Creationist Mathematics


For those unfamiliar with his name, Hugh Ross is a creationist with a legitimate PhD in astronomy from the University of Toronto and an undergraduate degree in physics from the University of B.C. (take that, Canada; he’s not another crazy from the American bible belt). I thought it was about time to present his ruminations for my readers (both of you) to be educated in The Light of The Truth. He presents some mathematics that I have to admit I was completely ignorant of.

He has made a stack of videos, many of which are unabashedly Biblical, but I wanted to concentrate of some of his surprising results from physics and astronomy. Before I dig in, you should see him in action.

Before we get started, note that he has proven some exceptionally interesting Space-Time “Theorems” using mathematics and well-known principles from physics. I think it is terribly important to realize that all of this is covered at great length in the Bible, something I had somehow missed in my readings of that great book. Ross knew this and I had not noticed in spite of having seen the movie Time Changer where they explicitly tell us “All science worth knowing is in the Bible.” At the time, I thought that it merely explained the attitudes of creationists toward science.

The first theorem sandbagged me: “If mass exists and general relativity predicts cosmic dynamics, then space and time must be created by a Causal Agent who transcends space and time”. I didn’t see that one coming. It neatly proves the existence of gods just by the existence of mass and Einstein’s concept of gravitation. Without a corresponding uniqueness theorem, all we know is that there is at least one god with magical powers over space and time. This is the elusive theorem that philosophers have been chasing for centuries. I only wish that Ross had also given a reference for where this theorem is proven. Since I’ve never seen it before, he may have discovered this amazing theorem himself and is just too humble to supply us with a proof.

He follows up with an even more powerful theorem: “Any universe that on average(??) expands must have a beginning in the finite past”. Fortunately, this time he at least give a reference for who is supposed to have proven it – Arvind Borde, Alan H. Guth, and Alexander Vilenkin. I am familiar with a theorem proven by these 3 authors in 2003, but it states something quite different: “Inflationary spacetimes are not past-complete”, which you can find at Borde, Guth, Vilenkin Theorem. It’s a bit strange that Ross and William Lane Craig (a Christian apologist) both paraphrase the same creationist source to arrive at a statement that they think will feed into the Islamic Kalām argument for the existence of a god. I assume that’s why Ross thinks this more powerful than the first theorem. Unfortunately, he has just traded what he claims is a theorem (the first statement) for a flawed argument that can’t even stand up as a theorem.

Rather than the meaningless paraphrasing (“Any universe that on average expands…”), Ross should have just taken the synopsis offered by Borde, Guth, and Vilenkin:

Using no energy condition, a cosmological model which is inflating – or just expanding sufficiently fast – must be incomplete in null and timelike past directions. Specifically, we obtain a bound on the integral of the Hubble parameter over a past-directed timelike or null geodesic. Thus inflationary models require physics other than inflation to describe the past boundary of the inflating region of spacetime.

Ross completely ignores the concept of inflation, which would be embarrassing to the conclusion he wants to reach. Sorry about suddenly getting technical, but Ross is trying to pull a fast one.

The third and final theorem is “All reasonable universe models are subject to the relentless grip of space-time theorems”. This is just about as ass-backwards as you can get. The mathematical descriptions come from the models and not the other way around. Then (to be safe, I guess) he throws in the word ‘reasonable’, which will somehow cover every other mistake he’s made. …And that grip is relentless. This is tantamount to saying “If I have a mockup, then anything that occurs in the mockup is in the relentless grip of what happens in the mockup.” Okay, I think I can accept that.

To make things worse, Ross tries to blame this last “theorem” on Borde, Guth, and Vilenkin, even going so far as to claim that there was some condition that required existence of physical life for inflationary spacetimes to be past-incomplete. Again, I missed seeing that requirement anywhere in their 2003 paper. In fact, it is physically impossible for life to exist in an initially inflating universe, so our universe can’t be in the relentless grip of the second “theorem” that Ross gives us. (For one thing, life would be shredded then evaporated by the inflation.) What am I missing Dr. Ross? Okay, so life happens after the inflation, but why require life at any stage of the universe when their theorem is based almost solely on kinematics – or did you miss that?

Also, if we can take photos of objects at different distances from us, that proves the universe is expanding (4:23 minutes into the video). It’s fairly simple. Take a photo of a row of houses, and we know immediately that the universe is expanding. Einstein could have saved himself a lot of time if he had just looked down a street, or alternatively, he could have listened to Vesto Slipher (who discovered that the universe is expanding before Einstein even completed his theory of gravitation).

And then physics gives us the “Pervasive Law of Decay”. Starting at 5:31 minutes into the video, we find that the bible predicts the temperature of the Cosmic Background Radiation (CBR) for any point in the age of the universe. If the Nobel committee had just read their bibles, it would have been completely obvious that the physical discovery of the CBR by Penzias and Wilson didn’t in any way merit a Nobel Prize.

And then there’s the Templeton Prize, which is awarded to the most meritorious shill for Christ, putting it on par with the Nobel Prize, which actually requires some understanding of science. Francisco Ayala, who won a Templeton Prize, surprisingly did a thought experiment, which presupposes the ability to think. In doing so, he showed that Christianity explains human beings (Ross assumes that we understand that means the existence of humans). Ayala was able to prove beyond any question that if you’re completely ignorant of Darwinian natural selection, don’t have a clue about the mechanisms of genetic change, and have no idea how to construct a mathematical model of physical processes, then given only 3.5 to 4 billion years, evolution of a human being is impossible. Besides, if it had happened by evolution, the bible would have said so.

Ross’s series of videos continue, but doing a running commentary ends up taking more time than Ross appears to have spent making the videos. It’s a losing proposition.

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