Starlight and time: Is it a brick wall for biblical creation?

Notes of a lecture on starlight and time. Do they present an insurmountable problem for biblical creationists? The lecture was given August 1st, 2015. See Age and Reason Seminar Adelaide for details.

Here is the problem. The universe is truly vast in size, in fact, tens of billions of light-years in size.  One light-year is about 10 trillion kms. It is the distance light travels in one year. By taking a literal history from Genesis chapters 5 and 11 you can calculate that the universe is only about 6000 years old. If so, how does starlight get to earth from a distance greater than 6000 light-years? Shouldn’t we only be able to see to a distance of 6000 light-years in the universe?

Is this a brick wall? Does it mean the bible must be wrong? Distances are billions of light-years. Surely that must mean light took billions of years to travel here from the distant cosmos? How do you explain that?

Ok, lets first look at some simple maths.

Distance = Speed x Time

So if you drive your car a distance of 100 kms and travel at 50 km/hr it will take you 2 hours.  10 billion light-years represents a distance in the Universe to some of the most distant galaxies like those pictured here in what is called the Hubble Ultra-Deep Field 2014. Continue reading

Cosmology’s Achilles’ heel

Exposing the big bang’s Fatal Flaw

Evolution, in the cosmic sense, from the nothingness of the universe before the big bang and the alleged initial singularity, from which all energy, and hence all matter (i.e hydrogen gas), is alleged to have arisen, to the formation of our solar system, to the origin of life itself, to the evolution of man on Earth, has many fatal flaws. For that reason the title of this book (about these issues) makes use of the plural form of the expression “Achilles’ heels”.

In cosmology it is cosmic evolution that can be shown to be nothing more that cosmic mythology — a philosophical belief system. Cosmology when it tries to answer the question of the origin of the Universe itself is rendered not to be science but a philosophy, nothing more than a meta-physical belief system.

The following article was first published in Evolution’s Achilles’ Heels (Chapter 7, but slightly edited here). The book is available from Creation Ministries International. Continue reading

Is Dark Matter the Unknown God?

Published in Creation magazine 37(2):22-24, 2015.

Over years of researching cosmology and astrophysics, I have argued that ‘dark matter’ is a sort of ‘god of the gaps’,the ‘unknown god’. It is proposed mainly to rescue the standard big bang model from problems when a mismatch is found between the theory and some observations. However, secular cosmogonists (scientists who study the beginning of the universe) usually believe the big bang worldview to be correct as well as all its associated astrophysics. So they must postulate something invisible to explain the discrepancy. This ‘something’ is ‘dark matter’, a hypothetical substance that emits no light or radiation, so cannot be seen.

Several years ago, astronomers claimed that they now had direct empirical proof of the existence of ‘dark matter’.2 This was dutifully repeated in the popular media.3 It was claimed that this demolishes the criticisms of ‘dark matter skeptics’. The section entitled “Dark Matter Proof?” (below) explains this further, and shows how there are many competing explanations for the same evidence. Continue reading

An eternal big bang universe

As a high school student, at a time when I was an atheist, I co-authored a book reviewing the various cosmological models that were discussed in the scientific literature in 1968. That was three years after the discovery of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation, and the Big Bang Theory had just made a big leap forward in front of its competitor at the time, the Steady State Theory.

In our book—which by the way won us second prize in a Western Australian state-wide science competition—we outlined the two competing models. The Big Bang Theory at that time had three distinct forms:

1. the cycloidal model, which would collapse back into a big crunch (and bounce out of the singularity cyclically) because the matter density of the universe was too great to resist the inevitable re-collapse (a finite closed universe);
2. the coasting model, which had just the right amount of matter for an infinite universe that is neither accelerating nor decelerating in its expansion, continually expanding but never collapsing (an open infinite universe); and
3. the hyperbolic model, an accelerating expanding universe, low matter density but also driven apart by a cosmological constant term (an open and infinite universe).

The most favoured of the three was the closed cycloidal model with a matter density greater than critical so it had to collapse back in a big crunch. Nowadays it is the accelerating infinite (open) universe, which is spatially flat due to dark matter and dark energy content.

On reviewing these models, and even knowing that the CMB discovery favoured these as a prediction of the big bang theorists, particularly George Gamow, I personally favoured the Steady State Theory. The Steady State Theory really had only one model, which was an infinite universe that was eternal both into the past and into the future. It had no beginning and no ending. Continue reading

An update: Correspondence on cosmology

This is my reply to a friend from the same university that I left two years ago to give him an update to my cosmology related research.

