We Need Not Fear the Dinosaur

Is the earth 6,000 years old or 4.54 billion years old? The honest and humble answer is that we don’t know.

There has been much controversy on the Internet, in the news media and even in the Letters section of The Banner on how Christians should respond to some recent scientific discoveries. In just the last few months, we’ve seen the discovery of a 68 million-year-old dinosaur in Alberta, new evidence from the South Pole of primordial gravitational waves from 13.8 billion years ago, and a planet about the size of Earth found by the Kepler spacecraft in the habitable zone of a red dwarf star 490 light years away.

As Reformed Christians, should we welcome these scientific discoveries, or do they attack the basic tenets of our faith?

Article 2 of the Belgic Confession beautifully describes God’s general revelation (the universe) and special revelation (the Bible) as two books written by the same author. As Reformed Christians, we confess that God is infallible in both revelations and that God does not contradict himself.

We also believe that God does not try to deceive us by creating starlight in transit or fossilized remains in the earth. Nor does God hide deposits of pre-processed coal, oil, and natural gas in the proper geologic strata. God is the Lord of heaven and earth. He is the creator of the natural and the supernatural, and he is both immanent—that is, in the universe—and transcendent—surpassing both space and time.

When there appears to be a conflict between these two revelations it must be in our interpretation. Even careful, conservative, and sincere theologians and scientists make mistakes. When pride and politics enter the mix, from Galileo to global warming, an honest debate can quickly become more about doctrine and ideology than about the actual facts.

The Bible is God’s holy and divine Word, but it’s not a book of science. It can’t be. The Bible is full of miracles and supernatural events. Science, on the other hand, is the study of natural laws with the goal of predicting what should happen in an experiment and then empirically testing those hypotheses. The realm of science is limited to the natural laws of the universe and therefore it excludes miracles. By definition, a miracle is a violation of the universe’s natural laws that produces an unexpected result. As such, scientists are not allowed to insert miracles into their solutions. Similarly, if a patient dies on the operating table, surgeons will not expect that patient to be resurrected a few days later with all of his wounds healed.

In the Christian life, science and religion are not separated—but we need to make a clear distinction between them.

Ninety-nine years ago, Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity predicted gravity waves. Recently a team of scientists in Antarctica found evidence that these waves occurred less than a trillionth of a second after the Big Bang. Even though they’ve studied their evidence for years, they know that different teams of scientists, with different equipment and with a different hypothesis, will try to prove or disprove their discovery. Science has to explain the age of the universe without resorting to miracles. But as Reformed Christians, we know that God lives in and above space-time, and that he used both natural and supernatural means to create the universe.

Reformed Christians believe that Christ has both a human nature and a divine nature. We certainly distinguish between these two natures, but we cannot separate them. The same is true for science and theology. Astronomers have already found an earth-size planet in a habitable zone around a distant star. Next we’re likely to find an earth-like planet with liquid water. What will the discovery of a twin earth mean to our Reformed faith? What have we learned from Galileo? We’ve learned that science does not correct the Bible, it corrects a misinterpretation of the Bible.

Is the Earth 6,000 years old or 4.54 billion years old? The honest and humble answer is that we don’t know. The Bible clearly tells us the age of Adam when he died, but it does not clearly tell us the age of the Earth. The dominant scientific theory is that the Earth is very old, but some Christians believe that the Earth just appears to be old and that it’s actually much younger.

Archbishop James Ussher confidently calculated that the world began on October 23, 4004 bc. Similarly, Harold Camping confidently predicted the world would end on ad May 21, 2011. Both men used the Bible as fodder for their speculations. Adding something to Scripture to support a personal position denies the authority of the Bible just as much as subtracting something from Scripture that you’d like to ignore.

What is 13.8 billion years to God? For an immanent God existing in space time who experiences a thousand years as a 3-hour watch in the night (Ps. 90:4), 13.8 billion universe years is about 4,723 God years. For a transcendent God (existing outside of space time), 13.8 billion years is still less than a trillionth of a second. The dimensions of time and space are much larger than we can imagine—just like God.

How can Reformed Christians develop a viewpoint that is scientific and also biblical? The Reformation has given us insights that allow us to discriminate between good theology and bad theology. Many of those insights also work to distinguish good science from bad science.

Many institutions of higher learning have observatories that are open to the public. Go to an observatory and look at the Whirlpool Galaxy cataloged as M51a. When you put your eye to the eyepiece, the scientific explanation is clear. The very same photons that were emitted from this galaxy have travelled unimpeded for 24 million years across 100 trillion miles of space and have at last ended their perilous journey; their final resting place is your retina.

It’s a humbling and praise-worthy experience!

Science can provide incredible experiences for you and your children. You can visit a fossil site and hold a 30 million-year-old fossil with amazing physical detail in your own hands. Or hike into a meteor crater that is 50 thousand years old, or marvel at the craftsmanship of sculpted mammoth teeth or cave paintings that are over 30 thousand years old. Visit a science and engineering expo where you can see, touch, and use the latest technology.

Our parents and grandparents lived in a world where science was “on the fringes” and local, close-knit groups were the social norm. Our children live in a world where science is mainstream, and they must engage the world with knowledge of science, technology, engineering, and math.

Young Christians today need a strong and positive engagement of science within a context of faith. So let’s leave behind the subjective dogmas of yesterday and any lingering irrational fear of new discoveries.


The Christian Reformed Church’s position on Creation and Science


We Need Not Fear the Dinosaur

  1. Buurma suggests that the Bible is God’s Word, but it is not a book of science. As Christians, how do we draw the lines between science and faith?
  2. “Is the Earth 6,000 years old or 4.54 billion years old? The honest and humble answer is that we don’t know,” says Buurma. How much does it matter?
  3. Do you agree with the author that we need not fear for our faith in the face of, for instance, the recent dinosaur discovery in Alberta dated by scientists as 68 million years old? Why or why not?
  4. “Young Christians today need a strong and positive engagement of science within a context of faith.” Why is the topic of origins of such importance, especially for young people?

About the Author

Jake Buurma is vice president of operations for a nonprofit standards organization. He is a member of San Jose (Calif.) Christian Reformed Church.

See comments (50)


Thank you Nolan. I appreciate the kind reply and your support.  I do believe that the Bible is infallible and unerring. I've shown several examples where the training in doctine is absolutely correct but the training is science is not.  The main message of the Bible is accurate and never failling in it's true purpose.  But's it's purpose was not to be a science book.

Thank you for your comment!

John, I am familiar with cross-correlation, auto-correlation, and regression analysis. I’m also familiar with multi-variable forecasts. I majored in Quantitative Analysis at Duke University for my MBA. However, I am not an expert in this specific scientific area. Your reference is quoted below:

A common claim is that the DNA of chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) and humans (Homo sapiens) are about 98% similar. This oversimplified and often-touted estimate can actually involve two completely separate concepts. 1) Gene content (the comparative counts of similar types of coding sequences present or absent between different species) and 2) similarities between the actual base pairs of DNA sequences in alignments. For the most part, the modern similarity paradigm refers to DNA sequence alignment research.

