For centuries scientists have wrestled to explain the origin of the Moon. Popular theories include a giant impact event (in which a Mars-sized object collided with Earth and ejected debris formed the Moon), Earth rapidly spinning such that a part of the crust flew into space, Earth capturing a body floating from the solar system, and the Moon and Earth forming from the solar nebula as a double system. However, analysis of the rocks astronauts brought back from the Moon casts doubt on all those models and suggests a better model where a Creator directly fashioned the Moon—out of cheese.
The Moon rocks’ seismic velocities (how fast vibrations travel) differ significantly from every kind of rock known on Earth. For terrestrial rocks and minerals, those velocities range as low as 4.7 km/s for some sedimentary rocks to as high as 10 km/s for minerals. In contrast, Moon rocks exhibit seismic velocities from 1.2–1.9 km/s, covering the range found in popular cheeses like muenster, cheddar, and provolone.1
Just in case you are wondering, I have not gone off the deep end. And, no, I don’t believe the Moon is made of cheese. The seismic velocities of Moon rocks result from the extensive history of impacts on the lunar surface. These impacts both blast lunar rocks apart and sinter the remains back together. In other words, more extensive measurements of density, composition, and history easily account for the cheese-like data.
Yet this example illustrates an important apologetic point that warrants emphasis. Watch out for what I call “silver bullet” arguments. Such arguments are believed to carry enough weight and merit to destroy an opposing position on their own. However, as with the cheese-Moon theory, closer examination often proves such tactics deficient. Let’s look at a few examples of silver bullets often used to discredit the conventional dates for the universe (13.7 billion years) and Earth (4.5 billion years).
Dinosaur soft tissues: Over the last decade, a number of fossil searches unearthed soft-tissue remains from dinosaurs, magnolia leaves, bees and others. At face value, the existence of soft tissues (which degrade quickly under almost any reasonable circumstances) seems to argue for very recent burial. This presents a problem from an old-earth perspective because dinosaurs went extinct over 65 million years ago!
Helium or carbon-14 in ancient rocks: The RATE study, spear-headed by the Institute for Creation Research, found helium in rocks placed more than 1 billion years old by conventional dating methods. The study also measured carbon-14 in diamondsthat formed more than 1 billion years ago. Yet helium leaks out of most any container easily and virtually all carbon-14 in an object should decay away in less than 100,000 years. Again, these findings seem to invalidate the conventional scientific dates.
Lest it seem like I am picking on young-earth creationists, this next example hits a little closer to home for old-earth creationists. Yes, every “camp” is guilty of advancing silver bullet arguments from time to time (including naturalists, although I won’t address those arguments here).
Information in DNA: DNA contains an extraordinary amount of information. Probability calculations based on getting the right amino acid sequences show astronomical odds against these sequences arising naturally. This seems to argue conclusively for divine input.
Each of these silver bullet arguments fails to properly account for how the “opposing” side deals with the evidence in question.
Studies into the durability of collagen fibers explain how soft tissue material from dinosaurs can remain intact for millions of years. Detailed diffusion models actually predict the measured amounts of helium in ancient rocks. Careful study of carbon-14 in diamonds also provides a reasonable answer to how ancient gemstones could contain traces of carbon-14. The probability calculations usually assume a random assembly of DNA rather than incorporating the chemical and physical constraints on molecular interactions. Thus, a better understanding of the chemical and physical selection effects shows how probability calculations vastly underestimate the chances of information generation in DNA.
The links above provide more details on how scientists address these silver bullet issues from a couple different perspectives. The take-away is to remember that no reasonable scientific model stands or falls on one line of evidence. Instead scientists usually must account for a great body of evidence within the context of their model. The proper question then becomes: of all the reasonable models, which one accounts for all the data (not just the silver bullet) the best?
Properly understanding an “opposing” explanation leads to a more robust apologetic argument. It also builds credibility by demonstrating a more thorough understanding of the scientific issues involved. Silver bullets may work well in werewolf movies, but they usually detract from a fruitful discussion of apologetic issues.
- Edward Schreiber and Orson L. Anderson, “Properties and Composition of Lunar Materials: Earth Analogies,” Science 168 (June 26, 1970): 1579–80.