Turbulent Moons

The many layers of Titan's atmosphereThere were quite a number of articles in the 31 January edition of the journal Nature that would be potential topics for a post from the ICR. These included the discovery of the bizarre underlying genetic mechanism (pdf) behind the two different social structures of the fire ant Solenopsis invicta, which has implications for the evolution of sex chromosomes; a review of a biography of Louis Agassiz, “a great science populariser who resisted Darwinism”; an obituary for Carl Woese (though we’ve already looked at that topic); and some rigid biomemetic polymers, a field which creationists adore. But the article that Jake Hebert – yes, him again – has written about is a feature called Caught in the act. “We may be seeing some of the Solar System’s most striking objects during rare moments of glory.” His own article is called Youthful Solar System Bodies Puzzle Evolutionary Scientists.

A feature story in a recent issue of the journal Nature described four solar system bodies that are puzzling to evolutionary scientists. Specifically, the article discussed the rings of Saturn, two of Saturn’s moons (Enceladus and Titan), and Jupiter’s moon Io. These four bodies all exhibit properties that cannot persist for billions of years.

The Nature article is free to view (though Hebert doesn’t link to it), and is a good read. You’ll certainly find much more detailed and nuanced information there than what Hebert provides. Continue reading

2012 in Review: Astronomy

An artist's impression of a planet orbiting a red dwarfAfter a hiatus to allow the showcasing of the January Acts & Facts (which I’m sure you’re all royally tired of by now), the ICR has returned to their 2012 retrospective series. The new article is called The Best Creation Science Updates of 2012: Space Sciences. I predict that the third and final of these articles will be posted on Friday, will be about the “life sciences,” and will include reference to the ENCODE project.

But back to here and now: Brian opens contending that,

This year brought its share of discoveries that confirm biblical creation’s contention that God made the heavens supernaturally and recently.

But before he gets to explaining these discoveries he cannot resist taking a swipe at Lawrence Krauss. Continue reading

Young Enceladus Creationism

Thomas has conceded the point – “Thanks for catching my errors!” – and this article has vanished, to be replaced by one on Mercury. A screenshot of the original is available here.
The famous "tiger stripes" - hot fault lines on the surface, home to geysersToday’s DpSU – Saturn Moon’s Space Geyser Should Not Exist – is an example, among other things, of Brian Thomas taking a minor detail from a science news article (here, Enceladus Plume is a New Kind of Plasma Laboratory) and running off on a creationism-related tangent. His entire argument consists of these two paragraphs:

Enceladus loses “about 200 pounds of water vapor per second,” which roughly equates to three tons per year. Enceladus weighs over 100 quadrillion tons and supposedly formed billions of years ago. The plume provides an opportunity to cross-check its old-age assignment.

Assuming that the small Saturnian satellite has always issued the same amount of material at the same rate as it does today, then it would have completely unspooled itself in about 35 million years. Why is it still so active?

The full quote includes a metric value:

About 200 pounds (about 100 kilograms) of water vapor per second – about as much as an active comet – spray out from long cracks in the south polar region known as “tiger stripes.”

Now, I have three important problems with Thomas’ claim: Continue reading