Proponents of intelligent design claim that the universe, Milky Way Galaxy, Solar System, and earth are specifically designed by an intelligent agent for habitation by human beings. Others say that such claims amount to a God of the gaps argument, since scientists do not yet have answers for the apparent design of the universe. If the skeptics of intelligent design are correct, then science should be finding that we do not occupy any special place in the universe. However, a new study disputes the idea that earth's moon is just an ordinary moon.
Formation of the Moon
Scientists now know that the Moon was formed by the collision of the small planet with the earth, which resulted in the ejection of 5 billion cubic miles of the earth's crust and mantle into orbit around the earth. This ring of material, the theory states, would eventually coalesce to form the moon. In addition, the moon is moving away from the earth (currently at 2 inches per year), as is predicted by the theory. If we calculate backwards, we discover that the moon must have formed just outside the Roche limit, the point at which an object would be torn apart by the earth's gravity (7,300 miles above the earth's surface). A collision which would have ejected material less than the Roche limit would have formed only rings around the earth. Computer models show that a collision of a small planet with the earth must have been very precise in order for any moon to have been formed at all.
The new study
When a moon is formed by the kind of collision that formed Earth's Moon, dust would have been blasted throughout the solar system. Astronomer Nadya Gorlova of the University of Florida, Gainesville, decided to study newly forming stars to determine what percentage might have a moon that formed through one of these massive collision events.2 In examining 400 newly formed stars (30 million years old), only one shared characteristics that would suggest that such a large collision had occurred, which might form a moon. Of course, the probability that the newly formed moon would orbit an earth like planet within the habitable zone would be much less likely.
Several earth-like planets have been detected outside our solar system. However, it is unlikely that such earths would have a moon the size of Earth's moon, since such a pair could not coalesce together, nor could such a moon be captured by a small planet like the earth. Therefore, the only means by which such a moon could form would be through a collision event early in the history of stellar formation. In the first study to examine the probability of such a formation, a new study shows that only one in 400 new stars might have formed such a moon through a collision event. Why is it important how the moon was formed? Without such a large moon, earth's rotation axis would be unstable, swinging through 90° or more, resulting in extremely variable climate over its history. In addition, the collision event itself blew off earth's early heavy greenhouse atmosphere, which allowed the planet to retain its water for billions of years. The removal of much of the earth's crust also allowed the earth to retain its tectonic activity for billions of years, which allowed for the existence of both land and ocean. Without such tectonic activity, earth would have become and remained a waterworld. For more information, see The Incredible Design of the Earth and Our Solar System. Astronomy and cosmology continue to provide evidence that the earth is not just an ordinary planet in an ordinary solar system.
- Press Release: Astronomers Say Moons Like Ours Are Uncommon
- The Fine Tuning and Design of the Moon's Formation
- The Incredible Design of the Earth and Our Solar System
- God of the Gaps - Do All Christian Apologetics Fall Into This Kind of Argument?
Rare Earth: Why Complex Life is Uncommon in the Universe by Peter D. Ward and Donald Brownlee
A secular book (2000) that recognizes the improbable design of the earth. Paleontologist Peter D. Ward and astrobiologist Donald Brownlee examine the unusual characteristics of our galaxy, solar system, star, and Earth and conclude that ET may have no home to go to. Surprisingly, the authors conclude that the amazing "coincidences" are the result of good luck and chance.
A classic book by astronomer Hugh Ross on modern Christian apologetics and science, (updated June, 2001). Dr. Ross presents the latest scientific evidence for intelligent design of our world and an easy to understand introduction to modern cosmology. This is a great book to give agnostics, who have an interest in cosmology and astronomy.
- Taylor, G. Jeffrey. July, 1994. "The scientific
legacy of Apollo" Scientific American 271 (1): 40-47.
Giant Impact Theory For Moon Formation Boosted (from SpaceDaily.com)
- Gorlova, N., Z. Balog, G. H. Rieke, J. Muzerolle, K. Y. L. Su, V. D. Ivanov, and E. T. Young. 2007. Debris Disks in NGC 2547. The Astrophysical Journal 670: 516-535.
