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Challenge to the Hartnett Model

printed here by permission of Randy Speir, author


NOTE: In the United States and Australia the most widely published, and therefore known, creation model is that presented by a few major and related organizations. As we have found ourselves, no real challenges to this model are acceptable and are not published in their journals. The following is a letter which was submitted to one of the journals and refused. The letter of refusal is paraphrased underneath the original letter and the author's response to that refusal follows. We are printing this because we feel Randy Speir has valid points which should be responded to by Hartnett.

Update, February 12, 2014: The original challenge is presented first. In January of 2014, Hartnett emailed us pointing to a response on his website. the link is below the original material here. Speir's response to that follows.

Update, November, 2014, in response to Hartnett's defense



Original letter:

21 June 2012

Randy Speir

Letter to the Editor, Journal of Creation
Pierre Jerlstrom, Editor

Since John Hartnett published his young universe model in 2007 in Starlight, Time and the New Physics, he has met with little challenge, at least publically. Yet, upon investigation, the construction of his model demonstrates striking weaknesses, one of which may be dire. About four difficulties are discussed below. While his math may seem robust, it is only as good as the structure it builds. Surprisingly, it is something so elementary in nature which may undermine his efforts and ultimately bring the model down. Since, in the discussion of his ideas, he was deliberately silent about the beginning, his response to this challenge should evoke a full disclosure of the mechanics of the model from the very outset of creation. On that explanation will hang the fate of his ideas.

Hartnett may himself be using a fudge factor to help eliminate another ‘fudge factor’. A key motivation for his work (Starlight, Time and the New Physics, pg. 122) is to obviate the need for dark matter, which to him is only another big bang fudge factor (pg. 14). However, to attain his goal, he overreaches and upsets physical convention to add a new dimension to the spacetime metric – “spacevelocity”. In truth, his 5D universe adds a second temporal term to our otherwise conventional 4D spacetime. To him, there are two time dimensions. But if you know even the basics of metrics and the physical orientations of their terms, it is not at all surprising that a bonus dimension might well give the appearance of solving the problem of galaxy rotation curves (a feat to which he lays claim in Appendix 3). This may prompt another physicist to insist that what Hartnett has found is a mathematical explanation for the effects of halo dark matter on galaxy rotations which mimics a fifth dimension in the spacetime metric! And who could argue? After all, neither dark matter nor the spacevelocity dimension currently exist as anything more than theoretical constructs. Neither has yet been demonstrated to be a physical feature of our universe. So which is the real ‘fudge factor’? It’s all a matter of perspective and bias. Hartnett says dark matter is not real but convention says a five dimensional universe is not real. So, we should expect mainstream physicists to remain underwhelmed about his findings, especially in light of the fact that one has to swallow down a 5D universe to go along. Besides, Hartnett’s is not the only “new physics” around. MOND, a new twist on the physics at galactic scales, and one which by the way upholds 4D convention, has recently enjoyed success in explaining galaxy rotation curves (see “More Evidence Against Dark Matter?” 25 Feb 2011 in Science Now). Of course, Hartnett will argue that MOND is an empirical approach while his is theoretical, and so is preferred (pg. 47). But again, at what cost? To surrender longstanding convention to aid in his effort to rid the universe of the need for dark matter is not viewed as an even trade in a cosmic economy. Hartnett’s big claims may flounder until he is somehow able to show that the spacevelocity dimension must really be there. A series of falsification tests are needed. Until then, physicists and cosmologists are only right to shelve the idea and regard it as not much more than a curiosity.

Harnett shows ambivalence in his treatment of the cosmic microwave background, the CMB. On page 102 he says, “This assumes that the CMB is somehow related to that original light source God created and that it has been adiabatically cooled from 9,000 K to 2.7 K through the expansion of the cosmos.” But this statement is unmistakably big bang in nature! Where in creationist literature has Hartnett ever conceded that the CMB has found its way to us via an “original light source”? We are left to wonder whether he is using the nature of the CMB out of convenience to aid in his model-building endeavor or out of compulsion, knowing that it is an integral component of the cosmos and must be addressed at some point in his discussion. To be sure, there is nothing formal or thorough in his discussion about this most important cosmic feature. Hartnett’s mention of the CMB on page 102 amounts to a scientific gloss. In truth, he remains uncommitted on the subject, a liberty modern-day cosmologists are never allowed to take – nor would ever want to. One of the basic rules of cosmology model-building says that unless the CMB is explained, there is no model. Isn’t it time creationists solicit a definitive answer from John Hartnett regarding the CMB, especially in light of the mixed signals he is sending? The demand to answer this question falls equally on all practicing cosmologists, including creationists like John Hartnett: “What is the cosmic microwave background and what is its source?”

