Talk:Starlight problem

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Removed "facts" which were not facts. I will not hesitate to block offenders of the conservapedia commandments. Conservative 20:24, 14 May 2007 (EDT)

So, you take away the entire description of the problem, all mention of commonly held conceptions of the speed of light, and replace the entire article with YEC prpaganda. Now thats fair and balanced. Send your resume to Faux News quick, you have a brilliant career ahead of you. QNA 21:09, 14 May 2007 (EDT)

He means it! I got blocked for a week for saying light from the Andromeda Galaxy had been traveling for three million years. Czolgolz 20:25, 14 May 2007 (EDT)

I'd still like to know how he's going to debunk the parallax measurement technique, which is just highschool geometry, the only variable is the distance between the Earth and the Sun, which is pretty well known, we've even sent space probes to the Sun... MiddleMan

How come removing information because it doesn't jive with conservative's idea of "facts" is ok, but what is in the article at this moment isn't factual either? Laughable.Prof0705 20:39, 14 May 2007 (EDT)

My applogies, but thats funny

The Earth is only 6k years old, but the rest of the universe is billions of years old because of time dilation. Wouldn't it just be easier to make the Earth a few billion years old too, without invoking divine intervention? --Mtur 20:30, 14 May 2007 (EDT)

I meant what I wrote. Please don't change my comments. The first sentence is a restatement of the current article statement. The second sentence is Occam's Razor. I am by no means a YEC. --Mtur 20:33, 14 May 2007 (EDT)
I don't like the dilation idea either. I prefer setterfield's explanation. Conservative 20:34, 14 May 2007 (EDT)

Well, the speed of light would have to have been A LOOOOT faster to make up for what we see today, did Setterfield ever consider that since  : mass, impuls and energy of everything in the Universe would also change A LOOOOT, you'd need A LOOOOT of divine intervention to keep everything in place!

At least with the time dilation theory only our Solar System and its surrounding would have needed divine intervention. MiddleMan

Argument with no description

Currently, there is no description of what the starlight problem is. This has been removed. All that remains is the YEC viewpoint as some time dilation saying that this isn't a problem. If there is to be an article here (and there should - it is likely to get linked to fairly often) there should be a reasonable description of what the starlight problem is and why it is brought up so often. --14:43, 15 May 2007 (EDT)

This has been fixed. Without a statement of what the starlight problem is then there would be no reason for this page. Since Andy also stated that conservapedia is not specificaly YEC POV then we can have this claim as long as it has actual evidence and the sources are well cited.--TimS 15:26, 15 May 2007 (EDT)

Total mismatch

Two quotes from the same article:

  • "The starlight problem is an argument against the Big Bang Theory which theorizes a universe of billions of years old."
  • "The starlight problem applies only to a young universe."

These statements contradict each other, unless you want to argue that "billions of years old" is "young". --Jenkins 12:41, 30 September 2007 (EDT)

I'm guessing the "which" modifies "big bang theory" not "starlight problem". HelpJazz 12:58, 30 September 2007 (EDT)
You guess correctly, but that's not what I mean. Judging by these sentence, it is established that the starlight problem argues against an old universe and only argues against a young universe. So which is it? --Jenkins 13:00, 30 September 2007 (EDT)

Problem fixed by better explanation. Philip J. Rayment 04:22, 10 November 2007 (EST)

Setterfield vs. Hartnett

I can't help but notice that Hartnett's cricism of c-decay has been silently removed by Conservative. Also, how is Setterfield more accepted that Hartnett by most creationists? Hartnett's article points out flaws in Setterfield's theory, but I can't see much criticism or doubt of Hartnett's theory.

I think this section of the article needs some major fact-checking and potential rewriting. If nobody minds, I would volunteer. --Jenkins 12:57, 30 September 2007 (EDT)

Beat you to it! But you may want to review it yourself. Philip J. Rayment 04:22, 10 November 2007 (EST)

solution to a problem

according to this page, there is supposedly a contradiction with the big bang model and the cosmic microwave background radiation. I added some pretty rational and easy to understand solutions that were discarded and reverted back to its original inaccurate state. The problem is twofold

1. supposing that billions of years isn't enough time for the CMB to have dispersed, how is a 6,000 year-old earth going to solve the problem?

