As you know, Jason Lisle, Ph.D. is the creationist astrophysicist employed by Answers in Genesis (AIG). We’ve had several posts on Jason’s justification of scriptural “instant starlight” which he proposed in a recent paper. You can read his paper here at the AIG website: Anisotropic Synchrony Convention — A Solution to the Distant Starlight Problem.
When Jason’s paper was first posted, we wrote Jason Lisle’s “Instant Starlight” Paper. We were dismissive, and so were the comments of others. But since then, after extensive commentary in later threads, we’ve slowly come to understand that ASC isn’t nonsense. In this instance Jason knows what he’s talking about.
Our last post on this subject was Jason Lisle’s “Instant Starlight” Paper, More. That dealt with some feedback Jason had been getting on his paper (about the Michelson-Morley experiment and Maxwell’s equations), and he promised that there would be more of the same.
Jason has now posted again about objections he’s been getting: Asking about ASC, Part 2. “ASC” is his abbreviation for Anisotropic Synchrony Convention. He begins with a good summary of what ASC is all about:
The most fundamental aspect of ASC is that we are free to choose the one-way speed of light. As long as light travels from point A to point B, we are free to choose its speed to be anything from ½ c to infinity (where c is the average round-trip speed). The reason this is so is because it is apparently impossible to construct an experiment to measure the speed of light on a one-way trip without first stipulating the speed of light on a one-way trip in order to synchronize two clocks located at A and B. Naturally, this is rather counter-intuitive.
Counter-intuitive indeed. Despite a lifetime of assuming that lightspeed is constant regardless of direction, we’ve finally been persuaded that the ASC convention isn’t just another example of creationist goofiness. It seems to work as well as constant lightspeed does, and there may be no way to decide which is “correct.” Being untestable, the issue is unimportant — relatively speaking, as it were.
[Addendum: ASC didn’t originate with Jason. Some good background can be found in this Wikipedia article, One-way speed of light, which came up in a comment to one of our earlier threads.]
The only “advantage” to Jason in advocating the ASC convention is that it is arguably consistent with the implication from Genesis that the stars were visible on earth as soon as they were created on the Fourth Day (but not until after the creation of light, the earth, the waters, and the firmament on the first three days). It’s mildly interesting that, if one adopts the ASC convention, one-way instant starlight can be considered possible; but nothing can salvage the rest of the Genesis creation account — because it’s inconsistent with what we know of the real world. Nevertheless, the ASC convention is fun to think about.
Jason’s newest post is about the work of Ole Rømer (born 1644, died 1710), the Danish astronomer who made the first measurements of the speed of light — using the moons of Jupiter. As Jason describes it:
Römer knew from observations that Jupiter’s moon IO [he means Io] takes 1.769 days to orbit Jupiter once. But Römer noticed that sometimes [Io] appeared to be ahead of where it was supposed to be, and other times it lagged behind. This correlated with the fact that the Earth (in its orbit around the sun) is sometimes closer to Jupiter, and other times it is farther. When Earth is closer to Jupiter, Römer speculated that it takes light less time to get here than when Earth is farther from Jupiter; this could account for the early or late apparent positions of [Io]. By observing the position of [Io] at various times of the year, Römer concluded that it takes light about 22 minutes to cross Earth’s orbit — just a bit larger than today’s estimate of 16.6 minutes.
In our earliest thread about Jason’s paper, the measurement of lightspeed using Jupiter’s moons was mentioned as an obvious method of measuring the one-way speed of light — something the ASC convention says can’t be done. Jason says in his latest post that “Römer’s method seems to be measuring the one-way speed of light.” Jason’s explanation of why it isn’t what we thought it was is well worth reading.
Click over to his post to see what he says. Then we’ll discuss it.
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