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What Is Your Favorite Piece Of Evidence For Or Against An Old Earth?
In Discussion Questions
jammycakes
Commentator
Commentator
Jul 28, 2019
@burrawang - May I please remind you that the RATE project -- the most comprehensive, extensive and expensive research project ever conducted by young-earth scientists -- themselves admitted that in order to account for the evidence within a 6,000 year timescale, they had to propose accelerated nuclear decay on a scale that, again by their own admission, would have raised the Earth's temperature to 22,000°C. That is a far, far, far, far, far, far, far, far bigger problem for a young earth than a few tiny scraps of badly degraded, hard-to-extract soft tissue remnants are for an old earth. It doesn't take a "secular worldview" to see this, you don't have to have "been there," you don't need to argue about what assumptions are involved or whether or not they're valid, and you don't even need to be a scientist. 22,000°C is four times as hot as the surface of the sun and hot enough to vaporise the Earth's crust many times over. I'm sorry, but that admission was game over for a young earth. End of story. Your claim that we can't know the original conditions of a sample is simply not true. I gave you a counter-example: lead in zircon crystals. It is simply physically impossible to get lead into a zircon by any route other than nuclear decay from uranium. To do so would require not only the laws of physics and chemistry to have been different in the past, but also the laws of Euclidean geometry. And we can test for leakage by comparing the ages given by the different isotopes of uranium/lead. As for the RATE project's claims of too much helium in zircons: that study was riddled with very serious flaws, methodological errors and even outright fudging. And your claim that no-one has responded to Humphreys' 2008 article is not true: Kevin Henke responded in 2010, and he and Gary Loechelt followed up with a couple of YouTube videos as recently as 18 months ago (here and here). The claim about Mount St Helens proves nothing more than that radiometric techniques can give slightly flaky results when they are pushed beyond their limits. 2.8 million years is less than a quarter of one percent of the half-life of potassium-40, and in any case the samples were processed by a company (Geochron Laboratories of Cambridge, Massachusetts) which, at the time, did not have the high-end equipment needed to accurately process samples that young. Yet they're touting it as evidence that all dating methods are so out of whack that they consistently fail to distinguish between thousands and billions. It's like using a weighbridge -- a truck scale used to weigh ten ton lorries -- to measure out the ingredients for a child's birthday cake, and then when the results come out mushy and inedible, claiming that means that Jamie Oliver, Gordon Ramsay, Ina Garten, Heston Blumenthal and Mary Berry are all so bad at cooking that for all we know they could be telling us to make rat poison on their TV shows. I could go over your other claims in detail, but there's little point. It would just be window dressing. They are all similar variations on the theme of tiny and/or sloppily processed samples with enormous error bars. It will take far, far, far, far, far, far, far, far more than that to establish any kind of basis for 22,000°C worth of accelerated nuclear decay having occurred any time within the past six thousand years.
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What Is Your Favorite Piece Of Evidence For Or Against An Old Earth?
In Discussion Questions
jammycakes
Commentator
Commentator
Jul 27, 2019
Sorry @burrawang but your characterisation of radiometric dating is simply not accurate. First of all, about the date being "derived." This may be the case, but that is no justification for rejecting it as unreliable. By the same argument, a police car just measures frequencies of radio waves that bounce off your car, and the speed at which it is travelling is "derived" from Doppler shift. The electricity meter in your house measures the number of revolutions of a metal disk in a magnetic field, and the amount of electricity you are consuming is "derived" from that. The equations and the underlying physics are roughly similar in terms of complexity. Being "derived" gives you no more justification for rejecting radiometric dating than it gives you justification for rejecting a speeding ticket from the police, or an electricity bill from your energy supplier. Your claim that radiometric dating is "calibrated" against the fossil record is at best misleading, and at worst completely untrue. The old "fossils are used to date rocks and rocks are used to date fossils" shenanigan is a complete mischaracterisation of how stratigraphy and geochronology actually work, and what role index fossils actually play in determining the ages of rock strata. Besides, even if this claim did have any merit to it, it would still fall far, far, far, far short