Saturday, July 20, 2013

Arbitrariness in Mature Creation Theory

Six feet above contradiction: YEC  Guru Jason Lisle

In my recent post on Jason Lisle’s “solution” to the YEC star light problem I quoted a large portion of one of his discussion threads to which I added some additional comments of my own. During the course of this exercise I discovered a fascinating exchange between one of Lisle’s followers and Lisle himself. I reproduce this exchange below (See Lisle’s blog post ironically titled “Arbitrariness and Inconsistency” and dated August 2012)

Jason Lisle’s ASC Model is a pastiche which uses the old YEC idea that signals in space are created in transit and yet at the same time refrains from using this contrivance when signals are directed toward Earth. Because Lisle is therefore very much left with the snail’s pace of signal propagation at angles oblique to Earth directed radials he has to use liberal and arbitrary dollops of “mature creation” theory when it comes to “explaining” (If that’s the right word!) interacting star masses; that is, he postulates these star masses to be created “as is”. This requires him to posit signal creation in transit in his model. I can only guess that Lisle is comfortable with this because it is galactic matter that “sees” these bogus signals and rather than the conscious human eye.

In the exchange below Lisle quotes one of his followers “Preston” by using a blue type face and then responds in black text. In order to assist interpretation I have enlarged the quotations from Preston by including some of the context from which the quotations were taken. As before my own additions are shown in bold and in square brackets.

Dr. Lisle says:
Hi Preston,
> …but when I try to think of why a hypothetical aged universe and the actual young universe would look different, I don’t quite have a grasp of it.

A supernaturally created universe less than 6000 years old can look like virtually anything that God wishes. However, a 13.7 billion year old universe cannot have young objects in it unless those objects can form spontaneously. Blue stars, for example, should not exist if the universe were billions of years old since they can’t last long, and apparently cannot form. But they exist.

[My Comment: Anything God wishes?  Mature creation theory stands on the cusp of irrefutability, its only restraint being, presumably, the requirement for God’s creative integrity; but even this has little constraint on the possibilities, if YEC John Byl is to be believedAs we have seen from the Beyond Our Ken series Lisle has some tricky choices – which “mature creation” features is he going to accept as not compromising creative integrity and which one’s is he going to reject as a compromising creative integrity?
Lisle’s recourse to the blue stars distribution is very weak evidence for YEC; it makes use of a naively uniformitarian view of nature and yet even this fails to return a figure of 6000 years. Like so much so called YEC evidence, whilst it may present theoretical challenges for established time scales, it hardly classifies as positive evidence for YEC.]
> There apparently is nothing they can’t explain with the most absurd, nonphysical, and never before seen physics.

Yes, there is always a rescuing device.
[My comment: Lisle is proposing a 6000 year cosmology; very few, if any, cosmological processes return a mere 6000 years.  That leaves him having to utilise liberal dollops of mature creation theory to “explain” what he sees in the heavens. Yes, there is always a rescuing device and Lisle has reserved for himself the easiest and laziest opt out of all: “God created it just like that!”. Mature creature theory compromises the scientific content of a theory.]
> I’m curious why a wound up galaxy or an open spiral would be a sign of age? May not God may [sic] have created either form?

Yes. God can create either. But an open spiral cannot last more than 1 billion years, because differential rotation of the galaxies would wrap the arms into a homogenous disk with only trace of spiral structure. But we don’t find that type of galaxy. All the spiral galaxies we find must be less than 100 million years old based on their spiral structure.
[My Comment:  So yes, there is a theoretical issue with the mechanism behind the galactic spirals.  But, says Preston, what relevance is this to Lisle’s cosmology when Lisle can claim that God could simply create galaxies “as is”, just like that! This guy Preston is asking some very useful questions (See this post for morethat are starting show up Lisle’s anti-science for what is: Lisle is not engaged in science of any integrity and a novice like Preston is faced with the question I have already mentioned above: Which “mature creation” features can be accepted as not compromising creative integrity and which ones have to be rejected as a compromising creative integrity?
Given the sort of questions he’s asking I have wondered if Preston is an undercover troll playing a very clever game. Although my guess is that he is genuine, frankly I'm not absolutely sure!]
> Also, I wonder why God would have created planets with or without magnetic fields?

Those kinds of questions are virtually impossible to answer with any confidence. God does what He does. Only in some cases does He tell us why. The Earth’s magnetic field helps protect life from cosmic radiation. But why God created magnetic fields on other planets is known only to Him.
[My Comment:  Once again Preston exposes Lisle’s non-science because as Lisle says Preston's questions are impossible to answer in the context of mature creation theory. Basically Lisle can have no theory for planetary magnetic fields because his mature creation theory of  “God just did it like that” generates no testable results.]
> And regarding blue stars, once again I don’t know of a reason why God wouldn’t have created any stage or size star he chose.

He can and He did. God created a range of different types of stars. But only the blue ones are a good argument for a young universe because they shouldn’t exist in a 13 billion year old universe. Red dwarf stars are compatible either with a young universe or an old universe.
[My comment: Blue stars might be a theoretical challenge for established cosmic time scales but they certainly aren’t good positive argument for a “young universe” if by “young” you mean a mere 6000 years. Notice once again how Preston is subtly subverting Lisle’s claim to doing authentic science: Preston’s subtext is: “God can do anything he wants , (presumably within the constraint of creative integrity?) so how can we do cosmological science in that context?” In response Lisle is only able to engage in the distraction of his negative anti-science by pointing to theoretical issues in established science]
> But its [sic] not clear to me how that would prove or disprove ASC?

