answers in genesis takes on black holes

October 12, 2009

What could possibly be more shocking than finding a brutal maiming of some of the simplest scientific facts on a website ran by a fundamentalist group that created a museum of indoctrination which shows humans living with dinosaurs in the Garden of Eden? How about an article which is actually a really good basic primer on the concept of black holes? Apparently, some sort of massive gravitational disturbance managed to warp the fabric of time at the AiG so much so, one of their writers churned out a generally well researched and well thought out article about the most bizarre phenomena in the universe. But alas, it does come with a catch…

feeding black hole

Considering the track record of AiG’s collections of asinine arguments about astronomy, cosmology and the outright hostility towards the basic principles of the scientific method they display on a constant basis, this primer in general relativity seems completely out of place on any site even mentioning Genesis. That is, until you get towards the end of the article in which Dr. Jason Lisle remembers that his astrophysics expertise has to be discarded in favor of the exasperating inanity his boss, Ken Ham, expects and does an ugly about face.

Such physics is the basis for several young-universe cosmologies, that allow light from the most distant galaxies to reach earth in thousands of years or less. Scientific discoveries, such as black holes, are not only interesting, but they give us a small glimpse into the thoughts of an infinite God.

Pardon the potential pun but what in the hell was that? How can one hold a degree in astrophysics and give a detailed and accurate description of Einstein’s profound expansion of Newton’s work on gravity, then throw out this mutilation of middle school science into the public eye? It’s like making a dish worthy of a gourmet, world class restaurant, plating it until it looks good enough to be featured on Iron Chef, then laying a dead skunk on top of the tender and juicy filet mignon when it gets to the table. Whatever first impression you might have had is now not just blown, but decimated and your customer has to fight back the urge to hurl something heavy at your head. Is this how Ken Ham abuses scientists? Because if he does, the man is pure evil and working with him is like making a Faustinian deal but in reverse. Rather than give you knowledge in exchange for your soul, he’ll drain your brains and claim the hollow shell of your credentials for his anti-science crusade.

You might remember the mangling of relativity hurled at me by the now infamous Joe Johnson on this blog, and this seems to be one of the origins for his ridiculous assertions. The fact is that a mass-less object like a photon is limited to a velocity of 299,792,458 meters per second. Any faster than that and the rules governing time and space break down. Theoretical particles traveling faster than light are called tachyons and routinely get mentioned in sci-fi books and movies which need to justify faster than light communication. However, the tachyons that live in astrophysical formulas would have to be so unstable, they couldn’t actually exist due to all the violations of special relativity they would require. Without tachyons, we could never see light from a star some 3,000 light years away any sooner than 3,000 years. Phenomena such as gravitational lensing can only distort the appearance of objects so we can sometimes get a better look at them but they have no effect on the speed of photons coming towards us.

So to all you young universe cosmologists and other pseudo-scientists who preach the gospel of ignorance, either find us a sky full of tachyons or release Dr. Lisle’s brain and let the man go to work in a university where he could put his genuine expertise to good use in advancing human knowledge rather than help an Australian crackpot drag us back into the Dark Ages and reverse the scientific strides we made in the past century.

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  • Pierce R. Butler

    What kind of institution would now accept Jason Lisle on its letterhead or payroll?

    Hasn’t he reduced his marketability to the Liberty/Oral Roberts/Regent/Bob Jones university circuit? His die is cast, his bridges are ash; from where he stands now, all roads lead to Jesus – and nowhere else.

  • reggie

    There’s always a Templeton Prize for Lisle.

  • Greg Fish

    “What kind of institution would now accept Jason Lisle on its letterhead or payroll?”

    Scientific institutions don’t require you to sign any oaths or statements of faith unlike AiG so I’m sure that if Dr. Lisle just starts doing real research with serious merit, pretty much any college or university interested in his work would be willing to give him a chance.

    Besides, at least one other AiG staffer, Andrew Snelling, has been publishing real scientific work while he concocts the fairy tales his boss requires of him…

  • Pingback: New creationist tactic: telling the truth? | Bad Astronomy | Discover Magazine()


    Answers in Genesis is akin to an unscrupulous, shoddy furniture manufacturer who uses real wood veneer over low-cost chipboard, and then markets them at a high price as made of ‘real’ wood.

  • David Evans

    To be fair to Lisle, I don’t think he’s postulating tachyons. I think he’s referring to Russell Humphreys’ “Starlight and Time”, which proposes a general relativistic metric in which the Earth is young but distant stars are old. I feel that Humphreys’ metric must be wildly inconsistent with observation but I don’t know enough GR to prove it.

  • matt

    Did you guys ever think that maybe these are the opinions of the writers and maybe Ken Ham isn’t forcing them to write such? And all roads only lead to Jesus anyway. “For every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.”