RSR: Stretch Cosmology

God stretched out the heavens* 2020 Update: Having just come across his article at, we thought we'd quote NSF astronomy fellow Dave Rothstein:

"[E]xpanding" isn't really the best word to describe what is happening to the universe... A more accurate word for what the universe is doing might be "stretching".

Similarly, last year NASA wrote that, "The space between galaxies is stretching..." (See more about this at

* 2020 Experiment Proposal: Might it be theoretically possible to triangulate the distance from two distant galaxy clusters to an even further galaxy?

* 2017 Update Stretch Cosmology in Two Major Films! Stretch Cosmology was proposed in the Del Tackett-narrated fathom-event film Is Genesis History? (Tackett makes a cameo appearance of sorts in Enyart's Focus on the Strategy II documentary.) And it was presented in the other recent Fathom Event Genesis: Paradise Lost. (See the link below for its trailer to view the the plants sprouting up out of the ground on Day 3, and consider that as an analogy for how God stretched out the heavens on Day 4.) 

* 2013 Update: See this by AiG astronomer Danny Faulkner, A Proposal for a New Solution to the Light Travel Time Problem, in the peer-reviewed Answers Research Journal! Dr. Faulkner mentioned that for the Day 3 creation of plants, God may have supernaturally pulled the plants out of the ground, and that this may be an analogy for how He stretched out the heavens on Day Four, causing the stars to undergo hyper-stellar-nucleosynthesis and actually, though supernaturally, pulling the light from the farthest stars across the universe to the Earth (and perhaps beyond). RSR extends this supernatural stretch cosmology in various particulars including by asking (and answering) why is it that by the end of Day 4 some stars had expended their available energy and others, nearly so, would run out of energy and supernova as observed more recently. And we add the following. 

If the supernatural-to-natural boundary (SN2NB), where the laws of physics take over when God rests from His creative work, occurred earlier or later on Day 4, determines whether or not a physics theory is even theoretically helpful to explain how distant starlight arrived during that 24-hour period on Earth. If God supernaturally created the starting conditions after which the light would then naturally propagate to Earth, the SN2NB, at least conceptually, could have been earlier on Day 4 at which point God could watch the laws of physics take over for the completion of that Day's events. God liked His creation and would sometimes use the laws that He had brought into existence to perform even some of His subsequent miracles. So an "earlier" SN2NB is certainly possible. On the other hand, if God supernaturally performed most of what happened on that day, including the stretching of the light throughout the cosmos by miraculous means, that would put the SN2NB, at least conceptually, later on Day 4 and would make unneeded any physical theory about how that light naturally arrived on Earth. In fact if God's supernatural creative act was the effective means whereby light arrived on Earth, then creationist physical cosmologies themselves, while creative and even possibly ingenius, would each represent a dead end. The creation movement would be stronger if theorists and advocates readily communicated where they see the SN2NB and, if possible, why they see it there.

* The Day Three Analogy: Genesis 1:11 may be literally communicating an aspect of how God created plants, by rapidly and supernaturally pulling them up from the ground. The English word sprout is translated from the Hebrew tad-se, used in Genesis 1 not for the creation of animals but only for plants, and meaning to sprout or to shoot [out]...

Gen. 1:11: "And God said, 'Let the earth sprout vegetation...'"

See an animation of this happening in the first 10 seconds of the trailer for Genesis: Paradise Lost.  The Hebrew word translated "sprout" appears in Scripture only in Genesis 1:11. The word daw-shaw',  considered related, appears in Joel 2:22, the "pastures are springing up..."

* Stretch Cosmology Proposed Solution: Bob Enyart has temporarily removed from this page RSR's own written SC description because he is considering submitting it to one of the creation journals. This program's 2011 audio, however, remains available (via the above audio controls). Check back here in late 2020 for a possible update. Whereas naturalistic star formation has never and cannot occur by the laws of physics, after the "formation" stage, RSR proposes that the correct answer to the starlight and time question will also explain why stars are at every other possible stage in their lifecycles. (Also, if anyone listens to our 2007 program, if you're interested, please feel free to email and let us know if the guys used the "Day 3 analogy" in that program. Thanks!) 

