This is about another article from the creation scientists at Answers in Genesis (AIG). It’s titled Galaxies — Unexplained Spirals. We notice that it’s dated 08 December 2010, so AIG is recycling one of their oldies.
This is somewhat like the AIG article we discussed in our recent post, Blue Stars Prove a Young Universe. Once again, AIG’s author is Danny Faulkner. Here’s their biographical information about him. They say he taught physics and astronomy until he joined AIG. His undergraduate degree is from Bob Jones University.
Danny’s essay begins with what he assumes is a profound question:
Since they were first discovered, galaxies have been a source of wonder. Many are arranged into beautiful spirals. But if they’ve been spinning for billions of years, wouldn’t their arms lose their slender shape?
That’s where our title comes from. Danny’s question assumes that spiral galaxies represent a catastrophic problem for those who think the universe is 14 billion years old. Observe, dear reader, that as with his prior article, and as is typical of creationists, Danny focuses only on the evidence he likes. First, even if spiral galaxies really are a problem, he shouldn’t ignore the fact that many galaxies aren’t spirals (see Galaxy morphological classification). If spiral galaxies must be young, then why aren’t all galaxies spiral shaped? Don’t those others present a problem for creationists?
Second, while focusing only on spiral galaxies, Danny also ignores the fact that we see some of them millions of light years away. They obviously existed long ago, otherwise their light couldn’t reach us. But even if we go along with Danny and limit the discussion to only to spiral galaxies, and if we also ignore their distance, why is their shape a problem?
Danny tells us that there are billions of galaxies out there. Then he presents the Genesis account of how they came to be. In Genesis 1:16 it says: “And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.” That’s all we’re told about the stars in Genesis. They were created on Day Three, by the way, after the Earth had already been created.
After that, things get interesting. Danny says, with some bold font added by us:
The astronomers who reject God’s revealed history, however, are still struggling to find an alternative explanation. One of their biggest challenges is the lovely spiral arms that grace so many galaxies. Simply put, these spirals should lose their shape in a very old universe. Indeed, the persistence of spiral arms suggests that the universe is very young.
Why should spirals lose their shape? Are they swirling around in the water above the firmament, which Genesis mentions? Danny never discusses that. Instead, he tells us:
In the 1930s astronomers realized a problem, though. The outer stars needed more time to complete their orbit than the inner stars. As the distance from the center of a galaxy increases, the spiral arms ought to become unstable. That is, after a few rotations, spiral arms ought to smear out.
Astronomers debated for years whether spiral arms wound up or unwound, depending upon the direction of rotation. No matter which view they adopted, however, if galaxies are at least ten billion years old, as is generally thought, then no spiral arms should be left.
Then he gets around to discussing the theory of Dark matter, which, according to Wikipedia, “is a type of matter hypothesized in astronomy and cosmology to account for a large part of the mass that appears to be missing from the universe.”
Your Curmudgeon is no expert in this area — we’re counting on you, dear reader, to augment our limited knowledge. As we understand it, among the supposed effects of dark matter is that it explains the rotational speed of galaxies. Unlike the planets in the solar system, stars are observed to rotate around their galactic centers at roughly the same speed, regardless of their distance from the galaxy’s center.
They shouldn’t do that. The fact that they seem to do so suggests that there is much more mass in the spiral arms than can be detected with our telescopes. If dark matter were that “missing mass,” it would explain how the apparently wispy spiral arms can rotate so rapidly. But we hadn’t heard that without dark matter, the galaxies would lose their spiral shapes. Why would they? It’s not as if they’d be torn apart by friction or something.
Danny ignores that. He says:
Evidence seems to show that dark matter is confined to the outer regions of galaxies. Most astronomers currently think that this dark matter may allow galaxies’ spirals to survive. However, the best evidence for dark matter — the higher-than-expected rotation of the outer portions of galaxies — may actually make the winding problem worse, not better.
Oh dear! Astronomers keep making things worse! Danny is delighted. He says:
Creationists long have argued that spiral arms should not exist in a very old universe, and so the persistence of spiral arms suggests that the universe is very young. However, because most evolutionary astronomers begin with an assumption that the universe is billions of years old, they are convinced that some mechanism must continue to uphold spiral arms. If they really had a satisfactory answer, they wouldn’t continually search for a new solution. Their failures show that creationists’ arguments should not be so easily dismissed.
Yes, those astronomers are fools! Here’s more:
Another wrinkle has developed in recent years. Astronomers have photographed very distant galaxies, about 12 billion light-years away. Assuming, for the sake of argument, a big bang happened 13.7 billion years ago, these galaxies are among the youngest in the universe. Though they differ subtly from nearby (and presumably older-appearing) galaxies, they appear otherwise identical to them. In other words, little evolution has occurred.
Egad! Is there no end to these problems? But fear not, dear reader. Danny ends his little essay with the answer to everything:
Within recent creation, we might expect distant galaxies to appear similar to nearby ones, but not with the evolutionary model. Once again, God’s Word sheds unwavering light on the origin and makeup of His grand universe.
It’s all so obvious! Why don’t those astronomers look for the answers in Genesis?
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