That’s an interesting question. I don’t see why that shouldn’t happen but dark matter is very different from ‘normal’ matter, so we don’t know how it would behave.
Thanks for raising this interesting topic, Valerie. I hope you and the little one are doing well!
The failings of the Newtonian model gradually became apparent in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The stage was set for Einstein’s general relativity, with which everyone in this thread is at least familiar, I’m sure.
Before general relativity was even introduced, however, the age of the universe was known to be at least tens of thousands of years old. In 1676, hundreds of years before Einstein, Ole Christensen Romer estimated the speed of light with an error of only about 20%. In 1729, James Bradley estimated the speed of light with an error of only 1.5%.
Given the speed of light and the distance that light has traveled, you can calculate when the light was emitted from its source. Well before the advent of general relativity, astronomers knew that the Milky Way has a span of at least 10s of thousands of light-years. This observation set a lower bound on the age of the universe at 10s of thousands of years.
Today, we have much better instruments and a much more accurate understanding of light travel in the universe. The Hubble is viewing electromagnetic radiation today that began its journey billions of years ago.
In the late 19th century, geophysicist John Perry estimated the age of the earth at 2 to 3 billion years based on heat dissipation equations. This sets a much larger lower bound on the age of the earth.
The next big cosmological theory will be fascinating, whatever it may be. It would be quite mistaken, in my opinion, to think that somehow the new theory will shrink the age of the universe from billions of years to mere thousands. The evidence for billions of years is overwhelmingly strong.
Hope this was helpful. Keep loving your little one!
Thanks, but my interest I science is wider than the age of things. I am curious how much others agree with Sabine on this based on the papers she cited.
After learning some about cosmology, I definitely thought it seemed poised to have some kind of fundamental change in the model. Whatever the change is it does seem like it what would have an effect on time in some way, even if it isn’t significant.
Anyway, I’m sure it would be an understatement to say that the vast majority of physicists would never consider a model without long ages given evolutionary models in other areas of science. If there was no widely accepted cosmological model, maybe some biologists would consider an alternative to the current understanding, and if the evolutionary model is overturned, maybe some cosmologists would consider an alternative. But otherwise I don’t expect anything to change soon. Even those kinds of changes would probably take decades.
Well…unless we soon get telescopes that are strong enough to consistently see objects farther back than the supposed age of the universe.
I’m more sure that your wishful speculation is completely wrong. Scientists become famous by overturning dogma with new evidence, not by supporting it.
Our understanding is based on the biological data, not on any cosmological data.
I’m not a cosmologist, but I’m very confident that their positions are not based on biology.
Don’t hold your breath waiting for that.
It is far easier to find flaws in the current model, than to come up with a good replacement.
The evidence for long ages from geology is independent of the cosmological model.
10 posts were split to a new topic: On Consensus Science
It seems to me that would just force cosmologists to think the universe is even older than they already do. I can’t wait, however, for the launch and operation of the James Webb Space Telescope and the European Extremely Large Telescopes. We live in exciting times.
Is there anything in Valerie’s opening post to suggest that she was drawing that inference from Sabine Hossenfelder? If so, I didn’t see it. And certainly I’ve seen nothing in Hossenfelder’s writing that suggests she believes in a universe only thousands of years old.
It’s an almost universally held belief among YECs that just because scientists don’t know everything about the history of the universe, that somehow means that they don’t know anything about the history of the universe, and that everything under the banner of “historical science” is therefore fair game for denial. It’s a fallacy that crops up so often in discussions with YECs that whenever they bring up any unknown or uncertainty in mainstream science, there’s a tendency to automatically assume that this is another example of it.
There is the possibility that Valerie is not trying to make that point, of course, and that we’re jumping to that conclusion erroneously. But if that’s the case, since she identifies as a YEC, she needs to make that clear because it would make her very much the exception rather than the rule.
I inferred that Chris had made this assumption; otherwise, why would he launch into defense mode regarding the age of the earth, when she hadn’t even mentioned it?
Yes, and that’s why it’s better to ask someone what point they are trying to make, instead of imputing an argument to them that they haven’t actually made.
That’s an unreasonable conversational requirement. She made a point about differences among experts regarding the standard model of cosmology. She drew no conclusion about the age of the earth in relation to that point. She said nothing about the age of the earth at all. She asked for comments only on the state of modern cosmological thought, not on the age of the earth. Why should she have to guard every statement she makes here, thinking: “These people here will probably assume I’m saying this for the purpose of defending YEC, so I’m obligated to clarify that I’m not?”
