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Archive for November, 2010

A Question of Physics

Yes, in my first entry I said it’d be a “topic for another day”, and that day has come. I’m felling in a cosmological mood this evening. The theory of the Big Bang was developed after the discovery that the universe is expanding (although this leads to other problems which I’ll raise later). I guess I’m going to discuss the nature of the theory, and all the implications, among other theories of physics.

I’m a non-conformist – I don’t believe that evolution is the process by which life develops – I believe it’s the process through which life is depreciated. To put it in somebody else’s words, if you are walking down a path and come across a watch, you don’t say simply because you can take it apart and fully understand how it works that it assembled itself.

If that argument cannot apply to a watch, it can’t apply to life, and it certainly can’t apply to the universe; although we seemingly cannot fully understand the mechanics of the universe. Stephen Hawking doesn’t believe it to be possible to create a unified scientific model that incorporates both General Relativity, and Quantum Mechanics; although they are both clearly incomplete theories in their present form, and although he seems to favour the m-theory! I find it somewhat disturbing, to say the least, that while physics is considered to be a serious science, physicists continually to assume the correctness of incompatible theories, and believe in such nonsense as the “Big Bang”. Hawking’s “god of the gaps” created the Big Bang, and then did nothing, according to Hawking (except to fill in the other gaps). Hawking has since changed his mind on this now, mind you, and he don’t believe in the most accepted theory of the Big Bang, he thinks that time pre-existed space and matter, and now believes that the universe is completely self-creating. Of course there’s major problems with this, which I’ll get to later.

Accordingly, physicists believe that 10,000,000,001 particles of matter were created to every 10,000,000,000 particles of antimatter. Reason: The universe is filled with matter rather than antimatter! Well isn’t that grand, it’s not logical – but it’s called science nonetheless.

Enter the cosmological constant, which Einstein proposed in 1917 in order to modify GR to accept a static (non-expanding) universe; he later retracted it citing it as his biggest mistake; after the discoveries of galactic redshift made by Edwin Hubble. And we’re going to talk quite a bit about this, because Hubble’s law is, seemingly, fallible. There is now brand new evidence to suggest that there is indeed a cosmological constant.

The quantum field theory of the vacuum state is so out of touch with reality some call it the worst prediction in the history of physics. Is the force cancelled out by Dark Energy? Who knows, who cares, it’s called Science, it isn’t logical, but there it is. One day, maybe, a new theory will come along that finally answers this important question (well, important to physicists anyway).

Destroying a black hole: Physicists believe that after a black hole is created, it will be destroyed when it can’t sustain its consumption of matter/energy. When this happens we are left with nothing. If you’re actually counting, I think we’re up to the third – as yet – unexplainable problem with current cosmological theory, the fourth if you count Hubble’s Law, and the fifth if you count the fact that we have to allow an eternity, rather than 4 billion years, for life to get started, and the sixth if you count the fact that the age of the universe is calculated on the assumption that universe is 2% larger than what we know as the “known universe”.

Hawking is sometimes called the most famous scientist that has not won the Nobel Prize. He hasn’t won it because he can’t prove any of his theories; although it’s undeniable that he has had a hugely beneficial role in cosmology, and I have no doubts in time some of his theories will be proven.

Hawking originally believed that information was destroyed in a black hole, Hawking now believes information in a black hole is not lost (although he hasn’t managed to convince all serious physicists on this one). Again, though, if matter is compressed to a singularity, or if we are indeed left with nothing when a black hole is destroyed then its very existence violates several laws of physics. Information is supposed to be impossible to create or destroy. Let me see if I can explain this in a more scientific way: Information at the centre of a black hole is compressed to the Planck density, theoretically the densest possible state of matter. Once an object in this state attracts another object it pops out of existence, because two objects can not occupy the same space. This violates causality.

Hawking’s solution to this little problem is that “Hawking radiation” comes out of a black hole, preserving (seemingly forever) the information that was trapped inside.

