The Frauds of Evolution #9: The Decreasing Speed of Light, Barry Setterfield, and the Age of the Universe

by / April 26, 2016


“Between 1880 and 1941 there were over 50 articles in the journal Nature alone addressing the topic of the decline in the actual measured values of lightspeed ( c).” – Barry Setterfield , in “Setterfield Light Speed Research”,


Christian physicist Barry Setterfield is, in my estimation, the most significant physicist/cosmologist, creationist or otherwise, on the scene today. I doubt if anyone is challenging the Naturalistic status quo of academia more comprehensively or effectively than Barry Setterfield. Setterfield has certainly done his homework. In 2013 he published the fruits of his 35 years of research, “Cosmology and the Zero Point Energy,” a 465-page MUST read for anyone interested in this subject.

Cosmology and the Zero Point Energy by Barry Setterfield

Cosmology and the Zero Point Energy by Barry Setterfield

There are two very good introductory videos featuring Setterfield and his research: a lecture by Setterfield titled, “Light Speed and Other Puzzling Data That May Support a Recent Creation and an interview of Setterfield by Chuck Missler, in both of which Setterfield gives an excellent overview of his thesis. I am barely going to scratch the surface of this subject in this article and I encourage the interested reader to investigate all of the links provided.

Setterfield’s work in physics may very well be the most significant creationist contribution to the creation-evolution controversy since The Genesis Flood was published by Henry Morris and John Whitcomb in 1961. The Genesis Flood was, without question, responsible for overturning the pervasive, entrenched uniformitarianism which had a grip on the entire world of academic geology for over a hundred years. Setterfield’s Cosmology and the Zero Point Energy will, in all probability, eventually accomplish the same thing regarding the pervasive, entrenched view that the speed of light is an invariable constant.

The bottom line is that the speed of light is slowing down and the ZPE, the Zero Point Energy constituting the fabric of space, is the “culprit.” Other “constants” of nature are affected by the ZPE as well, including the rate of radioactive decay, the “atomic clock,” atomic masses (rising), Plancks Constant (rising), etc. It also turns out that the optical “red shift” of galaxies, first observed by Edwin Hubble, is not a Doppler effect, that is, not an effect of motion, and also caused by the ZPE. The red shift of the galaxies is also not a smooth progression as the Big Bang hypothesis requires, but has been demonstrated by others to be “quantized,” meaning that the red shift occurs in discreet “jumps” at various distances.

The necessary implications are devastating to the devotees of Naturalism and evolution. To wit: bonjour Big Bang. And arrivederci ancient universe.

Setterfield’s work is rigorously based upon empirical observations in nature and conspicuously lacks undetectable hypothetical entities such as “dark matter” or “dark energy” to bolster the cosmology. (I don’t want to go into it in this article, this article will be long enough as it is, but Setterfield’s cosmology and physics also explains Heisenberg’s famous Uncertainty Principle of modern quantum physics on the basis of classical mechanics.)


Those of you who have followed the creation-evolution controversy over the years are familiar with the fact that the Great Darwinian Propaganda Machine of our government educational establishment enforces an atheistic-evolutionist orthodoxy with Stalinistic rigor among its faculty at all levels, especially at the university and graduate levels. Offenders (scientific sinners) against the official Naturalistic, evolutionary orthodoxy are punished, that is, those who contradict the evolutionary orthodoxy, or simply express doubt about it, or even don’t promote it enthusiastically enough, are terminated from their jobs, demoted, subjected to campaigns of vilification and so forth. I have commented upon some examples of these things in previous articles (see here, and here, and here; and see Ben Stein’s documentary on this here).

Empirical data and information are routinely censored, that is, information which conflicts with the established orthodoxy (see here, and here, and here; and see Jerry Bergman’s article here). The general public has no awareness whatsoever of this state of affairs in academia or that our media are in substantial complicity with them, keeping a lid on this “inconvenient truth.” (Yes, I am borrowing this phrase from the inventor of the internet, Al Gore.)

Most creationists typically think of this enforced orthodoxy as occurring within the earthbound disciplines of paleontology, biology, biochemistry, geology, genetics and related disciplines, since these touch immediately and directly upon the subject of evolution. This enforced orthodoxy also occurs, unfortunately, in the realm of astronomy, astrophysics and cosmology (e.g., astronomer Guillermo Gonzalez was fired from his position at the University of Iowa because of his belief in ID, and David Coppedge was fired from NASA because of his religious beliefs). The overlap in the disciplines arises most prominently in the area of time measurement. The evolutionists, at least the dominant secularist Darwinians, require billions of years to make their fairy tales seem realistic. Their attitude is that any person and any information at odds with evolutionary orthodoxy must be stamped out.

