars are not powered by a physical process called fusion. They just seem to be because God miracled it. No natural fusion process formed the light for the stars. It was all created by fiat. So no science can study it. Light did not travel from the Andromeda Galaxy to us via space. It was miracled here. How do I even know the Andromeda Galaxy exists! The light is a mere artistic picture. It does not represent the physical creation of light by physical processes. It is just art. Nothing "out there" is real anymore. God would have created dead stars...that never lived! Does God make mummies and fill them into tombs for us to find? Its absurd! So, the cost of a mature creation is reality. 

Second, others realize the mature creation theory is bad so they cling to "the slowing down of the speed of light" theory. The problem here is, as the graphs he shows illustrate, real data comes with error bars, not just the reported value. Your measurement has an error associated with how well you measured what you did. Old measurements of the speed of light had large errors associated with them, representing that they just weren't good measurements. With this knowledge you see that the present value for c is in the error bars of the old measurements. Also, there are lots of good physical reasons for rejecting a changing value of c. Changing c affects all kinds of processes in the universe, such a light production. If c had been different in the past, we would see it in the universe. We don't see this effect, so we reject a changing value of c.

... more later....

dgszweda's picture

What I meant is that most scientists feel that there are significant gaps in general relativity.  It struggles to account for all movements of matter in space.  This is where dark matter has been proposed, but again this has not been observed or measured yet.  It is not that the theory is wrong, but it has limitations.  Just like Newtonian dynamics is still correct today, but it had its limitations.  For example, the cosmological constant is a gap in GR.  It was a challenge that we had when I worked at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory when I was younger.

Mark_Smith's picture

dgszweda wrote:

What I meant is that most scientists feel that there are significant gaps in general relativity.  It struggles to account for all movements of matter in space. 

No one I know thinks this. GR is not the problem. It is our cosmology, not GR.

When Einstein introduced a cosmological constant, he did it because of his cosmology. GR is a mathematical tool that calculates whatever you put into it. The model you pick to add terms is critical. That is not GR, it is your model.

For example, GR allows for a flat universe, a positive curvature universe (think sphere) or a negative curvature universe (horse saddle shape). GR doesn't care. You tell it what you want to calculate and it will. It turns out the unvierse is flat, so if you want accurate physcial results use the flat term.

Mark_Smith's picture

Dr. Faulkner then continues on. The real issue between science and a YEC is the elapsing of time. A mature universe model says no or little time. The slowing speed of light says a little time was enough because the rates were faster. Neither of those are very good.

So what else could be the case? Ahh... general relativity is built on the observation that time rates are relative to the observer. Yes, this is true. Time for example, is traveling faster on the International Space Station then down here on Earth. Gravity causes time to flow at different rates. Relative speed causes time to flow at different rates. So, what if Earth say about 7000 years of time but the universe experienced something different? There are various ways to do this, and he lists two of them. One is Dr. Humphries idea of a white hole (Earth is at the center of the universe) and another is Dr. Jason Lisle's one-way speed of light application. These really are interesting ideas but they are totally neglected by mainstream science. If you even hint you are looking into it you are labeled a pariah... So a lot more research needs to be done on this.

Faulkner then reviews some of the biases of people when they read Genesis.

So, all in all, this is a good summary of the time travel problem in YEC. There are no easy solutions to be had.

 

AndyE's picture

Mark_Smith wrote:

Dr. Faulkner then continues on. The real issue between science and a YEC is the elapsing of time. A mature universe model says no or little time. The slowing speed of light says a little time was enough because the rates were faster. Neither of those are very good.

I suspect that these two options will continue to be the most common explanations, simply because they are easy to explain and understand at a basic level.  I've been in the "mature universe" camp for some time, and have not been as concerned about the implications are you are.  The fact is that we don't know what happened, so maybe the best position is not to be dogmatic on it, other than to say the God made it work somehow.  If you are saying that a "mature universe" model is not tenable, I'm fine with saying that while people have proposed such a solution, believing scientists has serious problems with it and suggest it must have occurred another way.  The thing with suggesting these other explanations is that they are pretty hard to understand for the average person, and who's to say they won't get debunked later on.   

