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Journal of Creation 32(3):3–4, December 2018

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Confirmed: physical association between parent galaxies and quasar families



In a paper just published1 that looked for an association between putative parent galaxies and pairs of quasars,2,3,4 the authors found many such quasar families, suggesting that the association is real, and not just coincidental. They used the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) data release 7 and the 2MASS (Two Micron All Sky Survey) Redshift Survey (2MRS) Ks ≤ 11.75 mag data release to test for the physical association of candidate companion quasars with putative parent galaxies by virtue of Karlsson periodicity in quasar redshifts.

Karlsson proposed that quasars have an intrinsic non-cosmological redshift component which comes in discrete values (zK = 0.060, 0.302, 0.598, 0.963, 1.410, …). However, to properly detect any physical association, the candidate quasar redshift must be transformed into the rest frame of its putative parent galaxy’s redshift. (This assumes either the parent galaxy redshift is cosmological or, if not, that it is Hubble law related but not due to expansion of the universe.) Then the transformed redshift of the candidate companion quasar is associated with the closest Karlsson redshift, zK, so that the remaining redshift velocity component—the putative velocity of ejection away from the parent object—can be obtained. In this manner it is possible to detect a physical association, even in the case where parent galaxies have high redshift values. If this process is neglected, no association may be found. Such was done in several papers, applied to large galaxy/quasar surveys, claiming to debunk the Arp hypothesis.

In this new paper, the authors used the method described above, and the detected correlation was demonstrated to be much higher than just a random association. Many such associations were found. As an example, in one instance, within one 4 degree area on the sky, seven quasar families were found to be statistically correlated with parent galaxies (figure 1). The probability of this occurring by random chance was calculated as follows:

“For a binomial distribution … the probability of 7 hits for one 4 square degree area is … = 1.089 × 10-9. Under these conditions, the detection of 7 families with this particular constraint set is extraordinary [emphasis added].”

Generally, the results of this paper are a confirmation of the quasar family detection algorithm described by Fulton and Arp,5 which was used to analyze the 2dF Galaxy Redshift Survey (2dFGRS) and the 2dF Quasar Redshift Survey (2QZ) data sets. This means that using the SDSS and 2MRS data sets the correlation found in Fulton and Arp (2012) is further strengthened.

Figure 1. Detected families in a 4 square degree area centred at 09h00m00s+11d00m00s. The open circles are galaxies, the filled diamonds are quasars, with lines connecting each galaxy to its detected quasar family members. The object shades indicate stepped redshift increase from light to dark over the redshift range 0.0 ≤ z ≤ 5.5. The central unshaded area shows the galaxies under examination, and the entire area shows the candidate companion quasars

This means that to a very high probability, much higher than a random association, certain quasars are physically associated with lower redshift galaxies. The quasars are found in pairs or higher multiples of two. The results further imply that these quasar redshifts indicate a real ejection velocity component and a large intrinsic non-velocity or non-cosmological redshift component.

The results described in this new paper1 conclude that:

“… similarly, certain SDSS quasars are physically associated with lower redshift SDSS galaxies and separately with lower redshift 2MRS galaxies; at least some quasars of very different redshift are physically associated with the same nearby galaxy; with the available typed galaxy data, quasar families occur with approximately equal frequency around nearby ellipticals and lenticulars versus around nearby spirals and irregulars, and quasar families occur somewhat more frequently around nearby unbarred spirals than around nearby barred spirals.
“When analyzed separately, the bright and faint quasars maintain high and comparable detection significance around both nearby and distant galaxies, suggesting that gravitational lensing is an unlikely physical explanation for the signal that we detect.
“A quasar excess exists at Karlsson redshifts around the 2dF, SDSS, and 2MRS galaxies.”


What does all this mean for biblical creation? Number one, it is strongly critical of the big bang hypothesis that all stars and galaxies result from the early big bang universe. This describes a scenario of quasars being ejected from active parent galaxies in a hierarchical process. If quasars are associated with parent galaxies, which have much smaller redshifts than the associated quasars, then that changes the whole story of the alleged evolution of the universe. Many quasars are more local than at enormous cosmological distances. That is, their large redshifts do not indicate a measure of distance. Again, this brings the standard big bang cosmology into conflict. How do you explain this from a big bang perspective? From a biblical creation perspective it is straightforward: God created the galaxies on Day 4 of Creation Week using this hierarchical process, where quasars are ejected from the active hearts of their parents. And we are observing, now, the results of that process.

References and notes

  1. Fulton, C.C., Arp, H.C., and Hartnett, J.G., Physical association and periodicity in quasar families with SDSS and 2MRS, Astrophysics and Space Science 363:134, 2018. Return to text.
  2. Hartnett, J.G., Big-bang-defying giant of astronomy passes away, 31 December 2013. Return to text.
  3. Hartnett, J.G., The heavens declare a different story! J. Creation 17(2):94–97, 2003. Return to text.
  4. Hartnett, J.G., Quantized quasar redshifts in a creationist cosmology, J. Creation 18(2):105–113, 2004. Return to text.
  5. Fulton, C.C. and Arp, H.C., The 2dF Redshift Survey. I. Physical association and periodicity in quasar families, Astrophys. J. 754:134, 2012; iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/0004-637X/754/2/134/meta. Return to text.

