Re: speed of light

Massie (mrlab@ix.netcom.com)
Fri, 12 Nov 1999 10:03:56 -0800

Speed of Light

There is a YEC book claiming the C has been faster in the past based on
some very weak use of historical data. The issue of error bars on the
earlier measurements seems to be neglected. Hugh Ross of Reasons to
Believe reviews this in one of his books. If there is evidence that C
was faster in the past this is just not it.

Now, is C a function of time and how would we know and what is the
impact of any of this on origins and YEC vs OEC?

First, in spite of name calling on the part of the YEC crowd, physics
folks do not have a "cult of the Big Bang." What is missing in the
analsysis of the historical data is almost everyting. The constant C
shows up in numerious places in physics so tampering with it to suit
YEC ends for the time elapsed must be considered in a broader context.
For a trivial example, consider the famous Einstein equation of
conversion of mass to energy, E = m c^2. Changing C changes how nuclear
reations work and the spectral lines of stars. Given that stars are far
away in distance and therefore time, a faster C in the past would show
up in stellar observations. Thus, there are numerous other ways to
examine potential changes in C and none of these have been considered by
the YEC group.

While at UCLA, we discussed questions related to the constancy of the
constants of the universe. No one cared what the philosophers or
theologians thought about our results, physics is physics. I mention
this to make the point that physicists are concerned about these
questions and examine these issues, but not in the context of a YEC
doctrine.

While at LLNL, I saw numerous folks go after the red-shift arguements.
This was not motivated to get to a YEC or that the current doppler shift
arguement was a bad one but is just the good work to seek to polk holes
in the current paradaigm.

Thus, the typical YEC complaint that there is a conspiracy to hide the
real facts of the universe is something I have never seen and in fact I
have seen the opposite.

The same holds of the Big Bang theory. There are lots of bright people
looking to make their way to a Nobel by upsetting the reigning
paradaigm.

In conclusion, if C is changing, we have no evidence and not for lack of
looking.

There are physicists who are postulating means that by which the
constants are not constant and what are the laws of physics under extrme
conditions. This does not lead to the conclusion of a 6,000 year old
universe.

Let me paraphase an ancient article from letter to Scientific American

"We should not disregard this young man Einstein. After all, we have
no measurements about how time flows with object who move close to the
speed of light....."

Bert M