Hubble law may not in fact be operative in Hartnett’s universe model. On page 182 he states, “…it is fundamental to the theory that, because of the Hubble expansion, the null condition ds = 0 is required [in the metric].” Unfortunately, since Hartnett’s model requires an instantaneous and miraculous creation of space and some matter [possibly just the earth?] in spherical geometry out to a radius as far as 8 million light-years through the third 24 hour period of creation time (pg. 103), there is the possibility that the metric may be limited to constraints on dt and ds, such that dt ≥ 3 days and ds ≥ 8 million light-years. It is only on day 4, after the miraculous 8 million light-year interval has been in place for three days, that the spacevelocity term in the metric is turned on, so to speak, and the cosmic expansion ensues. That means it may be impossible to show that his equation (A1.2) on page 123 has been satisfied. Rather than his rendering, equation (A1.2) may more properly take on this form:

dr2 = H0-2 dv2 – [8 million light-years]

a situation which would seriously call into question any Hubble spacing of galaxies in the expansion. Worse, it may overthrow the entire model. For instance, how fast does light traverse the divinely created 8 million light-year radius? If the answer is, “Instantaneously,” then its measure is not truly 8 million light-years (since light speed is the measuring stick), but profoundly more diminutive, like the size of the super-dense, super-hot cosmic egg of the big bang, and Hartnett is left with space, matter, energy, and time expanding in a big bang-like model. If the answer is, “Light traverses the 8 million light-year radius in the usual 8 million years,” then we will not see distant starlight in a young universe because the conclusion of Hartnett’s incredible Day-4 expansion event can essentially bring us no more light along our line of sight than what we witnessed at its start! As the Day-4 expansion “supersizes” the universe from 8 million light-years to 13.54 billion light-years, our total four day view into space will grow in step from 0.011 light-years to 18.62 light-years. Since the model declares that all clocks everywhere will begin to tick at the same rate after the universe recovers from its 24 hour cosmic jerk, we will still only see 6019 light years into space after 6000 years of earth time have elapsed. Distant starlight will not be ours to witness. Apparently, John Hartnett’s unstated, non-negotiable requirement for his universe to bring distant starlight to a young earth is that the surface of the earth must maintain full communication with the edge of the initial 8 million light-year space interval from the beginning. Two choices come to mind. God can either postpone “the beginning” for 8 million years while Earth waits for full communication to happen, or it can communicate instantly and find itself caught up in a hot big bang scenario. Either choice voids the model and its claims. If, in response, Hartnett appeals to a divine suspension of physical laws allowing for an instantaneous superluminal meeting of the earth’s surface and the universe edge 8 million light-years away, then he has adopted an inflationary cosmology, an action which to many will be just an ad hoc rescue of the model – a fudge factor.


the editor's response stated that they had a space problem in the journal, that the challenge was actually to Hartnett's book and not a previously published article in their journal, and that they preferred to publish challenges along with responses from the person challenged. No offer was made in that letter to have Hartnett respond so both sides could be in a future publication.


Speir's response to that letter of refusal to publish is as follows:

I’m sorry, but your response sounds like a series of excuses and an overall diversion more than anything else. Ok, I have now added a footnote to my article which is again attached. The footnote reads:

This letter is not intended as a book review. Its purpose is to challenge, at a fundamental level, the John Hartnett creation cosmology, a model best codified in a single location – that is, his book (already named). Key elements of his model, herein challenged, appear only in his book and not the CMI Journal  – an important example being the initial size of his universe.

In an email communication to me 12 Jan 2012, Don Batten cc’d Jonathan Sarfati, Shaun Doyle, and Gary Bates accusing me of “sniping” and added “Dr [Tas] Walker has …suggested that you ‘put up or shut up’”.

