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Earth age, big bang, nature of science

Published: 1 June 2019 (GMT+10)
M. SchweitzerDinosaur-bone-cells
Bone cells discovered by Schweitzer, showing classic appearances including nuclei and connecting fibrils—from a Brachylophosaurus allegedly 80 million years old!

Sometimes we receive letters and emails about research projects, or responding to websites or YouTube videos. Since we are a faith-funded ministry, we have a duty to use our resources, including staff time, as efficiently as possible. So if we were to provide detailed answers to every such request, we would be unable to produce the books, videos, and articles that equip so many. Fortunately, thanks to a website that at time of writing has over 13,000 articles, and growing, we can often find articles to address the questions more thoroughly.

Also, we often receive questions on the lines of ‘what is the best evidence’. But while there are objective criteria for this, e.g. the argument must be based on facts unlike the arguments we advise creationists not to use, there are also subjective issues, such as what subjects you are most comfortable with, what do you find most compelling, and what you think would compel others.

Hello, I am [full name supplied] and I am doing a college research project on the scientific viability of Creationism. I would like to ask a couple of questions and, if possible, need it by [X] night, if you do not mind:

1. What is the possibly best evidence against Old-Earth theories and the Big Bang?

2. When, in the first day where God created light, did He create the specific lights of the planets and stars before He created the sources, or if not, does the time required for the light to travel to Earth make an evidence against Creationism?

3. When, in the Bible, it says that God stretched out the heavens like a tarp, it a probable reference to the universe's expansion. Is there scientific evidence as to how God might do this?

Dr Jonathan Sarfati replies (slightly expanded for web):

Thank you for writing to CMI.

These questions are short, but the responses would need to be lengthy. This would probably be true if you were asking evolutionists similar questions. So I have given summary answers with web links to more.

1. I don’t know if there is such a thing as the ‘best’ evidence, but I think radiocarbon in diamonds and coal and soft tissue, bone cells, proteins, and DNA in dinosaur bones. With the big bang, secular cosmogonists point out that it needs fudge factors to make it work: superluminal inflation despite a lack of mechanism, and unobserved dark matter and dark energy.

Another problem is the still-missing matter, made more acute by recent ultra-precise measurements showing proton and anti-proton are exactly equal and opposite down to 1.5 parts per billion, whereas the big bang demands some asymmetry. Hence one report was entitled, “The universe should not actually exist, CERN scientists discover” (Newsweek, 25 October 2017. I wrote about this in: Big bang universe “should not actually exist”: Antimatter still missing! Creation 40(2):55, 2018.).

2. Informed creationists reject the light-in-transit theory, which is what your question seems to be leading to. But there are multiple working hypotheses about solving the distant light-travel problem—which big bangers also have (the horizon problem).

3. I think that these passages are consistent with an expanding universe, although not requiring it. There are some highly qualified dissenters from an expanding universe, but I don’t have any problem with it.

If God stretched out the universe supernaturally, then there is no mechanism. We would see the effects of God’s action (compare Psalm 19:1, Romans 1:20), but this is different from seeing God in action. Compare the wedding at Cana in John 2, where Jesus the creator God turned water into the best wine of the reception. The wine and its high quality could be empirically detected, but there was no mechanism as such that explained the transition.

Note that there are plenty of examples in ordinary science where a phenomenon has been demonstrated long before it could be explained via a mechanism. E.g. Newton worked out the inverse square law of gravity but made it clear that he couldn’t explain why masses attract each other. When it comes to operational science as opposed to origins science, we would like to both demonstrate the phenomenon and explain it as well, but this took centuries for gravity. Under many of the self-serving reasons that evolutionists use to reject creation as science, Newtonian gravitation would need to be rejected as well.

Sir Isaac Newton (1643–1727)

Similarly, the leading evolutionary propagandist at my university would often say, “We know that evolution has occurred. We are just not quite sure how it occurred.” But then, how could he cogently object if I said, “We know that creation has occurred. We are just not quite sure how it occurred.”

Note that God as Creator of both space and time would not be limited by speed, which is distance/time. This would explain any evidence that spacetime once expanded much faster than light. Now secularists also appeal to such evidence, and adduce this as proof for their inflationary cosmology that they need to rescue the big bang from the horizon problem. And this is a case in point: most big bang cosmogonists believe that inflation has occurred, but they lack a cohesive mechanism that could have caused it to start or stop.

