Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Apparent age

TOUCHSTONE SAID:

***QUOTE***

In 1987 a fantastic supernova appeared in the sky. Astronomy's trigonometric measurements determined that the star that went supernova was approximately 167,000 light years away from the earth.

I'm saying that that supernova is as old as it appears, based on the astronomic measurements, and the attendant physics. It looks 167,000 years old because it actually was that old (the event actually happened 170,000 years ago, according to the astronomical assessment).

So, no funny business need for me here. The answer fits right in line with our observation.

***END-QUOTE***

i) No, what you’re doing is to equivocate over the meaning of “appearance.”

It only “looks” its actual age to an observer if he happens to be living on the surface of the supernova. But it doesn’t look its actual age to an earthbound observer.

What you’ve done is to adjust for the time-lag in the transmission of light. Nothing inherently wrong with that.

But your adjustment doesn’t change the chronological appearance of a distant star, as seen by an earthbound observer, either through a telescope or using naked-eye astronomy.

Likewise, we can distinction between relative and absolute magnitude, but that doesn’t change the appearance of the object relative to the observer.

ii) And you allow for a TE what you disallow for a YEC.

A YEC can also adjust for the difference between appearance and reality.

Just as a TE will say that certain objects are actually older than they appear to be, and harmonize appearance with reality by invoking a particular modality (light speed), a YCE will say that certain objects are actually younger than they appear to be, and harmonize appearance with reality by invoking a particular modality (creation ex nihilo).

***QUOTE***

Now, from a YEC perspective. Your claim is that you can affirm that "things are as old as they appear". So, in the case of SN1987A, which appears to be an event from 170,000 years ago, how does creation ex nihilo or conventionalism or any other "-ism" help you affirm 170,000 years old for this event?

***END-QUOTE***

i) To begin with, I deny that objects have any intrinsic appearance of age. That is simply a contingent, external relation.

ii) I do not claim that everything is as old as it seems to be. I don’t claim that a one-day old Adam (made on day six) was as old as he seemed to be.

I don’t claim that the instantaneous wine which Jesus created at Cana was as old as it tasted.

I don’t claim that when God changed the rod of Moses into a snake, the snake was as old as it seemed to be.

I don’t claim that when Jesus multiplied the loaves and fish, the instantaneous food was as old as it seemed to be (ditto the miracles of Elijah and Elisha with food and oil).

I don’t claim that when Jesus restored sight to the blind, you could tell the true age of the new/renewed eyeballs.

I don’t claim that when God planted a garden in Eden, the trees or topsoil were as old as they seemed to be.

iii) I don’t affirm that the nova is 170,000 years old.

a) For one thing, that may be an accurate measurement, but the measurement of time is an artifact of whatever metric we impose on time.

b) If, likewise, the nova is the product of creation ex nihilo, then it didn’t pass through the ordinary process of stellar formation.

One of the fundamental problems with your position is the way in which you implicitly secularize the universe.

***QUOTE***

And if you *can* do that, haven't you disproven YEC ideas?

Saying it's *not* 170,000 years old doesnt' qualify, nor that it's merely an "illusion" dessed up in meta-scientific decoration. You've just said YECs can affirm that "things are as old as they appear".

So how do *you* affirm the 170,000 year history of supernova SN1987A?

***END-QUOTE***

No, what I did was to construct a parallel argument, trading on the same equivocation as you used.

If you qualify “appearance” by invoking some harmonistic device, then the YEC can to the same thing.

Both you and he affirm it with a parenthetical rider. If you can adjust your definition, so can he.

As usual, you fail to grasp the ramifications of either position—TE or YEC.

18 comments:

  1. Dr. Halton Arp has shown rather conclusively that quasars, which according to traditional big-bang cosmologists are 15 billion light years away, are much more closer than we previous thought. The high redshift is the presence of heavy matter, not a result of distance.

    Arp, however, is dismissed as a kook because his views of the universe are a direct threat to the current, prevailing cosmology of big-bangism.

    Reminds me of a certain 17th century astronomer who challenged the prevailing geo-centric ptolemic cosmology in his day.

