January 5, 2013 | David F. Coppedge

Faint Young Sun Paradox Solution Criticized

A proposed solution for keeping the Earth warm when the sun was 25% cooler leaves other evolutionists doubtful.

The “faint young sun paradox” has been a worry for decades.  Theoretically, stars like our sun would have been 20-30% cooler in their early years – about the time when the Earth was preparing for life in evolutionary scenarios.  How did the Earth’s surface avoid becoming frozen solid, from which an escape to springtime was impossible?  Besides, records of the “oldest” crustal rocks show signs that oceans were liquid 3-4 billion years ago in the evolutionary timeline.

A new solution was proposed in in the 4 Jan issue of Science Magazine by Robin Wordsworth and Raymond Pierrehumbert of the University of Chicago.  They propose that higher levels of nitrogen combined with 10% hydrogen would have increased collisional and rotational states in these gases.  That would produce global warming enough to keep the surface from freezing.  This new proposal adds to earlier hypotheses about other greenhouse gases that might have been present, such as methane or more carbon dioxide.

But in the same issue of Science, James Kasting of Penn State threw cold water on the new proposal.  Hydrogen gas was unlikely to have existed once life evolved, because methanogens would have eaten it out of the atmosphere in short order.  In addition, Sara Reardon in New Scientist noted that fossil raindrop imprints, which are large and show free fall through a thin atmosphere, contradict the idea that nitrogen and hydrogen were abundant.  She also pointed out that volcanoes do not typically exude the amount of hydrogen needed in the new model.  And on Space.com, Charles Q. Choi said that “Past research had suggested that the early Earth was not rich in hydrogen.”  Even Wordsworth admitted, “Hydrogen is such a rare gas in Earth’s atmosphere today that at first glance, it seems crazy that it could ever have played a role in warming the climate.

While not overthrowing the new proposal, Kasting, Reardon and Choi suggested that the paradox will require further work to resolve.  Woodworth agreed:

“There’s been lots of previous work on the faint young sun paradox, and we’re sure our study won’t be the last word on the matter,” Wordsworth added. “It’s of course quite possible that the early Earth was kept warm by a combination of effects.

Nevertheless, the headlines in the popular media put the proposal in a positive light.  Because Titan’s atmosphere has more hydrogen than Earth’s, New Scientist titled its entry, “Titan holds clue to faint young sun paradox.”  This is misleading because the hydrogen does not contribute significantly to warming on Titan due to the low temperature, according to Kasting.  And Space.com promised but did not deliver on its headline, “How Early Earth Kept Warm Despite Faint Sun.

This is a classic case of special pleading.  Planetary evolutionists need a warm Earth to fit their old-age ideas of the sun and the planet, but the Earth has to maintain a stable temperature as the sun gets warmer and life evolves.  So they invent scenarios to walk that tightrope.  The Earth could have stayed warm if hydrogen made up 10% of the atmosphere and nitrogen was 2-3 times as dense as it is today.  This implausible ad hoc scenario could conceivably have increased surface temperatures by as much as 10° to 15°C.  But then the hydrogen had to leak out, and the nitrogen become less dense, to match the increasing temperature of the sun over time.

Building on the house of cards, Kasting says it “could have been caused by pressure broadening of CO2 and H2O lines” with the higher nitrogen levels.  Climbing higher on the house of cards, he says “the realization that H2 can warm terrestrial planet climates could be important for the prebiotic Earth, early Mars, and young Earth-like exoplanets.”  Wow—we got from one implausible hypothesis to life all over the place!  Isn’t evolution wonderful.  It explains everything.  (So does unbounded imagination.)

The faint young sun paradox is a self-contradiction within evolutionary theory.  It does not exist for creationists.  They know that God created Earth to be inhabited from the start, not that long ago.


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  • Donald Holliday says:

    I remember when this article’s subject came out last year March 12, 2012 in Yahoo News. Still really never understood how they knew that there was once a weaker Sun. Yet maybe the Sun’s strength was always the way it is now. Maybe the Atmosphere was different in that it didn’t allow as many harmful UVs to enter the scene. And they still couldn’t determine just how the Earth’s surface was warm, with liquid water and life present as a result of studying some rocks found in Greenland. How possibly did all those Redwood Forests exist up there ? Atmosphere anomalies couple with geothermal plumbing ?.

    Well, whatever. What was most intriguing were some of the more interesting and sensible comment by a few Yahoo Readers(they didn’t appear to believe in creation). Common expressions were, “Did they even think to check for a more Geo-Thermal system present back then ?” If you know or are aware of some modern heating systems of the efficiency of floor heating couple with well insulated walls and roof, then it could make sense in an illustrative way. Also makes sense in the light of these verses.

    Genesis 2:5-6 & 10-14.

  • lux113 says:

    I know why the scientists are so confused!

    Might be because the universe isn’t 13.7 billion years old.

    Man didn’t evolve from lemurs.. apes.. a chunk of tree bark.. or any variation….

    Planets and stars don’t just start out as dust and then go into a spin cycle for long enough and become what we see now.. there’s no rationale for believing such a thing.

    The moon wasn’t formed by an asteroid or other interstellar debris hitting the earth.. just like above there is no rationale for buying such stories of desperation by the scientific community.

    and the list goes on and on…

    I’m getting extremely irritated that science is dead and gone and irrevocably replaced with philosophy. The funny part being that THAT is what they accuse creationists of…


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