Friday, 13 June 2014

Is Our Solar System Young? (Part 3)

Now for the Ice Giants! No, not you.

Before we start, I would recommend watching this old video by Bill Nye.  Get the actual distance between planets now? Good.


 As we can see here, this magnificent monument to instantaneous creation has its poles oriented the wrong way, having an axial tilt of 97.77 degrees, as opposed to Earth's humble 23.5 degrees.  \Another oddity is that, as you can see in this picture, the rings and moons orbit in line with the equator and perpendicular to the ecliptic.  Although consisting mostly of hydrogen and helium in its relatively thin atmosphere, the overall composition of these two gases throughout the entire planet is only about 15%. The rest consists of ammonia, methane and water ice. Something to note is that its significantly less dense than Neptune, at 1.27 g cm^-3 as opposed to 1.64 g cm^-3.

 So, because of its irregularities, Answers in Genesis published a paper back in 2002 showing how it was, yet again, another problem for naturalism (why am I not surprised anymore?). I have  neither the time nor inclination to perform a detailed breakdown, but their assertions are:

1. Evolutionists cannot explain how it formed by natural processes!
2. Since they cant, they invoke a planetesimal colliding with Uranus to explain its tilt!
3. But that's impossible, because a collision would have greatly increased its orbital eccentricity!
4. Also, its moons are orbiting around its equator! And there's not enough debris for a planetary collision! How is this possible??!!
5. Its radiating considerably less heat than it should be!!
6. Its magnetic field is tilted 60 degrees from its axis of rotation!
7. It's moon, Miranda, is heavily scarred!! (they are actually shooting themselves in the foot with this)
8. Therefore Goddidit!

What annoys me to no end is when the Goddidit argument becomes so ubiquitous I cannot resist saying something negative. So, to divert my attention I ve decided to defend the validity of planetesimal collision and address their accusations.

Warning: Armchair Speculation and Philosophical Ramblings Ahead

Before we begin, let's take at the orbit of the not-planet Pluto. As we can see, Pluto's orbit possesses a very high eccentricity, meaning it is very elliptical. Another feature you can see is that its orbit is also not aligned like the other planets, having a rather hefty 17 degree tilt to the ecliptic. 

How is this relevant to Uranus? Now, imagine a rogue Trans-Neptunian object, larger than Pluto, tilted to a greater extent and possessing a higher orbital eccentricity. In all likelihood its orbit was skewed by Neptune (like Pluto). Now let it collide with Uranus in its orbit. 

Imagine the angle of collision. It explains the axial tilt that would result wouldnt it?
Now let us look at the other complaints. Of course a collision doesnt necessitate a massive change in its orbit. Many of the other planets, early in their formation, experienced large collisions of their own. Yet we dont see them have highly elliptical orbits. Why is that? 

As for why the mass of Uranus' moons is so low: what would you expect, from a collision with a gaseous planet? Most of the material blasted out was probably from the planet's rocky, icy core. 
This also explains why Uranus would radiate less heat than Neptune: the collision would have resulted in a loss of momentum of the planet's rotation, resulting in less friction and heat between the atmospheric layers (which is probably why Uranus is the coldest of all planets-its surface temperature is about -223.4C).  
Let me draw a quote from the article:

If all of this wasn’t bad enough, evolutionists received a further series of rude shocks when Voyager 2 flew by the Uranus system in 1986, taking many photographs and measurements. “To the complete astonishment of scientists, the magnetic axis [of Uranus] is tilted approximately 60 degrees with respect to its axis of rotation. It is not known why.”6The strength of the magnetic field was also a surprise to evolutionists, though not to creationists, as creationist astrophysicist Dr Russell Humphreys, using Biblical assumptions, had accurately predicted the strength two years previously!7
Well, Im not sure about Mr Humphrey's predictions (couldnt find the linked article), but Uranus had long been predicted to possess a very different magnetosphere. So, no, the "evilutionists" did not receive the "rude shock" as the article claims. It seems AiG takes every opportunity to mock and deride the godless heathens right? And look here for more of Humphrey's "predictions" like where he speculates that God used water to create the heavenly bodies. Seriously. 

An interesting note is that Uranus doesn't spin about its poles, but its orbit around the Sun causes each pole to be exposed to the Sun for about 21 years apiece. Its equator also get a short, but nifty day-night cycle when Uranus is at the equinox of its 84 year orbit. 

Let us turn to the moon of Uranus: Miranda. As usual, the article continues to pit scientists' words against each other to support its own even more tenuous views.  

With one sheer cliff reaching nearly 10 km (6 miles) high, Miranda has some of the most dramatic terrain in the solar system. Heavily-cratered plains alternate with smooth, largely uncratered areas laced with intricate faulting and grooving, forming a spectacular patchwork, and posing all sorts of problems for naturalistic theories. 
 The author doesnt even notice the theological problems with a literal six day creation any more. If God created Miranda instantaneously, He did so uncaringly. In fact, He created the gas giants, with most of their moons the same way. God's creation was supposed to be "very good". Yet this is not what we see. We see massive, wrecking storms on Jupiter. We see the surface of moons like the Galilean moons Ganymede and Callisto, the Saturnian moon Tethys, and now the Uranian moon Miranda ravaged by millions of impact craters and geological damage. 

We see Enceladus trace giant vapour plumes around Saturn thanks to its brutal cryovolcanism.  We see Titan, raining liquid methane on its cold, dead surface, a gross caricature of Earth's life-giving water cycle. Planet Venus, a Hadean Hell in front,  and Mars, a frosty deadland behind. 

Perhaps its a matter of worldview, but does Psalm 19:1 seem appropriate now? Are we supposed to feel glorious in the midst of all this desolation?

The finale of this series will be next week. 

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