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Nice argument for the age of the earth

Geoffrey Pearce sent me this argument he uses with creationists, and I thought others might find it useful, too.

I am regularly approached by young Earth creationists (yes, even in the bedlam of sin that is Montreal…) both on the street and at home. If I have the time I try to engage them on the age of Earth, since Earth is something whose existence them and I agree upon. They will tell me that Earth is somewhere between 6,000 – 10,000 years old, and, when prompted, that the rest of the universe is the same age as well. I have taken the approach of responding to this assertion by pulling out a print of the far side of the Moon (attached, from apod.nasa.gov).

I cannot tell you how handy this is! Once they’ve had a good look I usually point out that almost all of the craters were formed by asteroids smashing into the planet, and that the Moon has over 250 craters with a diameter of 100 km or more. After explaining that Earth is just as likely to be struck by large asteroids as the Moon (is more likely to be struck, in-fact, due to its greater gravitational well), I then ask them to consider what their time-scale entails: that Earth should be struck every couple of decades by an asteroid capable of completely ejecting an area about the size of New Hampshire (not to pick on New Hampshire). Since such an event has never been observed and there are no well-preserved impact structures anywhere close to this size range, I then suggest to them that the only sensible conclusion is that Earth is much older than they had thought.

This may seem a convoluted way of making a point about Earth’s age, in particular since more precise and direct dating methods than crater counting are used for Earth, but I think that it may have an important advantage. In the past I have tried explaining to creationists how our understanding of Earth’s age is obtained, but they seem to take the “what I can’t see isn’t real” attitude when they hear words such as “radioactivity”, and “isotope”. Conversely, many of them seemed to be somewhat shaken after seeing this image and hearing my explanation, with one even admitting that the Moon looks “very old”. Furthermore, such images are a good starting point for discussing the degree to which chaos and uncertainty are inherent to the universe. Yay!

(Also on Sb)

Comments

  1. gesres says

    Surely a creationist wouldn’t be stymied by this evidence? Clearly all the asteroid impacts happened before the Flood, and the Flood erased them on earth.

    If the argument is effective with creationists, I suspect it’s only due to its unexpectedness. There will probably be a counter-argument on AnswersInGenesis eventually.

  2. whheydt says

    I’ve never had occasion to use another, similar in that it doesn’t rely on actually understanding scientific principles, method of showing that some YEC claims won’t hold. The method is–formally–dendrochronlogy. Just show that we can count tree rings. Anybody can count tree rings. Very quickly, one can show that there is a continuous record right through when they suppose the Noachian Flood took place.

    Some of the research I once did on this wound up as part of the talk.origins archive.

    –W. H. Heydt

    Old Used Programmer

  3. you_monster says

    This explanation has the advantage that the creationists probably won’t have a scripted response ready and may be forced to actually think when considering it.

    Surely a creationist wouldn’t be stymied by this evidence? Clearly all the asteroid impacts happened before the Flood, and the Flood erased them on earth.

    Stop giving them ideas, gesres.

  4. Rumtopf says

    Next up in wacky creationist claims: The moon is specially designed by god to catch asteroids.

  5. b00ger says

    Clearly Satan put all those impact craters on the moon to trick us into thinking the Earth is older than it really is. Whether he did this before or after planting all the fossil evidence is the real mystery. Someone call AiG to assemble their crack (pun intended) team of theologists to answer this pressing question.

  6. says

    Or God, or maybe the debbil, put them there 6000 years ago to fool us/test our faith/have a giggle at our expense. If He/They/It can create stars with beams of light already most of the way here, a few pockmarks are child’s play.
    Or maybe He put the moon there to intercept asteroids that would otherwise punch holes in heaven.
    I have to stop now, or hard drugs will be required. And I’m too old for hard drugs.
    Killed By Fish

  7. Gregory Greenwood says

    I am surprised the creationists didn’t go with a ‘god-shield’ argument – that the sky fairy gently wafts asteroids away from the Earth, and that as a result godless baby-eaters like us are a threat to all of humanity, because you know how sadistic, violent, tempremental, and into collective punishment genocide Yahweh is, and if we tick him off with our apostasy all he has to do is not nudge one of the larger space rocks, and then he can smite the lot of us in one go…

    … Then again, given what we can only conclude is Yahweh’s awful aim on the basis of his other supposed attempts to ‘smite sinners’, he would probably end up smashing the atseroid into Jupiter by mistake in any case…

    —————————————————————–

    Take that, me-less sinners! Wait a second, I am sure Earth wasn’t a gas giant last time I checked… Darn, where did I put those spectacles? I can’t see a thing! I should never have switched to contacts… *grumble*… havn’t been able to do any proper smiting in the entire modern age…*mutter*… damned apes laughing at me…*grumble*…

  8. McCthulhu awaits the return of the 2000 foot Frank Zappa says

    Pearce’s idea of using the moon picture is fiendishly clever. Of course that will automatically result in the remark about Satan putting the craters there to confound people (which is stupid, since Satan is supposed to be less powerful than God, who wants everyone to believe in him because he love us so much…*coff*). Every argument against the moon picture would amount to special pleading with no evidence. An argument against Pearce’s moon image will weed out the willfully ignorant vs. those who are genuinely interested in reality.

  9. mosesmodel says

    I hate to tell you, but they explain this by the flood. Earth’s 100+ fossil craters and all the lunar craters are the result of a meteor storm that happen to hit the earth during the flood year or shortly after. They would explain the lack of earth craters with something called, “catastrophic plate tetonics.” The plates moved on average 8 mph during the flood year, sometimes accelerating to 60 mph. On top of this, some of them argue that ocean currents accelerated to superfast speeds grinding rock into powder.

    I agree fossil craters are a strong argument with most creationists. They defend the flood, because it is biblical, but they did not sign up for “catastrophic plate tetonics” or a meteor storm that continued to pelt Noah descendants for centuries. (Did I mention that Yellowstone and all the other super volcanoes went off after the flood?) When someone looks at the Chesapeake crater, you wonder how anyone could be expected to survive this “post flood crater.” The Chesapeake is just one.

    PS – I wonder how they explain Martian meteors that have migrated to Earth.

  10. James C. says

    Wouln’t continental drift work similarly here? I remember some YEC (probably Hovind) saying that the world was Pangaea (sp?) at first, then started to divide back when this Peleg guy was alive. I’d assume that the continents would have to be moving really really fast to explain this phenomenon, then abruptly slow down to explain their current motion.

    YECism seems to run into problems involving giant amounts of power (shitloads of energy over a few weeks) at every single turn.

