I recently read the book “Concepts of Simultaneity” by Max Jammer where Jammer presents the history of concepts of simultaneity. Primarily he starts with the Greek philosophers and works through to the modern age—with philosophers and physicists. The book outlines that in regards to the concept of simultaneity the most significant developments occurred in the past 110 years, starting with Albert Einstein when he published his famous paper on Special Relativity in 1905.
intrinsically linked with simultaneity. Simultaneity
involves how we might synchronise distant clocks with our own local clocks. This
issue then has an enormous bearing on some significant philosophical questions.
How do we measure the speed of light coming from the distant cosmos? How old is
the universe? How do we know how old the universe is?
We accept as fact, even consider it as empirical fact,
something that is actually not fact at all but conventional. I explain below. But
an incorrectly held notion has led to the idea that we can definitively know
how old the universe is. Since we know the speed of light is finite (not
infinite) and the universe is enormously large, then it is concluded that it
must have taken light billions of years to travel to Earth from the distant
cosmos. From that it follows that both theist and atheist have incorrectly concluded
that the biblical timeline cannot be correct. The atheists even use this as an
argument against the existence of the Creator.
In classical (Newtonian) physics, up to several hundred years before Einstein and any measurement of the speed of light, a distant event was considered simultaneous with a local event if the local observer saw them occur at the same time, as measured by his local clock. This is because the speed of light was assumed to be infinite. There was no delay between the light leaving its source and its reception at the observer. But that all changed.
“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.
The 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?