This is another post to refute a constant claim of young-Earth creationists that the laws of nature in the past were wildly different from what they are now. Our first post about this, which refers to several different examples of evidence, is Hey, Creationists: Laws of Nature Don’t Change.
Why do creationists insist that the laws of nature were different in the past? It’s obvious — if the laws of nature haven’t changed, then radiometric dating methods are accurate, geological forces currently at work were behaving the same in the past, the speed of light wasn’t wildly faster in the past to get distant starlight to Earth almost instantaneously, and the waters of the Flood couldn’t suddenly come from and then go to somewhere, somehow. That means the universe described in Genesis is utterly impossible. See The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Creation Science.
To defend what’s written in Genesis, creationists declare that scientists don’t know what they’re talking about, because the constancy of the laws of nature is an arbitrary, unverifiable assumption. After all, they say, you don’t know what things were like back then. Were you there?
Well, we weren’t there, but we can see things that were there. Light, for instance. There’s a great article in PhysOrg on this: Three eyes on the sky track laws of Nature 10 billion years ago. They say, with bold font added by us:
Astronomers have focused the three most powerful optical telescopes in the world on a single point in the sky to test one of Nature’s fundamental laws. An international team, led by researchers from Swinburne University of Technology, observed a quasar – the extremely bright surroundings of a supermassive black hole – using the Very Large Telescope in Chile and the W M Keck Observatory and Subaru Telescope, both in Hawaii.
Why are they all looking at that quasar? We’re told:
The quasar light passed through three different galaxies, some 10, 9 and 8 billion years ago, on its way to Earth. These galaxies absorbed a characteristic pattern of colours out of the quasar light, revealing the strength of electromagnetism – one of Nature’s four fundamental forces – in the early and distant Universe.
That’s really good! Let’s read on:
“We spread the light very finely into its component colours, producing a rainbow with a `barcode’ pattern of missing colours. We can then measure electromagnetism by `reading’ this barcode,” said Tyler Evans, Swinburne PhD student and lead author of the new study.
This is the published paper — a 24-page pdf file: The UVES Large Program for testing fundamental physics – III. Constraints on the fine-structure constant from 3 telescopes.
Back to PhysOrg, will skip some stuff about coordinating the three telescopes. Here are the results:
[Associate Professor Michael Murphy, who co-authored the work said:] “Once corrected, all three telescopes gave the same answer: electromagnetism hasn’t changed, within a few parts per million, over 10 billion years. I think this is the most reliable measurement of its kind so far”. The team is now making similarly careful measurements in many other galaxies.
One more excerpt:
“With our new techniques and new quasar observations recently complete, we can make the most accurate check to see whether electromagnetism’s strength really is changing or not,” Associate Professor Murphy said.
What will Hambo and his flock do now? They have two choices: (1) ignore these observations; or (2) mention and dismiss them as the desperate ravings of secularists. Either way, ol’ Hambo is going to stick with his claim that “historical (or origins) science” is worthless, because it’s based on arbitrary, unverifiable assumptions, and the only way to really know what things were like long ago is to read the bible.
Scientists have a somewhat different approach — they observe reality. If reality and scripture disagree, well, the choice of which one to go with is up to you, dear reader.
See also: The Laws of Nature Don’t Change, #3.
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