The above reference quotes ‘creation.com’ which may be biased. In contrast, I have only quoted research from independent institutions such as: Duke University, Stanford University, University of Santa Cruz, the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, Donald P. Francis, MD, DSc who is the Executive Director Global Solutions for Infectious Diseases and my 30 year old biology books from college.


However, I also know experts from Duke University and Stanford University with MDs, PhDs and MDs + PhDs in this exact area. I will ask them if the quote from ‘creation.com’ is validated by the vast majority of professionals and experts that work in this specific area.


I hadn't heard of this science magazine until you told me about the subcrustal water, and then I found the feathered dinosaur article there. It seems like a good source of information, although I didn't see anything in the article I found about Chinese knock-off fossils. That's pretty funny! Cheap imitations of the real thing. The Wikipedia article on Archaeoraptor tells the details about this hoax and how it was uncovered, while the article on Feathered dinosaur gives a long list of specimens with feathers or indications of them.

It didn't take long to figure out what was going, and it might be tougher than spotting a fake designer purse. A similar situation happened with dinosaur tracks in Glen Rose, Texas. There, someone evidently chipped out some stone to make toes at the end of an elongate impression among dinosaur tracks, in order to create the impression that humans had walked among the dinosaurs.

You call some of these institutions independant... but perhaps they are also biased towards evolution which does not include an intelligent design.   To say that only non-christian institutions can be unbiased... doesn't that reveal a bit of bias on your part?  But yes, by all means, ask them. 

Ken, my comment that you are referring to is gone!


I had simply pointed out that fossils from China have been found to be fake.


According to Nature. 2005. 437(7055): 69-87:
Chimp Genome = 7 billion bases
Human Genome = 6.2 billion bases
That is already a difference of about 11.5%.

BTW Ken, my referencing that article regarding water under the earth doesn't mean that I vouch for that source regarding all science related articles.  I picked that particle article because I like the picture that seems to be easy to understand the findings.  There are many other sites that come up on a internet search.


I’m happy to report that in this specific case we were both right.  I sent your post to Dr. Michel Synder at Stanford and asked for his comment.  Dr. Snyder is the Stanford University Professor and Chair of Genetics. He is also the Director of the Center of Genomics and Personalized Medicine. Here is a summary of our short discussion. Only minor edits where made to clarify this exchange.

From Jake to Dr. Synder:

Dear Dr. Snyder,

There have been several studies in the last 10 years which show that when a DNA sequence of humans and chimps match then that matching is very good with only a 1.25% divergence.

However, some recent studies report that if genomic gaps were included in this correlation then the divergence of chip vs human DNA would grow to be about 5%.

The reason for the higher divergence is the accounting for the insertion or deletion (INDEL) of sub sequences of retro-transposons (or junk DNA).  What is your opinion?

From Dr. Synder to Jake


That sounds right but I’m not sure why it’s a surprise. We all knew that repetitive elements like these transposes would differ.  It is also worth noting that transposons also have regulatory sequences and all of this will undoubtedly affect the gene expression

In summary, yes there are older reports show that when the chip and human DNA sequences map, they have only a 1.25% divergence.  But there are gaps in the DNA sequence caused by retro-transposons or junk DNA. When those gaps are included in the correlation, then the divergence grows to about 5%.   The researches of all of these reports were not surprised.   

For years, the press has reported the 1.25% divergence, which is true, but they did not qualify this report as a subset of the total DNA sequence.  The  DNA researchers knew this from the beginning and then they did further study.  When the transposons are included in the divergence correlation then the divergence grew to 5%.  But as Dr. Synder reports in his email even the correlation of these retro-transposons have good correlation.

In summary, I’m happy that both sides of this discussion were supported by an independent expert. This specific example clearly shows why two reasonable and committed Christians can have a civil discussion where we disagree because the reports found in the press and on the internet can be biased or incomplete.


It took a little extra work to form this complex reply, but I think it was well worth it. I’m very happy with the final result I hope you are too.

Joy, please see the reply from Dr. Michael Snyder who is the Stanford University Professor and Chair of Genetics. He is also the Director of the Center of Genomics and Personalized Medicine.

Your math is simply not correct for this example.  You are reporting the difference in the size of the bases and not the difference in the correlation.  This is an simple error on your part.  Please leave these types of calculations to experts like Dr. Synder who has spent his entire career in the field and he is now is the Chair of Genetics at Stanford University.

When I don't know the answer to a question, I forward that question to a reknown expert with years of experience, multiple degrees and widely acknowledge as a world leader in this specific field of science.

But when you don't know the answer to a question, you just answer it yourself.

Please google 'Dr. Michael Synder' at Stanford University and see if you want to equate yourself with him.


Actually my calculation is correct.  My information is confirmed from scientists such as Dr. Kevin Anderson.

Kevin Anderson received a Ph.D. in microbiology from Kansas State University, and was a National Institutes of Health Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Illinois, Urbana.  Subsequently, he was a university professor, where he taught graduate level courses in genetics and molecular biology. He also served as the major professor for several masters and doctorial students. Later he was the director of laboratory research for a biotech company. 

Just because we don't go along with ignoring most of the differences, including about 11.5% difference in number of bases alone, doesn't mean we are incorrect.

This discussion continues to be fascinating! What strikes me is how hard Jake and Ken are working to defend the position of an old earth. What does it matter? John and Joy have been trying to show the cracks in these defenses but ultimately I think they are trying to demonstrate that any amount of time does NOT equal proof of "pond scum to people" evolution.

Within the hour, the Rosetta's probe will be landing on a comet. What an incredible scientific achievement! And yet, the scientists don't even know if there will be something that the probe can cling to when it lands. Why are we spending so much time, energy, intellect and money on this project? Scientists believe we may unlock the secrets of the beginning of life on earth. You see, we need more than billions of years; we need the "seed", a collection of water and organic minerals from an older solar system that planted itself on earth and was the beginning of everything(I am loosely quoting what I heard on the radio this morning). It just doesn't make sense: the amazing creative process that brought about the reality of a craft landing on a comet, to find the clue to how this whole world started with the accidental collison of just the right materials that orgainized itself and became "life". Why bother building the Rosetta spacecraft? Why not just crumple up any old collection of garbage and launch it into space? Given enough time, won't it turn itself into a highly intelligent being that can seek out and study the inside of a comet?(By the way, what started the older solar system?)

I do not argue that young Christians should not be involved in science. Far from it! But every Christian involved in scientific study may be faced with the pressure to suspend their faith to continue their studies; not necessarily their faith in God, but their faith that what is written in Genesis can be taken literally. For some, this will be an issue. For others it won't matter.


Hi Rosmarie, I'm listening to the ESA press conference live as I write this reply. We spent so much time and money on the Rosetta project for the same reason we spent $10B on the Hubble telescope. When a commander of the Rosetta mission was asked by a reporter why they did it. His reply as "Because God made the starry sky."  

I'm not sure why you ask "Why bother building the Rosetta spacecraft?"  The simple answer is that humans need to know more about God's universe. Maybe you were asking a more subtle question, but I'm not sure.  


The purpose of my Banner article was to encourage more young people embrace STEM studies in the context of their Christian Faith.  The vast majority of scientists believe in an old earth and an older universe so these young Christians need to understand that there are several different views. It's not only reasonable that committed Christians interpret Genesis quite differently it's actually very healthy.

