Lisle’s “Instant Starlight” Paper: Convention? Model?

This is the latest in a series of posts on this subject, so we’ll have to repeat some of what we posted earlier. The next two indented paragraphs provide background information, which most of you can skip:

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.

Since then, Jason has been posting about feedback he’s received, and due to the popularity of this topic with our readers, we’ve been keeping up with his posts. Our last article about Jason’s feedback was: Lisle’s “Instant Starlight” Paper: Jupiter’s Moons. Now Jason has posted again: Asking about ASC, Part 3. “ASC” is his abbreviation for Anisotropic Synchrony Convention. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

One reader asks, “Is ASC a convention or a model? Is it falsifiable?” The answer is: ASC is a convention and is not falsifiable, whereas the ASC model is a model and is falsifiable. They are two different things, and both are addressed in the ARJ article. A convention is something that is true by definition, but a model can be tested for truthfulness by something beyond itself. That there are 12 inches in a foot is a convention; it is true by virtue of the way the words are defined. That the distance to the moon is 240,000 miles is not conventional; it can be (and has been) measured.

That’s a fair description of a “convention.” For more information on “scientific models,” see these Wikipedia articles: theories as models and also scientific model. Let’s read on:

The ASC convention is the stipulation that the one-way speed of light is infinite when moving toward the observer, and ½ c when moving away. This is true because we have defined it as such and synchronize our clocks accordingly. Since it is a convention, it cannot be disproved experimentally. Any experiment to measure the one-way speed of light would have to first synchronize some system of clocks. That would involve choosing the synchrony convention, and thus choosing the one-way speed of light.

That’s been extensively discussed in comments to prior posts on Jason’s paper. Here again is a link to some useful information: one-way speed of light. We continue:

In contrast, the ASC model is the premise that the description of creation given in Genesis 1 is true and is by the ASC convention from earth’s point of view.

Huh? What? His model is that the convention is true? We understand him that far, but the rest of his sentence is confusing — at least to us. Here’s more:

In other words, I have supposed that the Bible is using the ASC convention when it stamps the timing of various celestial events. This supposition is falsifiable.

Okay, his model is that the ASC convention is more than a convention — it’s also the truth. At least in Genesis. Got it. Continuing.

In principle, it could be that I am wrong and the Bible is using Einstein or some other synchrony convention rather than ASC.

That’s not terribly likely, with instant starlight on Day Four. Is Jason is being disingenuous here, using Day Four in Genesis as evidence for his model? Moving along:

I have also supposed that cosmological gravitational time-dilation effects are negligible. This stands in contrast to models such as the one that Humphreys has proposed.

If Humphres is the creationist we’ve briefly mentioned from time to time, we’ll ignore him. Another excerpt:

This too could be wrong. The ASC model makes certain predictions about what we will see in the distant universe. If these predictions are not met, then the ASC model will be refuted. But the ASC convention will still be acceptable.

The convention is untestable, so it’s irrelevant. But why didn’t Jason describe those testable predictions his model makes about the distant universe? Anyway, that’s all there is, except for this:

We may come back to this issue in future blogs. But that’s it for now.

Okay, let’s discuss it.

Copyright © 2011. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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7 responses to “Lisle’s “Instant Starlight” Paper: Convention? Model?

  1. Gabriel Hanna

    Nothing to discuss, he’s given us nothing. The ASC “model” is indistinguishable from creationism. Doesn’t matter how long distant starlight took to get here, the earth is not less than 10,000 years old. Or if it is, God gave rcoks fake birth certificates.

  2. Gabriel Hanna says: “The ASC “model” is indistinguishable from creationism.”

    That’s how it seemed to me. He should have quit while he was ahead.

  3. You know what, I think I’m going to take the credit for Jason’s admission that things about his model are falsifiable! Is that reasonable? Not in the least, but then, neither is his model.

    And his statement about how things in the far distant universe disproving his model is nuts unless he is talking about the local universal (or even galactic) neightborhood. Sure, it’s far distant by our intra-solar system measurements, but by galactic/universal scales, it’s just down the street.

