Saturday, March 29, 2014

Yet Another YEC Starlight "Solution": He can’t be Serious!

 According to one Biblical Literalist Andromeda is in front, not behind, most of those star!. But then perhaps he’ll claim that those “stars” are just specks of dust in front of Andromeda catching the light? After all, we’ve never been there, so how do we know?

A recent post on Uncommon Descent (March 25) by Young Earth Creationist S. Cordova adds to the pile of dime-store attempts to solve the YEC star light problem; yes Mr. Cordova I think you have probably got it wrong (again):  

Cosmologists Say Last Week’s Announcement About Gravitational Waves and Inflation May Be Wrong. :-)
Hey, I want to take a chance at being wrong too. Here is my shot at being wrong, I agree with Katirai: Andromeda has 1 star, not billions.
Professor of Astronomy YP Varshni published in 2005 that quasar Ton 202 is only about 700 light years away, not 3.3 Giga light years. If quasars are close, why not everything else? And if everything else is close, then galaxies are close, and if galaxies are close, the Andromeda galaxy isn’t billions and billions of stars but rather a single star surrounded by gas, debris, and maybe planets. Do you believe your eyes or do you believe the multiverse advocates?

I don’t think the distance to the stars and the nature of galaxies is in the same league as still emerging science; unlike many of the details of Big Bang theory and exotic objects like quasars these things are not up for fundamental revision. Unless, that is to say, one is a fundamentalist like Cordova; and it probably helps if one temperamentally leans toward the view that the academic establishment is all part of the tax-payer-funded-one-world-government conspiracy intended to defraud us!

Notice how once a again we have here another YEC starlight “solution” where we see no progressive development in YEC cosmology: Cordova’s proposal doesn’t build on a foundation of preceding YEC work but sets out on a completely different departure to what has gone before; e.g. it’s nothing like Jason Lisle’s solution to the problem which in turn is very different to Russ Humphrey’s solution. If anything Cordova’s attempt is even more crackpot than Lisle’s attempt which at least doesn’t radically revise the size of the visible universe. Such a revision has huge implications for all that established work involving triangulation, star magnitudes, variable stars, proper motions, spectral data, Novae, red shifts, Russell-Hertzsprung diagram, Olber’s paradox, background radiation etc – all that is thrown to the winds as part of either an intended conspiracy or a world wide conspiracy of mistaken interpretation based on a preconceived world view.

The common factor with YECs, however, is the epistemic conceit which stakes all on a dogmatic misinterpretation of the meaning of ancient texts written in the context of mythological and pre-scientific societies, and then calls this misinterpretation “God’s Word”.

This haphazard pile of half-baked cosmologies isn’t science but YEC culture thrashing about for an answer to its hardest and biggest problem; namely, the size of the cosmos in comparison with the rate at which the stuff of matter moves around in the depths of space. However, as far as the Biblical literalist community is concerned this thrashing provides uncritical and ignorant YEC followers with some straws to cling onto; it leaves the impression that the issue is in hand with apparently plausible alternatives to the established view being proffered. But the work of these YEC theorists can have the more insidious effect of appearing to show that the data from deep space provides fit to such a diversity of radically different models that no conclusions about the nature of the cosmos can be made, thus neutralizing the Starlight problem by simply muddying the waters. In short the strategy of the YECs has the effect of suggesting that anything goes because the essential nature of the cosmos is unknown and unknowable; after all they could claim that “We’re not out there, so how do we know?

This muddying of the waters strategy harks back to the work of Whitcombe and Morris in their book The Genesis Flood. After discussing a speculative theory that proposes light only takes about 15 years to travel from the most distant stars they tell us:

We do not propose to evaluate this theory but only to point out that all cosmological theory is still highly speculative. The very fact that such a theory can be developed and seriously considered demonstrates that astronomy has nothing really definite as yet to say about the age of the universe. (Page 370, 1974)

With the job of undermining the necessarily a priori epistemic assumptions of rational readability and intelligibility the work of  the YECs is done: Astronomy has nothing really definite to say….and instead we’ll stick with our literal reading of texts written in a pre-scientific mythological era. As far as I’m concerned it is time ill spent challenging every detail of the desultory anti science activity of these Biblical literalists.

But really this post on UD by Cordova is all very disappointing; I thought UD was better than this. Doesn’t the cosmos have a rational readability and intelligibility about it? Whatever next? The Sun is not a nuclear burning star? Geocentrism? Flat Earth? Moon landings a hoax? Reptilian conspiracies? After all, who knows, we’re not there as eyewitnesses! It looks to me as if UD is becoming cranky; but perhaps it was cranky all along anyway and I was just being too generous: It is one thing to challenge The Theory of Evolution but it is quite another to overthrow well established science carefully constructed over many years of observation; unless of course one sees this as just part of a huge anti-God conspiracy! (and probably one-world-government funded at that!)

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