I'm with Rosemary as to appreciating the discussion, even though I remain in the cheap seats.

I do think, Ken, she was asking a more subtle question, even probably a rhetorical one.  But she can speak for herself.

I am certain of this one point.  Our existence (humans) is an absolutely unbelievable phenomena.  Other life is too, plant and animal, but we really take the cake.


Humans are made in God's image. No plant, animal or angel can make that claim.

However, we still need do a much better job in how we treat each other. Especially when we disagree.

Of course, Joy, I understood that you were not recommending that magazine. I was just chuckling that my search had led me to the same magazine you had cited, which I had never heard of before that.

Some call this type of thing a "God moment." In my personal theology there are no coincidences. Providence is operation all of the time, not just when we notice it because something surprising happens.

Rosemarie, This is RE your statement, "What strikes me is how hard Jake and Ken are working to defend the position of an old earth. What does it matter? John and Joy have been trying to show the cracks in these defenses but ultimately I think they are trying to demonstrate that any amount of time does NOT equal proof of "pond scum to people" evolution."

This illustrates how one can read postings here and then draw conclusions about other posters regarding beliefs and motivations that are sometimes inaccurate. "Working hard... to defend"? Are those who disagree also doing that? And what difference does it make? If it makes no difference, why discuss it?

I see no evidence in the Bible for when and how God created Earth, the part of creation we know best, and the rest of the universe. Many Bible scholars agree, and I know it's a logical fallacy to say that (X million people can't be wrong - but they can), but I just wanted to note that it isn't only Jake, me, and the atheists who think that. On the other hand, when I look at the world around us, I see many, many things that indicate vast time. Many feet of limestone that precipitated from solution in water, repeated accretions of continental crust onto the North American craton, hundreds of feet of salt deep below Earth's surface, all of the features of tectonic plates, and much more. Unless you believe that God is a prankster who created all of this in progress and nearly complete. If you are going to cite geological evidence, you have to include all that we know now. You can't just use the facts that seem to fit what you think the Bible says or what tradition says.

Why does it matter? There is only one truth. Either the events that we see recorded in the rock record (that our lying eyes see, some would say) actually happened or they didn't.

Many of the emails I receive from inquirers on the ACG website involve this issue. They say, "I want to study geology, but I'm a Christian," and they're conflicted. One wrote after attending geology class for a couple of months and going on a field trip or two, "How can I fit all this into 6,000 years?" You can blame all those atheist geology and biology professors for leading the youth astray, but I spent most of my working life teaching geology, and my students were well aware that I was not an atheist attempting to disprove the Bible. I received email and visits from former students years after they were in my class, telling me they remembered me as a Christian, and the rest of the faculty was aware of it, also.

We hear a lot of talk about what we believe, and I'm asked if I believe Earth is old or if I believe in evolution, and on and on, but believe is in the realm of faith. Paul said, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ..." That I believe, and that is a faith statement. When it comes to science, believe is an inappropriate word. I prefer to say that the evidence indicates or suggests.

It doesn't matter to me whether Earth is old or young, but the evidence indicates that God has been creating and governing the world for a very long time. Should we care if that is the case? Why does that matter? It doesn't because the Bible doesn't tell us otherwise. And I am not be shy about supporting (defending if you insist) that position. This is not to denigrate the Bible, but quite the opposite. Unless and until we update our theology to show that the Bible is relevant with respect to science, and being a Christian does not require that we ignore, reject, and deny what God reveals in the creation, we will lose the most important battle. As I think I've mentioned here before, the young-Earth folks and atheists both tell people the young-Earth position is what the Bible teaches, although not all Christians find support for that positionin the Bible, and we have to choose between that and mainstream science (which is not necessarily atheistic but works better for them). Most unbelievers will fall for that line, and some Christian young people do, too. And that's why it matters.

Jake, you say that you don't believe that human and primates have a common ancestor.

However, it is then rather perplexing why the claim of small percentage of difference would be important to you.  E.g. response when I pointed out that there is already about 11.5% difference in the number of bases in the genomes.

Why does it matter how God created our bodies? That is not what "image of God" means. Just asking.

The sequence of life forms in the geological record is something that needs to be addressed. Yes, there is a progression and there are extinctions.

As I see it, there are three possible explanations: 1) the whole thing was created, bottom to top, with the fossils; 2) Earth is old, progressive creation; 3) current standard geological explanation. Your pick. Flood geology doesn't work because there are too many things it doesn't explain and can't. I see no other options.

Greetings, this is your friendly comment moderator. A few of you are playing dueling comment-flagging, which leaves me trying to arbitrate. This is just a reminder that all comments should relate to the original article. Please do not attribute to others beliefs or positions that have not been stated. Please keep your comments concise and friendly, contributing something new and positive to the discussion. Please try not to dominate the discussion. Thank you.

Ken, it's not a case of your lying eyes or God misleading us in any way.

It's actually seeing what is in front of our eyes.  For example how come there isn't evidence of erosion in the lower layers of sediment, for example when looking at the laminated layers of sediment of the Grand Canyon. They are sandwiched together so tightly typically in straight lines without a hint of erosion having had ocurred on lower layers.

The young earth creationist looks at the Grand Canyon and says: "Wow, look what a lot of water did in a short time".  Whereas the Old-earther (creationist or not) looks at the same Grand Canyon and says that it took a long time and little water.  You see, we see the same evidence and interpret it differently.

As I think John mentioned already, things like polystrate fossils contradict gradual sedimentation.

There are also many examples of huge folds in rocks that would need to be 'plastic', i.e. pliable, at the time of the fold otherwise the rock would be all cracked up.  The rock folds fit in best with flood sediments during the global flood.

There are many other things contradicting an old earth such as carbon 14 in diamonds, too much helium in rocks etc. 

Regarding helium, an analogy might be if someone were opening an old abandoned building to show you, and the custodian said that no-one had been inside the building, especially the room that he was opening for about 100 years.  However upon entering the room you see a fully inflated 'Happy Retirement' helium balloon bouncing near the ceiling.  Would you believe that no one had been in room/building in all that time?

Ken, actually flood geology provides the best explanation for what we see.

Regarding fossils, what might one expect to see as a result of a massive global flood.  Billions of dead things buried in rock layers laid down by water all over the earth. This is exactly what has been found.  For example in Australia a whale fossil and possim fossil found buried together.  How else would you explain this as whales and possums don't live together?

Marine fossils on top of Mount Everest?


John and Joy,

We need not fear the dinosaur. If you don't fear reading something other than material that you know agrees with your point of view, let me suggest The Biblical Flood (Davis Young) and The Bible, Rocks and Time (Young and Stearley). We need to get beyond the talking points of folks in our comfort zone and take a look at what other Christian scientists are saying. I have a shelf full of books across the full spectrum of views on origins, including many young-Earth ones. Take a look at what Christian writers have to say. On the theology side, look at John Walton and C. John Collins. In the meantime, I hope you will be patient with those of us who don't see what you see in the Bible. I had a relative once tell me "We believe the Bible!" If we declare everyone not a Christian who doesn't agree with us, we may end up being a church of one.

