Sunday, 4 September 2016

Starlight and time

One of the most frequent examples criticising creationism that I encounter is the starlight problem and the age of the earth. Perhaps this is somewhat understandable in that the problem is relatively well understood, and is a real problem. They are not critical of the horizon problem which again may be understandable because the horizon problem is known about by many and not quite so easily understood. Nevertheless, both problems: distant starlight and a young earth; and the horizon problem, are starlight problems.

The starlight problem is this. God can create with an appearance of age, but most suggest that it would be at the level of what is required for a mature creation. So God creating several different types of rock as a foundation for the earth is reasonable even if that may appear to some to be a feature of age. But to claim that fossils of animals within rocks were created in the position to make it appear like they were buried despite never existing seems non-congruent with God’s nature. Most creationists, and most people, think fossils represent real animals.

Now God also created stars and they are a long way away. Adam would not have seen them until the light travelled here from the star. Now God could have created the light in transit which I think is fits with necessity of appearance of age. God made the stars for a purpose which involves seeing the star so creating the star and the starlight at the same time may be necessary. The problem with created light is that this light carries information. It carries information about what each star is made from, how fast it spins, when it becomes brighter (nova), and when it explodes (supernova), etc. Now I happen to think that the first 2 of these pieces of “information” (composition and spin) are legitimate to put into created light in transit, they represent the star as it is. But putting in information for the star’s destruction if it never happened seems a little like creating fossils of animals that never existed. Thus creationists think that supernova represent true star destruction. And supernovas more than 6000 light-years away should not be visible in a world only 6000 years old.

So the problem is: how did the light get from the star to earth in so short a period? How did light from a star more than 6000 light-years away get to earth in less than 6000 years. Now this is a real problem. However the stellar evolutionists have exactly the same kind of problem: the horizon problem.

The temperature of space is uniform and there is not enough time for light to have travelled across space to equalise temperatures, even after billions of years. This is well recognised by evolutionists and is called the “horizon problem.” The temperature of space in all directions is much more symmetrical than it should be.

Before we propose any solutions what is extremely important to note is that both creation theory and stellar evolutionary theory have a light travel time problem.

Even if we do not know what the solution is, it is logically invalid to dismiss creationism because of the light travel problem in favour of evolution when it has exactly the same problem. Goose and gander and all.

As it so happens, solutions are proposed by both schools. One may favour one over another, but if your solution has no scientific validation, it is tenuous to use the solution as proof of the truth of your theory. All you can do is claim you have rescued your theory.

The main solution of evolutionists for the light transit problem is the inflationary big bang model.

Creationists have proposed
  • c decay
  • white hole cosmology
  • Carmeli cosmology
While c decay (slowing of the speed of light) is out of favour with most creationists, I have some time for it.

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