I rarely comment on other’s videos. But in this case I felt compelled to do so. About 1 year ago I saw this Issachar Insight video of a discussion between Chuck Missler and Barry Setterfield regarding Setterfield’s physics. Please don’t interpret the following as being critical of a Christian brother, but of his theory only.
I know Mr Setterfield is a biblical creationist and he has developed his own ideas on various aspects of alternative physics to promote, in his mind, that the speed of light (c) was much faster back at Creation than it is now. The speed of light, c, allegedly slowed down to its current value, from the Creation to the present time, by a factor of something like 10 million times. This is referred to as c-decay or cdk.
His idea I once found very exciting as a potential solution to the biblical creationist starlight travel-time problem. That was about 1980 and since then we have learned that basic experimental physics in the cosmos undermines it. The new detection of gravitational radiation from the merger of a black hole binary further strengthens the case against it.
Comments made after watching the video
As a biblical creationist I find these ideas quite flawed in many ways. Also as a university physics professor I find many statements here without foundation and in many cases wrong. To Mr Missler I say that you should be very cautious of great claims not supported by other creationists, especially the physicists among us.
Regarding the quantum theory that Mr Setterfield uses, Stochastic Electrodynamics (SED), it would not be correct to say that it is a field gaining attention. It might be followed by a few but it is largely a failed field of physics.
In regards to the idea of the fabric of space being stretched. From the Hebrew Scriptures, a close examination of those verses, like Isaiah 40:22 etc, will show that the original meanings, the only meanings intended, of words like ‘stretched’ and ‘spread’ were like putting up a tent or a canopy, or spread out like with beaten brass. But never was the intended meaning to be stretched like a rubber balloon as in the oft quoted analogy in big bang cosmology. A careful re-examination of those Scriptures is needed by those who make these claims.
If Planck’s constant (h) increased with time we should see evidence in astronomical observations! Such a change would affect the positions of atomic spectral lines. Energy levels in atoms would be different, particularly telling would be the doublets and the multiplets. Thus it would be easily observable in the universe.
If atomic processes slowed down over time with an enormous change in the speed of light c we should see evidence, for example, in the spin down of the Hulse-Taylor pulsar/neutron star binary for which Hulse and Taylor received the Nobel Prize in 1993. The spin down has followed Einstein’s general relativity (GR) accurately for 40 or more years and the speed of light used in the analysis over all those years has been the same constant value we use today. Yet the binary system is about 24,000 light-years away so the speed c should have been much faster when the light left. This indicates that no change in c is evident back in the past.
Then the new observation of a gravity wave from a coalescing stellar-mass black-hole binary improves on this untold. The event is placed at a distance of about 1.3 billion light-years and thus puts it back near the dawn of Creation (notwithstanding the details of any assumed biblical creationist cosmology). Thus the speed of light of that local system, in its own rest frame, seems to be the same speed of light we measure today. And no violation of general relativity was detected by assuming the same value of c.
Setterfield claims that the product of Planck’s constant (h) with the canonical speed of light h.c = constant. This is amazingly contrived. It must involve a lot of gymnastics with fundamental constants if they change by a factor of 10,000,000 over the lifetime of the universe.
An atomic clock simplistically might be considered as an orbiting electron. But how does Setterfield know that electrons orbit a nucleus? Has he ever observed that? No, that is a simplistic model. According to the very successful model of quantum physics electrons reside in a cloud around the nucleus of the atom. They do not orbit at all. So arguing what that means physically is like first declaring that your orbiting model is God’s true description and then using that to judge all other models. But the fact is even Setterfield’s model is a model, a mathematical model. That is what physics employs. Physicists describe what we observe through application of models. We can’t see electrons after all.
An atomic clock that we use to measure time is not based on a stable energy level but on the transition between two energy levels in an atom. Currently that is a hyperfine transition in the cesium atom. But it may change. So Setterfield needs the fine structure constant (α) to be fundamentally constant because it affects not only atoms but also all subatomic physics. Hence this adds to the contrivance he explains. Setterfield claims h.c remains constant through all time. That’s his solution, because, assuming normal physics, any increase in c as a function of look-back time in the universe would mean the transition energy between two states in an atom would equally increase, i.e. the clock state would change with time. But that is a tautology because time is defined by the clock transition frequency (at 9.2 GHz currently) because we define the speed of light c, which is perfectly legitimate.
