Sal Cordova and Aging Galaxies

Maybe in your view, but not in mine. I think this sums up the status of evolutionary biology pretty accurately:

In science’s pecking order, evolutionary biology lurks somewhere near the bottom, far closer to phrenology than to physics. For evolutionary biology is a historical science, laden with history’s inevitable imponderables. We evolutionary biologists cannot generate a Cretaceous Park to observe exactly what killed the dinosaurs; and, unlike “harder” scientists, we usually cannot resolve issues with a simple experiment, such as adding tube A to tube B and noting the color of the mixture.”

As far as cosmology, this echoes my views from the secular quarters, I see stuff like this all the time, and it reflects the dissatisfaction that lurks among some faculty and grad students.

Best-Yet Measurements Deepen Cosmological Crisis - Scientific American

Nobel laureate Adam Riess of Johns Hopkins University, the leader of the Supernovae, H0, for the Equation of State of Dark Energy (SH0ES) project, was awaiting these results. “In expectation of that, we have bee

The year Riess’ got his nobel prize was the year finished my class work at his school. Some professors there and elsewhere, who shall not be named, had skepticism over his prize. For that matter even Riess himself pointed out his value of the cosmological constant was at variance with other models.

But troubling is the possible need of MOND (Modified Newtonian Dynamics) or the gyrations researchers go through to reconcile spiral arms of galaxies. But one anomaly I can’t run from is this.

If the universe is old, and evolved and distant starlight travelled at a constant rate, we should see (by way of metaphor) a progression from young to old like this (give or take few fractions of a billion years):


instead, with some adjustment for the bluer stars far away, the relative ages of big galactic structures look (metaphorically) like this:


This is a known problem in cosmology.

The Guth/Linde or whatever early inflationary model postulates the early universe expanding at thosands to millions of times the speed of light. So distasteful was this “solution” that Joao Magueijo and others proposed variable speed of light (VSL). Zippy light models. Though Magueijo’s model won’t work with YEC, it opened the conversation, and a little known fact, even Einstein himself entertained the possibility of VSL.

Beyond that, Ron Hatch, who rejects Einsteinian relativity is a neo-Lorentzian. His Hatch Fitler is in GPS satellites!!! When John Sanford visited my home in 2016, I told John I was working on reconstructing the Cahill Interferometer, and Dr. Sanford mentioned his acquaintance with Hatch. And then I looked him up, and there I saw him with my old boss at MITRE, Marty Faga, on the US Government GPS council! I thought to myself, “how did an anti-Einsteinian get on the GPS council.” Turns out GPS won’t work without the filter Hatch himself made, and which formed some of the basis of Hatch’s neo-Lorenzian views.

Next are the interferometer and other experiments. Some have been reconstructing interferometers in non-Vaccum refractive media and claiming fringe changes in line with a neo-Lorenzian/ether like model. Anyway, Cahill re-analyzed Michelson-Morely and Dayton Miller’s experiments in refractive (non-vaccum media) and argues this as evidence of a neo-Lorentzian relativity. He also cited de Witte’s belgacom experiments.

Soo, no, I’m not going to say the evidence is very very good against YEC. The jury is still out for YEC/YCC. And I also think the fossil record is young because of chemical and radiometric data – it doesn’t mean the Earth is young, but it means the time of death was relatively recent.

The Proton-21 lab experiments have opened the door to alternative nucleosynthesis and radio-active decay models.

And finally, Abiogenesis and Evolutionary theory are not emperically justified disciplines.


Which is exactly what we see! :slight_smile:

Not at all. That is not what we see.

If it is a known problem it is known for being resolved.



Christ, you aren’t about to trot out that Jerry Coyne quote are you? Oh.

I’ll leave the astrophysics, as it isn’t my thing. Perhaps someone else would like to take it up. However, that’s evidence for an old universe, not an old earth. A YEC has to ignore much more than just starlight.

Whatever can you be talking about there?

And what does that mean? If you really want to defend old earth/young life you are going to have to confront the evidence more directly and in more detail. Check out @r_speir’s go at that. It may be sad, but it’s better than you’ve ever managed or attempted.

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Astronomical surprise: Massive old galaxies starve to death in the infant universe | Carnegie Institution for Science

Astronomical Surprise: Massive Old Galaxies Starve To Death In The Infant Universe

That was in 2005, the same problem persists today.

