Answers in Genesis & the Speed of Light

When we posted Neutrinos Move Faster Than Light? a week ago, we knew it would be fun to watch for the creationists’ reactions. There were a few right away.

Discovery Institute “fellow” David Klinghoffer posted that if relativity is collapsing, can evolution be far behind? See Another One Bites the Dust? And then, as we reported here, Ellis Washington, the leading creationist intellectual at WorldNetDaily, said:

Nothing in science is absolutely certain. Even today scientists are proving one of Einstein’s bedrock theories to be false – that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light.

Now we bring you the viewpoint from Answers in Genesis (AIG), one of the major sources of young-earth creationist wisdom. What we found is in AIG’s News to Note, October 1, 2011 — “A weekly feature examining news from the biblical viewpoint.”

It’s the second item at their news summary, titled Is the neutrino guilty of breaking the cosmic speed limit? It’s rather long and there seems to be no consistency to it, but we finally figured it out at the end. We’ll skip over AIG’s description of the CERN findings because you know all that by now, and there are better sources than AIG. They link to this article from Nature: Particles break light-speed limit. Let’s get to AIG’s reaction, with bold font added by us:

So what lessons should we as Christians be taking from all this?

Notice how they zoom in on the key question. Most admirable! Let’s read on:

First of all, we should applaud the honesty of the CERN researchers for declaring that their results should be taken with a huge grain of salt. When something violates a well-established principle — that which is observable or known from a reliable eyewitness account — we should avoid blithely accepting it.

Remember AIG’s proviso — we should avoid blithely accepting something from science when it violates a well-established principle or a “reliable eyewitness account”. That’ll come up later. Otherwise, what AIG just said about CERN’s honesty is fine with us. Well, we note that that AIG doesn’t worry about violating well-established scientific principles regarding their own creation science, but let’s not dwell on that. We continue:

Some of our readers have asked if this result provides an answer to the distant starlight problem by proving variability in the speed of light. … Dr. Jason Lisle has published a model explaining distant starlight’s transit time which is consistent with the 6,000 year age of the universe provided by biblical chronology and does not violate the laws of standard physics.

Right. We posted many times about that, most recently: Lisle’s “Instant Starlight” Paper: Convention? Model? Here’s more:

Dr. Lisle adds, “This experiment does not in any way support the notion that the speed of light is variable or that any particles can actually travel faster than light. It is unquestionably the result of some tiny miscalibration of the equipment, or an un-accounted-for variable, and does not suggest any new physics. Indeed, all experimental evidence to date is consistent with Einstein’s conclusion that the (round-trip) speed of light in vacuum is constant. The tiny deviation is definitely suggestive of experimental error. The results should not be used to suggest that the standard view of physics is wrong.”

M’god! Jason is making sense. Moving along:

Some have suggested that Answers in Genesis is inconsistent in pointing to the errors of uniformitarian thinking while maintaining that God created the physical universe and put certain physical laws and reliable constants in place. However, the uniformitarian worldview maintains that all things have continued at the same rate without any supernatural or catastrophic events to alter them. Namely, uniformitarianism excludes the Creation by God and the global Flood.

Yes, science must avoid the uniformitarian worldview in order to leave room for miracles. Another excerpt:

Moreover, there is a difference between uniformitarianism and uniformity. Uniformity of physical laws in the universe reflects an underlying orderliness due to God’s sustaining power.

Head spinning yet? If not, this will do it:

However, uniformitarian thinking inconsistently insists that life evolved by random processes in non-living matter, clearly a violation of the law of biogenesis — a scientific principle of biology which holds that life only comes from life.

The sacred law of biogenesis — expounded only in creationist comic books and at websites like AIG. We’ve debunked it in Common Creationist Claims Confuted.

You still can’t figure out what AIG says about the speed of light, can you? Stay with us; it’s in their final paragraph. We’ll break it up so we can comment on each little segment:

As Bible-believing Christians, we should realize that the Word of God provides God’s eyewitness account of His Creation — the time when He supernaturally created the universe, initiated time, and created the physical scientific laws by which the universe operates.

We told you to keep that “eyewitness account” proviso in mind. It means that scripture — God’s eyewitness account — overrules uniformitarian scientific laws. On with the paragraph:

The speed of light question here is not one of any biblical consequence per se

Then why mention it at all? The rest of the sentence explains that:

but the discernment shown by the scientists involved is a fine example we should emulate when it comes to measuring those things we hear authoritatively reported, measuring all things by the yardstick of God’s Word.

Ah, now we understand! The neutrino speed measurements aren’t particularly important to AIG, but whenever scientists announce their findings, and those findings contradict scripture, we should be skeptical. That’s the creationists’ message. Got it!

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

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2 responses to “Answers in Genesis & the Speed of Light

  1. I sometimes hear creationists ask whether it is better to believe scientists or the Creator of the universe (to whom their “wisdom” is foolishness).

    I reply by asking them why the Creator of the universe would plant so much evidence of so many different types that all show evolution happens if it ain’t so? Is God a trickster? So, if one is to believe the Creator of the Universe, evolution happens.

  2. TBG:
    Most creationists accept the findings of the scientists that the Earth is a planet, contrary to the clear statements in the Bible that the Sun is moving around a fixed Earth.
    If we misunderstand the complex specified pattern of the diversity of life, how can we trust our inference to the Earth being a planet?
    Or, for that matter, why should we believe that there is “intelligent design”; or why should we believe that the Bible is telling us about a “young earth”?