Creative Science 10 – Cosmic Evidence

For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.” Ro 1:20 (ESV)

We need to get familiar with the evidence before we try to put any of it into either model. The same evidence is readily available for examination to anyone of any ideology, philosophy, or faith. Remember, the scientific method is merely a non-passionate technique for evaluation of evidence.

Einstein articulated the First Law of Thermodynamics with his formula: E=mc2. In a nuclear reaction mass is converted to (or from) energy. Energy from a nuclear reaction primarily takes the form of heat and light.

Light energy travels in the form of photons. Each photon has a specific frequency (wavelength) and a specific amount of energy. Photons move through space at a fixed speed of 300,000 km/second. Even though light does not have mass, under certain circumstances photons can be thought of as if they have mass. This is because they interact with mass. Interactions between photons and mass are critically important in the realm of physics.

Heat is best understood as vibration at the atomic level. At room temperature water is a liquid. In this state the molecules are loosely bound together, but maintain enough freedom to move around. If you remove enough heat, the molecules slow down until they settle into a rigid matrix called ice. If you add enough heat, the molecules break free of each other completely and the result is steam.

Light is vitally important to us because it allows us to see. Heat is vitally important to us because it so profoundly affects our environment. Light and heat are both forms of energy and while most people do not understand their mechanics, everyone appreciates their value.

The universe is organized into galaxies. A galaxy is a large group of stars. Stars are organized into balls of light-emitting matter. Some stars, like our sun, have additional matter organized into solid bodies (planets, asteroids, etc.) orbiting around them.

Stars produce light through a process called fusion. Lightweight elements like hydrogen fuse together under tremendous gravitational force. Two hydrogen atoms become one helium atom and the left over energy is emitted as heat and light. This demonstrates the first law of thermodynamics (conservation of energy) in action. Over time the hydrogen gets used up and as the elements fusing in the sun get heavier, the fusion activity slows down. Eventually a star will cease to be a source of heat and light. The natural burning out of a star is the second law of thermodynamics (entropy) in action.

When a train is moving toward you it will have a higher pitched whistle than when it is moving away from you. Sound waves are pressure variations in the air. When a sound source (or listener) is moving, the pressure waves compress (higher frequency) or stretch (lower frequency). This is called the “Doppler effect.”

Erwin Hubble discovered that light from distant stars is redder (lower frequency) than it should be. This is called “red shift.” He figured out that the redder the star or galaxy, the farther away it is. It is a widely held misconception that this red shift of light frequency is due to the Doppler effect. It is not. Light moves at a fixed rate with fixed frequency regardless of the relative speed at which the source or receiver is moving.

Space expands. Einstein theorized this and experiments since the 1920s verify it. The only way to lower the frequency (redden) light after it is emitted is to expand space. Note that filters (e.g. gels) only absorb certain light frequencies – filters do not actually change light frequency. Einstein showed that the universe is expanding and Hubble showed that red shift, as a byproduct of space expanding, indicates relative distance to far away stars.

Gravity affects space and time. Sir Isaac Newton developed what is commonly called the law of gravity. Einstein redefined our understanding of the nature of gravity when he theorized the relative relationships between time, space, energy, mass, and gravity. Gravity affects space. This is proven by photos taken during an eclipse which show stars appear closer to the sun than they should. Gravity seems to pull the light from the stars closer to the sun when, from our vantage point, the stars are very close to the sun. This can only be observed on earth during a total eclipse. Gravity also affects time. Experiments have shown that clocks running at high altitude run faster than clocks at low altitude. Relative position in the same gravitational field result in a relative difference in the rate of passage of time. The term for this phenomenon is “gravitational time dilation.”


About Lance Ponder

Christian author of "Ask James one"; public speaker; husband and father. Available to speak on Creation and the Gospel.
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