of demonstrating that all radiometric techniques are so out of whack that they consistently fail to distinguish between thousands and billions. Your claim about no contamination or leakage being nothing more than an assumption is similarly untrue, as is your claim that the original quantities are just assumptions as well. Modern radiometric techniques such as isochron dating avoid both of these assumptions entirely (in fact, isochron dating includes a built-in test for contamination or leakage: if this had occurred, the points on the graph would not lie on a straight line). Or take zircon crystals for example. These are the "tags on them saying x mya on them" that you claim fossils don't have. The fact that these contain uranium but not lead when they are first formed is not just an assumption but a direct consequence of their chemical and crystallographic properties. For them to have taken in lead either at the start or subsequently as contamination, their entire crystal lattice structure would have to have been different -- quite possibly in ways that would have either stopped them forming altogether. It is simply not physically possible to get lead into a zircon crystal through any route other than radioactive decay from uranium. If that isn't bad enough, it gets worse. If the zircons had become disturbed (which would require temperatures in excess of 900°C), lead will leak out faster than uranium, partly resetting the radiometric "clocks." This means that the zircons would be older than that reported by the radiometric age. On top of that, the fact that there are two different isotopes of uranium with different half lives (704 million years for U-235 and 4.4 billion years for U-238) means that we have a cross-check that can identify whether there was any such disturbance. If there had been, the two isotopes would give different ages. The upshot of this is that U-Pb dating of zircon crystals is one of the most accurate radiometric dating methods around. Its errors are typically in the ±0.1%-1% range. As for your claim of different orders in different places, again that is not true. The geologic column can be observed in its entirety, in a consistent order, in the following places: The Williston Basin in North Dakota The Ghadames Basin in Libya The Beni Mellal Basin in Morocco The Tunisian Basin in Tunisia The Oman Interior Basin in Oman The Western Desert Basin in Egypt The Adana Basin in Turkey The Iskenderun Basin in Turkey The Moesian Platform in Bulgaria The Carpathian Basin in Poland The Baltic Basin The Yeniseiy-Khatanga Basin in Russia The Farah Basin in Afghanistan The Helmand Basin in Afghanistan The Yazd-Kerman-Tabas Basin in Iran The Manhai-Subei Basin in China The Jiuxi Basin China The Tung t’in - Yuan Shui Basin China The Tarim Basin China The Szechwan Basin China The Yukon-Porcupine Province Alaska The Williston Basin in North Dakota The Tampico Embayment Mexico The Bogata Basin Colombia The Bonaparte Basin, Australia The Beaufort Sea Basin/McKenzie River Delta Furthermore, in the places where the different layers are out of order, there is clear independent evidence for events such as overthrusting which fully account for the discrepancies. (See the section on overthrusts in this article.) The point that I'm making here is that you can't just get any age you like out of radiometric dating by adjusting your assumptions. The different assumptions can be cross-checked against each other (or even eliminated entirely) and the cross-checks do not constitute circular reasoning. In any case, the young-earth RATE project team themselves admitted that in order to squeeze the radiometric evidence into just six thousand years, nuclear decay rates would have to have been high enough in the past to raise the Earth's temperature to 22,000°C. Twenty. Two. Thousand. Degrees. Centigrade. That alone should be sufficient to make it clear that the Earth is far, far older than six thousand years, and that their claims of evidence for a much younger age, or claims about radiometric dating being "unreliable," are completely without merit. Yes, measurements must be interpreted, but the interpretations of those measurements must be honest and accurate as well. Small error bars must take precedence over large error bars. The interpretations must obey the rules of mathematics. They must not claim that something constitutes circular reasoning when it does not. And they must not just cry "assumptions" when those assumptions are, in fact, testable. As for soft tissue: as I said, please remember that we're talking about soft tissue remnants, not actual original soft tissue. And far from being "an abundance," the fact remains that such findings are rare, difficult to extract, and very, very badly degraded, and that there are no actual measurements showing that they should not exist at all, anywhere. This being the case, there is no conflict whatsoever with their 65 million year age.
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What Is Your Favorite Piece Of Evidence For Or Against An Old Earth?
