Thursday, July 16, 2009

Physics - Bruce Malone Is Doing It Wrong

Creation Science Evangelism is the company started by convicted felon Kent Hovind. It is currently being run by Kent's son Eric Hovind. One of the current articles, on the web site, is "Physics Show That Six Day Creation is Possible" by Bruce Malone. In this article Bruce makes some pretty amazing claims on the Theory of Relativity. In particular, the idea of Time Dilation.

Before I continue, I want it to be known that I am copying this article under Fair Use and abiding by all the laws thereof. It is sad I have to state that but Creation Science Evangelism (CSE) has attempted to silence its critics in the past.

Exodus 20:11 makes one of the most unbelievable statements of the Bible: "In six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day." It is hard to imagine a clearer statement defining how long God took in creating the entire universe. However, this simple statement has presented a seemingly impossible dilemma for Christians. On one hand, modern cosmology teaches that the universe has taken billions of years to form. On the other hand, if this clear and straightforward statement of the Bible can not be trusted to mean what it says, how can we know that any statement of the Bible can be trusted to mean what it says?

Well that is not the only place in the Bible where it makes that claim. Most people reference Genesis Chapter 1 and the first few verses of Chapter 2. It also really isn't that seemingly impossible dilemma for Christians, just for those that believe in an errant Bible and special creation.

Also there is the assumption that the word ~wy or yowm means a 24 hour period. In reality it can mean day, time, or year. This is the word used in Genesis and Exodus when describing creation.

This is all just scratching the surface of what is wrong with the first creation story presented in Genesis. Things like light being created before the sun. The earth being created before the sun. Birds being created before land animals. Water being above the sky. Water not being created just God suddenly dividing it, where did it come from? None of that is covered in this article, so continuing on.

This was the dilemma which Dr. Russell Humphreys (physicist at Sandia National Laboratory) set out to solve as he studied what the Bible had to say about the formation of our universe. Most people have been taught that the universe is the result of a gigantic explosion called the "Big Bang".

Sorry, I am stopping him here. He has just created a straw man. No one who understands the Big Bang Theory claim the universe is the result of a gigantic explosion. What the real belief is that the universe experienced rapid expansion, like when you blow up a balloon. There was no explosion. As a matter of fact, with the right instruments we can still observe the expansion of the universe to this day as it is ongoing.

During this explosive expansion, all the matter of the universe supposedly expanded outward from a tiny pinpoint. All modern cosmological models start with the assumption that the universe has neither a center nor an edge. When these assumptions are plugged into Einstein’s general theory of relativity, the result is an expanding universe which is billions of years old at every location.

Again, it was not an explosion. Pinpoint is too big, it was far smaller than that. Yes, there is no center of the Universe. To go back to the balloon analogy, the universe would be more akin to the skin of the balloon. It is expanding but where does the expansion start for the skin of the balloon? For a more detailed explanation you can read the Usenet Physics FAQ by Don Koks with this particular article being written by Philip Gibbs in 1997. To claim that there is a center to the Universe is absurd and shows a complete lack of understanding in Cosmology and Physics. The edge of the Universe is similar. There is no physical edge, but gravity creates a type of edge. According to Einstein's Theory of Relativity, which is supposedly what this article is about, gravity curves space. It is possible that there is so much mass in the Universe that gravity curves the Universe around back onto itself. Again like the balloon analogy, find the edge of the balloon. You can't, it just goes around and around (ignoring where you blow the balloon up at). What the article is asking you to do is to find the edge of the Earth, and then claiming because you can't the Earth must be infinite in size. Again a basic misunderstanding of Cosmology and Relativity. As you can see from the University of Michigan's website Windows to the Universe this question is asked by a 9, 12 and 13 year old. One would think a physicist at Sandia National Laboratory would understand the universe a bit better.

Rather than start with these arbitrary assumptions (a universe having no center and no edge), Dr. Humphreys decided to take the most apparent meaning of the Biblical text and see what model of the universe developed. He reasoned that if the Bible was inspired by God, as it claims to be, it should not have to be twisted to be understood. It should have the same straight forward meaning for a "man on the street", a brilliant physicist, or a theologian.

Again, these are not arbitrary assumptions, these are observable facts. This is just another straw man.

So, Dr. Humphreys decides to throw out facts and starts to build an imaginary universe based on the Bible. The rest of it, I could not agree more with. If the Bible was inspired by a creator god, then it should be accurate in every detail of that creation. It is just those pesky facts keep getting in the way. Things like the Earth revolves around the Sun, the Moon is not a source of light, sunlight couldn't exist without the Sun, you know things like that.

The Bible clearly indicates three things about God's formation of the universe. First, the earth is the center of God's attention in the universe. By implication, the earth may also be located near the center-perhaps so man can see the glory of God's creation in every direction. Second, the universe (both matter and space itself) has been "stretched out". Third, the universe has a boundary, and therefore it must have a center.

Okay, now we have something that is testable. This so far looks like good science. If any of these things is not true then the Bible is wrong about the Universe and about creation. Which, according to Bruce at the beginning of this article, means that we cannot trust anything the Bible says. ("...if this clear and straightforward statement of the Bible can not be trusted to mean what it says, how can we know that any statement of the Bible can be trusted to mean what it says?")

Well, as I pointed out earlier there is no center of the Universe. In fact quoting the article by Philip Gibbs that I posted earlier.

In 1929 Edwin Hubble announced that he had measured the speed of galaxies at different distances from us, and had discovered that the farther they were, the faster they were receding. This might suggest that we are at the centre of the expanding universe, but in fact if the universe is expanding uniformly according to Hubble's law, then it will appear to do so from any vantage point.

