Can the big bang explain star formation?

by / March 11, 2016

In a previous article on the age of the universe I stated that scientists can’t gauge the age of the universe in part because they can’t gauge one of the yardsticks they use as a comparison: the age of stars. They can’t measure the age of stars because they don’t know how stars form. Thus without being able to nail down the beginning point, they can’t know the total time elapsed between the star’s beginning and now. I provided references to a few quotes from scientists to support the contention that they don’t know how stars form such as:

“The universe we see when we look out to its furthest horizons contains a hundred billion galaxies. Each of these galaxies contains another hundred billion stars. That’s 1022 stars all told. The silent embarrassment of modern astrophysics is that we do not know how even a single one of these stars managed to form.”[1]

Predictably, the big bang brain washed gang don’t believe their own scientists when it comes to statements that contradict their theory, so a number responded by Googling how stars form, and pointed me, ironically enough, to an article on one of NASA’s sites that I had referenced myself. The irony being that the article specifically points out that one problem scientists have with determining the age of stars is their “ignorance” (their word) regarding stellar evolution.[2]

Apparently such people didn’t bother to read the article they presented as counter evidence. But I suspect that in addition to the big bang brain washed gang,  many will find it hard to believe the above statement – that scientists don’t know how stars form.  So let me clarify that statement and provide further evidence here.

First, let’s be clear about the claim I’m making. Notice I didn’t say scientists don’t know how stars work. They’ve known how stars shine since 1920 when the brilliant English astrophysicist Sir Arthur Eddington:

“…argued in his 1920 presidential address to the British Association for the Advancement of Science that Aston’s measurement of the mass difference between hydrogen and helium meant that the sun could shine by converting hydrogen atoms to helium.”[3]

The process is called nuclear fusion and has been confirmed by the discovery that  emanating from the sun is the by products of the nuclear reaction: the hard to detect particles called neutrinos.[4] So scientists know how stars work. They know what makes them shine. What I’m saying is they don’t know how they form. Or to be more precise, they cannot come up with a naturalistic process – which the big bang requires – that would produce the conditions necessary to create a star and ignite a stable nuclear fusion reaction. And in particular they cannot come up with a scenario that would allow for the creation of the first star using only naturalistic processes and without invoking hypothetical, magical entities. To understand why, let’s look first at the story currently told by scientists on how stars form.

The Current Big Bang Star Creation Story

Here is how stars form according to the big bang theory as outlined by various scientists and the narrator in the science documentary series The Universe episode “Life and Death of a Star”[5]

“Within a nebula, clumps of this gas [Hydrogen] and dust slowly coalesce into smaller clouds over millions of years. Pulled together by a very familiar force… gravity”

“When gravity acts in the universe one of the basic things it produces is stars”
Gibor Basri
University of California, Berkeley

“These clouds start out their lives bitterly cold with temperatures hundreds degrees below zero Fahrenheit. But as gravity fragments and compresses them, the heat begins to soar. Within a few hundred thousand years, the cloud spins into a flattened disk. Gravity coalesces the center of the disk into a sphere where the heat rises to a scorching 2 million degrees. This glowing system is now known as a proto-star. Ten million years later the searing hydrogen core of the fledgling star soars past 18 million degrees.  And something incredible happens: The core becomes so hot it can sustain thermonuclear fusion.”

“Hydrogen atoms are moving fast enough that they will actually fuse together and will form a helium atom.”
Michael Liu
University of Hawaii

“If you’ve got fusion, you’ve got a star”
Alex Filippenko
Univ of California, Berkeley

That’s the theory in a nutshell. Let’s look at why it won’t work.

Problems with Naturalistic theories of Star formation

1. Supernova Inadequacy

The above is a simplified version of the slow gravitational collapse model – a model that is fraught with problems which we’ll come back to. Scientists need to explain what mechanism could condense gas particles into a sphere. There is another theory – that the shockwave from a nearby supernova can create the high pressures necessary that  leads to the gravitational collapse needed to initiate star formation. But we won’t bother with that one because it’s flaw is obvious: To have a supernova – the explosion of a star – you must first have an existing star. But that’s the very thing we’re trying to explain – how stars form. Thus a theory that stars are initiated by a nearby supernova obviously cannot explain the formation of the first star. (It also doesn’t explain the formation of stars not near supernovae).