One question, though, if  we go with something like this -- "what if Earth say about 7000 years of time but the universe experienced something different" -- can the universe experiencing something different really fit into a 6 24-hr day creation model, or are you saying that the 24hr creation of the universe is from the earth's perspective, but not the actual universe?

Larry's picture

Moderator

With respect to mature creation, isn't this relatively uncontroversial from a biblical perspective? God created man and woman fully formed and of mature age, right? God created trees (not merely seeds). God created animals fully formed. 

It seems to me that we either adopt a mature creation or we have to assert that Genesis 1 is some sort of allegory or poetry or picture of some sort (of all which have significant textual and theological problems).

ScottS's picture

I also find it interesting that this article essentially ends up at the same place as the "mature creation" theory, only arguing that miraculously sped up processes are the solution. For me, the "how" God did it is a mystery, but I would still agree that the timing was as the Bible indicates (6 days; just a few thousand years ago) and the results as it indicates (a mature, functioning cosmological/ecological system to continue thereby).

As to why I think arguments against a mature creation are specious. First, there is nothing deceptive about makings something fully functional. The blood flowed through Adam and Eve as if it had always been flowing before, the eye could see as if it had developed to see, the brain knew language as if it had been taught it. These are more obvious necessities. Did they have belly buttons? Since (whether an innie or outie) are present in the typical mature adult, I see no reason to not have them. If nothing else, they are part of the form of what makes a human human. Leg bones (as the article mentions) would still have needed to be "sealed" off. My point here is that the "form" and the "function" of maturity are both important to being what God designed, even if some parts of the "form" no longer have a function for that mature part of creation, or some of the "functions" no longer have any apparent supporting forms for that mature part of creation (keep reading to understand my point here).

Second, I'll give my thoughts on the article's example and Mark's example (nothing against you personally, Mark; I know we are all trying to fit Scripture with reality as we perceive it, this is just my way of doing that in comparison to yours):

From the article in relation to the oscillating nature of binary stars:

We can use light curves to deduce properties of the stars involved. However, if the light of these stars were created in transit so that the light never left the stars, then we would see evidence of events (eclipses, for example) that would have never happened. This is deceptive.

All that the Bible says the purpose of the "lights" in the sky are for are:

  • To Divide day from night (v.14), light from dark (v.18); i.e. we tend to see one light (occasionally a few more) during the day, many lights at night, but still two dominant ones in each time (v.16), and so these Rule over the two time periods of day/night.
  • For Signs (v.14); i.e. indications of events
  • For Seasons (v.14, which I take to mean seasonal tracking of time, related to...)
  • For Days (v.15); i.e. different from the division of day/night, this is the accounting of passing of days into...
  • [For] Years (v.15)
  • For Light on the earth (v.15)

My emphasis here is simply that it is the "lights" (as light) have a function in relation to the Earth and the creatures upon it (who track the seasons, etc., whether we humans or geese that travel by them, or otherwise). If God wanted to give a light a binary oscillation effect as its sign to track, whether or not any "form" of those two stars ever existed (or still exist) in space, as the noted "function" is served either way by the "light" of those stars, and so in no way makes God a liar/deceiver. The light is still serving its purpose, even if the light was merely created in transit as a generated pattern with a specific sign (signal) to relay. 

I have no problems with this whatsoever.

Further, Mark's argument states that the mature creation fails as being valid by

destroying the existence of science for anything "out there." How? You eliminated completely the natural processes needed for things to work. Stars are not powered by a physical process called fusion. They just seem to be because God miracled it. No natural fusion process formed the light for the stars. It was all created by fiat. So no science can study it. Light did not travel from the Andromeda Galaxy to us via space. It was miracled here. How do I even know the Andromeda Galaxy exists! The light is a mere artistic picture. It does not represent the physical creation of light by physical processes. It is just art. Nothing "out there" is real anymore. God would have created dead stars...that never lived! 

