An illustrated lecture I presented on March 19th, 2017, at Saidaiji Christian Church in Okayama, Japan. It was translated into Japanese by Mr Toru Yasui. The lecture covers the issue of the need to assume a worldview before we can interpret any observational data from the cosmos. Two worldviews are contrasted: The biblical creation worldview and the pagan big bang worldview. Biblical creation cosmogonies are explained and how they provide an answer to how we see distant starlight, from galaxies billions of light-years distant, in a 6000 year old universe. Running time 1 hour 14 minutes.
Some biblical creationists argue for a mature creation as an explanation for the history of Genesis to align with modern cosmological observations. Don DeYoung1 is one who argues that such a view is not refutable, and he is quite right. But neither is any cosmology as really cosmology is not science.2 It is not subject to repeatable laboratory type tests that is normally required in science. Its goal is to reconstruct the history of the Universe, and in so doing cosmology is more akin to evolutionary biology or geology in which researchers must simply accept some facts as given. That makes cosmology more like a religion, a belief system, with its unprovable axioms upon which everything else is based.
De Young argues that all biblical creationist cosmogonies (i.e. worldviews) contain some level of mature creation, which I do agree with. The problem, though, which he does not address, is the issue of false information in starlight.
We know that the Universe is very large. Light travels very fast indeed, yet light travelling at its measured speed travels one light-year distance in one year (by definition). The Bible tells us that the Universe is only about 6000 years old, but the distances light needs to travel from the most distant sources to Earth, since creation, is about 14 billion light-years. So DeYoung, and others like him, claim that God created the ‘light in transit’. He says that this explanation is valid as it is equivalent to the mature creation of our sun or even to adult forms of life created on Earth (i.e. Adam and Eve created in the Garden as adults and not babies or embryos). On some level this may be true, but the ‘light in transit’ remains a problem in terms of God’s truthfulness.
No doubt DeYoung, and those others who hold similar views, believe that God is 100% truthful, yet they see no problem with false information in the ‘light in transit’. DeYoung excuses it by saying that it is nevertheless true in the mind of God. But there still remains a problem.
In Psalm 91 (and other passages in the Bible) we are told that the heavens tell us of God’s workmanship. Is this also only in the mind of God? Is everything that is in the astrophysical heavens just part of a big light show, which has no reality, such as the reality we can discover with the rest of our senses here on Earth? I don’t think so.
So how do you justify ‘light in transit,’ which does not relate back to real events in the past history of this Universe? If you want to take the approach of the least number of assumptions, that is, using Occam’s Razor,3 a law of economy, then I would say that a time-dilation model or a time-convention model is a far simpler and better choice.4 For example, I could construct a cosmogony (description of the origin of the Universe) where our Creator God makes the sun, the moon, the planets and all the stars and galaxies on Day 4 of Creation Week, according to Genesis 1.5 But in so doing He slows the rate of clocks on Earth during that day only. Really that means he slows the rate at which time passes on Earth relative to elsewhere in the cosmos. He makes some galaxies initially and places them throughout the Universe, like unfurling a flag or tent. It does not necessarily involve any stretching of the fabric of space, or of time or of space-time. This Universe is not an expanding, but created static, with the galaxies essentially in the same locations now as when they were created 6000 years ago, as measured by Earth clocks.
In April 2010, Marcus Chown wrote in an article entitled “Time waits for no quasar—even though it should”1 for New Scientist online,
“Why do distant galaxies seem to age at the same rate as those closer to us when big bang theory predicts that time should appear to slow down at greater distances from Earth? No one can yet answer this new question [emphasis added] … .”
He says no one can answer this question. But this question has already been answered before it was even asked. To understand this we need some background.
Quasars are assumed to be supermassive black holes with the mass of a galaxy2 that are the early progenitors of the mature galaxies we see around us today. See Fig. 1. They nearly all exhibit extremely large redshifts in their emitted light and the big bang community believes that these redshifts are nearly entirely due to cosmological expansion. Therefore it follows that these massive objects are extremely bright and are being observed at some stage only several billion years after the alleged origin of the Universe in the big bang. Hence, from their redshifts when interpreted as resulting from cosmological expansion of the Universe, using Einstein’s general theory of relativity, it follows that the greater the redshift the greater the effect of the distortion of time at the quasar. That is, local clocks on quasars at greater redshifts should run slower than local clocks on quasars at lower redshifts, which are interpreted to mean that they are closer to us. (This post is based on my original article “Quasars again defy a big bang explanation” published in the Journal of Creation 24(2):8-9, 2010.)
