Author: William E. Hamliton
Title: Gish/Ross Focus on the Family Interview
Focus on the family discussion with Hugh Ross and Duane Gish
August 12, 13 1992
Jim Dobson, the host opened the program:
Dobson: (addressing Mike Trout, the announcer) Well Mike, we're going
to do something almost dangerous today. Dangerous in the sense that
the topic we're gonna discuss today is a controversial one that could
divide some members of the Christian community. We certainly don't
want to do that. I've been urged to devote a program to the topic
we're going to talk about today ... by many people including a board
member of FOF. And that's what really brings us to this moment. The
topic is the origin of the universe and the age of the earth, which
may not on the face of it seem like a topic related to the family, but
it certainly is relevant to our faith and to scripture and to our
understanding of who we are and how we got here, and that's all of us,
certainly, within the Christian community. And that's how it came to
be that we did two previous topics on this subject and that kind of
led to what we're going to do today. Let me explain. Astrophysics is
a hobby with me - it's not something I consider myself terribly
knowledgeable of, although I've been interested in the subject since I
was in elementary school - been reading about it all that time. So we
have done several programs on the vastness of the universe - what God
has put out there and the beauty of His creation. The heavens declare
the glory of God and it really strengthens my faith to take a look at
what we know about the universe. So we have done several programs
about that subject. On Dec 12 and 13, 1985 we did a program with Dr.
Duane Gish and Dr. Richard Bliss, both from the ICR on the subject of
creation and how it should be taught in the schools and we got into
this broader subject in that program. In that program the guests
expressed their firm conviction that the earth is no more than about
10,000 years old and that the Genesis account of creation refers to
six 24 hour days, specifically meaning that the earth is very young
and that after that God rested and there was no further creative
activity. Then on April 17, 1991 Dr. Hugh Ross was our guest and he
discussed his book, "The Fingerprint of God". Dr. Ross provided
scientific evidence for the Biblical account of creation, but Dr. Ross
believes that the earth is billions of years old and the Genesis
account refers not to 6 24 hour days but to eons. That program was one
of the most popular programs of the year 1991. We just got an
overwhelming amount of mail - almost 10000 requests for the tape of
that interview and the mail was overwhelmingly positive, I might say.
On the other hand there was a small - I think about 40 or 50 letters -
but a very vociferous, angry response to that program from people who
considered Dr. Ross' view of the earth as very very old as being
unbiblical and even heretical, and there were some very emotional
reactions to it - one Christian radio station threatened to take our
broadcast off the air ... It was as though Dr. Ross was saying, "I
don't believe the Bible," to those people, and so there are these
different perspectives. And so I had a certain amount of mail from
people asking me to deal with this issue further and to allow a
discussion of the two sides. I tried to express in my reactions to
that mail that the issue is one of Biblical interpretation, not
deliberate contradiction of basic truths, and I neither challenged Dr.
Ross when he was here or Dr. Gish when he and Dr. Bliss were here,
because first of all I don't feel qualified in that area. I'm not a
theologian, I'm not a physicist, I'm not a biochemist, I don't have
expertise in these areas and furthermore, I don't know what's right.
Some people feel like they absolutely know - I'm not one of them. And
so I thought the best thing we could do was to bring the guests here
again and allow them to discuss the subject...
Trout: There is an aspect to this topic that just causes people to
think and to study. That in and of itself is a healthy exercise...
Dobson: Yeah, we can call it brain food. You know, if we just get
people reading the Scriptures, we've accomplished what we wanted to do
or part of it. I do believe that the Bible is the inspired Word and
when all truth is known there will be no contradiction within it. That
fact is not on the table today - we're not debating that. I also
believe that Dr. Ross, Dr. Gish and Dr. Bliss are equally committed to
the truth and to Jesus Christ and they simply come down on different
sides of A very thorny issue, with differing perspectives on how
important it is. So we have invited Dr. Gish and Dr. Ross here today
to debate, or at least to discuss this matter of the age of the
universe as it relates to our faith. I just ask for charity among
those who are listening, because we are trying to do what is right
here. Let me introduce the guests and then we will get on with the
topic. Dr. Hugh Ross holds a Ph.D. in astronomy from the University
of Toronto, he's the president and director of Reasons to Believe,
located in LA. Dr. Ross, welcome back.
Ross: Thank you, it's good to be here.
Dobson: Dr. Gish holds a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of
California at Berkeley and he's Vice President of ICR, also located in
Well gentlemen, let's get to it. Duane, I'm going to give you the
first shot. You strongly believe in the young earth theory, you don't
believe in the big bang. You believe that creation occurred in six 24
hour days. Explain why and why this issue is so important to you.
