However, during the course of it, I pointed out the similarity of our understanding of common descent to the understanding of stellar evolution within my own field. In both cases, we cannot watch the entire process unfold in real time. Creationists frequently claim that because of this, we cannot hold the fossil record as being trustworthy. It's full of gaps.
Yet while this is freqently claimed, rarely do we hear creationists argue against other sorts of processes we understand via snapshots of history. Instead, they hypocritically harp on evolution. But as FTK pointed out, some are awfully fond of gaps.
Originally, I was going to debunk that article in my response to her, but I figure that it's worth posting here as well. So let's look at a few of the major points.
WARNING! This is going to be a very long post... Here we go:
Evolutionists claim that stars form from swirling clouds of dust and gas. For this to happen, vast amounts of energy, angular momentum, and residual magnetism must be removed from each cloud. This is not observed today, and astronomers and physicists have been unable to explain, in an experimentally verifiable way, how it could happen.First off, evolution and cosmology are two distinct fields and are wholly unrelated. Their conflation of the two does not impress me.
Regardless, the claim that energy must be lost is absolutely true. However, the claim that we do not observe such things is a blatant lie. Newly forming stars are able to shed this excess energy in numerous ways, the most prominent among them being mass outflow in both the form of stellar wind as well as jets. Many stars in regions which are forming new stars have been observed with precisely such properties.
If [O class] stars evolved, they should show easily measurable characteristics such as extremely high rates of rotation and enormous magnetic fields.This statement is pulled out of thin air with no justification or reasoning I can find. This would be like me saying "If the bible is true, then pigs should fly."
Since it makes no sense, I can't properly address it.
Instruments which could detect dust falling into and forming supposedly new stars have not done so.Another outright lie. Perhaps due to the fact that they are (presumably intentionally) using horribly outdated sources (they cite two, from 1990 and 1985 respectively). With the advent of the Hubble telescope, we have directly observed infalling matter into protostellar disks (NOTE: Several of those images also show the matter outflows which carry off the excess energy I mentioned earlier).
We have seen hundreds of stars die, but we have never seen a star born.When stars die, it's frequently a rather dramatic and messy process. Occasionally, it's very bright as is the case with supernovae. It can also happen very rapidly (on the order of a few days) in such cases. Even if we don't get the dramatic event of the supernova, we'll still see a leftover mess of the supernova remnant, or, for lower mass stars, a planetary nebula. Thus, bright things, that make big messes that have clearly defined times will tend to stick out.
This is not the case for star formation. Stars form inside nebulae, enshrouded in dust and gas. Thus, the process is somewhat hidden from us. The process also takes a much longer time than the death of a star. As such, it's difficult to define a time when a star is "born". We've seen things that are forming into stars. We've seen stars that are formed. We've seen fuzzy things that are somewhere inbetween. But the birth of a star is not like flicking on a light switch. Furthermore, when the process is complete, there's not as much of a mess left behind. The excess gas is not being superheated by shock waves and glowing brightly for us to easily identify newly formed stars.
As such, it's not surprising we see stars dying with far more frequency than we observe stars being born.
Also, stars are found where astronomers agree they could not evolve, near the center of our galaxy. These short-lived stars orbit a massive black hole, where gravity is so strong that gas and dust clouds could never evolve into a star.True enough, but this makes the horrible assumption that stars stay where they're formed. This animation clearly shows they don't. Stars can inevatably form further out and migrate in due to gravitational perturbations.
Nor could stars have evolved in globular clustersGood thing that we don't see stars being born in globular clusters.
Wind and radiation pressure from the first star in the cluster to evolve would have blown away most of the gas needed to form subsequent stars in the cluster.This would presume that the first star would instantly sweep out all gas, before others could form. Given that interstellar clouds we see forming stars today are tens to hundreds of light years across, this is an amazingly absurd claim. If the claim were true, we should not even see newly forming open clusters. Yet we do with the Pleaides, the orion nebula, the Tarantula nebula, or the Eagle nebula. The fact that we see such things forming numerous stars from the same cloud demonstrates how hollow that claim is.
