Creationists are always telling us that our scientific knowledge of the past, from astronomy, physics, geology, biology, etc. — which clearly contradicts the Genesis creation account — is unreliable. Why? Because it depends on an unverifiable assumption. What assumption? That the regularities we observe in nature have always been constant. The creationists derisively sneer: Were you there?
We’ve responded to that a number of times. One of our favorites is to cite The Lessons of Tiktaalik, where we discussed the incomparable merit of a scientific explanation of the past — cross-confirmation by independent lines of evidence.
But that doesn’t impress the creationists. As we explained in The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Creation Science, they claim:
[All the] laws of nature and physical processes we see today — in geology, physics, and biology — everything could have been different in the past. You don’t know, because you weren’t there. The past can’t be reproduced in the lab, so it’s unknowable by the tools of science. How different was everything back then? As different as necessary, whenever necessary, for as long as necessary, in order to have a universe in which Genesis is absolutely true in every detail.
That’s obviously balderdash, but their only “evidence” for their wild claim is their insistence that Genesis tells the history of the universe as it really was. This is in spite of the fact that scientists are always finding ways to show that natural laws did function in the past as they do today. Another favorite example of this is our observation of supernova SN1987A, which undeniably indicates that lightspeed hasn’t changed for more than 168,000 years. There’s no way the universe we observe could be only 6,000 years old. We posted about that here: How Old Is The Creationists’ Universe?
Now we have another example of the constancy of natural laws. This is from PhysOrg: Cosmic alcohol once again confirms the constancy of a natural constant. The title seems a bit arcane, but we’ll give you a few excerpts to show the relevance to what we’re talking about — with some bold font added for emphasis:
A research team led by FOM [Foundation for Fundamental Research on Matter] workgroup leader Prof. Dr. Wim Ubachs and Dr. Rick Bethlem has once again demonstrated that the mass ratio between electrons and protons has remained the same over the past 7.5 billion years. The group, which published this conclusion last January in Science, has recently performed a wide range of measurements that confirm their earlier finding. The new results are published on 4 December in Physical Review Letters.
Here’s a link to the published paper: Robust Constraint on a Drifting Proton-to-Electron Mass Ratio at z=0.89 from Methanol Observation at Three Radio Telescopes. All you can see is the abstract, unless you have a subscription. No problem, we’ll stay with PhysOrg. They say:
The mass of a proton is 1836.152672 times as big as the mass of an electron. That ratio, and with it the structure of all molecular material, has remained precisely the same for 7.5 billion years – at least within a margin of 100,000th of a percent. Ubachs and his colleagues concluded that when they observed methanol molecules outside the Milky Way last year, using the Effelsberg radio telescope.
This is intolerable for the creationists. Not only do these observations go back billions of years, but there seems to have been no blip at all as a result of the fall of man, when creationists say all the laws of the universe were changed. How was this blasphemous scientific conclusion reached? It’s a bit technical, but let’s read on:
Methanol (CH3OH, the simplest form of alcohol) is sensitive to changes in the proton-electron mass ratio. A small deviation would affect the structure of the molecule and the associated absorption spectrum. An absorption spectrum reveals precisely which radiation frequencies are absorbed by a particle. Each molecule has its own characteristic spectrum. The spectrum of methanol was found to be ideally suited for analysing the natural constant: if the proton-electron mass ratio changes, some lines in the methanol spectrum will strongly shift while others will remain the same (the so-called anchor lines).
Last year the researchers analysed the spectrum of methanol molecules in a different galaxy. As the molecules are so far away, it takes a long time before their radiation reaches the Earth. In effect, the researchers were therefore looking back in time at how methanol looked 7.5 billion years ago. They saw that the ‘old methanol’ has a comparable spectrum to the modern methanol.
There’s more, but we’ll quit here. You can click over there to read it all. So what’s the conclusion? For the creationists, this is an outrage! What will Hambo and his gang at Answers in Genesis say? What about the creation scientists at the Institute for Creation Research? The Discoveroids are mostly old-Earthers, so they could claim that they’re not surprised — this is more proof of their magical designer’s fine-tuning activities. But that might upset a lot of their young-Earth fan base. They’ll all probably say nothing, but we’ll be watching.
See also: The Laws of Nature Don’t Change, #2.
See also: The Laws of Nature Don’t Change, #3.
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