Creation Science

Creation Science Rebuttals

Creation Magazine

Watery Origin of the Solar System

Volume 29, Issue 1, December 2006

       

Review by Greg Neyman

© Old Earth Ministries

First Published 15 November 2006

   

     The young earth creation science magazine Creation ran an article in their December 2006 issue which tells about the alleged watery origin of our solar system.

     In the article, young earth creationist astronomer Andrew Rigg reports on the experiment conducted by NASA in July 2005, when they crashed a spacecraft into the comet Temple 1.  Because of Riggs’ presuppositions, he argues that the data from this crash indicates a watery origin for the solar system, which he believes supports the young earth version of creation.  However, once you sort through his arguments, you see that there is no clear cut evidence to support a young earth.

    The data in question comes from the analysis of light in the electromagnetic spectrum, which can tell scientists what elements are present in the material ejected from the comet during the collision.  There was two surprises in the material of this comet.  Scientists detected the presence of carbonates, which is found in seashells and in limestone, and clay minerals.  As Rigg notes…

The big problem surrounding these two compounds lies in the knowledge that carbonates and clays only ever form in liquid water, not in the icy outer reaches of the Solar system where Comet Temple 1 is believed to have originated.


Rigg's Explanation

 

     Rigg is assuming that scientists know everything there is to know about the formation of carbonates and clay.   Scientists have observed clay and carbonate formation here on planet earth, and we have an excellent understanding of how these minerals form here on earth.  While we understand the earthly processes leading to these minerals, nothing is known about how they might form in outer space…or even if they could form in outer space.  Their presence in space does indicate that we should also consider how they might form there, or how they were transported into space.

     As is typical of young earth creationist arguments, Rigg offers a very limited explanation which fails to consider all possible explanations.  In typical young earth fashion, young earth creationists are expected to accept this explanation, despite its lack of evidence.  He claims that the solar system's formation was a watery event, but he fails to show any scientific evidence to support this claim.  In reality, the Bible does not claim that the solar system had a watery origin.   It is but one of several possible interpretations.

     The passage in question is Genesis 1:2-7...

 

2And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

 3And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

 4And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.

 5And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.

 6And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.

 7And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.

 

     Verse 2 is referring to the earth, and the waters upon the earth.  This verse says nothing about the watery origin of the rest of our solar system.  In verses 6-7, it is generally understood by old earth creationists that this is the formation of the earth's atmosphere.  It mentions nothing about the planets, our solar system, or the stars (which in the young earth system, are not created until verse 16, or Day Four).

     Because of the limited scale and narrow approach of the young earth model, Rigg cannot even consider alternative processes that could explain the comet’s composition.  His argument is based on the assumption that carbonates cannot form in outer space.  This may be a true assumption.  However, there are several possibilities to explain the discovery of these minerals in a comet. 


Other Possible Explanations


     Carbonates have also recently been discovered in a nebulae.  Clearly, there may be a process by which these minerals form in the far reaches of space.  Although this is a possibility, I do not think this is the best option.  Until we observe these processes in action, this possibility will not develop further.

    The most plausible explanation is that the comet material comes from a previously existing moon/planet that was destroyed, perhaps by a collision.  There is plenty of space debris around to support the fact that there have been collisions in the past.  In addition, collisions from a meteor hitting the earth, such as the one at the K/T boundary 65 million years ago, ejected material into space, including dust and particles of clay and carbonates.  Yet other collisions earlier in earth’s history could have sent material into space.  For example, the moon is believed to have collided with earth2, which would have caused debris to be sent into space.  Therefore, it is even possible that the comet Temple 1 is either a fragment from the earth or moon, or contains material from the earth or moon.

     Conventional scientific thinking on comet origins states that they come from the outer edges of our solar system.  Perhaps some comets also come from other sources.  Scientists should consider modifying their theories for comet formation. 


Other Issues


     In addition to Rigg's inability to consider alternatives, he includes some misleading claims.  He mentions that Temple 1’s composition is crystalline and requires temperatures over 700C (1,300 F) to form.  He claims that…

This temperature is, in our solar system, found only very close to the Sun

     This temperature is not only found very close to the sun.  The temperature of the Earth’s core exceeds 5,000 degrees centigrade.  Lava that is extruded on the earth’s surface from a volcano is about 700 °C to 1,200 °C (1,300 °F to 2,200 °F).3   Even further away than earth, Jupiter’s moon Io has much volcanic activity.   Rigg's claim that these temperatures are only found close to the sun is erroneous.

     Rigg concludes with a box which contains evidence for a young earth from the model proposed by Russell Humphreys.  This explanation, based on magnetism, has already been rebutted in other articles on the web.4

 

Conclusion

 

    This is a perfect example of young earth creationism grasping at straws.  Yes, at first glance, the data looks like it casts doubt upon the old earth theory of comet origins.  However, while this one piece of data that Rigg points out does need further explanations, it hardly contradicts the vast volume of data which clearly indicates that the earth, and universe, are old.  Therefore, while Rigg is examining the straw that he holds in his hand, he is ignoring the 50-foot tall haystack in front of him, that declares that the earth is old.

 

1  Creation Magazine, Volume 29, Issue 2.  Published on the web at http://www.creationontheweb.com/content/view/4738/

2  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giant_impact_hypothesis

3  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inner_core and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lava

4  http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/magfields.html

 

For More Reading

Comets (Wikipedia)

 


 

    If you are not a Christian, and you have been holding out on making a decision for Christ because the Church always preached a message that was contrary to what you saw in the scientific world, then rest assured that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God, and you can believe in Christ and receive salvation, while still believing in an old earth.  Click here for more.

 

    Are you a Christian who believes in young earth creationism?  Now that we have shown the many difficulties of the young earth creation science model in this and many other articles, how does this impact your Christian life?  If you are a young earth creationism believer, click here.

 

 

Creation Magazine 2006

 

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To learn more about old earth creationism, see Old Earth Belief, or check out the article Can You Be A Christian and Believe in an Old Earth?  

 Feel free to check out more of this website.  Our goal is to provide rebuttals to the bad science behind young earth creationism, and honor God by properly presenting His creation.