In Discussion Questions
jammycakes
Commentator
Commentator
Jul 27, 2019
@burrawang : There are a few things we need to get straight here. First of all, contamination. Contamination is not any kind of attempt to "explain it away." Contamination is a legitimate, measurable, testable, and very real source of error. You have to allow for the possibility of contamination in every area of science, no matter what it's about. In fact, if you dismissed contamination as an attempt to "explain it away" in any other area of science, you would kill people. Second, please stop talking about "long age evolutionists." The age of the earth has been established completely independently of evolution; it is established by high-precision measurement; and to suggest that it is simply some kind of "evolutionist" dogma is simply not getting your facts straight about what geochronologists actually do. Third, can I please reiterate my point that before we even start to discuss whether soft tissue finds are consistent with an age of 65 million years or not, it is essential to make sure that you have accurately understood what Mary Schweitzer and other researchers found. For example, she is often claimed by YECs to have found actual red blood cells. She didn't: she found round, red microstructures, which she interpreted as being the remnants, or breakdown products, of blood cells. She is often claimed to have found osteocytes. She didn't. She found structures that were similar in size and morphology to osteocytes, but not in chemical composition. That's a completely different thing. She is often claimed to have found haemoglobin. She didn't. She reported finding haemoglobin breakdown products, which are not actual haemoglobin. Fourth, the creation.com article omits one very important piece of information. It doesn't give any indication of the error bars or variances on the decay rates of DNA. In reality, the variances are huge. Allentoft et al, for example, reported variances of a factor of 50,000, and that they are extremely sensitive to environmental conditions. Yet I can guarantee you that if you pointed that out to creation.com they would dismiss it as a "rescuing device" or a "long age uniformitarian excuse" or some other shenanigan like that. It's nothing of the sort. It's simply a basic principle of measurement that applies to every area of science: you have to take all possible sources of error into account. Once again, if you dismissed error bars as a "rescuing device" or a "long age uniformitarian excuse" in any other area of science, you would kill people. In fact, this is the biggest problem that I have with young-earth arguments. They consistently rely on measurements with huge error bars, and rates of change that are extremely sensitive to environmental conditions that nobody expects to have been constant in the past. By contrast, radioactive decay rates have been rigorously tested and found to be stable within a wide range of environmental conditions including extremes of temperature and pressure, electromagnetic fields and the like. Sure, a few of them have been found to vary, but only by a fraction of 1% or so -- a variance that falls far, far, far, far, far, far, far, far short of justifying claims that radiometric dating could be consistently be out by factors of up to a million.
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What Is Your Favorite Piece Of Evidence For Or Against An Old Earth?
In Discussion Questions
jammycakes
Commentator
Commentator
Dec 05, 2018
@J.E.S You can see the other studies by searching Google Scholar for "helium diffusion in zircons": https://scholar.google.co.uk/scholar?hl=en&as_sdt=0%2C5&q=helium+diffusion+in+zircons&btnG= Most of them are paywalled, but it's possible to get a good idea of what's going on from reading the abstracts. One thing that becomes clear is that at the time of the RATE study, helium diffusion in zircons was poorly understood and poorly characterised. For example, anisotropy (different diffusion rates in different directions) is now known to be a much more significant factor than was thought at the time of the RATE project. (Reich et al (2007), Cherniak et al (2009)). Radiation damage has also been found to be a significant factor, initially increasing helium retentivity before subsequently decreasing it later on (Guenthner et al (2013)). All this makes it clear that we are dealing with a very complex subject with a lot of unknowns, and this makes the RATE project simply a new take on the same old young-earth cliche: trying to overturn rigorously established, high-precision results that they don't like by appealing to low-precision, poorly quantified ones. Incidentally, one result in particular: Reiners et al (2004) note a good agreement between 40Ar/39Ar dating and helium retentivity. This contradicts the RATE project's claims. To be honest, I'm not holding my breath for Humphreys' latest pot shot. He needs to provide a comprehensive, mathemeatically precise and evidence-based response to all the concerns raised by the critiques of the RATE research, not just a select few of them. He needs to quantify exactly what effect they would have on his results, which then need to be updated accordingly. Given the nature of some of the concerns raised by Drs Loechelt and Henke, and his previous responses to them, I have no confidence whatsoever that that is what I will find. He can wax lyrical about how he got the "right" results all he likes, but when you get the "right" results despite ignoring significant effects such as pressure, that isn't a sign that you're right anyway: it's mere coincidence at best, and at worst evidence of fudging.