    Fred

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  2. Fred,

    Are you aware it was the church that went after Galileo for his ideas about heliocentrism? Are you aware that it was Christians defending a *theological* interpretation of scripture that put him on trial?

    Here's the opening semicolon of the church's indictment against him:

    Whereas you, Galileo, son of the late Vincenzio Galilei, of Florence, aged seventy years, were denounced in 1615, to this Holy Office, for holding as true a false doctrine taught by many, namely, that the sun is immovable in the center of the world, and that the earth moves, and also with a diurnal motion; also, for having pupils whom you instructed in the same opinions;

    It wasn't secular science persecuting him for the facts, it was Christians. Given that, I think Galileo has a completely different implication for YEC doctrines than you are suggesting here.

    -Touchstone

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  3. Fred Butler said...
    Dr. Halton Arp has shown rather conclusively

    Really? Conclusively?

    I can tell you know nothing about science. Science by nature is skeptical. Theories are proposed and sometimes they stand, sometimes not.


    that quasars, which according to traditional big-bang cosmologists are 15 billion light years away, are much more closer than we previous thought. The high redshift is the presence of heavy matter, not a result of distance.

    Arp, however, is dismissed as a kook because his views of the universe are a direct threat to the current, prevailing cosmology of big-bangism.

    There is no one authority in science. Scientist propose theories and they either stand or fall. Other scientist scrutinize and test theories. This is what scientist do. There is no need for you YEC's to go after various scientific theories and discovery's, other scientist will do it for you. Many theory's have been disproven throughout time. The theory of evolution has stood the test of time. Not because other scientist haven't gone after it, or discussed problems with it. Yeah, scientist discuss problems with there own theory's even.



    Reminds me of a certain 17th century astronomer who challenged the prevailing geo-centric ptolemic cosmology in his day.


    Uhh, you have it bassakwards. The Church has hindred and tried to stop scientific discovery.

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  4. Steve,

    You said:
    Likewise, we can distinction between relative and absolute magnitude, but that doesn’t change the appearance of the object relative to the observer.

    If you look at the paper at this link:

    http://adsbit.harvard.edu/cgi-bin/nph-iarticle_query?bibcode=1991ApJ...380L..23P

    You will see this in the abstract:
    Our analysis confirms that the observed elliptical structure is indeed a circular ring at an inclination of 42.8° ± 2.6°. and provides a determination of its absolute diameter (1.27 ± 0.07) x 1018 cm. Its ratio to the angular diameter of 1.66" ± 0.03". It ratio to the angular diameter of 1.66 +/- 0.03 (Jakobsen et al) gives an accurate determination of the distance to SN 1987A ... = 51.2 ± 3.1 kpc.

    This is saying that the measurements are *not* simply a matter of relative size, but are confirmed by light curve analysis as a means of estabishing *absolute* size. That's one reason why SN1987A is brought up with YECs, because of the clarity which the measurements bring in dismissing the "relative appearance" argument.

    More to the point though:

    Are you planning to play the "Volatile Speed of Light" card here on this? If so, now's a good time to play it, because I don't see how you get away from 170,000 years of elapsed time if the light has been moving at c toward us all the while.

    -Touchstone

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  5. Sounds like you're having precisely the same discussion here that I had over here:
    http://greenbaggins.wordpress.com/2006/11/14/difficult-passages-in-scripture-part-32-genesis-1-and-the-creation-days/#comments

    People think that science is god. It is quite the rage-form of idolatry these days.

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  6. Earth_Created_in_Six11/21/2006 6:36 PM

    Steve, I have to thank you. Your posts are a continuing source of humor for me, in an otherwise tense daily routine.

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  7. The Genesis Debate: Three Views on the Days of Creation

    http://www.cruxpress.com/genesis.htm

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  8. touchstone said...

    "This is saying that the measurements are *not* simply a matter of relative size, but are confirmed by light curve analysis as a means of estabishing *absolute* size. That's one reason why SN1987A is brought up with YECs, because of the clarity which the measurements bring in dismissing the "relative appearance" argument."