Gish: Well yes, Dr. Dobson. My concern is not so much with the age of
things. We keep contrasting say the young age to the vastly old age
that Hugh believes in and of course there is a difference there, but
I'm more concerned about how the universe came into existence. I
accept the Biblical account that we find in the Bible: God did create
the heavens and the earth and we read in the Bible that on the fourth
day God created the sun and the moon and the starts and that when that
period of creation was over - six days creation was finished - it has
not been continued for billions of years of time. It was not a natural
process it had to be something that was supernaturally done by God.
God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. Now Hugh in his
view - in his big bang cosmology, big bang cosmology is a natural
process that begins with this big bang, and following the big bang
then as this hydrogen and helium distributed itself throughout the
universe and as stars evolved and galaxies evolved and our solar
system created itself and so on.. That's been going on for, say, 15,
16, 17, 18 billion years. Well in a process like that, you see, I
don't see any difference between that view and that of any atheist
cosmologist or any unbelieving cosmologist who believes in the big
bang, I can't see the difference and I don't see the agreement between
this natural evolutionary origin of the universe and the universe that
God created in the book of Genesis. In other words certainly if
creation is not finished - Hugh believes that stars are still forming
today you see, so we still - evolutionary creation has been going on
for 18 billion years.
Dobson: Hugh, why is it necessary to remove God from the process of
the big bang if you merely describe how He may have done what He did?
Ross: Well that's my very point, that God's not at all removed. When
you solve the equations of general relativity - and we can prove that
those equations govern the universe - you discover that you are face
to face with an ultimate origin for all matter and energy and even the
dimensions of length width height and time that encompass the cosmos.
There's only one holy book that teaches a doctrine that's consistent
with that and that's the Bible. We believe in a God that's
transcendent in bringing the universe into existence. As Hebrews 11:3
puts it, the universe that we can detect was made from that which we
cannot detect. And that's why atheists in astronomy and physics have
reacted so strongly to the big bang: because it establishes this
ultimate creation event.
Dobson: For those who have not read on this subject - they may be lost
already - explain what the big bang theory is.
Ross: Well the big bang theory is the theory that there's a beginning
- a creation event, and that moreover this creation event was caused
by a being that transcends matter energy length, width, height and
time - that's what I mean by transcendent. If you go into Hinduism or
Buddhism they say that time is eternal that the cosmos is eternal,
that the cosmos oscillates. And what the big bang does for us is prove
that these religions are false and that only the Christian
interpretation of the cosmos is correct.
Dobson: Which is that there was a definite point of beginning and that
beginning was that all matter was together in an infinitely small
space and it exploded throughout...
Ross: The matter, energy, space and time were literally created out of
nothing by this divine being.
Dobson: Well Duane, why must God be removed from that theory? Why do
you necessarily see that as a process a natural process without divine
Gish: Well I'd reply in this way: That practically all unbelieving
astronomers accept the big bang cosmology - not all of them - there
are some very important astronomers who do not believe it. Now they
don't see God there at all I mean it's a natural process. You have
this cosmic egg, they don't know where it came from or how it got
there, they don't know why it exploded...
Dobson: But you don't believe Hugh believes that...
Gish: Hugh believes that, yeah...
Dobson: Believes that the cosmic egg got there and we don't know how
it got there...
Gish: Well that's the world of what we would call science, these,
Dobson: But that's not what he...
Gish: Well, you see, if Hugh could explain to me what is the
difference between what he believes - what his theory it - and if I go
talk to an atheist I can't if I talk to an atheist astronomer and tell
him, "Would you explain to me the big bang cosmology and what took
place" and ask Hugh the same thing, I don't detect any difference. You
have the cosmic egg and it explodes and out of this gas somehow stars
create themselves and galaxies create themselves and all that. And
that's exactly what this atheist...
Dobson: Wasn't the difference God versus no God?
Gish: The difference is, Hugh says God's back there somewhere. But
what did God do in this process? What did He do? How can Hugh say,
"God did it, you see? How do we know that God did it? The atheist
astronomer sitting right by him will say exactly what he did as far as
this big bang cosmology is concerned.
Ross: Well, let me complete the picture. What I'm saying is that God
brought into existence miraculously all the energy, matter and all the
dimensions of space and time that encompass the universe. He also very
carefully designed the characteristics and the parameters of the
universe so that it could sustain life. 19 characteristics of the
universe had to be very highly fine-tuned in order for life to exist.