  11. penman1961 says

    Don’t wish to be dense, but all I can think is, “If the earth is as old (or older) than the moon, then why doesn’t the earth have as many craters as the moon?” Anyone?

  12. says

    Don’t creationists regularly claim that the dust layer on the moon is not thick enough to fit with an old earth? I never really followed this one. I’m not sure but I think they were multiplying the space dust volume that falls on the earth yearly by the moon-to-earth surface area ratio and concluding that the dust layer on the moon would be miles thick by now.

    Anyhow, I’m not sure that this one will work with “educated” creationists as they will mumble something about there not being enough impacts on the moon.

  13. says

    My favorite counter-argument is “ice cores”.
    It’s simple… Ice cores show passage of seasons just like tree rings do, and some ice cores show the age of the ice to be in excess of 50,000 years.
    If they cannot comprehend that this cannot be “faked” or misread, or if they try to suggest some alternate explanation, then I move on.
    Sometimes is easier to stop banging your head against the wall to try and get through… and just walk away.

  14. says

    “Every argument against the moon picture would amount to special pleading with no evidence.”

    The problem here is that would describe every YEC argument, period. In short this might work because it’s yet another aspect of reality they haven’t had the thought to construct a fantasy around. And… really, that’s about it.

    With my students (astronomy, college level) I sometimes point out that my “1:53″ theory has exactly the same amount of support that YEC does. The “1:53″ theory? That the entire universe was created at 1:53 PM last Tuesday, with all the light already on the way from stars, the bones in the ground, and the thoughts in my head, including ones about my personal history or the Bible. There’s no way to disprove this, where upon I point out that this is a science class, and it’s not science. Any more than special pleading for a 6 ky old Earth.


    Brian Davis

  15. raven says

    Clearly Satan put all those impact craters on the moon to trick us into thinking the Earth is older than it really is.

    Sigh, not this again. Some people never, ever will understand sophisticated theology.

    It had to be god that put those craters there to fool us so he could send us to hell.

    Satan has no power but the power that god gives him. After all god created satan. God is the all powerful one of our universe. He says so himself in some old magic book.

    (Never mind why god created satan and the demons, gave them powers, and lets them run around loose. That is another sophisticated theology(TM) lesson for another day.)

  16. raven says

    Don’t wish to be dense, but all I can think is, “If the earth is as old (or older) than the moon, then why doesn’t the earth have as many craters as the moon?” Anyone?

    Age and erosion. The late bombardment was well over 3.7 billion years ago. All those craters have been filled in and mostly subducted by plate tectonics.

    The moon’s surface that we are looking at is at least 4 billion years old. Since erosion is very slow, and plate tectonics nonexistent, the craters just stay there and build up.

  17. Sastra says

    Like Gregory Greenwood at #7, I thought they’d simply turn this into additional evidence for a God who kept (keeps) the earth safe from what looks like a huge asteroid attack, but I won’t argue with Pearce’s apparent at least temporary success. You never know exactly how people who go by folk physics and “common sense” science will think, or what will strike or impress them.

    I usually like to approach the creationism issue by pointing out that they’ve made a test for God: thank you very much for coming onto the atheist’s turf and not playing the save-God-at-all-costs faith card of the liberal theists. They’re making God falsifiable damn it — and now they’re forced to agree to change their mind about God if the evidence just happens to fall one way rather than another. It’s a hypothesis, just like any other. And the expert opinion among scientists in multiple disciplines is now stacked against it. Thank YOU.

    For some reason, this often seems to cause them concern.

  18. raven says

    There are even more blatant examples that the fundie earth age is just wrong.

    There are plants living today that are older than their universe.

    A creosote bush clone in California is ca. 11,000 years old.
    A relict oak shrub in California is around 12,000 years old.
    A spruce tree clone in Scandinavia is 8,000 years old.

    A holly clone in Tasmania is around 45,000 years old. It is the only member of both its genus and species and is nearly 8 times older than the universe.

    Probably there are many more. It isn’t like there is a lot of money to go around looking for trees and shrubs older than the fundie earth.

  19. 'Tis Himself, OM. says

    penman1961 #11

    Don’t wish to be dense, but all I can think is, “If the earth is as old (or older) than the moon, then why doesn’t the earth have as many craters as the moon?” Anyone?

    At one time the Earth was as densely cratered as the Moon, if not more so. But the Earth has two things missing from the Moon, an atmosphere and copious amounts of liquid water. These two things cause erosion, which fills in, flattens out, and otherwise obliterates craters.

    Incidentally, there still are craters on Earth. The Barringer Crater in Arizona is probably the best known.

  20. anteprepro says

    Alternatives to your godless logic and reductionist scientistic explanations:

    -Moon was created already having craters. That’s just how God rolls. He may or may not have created it last Thursday.
    -Moon is a fucking asteroid magnet (how does it work?).
    -All of the craters came from one bird-shot asteroid.
    -Moon is photoshopped. I’ve seen quite a few shoops in my time and those pixels are all wrong.
    -Those aren’t craters: They’re inverted sand dunes, formed after the tunnels of Moon Demons reach the moon surface.
    -250 craters? No. I think it’s more like 12. Maybe 13. Stupid alarmist scientismists.
    -Maybe the asteroids just splash harmlessly into the ocean. With no ramifications whatsoever. Take that, smart guy!
    -Well, it could burn up in the atmosphere. That’s actually something that happens. Therefore, that will completely negate the sheer level of impact, rather than simply lowering it to something that is still devastating.
    -So? Isn’t that what normally happens? I thought that’s what earthquakes were.
    -The Bible says the Earth is 6000 years old, so you’re wrong. Why do you care? Why don’t you just let me believe what I want to believe!!? Why are you godless heathens so mean to me!? And how dare you teach my children that the Bible is wrong about something!?
    -(Pensive look) Asteroids work in mysterious ways.

    (Sadly, the actual one is apparently tacking one more ridiculous, non-Biblical event onto the already ridiculous story of Noah’s Flood. Creationists are never one to refuse an offer to double down on idiocy).

  21. raven says

    Like Gregory Greenwood at #7, I thought they’d simply turn this into additional evidence for a God who kept (keeps) the earth safe from what looks like a huge asteroid attack…

    Which just puts the problem one step further out.

    Who created those asteroids and aimed them at the earth anyway? God did.

    You are accusing god of running a protection racket. We are supposed to be grateful that he saves us from the asteroid attack, the one that he initiated.

