Can we definitively know the global structure of spacetime? This is a good question. It is one that is actively discussed in the area of the philosophy of modern physics.1,2
However it is a question that highlights the fundamental weakness of cosmology and hence of cosmogony. (Cosmology is the study of the structure of the cosmos whereas cosmogony is the study of the origin of the universe.) That weakness is the inherent inability to accurately construct any global cosmological model, i.e. a model that accurately represents the structure of the universe at all times and locations. The reason for this is underdetermination.3
“There seems to be a robust sense in which the global structure of every cosmological model is underdetermined.”1
In the philosophy of science, underdetermination means that the available evidence is insufficient to be able to determine which belief one should hold about that evidence. That means that no matter what cosmological model one might conceive of, in an attempt to describe the structure of the universe, every model will be underdetermined. Or said another way, no matter what amount of observational data one might ever (even in principle) gather, the cosmological evidence does not force one particular model upon us. And this underdetermination has been rigorously proven.1 Continue reading
The discovery of gravitational waves
Figure 1: The gravitational-wave event GW150914 observed by the LIGO Hanford (H1, left column panels) and Livingston (L1, right column panels) detectors. Times are shown relative to 14 September 2015 at 09:50:45 UTC. For visualization, all time series are filtered with a 35–350 Hz bandpass filter to suppress large fluctuations outside the detectors’ most sensitive frequency band, and band-reject filters to remove the strong instrumental spectral lines. Top row, left: H1 strain. Top row, right: L1 strain. GW150914 arrived first at L1 and 6.9 ms later at H1; for a visual comparison, the H1 data are also shown, shifted in time by this amount and inverted (to account for the detectors’ relative orientations). Second row: Gravitational-wave strain projected onto each detector in the 35–350 Hz band. Solid lines show a numerical relativity waveform for a system with parameters consistent with those recovered from GW150914 confirmed to 99.9% by an independent calculation (details in original). Shaded areas show 90% credible regions for two independent waveform reconstructions. One (dark gray) models the signal using binary black hole template waveforms. The other (light gray) does not use an astrophysical model, but instead calculates the strain signal as a linear combination of sine-Gaussian wavelets. These reconstructions have a 94% overlap. Third row: Residuals after subtracting the filtered numerical relativity waveform from the filtered detector time series. Bottom row: A time-frequency representation of the strain data, showing the signal frequency increasing over time. (Caption edited from the original, Ref. 6.)
On 14 September 2015 at 09:50:45 UTC the two gravitational wave detectors of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO)—one at Hanford, Washington and the other at Livingston, Louisiana—simultaneously observed a transient gravitational-wave signal. The signal exhibited the classic waveform predicted by Einstein’s general relativity theory for a binary black hole merger, sweeping up in frequency from 35 to 250 Hz, and exhibited a peak gravitational-wave strain of 1.0 × 10−21 at the detectors.1
The two detectors recorded the same signal, which matched the predicted waveform for the inspiral and merger of a pair of black holes and the ringdown of the resulting single black hole. The signal was observed with a matched-filter signal-to-noise ratio of 24 and a false alarm rate estimated to be less than 1 event per 203,000 years, equivalent to a statistical significance greater than 5.1σ (where 1σ represents 1 standard deviation).2 In other words, the detection is highly likely to be real.
The source lies at a luminosity distance of about 1.3 billion light-years corresponding to a redshift z ≈ 0.09.3 The two initial black hole masses were 36 M⊙ and 29 M⊙,4,5 and the final black hole mass is 62 M⊙, with the equivalent of 3 M⊙ radiated as gravitational waves. The observations demonstrate for the first time the existence of a binary stellar-mass black hole system but, more importantly, the first direct detection of gravitational waves and the first observation of a binary black hole merger. Continue reading
This lecture deals the historical philosophical development of the notion that the universe is very old. It outlines how worldviews have changed and developed that are intended to replace the biblical worldview with an atheistic humanist worldview. That has meant assuming long ages for the earth and the universe. It is shown how in reality it is a pagan worldview that has grown to dominate ‘so-called science’ today. It is not actually science but scientism. Evidence/observations do not speak for themselves, they must be interpreted and nowadays it is all within the big bang/evolution/”old” universe worldview.
Lecture was given August 1st 2015. See Age and Reason Seminar Adelaide for details.
See also other lectures given at the same seminar:
—The bankruptcy of big-bang thinking and its ‘dark’ fudge factors
Six important questions are asked in regards to the alleged big bang origin of the Universe? These questions highlight the bankruptcy of big bang thinking, about the origin of the universe that needs numerous fudge factors.
Embracing the ‘darkness’ has led man to develop unprovable fudge factors to plug the holes in his failed theory. I deal with each of these:
- Where did the Universe come from?
- How did nothing explode?
- How did stars and galaxies form?
- Why does CMB ‘light’ cast no shadows?
- Why the ‘Axis of Evil’?
- What about expansion of space?
…. 14 more problems are listed but not discussed in any detail.
Six major fudge factors are highlighted as a result but there are many more. The big bang needs these unverifiable fudge factors; so why hasn’t it been discarded? The answer is simple. The alternative, for the atheist–a Creator God–is unbearable, and for the compromised theist or deist, who accepts a big bang origin for the universe, the Creator as described by a straightforward reading of the Bible, is unbearable.
An illustrated talk presented at the Creation Ministries International 2016 Creation SuperCamp at The Tops Conference Centre, NSW, 7:30 pm Monday January 4, 2016.
Video of powerpoint presentation
Is the big bang evolution story of the Universe really science? And is the big bang a valid starting point to argue that science supports the biblical narrative history from the Genesis account and elsewhere? Can we consider a big bang creation in our apologetics?
Foundations for our apologetics
In apologetics1 we are engaged in a spiritual war, which we fight on a daily basis. We win some battles, we lose some, but we know that the war will eventually be won by God. He has told us that fact. Often however our comrades in arms, i.e. other Christians, may themselves not clearly see the enemy’s tactics. That does not mean they cannot see the enemy but may be they are too close in battle to see the whole war.
Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful. Proverbs 27:6 (KJV)
Sometimes we must criticise what our friends have said in an effort to prevent the enemy from developing a breach in the wall of truth and eventually destroying the foundations. In this case our friends are our fellow Christians who have gotten off the track by absorbing too much of the pagan culture in which they live. Continue reading
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
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