There are at least a few answers to this, but the short answer is "not so!" The longer answers are these:

  • There are some physical luminaries that do (and still) exist (i.e. Sun, moon, and planets we have visited via space craft for some). They still generate light however God designed them to, but for many of the more distant ones, the light we see may well still be the in transit light originally created (nothing yet generated in the last few thousand years reaching Earth).
  • For those lights that never existed in form, but only function, God designing in transit light for the purpose of the signs He wanted to convey to Earth, having that light pattern conform to an orderly understanding of light and physics as He made creation, even having an end to that in transit signal to earth as a sign itself, so that we could observe and learn of creation through that, does not mean such processes don't exist in reality "out there" for other heavenly bodies that do still exist. Just as the blood flowing through Adam's veins throughout his body at the moment of creation, though not originally pumped out from his heart nor originally created by the red marrow of Adam's bones, does not mean God lied about how existing hearts and marrow work, how blood is created and moves normally by observation. So too, I believe, science can study starlight with confidence in learning systematic, orderly things about our universe, even if that light was never generated by an actual physical form that might normally generate it, precisely because God does not lie and is an orderly maker of His creation. It is "we" on earth, who for the most part only have the properties of the in transit light we see to go by in formulating our understanding, that have labeled things as "dead" stars, and "super nova events," but those are really just light patterns to learn by, particularly for signs, seasons, days, and years.

In conclusion, if you were there, and had the knowledge and ability to do so, I believe if you drew blood from Adam, ran tests on it and other parts of his body, you would conclude that the blood made originally by fiat in his veins shows evidence of having been produced by the red marrow of his bones, but in truth, God just made the blood have those properties to reflect what was needed for the proper form He wanted creation in to start and for the proper functioning to persist beyond that creation point.

Whether blood or star light, there is no disparagement of God for making a fully functioning, mature creation; nor is there need to doubt the information God encoded in blood or star light for helping to learn how the universe may be continuing to function today.

That's my take, anyway.

Scott Smith, Ph.D.

The goal now, the destiny to come, holiness like God—
Gen 1:27, Lev 19:2, 1 Pet 1:15-16

Mark_Smith's picture

Yes, God would have made Adam mature, trees mature, etc. But the universe is trickier. Did God make dead people who never lived? Very old trees that then immediately died? That is what you are saying with stars in a mature creation model. There are tons of dead stars out there. When did they die? Certainly not in the ~7000 years since creation. It takes hundreds of thousands of years for a star to die! There is no time for them to have died, let alone time for light to travel from there to here.

This is a serious issue and I am only picking one small one.

The consequence of a mature creation is you can do no science on it because it did not come from physical processes. You might say, no big deal... who cares. Well, the problem is when you study the universe it fits 100% with physical processes!

Another thing, Adam lived on an Earth you could see and touch, and on times scales you can observe. Stars are not that way. They exist trillions of km away at best. Thousands of years are needed for them to do anything! Even shine, or radiate heat, or collapse, or even die. There is no time for physical processes to be seen.

Mark_Smith's picture

1. A proton in the core of the Sun today that combines with another proton to make a deuteron and release a photon. It takes well over 100,000 years for that photon produced to interact with all the matter in the star to get to the surface and radiate out, travel through space, and hit your eye and trigger a response. In YEC there is no 100,000 years, so God created the light. In fact, in a YEC model of mature creation, nuclear fusion serves ABSOLUTELY NO PURPOSE because none (or extremely little) of the energy produced in the core of a star has ever made it to surface to radiate out and make the star shine. In a YEC mature model physical processes serve no purpose for these objects because physical processes need time, and a lot of it, to produce the light and have it travel to you. That time is not available. So, the light you are seeing, in this model, was not made by a physical process. Supernova 1987A, mentioned in the article, did not actually explode, go through the physical nuclear processes to make all kinds of large elements, emit gamma ray, neutrinos, etc., because time is need for all of that to happen, and there is not enough time for that to have occurred. Once again, if this is the case, God miracled the light, and neutrinos, and shock waves, etc. But we cannot go back and figure out what happened because we have no way assure ourselves they are real. Physical processes did not make them. Stars, galaxies, black holes, supernova, are "artwork" in a YEC Mature Creation model.