    Hmmm, well that is what the bible says too. Jesus the godman died to save us from…himself.

  22. thomasvos says

    In the past I have tried explaining to creationists how our understanding of Earth’s age is obtained, but they seem to take the “what I can’t see isn’t real” attitude when they hear words such as “radioactivity”, and “isotope”.

    Ironic, isn’t it?

  23. M31 says

    Does anyone else get weirded out when they see pictures of the dark side of the moon? I always think it looks ‘wrong’ somehow, and unnatural.

  24. firstapproximation says

    I hate to tell you, but they explain this by the flood. Earth’s 100+ fossil craters and all the lunar craters are the result of a meteor storm that happen to hit the earth during the flood year or shortly after. They would explain the lack of earth craters with something called, “catastrophic plate tetonics.” The plates moved on average 8 mph during the flood year, sometimes accelerating to 60 mph. On top of this, some of them argue that ocean currents accelerated to superfast speeds grinding rock into powder.

    One creationist (Nephilimfree) also explained the moon’s craters by the Flood, but differently. Apparently, the flood waters were ejected from the Mid-Atlantic Ridge; some of it was fast enough to be ejected into space, froze and then pelted the moon.

    Yeah….

  25. Art Vandelay says

    Once they’ve had a good look I usually point out that almost all of the craters were formed by asteroids smashing into the planet.

    Were you there?

  26. says

    The problem with the argument is that you’re using naturalistic assumptions. Who is to say that God hasn’t been diverting giant asteroids onto the moon for the last 6000 years? That this is in fact proof of a supernatural hand protecting us against the potential evil of devastating asteroid impact?

    This isn’t an argument about the age of the earth, it’s an argument that proves the supernatural hand of an all-loving God!!!

    ;)

  27. mastmaker says

    There is another nice argument you can make with that picture:

    Here is the picture of the far side of the moon. Here is the picture of the near side of the moon. Notice the difference in the number of craters? This is because the majority of the objects that would have hit the near side of the moon must have passed somewhere near the earth which would have either deflected the object out of moon’s way or pulled it on to earth itself.

    Now, how many of those large objects have struck in the last 6000 years? Pretty small range: None to 1 (1 being the crazy argument that a large meteor crash caused the ‘Flood’).

    On the other hand, how many of those large objects could have struck the world in the last 4.5 billion years? Bingo!

  28. Amphiox says

    Well, clearly, you see, God in his wisdom designed the whole solar system and holds up all those orbits (even Isaac Newton says so) so that asteroids will never, ever impact the earth. All those craters on the moon where caused by the fall, you see. The moment Eve crunched that apple, all those asteroids fell out of their orbits simultaneously and careened towards earth, but God in his mercy deflected them all into the far side of the moon. That’s why there’s so few craters on the near side of the moon.

  29. 'Tis Himself, OM. says

    Does anyone else get weirded out when they see pictures of the dark side of the moon? I always think it looks ‘wrong’ somehow, and unnatural.

    No.

  30. Insufficient Cringe says

    I would ask why would God put craters on the far side on the moon? Did he have an expectation that would see them one day? But if we are to do that, we would need some form of scientific culture, and that doesn’t seem consistent the Bible’s message.

    But I guess I should first determine whether or not the audience can handle reasoning.

  31. says

    ! Once they’ve had a good look I usually point out that almost all of the craters were formed by asteroids smashing into the planet, and that the Moon has over 250 craters with a diameter of 100 km or more.

    God likes craters, so he made lots of them.

    Don’t try to argue with idiots. It’s like throwing a white glove into a mud puddle – the puddle doesn’t get any brighter. Anyone stupid enough to be a YEC is not going to suddenly get smarter because of something you say.

    Laughing is my preferred response. But then I’m strident

  32. firstapproximation says

    The answer is simple. From the Old Testament we know God kinda has a temper. However, he found religion after having a child and cooled down a bit. The craters on the Moon (and all other moons and planets, for that matter) are just God using those celestial bodies as punching bags whenever he gets upset at seeing two dudes make out. He doesn’t hit the Earth itself anymore because he’s trying to be a good parent now.

  33. firstapproximation says

    Apparently, the flood waters were ejected from the Mid-Atlantic Ridge; some of it was fast enough to be ejected into space, froze and then pelted the moon.

    RationalWiki calls this the Lunar bukkake hypothesis. I’m pretty sure creationists don’t call it that, but you never know with them.

  34. anteprepro says

    The Excellence in Sophisticated Theology Award, along with one sniny new internet, goes to…

    Firstapproximation!

    The craters on the Moon (and all other moons and planets, for that matter) are just God using those celestial bodies as punching bags whenever he gets upset at seeing two dudes make out.

    Congratulations!

    And The Grandpa Simpson’s Outlandish and Improbable Storytelling Award for the field of Creationism goes to…

    Apparently, the flood waters were ejected from the Mid-Atlantic Ridge; some of it was fast enough to be ejected into space, froze and then pelted the moon.

    NephilimFree! Your prize is a coupon for five free minutes, redeemable anywhere, of someone listening to what you say while feigning interest, no matter how nonsensical your ramblings! Feel free to pick it up at the Internet closest to you. Congratulations!

  35. says

    Anyone stupid enough to be a YEC is not going to suddenly get smarter because of something you say.

    Yep.

    Though I’m sure the hope is that people who don’t really know but go along with YEC because it’s their religion might stop to think about the absurdity. The design argument, when presented on face value, has a superficial plausibility. It’s a nice way of shifting people out of a seemingly-coherent train of thought.

  36. says

    Hasn’t he run into the creationists who have the flood caused by meteoroid swarms? Some even try to “explain” the more heavily cratered terrain of the far side with their “flood scenario,” never quite explaining how there are fewer but rather bigger craters visible on the near side.

    You’ll almost never convince the ones who do the arguing. There’s no miracle that can’t be invoked to save “the hypothesis.”

    Glen Davidson

  37. David Marjanović says

    Don’t wish to be dense, but all I can think is, “If the earth is as old (or older) than the moon, then why doesn’t the earth have as many craters as the moon?” Anyone?

    Plate tectonics and erosion have eliminated most of them. And many more are covered by lots of sediment and are only being discovered now (within the last few decades).

    And the atmosphere, and the hydrosphere (the ocean) – too small asteroids simply never reach the surface, and small ones that hit deep water don’t leave a crater either (though can still cause enormous tsunamis).

    Because of its very thick atmosphere, Venus completely lacks craters less than 1.5 km in diameter.