* Stretching the Cosmos, Etc., on Today's 2011 Program: Real Science Radio co-hosts Fred Williams and Bob Enyart discuss more great news stories from the Winter 2012 edition of Creation magazine. And the guys reply to a listener who asks why would a star die and collapse if the universe is only thousands of years old. 2013 Update: After a change of name, the guys now refer to this to this proposal, to solve the starlight and time dilemma, as Stretch Cosmology.

* Is God Outside of Time? Google that question and we think you'll find that of hundreds of thousands of related web pages, that RSR's answer and article is ranked by Google as #1 at The well-known claim that time slows down as an object approaches the speed of light also entails that at the speed of light time stops. However, if that were true, then a photon traveling through a vacuum could not have its own innate frequency (i.e., color). But it does.

* Anti-evolutionary Eels, Next-generation Band-Aids, Egyptian Blue, Dawkins Color Vision Challenge, Threes, and Black Holes in a Young Universe: The species of eel discovered in the South Pacific shows stasis, the primary expectation of the creationist (and of renowned evolutionist Stephen Jay Gould), rather than evolutionary change, the expectation of the atheist and of theistic evolutionists.

* New Band-Aids Designed Without Glue By Copying the Gecko Toe: It's about time human engineers got around to reverse engineering the adhesiveness of the gecko's feet in order to manufacture a better Band-Aid. The Band-Aid was invented in 1920, making it eleven years older than the Big Bang which was invented in 1931. See the series of enlargements in the gecko feet image to get an idea of how God used form rather than glue to enable geckos to walk on walls.

* Post-Show Note: Real Science Radio is looking for a sketch artist! Help us create the RSR Dawkins Color Vision Challenge! Similar to our PZ Myers Trochlea Challenge (for which PZ honestly answered, "I don't know"), Bob and Fred are constructing a similar challenge but this time for Richard Dawkins, and regarding a different aspect of the alleged evolution of vision. The guys are hoping to get an artist to volunteer to sketch their challenge, and also, they're eager to get comments and constructive criticism emailed to them on the challenge itself. Done:

* Egyptian Blue and the Three Primary Colors: The ancient Egyptian chemists were brilliant materials engineers, and their effort to create a true blue pigment was stunning in its sophistication. Interestingly, there are three primary colors in pigments just as there are three primary colors in light waves.

Bob Debates a Geophysicist & a Mathematician* Threes Everywhere: The number three reflected in the Trinity and throughout Scripture turns the Christian's attention toward the creation to see space existing in three dimensions, height, width, and length, as does time in past, present and future. The electromagnetic force operates in positive, negative, and neutral, and in light waves, red, green, and blue blend into the hues of the rainbow whereas and in pigment the three primary colors are red, yellow, and blue. We human beings on this third planet from the Sun experience matter primarily in three states, solid, liquid, and gas. The strongest shape for building is the triangle. Writers often give three examples and artists group in threes as in interior design, sculpting, and even movie directors, as they have the word trilogy (1, 2, 3) but no word for any other number of films. Photographers use the rule of thirds, genetic scientists discovered that the language of DNA uses only three-letter words, and the scientific journal Icarus has published a 2013 paper identifying a decimal system in the amino acids of DNA, which code thereby contains, at least once, all the three-digit values, 111, 222, 333, 444, 555, 666, 777, 888, and 999. And so we humans are body, soul, and spirit (1 Thes. 5:23), made in the image of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. See also

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* 2019 RSR Experiment Proposal: Einstein, Lisle, and Hartnett notwithstanding, might it be possible to estimate the one-way speed of light? Let's think through the following.

Billions of Frames Per Second Cameras, Starlight & Time, and the One-Way Speed of Light

The field of physics almost with one voice has maintained for over a century that the one-way speed of light in a vacuum cannot be measured and therefore that it cannot be shown to be equal to its roundtrip speed. Do high speed cameras require a reassessment of that longstanding claim?

Screenshot of one-way transmission of light through a milky water bottle at 100 billion frames per second at CIT, 2019
Transmission of light filmed at CIT at 100 billion FPS.