2. the CMB ISN'T actually perfectly equal in all directions, there are minor fluctuations that mirror the topography of the universe at the time of the formation of the background. Also the statement that all parts of the universe would need to interact in order for something to be evenly distributed is not cited, nor could it be because it's a logical fallacy

—The preceding unsigned comment was added by Jwalker (talk)

"...there is supposedly a contradiction with the big bang model and the cosmic microwave background radiation.": Supposedly? It would seem that there is a problem.
"supposing that billions of years isn't enough time for the CMB to have dispersed, how is a 6,000 year-old earth going to solve the problem?": One answer might be that it was created that way, so there is no problem to solve. Secondly, claiming that an alternative explanation won't solve the problem (even if true) does not mean that there is no problem for the Big Bang model. That argument is simply a red herring.
"...there are minor fluctuations...": The problem is not that there are no fluctuations at all, but that that the fluctuations are nowhere near big enough.
"...fluctuations that mirror the topography of the universe at the time of the formation of the background.": How do you know that they mirror it? Or is this simply the theory?
"...the statement that all parts of the universe would need to interact in order for something to be evenly distributed is not cited...": There are a couple of citations there. Or are they not for this specific point?
"...nor could it be because it's a logical fallacy": How could it be a logical fallacy that there needs to be interaction in order that different areas even out with each other?
I am reverting your latest edits. They basically amount to arguing against a view that you oppose, in an unencyclopedic way. And apart from a reference that there are (very small) fluctuations, none of your additional material was cited, yet you criticised the existing article for lack of citation!
Philip J. Rayment 20:49, 31 January 2008 (EST)

Backward versions

Shouldn't it be mentioned that none of these "theories" are accepted by mainstream science? They're all backwards versions of the scientific method: Take your ideology, and mold a theory around it, instead of trying to describe the natural world for what it is. Please tell me, is this some kind of a joke? Jparenti 12:22, 26 June 2008 (EDT)

The name of the article is the "Starlight problem" and it makes clear in the first sentence that it is a problem based upon a Creationist perspective of the origin of the universe. I'm not sure this should be a problem for you. Learn together 19:14, 26 June 2008 (EDT)
Please tell me, Jparenti, that your joking? The Big Bang is a case of taking an ideology (naturalism: that there is no God) and molding a theory around it, instead of trying to describe the natural world for what it is. The authors of the last two mentioned are scientists who have worked (Humphreys) or still work (Hartnett) in secular research, and are designing their ideas on the basis of established scientific principles. Philip J. Rayment 19:45, 26 June 2008 (EDT)
You are mistaken. Nowhere in the theories that hypothesize a Big Bang is there a specific mention that "God didn't do it". You are simply assuming that God couldn't use a Big Bang to create the universe, and that's pretty presumptive of you, considering I don't think God would consult with us first. This type of thinking is what's wrong with Conservapedia, and I feel it necessary to examine that position and show why it is fallacious. You can have God and the Big Bang, if you so choose. And this article is based on no scientific evidence whatsoever. It's based on the fact that you don't believe the universe is more than 6,000 years old. That's forcing your science into your ideology, and it isn't necessary, because nothing in the Bible contradicts the actual theories. Jparenti 10:23, 27 June 2008 (EDT)
No, I'm not assuming that God couldn't use a Big Bang, and no, it's not presumptive. I'm basing my comments on what He has told us He did. Rather, it's presumptive of you to suggest that He may have used a method which is contrary to what He told us He did. He told us that the Earth was created before the sun and stars. The Big Bang story doesn't allow for that.
And the Big Bang story presumes that the Earth is not in a special place, contrary to what the Bible indicates. Lest you presume I'm saying something that I'm not, please note that I'm not claiming that the Bible says that the Earth is literally in the centre of the universe. But the Bible does indicate that the Earth (and its occupants) is the centre of God's attention. Yet the Big Bangers can't stand the idea that the Earth might occupy a special place. Because all the galaxies appear to be moving away from us, it looks like we are at the centre. But Edwin Hubble, for one, didn't like this idea:
Such a condition would imply that we occupy a unique position in the universe, …. But the unwelcome supposition of a favoured location must be avoided at all costs …. Such a favoured position, of course, is intolerable; moreover, it represents a discrepancy with the theory because the theory postulates homogeneity.
So the Big Bang model is based on a philosophical position that denies the biblical account, not on scientific evidence.
"...this article is based on no scientific evidence whatsoever...": This article explains the apparent problem that distant starlight poses for a young-Earth view, and relates various answers that have been offered to explain that apparent problem. To that extent, it doesn't need scientific evidence, because it's not putting a scientific case. However, as far as the particular explanations go, they are based on scientific evidence, which is alluded to if not mentioned in the article. For example, Humphreys' and Hartnett's models are based on scientific laws that are based on scientific evidence. The scientific laws are well-accepted ones, so surely you're not expecting that this article produce the evidence in support of the theories of relativity?
"It's based on the fact that you don't believe the universe is more than 6,000 years old.": The Big Bang is based on the fact that its supporters believe the universe is billions of years old. So what's the difference? (And no, the billions of years have not been observed, because we haven't been around that long to observe them and don't have a time machine.)
"That's forcing your science into your ideology...": Like Hubble did?
"...and it isn't necessary, because nothing in the Bible contradicts the actual theories.": I've shown a fallacy of that above. In addition, you yourself clearly believe that the Big Bang story is incompatible with a 6,000-year-old Earth, yet that the Earth is around that old according to the Bible is undeniable (for one thing, the time from the start of the universe to the appearance of man was six days, and from there to dates known from other sources is easily calculable from the chronogenealogies in the Bible.
Philip J. Rayment 22:37, 27 June 2008 (EDT)
I'm very confused, I see "The Big Bang model proposes that the temperature of the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) would have varied considerably from place to place early in the universe, yet because the speed at which this radiation can disperse from hotter to colder parts of the universe is limited by the speed of light, there has not been enough time for the radiation to even out, yet observations today show it to be extremely uniform[3] (with fluctuations at the part-per-million level[4])." this problem does not exist if it supposes that the Universe is billions of years old. Also scientists do not know what caused the Big Bang...
I am sorry to hear your very confused. Could you please comment on this starlight problem for the Big Bang theory: Also, given the many problems with the old Universe arguments, I don't believe the old Universe model is on a firm foundation: Lastly, the respected cataloger of scientific anomalies, William Corliss, has looked through the scientific literature and found about 80 anomalies to the old earth paradigm in the field of geology as can be seen HERE. .conservative 15:29, 28 May 2010 (EDT)
Light created in transit: Why would God intentionally mislead us and also leads to Last/Next Thursdayism? Moon-Spencer theory: Idea≠theory. Decrease in the speed of light: Proven flawed although sparked new research so overall a good thing for science. Decrease in the speed of light: it's axioms are flawed there for it's not even wrong. Also the original concept of the Big Bang had God as the cause.
From a purely logical viewpoint, it strikes me as more logical for a designer to create the beautiful and valuable item (item) first and then (or simultaneously) create its supply (a star). Usually the goal of an invention is attained first before an assembly line is built to mass produce it.--Andy Schlafly 09:15, 29 May 2010 (EDT)

