Barry Setterfield?

Hi there! I had a friend tell me about a scientist by the name of Barry Setterfield and how his scientific research lends itself to a literal reading of Genesis 1-2. I’m deeply skeptical, but I’m curious to know if any of you know of this person and have a educated opinion on him?


He never graduated Chrisloewen. Science is hard work.

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To be honest I’ve never heard of him. I would be interested in any peer reviewed literature he’s published. I feel like regardless I simply won’t be able to take him serious because it seems he believes in a literal six day creation 6,000 years ago. Maybe I’m wrong on that but that’s what I think was indicated in his article, “ where we stand among creationist” or something like that.

Some may disagree with this approach. But for me once I know something is established as a fact by at data and seeing what the majority who specialize in that data believes I stop reading or listening to those who have a very different view. Sure I’d like 70% of scientists started claiming young earth and all their data was coming out as such I would reopen it in my mind. But that’s not the case here.

Is there evidence that he never graduated?

What I’m finding curious is his self-claim to be a scientist. I was
told about two streams within scientific research, one being SED
(Stochastic Electrodynamics) and the other QED (Quantum
Electrodynamics). Barry apparently takes the former, whereas the
majority take the latter. Also, there was a comment about how the
majority of science is based on a gravitational model, and again,
Barry rejects that (on the grounds of something about “dark matter”).
I know I’m butchering this explanation, but that is because it was so
different from what I normally hear.

Can any of you make heads or tails of any of this? The overall
history/philosophy of scientific models is something I can’t wrap my
head around. I specialize in biblical hermeneutics, not science - so I
lean heavily on scientists and groups like Biologos :slight_smile:

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Yeah I would agree. There is a deep distrust in the peer reviewed journal process and that it’s deeply antagonistic to anything YEC. But I highly doubt these peer reviewed journals really operate like that

At least within theological journals, they accept opposing arguments on the grounds that the facts are represented and presented fairly and accurately. Right?

He has an entry in rational wiki:

There is none that he did.

Fair enough.

There it says, " Like all good preachers of [woo], he carefully tailors his ideas to avoid being verifiable or falsifiable. He claims that the decay curve just recently flat-lined. It was still decaying, honest, but we just missed it. Unfortunately for him, it has been demonstrated to be false."

This is the kind of thing I’m looking for…


I published a critique of his work in the CRSQ and I stand by that paper. Setterfield mangled the data
Morton, G. R., Slusher, H. S., Bartman, R. C., and Barnes, T. G., (1983). Comments on the Velocity of Light. Creation Research Society Quarterly. 20:63-65.

I also sent a critique of his work to Ex Nihilo and as I recall, the editor tried to make it sound like I supported Setterfield. The level of dishonesty with that crowd was amazing

Morton, G. R. (1982). It’s No Light Criticism. Ex Nihilo. 4(1982):4:77-78


Hi there,

I’m very interested in reading your two critiques that you mentioned. Are you willing to email me PDF’s of them?

My email is:

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I may have one of them avalable, the CRSQ article. Back in the early 80s, everything was done on paper, and I wrote on a typewriter. When my cancer got out of control, I moved to be near my son and got rid of my 4000 volume scientific library which also contained those papers. If I still have the Ex Nihilo article it is in a file cabinet in my garage. lol

In the history of the YEC debate, Setterfield is famous for 2 things:

  1. The speed of light slowed down over the last few hundred years.

  2. Earth’s decaying magnetic field means the Earth is young.

Both are rather bad arguments. The speed of light measurements used various different and flawed methodologies over the years, so they can’t be relied on to tell us about the history of the speed of light here on Earth. If you used those same methodologies today you would get the same measurements they got hundreds of years ago. Next, the Earth’s magnetic field does decay, and then it flips and strengthens. Setterfield just kind of ignored this fact.

I highly doubt that Setterfield gained all of this scientific knowledge and then concluded that the Earth was young. Rather, he started with a belief in a young Earth and then found some rather bad arguments to justify that belief.


I haven’t looked at that article in about 30 years. We did several things, take his measurements of various constants and back calculate what c would be. The values of lots of constants depend on c. Here is the article.

click on the pictures to make them bigger and thus readable. As I told one guy today, when I was a YEC I was no more comforting to them than I am to people here.


That’s perfect! Thank you
It appears that the article was cut off at pg.65
Any chance you have more?

Thank you so much

p 65 was the last page of our article. You can see our names in the top of the 2nd column on page 65

Hypothetically, how does that work? Einstein’s famous equation (E=MC2) governs the conversion of mass into energy and vice versa. But if light moved faster in the past, wouldn’t that mean that mass and energy conversation rates have changed over time too? Soooo, the Sun burned hotter and brighter in the past too presumably?

How much of a decrease is he suggesting?

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Presumably, God would adjust all of those other physical laws on the fly so that nothing bad would happen? Dunno. It reminds of a Steven Wright comedy bit where thieves broke into his house while he was sleeping, stole all of his stuff, and then replaced everything with exact replicas so that he wouldn’t report the burglary. As to the actual numbers:

The link in the quote gets you to Setterfield’s work.


Ah, good old Barry Setterfield.

Barry Setterfield’s c-decay was the first indication to me that all was not well in the land of YEC-dom. I had been an all-guns-blazing YEC for less than three months when I was introduced to it, and even as a first year A level physics student it looked waaaaaaaaay off base. Historical measurements of the speed of light, made with primitive equipment and techniques that were simply not up to the job of tightening down the error bars enough to make a reasonable case, an equation for the decay curve that seemed to be pulled out of thin air, and then there was this cut-off date in the late 50s/early 60s which coincided suspiciously closely with the invention of the laser, and with it the necessary precision to blow the gaff on the whole thing – what was that all about??? It breaks every rule on how to measure things that you can think of, and then some. I ditched YEC in favour of OEC a couple of months later on discovering 2 Peter 3:8.

What amazes me is that some of the more lucid and scientifically literate YECs that I know on Facebook actually think he’s onto something. The mind boggles.


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