Friday Falsehoods #4

Ironically – since it helped provide the reason to start this series – I didn’t watch the Great Debate. I did post more than my fair share of links to commentary elsewhere, but today we’ll limit ourselves to stories not directly related to it. Continue reading

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On Top of the World

We seem to be making an overdue time jump into November: Brian Thomas’ article for Monday is called Tibetan Cat Fossil: A Tall Tale? He opens:

An international research team claims to have found the world’s oldest big cat fossil in Tibet, publishing their findings in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Big cats include lions, tigers, jaguars, and even snow leopards from Asia. The team dated several snow leopard-like partial fossils at between 4.1 and 5.95 million years old and a complete skull at around 4.4 million years. But how did the authors obtain these large numbers?

Continue reading

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. Continue reading

The Magnetic Field of the Moon

Strength of the Moons magnetic fieldUnlike the Earth the Moon lacks a global magnetic field (though it does still have a field of sorts) but evidence from rocks brought back by the Apollo missions shows that this was not always the case. We haven’t seen an article on planetary magnetism from the ICR in some time now, but they used to be quite common. Brian Thomas’ latest, The Moon’s Latest Magnetic Mysteries, breaks the silence.

The topic is a recent paper in PNAS, “Persistence and origin of the lunar core dynamo” – the paper is not open access, but a conference abstract on the same subject is available as is a Phys.org article. The methodology is quite interesting: 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

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. Continue reading

The Magnetic Field… of the Moon

Planetary magnetic fields – particularly that of mercury – are a recurring topic for DpSUs. Thursday’s article, when it eventually appeared, was called What Magnetized the Moon?

In mid November in Nature there were two papers discussing possible causes of the Moon’s long-decayed magnetic field, along with another article about both papers. Curiously, Brian Thomas only discusses one of these papers.

Strength of the Moons magnetic field Continue reading

Creationist Misinformation: Mercury

Mercury Magnetic FieldIn this Daily (pseudo)Science Update from the Institute for Creation Research’s Brian Thomas returns to the field of Astronomy with a post entitled Messenger Spacecraft Confirms: Mercury Is Unique.
Basically, as usual, we have a short laundry-list of things that are currently unknown, but in all reality probably will be within a few years. They are presented as things that cannot be explained, except by God. But this introduction works for anything I’ve talked about since I started this blog. What are the specific claims?

First, they say that “Mercury can’t be anywhere near as dense as it actually is”, which they support with a reference to another creationists website, which doesn’t back up the claim itself. Presumably, they are commenting on the current inability of models to predict the arrangement and features of the planets. Creationism, on the other hand, predicts and explains nothing.

Second, he mentions that the planet has a higher level of sulphur than is considered possible if it formed as close to the sun as it is now. Why exactly it couldn’t have spiralled inwards over time I don’t know…

And then we get to the magnetosphere. Mr Thomas begins:

[F]or many years the “dynamo theory” (which has since been shown to be false) was the only explanation offered for magnetic fields on rocky planets that are supposed to be billions of years old.

Whoa! Citation bloody needed! The dynamo effect works (unless you’re saying that god does it directly, like people used to think with lightening). Have they ever heard of radioactivity? Maybe the planet’s density is a result of having lots of uranium, or something. The heat generated from that would probably be sufficient.

The final problem they have is the magnetic field of Mercury. Basically, it’s stronger on one end than the other. He asks: “What natural process would cause that?”

The reuters article he cites gives one possible explanation – “one theory is that the planet’s magnetic field is in the processing of flipping.” Another article says that it “suggests that Mercury’s south polar region is much more exposed than the north to bombardment by charged particles from the sun.” Just because something is unexplained doesn’t mean that it is unexplainable. And hey, that means we have not one but two explanations! Isn’t that even better? 😀

He finishes:

According to Space.com, “Scientists don’t fully understand the import of many of Messenger’s early findings.”3 In light of what are best explained as Mercury’s purposeful peculiarities, and of its young-looking magnetic field, this statement might be better rendered as: “Evolutionary scientists don’t understand why Messenger’s early findings show that Mercury looks both young and uniquely created.”

No. You can’t just say that when something is not explained, God must’ve done it. There is no evidence in that that points to the planet being young, over any other explanation. Science does not default to Creationism, in the same way that it didn’t default to Geocentricism, when all the stuff about Mercury’s orbit was being puzzled over a hundred years ago. That was solved by Einstein, but that doesn’t mean that Newtonian gravity doesn’t work. Even if we needed such a big ‘paradigm shift’ to explain this now, it would still involve the universe being much older than 6000 years.