Logical fallacy?

What is the logical fallacy mentioned in the article? Please don't tell me that the speed of light has nothing to do with distance. If you believe that, then I suggest you read the article's main section before replying.--JZim 22:41, 11 November 2008 (EST)

The logical fallacy is if you are using the distance the stars are from Earth as proof that the universe must be older than 6,000 years. I guess whether or not it's a logical fallacy depends on how it is presented; the argument is often used very simplistically. Philip J. Rayment 01:00, 12 November 2008 (EST)


This article seems to agree with a lot of the principles of the theory of relativity, which appears to be inconsistent with other part of conservapedia, in particular, [1], entitled 'counter examples to relativity'. I think this article was written by a liberal parading as a true conservative.

New Proposal

I'm not entirely well versed in theoretical physics but for anyone who is, this article by Dr. Jason Lisle seems like it has some interesting possible solutions:

RMBchillin 16:28, 15 December 2010 (EST)

Andromeda galaxy (cont.)

Moved from User talk:Aschlafly

My take on this is pretty simple. As a matter of distance between here and there, billions of light years are appropriate; if science says that the Andromeda Galaxy is 2.5 million light years away from earth, then that's fine. If there are other galaxies measured in terms of "billions" of light years away, that's also fine. However, if they say it proves that the universe is billions of years old as a result of their measurements, then there is a problem. God created the heavens and the earth in six days, but He created the light first, and that includes all of that light between earth and all of those stars and galaxies all those billions of light years away. That light was put there instantaneously. Karajou 09:27, 21 July 2011 (EDT)