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What Is Your Favorite Piece Of Evidence For Or Against An Old Earth?
In Discussion Questions
jammycakes
Commentator
Commentator
Dec 04, 2018
Well I'm sorry to tell you this, but the three assumptions that you've listed either have a very soild theoretical and experimental basis, or are easily tested, or can be bypassed altogether. What YECs fail to realise is that accelerated nuclear decay on that scale is not a single phenomenon that you can isolate from everything else. It requires changes to the fundamental constants of physics that would have far-reaching consequences for the physical, chemical and biological properties of matter -- basically, it would render life on earth impossible. And that's before you even get to the problem that they admitted, which is that it would release enough heat to vaporise the earth's surface many times over. For this reason, the RATE team's claim of accelerated nuclear decay would easily qualify for a Nobel Prize if it had any merit. And what evidence do they give in support of this audacious claim? A single study on helium diffusion in zircons which peer review has shown to be riddled with errors, shortcuts and invalid assumptions; levels of carbon-14 in ancient samples that are simply too low to rule out contamination; ambiguous conclusions from radiohalos; and some corner cases of isochron discordances, all of which have other, far more coherent explanations. There is a technical term for presenting evidence this feeble in support of a conclusion this radical. The technical term "crackpottery." I'm sorry to be so blunt, but if we did consider it to be valid science we'd also be granting a free pass to stuff like homeopathy, and our hospital emergency departments would look like this: As for the other two assumptions, I'd suggest you read up about isochron dating. It bypasses both of them. In any case, the third assumption is very well established in the case of uranium and lead in zircons. When zircons form, they do not contain more than a few parts per trillion of lead for the simple reason that lead does not fit into their crystal lattices. For zircons to form with any lead in them would require the physical properties of matter and possibly even the laws of Euclidean geometry to have been different in the past. And again, that would have had far-reaching consequences that would have rendered life on earth impossible.
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What Is Your Favorite Piece Of Evidence For Or Against An Old Earth?
In Discussion Questions
jammycakes
Commentator
Commentator
Dec 02, 2018
@J.E.S The problem is that we're not just talking about "maturity" here. We're talking about an appearance of a very detailed history of very specific events, with very specific dates. that never happened. And we're talking about it being introduced by miracles that serve no purpose whatsoever other than to introduce this false history. The RATE team's research on helium diffusion in zircons was riddled with numerous shortcuts and errors that completely invalidated their findings. They failed to take pressure into account. They crushed the biotite surrounding the zircons rather than cutting it (which would have led to significant helium loss, biasing the measurements in their favour). They misidentified the rock samples, claiming that gneisses (metamorphic rocks that only form at depths of 15-22km) were "granodiorites" (igneous rocks that form much closer to the surface) on the basis of a purely visual inspection, when they should have conducted chemical and X-ray diffraction studies to resolve any ambiguities. They adjusted a set of old measurements by a factor of ten to account for "typographical errors" without providing any evidence (lab notes etc) to demonstrate that the measurements were in error in the first place. If the integrity of a dataset can not be established, it should be thrown out and the experiment re-done, The technical term for "correcting" data without providing evidence that such "corrections" are actually warranted is "fudging." I haven't seen Russell Humphreys' latest response to the RATE critics (do you have a link to a non-paywalled, readily accessible version?), but his previous responses to concerns raised by reviewers such as Gary Loechelt and Kevin Henke don't inspire any confidence whatsoever that they will come anywhere close to addressing the problems. His previous responses only attempted to address a subset of them, and dismissed the rest as "petty and nitpicking" and "a mountain of minutiae" without providing any calculations whatsoever to prove that they really were as "petty and nitpicking" as he claimed. He said that each of the individual factors would only affect the results by "a factor of two or so" or "an order of magnitude or so," but provided no justification whatsoever for his claim that these errors would somehow cancel out rather than mounting up. In any case, "a factor of two or so" and "an order of magnitude or so" are much larger than the (already large) error that the RATE team cited on their end result (6,000±2,000 years, or ±33%), so that means that their error bars are already falsehoods for starters. I'm sorry, but whichever way you look at it, that's simply shoddy research and a shoddy response to peer review. It is not evidence for anything, let alone for fantasies about accelerated nuclear decay on a scale that would have vaporised the earth if it had any basis in reality. The fact remains that there are stringent standards of quality control that scientific research has to meet, and the RATE studies don't come anywhere close to meeting them. Humphreys' previous responses amounted to nothing more nor less than a demand that YEC claims be subject to lower technical standards than everybody else, and that is simply not acceptable, no matter what your worldview. Some references: * Original critique by Kevin Henke: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/helium/original.html * Response by Russell Humphreys (2005): https://www.trueorigin.org/helium01.php * Additional response by Humphreys (2006): https://www.trueorigin.org/helium02.php * Response by Kevin Henke (2010): http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/helium/zircons.html Incidentally, a large part of Henke's critique consists of explaining in some detail the standards of quality control that all scientific research has to meet, with particular reference to this specific field of study. Any response by Russell Humphreys needs to provide accurate, comprehensive and verifiable evidence that the RATE team is being held to higher standards of quality control than anyone else, and actual calculations to prove that the concerns raised really would be as petty and nitpicking as they claim them to be. Anything less than that is just noise.