In my first blog entry (Islamaphobic), I came down pretty heavily in favour of the antediluvian period. It’s backed up by evidence. There are some 80 different cultures that had flood stories. Yet there isn’t enough water in the planet to submerge the entire world, no, so how did it happen? Yep, “Waterworld” isn’t possible. Quite simply: God made it so; and it was probably a massive local flood (fully acceptable in the Hebrew Text).

The argument of the watch assembling itself can be revisited: because the laws of the universe can be understood, and its inner workings reduced to mathematical expressions, the view is that it assembled itself. Well, the universe is expanding, about this there is little doubt. If it is expanding it had to have had a beginning, and to have had a beginning it had to have been created. It has to be expanding because it is a necessity of General Relativity because if the universe was rotating and you were to travel in the opposite direction of the universe around its perimeter you would (after a few billion years of travelling) arrive from where you left before you began your journey. Hence Einstein said “well the universe isn’t rotating, it’s expanding”. Of course if that were not the case the universe wouldn’t have a beginning – it would “just be” (Hawking).

The theory of the Big Bang is accepted by mainstream cosmology, despite the fact that it’s a deeply irrational theory with little evidence and major problems. Like the fact that there was an imbalance between the creation of matter and antimatter that allowed “most” of the matter/antimatter in the universe to “cancel each other out”. Causality is violated by that very argument. Physicists can’t decide exactly what happens in a Black Hole; is everything compressed to a singularity? If so it violates causality – Hawking thinks black holes radiate “Hawking Radiation”! The very reason Einstein disliked quantum “uncertainty” was because it violated causality! It’s also illogical: how does a uniform event produce enormous non-uniformities (galaxies)? If it took 4 billion years for life to “evolve” on Earth, how come it only took 14 billion years for the universe to “evolve” into its current state? How does profound disorganization create organization? How does a uniformity produce non-uniformities?

The universe exists to support life, if there was no life within it, and there is no God, then no one would know that it exists, therefore it wouldn’t exist. The universe needs a very specific set of laws to accommodate life, mostly centred on Carbon – H2O is also essential. If the laws of physics had not been designed for life, life would not be possible.

I did make a breakthrough discovery a few months ago surrounding quantum uncertainty, Einstein was wrong about Quantum Mechanics. Not because he called it an incomplete theory, but because he seemed to believe in locality, and only locality. It isn’t surprising that Einstein didn’t believe in QM, after all its framework doesn’t work very well with relativity, whereas the theory of relativity is all about, well, relativity. Always has to be in fierce competition. This is why scientists shouldn’t be historians; they generally care about two very different things.

In the early 90’s the scientific view of the Big Bang shifted, from being the “consensus” to a virtually unanimous view among cosmologists. That doesn’t mean it is unanimous. Halton Arp, for instance, is a cosmologist who continues to deny the Big Bang and proposes alternative theories – by no means does anyone consider him a “crackpot”, his observations are valid but his critics claim he tends to reach circumstantial conclusions, not to mention that his view on how the universe is made up is radically different to mainstream cosmology, so it’s not surprising that he doesn’t believe in the Bang. There are still, supposedly, Big-Bang-compatible alternative theories for his observations (like “coincidental placement” or gravitational lensing) to explain what Arp believes to be galactic redshift anomalies.

I’m actually rather lucky to be writing this at this particular point in time, because this very year a paper was released showing that quasars don’t show time dilation. This was a discovery that shocked cosmologists. There does not appear to be a simple solution that is compatible with current beliefs in cosmetology. Quasars are closer than their redshift implies or, the universe isn’t expanding. Time dilation (a part of the theory of relativity) is experimentally confirmed: objects that are further away appear to move more slowly than those that are closer; it is explained by the fact that the speed of light is a constant.