    I must say that in all the interactive blogging I've been involved in, the Evangelutionist has the unique distinction of being the only person I've dealt with who never misses a chance to miss the target. He's infallibly fallible in his inerrantly errant ability to misconstrue whatever his opponent said.

    You were discussing apparent age. In my opinion, this term is a misnomer (for reasons I've already given), but for discussion purposes, I'll accommodate your usage.

    By definition, "appearance" is observer-relative. That's the difference between appearance and reality. Appearance is subjective while reality is objective.

    I did nothing to challenge the accuracy of the measurements.

    "Are you planning to play the 'Volatile Speed of Light' card here on this?"

    Since you're unable to rebut my arguments, I'm sure you're spoiling for the chance to maneuver me into a trap, wherein I raise some stock YEC argument for which you have a prepared answer.

    The fact is that most of my arguments for elements of YEC don't come from YEC writers, but from philosophy, philosophy of science, and the GHM.

    Sorry to disappoint you, but I didn't come out of your cookie-cutter.

    "If so, now's a good time to play it, because I don't see how you get away from 170,000 years of elapsed time if the light has been moving at c toward us all the while."

    You really are incapable of learning anything new, aren't you?

    All you have are a set of prepared answers. When you come up against an opponent whose arguments are new to you, you're lost. Totally lost. Without map or compass on the open sea.

    I have given you both a philosophical argument (metrical conventionalism) and a theological argument (creation ex nihilo) for how I "get away from 170,000 years of elapsed time."

    But since you're both ignorant and unteachable, every time I offer a reply that doesn't fit into your preconceived framework, you draw a blank and revert to your autopilot mode.

    It's a pity that you're incapable of thinking outside that airtight, TE box you've glued yourself into. Believe it or not, the world of ideas is bigger than theistic evolution.

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  9. Earth_Created_in_Six11/21/2006 7:51 PM

    Steve eloquently stated above:

    "It's a pity that you're incapable of thinking outside that airtight, TE box you've glued yourself into. Believe it or not, the world of ideas is bigger than theistic evolution."

    BA HA HA!!!

    The YEC "world of ideas" is big indeed! A wonderful world where dirt and breath and ribs transform into humans! And talking snakes! And angels with flaming swords guarding a garden!

    Welcome to this wonderful big world of ideas!

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  10. Are you aware it was the church that went after Galileo for his ideas about heliocentrism? Are you aware that it was Christians defending a *theological* interpretation of scripture that put him on trial?

    It would be helpful if you went back and read some documentation on this. I would suggest Philip Sampson's work, "6 Modern Myths about Christianity and Western Society."
    He gives an entire chapter to the subject.

    The historical urban legend is that Galileo, armed with his telescope and "science" threatened the Church with their superstitions and Bible. This is the story as I received it in school.

    No, it was the academics of his day who sought to have him excommunicated by the Church because he threatened the commonly held view of an Aristotean and Ptolemitic universe. Nothing theological or biblical about it.

    Because they didn't have the ability to shut him down they had to involve the Church and convinced the Pope he was a heretic. It is similar to how the Darwinists today have to run to the law courts to have IDers thrown out. They find it difficult to defend against their arguments, so they take the cowards way out.

    Galileo, unfortunately, was arrogant which only got him into more trouble with the religious authorities who then threatened to have him excommunicated. Historian atheists twisted the story over the last few centuries to give us the urban legend most of you all believe today.

    Fred

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  11. The Red Rocker11/21/2006 8:43 PM

    Steve is bulldozing you guys. Throwing dirt clods at his bulldozer isn't getting it done.

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  12. Steve,

    You said:
    Since you're unable to rebut my arguments, I'm sure you're spoiling for the chance to maneuver me into a trap, wherein I raise some stock YEC argument for which you have a prepared answer.
    I can't rebut what I don't have, Steve. You've not given me an argument for what constitutes *enough* survival resources for Adam so we can see your work in declaring Adam unfit for survival over the last million or more years.

