New Evidence against the Standard Model of Cosmology

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.

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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.

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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 :laughing:. 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.

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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.


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Thanks @Eddie - mostly I really just wanted to know what everyone thought of a model without dark energy. :sweat_smile:

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.



Well, yes.

I wouldn’t use such rhetorical language, and certainly that is not how your Roman Church would express the facts, but I think your point is that God is in some sense responsible for the harmful things in the world, and I don’t have any problem with that, theologically. It’s implied, I think, throughout the Hebrew Bible, and stated explicitly in Isaiah 45:7. The fact that YECs and many TE/ECs have problems swallowing this pill is, well, their problem.

But we digress from the subject of cosmology, so I will stop there.


Yes, she is.

Well, when YECs sound like that, I disagree with their line of argument and their tone. I tend to focus more on the problems with their Bible readings than with their science (since there are already plenty of people here who attack them for their science), but it’s the same set of attitudes I’m objecting to.

Paul Price’s arguments here on how to read the Bible appealed to the prejudices of Americans who are academically poorly educated and in particular theologically poorly educated. He treated willful ignorance of the best work done by secular, Jewish, and non-fundamentalist Christian scholars as a badge of honor, and rendered a blanket judgment on non-fundamentalist modern scholarship in the Bible and religion as ungodly and unworthy of paying attention to. This is like saying that all scientists who endorse evolution are ungodly, biased, etc. But that’s not the right way to argue. The right way to argue is not to impute negative motivations to the side that opposes you, but to meet their evidence and arguments with rational responses.


This is what the paper is challenging. There has been a steady stream of data in that direction. Do you think we’ll replace the cosmological principle anytime soon? It’s the backbone of modern cosmology so would we have to rethink stuff like the FLRW cosmology?

It’s hard to tell given the preliminary data. Note that this is not a binary switch: what we really care about is HOW anisotropic or HOW homogeneous the Universe is. The observational consequences of a universe that is homogenous at say ~1000 Mpc scale is completely different than a universe that is homogenous at ~10^10 Mpc scale.

FLRW cosmology has already been rethought multiple times in the past. Generalizations to this model already exist that allow for the failure of spatial isotropy/spatial homogeneity. For example, in the Bianchi model, spatial isotropy is generalized to weaker symmetry requirements (to get technical, spatial isotropy is replaced with the assumption that on every spatial slice there is a linearly independent set of at least three Killing vectors).

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Doesn’t seem rhetorical to me. You would have no qualms applying that to any of the African Gods who are as powerful as Yahweh and created the universe.

Red herring.

Its good we both agree God is a cold-hearted killer.

Cool. God is the cause of seemingly senseless suffering and a whole lot of good too.

The key word in your sentence is “seemingly”. You were wise to include it. It makes your sentence correct, rather than theologically presumptuous. (This contrasts with your “cold-blooded killer” statement.)

Not in relation to questions much more important than questions about evolution. Getting God right is more important than getting biology right – for a Christian, anyway.

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When I read the Bible I don’t see that use of cautious language. If its not Yahweh, then its a stupid, blind, dead, evil God. The Bible writers should have taken your advice.

The same attitude prevails today. When good things happen, God is given the glory without hesitance. Being theologically presumptuous is the norm among Christians and other religious groups. Shouldn’t you be chastising other Christians for being this pervasively presumptuous?

As long as Christians give God all the glory for good events in the absence of good evidence, then nothing should stop anyone from blaming Him as the cause of certain types of suffering. ~600,000 Americans have died from Covid-19, and that makes God a murderer.

Its a total red herring since you could answer my comment without considering my religious affiliation in anyway.

“Getting God right” is a waste of time unless God decides to tell us himself. ~40,000 different Christian denominations and the many more disparate religious groups attest to this. Religion and theology are confused.

You can have the last word. I am not ready to engage you in a thread-long debate on this issue and moderators please don’t split the thread.

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I have many times debated with both YECs and TE/ECs on origins sites, and challenged their view that God would never create anything harmful.

Note that by your reasoning, if it’s consistently applied, God would be a murderer even if he didn’t directly created COVID-19, but merely allowed it to evolve by natural causes. For if he knew it would evolve (he has perfect foresight), and if he chose not to stop it from evolving (when, being omnipotent, he could have done so), then he is guilty of “looking the other way” when all those people died, and therefore, just as much a “murderer” (to use your term) as if he had pulled the trigger himself, by creating COVID-19 directly. So theistic evolutionists/evolutionary creationists can’t get God off the hook for evil (as many of them have tried to do) by saying that “evolution did it, not God.” They say that ID is unacceptable morally and theologically because it means that God deliberately designed killer microbes; but the God of TE/EC is just as morally culpable for the action of those killer microbes, even if he didn’t directly create them, but allowed to evolve through a laissez-faire evolutionary process.

If you are a Roman Catholic, you believe that God has done so, through the Bible and teachings of the Church. If you don’t believe that God has done so, there is no point in being a Roman Catholic. But this is really a discussion that ought to be held not between you and me, but between you and your Bishop – and one that should be held before confirmation is bestowed. I hope that such a conversation will prove fruitful of insight.

I think the standard model is supposed to be Lambda CDM (Cold Dark Matter).

Yes, our friend @PdotdQ gave us a very nice summary of Lambda-CDM earlier in this thread:

It’s easy to miss when so many participants raise ancillary issues. That’s normal human behavior in conversations, so I am not criticizing.


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I guess you either make a connection between religion and the wonders of the universe or you see a non sequitur. I’ve not seen much convincing from one viewpoint to another by arguing about it.