23 April 2008

The Irony of the Spheres

First, let me explain. I was browsing through the homeschool section of a Christian bookstore because, other than used (which can be extremely difficult to find in good shape), the only real place to buy our Saxon homeschool math text is at one of these stores. Gut-wrenching, I know.

So, as I was browsing, I spotted a series of creation science texts, and my curiosity was piqued. There's a whole line of these on individual science subjects. I picked up the one on astronomy as it purported to be authored by a real astronomer. I'm pretty sure it was this one.Now, I must confess that my only real scientific education has come from watching innumerable TV shows like "The Universe," which I guess may be more than a lot of people, but still, I'm no scholar. I skimmed through the book and found some pretty good astronomy information, but it was of course based in creationism which I found intriguing. I've always wondered how they explain things. As a child growing up in a Christian home, I reconciled the ideas of creation with the Big Bang by deciding that we didn't know how long a "day" was according to God. Apparently, according to the astronomy book, this is a common wayof explaining things among some Christians, but it's wrong. It went on to show that the original Hebrew for "day" that is used in the creation passages means specifically 24 hours. Again, I'm not a Hebrew scholar either, so I have to take the author's word for it.

While explaining astronomy from a biblical, the universe was created in 6 literal days point of view, the author spent quite some time explaining what's wrong with the other points of view. One of the points that stuck with me and will require me to do some actual in-depth research and thinking was two-fold. Apparently, scientists use the problem with the distance of stars from us and the time it takes for light to reach earth as evidence that the earth was NOT created 6000 years ago. The author states that this is not a problem because we are dealing with supernatural explanations, e.g. God, anyway, and he could have set things up any way he wanted (I believe this is also the explanation for dinosaur fossils.) He then goes on to say that scientists have their own problem of a similar nature regarding distance and heat. He says that if the Big Bang were true, then there should be pockets of space that are warmer or colder than each other, since warmer and colder areas would have resulted from the current Big Bang model and that since the universe's expansion happened so fast, there would have been insufficient time for the temperature to even out. Now, call me ignorant, go ahead it's OK, especially if you're an astronomer, but it seems to me that if the universe has been around for billions of years, then there has been ample time for the temperature of the universe to even out.

OK, back to the irony title of this post. We hold a discussion group on Friday nights at my house, and I thought it would be interesting to discuss some of this, especially as some regulars know more about science and astronomy than I do. Of course I didn't want to pay full price for the book or give the author his portion of the proceeds, so I looked on Amazon for a used copy. Imagine my surprise when I typed "astronomy creation science"into the search box under books and came up with 666 results. I just had to laugh and, of course, share. I guess as books are added and subtracted the results number may change in future, but today it's funny!

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