This is my first post so forgive me if this quesiton has been answered, and if so a link to the thread would be appreciated.
My question is the distant starlight one - I've asked several christians about their take on it and have never received a satisfactory answer. Could you guys help me out? What's the christian view?
For those of you who dont know, its along the lines of:
going on a roughly 10000 yr old earth as estimateable by going through the old testament, how can christians explain light reaching earth from stars millions or billions of light years away? surely the stars (thus the universe) must be at least as old as the light they emit?
I'm guessing that the "Christian view" here is the same as my view, and of that of science: that light has been travelling about 13.7 billion years to illuminate sensors on the most sensitive telescopes we have. What I think you're asking is "what is the young-earth creationist view" on this. That's a very sizable minority in the US, but not common among educated people of any religion elsewhere.
I've seen two main claims for "the distant starlight problem" in my time following the EvC debates. One is that the light from, say, the galaxy Messier 106, measured by trigonometry to be 25,000,000 light years away from us, was "created in transit" when the Old Testament God created everything a few thousand years ago to give "the appearance of a mature creation." Those that claim this say that Adam, Eve, and the trees of Eden were all created mature, so why not light? The big snag here is that we now see events like supernovae that happened long before Creation....
The other approach is to claim that light speed has slowed down since "Creation Week." A guy named Setterfield spilled lots of ink on proposals for this. Light needs to have moved millions of times faster for this to work, and physics can get to be a problem: Einstien's E=mc2 would indicate that subatomic events like nuclear decay would release a quadrillion times more energy if c, the speed of light, were a million times faster. We don't see this in old stars.
The dense disk around this object works as a maser (Microwave Amplifier by Stimulated Emission of Radiation, i.e. a microwave laser). Thus nuclear maser ring allows a geometric distance measurement, independent of other distance indicators such as Cepheid variables, given by James Herrnstein in his PhD thesis (Herrnstein 1997, and NRAO Press Release). He obtained a distance value of 7.3 +/- 0.4 Mpc (23.8 +/- 1.3 Mly), stated to fit with available Cepheid data.
Well, not just trig, I guess, more geometrical: red shift on one side of the disk, blue shift on the other, and actual lateral motion by radiotelescope observation. Herrnstein at al., Nature, 400, 539-541 (1999). The same has been done for the Triangulum Galaxy, Messier 33, with a result of 2.4 million LY. That one is free online: Brunthaler, et al., Science, 307, 1440-1443 (2005).
The trick is that even if we don't have a large baseline at this end (yet), we may well have a huge baseline at the other end. Stars are essentially point-source objects on the sky. Nearby galaxies are anything but. Turn up the brightnes on M31 (Andromeda), and you'll see that it is four times the width of the Moon! With an object that big, there's potentially lots of fun physics to done, such as with the maser of M106.
I I remember correctly Settefield collated all historical estimations for C regardless of their age experimental methodology or accuracy of error bands. He then, almost without exception, took the upper limits of the error bands and some very old and wildly wrong guesstimates and produced a curve that suggested an exponential fall off from roughly 7 days after creation (where C remains suspiciously constant) to a steady flat state round about the time C started being measured by atomic clocks. How convenient it is that C reached a steady state round about the time we developed the tech to accurately measure it.
Basically it was the typical creationist's game of taking spurious data and bending it till it gives the desired result.
The ironic thing is that the data that the attomic clock testing is giving us actually produces data that seems to show an increase in C, though this slight increase does seem to lie within the margin of error, and thus must be written off as experimental error. (don't remember where I read that , but I found it interesting.)
New Scientist is a popularist rag. The others are, indeed, peer reviewed.
quote:Clayton, M. and Moffat, J., Dynamical mechanism for varying light velocity as a solution to cosmological problems, Physics Letters B460(3–4):263–270, 1999
I've looked through this paper, and realised I lack the background in physics to properly understand it, however, if my reading is correct they are proposing only that the speed of light can be violated under extreme conditions such as those that existed immediately post the big bang. They do not propose a faster speed of light in the past; but rather that the speed of light is different under certain circumstance. This does not solve the starlight problem for Creationists.
quote:Albrecht, A. and Magueijo, J., Time varying speed of light as a solution to cosmological puzzles, Physical Review D (Particles, Fields, Gravitation, and Cosmology) 59(4):043516-1–043516-13, 1999
Appears to be available here (.pdf). Again if you read the paper you'll find that it refers only to the speed of light in the very early universe, before the formation of stars. This is not a solution ot the starlight problem for Creationists.
Also, as a final note, both of the these papers (and a few others) on the possible variation of the speed of light are highly speculative: there is no empirical evidence in support of their position.
Yeah well of course none of these papers would be relevant to a creationist theory lol.
But I found it interesting that these papers were to solve the horizon problem in big bang cosmology, which is essentially a problem caused by the finite speed of light, but for the big bang. This is not the most popular solution to this problem since the inflation phase proposed by Alan Guth is, but it seems now that even the inflation solution is having a horizon problem, thus why these articles about possibly having the speed of light much, much higher in the beginning of the big bang came out recently (both in 1999)
I'm a moderator, too, and we moderators tend to be a grumpy lot. I agree with Adminnemooseus that your lols often seem misplaced, but on the flip side I do think I sense a sincere desire to follow the evidence where it leads, an important quality rarely seen in creationists.