* On the One-Way Speed of Light Claim from Einstein and Creationist PhDs Jason Lisle & John Hartnett: The world of physics generally insists that the speed of light is known only from round-trip measurements. The context of this observation speaks generally of light in a theoretical vacuum or in space (which is a near vacuum). Thousands of laser beam flashes aimed at the Moon demonstrate one example of this kind of measurement. The retro-reflector base plate left on the moon by NASA's Apollo 15 astronauts These lasers strike the Apollo 15 retro-reflector base plate and then bounce back as researchers measure the time of the round trip, about 2.51 seconds. (These experiments, by the way, indicate that the moon is recessing from the Earth at more than one inch per year.) Long before these actual experiments, in Einstein's 1905 paper on special relativity he presented a thought experiment in space. "Let a ray of light depart from A... let it be reflected at B... and reach A again..." A page earlier he had described not the measurement of light's one-way speed but about, "establishing by definition that the 'time' needed for the light to travel from A to B is equal to the 'time' it needs to travel from B to A." Establishing this by definition instead of by measurement is referred to as doing this by convention. Regarding this Einstein continued, "We assume that this definition of synchrony is free from contradiction..." And we "assume the quantity... c to be a universal constant--the velocity of light in empty space." This Einstein synchronisation is sometimes abbreviated as ESC for the Einstein Synchrony Convention.

* Starlight & Time, the Conventionality Thesis, and Anisotropic Synchrony Convention: Agreeing with Einstein, the consensus view in physics is that no one has ever measured the one-way c but presents that speed as a convention, that is, an assumption, also called the conventional unidrectional speed. By this widespread reckoning, it would not violate any actual measurement to propose that the one-way speed of light toward an observer (say, on Earth) can be infinite as long as the light reflected back travels at half c for the other leg of its roundtrip, producing an average speed of 186,000 miles per second. Creationist astrophysicist Dr. Jason Lisle, as supported by RSR friend and cosmologist Dr. John Hartnett, has used this to address the starlight and time challenge by claiming that light instantly arrives at Earth after being emitted from even the most distant galaxies. If so, of course that great distance would thereby be irrelevant to light's travel time to Earth and also to the age of the creation. Photons are both relativistic and elementary quantum particles. Einstein's theory of relativity and quantum mechanics both make so many counterintuitive observations that many who study these fields, we submit, would not be shocked if light behaved in this way. Drs. Lisle and Hartnett, with many others, argue that such anisotropy cannot be experimentally disproved, that is, that light cannot be shown to not have this different property when measured in different directions. Effectively agreeing with this, Grünbaum in his second enlarged edition of Philosophical Problems of Space and Time points out that "a choice... which renders the transit times (velocities) of light in opposite directions unequal cannot possibly conflict with... our descriptive conventions" (p. 366, emphasis in the original). With this Karlov agrees, regarding "the constancy of the speed of light... but other choices... are physically just as permissible" (Australian Journal of Physics, 1970 Vol. 23, p. 244, emphasis added). Various philosophers of physics though, and others, have proposed theoretical ways to test the one-way speed of light. Routinely then, the physics community responds by claiming these proposals include faulty assumptions that "sneak in" the roundtrip speed of light (in much the same way that computational evolution simulators "sneak" intelligence into their algorithms). For example, reasoning can be shown to be circular if an experiment assumes the constancy of the speed of light which is the very thing that it is designed to demonstrate. So this conventional unidirectional speed means that the 300,000 kilometers per second claimed universal speed limit has never actually been experimentally verified and is only an industry-wide assumption made to simplify the math (and to please our sensibilities). Some creation physicists have begun to argue therefore that, as believed by mankind's early scientists (from Aristotle to Descartes and beyond), and compatible with Einstein's theory of special relativity, and arguably, with all measurements made to date, the one-way speed of light from even the furthest galaxies to the Earth could be infinite.

Screenshot of one-way transmission of light through a milky water bottle at 100 billion frames per second at CIT, 2019
Light at 100 billion FPS

If so, human beings would be seeing astronomical events unfold as they happen in a "real-time" universe and Adam would have seen the light from the stars made only two days before He was created, without any other supernatural or natural explanation needed. In 2001 Dr. Lisle proposed this Anisotropic Synchrony Convention (ASC) to answer the young-earth creationist's star light and time question. This argument includes the claim, as boldly stated by Dr. Hartnett in 2019, that "there can be no experiment that can refute the conventionality thesis", such that no one can even theoretically devise a way to demonstrate that the one-way speed of light equals the roundtrip speed. What follows are four proposed methods to demonstrate that the one-way speed of light approximately equals the roundtrip speed, the first three having already been performed, which we use to address the Einstein's Synchrony Convention. And the fourth experiment, not yet performed but here proposed, which addresses Lisle's ASC.

