I had advocated Barry Setterfield’s decaying speed of light model as a possible mechanism for seeing distant starlight on shorter time scales than billions of years. At this time I need to appraise those who have followed my defense of Barry’s theory, that I no longer think Setterfield’s versions of the c-decay are workable as stated.
Although we still have potentially anomalous data points in the measurement of the speed of light that could argue for a universal, isotropic decaying speed of light (as reported in Nature), and even though Joao Magueijo, John Barrow, Paul Davies have argued for the possibility that the speed of light was universally faster in the past, I have not been able to resolve difficulties in Setterfield’s c-decay model.
Changing of the speed of light and attendant changes in other constants (like Plank’s constant) can lead to insurmountable problems. However, this does not preclude other mechanisms for seeing distant starlight in a short amount of time.
Independent of theology, there are empirical reasons we might think distant starlight reaches us quickly as I stated in this discussion Distant Starlight, the thorn in the side of YEC and there are theoretical reasons for the desirability of varying speed of light to solve problems which inflation cosmology cannot solve.
To that end I’d like to point out that I concurred with Dr. Jerry Jellison and WT Brigman that they had uncovered errors in Setterfield’s work, and I conveyed my criticism to Barry Setterfield. Barry is a good friend, and I’m sorry I must disagree with my good friend.
Below is Jellison and Bridgman’s essay on Setterfield’s work 2007.
Analysis of the Variable Lightspeed (c-Decay) Theory of Barry Setterfield
I’m only posting it now because I needed a few years and a lot of study in physics to think on the matter. Here are some relevant highlight from Jellison and Bridgman:
The precise nature of the error was communicated to him [Setterfield], and an Excel spreadsheet verifying the error was posted on the website by Cordova. Setterfield’s response was that “software packages” often fail to “pick up on” certain algebraic identities, and that this was undoubtedly the case here. He also claimed to have re-checked his derivation, and verified that it was correct. However, Cordova expressed the opinion that there really was a problem. At this point, after about a month of arguing the matter, Setterfield acknowledged the error.
The decision to write this report was occasioned by Salvador Cordova’s expressed willingness to post it on his creationist web site. Mr. Cordova carried through on his promise and, in so doing, exposed Setterfield’s theory to what may be its most intense scientific criticism. Although we do not endorse the content of many of Cordova’s posts on the youngcosmos.com discussion forum and blog, we do acknowledge his willingness to side with us against Setterfield when he saw the correctness of our arguments. In addition, we acknowledge the role the youngcosmos.com discussions had in our developing understanding of the weaknesses of the c-decay theory.
In Nature for April 4, 1931, Gheury de Bray commented: “If the velocity of light is constant, how is it that, INVARIABLY, new determinations give values which are lower than the last one obtained. … There are twenty-two coincidences in favour of a decrease of the velocity of light, while there is not a single one against it.”
A team of Australian scientists has proposed that the speed of light may not be a constant, a revolutionary idea that could unseat one of the most cherished laws of modern physics — Einstein’s theory of relativity.
The team, led by theoretical physicist Paul Davies of Sydney’s Macquarie University, say it is possible that the speed of light has slowed over billions of years.
If so, physicists will have to rethink many of their basic ideas about the laws of the universe.
“That means giving up the theory of relativity and E=mc squared and all that sort of stuff,” Davies told Reuters.
Call it heresy, but all the big cosmological problems will simply melt away, if you break one rule, says John D. Barrow–the rule that says the speed of light never varies
One advantage that the varying light speed hypothesis has over inflation is that it does not require unknown gravitationally repulsive forms of matter. It works with forms of matter and radiation that are known to be present in the Universe today. Another advantage is that it offers a possible explanation for the lambda problem–something inflation has yet to solve.
4. I pointed out there is evidence that the speed of light may change locally:
Vodka! Return of the Aether (some help perhaps for YECs).
5. some of the anomalies I suggested to Barry were problems of the spectroscopic binary stars in the globular clusters, the anomaly still remains, but we don’t know what it signifies
6. there is simply too much we don’t know, we need more observations and experiments
7. I mentioned the relevance of these considerations to ID here: Cocktails! The Relevance of YEC to ID
8. Apologies to JGUY and others whom I may have led astray in the past regarding my physics errors.
9. Thanks to Dr. Jellison and Dr. Stephen Cheesman for the inspiration to study physics