Standing out of Water and in the Water

Troctolite 76535The Moon, as we are increasingly discovering, is slightly damp – much more so than we thought 40 years ago, when we were “there” (as Mr Ham might say). Of course, anything is greater than nothing, but how it got there remains an open question if only for the moment. A conference abstract presented at the recent European Planetary Science Congress gave the results of a study on some lunar rocks – namely troctolite 76535, described elsewhere as “without doubt the most interesting sample returned from the Moon,” and norite 78235, which they actually found to be more useful – that they say supports the notion that there was water in the original material that first formed the Moon.

Brian Thomas’ article is called Water in Rocks May Support Moon’s Bible Origins. He seems to have recently run out of unused titles that involve absolute statements: His article on Monday on the planthopper “gears” only went so far as to say that they “might have evolutionists hopping mad,” whereas I expected him to cry that they completely and utterly proved beyond a shadow of doubt that the Earth is 6000 years old and created by the Christian God worshipped by American fundamentalists, in line with his usual hyperbole. Regardless, his uncertain headlines match for once his weak position on both issues.

Returning to the Moon, Thomas quotes a space.com article from May, which expounds the same conclusion with different evidence, as saying that “it remains a mystery exactly how water found within the moon survived.” He does not, however, go into the solution offered:

If the water in the Earth and moon was indeed there before the impact that formed the moon, it remains uncertain why the heat of the impact did not bake off all this water. One possibility is that the vaporized rock the impact generated could trap gas in it like soda, [geochemist Alberto] Saal said. This factor, along with the Earth’s gravity, may have helped the planet keep hydrogen and thus water.

“The problem with that idea is the moon, which has much lower mass and therefore gravity,” Saal said. “Although the moon has maybe five to 10 times less water than the Earth, that’s still a significant amount of water it retained. That’s a problem I don’t think we know the answer to yet.”

That’s not to say that we will never know, merely that we don’t yet. Thomas complains that this particular abstracts “authors offered no reason why molten magma would not have rapidly steamed off any water in the moon.” He goes on:

Based on the title of their presentation to the European Planetary Science Congress on September 9, 2013, “Investigating the H2O content and H isotopic composition of the primitive lunar magma ocean (LMO) cumulates,” these researchers seem to presume primitive lunar magma actually existed. And instead of evaluating the story in light of the evidence, they seem to have assumed the hot origins story despite evidence to the contrary.

Thomas seems to believe that the moon was created complete and unchanging, though he does note that the troctolite has been modified somewhat (which is to say metamorphosed, which is why it was less useful) since it was first created. This latter point supports the notion that if the moon and its constituent rocks were really created by God only a few thousand years ago, then they were created to look old – and who argues with the intentions of an omnipotent being? It’s not safe.

The sophisticated structure and function of the moon leave no doubt as to its origin by special creation. It is beyond the ability of random, natural forces to have positioned the moon at just the right distance from Earth to, for example, generate tides tall enough to cycle vital nutrients to oxygen-providing microbes but not so tall that they destroy the coasts. Similarly, the moon’s circular orbit steadies the tides.

How narrow is the sweat-spot, do you think, between not churning up the oceans enough for bacteria and avoiding destroying coastlines? I think it’s fairly wide, come to think of it.

Thomas moves on to what he thinks about the moon:

According to Genesis, God spoke the moon into existence on Day Four of creation, calling it the “lesser light.” Making the moon did not require magma. Also according to Genesis, the first substance that God created even before making the luminaries was water itself. Genesis states, “The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.”

The bible does not actually say how the Moon was formed, and indeed a strictly literal reading of this passage – which implies that the Moon creates its own light just as the Sun does – makes little sense anyway. But he’s not about to stop there:

In the New Testament, Peter predicted the presentation of these finds when he wrote of scoffers’ treatment of biblical origins: “For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water.”

Taken together, these passages suggest that the Earth, at least, began with a watery origin. And it is possible that Peter’s watery origins reference also applies to other heavenly bodies, including solar planets and moons.

He adds a footnote to that final line: (see this post for more information on the referenced article.)

This led to a water-origins model of planetary magnetic-field strength that has found excellent experimental confirmation. See references in Thomas, B. Mercury’s Fading Magnetic Field Fits Creation Model. Creation Science Update. Posted on icr.org October 26, 2011, updated October 30, 2011, accessed September 17, 2013.

So Thomas is tying this in to Humphreys’ ideas about planetary magnetic fields. For those of you that have never had the pleasure of encountering this particularly bizarre product of the human imagination, D. Russell Humphreys interprets these verses as meaning that God originally created the Earth and all other solar system bodies out of water, before quickly alchemising them into rock and gas. However, while they were water all of the individual molecules “spin” lined up, creating a planet-wide magnetic field which has since exponentially decayed to whatever level it is at now. Mr Thomas seems to be adding to this hypothesis the idea that God didn’t actually change all of the water, leaving behind a few parts per million (for that is the kind of concentration that we’re talking about here, not that he mentions it in his own article) for reasons ineffable, or at least unspecified.

This naturally brings us to the notion that invoking an omnipotent God explains everything, and therefore nothing. Imagine what would have happened if it was discovered that there was no water at all on the Moon: Thomas could just as easily be claiming right now that it “confirms the Bible’s suggestion” that all of the water on the Moon was turned into rock as in Humphreys’ model outlined above. Even if these findings present problems for non-creationist models, they are not evidence for them as not such thing is possible. If there can be no evidence against creation, then there can be none for it either.

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8 thoughts on “Standing out of Water and in the Water

  1. As I commented at the BCSE community forum before seeing this blog post:
    “Ah yes, the Bible gives us the scientifically accurate account of how the moon – that light in the night (it doesn’t really suggest a light source you know just an object that lights the Earth) – came to exist. Its beginnings were cold and wet – just like Genesis tells us, somewhere.
    http://www.icr.org/article/7712/

  2. Thomas says ….

    “Also according to Genesis, the first substance that God created even before making the luminaries was water itself.”

    … and then goes on to quote the relevant passage in the bible. Sadly, the bible doesn’t claim that Yahweh created the “waters” and in other passages seems to acknowledge that other gods exist(ed). Which makes sense in that Yahweh was the “war god” in a pantheon of gods worshiped by the Jews until he got all the credit for the successful military exploits of the day.

    It never ceases to amaze how “true believers” can make the bible say anything they’d like to believe.

    • Genesis 1:1-2 (NIV): “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” That suggests to me the meaning that God created the earth and when first created the earth was dark and covered in water (though it was also ’empty’).
      My issue is that Genesis does NOT say that God created the moon as ‘cold and wet’ as claimed by YECs in the effort to deny scientific evidence that threatens Bible literalism. Genesis 1:16 (NIV): “God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars.”

    • Thanks for the correction Ashley. Somehow I had forgotten the “and the earth” part. It’s been quite a few years since I’ve perused its pages. I find the study of mythology in general much more interesting than reading the holy text of a mythology I was indoctrinated with as a child.

      Apologies to all for my mistaken assertion here.

  3. Peter – thanks, I’ve viewed the link but learnt little that was very new apart from the fact that Pennisi is more a journalist than a scientist.

    But it seems scientists have just a small number of examples (or even just one) where, as with the Arabidopsis plants inherited variability for the traits of root growth and flowering time was associated with methylation changes and not changes to DNA sequence (caused by natural selection acting upon mutations or by genetic drift). Creationist seem to be claiming that such variability could only lead to adaptation within kinds and NOT ‘macro’ evolution for want of a better phrase.

    Ashley

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