2. Relativity is not "miracle" time. It is a real, measurable effect in the universe.

 

Mark_Smith's picture

AndyE wrote:

 

One question, though, if  we go with something like this -- "what if Earth say about 7000 years of time but the universe experienced something different" -- can the universe experiencing something different really fit into a 6 24-hr day creation model, or are you saying that the 24hr creation of the universe is from the earth's perspective, but not the actual universe?

It's relativity. In relativity, one observer sees a certain amount of time, another sees a different amount. They are both valid, it just depends upon your frame of reference. The classical example is muons produced in the upper atmosphere by the solar wind hitting the Earth's upper atmosphere. They fly down and hit the Earth's surface. You can measure them. I have many times. If you assume regular speed and travel, these muons cannot hit the surface of the Earth. They live 1.5 microseconds. Traveling at 99.99% the speed of light they go 440 m before decaying into electrons. But we know they are made 10,000 m above the Earth's surface. What is the deal? We should never see them hit the Earth. The deal is relativity. Moving that fast relative to us we see them live longer than their 1.5 microsecond lab decay time, because time is running faster for us than them. In our frame we see them live 40 times longer than if they were at rest. In that time they can travel that distance easily, so we see them hit the Earth. The muons, on the other hand, think they are standing still. They see the Earth moving at them very fast. They see the 10km distance shortened by a factor of 40, or only 250 m. So they can easily hit the Earth. Which is correct? Both are.

So, there are various potential ways to have relativistic effects explain any time problems.

We could also be reading Genesis 1 wrong.

One thing is for sure. Observation of the universe screams that a lot of time has elapsed since creation.

ScottS's picture

Certainly God created the light (He said he did). But that does not mean nuclear fusion "serves ABSOLUTELY NO PURPOSE." It serves the purpose of continuing the function as God designed the universe (the Sun needed to "burn" as designed). That creation included photons at various "stages" of "emission" from the Sun (from the center, to the surface, to radiating out to [perhaps] the farthest reaches of space), all so that it functions as designed. I don't see why that bothers you in any way. The "processes" needed to be fully functioning to serve the purposes intended, but for those processes needing to continue, there is the reality of the processes that were created as well.

And because God does not lie, the tracing of the processes are reflective of the creation He made. This is what still makes science "work" in our finite understanding of things. There are "measurable" effects of reality encoded in the "mature" information, because God wants us to understand His creation. So we are making "real" observations of "real" light patterns that reflect "real" types of events that can/do occur within our universe, even if some of what we observe may not have itself originally been generated by those physical processes (just as Adam's blood in his veins was not originally generated by those physical processes). It is because of the faithfulness of God that we can trust the "record" of how He designed the universe encoded in the "light, and neutrinos, and shock waves" as what happens when a super nova event occurs. All those things are part of the "signs" for the tracking of "time," one of the primary purposes the lights are in the sky. 

 

Scott Smith, Ph.D.

The goal now, the destiny to come, holiness like God—
Gen 1:27, Lev 19:2, 1 Pet 1:15-16

Mark_Smith's picture

But there is no science of physical processes. You have given it up. There is no way to test your created photons to see if they actually came from a real electromagnetic process. That is what I mean. Astronomy is dead in that case.

A supernova takes hundreds of thousands of years to set up, as the large star goes through a process to finally die. Why bother with all of this in a YEC universe. It makes no sense. God didn't even need the large atoms created in them to make you and me, so supernovas are not needed. You can't even see most of them!

It isn't just me saying this Scott. Even Answers in Genesis admits this!

Here is another thing, if the universe is a mere 7000 years old, and God created a mature universe, NOT ONE SINGLE PHOTON created in the core of the Sun by fusion has hit Earth. Not one. The light you see is created light, not light produced by fusion. I humbly ask what is the purpose of nuclear fusion then in a YEC Mature model.

Andrew R.'s picture

Just to second what Mark said about GR (general relativity)--the theory has been abundantly verified, having passed every test we've been able to give it. Dark matter isn't specific to GR--you end up with the same issue using Newtonian gravity. (That's why one alternate theory is called MOND--"Modified Newtonian Dynamics.") Physicists are certainly looking at extensions to GR, but so far the theories are quite unconstrained, simply because there is no experimental evidence that goes against GR. We do think that GR is not the full story, because it doesn't play well with quantum field theory (which has also passed every test we've given it, in some cases up to 10 significant figures), but that's not the same as it containing big gaps.