* Did this 2019 Laboratory Video Measure the One-Way Speed of Light? Through water, light travels 25% slower than through a vacuum, at 225,000 kilometers per second rather than 300,000. At (and just below) see a 2019 video made at the California Institute of Technology using a 100 billion frames per second (FPS) camera. At 4:33 (see the screenshots, just above) a laser beam is shot through a bottle of water with a bit of milk in it. The milk increases amount of photon scatter produced by refraction to make the beam's progress easier to capture on video. (The milk of course would also further slow down the light.) Amazingly Caltech's two cameras, the fastest in the world, one with a maximum rate of 10 trillion frames per second, are able to capture light in progress in its one-way transit. The clip referenced was filmed using the slower of the two cameras and yet it captures the laser beam's one-way journey through the bottle!

Thirteen years before the light-in-the-bottle recording, in Max Jammer's Concepts of Simultaneity: From antiquity to Einstein and beyond, he concluded that the conventionality thesis remains an open question.

Screenshot of one-way transmission of light through water vapor filmed at 10 trillion frames per second by CIT, 2019
Chaotic Cavity

Thus according to this Berlin-born Israeli physicist who became a close colleague to Einstein, as of 2006, no experiment had falsified a potentially infinite one-way speed of light. But Jammer, who passed away in 2010, never saw this 2019 Caltech bottle video.

The astounding technical achievement of the CIT researchers has been popularized by YouTube's The Slo Mo Guys. (We've previously utilized two of their videos in our answer to creationist Michael Oard to explain why there is a linear crack, called the mid-oceanic ridge, that circles the Earth like the seam on a baseball.) The March 17, 2019 Slo Mo Guys' video is called Filming the Speed of Light at 10 Trillion FPS. The slower of CIT's two fastest camers used to "film" the "bottle" segment of their video was operating at 100 billion FBS, that is, each frame equaled 10 picoseconds (ten trillionths of a second) and it took about 2,000 picoseconds (two billionths of a second) for the light to travel through the length of the bottle. On our Real Science Radio program my co-host Fred Williams (long-time CRS webmaster) and I have argued that this video effectly measured the one-way speed of light. 

A pulse of light traveling one way, from left to right, through a vile of milky water...
10 trillion FPS

A second measurement appears at 5:40 into the same video. At the same 100 billion frames per second, the CIT technician recorded light bouncing around inside of a water-vapor filled mirrored device they call a chaotic cavity. (See image, left.) Light propagates in a vacuum only three hundreths of 1% faster than it travels through "air". (On average, about two percent of the molecules in Earth's atmosphere are water vapor, and "for applications with less than five digits of accuracy, the index of refraction of air is the same as that of vacuum...") So the light beam in this cavity traveling through nothing but air and water vapor must be traveling at very close to the speed of light in a vacuum. The videotaped light pulse bouncing around within this chamber demonstrates that it travels at no discernable difference in its speed in any direction, including when it bounces back and forth essentially in a "roundtrip" pattern. It certainly never appears to have moved at infinite speed by disappearing and instantly popping up across the chamber. Prof. emeritus Michael Tooley from the University of Colorado, argued in his 2000 Time, Tense, and Causation that the many attempts to measure the one-way speed of light had all failed. And of course that too was concluded before Caltech researchers made possible this 2019 Filming the Speed of Light video. (We would be remiss in not warning the public, and the professor himself regarding the horrific consequences in this life, and eternally, about his vile arguments in defense not only of killing unborn children but also in Tooley's denial even that newborn babies have a right to life.) 

The third measurement appears at 10:50 into the video using Caltech's fastest camera. A researcher records at ten trillion frames per second a pulse of light traveling about ten millimeters through a milky vile. (See image, right.) See that segment of the video also at (or just click play here): 

* A Fast Camera Proposal for a One-Way Measurement: RSR's Bob Enyart asks whether 10-trillion FPS cameras (and Caltech's planned faster versions) might be used in a round-trip configuration to challenge the conventionality thesis and measure the one-way speed of light. Here's the concept for neutralizing that pesky 2-way speed of light problem with it bouncing to and from the camera...

