Some Recent Developments Having to do with Time | The Institute for Creation Research

Some Recent Developments Having to do with Time

This paper discusses some recent data, observations, and developments that have significance regarding the age of things. If Earth and the Universe are quite young, the implications are tremendous, since all evolutionary theories are meaningless without immense time.

The "Missing" Mass

Galaxies and clusters of galaxies are objects of much concerted study today. Galaxies in clusters are bound together by gravitational forces and, thus, provide a sort of laboratory for observations of interactions of incredible amounts of matter. Galaxies never appear to occur singly. They are only found in pairs or in larger aggregates. Some pairs or multiple galaxies are joined by bridges of luminous matter. In a few cases the velocities of the galaxies along the radial direction alone are of the order of many thousand kilometers per second so that it is not likely that these galaxies are gravitationally bound. They would, therefore, seem to have originated quite recently. In general, the mass of galaxies that are members of a physically well isolated group or cluster seem to be smaller than the mass that would be required to bind the galaxies gravitationally.

A galaxy is a collection of some hundred billion stars held together by gravity. Our galaxy, the Milky Way, is a member of a cluster consisting of about twenty galaxies in all, called the Local Group. The Local Group is very small compared to most of the hundreds of clusters thus far observed and catalogued. An average cluster has one or two hundred members, while the largest contains several thousand galaxies.

The nearest cluster outside of the Local Group is thought to be about 60 million light-years away in Euclidean space. The most distant known clusters lie around 200 times farther away, at the very edge of the observable universe. The distances are obtained by rather indirect methods based on assumptions difficult to prove. This should always be kept in mind when distances of astronomical objects are given. Two of the richest clusters, one in the direction of the constellation Virgo and one in Coma Berenices, are at relatively small distances and have been studied carefully.

For the galaxies studied in the Coma cluster, the average velocity of recession is about 7000 kilometers per second. This is determined from studies of the redshifts of the light from these galaxies, which is considered to indicate a radial motion toward or away from the observer, assuming the redshift of the starlight is an actual Doppler effect. Each individual galaxy ordinarily has some smaller, random motion inside the cluster. This speed is around several hundred kilometers per second with reference to the neighbor galaxies. Thus, the members should eventually escape from the Coma cluster and wander off into intergalactic space if there is not enough force to keep them in the cluster. If the Universe is at least 4.5 billion years old, the random motions of the galaxies should have long ago disrupted the cluster and the galaxies could not possibly be as close together as they are now. As a matter of fact, there should be no cluster at all. The force that would counteract this escape tendency is the gravitational force of the mass of the cluster on the galaxy. The gravitational force of the matter in the earth pulls back a baseball thrown from its surface. In the Coma cluster, the random motions of the galaxies would have to be balanced by the gravitational attraction of the matter in the cluster if the cluster is to stay together. This random motion of the galaxies in the cluster is called the velocity dispersion.

The velocity dispersion of the cluster can be calculated from the measured red-shifts of the galaxies. The mass of a galaxy is related to its brightness. When the total mass of all the galaxies in the cluster is determined, the gravitational force can be calculated and compared with the observed velocity dispersion. The result has surprised and astonished astronomers no end. In the Coma cluster the mass is too little to counter-balance the velocity dispersion, by a factor of seven. In other words, for every 7 kilograms of mass necessary to hold the cluster together, only one kilogram can be accounted for. This is not a trivial matter. There is only fourteen percent of the matter in the cluster that should be there in order for the cluster to stay together. Astronomers have looked high and low for this "missing mass" but it is nowhere to be found. Things get worse in this search when other clusters than the Coma cluster are studied: from two to ten times the needed mass is missing.