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What Is Your Favorite Piece Of Evidence For Or Against An Old Earth?
In Discussion Questions
jammycakes
Commentator
Commentator
Dec 02, 2018
@J.E.S You are absolutely right in saying that there is a difference between precision and accuracy. This is because there are two different types of errors: random errors and systematic errors. Precision means small random errors; accuracy means small systematic errors. Both kinds of errors can, however, be measured. Random errors are determined by repeating a single measurement multiple times. Systematic errors are determined by using a variety of techniques, such as controls (e.g. process blanks in AMS spectrometers for carbon-14 dating), and cross-checks between different methods. It should be noted however that both types of errors are usually small (a few percent or so). YEC claims effectively amount to claiming that the results could have a systematic error of a factor of a million or more. That is an extraordinary claim: it's the equivalent of claiming that Mount Everest could plausibly be just four inches tall. Anyway, since you're asking about specifics, I think that by far the most convincing results in favour of an old earth were actually the conclusions of the RATE project. This was a project conducted by YEC scientists at an expense of $1.25 million over the course of eight years, in which they admitted that they couldn't get round the fact that hundreds of millions of years' worth of radioactive decay had taken place since Creation. They also admitted that accelerating nuclear decay rates sufficiently to account for it all would have raised the temperature of the Earth's surface to 22,000°C. Yet rather than admitting that the earth was old, they insisted that there must have been some miraculous process that removed the heat. This scenario is complete science fiction. There is no known natural process that can accelerate nuclear decay rates by that much under any kind of conditions that could plausibly have prevailed during the Flood. Nor is there any known natural process that can remove that much heat fast enough. If anything like that had happened, it would have had to have been miraculous at every level. Now I've no problem with miracles, but what they are talking about here is pointless miracles. They are not necessary even in a global Flood scenario. They serve no purpose whatsoever other than to make the Earth look older than it really is in the most complex and convoluted way imaginable. What they're talking about is simply the Omphalos hypothesis on steroids. It's the creation of evidence for a history of events that never happened. And that's completely out of character for the God of the Bible, who in Romans 1:20 tells us that His character and nature are revealed through creation, and in Numbers 23:19 that He is not a man, that He should lie.
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What Is Your Favorite Piece Of Evidence For Or Against An Old Earth?
