Galaxies are Billions of Light Years Away…
…so isn’t the Universe Billions of Years Old?
by Dr. Walt Brown, Ph.D
The logic behind this common question has several hidden assumptions, two of which are addressed by the following italicized questions:
- Was space, along with light emitted by stars, rapidly stretched out soon after creation began? If so, energy would have been added to the universe and starlight during that stretching. Pages 334–338 show that the scientific evidence clearly favors this stretching explanation over the big bang theory, which also claims that space expanded rapidly. (Yet, the big bang theory says all this expansion energy, plus all the matter in the universe, was, at the beginning of time, inside a volume much smaller than a pinhead.
- Has starlight always traveled at its present speed—about 186,000 miles per second or, more precisely, 299,792.458 kilometers per second?
If either (a) space and its starlight were stretched out, or (b) the speed of light was much faster in the past, then distant stars should be visible in a young universe. Here we will address possibility (b) by examining the historical measurements of the speed of light.
During the past 300 years, at least 164 separate measurements of the speed of light have been published. Sixteen different measurement techniques were used. Astronomer Barry Setterfield of Australia has studied these measurements, especially their precision and experimental errors. His results show that the speed of light has apparently decreased so rapidly that experimental error cannot explain it! In the seven instances where the same scientists remeasured the speed of light with the same equipment years later, a decrease was always reported. The decreases were often several times greater than the reported experimental errors. I have conducted other analyses that weight (or give significance to) each measurement according to its accuracy. Even after considering the wide range of accuracies, it is hard to see how one can claim, with any statistical rigor, that the speed of light has remained constant.
M. E. J. Gheury de Bray, in 1927, was probably the first to propose a decreasing speed of light. He based his conclusion on measurements spanning 75 years. Later, he became more convinced and twice published his results in Nature, possibly the most prestigious scientific journal in the world. He emphasized, “If the velocity of light is constant, how is it that, invariably, new determinations give values which are lower than the last one obtained … There are twenty-two coincidences in favour of a decrease of the velocity of light, while there is not a single one against it.” [emphasis in original]
Although the measured speed of light has decreased only about 1% during the past three centuries, the decrease is statistically significant, because measurement techniques can detect changes thousands of times smaller. While the older measurements have greater errors, the trend of the data is startling. The farther back one looks in time, the more rapidly the speed of light seems to have been decreasing. Various mathematical curves fit these three centuries of data. When some of those curves are projected back in time, the speed of light becomes so fast that light from distant galaxies conceivably could have reached Earth in several thousand years.
No scientific law requires the speed of light to be constant. Many simply assume that it is constant, and of course, changing old ways of thinking is sometimes difficult. Russian cosmologist, V. S. Troitskii, at the Radiophysical Research Institute in Gorky, is also questioning some old beliefs. He concluded, independently of Setterfield, that the speed of light was 10 billion times faster at time zero! Furthermore, he attributed the cosmic microwave background radiation and most redshifts to this rapidly decreasing speed of light. Setterfield reached the same conclusion concerning redshifts by a different method. If either Setterfield or Troitskii is correct, the big bang theory will fall (with a big bang).
Other cosmologists are proposing an enormous decay in the speed of light. Several of their theoretical problems with the big bang theory are solved if light once traveled millions of times faster…
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Original article published in the book, In the Beginning.