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Author Topic:   Debunking Setterfields Speed of Light Model
foreveryoung
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Posts: 879
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Message 1 of 41 (655256)
03-08-2012 11:42 AM


Barry Setterfield claims that c (the speed of light) was infinite at the beginning of the universe and has been gradually slowing down ever since. The original high speed explains how light from distant stars and galaxies has reached the earth in far less time than seems necessary.

G. P. Jellison and W. T. Bridgman have written a detailed rebuttal of Setterfield's ideas:

Analysis of the Variable Lightspeed (c-Decay) Theory of Barry Setterfield

I would like to discuss how Jellison has supposedly debunked Setterfield's ideas.

Edited by Admin, : Rewrite the OP.


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Admin
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Message 2 of 41 (655257)
03-08-2012 4:30 PM


Hi ForEverYoung,

I have rewritten your OP. Have you read the Jellison/Bridgman paper?


--Percy
EvC Forum Director

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foreveryoung
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Posts: 879
Joined: 12-26-2011


Message 3 of 41 (655258)
03-08-2012 4:48 PM
Reply to: Message 2 by Admin
03-08-2012 4:30 PM


I have read parts of it. I will read all of it before responding to someone who has read all of it.

Edited by foreveryoung, : No reason given.


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Admin
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Message 4 of 41 (655260)
03-08-2012 10:19 PM


Thread Copied from Proposed New Topics Forum
Thread copied here from the Debunking Setterfields Speed of Light Model thread in the Proposed New Topics forum.
    
Dr Adequate
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Message 5 of 41 (655267)
03-08-2012 10:45 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by foreveryoung
03-08-2012 11:42 AM


I have a better idea than Setterfield. Instead of just imagining that some physical processes have at some point been speeded up, why not suppose that all of them have been speeded up?

This solves the young-earthers' speed-of-light problem and all their other problems. All they have to do is imagine that 13 billion years' worth of events have been compressed into a period of time lasting only 6000 years, and then everyone's happy except maybe Karl Popper.


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kbertsche
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Message 6 of 41 (655271)
03-08-2012 10:49 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by foreveryoung
03-08-2012 11:42 AM


I've skimmed the article, but haven't read the whole thing in detail. At any rate, Setterfield's claims are nonsense. I looked at them many years ago, soon after they came out. My conclusions were pretty similar to those of Gerald Aardsma of ICR. Specifically, I noticed that:
1) Setterfield did NOT weight his fit based on the error-bars of the measurements. This is a major error, especially when the error-bars vary by orders of magnitude, as they do here.
2) Setterfield eliminated a few historical data points which were LOWER than the currently accepted value of c. This biased his fit.
3) The mathematical function which Setterfield chose for his fit had no a-priori theoretical justification. It is unusual and was chosen arbitrarily. Why not a quadratic or exponential fit, which would be more natural?

What Setterfield noticed is something very normal and natural, as pointed out by Aardsma. Early measurements of fundamental constants are often in error, and it takes time for the measurements to settle to their true values. For an example, see these historical plots of particle properties.


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NoNukes
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Message 7 of 41 (655291)
03-09-2012 7:37 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by foreveryoung
03-08-2012 11:42 AM


Seriously?
I've read the entire document up through the summary, which nicely sums up the arguments made by the authors. I did not look at the Appendix material. I can come up with a few questions about some of the authors' arguments, but nothing that would be helpful to preserving Setterfield's model. I agree with their conclusion that Setterfield has no model and no real argument that the speed of light has changed over time in a way as to make a 10,000 year old universe a possibility.

I can remember learning in 10th grade about Roemer's measurement of the speed of light by observing eclipses of Jupiter's moons. At the time, I was barely able to follow the details of the method for inferring the speed of light from the data. Our teacher did not require that we understand the experiment to that level of detail.

But I do remember the clear impression that the greater part of the achievement was showing that light actually did propagate at a finite speed. At the time of the Roemer's work, man did not even have an accurate value for the earth/sun distance. The data showing the difference between expected and observed eclipse times also included significant uncertainty.

Further, at least one subsequent attempts to measure the speed of light using Roemer's method produced an even higher value for the speed of light. I find it completely persuasive to reject Setterfield's conclusions simply on the basis of his analysis and cherry picking of the speed of light measurements and the apparent unjustifiable assumption that those old experiments were of reliable accuracy.

On top of that there is the bad math, the unpersuasive ad hoc explanations needed to explain the stability of current measurements of the speed of light, and the disagreement with observation, all detailed in the paper, that compel the conclusion that Setterfield is out to lunch.

I'd be interested to hear what portions of the paper the OP finds unpersuasive.


Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. Thoreau: Civil Disobedience (1846)

The apathy of the people is enough to make every statue leap from its pedestal and hasten the resurrection of the dead. William Lloyd Garrison


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Perdition
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Posts: 1593
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Joined: 05-15-2003


(4)
Message 8 of 41 (655313)
03-09-2012 10:54 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by foreveryoung
03-08-2012 11:42 AM


How do you get off of inifinite speed?
Barry Setterfield claims that c (the speed of light) was infinite at the beginning of the universe and has been gradually slowing down ever since.

I haven't read any of the papers, but this line confused me. If it was infinite at some time, it seems impossible for it to have slowed down to less than infinite.

