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Astronomical observation - witnessing the distant past

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  • Todd S. Greene
    Excerpt from: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080404201105.htm Due to the finite speed of light, these observations allow astronomers to look
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 30, 2008
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      Excerpt from:
      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080404201105.htm

      "Due to the finite speed of light, these observations allow
      astronomers to look back in time over 10 billion years...."

      So many young earth creationists in the rhetoric that they use not
      only seem to show that they are not even aware of the basic fact that
      astronomical observation is literally witnessing the past, but when
      you point it out to them they seem to be incapable of comprehending
      this basic fact. Not all of them, just a great many of them. (For
      those who fail to comprehend science, the "I'm going to believe what I
      believe regardless of the scientific facts" syndrome is very strong.)
      This is just another example of how pervasive adherence to a belief in
      young earth creationism is based not just on religious belief and
      scientific illiteracy, but the scientific illiteracy itself is a
      symptom of the incompetence in comprehending basic concepts about the
      physical features and processes of the real world.

      One of the many verbal tricks (word games) that young earth
      creationists love to use in their rhetoric is the rhetorical question:
      "How do you know the world was around millions of years ago? Were you
      there?"

      In the context of astronomical observation, because of the very nature
      of what it is, the answer to this question is, "Yes, we are there in
      the past, but strictly through observation alone, because by
      astronomical observation we are literally witnessing events that took
      place in the distant past."

      - Todd Greene

      ================================================================

      Witnessing the Formation of Distant Galaxies
      by Anita Heward
      (Royal Astronomical Society, 4/4/2008)

      UK astronomers have produced the most sensitive infrared map of the
      distant Universe ever undertaken. Combining data over a period of
      three years, they have produced an image containing over 100,000
      galaxies over an area four times the size of the full Moon. Some of
      the first results from this project will be presented by Dr Sebastien
      Foucaud from the University of Nottingham on Friday 4th April at the
      RAS National Astronomy Meeting in Belfast.

      Due to the finite speed of light, these observations allow astronomers
      to look back in time over 10 billion years, producing images of
      galaxies in the Universe's infancy. The image is so large and so deep
      that thousands of galaxies can be studied at these early epochs for
      the first time. By observing in the infrared, astronomers can now peer
      further back in time, since light from the most distant galaxies is
      shifted towards redder wavelengths as it travels through the expanding
      Universe.

      "I would compare these observations to the ice cores drilled deep into
      the Antarctic," said Dr Foucaud. "Just as they allow us to peer back
      in time, our ultra-deep image allows us to look back and observe
      galaxies evolving at different stages in cosmic history, all the way
      back to just 1 billion years after the Big Bang".
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