Another thing I’ve known about for about six years is the quasar in front of NGC 7319. I know the observation is valid, I submit that it could possibly be a distant object that is visible due to the phenomena of gravitational lensing. I think it’s more probable that it is in front of NGC 7319. There are plenty more redshift anomalies which are seemingly incompatible with Hubble’s Law. Cygnus A is another one, and just what the hell is Cygnus A anyway? Cosmologists are certain, absolutely certain that it’s a radio galaxy about 600 million light years away (quite close) – yet no matter how much we try and resolve the region we can’t see a single star in there (only the quasar). How the hell do they even know it’s a galaxy? Simple they guess. Physicists do not know what else it could be so they guess that it’s a galaxy.

The academic view among cosmologists on Quasars has shifted in the last few years and it’s no longer a consensus that they are all far-away objects, thus confirming indeed that their redshift values are not necessarily cosmological in nature. Hubble’s Law isn’t a theory, it’s an accepted law of science. To violate this law is to violate a law of physics. Still the exact nature of quasars is not well understood. Here’s a link on NASA from 12 years ago where it is explained that not all astronomers agree that cosmological redshift applies to quasars.

This event that occurred some 13.7 billion years ago, took place using as yet unknown and unexplainable laws of physics, and created with it the dimensions of time and space, and all the matter and energy contained within. Hawking attests to this. It really is a crackpot theory isn’t it – “the universe assembled itself”. Where did the matter and the energy for the Big Bang come from? From Hawking’s god of the gaps of course! What a theory – God created the universe and then retired!

Now I want to stress this point. Planck Time is the shortest possible length of time in the universe, it’s supposedly the time required for light to travel the distance of a single Planck Length (the shortest possible distance in the universe). The theory of the Big Bang supposedly tells us that at the moment the universe was 1 Planck Time old (10^-43 seconds) it was 10^-32 cubic mm in size. Mind you, this was 13.7 Billion Years of Expansion earlier. This theory is incompatible with accepted physics because: relativity. Relativity tells us that time is relative and we are absolutely certain on this. Once the universe has begun to exist, it is impossible to track it to a distinct static state because objects now exist in their own relative time streams. So for the Big Bang theory to assert that at this moment AND at the moment before it the universe was distinct is clearly wrong.

The Big Bang theory has an expiration date. It is not a theory that will ultimately stand the test of time. It’s the same with QM. I can already show that the quantum uncertainty principle is incorrect. I can’t validate Bell’s inequality; but that’s because I accept that physics is not strictly local, acknowledging this it is still clearly evident that there is order at the quantum level (even though they are influenced by non-locality). Gravity is handled poorly under QM, and this is well known.

Hawking’s idea that time pre-existed space and matter is utterly absurd. Not only would it have no purpose, but it leaves you with the problem that nothing created time, yet supposedly out of time came space and matter! My final thought is on the theory of the Multiverse. Don’t kid yourselves, the failure in fully understanding quantum physics in no way proves that there is in fact a multiverse.

Paul and Luke

To those who may not think there’s more to the last blog entry, you’re dead wrong. I’ve begun work on new research, and once that is complete I will do a blog entry on it.

Today we’re going to talk about the reliability of the NT books, in particular those by the Apostle Paul, and also Luke-Acts. Paul is the author of 13 books of the New Testament, almost half of the 27 books, some believe he may also be the author of Hebrews – but I’m not of that view personally. Here is a list of all the authors of the NT:

Matthew (Levi): Gospel of Matthew
John Mark: Gospel of Mark
Luke (the historian): Gospel of Luke, Acts
John: Gospel of John, I John, II John, III John, Revelation
Apostle Paul: Romans, I Corinthians, II Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, I Thessalonians, II Thessalonians, I Timothy, II Timothy, Titus, Philemon
James the brother of Jesus: James
Simon Peter: I Peter, II Peter
Jude the brother of Jesus: Jude
Unknown: Hebrews

