Yes, we can see stars being formed

A draft paper which came out this past month reported JWST observation of coordinated star birth and offered confirmation of our understanding of the process.

Why are (almost) all the protostellar outflows aligned in Serpens Main?

In it, they find evidence tying the orientations of protostars to the clouds from which they formed. Excerpts below…

aligned protostars, which seem to be at similar evolutionary stages based on their outflow dynamics, formed at similar times with a similar spin inherited from a local cloud filament.

One potential tracer of the accretion flow history of star-forming filaments and their cores on parsec scales is whether the angular momentum vectors of stars in a cluster are correlated with each other, and with direction of the magnetic field along their natal cloud filament.

Jet material ejected from protostellar systems may contain sufficient momentum to reach distances comparable to the entire cloud, giving rise to spectacular “parsec-scale” outflows.

While protostars have been descibed in theory and observation for decades, they are challenging to inspect in detail, because by definition they are at the center of a collapsing cloud, and just as clouds can hide the sun, they generally hide young stars. This has allowed YEC to take the stance that since you cannot directly see it and God’s creative work is done, nebulas only disperse and stars cannot form. Have you ever seen a star being born? they ask.

Well yes, we have seen stars form for some time, but the JWST observes at spectrums that penetrate gas clouds to view unprecedented detail. And most notable are outflows.

Outflows are the jets that form perpendicular to the planar orientation of infalling accretion. There are two takeways so far as bears on YEC denial of star formation. One, is that there simply cannot be jets without infall. The presence of jets is definitive that there is material falling inward. Two, is that infalling can only be associated with a forming star - a mature star exerts ratiation pressure to drive futher material outwards, and such bubbles are easy to spot in Hubble pictures such as the pillars of creation. If there are jets, stars form. There are jets.


Image of the location of the suspects:


the suspects:

The really neat thing about it is that they thought they were studying a single young star yet thanks to the immensely improved resolution of the JWST they discovered it’s a case of twins!

This is sufficient answer to “Why would God take billions of years to make the universe?”: to provide gobs of ‘active art’!


Elizabeth Mitchell, writing for AiG, states that (emphasis mine)

Distant Galaxy Allegedly Rapidly Forming Stars

Although astronomers who accept the billions-of-years view of the universe’s age believe stars are still forming, they do not actually know how. They believe swirling hydrogen gas cools and condenses until it is dense enough to possess enough gravity to prevent re-expansion. However, gases tend to expand, not contract. Furthermore, if a swirling mass of gas contracted, it would spin faster in order to conserve angular momentum, and that increased angular velocity would oppose continued contraction. Finally, the massive collapse of gas would produce a great increase in the magnetic field, also opposing the shrinkage required to form a star. Thus the ongoing formation of stars seems contrary to the laws of physics, given the conditions that exist in space.

This is so typical of YEC sins of omission, and their utter disinterest in actually advancing science by presenting solutions to problems. She is correct in that the typical angular momentum present in clouds exceeds the end product stars, but she conveniently ignores the long recognized role that jets play in balancing the ledger by transferring that momentum away from the protostar. Such jets also provide a nudge to initiate gas compression elsewhere in the nebula, propagating more star formation. It is evident that Mitchell does not know what she is talking about, and is only fixated on young earth apologetics.


She also doesn’t quote a single equation to support her assertions, let alone try to put any numbers into it.


Next up is Jason Lisle, who earned a doctorate from University of Colorado recognizing his thesis titled Probing the Dynamics of Solar Supergranulation and its Interaction with Magnetism. Such a background would ideally position Lisle to access, comprehend, and communicate the science around star formation. As opposed to MD Elizabeth Mitchell, Lisle should know exactly what he is talking about. Yet, this article published by the Institute for Creation Research manifests what appears to be a deliberate ignorance.

Blue Stars Confirm Recent Creation

Lisle states “But if the universe were 13.7 billion years old, as secularists allege, then it really shouldn’t have blue stars.” When if first read this I had to ask myself, am I reading this right? It turns out his point is that the lifespan of massive blue stars is much less that the age of the universe.


Well, he then says “Secular astronomers must assume that new blue stars have formed recently to replace all those that have burned out over deep time.

I would hope that in the course of his studies, Lisle was informed that astronomers think that ALL stars, of every size and metallicity, were formed at various points of cosmological history. In fact, it has become evident that the original population of stars was recycled very quickly. So what is he on about?

Here it is. He goes on to say “Star formation has never been observed.

Except, it has. Directly.

The Lisle asserts “Star formation is problematic at best.” and references this paper


which really is arguing for space based observation to gain spectral coverage, and not really relevant to Lisle’s argument at all. He follows with “Gas is very resistant to being compressed. On earth, gas always fills its container. In space, there is no container. So gas expands indefinitely.