No time dilation
But that is where the problem comes in. Mike Hawkins of the Royal Observatory in Edinburgh, UK, looked at light from quasars and he found no time dilation. He used observations of nearly 900 quasars made over periods of up to 28 years. According to the article, he “compared patterns in the light between quasars about 6 billion light years from us with those at 10 billion light years away.” But the distances assigned here are actually derived from the assumed cosmology and the Hubble law. What was really measured was the redshifts of those quasars. However the problem arises because quasars scintillate or their brightness varies. This scintillation can have periods of as little as a week, or even a day. That tells us something about the size of the object at the core, since that time should be of the scale of the light-travel time across the light-emitting region.2
“All quasars are broadly similar, and their light is powered by matter heating up as it swirls into the giant black holes at the galaxies’ cores. So one would expect that a brightness variation on the scale of, say, a month in the closer group would be stretched to two months in the more distant group.”
The Hubble law, determined from the distances and redshifts of galaxies, for the past 80 years, has been used as strong evidence for an expanding universe. In 2011 I reviewed various lines of evidence for and against this claim. It included the lack of evidence for the necessary existence of time dilation in quasar and gamma-ray burst luminosity variations, angular size tests for galaxies as a function of redshift, the Tolman surface brightness test which is sensitive to expansion of the Universe, evidence that the CMB radiation is not from the background, which it should be if from the big bang fireball as alleged, intergalactic absorption lines due to hydrogen clouds and Lyman-α systems, and what they do tell us. Here I present that information again in light of my current understanding.
This review concluded that the observations could be used to describe either a static universe (where the Hubble law results from some as-yet-unknown mechanism) or an expanding universe described by the standard Λ cold-dark-matter model. In the latter case, the imposition of size evolution of galaxies is necessary to get agreement with observations. Yet the simple non-expanding (i.e. static) Euclidean universe fits most data with the least number of assumptions. I made a straw table comparison with the various lines of evidence to see how they stack up. It was found not to be definitive and hence the result equivocal. From this review it became quite apparent that there are still many unanswered questions in cosmology and it would be a mistake to base one’s theology on any particular cosmology. Far better to base you cosmology and theology on the clear narrative historical prescription in the Genesis account and elsewhere in the Scriptures. (This was first published in two parts in the Journal of Creation 25(3):109-120, 2011.)
Ever since the late 1920s, when Edwin Hubble discovered a simple proportionality1 between the redshifts of the light coming from nearby galaxies and their distances, we have been told that the Universe is expanding. This relationship—dubbed the Hubble Law—has since been strengthened and extended to very great distances in the cosmos. Nowadays it is considered to be the established dogma of the expanding big bang universe. This means that the space that contains the galaxies is expanding and that the galaxies are essentially stationary in that space, but being dragged apart as the universe expands.
Hubble initially interpreted his redshifts as a Doppler effect, due to the motion of the galaxies as they rushed away from our location in the Universe. He called it a ‘Doppler effect’ as though the galaxies were moving ‘through space’—the space itself is not expanding but the galaxies are moving through space, and that is how some people, especially astronomers, initially perceived it. This is different to what has now become accepted, but observations alone cannot distinguish between the two concepts. Later in his life Hubble varied from his initial interpretation and said that the Hubble Law was due to some hitherto undiscovered mechanism, but not due to expansion of space—now called cosmological expansion.
The big bang expanding universe model essentially offers a coherent paradigm or explanatory framework which can, in principle, provide answers to a wide range of key cosmological questions; examples are the origin of extragalactic redshifts, the dynamical state of the Universe (i.e. not apparently collapsing under gravity), Olbers’ paradox (why is the night sky dark?), the origin of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation, the origin of galaxies, and the origin of the elements. The fact that its answers to some questions are currently unsatisfactory or unconvincing does not change the basic point that such a model will always be preferred to a more limited model such as a static Euclidean universe, which does not attempt to address such questions. In this sense the big bang model is necessarily preferable regardless of one’s theological position.
On Saturday 4th June we returned from our 2½ week tour of Israel where my wife, Christina and I teamed up with 14 others from Australia, USA, NZ, Japan and Finland. The trip combined a biblical creation ministry with a 10 day tour of the sites around Israel, with a focus of relevant Bible history and creation science teaching. Our tour guide was a professional archeologist and Christian. The tour was sponsored by a Finish Christian outreach ministry. We were also supported by Israeli Messianic congregations and an Israeli Messianic conference ministry.
