An example of a current limit of science understanding,

and how such issues affect the science classroom.

Star Formation:

updated 16 Oct 2015

It is known through the investigations of science that the known laws of physics and chemistry are insufficient explanations of how a dispersed cloud of hydrogen gas can collapse to form a star, as normal gas pressure can easily overcome the rather weak force of gravity1 2. These gas clouds or nebula as we view them in our telescopes appear to have substantial density compared to the seeming emptiness of the space surrounding them. However, these nebula are actually a million times less dense then our best vacuums here on Earth3. At a density of one milligram per hundred cubic kilometers4, colossal forces must be applied over vast regions of space in which a nebula naturally exist, to generate the extreme density and shear enormity of a concentrated mass, in such condition at which the force of gravity can overcome the powerful dispersing affect of gas pressure. As we consider ever greater masses of gas in a nebula or gas cloud, the problem of the dispersive affects of gas pressure are not decreased. More gas mass brings more gas particles. True, each gas particle does bring a very small amount of additional mass with its associated gravitational affect, but it also brings with it a proportional amount of the far stronger repelling force of gas pressure. It is not that there just needs to be lots and lots of mass collecting; it needs to be a very, very dense mass before gravitational forces can overcome the dispersing affects of gas pressure.

Consider the fact that even our Earth does not have a sufficient mass and density formulation to affect the accretion of hydrogen. We can show that the gas pressure of hydrogen at the temperatures experienced on earth can and does over come the gravitational pull of Earth. We know that we are continually losing free hydrogen from our atmosphere into the vacuum of space this way5. As you consider the size and density of Earth, realize our Earth is made up of particles that are very dense compared to hydrogen gas and hence naturally have a far greater density than hydrogen. According to the theories of universe formation, the only thing that existed from which the first stars formed was hydrogen, small amounts of helium and perhaps a trace of lithium – the least dense materials that exist!

Some may argue that the chilling temperatures of empty space will diminish the dispersive effect of hydrogen gas pressure as the relentless effects of gravity pull the gas inward. While this may be true for some more massive elements and molecules, yet a hydrogen atom's extremely small mass and hence miniscule gravity, will still be overcome by the small yet significant gas pressure even at very low temperatures. Further, space is not an absolute zero heat sink. Space has a radiated temperature of 2.73°K6 and considering the proposed big bang scenario, space would have been even hotter in the past when the first stars formed.

Various explanations have been proposed from a purely materialistic perspective to answer this challenging dilemma of star formation from natural processes alone. Most commonly it is said that an existing star exploded (a supernova). However, this explanation requires a star to get a star. The same is true with every other naturalistic explanation that has been proposed. Of this challenge, the University of Utah Aspire project commented:

What causes these 'gravitational centers' to form in these huge clouds? If you knew that, you’d have a Nobel Prize!”7

Why such a comment? Because no explanation exists from within our natural explanations of physics, chemistry, etc. This phenomena remains outside of our understating of natural processes – or in other words, it is extra natural or super natural. So how did the first star form let alone subsequent stars?

Astronomers John P. Cox and R. Thomas Giuli of the Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics and the Department of Physics and Astrophysics at the University of Colorado summed up the multiple challenges they discussed of the first star formation in their chapter titled “Survey of Stellar Evolution” as follows. "We do not discuss these problems of condensation of gas clouds into protostars any further in this book. It is obvious that real stars somehow manage to come into being; hopefully, we shall someday understand in more detail how they do so."8

Nonetheless, when star formation is discussed in the public circles or even in our high school classrooms, almost without exception natural processes only are advanced and gravity alone is the solitary hero that overcomes the natural dispersion affect of gas pressure. THAT IS UNSCIENTIFIC.

One who believes in a divine creator may see such an inadequacy for natural explanations, as a physical manifestation of their creator's hand and as a personal confirmation of their faith. Though such an attribution may be very fulfilling for one's personal faith, that conclusion again is outside the domain of strict, repeatable observation and measurement -- the alleged standard of science investigations.

Those who will accept only natural explanations in answer to our present condition or state of being, and are aware of the paradox regarding natural formation of a star or other such challenges, place their faith in an amalgamation of blind and undirected mechanisms of physical laws, lacking mind, purpose, or supervision, in a hope that at some point their faith in purely materialistic explanations will be rewarded and their irrational conclusions be afforded some rationale from some new discovery, but only if it be from a purely mechanistic cause.

To the religions minded, they believe their faith in the unseen is rewarded with that which is seen. True, they would admit that their theistic conclusions are an extension of their faith, but it is for them a physical manifestation or reward for their belief in the existence of that which is not seen. The materialist clings to his conviction in spite of what is seen; his insistence on the natural comes as a requirement for his faith. The devout finds fulfillment in what is seen; he recognizes what is seen as a commendation of his faith. Both conclusions are expressions of a confidence in the unseen. Neither conclusion is a determination from what has been seen, yet each is an expression of one's faith and commitment to an ideology.