2. Ideal Gas Law Conflict

With the Supernova induced gravitational collapse ruled out, we’re back to the slow gravitational collapse model.  A serious problem with this theory is “…this model is physically impossible, because gas spreads indefinitely in a vacuum, because its expansion pressure outweighs its gravity.”[6] This is based on the Ideal Gas law which describes the relationship between pressure, volume, and temperature of a given amount of an “ideal” gas. It is also a good approximation for many real gases.  The law states the force of gravity of the gas particles is not strong enough to overcome the expansion pressure from high temperatures (which equates to high velocity of the individual gas particles) which drives the individual particles of the gas further apart. Thus in a vacuum, the particles continue to move further apart, and would never coalesce.  The gravitational collapse theory attempts to deal with this problem by stating the clouds cool to hundreds of degrees below zero. This removes the force driving them apart by severely slowing the velocity of the particles – effectively stopping them so gravity can work to pull them together. But that creates another problem: how to heat them sufficiently; (get them moving at high velocities again)  to the temperatures necessary to achieve a fusion reaction? This brings us to our next set of problems.

3. Problems Modeling the Gravitational Collapse Model

The Gravitational collapse dynamic is said to be:

“…at the heart of structure formation in the universe. An initial smooth distribution of matter will eventually collapse and cause a hierarchy of structures, such as clusters of galaxies, stellar groups, stars and planets.”[7]

So in theory, it’s at the heart of everything that exists, yet scientists can’t come up with a model that makes it work. Carlos Frenk is a cosmologist who specializes in using supercomputers to model the formation of galaxies to increase our understanding of how the universe formed. What happened when he tried to model the galaxy based on the gravitational collapse model? In an episode of Through the Wormhole[8] Morgan Freeman introduces the simulation he ran:

“Carlos started out his simulation with what scientists think the early universe was made of – a giant cloud of gas floating in empty space. Then he sat back and waited to see if his cosmology machine could build a galaxy like the ones we see.”

Frenk describes the results of the simulation himself:

“What happens if you try to make a galaxy in a computer using simply the material we can see? What happens is you end up with a failed galaxy. Stars form, they evolve, the biggest ones explode as supernovae, and they inject so much energy that there just isn’t enough gravity to keep these gases together. So the galaxy essentially blows itself apart, the gas dissipates leaving very little behind.”
Prof. Carlos Frenk
Director of the Institute for Computational Cosmology,
Durham University

There are a few things worthy of note here: first and foremost, the simulation fails. Using strictly the gravitational collapse methods and known physics (his code words are “material we can see” – back to that later) – the universe that currently exists would not exist and you and I would not be here.

The second thing to note is that Frenk states that gravitational collapse can indeed create stars. This is a highly questionable result, likely achieved due to the invalid initial conditions he set in his simulation. Regarding initial conditions, first, according to the big bang theory, the universe did not start with “a cloud of gas floating in empty space.” It started with violent explosion – that’s why it’s called the big bang. And thus the scenario he describes where the galaxy starts from a cloud of gas “floating in empty space” does not match the initial conditions of the theory. If he had matched the initial condition with a rapid expansion – as scientists like to call it – that is for all practical purposes an explosion, he already has the results of that scenario. That is the scenario of stars exploding into supernovae; and in that scenario the galaxy “blows itself apart”  as would stars – as predicted by the ideal gas law.

The second questionable item regarding the initial conditions of his simulation concerns “what scientists think the early universe was made of” as Morgan Freeman put it. This leads to a bit of circular thinking.   For instance,  Frenk  gives his model in excess of 10 billion years.  Why? Because scientists believe the galaxy is 13.7 billion years old. That argument could be made for the rest of the parameters he set. They’re all set based on current scientific beliefs. But it’s those very scientific beliefs we’re trying to verify.

Clearly such simulations are thus limited based on the assumptions the simulation is based on.  Leaving aside the question of where did the initial energy that caused the big bang come from, (a question materialist scientists can’t answer) Creation scientists would operate under entirely different assumptions: that  the early universe started not with gas, but with water. And the first thing that existed was not stars but the earth. And finally though not noted in Frenk’s description above, an item worthy of note is his timeline: billions of years – another “fact” that is in dispute.  Clearly such initial conditions were set not by research facts, but according to standard materialist assumptions. Because as I pointed out in the previously referenced article, if you look at the data returned by probes, the appearance of the universe is young: Venus[9], Saturn’s Rings and its moon Titan[10], Pluto[11], the far side of the moon[12] all look young – so if you go by the data returned by research – not preconceived notions of how old the universe should be based on evolutionary requirements – the universe – at least our corner, our galaxy looks young.  Thus if you were to change any of the disputed initial conditions accordingly, stars would not form. But even if you don’t go with creationist assumptions it’s worth noting – even with the most favorable conditions to creating the universe we see, under naturalistic assumptions, the simulation ultimately does not work.

