Quote# 83461

[Discussing special relativity, one user argues that the speed of light is constant, because otherwise the light-year would not be a consistently defined unit of distance.]

Empirical data suggest that the speed of light has changed over time, and as recently as 1/6th of the universe's lifetime.

You comments, like "distances were measured in ... light-years, and that only makes sense if the speed is constant," is a political statement, not a scientific one. Likewise for stating that "finding a variable c would now violate so much physics ...." Is this what university science has become - ignoring the data to preserve the reputation of some current and past professors?

Andrew Schlafly, Conservapedia 50 Comments [8/28/2011 5:07:24 AM]
Fundie Index: 78
Submitted By: Wehpudicabok

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Hadn't had a chance to log on in ages and blew my brand new irony meter on the first quote.
The rest of us my have C as a constant Andy is obviously tuning his to concert pitch.

8/28/2011 5:24:45 AM


I eagerly await the day when Schlafly attempts to create a wholly-Biblically-correct form of mathematics that does away with such demonic concepts as imaginary numbers.

8/28/2011 5:33:18 AM


...says the Grand Master of ignoring data to preserve the reputation of some ancient sky-bully.

8/28/2011 5:44:31 AM


General fail all round. Assfly's fail is to be expected, but arguing that c must be constant (in a vacuum) because it is used as the basis of a measure of distance is a bit of a backwards argument: a light-year is a human construct, not a law of nature. c is a constant because so far all empirical data confirms that it is, not because we measure things by it.

(How is it a political statement? Is the inconstancy of c enshrined in the Republican manifesto, or something?)

Oh, and Andy: would your 'empirical data' be called 'Genesis', by any chance?

8/28/2011 5:53:33 AM


Can we see this empirical data anytime soon, Andy? Or is it located in the same place as your brain - straight up your arse.

8/28/2011 6:11:05 AM


Strictly speaking, the speed of light depends on the medium through which it travels. Light is slower in most glasses than it is in air. It can be almost entirely stopped using a Bose-Einstein condensate. This is why 'c' is properly defined as not the speed of light, but the speed of light in a vacuum.

The best evidence we currently have indicates that c has not changed significantly since the universe was very young (right around the time the first protons were forming). Why an economics teacher would believe himself qualified to debate this is beyond me.

8/28/2011 6:12:53 AM

Raised by Horses

Your holy book states that the Sun revolves around the Earth, and you're discussing special relativity?

Oh, Andy. Where would the world of satire be without you?

8/28/2011 6:16:25 AM


Wow. Using a consistent unit of measurement for really big things is a political statement now? Is ANYTHING apolitical in Schlafly's universe?

Re: "decreasing c"

The first few measurements taken of the speed of light did in fact show a slight decrease--because of the increased accuracy of the equipment. After two hundred years or so (the speed of light, IIRC, was first measured in the 17th century), the measured value of c did not decrease, but remained constant. Thus, it's far more likely that c is constant and we're measuring more accurately now, than that c was decreasing from the beginning of time until a couple of centuries ago and then just randomly STOPPED CHANGING.

8/28/2011 6:34:24 AM


Actually, in reading the discussion, it seems that a few other people already smacked him down on this count. Andy is a young-Earth creationist and the paper he cites does not indicate that the speed of light in a vacuum may have changed. It instead indicates that a new "constant" the authors appear to have created, alpha, may have changed a few parts in 10^5 around two billion years ago. It presents little evidence that this would cause a change in c. Better yet, more recent studies with more precise measurements have found no variation in this new alpha constant.

Andy also says "Relativity assumes that, rather than predicts it. I think relavitist purists would actually say all that is needed is a maximum velocity, whether that is "c" or something else. Many would not be genuinely surprised if velocities slightly faster than c are ultimately attained, and c itself may be changing over time.". Every scientist I know who deals with relativistic effects would be extremely surprised by that, because if faster-than-light travel were possible, it would violate causality.

8/28/2011 6:43:50 AM

Snopester in Exile

To be fair, these are both stupid arguments.

