I want to devote some attention to Wacky’s “joke”:
Many of the stars we see are non-existent. So, they are older than they appear. Indeed, they appear to exist while they don’t!
This turns the apparent age of stars question on its head, focusing on the destruction, rather than the creation, of a star. If YEC has to take flack for insisting that stars must be younger than they appear, why can’t OEC be similarly faulted with respect to stars being “older than they appear”? I’m not sure why Wacky thinks this is a joke, but it doesn’t really matter, because the criticism is wide of the mark. Every OEC (and atheist materialist) understands and affirms that every star is older than it appears — that what we see of any star is from an earlier point in its life. This is as sure as the fact that we receive sunlight that was emitted 8 minutes ago, the Jupiter we see is the Jupiter of an hour ago, and the self we see in a mirror is who we were 0.000000003 seconds ago.
So yes, every star is older than it appears, and we have no way to be certain that any stars actually exist right now. Who knows; maybe no stars exist right now, and God is almost finished with a star elimination schedule so that, from Earth’s time-lagged perspective, they all dis-appear at once.
Speaking of appearing, note that the most tenuous point (to my mind) of Hugh Ross’ flavor of OEC is day 4, when he has to push the Hebrew to say not “God made”, but “God had made” the heavenly objects, and on day 4 they were only made apparent to the Holy Spirit’s earth-surface perspective. Critics, I think, are justified in objecting that this “creative” act is not creative at all, since it involves only the thinning of the atmosphere from translucent to transparent. Surely day 4, like all the other days, should involve creating, not making apparent.
But note that also from the 6×24 perspective, the same “making apparent” is essential to God’s activity on day 4. Even our very closest star neighbor is 4.2 light years away. So without supernatural intervention, Adam wouldn’t start to see stars in the night sky until years after he was kicked out of the garden. Stars would continue to pop into view as their light reached earth. Given that the Milky Way is about 100,000 light years in size, we might not even have been able to see all of our own galaxy yet!
But the fact is, we can see to the edge of our galaxy, and to galaxies far, far beyond. So from a 6×24 perspective, God’s fiat creation of stars is irrelevant unless he also makes them immediately apparent (because otherwise we would never see them). And even so, 6×24 makes the actual existence of anything beyond our galaxy irrelevant, since the astronomical distances involved ensure that all we could ever experience of it would be miraculously-staged light.
Note also that God’s hypothetical miraculous making-apparent of distant stars and galaxies is not a simple photoshop job; it is full video from all directions; stars are born and die, quasars flash, galaxies collide. But 6×24 would have us believe that God has chosen to show us a universe’s-worth of history, from a past that never existed. In fact, this could be considered the opposite of revelation; God uses a light show to conceal the fact that the stars we “see” did not exist long enough ago for us to be seeing them now!
Forester has equated the observation of billions of years from starlight to the “construct” of billions of years that comes from observation of “rock layers and fossilized remains.”
Darwinists claim to observe, in rock layers and fossilized remains, billions of years and the seamless evolutionary progression of life, but they do not; they observe only rock layers and fossilized remains. Billions of years and seamless evolutionary progression are constructs with the potential for error despite the inductive processes used to reach them.
You claim to observe, in starlight, billions of years, but you do
not; you observe only starlight. No stopwatch has ticked off billions
of years. That is a construct with the potential for error despite the
inductive processes you used to reach it. We live but a moment on a small speck of dust in a great big sky. No sweeping vantage on the cosmos, that.
Granted, radiometric or other geologic dating methods are forensic — in that we don’t observe events, we make inferences from observing the residuals of events. But observing starlight is not such a forensic construct — no more than using eyeglasses is a construct. When we see a star (when we see anything!) we see the actual past event! And if the light we see did not originate from a star, and travel to our eyes (across that great big cosmos, while billions of years ticked away), then it is not starlight that we observe, but merely light. And if the light we see did not originate from a star, where was the light when the stars were created X thousand years ago? What is the relationship of that light to any stars that might or might not exist?
What is the genre of this fully-spherical IMAX movie that God has projected into our night sky? Is it documentary, or is it fiction?