Some have thought that the "missing mass" is located in intergalactic space. To be detected, the matter would have to emit some form of electromagnetic radiation such as x-rays, visible light, or radio waves. The background x-radiation that is incident on the earth's atmosphere can be explained by other means than the presence of a diffuse intergalactic material permeating space and emitting x-rays. If cold matter exists between the galaxies, radio waves might be emitted and the radio astronomer could detect this. However, this has not been observed, and if small quantities of cold matter did escape detection they would be far too small in an amount to keep the clusters together. A hot gas would emit x-rays. Certainly x-radiation has been observed associated with some galaxies. But the presence of the radiation has been explained rather well in terms not involving an intergalactic medium. A slightly warm material would be hard to detect since the radiation would be in the ultraviolet range of wavelengths, which are mainly strained out by our atmosphere. However, using detection equipment in high-altitude rockets, balloons, and satellites there has been no indication of a slightly warm gas between the galaxies. The "missing mass" is not in the form of a diffuse gas in intergalactic space.

Further conditions have been placed on this "missing mass." A study of the dynamics of the dispersion of the galaxies would indicate that the matter cannot be postulated as existing in one very massive object that does not have luminosity. The matter has to be distributed as a common constituent of intergalactic space. If someone says that alleged "black holes" (which if they exist at all would have such a tremendously large gravitational pull that light cannot escape from their surfaces and, thus, they would be invisible) account for this matter, they would have to suppose these "black holes" to be as commonly located as galaxies. As Margon1 points out, there would have to be hundreds or thousands of them. There is no evidence for this situation. Again Margon2 says the same objection applies to "dead" galaxies (non-luminous) or the large number of cool stars.

The obvious conclusion seems to be that the "missing mass" is not really missing since probably it wasn't there to start with. The Universe could be quite young, and other lines of evidence strongly indicate this. The break-up time for these clusters (the time for dispersion of the galaxies so that there are no clusters) is far, far less than the alleged evolutionary age of the Universe. This means that the clusters, since they have not been destroyed, are young, as well as the galaxies that form them. These galaxies contain stars that are alleged by the evolutionists to be the oldest objects in the Universe (nine to twenty billion years old in the evolutionary scheme of things). This rapid break-up of the clusters coupled with their presence still in the Universe would indicate that these allegedly old stars are not old at all. The Coma cluster could not be younger than the Milky Way. So if the cluster is young, the galaxy is young and the objects within the galaxy are young. The breakup times of clusters are on the order of just a few millions of years at most. So the present existence of clusters argues that the Universe has not reached anywhere near that age, even much less the age demanded by the evolutionists.

It has been noted that the motions of the clusters look like those of bound systems which are not breaking up. If that is so, then the clusters would certainly be young, not having reached a stage where they are showing a looseness of organization indicative of much age.

To avoid the conclusions regarding time which are at the heart of evolutionary hypotheses, astronomers go to great lengths in inventing explanations regarding the "missing mass." Margon3 suggests that "we have reached an impasse, almost to the point Thomas Kuhn has called a scientific revolution. Apparently, unless the experimental data are blatantly in error, it is inevitable that some cherished astronomical or physical principle must fall. It would seem that the ax should fall upon the supposed aeons-long time age that is assigned a priori to the Universe, the Solar System, and Earth, for this concept of huge quantities of time leads to contradictory and illogical position in certain aspects of astrophysics.

The Variable "Constants"

Radioactivity was discovered in the late 1800s. It was stated early that no external effects could change the disintegration constants of radioactive elements. Radioactive elements are those chemical elements that decay into daughter elements by emission or absorption of energy and particles in the nuclei of their atoms. On the basis of experimental evidence in those early years of study of these elements it was concluded that radioactive decay rates do not change, that these rates cannot be affected by external means, and that only the nuclei of the atoms of these radioactive elements were involved in the decay processes.

The geologists immediately seized upon these decay processes as constituting clocks to determine when geological events occurred and the age of the earth. If uranium decays into lead at a constant rate and if a rock from some mountain contains uranium and lead, the age of the rock and the mountain, perhaps, may be found by simply calculating the time to obtain the lead by decay from the uranium. It is more involved, of course, but that is the essence of the method by which the radiometric "clocks" work.