In an email communication 14 May 2012, Jonathan Sarfati accused me of “pestering” his colleagues with “fact-free diatribes”. On the 15th he said I lacked a “factual argument” and was wasting his time.

Hence the letter now in your possession.

All are aware that John Hartnett has never been short on words when it came time to challenge others’ cosmologies. Does he now fall silent when it is his turn to answer some questions? Truth be known, I would think that any of the men mentioned above should be extremely interested in hearing John Hartnett’s response to the challenge! Your and his silence is certainly not helping build confidence in his ideas.

It is my hope that the Journal is still an endeavor which seeks free and open discourse regarding all things scientific and theological as touching biblical origins. With my submission I have provided you an outstanding opportunity to prove that you are in fact in the business of creation science and not censorship, politics, elitism, or obstruction. If John Hartnett will not respond, please say so. However, he must be prepared to accept the fact that such a posture may be properly construed as a concession that his cosmology does not work.

Thanks for your time.   


Hartnett's response, emailed as a cc to us (the Setterfields) is dated January, 2014, and is here.


In response to Hartnett’s new rebuttal, Randy Speir issued this personal communication to Barry Setterfield:

Hi Barry, in weighing John Hartnett’s new rebuttal to my challenge on his blog, it is evident that he remains under an illusion regarding his cosmology. I have responded by telling him that his cosmology does not work for the same reasons published in my initial challenge.

He is still trying to take something that demonstrably does not exist – Carmeli’s “spacevelocity” dimension – and use it invalidate another unknown – dark matter.

His model has a glaring horizon problem which he continues to ignore. By making this statement, “But of course the Earth remains in causal contact out to 8 million light-years. I claim the Earth must remain in causal contact with the most distant sources in the universe, out to ten billion light-years or more”, he thinks he has effectively removed his obligation to deal head-on with the problem. But he knows, as we all know, that physics is not on his side. After a mere four days, the earth cannot possibly be in communication with an 8 million light-year limit.

He claims Carmeli’s equation (A1.2) as his own, but in reality, his version of Carmeli’s model mandates

dr2 = Ho-2 dv2 – [8 million light-years]2.

Based on this, we must immediately question Hartnett’s claim of the Hubble spacing in his universe. But even if his universe does acquire the Hubble spacing after the Day 4 expansion, we will never see it because light from the distant horizon will never cross over to our side.

To solve this problem, he must make the last term in the above equation, somehow, equal zero. That will require either 1. a big bang, or 2. God waiting 8 million years before he begins his creation, or 3. a brief inflationary epoch. Of course, none of these solutions can be agreeable with him or creationists in general.

The sad conclusion is that John Hartnett continues to presumptuously declare victory in creation cosmology-building where no victory exists. We can only hope that fair and thinking individuals will consider all models – past and present – as equally worthwhile and relevant in the continuing effort to discover our young origins.


A further note from us, the Setterfields. We received an interesting email from Pierre Jerlstrom, Senior Editor—Journal of Creation, Creation Ministries International (Australia), requesting we take down Speir's challenge to Hartnett. That request is dated February 11, 2014. In it he states: "As you may know, a letter exchange between Randy Spear and John Hartnett was published early last year in Journal of Creation 27(1):54-56, 2013. Soon after this, I asked Randy if his letters of complaint from your website could be removed since they were now obsolete after the Journal exchange was out. I felt this was a fair request and left it at that.

I recently looked at your website and to my surprise the original letters of complaint are still there. Can I therefore ask if these letters can be removed, or at least that an acknowledgement and source [Journal of Creation 27(1):54-56, 2013] of the publication of the exchange be added. "

There is the source, but the Speir response is important and so the material stays here.

Updated material, November, 2014:

I am writing because John Hartnett has added some new thoughts regarding my challenge to his model on his website. He says,

"[Speir’s] whole claim here is wrong. The acceleration of the expansion acted like a step function to give cosmic clocks 10 trillion times more time in the cosmos than Earth clocks. Now imagine a source sending a light signal towards Earth just before the expansion started. That signal would have 10 trillion times more time available to it to get to Earth than it would have if there was no acceleration of the expansion. At a distance of 8 million light-years it would take 8 million years to get to Earth in a static universe, but it would take only about 30 minutes in the universe my model describes. Both time periods are measured by Earth clocks."