Joy, no one on this forum has ever said that humans descended from primates.  I have stated, with absolute certainty, that I believe that mankind does not share a common ancestor with apes or any other animal. When you made the statement, “This is in contrast to the belief that we 'descended' from primates” then you should quote a person, in this forum, who made that statement.  It was not me, it was not you, it was not Ken, so who in this forum, said that? 


A useful dialogue requires two or more people talking about the same subject. When you bring up a comment like the above example, who are you talking to? Not anyone on this forum. When you explode an unrelated comment like “This is in contrast to the belief that we 'descended' from primates” it sets a very rancorous tone to the discussion.  I would not talk to Christ this way, I would not talk to a sister this way. As your brother in Christ, I respectfully ask that you follow the first policy point of the Banner's Comment Policy.

Jake, your comment of November 10, 2014 - 12:45 am, did give the impression that you might believe in common ancestry for primates & humans.  Anyway it's good that you clarified that you don't believe that.  

Regarding comets that you referred to in your recent comment, according to evolutionary theory, comets are supposed to be the same age as the solar system, which they believe to be about 5 billion years. Yet each time a comet orbits close to the sun, it loses so much of its material that it could not survive much longer than about 100,000 years. Many comets have typical ages of 10,000 years.

Evolutionists explain this discrepancy by assuming that comets come from an unobserved spherical ‘Oort cloud’ well beyond the orbit of Pluto.  However, no one has actually seen the 'Oort Cloud', even Oort didn't see the 'Oort Cloud'.  

I would rather believe that Almight God told us the truth in Genesis and Exodus 20:11.















Today, the Rosetta spacecraft put a lander on a comet. Do you think that this comet participated in a global flood?  This comet is a signifcant 'fossil' of our solar system.   It had nothing to do with a global flood on earth. Absolutely zero.  In a few weeks, we'll have some scientific reports. In the meantime, we can look for marine fossiles on top of Mount Everest.

When the press core asked the commander of the Rosetta project why the ESA spent billions on this awesome adventure, his reply was simply "Because God created a starry sky."

This comment shows the Science, Creation and God get along just fine. I'd recommend that we adopt the tone and attitude of the Rosetta Mission Commander when we discuss these types of topics. 



The origin of comets is speculation.  Comets simply consist of ice & dust.

Something that does contradict the billions of years claimed as age of earth is the fact that the moon is moving away from the earth by a certain amount each year.

The moon would have been so close that it would actually have been touching the earth 1.4 billion years ago.  

On December 24, 1968, in what was the most watched television broadcast at the time, the crew of Apollo 8 read in turn from the Book of Genesis as they orbited the moon. Bill AndersJim Lovell, and Frank Borman recited verses 1 through 10, using the King James Version text.

Bill Anders 
"We are now approaching lunar sunrise, and for all the people back on Earth, the crew of Apollo 8 has a message that we would like to send to you.
'In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
‘And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.
‘And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
‘And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.'"
Jim Lovell 
"‘And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
‘And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
‘And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.
‘And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.’"
Frank Borman 
"'And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.
‘And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.'
And from the crew of Apollo 8, we close with good night, good luck, a Merry Christmas – and God bless all of you, all of you on the good Earth."
Video/Audio available here: http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/image/apollo8_xmas.mov

Joy, "Comets simply consist of ice & dust?" what do you think the early solar system is made of?

The Oort cloud was a named after Jan Hendrik Oort, a Dutch astronomer who made significant contributions to the understanding of the Milky Way.  He was one of this century's greatest explorers. The European Space Agency (ESA) that today landed on a comet via Rosetta spacecraft describes him as, “one of the greatest astronomers of the 20th century,”


According to Life Magazine, Dr. Oort made the list of the 100 most famous living people. He was accredited as putting the Netherlands in the forefront of postwar astronomy. 

Do you want to equate your understanding of comets with Dr Oort.? Do you actually believe that the moon touched the Earth 1.4 billion years ago?  I certainly don't and neither do you. So what's the argument?

Mankind made a very historic achievment today.  You act like what's the big deal?  And then you say, "Comets simply consist from ice and dust. Well, It's  a big deal for everyone who want's to understand God's universe and think His thoughts after him.

Humans are made from star dust too (except for hydrogen)  and certainly you would never say that humans are just a bunch of dust.


Joy,  Amen!

I actually have a pen that Buzz Aldren used on the moon!  I was a summer student for NASA back in 1969.  I still have a signed letter from Dr. Aldren to me saying that the pen he gave me had been to the moon and it had a small gold bushing from the lunar module that returned to earth.

At least, we can agree on something.

Jake, I am reading Jonathan Sarfati's book, "Refuting Compromise".   He is a PhD scientist in physical chemistry, as well as New Zealand Chess Master.  This 400 page book starts off with about 100 pages of discussion on how scripture is interpreted with regard to Genesis 1, and includes a detailed analysis of the Hebrew used, the context, etc.   He deals with progressive creation primarily in this book, and explains how it does not fit with scripture.  He explains the difference between errors in scripture, symbolism, and the meaning of "yom" in context.  You keep saying that we have made errors in interpreting scripture, and he puts that into context as well.  I suggest that when you have read this book, then perhaps you will have to find a different way to respond. 

This book also describes the red shift in a way that made it clear to me.  He is a great explainer of scientific principles, and also referred to Hubbles law and constant in the context.  I hope to learn more as I read the rest of the book.   He is also dealing with the implications of big bang theory, but I have not finished that section yet. 

I am a bit amazed or amused at your belief that the comet that Rosetta and Philea photographed and touched,  must be of the same age as the earth.  On  what (besides theory) do you base this?  How do you know it is not much younger or older?   It would seem possible that it is much older or younger; how can you be sure? 

I also wonder how you explain away the fact that since moon is moving away from earth, why it would not have been touching earth 1.4 billion years ago under your deep time scenario.  What evidence would you provide?   or how would you explain it?

Ken you asked this previously

:  "... For a long time, paleontologists have claimed that birds descended from reptiles, noting that birds have many reptilian features. Recently, dinosaur fossils have been found with feathers. (See http://www.sciencedaily.com/articles/f/feathered_dinosaurs.htm for photos and video.) Lucky prediction, isn't it? The scientists aren't always wrong, and often correct earlier mistakes.  ...A good example of a corrected error is the Piltdown hoax, which usually gets included in lists like this that attempt to ridicule scientists. The listers almost never point out that the error was corrected by scientists, leaving the impression that it was corrected by the ridiculers, but it was the correction that gave the ridiculers the information that made the ridicule possible. Odd, isn't it?" 

It is true that errors often get corrected.  However, evolutionary errors remain fixed as fact in the minds of both scientists and the general population long after they have been corrected.  This is also a fact.  The piltdown man is only one example among many.   It is therefore difficult to know whether the feathers on the reptile will turn out to be another hoax, or misinterpreted,  or just a simple mistake, or not.  But beyond this, the articles describe feathers on the earliest dinosaurs, which seems to suggest that feathers are not an intermediary between dinosaurs and birds, but rather an inherent characteristic of some types of dinosaurs.  Or, should we say the feathered animals are actually non-flying  birds like ostriches?   And initially, feathered birds were dated earlier than feathered dinosaurs.  But another correction necessary, so the birds were re-dated.  Hmm.   And apparently, there are significantly different types of feathers also.  The filaments suggesting feathers...    So are  eggs most significant, or feathers, or warm-blood, or avian lungs, or the ability to fly... 