More than that God must create the solar system. There are 40
characteristics of the solar system that must be very highly fine
tuned for life to exist on the earth. So we're seeing the miracle of
the big bang that brought all of matter, space and time into
existence. There's another 19 miracles in terms of the design
characteristics of the universe that we' discovered so far, and the
list gets bigger every year and now there's 40 characteristic of the
solar system that show the creator designing that. So it's not just
God involved at the beginning of the cosmos - He's involved thereafter
- regularly intervening into the system to create and shape. Now at
the same time you have formation going on. Duane's right - I do
believe that stars are forming today. But I also believe that
raindrops form today. In fact raindrop formation is a whole lot easier
naturally than star formation...
Dobson: So that's the moving around of created matter...
Gish: Well let me say this: Hugh, if what you say is true - all these
very special things had to be, and you say God created all these very
special things - well that's just what I'm saying: God created the
universe. It didn't come about by some natural evolutionary process
beginning with the big bang. You had to have all these very special
conditions about the solar systems and about the universe and Hugh
says that proves God made it. And I say, I agree 100 percent. I don't
believe that you just start with some big bang and things just unroll
and evolve. You can't hold to the big bang cosmology and believe what
you just said, you see. If you say all these very special things just
couldn't happen naturally...
Ross: Duane, that's not how the astronomers interpret it. The
astronomers reacted to it because of its theistic implications...
Gish: Now wait a minute. They say, "All these things happened
naturally - just some evolutionary process...
Ross: The stars, the galaxies...
Gish: God's not necessary, it was just a natural process. And you say
stars are still forming today. Listen Hugh, forming a star is a
vastly different thing than a raindrop forming. The raindrop forming
had to have a little nucleus and moisture, and the raindrop will form.
But a star! I have articles with me, Hugh, where these astronomers
say, they do not have an adequate theory on stellar formation. They do
not even have a satisfactory theory. And I think every physicist will
agree how a raindrop forms - it's just a very simple thing. You
cannot equate the formation of a raindrop to a star. Oh, no...
Ross: Well, as I sent you in the mail, the equations that describe
star formation are far simpler than those that describe raindrop
formation. You're dealing with a gas. Moreover, we see star formation
in real time. You can take your pair of binoculars out tonight and
watch it. It's actually happening.
Gish: You .. I have articles right here with me , Hugh, that documents
the fact that these astronomers say they've never seen a star form and
there may be areas where they think stars are forming, but the matter
is not infalling, it's moving away from the nucleus, and I have
articles here which document the fact - they've never seen stars form.
No one even claims they've seen stars form. There may be areas of the
sky where they say, "Well that's where stars are forming," but they
never... well I know one article said, "well, it'll be 100,000 years
from now there'll be a star there"...
Ross: Well to correct the matter, we've been observing star formation
at the longer wavelengths - at the infrared and radio, and just this
week, published in the Astrophysical Journal, was the first time ever
observation of star formation at optical wavelengths...
Dobson: I'm sure...
Ross: we've just about lost everybody...
Dobson: That issue will certainly bless the homemaker out there.
Dobson: Duane, tell me why you feel our understanding of Biblical
accuracy rises or falls on this issue. Tell me why this is so central
Gish: Well for example, James Barr, who's professor at Oxford
University, not a believer, not a Christian. He said this: He said he
did not know of one Hebrew scholar at one world class university who
did not believe that the Bible says everything was created in six
ordinary days some thousands of years ago, and the Flood was a global
flood. He didn't know of any scholar at any world class university
who did not believe that's what the Bible says. Now there's no
question that's what the Bible says. Now, in order to believe what
Hugh believes we have to have some very questionable and absolutely
erroneous interpretation of certain words in the Bible. And there's a
number of examples that we could cite from Hugh's writings themselves
where he has misinterpreted certain words to make them fit his
cosmology, you see...
Dobson: Focusing on the word for "day" I suppose...
Gish: Well, that's just one, where the word "yom" used where it's
modified by evening and morning, when those two modifiers are used it
always without exception means a twenty four hour day, and when you
say the third day or first day that always when used with a numeral
refers to a twenty four hour day...
Dobson: How could there be a twenty four hour day before the earth was
revolving around the sun?
Gish: Well, I just believe, Jim, that God had the ability, the power,
to cause the earth to rotate at just the right speed to coincide with
the first, second and third day. I don't think we have too hard a job
for God to take care of. Uh, and He said a day and He put it that way.
Someone has said that God could not have been more precise in His
language if He wanted to denote a twenty four hour day...
Dobson: Now, before we leave that issue, Hugh, let's hear the other
side. I know from your writings I know you believe that word is used
in other ways in scripture.