    Ice cores show passage of seasons just like tree rings do, and some ice cores show the age of the ice to be in excess of 50,000 years.

    The inland ice of Greenland has been drilled all the way to rock bottom. It has 250,000 year-layers.

    The inland ice of East Antarctica has not been drilled all the way down. The cores that have been taken have… one has in excess of 800,000 year-layers, another (shorter) one has 740,000, and there are more.

  38. David Marjanović says

    Does anyone else get weirded out when they see pictures of the dark side of the moon? I always think it looks ‘wrong’ somehow, and unnatural.

    1) Huh? No, why? Do you know what Mercury looks like?
    2) It’s the far side. There is no permanently dark side of the moon; the same side always faces the Earth, not the sun.

  39. hypatiasdaughter says

    #24 firstapproximation You Brute!! You sent people to Nephy! The only antidote (short of brain bleach) is to watch WildwoodClaire1 take him down. (She’s a retired geologist and kicks CreoIdiot ass.) http://www.youtube.com/user/WildwoodClaire1.

    And, where does this 6 – 10,000 year crap come from? Ten thousand years is nearly 70% longer than the only dating method they accept – the Bible, and Biblical genealogy only tallies up to 6,000 years. Sounds fishy to me.

  40. roxolan says

    @32 Marcus Ranum: But according to the person who mailed PZ, this argument works. It may not work on everyone, and you may prefer not to bother, but you can’t complain about results.

  41. hypatiasdaughter says

    Google Earth has a search that pulls up all the known impact craters on Earth. Canada has quite a few because the Canadian Shield has some of the oldest rock on Earth. Two very cool ones in Quebec are the Manicouagan crater and the Pingualuit crater. Wetumpka, Alabama has one that has almost disappeared into the landscape.

  42. M31 says

    1) Huh? No, why? Do you know what Mercury looks like?

    that’s what I mean–it looks like Mercury, not the Moon.

    Yeah, I know, it’s silly. I just always am surprised when I see pictures of the far side.

  43. wcorvi says

    Sorry, but those are NOT impact craters – god made the moon just like it looks now, about 6000 years ago. On the third day, as I recall. Evidently they are the thumbprints of god.

  44. paulburnett says

    Insufficient Cringe (#31) wrote: “I would ask why would God put craters on the far side on the moon? Did he have an expectation that would see them one day?

    Conspiracy Theory #735286 has it that the very first lunar orbiters that sent back pictures of the far side of the moon showed a construct of two by fours and canvas, but that was quickly hushed up.

  45. autumn says

    @wcorvi,
    “Evidently they are the thumbprints of god.”

    I prefer to think of them as the sucker-scars of Cthulu.

  46. paulburnett says

    After the moon pictures, show doubters pictures of Mercury, Ganymede, Callisto, Mimas (the Death Star!), Iapetus, Phobos…there’s craters all over the place.

  47. bovarchist says

    I can’t imagine even a very very young YEC being stymied by this argument for even a minute. Since we don’t actually see asteroids of that size hitting the Moon every few decades, he would respond that obviously the impacts must have taken place more frequently in the past. Which, incidentally, happens to be true. Not a good way to win an argument, letting your opponent have the science on his side.

  48. says

    Evidently they are the thumbprints of god.

    Are you saying that God’s fingers are meteors?!? Now there’s a God worthy of worship!

  49. raven says

    Since we don’t actually see asteroids of that size hitting the Moon every few decades, he would respond that obviously the impacts must have taken place more frequently in the past. Which, incidentally, happens to be true.

    Which doesn’t explain why the nearby earth with a much stronger gravity field has very few impact craters. Many of those such as the Chesapeake Bay or Chicxulub ones are so deeply buried you can only see them with sensitive instruments and deep drilling.

    It took 10 years to find the Chicxulub impact crater even though we knew about where it was and had strong evidence that it had happened.

    Not a good way to win an argument, letting your opponent have the science on his side.

    That same science says the Late Bombardment was 4 billion years ago, quite a bit older than the 6,000 year old fundie universe.

  50. 'Tis Himself, OM. says

    roxolan #44

    But according to the person who mailed PZ, this argument works. It may not work on everyone, and you may prefer not to bother, but you can’t complain about results.

    The argument can’t have worked. It was confrontational and, as all the best accommodationists will tell us, a confrontational argument never, ever, not in a bazillion years, possibly work.

  51. lotharloo says

    I only managed to get half way through the comments and I found the negativism (and the race to provide “best” YEC response) extremely silly. Will this argument convince all the YEC? No. Is it capable of convincing or shaking the belief system of many of them, probably yes and it is worth giving it a shot.

    Look at the Obama’s birth certificate issue. After Obama released the long form, almost half of those who believed Obama is “probably or definitely born in a different country” changed their minds, even if the release of the document did not convince all of them or even the high-profile birthers. But that is the nature of the high profile birthers, even if they are genuinely convinced, they have enough alternate motivations to keep spreading their lies. Same with the creatards. Clearly the DI and Ham and the rest will issue “rebuttals” but the flock in the streets will still remain vulnerable to this kind of arguments.

  52. Childermass says

    “After explaining that Earth is just as likely to be struck by large asteroids as the Moon (is more likely to be struck, in-fact, due to its greater gravitational well)”

    More likely? That is an understatement. The Earth has 81 times the mass and therefore 81 times the gravity of the Moon. The Earth is also a bigger target which in an of itself should increase the number of hits.

    paulburnett@52: “After the moon pictures, show doubters pictures of Mercury, Ganymede, Callisto, Mimas (the Death Star!), Iapetus, Phobos…there’s craters all over the place.”

    I did that over a decade ago and the YECs certainly could not put up an answer. Indeed this and other obvious stuff and they ran like rats. You can even get more sophisticated. Some moons have sections which have been reworked thus the exposed surfaces are of different ages with very obvious crater densities. This is obvious in the photos. A quick image search finds this Europa image: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_gKnjohkyfrU/TNrzLYI0-NI/AAAAAAAACHs/yHbLkBJHDHY/s400/new005.jpg (the originating website is quack, but the image is real). Here we have two section that are obviously different ages and crossing both is a chain crater. What we have here is history.

    —-

    Another Solar System obvious question: Mars obviously has been carved by rivers (as seen in photos taken from orbit) and has rocks of the type that must have formed in the presence of water. Did Noah’s flood reach Mars too? And where did that water go? Of course that applies to the Flood on Earth too. ;-)

  53. says

    Did Noah’s flood reach Mars too?

    Of course it did, that’s why there was a Noachian Period on Mars.

