Jason Lisle’s “Instant Starlight” Paper

THE eagerly-awaited paper by Jason Lisle, Ph.D., the creationist astrophysicist employed by Answers in Genesis (AIG), has finally appeared. We last posted about it here: Still Waiting for Jason Lisle’s “Starlight” Paper, in which we discussed the biblical requirements of the journal to which Jason’s paper had been submitted.

You can read Jason’s paper here: Anisotropic Synchrony Convention—A Solution to the Distant Starlight Problem. As expected, it’s posted at the Answers Research Journal. Like the Creation Museum, the Journal is part of the creationism conglomerate run by Ken Ham.

This paper contains Jason’s solution to the Distant Starlight problem. The problem — for young-earth creationists — is that the light we see from distant sources required literally billions of years to reach earth, yet the creationist’s universe is only 6,000 years old. We’ll give you some excerpts, with bold added by us. Let’s begin with the abstract, which says:

In particular, we find that an observer-centric anisotropic synchrony convention eliminates the distant starlight problem by reducing radially inward-directed light travel-time in the reference frame of the observer to zero.

Our very preliminary reaction is that Jason proposes the observer — presumably that’s us on earth — is in a privileged reference frame. That strikes us as contrary to everything we’ve learned about relativity, but let’s not judge too hastily. Jason begins by discussing:

Mature Creation: It has been suggested that God supernaturally created the beams of light themselves. That is, the light beam from every star to earth is created “in transit” at the same time the stars are created. This light en-route model is often presented in the context of mature creation: the idea that God created the universe fully functional from the start, and that the universe required no time or process to become what God wanted it to be.

[...]

Just as Adam was created mature, needing no time or process to reach adulthood, so was the universe.

[...]

The overwhelming majority of old-earth, or old-universe arguments are fallacious because they are based on faulty, unbiblical initial conditions.

There’s no way to discuss that in a scientific context, so we won’t try. Besides, Jason doesn’t rely on that notion. He next turns to:

The Light-in-Transit Model: Mature creation is a biblical concept, and easily shows the majority of old-earth claims to be fallacious. But does distant starlight fall in this category? One of the assumptions involved when light travel times are computed is that the light did indeed originate at the star. If God created the beams of light en-route, then they did not originate at the stars. This would indeed eliminate the distant starlight problem. However, this proposal introduces biblical and philosophical difficulties of its own. I suggest that it is reasonable (and in fact necessary) to suppose that distant starlight did in fact originate from the star, and was not created in transit.

We won’t dwell on Jason’s reasoning here. Let’s just agree that the “Light-in-Transit” model is useless, and then proceed to Jason’s next topic, which is what he actually proposes:

Scripture Implies a Synchrony Convention: Genesis itself may suggest a simple answer to distant starlight. In Genesis 1:14–18 God tells us that the stars were created on the fourth day to give light upon the earth. This text also seems to strongly suggest that the stars fulfilled their purpose immediately (“and it was so”). Therefore, it would seem that the light emitted by the stars reached earth instantaneously, or nearly so. This suggests a synchrony convention: a procedure for synchronizing clocks separated by a distance.

Jason discusses the relativistic difficulties of dealing with “simultaneous” but distantly separated events, after which he says:

Starlight from the most distant galaxy can reach earth on the fourth day of the Creation Week when the correct relativistic synchrony convention is employed.

Really? Then he tosses in several space-time diagrams illustrating the simultaneity problem (we haven’t played with such diagrams for years) after which he discusses the observer’s frame of reference (which is something we’ve been expecting) and he says:

The relativity of simultaneity is rarely discussed in creation-based literature. [Your Curmudgeon can't imagine why.] And yet it is crucial to the construction of biblically-based cosmological models. Let us suppose for the sake of argument that the description of the creation of the universe in Genesis … is the same system astronomers and physicists use today. Most creationists implicitly assume this. Since the creation of the celestial objects (the lights of the heavens) occurs on the fourth day, all stars were created simultaneously, or nearly so (within 24 hours).

That’s a whopping big assumption. Here’s more:

But we’ve just seen that what is considered “simultaneous” is relative to the observer’s reference frame. Since God is omnipresent, what reference frame would He choose? The reference frame of the earth is the obvious choice, since the days of creation are described in terms of earth rotations (“the evening and the morning were the Xth day”). Moreover, since the Bible is written for human beings, it stands to reason that the planet on which all humans live would be the reference frame God would use for all time-stamping.

