Vernon Jenkins wrote:
>From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com]On
>Behalf Of Vernon Jenkins
>Sent: Wednesday, January 10, 2001 11:51 PM
>Subject: Re: Creation Ex Nihilo
>In your list of facts ignored by YECs (Sunday last), you stated: "They
>even reject trigonometry as a means of determining distance. This is
>because we can directly triangulate the distance to supernova 1987a in
>which a gas cloud previously ejected from the star became visible by
>reflecting the light from the nova 6.5 months after the nova. Thus we
>KNOW that the ring is around 1.3 light years in diameter (and this is
>true regardless of whether or not the speed of light has changed through
>the history of the universe). We also can directly measure the angular
>size of that ring. These two measurements allow us to determine the
>distance according to simply geometric laws. That star was 170 thousand
>light years distant requiring a universe at least that old. Of course
>YECs know that trigonometry can't conflict with the bible so trig is
>erroneous in this case. (see Foundation Fall and Flood, p. 63)."
>The first question I would like to ask is this: Are you really speaking
>as a scientist when you claim that "a gas cloud (was) previously ejected
>from the star"? Clearly, no one can have witnessed this event! Thus we
>don't KNOW that this is a true explanation of the astronomers'
>observations, and to claim it to be proof that the velocity of light has
>remained constant over the past 170,000 years appears to be wishful
>thinking on your part.
ONe doesn't need to witness a murder to figure out who the murderer was.
This is one of the most methodologically silly arguments advanced by YECs,
because if true, we could rarely put people in jail for any crime. Criminals
try to perform their nefarious feats in the absence of witnesses. Are you
advocating that we should empty the jails because there are no direct
witnesses of many crimes?
Now concerning our knowledge of the gas cloud. First, it lies symmetrically
around the star in a huge empty sphere--all parts of the cloud are
equidistant from the star. Secondly, by measuring the red shift of certain
elements in the star, they can determine the speed that the gas cloud is
moving. It is moving AWAY from the star in all directions equally fast,
which means that in the past the cloud was very close to the star. So,
without having observed the expulsion of this huge hollow sphere of gas
surrounding the star, it is clear that all parts of the gas cloud were at
the star's surface at the same time five thousand years earlier. (Bertram
Schwarzschild, "Ring Around 1987 Supernova Provides a New Yardstick,",
Physics Today, February 1991, p. 20.)
And yes this supernova IS PROOF that radioactivity has been constant for at
least the past 170,000 years. Knowledge of Supernovas and nuclear physics
has shown that the light curve of a supernova would be powered first by the
decay of Cobalt 56 and then later by the decay of Cobalt 57.
"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 the supernova faded at exactly that rate. The Solar Maximum
Mission satellite and instruments on National Aeronautics and Space
Administration research balloons also detected gamma rays from the supernova
carrying 847,000 and 1,238,000 electron volts. 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, and Volker Schonfelder, "The Compton Gamma Ray Observatory",
Scientific American, December, 1993, p. 75
Now, this decay occurred at the time of the supernova--some time in the past
and yet the half-life was exactly what we observe today. This is important
because physics has shown us that the speed of light is related to the rates
of radioactive decay. A constant decay rate from the time of the supernova
until today means that the speed of light has been constant.
So for how long has the rates of radioactive decay been constant--one can
tell if we can determine the distance to the supernova! This is where
trigonometry comes in. We can measure today the angular diameter of the
ring. We know from the travel time of light how big the ring is and thus:
"Since the ring absolute diameter is (1.27+/? 0.07) X 10 18 cm and
its angular diameter is 1".66 +/? 0."03 (Jakobsen et al. 1991),
we estimate a distance to SN 1987A:d(1987A)=51.2 +/? 3.1 Kpc."
~ N. Panagia, R. Gilmozzi, F. Macchetto, H?M. Adorf and R. P.
Kirshner, "Properties of the SN 1987A Circumstellar Ring and the
Distance to the Large Magellanic Cloud," Astrophysical Journal,
380, Oct. 10, 1991, p. L26
A parsec is about 3.26 light years--so 51.2 thousand parsecs is about
170,000 light years. The rates of radioactive decay, and the speed of light
have been constant for that long. And that means that the universe is that
One other note, they detected gamma rays from the decay of certain elements
that is identical in wavelength to emissions of those elements today. That
also is proof that the speed of light has been constant.
You can only escape the implications of this supernova by ignoring most of
>Next, you side with David in believing that YECs ignore the laws of
>radioactive decay. But these 'laws' are based on assumptions - as you
>must well know! What is observed today may not be what applied 1000
>years ago. Would you therefore not agree that you are proceeding by
>faith rather than by sight in respect of this?
See above. The supernova proves that the rates of decay 170,000 years ago
were the same as today---unless you don't believe in trigonometry.
>Finally, now that you are based in the UK you will be well aware of the
>ISO paper standard - in particular, the ubiquitous A4 sheet. A simple
>experiment involving a metre rule (graduated in millimetres) and a sheet
>of A4 establishes firm numerical links between the metric dimensions of
>this artefact and the first 8 Hebrew words of the Bible. The following
>page (#3) describes both procedure and outcome (incidentally, involving
>both 666 and 1260 - surface features that are found to occur in the Book
>This, of course, is manifestly factual evidence!
Evidence for what?
In our past exchanges
>you have rejected such empirical data - believing that labelling them
>'numerology' is a good enough reason for doing so. Will you not now
>accept that until such relevant phenomena are properly investigated and
>explained no one is in any position to claim superiority in this debate?
Try doing what you are doing with a novel, like Moby Dick. I bet you can
find lots of relationships there if you really try. And they would be
evidence also--don't know of what, but it would be evidence.
for lots of creation/evolution information
personal stories of struggle
>As one who has followed this thread from its beginning with some
>interest, I would like to address some comments/questions to the
>To James and Bill:
> 'Creation Ex Nihilo' is, indeed, a peer-reviewed journal. I speak as
>one having first hand experience of the rigorous vetting procedure that
>eventually led to the publication of my paper "The Ultimate Assertion:
>Evidence of Supernatural Design in the Divine Prologue" [CEN Tech. J.,
>vol 7(2), 1993, pp. 184-196 ] - the Abstract reading, "Some alternative
>views of Genesis 1:1 that explain why this first verse of the Hebrew
>Scriptures must be regarded as the most remarkable combination of words
>I observe that you appear to get some kind of kick from making
>coprolitic comments! Your statements, "I hold that YEC has sent a
>multitude of people to hell. They have believed that the Bible teaches
>the YEC nonsense and rejected God's Word because of it. Therefore I hold
>that YEC is one of Satan's master strokes.", is simply a lot of hot air
>unless you have carefully examined and weighed all the evidence that is
>now available. Clearly, like Glenn, you have not! Please inspect my
>Perhaps you would be good enough to explain what 'clear arguments' you
>had in mind when you said, " Can anyone explain to me why creationists
>are not willing to listen to the clear arguments?"
>I would like to record my appreciation of what you have written, and am
>particularly in accord with your recent statement, "What is needed, is
>to be able to differentiate between fact (or data) as derived by
>scientific methodology and interpretation (or explanation) of the facts
>or data within a specific philosophy."
>Vernon Jenkins MSc
>[musician, mining engineer, and formerly Senior Lecturer in Maths and
>Computing, the Polytechnic of Wales (now the University of Glamorgan)]
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