What Lisle does not tell his readers is that the state of gas in the conditions of space is very different than when you are pumping air into a bicycle tire. The temperature in a nebula is typically around 10 Kelvin. The rarefied density of a nebula is lower than all but the most extreme research vacuums on Earth. Thermal pressure is correspondingly low. Lisle states that the gas pressure for exceeds the minuscule force of gravity, but the true situation is reversed - The physics of star formation. Then he raises angular momentum and magnetic fields as preventing star formation, but both of those are exactly what power the observed outflow jets.

So Lisle’s argument is vacuous. Yet it has taken hold in YEC, and I have personally encountered the blue stars disprove evolution blather.


It’s not without reason that he’s called “Lying Lisle”. Were I a University of Colorado alum I’d petition them to rescind his degree.


Incidentally, Elizabeth Mitchell isn’t referring to your original post here. She’s talking about a different set of observations of a distant galaxy 6 billion light years away. She cites Danny Faulkner as saying this:

What they have this time that is new is some recent interesting photographs, spectra, and brightness measurements of a galaxy six billion light years away. This is much too far away to see individual stars.

Serpens Main is a nebula in the Milky Way, only a few thousand light years away, easily close enough to see individual stars.

I’ve seen this one before. Coming from a PhD astrophysicist, the level of sheer cluelessness about basic school-level physics or even everyday experience in those four sentences is staggering. Has he never heard of gravity wells or the ideal gas law? Has he never even used a bicycle pump? And yet again, another young earth argument that doesn’t attempt to do even the most basic maths to substantiate its claims.


I’d love to catch him at a speaking engagement . . . .

Me: Dr. Lisle, I assume you’re aware that our planet has an atmosphere?
Lisle: Of course.
Me: Could you tell us what form of matter that atmosphere is made of?
Lisle: Gases.
Me: Since “gas expands indefinitely”, how is it that Earth has gases around it?
Lisle: Well, gravity of course.
Me: So is your assertion that there is no gravity in space?
Lisle: err…


I wonder how he explains the presence of humans with a lifespan of 100 years in a universe he claims to be 6,000+ years old. [/sarcasm]

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Or why the existence of toddlers should be more problematic than 60 year olds?

Lisle’s colleague, AiG astronomer Danny Faulkner, is somewhat ambiguous and less strident than Lisle. While in a number of articles he highlights perceived obstacles to star formation, here he plays it safe…

Are Stars Still Forming Today?

God could have made gas clouds already in the process of collapse to form stars, or God could have ordained processes whereby stars occasionally form. Yet these do not support a purely naturalistic origin of stars.

As an astronomer and biblical creationist, do I believe that stars form today? I’m not sure. I understand both sides of the biblical arguments. I don’t see that the Bible absolutely precludes star formation today, nor do I see that the Bible demands it. So I suggest a continuing discussion of this question.

…so who knows where they will go with this as more data comes in.

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I’m not sure how to even react to such explanations. Once Omphalos type arguments start being put forward, where can you go from there? In a YEC universe, why would there even need to be other stars beside our own, much less the countless other galaxies full of stars that we can only see with the aid of modern technology. It reminds me a lot of the crazy ideas Flat Earthers have to come up with to explain mundane observations of the Sun and Moon.


hmmm…I am YEC and thats not really an accurate explanation of what i believe.

My belief on this particular point focuses on the rebellion of Lucifer in heaven and the eventual fall of mankind into sin and the role that had/has to play in what is going on in the universe currently (well within the timeline of this planet’s existence at least)

Lucifer made a charge against God and the defense of that is playing out on a universale scale. It is not merely restricted to this earth, the eyes of the universe are aware of it and watching on. God is defending that He is love to the universe. Satan is prosecuting the charge that Gods love is self serving/selfish.

I do not see how one can drag YEC vs TEism into the above? I think you are confusing two different issues because my reason for debating “stars” is in defense of the very notion “there is a God” (which atheists deny).

Whilst we can agree they are related, to me the above is a different argument to age of the earth.

So, where does that lead us YEC’s with “ongoing Creation”? Whilst i am not sure if this is a general Abrahimic religious theology or not, there are those among the SDA church at least, who believe that it may be that God ceased His creative habits after the rebellion in heaven and fall of mankind in order to let this current charge of Lucifer/Satan play out to its conclusion. So when we are defending that theory, we are obviously doing so in support of a theory that is not specifically related to Age of Earth debates.

The belief would generally state that the creative habits of God ceased after the fall, whilst the plan of salvation plays out, and would begin again after the second coming with a recreation of this earth etc (SDA’s believe after the millenium), as described Revelation 21 (Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.)