But there I go digressing again.


You are probably not interested in any autobiographical account from me but I am going to torture you with some anyway. You will see the relevance to our topic shortly. And in a way it is the story of us all, or at least the overwhelming majority of us.

I grew up on a steady diet of science (especially astronomy) and science-fiction. My fascination with both science and science-fiction began when I was 7 years old. Mrs. James, our 2nd grade school teacher, took our class to the school library for our reading assignment which was to pick out a book of our own choosing to read and then give a book review of what we had read. I still remember picking out “Danny Dunn and the Anti-Gravity Paint.” That was my introduction to science-fiction and I was hooked immediately. I subsequently imbibed deeply from Ray Bradbury, Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov, Robert Silverberg, et al, and science-fiction anthologies galore. I was utterly blown away by The Martian Chronicles by Bradbury and Childhood’s End by Clarke.

I was also hooked on straight science; there was a particular book on astronomy regarding the planets which I used to check out of the school library over and over again, leafing through the photographs, illustrations and speculative commentary, especially about the possibility of extraterrestrial life on Mars. My seven year old mind was enthralled and it certainly stimulated my mind to ponder scientific issues from a very young age. I remember at a young 8 years of age trying to solve the puzzle in my own mind whether or not the universe was “open” or “closed.” My young mind revolted at the possibility of space extending out to infinity, it just did not seem possible, and I concluded to my own 8 year old satisfaction that space was curved and that if I traveled in a straight line I would eventually come back to my starting point like traveling around the globe. As best as I can recall, I thought of that “solution” entirely on my own at the age of 8.

You would never know it now with science-fiction being all the rage but back in those days, if you were an avid science-fiction reader, you were looked at as being strange and weird. You were, in fact, stigmatized as being “one of them.” A couple years later, Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek TV series began to air and began to change the popular attitude regarding science-fiction. Even so, I remember being 14 years old walking to school with about seven other boys from my neighborhood and somehow the subject came up and I told them about my collection of science-fiction books – which I naively assumed would be of great interest to them. This was cause for great incredulousness among them all. I well remember the disbelieving grins on their faces and the smirking glances they all gave to one another. Some ridiculing comments were made, the substance of whch I do not remember now. Several years later, the movies Star Wars and then Close Encounters of the Third Kind came out in quick succession, both proving to be blockbuster hits, and permanently changed the public perception and attitude toward science fiction. Now, a few decades later, female heartthrob Tom Cruise is a recurring hero in popular science-fiction movies. The world sure has changed!

I like to boast that I have always been ahead of the curve (Creation Club Big Grin Smiley).

I may have been ahead of the curve on another issue, as well. It was either in the 9th or 10th grade that our science teacher taught us about the scientific laws in some depth. The Second Law of Thermodynamics and the principle of entropy were gone into at length. These subjects had come up in some of the science fiction I had read, and I probably had read some science articles on the subject. There was no direct mention of astronomy made in class in connection with the subject but, having an avid interest in astronomy (I was a member of the school astronomy club), I began to ponder over how the Law would apply to astronomy. I never drew any firm conclusions but the reality of the Law raised a question in my mind: was it possible in our winding-down entropic universe that the speed of light was also winding down, that is to say, slowing down? I realized even then that the answer to this question would have relevance to the issue of how long the universe had been in existence. I never did much with these thoughts, but just assimilated them into my own apprehension of reality.

What I was oblivious to when I was in school, and what I do have a firm conviction about now, was that I was also being brainwashed and indoctrinated. Like everyone else who went to American public schools, I was systematically being snookered and indoctrinated by the disciples of Charles Darwin and John Dewey into believing in evolution and Big Bang speculations–to wit, atheistic Naturalism.

Both of these speculations (i.e., religious articles of faith) carried with them the baggage of the passage of immense spans of time. The exotic descriptions and academic spin on the “long-gone” world of the dinosaurs, trilobites from the Cambrian “era”, the results of radiometric “dating” of rocks, “the” geologic column, etc., effectively persuaded me that the earth and the universe were of immense antiquity. I may have been ahead of the curve in some ways, but I was certainly no match in my youth for the experienced sophistication of the Great Darwinian Propaganda Machine. By age 15, I was a convinced, self-conscious atheist. It really wasn’t until about the time that I entered college at the age of 17 that I began to acquire some sophistication in the Art of Identifying Presuppositions. I am sure I don’t need to inform anyone in this forum of the fact that both speculations, evolution and the Big Bang, stand atop a towering house of cards of assumptions and presuppositions ascending into the stratosphere. They therefore qualify as little more than fairy tales.