Depending on whether this discussion goes down that route, maybe this should be moved to Talk:Starlight problem since at the very least Kara's post goes that way. I won't get involved for more or less obvious reasons, but AiG gives a very good reply to the "created light in-transit" argument at least:
Some Christians have proposed that God created the beams of light from distant stars already on their way to the earth. After all, Adam didn’t need any time to grow from a baby because he was made as an adult. Likewise, it is argued that the universe was made mature, and so perhaps the light was created in-transit. Of course, the universe was indeed made to function right from the first week, and many aspects of it were indeed created “mature.” The only problem with assuming that the light was created in-transit is that we see things happen in space. For example, we see stars change brightness and move. Sometimes we see stars explode. We see these things because their light has reached us.
But if God created the light beams already on their way, then that means none of the events we see in space (beyond a distance of 6,000 light-years) actually happened. It would mean that those exploding stars never exploded or existed; God merely painted pictures of these fictional events. It seems uncharacteristic of God to make illusions like this.
I'll leave it at that. The Starlight problem article could use a once-over to say the least, though. There are plenty of sources and developments available, even when you only focus on pro-Creationist ones. --Sid 3050 09:56, 21 July 2011 (EDT)
The Starlight problem is a puzzle for both atheistic and biblical views. Actually, it's a bigger problem for atheistic views, because those views cannot accommodate the explanation that some of the light in the sky is show for people on earth. That show would presumably include some special effects as referenced by the AiG quote above.
I'm fine with moving this discussion to Talk:Starlight problem if preferred.--Andy Schlafly 10:34, 21 July 2011 (EDT)
The point I was trying to make is the same as Karajou's. Distance is not debatable whereas time is. MaxFletcher 16:33, 21 July 2011 (EDT)
Distance is debatable too, because it relies on some unverifiable assumptions.--Andy Schlafly 17:39, 21 July 2011 (EDT)
Just as a quick aside, Andy I am curious about this statement: the explanation that some of the light in the sky is show for people on earth. That show would presumably include some special effects. Can you clarify for me? I don't understand what you mean. MaxFletcher 17:22, 21 July 2011 (EDT)
I have a question about your statement too. In short, if God puts lights in the Heaven's for the entertainment of Mankind - a beautifully frivolous act - why would he not do other actions for Mankind of similarly beautiful yet frivolous intent - such as save the victims of 9/11, prevent Hurricane Katrina, prevent the Tsunami of Japan or any of the other natural and unnatural calamities to befall Mankind? It is illogical to say he would do one, but not the other, and I can't figure out if it's tautological or not? GennaS 17:56, 21 July 2011 (EDT)
Fireworks shows are not evidence of distant stars. Part of what we see could be merely a light show in the sky.--Andy Schlafly 17:39, 21 July 2011 (EDT)
OK, so a supernova could be interpreted as action for man to enjoy and wonder at? I don't mean to be argumentative, just curious. MaxFletcher
The starlight problem superficially suggests distances too far for any theory, biblical or atheistic. To make sense of it, one should consider that apparent distance may be part of the show - like the appearance of depth in great works of art, such as the Mona Lisa. Surely the landscape in the background of that painting is not really located as it appears.--Andy Schlafly 21:00, 21 July 2011 (EDT)
But the starlight problem isn't a problem for atheistic theories. Isn't it? Don't they just say "x galaxy is at y distance hence the universe is z old"? MaxFletcher 21:33, 21 July 2011 (EDT)
Doesn't that imply, as the AiG quote above says, that God is creating an illusion and deceiving human beings? That doesn't sound like God. --MatthewQ 21:12, 21 July 2011 (EDT)
I don't think it suggests god is making an illusion. Its only deceiving if you expect the universe to be billions of years old. If you reconcile it being 6000 then it is just gods work 9at least, as far as I can tell - I am not fully convinced of creationism yet). MaxFletcher 21:35, 21 July 2011 (EDT)
I do reject a double standard, and hope you do also. The apparent distances are greater than what what is possible under an atheistic view of the universe too.
God isn't deceiving anyone, at least not any more than how Jesus described that the truth is hidden from the intellectually arrogant. Humble logic shows there is no deception ... or any difficulty if distance itself is part of the show.
The atheistic explanation of the apparent distance being due to a 4th dimension -- the equivalent of an expanding surface of a balloon rapidly stretching the perceived distance along the surface -- is likewise available to a biblical view.--Andy Schlafly 22:10, 21 July 2011 (EDT)
I must say I do like the idea of god creating some of the beauty in the heavens to enrich our lives. one could even suggest that this is a sign left for us under the "show" interpretation. MaxFletcher 22:17, 21 July 2011 (EDT)
Clearly there is much spectacular beauty in the world in addition to what is needed to make things work. I don't find anything implausible about some distance artwork being included. There is certainly no logical difficulty with distance being part of the work. Great painters have been tried to do likewise.--Andy Schlafly 22:51, 21 July 2011 (EDT)
Also, a perception of distance can make things look better for reasons other than art. Think about new television sets, HD flat screens for example. They are built so the picture itself has a sense of depth not to improve the art of what is being watched but to improve the clarity of the image. So depth/distance improves clarity as well. P.S. Sorry to continually bother you on your own talk-page but I don't often discuss this sot of thing so I am finding this discussion philosophically fascinating. MaxFletcher 22:58, 21 July 2011 (EDT)
A painting is clearly a painting. It clearly isn't meant to be taken as a real depiction. However, I don't see how it's clear that the night sky is a work of art and the apparent distances not to be taken seriously. The apparent great distances are causing people to abandon the Biblical view and embrace the Big Bang theory. Why would God put such a feature in his work of art? And do you have any Biblical proof that God meant the sky to be taken as the same way one takes a painting? --MatthewQ 23:48, 21 July 2011 (EDT)

