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Age of the Earth Belief in God Cosmology History Science

Why is a 6000-year-old universe so hard to believe?

God has given us a clear history in the biblical account.  Genesis Chapter 1, from a straightforward reading, describes the history of the planet Earth, the solar system and the whole universe starting not much more than 6000 years ago. This is based on the genealogies, the historical records of father and son, found written in chapters 5 and 11. Add these up and eventually you get to a point in history that is well-known and then you have an estimate of the time that has passed since creation. This exercise will only result in a history of about 6000 years.

Then why is this so hard for many people to accept? The answer does not really lie with science. It is because most people believe anything they are told if it comes with the stamp of approval of science.  This is actually scientism not science. It is a belief system, a worldview; a worldview that man’s knowledge through science has all the answers or that science ultimately will find all the answers.

Deep time

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Charles Lyell at the British Association meeting in Glasgow 1840. Painting by Alexander Craig, from Wikipedia.

In the 1700s James Hutton advanced the idea of long ages of earth history.  Hutton observed in the rock strata (in the geology around him) slow and gradual changes in the present and extrapolated the idea over long periods of time (uniformitarianism); over periods of time that no man could have observed. Hence he developed the idea of deep time—that Earth had millions (which later grew to billions) of years of history. Charles Lyell extended these ideas and propagated them through his books. Charles Darwin in 1839 travelled on board the HMS Beagle, for 5 years, down to South America, taking a copy of Lyell’s book “Principles of Geology I”. This gave him the idea of the time, long time periods, he needed for biological evolution to change the simplest organisms into the complex over the needed millions of years. Deep time was all he needed. He supposed if we see small changes in living things all that was needed was lots of time and you could have big changes–which was his speculation now called evolution. But Darwin began as a geologist looking for evidence of millions of years in the rocks.

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Charles Darwin theorized about geology and the extinction of giant mammals while on board the HMS Beagle which surveyed the coasts of South America. Picture from Wikipedia.

Eventually meteorites were found that were ‘dated’ as 4.55 billion years old. According to those dates they were older than any Earth rocks and therefore it is believed they must represent the age of the solar system. That age has remained essentially unchallenged.  The worldview dictates what the evidence means. So as long as the worldview is held to be true the ages are never challenged. ‘Spurious’ ages are rejected as not fitting the nebula hypothesis for the formation of the solar system.

As time passed more time was needed in the cosmos. Some globular star clusters were found to be older than the Galaxy and even the universe itself, according to the way their age was determined. In the cosmos a set of tenuous measurements were made that people would use to assign age to some object. These, like Hutton’s uniformitarianism, required unprovable assumptions.

M51 titledAstronomers looked at spiral galaxies and saw only ‘several hundreds of millions of years’ of age in the few turns of the spiral structure.  Yet the big bang is believed (note, believed) to have initially produced all the matter of the universe. And all galaxies first started to form only a billion years after the big bang. Here was a contradiction. The observed galaxies must be at least 10 billion years old but based on their spiral swirls they are 50 times less than that. They appear not to have turned enough times since they first formed. The resolution was easy—we don’t understand how spiral galaxies swirl. This came in the form of the advancement of the density wave theory, which is supposed to solve this and save the 10-billion-year age of galaxies. But the belief system motivates the advancement of the theory. Not the other way round.

Then it was noticed that comets are still entering our solar system. But if the solar system formed 5 billion years ago why are not all the comets used up? Comets almost evaporate approaching the sun and many are destroyed on their path through inner solar system. But the belief system—the worldview—to the rescue.  It was proposed that because the solar system has been around 5 billion years, there must be some huge, yet unobserved, cloud of cometary material—called the Oort Cloud—way outside, but in a spherical halo around, the solar system. It is alleged that the Oort cloud has had sufficient mass to fuel the comets for all that time.

Scientism is not science

Then after the speed of light was measured to be a large number, yet still finite, it was suggested that the universe must be truly old. How could light from the most distant galaxies travel some 10 billion light-years to earth since creation? How could the 6000 year history of the Bible still be true?  They would argue that obviously over the passage of 6000 years, light could only travel 6000 light-years. After all that is the definition of a light-year, a unit of distance.

See, this is not science. This is scientism. The mind is already set on a particular worldview and it is not the biblical worldview. By building one assumption on another they have developed a complex set of assumptions that masquerade as science. This paradigm generally goes unchallenged.

When a challenge is made it is not by way of new observations but by a new interpretation of the evidence.  Yet the same observations are totally consistent with the biblical timeline for the whole universe. There is no contradiction between the biblical history and what we observe. It is only in the mind of the unbeliever that any contradiction exists.

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Einstein’s official 1921 portrait after receiving the Nobel Prize in Physics. Picture from Wikipedia.