Helpful Resources

Dismantling the Big Bang
by Alex Williams, John Hartnett
US $17.00
Soft Cover

Readers’ comments

Brent Z.
Thanks for the clear explanation of this important work John. I understand that even Hubble himself didn’t believe that redshift was due to the galaxy (or quasar) moving away, but held to the ‘tired light’ interpretation of red shift, where the light slows down along it’s path to Earth through space. This could be due to plasma/gas/dust clouds in space.
To me it seems we have an example of ‘tired light’ every morning and evening, when the sun is close to the horizon and appears ‘red shifted’ due to it’s light interacting with a greater proportion of the atmosphere.
John C.
I've always greatly enjoyed Dr Hartnett's style and presentation of devastating (for the opposition!) evidence of the recent creation of the universe. One thing I thought (or at least thought I thought) on the way through his excellent explanation: Should these quasars and galaxies end up associated (as it appears the case), it would seem to me that the energies declared for these eruptions, as from the boundaries of the big bang, must be greatly re-assessed and reduced (Not that I would want to be in the neighborhood if one went off!).
King T.
Thanks for the update and explanation in readable (just about!) layman's terms. What intrigues me is the possibility of now formulating a hypothesis that enables one to predict which galaxies should have quasars, how many, of what type and possibly what redshift. I don't know much about astronomy but that seems to be the logical next step....?
Andrew H.
It is worth stating that Halton Arp repudiated the Big Bang but also repudiated any creation ex nihilo event. Therefore he seems to have affirmed an eternal universe. In fact his dislike of the Big Bang was rooted in His repudiation of His Creator. This is not to give any support to the Big Bang which Arp opposed on good grounds. It is to bring out that a scientific hypothesis should be potentially falsifiable but science has inbuilt limitations. The Creator is as inaccessible to observation and experiment as the author of this comment is to those reading it. You need to ask me if you want to know the inner motivations behind it. To have real knowledge of the origins of the things around us we need a revelation from the originator.
This is not meant to undermine anything John has said. It is to show merely that when the Big Bang is restricted to the realm of falsifiable science it is regularly found wanting. Thank you John.
Paul S.
While not directly addressed in the article, it might be pointed out that there is no good justification for the expanding universe hypothesis (without which there could be no "Big Bang") based on Hubble's conjecture (not "law") concerning the general relationship between galactic redshift and distance. He himself came to doubt his own conjecture at some point during the 1940's, and Segal's systematic study of over 10,000 galaxies (Hubble studied only 20) thoroughly debunked the hypothesis of a linear relationship between redshift and apparent brightness, a quadradic relationship being noted instead. As Segal put it (as quoted in Berlinski's "Was There a Big Bang" in The Deniable Darwin) Big Bang cosmology "owes its acceptance as a physical principle primarily to the uncritical and premature representation of [the redshift-distance relationship] as an empirical fact . . . observed discrepancies . . . have been resolved by a pyramid of exculpatory assumptions, which are inherently incapable of noncircular substantiation."
One of the significant problems in our computer age is human's inability to generate truly random number patterns. It may seem that we do, but when checked with the numerical capacity of the computer, the longer the list of number, the less chance of total randomness. If both we and our Creator are sentient being, what is the chance that God would create anything truly random? "Who made the mountains? Who made the trees? Who made the rivers to flow to the sea, and who hung the moon in the starry sky?" Does not that lack of randomness point to a designer? "Somebody bigger than you and I." (Words by Whitney Houston)
Chris M.
Thanks for the article, John. Two questions:

1) Was Arp a creationists or just simply a big bang skeptic?

2) In your last sentence I like how you use the word "observable". What other "observable" things do we see in space that point to creation or a young universe?
Shaun Doyle
Arp was not a creationist; just simply a big bang skeptic: see A different view of the universe and Big-bang-defying giant of astronomy passes away. For observations that point to biblical creation, please see Young age evidence: Astronomy.
Cameron G.
What if the coloring of red is not the result of movement but something else? Are we still allowed to think in science?
Victor B.
Thanks for the update on Halton Arp's observations (red shift). I remember reading about it and it sparked my interest (biblical creationist - I am not a scientist) as I figured it would have implications of the "Big Bang cosmology" on which many apologists still place and rely heavily as their starting premise
Ian H.
Hi John, Thanks for this update on the work of Halton Arp and his associate Fulton. We sometimes get asked about 'The Big Bang' and its great to have something to use apart from the Horizon problem and the absence of Dark Matter and Energy.
The Matter bridges Halton Arp discovered between the Galaxies and Quasars with different Red Shift values are very telling.
Rodney P.
Thank you, John, for the awesome information you explained so clearly - a complex topic made plain to lay readers. I am so grateful to God for calling such brilliant scientists as yourself to discover truths that demolish Satan's strongholds, such as atheism with its false creation stories - and build our faith in Him and His Word.

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