By Mike Hore
First Published 14 March 2013
Spike Psarris has a website (creationastronomy.com), in which he promotes a YEC view of astronomy. The site gives this info about Spike:
“Spike Psarris was previously an engineer in the United States’ military space program. He entered that program as an atheist and an evolutionist. He left it as a creationist and a Christian.This site is dedicated to exposing the bankruptcy of the evolutionary model, especially in astronomy.”
Spike currently has two DVDs available, Our Created Solar System, and Our Created Stars and Galaxies. These are subtitled, What You Aren’t Being Told About Astronomy.
Spike has of course been criticized by atheists on a number of grounds. As a fellow-Christian, I’m not going to attack him personally, or accuse him of lying. He is not being deceptive or insincere in any way. I rejoice that he has renounced atheism and become a Christian. Also, his DVDs have magnificent pictures and are well worth watching for these alone. If you have become a Christian as a result of watching these DVDs, that’s absolutely fantastic. The last thing I want to do is mess with your faith. I’m just concerned that if your new faith is tied to belief in a young Universe or Solar System, you later might become convinced by the weight of evidence that it really is old, and have your faith shaken.
In a single article there’s no way I can discuss all the points raised in two hours of DVD material, so I’ll just try to bring out what seem to me to be the main issues.
First, Spike’s website doesn’t have much information yet. Basically, to get all his arguments, you have to buy his DVDs. The problem here is that realistically, it will be mainly YECs who are willing to fork out for these, and so Spike is preaching to the choir. We could conclude that Spike is not opening himself to a wider peer-review process, by not at least making the text of his presentations available for download somewhere.
Next, Spike has been heavily criticized for using the term “evolutionist” to describe anybody who believes the Universe is old. The problem is that “evolution” can mean different things. It can mean biological evolution (and can mean micro- or macro- evolution). But in astronomy, it refers to the change and development of astronomical objects (stars, galaxies etc) over time. Spike himself makes this clear near the start of his first DVD, and apparently has no problem with accepting astronomical evolution (after creation, of course). But the critics assume the first meaning and say that Spike is invalidly bringing biology into astronomy. Spike responds (on his website) that he’s using the second meaning. But that doesn’t add up, because he constantly refers to his opponents as “evolutionists”, so he could hardly be including himself. It appears he’s really using the first meaning. Not only that, but he’s apparently labelling even Old Earth Creationists as “evolutionists”. This is a bit irritating.
Next, Spike’s main point throughout these DVDs is that we aren’t being told the whole truth about astronomy, and that if we were actually told all the uncomfortable facts, we’d see that the Universe just couldn’t possibly be old. Now this is a very strong claim. YECs frequently point to problems in various scientific theories, and state that it makes more sense that God just did it, around 6000 years ago. But Spike is saying much more than this. He’s saying that currently accepted scientific facts, faced squarely, actually disprove an old Universe.
Well, if this were really so, wouldn’t many astronomers be YECs? Yet we don’t see boatloads of astronomers embracing a young Universe, and (I can’t stress this strongly enough) many mainstream astronomers are Bible-believing Christians! Just take Hugh Ross and his co-workers as an obvious example (www.reasons.org).
Also, with such a strong claim, all it would take to disprove it in one area would be to present a possible scenario as to how a situation could arise by natural causes over a long period of time. Note that we wouldn’t have to prove that this had actually happened, just that it was possible. Let me take an example off Spike’s website (see the “Controversies” tab). In his first DVD Spike claims that the secular model of the Solar System’s formation predicts that Uranus and Neptune can’t exist. Now this is just too simplistic. Naturalistic models of the Solar System’s formation are still in their infancy. The computational problems are immense and in some cases intractable with current computers, and we can’t see the processes actually going on today, just make inferences from the final result. A huge amount of work remains to be done. So simply pointing to one part of one current theory and making a claim that it predicts that a particular planet can’t exist, just won’t wash, unless you’re already a YEC. Yet Spike ridicules a new proposal that Jupiter and Saturn shifted in their orbits and caused Uranus to move as well. To quote: “To rescue the model, scientists are making up stories about how things used to be different, and then planets started playing pinball with each other. Is this science? No, it's storytelling. Not even good storytelling, at that.” But you can surely see that this misses the point. The point isn’t whether this particular scenario actually happened—the point is that it could have happened. Computer simulations have shown that it’s physically possible. Spike objects several times on this page that various theories are just storytelling—yet this is all that we can do at this very early point in the develoment of a full theory of the Solar System’s formation. And these “stories” are really physically plausible. This itself is enough to disprove Spike’s claim that science disproves a young Universe.
Finally, in his first DVD, Spike repeatedly ridicules theories of planetary formation that require collisions with asteroids to produce a particular result. We see a graphic of an asteroid approaching together with a trumpet fanfare. Very amusing, but the simple fact is that if the Solar System formed by natural processes, then before the planets accreted, there must have been a colossal number of smaller bodies which were colliding with each other. So it would be hardly surprising if today we actually see some evidence that this happened! It’s easy to poke fun at a theory that’s still in its infancy, but it does count as a rather cheap shot.
So, why is Spike so opposed to mainstream scientific views on the Solar System’s formation? These certainly have difficulties, as with any scientific discipline in its early years. But experience shows that any “God of the gaps” gets the boot eventually. I can only conclude that the real heart of Spike’s objection is that the fact that the natural processes inevitably take billions of years. Spike says several times in his DVDs, words such as “It makes more sense that God created it, just as the Bible says, about 6000 years ago.” Now with his atheist background, Spike would hardly be familiar with the idea that the Bible teaches a 6000-year-old Universe. Where would he get this from? He certainly didn’t get it from Hugh Ross! Maybe he was exposed to YEC teaching as a kid. Maybe he was later evangelized by a YEC believer who in fact “added to the Gospel” something that isn’t necessary for salvation, and that the Bible in any case doesn’t teach (as many articles on this website show). This part is sad, though we can certainly at least rejoice that Spike is now in the Kingdom.
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