Thursday, November 23, 2006

Re: I'm a YEC, and I think you're misrepresenting our position #3


[Graphic: "Starlight and Time" by D. Russell Humphreys (1994),]

----- Original Message -----
From: AN
To: Stephen E. Jones
Sent: Thursday, November 16, 2006 2:00 AM
Subject: YECS

Continued from part #2.

>The universe as such is dependent upon a Russell Humphrey's White Hole Model, and this is consistent with the theory of relativity, as well as a 10,000 year old earth.

First, again, as pointed out in part #1 and #2, "consistent with ... a 10,000 year old earth" is not good enough for YEC. If YEC is true, then the Universe and Earth were both created in the same literal 24-hour Genesis 1 day, only ~10,000 years ago. Therefore all indicators for the age of the Universe and Earth should converge on that one point, ~10,000 years ago. But in fact none of them do. And it being: 1) the same date; and 2) so recent, the `signal in the noise' would be deafening.

And since YEC started as the default position, as "prior to about 1750, everyone was, in one sense, a young earth creationist" (even "Sir Walter Raleigh. (1554?-1618)" "a skeptical English adventurer" who was "rumored to be an atheist" yet in his "history of the world" he assumed that "the origin of the universe ... took place about 6000 years ago" because "Prior to the development of geology as a scientific discipline in the 18th century, there was no widely accepted source of information about cosmic or human origins apart from the Bible"):

"Were the famous scientists of long ago young earth creationists? William Provine; a prominent Darwinist, thinks so. In a recent online review, he complained that a National Academy of Sciences publication on how teach evolution is flawed. He questioned the Academy's decision to cite Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, and Newton as examples of thinkers whose views on physics and astronomy were vindicated because, as be put it: `Why would the National Academy have chosen this example in a book about evolution when all four were young-earth creationists? Well, prior to about 1750, everyone was, in one sense, a young earth creationist! For example, the Venerable Bede (672?-735) wrote a history of the world, and so did Sir Walter Raleigh. (1554?-1618). Both men began with `Creation,' the origin of the universe, as described in Genesis 1 and 2. They assumed that Creation took place about 6000 years ago. But the two men could hardly have been more different! Bede was an English monk in the Dark Ages, and Raleigh was a skeptical English adventurer who lived nearly a thousand years later in the Elizabethan Renaissance. Raleigh was rumored to be an atheist, holding forth in taverns, but his religious views had no impact on where he would begin his account of history. Prior to the development of geology as a scientific discipline in the 18th century, there was no widely accepted source of information about cosmic or human origins apart from the Bible. Raleigh would have to either begin with Genesis, or take the risk of resurrecting an account of origins written by a classical Greek philosopher. But the philosophers' accounts were not science-based; they were simply accounts that were not based on a Christian understanding of the universe. So Copernicus and the others were not young earth creationists in the sense that Provine assumes. They accepted a traditional account of origins as an alternative to no account." (O'Leary, D., "By Design or by Chance?: The Growing Controversy on the Origins of Life in the Universe," 2004, p.129. Emphasis original)

science would never have moved away from YEC if all indicators for the age of the Universe and Earth converged on one point, ~10,000 years ago, as they would do if YEC was true, but they don't.

Second, as for Russell Humphreys' "White Hole Model," this is yet another example of the contortions YEC must get into, in order to try to make the scientific evidence fit its claimed simplest creation in 6 literal days ~10,000 years ago interpretation. YEC starts off by claiming to be the simplest interpretation of Genesis 1-11, but it ends up being by far the most complex!

Third, I don't yet have Humphrey's book, "Starlight and Time" (1994), but now that his name and theory has come up (as far as I can remember no YEC I have ever debated with in over a decade - 1994-2005 - on various creation/evolution forums, ever mentioned Humphreys or his theory in support of YEC - which itself if significant) I will keep my eye open for it. So here are some criticisms of Humphreys' model by the OEC astronomer Hugh Ross, with my added comments:

"Challenge 5: Distant clocks run at faster rates. Reply: This challenge seems to have superseded all others in popularity as a rebuttal to the astronomical evidence for an old universe. One reason for its notoriety is that so few understand its complexities. Because of these intricacies, this reply will be lengthier than the others. In 1994 applied physicist and young-universe creationist Russell Humphreys published Starlight and Time, in which he proposed that Earth is located at the geographical center of a bounded universe (a universe with finite spatial limits). He described this bounded universe as a collapsing black hole that became an expanding white hole (the aftermath of a black hole so collapsed that all its trapped energy begins to escape via quantum tunneling). Humphreys used Stephen Hawking's popular-level treatment of general relativity (specifically, his discussion of gravitational time dilation) to infer that with Earth at the hole's center Earth clocks would be static or run very slowly relative to clocks in distant parts of the universe. As Humphreys elaborated, an observer on Earth would see billions of years elapsing on clocks in distant parts of the universe while only 144 hours elapse on Earth or in Earth's vicinity. (Later alterations made by Humphreys to his initial models still retain this fundamental feature.)" (Ross, H.N., "A Matter of Days: Resolving a Creation Controversy," NavPress: Colorado Springs CO, 2004, pp.166-167. Emphasis original).

