Monday, 9 June 2014

Is our Solar System young? (Part 1)

Warning: If you are offended by this, please read the conclusion of this series. You may be surprised. 

We all know the Genesis creation account. A simple story, short and sublime, detailing the creation of the heavens and the earth, and Man's subsequent fall from grace. The problem is, some people just take it too bloody literally, despite having been forewarned by the ancient church fathers, from  Jewish theologian Philo of Alexandria, to Bishop Origen and even the famous Saint Augustine (who founded the doctrine of original sin, yes!).

Well, lets assume a young age of the Solar System. There is absolutely no natural mechanism that  it could form in 6000 years, therefore we must assume  it was  "poofed" into existence.

Now what are the problems with this? You will notice that, throughout the account of Genesis 1, there are numerous details of the heavens omitted, or sometimes just seemingly downright wrong about. Read a  version here.

The most obvious problems from a literal reading is:

1. How could light appear before the Sun?
2. From Genesis 1:7-8, it implies there was water above the Heavens. How is this even possible? Are the clouds considered to be part of this water?
3.  Why was the Moon considered the "lesser light" when it got its light from the Sun?
4. Why were plants created twice, first time in Genesis 1 and second time in Genesis 2?
5. Why was there only 1 piece of land mentioned,when there's five continents in Real Life?

Nevertheless, YEC organizations like the ICR or AiG have addressed these questions, if somewhat unsatisfactorily.
Even from an exegetical point of view, this could easily be hand-waved as saying this was how the Earth once was during the Creation Week and was different afterward.

What I would want to discuss here, is what the Bible omitted.

1. Apparently God did not create any spore-producing non-flowering plants, only plants that bore seeds.....
3. What about bacteria?
3. What about them other planets?
Just to name a few.

Point #3 in particular struck me when I first thought about it. Its alright, the average YEC could say, well, it wasnt important to mention them as they weren't relevant, but it gets rather icky when you remember that ancient people once thought that planets were, well, stars.

But I digress. My point is, observation of our planets, and even the Sun itself leads to conclusions that our Solar System is either:
a) ancient, created by natural processes rather than uber-magic
b) if created recently and instantaneously, rather haphazardly and/or halfheartedly,

Let us turn to impact craters in the inner planets shall we?

A Discussion of Impact Craters
There are actually several forms:

1)simple craters- typically small, bow-shaped and smooth-walled. Its what automatically people imagine when they hear "impact crater".

2) complex crater-larger, more complex, with an uplifted centre and concentrated, undulating "terrace" like structures. Check this out. 

3) elongate craters-imagine an asteroid striking at an angle. Leaves a great big scar. Like this.

4) multi-ring craters- the biggest kahunas of all, they generate "ripples" which is basically the shock of the impact deforming the asthenosphere, yup, all the way in the upper mantle!

Irregardless, lets look at the inner planets shall we?

 1) Mercury
Other than Mercury apparently having an unnecessary molten core, something creationists have touted as a young solar system (while neglecting that a) Mercury's core has large amounts of sulphur, lowering the melting point of iron in the core b) tidal heating from the Sun's gravity probably drives heating of the core c) Mercury has a smaller surface area, meaning it loses heat slower ), the evidence, particularly from the vast number of craters on its surface points to its ancient formation. Why do other planets not have the same level of cratering? Simple, early on in the formation of the Solar system, the larger planets had geological activity capable eroding impact craters. That doesnt mean Mercury never had geological activity early on in its history, as evidenced by ancient basalt flows and "ghost craters", but simply means it died sooner than the other rocky worlds.  Either that, or Mercury was created recently with all those craters. Or hilariously, let me draw a quote from Creation wiki on impact craters: (its by creationist astronomer Danny Faulkner)

Faulkner has lately proposed that two episodes of bombardment occurred, the one occurring incident to the fall of man and the other occurring incident to the global flood. The latter episode produced the astroblemes found on earth and also accounts for the markedly uneven distribution of low- and high-energy impacts on the Moon.[1][7] The observed bombardment of the other planetary satellites, according to this model, came from the first bombardment episode and not the second.[1]
  God was so pissed after the Fall He threw a hissy fit and sent huge meteorites to scare Adam & Eve! 

2) Venus

Image courtesy of
What's interesting about Venus is that it is a striking image of what Earth could have been, a literal burning Hell. (And to some, the fate of many in the future.....). Of course, it raises the question onto why it needed to exist in the first place in order for the ancients to mis-characterize it as "the Morning and Evening Star" . I suspect even the ancient Israelites thought so too, the Bible not mentioning planets and all. And it is not evidence of a young solar system, as Prof. Stuart Robbins points out so eloquently. 

3) the Earth-Moon system

Ah, craterism has already been discussed in Mercury. There are more than three hundred thousand craters on the Moon alone, and I pointed out the silly theological problem with a "young Mercury craterism" which applies to our Moon as well. The fact that many more craters on the Moon than the Earth is consistent with an ancient solar system and a geologically active Earth, that continually recycles its surface with the processes of uplift and erosion,  but let me bring up Creation Wiki's infamous hydroplate theory in which they explain how the Global Flood led to massive ejaculation ejection of rocks from the Earth, bombarding the Moon with tons of space debris.

Of course it conveniently ignores the fact that its the Moon's Far side i.e. the side that is perpetually facing away from the Earth that is much more heavily cratered than the Near Side. And also, take a look at this image:

Earth Moon distance, to actual scale,
Image courtesy:

 Just look at the distance between them! I cannot imagine the density of Earthen asteroids needed to create some three hundred thousand craters

  Furthermore, there's this pesky little thing called escape velocity, which is the velocity an object needs to escape the pull of the Earth's gravity. The standard formula, is of course, (2GM/R)^0.5, which, on Earth, translates to roughly 11200 metres per second, which means our Earthly asteroids needed to travel more than thirty times the speed of sound to escape Earth's atmosphere. LOL!

EDIT: Rational Wiki deconstructs this wonderfully. Read their essay on the Lunar Bukkake hypothesis.

4) Mars

Curiosity Rover image of Mount Sharp. Image credit goes to NASA
The Curiosity Rover continues to bring stunning images everyday, so lets discuss this more in detail.
The Red Planet has had its own share of war wounds: battle scars from strikes by asteroids. Being mostly geologically dead however, more than half a million craters remain on its surface. How old do you think it is now?  Regardless, I already discussed craterism to a great extent. In the next post, I will discuss the geological features of Mars and why it points to its ancient grandeur.


 Seriously how could a young Solar system gain so many impact craters? And why does the Earth have so comparably few? It seems so petty for God to begin laying vengeful waste to the surface of the planets He created with millions of asteroids.

The Solar system is ancient!

P.S. Danny Faulkner may be a competent astronomer, but he would make a terrible theologian. Apart from  believing God to have thrown temper tantrums, as shown above, he also once theorized that the
cosmic microwave background could be the remnant of the "light" that God used in the first three days of the Creation Week. Seriously is he saying that the CMBR is the Holy Spirit's malfunctioning flashlight or something?

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