Sarfati's Inconsistent Views on Photon Transmissions between Stars
and in the Sun's Interior


Kevin R. Henke, Ph.D.


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Because of their fundamentalist interpretations of the Bible, young-Universe creationists (YUCs) believe that the Universe is only 6,000 to 10,000 years old.  However, since the 1840s, astronomers have known that interstellar distances easily exceed 10,000 light years (Brush, 1983, p. 305-306).  If the Universe is only 6,000 to 10,000 years old as YUCs claim and if the speed of light has been constant over time, why do we see objects billions of light years away from Earth?  In other words, how could light from a quasar 10 billion light years from Earth reach our planet in 10,000 years or less if the speed of light has always been constant?


Over the years, YUCs have proposed a number of wild ideas to explain away the great size and age of the Universe, including: Norman and Setterfield's (1987) decaying speed of light claims, the Moon and Spencer (1953) small Universe (Slusher, 1980, p. 33-37; Wysong, 1981, p. 156), and "tired light" (Slusher, 1978, p. 13-16). However, none of these YUC claims have survived scientific scrutiny (Strahler, 1987, p. 114-118; Freske, 1980, p. 36-37; Schadewald, 1981; Phillips, 1988).  Even YUCs have criticized many of the claims of their fellow believers (as examples, Akridge, 1984; Aardsma, 1988a,b; and Humphreys, 1988).  Today, many YUCs favor YUC D. Russell Humphreys' (1994) "white hole relativistic cosmology." However, old-Earth creationist and other physicists have extensively criticized Humphreys' ideas. Wisely, YUC Sarfati (2004, p. 190) is cautious about Humphreys' claims. 


In the past, many YUCs (as examples: Morris, 1978, p. 61-62; Wysong, 1981, p. 156) have simply argued that God instantaneously created starlight (photons) between the Earth and stars.  Therefore, "Adam" did not have to wait for the stars to appear "as signs" (Genesis 1:14-15) in the heavens (Morris, 1978, p. 61-62).  YUCs that support this claim not only cite Genesis 1:14-15 as "evidence", but also argue that if "Adam" was miraculously created in a mature and complete state, so could starlight (for example, Wysong, 1981, p. 156).  Of course, Morris' and Wysong's "response" is nothing more than the feeble and unscientific "Gosse" or Omphalos argument.  YUCs can always invoke a supernatural "Gosse excuse" and "eliminate" any problem by saying:

That's the way God did it and I don't care what your evidence says, I can invoke any number of miracles to cover it up.

Correctly, YUC Sarfati (2004, p.189-190) denounces this view as being both poor theology and anti-scientific nonsense:


Some older creationist works [as examples: Morris, 1978; Wysong, 1981] proposed that God may have created the light in transit, and [old-Universe creationist Hugh] Ross harps on this as if it is still mainstream [young-Universe] creationist thinking... [Ross reference omitted].  But AiG [Answers in Genesis] long ago pointed out the problems with this idea. [new paragraph] It would entail that we would be seeing light from heavenly bodies that don't really exist; and even light that seems to indicate precise sequences of events predictable by the laws of physics, but which never actually happened.  This, in effect, suggests that God is a deceiver.




Like other stars, nuclear fusion in the Sun's core produces photons, neutrinos and other radiation.  In the past, some YECs have erroneously proclaimed that solar energy comes from a "shrinking Sun" (also see: Van Till et al., 1988, Chapter 3).  However, Sarfati (2004, p. 170, 341-342) and AiG properly reject this nonsense and embrace the reality of nuclear fusion in stars. 


Physicists have determined that photons produced in the Sun's core take much more than 10,000 years to migrate through reradiation to the Sun's surface.  The shortest time estimate in the literature for this migration is approximately 17,000 years, which was derived by Mitalas and Sills (1992).  However, Stix (2003) argues that the estimate in Mitalas and Sills (1992) is erroneous and that the actual value is closer to 30,000,000 years.  Other estimates in the literature also greatly exceed 17,000 years (for example: Harrison, 2000, p. 94).  So YUCs face yet another example of a natural phenomenon that refuses to comply with their "young" Sun.  If the Sun is less than 10,000 years old, why do we detect photons and other radiation that could only form from the extremely high pressures and temperatures in its core?


Rather than dealing with science, Sarfati (2004, p. 171) simply invokes a Gosse argument to "solve" the YUC solar photon problem:


Also, some argue for long ages on the basis that the calculated time for a photon to travel from the [solar] core to the surface (actually by absorption and reradiation) exceeds the biblical time scale.  But this is explained if the main purpose of fusion is STABILITY - producing enough energy to balance that lost from the surface, that is, the sun was created in a STEADY STATE CONDITION, with the outward pressure generated by fusion matching the inward gravitational pressure, maintaining a constant temperature profile.  This means that it could immediately fulfill its function as the 'greater light,' [Genesis 1:16] and keep shining at a constant rate.  It is no different from believing that God created Adam with oxygen in his bloodstream in his extremities, even though it now takes some time for oxygen to diffuse through the alveoli in the lungs, then be transported by the blood. [Sarfati's emphasis]


Obviously, Sarfati (2004, p. 171) fails to see that he's invoking the same type of groundless Gosse miracles to "explain" how photons travel WITHIN stars as Morris, Wysong and other YUCs have used to "explain" how photons travel BETWEEN stars.  Clearly, Sarfati's approach to the migration of photons within the Sun is not only anti-scientific, but it's also inconsistent and hypocritical.




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