    They won’t admit that it was due to the Great Deluge, and they date it wrong, but that’s just how evil atheists are.

    Glen Davidson

  54. anteprepro says

    lotharloo:

    I only managed to get half way through the comments and I found the negativism (and the race to provide “best” YEC response) extremely silly…. Is it capable of convincing or shaking the belief system of many of them, probably yes and it is worth giving it a shot.

    Bah! You killjoy party-poopers and your “hope” :)

  55. Ariaflame says

    @childermass yes the mass of the earth is about 81 times that of the moon, but gravity depends both on mass and distance so you can’t just assert that earth gravity is 81 times that of moon. Or did you never learn what someone’s effective weight on the moon would be?

  56. says

    The creation-science granddaddy, Henry M. Morris hoped that Satan would solve this problem:
    “The possibility is at least open that the fractures and scars on the moon and Mars, the shattered remnants of an erstwhile planet that became the asteroids, the peculiar rings of Saturn, the meteorite swarms, and other such features that somehow seem alien to a “very good” universe as God must have created it may have been acquired later. Perhaps they reflect some kind of heavenly catastrophe associated either with Satan’s primeval rebellion or his continuing battle against Michael and his angels… ”
    Wild speculation is ok when they do it.

  57. says

    @ 47.

    Oh man. As someone who loved reading Paradise Lost, I get a smile on my face picturing the epic battle taking place on the moon.

    Picture it guys: Jesus standing on the moon, pelting a bunch of angels with lightning bolts? I think it’d make a sweet poster.

  58. Nemo says

    Any novel argument can be persuasive, but if it gets popular enough, what pass for intellectuals in the YEC community will eventually come up with rebuttals and disseminate them, and that will probably be the end of it. I don’t think there’s a killer argument out there waiting to be found. The rebuttals don’t have to be sound, just reassuring, to someone who wants to keep believing in YEC.

  59. carbonbasedlifeform says

    My problem with the “God made it appear that the moon is older than it actually is” argument is that to a Christian, God always tells the truth. Indeed, that is the basis for YEC — that the book of Genesis is a literal account of what happened because God would not lie. Yet here they have God lying.

    They can’t have it both ways. If God is lying when he created the moon, then God cannot always tell the truth.

  60. Childermass says

    Ariaflame@60: “@childermass yes the mass of the earth is about 81 times that of the moon, but gravity depends both on mass and distance so you can’t just assert that earth gravity is 81 times that of moon. Or did you never learn what someone’s effective weight on the moon would be?”

    Earth does have 81 times the gravity of the Moon. The only comparison in this context that makes sense is for the same distance from the center of the body. Surface gravity is not informative here since the surfaces of different bodies are not the same distance from the center. If you are a million miles from Earth’s center, you will feel its gravity 81 times as much as if you would feel the Moon’s gravity if you where a million miles from its center. (Though to be pedantic, at a million miles away from the Earth we should consider the asteroid to be attracted to the center of mass of the Earth-Moon system which is always inside the Earth.)

  61. says

    My problem with the “God made it appear that the moon is older than it actually is” argument is that to a Christian, God always tells the truth.

    What ever happened to the fabulous corrupting powers of the fall? It wasn’t that God lied, but humanity’s sin that made the moon look older than it actually is…

  62. flakko says

    I have heard creationists argue that the Flood (their great “do over”) had erased all evidence of impact craters. However, what they don’t explain is the aftermath of those crater that we do see today. It would take the earth many thousands of years to recover from large impacts, so how can they explain the rapid recovery from impacts such as that which formed the Chicxulub crater? A 6000 year old earth would still be gradually recovering, and humans would have been wiped out.

  63. eddarrell says

    Don’t wish to be dense, but all I can think is, “If the earth is as old (or older) than the moon, then why doesn’t the earth have as many craters as the moon?” Anyone?

    Erosion wipes out a lot – plus, now, a meteoroid has about a 1 in 4 chance of striking land.

    But, the Earth is pretty rich with craters from strikes.

    Here’s a map of a bunch:
    http://geology.com/meteor-impact-craters.shtml

    Links to a lot more sources:
    http://osr.org/en-us/articles/the-crater-page/

  64. eddarrell says

    What about the scars from a Noachic flood? We know what such a flood could do — the floods from Lake Missoula scoured a path from Missoula to the Columbia and onward, the Scablands of Washington and Oregon.

    But, had there been a flood so big as creationists claim, then those scars should be visible all over the Earth, and they are not.

  65. StevoR says

    Great idea and argument there. Thanks.

    @Ariaflame : 29th of December 2011 at 8:47 pm

    @childermass yes the mass of the earth is about 81 times that of the moon.

    FWIW : The mass of our Moon = 0.012 of the Earth’s.

    Source : Page 34, ’Stars & planets’ Patrick Moore, Chancellor press, 1992.

  66. Childermass says

    Nemo@65:

    “Any novel argument can be persuasive, but if it gets popular enough, what pass for intellectuals in the YEC community will eventually come up with rebuttals and disseminate them, and that will probably be the end of it.”

    Yes and no. We do benefit from forcing the victims of YECs to think and fend for themselves. And yes some will parrot whatever “explanations” their masters will come up with. But not all of them will. As others have pointed out, this particular argument is for less esoteric from the point of view of people unfamiliar with real science. That craters are caused by collisions is rather accessible as is that the Earth should have for more hits.

    “I don’t think there’s a killer argument out there waiting to be found.”

    Fair enough. There will always be those willing to bury their heads in the sand. But frankly, that there is no single argument should be a important point for our side. Do we think the universe is old because of this particular argument? For most of us, the answer is no (though this one alone would seem to rule out a 6000 year old universe). What convinces the scientific mind is that thousands of such argument converse on a particular answer. Consider another rather visual argument that is underutilized against the YECs: angular unconformities. A search of AiG’s website gives nine hits and not all of them are relevant and none of them are defending against a ****ing obvious attack on YECism. A YEC who can only parrot his masters will find next to no help. And this is something that many will understand who would not believe in mere radiometric clocks. Indeed angular unconformities helped convince the world of science that the Earth is old. And again we can then point out that we could produce many more such examples.

  67. StevoR says

    NB.

    The mass of our Moon = 0.012 of the Earth’s.

    [Gets out calculator taps away]

    Turns out that 81 x 0.012 = 0.972 where 1 = the mass of the Earth so, yeah, close enough.

