I am no sort or kind of a scientist, but my son is. One of his university textbooks for a physics class was “Conceptual Physics.” It was written by Paul G. Hewitt, a professor at City College of San Francisco. I lift a few sentences from the book to begin this study.
“No one knows how the universe began. Evidence suggests that about 15 to 20 billion years ago most of the matter-energy of the universe was highly concentrated at an unimaginably high temperature and underwent a primordial explosion, usually referred to as the Big Bang, which was accompanied by a high-powered blast of high frequency radiation that we call the primeval fireball. The universe is the result of this explosion and we view it as still expanding.” (Paul G. Hewitt, Conceptual Physics, Fifth Edition, Little, Brown and Co., Boston, 1981, page 593).
The fact that the beginning of the universe is an unknown factor to physicists and other students of cosmology, is an admission that their research and findings are limited to estimation, probability, and plain old guesswork. Therefore, there are no definitive details of the universe or any of its elements, that can be ascertained by empirical evidence. About all that can be done is to measure the distance to the nearer bodies in our own small solar system.
How physicists go about calculating distances is prima facie evidence that nothing is absolute in the scientific exploration of the history of the universe or any of its elements. I mean by this, the means by which to determine the elapsed time of events in the distant past, or even to the beginning time, are far from accurate.
The Hubble Constant is a good example. Edwin Powell Hubble, an American astronomer, was the director of research at Mount Wilson Observatory. He is credited with the discovery of large galaxies far outside the “Milky Way.” Along with Vesto Slipher, Hubble calculated that the further away from the galaxy, the velocity increased. This has become known as Hubble’s law. The velocity could be determined by multiplying the distance by an “H” factor. That “H” factor is called the Hubble Constant.
One astrophysicist and cosmologist wrote, “Determining the Hubble Constant is something of a Holy Grail for cosmologists because it holds the key to the age of the universe.” But cosmologists are far from accurately determining the constant. They are about as far from it as the “Holy Grail” is from the truth.
The Hubble Constant is supposed to be a measure of how much space is expanding in units of distance per second. This all harks back to the supposition that this universe began with the so-called “Big Bang.”
The flaw in the system is that cosmologists can measure a galaxy’s “redshift,” and therefore its velocity, but to determine the distance is another matter. One of the scientists quipped, “We don’t have any yardsticks that long.” So when they talk of how many “light-years” a planet or an event occurred in the past, they are not relying on empirical observation or reliable measurements. Science has produced no precision measuring devices at this point.
Since it is impossible to accurately measure the distance to far-off galaxies, cosmologists use what they call “Cepheids.” Cepheids describe the apparent blinking or twinkling of lights in the heavens. They allegedly blink at a rate in proportion to their brightness. Slower twinkling Cepheids are assumed to indicate a much farther distance from the observation point.
Brighter and faster blinking indicates a nearer distance -- but there is a problem. The dimness or brightness of stars can be greatly affected by dust and debris blocking the view here on earth or within our solar system. It could also be affected by the density of gaseous matter scientists cannot measure. The eminently qualified scientist, Stephen Hawking, wrote: “Any physical theory is provisional, in the sense that it is only a hypothesis you can never prove it. No matter how many times the results of experiments agree with some theory, you can never be sure that the next time the result will not contradict the theory.” (A Brief History of Time, Bantam Books, New York, 1988, page 10). Blinking/brightness of stars is by no means an accurate measuring tool.
The “Hubble Constant” is not so constant after all. It varies from a factor of 50 to 80. If the factor is 50, that means the universe has to be somewhere in the range of 20 billion years old. A group of astrophysicists, observing the “Virgo Cluster” used a factor of 87 for the Hubble constant. That brings the age of the universe down to around 8 billion years of age. But what is 12 billion years to a godless scientist, especially when they are merely guessing at what factor to use?
Measuring devices are sometimes called “Standard Candles” in space. One of those candles is “supernovae.” A supernova is the alleged “collapse” and “explosion” of a star. Cosmologists who use supernovae as measuring devices come up with a Hubble Constant of either 73 or 50. This also changes the estimates made of the universe’s age. The truth about all this is simple. There is no single and static constant for Hubble’s law. Constant seems to be a poor choice of words for it. Where there is no static constant there is no empirical evidence. Where there is no empirical evidence, there is nothing that can be known for sure.
As one astrophysicist wrote, “All of the galaxies studied are only in the region of 50 million light-years from Earth, too close to get a more truly ‘global’ value for the Hubble Constant.” Thus, the search goes on. As the same astrophysicist wrote, “Clearly the pressure is on to find a correct value for the Hubble Constant. Cosmologists hope that better instrumentation, earth-bound and space-born, will provide the means to do so.”
Dear reader, without God factored into the study of the origin of things, there is nothing. The difference Bible believers have with natural science is the matter of faith. Both rely on it. Some have a “faith” that somewhere in the distant primordial past a force acted on gaseous matter and caused an explosion. No one has a clue as to how long ago it happened. From the explosion supposedly there came a random pattern that eventually settled down to an orderly, predictable, and expanding universe filled with billions and billions of galaxies.
Bible believers base their faith on the integrity of God’s word and believe that the things that appear were made of those that do not appear (Hebrews 11:3). May God help all who study these issues to have faith in the God who gave them life and breath and all that is.