There's Nothing New In the Sun

Kevin R. Henke, Ph.D.
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Over the years, astrogeophysicist John A. Eddy's impromptu comments in Kazmann (1978) have been widely quoted by young-Earth creationists (YECs).  Eddy claims that solar observations BY THEMSELVES do not prove that the Sun is billions of years old.  He further states that scientists supposedly could accept a Bishop Ussher "biblical chronology" for the Sun and Earth (i.e., ages of only about 6,000 years; Dalrymple, 1991, p. 21-23).  Despite his credentials, Eddy's comments are just plain wrong.  Eddy's opinions do not represent the views of most astronomers anymore than the theology of the Utah Mormon Church represents the views of most Christians. YECs need to realize that the opinions of any scientist may not necessarily be correct and that these opinions may not exemplify the best available science.  Even some of the ideas of Newton, Kelvin, Einstein, and other great scientists are now known to be wrong. 

While YECs search the literature for quotations that can be used or distorted to support their ideas on Genesis, authentic researchers must appropriately evaluate all of the evidence.  In most cases, a thorough investigator will discover that mainstream scientists are correct and rogue YECs and other fringe groups are grossly mistaken.  YECs generally think of themselves as "scientific trailblazers" that are fighting against a "stagnant scientific establishment".  However, contrary to YEC hopes, scientific revolutionaries (such as Galileo, Copernicus, and Einstein) are very rare.  Most people that oppose mainstream science, including Von Daniken, Velikovsky, and YECs, are relying on false evidence and pursuing dead end explanations.

There are several lines of evidence indicating that the Sun and the rest of the Solar System are about 5 billion years old and not 6,000 to 10,000 years old.  The most quantitative arguments come from the dating of meteorites and Earth and Moon rocks, which yield maximum ages of about 3.8 to 4.6 billion years old (Dalrymple, 1991, chapters 4-7).  It is commonly and rationally assumed that the Sun probably formed at about the same time or slightly earlier than meteorites, or about 4.6 to 5 billion years ago.  Stellar evolution, extinct radioisotopes and solar system formation models further support an ancient age for the Sun (see Silk, 1989, chapters 13, 15 and 16; Dalrymple, 1991, chapter 8). 

There are additional properties of the Sun that flatly rule out a "young" age (6,000 to 10,000 years old).  The recent solution of the missing solar neutrinos confirms that the Sun's diverse energy spectrum is generated by nuclear fusion in its core at temperatures of more than 15 million degrees Kelvin (Beatty et al., 1999, p. 25).  Although the Sun's core is extremely dense, Noyes (1982, p. 63) argues that fusion reactions in the core are still extremely SLOW.  The average time for a hydrogen atom to undergo fusion is about 14 billion years.  Interestingly, if one ASSUMES that the original proto‑Sun had very little helium and that the Sun's hydrogen fusion rate has been constant, the Sun's present helium/hydrogen ratio indicates an age of about 5 to 6 billion years (Krauskopf and Bird, 1995, p. 565), which is much closer to the ages of meteorites (4.5 ‑ 4.6 billion years) than Bishop Ussher's 6,000 year old date.  Despite the questionable assumptions, is this just a coincidence?

The photons produced from nuclear reactions in the Sun's core take AT LEAST 17,000 years (Mitalas and Sills, 1992) and perhaps MUCH LONGER (Harrison, 2000, p. 94) to reach the surface of the Sun from its core. Once the radiation reaches the Sun's surface, it takes about 8 minutes to travel to Earth.  Obviously, if YECs still want to believe that the Sun is only 6,000 to 10,000 years old, they are forced to invoke yet another set of groundless miracles to explain why a "young" Sun is so bright, its heat felt and why human skin can tan.


Beatty, J.K.; C.C. Petersen and A. Chaikin, 1999, The New Solar System, 4th ed., Sky Publishing Corp., Cambridge, Mass., USA and Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.

Dalrymple, G.B., 1991, The Age of the Earth, Stanford University Press, Stanford, CA.

Kazmann, R.G., "It's about Time: 4.5 Billion Years", Geotimes, Sept., 1978, p. 18‑20.

Krauskopf, K.B. and D.K. Bird, Introduction to Geochemistry, WCB McGraw-Hill, Boston.

Harrison, E., 2000, Cosmology: The Science of the Universe, 2nd ed., Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.

Mitalas, R. and K.R. Sills, 1992, "On the Photon Diffusion Time Scale for the Sun", Astrophysical J., Pt. 1, v. 401, n. 2, Dec. 20., p. 759-760.

Noyes, R.W., 1982, The Sun, Our Star, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA.

Silk, J., 1989, The Big Bang, W. H. Freeman and Company, New York.