  68. McCthulhu awaits the return of the 2000 foot Frank Zappa says

    I’m frightened by the culture of lunacy(!) that can ‘double down’ on the arguments that are desperate grasping at straws to hold on to fear and superstition rather than understanding the necessary process of empirical research and evidence. It reinforces the point of PZ’s rant yesterday. Why the hell would anyone with an iota of sense of duty to reality want to lower themselves to the level of these ludicrous assertions. It’s the lies they make up for themselves, not us. Calling people on absolutele bullshit because of their desire for self-delusion is not being strident or mean.

  69. says

    Well it seems AIG has addressed this very issue.

    The abundant small craters on the lunar highland surfaces were caused by meteor impacts around the time of the Fall or perhaps during Creation Week itself. The large impact basins and resultant maria were formed at the time of the Flood by a narrow, intense, swarm of meteoroids travelling on parallel paths.

    More here.

  70. crissakentavr says

    And we have no idea how old the Sequoia sempervirens colonies in California are, since individual trees while thousands of years old still are only one of a vast web of roots and regrowths in the colony.

    But to a young-earther? No idea what’ll convince them.

  71. John Morales says

    [OT]

    crissakentavr:

    And we have no idea how old the Sequoia sempervirens colonies in California are, since individual trees while thousands of years old still are only one of a vast web of roots and regrowths in the colony.

    Imprecise; we have a certain minimum age for individual trees, by virtue of dendrochronology, and clonal colonies are a sequencial group of individuals.

  72. robro says

    Even the age calculations of the people using the Bible to do the calculating don’t agree. But pointing any of this out to bible thumpers is a waste of time. They are irrational. But perhaps it’s fun to try, liking tilting windmills.

  73. StevoR says

    @John Morales : 29 December 2011 at 11:42 pm

    [semi-OT]Why rely on a hoary old book?

    Hey! I like hoary old books! ;-)

    Thanks for the extra reference though.

  74. Amphiox says

    No where in the bible does it ever explicitly say that the age of the earth/universe is ~6000y. That number (those numbers) are, in fact, derived from Ken Hamm’s favorite bugaboo, human reason. Specifically, the human reason of people like the Archbishop Usher.

    YECs are basically blaspheming their own holy book, by their own definition of the word.

  75. says

    The craters are there to test your faith. The astronomical proliferation of impacts prove just how serious God is about this policy.

    Therefore
    God Exists

  76. bromion says

    Want to turn a religious person into a skeptic almost instantly? Mention a scientific fact that contradicts his or her beliefs. Billion year old craters on the moon? “How do you know?” Ancient organisms? “You can’t possibly PROVE they’re that old!” Carbon dating? “I don’t think that’s very accurate!”

  77. asbjorngrandt says

    #4 Rumtopf says:

    Next up in wacky creationist claims: The moon is specially designed by god to catch asteroids.

    The counter to the “vacuum cleaner” argument is that is is indeed what the moon does, but not by design.

    Besides, if the Moon were “designed” to catch asteroids, the question should then be, what asteroids?
    Wouldn’t they have been made by god as well, and therefore the moon is “designed” by god to save us from previously invisible asteroids, made by that same god, and by that logic also sent our way by him? :)

  78. 'Tis Himself, OM. says

    Several YEC preachers have said that given a choice between science and the Bible, they’ll go with the Bible every time. They purposefully and consciously reject reality if it conflicts with The Word Of God™.

  79. says

    Several YEC preachers have said that given a choice between science and the Bible, they’ll go with the Bible every time. They purposefully and consciously reject reality if it conflicts with The Word Of God™.

    You’ve got to appreciate the honesty, at least. There’s nothing worse than having to deal with people who have the pretence of intellectual argument and claim their position is scientific, only to find it ultimately comes down to what it says in the bible (or their personal witness to the holy spirit). William Lane Craig is guilty of doing the latter; in his more candid moments he admits that it’s the witness of the holy spirit, but will still claim to reject evolution for scientific reasons.

  80. gravityisjustatheory says

    They would explain the lack of earth craters with something called, “catastrophic plate tetonics.” The plates moved on average 8 mph during the flood year, sometimes accelerating to 60 mph. On top of this, some of them argue that ocean currents accelerated to superfast speeds grinding rock into powder.

    I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of geologists cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.

    Seriously, what is it creationists saying “We reject your theory of X and instead propose a theory of super-accelerated hyper-X”, where X is (in this case) plate tectonics, or the super-evolution that supposedly turned all the “kinds” of animal on the ark into every species we see today. Or indeed “The Big Bang theory claims the universe came from nothing. Thats nonsense. God made it from nothing”.

  81. 'Tis Himself, OM. says

    William Craig Lane goes with what the voices in his head tell him. Usually this is considered a form of psychosis but apparently not when the voices are religious.

  82. says

    M31

    Does anyone else get weirded out when they see pictures of the dark side of the moon? I always think it looks ‘wrong’ somehow, and unnatural.

    There is no dark side of the moon, really. Matter of fact, it’s all dark.

  83. Rumtopf says

    @87
    You act like YECs would have a great problem rationalising those things away, ehehe.
    Like it was mentioned upthread, we have the Jesus story, where God saves us from ~himself~.

  84. says

    That’s great and all, but I usually just point to a star. I tell them that the star is millions light years away. They don’t usually argue with that. Then I tell them that at millions of light years away, it takes millions of years for the light of that star to reach our eyes. So we are actually seeing that star as it looked millions of years ago. Done. End of this.

  85. says

    I saw a young earth argument disguised as ‘scientific disproof of atheism’ that was so Onion-like I have to wonder if it isn’t a spoof.

    In brief: there is X amount of water on the planet and Y number of people. Everyone drinks water. If the earth is so old, why haven’t we run out of water?

    Even a fundie must see the many problems with this approach. Anyone know if someone is having us off? (as a parody it is pretty good; if they are serious, oh my!)

  86. Childermass says

    ‘Tis Himself, OM.@88:

    Several YEC preachers have said that given a choice between science and the Bible, they’ll go with the Bible every time. They purposefully and consciously reject reality if it conflicts with The Word Of God™.

    Such preachers are not exactly the target audience per se. Most people will at least make a pretense of being open to evidence. And many, in particular those not too old and set in their ways can be swayed. Here is evidence that requires pretty much no actual trust in the collective reasonings built up by science.

    Long term, if we can peel off a little bit more each generation than we already are especially among the more intelligent, then over a lifetime it will be devastating. (You did not think you are being signed up for a battle? This is a long-term war.)

    Heck, even forcing someone who falsely believed the evidence was pro-YECism (and many do think the independent evidence is pro-YEC) to fall back on purely “God said it, I believe it, that settles it” is a win. It saps their morale and pushes them into a less marketable position.