Ever since we learned that this paper was coming we’ve been expecting the use of a privileged reference frame, and now we’ve got it: Earth is God’s chosen frame of reference. Then Jason discusses some relativistic problems even with that, due to the earth’s motion. To solve the problem, he assumes that the Bible uses “anisotropic synchrony” (a highly privileged reference frame) and he says that we could thus “consider the creation of the stars to be simultaneous on Day Four — even for the most distant galaxies.”

You see, dear reader, it’s all so easy if we discard everything we know about relativity. Having done that, Jason says:

[I]t follows that the creation of a star on Day Four happens at essentially the same time as the light from that star reaches earth. Under ASC [Anisotropic Synchrony Convention, or privileged reference frame], the “distant starlight problem” disappears. Even the most distant galaxy is created on Day Four, and its light reaches earth effectively simultaneously on Day Four.

The remainder of Jason’s paper purports to justify all of this. We haven’t read that far yet. What we’ve posted here should be sufficient to get the discussion started. We will, however, jump to Jason’s final conclusions:

The distant starlight problem is resolved if we accept that Genesis is using the anisotropic synchrony convention (ASC) rather than the Einstein synchrony convention. … Thus, the light from stars that are created on the fourth day will naturally reach the earth essentially instantaneously.

[...]

Taking all the Scriptural information into account, ASC seems to be implied by the Bible, and naturally solves the starlight problem by reducing inward-directed light-travel-time to zero. Moreover, ASC forms the basis for a new young-universe cosmological model which has made successful predictions.

So there you are. We await your comments.

[Update: See Jason Lisle’s “Instant Starlight” Paper, Again.]

Copyright © 2010. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

add to del.icio.usAdd to Blinkslistadd to furlDigg itadd to ma.gnoliaStumble It!add to simpyseed the vineTailRankpost to facebook

. AddThis Social Bookmark Button . Permalink for this article

56 responses to “Jason Lisle’s “Instant Starlight” Paper

  1. The key point of Lisle’s article:

    “The act of choosing a synchrony convention is synonymous with defining the one-way speed of light. If we select Einstein synchronization, then we have declared that the speed of light is the same in all directions. If we select ASC, then we have declared that light is essentially infinitely fast when moving directly toward the observer, and ½c when moving directly away. Under ASC, the speed of light as a function of direction relative to the observer (θ) is given by cθ = c/(1-cos(θ)), where θ = 0 indicates the direction directly toward the observer.

    It seems counter-intuitive that we may simply stipulate the one-way speed of light. It seems that the one-way speed of light should be unambiguous and measurable, in which case we would not have the freedom to choose an alternate synchrony convention. However, this is not so. We should remember that people once thought that durations in time and lengths in space were objective and unambiguous, irrespective of the observer’s velocity. But Einstein’s discoveries rule out such possibilities. In the next two sections, I will show that the one-way speed of light is conventional. It is something that is stipulated by us, and is not an independent measurable property of the universe. ”

    Nowhere in his article does he mention the permeability and permittivity constants. These two constants can be measured in experiments using capacitors and magnets and such. They are analogous to the gravitational constant in that they tell you how strong magnetic and electric forces are. When you multiply them together, you get 1 over the speed of light squared. This is how Maxwell showed that light is an electromagnetic wave. Because these constants can be measured without knowing the velocity of the experimenter, Einstein thought that this might mean the speed of light is the same for observers moving at the same velocity.

    Nowhere does Lisle address this point, and I can’t believe he is ignorant of it. When you do experiments with magnets and capacitors, you always get the same value for the speed of light even though you have no idea what direction that light might be moving in. This is why we think the round trip speed of light and the one-way speed of light agree.

    If you forget that light is an electromagnetic wave, then you can accept Lisle’s analysis.

  2. The distant starlight problem is resolved if we accept that Genesis is using the anisotropic synchrony convention (ASC) rather than the Einstein synchrony convention.

    Lisle has an advanced degree in Physics and I assume he has spent more time than the two minutes I spent on Google. Isotropic synchrony has been demonstrated experimentally to a high degree of precision. Clearly, Lisle is being intellectually dishonest here.

    An honest creationist, the rarest of rare kooks, would simply say “God made it that way” and end the discussion. The real mystery is why Lisle feels a need to engage in this sort of unprofessional chicanery, and I wouldn’t grant him practicing professional chicanery considering his amateurish argument.

    Lisle’s basic assumptions are factually wrong, yet he drives on as if it doesn’t matter, but I guess if your personal philosophy is devoid of ethics then, relatively speaking, it doesn’t matter!