For what it's worth, I favor something similar to the dasha solution, but I think that for physical consistency you have to accelerate not just the propagation of light but time itself (relative to "earth time")--which would naturally give large amounts of cosmological time.

AndyE's picture

Mark_Smith wrote:

One thing is for sure. Observation of the universe screams that a lot of time has elapsed since creation.

And completely expected, just like the observation of Adam, the food Jesus fed to the 5000, and the wine he created at Cana, all would have looked older than they actually were.

The relativity solution is not one I have considered before.  I"m not completely sure what to make of it.

Mark_Smith's picture

AndyE wrote:

 

Mark_Smith wrote:

 

One thing is for sure. Observation of the universe screams that a lot of time has elapsed since creation.

 

And completely expected, just like the observation of Adam, the food Jesus fed to the 5000, and the wine he created at Cana, all would have looked older than they actually were.

 

The relativity solution is not one I have considered before.  I"m not completely sure what to make of it.

Yes, but the Cana wine and the 5000 fed people are the exception. Essentially all wine that has even been in existence came about through physical process. The same with bread. If the universe was created mature, NONE of the astronomical light is physical, including from our Sun. It is all created. To me that is a deal breaker.

ScottS's picture

... there is no way "to test your created photons to see if they actually came from a real electromagnetic process" anyway. The event you refer to, in your scheme, occurred over "hundreds of thousands of years" and as much time to see the effects on Earth, you still did not "test" those photons through that process.

The only testing is what is generated in our time. But the testing should match to the reality of the light we observe.

From my YEC perspective, to answer your question of "why bother," to better understand our universe as God designed it. Those "invisible" supernovas still have their light/properties affecting the light and properties of in transit light, making the lights we observe (even if subtly) change to be the sign God wanted them to be for us at any moment in history.

And yes, I feel that Answers in Genesis at times concedes too much to arguments against a mature creation, concessions that do not have to be made.

Thanks for the discussion. It is always helpful to understand others perspectives, even if I disagree.

Scott Smith, Ph.D.

The goal now, the destiny to come, holiness like God—
Gen 1:27, Lev 19:2, 1 Pet 1:15-16

AndyE's picture

Mark_Smith wrote:

If the universe was created mature, NONE of the astronomical light is physical, including from our Sun. It is all created. To me that is a deal breaker.

I certainly feel your objection, but at the same time, isn't that the Garden of Eden -- it's all created, everything that is seen?

I think your point is basically the same as if Adam was created with a belly button.  We don't know one way or the other, but Adam with a belly button is basically a universe less than 10,000 years old, right?

Mark_Smith's picture

This is serious.

Let me back up.

1) Do you accept that atomic and nuclear physics understands atoms enough to say that it takes around 100,000 years for photons generated in the core of a star by nuclear fusion to reach the surface of the star?

2) If you reject 1 then how do we build thermonuclear bombs? So, yes we can do this.

3) Ok, so if you accept 1, then fusion needs at least 100,000 years to be relevant.

4) At 7000 years there is no point in having fusion in a star. It isn't holding the star up by radiation pressure against gravity. It isn't lighting the day or the night. The created light is doing that, not the light from physical processes.

5) Fusion then (just as a stand in as one physical processes out of many) becomes a pointless prop that does nothing. The thing is, I know fusion is happening at the core of the Sun because the neutrinos simultaneously created by fusion, but that do not interact with matter on the way out so they fly freely through the Sun, arrive in copious amounts to the Earth from the Sun.

6) So what I am trying to say is, in a young universe created to look old, whether there are or are not physical processes behind stars, galaxy formation, quasars, active galactic nuclei, planetary formation, protostar formation, supernovas, etc., is irrelevant. There isn't enough time to allow any physical force to make the reactions and travel to Earth. So there is nothing to study. Everything you see beyond Earth was created miraculously in an instant, and not by gravity, electromagnetism, the strong force, or the weak force acting over time a space. That is to say natural processes. So there is no astrophysics to study.