    I would be interested in what he thinks we may discover some day that would disprove his model that we can’t see today. His model is nonsense according to nearly everything we can see in the sky. How he can ignore that and suggest that it’s only something on the far reaches of our detection that could possibly disprove his theory is beyond my understanding.

  4. Gabriel Hanna


    It’s not real science, is why. It’s just a big asterisk that he’s putting on mainstream science to give creationists a license to feel like they’re not nutters, and to bait people who don’t know a great deal about relativity into displaying they don’t know as much as he does.

    I’m actually grateful to him for bringing synchrony conventions to my attention, but I don’t have much respect for what he’s trying to do with them. He’s a magnificent bastard.

  5. Jason’s comment that the “Bible is using the ASC” or the “Bible is using Einstein or some other synchrony convention” is absurd. There is no way that the writers of Genesis, probably about 500 BCE, were sitting around mulling over what synchrony convention they were going to employ in their creation story. It didn’t happen.

    Jason’s claim that his “model” is falsifiable is meaningless without an explanation of how it can be done. Instead of explaining, he writes “that’s all for now”. I think Jason has no idea how to falsify his “model”, and no intent to write on this subject again. Now, that’s a hypothesis that can be falsified.

  6. Ed, the standard YEC answer to what you’re saying with whether or not the writers of Genesis were using X or Y synchrony convention is that while they themselves didn’t have the foggiest clue what a synchrony convention is, God put particular words into their writings to give us clues today.

    It turns the Bible into a DaVinci Code-like riddle, super secret meanings buried with obscure clues. The sad hilarity of it all is that the YECs frequently claim they are just using a straight-forward reading.

    Sorry, no. There is no conceivable way that anything that could conceivably be categorized as “straightforward” could ever extract an asynchronous light speed convention (or any convention) out of the Bible. It’s using the Bible as an Ouija board.

  7. Dr Lisle is trying to find a solution to the creationist’s ‘distant starlight problem’. The reason for this is because it is the most obvious problem. It makes it appear that God is deliberately trying to deceive us; at least after we have dismissed the other creationist solutions as unworkable. But the real problem goes much deeper. If it is the idea of starlight being created ‘en route’, with its supernovae, that is unacceptable, then why should it be more acceptable that all stars were instantaneously created in just the stages of development that we happen to see in the present era?

    We have a very good idea about the life-cycle of stars and are familiar with the processes involved. Some of these processes happen sufficiently quickly for man to have observed them taking place; but others take far longer. When we look at the stars, we find them at all stages in their lives. Why should a few stars have been created just at the point before they go supernovae?

    Obviously creationists will dismiss all this in their usual way. But how far can this deception be justified? ‘Creation Scientists’ stand in a very awkward position: they believe that their hypothesis is supported by science at the same time rejecting any science that does not support it as, ‘unreliable’, ‘wrong’, ‘sinful’ or a ‘conspiracy’. This would make some sense if only a small distance separated the scientific and creationist position.

    In reality, the two positions began to part company about 200 years ago (longer if you count the flat Earth and geocentricism). Despite all the creationists’ protestations, I have yet to see an example of research being funded to disprove the 6000 year hypothesis; it has been disproved during normal scientific progress and now just does not count in scientific thinking.

    So we have two world views, apart from at the moment of creation (and often not even then) they are orthogonal: one is based on science and does not consider the Genesis account to be historical; the other is based on the Genesis account and considers it historical.

    There is now an unbridgeable chasm between the two views, not just philosophical but in practical application. Science has given us (insert own list here) while creationism has failed to come up with something of practical use in 200 years.

    Finally a problem for the theologians. If a creator gives us a book explaining how he made the Universe but actually made the Universe such that it appears to be made in some other way, would we honour the creator more by accepting that he really wants us to know the Universe the way it appears rather than the way given in the book? Anyone can write a book, you really have to be rather clever to make a Universe.