  3. Doc Bill says: “Lisle’s basic assumptions are factually wrong, yet …”

    Well, he admits he’s starting from a biblical premise. The bible is not only a flat-earth, geocentric book from start to finish, but its cosmology is also conceived from a privileged viewpoint. Lisle is true to that cosmology, but he’s quite heretical regarding the solar system and the shape of the earth. It’s strange.

  4. I expected pure, unadulterated, weapons-grade stupidity from the feathered quill of Doctor Jason Lisle, Ph.D.

    He did not disappoint.

  5. I also wrote Lisle directly asking him why he didn’t talk about the constants and what experiments he could suggest that would result in a measurement of zero for one or both of them. If he replies I’ll let you know.

    Einstein assumed the Maxwell equations were true. Lisle just abolishes them without mentioning that he did so. Every engineer and scientist has seen the derivation of the invariant speed of light from the Maxwell equations.

    I have to conclude that Lisle is dishonest until proven otherwise. I don’t have a beef with his speed-of-light-one-way theory except that it contradicts the Maxwell equations, which he must know perfectly well, and he never addresses that.

  6. Not being formally educated in relativity, other than popular books, I have an entirely common-sense perspective on his claim that there is no proof that light travels at the same speed in all directions. Especially that it is instantaneous in speed toward the observer. My common sense experiment would be to observe the planet jupiter, for example, in it’s orbit. If light were instantaneous toward us, then no matter how far we were from jupiter in our orbit, the planet would appear to move, from our perspective, with the exact speed appropriate to it’s position along it’s orbital ellipse. If, on the other hand, light travelled at ~187,000 miles per second, the planet would appear to be lagging in it’s orbit when we were on the other side of the sun, and would seem to speed up as we closed the distance. Which does it do? Only after we correct for the speed of light, and then compute where it actually was when the light left the planet and travelled to us, do we find that it is moving exactly as it should in it’s orbit. We can do this for anything for which we know the position. Spacecraft, for example; we know precisely where they actually are relative to us, based on the known delta V we gave them at launch, their trajectories, etc., and we can compare that to where they appear to be based on the location of their radio transmissions. I think we would have noticed if light traveled instantaneously toward us, and our spacecraft did not appear where we calculated they should be. Our spacecraft certainly would never have hit their targets in the out planets.

    Lisle also claims that secularists have “auxiliary” explanations for phenomena, like the interior heat of jovian satellites (caused by tidal effects), as though such explanations were somehow created because scientists have an old-universe world-view. What classes did he attend when he went through college? It’s a shame such an education is completely wasted. He might have made a contribution to our knowledge of the universe. Instead…well, he writes for a seedy little creationist blog. Sad.

  7. Ed says:

    My common sense experiment would be to observe the planet jupiter, for example, in it’s orbit.

    Observing Jupiter is one of the classic methods of measuring the speed of light. The predictable appearance of its visible moons as they move from behind the planet will vary, depending on Jupiter’s distance and thus the distance light travels from there to here — which is easily computed knowing its orbit.

  8. Re: Jupiter. I don’t think he means that light always travels infinitely fast in one direction. I think he’s trying to say that in God’s reference frame light travels at one speed going toward you and a different speed going away, that they average to c and that it makes no difference, according to special relativity, whether or not you use that frame. If light were not an electromagnetic wave he might have a case. The problem with that is that the electromagnetic constants that determine the speed of light have to be different from what they have always been measured to be in experiments that don’t involve light at all. He does not address this.

  9. Gabriel Hanna says:

    I don’t think he means that light always travels infinitely fast in one direction. I think he’s trying to say that in God’s reference frame light travels at one speed going toward you and a different speed going away …

    Fine. But in God’s reference frame, what does it mean for light to be going “away”? God is everywhere.

  10. But in God’s reference frame, what does it mean for light to be going “away”? God is everywhere.

    The reference frame for Creation Week is the one Lisle claims God is using.

  11. Some additional thoughts on where Jason jumps the tracks. He says:

    The Einstein synchrony convention seems to create a number of inconsistencies when applied to Genesis 1. Might this suggest that the Bible does not use Einstein synchronization? This leads us to ask whether there may be an alternative definition of simultaneity in which creation takes place in six days regardless of the earth’s velocity at other times.

    In other words, the bible — with its instant starlight — violates relativity. Everyone knows this. It’s at the heart of the creationists’ starlight problem. Then he says:

    The Einstein synchrony convention that we have been working with so far is based on two axioms.