 

Don Johnson's picture

Everything God created is real. The things he created have the characteristics of things that would take thousands or millions or billions of years to appear on earth. That doesn't mean they aren't real and can't be profitably studied. In fact, could an intricately functioning universe work any other way? Suppose God created the universe 6000 years ago, but with each star "starting from scratch " so the light from them still had millions of years to get to earth. 
 

could our earth function properly in that kind of scenario? 
 

why do you want to say God couldn't have created a mature universe as many believe? Do you want to limit God?

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

ScottS's picture

  1. I haven't studied nuclear physics, but I'm fine with this. A quick search did indicate 100,000 years is toward the long side of reaching the surface, but also that not all photons will ever reach the surface. Nevertheless, for the sake of argument, I'm still fine with this.
  2. Not rejected, so yes, we can build nuclear bombs.
  3. This statement I do reject, as fusion is relevant as part of the functioning of the star itself (and the universe itself) right as it is occurring. I know you would agree that the fusion happening right this second in the center of the Sun is not irrelevant, just because the photons won't reach the surface until 100,000 years from now. I know you would agree, at least because of your #5 statement about neutrinos. There are other effects of fusion in the universe besides just the releasing of photons, but even so, the heat generated in fusion and those photons being released still have an effect within the Sun itself, whether we ever see it or not.
  4. My point #3 proves there is a point to having fusion in a star, even at 7000 years. A quick search on Google just told me neutrinos take about 9 minutes to reach Earth, so that's a whole lot of fusion influence in the universe for 7000 years, in whatever ways neutrinos effect the universe.
  5. Again, your point on neutrinos shows there is a purpose for fusion even during the last 7000 years, and so is not a pointless prop even for a YEC, mature creation view.
  6. Regarding the conclusion here that all these processes become "irrelevant" because we cannot see them (due to lack of time in a young universe view), I would say it is still part of the functioning of the universe "out there" that God created; what we do have to "study" is the record God wrote in the heavens (cf. Psalm 19) to learn from, along with how that record helps us understand the forces that make up our present time/space experiences, because God's record is true in what He created for functioning purposes.
    • In your view, for astrophysics to have any value, it must be studying what the Andromeda Galaxy (at roughly "2.5 million light-years" from Earth) produced in physical processes that occurred long ago (and so is still not "true" to today's state of that galaxy)
    • In my view, astrophysics can study the Andromeda Galaxy as a record in light (and shock waves, etc.) that God has given about how physical processes work in His functioning creation, even if those processes were set up to take 100,000 years to complete (or 2.5 million light years from any still existing Andromeda galaxy stars), so that we can learn from those processes to produce things like nuclear bombs (or preferably, more peaceful uses of the knowledge).

So "gravity, electromagnetism, the strong force, or the weak force acting over time a space" are still doing something even now, functioning in the universe, even if we cannot see all the effects because of the time needed.  The universe is a system, just like the human body, and God intended that system to be fully functioning for all its needs from His finishing of creation at the end of the 6th day.

 

Scott Smith, Ph.D.

The goal now, the destiny to come, holiness like God—
Gen 1:27, Lev 19:2, 1 Pet 1:15-16

Mark_Smith's picture

Let me be clear I am doing a thought experiment to prove a point. The need to look into this thing further.

I am assuming that you know science is the study of natural processes. If nothing in the heavens comes from natural processes, then you can't do science.

As a theologian and pastor you get to assume God's attributes. As a scientist I am not allowed to do that. 

 

Mark_Smith's picture

ScottS wrote:

