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

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


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 humans 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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Jason Lisle defends his ASC model

A YEC scientist questioned Jason Lisle regarding his choice of the Anisotropic Synchrony Convention (ASC) in his cosmological model. That scientist believes that the Einstein Synchrony Convention (ESC) is the more natural choice and correct choice for the cosmology of the Universe as well as the one that the biblical language uses. Dr Jason Lisle responds with the following.

For the sake of time, this will have to be my last clarification on the matter.  But I’ll try to answer your most relevant questions and comments.  Regarding your comment that “ASC says nothing about reality,” that would require some clarification.  Both ESC and ASC are coordinate systems that describe the same underlying reality.  (Perhaps that’s what you meant.)  But the fact that either can be applied with equal legitimacy, each making correct predictions in regard to any relativistic experiment or observation, says something quite profound about reality.  Namely, the universe is non-Newtonian, and our measurements of time and space are necessarily observer-dependent.  As a result, one-way velocities are inherently conventional to some extent.  This necessarily includes the one-way speed of light.

The relativistic nature of spacetime can be “pushed” conceptually from one place to another, but it cannot be eliminated.  Your comment that using ASC “the imagined speed of light depends on its direction where the observer is” illustrates this – because the same type of thing is true of velocities under ESC.  Under ESC observer A sees light moving at speed c relative to himself, and observer B sees light moving at speed c relative to herself, even if A and B are moving relative to each other!  Moreover, if observer A accelerates, he will perceive that the light adjusts so that it is still speed c faster than himself.  Under either convention the light seems to “know” what the observer is doing and instantly adjusts itself relative to any given observer.  Like it or not, that’s the way the universe is. Continue reading

Aberration of starlight and the one-way speed of light


“Simple stellar aberration diagram” by BlankAxolotl – inkscape. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikipedia

The aberration of starlight (also called stellar aberration) is an astronomical phenomenon which produces an apparent motion of stars about their locations dependent on the velocity of the observer. Aberration causes objects to appear to be angled or tilted towards the direction of motion of the observer compared to when the observer is stationary. The change in angle is very small, and specified by the ratio of v/c where c is the canonical speed of light and v the velocity of the observer. With annual stellar aberration, the apparent change in the position of a star varies as observed by an Earth observer periodically over a year as the Earth’s velocity changes as it revolves around the Sun, with a maximum angle of about 20 arc-seconds in right ascension or declination. It traces a small ellipse on the sky over that time.

The fact of stellar aberration, which has been explained by a constant speed of light c, has been used by some to “refute” the idea of an infinite one-way speed of light in Lisle’s ASC model. The claim is that aberration would not occur at all if the one-way incoming speed of light was infinite, thus v/c = 0, here.  Dr Jason Lisle responds to this claim.

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A question on ad hoc in my cosmologies

Hi John,

Here are quotes from two of your articles that I’d like to ask a question about:

  • “My first model (2003)1 employed no gravitational potential well, but a supernatural causation only. During Creation week, God miraculously slowed Earth and the solar system clocks in comparison to cosmic clocks. The model doesn’t need an expanding universe, but it is rather ad hoc. That is, it invokes a miracle.” quoted from STARLIGHT AND TIME: IS IT A BRICK WALL FOR BIBLICAL CREATION?
  • “This means placing the earth at the centre of a truly vast spherical universe, where the most distant galaxies were first created tens of billions of years before the first day of creation of Genesis 1 (figure 1),2 and subsequently created closer and closer towards Earth at the constant speed of light c such that the light from all the galaxies arrived at the earth on the fourth day, for the first time.” quoted from THE ANISOTROPIC SYNCHRONY CONVENTION MODEL AS A SOLUTION TO THE CREATIONIST STARLIGHT-TRAVEL-TIME PROBLEM — PART I.

In the first case, God miraculously slowing local vs cosmic clocks is deemed ad hoc; however, in the second case God is required to do trillions of smaller miracles (creating all the stars in a certain order, over billions of years). How is the second any less ad hoc than the first?

Blessings, BKH 

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Supernova remnants and the age of the Universe

My recent post “A biblical creationist cosmogony” describes a cosmogony involving Lisle’s ASC (Anisotropic Synchrony Convention) model in a static universe with some added features. However the question has been asked whether it allows for sufficient time in terms of process in the cosmos to account for things like the formation of supernova remnants (SNR)?

The reason for this question is that because the ASC model and associated cosmogony essentially is saying the Universe is only about 6000 years old, it follows that no structures (stars, galaxies, quasars, SNRs etc) can have an age greater than this 6000 years. But aren’t galaxies billions of years old? Is there any evidence of expanding clouds from supernovae that are much older than 6000 years? There really are two categories to study here. One is apparent age and the other actual age. Our sun for example was created on Day 4 about 6000 years ago, therefore it cannot be the 4.7-billion-year-old star as we have been told.

Since God clearly told us in Scripture that he created the sun on that particular day, we know how old it is. The assumed uniformitarian age is based on man’s belief, which excludes a supernatural creation. Therefore the billions of years are not by some direct measurement but by imposition of a belief system. The same goes for all stars and galaxies as well. Continue reading

Questions about my use of Carmeli’s cosmology

Below I respond to an inquiry about the cosmological model presented in my book  and Carmeli’s Cosmological Relativity theory. I used Carmeli’s cosmology to create a biblical creationist model for the origin of the Universe, with a timeline which includes the 6 days of Genesis creation beginning about 6000 years ago. I took parts of Carmeli’s big bang cosmology and added biblically based hypotheses (and speculations) to make it conform to Scripture.

That means  it is no longer Carmeli’s cosmology but a sort of hybrid cosmology. Carmeli only constructed a 4 dimensional (4D) space-velocity model for the Universe. He never found a full 5D model for the whole Universe which might be used to construct a history close to the creation epoch. I theorised on a new model–call it the Carmeli-Hartnett model if you like–which is 5D. I added the time dimension to Carmeli’s space and velocity dimensions, to create a linearised 5 dimensional model. That is shown in Appendix 6 of my book “Starlight Time and New Physics“. I then used that, making additional assumptions, to explore the idea of rapid time-dilation during Creation.

I do not claim it is the answer to the creationist starlight-travel time problem. If God did something like I describe it could provide us with an understanding of it. Adding new physics may be a simple way to avoid many fudge factors in cosmology but it does mean adding a new dimension that is very hard to even conceptualise. Continue reading

How do we see distant galaxies in a 6000 year old universe?

690958main_p1237a1The argument is this: The universe is extremely large—tens of billions of light-years across. The Bible tells us that God made the universe a mere 6000 years ago. How does the light from distant galaxies reach earth then?  Surely that size of the universe demands an enormous timescale?

But couldn’t God just have created the light in transit. No, that would be deceptive. It would mean a stream of light carrying false information for billions of years to come.

But surely even you must admit that the simplest and even most logical explanation (if you don’t first presuppose that the biblical account in Genesis is correct) is that the light, from  galaxies millions of light-years away, did indeed travel for millions of years to get here?

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