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Speed of Light Changing?

By Mathew Flannery
Posted on: 4/24/2002

All correspondence received by Skeptic Friends Network or its staff becomes the property of Skeptic Friends Network, and may be printed without the consent of the author.

A book-turned-Website brings someone new to the SFN, looking for constancy in the speed of light.


Re: SFN Article “Is the Speed of Light Slowing Down?

To:   Dawn and Tommy
From: Matt L. Flannery
Date: November 20, 1998

I came across your Website in a roundabout way. Whilst looking for
information on magenesium in biological systems I came across the
"Handy Dandy Evolution Refuter." It got my curiosity to see how modern
day creationists refute well-accepted scientific ideas. I was quite
suprised by the details of their arguments and ideas they put forth in
support of creationism.

One idea that totally suprised me was the assertion that the speed of
light had changed dramatically over time. I came across your website
when I was trying to find more information about this concept. While I
am not a scientist by trade, in my personal time I have taken the time
to learn a basic understanding of relativity and quantum mechanics. I
know that you cannot mess with the speed of light without
significantly changing the character of reality, i.e. the curvature of
space-time and Plank's constant.

I am glad to see that there are people on the Web checking up on these
things.

The "Handy Dandy Evolution Refuter" was interesting reading. I think
these kind of people are very dangerous. By sounding very scientific
they give themselves an air of authority and credibility. If you have
not viewed this Website, I think you should visit it for at least a
good laugh, but more importantly, to stay on top of the misinformation.


To:   Matt L. Flannery
From: Dawn and Tommy
Date: Unknown
Thank you for your letter and sharp commentary on Kofahl and Seagraves’ pseudoscientific Web site. Years ago, I’d previously read The Handy-Dandy Evolution Refuter in book form, but I didn’t realize that it’s now a stand-alone Website. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. It was fun reading their bull manure all over again.

For example, they give laudatory credit to Wendell Bird and Fred Hoyle’s reinterpretation of modern cosmology. But they don’t tell you that Bird is a creationist lawyer and Hoyle a nutty astronomer. Hoyle believes that our universe conforms to a steady-state model (where the universe creates matter and energy from “nothing” between galactic voids).

Hoyle also believes that life originated from interstellar bacteria that seeded our Earth billions of years ago. But instead of later evolving through natural selection, Hoyle suggests that extraterrestrial viruses periodically fell to Earth to mutate this same bacterium.

You might wonder why creationists promote Hoyle, who doesn’t advocate any of their Christian views. But creationists are notorious for strange bedfellows.
I know that you cannot mess with the speed of light without significantly changing the character of reality, i.e. the curvature of space-time and Plank’s constant. I am glad to see that there are people on the Web checking up on these things.
You’re absolutely right. Young-Earth creationists can’t grasp basic physics. According to Einstein’s famous equation, E=mc2, you can’t boost the speed of light unless you simultaneously boost the value of E, for energy.

For the speed of light to be instantaneous, or “a million times faster than it is today,” the energy output from the Sun would be so enormous that it would incinerate Adam, Eve, and the Garden of Eden instantly! In fact, this freakish energy output would prevent heavier elements like oxygen and carbon from forming.

Creationists get around all this by claiming that the laws of physics behaved differently in a sinless world, but that’s a religious appeal, not a scientific one. There’s no scientific evidence of a pre-existing “sinless” world immune to entropy. (Strangely enough, there’s no Biblical precedent for that, either.)

Still, even traditional cosmologists claim that the laws of physics probably did operate differently just after the Big Bang, and there’s new scientific evidence to support that idea. In the November, 1998, issue of Scientific American, a short article on page 24 describes how some astronomers discovered that the spectral lines of distant quasars show variations in wavelengths different from today’s scales.

Still, these same astronomers claim they “saw no variation in the fine-structure constant over the past seven billion years.” And for the oldest quasars, “the constant was two parts in 100,000 smaller than today,” so none of this helps young-Earth creationists at all.
The “Handy Dandy Evolution Refuter” was interesting reading. I think these kind of people are very dangerous. By sounding very scientific, they give themselves an air of authority and credibility. If you have not viewed this Website, I think you should visit it for at least a good laugh, but more importantly, to stay on top of the misinformation.
It’s true that young-Earth creationists often “sound” impressively scientific to the uninformed, but keep in mind that they never submit their dissertations to peer-reviewed scientific journals. Never!

Instead, they target their materials to Christian bookstores where they’re guaranteed an ignorant, sympathetic audience. Creationists also claim that’s because the “scientific establishment” (again, conspiracy) is slanted against them, but that’s a smokescreen. They fear mainstream science because they know that creation science is anything but.

As you have probably noticed, creation science is religious propaganda that defends a singular, religious, non-Scriptural worldview.


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