Monday, July 6, 2009

Let There Be Light Speed

The other day, I was thinking about what I see to be the biggest problem with the Young Earth theory. (Yes, I think about those things in my free time... but I also think about baseball statistics and ways to solve puzzles, so I think I've secured my geek status well before this posting.)

I don't have the expertise in biology or geology to comment on those aspects intelligently. However, I do have a good grounding in astronomy, and there's one problem I can't get avoid, any time I can look up at the sky on a clear, dark night. The problem is that I can see the Milky Way, and in especially dark areas, the Andromeda Galaxy. Why is that a problem? Well, because they are really far away. The Andromeda Galaxy, for example, is 2.5 million light-years away.

The problem is not in the size of the universe, but in the fact that we can see it. When we look at the Andromeda Galaxy, we not only see something 2.5 million light-years away, but 2.5 million years ago. The light we can see in our night sky was produced from the stars in that galaxy 2,500,000 years ago. That just doesn't jive with the Young Earth theory of Creation happening less than 10,000 years ago.

Here are some other false starts of explanations:

Light was created (Day 1) before the Earth was created (Day 2?). The problem with this is though light was created on Day 1, the stars were created on Day 4, after the Earth was created. Even if that weren't the case, the literal interpretation only places 24 hours between creation of light and creation of earth, not 20,000 centuries.

Light was created "on its way", such that we could see all that God had created. While this would explain it, it seems on par with God creating an afterimage of the risen Lord as the sign of his resurrection. We'd see it, but it wouldn't be what's really real. For instance, we can see a supernova go off in a far away galaxy, from which the light couldn't possibly have reached us (i.e. we're still seeing light created on the way). That would mean the supernova didn't actually happen, and yet we see it. In other words, this explanation makes God a deceiver. Not a good plan.

Last try, and the one I was fiddling with. Maybe at the Fall (or the Flood), God set the speed of light. Beforehand, along with other laws of physics being different, light traveled at a near-infinite speed. Then, as part of our restriction as a fallen race, God made sure we were limited to our solar system, and only had interstellar travel in the movies. The problem with that is that the light itself would be distorted on the change in speed. There might be a tremendous gap of darkness, with all the pre-fall light having already reached us and the post-fall light not getting here yet. If the light gradually slows, it would be stretched out and therefore drastically red-shifted. If the light was instead repeated to fill the interval, then we couldn't see any galactic variations, such as supernovae.

There's just no way I can see reconciling a literal reading of the 6 days of creation to the observations any person in a rural area can make. This still allows for creation to occur, but only if freed from, in my opinion, the totally unnecessary restriction that it all happens in under a week.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Ball Hogs

My new favorite baseball site,, posted this article about the differences in team fielding between this year and last year. Here are the top 5 most improved teams:
Tigers 97.9
Pirates 89.8
Reds 89.7
Rangers 84.7
Mariners 69.6
Those numbers are what is called Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR). Other than being a very cool name, it indicates how many runs were saved by excellent fielding as compared to the average fielders. And since it is generally accepted that a difference of ten runs equates to a win, these numbers are fairly significant. It implies that the Tigers are on pace to win 10 more games than last year because of improved fielding alone.

And the bottom five:
Indians -51.0
Phillies -57.7
Mets -70.1
Red Sox -80.3
Nationals -81.7
The interesting thing from this is it's easy to point to certain acquisitions that make all the difference: Jason Bay from Pirates to Red Sox, Adam Dunn from Reds to Nationals, Raul Ibanez from the Mariners to the Phillies, Franklin Gutierrez from the Indians to the Mariners, and Endy Chavez from the Mets to the Mariners. (How about those Mariners upgrading the outfield!) Or new players coming up: Nyjer Morgan for the Pirates and Elvis Andrus for the Rangers.

And then there are my Orioles, at -40.7: losing 4 more games because of failing defense. Why? Well, because our outfield has fallen apart.

In 2008, the Orioles had Payton (+12.0), Jones (+9.9) and Markakis (+12.1).
In 2009, the Orioles have Reimold (-2.4), Jones (-4.8) and Markakis (-8.7).

Okay, fine. Switching out Payton for Reimold in left field cost us a decent bit. I'm willing to accept that to get a player 11 years younger (26 to 37) and 270 points higher in OPS (.908 to .637). But what happened to Adam Jones and Nick Markakis? Did someone install an obstacle course in right-center? Or is it simply one more reason for my favorite team to be the NotYankees?