"The archaeopteryx is one of the most famous and well-known specimens in the dinosaur-to-bird evolutionary theory. By evolutionists it is said to be one  primary example of a dinosaur in a transitional phase. Others believe it to be merely another hoax, like that of the archaeoraptor in which pieces of different animals were put together to form another species.[8] "

Leading experts in both the creationist and evolutionary worlds agree that the archaeopteryx is indeed a true organism. Dr. David Menton, a creationist anatomist, shows how it is a true bird with feathers capable of flight. He says it is neither a transitional form nor a feathered dinosaur, but a bird. Dr. Alan Feduccia, an evolutionist, is a bird expert at the University of North Carolina. He too agrees that the archaeopteryx is a perching bird, not a dinosaur like many others claim.

Ken, you mentioned that you have read a number of young earth creation books. Recommend you read this: 

Documents the results of a thorough 8 year research project. Presented to hundreds of scientists, a number who have repeated the scientific experiments and haven't been able to refute their findings.  

Volume I contains details of the scientific research that they would be doing and the expected results if special creation (YEC) is true or what would be the result if evolution (OE) were true.  

This volume documents the results. For example an independent lab provided them the diffusion rates of helium from rocks. Results aligned perfectly with YEC. Basically in a nutshell helium retention in rocks consistent with Biblical timeline (about 6000 years).  Radioisotope dating seems to indicate billions.  However plenty of evidence found for accelerated decay some time in the past.  Perhaps during the global flood.  This might help to understand why shortly after the flood Noah became so drunk he passed out. Being a drunkard doesn't seem consistent with Almighty God saying that Noah was righteous.  However perhaps things were very different after the flood and he didn't expect the wine he made to affect him so.  We also see the lifespans of people shortened significantly from about 900 years during Adam & Eve's time to today a person is lucky to reach 90 years of age.  

Jake, of course I don't believe the moon touched the earth because I don't believe the earth is billions of years old. :)

Almighty God told us in His Word, in Genesis, that He made the earth before the sun, moon and stars.  He tells us that He knows all the stars by name.  Wow, I wonder how many scientists who think we should believe them rather than the Word of God, know ALL the stars by name. 

In the interests of a civil dialogue, I want to point out that Dr. Jonathan Sarfati, as a YEC, does critique Dr. Hugh Ross, a progressive creationist, rather severely.  But he states up front that he sincerely believes Dr. Hugh Ross to be a christian, although inconsistent and misguided in the area of science.  It is from that perspective and context that he then critiques progressive creationism. 

Joy, the majority of old earth people believe that the moon was formed after the Earth. Here's one example that describes why the moon could be younger than the earth.


"The Moon is thought to have formed nearly 4.5 billion years ago, not long after Earth. Although there have been several hypotheses for its origin in the past, the current most widely accepted explanation is that the Moon formed from the debris left over after a giant impact between Earth and a Mars-sized body."

So at least we can agree that  the Earth was made before the moon.  Yeah! That's progress. Now the stars are a slightly different story.  

Our Milkyway Galaxy produces about one new star per year and it takes about a million years to make a star. Fortunately, we can see millions of stars in various stage of formation so we have a pretty good computer model to simulate star formation.  It's interesting that it took 40 days and 40 nights  of simulation time on a NASA super comtputer to model a hydrogen gas cloud forming into a cluster of stars. (I'm not making this up!)

So yes, I believe that our Milkyway Galaxy has produced billions of stars after the earth was formed. BTW, I only know the names of 30 stars and after that I pull out my trusty star chart.

Thank you very much for your pleasant tone and good comments!


John, the dialog has been more civil in recent days and I am very happy about that.

Bob DeMoor, the Banner editor,  said  "Especially in a day of blistering media attache and bloggers' rants we need to learn to speak the truth in love in a way the build up the body of Christ"

Gayla Postma, our comment moderator, requested "Please keep your comments concise and friendly, contributing something new and positive to the discussion"

I have said, that everyone on the forum, including me, must follow the Banner Comment Policy.  

I don't think a rancorous tone, infammatory remarks or severe criticism are called for in this forum. The question is not who is wrong because all of us are!  God's Word is perfect, but our translations and interpretations are not.   There is not a single human, with one exception, who has not made a ton of mistakes.   That includes famous, sincere and conservative scientists and theologians. 

We want a useful and respectful discussion because the more we understand the different perspectives the more we also understand that our perspective changes our view of the data.  A different perspective, on the same data, provides a different view.  The more view points, the more dimensions of the data we can see.  I've learned a lot from this forum.  I hope others have too.

Thank you all for your kind comments!


I had to give my brain a rest after that ruckus yesterday. I can't respond to everything you asked about yesterday for lack of space.

There's a good discussion of polystrate fossils on Wikipedia. You can probably find information on some other things that puzzled you, too. Otherwise, because I've been more open here than most, you know how to contact me outside of this blog. (It's rather weird to talk with folks who I know nothing about and almost all of whom are faceless. I wish this were more personal.)

Since Michigan is an excellent example for illustrating geologic processes, features, and time, I have put together a summary of Michigan geology that you might be interested in. At the end, I listed some questions to think about. This does not require acceptance of radiometric dating or organic evolution. You can find it at https://www.dropbox.com/s/ek7t7c3xug9rygc/Summary%20of%20Michigan%20geology.doc?dl=0.

I admire Hugh Ross for what he is doing, and send him a contribution each year, even though his organization is misinformed in geology (not in the sense of what we've been discussing here, but just basic things).

I think we've massaged this topic long enough, and I expect to move on. I'll have to see if I owe anyone else a response.

With regard to star formation, Jonathan Sarfati also addresses that in his book, interestingly enough.  He suggests that the physics of star formation are improbable, since gravity has to overcome the expansion properties of the gases which are required to form the stars.  He also believes that stars have not been seen to form, although there are claims that they have.  He references Dr. Ronald Samec who says we should not believe stars have formed unless they are actually imaged. Population III stars, lacking metal absorption lines, have apparently not been observed (and there should be lots, given we look back far in time). 

He also documents a case (Sakurai's object), in which a white dwarf changed to a bright yellow giant in just a few months, and then to a red supergiant and then shrank rapidly to invisibility with optical telescopes, only visible in infrared, within four years.  

He mentions the law of angular momentum, the T-Tauri phase of the sun, and the faint young sun paradox.  Since you enjoy astronomy, you would find his comments interesting. 

I am also glad that you admit the possibility that evolutionists may be interpreting both scripture and nature incorrectly;  at least it opens the possibility of dialogue, when creationists do not need to concede to an allegory of genesis as if there is no other option. 

Joy, I hope I don't get in trouble for posting too often. I'll look into this book. However, I've pretty much lost patience with those who say this or that doesn't work, when I know about others who are using the things that don't work, and are getting results that make sense when we look at the entire body evidence. I hope you will look at my little summary of Michigan geology. You might also find interesting two books by my friend, Dan Wonderly, now with the Lord, at http://www.wonderlylib.ibri.org/. Dan was an old-Earth anti-evolutionist who was fired from Grace College in Indiana presumably because he disagreed with John Whitcomb, co-author of The Genesis Flood. That ended this fine Christian man's teaching career.

