New Light on an Old Problem =========================== by Alan Montgomery The majority of scientists and most Christian scholars have become convinced that the universe is a great age because of the time necessary for light to travel from the furthest galaxies. Starlight travels at 186,000 miles a second, or 299,792 km./sec. for those who think metric. In one year it travels 6 trillion miles, that is, one light-year; in 6000 years it travels 36 thousand trillion miles. This is a drop in the bucket compared to the diameter of our own Milky Way Galaxy which is 600 thousand trillion miles, or, distant galaxies which are thought to be billions of trillions of miles away. Are Biblical chronologies out by a million times? If not, how could light have travelled such vast distances in only 6000 years? Liberal theologians long ago surrendered Genesis as a naive intrepretation of our scientifically primitive forefathers. They relagated Genesis to myth and allegory, denying its historicity. Some conservative Evangelicals have suggested that light was created at the same time as the stars. This is, the light received from the stars more than 6000 light-years away was created in-situ rather than emitted from the star itself. Anyone having a scientific training would have difficulty accepting either point of view. Firstly, science is not in the business of reinterpreting history. Its competence to remold Genesis or any other historical document is virtually nil. History cannot be reconstructed from scientific enquiry because the events are not repeatable or testable. Secondly, the created-light idea has a problem. An astronomer peers through his telescope at an exploding star hundreds of thousands of light years away. Did the explosion actually happen or was the explosion created "in transit" when God created light? Can God author lightwaves with information about an event which never occurred? This is not the problem of appearance of age that comes from creating mature trees, animals and people. These may appear old but God has corrected this false appearance by revealing their creation. Rather, it is suggested that God created the appearance of an exploding star about which he has left us ingorant. Many conservative Biblical scholars have shunned the "created light" and yielded to an older universe by inserting a major time gap between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 (usually known as the Gap theory). The Gap theory seems attractive at first sight but from a textual point of view it receives no support from any prominent Hebrew scholar. Further, Dr. Chalmers, the Scottish theologian who promoted the Gap theory in the nineteenth century, was responding to intellectual pressure from the geologists who claimed that the Earth was far older than implied by the Bible. It will be seen that there is little difference between Chalmer's approach and the modernist liberal response in respect to scientific enroachment on the interpretation of Scripture. Since the alteration of the orthodox Biblical interpretation has obvious flaws, why not examine the possibility that conventional science is causing the difficulty? An examination of the data on the speed of light reveals information which not only solves Biblical problems but also many astronomical difficulties. Let's look at an analogy: Suppose we see a car travelling the expressway on Friday afternoon of a holiday weekend - speed 5 m.p.h.! Next day, we find the same car in a city 500 miles away. According to our observations, that car should have taken 100 hours to get to that city. Why has it arrived so early? The mistake was to assume a speed of 5 m.p.h. for the entire 500 miles. Clearly, once beyond the crowded city limits, the traffic picks up speed; our assumption, based upon a limited observation, was incorrect. Likewise astronomers assume that the speed of light has been constant throughout the entire time. Is it possible that 'c' (the usual notation for the speed of light) was faster during the past? - Yes, indeed! Over 300 years ago, a Dutch astronomer named Romer employed an elegantly simple method to measure 'c'. This depended upon knowing the distance from Earth to Jupiter and timing the appearance of Jupiter's moons. He concluded that light travelled at a finite speed, which was a controversial notion in his day. Since that time more sophisticated methods for measuring 'c' have been developed and we now have published values from Romer's time to the present day. Using today's more accurate data, we can redo Romer's calculation and obtain a good value from his time. Including these recalculated values there are a total of 52 reasonable accurate results obtained over the past 300 years. Simple statistical tests can tell us if these 52 values represent the measurement of a constant value. If 'c' is constant, the statistical expectation for 52 measurements is that 26 should have random errors giving higher values than the true value while the remaining 26 should have lower values. That is, random errors should divide the results equally between those higher and those lower than the accepted value. Further, for any two consecutively determined values there will be either an increase (the second value being higher than the first), or, a decrease (the second value being lower than the first). That is, there is a 50/50 chance of an increase or a decrease. Let us see what the actual results show: Between 1650 and 1960 there are 42 values or 41 consecutive pairs of determinations. Instead of the expected 20 or 21 decreases and a corresponding number of increases, we actually find 29 decreases. But this is a chance occurence of only 1 in a 100. Between 1650 and 1940 there are 17 consecutive pairs of determinations; instead of the expected 8 or 9 decreases there are actually 16 - a chance occurrence of 1 in a 1000. For all 52 values (1), we find not 26 but 40 values higher than the textbook value. This occurs by chance 1 time in 20,000. Plainly, these results do not fit the asssumption that 'c' is a constant. Statistically, we would say the hypothesis "c is a constant" fails at the 99.99% confidence level. In addition, the average of the 52 value is 299,874 km./sec. this is over 80 km./sec. above the accepted value of 299,792 km./sec. This is hightly improbable. The statistical evidence is plain, 'c' has not been constant throught time but has been decreasing at least until the late 1950's. This phenomenon was first noticed by astronomers in the late 1920's