But there I go digressing yet again.


The Empirical Measurements of Slowing Speed of Light: A quick timeline overview:

 Setterfield reports the following measured values for the speed of light, beginning in 1657. Note the overall downward progression.

1657: Roemer 307,600. +/- 5400 km/sec

1700-instrumentation and measurement techniques become accurate enough to measure more or less precisely

1738: 303,320 ± 310 km/s, by Delambre

1759: 303,440 km/s by Martin

1770: 304,060 km/s by Price

1771: 302,220 km/s by Encyclopedia Britannica accepted value

1778: 306,870 km/s by Bode

1785: 307,810 km/s by Boscovich

1861: by Glasenapp ± 13,  300,050 ± 60 , Mean of 320 observs.

1877: ± 32, 300,011 km/s  by Sampson

1877: ± 32, 299.921 ± 13 km/s, by Harvard
1875: Harvard 299,921 +/- 13 km/sec

1879: by Michelson;  299,910 km/s

1883: by Michelson: 299,853 km/s

1882 – 1883: by Newcomb; 299,854 +/5 kilometers per second.

1924: by Michelson; 299,802 km/s

1927: by Michelson: 299,798 km/s

1940: by Michelson: 299,776 in 1940

***1941: Raymond T. Birge of Berkely declares the idea of a change in the speed of light, or the idea of a change in the rate of atomic processes, as “contrary to the spirit of science” and effectively shuts down any ongoing research or discussion of the matter for decades due to a recognition of the significance of this for the dogma of evolution.

1983: NBS (laser method): 299,792.4358 +/- 0.0003 km/sec.

As of this 1983 measurement, the speed of light was declared to be an absolute, unchanging constant throughout time! There never has been any slowing down or speeding up of the speed of light. All previous measurements apparently were in error! Winston Smith would have been proud!

Note that five of these measurements come from the same scientist, Michelson, over a period of 61 years with a consistent downward movement.


1750 – 1935:

“The Pulkovo Observatory results were obtained using the same equipment on the same location by experienced observers over a long period of time. The observational errors remained unchanged, as did the inherent accuracy of the equipment. Nevertheless, from 1750 to 1935 the value of c obtained from this observatory dropped by more than 750 km/s.”

Note well the consistent downward trend of the results. There is some inconsistency between the results of different scientists. The Michelson and Pulkovo Observatory results are particulary significant because we have the same instruments and the same method of measurement used.

In view of the empirical data, I don’t see how there can be any dispute about this subject. The speed of light has slowed down over time. Setterfield notes:

“The differences in the speed of light that we are talking about since instrumentation became accurate (about 1700) is about 3000 + kilometers per second. That is, about 1% higher compared to today’s value.”

What does this mean as it pertains to the whole scope of history since creation? Note what Chuck Missler has to say:

“The Canadian mathematician, Alan Montgomery, has reported a computer analysis supporting the Setterfield/Norman results. His model indicates that the decay of velocity of light closely follows a cosecant-squared curve, and has been asymptotic since 1958. If he is correct, the speed of light was 10-30% faster in the time of Christ; twice as fast in the days of Solomon; four times as fast in the days of Abraham, and perhaps more than 10 million times faster prior to 3000 b.c.”—Chuck Missler,

Raymond T. Birge

Regarding Raymond T. Birge, Helen Setterfield, Barry Setterfield’s wife, writes:

“These results kicked off a series of lively debates in the scientific community during the first half of the 20th century. Raymond Birge, highly respected chairman of the physics department at the University of California, Berkeley, had, from 1929 on, established himself as an arbiter of the values of atomic constants.4 The speed of light is considered an atomic constant. However Birge’s recommended values for the speed of light decreased steadily until 1940, when an article written by him, entitled “The General Physical Constants, as of August 1940 with details on the velocity of light only,” appeared in Reports on Progress in Physics (Vol. 8, pp. 90-100, 1941). Birge began the article saying: ‘This paper is being written on request – and at this time on request … a belief in any significant variability of the constants of nature is fatal to the spirit of science, as science is now understood [emphasis his].” These words, from this man, for whatever reason he wrote them, shut down the debate on the speed of light. Birge had previously recognized, as had others, that if the speed of light was changing, it was quite necessary that some of the other “constants” were also changing. This was evidently not to be allowed, whether it was true or not, and so the values for the various constants were declared and that was that. Almost. In the October 1975 issue of Scientific American (p. 120), C.L. Strong questioned whether the speed of light might change with time “as science has failed to get a consistently accurate value.” It was just a ripple, but the issue had not quite disappeared.”—Helen Setterfield

Notice, however, that there was a 30 year gap between Birge’s pronouncement and C. L. Strong’s article. Any serious questioning and research about the speed of light was effectively shut down in 1941 due to the recognition of the implications for evolutionary dogma. Here we see a clear example of how commitment to evolutionary faith and dogma has impeded scientific progress by decades. For all practical purposes, this impediment is still there today, 75 years later.