Ross: Right, and the quote from James Barr is an ancient quote. I mean
I've defended my view of long creation days in front of the faculty of
Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and not one of them was willing
to dispute the conclusions. In fact they were enthusiastically
endorsing the conclusions. This issue was also debated by the
International Council of Biblical Inerrancy and again they refused to
say that the Bible requires six consecutive twenty four hour days.
Dobson: And so you see that word used in other places. Explain the
Ross: Well, the thing I'd like to emphasize is that it's not enough to
just take the Bible literally. We must take it literally and
consistently, so all 66 books are agreeing with one another, not
contradicting one another. And my problem with the six consecutive
twenty-four hour day interpretation is that I can't remove the
inconsistencies, but I can if I interpret them to be long periods of
Dobson: You're referring to the scriptures that refer to the ancient
Ross: Well, the ancient earth, the fact that we're still in the
seventh day of God's rest - I believe as Duane does that God's at rest
now - He's not creating, but Hebrews and Psalms tell us that we're
still in that sate of rest. God's not going to create again until the
new creation that we see in Revelation 21, so that means the seventh
day must be a long time period, and that's consistent with the first
chapter where we see that there's no closure on the seventh day...
Dobson: It never says there was a morning and an evening...
Gish: Well, that wasn't necessary, because there was no particular act
of creation on that day. Now the future day of rest, that's a future
day. It has no reference to the past seventh day. There is a day of
rest, but that does not have to do with the seventh day. I don't think
you can influence interpretation of those six days by any reference to
the day of rest...
Ross: Well, it's called God's seventh day of rest...
Gish: Well, if you can produce one example, Hugh, in the Bible, where
the evening and the morning was a certain day or where it refers to
the first day or the second day and it's more than twenty four hours,
I don't think you can do that...
Ross: But that doesn't mean it's a Hebrew rule of grammar. I mean the
lexicons will bear that out...
Gish: An example. No, lexicons do not, Hugh. Now, and then there's
other problems. You say the word Nethan which says that God caused to
appear the sun on the fourth day. That word nethan nowhere in any
lexicon is described or defined as "to make or to appear". It means to
set, to establish, or to place...
Ross: It has 36 definitions...
Gish: Not, n..., not in ....
Ross: 36 definitions...
Dobson: I'm lost now sure enough...
Gish: You see, nethan... the command, concerning the sun, is the
creative command, just the same ways as when God said, "Let there be
light" and there was light.. Now on the fourth day God said "let there
be the sun. Let there be the stars." It's the same command, it's a
creative command Hugh. It's not saying "just made to appear"...
Ross: Well no, I would dispute that. It's the verb hayah, let there
be. As you're well aware, there are three verbs in the Hebrew that
would connote God directly creating . Those verbs are not used for the
first and fourth creation days. Rather the verb that was used was
hayah, let there be.
Dobson: Duane, do you draw any significance from II Peter 3:8 which
says, "But do not ignore this one fact beloved, that with the Lord one
day is as a thousand years and a thousand years is as one day"
Gish: Well Jim, it's often said that a text without context is a
pretext. And you see here, what the context is, Jim, it's referring to
prophecy the apostle Peter says, "Ah but dear friends, these certain
prophecies have not been fulfilled, but be patient because with God a
thousand years is as a day or a day is as a thousand years". It has no
reference to the days of creation. That is not intended to refer to
those days of creation you see. The days of creation there in the book
of Genesis as the text indicates were just ordinary days. I know it's
difficult for some people to accept that and you see that's the
problem, because it's some of these difficulties. Now Hugh wants
billions of years. He's got to have billions of years. He can't evolve
a universe in say less than 13, 14, 15 billion years...
Ross: Can't evolve it in billions of years either...
Gish: No, that's right...
Dobson: Flat out, Hugh, you reject evolution, biological evolution.
Ross: Absolutely. It's not going to happen in billions of years...
Gish: But you do not reject astronomical evolution. Anybody who
accepts big bang cosmology - that's evolution. There's no question
Ross: The big bang as a creation event at the origin. When you get
back to those billions of years you're confronted with this
transcendent creation event ...
Gish: Well Hugh, I'm talking about the process, origin of stars,
origin of galaxies, the origin of our solar system...
Ross: Well when you get into the solar system it must be designed, it
must be crafted ...
Gish: Absolutely. The solar system gives every proof of being a
created article - gives every evidence of design, not just coming out
Ross: Well I agree with that, I'm not disputing that...
Gish: Well then we agree then the solar system did not evolve. Is
that right,? It was created. God created the planets and the sun...
Ross: He would have had to have designed the sun, the earth and the
moon in order for life to be possible on this planet. He would have
had to design the universe - ah the number of stars has to be precise.