If the spiral structure of spiral galaxies became increasingly wound with distance then that would argue against the ASC model and in favor of a time dilation model. The reason is that ASC expects evidence of youth at all distances, whereas time dilation models (depending on the parameters) might expect evidence of increased age with distance.
[My comment: Let’s be clear: Lisle’s “God did it just like!” cosmology doesn't logically oblige, predict or expect that galaxies would have all the same “wind”.  After all, as Preston has said God could create galaxies in any state of wind.  Given that Lisle is quite happy with mature creationism then galactic wind as a function of distance is not informative: Increasing galactic wind with distance could conceivably be just another artefact of mature creation.]
> …but in the beginning of creation might the Lord have created trees that would appear “young” and “old”? Large and small? I would not expect tree rings, and some have said that such rings would give a “false” appearance. But on the other hand, if the Lord chose for trees to have rings due to growth cycles, perhaps it’s a beautiful enough trait to be worth creating from the beginning. So either way, would a closed or open galaxy, or blue or red stars be a sign of age? 

Nothing literally appears young or old, because age is not an observable property. But I take your point. Yes, I would expect large and small trees at creation. But if (hypothetically) trees could not reproduce, and we found lots of small and large trees all over the planet, would that not be compelling evidence that the earth had been created very recently? If the earth were old, and trees (hypothetically) could not reproduce, then we’d expect to find no small trees anywhere. Likewise, blue stars should not exist in an old universe.
[My comment:   Very little is actually “observable”; by far and away the greater part of our world is inferred from direct experience (and that inference only works because our world is providentially rational). For example, the shape and characteristics of atoms are an inference; we don’t observe them in a literal sense. Even people are an inference; it’s just that our brainware is so good at interpreting the signals from other people that those people seem to be right “there” in front of us; and yet this inference is the product of a huge (unconscious) intellectual effort.  Likewise age/maturity/youth are inferences. But in Lisle’s world of “as is” creation the rational integrity of the cosmos is threatened and it is this that is leading to Preston’s problems; namely, the difficulty in identifying just what can and what can’t  be accepted as creation with integrity. If God created trees “as is” in the first instance why should He necessarily want a create a spread of trees with different maturities? He might want them all “young” or all “old” or perhaps as Lisle suggests a mix of both. In the final analysis mature creation compromises knowability.  The only thing Lisle can come up with of any substance is the theoretical challenge  posed by blue stars etc. to old universe theory, a theory which clearly has content enough for Lisle to know what would challenge it.  In contrast Preston’s difficulties in identifying what to expect from Lisle’s cosmology is exposing the lack of content in Lislalian cosmology.
On the subject of tree rings see this post ]
 > What if ASC AND a model like Dr. Humphries were both in effect? And with the results of the RATE project factored in, where there was a period of accelerated radioactive decay at sometime in the past, it seems like almost anything could be expected in the heavens.

Although the two models are not incompatible, the truth of one makes the other unnecessary, at least in terms of solving the starlight issue. But yes, it is possible in principle that the basics of both are true.
[My Comment: Russ Humphreys’ model at least has content. Keeping (roughly) within the rules of physics his model generates results, although contrary to observation. In comparison Lisle’s theory generates next to nothing]
> Is a star ready to go super nova any more good or bad than a planet of frozen methane or one with a core of iron? Doesn’t seem like it to me. I don’t know that physics or chemistry of a particular type carry a moral value, as opposed to biology. Creatures actions either in obedience or disobedience to God do carry a judgement [sic] value, but radioactivity or asteroids or “colliding” galaxies don’t seem at all the same. But then I know almost nothing of astrophysics or even astronomy, so there may be theological implications that I’ unaware of.

Your profession is on the leading edge of the battle to uphold the bible. What an exciting time to be an astrophysicist! [My comment: That's right Preston, keep the guru sweet with a compliment!]

Yes, I agree.
[My Comment: The above comment by Preston is certainly interesting. I think he’s trying to express this: He has thrown up his hands in realisation that mature creation theory leads to all but content-less theorising. He also senses the problem of creative integrity that mature creation theory brings with it.  What he seems to be trying say, then, is this “Well OK, it's sentient beings to which the rules of integrity apply, but it doesn't matter if insentient objects like colliding galaxies appear to be lying about their history!”]
Hope this helps.

[My comments: ...oh yes Dr. Lisle it most certainly does! But you might find that you've left Preston rather confused; but not to worry tomorrow's another day and he can come back for more (confusion)! And thank you Mr Preston; thank you very, very much indeed - Keep up the good work!]


Sam Trenholme said...

Real quickly: Two blog blog posts that refute Lisle’s notion that young blue supergiants force the universe to be young.

Timothy V Reeves said...

Thanks for the links - always useful!

Sam Trenholme said...

Here's a news item about a new star's birth being observed. “The birth of a new star in the constellation Vela, approximately 1,400 light-years from Earth, was captured using the European Southern Observatory’s Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), located in Chile.”

Timothy V Reeves said...

Thanks very much Sam!