Our last post in this series was The Laws of Nature Don’t Change, #2. That was about electromagnetism, which — according to telescopic observations — hasn’t changed in 10 billion years.
The first post in the series mentioned supernova SN1987A, which undeniably indicates that lightspeed hasn’t changed for more than 168,000 years, so there’s no way the universe we observe could be only 6,000 years old. But it was mostly about a demonstration that the mass ratio between electrons and protons has remained the same over the past 7.5 billion years.
Why do we bother with such things? 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. See The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Creation Science. 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, because the light from distant stars is just now reaching us, and it can tell us how things were a long time ago.
As we’ve said before, 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. Therefore, whenever we learn of evidence that the laws of nature haven’t changed, it’s worth mentioning.
There’s a great new article in PhysOrg — Distant quasar spectrum reveals no sign of changes in mass ratio of proton and electron over 12 billion years. We’ve written about that ratio before, but at that time the evidence was that it had remained the same over the past 7.5 billion years. Now there’s evidence that it’s been unchanged for another 4.5 billion years. That’s getting close to the start of the universe. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:
A team of space researchers working with data from the VLT in Chile [that’s the Very Large Telescope] has found via measuring the spectrum of a distant quasar by analyzing absorption lines in a galaxy in front of it, that there was no measurable change in the mass ratio of protons and electrons over a span of 12 billion years. In their paper published in the journal Physical Review Letters, the team, made up of two members from VU University in the Netherlands, and two members from Swinburne University of Technology in Australia, describe their findings and what it might mean for helping to explain dark energy.
Here’s a link to the paper: Constraint on a Varying Proton-Electron Mass Ratio 1.5 Billion Years after the Big Bang. Without a subscription, all you can see is the abstract, so we’ll stay with PhysOrg:
Some theories suggest that dark energy, the mysterious force that has the universe continuing to expand, might be a field that evolves over time — if so, that might mean that some of the constants we take for granted, such as gravity, the speed of light, etc., might actually evolve as well. In this new effort, the researchers sought to test that idea by looking to see if the mass of protons or electrons (both of which are considered to be fundamental constants) and the ratio that describes their mass difference, changed over the course of billions of years.
We’re not terribly interested in dark energy, but if their observations can puncture a claim of the creationists, that’s good enough for us, so we need only one more excerpt:
Their measurements showed no deviation (with a precision of 10-6) from the current constant, suggesting that the ratio has remained constant for at least 12 billon years.
Creationists like ol’ Hambo and his flock now 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.
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