While talking today about some religious beliefs I was struck by the next question:

So what if some super-natural being forks our universe 6,000 years ago, i.e. creates the exact same copy of universe as we know it. Do we have any experiment (already) executed or (readily) available to distinguish the Universe of scientific consensus from the Universe of creation?

If they are indistinguishable, then why scientific community assumes the first version?


closed as off-topic by StephenG, PM 2Ring, tfb, Qmechanic Aug 12 at 10:12

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    $\begingroup$ I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because this probably belongs on Skeptics SE. $\endgroup$ – StephenG Aug 12 at 9:36
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    $\begingroup$ See rationalwiki.org/wiki/Occam%27s_razor and rationalwiki.org/wiki/Last_Thursdayism $\endgroup$ – PM 2Ring Aug 12 at 9:54
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    $\begingroup$ @dEmigOd I think Anders Sandberg's answer is about as good as it gets when it comes to the physics of the situation. As you can see, it's not really much of a physics answer. To put it as frank as possible, things like "Last Thursdayism" are completely orthogonal to science. Science works regardless of if the rules were created 20 seconds ago and set up to appear to be longstanding, or if the universe did actually age normally. Science relies on observation, if there's no observational difference between the two situations, science cannot address it. $\endgroup$ – JMac Aug 12 at 13:25
  • $\begingroup$ I've cleaned up the comments by removing some debate about whether this question is a good fit for our site (it isn't) and also some inappropriate personal comments. Please remember that comments are for trying to improve the question that they're attached to, and that all users are expected to behave respectfully towards each other. $\endgroup$ – rob Aug 13 at 2:33

Occam's razor. If you have to choose from two explanations with the same evidence support, choose the simpler one. A universe that is 13.77 billion years old is a simpler explanation than a 6000 year old universe with 13.77 billion years of perfect fake history.

Note that the above paragraph is all about model selection, not anything about making experiments: one can always postulate that the fake evidence is perfect. This is also why this kind of creationism is scientifically empty, since it does not make any predictions that can be tested and does not explain observed phenomena. Science is all about making models and explanations that can be tested one way or another.

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    $\begingroup$ And, of course, there is the problem selecting a time. Why 6,000 years ago and not 6 seconds ago? Both would be indistinguishable. Yet invariably 6,000 years is considered "ok" and 6 seconds "can't be possible". $\endgroup$ – Maury Markowitz Aug 12 at 19:27

To create "a today" you have to create its past aswell, unless that "today" is the starting time.

If 6000 years ago somebody created the universe as we know it he created 13.7 past billion years, therefore that past exists even if it was created by a dude 6000 years ago.

More practically and realistically, if you find anything belonging to earth and its history older than 6000 years ago you disprove young earth theory. We found these evidences therefore young earth theory is wrong.

  • $\begingroup$ So, this is exactly my question, are we able to distinguish the universe, where all the past happens, from its copy? $\endgroup$ – dEmigOd Aug 12 at 9:42
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    $\begingroup$ I'm not sure this addresses the specific scenario posed in the question, where a being creates the universe 6,000 years ago in exactly the same state as a universe 13.7 billion years old would have been at the time (see "Last-Thursdayism"), with photons already in flight, created exactly where we would expect them to be. In that case, the scenario is specifically designed to be undetectable by experiment. $\endgroup$ – probably_someone Aug 12 at 9:44
  • $\begingroup$ @probably_someone Yes, but this scenario is a 13.7 billion years old universe, not a 6000 years old universe. $\endgroup$ – Run like hell Aug 12 at 10:20
  • $\begingroup$ @Runlikehell That's not really true. You could, in theory, have everything start to exist only 6000 years ago, already in motion to appear as if it had been moving for 13.7 billion years. That does not mean that it is 13.7 billion years old. You could argue that from a scientific standpoint, we can't distinguish between the two, but it doesn't make them the same thing. Just functionally identical, so it's not really a science question. $\endgroup$ – JMac Aug 12 at 11:33

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