Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Poythress' misrepresentation of Humphreys' cosmology

Third, D. Russell Humphreys employs the general theory of relativity in order to try to "rescale" the time back to the Big Band. But he misapplies the mathematics of general relativity, and does not realize that in any case general relativity would not significantly affect the time estimates to nearby galaxies like the Andromeda galaxy.15 [Vern S. Poythress, Redeeming Science: A God-centered Approach (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2006), 103]

15 Because the relative velocities of our solar system and of the Andromeda galaxy are small compared with the velocity of light, and because there are no gargantuan gravitational fields in the line of sight to Andromeda, neither special relativity nor general relativity significantly affects time estimates for light coming from the Andromeda galaxy. ... [Footnote 15, in ibid., 103]

Humphreys, D. Russell, Starlight and Time: Solving the Puzzle of Distant Starlight in a Young Universe. Colorado Springs, Master, 1994. Argues that general relativity plus certain reasonable assumptions about the beginnings provides a suitable model in which, because of relativistic time dilation, distant parts of the universe may appear to be old when the earth is young. This and forthcoming works based on it may come to play a role in the arguments of six-24-hour-day creationists. A flaw in the physical reasoning invalidates the argument. (In bibliography, in ibid., 358)

A major part of Vern Poythress' book deals with science and the question of origins, especially dealing with the text of Genesis 1-2. In his description of the young earth creationist, 6-24 position, Poythress list some attempts to deal with what he thinks to be the obvious evidence of long ages, distant starlight. Russell Humphreys' attempt is noticed by Poythress and listed as one attempt to deal with the problem of distant starlight. That is good. The problem however is that Poythress misrepresented Humphreys' cosmology.

Humphreys is his book Starlight and Time postulates a white hole cosmology. First, Humphreys denies the Copernican cosmological principle — that there is no center of the universe. The beginning is therefore an explosion of matter from a white hole into 3-dimensional space. Whereas in the standard Lambda-CDM Big Band Model, the initial explosion is 3-D space itself on the surface of a 4-D hypersphere. In Humphreys' white hole cosmology, because matter is expanding into 3-D space, there is gravitational differential between the surface of the expanding sphere of matter and its center, something which is not present in the Lambda-CDM Big Band Model since in that model, it is space itself that is expanding and there is no center of mass when 3-D space itself loops back onto itself as it is stretched upon the 4-D hypersphere (i.e. if you move in one direction across the universe, you will eventually arrive at your starting point no matter which direction you choose).

It is this gravitational differential that Humphreys focuses on with regard to gravitational and time dilation. According to white hole cosmology, the earth passed through the white hole's event horizon on day 4, during which time billions of years of stellar time eclipsed such that distant starlight could make their way to earth. Billions of stellar evolution could occur, while there is the passage of only one day on earth.

We can easily see that Poythress misrepresented Humphreys' cosmology. Humphreys is not saying that light coming from the Andromeda Galaxy is currently undergoing relativistic effects before reaching earth. Rather, the relativistic effects happened because of the near stopping of time on earth on day 4. Therefore, the light that we currently see in the sky today, according to Humphreys' white hole cosmology, is light that had traveled from distant stars for billions of years in stellar time. All the photons we see were photons that were a couple of thousand light-years away from earth when day 4 ended, having traveled a long distance by then.

Now Humphreys' white hole cosmology is not foolproof. The latest YEC cosmology after all is the one developed by John Harnett. But one should represent his white hole cosmology accurately even in disagreement, and unfortunately Poythress did not do so.

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