Some so-called Scholars today contend the authorship of some of the books, but do so without sufficient evidence. The canonization of the NT scripture was completed early 2nd century, and any writings written under pseudonyms or assumed authorship were discarded and considered unreliable. The three synoptic Gospels do not introduce the author by name, nor does the book of Acts. However the earliest existing manuscripts of these Gospels all contain in Greek lettering “according to (author)” clearly implying that the authorship was known. When you consider that Luke’s Gospel and his second work – the book of Acts – can be clearly attributed to him on external evidence only, it then proves that the lettering that appears on Matthew and Mark’s Gospels attributing to their authors was indeed intended to let the reader know with certainty who the author was. The synoptic Gospels would not have been canonized if in the early 2nd century there were reasonable doubts about their authorships.

Scholars pretty much unanimously agree that the Gospel of Luke was the last of the Synoptic Gospels to be written. Luke wrote both his books to the same gentleman – Theophilus. Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus is recorded in Acts 9 by Luke, Acts ends with Paul under house arrest awaiting trial, which means it was written by Luke c. 62AD up to 5 years before Paul’s death. Paul was released from house arrest in c. 62AD, and later when he is re-arrested he writes his last three letters before being executed. II Timothy is believe to be the last letter Paul wrote that is in the Bible, and he mentions that Luke is with him – in fact he mentions that only Luke is with him.

Paul and Luke were close associates and friends. Therefore to have ended Acts with Paul under house arrest and awaiting trial proves that Luke wrote Acts c. 62 before Paul’s release and subsequent re-arrest; and as Luke mentions in his introduction in Acts that this is his second writing to Theophilus, we know that he already wrote Luke beforehand – probably any time within 1 year before Acts.

Some liberal scholars will argue that Luke had to have been written after c. 70AD because it contains a vivid prediction of the destruction of Jerusalem (Luke 21:20-24). Instead, this proves that Jesus prophecy is valid (see Deut 18:21-22).

The Apostle Paul was originally known as Saul and persecuted the early Christians before his dramatic conversion on the road to Damascus. While on his way to persecute Christians, Jesus appears before him, speaks to him, causes him to become blind, and then sends him to Judas’ house and sends a man named Ananias to heal Saul’s sight, three days later. In this way, Jesus chose Saul while he was persecuting the Church to be a disciple and to work for the Church.

Ananias interjects and says that Saul does evil and has authority from the high priests to persecute Christians. But he does what he is told, lays his hands on Saul and says “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit”, Saul’s sight is restored, he receives the Holy Spirit and he immediately begins his ministry.

Paul refers to this event several times in his own writings. That while he was still a sinner he was chosen to be a disciple of the Lord.

Atheists often argue that Christians don’t believe in hard evidence, well, this is hard evidence. This is not some obscure story told once by a single author about a mythical figure who was long-since dead. Rather it was written while Paul was alive and under house arrest by a close friend of his! In Paul’s letters written before this date he affirms his conversion, as he does in his letters written after this date too.

For over 2,000 years one single piece of writing written 2,000 years after the last pyramid was built in Egypt by a Greek historian convinced everyone that the Pyramids were built by slaves, until recently when archaeologists excavated the skeletons of the Egyptian workers, not slaves, that built the pyramids!

All the evidence proves that Paul experienced a life-changing event when he was confronted by Jesus (after Jesus had been crucified on the cross). This isn’t a case of having an obscure piece of information written thousands of years after an event has taken place (it was written about 30 years after the event happened, and while Paul was still alive)

The account is detailed and complete. It notes that the event took place at midday and that the light that blinded Paul was brighter than the midday sun, how could such an event be faked? The voice of Jesus speaks to Paul, and his companions hear it – yet only Paul understands it. How is this possible? We also know Ananias was a reputable man and a Jewish Christian, who responds to heal a man who has been persecuting the Way (early Christians), indeed Paul had been delivering them over to be killed. Yet this man is willing to heal Paul and to baptize him?