Blessings and best wishes to you in the future.

Ken, you stuck with it longer than I thought you would, given that you said you wouldn't earlier.  :)  I appreciate it can be frustrating to deal with so many aspects, questions, challenges at the same time.  Of course, I find you and others sometimes doing the same thing... but I don't blame you for that, it is a natural response when a particular worldview is challenged.  I rather assume also that you are about twenty years older than I, and I respect your involvement and energy.   I also know that the older one becomes, the harder it is to rearrange a paradigm or reference point or world view, especially when so many facts, figures and phenomena have been explained within it.  Thanks for your website link.  I think I may try to look at it. 

While a personal approach might be what you prefer, I have found that it is difficult to maintain equanimity at a personal level.  Often the discussion gets sidetracked to personal issues, such as the level of education or experience, or individual idiosyncrasies, instead of the actual facts and questions at hand.   It also does not allow the checking of facts or opinions the way this type of discussion does.  Nevertheless, maybe we will meet someday, in this world or the next.  All the best.

And I do have one last question:  have you read any of Sarfati's material? 

John, you are nicer than you seem sometimes, but maybe I am, too. :-) OK, one last time.

That's a recent photo, and I'm 77. God has blessed me with a youthful body for my age. I hiked Grand Canyon a year ago, down and up, with an overnight at the bottom. I had done it in 2009, and my daughter and son-in-law invited me to repeat with them. I was honored.

Never read any Safarti.

Blessings and shalom.

Ken, I responded to your questions via the dropbox article.  Shared as a link to yours.  I have not used it enough to be comfortable with it, so I hope it works.

Dr. Mark Krumholz is a professor in the Astronomy and Astrophysics Department at UC Santa Cruz. His research focuses on the formation of stars and galaxies, and on the physics of the interstellar medium. He has written a computer simulation of how star clusters form from the interstellar medium.  Prof. Krumholz what kind enough to respond to John Zylstra’s post on star formation. Please note that John’s original comments on star formation will be in Blue Font and that Dr. Krumholz’s replies to each of these will be in Black font.

Hi Mark,

When, I told a group about you presentation last Friday, they had several comments.  Here are a few of their comments. 

With regard to star formation, Jonathan Sarfati also addresses that in his book, interestingly enough.  He suggests that the physics of star formation are improbable, since gravity has to overcome the expansion properties of the gases which are required to form the stars.  He also believes that stars have not been seen to form, although there are claims that they have.  He references Dr. Ronald Samec who says we should not believe stars have formed unless they are actually imaged. Population III stars, lacking metal absorption lines, have apparently not been observed (and there should be lots, given we look back far in time).

Jake, this argument is confused on many levels, so apologies for the length of the response. A lot of explanation is called for.

First of all, it is completely correct that gravity has to overcome the pressure of gas trying to expand in order for a star to form. However, I’m not sure what the assertion that this is “improbable” is based on — it certainly doesn’t appear to be backed up by any quantitative argument or calculation. We can in fact calculate the critical mass of gas that is required before gravity can take over and cause collapse. It’s called the Jeans mass, after James Jeans, who first worked it out in 1902. It depends on the gas density and temperature. We can infer temperature of the interstellar gas from the spectrum of its molecular line emission, in a way that is not all that different from the way an infrared thermometer can measure someone’s temperature just from the light that their skin emits; we can infer the density from the molecular line emission as well, though that is a somewhat more complex process that requires some understanding of quantum statistical mechanics.

In much of the interstellar medium the gas clouds have a density that is too low and a temperature that is too high for the mass to exceed the Jeans mass, and these do not collapse and form stars. However, there are also regions where the density is higher and the temperature is lower, and these contain many Jeans masses and thus are able to collapse. It is in these regions that we see stars forming. Indeed, in clouds of interstellar molecular gas the temperatures are very low, of order 10 K, and the densities are typically ~1000 atoms per cubic cm. One can simply plug this into the Jeans mass formula to derive a critical mass for gravitational collapse that is a few times the mass of the Sun. The clouds themselves are typically 100,000 times the mass of the Sun or more, there is more than enough mass for gravity to induce collapse. In summary, the claim that gravity cannot overcome pressure and induce collapse seems not to be based on any actual understanding or calculation; it’s just an assertion. If you actually do the Jeans calculation, you conclude the opposite.

As for the claim that we do not see stars forming, and that someone would not believe star formation occurs unless it is actually imaged: I’m not sure when that quote is from, and it might be forgivable if it was uttered 30 years ago, but we now have literally thousands of examples where we have imaged young stars in the process of forming. I showed examples during my talk, such as this one: http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap051111.html. We don’t get to watch the formation process end to end, because it takes too long, but saying that we don’t see stars form is a bit like saying that we’ve never seen grass grow, because the growth rate is too low to be seen with the naked eye.

How do we know when we’re looking at young stars? There are numerous indications. First, they’re often still embedded in clouds of dust and gas, like in the image linked above. Second, we see circumstellar material left over from the formation, including this just example recently: http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap141110.html. Third, we see that the stars lie off the “main sequence” in luminosity and color where most stars fall. They are more luminous and red than most stars, indicating that they have larger than normal radii — they’re still in the process of contraction. That’s just three lines of evidence, but I could easily list a dozen more.

I’m not sure how population III stars got into this, as they’re sort of irrelevant to star formation today. Population III stars are stars that contain no elements heavier than hydrogen and helium that are predicted to have existed in the very early universe, before nucleo-synthesis taking place in stars produced heavier elements.

However, the claim that there should be lots of population III stars and that we should have observed them is nonsense. The prediction is that those stars existed only as the very first generation of stars. The last of them would likely have died less than a billion years after the Big Bang, roughly 13 billion years ago. This puts them far enough away that they should be extraordinarily faint. Detecting them (or at least the supernovae they produce when they die) is one of the goals of the upcoming James Webb Space Telescope, but I know of literally no one who works on population III stars who has ever predicted that they should be observable with today’s telescopes.

We do, however, see stars containing very, very few metals. As far as I know, the record-holder thus far is a star that where the abundance of iron relative to hydrogen is less than 1/100,000 of what we observe in the Sun.

Sarfati also documents a case (Sakurai's object), in which a white dwarf changed to a bright yellow giant in just a few months, and then to a red supergiant and then shrank rapidly to invisibility with optical telescopes, only visible in infrared, within four years. 

Sakurai’s object is a genuinely interesting astronomical object, but I am mystified as to what Sarfati (or anyone else) thinks it has to do with star formation. It’s a variable star that is near the end of its life, and it transitioning between red giant and white dwarf. Such stars go through a series of pulses where their brightness can go up and down, and they color can change as their radii expand and/or dust condenses out of gas around them. While Sakurai’s object is certainly interesting, it is hardly the only variable star known.

For example, the star Eta Carinae went through an outburst in the 1800s, briefly becoming the second-brightest star in the night sky, before fading back. We do not fully understand the mechanism responsible for the outbursts. However, this too is irrelevant to star formation.