Proposed experiment setup for estimating the one-way speed of light

The experiment is performed first with the bottle filled with water with a bit of milk in it. (The milk sufficiently increases the refractivity of the medium so that the laser's progress can be captured on video.) The experiment is then repeated with the bottle filled with water vapor. The speed of light in a vacuum is 50% faster than in glass, a third faster than in water, but only neglibly faster than in air (three hundreths of 1%). (And incidentally, by shooting a laser through extremely cold sodium atoms, scientists at Cambridge and Harvard have slowed light down to 38 mph.) Of course the introduction of milk in the water and the water vapor will reduce the speed of light through these mediums, but that reduction should be quantifiable and sufficiently minimal as to not prevent the one-way measurement of the speed of light. Space itself is not a "perfect vacuum" with even interstellar space containing anywhere from a million molecules per cubic centimeter down to a thousand atoms per cubic meter. Earth's atmosphere extends beyond the Moon (a transient condition that could not long persist). And here on Earth we cannot produce perfect vacuums (although CERN's claims about their ultra high vacuum are extraordinary). The laser pulse in a vacuum would not be detectable by the cameras since there would be no matter to refract/scatter its photons such that some could be detected by the cameras. If photons normally interacted with one another, a second beam of light could be emitted from a camera and bounce off the target beam to be measured, with the camera then recording the returning light signal. In such a configuration, the use of the second beam's round trip would be negligible to the overall experiment's design. However, visible light photons rarely collide. There are known ways to cause them to collide and high energy photon-photon collisions do occur. Regardless of these particulars though, if this proposal gets to the attention of the scientists at CIT or CERN, perhaps they could arrange for this experiement to be conducted in an optimal configuration.

The experiment above, first proposed on Sept. 3, 2019, avoids the kind of systematic error that evolutionists make when they "sneak" intelligence into their "natural selection" computer simulations. For example, we would discredit the results if we snuck the round-trip speed of light into the synchronization of the cameras themselves and used that very synchronization in the experiment. To avoid this, the experiment design does not rely on the cameras being synchronized. (And in any configuration, other than perhaps in a photon-to-photon collision mode, the results do not depend upon roundtrip optics to and from any individual camera.) Instead, we position the three cameras close enough to the laser beam so that any roundtrip optics in any configuration is insignificant compared to the lengthier transit of the laser through the bottle. That is, evaluate the results through a range of values for the speed of light to the camera as though it were half c up to infinite. If none of those values changes the overall result of the experiment, we did not sneak in c (as Röemer reportedly did in 1676 when he first measured lightspeed). As a beam transits the bottle, it will produce photographable scatter from the refraction off of the various materials filling the bottle. If the beam's transit to the bottom of the bottle is instantaneous, and it's return trip is at half of today's assumed speed of light, then the cameras' registering of the scatter will show a different number of frames between the outgoing and returning beam as they would if the outgoing and returning beams travel at the same speed on both legs of their round trip. The differences are quantified below. However, if the beam's transit to the bottom of the bottle is not instantaneous (and of course the cameras' frame rates are fast enough to capture this), it seems that the leading edge of the beam (or pulse) would come into view of each camera from the right boundary of its field of vision and, frame-by-frame, pass to left boundary (with perhaps ten frames showing its progress across a single camera's field of view). If this happens, a single camera could accomplish the goal of the experiment, as it alone could demonstrate that the light did not travel instantaneously on its outgoing journey. In this case, we could calculate light's one-way speed based on the width of the single camera's field of vision, the cameras frame rate, and the number of frames it takes to record the beam's journey across that field.

