High Energy Relativistic Creation v. Evolution
Success in teaching a difficult subject, such as high school physics, depends upon winning the trust of the students. Often students come to class with the notion that science and religion are in conflict with one another. It seems to be human nature to try to drive wedges between these two subjects. What is a physics teacher to do if a student brings up the following wedge? Physics tells us that the universe has been around for 14 billion years. My religion says it was all created in 6 days. Which is the truth?
The teacher who dismisses this question as being not pertinent to the subject, or provides a one sided answer immediately loses the trust of the student who has asked it. On the other hand, the teacher who takes the time to turn such a wedge into a point of connection will easily win the trust and respect of the inquiring student.
In his Theory of Special Relativity, Albert Einstein gives us a way to view 6 days and 14 billion years as equal times as long as they take place in different frames of reference! Using the Twin Paradox as an example, imagine that one of two twins is an astronaut who volunteers for a trip in a near light speed space ship while the other remains on Earth. He/she takes off at near light speed to get a closer look at a solar system that is 7 billion light years away. Given the speed at which this astronaut is traveling, the trip takes only 6 days. As the astronaut gets closer to Earth he/she is very eager to share his/her experiences with his/her twin. Sadly, as the astronaut approaches our solar system he/she realizes that out solar system is 14 billion years older and humanity has totally vanished from the face of the Earth!
The following is Einstein's Time Dilation Equation:
t = to / [1 - (v2 / c2)]1/2
c = the speed of light and v = the speed at which the astronaut must travel.
Q: Which t is Earth time and which t is astronaut time in the equation above?
Note: From this point on, when a question in bold print is encountered, please pause and try to answer it in your mind before scrolling down to see if it is printed below. By the way, if you don't find an answer printed below, your homework is to try to find the answer by other means..
A: Given that the tern (v2 / c2) approaches one as v approaches the speed of light, the term to must be the smaller or astronaut time and thus t will be the much larger Earth time.
For the sake of simplification lets change to, the time in the high speed frame of reference, to tV and t, the time on Earth, to tE.
tE = tV / [1 - (v2 / c2)]1/2
Q: Are you clear on the meaning of the term in brackets raised to the 1/2 power? Do you know what this means?
A: This is another way to show a square root.
The Big Question:
Q: Is it possible to calculate the speed at which God worked to create our universe in 6 days leaving us with evidence of 14 billion years of evolution?
Q: To proceed with the above, do we need both times in the same units?
A: Absolutely: tv = 6.00 days, tE = (1.4 x 109 years) x (365.25 days/yr.) = 5.05 x 1011 days
Q: What is the first thing we must do in the process of solving the equation above for v?
A: Squaring the tE and the tv removes the need for a 1/2 power. t E2 = tV2 / [1 - (v2 / c2)]
Q: Would it help to have variables in the brackets on the left side of the equation?
A: Well, what do you think? 1 - (v2 / c2) = tV2 / tE2
Q: How do we get rid of the negative sign in front of the parentheses?
A: This is a very shifty process! v2 / c2 = 1 - (tv2 / tE2)
Q: Can you explain how we went from the equation above to the equation below?
v = [ c2 x (1 - (tv2 / tE2)) ]1/2
Q: What if we express the speed of light as the number one, c = 1.00?
v = [ 1 - (tv2 / tE2) ]1/2
Q: Figuratively speaking, are we now in a position to calculate the speed of God's creation as a fraction of the speed of light?
A: Do the math and then fill in the empty spaces with the numbers from your calculator: 0.9 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ x c
Q: Given the measurements that we used in this calculation, is the answer above expressed to the correct number of significant figures?
Note: If you have have any comments or suggestions regarding this activity, please e-mail Don Kanner at firstname.lastname@example.org