 Sarfati mentions the law of angular momentum, the T-Tauri phase of the sun, and the faint young sun paradox.  Since you enjoy astronomy, you would find his comments interesting.

This reads more like a listicle (an article from a list)  than a coherent argument, so I’m not quite sure what sort of response is called for. I guess I’ll just summarize what each of these things is, and how it is relevant (or irrelevant) to star formation.

Angular momentum is conserved, and in order to collapse an interstellar cloud does have to shed most of its angular momentum. However, we have known for perhaps 50 years how this happens. The gas out of which stars form is magnetized, and magnetic fields are very efficient at transporting angular momentum. The magnetic fields transport angular momentum away from the young star and allow the collapse to continue. The phenomenon is not all that different from eddy current brakes in terrestrial applications.

The T Tauri phase of the Sun: young stars with masses comparable to the Sun’s mass pass through a phase called the T Tauri phase, named after the first example of this class of star observed. The T Tauri phase is characterized by a high level of variability in the optical, emission in certain lines such as Halpha that are indicative of ongoing accretion onto the star, excess infrared radiation produced by the warm dust around the star, strong surface magnetic fields, enhanced x-ray emission produced by the magnetic fields, and a host of other odd features.

Many T Tauri stars have been observed in regions of active star formation. As the stars age, the accretion rate drops and the circumstellar material is dispersed by a combination of stellar winds and being incorporated into planets. The T Tauri phase then ends. While the study of T Tauri stars is an active area of research, I’m not sure why or how anyone would characterize it as a “problem”.

The faint young Sun problem is a problem geology and atmospheric physics, but not in star formation. The issue is that, while main sequence stars have pretty stable luminosities, they do gradually get brighter over many billions of years. The Sun today is thought to be something like 40% brighter than it was right after it formed.

The “problem” is that the geologic record indicates that there was both liquid water and life on Earth during that time, and a naive estimate of the Earth’s surface temperature back then suggests it should have been too cold for liquid water. I am not an expert in the problem, but from what I do know the most likely explanation is the greenhouse effect.

If one does the naive calculation for the mean surface temperature of the Earth now, using the present-day Solar luminosity, the result comes out noticeably lower than the actual temperature we observe. This is due to the greenhouse effect. There may well have been a stronger greenhouse effect in the past that compensated for the lower Solar luminosity, due to an atmospheric composition that was higher in carbon monoxide and other greenhouse gases than the present-day one. There are a number of other hypotheses as well. Please see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faint_young_Sun_paradox. The true resolution to the problem is still not entirely clear, but the issue is entirely irrelevant to the question of star formation.

Best Regards,


Mark Krumholz




Jake, wow.  Didn't expect you to investigate such detail... but good for you.  I am not an astronomer, so I am only going to deal with those things that I can, relative to what Jonathan has said about them.  I only mentioned some of the other things he mentioned, without giving his arguments or logic, so it would be difficult for Mark Krumholz to imagine the argument.  

The last first.  The faint young sun paradox... he says that in order to compensate for the less bright sun 3.8 bill yrs ago, the CO2 would have had to be 1000 times the present day level.  This he says is an adhoc argument, and unrealistic.  

He indicates that if the sun went thru the T-phauri phase, that the four gas planets would not have been as large as they are, based on the calculations of the solar wind created in this phase. 

Sarfati indicates that Dr. Stuart Taylor maintains that the solar systems angular momentum remains obscure...  The sun contains 99% of solar system mass, but only 2% of momentum, which does not mesh with the law of conservation of angular momentum.  It's opposite to the pattern predicted for the nebular hypothesis, Sarfati says.

Sarfati mentioned the Sakuri object (a born again star) only because it happened about 50 times faster than the theory predicted in the 1980s.  So he questions why things could not happen much faster astronomically.  Astronomers have not observed stars changing over millions of years, but have seen them change much more quickly, in months.  

Okay, what about population III stars, which have never yet been observed?  Sarfati says that to get them, you need some outside force, such as explosion of another star, to instigate the collapse of a gas cloud, since it would never collapse on its own.  Even to get formation of H2 would seem to require dust grains, which would mean metals would have to exist, which would not fit the evolutionary idea of spontaneous He and H2 as the progenitor of all other elements. 

I don't think that anyone said that gravity could not overcome the outward force of the gas according to the Jean Mass formula, just that it was improbable.  He indicates that earlier papers argued that population III stars could have masses from 0.1 to 100 times the mass of our sun.  Today they claim they were all massive and therefore fast burning, which Jonathan says is an adhoc argument.  "If stars all formed naturalistically, one should expect a large number of low-mass population III stars to have been formed (as well), as allegedly happened for population II stars".  The total absence is a problem for big bang cosmology.  

Astronomer Dr. Ronald Samec (1997) says that when dark nebulae collide with emission nebulae, the dust pushes its way thru the hot gas, which compresses and glows hotter as whitish areas on the edges of the dark dust fingers.  They seem to glow as stars.  "We should not be convinced that embedded stars exist within the finger tips of these dust regions unless they are actually imaged."

I am no astronomer, so won't comment further, except to say that there are professional astronomers who see big problems with the big bang theory, and that many aspects of galaxy formation, and star formation, solar system rotation, planet rotation speeds and direction,   fit better with a direct creation than with a spontaneous combustion theory.  

Also I highlighted the astronomy items because of their interest to Jake Buurma.  Thanks Jake. 

Based on Scripture, it doesn't seem likely that stars are still being created, i.e. after the fourth day when God made the sun, moon & stars.  Living creatures & plants are to multiply as stated in Genesis.  However, don't recall the Bible telling us that more stars are being formed.


God of Wonders: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QAuGRhZsMCs is a great documentary.

Especially like the portion within the first quarter hour that compares earth to our sun etc.  Amazing :)


The Bible is not a science book. It does not tell us the speed of light, it does not tell us the distance to the Sun, it does not tell us the age of the universe, it does not tell us the names of all of the suns, planets and galaxies in our universe. Yes, the Bible does say that God made the constellations of Ursa Major, Orion, and the Pleiades.  But there are billions of other stellar objects which are not mentioned in the Bible.  You cannot logically create an argument on what the Bible does NOT say.

When the Bible does not say something, then you must infer what the Bible does not say. You have often just inserted your own personal opinion into that empty space. I have clearly stated that adding something to scripture, that it does not clearly say, is just as bad as subtracting something from Scripture that it does say.  Thank you for being such a good object model of this message!

When you say. “Based on Scripture, it doesn't seem likely that stars are still being created, i.e. after the fourth day when God made the sun, moon & stars.  Living creatures & plants are to multiply as stated in Genesis.  However, don't recall the Bible telling us that more stars are being formed.

OK, let’s go over each of the faults of the above argument:

First, we now have thousands of examples where we have imaged young stars in the process of forming. This beautiful example is shown at: 


The above picture  is clearly a picture of a stellar nursery. From millions of observations and from thousands of independent sources we see stars being formed. The Milky Way produces about one new star each year.

Now what should we believe?  Should we believe the insertion of what you believe into what the Bible does NOT say or should we believe what we can see with our own eyes and then confirmed with extensive computer models?