<--------- Hebrews 2:8 says, Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him, which may be interpreted to say God created the heavens (i.e. universe) for humans, to be under subjection to humans (or another way, for their entertainment, but it could also mean for human economic exploitation). Genesis 1:28 says, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over ...every living thing that moveth upon the earth. While God's command to subdue the earth may be interpreted to read God signed onto offshore drilling, this passage is more narrow and specifically references the earth. My overall point is, scientists are no better understanding any of these matters, or the relevence of these questions, than any garden variety bible thumper with an IQ of 49. Rob Smith 23:23, 21 July 2011 (EDT)

As interesting as this discussion has been I still believe science on the size of the universe. A logically it must be mindbogglingly huge as, like I said above, there are 100 billion galaxies! You need an awful lot of space to make them all fit! MaxFletcher 23:28, 21 July 2011 (EDT)
I'm having this same discussion elsewhere, that the infinite universe is fixed and measurable, and current studies are neither facts or truth, but they are science. Seems a pretty round about way to prove a moot point. Rob Smith 23:34, 21 July 2011 (EDT)
that the infinite universe is fixed and measurable, and current studies are neither facts or truth, but they are science I don't understand this sentence. MaxFletcher 23:36, 21 July 2011 (EDT)
This references an ongoing discussion at RW that sparked alot of interests. That's about where I left off this afternoon. They even have a unit of measurement ( parsecs ) that relates somehow to lightyears. And the infinitte universe is 13.7 billion lightyears in circumference, diameter, width, or something (using Wikipedia as a source, I guess). It's all science. You can't argue with facts or science (and this is the stuff they stick in innocent childrens heads...). Rob Smith 23:47, 21 July 2011 (EDT)
Is that the "anti"-Conservapedia site? I had a look there yesterday. I don't mind discussion with opposing points of view but I dislike the swearing. MaxFletcher 23:51, 21 July 2011 (EDT)
The only opposing views you get there is over the level of abuse and swearing that should be heaped upon their targets. Other than that, it's a pretty closed-minded group of ideologues. Rob Smith 23:57, 21 July 2011 (EDT)
So far I have enjoyed it here so I see no reason to want to go elsewhere for discussion. And I am a christian and I get the idea they are hostile towards religion. MaxFletcher 00:00, 22 July 2011 (EDT)
Where is this? --MatthewQ 23:58, 21 July 2011 (EDT)
Well, we don't have indoor plumbing yet, so you're going to have to use the outhouse out back. Rob Smith 00:03, 22 July 2011 (EDT)

39 billion light years away?

I'm sorry, who is claiming to have seen stars 39 billion light years away? The farthest objects visible are 13 billion year old Gamma Ray Bursts, which agrees nicely with the 13.7 billion year age of our universe that scientists have calculated. If you do not cite the 39 billion light year claim, I will delete it and replace it with the correct information.

PS: Here's my citation, before you ask: source RachelW 17:13, 30 January 2012 (EST)

Search on "39 billion light years" and you see numerous references to it. Also, you might allow more than 4 minutes to respond to a talk page comment.--Andy Schlafly 17:21, 30 January 2012 (EST)
Excuse me, I don't need to do a Google search to find references for your completely wrong statement. I have already provided a source for the correct figure. Your figure is a well-known misinterpretation of the estimated diameter of the universe. By the way, you know that if you tell people that an object 39 billion light years away disproves the universe being 13.7 billion years old, you're basically admitting that the universe has to be older than a few thousand years.RachelW 17:28, 30 January 2012 (EST)
Wouldn't that depend upon how fast the light traveled at the time of origin (creation or big bang or whatever)? Perhaps light traveled at a fast rate initially, and slowed over time? 39 billion or 13 billion would not be a constant, only best guess estimate based on observation at this moment in time, and is slowing down. It's like throwing a rock in a pond -- the initial ripples occur very fast, but over time as it spreads further out it slows down. Nothing is constant; everything is constantly changing. So whatever the distance observed today, it's only an approximation based upon limited data from the initial moment of origin. Rob Smith 19:29, 30 January 2012 (EST)
If everything is constantly changing, when will the atomic number of hydrogen become something other than 1? --GeorgeLi 19:33, 30 January 2012 (EST)
Don't know; 30 or 40 billion years, maybe? Rob Smith 19:36, 30 January 2012 (EST)
No, Rob, no. The atomic number of hydrogen is not going to change in 30 billion years, or ever. Do you know what an atomic number is?
Actually, did you even read the article? Because it addresses the hypothesis that the speed of light has changed, and unless you have some incredible data regarding the fine structure constant that nobody else knows about (which wouldn't be surprising given your edit pattern), you would be well served to discard that rather silly hypothesis.RachelW 19:46, 30 January 2012 (EST)

