In an article entitled "Age of the Universe" posted on the website aish.com, MIT scientist Gerald Schroeder makes the following two statements: 1) "The general relationship between time near the beginning when stable matter formed from light and time today is a million million." 2) "In case you want to know, this exponential rate of expansion has a specific number averaged at 10 to the 12th power." What is he talking about? Are these numbers real? I can find nothing on line about a specific rate number for the expansion of the universe. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
Hi Jack, I couldn't find the article on the aish website, but by googling it I found it at http://www.aish.com/societyWork/sciencenature/Age_of_the_Universe.asp
Obviously the good Doctor is a literal interpretationist/ instantaneous creationist (6 literal days coupled with a 5700 year Earth based on Bishop Ussher's 1700 AD analysis of the genelogies in the Bible to come up with about a 6000 year old Earth). Which of course doesn't not correlate to modern day science.
So Dr. Schroeder uses the expansion (change in time) rate of the Universe to attempt to justify his literal position. Notice he says that due to expansion, the first Day was really 8 billion years old, the Second day 4 billion human years old, and so on, adding up to about 16 billion years which is very close to the accepted value of 13.7 billion years since the Big Bang.
His expansion calculations actually come up with a Universe age of a million million, or 10 to the 12th power, or one trillion years to do all this. I have my doubts because in that case, we would have already seen some red dwarf stars (which have a life span of about one trillion years) start to evolve to their next stage of evolution...and we don't see this. To the contrary, the appear very young. Only the larger, more massive stars (which live much shorter lives..Yes, the bigger the star, the faster it uses up it's available hydrogen fuel supply!) have evolved to the red giant/white dwarf stage, but no little red dwarf is anywhere near evolving to the next stage.
So he attempts to correlate his literal interpretation with so called scientific 'evidence'....but it's not evidence, it's just his "pet" theory. He may in fact be correct, but then again, he may not. Cosmology is still in it's infant stage and new information comes in every month...only time will tell how really old we are.
Sad facts are that the literal interpretationists/instantaneous creationists already have a couple of strikes against them... 600BC until 1600 AD they told us, thru literal interpretation, that the Earth was in the center..WRONG. (fooled us for over 2000 years!) They told us that the Earth was stationary and not moving...WRONG! They told us the sun was the sun, and stars are stars having been "created" on different days, so the sun was not a star)...WRONG! (the monk Bruno got burned at the stake for that one, advocating that the sun was, in fact, a star). And of course, we all know the story of Galileo's permanent house arrest for supporting the Copernican Theory of a moving Earth....Galileo was right and the literal interpretationists...were WRONG. So, strike 3 and you're OUT. (Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, and shame on me).
I admit that 13.7 billiion years is starting to seem too short a time, but I can't subscribe to a trillion year old Universe either. We need more data.
So that's what he is talking about...stretching science to promote his literal interpretations of the Torah and the Bible, the Genesis creation story. And a 6000 year old Earth, which of course today we know is ludicrous. He states that God is playing a big "foolie" on us, having already installed the fossils, the stratigraphy, the incoming light from the stars, all a Big Foolie. I vehemently disagree with this hypothesis. I don't believe in a God that's fooling us. If that were true, then none of the chemical and physics laws would hold...we couldn't be sure of ANYTHING.... that cup of coffee I'm drinking could suddenly change to sulfuric acid and kill me...I sitting here at the computer and suddenly I'd find myself on a beach in Miami Beach...etc. etc. But we don't see any of that; the chemical and physical laws hold all the time. We've found thru spectroscopy that an atom of hydrogen at the distance of the Big Bang is exactly the same as an atom of hydrogen here on Earth...same for all the other elements. So the laws....all hold. They wouldn't if God was playing a dumb "Foolie" on us. The fossils are real, and they date properly and accordingly. And the same for the incoming distant light. That's been proven too...there is no such thing as "tired" light.
So that's what he is getting at, and attempting to promote. Are the numbers correct? Who knows? Perhaps they are, perhaps they are not. Everyone in Cosmology has their own little "pet" project that they like. Only time and science will tell.
Theology and philosophy is only supposed to answer the Who? and Why? Science answers the questions What? When? How? and By What Process? The two should stay in their own fields of questions...anytime one strays out of their area, then fireworks occur. We in science stay away from the who and why...why are we here? Who put us here? And hopefully they stay out of our area..the how and By What Process questions. They should have learned their lesson with Galileo.
So that's my take on it, from a non-literal interpretationist Biblically speaking, and a Big thestic evolutionist, Clear Skies, Tom Whiting Erie, PA
FOLLOW UP: Oh, the accepted expansion rate of the Universe (the space, not the matter) is the Hubble constant at about 71 Km/Sec per megaparsec. This has been found to be slowly accelerating (Type Ia supernovae evidence) so the ultimate end will be either a Big Rip as everything is torn apart by the rapid expansion in hundreds of trillions of years, OR the Universe will suffer a "heat" death far before then, as the available fuel for the stars, namely hydrogen gas, is all used up, in about 100 trillion years. Of course, we (Solar System) won't be around because our star goes to the red giant phase in just a few billion years. We have to get off this ruddy 8000 mile small rock well before then, and hopefully find a planet orbiting a red dwarf star to move to, then the lifespan of that red dwarf star is at least a trillion years...nearly immortal based on human standards. That's the whole, final purpose of our nascent space program...the ultimate reason for it. You can't develop interstellar flight in just a few years...it takes some time, so it's a good thing that we're starting .... right now. Tom
FOLLOW UP: Oh, for future astronomical news, I wouldn't recommend using a ...theological site. Nor use websites and periodicals that tend to "sensationalize" astronomy just to sell magazines and books, like National Enquirer" type publications and websites. I know of only 3 sites that tell it like it is, without sensationalism... www.skyandtelescope.com and their associated magazine, S & T; www.spaceweather.com wwe.spaceflightnow.com Those give you the straight skinny. Clear Skies, Tom