- (Photo: Reuters/Keith Vanderlinde/National Science Foundation/Handout)
Answers in Genesis, an organization led by Ken Ham, says that a new discovery in the big bang theory where researchers claim that the universe was created in a split-second billions of years ago, contradicts what some biblical creationists believe about the world.
"This announcement undoubtedly will be welcomed as the long-sought proof of cosmic inflation so necessary to the Big Bang model," AiG wrote in an article on Monday, referring to the discovery by a team of astronomers at the South Pole conducting an experiment called BICEP2.
"Biblical creationists know from Scripture that the universe did not begin in a Big Bang billions of years ago. For instance, from God's Word we understand that the world is far younger than this. Furthermore, we know from Genesis 1 that God made the earth before He made the stars, but the Big Bang requires that many stars existed for billions of years before the earth did."
The astronomers, led by John Kovac of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, said in a news release on Monday that they have found the first direct evidence of cosmic inflation, the theory that 14 billion years ago the universe burst into existence and expanded rapidly following the Big Bang.
The BICEP2 telescope at the South Pole has apparently found direct evidence for that theory by observing the cosmic microwave background, which is a faint glow left over from the Big Bang. The data is also said to confirm the connection between quantum mechanics and general relativity.
"Tiny fluctuations in this afterglow provide clues to conditions in the early universe. For example, small differences in temperature across the sky show where parts of the universe were denser, eventually condensing into galaxies and galactic clusters," the press release states.
"Since the cosmic microwave background is a form of light, it exhibits all the properties of light, including polarization. On Earth, sunlight is scattered by the atmosphere and becomes polarized, which is why polarized sunglasses help reduce glare. In space, the cosmic microwave background was scattered by atoms and electrons and became polarized too."
Reflecting on the results, Harvard theorist Avi Loeb said that the data from the experiment is not only a "smoking gun" for cosmic inflation, but can also suggest how powerful the event was and when it took place.
"We're very excited to present our results because they seem to match the prediction of the theory so closely," Kovac said in an interview, according to The Washington Post. "But it's the case that science can never actually prove a theory to be true. There could always be an alternative explanation that we haven't been clever enough to think of."
AiG, which promotes a literal interpretation of the creation account in Genesis, says that the discovery does not prove cosmic inflation but merely rules out other versions of the theory.
"Inflation is just one of many free parameters that cosmologists have at their disposal within the Big Bang model, so they can alter these parameters at will to get the intended result," AiG argued. "So, even if the data are confirmed, there may be some other physical mechanism at play rather than cosmic inflation."