Among a number of requirements for a radioactive element and its daughter product to constitute a "clock" for geological events is the necessity that the "clock" run without variation. Well, evolutionist geologists have long ignored the evidence of variability in the radii of pleochroic haloes, which shows that the decay rates are not constant and would, thus, deny that some radioactive elements such as uranium could be clocks. But now there is excellent laboratory evidence that external influences can change the decay rates.4 Fourteen different radionuclides have had their decay properties changed by effects such as pressure, temperature, electric and magnetic fields, stress in monomolecular layes, etc.5

Dudley6 has proposed, "Rather than assuming that radioactivity is a series of (spontaneous) unrelated events occurring without prior cause, a theoretical approach was developed which translates the ‘neutrino sea’ concept of astrophysics and cosmology to nuclear physics. This postulates a radioactive atom to be a ‘linear resonant system, subject to parametric excitation.’" Thus, the decay constant used in the equations for obtaining ages of geological events becomes a variable dependent on the energy state of all the atom and not just the nucleus. Half-lives would not be constants. The decay constant would instead be a stability index of the element.

If this is the case, as the evidence seems to point, then the forces and the tremendous amounts of energy involved in some processes and happenings in the universe could strongly alter the "decay" rates. The alleged radiometric "clocks" are then not really useable as age determiners at all. Actually though, they have been used as window dressing, mainly by the geologists since the preconceived views of theoretical historical geology of evolutionary persuasion set the ages of earth history before even radioactivity was discovered.

How Long to Form an Interstellar Grain?

The space between the stars is composed of atoms, molecules and grains of matter. The stars allegedly formed by gravitational collapse from clouds of this material. It is rather baffling how an interstellar grain of matter forms since the density of matter in interstellar space is so low.

Consider the growth rate of a grain which starts with some radius that, of course, will change with time. If this grain forms in space by the sticking of interstellar atoms and molecules to this nucleus as they impinge on it at some speed, the growth rate can be calculated. Using the most favorable conditions and the maximum possible sticking ability for grains Harwil7 has determined a growth rate of (10)-22 centimeters per second (or one-ten-thousand-billion-billionth centimeter per second). To reach a size of just a hundred-thousandth of a centimeter in radius under these most favorable conditions it would take about three billion years. Using more likely values for sticking ability of particles, it would take times greater than the alleged age of the galaxy — more than twenty billion years. Of course, this supposes the grain will form, though this seems impossible, since the hydrogen that would be deposited on the grain would ordinarily evaporate right back off very rapidly. Sputtering by fast moving protons can easily jar loose the atoms of the surface of the grain even after they become attached. The formation of molecules poses just as great a difficulty as the formation of dust grains. It is easy to destroy them but very difficult, if not impossible, to form them in interstellar space.

If it takes as long to form such a simple object as an interstellar grain as the calculations indicate under the most hopeful of conditions (that do not actually exist at all), how can the huge ages for the stars and galaxies have any credibility and be taken seriously? Effects such as evaporation, sputtering, and vapor pressure would seem to destroy any grains that might form.


The myth that unlimited time is available in which the evolutionists may frame their schemes to explain things has been around for quite a while now. However, the scientific evidence continues to accumulate labeling the huge ages of the universe, the solar system, and the earth as a fable — not a conclusion reached by an adherence to scientific proof.


  1. Margon, Bruce, THE MISSING MASS, Mercury, January/February 1975, p. 6.
  2. Ibid, p. 6.
  3. Ibid, p. 6.
  4. Emery, G. T. PERTURBATIONS OF NUCLEAR DECAY RATES, Ann. Review Nucl. Science, Vol. 22 (1972).
  5. Dudley, H. C. RADIOACTIVITY RE-EXAMINED, Chemical and Engineering News, April 7, 1975, p. 2.
  6. Ibid, p. 2.
  7. Harwit, M. ASTROPHYSICAL CONCEPTS, New York (John Wiley and Sons, Inc., 1973) p. 394.

Cite this article: Slusher, H. 1975. Some Recent Developments Having to do with Time. Acts & Facts. 4 (9).

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