Notes of a lecture on the historical philosophical development of the notion that the universe is very old. The lecture was given August 1st 2015. See Age and Reason Seminar Adelaide for details.
Bishop James Ussher was the Irish Archbishop of Armagh and primate of all Ireland. He excelled in education, was fluent in Arabic and Hebrew. In 1654, after an exhaustive investigation, he published his date for the Creation of the Universe – 4004 B.C..1 When Ussher published this Creation date it was believed. There was nothing remarkable about that. If you add up the genealogies in the Bible, and with a bit of historical knowledge, you can easily get a time since the beginning of the world of around 6000 years. It was believed that God created the world as He said in Scripture about 4000 years before Christ. For roughly 18 centuries of the Christian era such a time period was widely believed.
In the 17th century Sir Francis Bacon developed the ideas of the modern scientific method – scientific empiricism—where one developed a thesis and did experiments to test it. Bacon has been called the ‘father of the scientific method.’
And it was from the Middle Ages science was nurtured in the Christian universities of Europe and flourished after that, from the Reformation on, underpinned by the rich Christian worldview that held that the Universe was created by a rational trustworthy God, and the unchanging laws of nature are His creation. Continue reading
Abstract: I speculate on a new cosmological redshift mechanism due to ‘tired light’ in a created static-yet-unstable 6000-year-old finite-size universe. This utilises Lisle’s ASC model, but I show a one-to-one correspondence with the Hartnett-Carmeli model that was so successful when tested against type Ia supernova measurements. This gives a theoretical underpinning to the ASC model with a Hubble law redshift-distance dependence, but not from expansion, yet where, today, we see all sources in the universe only 6000 years after they were created. Article first published by Answers Research Journal 8 (2015):77–83. PDF available here.
In standard cosmology it is normal practice to assume no Creator and that the material world is all that there is. Therefore it follows that only the laws of physics, time and chance are to be considered when formulating a description of the creation and history of the universe we see. This means that within the visible horizon there has been sufficient time for the gravitational and electromagnetic influences2 of the matter elsewhere to be felt locally. Assuming an expanding universe, the only limitation comes from the notion that the universe has expanded faster than the speed of light (c)3 and therefore this has introduced to the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) radiation what is known as the horizon problem.4 Continue reading
Abstract: According to the Bible the Universe is about six thousand years old. It follows from all standard assumptions that we have a starlight-travel-time problem. With the Universe being billions of light-years in extent how does light travel across the Universe to Earth within the timescale of only about six thousand years as laid out by summing up the years represented by the genealogies in Genesis 5 and 11? This problem has been a stumbling block to many simply to believe the inerrant Word of God. Others have attempted to re-interpret the Scriptures to force them to fit in with so-called modern scientific dating of the age of the Universe. But is this really necessary? I take another look at the problem and ask the following questions: What is absolutely non-negotiable? What can we say for sure? What defines our universe? And is that consistent from a biblical creationist perspective? The cosmogony I propose involves Lisle’s ASC (Anisotropic Synchrony Convention) model in a static universe with added features and a mechanism for cosmological redshifts, which is consistent with all creationist understandings of the biblical texts, and no light-travel time problem. Article first published by Answers Research Journal 8 (2015):13–20. PDF available here.
What do we know from science about the size and nature (the physics) of the Universe? In the following I list what I believe we know, but there are some necessary, and I think reasonable, assumptions included. Continue reading