Home > creationism, moon, science > >The moon and the age of the earth

>The moon and the age of the earth

> In my defence of a young earth I wanted to address the philosophical issues which I think are foundational to the argument. Discussions that fail to identify these issues end up with proponents of an old earth indirectly defending their presuppositions as if they are conclusions.

Consider 2 dating systems that give contradictory results. Which do we take as preferable? They both cannot be true. One or neither is true. Frequently the position is taken that dating system A gives the correct result and dating system B in in error because of incorrect assumptions X, Y, and Z. But it may be just as reasonable to take B as the correct result and explain why A is in error. Unfortunately proponents of A fail to see the philosophical validity of this. And even if they do, their subsequent arguments still frequently assume A.

I am not saying that all systems are equally convincing in their arguments. Rather that if B can be questioned then so can A.

I anticipated giving further specific arguments in favour of a young earth, or at least against a 4 billion year old earth. One argument is the maximum age of the moon.

The moon is known to be receding from earth. The rate is currently about 4 cm per year, though it is decreasing; the moon receded more quickly in the past. The recession is due to a transfer of angular momentum from the earth to the moon. The loss of angular momentum on earth is due to ocean tidal friction.

If we calculate how long it would take the moon to get to its current position if the moon was initially at the surface of the earth we get a figure of ~1 billion years. This is the maximum possible age for the earth-moon system. It can be much younger than this.

This maximum age is slightly, but negligibly, shorter if we consider the Roche limit. The earth’s gravity exerts a force on the moon dependant on the distance of the moon from the earth. At a certain distance the force exerted from the earth on the near-side of the moon compared to the lesser force on the far-side of the moon is greater than the gravitational force holding the moon together. This is called the Roche limit. This ignores added force from any internal tensile strength that holds the moon together.

The Roche limit for the moon is ~18,000 km from the centre of the earth. The moon is currently ~384,000 km from the (centre of the) earth. The earth’s radius is ~6,300 km.

Categories: creationism, moon, science
  1. Jonathan
    2009 December 15 at 04:09

    Have you ever thought about the amount of moon dust on the surface of the moon? Initially NASA thought there would be three feet deep powder, but it was inches, because the universe is not that old. That’s why the original moon lander had big landing discs to keep the lander on the surface of the “deep powder.”

  2. 2009 December 15 at 04:44

    The best scientific explanation for the existence of the moon is observation error. The moon does not exist. :chuckle:

  3. 2009 December 16 at 02:35

    There are so many of these kinds of “maximum age” arguments that it would seem the standard party line cannot be correct, yet millions of very smart people still swear it is. A person can argue their way into just about any belief at all if they want to badly enough.
    BTW, what do you plan to do about Haloscan’s imminent demise?

  4. 2009 December 16 at 03:45

    Jonathan, the moon dust argument may be a theoretical argument. We lack reliable data. So whether or not NASA had certain views decades ago, it seems that we do not know the current rate of moon or earth dust accumulation to sufficient accuracy. I do not think current knowledge allows us to use the moon dust argument to discriminate between a young or an old moon.

  5. 2009 December 16 at 03:47

    I thought the demise has been happening for about a year. My understanding was that haloscan was owned by JS-KIT with plans to migrate the comments across. I guess I will have to switch back to blogger and lose the old comments.

  6. 2009 December 16 at 04:32

    JS-Kit is migrating the comments to a new system if you agree to pay a small annual fee. You can export all of your existing comments to an xml file and try to import them to a new system, you can let JS-Kit just delete them, or you can migrate to their new system, called Echo. Apparently they’re doing the migrations in batches. Once you get a notice that they are migrating your account, you have two weeks to decide what to do. If you go with Echo, they are offering a 30-day money-back guarantee. If you don’t like it, you can get a refund. I just got my notice yesterday.

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