In “Biblical accounts of creation and young Earth never proven wrong” (Times-News, July 13), Gary Klavuhn writes, “We can see starlight from billions of light-years distant from Earth, yet only 6,000 years after creation.” There is loads of scientific evidence about the first half of that sentence — about light-years.
A light-year is a measure involving distance and time. One light-year (about six trillion miles) is how far — the distance — that light can travel through space in one year — the time. An object’s light-year distance, therefore, reveals the time that the object’s light has been traveling.
For example, the sun is about 90 million miles from us, so sunlight (traveling at about 186,000 miles per second) takes — only — about eight minutes to reach us. Most other objects in space are farther away.
For instance, light from some planets (actually sunlight reflected off their surfaces) takes hours to reach Earth. So seeing Neptune, for example, is seeing how that planet looked about four hours ago.
Most stars are at least trillions of miles away, so their light takes years to reach Earth. The closest star to us is Proxima Centauri — about four light-years away. Its light takes about four years to reach us, so when we see Proxima, we are seeing how that star looked about four years ago.
One of the most distant stars within our Milky Way Galaxy is ULASJ0744+25, which is just shy of a million light years away, meaning that it takes almost a million years for its light to reach Earth. We cannot see how ULAS J0744+25 looks today. We only see how it looked roughly a million years ago, because its light had to leave that star that long ago to be able to reach Earth by now. If ULASJ0744+25 has been shining for a million years, then it obviously has to be a million years old.
Galaxies are farther away, some are billions of light years away. Quasars might be over 10 billion light years away. These galaxies and quasars had to have been shining billions of years ago for their light to have reached us from that great distance by now. For these galaxies and quasars to have been shining billions of years, they clearly have to be billions of years old.
When Mr. Klavuhn writes that we can see objects “billions of light-years distant from Earth,” that is the same as telling us the age of those objects. Light from objects that are billions of light-years away had to have left those objects billions of years in the past in order for that light to have reached us by now. In order to have been shining for billions of years, those objects, accordingly and logically, have to be billions of years old. Common sense!
In contrast to the scientific evidence establishing the direct relationship between an object’s light years away and its age, the belief in a merely 6,000-year-old universe is essentially rooted in tradition, religious doctrine and attributions to an ancient holy book.
People who believe in a mere 6,000-year age of the Earth perhaps are unaware of the overwhelming scientific evidence that the universe is billions of years old, perhaps they are ignoring the evidence, or perhaps they cannot abandon or forsake the stories told to them back in their Sunday school days.
The July 13 reader commentary, titled “Biblical accounts of creation and young Earth never proven wrong,” could just as easily have been titled: “Biblical accounts of creation and a young Earth have never been proven correct.”