A response to A Response to Four Young-Earth Objections to Inflation
Astrophysicist Dr Jeff Zweerink works for the Hugh-Ross-led organization Reasons to Believe. He recently wrote the above article. Relevant portions of his words are reproduced as quotes with my comments interspersed.
A remarkable correspondence exists between inflationary big bang cosmology and the Bible’s accounts of the universe’s origin.
This is his summary statement, which one would assume that his article itself will support. But if you look deeply into the details the substance evaporates.
How can a correspondence exist between the biblical creation account and the big bang cosmogony (the study of the origin of the universe)? Leaving aside the elephant in the kitchen, the 6 ordinary days of Creation Week, just look at the respective sequences of events.
Each flash indicates a conflict in sequence between the biblical account and the big bang evolution story. Note that ‘long-age creationists’, though they deny biological transformism, hold to the identical order of appearance as evolutionists. There are 23 in total shown here.
(Credit: Idea from Russ Humphreys.)
In the comparison to the Genesis 1 creation account the big bang evolution story includes all aspects of cosmic evolution from the big bang beginning, through the formation of stars and planets (especially the solar system) to the origin of life (which evolutionists say is from recycled star dust). Biological evolution (or the ‘progressive’ appearance of separate bursts of created life, according to Ross and his co-workers) involves only the last 3.8-billion-year sequence on planet Earth. This table shows 23 conflicts in the sequences of events alone.
It could hardly be said that the Bible is giving a simplified account of the big bang/evolution history of the universe…
– below are a couple of highlights, please read the balance of Dr. Hartnett’s article for much more info …
Unverified unknowns explain the unknown
According to astrophysicist Dr Richard Lieu,
Cosmology is not even astrophysics: all the principal assumptions in this field are unverified (or unverifiable) in the laboratory …
This is the problem. Those, like Zweerink, who believe God used the big bang and all aspects of cosmic evolution, except for Darwinian biological evolution, to ‘create’, also misunderstand the true nature of cosmology. They mistakenly believe it is like repeatable testable experimental science, like I do in my research lab on earth. But it is not. It is quite different.
We have no access to the past and cosmology is rather unique because it is limited by what is called ‘cosmic variance’. We only see a limited picture of the universe. We can only attempt to understand that which is outside of what we can see through simulations (in computers with mathematical models). But we can’t really test those models, because we don’t know what a typical universe should look like. That is the limitation.
But we are told to just trust the cosmologists—trust man, after all it’s peer-reviewed! Yet cosmologists are limited by their own worldview. It is the basis on which they interpret all they can see. And all interpretations are based on unprovable assumptions.
Zweerink lists 4 different problems that Young Earth Creationists have with inflationary big bang models. His criticisms are of problems taken from an article written by biblical creationist Dr Danny Faulkner. Those problems are:
1. Light travel time
2. Gravitational lensing
3. Quadrupole and octopole modes
4. Scattering by electrons
Dr. Hartnett addresses each of these briefly in his article, we will include only one here:
Scattering by electrons
When one measures the CMB radiation in the direction of a cluster of galaxies, the inverse-Compton effect alters the intensity of the radiation, by a scattering process. Photons are scattered to higher frequencies, a thermal effect, but in all directions and as a result there are fewer low energy photons and more higher energy photons than one would expect in the CMB radiation up to a frequency of about 218 GHz. Astronomers call this distortion of the cosmic background the Sunyaev-Zel’dovich Effect (SZE). If the source is behind the cluster the SZE should produce a net cooling effect, a decrement in temperature (or a shadow) in the foreground of the cluster in the line of sight of the observer. See Fig. 4.
Fig 4: Schematic of the Sunyaev-Zel’dovich effect that results in an increase in higher energy (or blue shifted) photons of the CMB when seen through the hot gas present in cluster of galaxies.
Richard Lieu analysed 31 galaxy clusters and found that on average they did not cast a shadow in their foreground from the supposed background light source of the big bang fireball.27 He found a lack of evidence of shadows in the CMB photons from ‘nearby’ clusters of galaxies using the highly accurate WMAP satellite measurements of the CMB. But if the CMB radiation is truly from the big bang it is the ultimate background source and galaxy clusters should cast shadows.28
At that time Lieu said, “Either it [the microwave background] isn’t coming from behind the clusters, which means the Big Bang is blown away, or … there is something else going on…”29
In his article Zweerink wrote:
“Research published last year demonstrated a measurement of both the thermal and kinetic Sunyaev-Zel’dovich effect from a massive galaxy cluster. In other words, the expected distortion in the CMB has been detected.” [emphasis added]
It seems that Zweerink is using a sort of bluff and bluster technique. The paper he cites measured the thermal and kinetic SZ signals in a single cluster and its sub-clusters. So what? No argument there. The kinetic effect was used to detect motions of subclusters. That is not the point here.
Lieu measured the thermal SZE in 31 clusters. Lieu found that only one quarter of the sample of 31 showed a net decrement due to the thermal SZE. If the CMB radiation was from the big bang all clusters should show a decrement or a shadowing effect. They don’t.
Note that, as Hartnett shows, Zweerink doesn’t even address the real objection, however, what he wrote might sound impressive to someone who does not see ‘the rest of the story.’ Consider also that the BICEP2 data that just recently was hailed as proof of cosmic inflation has already been under severe attack within the science community, and as this is written, there is no hint of these developments at the Reasons to Believe website. Their readers are still assured that this is rock solid evidence. You decide what that means…