Does the red shift prove the universe is expanding and billions of years old?

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If light shines through a prism, it breaks it up into the rainbow colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. If you take starlight and shine it through a prism, by putting a prism on the back of your telescope, the light comes through and gets broken up into these different colors as well. This is how we tell what a star is composed of because different elements burn different colors. For example copper burns green. Each element produces a distinctive color. You can learn a lot about a star from the light. However, as they look at the colors that it produces via spectroscopes, there are little black lines in starlight that are shifted toward the red. This is called the red shift. What would be causing this red shift? Why would some of these stars have the black lines shifted over toward the red?

There are several theories about what is causing this red shift. The most commonly accepted theory, and probably the only one taught in the textbooks, is that the red shift is caused by what is known as the Doppler Effect. If you have ever been waiting at the train tracks when a train is coming, you know that the sound is higher pitched as the train is approaching and lower as it passes. As the train is coming toward you it is squeezing the sound waves making the pitch go up. When the train is moving away from you it is stretching the sound waves causing the pitch to go down. This is the Doppler Effect.

The theory is that if a star was moving toward us, it would squeeze the light waves giving it a blue shift. And if the star was leaving us it would give us a red shift because it would stretch the light out. That’s the theory anyway. Nobody really knows what causes it for sure. We certainly cannot tell the distance to a star based off of the red shift. However, this is exactly what they try to do. They look at stars and the ones red shifted more, they say, are further away. This is simply not true.

“Quasar with enormous red shift found embedded in nearby spiral galaxy with far lower red shift: unsolvable riddle for big bang astronomy. This changes the whole view of the universe – big bang astronomy will never be the same” (Dr. John G. Harnett, Australia 12 January 2005). Now how can we have two objects that are supposed to be different distances at the same location? Well, this is not a problem if you realize that you can’t trust the red shift to measure the distance.

“We now know that faintness arises from two causes [distance and absorbing matter in space], and it is not generally possible to apportion it accurately between the two” (Jeans, James, The Universe Around Us, New York: Cambridge University Press, 1969). Here is what’s happening: they look at a star and estimate it to be 4 billion light years away. Then they look at another star that is half as bright and assume that it is 8 billion light years away. Now this is all logical, if there is nothing in between absorbing or scattering the light. Just because a star is dimmer doesn’t necessarily mean that it is farther. It may be that something such as a dust cloud is in between the star and us.

The bible says in Isaiah 45:12 that God stretched out the heavens. The fact that God stretched out the heavens is mentioned 17 times in the bible. Here are a couple of options of what may be causing this red shift. Keep in mind, the red shift is probably the ONLY bit of scientific data that is used to support the big bang theory. They look at the stars and see all the red shifts out there and then conclude that all the stars are moving away. They go even further and assume that all the stars used to be in one spot and then the big bang scattered them all out in space.

Here are some things that might be causing the red shift. It could be the stretching from the creation. If the stars are moving away because they were stretched out into space, that would cause a red shift. The red shift could simply be the effects of traveling through space. Is space really nothing or is there something in space? Is light going through anything when it goes through space? Maybe the red shift is caused by the Doppler Effect. However, in no way does this show that the universe is billions of years old.

(From the Questions and Answers DVD by Dr. Kent Hovind. His materials are not copyrighted.)

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