    That is, relativity is based on two axioms. Continuing:

    First, if a (massive) particle can travel from event A to event B, then the two events are not simultaneous. This criterion is necessary to preserve cause-and-effect relationships …

    Clumsily stated, but okay. Continuing:

    Second, in order to eliminate any remaining ambiguity, we selected only a 2-dimensional subset of the remaining points: the plane in which the light cone intersects as a circle.

    Huh? Then he says it differently:

    This is equivalent to assuming that light travels at the same speed in all directions relative to any observer. We chose this for simplicity. However, this second axiom is not actually a requirement or premise of Special Relativity (Einstein 1961). Relativity only requires that the two-way time averaged speed of light is constant for any observer. … By dropping this second axiom, we find that there are alternative definitions of simultaneity that are logically consistent for any given observer.

    There it is. Jason has to abandon relativity’s very well-established constancy of lightspeed in order to have instant starlight in Genesis. But we knew that all along.

  12. What is his reference to Einstein 1961? The man died in 1955. Is he channeling him, or is this something I’m not aware of.

  13. There are so many other observations besides “old starlight” that either directly support or are at least consistent with a 13.7 billion-year-old universe that Jason Lisle has not addressed. For instance:
    1) distant galaxies (which are observed in their “young” state) are proportionately deficient in metals compared to closer, and therefore older, galaxies. The reason is all the metals — elements heavier than hydrogen — are formed in stars, and the process takes time. (Proportionately deficient: the more distant the galaxy, the more deficient it is in metals.)
    2) The proportion of radioactive decay “daughter” elements to radioactive “parent” element is exactly what we would expect in an old universe.
    3) The observed abundance of elements formed in supernovae is consistent with the rate at which we observe supernovae — if the universe is old.
    4) Just right here on earth, geology provides so many evidences of billions of years of time that a complete list would take longer for me to type than I’m willing to stay up tonight. Plate tectonics, formation of mountain ranges, weathering of mountain ranges, deposition of sediment, radioactive decay, evolution of more and more complex forms of life as recorded in the fossil strata — well, you get the idea. It is absolutely ludicrous to propose that all these things could have occured in just 6,000 or even 10,000 years.

    I’ll let others add to this list. I’m going to bed.

  14. Mr. Lisle mentions several times that the Bible in various places refers to six earth days “morning and evening” of creation, but he seems to ignore the many Biblical references to the motion of the Sun around the earth. Instead he follows the view of modern science that the earth revolves around the sun. I’ll confess that I didn’t ready the entire paper, but I think that the Biblical teaching that the universe is earth centered would probably unravel his hypothesis.

  15. Psiloiordinary

    I’m not a physicist, but doesn’t our experience with spacecraft radio signals falsify this conjecture right out of the gate?

  16. retiredsciguy – Lisle gets around all the abundant evidence of an old universe by assuming the universe was created “mature”. Evidently God went to the trouble of altering the proportion of metals in the most distant galaxies verses closer ones. Problem solved.

    My question for Lisle is “why”. If, for example, the god-ordained purpose of stars is to provide light for the earth, why create the 99.99999— percent of the universe that cannot be seen without telescopes, and sometimes only by space based telescopes which can take very long exposure photographs. Those stars and other objects contribute zero light to the earth. For Lisle, the entire purpose of coming up with his instantaneous light travel theory is so that he can explain why stars fulfill their god-ordained purpose, but he fails to explain why most do not serve that purpose at all. In fact, the universe as a whole has virtually nothing to do with us, which, with or without instantaneous light travel, should be a difficult problem for creationists.

    Also, while claiming the universe was created “mature” is an easy way of avoiding the fact that the universe looks old, it creates uncomfortable theological issues. Decaying supernova remnants, such as the veil nebula, which are older than 6000 years, are easily found in our galaxy. Creating a universe complete with remnants of supernovas which never were is the same as creating an earth complete with fossils of past life forms which never existed. That’s generally frowned upon by theologians who support recent creation because it implies a deceptive god – thus they invent flood theories to account for the fossils. Lisle’s theory does nothing to account for the stellar “fossils” easily observed in the universe.

    I’m looking forward to reading Lisle’s response to the many criticisms he is bound to read over the next few days.

  17. One can only wonder why God wrote the Bible in such obscure language that nobody for thousands of years understood what it was really saying. You’d think that if God was interested in communicating with us that He would be able to do so in a little clearer language. As it turns out, He wrote the Bible with all the appearances as if it were the product of an Ancient Near Eastern culture. Just as He created the universe with all the appearances as if it had a multibillion-year past.

