In the late 1920s, evolutionists believed that the universe was 2 billion years (b.y.) old. Later, radiometric dating techniques gave much older ages for certain rocks on Earth. Obviously, a part of the universe cannot be older than the universe itself. This contradiction was soon removed by devising a rationale for increasing the age of the universe.
Similar problems are now widely acknowledged. If a big bang occurred, it happened 9-14 b.y. ago. If stars evolved, some stars are 16 b.y. old, such as the stars in globular clusters. Obviously, stars cannot be older than the universe.
Distant galaxies, observed by the Hubble Space Telescope, have been found which present a similar problem. Their age, based on the assumption that the big bang occurred, exceeds the age of the universe.
A lesser known problem of this type also exists. Let's suppose the universe is 10 b.y. old. This is not enough time for certain extremely distant stars and galaxies to form and transmit their light to Earth. The light from these distant objects shows that they contain many chemical elements heavier than hydrogen and helium, such as carbon, iron, and uranium. A big bang would have produced essentially only hydrogen and helium. Consequently, the first generation of stars would not contain any heavy chemical elements. Evolutionists, therefore, believe that the heavier 97% of the chemical elements in the universe were produced inside stars, especially when some exploded as supernovas at the end of their lifetimes. Much later, a second generation of stars supposedly formed from that exploded debris. These were the first stars, then, to have visible heavy elements. If a big bang happened, there must be enough time afterwards to:
a. form the first generation
Some new and sophisticated light-gathering instruments have enabled scientists to discover many extremely distant galaxies and quasars. The current distance record is held by a quasar surrounded by a mixture of heavy elements. Its light has taken 93% of the age of the universe to reach us, assuming constancy in the speed of light as the evolutionists always do. This means that only the first 7% of the age of the universe is available to accomplish the events that evolutionists believe happened--events a-c above. Only 0.7 b.y. would be available in a 10 b.y. old universe. Few evolutionist astronomers believe that such slow processes as a-c above, if they happened at all, could happen that quickly.
Evolutionists can undoubtedly resolve these time contradictions--but at the cost of rejecting some cherished theory. Perhaps they will accept the possibility that light traveled much faster in the past. Perhaps they will conclude that the big bang never occurred, or that heavy elements were somehow in the first and only generation of stars, or that redshifts do not always imply a recessional velocity, or that stellar evolution does not occur. Each of these ideas is consistent with a recent creation.
Most evolutionists are unaware of these contradictions. However, as more powerful telescopes begin peering many times further into space, more attention will be focused on these problems. If scientists find, as one might expect, even more distant stars and galaxies with heavy elements, problems with the claimed age of the universe will no longer be the secret of a few evolutionists.
References and Notes
1. Arthur N. Strahler, Science and Earth History (Buffalo, New York: Prometheus Books, 1987), pp. 102, 129.
2. Ivan R. King, "Globular Clusters," Scientific American, Vol. 252, June 1985, pp. 79-88.
3. Robert C. Kennicutt Jr., "An Old Galaxy in a Young Universe," Nature, Vol. 381, 13 June 1996, pp. 555-556.
James Dunlop, "A 3.5-Gyr-Old Galaxy at Redshift 1.55," Nature, Vol. 381, 13 June 1996, pp. 581-584.
4. Ron Cowen, "Quasars: The Brightest and the Farthest," Science News, Vol. 139, 4 May 1991, p. 276.
K. Ohta, et al., "Detection of Molecular Gas in the Quasar BR 1202-0725 at Redshift z = 4.69," Nature, Vol. 382, 1 August 1996, pp. 426-431.
5. Jeff Kanipe, "Galaxies at the Confusion Limit," Astronomy, December 1988, pp. 56-58.
R. F. Carswell, "Distant Galaxy Observed," Nature, Vol. 335, 8 September 1988, p. 119.
6. Dietrick E. Thomsen, "Farthest Galaxy Is Cosmic Question," Science News, Vol. 133, 23 April 1988, pp. 262-263.
M. Mitchell Waldrop, "The Farthest Galaxies: A New Champion," Science, Vol. 241, 19 August 1988, p. 905.
Dietrick E. Thomsen, "Galaxies in a Primitive State," Science News, Vol. 133, 23 January 1988, p. 52.
M. Mitchell Waldrop, "Pushing Back the Redshift Limit," Science, Vol. 239, 12 February 1988, pp. 727-728