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30 Billion Light Years Away?

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Posted by Goodster on July 20, 2002 01:50:43 UTC

If the Universe is only 6,000 years old, how can we see objects that are now 30 billion light years away?

Christians insist that the universe is only 6,000 years old. This can be calculated by using the ages of characters in the bible: Methuselah lived to be 969 and gave birth to Lamech when he was 187, who lived to be 777, and so on.

They have convoluted ways to disprove carbon dating and all the scientific evidence to the contrary. The thing that intrigues me the most about such a young universe are the implications about its size. As of April 2002 the most distant detectable object in the universe is a massive quasar spotted by Xiaohui Fan, a graduate student at Princeton University. It is estimated to be the size of a billion suns and 28 billion light years away. In other words it takes 28 billion years for light emanating from this quasar to reach Earth.

When astronomer's observe this phenomenon they are seeing a galaxy as it appeared very early in its development. If the universe is only 6,000 years old, it would follow that a star can't be more than 6,000 light years away, thus making the universe 4.7 million times smaller. To make a comparison, if the Earth was 4.7 million times smaller it would about 2.5 meters in diameter.

There are two arguments fundamentalists commonly use to dispute this. First, when God formed the universe he could have created the light that is traveling through space to the Earth to appear like it had been emitted billions of years before creation. The universe would then appear to be older to scientists because they have naturally concluded that light began traveling from stars when they were formed, not some time earlier. This is a handy argument that could be used to "disprove" just about any theory that can't be observed directly.

For example, you could argue that evolution only appears to have occurred because God created the Earth to make it seem that way, or that dinosaurs never walked the Earth, but God created their fossils to make it look like they did. If this sort of falsifying of evidence has occurred, we have no reason to conclude that it has not taken place on a wider scale.

In such a universe, one designed to be deceiving, we would not expect to find much truth about the world through empirical methods. Yet, science has proven itself to be the most accurate way for us to understand our world and make predications with consistent rules and laws. And on a more basic level, why would God create the universe in such a deceptive way? Doesn't this go against his nature?

The second argument is simply that the way astronomers measure the distance to celestial objects is incorrect.

It seems like the international community of scientists is sure making a lot of mistakes. Apparently biologists have evolution all wrong, astronomers can't measure the distance to stars correctly and geologists can't seem to accurately measure the age of the Earth. Thousands of scientists across the globe independently keep generating the same incorrect findings over and over again. How do we know their wrong? It says so in the Bible. How do we know the Bible is true? It says so in the Bible.

I would like to take this opportunity to implore the world's biologists, astronomers and geologists to get their act together and quit making so many mistakes. Perhaps the fundamentalists can help by letting them know what scientific methods they use to determine their findings independently of the Bible.


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