  87. says

    Abbot nigelTheBold of the Hoppist Monks @100

    Thanks. I see that the info is embedded in links, which is why my scan for this topic missed.

    So they are serious. Amazing.

  88. SteveV says

    John Morales:
    Completely OT
    From your link:

    Surface pressure (night): 3 x 10-15 bar (2 x 10-12 torr)

    Sheesh! I remember the sweat, blood and time expended to get a small(ish) chamber to 2 x 10-9 torr.
    Move wafer fabs to the Moon! Want good vacuum? Open the door!

    Clearly the Moon was provided by a benevolent god for that very purpose!!!

  89. says

    joelgrant:

    Thanks. I see that the info is embedded in links, which is why my scan for this topic missed.

    It’s easy to miss. I’m just a compulsive link-clicker.

    So they are serious. Amazing.

    I’m not sure of the link from #28, but Landover Baptist is most certainly not serious. Or, at least, they employ serious irony. Check out their move review of The Two Towers, or the My Little Pony rant.

    The argument-from-water-supply started off as a poe, it seems. If others have adopted it as a serious critique, it is only because they are willfully ignorant.

  90. says

    the moon crater thing won’t well a true believer. “Those craters happened all at once.”

    Try this: direct observation and careful measurement allow us to state with certainty that there are visible celestial objects orders of magnitude further away than 10,000 light years. ∴ the light began its journey “before creation.”

    that won’t work either, but it’s good for a smug in-laugh.

  91. says

    Abbot nigelTheBold of the Hoppist Monks @103 – A little Googling reveals that Landover Baptist Church is a satire. I am probably the last person around here to learn that, but what the heck. Pretty funny stuff.

    And it is nice to know the ‘there isn’t enough water’ claim really is not taken seriously by the fundies. After all, they drive on our streets.

  92. abadidea says

    Marcus #32:

    Anyone stupid enough to be a YEC is not going to suddenly get smarter because of something you say.

    False by counterexample: me. I was saved (to turn a religious word on its head) and there are plenty of others who can also be.

    I know I say this a LOT on this blog and others like it, but I think this is a really important point that needs hearing: there ARE ex-young-earth-creationists. (Formerly) SINCERE ones. It’s often not a case of stupidity so much as carefully planned intellectual isolation.

    I give full credit to random people on the internet and their attempts at explaining things, a lucky pick in professors at university, and an extremely well-written astronomy textbook. Arguments matter.

  93. Russell says

    Any YEC worth his pillar of salt will tell you the Earth was indeed as pockmarked as the moon on the day of its creation, but that the Lord let loose the rains that cut the Grand Canyon in a week shortly thereafter ,obliterating every crater on the face of the earth, except for the one in Arizona, which is a Mormon hoax.

  94. supermental says

    They [admit that the Moon looks “very old”.]
    Oh these creationisist are so freaking ridiculous.

    [they seem to take the “what I can’t see isn’t real” attitude when they hear words such as “radioactivity”, and “isotope]

    But ‘god’ is real. Of course. Because they ‘Believe’

    Going to laugh some more…

  95. jollywahlstrom says

    When they start talking about the devil, I look confused and ask,’There is more than one god?’ ‘How many gods are there?’ Are you worshiping the correct one?’ ‘Which one is more powerful?’ ‘Are they the same age?’ ‘Why don’t gods get along with each other?’ I ask these in pretty quick succession just like they do for the Gish Gallop. They hate the implication that they are pagans.

  96. says

    M31

    Does anyone else get weirded out when they see pictures of the dark side of the moon? I always think it looks ‘wrong’ somehow, and unnatural.
    There is no dark side of the moon, really. Matter of fact, it’s all dark.

    I knew there had to be at least one other Pink Floyd fan here.

  97. patrickmccormick says

    Even as an agnostic, I don’t find this argument particularly persuasive. In fact, it bears that same shaky ring-tone as those pseudo-science arguments that creationists and especially ID advocates often trot out, e.g. irreducible complexity, absence of transitional fossils (yes, I know that they change the definition of this for every example you give them), etc. The paucity of craters seen in a photograph of earth’s surface sans water raises the question of whether there’s some other explanation for not being slammed with NH-sized asteroids every couple of decades.

  98. McCthulhu awaits the return of the 2000 foot Frank Zappa says

    patrickmccormick @111:

    I take it your local school board didn’t work geology into its grade 8 curriculum.

    The Earth is geologically active and has tectonic activity while the Moon does not (its core is no longer molten). You or I or anyone with the right surveying equipment (now GPS) and math can calculate the rate of drift of the Earth’s tectonic plates and their directions. It won’t take long to figure out that the early Earth’s surface would have been erased by the plates folding under where they meet. This is significant because the early solar system would have been the most active with regard to asteroid, planetisimal, comet and other debris bombardment.

    Remember that the definition of a planet includes that it sweeps its orbit clear of debris. We no longer have constant bombardment because our planet has obliterated the debris field through collisions. There are, however, enough objects floating around in random orbits that occasional and rare collisions still occur. The object that is accused of killing off the dinosaurs left a crater on the southern coast of the Gulf of Mexico. There is a large crater in NW Arizona you can hike in and out of. Several craters exist on the planet to show geologically recent collisions, but new enough that the continental plates they are on haven’t been worn away by tectonics. The smaller number of craters is consistent with the reduction through time of debris available to create collisions.

    For smaller craters, you have to remember that the Moon has lost most of its atmosphere and no longer has weather to cause erosion from wind and rain. Another important difference between the two worlds exists because of the tectonic activity putting land areas under large lakes or seas. The erosion caused by tidal motion of large bodies of water would reduce any small craters to nothing quite easily.

    Putting it simply for the tl;dr crowd, the difference between the Earth and Moon are that the Earth has moving tectonic plates, oceans and weather. The Moon has none of those things. Thus the moon will show almost all of its craters (except in the dark areas where ancient lava flows occurred in its briefly active earlier age), while the Earth will only show those geologically recent ones where all of the forces at work haven’t had opportunity to erase evidence of them.

    Not only is it important to have a slight knowledge of geology here, but astronomy as well. Knowing that every planet and moon in the solar system is not going to be like another is critical. They will all have different material composition and development and yield different histories geologically.

