Einstein’s physics says there is no biblical creationist starlight travel-time problem

Review of the book “The Physics of Einstein” by Jason Lisle

Introduction

I would say that there is no other biblical creationist book like this on the physics of Einstein. Astrophysicist Jason Lisle explains the subject matter in a style that any educated non-specialist could understand. However, there are sections that contain equations, which are important, but they are sectioned off into boxes so that one may skip those without loss of the train of thought.

In the book Lisle addresses questions such as:

“Is it possible to travel faster than the speed of light? Will future human beings build spaceships that can travel at ‘warp’ speed like in Star Trek? Is time travel possible? If so, could we ever travel back in time to prevent a catastrophe from occurring? What does E = mc2 really mean? What are black holes, and do they really exist? What would happen to a person who fell into a black hole, and how do we know? Is the universe really expanding? How long does it take starlight to travel from distant galaxies to Earth? Does this distant starlight require the universe to be billions of years old?” (p.7)


Figure 1: The Physics of Einstein

The book starts with a short history of Einstein and his discoveries in physics. Though Einstein never performed any physical experiments to test his theory of relativity, today it is one of the most well established theories of science.

One small initial criticism I would make is how Lisle uses the word ‘prove’ in relation to relativity theory. He does qualify what he means:

“My point here is that relativity, unlike most branches of science, is actually provable, within the context of its foundational premises” (p.9)

I think it is unfortunate that he was not clear enough on this. He writes that the proofs involve basic logic, basic geometry and basic mathematics. This is a different sense to experimentally testing a theory. In an experimental sense no theory can ever be proved. It can be tested and even disproven, but never proven. Even so, relativity—both the special and general theories—has been extensively tested on Earth and in space and has be found to be exquisitely consistent with all results.  Nevertheless, there is a domain where it is expected to break down, and that is at the quantum level.

Newton and Maxwell

Chapter 1 starts out with a discussion of Newtonian physics, involving gravitation as well as the three laws of motion. Newton realised that all motion is relative, that is, that any speed and direction of a particle is only meaningful when quoted with respect to a particular observer. And this sets the scene for the rest of the book. One important aspect of that is ‘reference frames’. The outcome of any experiment will always be the same for all inertial reference frames, though the measured values may vary. An inertial reference frame is one where the observer is not accelerating—but either stationary or moving in a straight line. So Newton’s laws of motion apply only to inertial reference frames. The Earth is not an inertial reference frame but for some applications it is approximated as such.

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The Lawgiver is the biblical Creator God

Michael Faraday  Credit: Wikipedia

Michael Faraday      Credit: Wikipedia

Where does knowledge1,2 come from? From research and inquiry? It seems an obvious question, but is it really? It is only obvious if we realize what the unstated assumptions are that go with it. Why do men study science anyway? Why do they believe it a fruitful activity at all? The answer must be founded on the belief that the laws of nature, which they are attempting to discover, are the same today as they were yesterday, and will be the same again tomorrow. What is the justification for this?

If we look back 500 years we see a list of names of well-known philosophers and scientists: Tycho Brahe, Nicolas Copernicus, Galileo Galilei, Gottfried Leibnitz, Isaac Newton, Leonardo da Vinci, Johannes Kepler, Carolus Linnaeus, John Dalton, Christian Huygens, Robert Hooke, Michael Faraday, Joseph Henry, James Joule, Louis Pasteur, William Thomson (aka Lord Kelvin), James Clerk Maxwell, John Strutt (aka Lord Rayleigh), John Ambrose Fleming, to only name a few. These men all believed in the truth of the Bible, so much so they believed that the laws governing nature that we study in the laboratory can be extrapolated to the Universe and apply both in the past and the future. We know this by the very nature of the scientific endeavours they were involved in. Continue reading

Why don’t scientists believe in God?

220px-GodfreyKneller-IsaacNewton-1689

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.

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