digression on atomic weights & ad hominems

You're talking to the clown who thinks the Superbowl is like the Rugby World Cup. Of course he doesn't know what an atomic number is. --GeorgeLi 19:48, 30 January 2012 (EST)
Rachel, no, I don't know what an atomic number is, nor how that relates to the Starlight Problem. Rob Smith 19:51, 30 January 2012 (EST)
It relates to your claim that everything is constantly changing. This is not true. Now, are you aware that energy cannot be created or destroyed? --GeorgeLi 20:00, 30 January 2012 (EST)
And by the way, Rob, it is not like throwing a rock in a pond. Light doesn't travel through a medium, like water waves do. And I'm pretty sure that if you came up with that little rationalization all by yourself, a scientist has already considered it, tested it, and rejected it. In this case, about 125 years ago, the Michaelson Morley experiment.RachelW 20:08, 30 January 2012 (EST)
Ok, fine. Neither one of you answered my question. Or if you did, not a such a way an adult of average intelligence, or child, could understand. Rob Smith 20:12, 30 January 2012 (EST)
The fact is that this is beyond children or those of average intelligence, but I can try to explain it for you as simply as possible. Now, are you aware that energy cannot be created or destroyed? --GeorgeLi 20:48, 30 January 2012 (EST)

Folks, personal insults against Rob are out of place here.

As to the scientific question, there is a logical circularity in claims of how far light has traveled before seen on Earth. Assumptions need to be set forth more clearly, as Rob was pointing out.--Andy Schlafly 20:14, 30 January 2012 (EST)

A constant speed of light is not an assumption: it's a fact. --GeorgeLi 20:17, 30 January 2012 (EST)
Please explain how you would test that "fact".--Andy Schlafly 20:24, 30 January 2012 (EST)
Simple. Given E=mc2 a varying speed of light just isn't possible, because it would change the amount of energy in the universe which is a complete no-no. --GeorgeLi 20:31, 30 January 2012 (EST)
  • Q. Let's assume the universe is expanding, but slowing down from its initial rate of expansion; wouldn't measurements in light years at this moment in time, today, only be an expression of what it is now at this very moment, or only an average based on a declining rate of speed? Rob Smith 20:28, 30 January 2012 (EST)
Aschlafly, I'd like to go back to your argument that people claim to have seen stars 39 billion light years away. i did as you suggested and searched Google for ("observable star" "39 billion light years") and got zero hits. Can you please provide me with the reference that I am unable to find? Many thanks.ScottDG Talk Is Gingrich an orphan? Conservapedia says yes. Why does nobody else? 20:29, 30 January 2012 (EST)
No, Rob, they would not. The speed of light is independent of the expansion of the universe, or anything else; that is the principle at the heart of Special Relativity. When we measure something to be 300 light years away, it is 300 light years away. We can use redshift to measure its speed relative to us, but the speed of light is a constant, period. RachelW 20:40, 30 January 2012 (EST)
So something that is 300 light years away will be 300 + whatever the rate of expansion is in x number of years (or light years, whichever is your preferred measurement)? Rob Smith 20:52, 30 January 2012 (EST)
George, in other words, you don't have a test for your assertion that the speed of light must have always been constant is a "fact". If there is no test, then it is not a scientific "fact".--Andy Schlafly 20:47, 30 January 2012 (EST)
There is a test, a very simple one - take repeated measurements of the speed of light and see if it varies by more than the error bars of the measuring apparatus. That's been done and it never does. However the test isn't necessary because, thanks to E=mc2, the speed of light can't change. --GeorgeLi 20:50, 30 January 2012 (EST)
Andy, if you read the article, you will see that there is indeed a test of the c-decay hypothesis. It involves measuring the fine structure constant for both near and far stars, and using that to find the speed of light at those times. The speed of light has not changed, nor is there any mechanism by which it could be changed. If it were to be decaying, we should be able to detect the decay even today. George's observation about the E=mc^2 problem is also a perfectly good way to disprove c-decay; it would violate conservation of energy and that is a very serious obstacle for a hypothesis to overcome.
And Scott, you won't find any references for observed stars 39 billion light years away because no such thing exists. The universe is estimated to have a total diameter of 78 billion light years, so people have at times incorrectly surmised that we can see half of that distance away, 39 billion light years. In reality, the observable universe is approximately 13 billion light years in radius, which corresponds nicely with modern cosmology, which says that the universe is 13.7 billion years old and was opaque to radiation (i.e. light) until about 300,000 years after the Big Bang. RachelW 20:54, 30 January 2012 (EST)
None of this answers a simple question -- was an object at 39 billion lightyears at a closer range 2 billion lightyears ago in an expanding universe? Rob Smith 20:58, 30 January 2012 (EST)
What do you mean "2 billion lightyears ago"? Do you even know what a light year is? --GeorgeLi 21:02, 30 January 2012 (EST)
No. What is it? Rob Smith 21:05, 30 January 2012 (EST)
It's the distance light travels through a vacuum in a year; about 9.4 million billion miles, or three-tenths of a parsec. It's a unit of distance, not of time, so you can't have "2 billion light years ago." --GeorgeLi 21:09, 30 January 2012 (EST)
It's a measurement of distance. How far light travels in a vacuum in a year. Not a measurement of time. ScottDG Talk 2 billion lightyears ago...wait, what? 21:08, 30 January 2012 (EST)
(EC) Good. Thank you. What is the rate of expansion of the universe -- in lightyears or whaterver your preferred standard of measurement is? Rob Smith 21:11, 30 January 2012 (EST)
About 73.8 ± 2.4 (km/s)/Mpc. --GeorgeLi 21:16, 30 January 2012 (EST)
Kilometers per second, or a little less than about 45 miles per second, I assume. What is Mpc? Rob Smith 21:20, 30 January 2012 (EST)
Sorry, my bad. Mpc is megaparsecs. --GeorgeLi 21:25, 30 January 2012 (EST)