The age of the universe must be just right. If the universe it too
young you can't have life, if it's too old you can't have life. In
fact everything must be middle aged...
Gish: You know, what you're saying it that the universe was created, I
mean when you get through with all these statements what you're
saying, Hugh, there's tremendous evidence for creation...
Gish: It was created, it was designed, and created and that's what I'm
saying, but here in your material you say in order to get this
universe we have today from the big bang we have to even invent
something that's totally imaginary and that's cold dark matter. Now
that's just exactly like believing in Santa Clause or believing in the
tooth fairy, because you and I both know no one have ever seen or
detected this cold dark matter...
Ross: That's not true...
Gish: That you must have . It is not seen. No one has ever seen it.
No one has ever detected it. You can't detect it.
Ross: Well, you need to read our next issue of "Facts and Faith" -
we'll be describing five discovery made in the last eight weeks...
Dobson: Gentlemen, we're out of time, but we're just getting going,
we're really beginning to cook this issue. So I'm just going to ask
you to stay right where you are and Mike will end the program today
and tomorrow we'll hear what's about to occur.... You know, I uh just
from my own perspective, I said at the top of the program, that I'm
confused as to the truth within this issue and the two sides of it,
and I don't know who's right. I haven't expressed my views, but I see
problems in both perspectives, and I'd like to get into that a little
bit next time. It reminds me in some ways of the first year that
Shirley and I were married and we needed some life insurance, so I
invited in about 7 or 8 life insurance salesmen and I figured I'd
listen to all of them and then I'd know life insurance and make a
decision... I got so confused that I wound up just saying, "You, tell
me what to buy." And in some ways as we get into the original
languages and the scientific theories it may not be possible for us
ordinary folks to track you guys, but we're gonna try and we'll
discuss it some more next time.
Dobson: Well, gentlemen as we discussed last time apparently the
existence of the big bang - the explosion of matter that some people
think - I think Hugh identifies with this perspective - that began in
an infinitely small space and sphere of time is at the heart of the
controversy. Did God create the universe that way? Did He start it
with a big bang or did He do it some other way? And, uh, let me share
a couple of scriptures with you that sound to me like He did - that
sound like the big bang was the mechanism by which He created it, and
then you comment on it. Uh, the first is in Psalms 102 beginning with
verse 25 says "Of old did thou lay the foundations of the earth and
the heavens are the work of thy hands. They will perish, but thou dost
endure. They will all wear out like a garment. Thou changest them like
raiment and they pass away." So we have a specific beginning point
that he laid them out. Now let me go to Isaiah 42:5: Thus says God the
Lord who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread forth
the earth and what comes from it. That sounds like it is moving. He
stretched them out, and then there is that scripture that says the
heavens will wax old like a garment and be rolled up like a scroll and
there will be a new heavens and a new earth, which sounds to me like
He exploded it outward and He plans to pull it all in to another
beginning point and to explode it again. Does that not sound like the
context of those scriptures?
Gish: Well, God in His creation may in some way have stretched out
things. We don't know just whether He ... where the stars are now.
I've always assumed where the stars are and the galaxies are that's
where God placed them...
Dobson: That they're not moving apart from each other...
Gish: Well, they may be. I don't know. Even there's a disagreement
among astronomers on that point...
Ross: So you don't believe the universe is expanding?
Gish: I ... don't believe necessarily it is. Of course there are
other astronomers, equally, quite well known who would disagree that
the red shift is necessarily an indication that galaxies are moving
away from us...
Ross: (unintelligible) (probably asking him to name the astronomers
who "would disagree that the red shift is necessarily an indication
that galaxies are moving away from us")
Gish: Anomalies. There's Geoffrey (sp?) Burbage and Hannes Althein
and Halton Arp and many people like that...
Dobson: Good old Halton Arp. Very good friend of mine...
Ross: He *is* a friend of mine...
Dobson: Is that right?
Gish: Certainly not atheists, but they don't accept the current big
bang cosmology. But I want to say that the Bible tells us that on the
first day God created light. Now you take this big bang. And certainly
a big flash. But when these gases expand out into the vast stretches
of the universe I mean it's dark, I mean black, no light anywhere in
the universe at that time, or very little of it, because it expands to
where the temperature is about 100 degrees Kelvin about 100 degrees
above absolute zero and these gases are tremendously expanded and I
don't see that in the scriptures you see. What Hugh believes and what
the big bang cosmologists believe that things started at one point.