None of these facts make any sense if Paul did not have a real revelation. To claim that Luke made up the story would be to suppose Luke was a deceitful man. Yet Luke considered himself a serious historian and being a companion of Paul he participated in Paul’s ministry, and so we can be confident that if he was to lie about Paul’s conversion then Paul himself had to have also been involved in orchestrating the lie. But Paul is an honest man as well. There’s no evidence that either of them were deceitful in their ways!

Now I’m not one to read too much into liberal theology, but one of the reasons we can be confident in Luke’s writings is that Luke starts out his Gospel by saying he has carefully researched everything so that the reader can have certainty in the truth of his writings (as he was not an eye-witness of Christ), and that half way through the book of Acts Luke begins giving eye-witness accounts, which show that he was a companion of Paul – also revealed by Paul’s writings. Furthermore, as Luke mentions by name many people and places, the reliability of his accounts is also proven by corroborating archaeological evidence and other writings. Given the length of the book and the amount of verifiable information found within – along with the fact that it does not contradict anything – it would be a very stupid assumption to make that it was written at anytime other than c. 62AD and that it contains anything except truthful accounts.

There are a handful of isolated accounts which scholars cannot verify through external evidence, but doesn’t mean they’re unreliable. The birth of Christ coincides with a census according to Luke, but it could not have been the Census of Quirinius since that happened in 6-7AD and about that there is little doubt.

Luke’s account could not have been talking about that census, since not only would it have happened after Christ’s birth – it would be difficult for him to come to an incorrect date. Given the detailed account of the birth, and the fact that census plays a significant role that actually determines how and where his birth took place, this cannot be dismissed as an error in any case. Rather, Luke is simply speaking about a census we don’t know anything more about from other sources. Furthermore we can calculate dates later on that would prove Jesus was too young if he was to be born 6AD to begin his ministry which required him to be at least 30 years of age (by Jewish Law). We simply don’t know enough about the career of Quirinius, the Roman taxation system of the time and the Census’ undertaken by Augustus.

Let’s backtrack a little bit. Caesar Augustus’ rule lasted 44BC to 14AD – quite a career. In 6-7AD the Census of Quirinius was given, this is a firm census and we know a lot about it. It was undertaken because the military was underfunded and required funding, so Augustus determined a 5% inheritance tax, which did not apply to very poor persons or very near relatives to the deceased. Even assuming Luke isn’t talking about this census in his Gospel it is clear why it could be mistaken as this census.

What however, we do know and critics usually don’t tell you is that this was actually the second time this tax was introduced due to it failing the first time. This is an important fact, because it requires that a census was conducted the first time around as well. This gives us a tangible event that may have been the census that took place at the time of Jesus’ birth. We also do not know when the first census was taken in order to introduce the taxation; there is not enough historical information on this. Furthermore critics will not tell you that in Acts 5:37 Luke specifically talks about Judas rebelling against the taxation introduced using the Census of Quirinius, and in fact Luke refers to it as “the days of the census”! This event is corroborated by Josephus who completed his works after Luke’s death. Luke’s Gospel distinguishes the Census at Jesus’ birth by calling it the “first”. Quirinius was only governor of Syria in 6-7AD and only one Census was conducted at that time, yet Luke writes in his Gospel that Jesus was born during the “First” Census when Quirinius was Governor; or the Greek could read that it was the census “Before” Quirinius was Governor; acknowledged in the footnotes of most Biblical translations.

In any event it seems clear that Luke is not talking about the later Census when he mentions Jesus’ birth, it seems even clearer as he uses Quirinius’ name in reference to the Census of 6-7AD that it was in fact the “first” census used to introduce the 5% inheritance tax. And it does not conflict with any known historical facts, despite what critics might say. At the end of the day if you’re going to claim Paul and Luke are liars you need to do more then simply “point out what can’t be verified historically”, you actually need to find something that is in actual conflict with recorded history.

Until next time,