In Discussion Questions
jammycakes
Commentator
Commentator
Nov 30, 2018
@J.E.S Well even with extraordinary care, there is a limit to how far you can prevent carbon-14 results from being affected by contamination, and it is contamination that is the reason why the limit for practical purposes is 45,000 to 55,000 years. To get beyond that limit they have to take extraordinary measures such as using laboratories with additional, expensive shielding to protect the environment within from cosmic rays. Preparing a sample for carbon-14 dating will always introduce contamination. The different components of the sample have to be separated out chemically (for example, to extract collagen from bone or cellulose from wood). It is possible to measure how much contamination each step in the process introduces by carrying it out twice, and taking measurements of carbon-14 content before and after. It turns out that just one step in the process will introduce typically about 0.14-0.25% modern carbon, and that's where the 45,000-55,000 year limit comes from. So no, the claim that "if dinosaur bones are 65 million years old, there should not be one atom of C-14 left in them" is simply factually incorrect. The article you linked to looks interesting, but even if the researchers did find more radiocarbon in the samples than contamination could account for, there are still other questions that need to be answered. For example, what assurances do we have that they actually followed the procedures that they say they followed? This doesn't necessarily imply dishonesty on their part: accurately documenting what you did is hard and it's all too easy to make mistakes. That's why it's essential in these cases that the results be replicated by other teams, especially by those that are not trying to push any particular agenda. You do need to bear in mind that building a convincing case for YEC requires you to demonstrate that hundreds of thousands of high-precision measurements from all over the world give results that are in error by factors of up to a million. This is an extraordinary claim and therefore the burden of proof is going to be high. A handful of carbon-14 samples whose provenance can not be rigorously and independently verified simply isn't going to cut it. There's a good bit more I could say about this, but I have to get to work. I may comment more later if I can find the time.
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What Is Your Favorite Piece Of Evidence For Or Against An Old Earth?
In Discussion Questions
jammycakes
Commentator
Commentator
Nov 27, 2018
The number one question that I ask with any claim of evidence for the age of the earth is simple. How large are the error bars? The accuracy of radiometric dating depends on a number of different factors, such as the technique used and the type of rock sample it's being used on. In the best cases, it can give results accurate to one part in several thousand. To give one example, the iridium layer at the K/Pg boundary has been dated to 66,038,000 +/- 11,000 years -- that's an accuracy of just one part in six thousand. Scientists use multiple different methods to determine how accurate the measurement is and to test whether decay rates have been constant, whether there has been any contamination or leakage, and to even try and figure out the thermal history of the rocks. For what it's worth, in order to get results that accurate and specific, you need accurate and specific starting points. This means that they can't have come from "evolutionary presuppositions" because "evolutionary presuppositions" is about as vague and non-specific as you can get. Soft tissue in dinosaur fossils is a completely different kettle of fish -- and one which you should be careful with anyway, because it's all too easy to get carried away and make false claims about exactly how much soft tissue was found and exactly how well preserved it was. The fact is that the amounts of soft tissue remnants found were tiny; they consisted of the most durable parts of the bones such as collagen; and nobody has yet been able to sequence any DNA from them. It's fair to say that given the state of degradation of what Mary Schweitzer reported finding, the error bars on any limits that it sets on the age of the earth are enormous at best -- certainly far, far, far too large to present a credible challenge to the radiometric results.
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Answers In Genesis: Do Spiral Galaxies Prove A Young Cosmos?
In Article Discussion
jammycakes
Commentator
Commentator
Apr 02, 2018
First of all, what is an "evolutionary astronomer"? Astronomy is a completely separate discipline from biological evolution. Anyone who claims otherwise is either hopelessly confused or else is using the word "evolution" as a passive-aggressive umbrella term to mean "anything and everything about science that I don't like." Either way, they're simply not getting their facts straight. Regarding your four assumptions. The first -- that the speed of light has always been constant -- can be tested. As I said, millisecond pulsars are just one of the many possible tests of this. If light had ever been different in the history of the universe (and certainly within the past six thousand years) we would observe their frequencies changing on a daily basis. But we don't. They are stable to within one part in 10^14 (one hundred trillion). Besides, the speed of light is one of the most fundamental constants of nature. Just about everything in physics, chemistry and biology depends on it. If the speed of light had ever been different in the past, then the chemical properties of the elements would have been different, and life as we know it would not have been possible. For what it's worth, the suggestions that the speed of light could have been different in the past only apply to the very early universe, and are not widely accepted by astronomers. Certainly, any possible variation in the speed of light is far, far, far too small to squeeze light travel times from the distant universe into just 6,000 years. Regarding the second -- the effects of gravitational time dilation can actually be calculated. To produce the kind of time dilation that would squeeze 13.6 billion years of evidence into just six thousand, you would have to be just a couple of metres above the event horizon of a supermassive black hole the size of the earth's orbit. Russell Humphreys' white hole cosmology is actually more complex and subtle than that -- in effect, he places the earth inside a black hole. Again, we know this doesn't work because it predicts that distant starlight should be blue shifted towards us. In reality, it is red shifted away from us. Regarding the third -- the anisotropic synchrony convention (that light travels towards us at infinite speed but away from us at c/2) may be valid from a purely relativistic perspective, but it is not valid from an electromagnetic perspective. Light consists of electromagnetic waves, which are governed by Maxwell's Equations. They have a wavelength and a frequency, and the speed of light is determined by dividing one by the other. It is also determined by the electrical permittivity (ε0) and the magnetic permeability (μ0) of a vacuum, both of which are measurable quantities. Having light travel towards us at infinite speed and away from us at c/2 simply does not respect the physical nature of what light is actually made of. Finally, regarding the fourth -- that light could have arrived supernaturally quickly. This is nothing more nor less than an "appearance of age" argument -- again, you're talking about the creation of evidence for a history of events that never happened, especially given that when they arrive, they have the appearance of depicting galactic collisions and relativistic jets that appear to have taken hundreds of millions of years. As such, it is very, very different from the Resurrection of Christ. There is nothing about the Resurrection that requires us to believe in the creation of evidence for a history of events that never happened.
