Discovery Challenges Star-Dating Techniques

by Stephen Caesar

The core argument used against the biblical model of a young universe is the belief that the stars are billions of years old. This belief is based on unproven assumptions that cannot be tested empirically. Despite the self-evident flimsiness of current dating methods, they are nonetheless used as effective weapons against the possibility of a young universe, since the dates arrived at by astronomers are consistently those of extremely ancient stellar bodies.

A recent find has demonstrated the faultiness of this dating system. A team of astronomers, using the orbiting Chandra X-ray telescope, has discovered that a particular pulsar (a collapsed star that emits regular bursts of energy) was a remnant of a supernova reported by Chinese astronomers in 386 AD. (When a star approaches the end of its stellar "life," it explodes into a supernova; in some cases, these supernovae can be seen from earth with the naked eye.) "This connection," reported the Boston Globe, "proved that the pulsar was dramatically younger than once believed-less than 2,000 years old rather than 24,000."

The earlier, incorrect estimate of the pulsar's age was a product of the faulty logic traditionally used by astronomers to date stellar bodies. Victoria Kaspi of McGill University, one of the members of the team that discovered the pulsar's correct age, commented, "Determining the true ages of astronomical objects is notoriously difficult. For this reason, historical records of supernovae are of great importance."

The Globe went into further detail as to how unreliable traditional old-universe dating methods have been: "Until now, the only way to figure out the age of pulsars was by measuring how fast they are spinning, and the rate at which the spinning is slowing down. By extrapolating backwards to the estimated spin rate when the pulsar was born, this allows an estimate of their present ages. But the new discovery shows that this method can be way off, and shows [that] the process must be more complicated than astronomers have yet been able to analyze" (emphasis added).

Astronomer David Helfand, a pulsar expert at Columbia University, said the new findings are "a little disquieting." In the words of the Globe, Helfand's disquietude stems from the fact that the young date for this allegedly old pulsar "undermines what the specialists in the field thought they knew" (emphasis added).

This is the central flaw in old-earth and old-universe logic: scientists who believe in evolution (both of the universe and of life on earth) derive age estimates from what they think they know, rather than from objective scientific facts. It is no wonder they are "disquieted." It appears that Emperor Evolution has no clothes.


Chandler, David L. "Pulsar linked to old sighting, shining light on star's age." Boston Globe, 11 January,2001, p. A11.

Stephen Caesar is currently pursuing his master's degree in anthropology/archaeology at Harvard University. He also serves as adjunct professor of literature at Newbury College in Massachusetts. He is the author of the e-book

The Bible Encounters Modern Science, available at

2011 Disciple 155x50 2011 AMG 155x50
Disciple Banner Ad