Tom Van Flandern, U. S. Naval Observatory  

“The question then becomes, ‘Is this a likely possibility?’ Many scientists would probably say no. However, Lunar and planetary orbital periods which comprise the dynamical clock, have been compared with atomic clocks from 1955 to 1981 by Van Flandern and others. Assessing the evidence in 1981 Van Flandern noted that ‘the number of atomic seconds in a dynamical interval is becoming fewer. Presumably, if the result has any generality to it, this means that atomic phenomena are slowing down with respect to dynamical phenomena’.” (Precision Measurements and Fundamental Constants II, pp. 625-627, National Bureau of Standards (US) Special Publication 617, 1984.” Setterfield,—bold emph supp.


Setterfield notes:

 “comparisons between orbital and atomic clocks should pick up variations in c. As pointed out before, this latter technique has in fact been demonstrated to register changes in the run-rate of the atomic clock compared with the orbital clock by Van Flandern in the period 1955 to 1981.”

Helen Setterfield writes:

“Tom Van Flandern, with a Ph.D. from Yale in astronomy, specializing in celestial mechanics, and for twenty years (1963-1983) Research Astronomer and Chief of the Celestial Mechanics Branch at the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington D.C., released the results of some tests showing that the rate of ticking of the atomic clock was measurably slowing down when compared with the “dynamical clock.”9 (Tom Van Flandern was terminated from his work with that institution shortly thereafter…”)–bold emph. supp.

This is a typical reaction of the Great Darwinian Propaganda Machine: report data which contradicts the reigning paradigm of establishment science (evolution), even if it is mere raw data, and you’re gone. It seems not to matter your rank, or tenure, or accomplishments. If your research touches upon the subject of evolution in a manner that negates evolution, directly or indirectly, your career is in danger. The information itself gets ignored or censored.


Enter Barry Setterfield, 1987

“In 1987, Barry Setterfield and Norman Trevor submitted, by request, to Stanford Research Institute International a white paper (meant for internal discussion only) regarding changing values for the speed of light. The paper was then published under the name The Atomic Constants, Light and Time, by Flinders University in South Australia. The paper caused a bit of an uproar in some circles, as education establishments and general science had, for some years, been teaching the speed of light was constant.”—Setterfield Light Speed Research, emph supp.

I find it intriguing that Stanford requested this research in the form of a white paper, meant for internal discussion only. Maybe I’m reading too much into this but it strikes me that SRI had a pretty good idea from the beginning that they were dealing with a “hot potato” with some disturbing (from their perspective) possible implications.

The Reaction of the Great Darwinian Propaganda Machine

Any serious questioning and investigation about speed of light research was effectively shut down in 1941 due to the recognition of the implications for evolutionary dogma. Here we see a clear example of how commitment to evolutionary faith and dogma has impeded scientific progress by decades. This history somehow seems to had been forgotten by SRI and Flinders University. If not, why would they have commissioned Setterfield and Norman to write the paper?

Setterfield notes:

“Gerald Aardsma, then of Creation Research Institute in southern California, telephoned both SRI and Flinders and asked them if they knew that Setterfield was a young earth creationist. This information caused both Flinders and SRI to retract support for the paper, although the Flinders staff had, before that telephone call, been interested enough in the paper to ask for a seminar hosted by Setterfield and Norman regarding the subject of the speed of light and the statistical analysis.  The seminar was canceled, Setterfield was told he was unwelcome on the campus from that time on, Norman was instructed not to have anything further to do with Setterfield if he wanted to keep his job at the university.”—emph. supp.

The Great Darwinian Propaganda Machine strikes again!

In her own article on the subject, Helen Setterfield, Barry Setterfield’s wife, writes:

“Barry teamed up with Trevor Norman of Flinders University in Adelaide, and in 1987 Flinders itself published their paper, ‘Atomic Constants, Light, and Time.’ Their math department had checked it and approved it and it was published with the Stanford Research Institute logo as well. What happened next was like something out of a badly written novel. Gerald Aardsma, a man at another creationist organization, got wind of the paper and got a copy of it. Having his own ax to grind on the subject of physics, he called the heads of both Flinders and SRI and asked them if they knew that Setterfield and Norman were [gasp] creationists! SRI was undergoing a massive staff change at the time and since the paper had been published by Flinders, they disavowed it and requested their logo be taken off. Flinders University threatened Trevor Norman with his job and informed Barry Setterfield that he was no longer welcome to use any resources there but the library.

