Crustal Prediction

Part of the surface of Mercury, as imaged by MESSENGER

The earlier post for the 27th has been removed. In its place is another astronomy article, Mercury’s Magnetic Crust Fulfills Creation Prediction:

The planet Mercury provides many clues to its unique and recent creation. For example, Mercury’s density and composition don’t match planetary evolution models, and its surface geology and magnetic field are too active for it to be billions of years old. New data from the MESSENGER—the spacecraft that has been probing the dense planet’s surface since 2004—confirms another creation-based prediction made in 1984.

Yes, we return once again to MESSENGER – and for perhaps the first time Thomas has remembered to give the craft its proper capitalisation. Brian has three ‘citations for his second sentence, all to articles written by him about MESSENGER findings in the second half of last year. They are:

Messenger Spacecraft Confirms: Mercury Is Unique. This article points out a number of features of Mercury, including high levels of sulphur, that are unexplained (or at least were at the time). As I said then, just because we don’t know how they came to be does not justify jumping to creationism.

Mercury’s Fading Magnetic Field Fits Creation Model. I originally concluded that, given the numbers quoted, the field of Mercury was apparently fading far too fast for the ‘creation model’ – it would require moving the creation date even closer to the now, and would be biblically impossible. However, with the help of Stuart Robbins and a copy of the paper itself, I discovered that it could not even be concluded that the field was fading. What actually happened was that far more detailed results from MESSENGER compared with that from Mariner 10 (which merely made a flyby) caused a significant reduction in estimates of the strength of Mercury’s magnetic field. This is not the same as saying that the field was noticeably stronger in the 1970’s than it is today.

Mercury’s Surface Looks Young. The presence of ‘volatiles’ were claimed by Thomas to show that Mercury is young, though in reality they probably just demonstrate that a small part of the surface is (geologically) recent.

So that’s all he’s got there.

Creation scientist D. Russell Humphreys described his model and its predictions in the Creation Research Society Quarterly (CRSQ), writing that someday scientists would discover remanent magnetization in Mercury’s crustal rocks. He wrote, “Older igneous rocks from Mercury or Mars should have natural remanent magnetization, as the Moon’s rocks do.”

A confirmation of this – for that is what has now happened – would not be unexpected. Why shouldn’t they? Humphreys’ “prediction” is a little like predicting that exoplanets will be discovered to be round, because God apparently like round things (He could make them cubical, after all). There’s not likely to be much “evolutionist” consternation over this, and I’d bet that “Mercury’s magnetic crust confirms planetary evolution predication” would be an equally accurate headline.

“Remanent” refers to lingering magnetism. Mercury’s volcanic crustal rock captured some of that planetary magnetism when it cooled and solidified into what is today a northern volcanic plain. According to Humphreys’ creation model, planetary magnetic fields were strongest immediately after they were created from water about 6,000 years ago, and their strength has diminished since. How well did his prediction match the new observation 28 years later?

The space probe’s magnetometer analyzed volcanic crustal rock magnetism over Mercury’s northern regions. The results were presented at the 43rd Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in March 2012. An international team of planetary scientists analyzed MESSENGER’s magnetic data and found that Mercury had a “residual magnetic field” that was very likely “a remanent magnetization acquired during a period when Mercury’s magnetic field was of the opposite polarity, and possibly stronger, than the present field.”

It’s a little iffy, actually. While the magnetised rocks are indeed there, we’ve seen no indication that they are or are not among the ‘older’ rocks, while Humphreys predicts a significant decrease in magnetic field strength but the quote is unsure about whether or not the field in which the rocks formed was larger than it is today. They do know, however, that the field “was of the opposite polarity” – do creationists allow for non-Flood related magnetic field flips?

Humphreys apparently announced his success on a private forum thread:

In an online forum for creation scientists, CRSnet, Humphreys wrote, “I’m happy about this crustal magnetization because it fulfills yet another prediction in my 1984 CRSQ article on planetary magnetic fields. The Mars part of that got fulfilled a decade ago, and now it has happened for Mercury also.”

Thomas concludes:

Humphreys’ creation model—the model that presented the later-fulfilled predictions about Mercury’s magnetization—assumed a biblical age and a Bible-based watery origin for the universe. Like the other fulfillments of this model, Mercury’s magnetic crust directly confirms biblical creation.

Predictions can be powerful things. Just not this one.

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5 thoughts on “Crustal Prediction

  1. Wonderful analysis, THANK YOU!

    Brian Thomas keeps up the ICR’s long tradition of putting the “wacky” in “Those Wacky Young-Earth Creationists.” Alas, at least here in America we have failed so badly at public science education that most Americans-at-large are not prepared to efficiently examine such argumentation of folks like Humphreys and Thomas and spot their flaws of fact and logic. Blogs like yours sure do help, however, for we can at least encourage the public at large to check in here and see what they may be (and the ICR folks are) overlooking.

    • “within a week”? So far as I can tell, this was up the moment the Enceladus piece was withdrawn!

      It seems fairly clear at this point that they have a buffer of a fortnight to a month between the writing of most of their stories and their publication. Hence, they have a few spares lying about and can easily make up for it.

    • That does sound logical; but I like to imagine that upon being shown to be so wrong they had to run to the nearest science news site; search for the phrase “unexpected results” and then quickly build a story out of that.

    • He would probably have had time – it would have been in the afternoon that they pulled it. Of course, in this case rather than finding a news article he would instead have remembered a forum post from a few weeks before and decided to write on that. 🙂

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