Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Lisle responds to questions

I've had a very busy couple of weeks here, so I'm still catching up on blog-worthy news. The biggest thing I saw last week was Jason Lisle's response to a critic on the AIG website. Posed with some questions that I have wondered myself (although not so irreligiously), Lisle defends his anisotropic synchrony convention, and the result is extremely revealing.

In response to the colliding galaxies problem, Lisle wrote, "Can you provide me with a logical reason why God would not create some galaxies in collision?" The problem, of course, is that there is no logical reason why God would create some galaxies in collision. As far as I can tell, there's no logical reason why God would create galaxies to begin with, much less colliding galaxies. That's why logic is only a partial guide in science: Science deals with the world of real things, not just logical possibilities. Science is concerned with observing patterns in data and trying to explain them. Galaxies are patterns in the distribution of stars. They are the exact kinds of patterns that scientists love to try to explain. The fun thing about logic is that it helps us narrow down possible theories, but only reference to the actual data can help us figure out which of the logically possible theories is most likely to be correct.

Because Lisle's anisotropic synchrony convention does not make predictions and cannot be tested, it really falls outside of the realm of science. It's more like medieval philosophy, where theories of ultimate reality could be bandied about because there was no way to test them. Lisle's idea reminds me of extreme forms of the idea of creation with the appearance of age. It's logically possible that God created the universe 5 seconds ago, with people having vivid memories of lives they never lived and events that never happened. But that logical possibility doesn't mean extreme appearance of age is scientifically or theologically useful.

And so ends my assessment of Lisle's solution to the speed of light problem. It just isn't science. As he seems to freely admit, anisotropic synchrony convention is all about logical possibility, but it doesn't actually help us understand or explain galaxies or pulsars or redshift or cosmic background radiation. He seems content to assume God made the universe exactly as it is for whatever inscrutable reasons He had. Talk about ad hoc. I suspect that those creationists like me who are actually interested in science will just shrug their shoulders at the anisotropic synchrony convention. Whether it's true or false, it just makes no difference.

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