Young Earth Creationism posits that the Earth is much younger than scientific evidence suggests. My question is, could time dilation be used to explain and reconcile the apparent differences?
Time dilation, in simplified terms, is the phenomenon in which time either speeds up or slows down for something. For example, time moves slower for an observer in motion in an inertial reference frame (although this is negligible at low speeds).
If the Earth was subject to (significant) time dilation, all earthly methods of measuring the age of the earth would be incorrect. For example, if the time dilation speed up time on Earth by a factor of 365, trees would grow rings once a day instead of once a year, causing those using tree rings to measure the passage of time to be way off (assuming they where unaware of the time dilation occurring).
This would be a "boon", so to speak, for Young Earth Creationists. The idea that any scientific method of measuring the time of the Earth could be wrong, and a reasonable and logically consistient way to explain it, would be big.
That said, there are certain caveats:
- Time dilation doesn't happen spontaneously, or without reason, so Young Earth Creationists would have to explain how the earth is being subject to it. Additionally, the time dilation needs to be of the precisely the right "intensity" if it is to provide reconciliation.
Since we are talking about time dilation, we need to bring up one more, very very important thing: the relativity of time. The passage of time is relative to an observer. In this sense, asking what the "age of the earth" is ambiguous. It literally depends on who you ask.
To make the term precise again, we need to specify a frame of reference. Note, in particular, this can not be the Earth's reference frame. That is because an observer can never experience time dilation from it's own vantage point. Indeed, that would not even make sense. That means that we must use some other frame of reference. In particular, Young Earth Creationists need to explain why the Bible would use this frame of reference, instead of the Earth's.
Also, although you do not need to be a physicist or a Young Earth Creationist to answer this question, you should have at least some understanding of physics and Young Earth Creationism to answer this question. In particular, I ask that if you only understand of Einstein's theory of relativity is from popular science, you may want to refrain from answering this question.