Helpful Resources

Readers’ comments

David B.
I’m an informed creationist, but I still feel that it is most likely that God created the light of the universe pretty much as it is now at the very beginning. I know of the attempts to explain how we see light from celestial objects more than 6 thousand (or so) light-years away, and would be happy to accept any that end up working out. However, I think the rejection of God creating the light directly is not a matter of information, but philosophy. It depends on if you consider matter primary and the universe designed for humans to be able to deduce its history from observations. That is, if man’s deductions from created light would put God in the position of lying, and God’s Word saying He created light first doesn’t counteract that, then, no, created-light-in-transit is nonviable. But if science (man's deductions based on observations) must bow to Divine revelation, I'll stick with it for now, even if I can’t get Doctors Faulkner, Sarfati, et al. to agree.

If matter is more real or essential than light (i.e. if light is merely information about objects with mass), and we didn’t have God’s revelation of his work in creation, then it might be a matter for science to tell us such things. But nobody could tell the distance to the stars and the speed of light except when and where God's Word was well-known, proclaiming that first, God said Let light be; and light was. Nowhere does the account say God changed the light afterward, nor is the stretching related to the light. The creation of the Firmament was on day 2, creation of the sun, moon, and stars on day 4.
David M.
Evolutionists would say ‘they don’t know how evolution occurs’ is simply an incorrect statement made by Dr Sarfati in order to bolster his own weak argument for a young Earth. We DO know how evolution occurs, but we can’t say exactly what the first organism was. We know that bacteria ‘ruled’ the Earth for 2 billion years with phagocytosis occurring and producing endosymbiosis which resulted in mitochondria and chloroplasts being formed, with the latter producing cyanobacteria, turning our planet green in the process. 3 billion years ago the atmosphere contained toxic sulphur dioxide and methane, and there was no ozone layer to protect life on land from the deadly UV rays of the Sun. At that point, no life on land existed, only in the seas. 2.4 billion years ago the Great Oxidation Event (GOE) occurred, producing huge amounts of oxygen, some of which was split asunder to form O3, which is ozone, and this formed a protective shield around the Earth—the ozone layer—allowing for life on land to begin to occur. The scientific evidence for evolution is overwhelming, just as is the understanding that without cyanobacteria or the ozone layer being formed, no animals—humans included —would be able to exist on land! Dr Sarfati has no scientific evidence for his creationist thinking. Perhaps GOD is simply a mis-spelling of GOE....?
Jonathan Sarfati
“an incorrect statement made by Dr Sarfati”

You clearly need to read more carefully:

Similarly, the leading evolutionary propagandist at my university would often say, “We know that evolution has occurred. We are just not quite sure how it occurred.”

I.e. blame your fellow evolutionist, not me! This was at a time when there were much noisier debates between punctuationists and gradualists. So this evolutionist would dismiss the problems by claiming that this was just an issue of how, not whether. But as I pointed out years ago:
the supporters of various evolutionary camps score mortal blows against the other camp. E.g. supporters of ‘jerky’ evolution (saltationism and its relative, punctuated equilibria) point out that the fossil record does not show gradualism, and that the hypothetical transitional forms would be disadvantageous. But supporters of gradual evolution point out that large, information-increasing changes are so improbable that one would need to invoke a secular miracle. Creationists agree with both: punctuational evolution can’t happen, and gradual evolution can’t happen—in fact, particles-to-people evolution can’t happen at all!

Your information about the early atmosphere is also outdated. There is evidence from oxidized minerals ‘dated’ over 4 billion years ago (by evolutionary dating methods) that the early atmosphere must have been oxidizing. See The Miller–Urey experiment revisited. In any case, without the protective ozone layer, UV radiation would have destroyed any building blocks for proteins or DNA. In general, neither you nor anyone else has the foggiest clue how life could have evolved from non-living chemicals (chemical evolution).

“producing endosymbiosis which resulted in mitochondria and chloroplasts being formed, with the latter producing cyanobacteria”

Evidently you can’t even get your own theory right, since the endosymbiotic theory (which of course we disagree with) proposes that chloroplast arose from engulfed cyanobacteria.

How would your last trite atheopathic crack work against any other language?
Tony A.
Jesus is not the creator God and never claim to be. On the contrary, he claimed that his Father, who is God i.e. YHWH, which means “He who causes things to exist”, translated confusingly as LORD in all caps is the creator God and the same God and Father of his disciples. For their is only one being/person/entity that is God alone as per the 1st of the 10 commandments and by Jesus’ own teaching of John 17:3.
Jonathan Sarfati
Au contraire. See for example:

If, after carefully studying the above articles, you still have questions, then feel free to ask.

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