The thing exploded, these gases expanded out into the vast stretches
of the universe. That's all there was, there's just hydrogen and
helium there, vastly expanded. There were no stars, no galaxies,
nothing like that. And then somehow from this vastly expanded gas at
low temperatures stars created themselves, and then galaxies created
themselves. Finally our solar system created itself. And then if you
go along with biological evolution then life evolved and went from the
Dobson: But that's a big step that you wouldn't support, or even the
phrase that they created themselves, Hugh, you wouldn't accept that...
Ross: No, I'm not accepting that
Gish: Well, okay. I just have to know: what is the difference, what is
the difference that Hugh believes. I heard Hugh discuss this subject
with Eric Lerner. Now Eric Lerner does not believe in the big bang.
He is an evolutionist - totally - unbeliever and I heard the
discussion and Dr. Dobson, I couldn't tell who was the Christian and
who was the unbeliever, because they were just discussing two
naturalistic theories, evolutionary theories of the origin of the
universe and Hugh was defending the bib bang cosmology, Eric Lerner
was defending the plasma theory and so forth and so on, back and forth
and I couldn't - I wouldn't have known who...
Ross: Well maybe you missed something, Duane. Eric Lerner supports the
idea of an infinitely old universe cause he believes that with
infinite time he doesn't need a creator, and he says so in his book.
He's driven by his atheistic beliefs, and he's threatened by the big
bang because it only gives him billions of years. Now let me throw
out something that I think would be helpful for the layman. The
universe is big, very big, and when you look at the amount of time it
takes light to come from those distant sources to us, it's consistent
not with infinite time - not with thousands of years, but billions of
years. And that's very simple - just the very vastness of the cosmos.
And this is why astronomers say it's easier for them to believe in a
flat earth than a universe only thousands of years old - because they
measure it to be so vast...
Dobson: Duane, you would say that God created the light between us and those
Gish: Well, the Bible does tell us this: That God created the sun and
the stars and He created them to be for signs and seasons on the
earth. Obviously we had to see them immediately - we couldn't wait -
we couldn't wait for billions of years for the light to get here...
Dobson: Well, if we weren't here we wouldn't be waiting.
Gish: Well, that's right, if we weren't here. But I believe we were
here, and God created those stars to be for signs and seasons on the
earth. Now if I were God, I don't know how I would do it otherwise to
make those things visible, you'd have to create the light in between.
No atheist or unbeliever is going to accept that explanation obviously
- he doesn't believe in God. But we have a God who is the Creator and
if God wanted to create that stream of photons in place and so forth
He could have done it...
Ross: He could have done it, Duane, but we have measurements to prove
that He didn't do it that way...
Gish: No, I don't think you have measurements to prove anything...
Ross: Well, let me...
Gish: If you follow your cosmological theories, then...
Ross: As a beam of light travels through space it changes as it
travels through space. The spectral lines are broadened consistent
with the amount of space it's traveled through...
Dobson: Is that the Doppler effect?
Ross: No, it's not the Doppler effect...
Dobson: I'm showing my ignorance...
Ross: Well, the lines from these objects are sharp, but because of
intervening material that jostles back and forth in the line of sight,
the lines get broadened out. Also the continuum radiation, which is
the radiation between the spectral lines, becomes progressively redder
and redder because of the intervening dust.
(everyone tries to talk at once. Laughter)
Ross: If you see a forest fire and the smoke from that fire will make
the sun look red, it's the same effect, so if a beam of light
traverses space, the continuum radiation gets redder and redder and
the spectral lines get broader and broader, and as astronomers make
these measurements on the stars and the galaxies, they establish that
the light actually came from the source, not from some intermediate
Dobson: Now Hugh, from my reading as a layman, and before you get
sassy with me, tell me how to discipline a toddler, you know? Come
over into my area! From my recent readings, especially the spring, of
1992, uh, there's a great deal of excitement in the scientific
community, especially among astronomers, about the discoveries by COBE
as related to the big bang. Put that into the simplest terms you can,
and then Duane, I'd like you to give your reaction to it.
Ross: Well, we're featuring a four page article on it in our next
"Facts and Faith" newsletter, it's at the printer right now, and we're
describing not just that discovery, but four others - five discoveries
in the last two months, and these five discoveries are all consistent
with a particular subclass of big bang models. Before these
discoveries we knew it had to be a big bang because of this tremendous
dissipation of heat that we observe in the universe, but we didn't
know exactly what kind of big bang. Now we do, and because of that
exact definition - more exact than we've ever had before, astronomers
and physicists are coming out of the closet and saying we're looking
at God - that the belief in God today is more credible than it's ever
been in the past 100 years.
Dobson: Dr. Steven Hawking, that I've talked about here on the program
before, whom some people consider to be the brightest man on the face
of the earth said, and this isn't a direct quote, but it's very close,
that this may not only be the most important discovery of the century,
but of all time...