  18. To pile on, here’s another error: he redefines “simultaneous” to mean any two events for which light can’t travel between them. This is nonsensical if you think about the universe beyond the edge of our visible universe – i.e., points far enough away from us that the universe between us is expanding faster than the speed of light. According to Lisle’s new definition, every single event in that region is simultaneous with our every event, because you can’t get here from there (and ‘can’t get here from there’ is his definition of simultaneous). According to Lisle, event A outside the visible universe is simultaneous with SC’s posting this article…but its also simultaneous with with Gabriel’s later occuring response…and its simultaneous with this reponse…and its simultaneous with all future responses and posts.

    I don’t think I have to explain further why that redefinition may have some problems.

    Here’s the money quote, where he claims any two events outside each other’s visible universes are simultaneous because of his redefinition:

    If we consider an event (q) that is space-like relative to p, we find that it fits our previous definition of “simultaneous.” No (finite-mass) particle can travel from p to q, because such a particle would have to travel faster than light

  19. eric says:

    To pile on, here’s another error: he redefines “simultaneous” to mean any two events for which light can’t travel between them.

    Very good! This is piling on indeed, but it’s well-deserved. I had skimmed over that (and his space-time diagrams) because I assumed it was just window-dressing to simulate the appearance of science and thus dazzle the rubes. It was sufficient for me to find that he was: (a) using God’s privileged reference frame, and (b) abandoning the constancy of lightspeed.

  20. I’m looking forward to reading Lisle’s response to the many criticisms he is bound to read over the next few days.

    Riiiiiiiiight!!! Just like we look forward to Meyer, Dembski, Behe, Wells, Luskin and the rest of the Kwok-described “mendacious intellectual pornographers” mixing it up with scientists.

    Once again, we are dealing with professional liars, propagandists and, in a few cases, actual morons. However, for the majority of these creeps, deliberately twisting science and language is what they do, and all they do. There are open forums everywhere, but these guys will content themselves to fling poo from their comment-blocked websites or in the rare, tightly controlled “debate.”

    No doubt, Lisle knows exactly what he has done. He knows exactly what facts and observations to ignore just like all creationists before him. Sadly, even as entertainment value this recent show of his rapidly is becoming boring and uninteresting. Time to move on. Hey, I hear Lohan might be going to jail, again!

  21. Here’s another whopper from the “Observational predictions” section:

    we should expect to see indications of the youth of the universe (in contrast to billions of years) at all distances. We should expect to find processes that cannot be easily extrapolated into a billions-of-years hypothetical past, and which consequently place an upper limit on the age of the process that is far less than big bang models would predict

    That gets it exactly wrong. 180 degrees from right. An old universe could host young structures, if they evolved later. Young structures aren’t a test of his model at all. The test is whether we see processes that would require millions (let alone billions) of years to happen, because those are theoretically impossible under his model. You know, things like stars burning down and exploding, which AFAIK our big telecsopes see on a daily basis.

  22. Doc,

    I agree with the observation that most of these snake-oil salesman generally gloss over negative feedback as though it didn’t exist. However Lisle posted an entry not long ago in which he expressed dismay that people were ridiculing his pending paper before he had even completed it. Based on that, I think he might be more sensitive to than most to criticism. I think he sincerely believes he has come up with a defensible position. Of course, the creationist “mind” is a very strange organ, so I should avoid making predictions as to how they might react to the outside world.

    Ed

  23. Ed, thanks for the explanation of how the creationist’s mind “works” concerning God’s creation of a “mature” universe. Your question of “why?” is perfectly to the point. Why would God be so intent on deceiving us poor little creatures on this one insignificantly small speck of cosmic dust we call “earth”?
    You also make a good point about why distant galaxies would be created if they cast no usable light on earth. We could also ask the same question concerning dark matter and dark energy.
    Personally, I like the simplest explanation — the universe is about 13.7 billion years old, and the earth (and the rest of the solar system) is about 4.6 billion years old. We’ve got a pretty good idea of how the solar system formed; perhaps we shall understand the mechanics of the universe’s formation as well — in other words, what existed before the Big Bang, what caused the Big Bang to occur, and exactly what happened in the Big Bang? Of course, saying God did it doesn’t answer the question, because it just leads to a bigger question — how was God formed?
    So, to my way of thinking, these theological questions of origins are pointless. Let’s just stick to what can be observed, and base all of our explanations (hypotheses and theories) on the observed evidence.
    If there happen to be some people who feel the need to “believe” in supernatural explanations in order to think of themselves as “good people”, well, that’s their cross to bear. I’d like to help alleviate their burden, but not by carrying it for them.

  24. Ed says:

    Of course, the creationist “mind” is a very strange organ, so I should avoid making predictions as to how they might react to the outside world.