gravitationally bound and unbound objects

So an object at x light years most probably was closer at an earlier time? Rob Smith 21:31, 30 January 2012 (EST)
No, that depends on gravitational binding. Space isn't expanding between gravitationally bound objects. --GeorgeLi 21:32, 30 January 2012 (EST)
That's not a flat no, and that's why I asked "most probably"; some objects may be drifting further away with an expanding universe? Rob Smith 21:37, 30 January 2012 (EST)
I can give a flat no to that. Objects aren't drifting away; space is expanding between objects that aren't gravitationally bound. What that basically means is that unbound objects have two distances from us; comoving distance - how far away they actually are now, if they still exist - and light travel distance, which is how far the light from them has travelled to reach us and therefore how many years in the past we're seeing them. Gravitationally bound objects, though, basically have only one distance (it's not quite that simple, but it's close enough for government work) because the space in between is not expanding. --GeorgeLi 21:42, 30 January 2012 (EST)


I sort of follow that -- and sort not. Space is expanding between unbound objects but distances are not? That's not exactly what you said, but it is what it sounded like. A moment ago you said lightyear is a measurement of distance, not time. Now you've basically inverted that saying lightyears are measurements of time. I don't wish to sound pedantic or critical, you really are helping sort this out. Rob Smith 21:53, 30 January 2012 (EST)

Well not really. What happens is that because space is expanding, by the time the light that leaves an object reaches us the object is further away than the distance the light has travelled. Imagine I'm standing in the back of a truck driving south at 50 ft/s, while you run north at 10 ft/s. At 200 feet from you I shoot an arrow at you, which travels at 100 ft/s. By the time the arrow lands at your feet it has travelled 220 feet, but the distance between us is 320 feet. It's sort of like that. If the light travel distance to an object is 10 billion light years (bly) then we're seeing the object as it looked 10 billion years ago (sorry, I'm an OEC) but also as it looked when it was, say, 6 bly away. By the time we see it the object is maybe 23 bya away. Light travels at a constant speed through space that is (mostly) expanding at an accelerating rate. It does get confusing. --GeorgeLi 22:10, 30 January 2012 (EST)
So the distances are constantly changing, correct? Rob Smith 22:13, 30 January 2012 (EST)
Between unbound objects, yes. --GeorgeLi 22:23, 30 January 2012 (EST)
Ok. So that has nothing to do with atomic weight of hydrogen, does it? And we don't have to revisit that issue again, please. Rob Smith 22:25, 30 January 2012 (EST)
No, it doesn't. I used atomic numbers (not atomic weights - they're different) as an example of how some things are constant, because you said that everything is constantly changing. The fact is that many things are NOT constantly changing, and one of them is the speed of light. We know that it isn't changing because various measurements have been done, and we know that it can't change because of conservation of energy and E=mc2. --GeorgeLi 22:31, 30 January 2012 (EST)
Good. We're clarifying much here. When it is postulated, "the universe is expanding", that only refers to space, not matter, am I reading that correct? Rob Smith 22:34, 30 January 2012 (EST)
Depends what you mean. Existing matter is not expanding. New matter is not appearing from nowhere. However matter is just a kind of energy, and sometimes other forms of energy can convert into matter. So the amount of matter does fluctuate a bit, but the overall energy remains constant. Weirdly, thanks to gravity being negative energy, it remains constant at a value of zero. Who said it had to make sense? --GeorgeLi 22:41, 30 January 2012 (EST)
That makes sense and I believe it. Let's return to unbound objects. The space expansion means distance expansion between unbound objects. Is there space expansion and/or changing distances between unbound and bound objects? Rob Smith 22:57, 30 January 2012 (EST)
Well yes. Distance is just a word for the size of dimensions in space. Like I said earlier, if you're a megaparsec away from something and not gravitationally bound to it the distance is increasing at about 74 km/s. However between bound objects there is no expansion. Distances might change, but only because of normal motion. Even Newtonian mechanics gives a good approximation of that. --GeorgeLi 23:12, 30 January 2012 (EST)
A group of bound objects, like a galaxy, will experience expansion relative to other galaxies to which it is not gravitationally bound. That is why we see far away galaxies expanding away from us, but not the galaxies in our Local Group. RachelW 23:15, 30 January 2012 (EST)
In fact we're bound all the way out to the Virgo Supercluster, if I remember correctly. --GeorgeLi 23:34, 30 January 2012 (EST)
The earth and moon are bound objects whose distance apart is relatively unchanging in an expanding universe, whereas the earth and unbound object K, measurable at a distance of L light years this evening, will be at M light years + 45 miles x 60 seconds x 60 minutes x 24 hours tomorrow evening at this same time? Rob Smith 01:27, 31 January 2012 (EST)
It'll be at L plus 45 miles x 60 seconds x 60 minutes x 24 hours tomorrow evening at this same time, yes. Nearly 4 million miles farther away. The distance between us and the Sun in 23 days, and accelerating because more distance means more expansion. --GeorgeLi 02:52, 31 January 2012 (EST)
So does this mean the earth is going to crash in to the sun someday? Rob Smith 20:38, 31 January 2012 (EST)