"Hyperion" --Titanic Structure From the Early Universe Unveiled: 'Largest Proto-Supercluster of Galaxies Ever Found' | The Daily Galaxy

This titanic mass is similar to that of the largest structures observed in the Universe today, but finding such a massive object in the early universe surprised astronomers.

Yes, we would have expected baby looking structures far away, so why do they look so similar to things near us (like old). Or alternatively, the YEC/YCC’s would say they look created and are all almost homogenously young, except for the bluing (for whatever reason) the farther away they are.

Maguijo’s VSL won’t explain this, but I think it’s in the right direction. This is a real anomaly. Same for the spiral galaxies.

It doesn’t prove YEC/YCC, but it does tell me, it’s early in the game to be making final pronouncements about the cosmos.

Beyond that, there are determined minority that don’t like the explanation for redshifts due to expanding space. I thought Varshni had a compelling explanation for Quasars, and Varshni is not a creationist. He postulates plasma laser action as creating the appearance of red shifts in Quasars. He gives a good example here:

In the course of our analysis of the spectra of quasars (Varshni, 1973, 1974a, 1975a, 1976b) we have found that there are at least ten quasars whose emission-line spectra (as observed, no red shift)


A testable hypothesis is that if the supposed “redshifted” Quasars are a lot closer than supposed, using the quasars as reference points in parallax/astrometry measurments will result in conflicting estimates of distance.

Another testable hypothesis is confirmation of laser action in star plasmas which would make Quasars look redshifted and immensely powerful.

John Gideon Hartnett, a YEC physicist at a secular university with multi-PhD physics students invited me in 2008 to be his PhD student. I couldn’t make the offer work. I had to stay in the USA!

Anyway, I thought this critique of redshifts by Hartnett had some teeth to it:

[1107.2485] Is the Universe really expanding?

The Hubble law, determined from the distance modulii and redshifts of galaxies, for the past 80 years, has been used as strong evidence for an expanding universe. This claim is reviewed in light of the claimed lack of necessary evidence for time dilation in quasar and gamma-ray burst luminosity variations and other lines of evidence. It is concluded that the observations could be used to describe either a static universe (where the Hubble law results from some as-yet-unknown mechanism) or an expanding universe described by the standard Lambda cold dark matter model. In the latter case, size evolution of galaxies is necessary for agreement with observations. Yet the simple non-expanding Euclidean universe fits most data with the least number of assumptions. From this review it is apparent that there are still many unanswered questions in cosmology and the title question of this paper is still far from being answered.

@stcordova I know you dislike splits but much of this needs to be spot into seperate threads. Can you roll with us on this?

Will roll with it. Split away!

I was about to write this before the announcement of the split, but anyway, FWIW, this one really caught my eye!!!

( – The phenomenon of time dilation is a strange yet experimentally confirmed effect of relativity theory. One of its implications is that events occurring in distant parts of the universe should appear to occur more slowly than events located closer to us.

Astronomer Mike Hawkins from the Royal Observatory in Edinburgh came to this conclusion after looking at nearly 900 quasars over periods of up to 28 years. When comparing the light patterns of quasars located about 6 billion light years from us and those located 10 billion light years away, he was surprised to find that the light signatures of the two samples were exactly the same. If these quasars were like the previously observed supernovae, an observer would expect to see longer, “stretched” timescales for the distant, “stretched” high-redshift quasars. But even though the distant quasars were more strongly redshifted than the closer quasars, there was no difference in the time it took the light to reach Earth.

Woohoo! You just won my favor and support…!!!

They are not on average. Conventional cosmology predicts that statistically, galaxies faraway are different from galaxies close by. There was never the claim that there could be no outliers e.g. faraway galaxies that are much more massive than the average for their age.

In any case, there are thousands of papers describing the differences of galaxies close-by and galaxies far away. I gave three examples in this thread, reproduced here:

  1. The morphology of nearby galaxies are on average different from faraway galaxies ([astro-ph/0109358] The Morphological Evolution of Galaxies )
  2. The velocity dispersion of nearby galaxies are on average different from faraway galaxies ([1107.0972] Redshift Evolution of the Galaxy Velocity Dispersion Function )
  3. The star formation rate of nearby galaxies are on average different from faraway galaxies ([1207.6105] The Average Star Formation Histories of Galaxies in Dark Matter Halos from z=0-8 )

Not only galaxies, but observations of the Lyman-alpha forest shows that the entire universe evolves from being cold and neutral to being hot and ionized due to there being more stars and black holes once the universe is older.