and early 1930's, led by Gheury de Bray (2-6). Checks for equipment problems and systematic errors discovered nothing which could account for the overall trend (7). But the confirming results of the 1930's were offset by equipment changes following World War II and an apparent stabilizing of the values of 'c'. Combined with the failure to produce a theoretical basis for decreasing 'c' and, opposition by certain authorities in the scientific community, further interest in the relationship between 'c' and time ceased. In 1981, Barry Setterfield, a young Australian astronomer, gathered and analyzed all the available data on 'c'. To his amazement he discovered not only the systematic decrease of 'c' with time, but also that the best mathematical relationship to fit the data was a trigonometric formula: 2 c(t)=299.792 cosec (0.015)t where t=time in years since creation This trigonometric formula spanned a mere 6000 years! The speed of light has evidently decreased from a value over 500 billion times the present speed to its value today in just 6000 years. The total distance travelled is in the billions of light years. The discovery of this formula has reduced the transit time of light travelling across the universe to 6000 years like the car in rush hour in our analogy. Using Setterfield's formula to calculate the speed of light over the unobserved past reduces the overall time so that the origin of the Universe is close to 4175 B.C. Since then, a derivation of this formula has been found using conventional physics, thus establishing a theoretical basis for Setterfield's discovery. The theoretical values for Setterfield's curve are within 1% of those produced by his empirical analysis! The theoretical origin of the curve is at 4008 B.C. But there is more. Plank's number 'h', inertial mass 'm', gyromagnetic ratio 'G' and the radioactive decay constants are all related to 'c' i.e. all these 'constants' must change with time as 'c' changes. A statistical analysis of the historically published data (8) confirms that the first three are indeed changing with respect to time and in the appropriate direction. The published values for the decay constants are unfortunately too inaccurate to be analyzed. This type of confirmation of the theory is most convincing since these measurements are independant of any equipment of systematic errors involved in the measurement of 'c'. Setterfield's theory also provides a solution to the apparent problem creationists have with radiometric dating. Dating techniques involving potassuim/argon, uranium/lead and strontium/rubidium have been used to calculate the age of rock samples assuming that the rate of radioactive decay has been constant. Accepted theoretical physics state the 'c' and the radioactive decay rates are directly proportional. Thus, when 'c' had twice its present value in the past, the radioactive decay rates were also at twice their present value. Further, the relationship of the decay rates to time also follows the same trigonometric function as 'c' and with the same time-shortening result. Radioactive decay calculations under Setterfield's theory reduce billions of years to a mear 6000 years This is because the decay rates were greater during the unobserved early period. This revolutionary new insight has immediately solved at one stroke two major problems for the Creationist. One more point about this theory. A key characteristic of any good scientific theory is that it solves dilemmas and problems that its forerunners failed to explain. Setterfield's theory helps to explain the lack of solar neutrinos and the large red-shift between closely related members of the same galactic cluster. Once the dogma of the millions of years is abandoned, other mysteries begin to be resolved: the fact that no Supernova Remnants older than 7000 years can be found, or the fact that spiral galaxy arms exist when they should have completely unwound long ago and not now appear as a spiral, is no longer surprising. Altogether, the statistical denial of the constantcy of 'c', the close correlation of empirical and theoretical data, the corresponding correlation of other physical quantities and the resolution of problems not solved by the current theory, form a formidible combination not easily undone. This would seem to be an impressive set of accomplishments for any scientist. Can one simple scientific assumption radically alter the dimensions of the age of the universe, eradicate the 'Big Bang', sink the Nebular hypothesis, undermine geological Uniformitarianism, and destroy Darwinism all at the same time? Such a radical scientific revolution from such a simple change ought to open wide the eyes of Christians and particularly those of our own theological scholars. Too often the assertions of scientists have impinged on Biblical jurisdiction without appropriate challenge. Entire theologies have been devised to accomodate their ideas, generations of Christians with no rational defense have been mocked and ridiculed for failing to conform and progress toward Christian unity has disintegrated. Measured in these terms, the body of Christ has suffered severely at their hands and we are all too aware of the denominational divisions. The Church could have avoided many of these splits had they not tried to compromise over the issue of the age of the cosmos. Now with Setterfield's theory available, would it be too simplistic to suggest that the Church has within its grasp a tool to reunite? Realistically, it should be easier for theologians to accept a decreasing value of 'c' value than for the scientist who would be faced with a major revolution in thinking. Predictably the scientific community will only slowly and partially accept Setterfield's theory. Perhaps the theologians, particularly the modernists, should take the lead in this instance and who knows, maybe scientists would follow? REFERENCES 1. Taylor,I. 1984. In the Minds of Men. Toronto: TFE Pub.p.434 (189 left) More: (Enter) or (Y)es, (N)o, (F)lag, (NS)non-stop? 2. Gheury, de Bray. 1927. Nature. Vol 120.p.603 3. Gheury, de Bray. 1934. Nature. Vol 133.p.464 4. Birge, R.T. 1934. Nature. Vol.134.p.771 5. Edmonson, S.K. 1934. Nature. Vol.133.p.759 6. Editor's column 1927. Science. Vol.66.p.x (Supplement) 7. Setterfield, B. 1983. The Velocity of Light & the Age of the Universe. Australia: CSA Inc. Monograph. 8. Taylor. Ibid.p.435-6 CREATION SCIENCE No. 4 Summer 1987 Association of Ontario P.O. 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