Obviously, Australia is no different than the U.S or Britain in this regard. Norman did wind up losing his job over the matter.

Regarding Setterfield’s banishment from Flinders University and Norman’s job loss, it is quite apparent that for evolutionists the overriding imperative in this matter is that the truth is not permitted to be known, or at least not widely broadcasted outside of the inner sanctum of true believers in Naturalism. (Hence, the white paper request.) After all, (sin of all sins!) this could lead to Theism! Anyone who has studied the creation-evolution controversy in regard to earth-bound disciplines such as paleontology, biology, geology, or genetics, will immediately recognize the pattern here. For evolutionists, the paradigm, the model, always takes priority over empirical data. It is no different with evolutionists specializing in astronomy or physics.

Given such a mindset, spreading disinformation is deemed acceptable, so it is proclaimed dogmatically (as per Raymond T. Birge, etc.) as a matter of fervent faith that the speed of light and atomic (especially radioactive) processes are invariable and constant in contradiction to the empirical data. After all, we would not want the ignorant masses who don’t understand these things to get the wrong impression! Better to tell a small “white lie” in support of the Truth! Distortion of the facts and dishonest handling of information is regarded as unfortunate but somehow nevertheless a “necessary evil” as supportive of the “basic” truth. Evolutionary fairy tales must be promoted no matter what the empirical data demonstrate. The public must be protected from the facts!

Vilification of unbelievers in evolution is approved in this scheme of things. And those who dare point out that the emperor has no clothes must be not only vilified but excommunicated (job termination) from the Church of Evolutionary Orthodoxy (i.e., atheist-controlled academia). There is a word for this: it is called persecution.The Faith must be protected at all costs. If it costs thousands of Darwin-doubters their jobs, and other academicians a rightful forum for consideration of their intellectual contributions, so what? This is, after all, a program of intellectual eugenics. Loyalty to the faith is paramount. A Divine foot cannot be allowed in the door.

To which I ask: why in the world not? Are we afraid that if a Divine foot is allowed in the door that it might potentially lead to mass murders such as happened under the regime of the French Revolution? Or perhaps it puts us in the kind of danger that led to mass murders of tens of millions like those conducted under the Darwinian-evolutionary Communism of Soviet Russia? Or, perhaps, it might eventually lead the kind of brutality and mass murdering such as happened under atheistic Darwinian-evolutionary Naziism in Germany? Or, perhaps, Theism put us in danger of the kind of brutality and repression and butchering of 50 million people like that of atheistic, Darwinian-evolutionary “scientific Socialism” of Communist China?

But wait…those were atheistic regimes. And the Nazis and Communists were profoundly centered around evolutionary dogma. So does it not make more sense to be alarmed at the prospect of government by secular evolutionists?

As far as fears of consequences are concerned, I would say we have far more to fear from the faithful devotees of evolutionary faith than we do from biblical creationists by a very, very, very, very, very, very, very long shot. I read somewhere that over a span of 300 years the Inquisition of the Roman Catholic Church was responsible for 300 executions of heretics. Now, don’t misunderstand me. I’m not defending the Inquisition. I’m not even Catholic, and probably a heretic by the Inquisition’s standards. But if I had my choice of taking my chances with the Roman Catholic Inquisition or a secular regime where evolutionary Darwinism is the official faith, I’ll take my chances with the Inquisition any day, thank you very much.

It is an utter shame, in the truest sense of the word “shame,” and a supreme indictment against the academic world that a scientist of the stature, and qualifications and achievements of Setterfield is denied the EARNED equal access to academia to which he is entitled. Such is the mindless, irrational, anti-intellectual, God-hating tyranny of the evolutionists ruling academia today.


In our next installment of this series, we will consider the Mark Armitage case, soft dinosaur tissue and chemical kinetics


Featured image from Hubble Space Telescope

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Tom Shipley

Tom Shipley

I am a former atheist and evolutionist during my college days; came to faith in Christ at the age of 20; regard my pro-creation activities as part of the work of the kingdom of God; believe that a very tough, strident and unapologetic stance against evolution is called for though I may soften my tone if and when Mark Armitage and David Coppedge, fired for their creationist beliefs, are given their jobs back. Articles copyright Tom Shipley. All Rights Reserved.

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