email - June 2017

Astrophysics vs. Electronic Warfare

Electronic signals are subject to interpretation.

Tyler asked us this question about a documentary that claims there is compelling astrophysical evidence for creation.

I recently came across the documentary "The Principle".  I was a little put off by the trailer because it looked rather over the top and propagandistic; especially since I knew some of the scientists interviewed were most certainly not creationists but after watching the film I cant [sic] see how they were misrepresented. It looked more like they were just disgruntled that the producers [sic] agenda differed from their own.

I must admit though that I didn't fully understand how exactly the cmd [sic] appears to correlate to our galaxy or the earths [sic] equinox etc.  In the end I didn't feel like I had a firm enough grasp of the claims to make a judgement [sic] one way or another.

I couldn't find anything on your site related to this subject.  I was just wondering if you thought it was complete nonsense or if you have any plans to address this subject in the future?

Tyler.

We have not seen the documentary, so we neither endorse nor dispute it. Therefore we can’t say much about the documentary itself; but we will share our thoughts on the issues addressed by the documentary.

I watched the trailer for the movie on YouTube. 1 I agree that the trailer could be considered “over the top.” Astrophysicists were shown saying outrageous things, including, “Everything we think we know about our Universe is wrong,” and that there is a “crisis in cosmology.” The editing makes it appear that cosmologists have completely rejected conventional astrophysics. Scientists routinely make these exaggerated statements to get on Nova and other science fiction shows. The trailer makes it appear that some new discoveries have completely disproved the Big Bang, and so these atheists have no other choice but to admit that the Bible is true. The scientists portrayed have publicly said that their words were unfairly twisted.

Max Tegmark explained that DeLano "cleverly tricked a whole bunch of us scientists into thinking that they were independent filmmakers doing an ordinary cosmology documentary, without mentioning anything about their hidden agenda." 2

They thought it was an ordinary documentary with an evolutionary hidden agenda instead of a creationist hidden agenda.

We realize that the trailer used these provocative statements to make the movie seem so important that you feel compelled to watch it. Every movie trailer is designed to make you want to go see the movie. This particular trailer didn’t work for me. I didn’t buy the DVD.

The Premise of The Principle

We found a 45-minute interview on YouTube 3 in which the producer, Rick DeLano, summarized The Principle. He claims that measurements of cosmic background radiation prove that the Earth is at the physical center of the Universe. From that he concludes that the Earth is at the spiritual center of the Universe, which proves the Bible is true.

In more technical terms, he believes in the Geocentric model, in which the Sun, Moon, and stars all circle the Earth and rejects the commonly accepted Copernican model.

Copernican heliocentrism is the name given to the astronomical model developed by Nicolaus Copernicus and published in 1543. It positioned the Sun near the center of the Universe, motionless, with Earth and the other planets rotating around it in circular paths modified by epicycles and at uniform speeds. The Copernican model departed from the Ptolemaic system that prevailed in Western culture for centuries, placing Earth at the center of the Universe, and is often regarded as the launching point to modern astronomy and the Scientific Revolution. 4

Critical Thinking

This month’s feature article lamented the fact that critical thinking is sadly lacking in our society today. Let’s apply some critical thinking here.

The three issues are:

  1. The concept of “the center.”
  2. The measurement of cosmic background radiation.
  3. The spiritual implications of the location of the center.

We will not address the third issue at all because it has nothing to do with science. We will address the first two issues as they relate to the theory of evolution.

Where is the Center?

To a mathematician or engineer, the center is the origin of a coordinate system that makes the calculations the easiest. The notion of a center is purely arbitrary.

Does the Moon orbit the Earth or the Sun? It seems like a pretty easy question to answer—but it isn’t.

I ran into this question in college doing a physics homework problem. The problem stated the mass of the Sun, the mass of the Earth, the mass of the Moon, the distance between the Sun and the Earth, and the distance between the Earth and the Moon. The chapter had already given us the equation for computing the gravitational force between two objects given their masses and separation, so we students had all the information we needed.

The first problem was to compute the gravitational force between the Earth and the Moon. I made the calculation and checked the answer in the back of the book. I got it right.

The second problem was to compute the gravitational force between the Sun and the Moon during a solar eclipse (when the Moon is between the Sun and the Earth). I made the calculation and checked the answer in the back of the book. I got it right.

The third problem was, “Since, as you have just seen, the gravitational pull of the Sun on the Moon is greater than the gravitational pull of the Earth on the Moon, why doesn’t the Moon orbit the Sun instead of the Earth?” The answer to that question was not in the back of the book, and it took me more than an hour to figure it out!

There is no question that the Moon orbits the Earth. Everybody knows that. But the Sun is so much more massive than the Earth that its gravitational force on the Moon really is stronger than the Earth’s despite being 93 million miles away. Why doesn’t the Sun snatch the Moon away from the Earth? It must be a trick question—and it sort of is.

The correct answer is that the Moon really does orbit the Sun. From a vantage point far away in space, you would see both the Earth and Moon orbiting the Sun. The Moon’s orbit around the Sun isn’t perfectly elliptical. The Moon’s orbit around the Sun has little squiggles in it as it is pulled in, out, forward and back by the Earth orbiting along side of it.

Mathematically, the origin of a coordinate system is the center. You can pick the center to be wherever it makes the calculations the easiest. If you pick the center to be the Sun, the calculations of high and low tides on Earth would be much more difficult than if you pick the center of the Earth to be the origin of the coordinate system.

So, generally speaking, any argument about where the center is, is bogus. In particular, it gets even worse when you try to define the center of the Big Bang because (according to the theory) the Big Bang did not happen at a particular point in space. Time and space were created by the Big Bang, so all the space was in a single point when space was created. So, every point in space today was at the center of the Big Bang when it supposedly happened.