Thanks a million for that data point!

That was very very helpful and informative.

There is a lone as astronomer who taught at a secular university (University South Carolina), Danny Faulkner, who is also a YEC.

Jason Lisle is and atmospheric physics, Faulkner is a real astronomer and taught astronomy at a secular university until he retired and worked for Answers in Genesis.

I never bothered to look up what Faulkner had to say about what you just mentioned. I talked to him in passing about when I saw him at a Creation Astronomy conference in 2013, and I wish he pointed out to me what you just pointed out!!!

Thanks again.

His PhD work is in solar physics, which is firmly astronomy. His degree was in astrophysics. I don’t know what he does now, but he still identifies as an astrophysicist in his blog.

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I stand corrected. Jason is director of research at the Institute of Creation Research. I ran into him at ICC 2008, ICC 2013, ICC 2018. He’s a real real quiet soft spoken guy. I can hardly get him to say more than a couple words! Not very talkative at all, but very nice, albeit EXTREMELY introverted.

I really appreciate you taking time to read and comment on what I right regarding physics. I have one of Chadrasekhar’s books as a supplemental reference for my old astrophysics class. I couldn’t understand 1% of the math in it. So you most certainly have my admiration for what you’ve attained as a scholar.

My physics background is as an re-treaded engineer getting some familiarity with the terminology. There are a lot of engineers working at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics lab, and they offered physics courses for them since they worked on Space probes and systems, but they weren’t really physicists like you. That’s the sort of coursework I studied which has nowhere near the depth you’ve gone into.

Anyway, all this to say, I appreciate your time and comments.

I think this was the book by Chandrasekhar that got filed away somewhere in my house:

An old universe seems to be churning on and clogging up the works for us biblical creationists. There must come a point we do something about that. And if we cannot explain it in terms of profound youth, then we are going to have to accept what is out there and discover and admit where we have missed something in the Genesis text…We have a problem.



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There are some fundamental issues. The first is the red-shift, and next is the microwave background radiation.

The issue of redshift is also complicated. Ned Wright makes a powerful case that the observed Supernova life-span agrees well with time dilation as predicted by red-shift. This was a devastating critique of tired-light and other alternative explanations of red shift. So, that is a major plus for the Big Bang model.

But then there are Quasi-Stellar objects, the Quasars. Quasars are problematic in everyone’s cosmology. Hilton Ratcliffe points out:

3.2. Quasars. In 1963 Alan Sandage and Thomas Matthews, in a landmark fusion of optical and radio astronomy, identified Quasi-Stellar Objects (QSOs, hereafter quasars). They were properly described in terms of their spectral signature, and presented an unusual defining characteristic: Redshifts significantly higher than other objects seen on the sky. This created difficulties for physical theory because at their redshift-implied remoteness, they would, by known physics, be almost impossibly bright.

Quasars are very compact objects, typically only ~1 LY across. If they really are at their redshift distance, they would be so energetic that their luminosity becomes quite extraordinary.

If one plots quasars’ redshift against apparent brightness, as Hubble did for galaxies, one gets a wide scatter, as compared with a smooth curve for the same plot done for galaxies. This seems to indicate that quasars do not follow the Hubble law, and there is no direct indication that they are at their proposed redshift distance. In fact, if Hubble had been given the plot for quasars first, he and other astronomers probably would not have concluded the Universe was expanding.

Furthermore, the calculated charge density of quasars is in some cases so high that it would appear that photons could not likely escape the interior. This means that quasars should be radio- and X-ray-quiet. They obviously are not. Even more onerous was the precision measurement of radial expansion rate by very long baseline radio interferometry. Quasars appeared to be expanding at up to ten times the speed of light, and this poses obviously serious complications for underlying theory and Einsteinian physics. All of these quandaries about quasars indicate serious problems for theory, given their redshift-implied remoteness. However, these issues would tend to disappear if the objects were in fact closer to our point of observation. It was clear that quasars were peculiar enough to warrant further investigation to establish observationally what they actually were in the scheme of things, and where they might be located in space.