Conversation about origins is frequently poisoned by the fact that so often people don’t listen to what someone is saying but instead respond to what they imagine a person is probably secretly driving at. This site is called Peaceful Science, and one good way to keep things peaceful is not to assume someone is spoiling for a fight unless they say they are.
Agreed. But then she posts…
As I read it, Valery is inferring that who knows , maybe some cosmology will eventually shake out which does not require deep time. I would consider that to be an entirely hopeless prospect, but I appreciate that Valerie was careful not to overstate herself or to misrepresent Hossenfelder, and is digging into science from other sources than just YEC sites.
However, the age of the universe is inferred by astronomical observations which are quite independent of cosmology. The solar system was ancient under both the early conceptions of the steady state and big bang theories. Of the various lines of evidence of age, the most accessible to me are the hundreds of photos of interacting galaxies, such as the antennae galaxy. or the whirlpool galaxy, which by binoculars is just visible near the end of the handle of the big dipper. There are several more on the NASA site here. Under any cosmology, most of these collisions either played out over tens or hundreds of millions of years, or were created to exhibit a false history along the lines of the Omphalos hypothesis.
Not the opening post, and not from Sabine Hossenfelder obviously, but yes she does seem to be going in that direction in this very thread:
Incidentally, a putative future in which astronomers observe stars older than the best current model of the universe would seem to me to have the effect of just making the universe older than we used to think if such observations hold up.
Not that I think this hope has any merit (it definitely doesn’t rise to the level of an inference), but that clearly expresses some hope for a future in which changes in cosmology should somehow happen to start supporting a YEC timeframe, and it clearly is motivated by developments that aspects of the standard model of cosmology appear inconsistent with observation.
@jammycakes is absolutely right, this does seem to be yet another instance of a young Earth creationist trying to turn uncertainty about something in science into somehow mysteriously providing a space for young Earth creationism.
This personal story about the career path of astrophysicist Luke Barnes and how he left YEC while remaining a faithful Christian seems relevant to this thread
Digging into the science himself he saw how YEC arguments failed scientifically and that belief in a young universe is not demanded by the text of the Bible
To give credit where credit is due, at least Valerie is gracious and polite in the way that she expresses it.
Far too many YECs express such things in terms that are reminiscent of the kind of playground taunts that many science-minded Christians had to suffer in school. “Scientists are always changing their minds! Scientists don’t know what they are talking about! Scientists can’t even explain how bumblebees are able to fly! Neener neener neener!” Seriously, it really does sound like that sometimes.
Totally agree. I have no complaints with how the sentiment was expressed.
This part of the article resonates with me and was also my first step in realizing the gaping hole in YEC arguments against evolution. A little education helped me.
Learning about DNA was what set me on that path. One aspect was the DNA hybridization experiments between human DNA and those of other species. At first I skimmed over it, but later on after a review, the results struck me. If you dissolve human, mouse and yeast DNAs into a beaker, heat up the solution to denature them (that is convert duplex/double-stranded DNA molecules to the single-stranded form) and allow them to reanneal, you would find human DNA pairing up with mouse DNA more than yeast DNA. I had to ask why there was this preference and there was nothing in YEC that answered this, whereas evolution indicated we were closer to mouse than yeast, hence, these results. I tried to ignore the implications of these findings, but it set the stage anyway for further investigations. Later on I got to know this was repeated for human and chimp DNAs (and other great apes) and I don’t need to tell anyone what the results turned out to be . This was biochemistry showing me evolution was indeed a reality.
And this is where Luke and I would part ways:
When we look at nature we see both beneficial and dangerous elements. I bet Luke had just the good parts of nature in mind when he said. When I look at open plant fields with their characteristic green hue and seemingly never-ending landscapes, I get deeply impressed by all of that beauty. When I look at HIV, I get deeply impressed as well. If I can conclude that God loves beauty because of the utopian appearance of plant fields, then I should also conclude that he is a twisted and dark personality because of HIV. Of course, most Christians would deny the latter and try to devise escape arguments for God. That’s the attitude I strongly dislike. If we are to look at nature to get a glimpse of the mind of God, then we must unbiasedly look at all of nature. Tornadoes, pathogenic viruses, hurricanes, storms tell us God is a cold-blooded killer.
He didn’t appear to go into any detail in the article about how he squares the words of Genesis and the biblical timelines with cosmology(what are the passages he finds this support in, and how does he read them? What is the support for such interpretations?), but I do find a lot of similar sentiments in how he describes his disillusionment with YEC apologetics concerning the supposed failures of modern science.