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Answers In Genesis: Do Spiral Galaxies Prove A Young Cosmos?
In Article Discussion
jammycakes
Commentator
Commentator
Apr 01, 2018
What the computer simulations show is that it is possible for spiral arms to persist for billions of years. This being the case, while they don't prove that the universe is 13.6 billion years old, they don't falsify it either. In other words, even if there are problems for the Big Bang and the scientific consensus on the age of the universe, galactic spiral arms are not one of them. Regarding the horizon problem: regardless of what you make of it, it's simply ridiculous to claim that it's the same as the distant starlight problem. The two operate at completely different scales, involve completely different laws of physics, and concern completely different times in the universe's history. To put it into perspective: if the visible universe were the size of your house, the horizon problem would only be a problem at the scale of your living room or greater. The distant starlight problem, on the other hand, would be a problem for everything bigger than the width of a human hair. The YEC organisations have proposed a few solutions to the distant starlight problem, but none of them work. For example, we know that the speed of light has never changed because of millisecond pulsars. These are stars that emit X-ray pulses at very regular intervals -- in fact, they are more regular than modern atomic clocks, with a stability better than one part in 10^14. If light had ever been faster in the past, we would see them slowing down from one day to the next. We don't.
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Answers In Genesis: Do Spiral Galaxies Prove A Young Cosmos?
In Article Discussion
jammycakes
Commentator
Commentator
Mar 20, 2018
There's one thing the Answers in Genesis article doesn't seem to address about the density wave theory: computer simulations. There are several examples that you can see on YouTube, some of them quite detailed, and it seems that what happens in some cases is that galactic spiral arms smear out but then re-form. The other problem with this argument was that even if there really were a problem with density wave theory, it would only reduce the maximum age of the galaxies by a factor of ten or so. The galaxies still have the appearance of being gravitationally bound, they still have the appearance of rotating, and unless you're going to argue for "appearance of age," getting into that configuration from whatever starting point is still going to take waaaaaaay longer than six thousand years. There's another side to the question about galaxies though, and that is galactic collisions. The most prominent example is "The Mice" (NGC 4676. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mice_Galaxies) a couple of galaxies that have every appearance of being in the middle of a collision. The "tail" on the right hand galaxy is exactly what you would expect from tidal forces. These two galaxies are about 290 million light years away, about 100,000 light years across, and moving past each other at about 200 miles a second. A quick back-of-the-envelope calculation suggests that they must have taken at least 100 million years to stretch out like that. Again, at the very least, you're looking at a pretty unambiguous appearance of age. On a final note, I've never found the AIG claim that the distant starlight problem is the same as the horizon problem to be satisfactory for the simple reason that the two cover completely different scales of time and distance. The horizon problem relates to distances the scale of the entire universe, and laws of physics that are poorly known and difficult to reason about. The distant starlight problem relates to distances a fraction of the size of the Milky Way galaxy, and laws of physics that are far better known and far easier to investigate. Basically, it's like comparing a mountain to a molehill.
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