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Barry Setterfield answers Robert Day

In response to Day’s 1997 criticism posted to the Talk.Origins Archive website

© 2000 Barry Setterfield.  All Rights Reserved. 

An article written by Robert P. J. Day, copyrighted 1997, has been posted for some time on the Talk Origins Archive.  This article purports to debunk my research regarding the speed of light.  However, except for one lone sentence, the entire essay is based on a series of progress reports that preceded the August 1987 paper written at the request of Stanford Research Institute.  For Day to prefer to critique, in 1997, articles representative only of work in progress even before the Report itself was published (ten years before Day’s article was copyrighted) shows how inappropriate his methods of research and criticism are.

The only statement that Robert Day has made that has any real relevance to the current discussion over c-decay is his mention of the Acts and Facts Impact article for June 1988 issued by Gerald Aardsma for the ICR.  Aardsma’s incorrect methodology was pointed out to him by several individuals before he even published the article.  He arguments were also effectively rebutted by Trevor Norman, who was in the Math Dept. of Flinders University.  Norman’s rebuttal was based on a superior statistical approach recommended by the then Professor of Statistics in his Department.  Aardsma never fully addressed the issues raised by Norman, and neither did several other statistical detractors.  Furthermore, following an extensive series of analyses, Alan Montgomery presented two articles, one at a Creationist Conference (ICC 1994 Proceedings), the other in Galilean Electrodynamics (Vol.4 No.5 [1993] p93 and following), that effectively silenced all statistical criticism of the c-decay proposition.  Montgomery’s two articles have never been refuted.

Day’s criticism of my acknowledgment of my presuppositions is interesting.  Is he decrying my honesty or the presuppositions themselves?  He is welcome to disagree with them, but in return I would ask him to admit his own presuppositions, which I find I disagree with.  As a Christian I do accept God’s Word, or Scripture, as authoritative on the issues it addresses.  Thus it is reasonable that I would be interested in pursuing an area of research which addresses some of these matters.  I am not infallible and do not claim to have all the facts here.  But the same situation prevails in any field of scientific endeavour, and that is why research continues.  In the meantime, progress in data collection, observational evidence, and subsequent updating of a theory is very different from Day’s mockery of a person’s faith.  I am wondering if his mockery may be a last resort when the legitimate scientific criticism was effectively answered long before the copyright date of 1997 on Day’s article.

It should also be noted that a number of qualified scientists who do not share my beliefs have also come to a similar conclusion to mine.  Not only have Moffat, Albrecht and Magueijo and others pointed out that the speed of light was significantly higher in the past, but Barrow has also suggested that it may still be continuing to change.  This is a current, and open, field of research, and I encourage Day to read material more up to date than that which was published in the 1980’s.

In the meantime, my work is still continuing on other aspects of the topic.  In line with work done by Tifft, Van Flandern, Puthoff, Troitskii, and a number of other researchers, it appears that there is some solid evidence in space itself regarding the changing speed of light.  This is the subject of a paper completed this year which has been submitted to a physics journal for peer review.  Others from both evolution and creation backgrounds are also continuing research regarding the changing speed of light.  As a result, c-decay is alive and well, and Robert Day’s dismissal of the proposition appears to be somewhat premature.

Barry Setterfield, August 2000.


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