Ross: Right, that is the exact quote. You got it right.
Dobson: You obviously don't agree, Duane.
Gish: I certainly challenge the statement by Dr. Ross that there have
been all these observations the last few weeks that's confirmed the
existence of cold dark matter...
Ross: Exotic matter, Duane...
Gish: ...no radiation, and gives off no heat, you can't see it, no
light, no radiation, no way to detect it. I have an article right here
in front of me, "The Race to Detect Dark Matter" and it says how
tremendously difficult - these are particles - if it exists - not
Ross: Well let me give you ...
Gish: How do you detect matter that is totally exotic, you don't even
know what it is, you've never seen it, it gives off no radiation, it
doesn't give off any light, it's just been postulated to exist because
as you say in your article in one of your publications, "without cold
dark matter we cannot get the universe we have today with the big bang
cosmology". So what you have done is invent another theory to support
your previous theory. It's like saying this: Santa Clause could not
possibly reach all the points on earth in 24 hours. Now we believe in
Santa Clause, we know he must have done it. Well then we invent
another theory: that his reindeer can move at the speed of light.
Therefore it's possible that Santa Clause reached all points in 24
hours. Now this cold dark matter is a reindeer that moved at the speed
of light, it's something that is totally imaginary. No one has seen
it, no one can detect it. It's just postulated you say it must be
Ross: Well, let me try to bring you up to date. It has been detected...
Gish: Well, I, Look...
Dobson: Let him give the answer.
Gish: Those of us at ICR follow these things just as closely as anybody...
Ross: Are you reading the astrophysical journals?
Gish: Reading, astrophysical journals...[unintelligible]
Ross: I've got papers right here with me. This stuff is newly published...
Dobson: Is there any evidence that cold dark matter exists?
Ross: Well, we're talking about exotic matter. There's three kinds of
exotic matter: cold dark matter, warm dark matter and hot dark
Gish: 'Scuse me, what do you mean by, let's define exotic matter, what
do you mean?
Ross: Exotic matter is that kind of matter that does not strongly
interact with radiation. Atoms and molecules, the protons and neutrons
that we're used to - what we call ordinary matter - has the property
that it strongly interacts with radiation. Exotic matter does not, and
there are about 36 different kinds of particles that make up this
Gish: Excuse me, is this exotic matter - is that hypothetical or is
that something you've got in the laboratory...
Ross: Let me finish, OK?
Ross: Because it doesn't strongly interact with radiation it's
difficult to detect at electromagnetic wavelengths - using our
telescopes with light observation, you can't detect it directly by the
light. On the other hand exotic matter uh, exerts gravity. There's a
gravitational tug that it exerts. And what the theory of general
relativity tells us is that massive objects have the capacity of
bending light that comes by them. That was the first proof we had of
general relativity when we saw starlight being bent when it passes by
the sun in a solar eclipse. Well it turns out that galaxies and giant,
massive gas clouds will lense light the same way, and so if we look at
the light of quasars that happened to have between them and us one of
these massive objects we get a measure by measuring that bending of
the total mass that's responsible for that bending. That includes the
ordinary plus the exotic. Now those measurements have been made and
coupled with the first accurate ever measurement of the ordinary mass
of the universe - this was published just eight weeks ago - by the
Hubble telescope, through measuring the deuterium line at ultraviolet
wavelengths it gave us an accurate measure of the ordinary mass. So if
you have an accurate measure of the total mass, you subtract the
ordinary mass, that gives you the exotic mass...
Dobson: Now you, you've gotten us off into very deep water...
Ross: That's only one confirmation...
Dobson: Give me the bottom line, the bottom line is that COBE has
identified some radiation that seems to confirm...
Ross: The bottom line is this: by five separate discoveries, all
independent of one another, they're confirming that we're looking at a
universe that has a few times more exotic matter than ordinary matter
- somewhere between 3 to 10 times as much exotic matter as ordinary
Dobson: And that would have been necessary to have caused the galaxies
Ross: Well, if you don't get the ripples then you don't get the galaxy
structure. Without that ratio of exotic we don't get the boron and
beryllium in the universe. So that's why they're all so excited.
Dobson: Without that the theory crumbles in your view. Is that right,
Gish: Absolutely. Hugh himself has said that. He says that in one of
his articles. He says here, "It is impossible for galaxies to clump
the way they do without some kind and amount of cold dark matter
playing a significant role in the dynamics of galaxy clustering. You
gotta have cold dark matter...