So given the above, i do not agree that its a fair point to make that YEC deny exploding stars…that has nothing to do with Age of Earth beliefs. My personal complaint about exploding stars is far more significant than that…it raises the important theological question…does God rely on death in order to create life in a sinless and perfect environment. Im quite certain the majority of theological scholars would say no to the above question as its very clearly antibilical.

The model we have for death is that it is very much a consequence of sin. It is classically illustrated by the physical death of Christ on the cross as atonement for the wages of sin (there is no denying this fundamental Christian belief)

They have to, or call God a liar. But they can’t, because we observe exploding stars – and those stars behave just as they should be expected to if they were hundreds of millions of years old . . . which makes God a liar.

Human death – nothing in the scriptures suggests any such thing about the death of animals, plants, or stars.

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For anybody interested in a backgrounder on star formation and jets, I commend this survey paper for being a reasonably accessible and readable introduction, albeit published before JWST came on line.

Jets from young stars

YEC generally consider the appearance of age in the universe as reflecting God creating it mature, but it is rather strained that should include stars on the brink of dying. Nonetheless, to my knowledge modern YEC has never denied exploding stars. I would grant YEC generally does indeed believe in a spherical earth, that dinosaurs actually lived, and supernovae. There is creationist resistance, however, to allow that stars can come into being by natural processes, as that surrenders yet another God of the gaps argument. The growing heap of astronomical “arguments Young Earth Creationists should no longer use” is becoming awkwardly large.


Awesome article!
I had to come back to it more than once since my brain started fuzzing out part way through.

The thing that stuck with me is that young stars start to shine even before fusion begins, just from the heat of accretion & collapse – that’s wild.

Babies come into being through natural processes, why should ‘star babies’ be any different?


The larger problem for YEC is whether these are actually stars exploding in the first place. Anything farther away than 6-10,000 light years away is light that was invented while in flight and never came from an actual star, according to some YEC’s. If we see a star 50,000 light years away that then goes supernova we would have to doubt that the star even existed in the first place if we adopt YEC.

So we would have to ask why we should trust what we see in the night sky when a lot of it is supposedly just made up.


Which means the stars don’t even have to exist, just streams of light – which makes God a liar (again) (odd, though, that that light shows all sorts of influences just as though the stars and everything between them and us are real).

It baffles me that so many, many YECists fail to see the implications of their propositions on the character of God.

The thing there is that God would have had to invent the rules for a vast universe in order to simulate it like that!
Some speculate that we are living in a simulation; the way many YECers see the universe, that’s exactly what we live in!

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According to what theology are you making this statement? I do not see any theological dilemma there…btw please do not cite flat earth claims…that is a dead horse being flogged.

Other than the idiocy of some rednecks, Creationists have no issues with space time…it does not present any dilemma for us.

You are rehashing a fabricated argument that is based on nonsense theological claims that YEC do not even agree with. Claims that have been repeatedly falsified over and over again.


If you wanna continue down this pathway, I will challenge you to prove scientifically there is a God, that Christ was raised from the dead, that Christ ascended into heaven, and that Christ is coming again to redeem the saved back to God.

Unless you can do that (prove it scientifically), its a non issue. You are simply tampering with the miracle of reality (ie that we are here because God!)

We all know that light takes time to “travel” (if you like) across the vastness of the universe. We agree that some light will never reach us. Whether the universe is old or new doesnt matter because this argument i think still comes down to “whether or not God”!

I tend to think TEism doesnt have a side on the origins of the universe debate…the same arguments used against God (in the origins of the universe debate), you tend to believe are true…so the secular use of universe origins presents a stumbling block for your own belief becuase its presented as scientific evidence that you must therefore agree with! I as a YEC dont face any dilemma there that is contrary to my own world view …that God intimately created, sustains, and interracts with His creation - the universe and us.

Thats an interesting claim. Wouldnt the gas under pressure simply expand in such a manner as to equalise energy and volume etc.? Unless you are going to claim space has gas contained with pressure vessels that allow for the compression and therefore creation of stars?

Can you cite a real world experiment that demonstrates a gas being compressed enough to form a solid mass where the gas is not inside a pressure vessel? My assumption is you would need gravitational influences. However, that is directly proportional to an existing mass is it not?

Note the AIG complaint here…

Astronomers have long recognized this problem and devised a number of ways to get around it. Interestingly, all of their solutions require that other stars already exist. For example, a shockwave from a supernova explosion could compress a gas cloud so that it contracted to form new stars. Even if we observed a gas cloud collapsing today, that still doesn’t explain how the original stars formed by natural processes.