If we see a galaxy B receding from us at 10,000 km/s, an alien in galaxy B will see our galaxy A receding from it at 10,000 km/s in the opposite direction. Another galaxy C twice as far away in the same direction as B will be seen by us as receding at 20,000 km/s. The alien will see it receding at 10,000 km/s:

From A 0 km/s 10,000 km/s 20,000 km/s
From B -10,000 km/s 0 km/s 10,000 km/s

So from the point of view of the alien at B, everything is expanding away from it, whichever direction it looks in, just the same as it does for us.

The universe is expanding at a uniform rate and observation from any point will seem like that point is the center, because there is no center. Find the center of the skin on a balloon or find the center of the surface of the earth. These things are nonsensical. Point 1 is wrong and the Bible cannot be trusted because of this according to Bruce Malone.

Point 2 is partially correct. The Universe is expanding, but matter is not. That would mean that everyone and everything was expanding, this is just a weird silly statement and I don't know where it comes from. The Usenet Physics FAQ covers this idea of Expanding Atoms originally written by Michael Weiss (yes it is out of date, but the article admits that and the basic concepts are right). Analysis, part of Point 2 is incorrect and thus the Bible is untrustworthy.

Point 3 is wrong. Find the boundary of the surface of the Earth or the skin of a balloon. Obviously both are finite, yet neither have a boundary. The same goes for the Universe. Something can be finite and yet have no boundary. Why is this so hard to grasp for someone who is a physicist at Sandia National Laboratory. Point 3 is wrong and so the Bible is untrustworthy.

Well there you have it, Dr. Russell Humphreys gave us three testable ideas for the trustworthiness of the Bible and failed in 2.5 of them. So the Bible is untrustworthy. Thank you Creation Science Evangelism for pointing this out. Oh, they have more.

If these three assumptions are plugged into the currently accepted formulas of physics, and the mathematical crank is turned, we live in a universe in which clocks tick at different rates depending on your location.

What? This sentence is in English, yet I can't parse it. Okay, so they take the three assumptions, that are proven wrong, and add them to physics, which is descriptions of the real world and how it works. Then they do some sort of undefined math and voila clocks run at different times. Huh? How does this come close to making any kind of sense?

Physics is the general analysis of nature, conducted in order to understand how the world and universe behave. If you take made up stuff and throw it into formulas based on real observations, you end up with made up stuff. This is like trying to take comic book heroes and use physics to explain how they do their things. In the end you still have make believe. It can be used to gain an interest in physics, as with the popular Science of the Watchmen, but what you derive from it is completely useless.

After this abysmal attempt at science, now Bruce is going to try and explain what Time Dilation is and how it matters to his argument.

Furthermore, the time dilation effect would be magnified tremendously as the universe was originally expanding. As the universe expanded, there was a point at which time was moving very rapidly at the outer edge and essentially stopped near the center. At this point in the expansion of the universe, only days were passing near the center, while billions of years were passing in the heavens. This is the inevitable conclusion based on our current knowledge of physics and starting with Biblical assumptions instead of arbitrary ones.

First that is not how Time Dilation or the Universe works. Time dilation is the phenomenon whereby an observer finds that another's clock, which is physically identical to their own, is ticking at a slower rate as measured by their own clock. This is often interpreted as time "slowing down" for the other clock, but that is only true in the context of the observer's frame of reference. Locally (i.e., from the perspective of any observer within the same frame of reference, without reference to another frame of reference), time always passes at the same rate. Time dilation is affected by speed and gravity. Since the Universe is expanding at the same constant rate at all points, there would be no time dilation due to speed.

Second, let me say this loudly as he seems not to understand, THERE IS NO CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE!

Third, making up arbitrary assumptions is what Dr. Humphreys did, not what cosmologists do. Instead cosmologists look at the facts and determine what is happening according to the facts, not the other way around. Dr. Humphreys instead made assumptions and then shoehorned physics into agreeing with him.

Albert Einstein rejected the idea that the Bible could be literally true. He wrote that, "Through the reading of popular scientific books I soon reached the convictions that many of the stories in the Bible could not be true." How ironic that the most ridiculed Biblical story (about a recent, literal, six day creation of the universe) is exactly the story which Albert Einstein’s work has shown to be entirely possible. A comprehensive explanation of Dr. Humphreys work, can be found in his book.

Well I am thankful they didn't quote mine Einstein into looking like a believer, like some other creationists. *coughRayComfortcough* It is not ironic because Bruce and Dr. Humphreys have failed miserably to show that it is "entirely possible". All they did was take make believe plug into to formulas based on the real world. Then claimed that those answers, which are still make believe, prove the original make believe is possible. Which it would be if we lived in the make believe world they started with. Never let facts get in the way of your make believe world.

Addendum: I knew I was missing something on Time Dilation and my friend Stan, from the blog Cabbagery, pointed it out. Dr. Humphreys has Time Dilation backwards. If Earth was the slower moving object and the "outer edge" (which is still meaningless) was moving faster. Then time would appear to slow down for the outer edge if your point of reference was the Earth.

1 comment:

BeamStalk said...

I came up with a good example for why you don't just make up numbers, put them in mathematics and claim that the answer is proof of your made up numbers.

The circumference of the world around the equator is 4cm. If I plug that into the equation to find the diameter. I get 4 = d*(Pi) or the diameter of the earth is 4/(Pi)cm. Which confirms my circumference.

The old adage in comp sci, especially when dealing with cameras and pictures, is garbage in, garbage out.