Book comment: Dismantling the Big Bang; God's Universe Rediscoveredby Alex Williams and John Hartnett, published by Master Books, July 2005, 2nd edition June, 2006
We were recently given a 2006 copy of the book by Alex Williams and John Hartnett, Dismantling the Big Bang; God’s Universe Rediscovered. The book fully supports Russ Humphreys’ model of creation, involving a white hole expansion and the earth resting, or being caught in, the event horizon while the rest of the universe speeded outward for several billion years. Thus the earth’s time is only measured in the thousands of years while the rest of the universe is measured in the billions of years. Essentially this is another gap model, with the gap, biblically, on day four of creation instead of day one. The model has no data to back it up and is primarily imagination.
The Setterfield work is dismissed in one paragraph, on page 174. The paragraph reads as follows:
In 1986, Norman and Setterfield published an analysis of historical measurements of the speed of light, which showed that a very significant decline had occurred (the theory has been called “c-decay” or cdk, where c is the speed of light). When extrapolated back over the biblical time scale, it produced such an enormous increase in the speed of light that the results appeared to provide an explanation for the appearance of billions of years of time having passed in the cosmos. A lively debate ensued among creationists, and two major flaws in the theory were revealed. First, the result was heavily dependent upon the earliest data, whereas the most reliable measurements were the recent ones, which showed no change at all. And second, a change in the speed of light changes the values of a lot of other physical “constants.” Recently, a very small change in one of these “constants” was reported, but its magnitude is nowhere near that required by the c-decay theory. The observational evidence available to us today would appear to now preclude this model.
That’s it. But it is enough. The paragraph itself is rife with errors, from the very first sentence. First of all, the paper was published in 1987. It was a white paper requested by a senior research physicist from the Stanford Research Institute International. The paper was not published by Setterfield or Norman either together or separately, but was published by Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia.
The next major error concerns the extrapolation of light speed over time. This was not done on the simple basis of the measurements in the 1987 paper, but was completed after the measurements by Tifft in the years that followed regarding the red shift measurements, which, being ‘clumped’ or ‘quantized’ as they are, indicate that the universe is not currently expanding but that there is another reason for the increasing redshift we see as we look out farther and farther into space.
Hartnett is evidently not aware that there are a number of series of measurements which show that other constants have been changing. What is interesting is that they have been changing synchronously with the changes in the speed of light measurements. Thus, there is no need to make up these changes. They occurred, are occurring, and have been measured as such.
Although the earliest papers by Barry Setterfield were done with regard to the early measurements of the speed of light, they were not dependant upon them. As the article on the history of the speed of light experiments shows, the measurements continued to show a decline for several hundred years, as measured by various apparatus, various scientists, in various places. The history of these experiments and the various analyses of them can be found here. The decline was discussed in peer reviewed literature for years. The only reason it was stopped was because, in 1941, Raymond Birge, the ‘keeper of the constants’ abruptly declared that belief in any changes in the physical constants was ‘fatal to the spirit of science, as science is now understood.’ An interesting remark to make, but it did not change the measurements, nor the fact that very qualified and eminent physicists had been accepting these changes (as had Birge up until that time) for quite some time.
Hartnett claims there are no changes in the speed of light being measured now. That is true. Why should this be so? Simply because the speed of light is now being measured by other atomic processes which are changing synchronously. It is sort of like taking two pieces of elastic and marking inch measurements on one. Then stretch the two pieces together. While the inch measurements stretch out, the other piece of elastic is showing exactly the same measurements per section so, unless one looks outside of those two pieces of elastic, it does not appear that any changes in the measurements have occurred. If we want to know what is happening to the speed of light, we must measure it by some method not dependent upon the other atomic processes.
The ‘small change’ Hartnett reported in the last paragraph was the possible change measured in the fine structure constant. This actually has nothing to do with the speed of light and the change itself may not even be real, as it was so small as to qualify as potential instrumental or observational error.
The Williams/Hartnett book was first published in July of 2005. That is eighteen years after the Norman/Setterfield paper was published. In the meantime, there has been a great deal of research by Setterfield continuing with the data, which have continued to support the “cdk” model. This material has been available on this website for years. Williams and Hartnett evidently felt it necessary to ignore the rest of the research Setterfield has reported and concentrate on a very old and very disreputable series of arguments against the 1987 paper, all of which have long since been not only refuted but shown to be entirely false.
This book is not recommended.
Barry and Helen Setterfield
April 20, 2007