In Response to Hartnett's Article
Barry Setterfield, February, 2016
Responses to this page below.
Hartnett’s criticism relies on several assumptions. It is based on the fact that the calculations by the LIGO collaborators to determine the masses of the merging black holes have used the standard, canonical speed of light.
The immediate problem that should be noted with Hartnett is that he is using the general belief among standard science that the speed of light has always been a constant in order to prove that the speed of light has always been a constant. A belief is not proof. He should know that. The calculations done regarding the LIGO project were done on the assumption that the speed of light has always been a constant. In other words, the speed of light must have been the same at the distance of 1300 million light years (where the event occurred) as it is now for the equations to work.
The second assumption he works from is that the merging objects were two black holes. If they were not black holes but some other bodies, then Hartnett’s argument falls apart. That is because it is only in the case of black holes that the relativistic equations which include the speed of light are used.
The third assumption is that gravitational physics alone explains the phenomena observed, and so those are the only equations which apply.
Fourth and finally, everything is based on the assumption that Einsteinian relativity is the only description of reality. I believe that each one of these assumptions is faulty for one reason or another. Let us briefly examine each one.
First is the assumption that the signal came from the merger of two black holes. It is true that the LIGO collaborators claimed that the recorded waveform could be accounted for this way, provided that the black holes were of very specific masses (those specific masses were the only way their equations would work when accounting for the data). The calculations that they employed to get that result used the equations that Hartnett referred to. However a few days later a second paper came out detailing Fermi satellite data obtained by the Gamma-ray Burst Monitor (GBM) group which also and simultaneously recorded the LIGO event. They have an entirely different way of detecting such events which have the ability to provide confirmation or denial of the LIGO interpretation. The Fermi data revealed that there was only a weak signal in the hard X-ray region of the spectrum.
The GBM group has pointed out that the LIGO announcement is surprising if it really was the merger of two black holes. Such a merger should have produced a stronger signal, and that signal should have been in the gamma ray (or more energetic) region of the spectrum, not in the less energetic X-ray region. The GBM group had previously been able to assess various types of signals, along with their strengths and energies, which had emanated from other astronomical events. As a result of their expertise, the GBM team concluded in their paper that the signal LIGO picked up could not be from the merger of two black-holes, but instead was something rather less massive.
This development does several things. First, given that the same event is being recorded by both groups, the lack of gamma rays yields strong evidence that black holes were not involved. This negates the extensive calculations by the LIGO group, and as a result also negates Hartnett’s argument.
If, however, we assume that the GBM data was not from the same event, then there is another problem. If the merger of two black holes really did occur, that should have sent a strong signal in the gamma ray region of the spectrum which GBM should have picked up. If the GBM weak X-ray data was not from the same event, then where was the gamma ray signal? The required gamma ray signal never occurred and no other relevant signal was recorded. The absence of this signal would mean that the LIGO event was not the merger of black holes, and their calculations are then irrelevant. So whether the signals came from the same or different events, the indications are that black-holes were not involved. Again, if black holes were not involved, then the calculations involving a constant speed of light mean nothing and this strikes a serious blow to Hartett’s claim regarding a possible change in the speed of light as being “thoroughly rejected.”
The LIGO team worked for five months on their calculations, trying to see what had happened to produce the wave forms their instruments recorded. There was nothing simple or straight-forward about what they had to do to achieve the results they wanted. They presumed black holes. They presumed the speed of light was the same 1.3 billion light years away (thus 1.3 billion years ago) as it is today. However, the merger of two black holes is certainly in question, as pointed out above. In addition, if, as data show, the speed of light has not been constant throughout time, then neither were the properties of the vacuum or other physical quantities.
Third, the assumption is that gravitational physics alone explains the characteristics of what have been referred to as black holes. However, if the concept of black holes is examined using the approach of plasma astronomy instead of gravitational astronomy, these objects turn out to be plasmoids whose behavior is governed by electromagnetism, not gravity. This is explained in more detail in the article on Black Holes. Using the plasma approach, Anthony Peratt from LANL has shown that a different set of equations must be used to describe the orbital characteristics of black holes/plasmoids. Research has shown that over 99% of the matter in the universe is in a plasma state. Given this understanding, the use of equations which consider gravity, rather than electromagnetism, to be the driving force are probably wrong from the beginning. Thus the orbital equations used by the LIGO collaboration may not be relevant for this reason either.
