Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Creationism demands a belief in a God who is deceptive

The Earth and the universe appear to be very old.

Since most creationists believe in a young Earth, let’s focus on the issues of the age of the Earth and the universe which I consider to be the most obvious such arguments.

I’m not aware of any young Earth creationists who don’t acknowledge that there appear to be some things on Earth and in the Universe that appear to be old. For example, most acknowledge that there are stars which are millions and even billions of light-years from Earth but whose light we can see right now.

If, instead, light started from those stars when the universe was created, then we should see new stars suddenly appearing as that light reaches us at the speed of light. If the universe just turned 6005 years old, then a star 6005 light years from Earth should just become visible today.

Since light travels at the speed-of-light, the most obvious explanation is that if these stars are millions and even billions of light-years from Earth then the light from these stars has been traveling for millions and even billions of years. But if that explanation is valid, then the universe is billions of years old.

One explanation that I hear from creationists is that this light was “created in place”.

Here’s an example:

> When God created the world, everything in it was fully mature and
> functioning. Adam and Eve were fully mature people. Everything
> in the universe was fuctioning [sic] as if it had existed for years
> even though it was created in 6 days.

> Even the light from distant galaxies (1000's of light years away)
> fell on the earth as if it had always existed because God created
> a fully mature and functioning universe.

Of course some of the light is much older than mere 1000’s of years, but let’s look at this argument anyway.

There are incredibly spectacular, astronomical events called ‘supernovas’. Here’s how Wikipedia[1] describes them:

“A supernova (plural: supernovae or supernovas) is a stellar explosion that creates an extremely luminous object. A supernova causes a burst of radiation that may briefly outshine its entire host galaxy before fading from view over several weeks or months. During this short interval, the supernova radiates as much energy as the Sun would emit over 10 billion years. The explosion expels much or all of a star's material at a velocity of up to a tenth the speed of light, driving a shock wave into the surrounding interstellar medium.”

So a supernova only lasts a few weeks of months, but because they are so violent and spectacular we can see them through our telescopes from parts of the universe which are far, far away. The earliest recorded supernova was discovered in 185 AD by Chinese astronomers. (I’ve read that supernovas are so violent that if one was to occur in a star just a few light-years from Earth it would destroy all life here!)

Why are supernovae significant? If the light from them was “created in place” as some creationists insist, and it is reaching us now, or a few years ago, from someplace that is more than 6000 light years from Earth, then what we see on that beam of light is a non-existent event! The supernova seems to have appeared, lasted for a relatively short time and then vanished. But it could have never actually happened! If it actually did happen, then the light from a star that exploded 1 million light-years from Earth would take 1 million years to reach us if the light was traveling, as it must, at the speed-of-light.

Why would God possibly create light “in-place” and include a record of a spectacular but non-existent event unless God wished to simply fool and deceive us?

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supernova referenced on 08/31/2007

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