Feature Article - May 1998
by Do-While Jones

The Hubble Variable

Astronomers use the Hubble constant to compute the distance to the farthest stars. They use the distance to these stars to determine the age of the universe. This is important to evolutionists because, "If you don't have the time, you can't rise from slime."1

Things such as Pi, the charge of an electron, and the speed of light, are natural physical constants. As technology increases, we can measure their values with increasing accuracy. The improved measurements differ from previous measurements only slightly.

For example, the speed of light was measured to be about 3.007x108 meters per second around 1750. In the 19th century, the measurements of the speed of light generally fell between 2.999x108 and 3.001x108 meters per second.2 If we assume that today's accepted value of 2.99792458x108 meters per second is correct, then the 18th century value differed from the 20th century value by only 0.3%.

The Hubble variable isn't a real physical constant, so we should not expect its value to be calculated as consistently as the speed of light has been.

Over the past 60 years, the calculated values of the Hubble "constant" shown in the table3 have varied far more than the measurements of the speed of light have over the past 240 years.

ScientistHubble ConstantAge of the Universe
Hubble~500<2 billion years
Freedman80 +/- 178 billion years
Schmidt73 +/- 79 billion years
Freedman73 +/- 119 billion years
Kundic64 +/- 1310 billion years
Falco62 +/- 711 billion years
Tammann58 +7 -812 billion years

According to the Encarta 95 encyclopedia,

In 1929 Hubble compared the distances he had estimated for various galaxies with the red shifts determined by Slipher for the same galaxies. He found that the more remote the galaxy, the higher was its recession velocity. This important relationship has become known as the law of the red shifts, or Hubble's law; it states that the recession velocity of a galaxy is proportional to its distance. The ratio of the recession velocity of a galaxy to its distance (the Hubble constant) is now estimated to be between 50 and 100 km/sec per megaparsec (1 megaparsec equals 1 million parsecs).4

Notice that Hubble derived his constant from "estimated" distances to reference stars. His (often revised) constant is now used routinely to determine "precise" distances to other stars.

What the Encarta article left out was that the value Hubble himself discovered with was roughly 10 times the current (controversial) value.

Hubble's constant. In astronomy, a measure of the rate at which the universe is expanding, named for Edwin Hubble. Observations suggest that galaxies are moving apart at a rate of 50-100 kps /30-60 mps [50 to 100 kilometers per second or 30 to 60 miles per second] for every million parsecs of distance. This means that the universe, which began at one point according to the big bang theory, is between 10 and 20 billion years old (probably closer to 20).5
This principle [the more remote the galaxy, the higher was its recession velocity] was formulated as Hubble's law, which can be written in the form:
speed = H x distance, where H is the Hubble constant.
Various values for the Hubble constant have been proposed, but the generally accepted value is 56 km (35 mi) per second per megaparsec (a megaparsec is 3.26 million light years). Thus a galaxy that is receding from the Earth at 56 km/sec will be 326 000 light years distant.6
To determine the Hubble constant, astronomers divide the speed at which expansion is carrying a distant star away from Earth by the star's distance. The recession speed is easy to measure from the degree to which the object's light is redshifted-displaced toward the red end of the spectrum. The tough part is distance. Astronomers measure distance by comparing apparent brightness with its true brightness. Judging a star's true brightness is tricky, too, but a set of unusual stars called Cepheid variables has seemed to offer an answer.7

Why it doesn't work.

Astronomers compute the distance to a star based on its apparent speed, plus several assumptions. To see why this doesn't work, imagine that you were given this problem in your high school math class.

A police officer uses his radar gun to clock two cars moving away from him. One is going 40 miles per hour. The other is going 60 miles per hour. How far away are the two cars?

Your math teacher never gave you a problem like this on a test, because you can't possibly answer it. There is not enough information given for you to solve it. You would have to guess some additional information. Suppose you guess that both cars passed the police officer one hour ago. Then one car would be 40 miles away, and the other would be 60 miles away. But was your guess correct? Let's see what happens if you check your answer for consistency. Assume that the cars really are 40 and 60 miles away. How long ago would they have passed the police officer? One hour ago! It looks like you guessed correctly! What a lucky guess!