Today's New Reason to Believe
Integrating Science and Faith
- 03/05/2015 02:04 AM
Q&A: Were Dinosaurs Reptiles?
From Jerry in Los Angeles, CA I’m reading your book Navigating Genesis. On page 66 you say, “Given that dinosaurs were reptiles, not mammals…” Wait a minute! I thought it was shown decades ago that dinosaurs were not. They were warm blooded and some were feathered. I thought it was common knowledge that dinosaurs were not … Continue reading
- 03/02/2015 02:45 AM
Q&A: Could “Fresh” Dino Tissue Survive for Millions of Years?
From Nate in Fullerton, CA: Recently I’ve been referred by some young-earth creationist friends to a couple of articles about a Tyrannosaurus rex tooth and a Triceratops-type horn that both underwent an autopsy showing (relatively speaking) “fresher” organic material. Does this affect the time line for the existence of dinosaurs? I appreciate the thought put into this … Continue reading
- 02/26/2015 02:14 AM
Q&A: Are Dark Matter and Dark Energy Just “Props” for the Big Bang?
From Gavin: I always enjoy and profit by listening to RTB’s scholars discussing and interviewing others on various creation-science, theological-philosophical, and biblical topics. I am interested to hear what you have to say about the following. A commentator on a young-earth creation (YEC) website said, I am very impressed with the way YEC cosmologists have … Continue reading
- 02/23/2015 02:57 AM
Thoughts on “The Principle”
Is humanity special? If so, how would we know? I am willing to wager that everyone has given some thought to one or both of these questions. One thing the history of science demonstrates is that neither the Sun nor Earth occupies a central or “specially favored” position in the universe (the Copernican principle). A … Continue reading
- 02/18/2015 02:06 PM
Have Quantum Physicists Disproved the Big Bang?
Since February 10, the media have been abuzz with the story that two quantum physicists have “corrected” Einstein’s theory of general relativity to demonstrate that the big bang never happened. The two physicists—Ahmed Farag Ali (a professor at Benha University in Egypt) and Saurya Das (a professor at University of Lethbridge in Alberta)—claim the universe … Continue reading
- 02/16/2015 02:46 AM
Rethinking the Latest Evidence for Inflation
In 1964, two scientists serendipitously found a critical feature of our universe: the cosmic microwave background radiation (CMB). This discovery dethroned steady-state models and simultaneously established big bang cosmology as the proper understanding of how the universe began and developed. Yet the extreme uniformity of the CMB also posed a problem. How could all regions … Continue reading
- 02/12/2015 02:36 AM
Inspiring the Next Generation of Scientists
Modern science was birthed out of a Christian worldview. Many of the early pioneers of science—such as Galileo and Copernicus—were either Christians or working within the realm of Christian presuppositions. Unfortunately, the current cultural climate between science and Christianity isn’t as friendly. In fact, some adults actively discourage bright young Christians who show promise in … Continue reading
- 02/09/2015 02:04 AM
How the Central Dogma of Molecular Biology Points to Design
From time to time, biochemists make discoveries that change the way we think about how life works. In a recent paper, Ian S. Dunn, a researcher at CytoCure, argues that biomolecules (such as DNA, RNA, and proteins) comprised of “molecular alphabets” (such as nucleotides and amino acids) are a universal requirement for life.1 Dunn’s work … Continue reading
- 02/05/2015 02:49 AM
Q&A: Does the Fourth Commandment Support the Calendar-Day View of Creation?
From Lawrence R. I have been in a discussion with a young-earth creationist, and would like some clarification on how we are to understand Exodus 20:11–15 in light of the RTB model of creation days. In six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them; but … Continue reading
- 02/02/2015 02:54 AM
We Are Living in a Safe Time Window
Negotiating traffic on Southern California freeways is tricky. Not long ago, I witnessed a collision of several cars in my rearview mirror—if I had gotten on that freeway anywhere from a few seconds to an hour later, I either could have been involved in the collision or delayed for my appointment. Just like I “happened … Continue reading
Last updated November 23, 2007