    And the creationist astrophysicist mind is even stranger. It may be a good candidate for my Theory of Abominable Befuddlement.

  25. But, but, but…. Conservapedia says that there’s no evidence for relativity!

    “Despite censorship of dissent about relativity, evidence contrary to the theory is discussed outside of liberal universities.”

    http://www.conservapedia.com/Relativity

    (BTW, Those liars over at conservapedia also changed their article to state that it was teh liberalz that conflate relativity with relativism and not the right wingnuts. Such disgusting liars!)

  26. Oh… my bad! Apparently, Relativity was a joo liberal atheist pinko commie conspiracy all along.

    http://www.jta.org/news/article/2010/08/17/2740506/einstein-jewish-liberal-conspiracy-andrew-schlafly

  27. LRA says:

    Apparently, Relativity was a joo liberal atheist pinko commie conspiracy all along.

    In that case, the wingnuts can’t use atom bombs to nuke Mecca.

  28. retiredscienceguy wrote: Of course, saying God did it doesn’t answer the question, because it just leads to a bigger question — how was God formed?

    I suggest that “God did it” doesn’t answer the question for a simpler and more direct reason – that it just plain doesn’t answer the question. It doesn’t tell us anything about “why this and not something else”, for God is capable of doing anything, and we are not privy to God’s reasons. It doesn’t tell us what materials and methods God used. It doesn’t tell us how things would be different if God did not do it.

    Why does the Mona Lisa have a smile? It is not an answer to the question to say, “Because Leonardo painted the Mona Lisa.”

  29. If we talk about light, and never talk about what light is, I don’t think there is anything wrong with Lisle’s idea–he’s using a different postulate from Einstein’s. Nothing wrong with changing postulates. That’s how you get non-Euclidean geometery, for example. I didn’t argue with his definition of “simultaneous” because he’s changing the definition, and that certainly was done by Einstein. Criticizing that part of the idea doesn’t go anywhere, I think. It’s like criticizing orthodox special relativity because two observers can disagree on the order of some events.

    But, but, but…. Conservapedia says that there’s no evidence for relativity!

    Quacks and pseudoscientists never agree with each other. Of course Schlafly’s made up science is going to conflict with Lisle’s–and Schlafly is going to call Lisle an idiot to boot. To be surprised at this is to assume that these guys are all in a conspiracy together.

    However, the reason that speed of light is postulated to be constant is because you can determine the speed experimentally without using light at all, because light is not any old wave but an electromagnetic wave. For example, if you measure the force between two metal ball bearings wired up to opposite battery terminals, you get some number for the permittivity of space. If you make a coil of wire and run current through it and measure the magnetic field, you get some number for the permeability. If neither of these numbers are zero, and light is an electromagnetic wave, then light CANNOT be moving infinitely fast in any frame whatsoever.

    Turn the logic around. If light is an electromagnetic wave, and it does move infinitely fast in some reference frame, then in that reference frame either the force between charge particles is infinite, or magnetic fields are not produced by electric currents (or both). In God’s reference frame atoms collapse to points, I guess.

    It only works if he abandons light as an electromagnetic wave. You have to throw out a great deal of experimental facts to get that. You can’t just change one physical law and expect no other consequences.

  30. I got a response from Lisle. SC, I’m going to forward the emails to you.

  31. Thanks, Gabe. Looking forward to it.

  32. Gabe, does he deal with the fine structure constant?

  33. SY: No. He says that e0 and m0 are tensors, different in every direction, and doesn’t say anything about how many experiments must now come out totally wrong. He also says that ASC is a convention and can’t be experimentally distinguished from Einstein’s. He also repeats that the speed of light can only be measured by a round trip, and that Einstein said that he was merely assuming light to be anisotropic, when Einstein explicitly said in 1916 that no experiment has demonstrated anisotropy of light.

  34. More Einstein on light’s isotropy:

    http://www.gutenberg.org/dirs/etext04/relat10.txt

    “The special theory of relativity has crystallised out from the
    Maxwell-Lorentz theory of electromagnetic phenomena. Thus all facts of
    experience which support the electromagnetic theory also support the
    theory of relativity. As being of particular importance, I mention
    here the fact that the theory of relativity enables us to predict the
    effects produced on the light reaching us from the fixed stars. These
    results are obtained in an exceedingly simple manner, and the effects
    indicated, which are due to the relative motion of the earth with
    reference to those fixed stars are found to be in accord with
    experience. We refer to the yearly movement of the apparent position
    of the fixed stars resulting from the motion of the earth round the
    sun (aberration), and to the influence of the radial components of the
    relative motions of the fixed stars with respect to the earth on the
    colour of the light reaching us from them. The latter effect manifests
    itself in a slight displacement of the spectral lines of the light
    transmitted to us from a fixed star, as compared with the position of
    the same spectral lines when they are produced by a terrestrial source
    of light (Doppler principle). The experimental arguments in favour of
    the Maxwell-Lorentz theory, which are at the same time arguments in
    favour of the theory of relativity, are too numerous to be set forth
    here. In reality they limit the theoretical possibilities to such an
    extent, that no other theory than that of Maxwell and Lorentz has been
    able to hold its own when tested by experience.”

