A few years ago we posted How Old Is The Creationists’ Universe?, in which we said:
Creationists are forever claiming that the world — and the entire universe — started only around 6,000 years ago. They wave away all of geology, claiming that everything is a consequence of the Flood. They wave away radiometric dating techniques, claiming that the decay rate of isotopes used to be different. They dismiss the hundreds of millions of years required for evolution because … well, because they don’t like evolution.
One of the creationists’ lesser-known difficulties is their Starlight problem, which asks this question: If the universe were only around 6,000 years old, then how is it possible that we see light coming from stars and galaxies that are millions of light-years away from us?
That was where we first discussed a supernova with the catalog number SN1987A (so numbered because it was the first supernova discovered in 1987). It provides direct observational evidence that the speed of light hasn’t changed in 168,000 years.
Creationists don’t care. They say that because you weren’t there in the past, you have no idea what things were like back then. How different was everything? As we mentioned in The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Creation Science, things were “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.”
Now we bring you the latest anti-science effort from the granddaddy of all creationist outfits — the Institute for Creation Research (ICR). They’re the fountainhead of young-earth creationist wisdom. Their article is Distant Starlight and the Big Bang. It was written by Brian Thomas, about whom see The Mind of Brian Thomas. Here are some excerpts from his creation science article, with bold font added by us:
Since light travels at a known rate, how could incredibly far-away starlight have reached Earth in just one day — specifically, Day 4 of the creation week?
That’s the big question. Here’s Brian’s response:
Since the most distant galaxies are so far away, secular astronomers, who assume that light travels at the same speed in all directions (see below), argue that the cosmos must be billions of years old in order for the most distant light to reach us. However, a stunning characteristic of something called cosmic microwave background radiation (CMB) throws a wrench into that idea by introducing the horizon problem. To understand why it’s a problem, we first need to know a little about the CMB.
Only the most mindless simpleton would read a creationist’s description of anything in science in order to learn about it. If you want a good starting point, here’s Wikipedia’s article on the cosmic microwave background, and then the Horizon problem. Skipping Brian’s description of that, he tells us:
In Big Bang scenarios, space and energy mysteriously came into existence and began expanding like an inflating balloon. Some regions of the early universe were allegedly much hotter than others. The hot spots would emit light, thus carrying some of their heat to the cold spots. How long would it take the hot spots and cold spots to reach the same temperature, forming the same-looking CMB we see today? Hot and cold spots that lie on opposite sides of the visible universe are simply too far apart to have reached this same temperature even after 13.8 billion years. This is the horizon problem.
According to the Wikipedia:
The horizon problem … points out that different regions of the universe have not “contacted” each other because of the great distances between them, but nevertheless they have the same temperature and other physical properties. This should not be possible, given that the transfer of information (or energy, heat, etc.) can occur, at most, at the speed of light.
[T]he universe is in fact extremely isotropic, which also implies homogeneity. The cosmic microwave background radiation (CMB), which fills the universe, is almost precisely the same temperature everywhere in the sky, about 2.728 +/- 0.004 K. The differences in temperature are so slight that it has only recently become possible to develop instruments capable of making the required measurements. This presents a serious problem; if the universe had started with even slightly different temperatures in different areas, then there would simply be no way it could have evened itself out to a common temperature by this point in time.
Your humble Curmudgeon is obviously missing something, but we’ve never been bothered by any of that. Why? Because at one time, when the universe was very small, everything was essentially in contact, or nearly so, and a thermal equilibrium could have existed. There’s no need for what are now distant regions of the universe to be exchanging heat instantaneously. Anyway, assuming there is a problem, let’s read on to see what a creation scientist like Brian does with it:
Thus, Big Bang supporters need light to travel from the hot spots to the cold spots in much less time than their own model allows. This is a light-travel time problem — in essence, the same problem as the distant starlight problem allegedly plaguing biblical models. So, light-travel time cannot be used to argue against one view of origins if the alternative view faces the same type of issue.
Aha! The horizon problem is evidence that Genesis is true! [*Face palm*] How could we have missed that? Brian continues:
Creation scientists continue to investigate the intriguing question of how distant starlight can travel to Earth within the biblical timescale. Before scoffers accuse creation researchers of forcing data into a biblical history, they should understand that Big Bang scientists do just that — they look for ways to accommodate the CMB and a host of other observations into their billion-year history.
Yes, “Big Bang scientists” and creation scientists are wrestling with the same problem. Then Brian mentions Jason Lisle’s “Instant Starlight” Paper — you knew he would — and after that he wraps it up with this:
We know that light-travel time challenges Big Bang models that stumble over the horizon problem, but it’s far less an issue for biblical creation. So while we wait for more observations and better answers, why not trust that God did just what He said about stars: They were created on Day 4 to be “lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth.”
So there you are. Cosmologists and creation scientists are working with the same problem, but only creationists have the vision to see The Truth™.
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