Varshni proposed that the spectral lines are being mis-interpreted as red-shift. He argues laser action in plasmas. Only last year was there are report of such laser action (after a long draught on such papers): … r-emission

The European Space Agency said on May 16, 2018 that its Herschel space observatory has observed a rare phenomenon: an unusual natural laser emission beaming from the core of the Ant Nebula. This nebula is a striking double-lobed cloud in space – located in the direction to the southern constellation Norma – and now it’s known to contain one of the few space infrared lasers discovered so far. ESA said the laser light beaming from the nebula suggests the presence of a double star system hidden at the nebula’s heart.

This is Varhni’s website. He must be very very old. I tried to contact him and visit him, but to no avail.

I myself reviewed some of the specific quasars Varshni claimed had proper motion. Varshni relied on Luyten’s work decades ago, and Luyten’s data got incorporated in published atlases. But no one bothered to followup on Luyten’s data. Some people kindly compared photographic plates that Luyten had with data 40 years later and there is no proper motion in these high-Z quasars!

Ratcliffe, Burbidge, and Varshni cite some bad data. That doesn’t however negate their other concerns.

But the worst issue, is the one I pointed out, the potential lack of time dilation in the blink rates of quasars. That one really caught my attention.

This essay (not by a creationist) affected my views on cosmology.

Modern Cosmology: Science or Folktale? | American Scientist

Current cosmological theory rests on a disturbingly small number of independent observations

It is true that the modern study of cosmology has taken a turn for the better, if only because astronomers can now build relevant instruments rather than waiting for serendipitous evidence to turn up. On the other hand, to explain some surprising observations, theoreticians have had to create heroic and yet insubstantial notions such as “dark matter” and “dark energy,” which supposedly overwhelm, by a hundred to one, the stuff of the universe we can directly detect. Outsiders are bound to ask whether they should be more impressed by the new observations or more dismayed by the theoretical jinnis that have been conjured up to account for them.

Robert Dicke meanwhile noticed a worrying paradox in the Big Bang model: Opposite sides of the cosmos look very much the same, even though they had never been sufficiently close to equilibrate—indeed they had never been sufficiently close for any kind of information (which is limited to the speed of light) to travel between them. This difficulty was virtually unadmitted until 1981, when Alan Guth suggested a vague conceptual solution called “inflation”: a slow start to expansion, followed by a rapid acceleration.

In the 1930s, Richard Tolman proposed such a test, really good data for which are only now becoming available. Tolman calculated that the surface brightness (the apparent brightness per unit area) of receding galaxies should fall off in a particularly dramatic way with redshift—indeed, so dramatically that those of us building the first cameras for the Hubble Space Telescope in the 1980s were told by cosmologists not to worry about distant galaxies, because we simply wouldn’t see them. Imagine our surprise therefore when every deep Hubble image turned out to have hundreds of apparently distant galaxies scattered all over it (as seen in the in this piece). Contemporary cosmologists mutter about “galaxy evolution,” but the omens do not necessarily look good for the Tolman test of Expansion at high redshift.

and last but not least, my beloved professor of undergraduate QM, James Trefil at GMU/UVA who wrote:

There shouldn’t be galaxies out there at all, and even if there are galaxies, they shouldn’t be grouped together the way they are…The problem of explaining the existence of galaxies has proved to be one of the thorniest in cosmology. By all rights, they just shouldn’t be there, yet there they sit. It’s hard to convey the depth of the frustration that this simple fact induces among scientists.
– James Trefil, “5 reasons galaxies shouldn’t exist”, Dark Side of the Universe

As his student, he autographed my copy of his famous book. :smile:

I know exactly what the problem is … you are only human. :slight_smile:

Maybe something was missed, maybe something was never really there, these are very natural human errors, and it is no more or less a problem than any of us have. I humbly suggest that some problems are being forced on you unnecessarily, and are not the most important problems to resolve. The age of galaxies might be one of those.

Just my two-bits as an agnostic.

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Sal, where do you stand on dating the age of individual stars?


I believe the individual stars were created about 6,500 years ago, but I cannot make a good theoretical nor empirical case on the matter.

The difficulty of the problem became apparent when I began studying astrophysics.

I can only offer my views, as a personal intuitive belief. This is in contrast to other statements I will make, like say the age of the fossil record or abiogenesis or eukaryotic evolution.

Space physics, astrophysics, comsology are immensely difficult fields.

What I have written in this thread is to reflect my general sense that all of us collectively are making lots of guesses without sufficient data.