A third item worth noting about Frenk’s simulations is that he believes he can simulate the creation of a galaxy similar to ours. But he can’t do it using the known laws of physics and known materials. (Thus his code words “materials we can see.”) He must resort to the hypothetical entity of “dark matter” and the questionable physics associated with it. (I discuss that simulation briefly in the note 10 of the article here.)  Dark matter is a magical substance that cannot be seen, touched, heard, felt, or in any way detected except through the affect of its one property: it gravitates. Unlike any other substance in the universe that interacts in various detectable ways, this magical substance is not detectable. It exists (supposedly), and simply does one thing:  produces a relatively strong gravitational pull on objects we can see. How convenient for big bang scientists. A tailor made substance to rescue their theory. Though scientists have looked for 40 plus years for it they have yet to detect it.  Yet since there is a gapping hole in big bang cosmology[13] – scientists need it to keep their theory alive, and thus regardless of it appearing to be a magical substance proposed as an ad hoc rescue, they insist it exists.

So Frenk believes he can make his model work. But he needs this magical substance to do so. I believe I can lift a fully loaded semi-tractor trailer. But I need Green Lantern’s magic ring to do so. You could rightly point out that Green Lantern’s ring exists only in a comic book world. You would be correct.  I would then point out that dark matter only exists in the magical big bang world where matter and energy pop into existence out of no where and no when; where magical entities like inflation expand the universe faster than the speed of light, then magically and conveniently stop;  and yet another unknown magic allows billions of universes (known as multiverses) to be created and exist in multiple, impossible to see (or verify) dimensions which conveniently explains away the appearance of fine tuning in this one. Add to these magically conjured big bang components the magic of the invisible, undetectable, enchanted dark matter which conveniently and without a designer formed itself into a halo shape[14] to provide a structure for building the universe.  Is that big bang world any less magical and comic book like than my Green lantern world? It appears if we are to believe today’s cadre of materialist cosmologists we must be like Alice’s queen and believe six impossible things before breakfast.

4. Problem reaching fusion ignition temperature

On a related front, scientists are trying to find an easy to produce, inexhaustible energy supply that will provide the energy needs for the entire planet for as long as it exists. That has led them to try to emulate the power source of the sun: nuclear fusion. Which brings us back to the temperature problem I mentioned above. There are a number of different teams trying to develop a nuclear fusion solution as a way to power the world’s electrical grids. Obviously in the quest they must first master igniting and maintaining a fusion reaction. Igniting it is difficult, but has been achieved; maintaining it has remained a challenge. In the process researchers learned just how hot you need temperatures to be to ignite a fusion reaction:

“It’s very hard to do. You have to create conditions that are 10 times hotter than the center of the sun to initiate this reaction. But we’ve done it.”[15]
Prof. Steve Cowley
Director UK Fusion Program Joint European Torus (JET)
– the World’s Largest experimental fusion reactor.

Observing the ignition process at JET, physicist Brian Cox narrates:

“Scientists have learned how to create and hold star matter. A cocktail of gases heated to 100 million degrees. For a moment a little piece of the sun springs into life on earth.”[16]
Prof. Brian Cox, physicist

The temperature requirements for igniting a fusion reactor points out another problem for the slow gravitational collapse theory.  According to the theory, as noted above, fusion ignites in stars when temperatures reach just above the core temperature of the sun. The core temperature of the sun is 15 million degrees, and the story has ignition starting around 18 million degrees. Yet we know from the research at places like the Joint European Torus (JET) and others,  that it takes temperatures of a hundred million degrees to light a fusion reaction. A clear problem for theory – not only due to the huge difference in temperature but also because of  the new question it raises: How would stars get that hot naturally? How did the various teams researching fusion get their reaction temperatures that high?

At NIF – the National Ignition Facility at Lawrence Livermore National Lab, Livermore, CA they’ve created the largest laser in the world, focusing 192 lasers into a single beam to create a 500 trillion watt laser beam to start the reaction.

At the Sandia National Laboratory, they push 26 million amps of electrical current through thin wires, which vaporizes the wires and forces an implosion called a “z pinch”, which achieves the needed temperatures.

You’ll note these are carefully designed,  carefully crafted and controlled processes. It is controlled down to the placement and composition of the fuel. Obviously this level of design is not the route taken by naturalistic processes. Which begs the question: what naturalistic process can push the temperatures up to the 100 million degree level required to light a fusion reaction?

