|At AiG the Omphalus theory of creation is called |
A Christian fundamentalist once admitted to me that the star-light problem was the biggest of all problems for his belief in a young cosmos. In fact he used give talks on the subject of Young Earth/Cosmos but left out the star light problem and instead referred people to fundamentalist research on the topic.
Although I'm loath to dignify subversive anti-science activity with the name of "research" we can find some of the latest efforts to solve the star light problem on the following Answers in Genesis web page:
In spite of the difficulties of the star-light problem the introduction on the AiG web page is very bullish and up beat:
“Hasn’t science demonstrated that it would take billions of years for the light from the farthest galaxies to reach the earth? Doesn’t this disprove the Genesis account or force us to interpret the words differently?” Not at all……Einstein’s theory of relativity launched a new way of looking at the universe. But one question remained: How long does it take light to reach the earth? The answer depends on your assumptions. “Instantly!” declares a new creationist theory.
That reference to "Instantly!" here may be evidence of the way things are going re star-light problem solutions at AiG. For if this web page is anything to go by then it seems that Jason Lisle's self-deceiving Anisotropic Synchrony Convention cosmogony is settling down at AiG as their best shot at solving the problem so far. But the page I've linked to also includes old 1981 papers that question the constancy of the speed of light; an idea which is now defunct at AiG as far as I'm aware. However, in contrast there is no mention of Russell Humphreys' gravitational time dilation model which although a failure did at least commit Humphreys to a scientific way of proceeding and meant that he had to follow through the logic of his model until it met its nemesis in observation - unlike Lisle's ASC model which is a scientifically backward step to the notorious omphalos theory. Yes, as the above quote says "The answer depends on your assumptions" and if you are prepared to make omphalos assumptions, just about anything goes. The standard negative approach of fundamentalist gurus like Lisle is to challenge the many assumptions that are necessary to make science work. But when they try to be positive themselves and construct their own theories fundie gurus like Lisle have a hard job not using omphalos assumptions, assumptions which are all but irrefutable. In this connection we note that at the head of the list of papers on the star light AiG page is this paper by John Hartnett, a paper which simply accepts Lisle's "last Thursdayist" model and only adds some speculations about mechanisms which might, in the context of the ASC model, explain the red shift.
Let's be clear that Lisle's "science" is based on omphalos ideas or "Last Thursdayism"; this is the belief that God made the universe with evidences of a bogus history, a history sometimes referred to with the euphemism "mature creation". I deal with this idea here and here. Lisle manages to divert attention from his omphalos assumptions by allowing electromagnetic signals to make their full (instantaneous) journey from their source along the radial to Earth in order to satisfy moral sensibilities about the universe not sending lying signals to the human eye and yet he allows the lateral signals, needed to explain interacting galaxies etc, to be created omphalos style in mid flight. In contrast to Lisle's self-deception fundamentalist astronomer John Byl is at least frank about the need for the omphalos hypothesis in YEC assumptions. Hartnett makes no mention of Lisle's trick of managing to conceal the basic omphalos structure of his model or its gravitational problems, both of which I deal with in this post and its links.
The AiG's star light problem web page is a mishmash of mutually inconsistent thrashings, thrashings which show no real progress toward a single definitive solution. But then this is all that's needed to satisfy the average scientifically illiterate AiG supporter who will attempt to halt any challenge to AiG's anti-science stand by referencing a web page of technical bumpf which would confound most people and stop any argument in its tracks. The average rank and file fundie can then walk away with the misguided belief that their superior AiG gurus have the technicalities in hand with (incompetent) candidate theories and that there is a serious question mark hanging over established science; in fact this all you really need do for the scientifically illiterate AiG supporter - just raise a question mark over current science and offer some token theories to keep the AiG supporter happy. After all it's more to do with spin than substantive theory.
But I like to keep a perspective on AiG: AiG are by no means the worst manifestation of fundamentalism. If you want to see something far worse and about which even AiG would complain see here:
AiG have only got themselves to blame for being hoist by their own petard. Once one goes down the road of proposing that the professional scientific community are en mass self-deceived and are in the business of deceiving the rest of us as AiG maintain, what's to stop the average science illiterate questioning other well established science such as heliocentrism and even the fact that the Earth is a sphere? (See here and here). To my mind AiG, geocentricists, flat-earthers and numerous crackpot Christian conspiracy theorists are of a piece.