    He got the speed of light from the Maxwell equations and said so many times.

  35. Einstein said that he was merely assuming light to be anisotropic, when Einstein explicitly said in 1916 that no experiment has demonstrated anisotropy of light.

    Since 1916, as the lying Lisle knows full well, experimental observation has confirmed Einstein’s assumption.

  36. The Michelson-Moreley, Trouton-Noble experiments and others have been repeated many times and never shown any anisotropy in the speed of light.

    Furthermore, if the Maxwell equations are anisotropic, as Lisle claimed to me they must be, then linear and/or angular momentum are no longer conserved quantities. Those of course are very important laws of physics which still hold good on the relativistic and quantum levels, provided that linear and angular momentum are defined by their respective conjugates.

    Lisle just pretends that doesn’t happen. If you’re going to say Creation is consistent with the laws of physics, you can’t just throw out the biggest ones without saying a word.

    Not to mention it’s tacky to quote-mine Einstein.

  37. Gabriel Hanna says:

    The Michelson-Moreley, Trouton-Noble experiments and others have been repeated many times and never shown any anisotropy in the speed of light.

    There was more than a one-second lag in message transmission time from Lunar astronauts to Earth, and vice versa. Surprisingly (to lightspeed anisotropy buffs) this situation never varied, regardless of the moon’s rotation around the Earth. That is, there was no directional variation. Signal lag is predictable for all space probes, in all directions.

  38. Stephen W. Kennedy, MD

    I am a medical doctor, not a mathematician, but it seems like the following sentence from Lisle’s article has a serious flaw in it.

    “Under ASC, the speed of light as a function of direction relative to the observer (θ) is given by cθ = c/(1-cos(θ)), where θ = 0 indicates the direction directly toward the observer.”

    Since cos(0) = 1, this equation results in division by 0, which is undefined, for an observer directly in the path of the light beam where the angle theta would be 0. It seems to me that this equation could only be written in an acceptable manner if it was changed to one saying that the limit of 1/(1-cos(theta)) goes to infinity as theta goes to zero.

  39. It seems to me that this equation could only be written in an acceptable manner if it was changed to one saying that the limit of 1/(1-cos(theta)) goes to infinity as theta goes to zero.

    I’d give him the benefit of the doubt on this one, because I’ve heard lots of physics people talk this way (and I do it myself) despite knowing better.

    There’s plenty of bogosity in what he said without harassing him about that. He’s thrown out the Maxwell equations, conservation of linear and angular momentum, and all the results of experiments that confirm these things, and he’s said nary a word about it. You can’t fix up the Maxwell equations with a cosine or a tensor.

  40. I still remember a line from a Weinberg paper: “The energy of an electron, though infinite, is small.”

  41. I’d give him the benefit of the doubt on this one, because I’ve heard lots of physics people talk this way (and I do it myself) despite knowing better.

    Not me. If a creationist told me the sky was blue I’d go out and look.

    Even Moony Wells has pulled that “you can’t trust math” junk by proving 1 + 1 = 3 which employs the divide by zero violation.

    Once again, Lisle knows what he’s doing. He got a PhD from the Univ. of Colorado, not Liberty or Bob Jones U. For whatever reason, Lisle has abandoned reason for creationist hucksterism. Who knows, maybe Christian chicks get the hots for creation scientists. I gotta admit, once astrology fell out of favor my “what’s your sign, baby?” line simply stopped working.

    When it comes to people like Lisle I am not an accommodationist. Morons, I’m happy to poke fun at, but a scientist who misuses science to trick the public gets my full, unbridled wrath. No soup for you, Lisle. Two years!