Taken together, these numerous problems demonstrate there is no scenario under which the slow collapse theory works.  If you state the particles start off hot – near the temperature required for fusion to begin – then as Frenk confirmed (when supernovae exploded) – the thing blows itself apart. If you state the particles start off near zero to allow gravity to coalesce them into a cloud, then a sphere, then the question becomes how do you heat that sphere not to the mere 15-18 million degrees scientist calculated as the temperature of the core of stars like our sun, but to 100 million degrees as researchers have demonstrated is required to ignite a fusion reaction – using only naturalistic, non-designed processes?


Try as they may, scientists cannot come up with a feasible, naturalistic process to create and ignite a star.  Thus my contention stands: scientists have no idea how stars formed.  Or in the words of one team of scientists:

“The origin of stars represents one of the most fundamental unsolved problems of contemporary astrophysics.”[17]

We’ve reviewed the failed scientific theories. But there’s another theory, that’s not actually a theory. It’s a historical account. This account states stars were designed by an intelligent designer after he created the earth. They were created on the fourth day and were put there for a purpose: as signs to mark seasons, days and years and to give light to the earth. You can read the history yourself here:  Gen 1.14-19. Physicists may one day understand how God created the stars. But that is unlikely as long as they’re chasing failed theories in their refusal to acknowledge Him and His role in the process.


1.  Martin Harwit, (astronomer and author), Book Reviews, Science, Vol. 231, 7 March 1986, pp. 1201–1202. ref. from Center for Scientific Creation  11/7/2015 

2.  How Old is the Universe?, NASA – WMAP – Age of the Universe accessed 10/15/2015

3.  John Bacall, How the Sun Shines accessed 11/7/2015

 4.  Science: Neutrinos do come from solar fusion, New Scientist, solar-fusion-.html accessed 11/20/2011

5.  The Universe episode “Life and Death of a Star”,  documentary series, 8/7/2007

6.  Star Formation, Creation Wiki accessed 11/8/20

7. Gravitational Collapse, Wikipedia accessed 11/8/2015

8.  Morgan Freeman’s Through the Wormhole episode, “Beyond the Darkness”, Science Channel documentary,  7/28/2010

9.  Science Frontiers Online, Venus too Pristine  No. 73: Jan-Feb 1991

10. The evidence for Saturn’s rings being young is so powerful I devoted an article to it.
Duane Caldwell, Saturn’s Rings are Young, 12/22/2015

11. Jason Lisle, “New Horizons at Pluto accessed 8/24/15

12.  Brian Thomas, New Images Show Far Side of the Moon Looks Young accessed 10/20/15

13. Vera Rubin studied distant galaxies and their stars and found that the orbits of the stars in those galaxies did not follow Newtonian laws of motion where the more distant from a massive body, the slower it moves; rather they were all moving at the same speed regardless of distance. This is unexplainable by the known laws of physics and thus the need for dark matter.

14. Regarding distant stars and galaxies moving too fast and the supposed dark matter that makes it possible, physicist Michio Kaku (incorrectly) states: 

“The only way to resolve this paradox – of Galaxies which spin 10 times too fast is to assume that there is a halo – a halo of invisible matter surrounding the galaxy, keeping the galaxy whole.”
Michio Kaku, Physicist; referenced from The Universe episode “Dark Matter” History Channel documentary, 2008

The point is he claims there’s a “halo” (how did that form?) of invisible dark matter.
In passing – it is incorrect that dark matter is the only possible solution.

 15.  Prof Steve Cowley, referenced from Can we make a star on earth, BBC Horizon Documentary, 2009

16.  Prof Brian Cox, reference from Can we make a star on earth, BBC Horizon Documentary, 2009

 17.  Charles J. Lada and Frank H. Shu, The Formation of Sunlike Stars, Science, Vol. 248, 4 May 1990, p. 564. referenced from The Center of for Scientific Creation

“Sun Releases M5.6-Class Solar Flare” 8/24/2015,  NASA  – SDO (Solar Dynamics Observatory) Used by permission



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Duane Caldwell
Duane holds a B.Sc. in Aeronautics and a M.Div. from Trinity International University. A former pastor, one of his favorite Bible verses is Isaiah 11.9: "...for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea." Until that day arrives Duane is distressed to see the glory due God given to false ideas like Evolution and the Big Bang. He is likewise distressed to see those deceived into believing that science contradicts the Bible or has solved all problems apart from God. He considers his current ministry to be demonstrating why the Christian worldview is the only true worldview, and why science does not contradict it or the Bible. He blogs on numerous topics touching the faith at

5 Comment

  1. Great article Duane–love it!

  2. Thanks, glad to help direct praise to where it belongs. As the hymn says “To God be the Glory, great things he has done.”

    Duane Caldwell
  3. Duane, thought you might like to know I shared this on Facebook.

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