8/28/2011 7:39:15 AM


E=MC^2. In other words, if light was faster (to accommodate for a 6000 year old universe), energy output would increase astronomically and the Sun would have instantly barbecued Adam and Eve.

8/28/2011 7:43:07 AM


You don't have the math, but when did that ever stop you, Assfly? If you stuck to what you know, versus the crap you believe, we would never hear another word from you. Furthermore, "political statement?" As opposed to all your special pleading religious statements? You sound less coherent than Rainman, Andy, and it's getting worse.

8/28/2011 8:13:48 AM

Doubting Thomas

The thing that irritates me about comments like this is that if the speed of light remaining constant over millions of years somehow proved or otherwise offered support of something in the bible being true, they'd be unwavering in their defense of how the speed of light can never change. But since it shows that one of their core beliefs, that of a 6,000-year-old universe, is false, then they use every means at their disposal to argue against it. I guess it's the way they always try to use sciency-sounding arguments to prove their arguments, when real science proves otherwise.

8/28/2011 8:16:01 AM


The first measurement of the speed of light was done around 1600. More than 400 years have passed since. Since more than 100 years, we are making ultra-precise measurements of the speed of light. The speed hasn't changed in these several centuries (taking the limits of the crude and imprecise instrumentation of former centries into account).

Assuming that Andy tries to defend YEC here, he would need to claim that the speed of light was overwhelming higher 6000 years ago, and then dropped rapidly to todays value, staying constant since 400 years.

Andy, I know you would rather bite your tongue off than to admit that you are wrong, but: Another fine example of Mr. Schlafly desperately trying to adjust reality to his fantasy world. So desperately that he has long crossed the border to pure ridiculousness.

Mr. Schlafly is one of the biggest jokes in fundieworld.

8/28/2011 8:32:29 AM


E=MC2. IE the speed of light is relative to the other factors of mass and energy. So 1000 years ago (by your calender), mass and energy were also different? Imagine the carnage.
"Is this what university science has become - ignoring the data to preserve the reputation of some current and past professors?"

I don't know where to start. If you had any knowledge of science, you would know that the Earth isn't 6000 years old, that evolution is true, and that a global flood is, and has always been, impossible. So why the tone of surprise? And you're talking about ignoring the data? Really? I'd love a tour of your mind someday.

8/28/2011 9:13:14 AM


Dude, you should learn shut the fuck up when you don't have anything worth saying.

8/28/2011 9:14:27 AM


You of course will show this data, correct Assfly?

8/28/2011 9:49:53 AM


I'll bite. What's your evidence Andy?

8/28/2011 9:52:05 AM

Brendan Rizzo

Isn't there a video on YouTube explaining that, even if the speed of light were faster in the past, the universe would still have to be billions of years old. (In fact, it would have to be older than scientists currently think.) I wonder what Schlafly would think if he saw that video?

8/28/2011 10:03:07 AM


¿The speed of light is political?

8/28/2011 10:09:47 AM


I am waiting for the people of Conservapedia to realize that numbers originate from Arabic and thus are "demonic Muslim lies" and refuse to use them. One has to wonder, does anyone take Conservapedia in anyway to be even remotely correct or does it exist simply as a parody to moronic logic?

8/28/2011 10:11:13 AM


The speed of light is a political issue?

8/28/2011 10:33:20 AM

The value of c has changed as recently as 1/6 of the universe's lifetime? Hmm. Is that 1/6 of the universe's real lifetime, or 1/6 of the lifetime according to Ham?

8/28/2011 10:53:48 AM

Night Jaguar

For those saying it's a fail on both parts, the other user is Roger Schlafly, Andy's brother. Fail just runs in that family.

8/28/2011 11:05:41 AM

Night Jaguar

" It instead indicates that a new "constant" the authors appear to have created, alpha, may have changed a few parts in 10^5 around two billion years ago. It presents little evidence that this would cause a change in c. Better yet, more recent studies with more precise measurements have found no variation in this new alpha constant."

Actually, the authors didn't create it. Alpha is the fine structure constant, which plays an important role in electromagnetism. It's inversely proportional to the speed of light.

8/28/2011 11:14:19 AM

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