Re: Apologists and other salesmen

Glenn Morton (
Mon, 04 Nov 1996 19:27:28

Bill Frix wrote:

>To reply to Glenn Morton's post of Tue, 29 Oct 1996 (some of us have
>work to do) ;-)
Remember that Star Trek episode from the first incarnation of that show, where
the people moved at hyperspeed and were not visible unless they stood still
for a long, long time (to them)? I am one of those people. :-)

>There is much I do not know about the Universe. I know God created
>it ex nihilo (?). I don't know how God's voice could travel in a
>vacuum, yet it had to for Him to speak the Universe into existence.
>I don't know how the universe will roll up like a coat in the last
>day (Hebrews 1:12) but I know it will. I don't know how He created
>light before the light bearers (the sun and stars). For that
>matter, I don't know how God could exist forever, without beginning
>or end! In addition, I can't prove it, scientifically, historically
>or otherwise.

I fully agree that God does not decieve. It is quite important that we not
have God saying and inspiring false things. (this is why I take the stand I do
on the Bible itself). However, there are two aspects of this issue that have
not recieved proper attention. There is what the Scripture says, and what we
think the Scripture says. I am hard of hearing and as a result am quite
sensitive to this difference. At the dinner table when someone says
something, I often think they said something else. When I reply, I often
recieve great laughter and mirth at the stupid reply I just made. In these
cases it is obvious that what I percieved them to say was not what they
actually said.

With the Scripture if we think it says that the universe is 6000 years old or
so, that must be consistent with the data we see. It isn't. Simple high
school geometry and a little physics can prove that either the universe is
greater than 6000 years old or God is deceiving us!

In 1987 a supernova went off in the Large Magellanic Cloud. This thing was
observed less than 2 hours after the explosion. (Pictures of that region taken
Feb 23 9:22 GMT[I believe] showed no supernova. A picture taken Feb 23 10:39
GMT showed the supernova). About 6 months later, we began to detect a ring of
gas surrounding the supernova. This ring had been there prior to the
explosion but had been invisible because it was not illuminated. The geometry
is as follows:

---ring of gas
/\ .
| .
| .
| .
***supernova---------------------------------------> earth
| .
| .
| .
\/ .
---ring of gas

assuming this picture doesn't get mess-up by e-mail the .'s are the travel
path of the light from the ring to the earth.

diameter, we can measure the angular diameter of the ring from telescopes on
earth. From this, we can determine that supernova is 169,000 light-years
away. So when creationists like Lubenow write, in 1992,

"Many do not realize that the farthest direct age/distance
measurement we can make in the universe is limited to about
three hundred light years, done by triangulation using the
diameter of the earth's orbit as a baseline. All age/distance
measurements beyond that are indirect, and are based on
assumptions which may or may not be valid)."~Marvin L. Lubenow,
Bones of Contention, (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1992), p. 201

it merely shows that he has not done his research.

I can give you one direct triangulation out to 12 million light-years.

Now, can we use the supernova to determine how long it took the light to get
to earth? Yes. Theoretical models of supernovas had predicted that cobalt 56
would power the light decay curve early in its life. It would then be
replaced by the longer-half-lived cobalt 57 and the Co-56 vanished. What was

"Observations of Supernova 1987A stunningly confirmed the
prediction. Cobalt 56 has a half-life of 77 days; from 1987
through 1990, the visible light from thesupernova faded at
exactly that rate. The Solar Maximum Mission satellite
andinstruments on National Aeronautics and Space Administration
research balloons alsodetected gamma rays from the supernova
carrying 847,000 and 1,238,000 electronvolts. These are
precisely the energies associated with the decay of cobalt 56."
"Since 1991 the visible light from supernova 1987A has faded
at a rate corresponding to a half-life of about 270 days, the
exact half-life of cobalt 57. It seems that cobalt 57 is now the
main radioactive isotope powering the supernova. OSSE has
followed up on the previous observations by detecting the
122,000-electron-volt gamma rays characteristic of the decay of
cobalt 57."~Neil Gehrels,Carl E. Fichtel, Gerald J. Fishman,
James D. Kurfess, Volker Schonfelder, "The Compton Gamma Ray
Observatory," Scientific American, Dec. 1993, p. 75

The observation verified the theoretical prediction, but it did more than
that. Fundamental physics shows that the speed of light is proportional to
the rate of radioactive decay. Seeing the same half-life and energies for
Co-56 and Co-57 on the star as we see here tells us that the speed of light
has not changed since the light left the star. This means that the light took
169,000 years to get here.

If the universe is only a few thousand years, then everything prior to the
vertical line is false.

---ring of gas
/\ . |
| . |
| . |
| | .
***supernova---------------------------------------> earth
| | .
| . |
| . |
\/ . 6000 light years
---ring of gas

God had to manufacture the light in such a way as to form a sequence of
images for a supernova event which never happened. God must make just the
precise photon energies appear at the appropriate time. God must make the
amplitude of the light images decay precisely with the successive half-lives
of Co-56 and then Co-57. But none of these made up events ever happened.
Since only God Himself is powerful enough to create such an illusion, then God
can not escape the charge of deception IF the supernova didn't happen 169,000
years ago as we see it.

Thus I feel that in order to not have God deceiving us, I must believe in an
old earth.


References in addition to the citations

N. Panagia et al., "Properties of the SN1987A
Circumstellar Ring and the Distance to the Large Magellanic
Cloud", _Astrophysical_Journal_ 380, L23-L26 (1991) gives the
distance as 51.2 +/- 3.1 kiloparsecs.

Bertram Schwarzschild,"Ring Around SN1987A Supernova Provides a New
Yardstick", _Physics_Today_, February 1991, page 20;

A good book is

Paul Murdin, _End in Fire_ Cambridge University Press 1990
Foundation,Fall and Flood