The Big Stretch - Part 1

The Twin Jet Nebula   ESA/Hubble [CC BY 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
Fig. 1 - M2-9 - Does this illustrate forces described in the article?

What if...

... there was a scientific model, based on the work of multiple Nobel prize winning scientists, that explains the formation of galaxies without dark matter or the need for billions of years, the filamentary structure of the cosmos, red shift quantization, and more...

What if data indicated ...

  • The speed of light has decayed over time.
  • Planck's constant has increased over time.
  • The red shift was quantized.
  • Stars form on filaments, like beads on a string, not according to conventional theory.
  • Galaxy structure was due more to electromagnetic effects than to gravity.
  • Atomic clocks were slowing. 1

And what if there was a scientific model that explains all the above, including ...

  • The decay of the speed of light
  • How light from billions of light years distance can reach earth in only thousands of years 
  • The red shift, without appeal to the Doppler effect
    • the quantization of the red shift
      • the actual measured value of red shift quantization, precise to 3 significant figures
  • Galaxy structure without dark matter
  • The mechanism that gives rise to the Heisenberg uncertainty principle
  • The origin of mass, without the Higgs boson
  • The cause of measured slowing of atomic clocks
  • The constancy of the fine structure constant while other constants change
  • A physical mechanism for why electrons do not spiral into the nuclei of atoms
  • How planets can form before their stars
  • The filamentary structure of the universe
  • Why outer planets have lots of helium
  • Why inner planets have dense cores
  • Why stars seem to be forming along filaments
  • and more...

And what if this model was based on the work of multiple Nobel-prize winning scientists?

Amazingly, there is such a model! (For time and space reasons, we will not go into all the details, nor try to reference every point made herein. A Part 2 of this article is planned, however, which will go into more detail. Stay tuned!)

Development and summary of the Ideas

Barry Setterfield first published on the downward trend in measurements of the speed of light in 1981. 2  In 1987 he co-authored a 90 page report dealing with this data at the request of SRI, Stanford Research Institute. 3 Setterfield has been investigating and researching these concepts for over 30 years. His model has developed over this time. The best and most current exposition of his model seems to be his 460+ page book published in 2013. 4 The website of Setterfield ( also contains much information.

In addition to the speed of light, Setterfield also wrote about other constants which seemed to be changing over time, based on actual measurements. Setterfield identified a physical mechanism which can explain the changes in these constants, based on work begun by Nobel prize winners like Planck and Einstein, culminating in today's Stochastic Electro-Dynamics (SED).  This physical mechanism also empowers and accelerates other events and processes, which involve the second area of science of his model.

The 2 major areas of science which supply the major components of this model are SED (Stochastic Electro-Dynamics) and Plasma Cosmology.

SED provides a mechanism for the actual measured change in the speed of light, quantization of the red shift, increase of Planck's constant, and so forth. SED also provides acceleration of the electrical currents and related electromagnetic phenomena powering Plasma Cosmology.

Plasma Cosmology in turn explains how planets can form before their stars, the filamentary structure of the universe, the nature of the inner planet's rocky cores and of the outer planets' large percentage of helium, and more.

SED - Stochastic Electro-Dynamics

This is a theory of physics that traces its development back to Max Planck, the Nobel laureate and original founder of Quantum Physics. Planck wrote a paper in 1901, 5 which introduced Planck's constant, h. Other scientists continued the work, although Planck himself was not satisfied with that paper. After 10 years of research Planck followed it up with another paper in 1911. 6

However, the die seemed to have been cast, in that the 1901 paper seems to have been the springboard for further research and development of ideas in quantum physics. Another Nobel prize winner, de Broglie, wrote a book in 1962, which marked a milestone in the development of SED and suggested a change in direction toward that suggested by the 1911 paper by Planck. 7  SED has since seen further work by other scientists. 

Plasma Cosmology

Plasma Cosmology can be simply described as incorporating electromagnetic effects, in particular those of plasmas, into cosmology.

This has seemed a no-brainer to me, in that

  • Electromagnetic forces are trillions of times stronger than gravity/gravitation.
  • The vast majority of the matter of the universe is plasma.

Professor Emeritus Donald Scott of the University of Massachusetts has pointed out that if our star was the size of a speck of dust, the nearest star would be over 4 miles distant. All the other stars of our galaxy would be even further away. 8 How can gravitation hold such a wide-spread collection of tiny dust particles together? It certainly seems difficult to imagine on first considering the notion. (This is where dark matter typically comes to the rescue.) However, if we include electromagnetic phenomena into our considerations, then cosmology makes much more sense. Problems such as explaining the filamentary structure of the universe, filamentary "stellar nurseries," and other problems disappear.

Tying the two together

Stochastic Electrodynamics can help us understand the slowing of the speed of light, which in turn can explain why the universe is not so old as it appears. 

Measurements support the model - not just speed of light measurements either. Some constants should, according to this model, increase over time, while others should decrease. What is particularly fascinating is that multiple measurements of several different constants support the theoretically predicted changes in those constants.

This model predicts, in addition to the change of the speed of light, changes in electromagnetic phenomena, which would have been much faster in the early universe. Which electromagnetic phenomena am I referring to? In particular, the speedup applies to real-world analogues of phenomena observed in the experimental work of plasma scientists like Anthony Peratt, who created computer simulations of electrical plasma that showed what appeared to be miniature galaxies forming, and in experiments with real plasma that showed the same results.

Now, if we scale these phenomena up to the level of the size of real galaxies, and factor in the acceleration of these electromagnetic effects (due to the same underlying fundamental mechanism that impacts the speed of light), the result according to this model is that the entire universe could have been created in much less than the conventionally accepted age of the universe. The universe, per SED coupled with Plasma Cosmology, could be only thousands - not billions - of years old!