In particular this part significantly mirrors my early experiences with ID-creationism and their arguments against evolution:
If you’re prepared to dive into some details, here’s one example:
“The problem of explaining the existence of galaxies has proved to be one of the thorniest in cosmology”, says physicist Dr James Trefil. This quote was presented in books by young earth advocates as a disastrous admission of an unfillable hole in the Big Bang theory.
But among cosmologists, I found a very different attitude. Yes, there was a genuine puzzle when it came to galaxy formation. How had the almost perfectly uniform expansion of the universe allowed matter to clump together fast enough to form stars and galaxies?
Admittedly, when Trefil made his statement in 1988, nobody was sure of the answer. Seminal papers in galaxy formation theory were still being written. Large-scale galaxy surveys were a decade away. Computer simulations were just beginning to be explored. But far from being hidden, problems were openly embraced. Trefil’s statement wasn’t overheard on a wiretap or blurted out under cross-examination; it was published.
Why think that galaxy formation is unsolvable, rather than merely unsolved? When I began to engage with the evidence in the early 2000s, I read in a YEC book of a challenge to Big Bang theory. It promised that a mathematical proof had been found which rendered galaxy formation impossible in Big Bang cosmology.
It didn’t take me long to track down the original paper, written in 1977. I found that the mathematical result was not a secret – it had also been derived in 1966 by Stephen Hawking and could be found in most cosmology textbooks. And, like all mathematical proofs, it had terms and conditions. Hawking had already suggested in 1966 that one of the conditions may be false and, by 1992, observations of the CMB had confirmed that he was right. In short, the first moments of the universe were lumpier than had previously been thought, providing the seeds of later galaxies.
Thousands of papers have been published in the field in recent decades, including analyses of deep observational galaxy surveys and massive supercomputer simulations. Yet that same YEC book in 1999 had claimed that “there are few researchers left in the field” pursuing answers to galaxy formation. I knew this was false when I read it in 2002; reading it again today, it is flabbergasting.
This is just one example. The rest of the folder’s objections to modern astrophysics – the speed of light, white hole cosmologies, rotating universes, supernova remnants, quantised redshifts, star formation, population III stars – couldn’t withstand scrutiny either.
The study of galaxy formation continues. Puzzles remain. The universe is a complicated place, not a Rubik’s cube that we’ve solved. I’m not saying that we know everything now. Yet it seemed to me that where the mainstream scientific community adopted an attitude of open inquiry, the YEC literature seized on any open problem or anomaly and announced it to be unsolvable and catastrophic. I had to discover the full picture for myself.
This is the same experience I have when I look into the articles and videos produced by someone like James Tour when he attempts to criticize the origin of life field. His whole case, every single argument or statement, collapses when subject to close scrutiny.
From the Luke Barnes article…
Yet it seemed to me that where the mainstream scientific community adopted an attitude of open inquiry, the YEC literature seized on any open problem or anomaly and announced it to be unsolvable and catastrophic.
A premier example of this contrast in attitude was the YEC love affair, while it lasted, with the missing solar neutrino’s problem. They seized upon this to discredit the well established model of fusion as fuel for the sun, in order to call into doubt that it could be billions of years old. They completely ignored the not missing neutrinos which could only have come from fusion, and they concocted some shrinking sun data to promote gravitational collapse as the energy source. There was no interest in actually solving the problem of the missing neutrinos. That is why “creation science” is not science - there is no interest in actually solving problems, because that would be contrary to the real purpose, which is rhetorical apologetics.
Of course, the whole chapter came to a sudden close when, due to the hard work of real scientists, that the neutrinos were found to oscillate, have mass, and detection methods were adjusted accordingly. YEC organizations, instead of recanting with heaving sobs of contrition, simply cheerfully shrugged that the resolution of the problem still allowed for the sun to be young, although now there was nothing in physics which demanded that. These are the same people telling the world that a young universe cosmology makes perfect sense.
I agree with you, Eddie. Based on many of her previous statements, I had made an assumption about her logical impetus. But since she never stated that, I should have asked rather than assumed.
@thoughtful - I do appreciate your scientific curiosity. Thanks for bringing this interesting subject to our attention.
Thanks @Eddie - mostly I really just wanted to know what everyone thought of a model without dark energy.
I do think sometimes research, like these papers Sabine cited, have indications of science that may be favorable to my theological beliefs, and that does make paying attention to new possibilities in science more fun for me. That doesn’t mean I intend for the discussion to be about age though. I would let you know if that was my intention.
And as I tried to explain, I don’t think scientists learning new things means current science is a deck of cards ready to collapse. I think science is a slow moving ship that usually takes a very long time to turn.