One of the cosmology news stories from earlier this month involved data from the South Pole Telescope which helped show that the period of reionisation – which is when galaxies first began to form – happened over a shorter timespan than previously thought. They found that it was complete as early as 750 million years after the big bang:
The data provide new constraints on the universe’s first era of galaxy formation, called the Epoch of Reionization. Most astronomers think that early stars came to life in massive gas clouds, generating the first galaxies. The energetic light pumped out by these stars is thought to have ionized the hydrogen gas in and around the galaxies, creating “ionization bubbles” millions of light years across that left a lasting, telltale signature in the cosmic background radiation (CMB). This relic light from the early universe is visible today everywhere in the sky and was first mapped by UC Berkeley physicist and Nobel laureate George Smoot, founder of the BCCP.
“We find that the Epoch of Reionization lasted less than 500 million years and began when the universe was at least 250 million years old,” Zahn said. “Before this measurement, scientists believed that reionization lasted 750 million years or longer, and had no evidence as to when reionization began.”
For his Wednesday article Brian Thomas writes Does New Galaxy Study Confirm Big Bang? Of course, nobody is actually saying that it does – that isn’t what this is about. The big bang is fairly well ‘confirmed’ as it is, and if you’re going to get picky about standards of proof then these findings do not change the situation at all. Regardless, Thomas begins:
Who would try to determine the number and size of a creature’s teeth if all that was known about that creature was its footprint? This flavor of reasoning typifies anti-creation cosmology. After sprinkling a dash of data taken from telescopes into a giant cauldron of evolutionary assumptions, secular cosmologists serve bowlfuls of what to them tastes like the real history of the universe, but in reality, they’re serving up a conjured chronicle. The recent headline of an “explosion of galaxy formation” that supposedly illuminated the “early universe” illustrates this cosmological feast of folly.
While not quite as much of a strong start as in Tomkins’ ENCODE article, there’s still a lot here. Let’s break it up:
Who would try to determine the number and size of a creature’s teeth if all that was known about that creature was its footprint?
The answer to this question really depends on what is is meant by “all that [is] known.” I mean to say, if you found in the ground what was clearly a T. rex footprint then you can reasonably conclude that whatever made it was probably a T. rex and that it (probably) had whatever number and arrangement of teeth that a normal T. rex had. In other words, if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck then while you can’t rule out that it’s some variety of platypus the most sensible interpretation is that it is indeed a duck.
But if we know nothing at all about the creature that is making all these strange footprints around the place, beyond the footprints themselves, then teeth numbers are indeed rather hard to determine and wouldn’t exactly be a priority either. Brian doesn’t elaborate further about which he means, and this is the last we hear of the analogy.
The references to “anti-creation cosmology” and “evolutionary assumptions” are rather cute, showing that the line Thomas wants to push is that the cosmologists are trying to deny God and scripture by making up their own story.
The lesser of the two arguments that B.T. makes in this article is the famous “were you there?” The other can be best explained with reference to the duck puzzle image that’s been going around (again) recently.
The reionisation findings are but one piece of the puzzle, important not because it tells us what the overall picture is but because it gives us more information about an aspect of the puzzle that we know to exist but can’t say much about for certain. Like how tall the trees are, say, or how much of the sky is taken up by birds. You get the idea.
Researchers took for granted that “the universe was born in the Big Bang.” […] The study authors presumed the very history around which they were attempting to set time constraints.
This is taking a strength and trying to make it out as a weakness. The new piece fits right in. But Thomas apparently wants the researchers to always ignore what is already known about the puzzle and instead (it would appear) draw all conclusions from the single piece then uncovered. Or at least build the puzzle from scratch each time with all the currently assembled pieces scrambled – which is frankly infeasible.
Of course, he doesn’t really want people to do all that. Instead, he wants you to trust the picture on the front of the box.
How do Zahn or his colleagues know that the universe began in a Big Bang? Were any of them present in the beginning? Since the Lord Jesus is eternal and therefore outside the time and space that He created, He was actually there and was gracious enough to record what really happened.
Yes, the good ‘ol 3-in-one has all the answers. The evidence be damned!
Attentive readers will have noticed that Brian never once gives his own interpretation of the results. Indeed, as they involve the cosmic microwave background radiation I’d be interested in knowing his own thoughts about why it exists in the first place. There is no reason for it in a universe that never had a big bang, and it would seem to be a case of God playing tricks on us.