But wait. Suppose you had guessed that the cars passed the police officer two hours ago. Then they would be 80 and 120 miles away now. If the cars really are 80 and 120 miles away, how long ago would they have passed the police officer? Two hours ago! That was a correct guess, too!

Obviously, the closer car can't be both 40 and 80 miles away. Why did both guesses appear to be correct? Because circular reasoning was used. The assumed time was used to calculate the position. Then the position was used to compute the assumed time. Unless there is an arithmetic error, the results will always be consistent, no matter what time we guess.

Not only that, we assumed that both cars moved at a constant speed the entire time, and that they both passed the police officer at the same time. Perhaps the cars started at different times from different spots. That's why we can't determine where the cars are simply from their speed.

Questionable Assumptions

Astronomers assume that all matter was in one spot billions of years ago. They assume that a big bang started everything moving at a variety of constant speeds, with uniform deceleration due to gravity. They assume that the apparent Doppler shift of light coming from the stars is an indication of their speed. They multiply that speed by the time since the big bang (the reciprocal of the Hubble variable) to determine their distance.

Consider all the assumptions they make. First, they assume that the red shift of the light coming from the stars is due to the Doppler effect. This is merely one possible explanation for the red shift. There may be another reason for it.

Second, they assume they know the true brightness of the reference stars. They obtain the brightness from their unverified models of how much light is produced by different kinds of stars.

Third, they estimate the distances of the reference stars from their apparent brightness. To do this they make some unverified assumptions about the propagation losses that the light experiences while traveling the unimaginably long distances between the stars and Earth.

Fourth, they assume that all the matter in the universe was once concentrated in a cosmic egg at a single point. They make this assumption despite the fact that no scientist has ever proposed any theory as to how that matter got squeezed together into the cosmic egg, or what made it explode.

If the big bang theory is wrong, then the predictions made by that theory will be wrong. The more space exploration we do, the more data we find that isn't consistent with the big bang.

The Hubble Telescope Surprise

One of the main reasons astronomers wanted to put the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) into orbit was to get a more accurate calculation of the Hubble variable by measuring the red shifts of some more distant galaxies. As soon as Wendy Freedman got data from the HST, she calculated that some stars were twice as old as the universe. This inspired a French equivalent of Newsweek to put the HST on the cover and start their cover story with the provocative question, "Peut-on être plus agé que son père? Bien sûr que non, affirme le plus élémentaire bon sens. Peut-être répondent ceux qui scrutent le cosmos. [Can one be older than his father? Certainly not, says the most elementary good sense. Maybe so, say the cosmologists.]8 Fortunately, the problem was recently covered in Science magazine, so I can spare you more French. Here is the heading, subheading, and first two paragraphs of a recent article dealing with the problem.

The Universe Shows Its Age
A cosmic embarrassment is fading. By some new measure, the oldest stars no longer appear to be older than the universe as a whole.
Four years ago, a nagging problem in cosmology looked set to erupt into a full-scale crisis. A team of astronomers led by Wendy Freedman of the Carnegie Observatories in Pasadena, California, published a long-awaited measurement of the universe's expansion rate, determined by the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) observations of pulsating stars in a far-off cluster of galaxies. The result unnerved astronomers. The measured expansion rate was so fast that it implied that the universe has been slowing down for a mere 8 billion years since the big bang. Some earlier measurements of cosmic expansion had already pointed to worrisome young ages for the universe, but this made it billions of years younger than its oldest stars appeared to be.
The crisis intensified the next year, when Craig Hogan of the University of Washington, Seattle, and Michael Bolte of the Lick Observatory in Santa Cruz, California, published a careful study of old stars called globular clusters, which reconfirmed earlier age estimates of about 16 billion years. The universe, it seemed, was just half the age of its oldest inhabitants. Something appeared to be drastically wrong with the observations, or with cosmologists' basic picture of the universe.9 [italics supplied]

We used italics to highlight the emotional response to the results. The article goes on to explain how the "crisis" was addressed in a less-than-objective manner.