    I present an astronomical phenomenon, one of the most studied in all of astronomy, and pointed out that the measurements involved

    Is it all just a mystical dream, Steve? Is that your scientific argument here? If not, then how do you account for the 170,000 years implied by the speed of light?

    It's not a trick question, or a trap. I'll show my work:

    1. Feb 1987, light from supernova reaches earth.

    2. Trigonometric measurements and light curve analysis agree on a distance from earth at approx. 167,000 light years.

    3. If earth is 167,000 light years from the source of light (the supernova itself), then the shortest possible time it could have taken to get here is 167,000 years. Since light travels at most 1 light-year/year (hence the name!), if we observe light from a source 167,000 mile away, the universe must be at least 167,000 years old.

    So there's my argument. If you want to press on the trigonometry or light analysis, there's a whole mess of published papers we can consult on it.


    Now, how does a YEC account for this phenomenon? Can YECs explain something like this scientifically?


    You said:
    The fact is that most of my arguments for elements of YEC don't come from YEC writers, but from philosophy, philosophy of science, and the GHM.

    Sorry to disappoint you, but I didn't come out of your cookie-cutter.


    I can see you are impressed, Steve. I have come across a fair number of YEC apologists, and the kind of stuff you're putting out here is all to common. Mysticism as the answer the data. Divorced from science.

    -Touchstone

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  13. Steve,

    Easy buddy, you sound as if you are about to blow your top! It's hard standing up for something (6 literal day creation or YEC) when even the majority of conservative Reformed seminaries aren't even teaching it anymore. You are truly a dying bread, Steve, but your demeanor is what really worries me. As a Christian, your not supposed to resort to name calling and insults.

    1 Peter 3:15-16
    15 but in your hearts regard Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; 16 yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.


    9 But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless.


    2 Timothy 2:24
    24 And the Lord's servant [1] must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil,


    That's just not very professional, oh, I forgot, your not a professional at all, you like pasting these huge theological commentaries and articles that you think support your view, as if quantity=truth. Remember, though, this post started off dealing with science, not theology. You do claim correctly that you seek to prove your point by philosophy, well Steve, that's a one way street going nowhere. It doesn't explain flap doodle, but only presents your presuppositions.

    Basically Steve, I find it a waste of time to read or participate in debates with you. Your mind is made up, and no matter what, you will twist everything you can to fit your position. If the evidence doesn't fit your position, then the evidence is just wrong and that's it. After that, there is really no point in continuing the debate.

    Not that it matters to you, but I will no longer come to this site. I just about find myself stooping to your level whenever I do, and I refuse to be a part of that. Oh,

    God Bless.

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  14. Steve,

    This is a little off topic, but don’t your criticisms of evolutionary theory as an interpretive grid that purports to fill gaps in admittedly sparse data w/ a heavy dose of theory (theory that answers to concepts like uniformity of time, inference to the best explanation, causality) apply equally well to GHM?

    What methodology does GHM bring to the table that does not, likewise, fall prey to the very
    "underdeterminism" that, due to the paucity of evidence for specific claims, plagues evolutionary theory (aside from the hopelessly vague notion that more recent events have “more” data than distant ones and are, therefore, “more” reliable)?

    The GHM’s claims regarding authorial intent that rely heavily on our “best” understanding of the sociological, anthropological, political, religious etc. factors unique to a given era and geography that “might” have influenced intended meanings is above similar criticisms you level at evolutionary hypotheses for what reason?

    If the data adduced by evolutionists underdetermines their interpretation, then why not the data adduced by the historian and why not the data adduced by GHM?

    If agnosticism or incredulity regarding the *specific* claims evolutionists make, why not the same for specific claims GHM makes regarding “what the author ‘really’ meant”?

    Your dialogue w/ Touchstone, for me, demonstrates that just as one can coherently and rationally dismiss the scholarly consensus regarding evolution, one can do the same w/ *any* interpretive framework, including GHM.

    What controls does GHM enjoy that are unique, that protect it from alternative interpretations that can, like, say, a defense of YEC (as an alternative to naturalism or TE), be coherently defended?