The key is at the heart of another problem, which was solved by Einstein—with his relativity theory. He correctly understood that time is not an absolute in the universe. The rate at which time passes is relative to the motion and position of the observer. Time is never the same for all observers. So to impose a notion on the universe that it must be billions of years old because light must take billions of years to get from the most distant galaxies to Earth is imposing a particular interpretation on the evidence.

No human knows everything and all scientists have a worldview, a religious belief system. Only through that do they interpret the evidence they see. For science to claim as fact an assertion which is unprovable—namely how old something is—is pure scientism.  This applies to geology, biology, cosmology; all forms of scientific endeavour.

You might be looking at evidence, like, a fossil in a rock, or a meteorite, or hundreds of thousands of sedimentary layers (e.g. in Grand Canyon), or galaxies at very large redshift (large redshift supposedly implying great distance), yet none of these tell you how old they are. Only by applying a set of assumptions is an age determined.

Conclusion

The answer to the title question is because mankind does not want to believe in a universe with a Creator who made it and them. This is because the Creator might require of man, who is truly wicked by nature (meaning he is selfish and desires his own above all else), a moral code that he does not want to live by. So to reject the Creator, mankind rejects the notion of the created universe, and instead says that it evolved by random chance processes and the laws of physics. That gets him off the hook, so he thinks.

Those who believe in a Creator yet accept the worldview of scientism are acting irrationally. It would seem to me that they are ashamed of the Creator’s Words and choose to rely on the world to interpret what He plainly said.

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Categories
Cosmology Creation/evolution Physics Science

Hey, not so fast with the Nobel Prize!

Already the alleged discovery of not only primordial gravitational waves but also the big bang era of inflation (which I discussed in Has the ‘smoking gun’ of the ‘big bang’ been found? and also in this blog, only a little over a week ago) has been questioned in a paper1 by leading cosmologists. This is in a paper, submitted to the preprint archive (arXiv.org) on March 20th, 2014, just three days after the press release (on March 17th) of the “discovery” by the BICEP2 Collaboration team.

On March 25th a press item appeared on phys.org quoting these cosmologists and entitled ‘Cosmologists cast doubt on inflation evidence’, with a storimagesyline saying

Some theorists are advising that we “put the champagne back in the fridge”… at least for now.2

Categories
Cosmology Physics Science

Cosmic Mythology: Exposing the Big Bang as Philosophy not Science

In this video presentation I describe the history of the development of the standard big bang cosmology and how it is understood in terms of its philosophical underpinnings.  The Cosmological Principle is explained as the major and essential assumption upon which it all depends.  Due to this it has been required to invent unknown stuff, expansion of space, Dark Energy, Dark Matter, CMB radiation as afterglow of Big Bang, and Inflation.  None of these are experimental observed in the lab.  Yet all of these are needed else the standard ΛCDM model utterly fails.  Though we hear for the first time those speaking of discarding the standard model, they have built themselves a modern-day tower of Babel, an edifice of a structure that must be supported at all costs, especially since in 2011 the Nobel Prize was awarded for the accelerating universe driven by the unknown stuff of science fiction—Dark Energy.

Categories
Cosmology Physics Science

Cosmology is Not Science!

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Hubble Space Telescope

We might ask, with all the modern technology—including space-borne telescopes like the Hubble Space Telescope and numerous others, and large, earth-based telescopes with adaptive optics and advanced supercomputers for image processing and simulations—hasn’t the evidence now been firmly found to establish the big bang as correct? The following paragraphs (emphases added) from a 2007 article in the prestigious journal Science includes quotes from three well-known cosmologists.1

Categories
Belief in God Science

Why don’t scientists believe in God?

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Godfrey Kneller’s 1689 portrait of Isaac Newton (age 46)
from Wikipedia.

Some of the best physical scientists who ever lived were firm believers in the God of the Bible. These include Sir Isaac Newton, Robert Boyle, Blaise Pascal, Tycho Brahe, Nicolas Copernicus, Galileo Galilei, Gottfried Leibnitz, Johannes Kepler, Carolus Linnaeus, John Dalton, Christian Huygens, Robert Hooke, Michael Faraday, Joseph Henry, James JouleJames Clerk Maxwell, John Strutt (aka Lord Rayleigh)  to name a few. In fact the development of modern science only occurred in the climate of the Judeo-Christian culture which posits that the Creator never lies and created laws that never change. Francis Bacon, who is credited with the beginning of the scientific method,  said,

Let no one think or maintain that a person can search too far or be too well studied in either the book of God’s word or the book of God’s works.1

He refers to both the Bible and the laws of nature. They can both be relied upon. They never contradict and so they should support one another. Therefore scientific research can only flourish when coupled with a clear and straightforward understanding of God’s Word.