  99. McCthulhu awaits the return of the 2000 foot Frank Zappa says

    I should make mention too (since this was directly questioned) that the state-sized objects (even the smaller New England states) happen very rarely. These impacts happen hundreds of thousands to millions of years apart. Remember that the planet has had billions of years to sweep up the major objects. Any larger objects colliding now would be remnants from the early solar system (when it was full of dust and gas and conglomerating debris) that were in varying random orbits not regularly direct in some planet’s path. NASA keeps track of the larger objects to calculate their trajectories to see if they may one day intercept the Earth’s orbit and cause a disastrous impact.

    Nothing sighted so far poses a serious and imminent threat, but knowing our geologic history it is almost certain to happen again eventually, and multiple times. Hopefully the next one is still a long way off and the proposals for technologies to divert them come soon enough to prevent disaster(s).

    As for the smaller objects, here’s another benefit the Earth has over the Moon. Most will burn up in the atmosphere and fall to the surface as dust or ash. Some larger objects of a few kilograms in mass are found every year that are too large to burn up completely but far too small to make any sort of impact crater. Every object falling into this category would just slam into the Moon’s surface at full speed, pockmarking the surface even more.

    This PSA brought to you by Pharyngula Lite, now with 35% fewer corollaries.

  100. says

    I find it funny that one who supports the young earth scenario would say that ““what I can’t see isn’t real” attitude when they hear words such as “radioactivity”, and “isotope””. What is god, his son, or the “holy” ghost anyway? When did we ever get instruments that could detect and measure the three delusions? Need I say more.

    One more thing – this theology thing really bugs me. How can folks (with a straight face) “study” fairy tales and get a real university degree? Years ago you would send these people to an asylum not an institution of higher learning.

    FMF
    Pax

  101. lpetrich says

    You don’t need a picture for that — there are parts of the near side of the Moon that are equally cratered, and you can easily see them with a small telescope.

  102. max839 says

    I don’t mean to rain on the meteor parade here, but what if the impact theory is a failed theory and faulty premise to start with? What if these craters were not caused by impacts? What if they were caused by, say, plasma discharges arising from the so-called “vacuum” of space instead? I’m not trying to imply that the earth is 6000 years young here by any means, but laboratory experiments have shown that plasma discharges and electrical arcing would have scarred and pockmarked these planetary bodies in just the way we see them, and in a relatively very short period of time, which would allow for a more recent event, as opposed to the millions of years we have assumed under an impact theory, and a gravity driven universe, as opposed to a universe driven by electricity. Check out an article called The Craters Are Electric at: http://www.thunderbolts.info/webnews/120707electriccraters.htm

  103. Denephew Ogvorbis, OM says

    max839:

    Fine. He has a hypotheosis backed up by laboratory experiments. All well and good, but there is a difference between the laboratory and the natural world (this is why new drugs do not go immediately from the lab to the pharmacy). Michael Goodspeed would need to either come up with a testable hypotheosis regarding how these electrical discharges occurred or record one in process.

    For those favouring the impact theory (and this is the scientific definition of theory), this is not a problem. Why is this not a problem? Because there are multiple examples extant in recorded history. Not just the ones described in the Middle Ages, but ones recorded with modern equipment. Here are a few:

    November 18, 1999

    August 11, 2004

    Here is a web site with links to other lunar impact images and descriptions.

    Here is a video of an impact from October 9, 2009.

    So with just a few minutes work with a search engine, here are multiple records of impacts within the last 15 years. We also know that there are much more massive asteroids in intersecting orbits which could impact the moon (or the earth (seem to recall a near miss not too long ago)) and create craters similar to the ones visible through a pair of binoculars.

    Other than a laboratory experiment and a whole bunch of argument from ignorance, is there anything else that would suggest this is a hypotheosis worth pursuing?

  104. max839 says

    Denephew Ogvorbis, OM:

    I didn’t mean to imply that there are no meteor impacts at all, I’m sorry I didn’t make that more clear.

    Your response though, makes me wonder if you even took the time to observe the evidence that has been gathered from the natural world. You should take the time to peruse the evidence put forth on the rest of the Thunderbolts site, and address their analysis and what it is that you find ignorant about it, as I am not clear on which part you refer to as ignorant.

    I understand that there are impacts, but the much larger part of the evidence we can observe from these craters show anomalies that cannot be explained by an impact, but can be explained by plasma physics and electrical arcing. Anomalies like hexagonal shapes, central peaks terminating in yet a second crater, multiple bull’s eye craters, rampart craters, domed craters, precisely lined crater chains and even massive trenches cut across the landscape. All totally unexplainable by an impact theory, but which can be and have been demonstrated in the lab as resulting from electrical arcing.

    Here are a couple of more relevant links.
    http://thunderbolts.info/tpod/2006/arch06/060907lunarcraters.htm
    http://thunderbolts.info/tpod/2006/arch06/060908lunarcraters2.htm

    I have to object to your use of the term hypotheses and ignorance here. I would say that the accumulated evidence, natural and laboratory, rates just a tad higher than a mere ignorant hypothesis; evidence that has already been quite pursued and tested by those with the eyes to see it.

    As for other supporting evidence for these electrical discharges, would some eyewitnesses suffice? Eyewitnesses who did in fact record them in process.

    Archaeology has discovered huge libraries of archaic texts over the last century or so, that among other things describe great spectacles in the heavens. These events were even recorded in rock etchings, only we have not had the eyes to understand what they were conveying.

    Plasma scientist Anthony Peratt, a close colleague of Nobel Laureate Hannes Alfven, the father of plasma cosmology, carried on after Alfven’s death. After 30 years of laboratory research, recording the evolution of the unstable formations that develop in high-energy plasma discharge (now called Peratt Instabilities), he one day happened to view some ancient stone etchings, and realized that he had seen these patterns before, in the lab, which sent him off in a whole new direction, investigating ancient rock art themes. He traveled and documented and compared these etchings, which number tens of thousands of stone carvings from around the world, all reflecting the same images documented in his lab experiments, “down to the finest details.”

    Peratt came to the conclusion that these ancient artists were recording episodes of high-energy plasma incursions into our solar system and earth’s atmosphere; electrical displays of rivers of fire and electrical arcing in the sky of such magnificence and magnitude, that we cannot today even conceive of the possibility; utter awe and terror. Think of the Northern Lights amped up a bit, to say the least.

    We observe something in the natural world, and then see if we can recreate it consistently in the lab, isn’t that how it works? Only in this case it was decades of preexisting lab work, ensuring no preconceptions, that was later linked with documentable real world evidence millennia old. The lab experiments do confirm the features that we already see in the bulk of these craters that exist in the natural world. Does this not qualify as scientific method?