Biblical creation lectures, “8 Reasons Why Evolution is Foolish” (JGH), “The Heavens Declare…” (JGH), “Evidence for a Young Universe” (RH), “Cosmic Magnets” (RH) and “Flood Geology” (JB), “A Linguistic Argument” (JB) and others were delivered all over the country. They were given at:
a student conference (about 40, mostly Arab Christians,18-25 years old)
a youth conference (270 Jewish children, between 13-20 years old)
about 8 Messianic congregations (Tiberias, Jerusalem, Modi’in, Beer Sheva, Tel Aviv and other cities)
Hotel presentations: 3 different talks, in 2 cities
Total of 24 talks presented over 12 days by 3 speakers: myself (Dr John Gideon Hartnett), Dr Russ Humphreys and Dr John Baumgardner
The talks were translated into Hebrew and video recorded. Eventually we hope they will be available on YouTube.
For highlights of the guided archeological tour watch this 6 minute video (Powerpoint presentation) Archeological tour.(Sound only in two places)
Album of some meetings
Dr J. Gideon Hartnett speaking to students at the student conference
A graduate student at my university, contacted me recently about the biblical creationist starlight-travel-time problem. He said that he had attended a lecture on the recent detection of gravitational waves, where the professor had mentioned that the source of the binary black hole collision event occurred some 1.3 billion years ago. The issue has made him contemplate how that time scale fits with the biblical time scale of an approximately 6000 year old universe.
In response first I pointed out that the standard big bang model also has a light-travel-time problem called the horizon problem. It may be over a different time scale but it is still the same type of problem.
I explained that there were different biblical creationist models, in 5 different categories. I also suggested he view this lecture, which I gave last year on the problem, with lecture notes found here. I have looked at various solutions, and proposed a few myself, which I mention in the lecture, but now I personally prefer the solution outlined here, with details found in the linked articles there.
I asked him, in relation to how he understands the ASC model, if he could write a paragraph, in his own words, describing how it explains the starlight-travel-time problem. This is what he wrote.
I received the following question on the Anisotropic Synchrony Convention (ASC) a timing convention. The ASC is a timing convention used in biblical creationist models of Jason Lisle and myself. It relies on the language of appearance, that the Author of the events in Creation week used such language in describing when events occurred. God said He made the stars on Day 4, so if any observer was on the earth then (which there wasn’t, of course) he would have seen the stars appear in the night sky of that day. Read the Related Reading below for a full explanation. The writer’s comments are in blue indented text and my response in grey text.
I have been ruminating and now I am ventilating. :^)
Intellectuals who study the heavens are the modern priests of the religion of Science. They speak to the world through esoteric formulas, computers, telescopes, satellites, space probes, deep solar system images, and advanced degrees that few humans can attain to but which are the credentials of entrance into a very elite religion. These modern priests step out of their ivory towers with scientific pronouncements based upon data that 99% of the population has no means of refuting, or even discussing. They are on the cutting edge of discovery and unbiased reality and matter-of-fact truth. Words from an ancient book, the youngest writings of which are nearly 2000 years old, coming from a time when transportation at its best was by foot or animal or wind, are impartially assessed as archaic, factually shallow, imaginatively intriguing, but, in veracity, vacuous. Miracles of authenticity in 2016 come from science, but the miracles of God are only found on the pages written in the progressively improbable antiquated past.
The universe is truly vast; tens of billions of light-years in size. If the universe is only about 6000 years old how do we see galaxies at all, which are more than 6000 light-years away? This is the biblical creationist starlight travel time problem. I present 5 categories wherein potential solutions may be found. Besides the big bang also has a light travel time problem—the horizon problem—besides many other various problems.
Abstract: In creationist cosmologies do we expect to find a systematic trend of decreased metallicity in stars as a function of redshift? Some may claim such a systematic decrease is a ‘lay down misere’1 in favour of the standard big bang model. Here I show that that is not the case, and when the assumptions are changed so does the outcome. Therefore such a claim does not automatically rule out creationist cosmologies with no such redshift dependence. First published in Journal of Creation 29(1):3-5, April 2015. (This article is TECHNICAL.)
In astronomy, metallicity applies to all elements other than hydrogen and helium. The term ‘metal’ in astronomy describes all elements heavier than helium.2,3 A systematic trend of weighted mean metallicity as a function of look-back time in the Universe is sometimes shown in support of the standard big bang model.4 Though stated some find that this trend is not always so well supported by the observational data.5
Does this rule out certain creationist cosmologies? Take for example, Lisle’s Anisotropic Synchrony Convention (ASC) model,6 which essentially describes all galaxies with the same youthful age of about 6000 years but includes the notion of a mature creation. According to Lisle no ages of any structures in the universe should be greater than 6000 years, therefore based on evolutionary assumptions, if some object appears older due to so-called maturity, i.e. a fully formed galaxy, then that is in-built maturity that was from the creation.7