Number: 518 (Read 1 time) Date: 27 Feb 94 19:41:39
From: R. Day
Subject: Kent Hovind Arguments
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (R. Day)
Organization: Calgary UNIX User's Group
Loren I. Petrich (email@example.com) wrote:
: In article <18FEB199414230985@skyblu.ccit.arizona.edu>
firstname.lastname@example.org (James J. Lippard) writes:
: >Evidence From Space:
: >2). The small layer of dust on the moon indicates less than 10,000 years
: >of accumulation.
: I guess this is that old "150 feet of dust" argument, which
: seems to have been discredited -- the true amound is much less.
It's depressing how often the moon dust argument is dragged out
-- always by scientific illiterates like Hovind. Allow me to
The genesis (pardon the pun) of this piece of pseudoscience was
the article, "Cosmic Spherules and Meteoritic Dust," by Hans
Pettersson, Scientific American, Feb. 1960, of which I have a
copy in front of me right now. That anyone would use this
article as proof of a young solar system is laughable, since
Pettersson makes it clear that that is not what he is claiming.
On p. 125 of that article, Pettersson writes, "Though the study
is by no means complete, the data now show that meteoritic
material comes down to earth in much larger quantity (about five
million tons per year) than earlier estimates, based on
astronomical information, had indicated. Moreover, it appears
that the rate of fall has varied during *the past 10 or 15
million years*." [Emphasis added.]
Note that Pettersson makes it clear he is not even considering
the possibility of a solar system a few thousand years old, yet
creationists continually indirectly refer to Pettersson's work
without acknowledging this.
Lest anyone remain unconvinced, Pettersson writes on the next
page, "Since red clay is deposited in the central Pacific at the
rate of one to two millimeters in 10 centuries, every meter the
corer sinks into this sediment brings us layers deposited 500,000
to a million years earlier. The lowest part of a 15-meter core
contains sediments 7.5 million to 15 million years old."
Do I really need to add the emphasis this time?
On top of all this, the creationist position is based solidly on
Pettersson's estimate of the amount of dust falling on the earth.
Creationists inevitably use the value of 14,000,000 million tons
per year, quoting Pettersson. However, Pettersson openly admits
that his values are just best guesses:
"To be on the safe side, especially in view of the uncertainty as
to how long it takes meteoritic dust to descend, I am inclined to
find five million tons per year plausible."
The bottom line here is that Pettersson just doesn't know what
the correct value, but is making a best guess. More responsible
researchers would, of course, refer to the most recent literature
for better values, but as we all know, creationists have a
penchant for using outdated sources for all their plagiarism.
One more recent source is "Cosmic Dust: Collection and Research",
Ann. Rev. Earth Planet. Sci., 1985. 13:147-173, D. E. Brownlee,
who writes, "Roughly 10^4 tons of interplanetary dust impact the
atmosphere each year," a far cry from Pettersson's several
Toon and Farlow, "Particles above the Tropopause," same journal,
1981. 9: 19-58, pretty much agree, "Each day about 40 metric tons
of interplanetary meteoric debris enter the atmosphere".
In addition, a number of papers supporting an ancient moon can be
found in "The Moon, An International Journal of Lunar Studies,"
vol. 13, D. Reidel Publishing Co.
For creationists and others who are hard of thinking, a simplified
evisceration of this nonsense can be found in "Science Held Hostage,"
by Van Till, Young and Menninga.
Vice-chair, Alberta Skeptics
P.S. If there is no FAQ on this topic, I'll be happy to write
one -- minus my usual acerbic contributions. :-)