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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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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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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