Gravitational Waves Detected: What It Means to Us
On February 11, 2016, physicists were excited to announce that the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory directly detected, for the first time, gravitational waves from the cosmos. What is the significance of this discovery to creationists?
Though many of the predictions of Einstein’s general theory of relativity have been verified repeatedly over the years, making it one of the most evidence-supported theories in science, his prediction of the existence of gravitational waves was not observed for decades. According to the theory, the occurrence of certain cosmological events (e.g., “spiraling neutron stars”1) should result in “ripples in the fabric of space and time”—gravitational waves.2 Sure enough, what is thought by many to have been the collision of two black holes 1.3 billion light years away from us, “sent a shudder through the Universe” that reached Earth five months ago.3 This discovery is a great victory for science and cosmology, but what does it mean to the alleged Big Bang and the Creation model?
Essentially nothing. Some of those who have contacted us concerning the new discovery were under the impression that it overturned the verdict last year that Big Bang gravitational waves were not discovered, as had been supposed.4 Recall that Big Bang inflation (i.e., the violent, rapid expansion of the Universe immediately after the supposed Big Bang) was proposed by evolutionary cosmologists to try to fix the Horizon and Flatness problems in the cosmos, which effectively falsified the Big Bang. If Big Bang inflation was true, however, gravitational waves from the inflation event should have accompanied it, but no evidence for those waves has ever surfaced. In 2014 the claim was made that Big Bang gravitational waves were discovered,5 but within months, the claim was invalidated.6 The waves recently discovered are not said to be Big Bang gravitational waves as those from 2014 were, but rather, what we might call Black Hole Collision gravitational waves—waves from an event that is thought to have transpired, not 13.8 billion years ago at the alleged Big Bang, but rather, 12.5 billion years later. In other words, gravitational waves can come from various phenomena beyond merely a “Big Bang,” as the current discovery attests. [NOTE: We do not subscibe to the Big Bang Theory or the idea that the Universe is billions of years old. Neither are reconcilable with Scripture or science. We are just responding to the idea that the discovery of gravitational waves helps prove the Big Bang.]
While the discovery might help cosmologists more easily detect gravitational waves from the cosmos in the future, the discovery does nothing to help “Big Bangers” validate their theory. The Big Bang still stands under the dark shroud of blind faith—evidence-less conjecture. In the words of Paul Steinhardt, theoretical physicist and professor at Princeton, “the inflationary paradigm is so flexible that it is immune to experimental and observational tests…. [T]he paradigm of inflation is unfalsifiable…. [I]t is clear that the inflationary paradigm is fundamentally untestable, and hence scientifically meaningless.”7
1 Gibney, Elizabeth (2016), “What To Look Out For in 2016,” Nature, 529:14.
7Steinhardt, Paul (2014), “Big Bang Blunder Bursts the Multiverse Bubble,” Nature, 510:9, June 5.