When Hartnett says, “10 trillion times more time,” he is referring to his free parameter, n = 1013 (his book, first ed., pp. 228-30), which, when multiplied by cosmic time, inflates the universe (outside the realm of our solar system) with billions of years. This occurs when the entire system super-accelerates on Day 4. But this is nothing ‘new’ at all. Those of us who have studied his model already concluded some time ago that cosmic time in the billions would not help solve his horizon problem. His own model rebuts his new thoughts. On page 224 he writes regarding Eq. (A6.17), “The speed dr/dt is…the…one-way speed of light. It tells us the speed of the expansion with respect to local Earth-based atomic clocks.” Right there, in the last phrase, he likely concedes the argument by admitting that the speed of light during the expansion is equal to the speed of the expansion itself. He repeats himself, “…if [the acceleration] dv/dt was extremely large in the observable past…, then the…speed of light was also much larger then”. Then he directly links light speed and the speed/acceleration of the expansion, “The apparent effect on the one-way speed of light…is…the direct result of time dilation” [emphasis his]. So go ahead and fill up the Day 4 expansion with billions of years. Since light speed and the speed of the expansion are identical, it will take all the time you give it for light from a light source caught up in the expansion just to travel back to its starting point.

The astute reader will immediately recognize that if the speed of the light during the Day 4 expansion is equal to the expansion speed, then points not in communication before the expansion will remain out of communication even after the expansion ends, no matter the amount of cosmic time involved. In the hypothetical situation Hartnett describes above, we first remember that the source sending the light signal towards Earth is 8 million light-years away and is not in causal contact with Earth. Then we note that as the expansion ensues on Day 4, light is shot back to the point of origin of the light source (still 8 million light-years from Earth) at exactly the same speed/acceleration that the universe is super-expanding. Last, we realize that after the expansion stops, the light source – now moved billions of light-years away – has only managed to stay in light-communication with its starting point! Simply put, a photon headed our way will appear to stand still under these conditions. Once the expansion ceases, the photon will resume its normal speed of c and arrive at Earth in roughly 8 million years.

In the last part of his answer, we see all along that Hartnett hoped to span the 8 million light-year horizon gap in about 30 minutes due to the introduction of cosmic time in the billions of years during the expansion, but he likely will be denied that privilege because light speed and the expansion speed have a one-to-one relationship. In Hartnett’s near-Earth-centric model, all points in space, no matter their starting distance from Earth, move radially away from center at tremendous accelerations/speeds during the expansion of space. Light, from light sources turned-on at the beginning of Day 4, keeps pace with the fast-moving size and extent of the expansion in the outbound direction only, but is incapable of filling in any pre-existing gap in the inbound direction from its starting point towards Earth. A light source which begins at a point 8 million light-years from Earth will travel and age in accordance with the size and extent of the outbound acceleration. When Day 4 closes and the acceleration stops, its distance from Earth should measure thus:

[size/extent/’age’ of acceleration] + [8 million light-years].

The “size/extent/’age’ of acceleration” term in the equation will be full of light, while the “8 million light-year” term will be dark. It’s an unfortunate irony that he brings up a static universe because by making light speed vary directly with the expansion speed in his model, it is precisely the limitations of a static universe that we are faced with – before and after the expansion. What we see from Earth before the expansion, we see after it. What we do not see before the expansion remains dark to us afterward.

All of this makes his graph A6.2 on page 229 highly misleading. His graph goes flat as light travels to the limits of the universe for billions of years, but it all happens to the right on the graph – that is, away from the origin where the earth supposedly resides. He would need the benefit of a toward-Earth, backward-acting, rapid acceleration of light well above the expansion speed to promise the quick arrival of light on Earth from all distant light points in space. But even more than misleading, his graph is really completely meaningless to the universe model at hand. The only reason the dotted line and solid line could possibly be connected to the origin at all is because they represented every point already and immediately in causal contact with Earth from the start of the expansion, something which is clearly not the case in our present discussion about light sources which reside 8 million light-years away before the expansion ensues

In the end, it appears that John Hartnett’s new answer has not removed his horizon problem.

-Randy Speir




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