The Big Stretch

There is something in common about the Big Bang idea and the Bible: they both involve a stretching out of space or the matter of space. Twelve times, Setterfield tells us, the Bible says God stretched out the heavens. If space was stretched, then there would have been a vacuum energy increase, 9  10 which is a key factor in this model. This vacuum energy would have started out at a low level and would have increased over time.

The increasing vacuum energy would have shifted light toward the blue end of the spectrum as time moved forward - and looking back to older stars which emitted their light long ago, we would expect to see red shifts.

Red Shifts

Well, the light speed measurements only go back as long as people have been measuring the speed of light and as long as they have recorded and kept for posterity those measurements. Can we go back further in time?

Yes, we have red shift data. The light emitted by atoms comes from an electron changing its orbital energy level. This is a quantum jump. If, in the older universe, going back in time, those electrons had been energized by lower energies, the resulting jumps would have been less energetic, and the emitted photons would be characterized by a lower energy and thus lower wavelength, or red shifted. As energy increased (moving forward in time), the jumps would have become blue shifted. Looking forward in time, there should be a blue shift, and looking backward in time, there should be a red shift. 

Not only does this explain red shifts, but this model also explains the quantization of red shifts, since those quantum jumps are just that - quantized! The mechanism would only have effect when it reached a quantum threshold, which would then involve a quantum jump. This is predicted to be a non-smooth red-shift, which is exactly what is observed. The basic red-shift quantization has been measured to be 2.667 km/s, 11 , 12 while the model described here predicts it to be 2.671 km/s, 13 an amazing agreement between theory and observation.

This energy the author refers to as ZPE, since it fills all space and is left in a vacuum even at the temperature of absolute zero - the zero point energy. 

This ZPE may be questioned as to its reality. However, the Casimir effect vouches for it, which was predicted on the basis of this ZPE years before science was able to measure it - but measure it they did, and confirm it they did! 14

Other Evidence

The curve fitting the measured speed of light versus time has an exponential shape, as does the curve for Planck’s constant versus time! Exponentially shaped curves are often found in nature, which suggests that the measured effects are real. What is more amazing is that the model correctly predicts the direction of both curves. Even more amazing is that the light speed and Planck’s constant changes cancel each other out! This is very improbable and argues strongly that the data are not random. The model also correctly predicts the fine structure constant will not change.

This model also predicts that atomic clocks would have slowed in conjunction with the changes in the speed of light; observation of this has been reported:

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." 15

There is more evidence supporting Setterfield's model that for space reasons is not given here. See The Big Stretch - Part 4 - Scientific Evidence and The Big Stretch - Part 3 - Biblical Evidence .

Criticisms regarding this model

There has been some discussion about this model and its validity. A few of the issues raised will be mentioned here. For space reasons, this will be limited; Setterfield has suggested that many criticisms have been based on older papers which did not provide the more complete version of his model that later papers and his 2013 book provide.

The statistical treatment of the data has been questioned, 16 but it has also been claimed that the decay of he speed of light is well supported by the data. 17 Other publications also take a more positive view of the SRI report.

Measurement error is one obvious criticism for the data indicating slowing of the speed of light. The speed of light has been reported to be slowing consistently over decades. This slowing has recently tapered off, following an exponential curve. Measurement error should be random. What about specific types of techniques or instruments used to make measurements that may predispose measurements to errors in one direction - like consistently too slow? Multiple techniques and multiple instruments have been used, and when considering each technique separately, the measurements still decrease over time. Even the same instruments, and even the same investigators, have found light speed to decrease over time. 

One argument has been made that Stochastic Electro-Dynamics is not conventionally accepted physics. SED traces its roots per Setterfield back to the father of Quantum physics himself, Planck. Also others, including Einstein, further researched and developed this model. Another Nobel laureate, de Broglie, wrote in 1962 a book that seems to have spearheaded further development of SED. Suffice it to say, this is arguably real physics - especially when we consider other physics describing hypothetical parallel universes consisting of (or "embedded in") additional unseen dimensions!

Also, Plasma Cosmology has been described as not conventional science. The same reasoning applies here as in the point above; Plasma Cosmology is based on foundations laid by multiple Nobel laureates. One of them, Alfven, predicted the filamentary structure of the universe, which was only observed and confirmed years later to the amazement of astronomers.

Lastly, these arguments about conventional physics can be replied by simply stating that truth in science is not determined by vote, nor by popularity. One of those Nobel prize winning physicists commented that new ideas gain acceptance in physics only after the proponents of the old ideas have died: 18

"A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it." - Max Planck, Nobel laureate and father of Quantum Physics

Einstein did work related to SED, and Nobelist Alfven postulated foundational concepts of plasma cosmology - perhaps they knew what they were talking about, and this area might be worth our consideration too.

Relevance to Religion

The potential implications of this model seem obvious. If it is true, then scientific problems with a young universe become nonexistent. 


This model, though not the only model dealing with the age of the universe, is intriguing, and worth consideration and further investigation, for several reasons:

  • It is built on work by multiple Nobel prize winning physicists
  • It explains or claims to explain such a large number of questions that remain unanswered by conventional models
  • The 1987 90-page report by Setterfield and Norman was commissioned by SRI, Stanford Research Institute, which was a non-creationist organization
  • The model (especially the more recent developments) seems to not be very widely known

Also the author of this model seems to think that most critiques of the model are based on old, outdated versions of his research. The current up to date presentation of his research seems to be his 460+ page book published in 2013. 

In closing, this model's amazing explanatory power and the amount of supporting evidence warrant the serious consideration of this model.