Background Radiation

In a previous article,5 we pointed out that the “prediction” of uniform background radiation caused by the Big Bang was made after the uniform radiation was discovered by accident. Then the “prediction” was changed after it was discovered that the radiation wasn’t really uniform after all. Predictions made after the fact aren’t really predictions. (On the other hand, we did predict in 1999 that no horse would win the 2017 Kentucky Derby in less than 2 minutes—and we were right. 6)

Cosmic microwave background radiation is of interest to evolutionists because it is supposed to be proof of the Big Bang, and proof that the Universe is old enough for life to arise and evolve into all the various forms of life. So, the two questions we need to answer are, “Are the measurements of background radiation accurate?” and, if so, “What do the measurements prove?” These are the questions that critical thinkers would ask, but mind-numbed skulls full of mush would never consider.

Accuracy

Astrophysicists point a radio telescope at every place in the sky to try to measure how much cosmic radiation is coming from that specific direction.

It is hard to build a radio telescope with a very narrow field of view. Every antenna pattern has side lobes. That is, every antenna lets some energy leak in from a direction other than the one in which the antenna is pointing. Measuring an antenna pattern is so hard that it has taken nearly two years (so far) to get a new (simple) Yagi antenna for radio station KRSF to be measured and approved (and it still hasn’t been). Highly directional antennas, like one needed to make background radiation measurements, are even harder to build and test.

There is also a problem called “multi-path.” Electronic signals bounce off things, so there are multiple paths between the source and the antenna, some of which cause constructive interference (which makes the signal stronger) or destructive interference (which makes the signal weaker). In the 1950’s, television sets used indoor rabbit ear antennas to receive the TV signal. It was difficult to orient the rabbit ears properly to get the best picture because the TV signals bounced off people (among other things). If you set the rabbit ears to get the best picture, then walked away from them, the signal might disappear completely. Light from a star outside the field of view might reflect off of an asteroid in the field of view causing an unusually high reading.

Even if you could build an antenna with a very narrow field of view, and no side lobes, where in space can you find someplace that doesn’t have any stars in it? They are everywhere! Some are too faint to see with the naked eye—but they are there. There are always going to be some stars in the field of view no matter where you look. So the mythical perfect antenna would pick up the sum of the foreground radiation from the stars in the field of view plus the background radiation (if any). How do astrophysicists distinguish foreground radiation from background radiation? They can’t.

There is also something called the “noise floor” in electronic detectors. If you tune your radio to a frequency other than one a nearby radio station is using, and turn the volume way up, you will hear noise. Some of that noise comes from other radio stations very far away, but even if there were no other radio stations, there would still be noise generated by random fluctuations of voltage in the first amplifier stage. Building a low-noise preamplifier is very difficult, and it is never perfectly quiet. Remember, the object of the measurement is to measure how black the black part of the sky is (which is almost totally black) so any electronic noise will affect the measurement.

Earlier we asked, “How do astrophysicists distinguish foreground radiation from background radiation?” Our answer was that astrophysicists can’t.

On the other hand, I hold Patent 4,575,723, issued March 11, 1986, for the Foliage Clutter Rejector I developed at the end of the Vietnam War. This algorithm was part of the Battlefield Surveillance Radar (BSR, also known as the Folpen Radar) which was designed to separate the jungle vegetation background radar returns from the signals bouncing off soldiers sneaking through jungle vegetation.

How do we know it worked? We tested it. We had soldiers move along a predetermined path through some vegetation and compared the soldier’s actual position with the Folpen Radar output. Based on the results of those tests, we made changes and tested again. 7 Astrophysicists have no way to confirm the outputs of their radio telescopes are actually valid.

Electronic warfare engineers and astrophysicists both use scientific knowledge to understand how things work. The difference is that engineers have to build a product based on that knowledge. The success or failure of that product proves or disproves the theory upon which the product is based. All the brilliant theoretical rhetoric about how a weapon can detect the enemy is meaningless if the weapon fails to detect the enemy in combat.

Astrophysicists say all sorts of things about dark matter, dark energy, black holes, and planets outside our solar system that cannot be experimentally verified. You have to take their word for it. Their only credibility comes from the academic degree they hold, and where they got it. Just because someone claims to be smarter than you, it should not prevent you from questioning his opinions.

The Creation/Evolution Connection

Since the location of “the center” is an arbitrary choice that depends purely on ease of computation, it cannot be used to prove or disprove creation or evolution. The Geocentric model does not prove creation. Copernican heliocentrism does not prove evolution.

There is no “right” or “wrong” model. Both models are useful in celestial mechanics, depending upon the situation. The Geocentric model is most useful for calculating a trip to the Moon, or docking with the International Space Station. The Copernican model works better for calculating a trip to Mars or the Voyager spacecraft itinerary. Neither model has any relevance to creation or evolution.

Background radiation measurements are so fraught with technical difficulties that they are meaningless. Even if it were possible to measure background radiation accurately, it would not prove anything about the origin of the Universe. Whatever process created the Universe (either the Big Bang or God) might have created random background radiation, non-random background radiation, or uniform background radiation.

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Footnotes:

1 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p8cBvMCucTg
2 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Principle
3 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VBWG-Hy_H4w
4 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copernican_heliocentrism
5 Disclosure, August, 2015, “Scientific Predictions”, http://www.scienceagainstevolution.info/v19i11e1.htm
6 Disclosure, June 1999, “The Kentucky Derby Limit, http://scienceagainstevolution.info/v3i9f.htm
7 Since the next two wars were fought in the jungles of Iraq , the BSR was never used in combat during either of the two Gulf Wars.