Creationists and Cosmology, Part 2

THE last time we addressed this esoteric topic was here, when we discussed an article from the Institute for Creation Research (ICR).

Today’s article comes from a rival creationist organization, Answers in Genesis (AIG), one of the major sources of creationist wisdom. The title is: From the Depths of Space.

The AIG article begins with a discussion of the recent discovery of what “may be the most distant yet detected in the universe,” a gamma ray burster (GRB), designated as GRB 090423. AIG attempts to explain what it is, but you’re probably better off with Wikipedia: GRB 090423. You might also check out this article at New Scientist: Most distant object in the universe spotted.

No doubt you’ve realized that a distant gamma ray burst is a peculiar subject for a creationist outfit to tackle, but you must remember that they don’t like astronomy or cosmology, because all those “secular” scientists keep saying that the universe is far older than creationists expect it to be, so any distant object that sent its light to us billions of years ago is troublesome.

AIG uses the astronomers’ estimate of distance to launch into a discussion of redshifted light from distant objects. They also discuss that there are different causes for redshifted light. But fear not.

For purposes of this post, you don’t need much background in such matters. If, however, you feel that you must dig in, then we recommend that you don’t read AIG’s discussion to learn about such things. Instead — and this material is totally optional — start with Redshift and Gravitational redshift and Metric expansion of space. But trust us, you don’t need to go there because we’re only dealing with creationism.

After “explaining” such matters, AIG discusses certain “problems,” mainly that the first generation of stars believed to have existed after the Big Bang shouldn’t have contained elements more complex than hydrogen and helium, because the more complex elements didn’t yet exist — but so far, no first generation stars have been detected. Theory says that they did exist, but they were very large and had a brief lifetime. They quickly went nova and produced the more complex elements that appear in stars of the next generation. See: Stellar nucleosynthesis.

It’s quite true that first generation stars haven’t been observed. As with gaps in the fossil record, creationists love any situation where scientific predictions are not yet verified by observations. Note that creationists don’t have or care about actual contradictions of Big Bang theory, which in this case don’t exist, nor do they care about other lines of evidence that are consistent with the theory — the mere lack of confirmation of any detail is entirely sufficient for their purposes. Creationists merrily assume that because first generation stars haven’t yet been seen, they never existed; therefore complex elements were present from the beginning.

Okay, having skipped all of AIG’s introductory prose, we can get to the conclusion of the their article. The bold was added by us:

How is this all to be understood from a creation viewpoint? In a biblical viewpoint, objects created during the Creation Week could be fully formed and would abruptly appear with all the necessary elements present from the beginning. There would be no need to postulate a special early generation of stars and galaxies that we find no evidence for. Thus, in a creation view there is no difficulty of not having time for objects to form by natural processes in the beginning.

Problem solved! Isn’t creationism great? Let’s read on:

Creationist physicists and astronomers continue to research many questions about the universe, including the meaning of large redshifts. It may be that when we look at objects with large redshifts, we are looking back into the Creation Week, possibly to the fourth day. The fourth day is when Genesis 1 indicates God created the stars. The young-age creation cosmologies of physicists John Hartnett and Russ Humphreys both imply the large redshifts are due to God’s stretching out space during the Creation Week.

It’s nice to know there are creation cosmologists. Thanks to them, we not only have Doppler redshifts, gravitational redshifts, and cosmological redshifts, we also have divine-stretch redshifts. We continue:

Creation scientists who hold to a young universe and six literal creation days do not reject everything that secular astronomers believe. However, assumptions need to be questioned thoroughly. The big bang does not agree with the creation account in Genesis.

That last sentence is certainly true. Here’s AIG’s final paragraph:

Creationist physicists generally accept the reality of black holes and accept the validity of redshift measurements. These things are all consistent with observational science. But, instead of the mysterious big bang process expanding the universe, creationists believe God “stretched out the heavens” (see Jeremiah 10:12) in the beginning as Scripture says. Scientists are still discovering parts of God’s creation that have never been seen before.

Now you don’t have to do any research to understand the latest observations. The creationists already have the answers. And don’t bother searching for ancient first generation stars. According to the creationists, there weren’t any.

Update: See Creationists and Cosmology, Part 3.

Copyright © 2009. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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5 responses to “Creationists and Cosmology, Part 2

  1. I can’t stand it. The stoopid is just too much for me! I can feel my blood pressure rising…

  2. Obviously, the Devil is strong in you.

  3. If we go by a strict adherence to the Genesis account, there seems to be an odd disproportion in how the Lord spent His time creating things. Several days are allocated to creating the Earth and its life, but the entire rest of the universe is accomplished in five words, “he made the stars also.” Their purpose is explained as: “God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth.” Not to mention being “for signs,” which could be interpreted as a justification for astrology but could also be just for time-keeping, knowing the seasons for planting, and such.

    To an Iron Age tribesman, for whom the Earth is everything there is and the sky maybe a dome not very far away with some lights attached to it, this all makes perfect sense. The Earth would seem much the bigger and more complicated place, and would logically require more time to construct, while the sky overhead would just be some added detail.

    To us, though… I’m thinking of those Hubble Space Telescope deep field photographs where they just point the thing at a tiny swatch of sky for long periods, and the result shows swarms of galaxies stretching billions of light-years into the distance without any seeming end, each one of those galaxies containing billions of stars. I’ve seen estimates for the number of stars in the visible universe ranging into the sextillions. As soon as it became just marginally possible to detect the planets of other stars, they started showing up, so many stars if not most have planets.

    In short, the Lord spends several days on the Earth but creates the entire rest of the universe in a snap. At best, it would seem the whole account has to be treated as allegorical.

  4. Thanks. That was hilarious. I should investigate the “creationist cosmology” further, having just finished my way through Weinberg’s latest monograph, and see how it compares. 😉

    Of course, the funniest line is “But, instead of the mysterious big bang process expanding the universe, creationists believe God “stretched out the heavens””.

    Bloody incredible!

    BTW, did you know that an ancient version of AppleWorks spellchecker used to insist that the correct spelling of “creationism” is “cretinism”?

  5. Never used AppleWorks spellchecker, but it sounds like a good authority.