Times Are Changing - Especially With Gravity

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, July 7, 2016 0 comments

by Steve Risner

I wanted to continue on the topic of astronomy and this huge, amazing, glorious universe we live in. We've talked a bit about some of the awesome spectacles you can see (or see photos of) in space and how these things declare the glory of God as Psalm 19:1 tells us.

This week, I wanted to touch on stars in a different way than I did last time. I mentioned in my last blog post about several stars that were the most impressive in terms of their size or their mass or their temperature. Stars are beyond comprehension in the amount of power they emit and in terms of their mass. I didn't mention neutron stars. These guys are possibly remnants of old stars that no longer can support nuclear fusion. They are super dense. A generic neutron star will be about 12 miles across—not so large, right. But they will easily have the mass of 1-4 of our suns! Imagine that! A ball with a diameter of 12 miles with the mass of 1-4 of our suns, which is 864,000 miles across! This means a cubic centimeter of a neutron star would likely weigh about 100 billion tons! So if we had every semi-truck in America pulling it, each would have 50,000 tons on its trailer! That's 100 million pounds per truck using 2 million trucks! You can't even imagine that, can you? I can't. The gravitational pull of a neutron star is so strong because of this density, if you fell off of a step ladder, you'd hit the ground at about 4.5 million miles per hour! Pretty intense, huh? They also spin like crazy. These things can spin faster than the NutriBullet I made my breakfast with this morning—up to 700 times a second! Imagine a ball 36 miles around (12 miles across) spinning 700 times in one second. [Poof] That was my mind being blown right there. Neutron stars are just one of the weird, little understood things we see in this awesome universe.

Ever wonder where stars come from? In school textbooks, you'll see all sorts of “life cycles” of stars from their birth from a gas cloud into a star to being a red giant. A red giant is cooler and much larger and will eventually fizzle and either go supernova resulting in a black hole or neutron star, or it'll shrink down into a white dwarf. Neat, right? The trouble is not much of this has been seen in reality. We see all the stuff mentioned (save the birth of stars) but the only transition we see is the supernova. We've seen lots of gas clouds (and they are absolutely beautiful) and we've seen stars in or near those clouds. But we have never seen a star “turn on” so to speak. It's assumed stars in gas clouds are younger. But there are multiple issues with gas clouds condensing and igniting into stars. Some of the scenarios that are recommended as explanations include made-up material like dark matter to having already existing stars that aid in the process. That's like explaining the origin of life by starting with something that's alive. To my knowledge, we have not observed a single star being birthed. We have speculated a lot about it, but we've never seen it happen. And that's okay.

I'm not suggesting stars can't be born. I just don't need them to be able to be born because my worldview tells me where stars came from. I don't need materialistic or naturalistic explanations for their appearance. I don't fall back on made up materials or that sort of thing to explain how they form today—I don't know that they do form today. The atheist, old earth creationist (some of them anyway), and the theistic evolutionist require that stars be born regularly. Their entire presupposition and belief system concerning the formation of the universe depends on it. It doesn’t matter that much for me. I could be wrong, but my current belief is that stars were formed on day 4 of creation. Maybe they can be formed by dust clouds or something like that, but there are so many astronomical (see what I did there?) issues with the process I choose to believe what we observe. I'm okay with not knowing, although I find the study of stars in all its various forms fascinating. All of their scenarios assume stars were born naturalistically over huge spans of time. What if that’s not true?

One issue that is VERY frequently brought up concerning stars and Biblical creation is the time frame involved for their light to get to us. “If the universe is only 6,000 years old (which is funny because I think 6,000 years is actually very old since I'm only 38), how could we see light from stars that are hundreds of millions of light years away?” I must admit, originally when I first heard this back in the 90’s, I thought it was a very good question. Truthfully, it is a good question that deserves some study. There have been all sorts of explanations put up by Biblical creationists to account for this. Some of them I feel are very well thought out and have a great deal of merit. Others are not so good and I don't particularly like them. At present, my favorite explanation is that of Russell Humphreys which you can read (very quickly) in his book “Starlight and Time.” The book is a very short read and is very well done. Many atheists have tried to tell me his work has been “debunked” but I've found such claims to be exceptionally over stated. In fact, I've not found any arguments against his cosmology that hold much water. However, with that said, I am perfectly fine with his theory being incorrect as is Dr. Humphreys himself. He states rather clearly that his ideas are only that—his ideas—and they may very well be wrong. His theory is based on Einstein's Theory of Relativity and how gravity and time are related. I would recommend reading his book, but the gist is this: the closer you are to a gravitational source, the slower time runs. This isn't weird or whacky talk. It's observed science. Look at the atomic clocks found in Colorado and England. The one at higher elevation ticks 5 microseconds faster than the one at lower elevation. This is because it's further from the gravitational source—the Earth—since it's much higher in elevation. You see this sort of thing in movies all the time from Planet of the Apes to Interstellar (which I highly recommend) and many other sci-fi films. The issue with the time being different in Boulder and Greenwich isn't that the clock is running faster. It's that, relative to their positions in gravity, time is actually moving faster or slower—literally. This means both the clocks are running at the right time. I'll not get too far into it, but Dr. Humphreys theorizes that as God stretched out the heavens, the further the stars got from the earth (which he says was the gravitational source) the faster their time went. After one day passed on earth, it's possible that millions of years had passed in the depths of space. This doesn't insult science or the Bible but actually uses a very well-accepted scientific theory to explain the “problem” of starlight and time.

Another idea proposed to rectify this issue was that of Dr. Jason Lisle. Using the physics of Einstein, he suggested what he calls anisotropic synchrony convention. This idea postulates that where we can measure the round-trip speed of light, it’s impossible to measure the one-way speed of light. Seems a little strange, I agree. But, due to the way that time and movement work, it’s impossible to measure the one-way speed of light. He then suggests it’s possible, according to Einstein, that the one-way speed of light is instantaneous.

There are several other remedies as well. What’s interesting is that these are Biblical creationists who are working on this problem. Why is this interesting? Most people who support billions of years for the age of the earth and universe are totally unaware that they, too, have a light-time issue. This problem for secularists is called the “horizon problem.” It simply means that the universe is not old enough and electromagnetic radiation (which travels at the speed of light) cannot travel fast enough to have evened out the cosmic background radiation. Oddly, it seems like hardly anyone is even willing to acknowledge this problem (or many of the other serious problems with the Big Bang Theory) let alone actually work on resolving the problems. Big Bang and Darwinism often get passes when it comes to violating natural laws, standing counter to observation, and actually not conforming to the scientific method.

This blog post was sort of a “shot gun” style writing. I applied a heavy choke, so I hope it didn’t seem too scattered. There’s just so much to touch on concerning the topic of the greatness of our God based on His awesome works found within the universe that it’s hard to stay focused. I suppose an entire blog post could be written on each of these topics, but I fear most readers would get bored with the technical stuff. As a result, we’re just touching on these things. If you find yourself wanting more information, investigate these things for yourself. Just be sure to look at a variety of sources—and not just sources that are heavily weighted towards the secular/atheist model. Review all sides of the topics. You’ll find, when honestly presented, that Biblical creation quite frequently rises above secular ideas when we hold it up against reality, observation, and logic. The heavens do declare the glory of God!

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