Rachel & Scott discuss among themselves and wait for Andy to cite his sources

Rachel, Aschalfly says that he saw "numerous references" to people talking about observable stars 39 billion light years away. I have an open mind, and want to be able to have him share his knowledge with me. ScottDG Talk Is Gingrich an orphan? Conservapedia says yes. Why does nobody else? 21:02, 30 January 2012 (EST)
There most certainly are stars 39 billion light years away, or close to it. That's the cosmological principle in action. But, as Aschlafly pointed out, they're not going to be observable because light from those stars has not had time to get to us, and if we attempted to look back that far, we will eventually hit the "wall," so to speak, as a result of the opacity of the early universe. RachelW 21:10, 30 January 2012 (EST)
I don't doubt there are stars that far away. I am interested in the people that have observed them, which Aschlafly has numerous references to. ScottDG Talk 2 billion lightyears ago...wait, what? 21:12, 30 January 2012 (EST)
Nobody's observed them. The most distant object anyone has ever observed is the galaxy UDFj-39546284, which - if it still exists, which is unlikely - is 31.7 billion light years away and is now way outside the observable universe. The light from it has travelled 13.2 billion light years to get to us. --GeorgeLi 21:22, 30 January 2012 (EST)
And that's 31.7 billion light years comoving distance, 13.2 billion light years in light travel distance. Meaning, we see it as it was, billions of years ago, and it is WAY farther away by now. RachelW 21:25, 30 January 2012 (EST)

Aschlafly has "numerous references" to stars 39 billion light years away. I have an open mind about this, and I trust that as an educator he will want to share them. ScottDG Talk 2 billion lightyears ago...wait, what? 21:28, 30 January 2012 (EST)

Rob, I posted on your talk page that the rate of expansion is very small, considering the distances involved. Two objects that are relatively strongly bound gravitationally don't experience the expansion because gravity resists the very small force driving them apart. However, between two objects far enough away for gravity to be very weak, the expansion is more noticeable. RachelW 22:06, 30 January 2012 (EST)

Gravity well

The article states about one of the models: "As gravity can affect the rate at which time passes, he calculated that while the six days of creation week were passing on Earth, billions of years' of time was passing at the edge of the universe. According to this idea, the Biblical references to time are according to an observer (real or imaginary) on Earth, so ages are given in 'Earth time.'" Schlafly, tell me, if GR is "liberal claptrap," then how can this mechanism work?! --AndyFrankinson 20:00, 23 July 2012 (EDT)

Andy, can you please explain the resolution of this apparent paradox? :3 --AndyFranklinson 20:03, 28 July 2012 (EDT)

big bang falsifiability

The big bang theory is falsifiable as it makes predictions for abundances of elements and the cmbr. For evolution it is debatable but this article has nothing to do with evolution so I feel both of these should be removed. Richardm (talk) 13:16, 1 October 2016 (EDT)

Fair enough, I changed it. I added the evolution part, because it is closely related to the Big Bang (historical science, non-observable, long ages, etc.), even if they are not the same theory. I will point out that Creation Science (maybe not that specific theory) is falsifiable as well.[2]