  1. I haven't studied nuclear physics, but I'm fine with this. A quick search did indicate 100,000 years is toward the long side of reaching the surface, but also that not all photons will ever reach the surface. Nevertheless, for the sake of argument, I'm still fine with this.
  2. Not rejected, so yes, we can build nuclear bombs.
  3. This statement I do reject, as fusion is relevant as part of the functioning of the star itself (and the universe itself) right as it is occurring. I know you would agree that the fusion happening right this second in the center of the Sun is not irrelevant, just because the photons won't reach the surface until 100,000 years from now. I know you would agree, at least because of your #5 statement about neutrinos. There are other effects of fusion in the universe besides just the releasing of photons, but even so, the heat generated in fusion and those photons being released still have an effect within the Sun itself, whether we ever see it or not.
  4. My point #3 proves there is a point to having fusion in a star, even at 7000 years. A quick search on Google just told me neutrinos take about 9 minutes to reach Earth, so that's a whole lot of fusion influence in the universe for 7000 years, in whatever ways neutrinos effect the universe.
  5. Again, your point on neutrinos shows there is a purpose for fusion even during the last 7000 years, and so is not a pointless prop even for a YEC, mature creation view.
  6. Regarding the conclusion here that all these processes become "irrelevant" because we cannot see them (due to lack of time in a young universe view), I would say it is still part of the functioning of the universe "out there" that God created; what we do have to "study" is the record God wrote in the heavens (cf. Psalm 19) to learn from, along with how that record helps us understand the forces that make up our present time/space experiences, because God's record is true in what He created for functioning purposes.
    • In your view, for astrophysics to have any value, it must be studying what the Andromeda Galaxy (at roughly "2.5 million light-years" from Earth) produced in physical processes that occurred long ago (and so is still not "true" to today's state of that galaxy)
    • In my view, astrophysics can study the Andromeda Galaxy as a record in light (and shock waves, etc.) that God has given about how physical processes work in His functioning creation, even if those processes were set up to take 100,000 years to complete (or 2.5 million light years from any still existing Andromeda galaxy stars), so that we can learn from those processes to produce things like nuclear bombs (or preferably, more peaceful uses of the knowledge).

So "gravity, electromagnetism, the strong force, or the weak force acting over time a space" are still doing something even now, functioning in the universe, even if we cannot see all the effects because of the time needed.  The universe is a system, just like the human body, and God intended that system to be fully functioning for all its needs from His finishing of creation at the end of the 6th day.

 

1. Yes, 100,000 years is about right for the average time for a photon to complete the random walk from core to surface.

2. Thermonuclear bombs, not just any nuclear bomb. A specific, high performance very detailed type of bomb.

3. Fusion is only important for a star that is old. A young star with miracled light does not need it. That is my point. The point is light takes a long time, a lot longer than a YEC universe, to be relevant to a star at all.

4. They affect the universe only minimally. Neutrinos only interact via the weak nuclear force, which is overpowered by EM.

5. You are missing the spirit of my argument. I am trying to illustrate that elapsed time is a key ingredient to natural processes for the universe. The apparent age argument, designed to account for this, undercuts it instead. Saying the universe was created to be mature makes physical processes meaningless in astronomy. Even if they are happening, we cannot see them because they are either so far away the physical processes have not arrived here yet, or they are buried in objects and have not emerged yet. I picked the random walk time of photons as an example of the latter for something different.

6. Your description is completely unscientific. No scientist accepts that view and never will. You have to have a chain of consequences from physical process (ex, photon created in nuclear fusion in Sun) to physical process (photon hits eye on Earth) for science to have any meaning.This is my point.

Mark_Smith's picture

which  most of you are probably doing anyway. Hey, why believe me? I'm just a scientist who studies this particular stuff... Smile

What do you think that even the vaunted Answers in Genesis physicists reject a YEC Mature Model? Does that give you any pause whatsoever?

 

Larry's picture

Moderator

Two quick things:

1. It appears that Mark thinks something is either created mature or real. He doesn't seem to entertain the idea that it can be both. Again, we were to look at Adam one minute after creation, I think he would appear to be a mature adult, with all the characteristics of it. So it should be no great stretch to imagine stars, or other astronomical features to be the same. In fact, to acknowledge Adam (and the earth) was created mature but the stars/astronomical features were not is to impose a dichotomy on the text that the text will not allow. Based on the text, there is no reason to treat these things differently. Why could God create a mature fruit bearing tree but not a dark hole or a dead star? I can't think of any reason why such a limitation would be supposed.