Dobson: I have a tough question for each of you and I would really
like, cause I don't want this to get away from me without dealing with
it. Hugh, my greatest problem with the perspective you come from, and
it's very, uh, well it's almost arrogant for me to even debate you
guys because I have so little information. But from my understanding
of the Bible, my greatest problem is that I understand that sickness
and death and sorrow and pain came into the world with Adam's sin.
That was a perfect world, that the Garden of Eden was perfect, without
flaw prior to Adam and Eve's sin, and at that moment sorrow and
suffering came into the world. Well that was obviously very late in
the scheme of things, and the way you describe the earth being
billions of years old, means that that violent world of animals had to
occur for eons prior to Adam's sin - that creates problems for me -
one animal ripping apart and eating another one and all of that
process - I don't understand how that's consistent with our
understanding of the Genesis account of Adam and Eve.
Ross: Well, I remember a Bible study at CalTech when we were studying
Revelation 21, and several of us discovered in the text that the laws
of physics radically change with the new creation. You have this
universe removed from existence with its constants and laws of
physics, and replaced by a brand new universe with different laws and
constants of physics. And the question is, why? Well what happens at
that transformation is that God has permanently conquered the problem
of evil, suffering, pain and death, and with the removal of these
things, there's no longer a need for this universe. Back to Romans
8:22: The entire creation groans waiting for the adoption of sons.
Literally the whole universe is groaning. In other words I believe
that God built into this universe those equations of physics and
constants of physics so that once man chose to introduce evil into the
system, God could very quickly, in a matter of just thousands of
years, conquer that problem of evil and then take us into the universe
He had planned for us all along. But He wants to wait until that
problem is permanently conquered before He takes us in there.
Dobson: Duane, the concern that I expressed is...
Gish: I don't think Hugh answered your concern. I... I.... what you
expressed a concern that there was death and pain and suffering before
the sin of Adam, before man rebelled against God, and I don't think
Hugh even attempted to answer that problem - I didn't find the answer
there. There is a problem, of course. If there's always pain and
suffering and you have these hominids, whatever they were, subhuman
and uh, dying and uh, for billions of years or millions of years
before Adam sinned, then death did not come into the world then by
Adam's sin. It was here in abundance before that. Now, maybe, maybe
Hugh would say that human death came in at that time, uh, I don't know
whether he would say something lower than man was dying at that time
and, you know I think...
Ross: That's correct, I believe that that act brought about human death...
Gish: Well, let me tell you another reason why we're concerned about
this, and I want to bring in another person here - a person we're
concerned about, a person whose views have evolved, I should use that
word objectively, evolved considerably, and that's a man uh, Dr. Davis
Young who's a geologist who started out believing in the Flood - by
the way we haven't mentioned the Flood - Hugh did not mention the
flood. Hugh does not believe in a global Flood. Now there's no way
you can read that Scripture and get anything but a global flood. Now
the Flood, I mean...
Ross: How about a universal flood?
Gish: A global flood...
Ross: I believe in a universal flood...
Gish: But you don't believe in a global flood...
Ross: Well the two terms are not necessarily synonymous... they're
only synonymous to twentieth century readers...
Gish: Don't do it with semantics. Did the flood waters cover the
Ross: All of mankind was destroyed and all the animals associated with
Gish: Ah, no, no, no...
(everyone tries to talk at once)
Dobson: We'll do well to settle the Young Earth theory without getting
into the ...
Gish: You know, Davis Young, and we're really concerned with this.
Here's an article he published, entitled "Theology and natural
science" and this was in The Reformed Journal, May of 1988, on page
15. Now here's a man who originally believed in the Flood and so forth
and he got into geology and now he more or less believes in evolution
and so forth and so on. He says this, he says, "Human antiquity does
raise some interesting questions, " 'cause he said here that he
believes that humans are possibly hundreds of thousands of years old -
that is, they came on the earth hundreds of thousands of years ago. He
says this, "Human antiquity does raise some interesting questions. One
problem concerns the traditional view of the transmission of the
creation, fall and Cain and Abel narratives. The older view is that
these narratives are accounts that were handed down from early times
and that the near eastern myths are corrupted versions of the truth.
The antiquity of the race precludes written accounts dating back to
the first humans, and it strains credulity to accept the idea that
these narratives were transmitted verbally and without corruption for
thousands of years until they were written down."
Ross: But you know, Duane, I don't believe any of that.
Gish: You see what he says? Here's a man...
Ross: I don't believe that...
Gish: ... believe in these old ages and things like that and he says
now, "we got a problem. It really strains credulity to believe that
Cain and Abel, Garden of Eden, the Fall, could really be true.
Ross: I believe they are true.
Gish: Well good. I'm glad for that view - I'm - praise the Lord.