The three-camera configuration enables a different kind of measurement. The two additional cameras (above, numbered 2 and 3) along with a reflector at the bottom of the bottle might enable separate video recordings of both the outgroing and the return trips of the same beam. (If the single camera configuration provided any one-way speed measurement, this could also corroborate that result.) Regardless of whether the beam's one-way speeds are identical, camera #3 will be the first camera to record the beam's return trip. That last camera would then record fewer frames between the beam leaving its field of view and when it again reentered its field of view on its return trip. If sufficient frame rates enable this experiment to work, then the first camera, #1, will register the most frames separating it's initial recording and it's final recording of the laser's scatter. For example, consider if the camera operated at quadrillions of frames per second. Next, consider what could be learned if each camera captured on ten frames the refraction produced by the passing laser. Only to simplify this explanation of the experiment, assume that the cameras were positioned next to each other such that the beams entire journey would be captured on one or another camera. So when Camera 1 first registers the beam, we count 10 frames until the beam disappears. If the one-way speed of light is the same as its roundtrip speed, the camera will then have 40 empty frames until it begins to register the beam on it's return trip, and the data from that camera will end with its frames 51 to 60 showing the end of the laser's journey. In this circumstance, Camera #2 will not show 40 empty frames between its first and last registering of the scatter, but only 20 empty frames. Camera #3 will show no empty frames and the reflector, in this simplified explanation, would be positioned at the edge of that camera's field of view.

If the one-way speed of light is not the same as its roundtrip speed, and its speed on its initial leg is instantaneous, it is presumed that all three cameras would still register the scatter produced, although they would all be registering that refraction at the same time. (This would be an indirect way to synchronize the cameras, after the fact in the analysis of the data they record. A difference this would make as compared to the above discussion is that the light scatter registered by each camera's field of view would not show it moving from right to left, but that scatter would appear instantaneously horizontally across the camera's display and disappear instantaneously, and not from right to left.) Also in this case of an instantaneous outgoing one-way trip, the number of frames results from Camera #3 will be identical to what it would be if the one-way speed of light were the same as its roundtrip speed. Camera 3 will show ten frames of the outgoing leg immediately followed by ten frames of the return leg (although, there very well may be a difference in how the instantaneous leg registers the refraction as compared to the non-instantaneous leg, as just described). So Camera #3 in this experiment would not be able to distinguish, based on numbers of frames, between varying one-way and roundtrip speeds of light. Consider though Camera #2. Camera #2 would have only ten empty frames between its registering the beam on its outgoing and return trips. That is because Camera #2 would register the laser instantaneously with Camera #1, and would only have to "wait" the equivalent of the ten frames it takes for the light reflected to cross Camera #3's field of view. So the data from Camera #2 will end with its frames 21 to 30 showing the end of the laser's journey from its perspective. Consider then Camera #1. In this circumstance, Camera 1 will show 20 empty frames between its first and last registering of the scatter.

So compare the differences in the empty frames between registering the light's outgoing and return trips. If the outgoing trip is instantaneous, Camera #2 will have 10 empty frames and Camera #3 will have 20 empty frames. If the one-way speed of light is the same as its roundtrip speed, Camera #1 will have 40 empty frames and camera #2 will have 20 empty frames. The ratios in this configuration are the same. But by using differing configurations and by determing the actual number of frames it takes for the laser to traverse a single camera's field of view, the results could become definitive.

While a seemingly wild idea, quantum physicists can believe as many as six impossible things before breakfast. So, many would not be shocked if light behaved in the extraordinary way that Dr. Jason Lisle and Dr. John Hartnett propose. Regardless though, RSR makes the following prediction (which is merely what most physicists would expect). If the beam leaves a record of its travels on each of the camers, then considering the time that would pass between the beam leaving and then reentering each camera's field of view. RSR predicts that we could calculate the increasing number of camera frames (time) that pass, as we move from the last, to the middle, to the first camera, between the leading edge of the beam leaving the field of the camera's view (as it heads toward the bottom of the bottle) and reappearing on its return trip. And of course, if the camera frame rates are not fast enough to distinguish between the outgoing and return trips of the beam, then just get a faster camera or a much taller bottle.

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* Proposed Triangulation Experiment: For measuring the distance to the stars, astronomers can use triangulation only to determine the distance to those nearest Earth, that is, stars up to 1,000 light years away. That's just within our own galaxy and even just within our neck-of-the-woods, for the Milky Way has a 100,000-mile diameter. Other methods are used to estimate further distances. One concern of course with non-triangulation measurements is that they involve cosmological assumptions which can make them circular. On Dec. 30, 2019 RSR proposed yet another theoretical method (likely impossible in practice). If the same remote galaxy could be gravitationally lensed by two adjacent galaxy clusters, might that enable roughly triangulating the distance from those clusters to that galaxy?