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© Copyright 1999, Jim Loy
The creationists claim that the Universe is very young, usually 6000 to 10,000 years old. That is, of course, opposed to the scientific evidence. Here on earth, some rocks can be reliably radiation dated to be billions of years old. The oceans took many millions of years to accumulate their salt and other minerals, which were washed off the continents. Massive coral reefs took hundreds of thousands of years to build up. South America and Africa were touching hundreds of millions of years ago. Sedimentary rock containing millions of layers were built up over millions of years (as were vast quantities of salt). Mountains have taken millions of years to build up and then more millions of years to erode flat.
As an amateur astronomer, my concern is with the obvious great age of the universe itself.
The Big Bang was the explosive beginning of the universe, 10 to 15 billion years ago (the current best estimate is 13 billion (using the American billion = 1,000,000,000). Evidence of the Big Bang are the cosmic red shift, the cosmic background radiation, quasars, and General Relativity. Of course, the creationists do not believe there was a Big Bang.
The Universe is huge. The most distant galaxies and quasars are billions of light years from us. Light took billions of years to get to us from them. Light took millions of years to get to us from the very nearest galaxies. The distances to these nearby galaxies has been determined by a variety of fairly reliable means. Some creationists claim that this light was created already on the way here; others claim that light somehow traveled much faster in the past. We are seeing actual events happen millions or billions of years ago, events like the explosions of stars, and the expanding and contracting of variable stars. If the light was created on the way here, so was evidence of these events.
Galaxies rotate. We can measure their speeds of rotation. It takes them hundreds of thousands of years to rotate once. Some of the Spiral Galaxies have obviously rotated many times, as they appear very tightly wound up into spirals. These spiral galaxies were probably roughly spherical when they were born, and flattened out as they rotated. Some are dramatically flat, as seen edge on. This flattening takes many millions of years. You can simulate that with computers, or compare them with other rotating objects.
Stars evolve. They are born, they live, and they die. A few live short lives (a few tens of thousands of years). Most live for billions of years. Some of these have died or are nearly dead.
The Solar System itself has evolved. It started out as a cloud of dust and gas, flattened out into a disk, and became a star, planets, and assorted debris. This process takes billions of years.
I received email from a person who said that he was a creationist, but that he did not believe in a young earth. Apparently his definition of "creationist" is one who believes that God created the universe. That is not the dictionary definition.
By the way, let's consider the bizarre idea that light has slowed down drastically in the last few thousand years. The speed of light would have to have been millions of times faster than it is now. Then it is my understanding that the red shifts of moving and rotating galaxies were much greater then, and were compressed when the light slowed down. Then the speed of motion and rotation was tremendously greater in the past than they seem to be with our slower light. In particular, the galaxies were rotating at rates (millions of times faster) that would tear them apart almost instantly. If somehow they didn't fly apart, they would probably be spinning so fast that we would actually see them spin.
I recently received this amusing email:
yo moron . so you believe the bible is wrong and you are right . you claim the earth is zillions of years old , not thousands . lets see , the oldest trees are 5 to 6 thousand years old , what would 100 ton dino's eat after a few years , each other . the sun is not god , it couldn't shine more than a few thousand years , billions of years is ridiculous . the bible foretold of the earth being round , thousands of years before it was discovered .it gives the weather patterns in perfect detail thousands of years before anyone discovered the fact . try reading the bible with an open mind , you might learn something .
I asked him if he the sun is not powered by hydrogen fusion, and where gave weather patterns in perfect detail. His response:
yo moron . I'm not so sure about what fuels the sun , I think their are 3 or 4 theories and I imagine they are all wrong .as for the bible , it may not be a science book , but it is scientifically accurate .thousands of years ago the experts falsely agreed the earth is flat . now thousands of years later they rightly agree the earth is round . science catches up with the bible [ Isaiah 40 ' 22 ] for thousands of years the pagans believed nature gods were everywhere controlling the weather . if it stormed the gods were angry . in the 1700's ben Franklin discovered weather patterns . thousands of years before Franklin , the bible describes weather patterns [Ecclesiastes- 6 ' 7] before telescopes astronomers believed there was a few thousand stars at best . thousands of years later [ with telescopes ] scientists believe there is at least 100-million-billion-billion-million stars .again science catches up with the bible [ Jeremiah-33 '22 ] .the bible claims the host of heaven [ stars] cannot be numbered . well I know I'm boring you so I'll let you get back to your Carl sagan video's .
Here is my response to that:
yo. My Bible's Ecclesiastes 6:7 does not mention weather. My Bible's Isaiah 40:22 says "It is He who sits above the vault of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, who stretches out the heavens like a curtain and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in."
It was Ecclesiastes 1:6&7, the first of which says: "Blowing toward the south, then turning toward the north, the wind continues swirling along; and on its circular courses the wind returns." I think a meteorologist would be fairly impressed by that. And in the King James version, in the Isaiah 40:22 example, instead of "vault of the earth," it has "circle of the earth."
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