1. Interpreting Craters in Terms of the Day Four Cratering Hypothesis, Danny Faulkner, Answers Research Journal, 22 January
Rhea and Dione, the second and fourth largest satellites of Saturn, are very similar (see figs. 8 and 9). As with every satellite that we have examined closely, they have synchronous rotation. That is, they rotate and revolve with the same period. This means that they keep one face toward the planet at all times, but they also keep one face forward in their orbits (the leading side) and one face trailing (the trailing side). The leading sides of Rhea and Dione are very different from their trailing sides. The leading side of Rhea is bright and contains many craters. The trailing side is darker and contains markedly fewer craters, but the trailing side also is crossed by brighter swaths that appear to be tectonically formed ice cliffs. This suggests that little geological reworking has occurred on the leading side, but that much more has taken place on the trailing side. Alternately, more impacts occurred on the leading side as it orbited Saturn. The latter explanation is supported by most planetary scientists. However, the appearance is reversed on Dione, with the leading side having fewer craters and the trailing side having more. The standard explanation is that Dione originally had its more heavily cratered side leading, but that a large impact spun it around after most craters had formed. The leading side of either satellite is brighter than the trailing side. This amounts to special pleading. It’s not clear how this surface could be interpreted in terms of the Day Four cratering hypothesis.
So the explanation offered by astronomers for the pattern of cratering on Dione, which is the reverse of what is usually found, is “special pleading,” but Faulkner has no explanation for it at all. That seems like the kind of admission a creationist would jump at…
Deeper reading: Faulkner is arguing that the majority of the craters found on other planets and moons were formed on day four of the creation week, as part of the process with which his god created them. After insisting that this does not violate the “very good” status of the pre-fall universe, he takes us on a tour of the solar system trying to fit each mapped body into to his model. Not provide evidence for it, mind you – he’s just pointing at this or that feature and saying “and this shows that there has been some geological reworking on this planet since its creation.”
Perhaps the most interesting thing about this paper is the dearth of secular citations: I only see one, to Bevan French’s 1998 book Traces of Catastrophe, about crater formation and geology. In other words there are no citations for his information about planetary surfaces – not even to Google Mars – and similarly there is no reference for the secular explanations, such as of Dione’s cratering pattern, that Faulkner dismisses. Answers Research Journal is ostensibly a peer-reviewed publication, meaning that not only do both Faulkner and the journal’s editors think this is a reasonable way to operate, but so too do his reviewers. If this attitude is endemic within the creationist “research” community then they will never get their pseudo-scholarship the widespread acceptance they so crave.
2. Do Foxes Have Magnetic Senses?, Brian Thomas, Institute for Creation Research, 24 January
Where could a well-integrated and effective system such as this come from? The researchers wrote in Biology Letters, “Foxes may have evolved a different solution to this problem” of localizing prey without the advantage of sight. But no evidence supports the claim that foxes or environments or any combination of natural forces ever could invent a microscopic geomagnetic detector designed to solve hunting problems—or any other problems. Real solutions come from intelligent problem-solvers, so why would the foxes’ solution not also have been invented by specific intent?
Thomas has a habit of concluding his articles with wild claims that he can’t possibly back up, but this one takes the cake. He is not simply asserting that this specific adaptation could not have evolved, but that only “intelligent problem-solvers” can ever solve problems. As a counter-point, a couple of weeks ago I did a bit of playing around with the simple evolution simulator known as Biogenesis. The image above-right an evolutionarily derived “solution” to the “problem” of predation by small and mobile organisms that steal energy from their prey: the juicy green stuff in the middle has been entirely surrounded by protective blue segments. It is simply absurd to claim that only intelligence can create.
Deeper reading: Given that dogs apparently poop in line with Earth’s magnetic field it seems that a general ability to detect magnetism is present in this group of animals, providing the base from which the Fox adaptation that Thomas is talking about could have evolved.
3. Discussing Science – 2, (Unknown), Theology Archaeology, 25 January
The more I read about scientific books and articles, the more I get the idea that secular scientists are just playing a game with the general public. Their vocabulary is filled with words like, ‘atoms’, ‘neutrons’, ‘quarks’, ‘gluons’, etc., all of which have never been seen by any scientist at any time.
Believe it or not, it’s possible to determine the existence of things without seeing them directly – and anyway, we can see atoms with certain arcane types of microscope these days. If people are using jargon that you don’t understand then the correct response is to educate yourself before you posit conspiracy. This is why people laugh at creationists.
Deeper reading: This particular blog has been in my feeds for a few months now, since a stray pingback brought it to my attention as part of an attempt there to rebut one of James McGrath’s postings (which happens a lot). I’m fairly certain that it’s not an attempt at parody, but I’m a little less sure now.