The concept of gravitational black holes and their behavior comes from Einsteinian relativity. This is based on two postulates which have been shown to be invalid observationally. Indeed, most of the predictions of relativity, including a different origin for mass and gravity, can be obtained using simple math if the concept of a vacuum Zero Point Energy (ZPE) is adopted. In this case there are no restrictive postulates. The outcome is that a different set of equations apply when the observationally based ZPE option is used, which Hartnett is evidently unaware of. This is a real problem when one pays attention only to the data which appear to support one’s pet theory.
Since these four assumptions are questionable at best and invalid at worst, Hartnett’s statement that the idea of a changing speed of light is “thoroughly rejected” is only true for those who want it to be true. It is not that easy to dismiss inconvenient data in the long run.
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Within a day, we received the following response from one of the email correspondents in Europe who had asked us about the Hartnett article:
[one section of the letter was edited out to eliminate some references to others by name]
Hartnett criticism response
An email was received regarding the harshness of the response to Hartnett, above. Here is the relevant part and Barry Setterfield's response:
Setterfield: Your words of thanks for the article about gravitational waves were welcome. However, they were tempered with the following comments about my criticism of Hartnett:
Setterfield: For thirty years, I have tried gentler words of disagreement and I have endeavored to answer all questions and criticisms regarding my work. In return I have received from Hartnett and other members of the main American and Australian creationist organizations who have their doctorates and plenty of academic credentials, almost nothing but a refusal to consider my work; and often those refusals are laced with mockery and sarcasm. Humphreys specifically stated that my research would never be accepted by the creationists because I did not have a doctorate.
There was a mindset against this work 25 years ago, led by Humphreys, Wieland, and a number of others, which rapidly hardened into total rejection orchestrated by those in a position of power in the creationist movement. Many harsh words were spoken against me as an individual as well as against the research. I was actually warned by one major creationist that if I attempted to put forward something other than the model that originated with Dr. Henry Morris, no creationist in America would accept my work.
At the point where these creationists are behaving in the same way as secular scientists, where the preferred theories hold sway over the data, someone has to speak up. My first efforts were met with sarcasm by Hartnett. I’m tired of that. I have gotten a little stronger. Someone has to turn attention to the data and what is actually going on in the real world instead of maintaining a theory. They seem afraid to do this. I am not.
Halton Arp expressed it in a way that applies to both secular science and creationists: “It seems the toughest thing for scientists to grasp—that a cherished paradigm … can be wrong. ... I gloomily came to the ironic conclusion that if you take a highly intelligent person and give them the best possible, elite education, then you will most likely wind up with an academic who is completely impervious to reality.”
That is another reason why I have been so blunt in my criticism; they need to be awakened out of their torpor. De Broglie put the issue at stake somewhat succinctly in 1962 in his book New Perspectives in Physics which started the SED branch of physics. He said: “Thus with every advance in our scientific knowledge new elements come up, often forcing us to recast our entire picture of physical reality. No doubt, theorists would much prefer to perfect and amend their theories rather than be obliged to scrap them continually. But this obligation is the condition and price of all scientific progress.” This is true just as much for the creationist community as for the secular scientist.
I think, as Christians, we all acknowledge the Bible as the final authority. What is interesting, however, is that when the Hebrew is looked at, some of our traditional interpretations might not be accurate. We have discussed this in detail in our Genesis 1-11 study. What I have found is that many of the leading creationist leaders seem to prefer to ignore inconvenient data simply because it is used by secular science to try to buttress their arguments. However it is not the data at fault, but the interpretations. We needn’t be afraid of what we see out there – we know God has not attempted to deceive or mislead us in His creation. We need the data in the created order to fill out the details of Biblical events. When we do that, we find that the data actually does support the Bible in enormous detail, but a different scenario emerges to that proposed by some of the prevailing creationist theories.
If my criticism of Hartnett, Humphreys and others causes them to rethink their theories, then I will have achieved my purpose. Therefore I do not retract what has been written.
Barry Setterfield 21st May, 2016.