  42. Robinson Mitchell

    Even apart from the relativistic problems, Dr. Lisle’s blithe assertion that all stars were created simultaneously poses enormous problems for every model of stellar evolution. Along with relativity theory, we need to throw out the Hertzsprung-Russell classification of stars, the idea of Populations I and II, and pretty much the entire body of knowledge on stellar evolution (oh no, I used the E-word!).
    While Dr. Lisle has performed some really impressive intellectual calisthenics, is his suggestion any more tenable than appearance of age and starlight in flight? For all its lofty vocabulary, it’s still pseudo-scientific claptrap. Caveat lector!

  43. He started with Omphalos, shoulda quit while he was ahead.

  44. Gabriel Hanna wrote

    Furthermore, if the Maxwell equations are anisotropic, as Lisle claimed to me they must be, then linear and/or angular momentum are no longer conserved quantities.

    Of historical interest, one of Kent Hovind’s claims for years has been that the observed universe does not display conservation of angular momentum. Lisle’s rotten apple didn’t fall far from the diseased tree.

  45. RBH says:

    Of historical interest, one of Kent Hovind’s claims for years has been that the observed universe does not display conservation of angular momentum. Lisle’s rotten apple didn’t fall far from the diseased tree.

    Richard, I tried reading what was at that link, but it was just too painful. Anyway, it’s not surprising that Jason and Hovind have similar views.

  46. Asking as a non-physicist, is Lisle basically saying that he can make the physics of light comport with a literal reading of Genesis only by abandoning everything from Maxwell on? I.e., it works if we toss out 150 years of physics?

  47. RBH asks:

    is Lisle basically saying that he can make the physics of light comport with a literal reading of Genesis only by abandoning everything from Maxwell on? I.e., it works if we toss out 150 years of physics?

    Yes. It’s the customary creationist method. If the way you read something in scripture is in conflict with the real world, then you must reject the real world.

  48. Exactly. Ken Ham, aka Hambo, has said many times that you have to look at the world through Bible Glasses, as opposed to Beer Glasses, which is where I made that mistake with a Gemini who I thought was totally compatible with a Capricorn but who turned out to be Totally Psycho if I ever glanced at a Libra, but anyway, where was I?

    Oh yeah, the age of the universe thing is so not consistent with Reality ™ I mean, well, DUH!!!

  49. Jason has responded at the AIG website to one of his critics: Is God Deceiving Us? I briefly thought of blogging about this but I couldn’t work up the enthusiasm.

    To understand why, here’s a small example. One minor point of the critic was mentioning the silliness of Jason’s “solution” which still has “God creating colliding galaxies.” Jason’s response to that is:

    Can you provide me with a logical reason why God would not create some galaxies in collision?

    As they say, this ain’t rocket science. Rather, it’s just creationism.

  50. How do you know how old a star is simply by looking at it? Stars don’t come with labels indicating their age.
    I can’t believe this man has a PhD in Astrophysics and doesn’t know how stars are dated.

  51. Paul says:

    I can’t believe this man has a PhD in Astrophysics and doesn’t know how stars are dated.

    He knows how it’s done. But he doesn’t believe that sensory evidence has any value.

  52. Your post was beautiful. I looked at the paper, realized that he had solved an imaginary problem and then went whackity-whack around the edges on my blog: his weird comments about the age of comets, his asinine assertions about formation, his failure to discuss and explain away the converging evidence for the Bing Bang, etc. His geometry was science word-salad to this English major.

    And the answer, Jason, to the question, “Is God deceiving us?” is, “No, you are doing that to yourself.”

    HJ

  53. After reading Lisle’s paper, it’s not clear to me whether he thinks that the Earth was at the center of the anisotropy only at the time of creation, or whether it continues to be at the center to this day. For the velocity of light to be infinite as it arrives on Earth from all directions over a long span of time implies that the center of the anisotropy moves along with the Earth, correct? If the center of the anisotropy were a fixed point in space relative to the CMBR, would we not have drifted away from it over the last 6000 years, with the result that inbound light is no longer traveling at infinite speed?

  54. If the center of the anisotropy were a fixed point in space relative to the CMBR, would we not have drifted away from it over the last 6000 years, with the result that inbound light is no longer traveling at infinite speed?

    Well, I myself think that the further fairies get from the foot of the garden, the slower they fly.

  55. brossa says:

    After reading Lisle’s paper, it’s not clear to me whether he thinks that the Earth was at the center of the anisotropy only at the time of creation, or whether it continues to be at the center to this day.

    It seems to be a reversible effect. Adam’s sin affected the whole universe instantly (more or less), so it works in the opposite direction too. And that event was later than the day when the stars were created, so the earth remains at the center if this peculiar phenomenon.

  56. I do not feel the Nobel Assembly will be lending weight to the validity of Dr Lisle’s paper any time soon!