©1986 by Paul D. Ackerman http://www.creationism.org/ackerman/
7 - The Vast Beyond
The heavens are telling of the glory
To this point the discussion has generally been about outer-space clocks in our own solar system. Soon our discussion will get back down to earth and begin considering earthbound clocks; but first let us examine some of the exciting things that have been learned about the vast beyond of stars, galaxies, and clusters of galaxies: intergalactic space.
As a biblical creationist, I believe that God created the heavens and earth out of nothing (i.e., not out of any preexisting matter) a few thousand years ago. Nowhere in the Scriptures does it say exactly how old the creation is, but if we calculate through the listed genealogies, we arrive at the figure of about six thousand years. If the seven days of the creation week described in the first chapter of Genesis are understood as regular twenty-four-hour days, the figure of six thousand years then applies to the whole of creation.
To many, the idea of a recent creation by the Word of God is an incredible concept. Agreed, the concept is incredible. However, in the area of ultimate origins, all the alternatives are incredible. Consider, for example, the dominant evolutionist scenario for the beginning: the Big Bang.
According to the Big Bang concept all the matter of the universe—all of reality—was once compressed into a tiny ball. For some reason the tiny ball became unstable, exploded, and turned into stars, planets, strawberries, cockroaches, Good Humor wagons, committees, and this book.
A great portion of the resources and brainpower of modern science is being poured into an effort to make this materialist scenario sound plausible. The attempt has been monumental and the results impressive, but the conflicting hard data are mounting up, and it is time for people to begin pointing out that "the emperor has no clothes." The view that the present physical universe somehow created itself and is billions of years old is contradicted by the growing weight of powerful physical evidence. The creation is not billions of years old; it is quite young.
The Mystery of Sirius B
In 1978 at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, a symposium of top scientists was held to discuss the issue of time and the age of the earth and cosmos.1 Certain problems and paradoxes in the current conception of cosmic antiquity were explored by the scientists at this gathering.
Among the fascinating topics discussed
was a puzzle known as the Sirius mystery. This mystery centers on a star
named Sirius B, which is a type of star referred to as a "white dwarf."
The problem stems from the fact that although ancient astronomers were
also well acquainted with this star, unlike our present-day astronomers
they described Sirius as red rather than white! Consider the following:
1. Egyptian hieroglyphs from 2000 B.C. described Sirius as red.
2. Cicero, writing in 50 B.C., stated that Sirius was red.
3. Seneca described Sirius as being redder than Mars, which he in turn described as redder than Jupiter.
4. The famous early astronomer Ptolemy in A.D. 150 listed Sirius as one of six red stars.
Modern astronomers are forced to accept the idea that within historical times Sirius B has transformed from a red giant to a white dwarf star. What is the problem with that? The mystery of Sirius B is that according to present conceptions of thermonuclear star radiation (see chapter 6), it should take at least 100,000 years for a red giant star to collapse into a white dwarf star. Something is obviously wrong with our present conception of how stars work.
The Field-Galaxy Mystery
Not long ago at a Fourth of July celebration, I looked on as hundreds of balloons were filled with helium and placed in a net enclosure. At the prescribed moment, the net was pulled away and the balloons released into the sky. As they drifted upward, they constituted a kind of clock in the sense that at the start they were all tightly clustered together. As they ascended, however, the cluster gradually broke up until after a while there were simply hundreds of individual balloons, each seemingly going its own way. The net had held all the balloons in a tight cluster for over an hour, but once the net was taken away, the balloon cluster began to dissipate rapidly.
Galaxies are clusters of millions and millions of stars. Many years ago astronomers thought there were two kinds of galaxies: cluster and field.2 Cluster galaxies were those that existed in close gravitational proximity to other galaxies—in the same manner as the balloons shortly after the net was removed. Although such clusters of galaxies sometimes contain only a few galaxies, many of them contain millions. Field galaxies, on the other hand, were thought to be single galaxies, moving through space in relative independence and isolation—somewhat like the balloons after they had drifted for a time and no longer seemed associated with any other balloon or the cluster from which they had all dispersed.
Evolutionary scientists have long believed that galaxies and galaxy clusters are ten to twenty billion years old, but their studies of these incredible phenomena began to give rise to a baffling enigma some years ago. Observations indicated that insufficient mass existed in the galaxy clusters, too little to hold the clusters together. In most cases 80 to 90 percent of the mass needed to obtain long-term gravitational stability was lacking. Of course, without gravitational stability the galaxy clusters would break up, just like the balloon cluster at the Fourth of July celebration.
Most disturbing from an evolutionary point of view were measurements that indicated the typical time for "breakup" or dissipation of the galaxy clusters was at most two to four million years. This, of course, would mean that the universe cannot be anything approaching the age required by the theory of evolution. To add to the mystery, exhaustive searches of the heavens have failed to turn up any field galaxies. If evolutionists are correct, and galaxy clusters have been around for ten to twenty billion years, then many galaxy clusters should have dissolved—and there ought to be an abundance of field galaxies. However, field galaxies are not to be found. Evolutionists have spared no effort in trying to resolve this dilemma for their theory.
The prime hope has been to find the "missing mass" necessary to provide the gravity to hold the clusters together and "keep the galaxies down on the farm," as Harold Slusher puts it. At first, scientists proposed that there might be a lot of hot hydrogen gas in the clusters that could provide enough mass to hold them together, but observations revealed that this was not the answer. Then they looked for cold hydrogen, but again not enough was found. Finally, with the advance of space technology, scientists could look for lukewarm hydrogen, but again not enough was found to hold the galaxies together.
When the hope of hydrogen gas as the answer to the "missing mass" problem faded, some began to suggest that black holes might be the answer. As Slusher points out, however, a very large number of black holes evenly distributed throughout the cluster would be needed, and this, of course, creates more problems for an evolutionist time scale than it solves. If black holes exist, they gobble up matter— including stars and galaxies. Thus, if there are large numbers of them running around, the galaxy clusters will be eaten up by their black holes instead of breaking up into isolated field galaxies. Black holes do not offer a solution.
One very simple answer does exist, and
that is to take the data at face value. The clusters are not gravitationally
bound and are breaking up just as they appear to be. The reason they still
exist as clusters is that they have not existed long enough to dissipate.
The absolute maximum age for most clusters is two to four million years,
but a few small clusters have breakup times indicating a maximum age of
only a few thousand years. Some two-member galaxies are so close that they
are connected by trails of gas, and they are moving apart so rapidly they
could not be more than a few thousand years old. Once again the evidence
for age is found to be on the side of youth rather than antiquity.
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