Of course as humans, we haven’t watch this entire, process for a million years, which is the average gestation period for a star in the main sequence.  But we also have millions of young stars to watch.  So rather than watching one star for a million years, we can watch millions of stars for a decade or two and record them as they transform as the ‘Birth of Suns’ computer simulation predicts.

Last week, I attended a lecture at the astronomy club here in San Jose who hosted Dr. Mark Krumholz who is a professor in the Astronomy and Astrophysics Department at UC Santa Cruz.  

Dr. Krumholz showed us a video that he produced for NASA.  It took NASA 40 days and 40 nights of computer simulation time on a super-computer to produce a 40 second video of young stars forming from the interstellar media into a cluster of new stars.

Not only was Dr. Krumholz able to show the formation of these new stars, he also showed the formation of an archetype solar system around some of the newly formed star as shown in the NASA image shown below. Not only have we seen stars form, with our own eyes, we have seen entire solar systems being formed!


Now please tell me?

What should we teach our young Christians going into STEM studies with the intention of entering vocations in Science, Engineering, Teaching, and Medicine in our global economy believe?  

Should we teach them your personal opinion of the universe when the Bible does not say something or should we teach them what we can actually see through Science?





"Refuting Compromise" is diverse in topics.  The next three chapters in the next 100 pages deal with the origin of death and suffering, the created kinds, and the global flood.  Sarfati decimates most of Hugh Ross's cosmology, both thru demonstrating Ross's inaccurate science as well as his lack of understanding of scripture.  Ken Van Dellan earlier said that Hugh Ross had made many geologic errors, and Sarfati demonstrates why, particularly in Ross's speculation about a local flood which left behind no geological evidence.  He destroys the speculation that a 450 feet long ark could not be built, nor float.  Sarfati also specifically indicates how many kinds of land animals, nostril breathing kinds would have needed to be on the ark (8,000 kinds - 16,000 animals).  He indicates that the webbed feet of the polar bear is a loss of genetic information from the normal bear, since in normal bears the webs disappear during embryo stage, while in polar bears a mutation prevented toes from separating.  Ergo, a change in homology, but no real gain of genetic information.

He has an interesting account of Lee Strobel's interview with Charles Templeton shortly before his death, which highlighted that evolution was what made the former preacher abandon his professed belief. 

Sarfati also corrects Ross's misuse and misunderstanding of Hebrew when dealing with whether or not there was sin and evil in the world before the fall, as well as his historical understanding of that subject.  

Certainly, Hugh Ross has lost a great deal of credibility in his dealing with this subject.  


It is good for young christians to go into the science and engineering fields with their eyes wide open, Jake.  But I think you are being a bit hard on Joy.  She said, "not likely", not impossible.  The question might be asked, could what looks like stars forming actually be something else?  What else could it be?  Dr. Ronald Samec gives one possibility, as I mentioned above.  

I am a bit amused by your bait and switch in your last post.  Confusion really.  You said that Krumholz put together a video based on 40 days of simulation (modelling).  You also admit that it takes 1 million years for a star to form.  Then you make the illogical statement that "Not only have we seen stars form, with our own eyes, we have seen entire solar systems being formed!"   No you didn't.  You saw a movie, a computer simulation.  Almost like Startrek or Starwars.  Yes it looks interesting.   Maybe its possible.  Yes, it's based on some theory, but still, not the real thing.  



Well, John you are at least partially right.

I was using the deduction method of proving that ‘astronomers saw’ star formations.  Since it takes about a million years, on average, to form a star from interstellar material, astronomers did ‘not see’ a star go through a million year transformation.

My argument is similar to tossing one coin a million times or tossing a million coins just once and then proving the answer is exactly the same.  This is a well-known technique and many areas of science use it. Your health care provider probably uses it to calculate the rate of your health insurance premium.

Deduction is a proven method in both logic and science. It works this way. You look at many stars being formed.  Statistically, you can look at hundred stars transform over a million years, or you can look at the transformation of a million stars in one hundred years, or you can look at a thousand stars for a hundred thousand years. In all three cases you will get the same answer.   Science today is right about in the middle of this distribution. We’ve looked at a ten million stars over the ten years.

Of course, we have to apply this method to an average star in the main sequence. If a star is 10X smaller than a ‘solar mass’ then it might leave the main sequence and become a ‘white dwarf’ and if it’s10X larger it might become a red giant, and if it’s100X larger than a solar mass it might become a super nova.  But that’s how the universe is.

But we have millions of stars that easily fit into the main sequence so there’s a good population that fits the model.  Given that we can see with our own eyes (of course, looking through telescopes) stars at the formation states A, B, C and D we then we can describe a numerical transformation between states to prove that:

if A then B

if B then C

if C then D


We can then ultimately show that if A then D. This is exactly what Professor Mark Krumholz did in his computer simulation for NASA. So my statement is not illogical.   It's called, first order logic and it's a formal system and it’s very  logical. I grew up on a farm in Ohio.  I would often go by several fields of the same crop that were planted one week apart for a month.  You could easily see the difference in the crops in the four fields.  I did not have to watch one crop for many weeks (like watching grass grow) it was good enough for me to see logical deduction in action.

So, yes it was a little like StarTrek, but that's where we are headed.

Thanks for the good  comment!


Jake, thanks for your reply.  But you don't have to explain logic or deduction to me since I took a logic course in college, and have been working with it all of my life, and am also naturally inclined that way.  In  fact, that is exactly why your statement about seeing solar systems form was illogical.  You said, we have seen different kinds of stars at what looks like different stages of development.  We think they are forming.  We think it takes a million years for a star to form.  Therefore if we simulate it by deduction, we can see it.  That is where the logic breaks down.  

If you watch a crop grow thru a growing season, you can say you have seen it.  ( I live on a farm).  If you travel through the country one day and see a bunch of crops at different stages, you can only say that you have seen it grow for a day, and the rest is all deduction.  You must deduce (which is not the same as seeing) that a particular seedling will grow up into wheat rather than barley or rye or oats or maize or brome or timothy.  And if you are looking only at the beginning of the season, you will not know which is which, unless you have prior experience.  Ten years of observation in a million is like watching a 100 day crop or several crops and stages for about one one-thousandth of one day.  Even with a million plants in the field, you will not see a crop grow by watching it for a second.  And if you have ten species all growing at the same time in the same field, you will need a lot more time to learn what is going on.  

Your example of a coin tossed a million times or a million coins tossed once.... yes, the two methods would be similar.   But it is only one action you are observing and recording.  You are only asking for one result, the percentage of heads or tails.  You are not observing or trying to observe a process, such as how many times does it flip, does it land first on an edge, how many times does it spin or bounce, how long before it stops moving... etc.  Or if it lands on its edge will it do heads more often...   And even those things are simple compared to the processes involved in star changes, which involve chemical changes, temperature, pressure, rotation, collapse, expansion, combustion, gravity, infrared, etc., etc.  If it was simple it wouldn't take a 40 day simulation.  And every simulation is only as good as the information put into it.  Garbage in, garbage out.  Maybe it makes sense.  But you shouldn't believe falsehoods such as thinking you have actually seen reality, because you have not.  Such a statement misleads those who are less informed.  It is a perceived reality, based on many assumptions.