I would like to ask the two of you, do you see a scientific controversy over the fine structure constant/speed of light, or not? If not, why not? If so, why the constant references to a lack of a scientific controversy? I see one, the public sees it, I from what I can see, GWB sees it.
I posted this assertion at #3 and it did not get answered until #123 (wrongly, as far as I can tell). And this doesnt appear to be a peripheral sideshow in the debate, there is a distinct possibility that with light being faster in the beginning that many of our radiometric & other age-determining techniques could be skewed in the direction of there not really being the millions of years that evo supposedly had to take place.
Has project Steve been updated with this information? i.e. have all the Steves been approached and asked if they reconsider in light of these facts that there might actually be a real scientific controversy here? Reapproaching project Steve is actually germane to this whole debate, because if someone were to be confronted with real evidence that the aging techniques could be off by orders of magnitude, their response to that information is what comprises the inductive/philosophical processes that are a matter of internal faith. Their thinking goes perhaps something like this, well, I really do have faith in my colleagues over there in nuclear physics land , and they will come up with something, theyre really smart. In the meantime, kids need to learn about evolution because it will prove itself out, I have faith in science to find the answers. So I cant let on that I really do think theres a scientific controversy here. Can you see the faith element here? That is scientism, not science. Their own thinking that goes into answering the question is germane to the discussion, not just the result. At that point they are on the same level as any other religion. Their opinion is just an expression of a bias, not science. If it hasn't been updated, that makes Project Steve invalid on the inductive plane.
...evolutionary theory is scientifically controversial...
This is just blatantly untrue. Evolutionary theory is mainly the province of biologists, who are practically unanimous in their support of the theory. . The NCSE's Project Steve makes a parodical point of this sort of statement. Once again, I know "might doesn't make right" for a theory, but I wanted to point out that this is a false statement.
The speed of light is still constant and hasn't changed. What are you talking about?
***Here you go, for starters:
This is a good question; the answer is yes and no, depending on what you think the controversy is over.
There is indeed controversy that the fine structure constant (and hence the speed of light) may have been diffferent in the distant past, however the maximum allowable difference is very small indeed; too small to have a significant effect on nuclear decay rates.
Some lines of evidence:
The emission/absorption spectra of elements can be calculated with physics; the observed spectra are dependent on the fine structure constant. Observations of gas clouds several billion light years away show spectra very slightly different than what is expected from the known value of the fine structure constant, indicating a possibility that the speed of light may have been different in the distant past. Link to article here However, the change that has been observed is on the order of 1 part in 100,000 over a time span of several billion years .
In any case, this is not a large enough change to affect nuclear decay rates, which are also dependent on the fine structure constant, in any significant way. In fact, measurements of the ratios of decay products at the Oklo natural reactor in Africa lend support to the fact that nuclear decay rates have been practically constant through Earth's natural history. ( Another link here; don't infer anything from the title until you read the article - the title is misleading.)
Other independent measurements of the speed of light show that it has maintained a practically constant value for a very long time; pulsar timing measurements show the constancy of the speed of light in the last 100-200 thousand years, at least. As we speak, experiments continue to search for a possible frequency dependence of the speed of light, so far with null results.
The bottom line - what does this all mean for physics laws (and hence decay rates)? It might mean that theories of physics may need some very fine tuning, but no major physics paradigms are about to be otherthrown. ( Another link on the effects these observations might have on physical theories) In fact, practically all "controversies" in physics (and all science, for that matter) involve the slight modifications of a theory to explain new data, not the possibility of overturning an entire general theory that has worked well for a long time. Newton's Laws of Motion, for example, were modified by quantum physics and relativity, not overturned by them; Newton's physics still works as well today as it did when he was alive. The same analogy applies here; our current physical theories may need some slight modification to accomodate the very slight changes we (may?) observe in the speed of light, but the controersy is over a very fine and complicated detail of a more general theory, not over the replacement of any existing physics.