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

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.

With the Return of the Solar Flares Comes Talk of the Goldilocks Zone – Quick DpSU June 16

CME from June 7

I haven’t seen a Type Io DpSU for a (short) while, but this one just rehashes things I’ve talked about before, with a few additions.

So, the solar cycle is coming back around to its peak. There has been a lot of news about that lately, with Mr Thomas taking as his sources these two articles. Interestingly, since then there has been news that the cycle might calm down for quite a while, but that’s not particularly relevant.

Mr Thomas instead uses this study as an excuse to talk about the Goldilocks Zone, and other related arguments for Fine Tuning, beginning with the Magnetosphere and continuing from there:

[T]he magnetic field protects life on earth from this serious danger. If the field were not there, living creatures could not survive.

The problem with this, along with most other such arguments, is that it is only really true of life as we know it. There are ‘living creatures’ around volcanic vents, deep under the oceans, that couldn’t care less about the magnetic field of the earth. And there could easily be life on other planets that do not have such a field either.

Mr Thomas then goes on to list other fine tuning arguments:

Earth, for example, is situated within the Goldilocks zone, a “just right” distance from the sun for water to remain in liquid form on the planet’s surface. No other planet yet discovered has liquid water like that found on earth.

Again, this is only a prerequisite for our own sort of life. Take, for example, Titan. Titan has liquid (and solid and gas) methane on its surface. Such a situation could well be suitable for other sorts of life based on a similar(ish) chemistry to our own. The fact that this star-system contains both a water-planet and a methane-planet (well, moon), for no apparent reason, suggests that the chances of planets that could at least theoretically support life could well be higher than Mr Thomas is implying. The “Goldilocks zone” idea is unnecessary restrictive.

Also, the moon is strikingly well-balanced for life, being just the right distance from earth, just the right size, mass, and in just the right orbital path to make life on earth possible, in part by stirring up the ocean’s tides. In fact, its many precise specifications led two atheist scientists to title their 2005 book on the subject Who Built the Moon? They quoted famous author Isaac Asimov’s statement that the moon’s arrangement is “the most unlikely coincidence imaginable.”

One of the “atheist scientists”, Christopher Knight, is a proponent of, among other things, 366-degree Geometry. Remember, the correlation between ‘atheist’ and ‘sane’ is not perfect…

The moon has been moving out from the earth for some time, changing it’s orbit and distance. This is not a problem, as far as I am aware. Secondly, I direct you here.

Mr Thomas also mentions a few other things in an etcetera fashion, and I won’t go into them here. However, I’ve bookmarked one of his ‘references’ for later deconstruction…