So my first comment on Humphreys' theory, as described by Ross, is that it is an appearance of age argument, i.e. the Universe looks billions of years old, but in reality it is only thousands of years old. But in that case (just like with fully naturalistic evolutionary mechanisms in part #1 and #2), YECs who accept appearance of age arguments should then not argue against, but rather be enthusiastic supporters of, indicators that show the Universe is old, because that is what their theory appearance of age theory states is the case! But then this would be (and is) the reductio ad absurdum of all YEC appearance of age theories, including Humphreys'.

"Humphreys' attempts to build cosmic models wherein distant clocks run much more rapidly than Earth clocks seemed promising at first, but it ultimately failed several tests of plausibility. As experts in general relativity have pointed out, Humphreys' cosmic model and its subsequent revisions simply do not yield the required gravitational time dilation. When Humphreys' mathematical errors are corrected, his model becomes a big bang model consistent with a cosmic creation date billions of years ago." (Ross, Ibid., p.167).

Like most people I cannot comment personally on higher order physics or mathematics, so I assume that Ross is right and that "Humphreys' cosmic model and its subsequent revisions" have been falsified by "experts in general relativity" because "they simply do not yield the required gravitational time dilation."

In any event, what Humphrey needed to support YEC being true was not "cosmic models wherein distant clocks run much more rapidly than Earth clocks" but a cosmic model that yielded a single date for the origin of both the Universe and Earth ~10,000 years ago.

"Humphreys' cosmic model, in which a black hole becomes a white hole, looks like this: an initial `ball of liquid water ... two light-years in diameter [that contains] ... all the mass of the universe' became a black hole, then in a relatively brief period (a few thousand years) `evaporated' to become a white hole, an explosion of energy and particles radiating outward. Such a scenario violates nearly every law of physics God established for the cosmos. First, a ball of liquid water two light-years in diameter is physically impossible. (The gravity at its core would generate so much heat and pressure as to ignite nuclear fusion long before a ball of water that big could be assembled.) Second, the evaporation time of Humphreys' `hole' would be orders of magnitude greater than the 14-billion-year-age astronomers measure for the universe. Even the tiniest black hole that the laws of physics permits (roughly equal to the mass of Mount Everest) would take about 15 billion years to become a white hole. Black holes as small as the smallest ones astronomers actually observe (a few times the mass of the Sun) would require 1066 years (a million trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion years) to become white holes. A black hole as massive as the observable universe needs orders of magnitude longer than 1066 years to turn into a white hole." (Ross, Ibid., p.167).

I disagree with Ross here. Quite clearly God could create "a ball of liquid water two light-years in diameter," but unless He supernaturally maintained it as such, it would instantaneously cease to be liquid water. In that sense it is "physically impossible." The multiplication of entities and miracles beyond what is actually mentioned in the Bible is a feature of YEC and in fact makes YEC the most non-literal of all interpretations!

"Another problem for Humphreys' model is that astronomers observe `clocks' all over the universe, both near and far, running at nearly the same rate. For example, the light cycle times of Cepheid variable stars, nova and supernova eruption times, gamma-ray bursts, star formation times, stellar burning rates, and galaxy rotation periods measure nearly the same in our galaxy as in distant galaxies. I say `nearly' the same because astronomers do see the relativistic velocity dilation effect (on time) predicted by big bang cosmology. Specifically, they observe that supernovae located several billion light-years away appear to take about 10 percent more time to proceed through their eruption phases (maximum to minimum light). Astronomers also see relativistic velocity time dilation (stretching) at about the 10 to 30 percent level for distant gamma-ray burst sources. By comparison, Humphreys' models predict a relativistic gravitational time compression that would cause the same supernovae to manifest eruption light curves 100,000,000 percent briefer. Astronomers see no time dilation for Cepheid variables, novae, star histories, or galaxy rotation rates. These clocks are too faint to be seen at the great distances where the velocity time-dilation effect can be detected. (In a big bang universe, only objects at great distances would move away from us at velocities equal to a significant fraction of light's velocity.) If correct about time compression, Humphreys' models predict that astronomers would see Cepheid star variations, novae, galaxy rotations, and stellar burning occurring up to 500,000 percent faster than the rates they actually observe." (Ross, Ibid., pp.167-168. Emphasis original).

Again Humphreys' model, if it were true, would have to yield an Earth of ~10,000 years old, and ages for all other objects in the Universe that agreed with their observed apparent ages. If it doesn't (which according to Ross is the case), then Humphreys' model would be falsified.

