Re: speed of light

Moorad Alexanian (
Fri, 12 Nov 1999 09:10:05 -0500

Whether the constants that we hold as fundamental change with time or not
is to be determined by experiments and they are. However, to interpret
experimental data one has to make assumptions and I am not sure what are all
the assumptions make when we claim that some constants are indeed constants.
I know that Dirac had a theory of the variation of the gravitational
constant with time. Accordingly, such experimental data have to be analyzed
in their broadest term, with the weakest assumptions possible.


-----Original Message-----
From: R. Joel Duff <>
To: <>
Date: Friday, November 12, 1999 7:11 AM
Subject: Re: speed of light

>>At 10:37 PM 11/11/1999 CT, jeff witters wrote:
>>>I have been carrying on a discussion with a YEC friend who is
>>>all excited about a book he is reading presently. A part of
>>>the book apparently gives an explanation regarding how the
>>>speed of light is slowing down from previously much higher
>>>speeds, and this somehow vindicates the YEC position.
>>>A fellow named Barry Setterfield is the progenitor of this
>>>hypothesis, and is apparently a YEC. I am a TE of sorts and
>>>so I had to wonder how I had escaped seeing the headlines
>>>covering this in Science or Nature. My two semesters of
>>>college physics are not much help here. Does "Setterfield"
>>>ring any bells out there? Is he up a dry creek sans paddle
>>>or canoe, or should I get ready to eat my TE hat?
>>>This fellow may be old news, but my only association with
>>>the name was "left field" and that is not much to carry an
>>>intelligent discussion. Any help would be appreciated.
>>Point your friend to an article in the Creation Research Soc. Quarterly.
>>Morton, G. R., Slusher, H. S., Bartman, R. C., and Barnes, T. G., (1983).
>>Comments on the Velocity of Light.
>>Creation Research Society Quarterly. 20:63-65.
>>Summary: This is a critique of Barry Setterfield's suggestion that the
>>speed of light had decreased. If his formulation of the changes were true,
>>then there should have been 417 days per year at the time of Christ and
>>earth would have been melted when God created Adam due to the tremendous
>>heat generated by the extremely rapid radioactive decay during the
>>It is usually good to point people to creationist material that criticizes
>>their wild ideas. They beleive creationists they don't believe
>>evolutionists. Tom Barns and Harold Slusher are well know creationists.
>Dittos to Glenn's remarks. I would just add that you should be carefull
>not to sound too dogmatic as if the speed of light were absolutely a
>constant. I remember seeing a report just recently that some physicists
>were suggesting that the speed of light wasn't as "constant" as previously
>thought and though the headline that came of that sounded like they were
>questioning everything about the speed of light they were really suggesting
>that the speed of light might have been much much faster in the first few
>seconds of he Big Bang under very special conditions. Still, I find it
>very usefull to just admit upfront that there are some possible exceptions
>to the rule. Same thing applies for radioactive decay rates which can be
>changed but only under very special conditions as well.
>R. Joel Duff, Assistant Professor
>Dept. of Biology, ASEC 185
>Campus Mail 3908
>University of Akron
>Akron OH, 44325-3908
>Office: 330-972-6077