    I can’t see how in your defense of GHM you won’t wind up in the same boat as evolutionists: appeals to parsimony, elegance, common sense, coherence, and similar qualifiers that evidence a particular psychological disposition, but not a justification (objective anyway) of a given position.

    You can’t expect Touchstone to prove you wrong. He can’t. And you can’t prove you’re right. All you can do is argue that your position is coherent. Your opponent can do the same.

    The overriding question that this endless dialogue recapitulates for me is, “why do we go to the trouble of ‘believing’ in anything”. After all, as the endless iterations of “point and counterpoint” played out between you and Touchstone demonstrates, you *both* have a right to your intellectual pre-commitments.

    But my real question, again, is how can GHM be so right if Touchstone is so wrong?

    Sorry if I’m ranting,

    Andrew

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  15. Earth_Created_in_Six11/22/2006 10:31 AM

    Wow...Steve, in typical Calvinist fashion, gets rejected by not only "atheists" (blanket term for pretty much all non-Calvinists) and other Christians as well!

    Good work Steve!

    Compelling stuff you're peddling!

    *snicker*

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  16. Hi Andrew,

    Several issues:

    1.The answer depends, in part, on the level at which the comparison operates. At the highest level of abstraction, if you point is that both evolutionary theory and GHM fall short of certainty, then they are, to some degree, comparable in that general respect.

    Even so, what would *make* each of them uncertain to one degree or another is very different in each case.

    2.If, on the other hand, you are talking about the particular methods, assumptions, and evidence feeding into each, then they are almost completely different on the specifics, so there is no comparison between the two.

    Hence, we evaluate the uncertainties of evolution on a very different basis than we do the uncertainties of the GHM.

    3.Also, as I’m sure you know, the case against evolution isn’t limited to underdetermination. Critics of evolution also believe that there’s contrary evidence which positively undermines evolution.

    They would also argue that naturalistic evolution is self-refuting because it commits us to evolutionary psychology, which is self-refuting due to the way in which it undercuts human rationality.

    I have chosen to focus on underdetermination in the course of this thread because, in part, that is most germane to the specific issue at hand regarding the viability of early man.

    Also, it’s not for me to debate every aspect of the creation/evolution controversy. On many aspects of this debate, I’m simply a spectator.

    4. The answer also depends on whether we approach GHM from a secular standpoint or a Christian standpoint.

    From a Christian standpoint, the function of divine revelation is to teach us our duty to God and our fellow man.

    And God, in his providence, will employ the instrumentality of Scripture to the furtherance of that end.

    He will preserve whatever evidence we need for us to know whatever we need to know at any given point in church history.

    We don’t have to be in control of all the variables. God is.

    Even our disagreements facilitate his ultimate purpose.

    5.As to “how can GHM be so right if Touchstone is so wrong?” the answer is pretty simple.

    Touchstone doesn’t pretend to limit himself to GHM.

    Rather, he’s attempting a synthesis between scripture and science. He finds the evidence for modern cosmology, historical geology, and evolutionary biology to be convincing. But he still wants to be a Christian. So he reinterprets the Bible to accommodate his scientific views.

    Hence, this is not a disagreement between two men on *how* they apply GHM to Gen 1-3.

    Rather, this is a disagreement over *whether* they apply GHM to Gen 1-3.

    Touchstone’s approach is to believe as much of Scripture as science will allow him to believe. Science supplies the framework, and whatever unanswered questions are left over after science has had its say can then be answered by Scripture.

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  17. Andrew,

    I don't suppose there's any utility in deconstructing GHM, or whatever epistemic framework Steve wants to employ. My over-arching point is that Steve has divorced himself from science; when confronted by science, he must respond with philosophical and meta-scientific critiques. He cannot engage on scientific grounds.

    Maybe that's the way Christian is supposed to be -- unable to engage science. It's something to consider. But the point I've been pursuing is just noting his divorce from it.

    There's nothing wrong with talking meta-science, other than it's a bit of changing the subject when the question is a scientific one. But meta-science is not science, any more than talking about baseball is *playing* baseball.

    -Touchstone

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  18. :::SNIZZZZ!!!:::

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