As individuals, or as members of a formal or informal association who hold a particular set of ideological convictions, both expressions of faith are rightfully protected not only as free speech but are also protected as examples of the free exercise of religion. These actions are part of the “unalienable Rights,” that Jefferson referenced in his formulation of the Declaration of Independence, which rights exist not as a grant from the grace of a mortal sovereign but are part of the “Laws of Nature and of Nature's God” to which men are entitled as a result of an “endow[ment]” of freedom from “their Creator.”9

Such professions of historical science conclusions, from either of the perspectives mentioned, certainly fall under the constitutional protections of an individual's or private organization's rights. However, when the State seeks to inculcate those same doctrines into the minds of their citizens, and especially their students in forms of compulsory education, as the only conclusion under consideration, both such dogmas are removed from protected speech and gestures of religious devotion to the establishment of and compulsory enforcement in religious indoctrination.

The historical science propagated in our public science classrooms have come to be laden with many relics of what were previously just conjecture, assumed to be made in good faith, but which have now been felled by the ax of experimental science. Yet the vast majority of these dogmas remain in our public school textbooks and are still found in the speech of popular science pundits, in spite of observation and measurement to the contrary. These assertions persist, at times, from the general lack of knowledge of the current findings of science. After all, evidence contrary to popular, and at times foundational belief, is frequently, but unjustly, swept under the rug in embarrassment. But far more egregious than just a lack of knowledge, is a frequent refusal to acquiesce to empirical findings simply because other explanations from a naturalistic perspective do not exist and the only alternative is to accept what would appear to be the action or influence from an intelligent and often supposed supreme being. Such challenged materialistic beliefs, publicly proclaimed and doggedly promoted as the only consideration in our science classrooms, in spite of compelling evidence to the contrary, is not simply blind faith in materialism, but a failed dogma, a deception and a fraud perpetrated to falsely cast determinism as the only viable and supposedly observationally verified model of our origins. This exclusionary State-directed and promoted doctrine, lies clearly afoul of the word and intent of the

First Amendment to our Constitution, especially when such failed theories continue to be taught in conflict of clear evidence to the contrary.

The effectiveness of such propaganda campaigns is seen in the logos of atheist groups, where they depict theistic religion being vanquished by the findings of science – there they claim justification and solace in their ideology, and this from the assumed empiricism of our science speculations.10

No, the public science classroom is not the place to dogmatically promote precepts of faith, be they theistic or atheistic in nature, nor is it the place to vanquish sincere student inquiry, investigative thought, or suppress scientific evidence or studies because such thoughts and their implications may counter particular world views, popular opinion, or tradition. I am not anti-science; I am pro-science. I simply seek for truth and an honest accounting of science facts. Let our students be taught in the tools of science: a systematic method of investigation that uses observation, hypotheses, testing, measurement, logical argument, and theory building in the methodological search for truth as it relates to natural phenomenon. Where there is insufficient evidence to support a particular hypothesis or where additional discoveries challenge a particular perspective or theory of science, it needs to be plainly stated, and further, premises that are predicated on such conjecture need to be likewise confessed as to their speculative foundations. Additionally, premises that have been shown to be contrary to empirical evidence need to be expelled from the science classroom. If it is deemed that students need to be conversant with these defunct theories, a separate class could be convened, or a special chapter organized on failed theories, that they may be disciplined in things like the modern myths and legends of our origins and such.

Recognizing that universal proof of the non-existence of anything, especially that of a supreme being, is outside the grasp of our investigative tools of science, we cannot conclude through science that we have not and will not explore phenomenon which are the result of an intervention of intelligence or the action of a supreme being. Just as the mere assertion of the non-existence of a deity cannot be claimed as an outcome of scientific investigation, the insistence that the consideration of only materialistic or deterministic processes are sufficient to comprehend and account for the arrival of all the observed physical phenomenon, is likewise an unscientific proposition.

If truth is to ultimately prevail in our science investigations, and if our public science classes are to be free from unconstitutional dogmatic propagation of doctrine, we must actively expunge the failed theories of the past and clearly define the limits and admit the fallibility of our scientific investigations today.


Vincent Newmeyer

1 Cox, J. P. & Giuli, R. T.(n.d.).Principles of Stellar Structure. Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics and Department of Physics and Astrophysics, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO. 958-960.

2 European Southern Observatory. (Nov. 18, 2004). Big Stellar Clusters Forming in the Blue Dwarf Galaxy NGC 5253. ESO, Garching, Germany.

3 Australia Telescope National Facility (n.d.). Star Formation. ATNF, Epping, NSW.

4 Bljastjashij. (Dec. 17, 2010). The Density of the Orion Nebula. Scienceray,

5 Zahnle, K. J. & Catling, D. C. (May 2009). Our Planet's Leaky Atmosphere. Scientific American, New York, NY.

6 Goddard Space Flight Center. (n.d.).FIRAS Overview.National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Washington, DC.

7 University of Utah Aspire project. (n.d.). Protostars and the Nebula. University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT.

8 Cox, J. P. & Giuli, R. T.(n.d.).Principles of Stellar Structure. Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics and Department of Physics and Astrophysics, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO. 960

9 US Declaration of Independence

10 American Atheist example: see special logo developed for the 2014 convention held in Salt Lake City UT.