2. When Mark says, "As a theologian and pastor you get to assume God's attributes. As a scientist I am not allowed to do that," he is again drawing a dichotomy that neither scripture nor reason will allow. How can science be done without assuming God's attributes? There is no reason to expect science works apart from God and his attributes. It is entirely possible to do science while pretending God doesn't exist and is not as he says he is. It is impossible to do science if God doesn't exist as he says he is. To assume God's nature is no assumption as it is typically understood. It is rather a presupposition, a necessary foundation, for science. The nature and character and work of God is what makes science work. It is what means that an experiment done today can be done tomorrow and the next day and that the outcomes can be correlated. There is meaning and order in the universe and that is not accidental, nor is it anchored in the nothingness of science. Meaning and order in science exist because it is how God created the world.

Mark_Smith's picture

Larry you are missing the point. Science is based on natural phenomena. A chemical reaction. A force. If God does a miracle, that was not a scientific action. That is by definition! You cannot reproduce it. 

So, if something is created mature, it did not come about by natural means. Again, by definition. 

Nothing is controversial about that I hope.

By "real" I mean not that it doesn't exist. By that I mean it didn't come about by physical means. Nothing about how it was created or operates means anything scientific UNTIL the information that is produced by natural means gets to you. So, the Andromeda Galaxy. Measured to be 2.5 million light years away. Until light produced in stars by nuclear fusion gets here, it is a pretty picture in the sky... not a system undergoing natural processes. How can that be denied?

Everyone brings up Adam. Adam was created, say. OK. But he had a son by natural means, He ate natural food. He breathed natural air. He experienced all of that. Plants and food were harvested, and new things grew immediately to replace it. This all happens because the timescale and distances of life allowed it.

With stars, things are different. Most are farther away from Earth than regular travel at the speed of light allows information to travel from there to here. If God creates light between there and here, you see it, but that was not produced by the object. God created it. Thus you know nothing about how the object works. Even if a star started normal physical operation on Day 4 of creation, if the universe is something like 7000 years old there is a limit to how far that light can travel in that time. Until that light gets here, you know nothing about the physical processes of the star.

Larry says he has no problem with God creting dead stars. Did he make dead people?

You are assuming that since God is good and true etc. it matches natural production, but it is an assumption. Science doesn't work like that. Again, by definition. So the cost of a mature creation is the loss of the ability to make any scientific conclusions about object beyond the light travel of the age of the created universe. Even AiG agrees with this.

Worse that that, as I have tried to argue above, internal processes in most astronomical objects like stars take longer than the YEC age of the universe to even get out of the object. And, even more, death of objects like stars take a long time to come about. We see the remnants of dead stars all over the place! 

Larry says he has no problem with God making dead stars and "dark holes" (not sure what that is...). What about dead people?

Mark_Smith's picture

My point, said as succinctly as I can.

If the universe was created YEC but made mature, then the cost of that maturity is the loss of knowledge of how celestial objects like stars, black holes, quasars, galaxies, operate in a physical sense because to "do science" requires a physical connection with physically produced objects. Physical here means "by natural processes and forces". Miraculously produced objects and effects do not reflect the operation of physical processes by definition.

So, if the universe is YEC mature, there is no astronomical science to be done, or that can be done 

Kevin Miller's picture

Mark_Smith wrote:

My point, said as succinctly as I can.

If the universe was created YEC but made mature, then the cost of that maturity is the loss of knowledge of how celestial objects like stars, black holes, quasars, galaxies, operate in a physical sense because to "do science" requires a physical connection with physically produced objects. Physical here means "by natural processes and forces". Miraculously produced objects and effects do not reflect the operation of physical processes by definition.

So, if the universe is YEC mature, there is no astronomical science to be done, or that can be done 

ScottS mentioned Adam's blood earlier, so I want to see if you apply your logic to the shorter time frame of blood production. Could any science have been done on Adam's blood before his bone marrow started producing blood by natural processes? Before his bone marrow produced any blood, all Adam had was miraculously produced blood. Was that blood different in any substantial way from the blood that was going to be produced naturally by bone marrow? If miraculously produced blood does NOT reflect the operation of the physical process of being produced by marrow, then is it really human blood? If both miraculously-produced blood and marrow-produced blood contain exactly the same information, then couldn't knowledge of natural processes be derived from either, since no differences would be evident between them?

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