The rest of Ross' critique, i.e. Humphreys model's predictions are at variance with the observed ages of "Earth, the Sun, the Moon, and other solar system bodies":

"Humphreys' models also predict that astronomers will measure the solar system to be much younger (only thousands of years old because of slower running clocks) than distant stars and galaxies (billions of years old because of faster running clocks). However, Earth, the Sun, the Moon, and other solar system bodies show evidence of billions of years of natural history. None of the short-lived radiometric elements remain on or in solar system bodies. Most of the Moon's craters reveal 4 billion years' worth of erosion. The asteroid belts show billions of years of dynamic aging. The Sun has all the characteristics of a star that has been burning for 4.5 billion years. Recently, a new solar age determination method based on helioseismic data showed the Sun to be 4.57 ± 0.11 billion years old, an age consistent with all other dating methods." (Ross, Ibid., p.168).

"The rate at which the universe has cooled is" not "consistent not with clocks throughout the universe running at the rates that Humphreys proposes":

"The universe measures hotter the farther away (thus, earlier in time) that astronomers look. The rate at which the universe has cooled is consistent not with clocks throughout the universe running at the rates that Humphreys proposes but rather with a big bang universe nearly 14 billion years old." (Ross, Ibid., p.168).

and "the observed ... redshift measurements on thousands of galaxies":

"In proposing that the cosmos has expanded in just thousands rather than billions of years, Humphreys also crashes into the observed invariance of galaxy redshifts. Over the past 80 years, astronomers have repeated redshift measurements on thousands of galaxies. These measurements have been made at various intervals, from a few years to several decades. In all cases, the differences between the original redshift measurements and the repeated ones lie below the detection limits of astronomers' instruments. Since these limits are so small, down in the fourth and fifth decimal place, no room exists for Humphreys' hyperaccelerated cosmic expansion. (Eighty years of cosmic expansion would account for 0.08 percent of all cosmic expansion in a 10,000-year-old universe, but only 0.00000006 percent in a 14-billion-year-old universe.) This conclusion stands whether the cosmic expansion is smooth or occurs in discontinuous jumps." (Ross, Ibid., p.169).

The clincher is that Humphreys refuses a standing invitation to present his model at a scientific colloquium where physicists and astronomers can critique it:

Exchanges Between Dr. Hugh Ross and Dr. Russell Humphreys ... I would welcome an academic debate with Dr. Humphreys under these specific -and reasonable - conditions:

  • It must be a private, closed-door colloquium (not open to the general public) with at least 15 physicists and astronomers (Ph.D.s) present and prepared to ask rigorous questions about each model.

  • The colloquium must be held at a university that has a reputable astronomy department, or at a government facility whose primary research objective is astronomy. Examples include these: University of Washington, University of Arizona, Arizona State University, University of Texas, Rice University, University of Florida, UCLA, UCSB, UC Berkley, UC Irvine, University of Wisconsin, Caltech, MIT, Harvard, University of Maryland, Goddard ? Greenbelt, NRAO, and NOAO.

  • Each presenter would have 45 minutes to present his model, followed by 1 to 2 hours of questions from each participant on the scholar panel.
It is my hope that Dr. Humphreys would enter a responsible academic debate in a spirit of Christian liberty and civility. By putting our interpretations of Scripture and nature to the test, I hope we can promote greater unity in the Body of Christ.

Hugh Ross
August 2002, rev. June 24, 2003

shows that Humphreys knows deep down that his model cannot withstand scientific scrutiny.

>The kinds argument is pretty well organized as well from a YECS position. Thats the only gripe, everything else was quite impressive.

I don't have the time or inclination to get into "The kinds argument" except to say in over a decade of debating YECs on various Internet forums, I asked for a comprehensive, detailed, authoritative list of these basic "kinds" so YEC claims for them could be tested against the evidence, but no YEC could ever provide me with , or point me to, one, so I assume there is none. This is confirmed by the Wikipedia page, "Created kind" which says:

"A canonical list of kinds has not been constructed and such examples are extremely provisional (with the exception of humans, on which there is a strong creationist consensus)."

>God bless,

Note. For those who might comment on this page and the other two pages (part #1 and #2) in this series, I previously had disabled comments because I lacked the time to respond to them, but later enabled them again. However, to keep comments enabled (i.e. not taking up too much of my time), I have to keep them narrowly focused on responding to what I actually post on my blog. This is not a general forum on creation/evolution, nor an advertising billboard where URLs can be posted pointing to other sites-which some have tried. So, in future, for all comments, not just this three-part series, I am going to allow only comments that actually address the points I make in my blog posts, and not allow completely new lines of argument that would just be a diversion.

Stephen E. Jones, BSc (Biol).

Genesis 12:6-7. 6Abram traveled through the land as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. 7The LORD appeared to Abram and said, "To your offspring I will give this land." So he built an altar there to the LORD, who had appeared to him.

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