It should also be noted that globular clusters we see today are not as they would have been when they first formed, billions of years ago. The clusters would have been much larger and spread out. As they orbit the galaxy, they would undergo tidal stripping. When this happens, outlying stars are pulled off while stars that remain are pulled in even closer. As such, the density of globular clusters is not indicative of their initial density.
Great. So now that each of their points has been rather trashed, let's take a look at those sources. As has been pointed out by many, such as Barbara Forrest in Creationism's Trojan Horse, creationists have a huge pension for using outdated material. In fact, creationists (including Intelligent Design proponents) barely use cite sources published in the past 7 years, than they do ones 20 years old or more (p. 43). Meanwhile, reputable scientific journals cite nearly 3 times as many recent sources as they do old ones.
But if you don't believe it, then check out the outdated citations list these guys cited.
The first one is from 1986 and, as I pointed out was long before the Hubble was launched, which added tremendously to our knowledge. Gee. I wonder why they're forced to quote mine from outdated material.
Their second source is recent, being from 2004. However, this source is in no way being used to support a claim. Rather, it is merely used to define a term.
The third citation again, makes use of old sources in ever to ignore newer knowledge.
The fourth citation has two parts. The first is an article from Science from 1990 and consists of a rather vague quote. I strongly suspect it's taken out of context, but given that I do not have the full text, I cannot verify that at this time. However, the abstract seems to directly contradict the claims of the creationist source by saying,
Fueled by this new knowledge, a comprehensive empirical picture of stellar genesis is beginning to emerge, laying the foundations for a coherent theory of the birth of sunlike stars.
The other half of the fourth citation is again, horribly outdated and falsified by more recent observations.
The first source in #5 is another classic example of quote mining. It claims that the authors are dumbfounded at how stars exist near the center of the galaxy, yet in the article several explanations are given and subsequently overlooked.
I suspect the second is the same situation. The quoted scientist says "[stars] appear to be too young to have moved there from farther out." Key word there is "appears". Frequently in literature, such things are given as a narrative device to lead into the explanation. I'm not hunting down the full article now to verify it, but given the dishonesy we've already seen exhibited, I'm fairly confident in my assertion.
The third part of citation #5 is, again, horribly outdated and not worth consideration.
The last, again is from a recent article, but again, misstates the author's point. Still on the topic of young stars near black holes, the creationist fails to mention that in most galaxies, we see precisely what we expect to. It's only in the Andromeda galaxy that the author talks about there being this odd concentration. But given the rather strange condition that exists in Andromeda (with it having 3 massive black holes), it is likely that there are other processes which, although undiscovered, account for the presence of such young stars.
Citation number six is another textbook example of quote mining. The author claims that no convincing explanations for globular clusters yet exists as the first sentence to the entire paper looking at forming clusters to determine a reason.
The seventh citation is incomplete listing only an author and page number. No date, nor relevant quote is given.
For the last set of citations, it can easily be seen from the quotes given that the creationist authors are horribly overstating the sources they cite. All the quotes given say something to the effect of "We don't understand it." Yet the creationists somehow interpret this as "it defies the laws of physics." I, again, suspect it's more quote mining, but I'm quite tired of checking.
So what's the moral of all this? Speaking from five years of experience looking at creationist material, I'll say this is absolutely nothing shocking. They find a theory they don't like, take an outdated model of it, existing before much of the relevant data was accumulated, and where they do use "current" sources, they're typically out of context quotes. I've seen FTK cite this same, dishonest website in other posts and, although I didn't spend the time tearing it apart there, I found it similarly laden with intellectual dishonesty. In talking with FTK in a fair number of threads and having met her briefly in person, I know she's not an evil bible thumping young earth creationist that hates science. She's genuinely interested in these topics, and as her choice in references shows, it looks like she's a bit too trustworthy of sources telling her what she wants to hear.
Then again, it's hard not to. But since we've now seen just how intellectually bankrupt this source is, I would expect that FTK would discontinue use of such a worthless source. Time will tell of course.