The discrepancy spurred a burst of activity on both sides of the age divide. Now, 3 years on, the crisis is abating. Improved theoretical models of stars and new, highly accurate data from the European Space Agency's Hipparcos star-mapping satellite have wiped billions of years off the ages of globular clusters, pushing them down to perhaps 12 billion years. And further Hubble observations, together with new techniques for measuring cosmic distances, have nudged the expansion age downward, with some figures approaching 12 billion years as well.10

Spinning the Big Bang

Clearly, the astronomers are trying to find data that will fit the theory. One of the ways they did this was to adjust the brightness in their model of Cepheid stars.11 Even if they get the age of the stars down to 12 billion years, and the age of the universe up to 12 billion years, that still doesn't solve the problem. They would have to explain how stars formed immediately after the big bang.

Once upon a time, it was thought that a uniform background radiation would be good evidence of the big bang. Astronomers looked, and found a uniform background radiation. This was said to be confirmation of the big bang.

Then it was decided that if the big bang really happened, the background radiation should not be so uniform after all. Astronomers looked more closely, and lo and behold, they found that the background radiation wasn't really uniform. This was said to be confirmation of the big bang. It seems evolutionists can twist any experimental result to fit the big bang somehow.

The big bang theory said there should be a certain amount of matter in the universe. Astronomers looked for that much matter and could not find it. In fact, Newsweek recently listed this missing matter as one of the six "questions that stump the scientists" going into the 21st century.

Missing matter: Simply put, we can't find most of the universe. Physicists have calculated what its total mass should be, and that number is about 10 times what we've been able to observe. Either the equations are wrong or there are entire new classes of matter we haven't found yet.12

Many astronomers will tell you that 90% to 99% of the matter in the universe is "dark matter" that can't be seen, but must be there because the big bang theory says it must be there. Think about that. The experimental measurements did not bear out the theory. Did that suggest that the theory was wrong? No. The theory was assumed to be correct and the measurements were determined to be inaccurate.

Evolution and the Big Bang

The theory of evolution has depended upon the big bang to provide time and matter for the evolution of stars, planets and life. But now the big bang theory is in as much trouble as evolution. Space probes and the HST keep gathering data that just doesn't fit with the big bang theory.

Scientists really don't know how the universe formed or life began. The only reason the big bang theory and the theory of evolution are still around is because suitable replacement theories haven't been found.

Scientific progress has been hampered by attempts to make data fit incorrect theories. The scientific breakthroughs in astronomy and biology since the 1960's have greatly weakened the big bang and the theory of evolution. It is becoming clear to more and more scientists that it is time to abandon them and move on.

We need to re-evaluate the vast amount of data that has been obtained in the last few decades objectively, without an evolutionary bias. Only then will we find the answer to the question of how the universe and life came to be.

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1 Johnny Cockroach. :-)
2 CEN Technical Journal, Vol. 12, No. 1 (1998) "Reports of the Death of Speed of Light Decay are Premature" Figure 3 page 53 (Cr)
3 The first value in this table comes from http://www.imsa.edu/edu/topics/students/9697/spring/MR10/hconstant.html The rest of the values come from Science, 13 February 1998, "The Universe Shows Its Age", pages 981 - 982 (Ev)
4 "Cosmology," Microsoft Encarta 95 (Ev)
5 Webster's Concise Encyclopedia (CD ROM, 1994) (Ev)
6 Guiness Encyclopedia CD ROM (1995) (Ev)
7 Science, 13 February 1998, "The Universe Shows Its Age", page 981 (Ev)
8 L'Express, 24 Août 1995, "L'Universe plus jeune qu'il n'y paraît?" page 24 (International edition)
9 Science, 13 February 1998, "The Universe Shows Its Age", page 981 (Ev)
10 Ibid.
11 Ibid. pages 982 - 983
12 Newsweek, January 19, 1998 "The Questions That Stump The Scientists" page 12 (Ev)