But based on the hypothetical increase of c by 10,000,000 times back into the creation of the Universe, one would expect an increase in atomic clock rates, hence a massive blueshift in galaxy light from everywhere in the cosmos, not a redshift. But I am sure Setterfield has a manipulation to turn this into a redshift somehow. But fundamentally it is the wrong sign. It trends in the wrong direction.
I know of no creationist, physicist or otherwise, who is knowledgable on the subject of the slowing down of the speed of light c, who takes cdk seriously any more. To state it so on your show is not correct.
On quantisation of galaxy redshifts, there is an area of research that has still gone unanswered but that involves very small redshift intervals of 0.00024. That is from the work of Napier and Tifft. Then there is the much larger scale redshift quantisation with intervals of 0.01, 0.025, which is my own work, Hartnett & Hirano (2008). See link for details. That was a redshift space effect, which is not necessarily a real space effect. We have not shown that it is as yet. It may be only due to a change in the expansion rate of the Universe (if it is indeed expanding at all, which I really doubt) or the famous bulls-eye effect, which results from enhancement of local structure giving the appearance of a bulls-eye. That bulls-eye effect could be due the combination of two effects. One is that we only sample the relative motion towards the observer when the redshift is due to local Doppler motion. The second results from bulk flows of galaxies in clusters.
So who knows what Setterfield meant when he said that the redshift changed across a galaxy? He might have been talking about the work of Halton Arp and others and quasar redshift quantisation, which still seems to be holding up. I am working on that now myself with a paper co-authored by Halton Arp (deceased) and Chris Fulton. See here. But if Mr Setterfield was not talking about a high redshift quasar embedded in a low redshift galaxy (which Arp first pointed out) I don’t know what he was talking about.
The Doppler interpretation for galaxy redshifts implying an expanding universe is only one interpretation. Doppler motion is laboratory proven physics. Doppler radar is used for weather forecasting and catching speeding cars on the highways. Hubble was skeptical the Doppler interpretation, but what he really was skeptical about was an expanding universe per se, i.e. regardless of the terminology. Today cosmologist believe space has expanded and it seems Setterfield also believes that. That is called cosmological expansion, it is not a Doppler effect. But cosmological expansion is not supported by a shred of laboratory physics. It is pure conjecture. Is the universe really expanding? I don’t know and Einstein’s relativity, when properly understood, would tell you that you can’t do a local experiment to detect the expansion of space even if it is expanding.
The points he made about the size of large dinosaurs and the impulse reaction times in their bodies is total conjecture. Besides there is not a shred of evidence that the ZPE energy (zero point energy) density has changed over time. Physicists still debate how to correctly calculate its energy density, let alone how measure it as a function of time.
Mr Missler, I recommend that you build your worldview on testable experimental science, not fiction. And where you cannot because it involves cosmology and the unobserved past, use that which conforms precisely to the narrative history in the Genesis account without adding what is not there. Don’t do what Hugh Ross does, with his big bang creation story. The Universe does not demonstrably conform to the SED/plasma physics description of Mr Setterfield. To use the word ‘demonstrable’ means can be demonstrated by experimental physics in a lab environment. We need much more truth in science, and Bible believing Christians should be the first to promote it.
I believe in a 6-day (24-hour earth rotation days) creation by God about 6000 years ago as written. I believe the Scriptures. I don’t need some fanciful theory to convince me, yet what I do see I find no contradiction with a biblical creationist (YEC) worldview. Just looking at what is on offer from the atheistic big bang community, or from the atheistic steady state (eternal universe) community, I see a lot of story telling and many fudge factors. Surprisingly there is less of that from the competitors to the big bang. But to promote a massive decrease in the speed of light that apparently was so obvious (because it was so large since first measured in 1670), and remain oblivious to all the contrary evidence for which there are mountains, is plain wrong.
All the glory to our Lord and Saviour