I hope you don’t mind but I thought I would take this opportunity to answer your questions but also post this on my blog so that others who might have similar questions can get answers. I have coloured your text in green with my responses inter-dispersed in black.

I’ve recently watched the “Evolution’s Achilles Heels” documentary and was impressed by some of the points that were raised.

I am glad you enjoyed it and it raised questions in your mind. Then it achieved its purpose.

This has led me to your YouTube channel where I have watched your videos “Cosmic Mythology: Dismantling the Big Bang Theory” and “Starlight, Time and the New Physics”, which I really enjoyed as I’ve got a background in astronomy (I majored in Physics, Applied Maths and Astrophysics at UWA, similar to you I guess.)

New study confirms BICEP2 detection of cosmic inflation wrong

In 2014 the BICEP2 team of astronomers operating out of their South Pole telescope made the spectacular claim of detection of cosmic inflation via a signal that was expected in the CMB radiation from accompanying gravitational waves in the period of time much less than a second after the alleged big bang. I expressed my doubts back then. And other scientists much closer to the field than I doubted the discovery. See the list of related articles below.

BICEP2 sought characteristic swirls in the polarisation of the Universe’s so-called relic radiation from the big bang

By the time the BICEP2 team’s 25-page paper was accepted for publication in the prestigious journal Physical Review Letters1 they had added a half-page caveat saying that they might be wrong. This was later confirmed that they were most probably wrong due to their not properly accounting for the foreground contamination of their putative signal from dust emission in the Galaxy. That highlights one of the dangers of rushing to publish when you have not ruled out all other possible sources. And cosmology is particularly more difficult than other branches of science, if we can even call cosmology science.

The Planck satellite team then looked at the foreground dust contamination problem:  Continue reading

‘Light from the big bang’ casts no shadows

If the big bang were true, the light from the fireball should cast shadows in the foreground of all galaxy clusters.

Published in Creation magazine 37(1):50-51, 2015.

Update (1/3/2018) I first have made this argument in 2006 based on the work of Prof. Lieu and others. If the big bang were true, the light from the fireball should cast a shadow in the foreground of all galaxy clusters as illustrated below. However new research (Xiao, W., Chen, C., Zhang, B., Wu, Y., and Dai, M., Sunyaev–Zel’dovich effect or not? Detecting the main foreground effect of most galaxy clusters, MNRASL 432, L41–L45, 2013) has thrown this conclusion into doubt. Prof. Lieu at the time wrote “Either it [the microwave background] isn’t coming from behind the clusters, which means the Big Bang is blown away, or … there is something else going on.” As it turns out that “something else” is contamination of the expected shadowing by radio emissions from the galaxy clusters themselves.

Without anything to contradict this new result, and the analysis seems strong, one must entertain the possibility that the anomaly first found by Lieu et al in 2006 has been adequately explained. The problem of course is that astrophysics is not exactly operational science. At best this no-shadow argument is now equivocal and hence I suggest that it may no longer be used as an argument against the big bang hypothesis.

One of the alleged ‘proofs’ of the big bang model of origins is said to be the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB). The radiation was discovered in 1964 by Penzias and Wilson for which they won the Nobel prize in physics. Soon after their discovery, it was claimed that this radiation is the ‘afterglow’ of the original ‘explosion’ or fireball of the big bang. Since the time at which the radiation, which started as heat, was emitted from the fireball, the universe has allegedly expanded by a factor of 1,100. Thus, that ‘afterglow’ radiation has ‘cooled down’ to much longer wavelengths (‘stretched’ from the infrared to the microwave portion of the spectrum).These are detected by microwave telescopes today.

Figure 1: Temperature fluctuations of the all-sky projection of the CMB radiation, after a constant background equal to 2.725 K was subtracted. Darker spots represent cooler regions and brighter spots represent warmer regions. The central red region is radiation from the Galaxy, which needs to be removed before the supposed background radiation can be seen without foreground contamination.

According to theory, the big bang fireball should be the most distant light source of all. Thus all galaxy clusters would be in the foreground of this source. Therefore all CMB radiation must pass the intervening galaxy clusters between the source and the observer, here on earth. This radiation passes through the inter-galactic medium, between the galaxies in the clusters, and is scattered by electrons, through inverse Compton scattering,now known as the Sunyaev–Zel’dovich effect (SZE).3  When this happens, the path of the CMB radiation is interrupted and distorted. Continue reading