For example, infinite - 1 = infinite. Infinite * .5 = infinite

I don't know of any math that could get you off of infinite speed once you're on it. So, either he calculated a very high rate of speed that is being erroneously labelled "inifinite" or his math fails at this very simple level...or I'm missing something (an eminitely probable proposition).


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Taq
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(1)
Message 9 of 41 (655322)
03-09-2012 12:19 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by NoNukes
03-09-2012 7:37 AM


Re: Seriously?
On top of that there is the bad math, the unpersuasive ad hoc explanations needed to explain the stability of current measurements of the speed of light, and the disagreement with observation, all detailed in the paper, that compel the conclusion that Setterfield is out to lunch.

Appendix D is definitely worth a read. It details how ad hoc Setterfield's theory really is. Setterfield actually started out claiming that atomic radii were smaller in the past, and when it was shown that smaller atomic radii would not give him the results he wanted he then claimed, out of the blue, that they were larger in the past. In fact, his proposed larger atomic radii would have caused the Earth to be twice as large as it is now.

quote:
In any event, the new version of c-decay has acquired some new problems. If atoms were bigger in the past (as Setterfield now maintains), molecules, crystals, and all solid materials would all have been larger, in proportion to the Bohr radius. We can therefore conclude that the Earth would have been bigger at Creation by a factor of at least two (and probably more, if we accept the need to explain quasar redshifts by this mechanism). Assuming the number of molecules in the Earthís atmosphere has not changed, air pressure would have been less by at least a factor of 16 when the Earth was twice as large, causing severe breathing difficulties for Adam and Eve. And it seems impossible for the Earth to shrink by a factor of two during 8,000 years without causing catastrophic earthquakes and raising the planetís temperature to intolerable levels.
--Jellison and Bridgman

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Khy
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Posts: 12
Joined: 03-09-2012


Message 10 of 41 (655337)
03-09-2012 4:07 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by foreveryoung
03-08-2012 11:42 AM


p. 29: "where k is Boltzmannís constant (1.38 x 10-16 erg K-1)" I think Jellison failed to remember that his ergon also has a mass factor. His two zeta^-2 would then nicely cancel out instead of leaving one zeta to linearly multiply molecular velocity with the c-decay factor.

That would kind of eliminate his 6th point in his summary and with that his only argument for the real physical impossiblity of Setterfield's ideas.

I keep feeling I'm missing something.. but I can't find what...


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Dr Adequate
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Message 11 of 41 (655338)
03-09-2012 4:11 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by Khy
03-09-2012 4:07 PM


That would kind of eliminate his 6th point in his summary and with that his only argument for the real physical impossiblity of Setterfield's ideas.

I keep feeling I'm missing something.. but I can't find what...

I sha'n't get into the physics, but how can his "sixth point" be his "only argument"? I read the paper, and he seems to have lots of arguments.

As someone said: "I keep feeling I'm missing something.. but I can't find what..."


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Khy
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Posts: 12
Joined: 03-09-2012


Message 12 of 41 (655345)
03-09-2012 4:43 PM
Reply to: Message 11 by Dr Adequate
03-09-2012 4:11 PM


I apologise, he does have a lot more arguments. I was merely referring to the points in his summary as I admittedly only skim read the rest. In his summary he mainly attacks Setterfield's methods, not the idea itself.

Points 1, 2, 3 and 4 (in the summary) all point out errors in Setterfield's calculations, scientific method and interpretations, they do not pertain to the physical impossibility of Setterfield's ideas and so do not disprove them, they only discredit Setterfield as a good theoretical scientist.

And ok, point number 5 is a bit beyond me atm, i'm still trying to figure out what he means exactly..

So yes, my statement was premature and so, again, my apologies.

Thank you for pointing it out.

Edited by Khy, : No reason given.


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NoNukes
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Posts: 9440
From: Central NC USA
Joined: 08-13-2010
Member Rating: 2.8


Message 13 of 41 (655347)
03-09-2012 5:07 PM
Reply to: Message 12 by Khy
03-09-2012 4:43 PM


Point 3 makes the rather important point that the data never supported or even suggested a time dependent speed of light in the first place. Setterfield's endeavor was entirely wishful thinking and something akin to numerology. I'm not sure how we can make light of that fact.

Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. Thoreau: Civil Disobedience (1846)

The apathy of the people is enough to make every statue leap from its pedestal and hasten the resurrection of the dead. William Lloyd Garrison


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Khy
Junior Member (Idle past 1782 days)
Posts: 12
Joined: 03-09-2012


Message 14 of 41 (655355)
03-09-2012 5:46 PM
Reply to: Message 13 by NoNukes
03-09-2012 5:07 PM


True, I do not mean to defend Setterfield.. at all tbh. I only meant to point out that Jellison made an error in point 6, but I went on to say too much. xD
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NoNukes
Member
Posts: 9440
From: Central NC USA
Joined: 08-13-2010
Member Rating: 2.8


Message 15 of 41 (655357)
03-09-2012 6:05 PM
Reply to: Message 14 by Khy
03-09-2012 5:46 PM


I only meant to point out that Jellison made an error in point 6...

This point would be worth pursuing. Are you suggesting that Jellison is wrong about Earth's ability to keep an atmosphere is evidence against Setterfield's being correct?


Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. Thoreau: Civil Disobedience (1846)

The apathy of the people is enough to make every statue leap from its pedestal and hasten the resurrection of the dead. William Lloyd Garrison


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 Message 14 by Khy, posted 03-09-2012 5:46 PM Khy has responded

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