ICR Lunacy


A while back, I reported on the ICR's half hour radio show called "Apollo, Quest for the Moon". It concluded by offering a free publication, "The Moon, Creation, and Composition" by calling 1-800-743-6374, for more details. Well, today I got my copy of this little gem. Guess what, Duane Gish is now an astrophysicist! He's the author of a 24 page tract that confidently proclaims God created the moon.

Gish says, "Creation scientists, based on the clear and unequivocal statements in the Word of God, and firmly supported by well- established natural laws and the failure of all theories on the evolutionary origin of the universe, accept the supernatural, special creation of the universe, which, of course, includes the origin of the solar system with its earth and moon." (page 5) After quoting Genesis 1:14-16, Psalm 33:6,9, and Genesis 2:1-3, He says, "Thus, using special processes operating nowhere in the natural universe today, God created all the heavenly bodies, including the earth, the moon, the sun, and all the other objects in the solar system." (page 6)

Gish then goes on to totally misrepresent the October 1984, Kona, Hawaii conference of the moon origin as documented in _Origin of the Moon_ by WK Hartman, RJ Phillips, and GJ Taylor, Eds, Lunar and Planetary Institute, Houston, TX, 1986. In typical Gish fasion, he culls quotes out of context, such as "... solving the mystey of the Moon's orgin was billed as a major goal of lunar exploration." followed shortly with "As it turned out, neither the Apollo astronauts, the Luna vehicles, nor all the king's hourses and all the king's men could assemble enough data to explain circumstances of the Moon's birth". (Both from _OofM_ prefix p.vii) Gish concludes, "What these data were sufficient to do was to falsify all the theories on the origin of the moon that had been contenders up until that time."

He then asks retorically if creation will be accepted by science, no, but as expected by "creation scientists" the moon did not arise by a scientifically explainable process. He goes on to briefly explain 3 leading theories and their fatal flaws. He discusses the intact capture, coaccretion, and fission theories. Painting the latter in it's worst possible, to a creationist, light by associating it with Darwin and quoting a 1936 government radio program!

After suggesting that the failure of these 3 theories should cause scientists to abandon their ideas about the age of the earth, Gish says, "A new theory was desperately needed, causing theorists on the origin of the moon to rethink the whole problem. Not yet willing to admit that the problem is intractable (most would never consider supernatural creation), and never short on imagination, these theorists have come up with a new idea: collision ejection theory." (page 15) That is a impact by a large object while the earth was still molten, causing ejection of moon material. He then says, without naming any, that the theory "involves a series of assumptions, by nature of which most are untestable. No attempt has been made to account for the chemical composition of the moon that would have been produced by formation of the moon by collisional ejection." (page 16) After quoting the 1986 report on the 1984 conference saying that the theory is so new that problems aren't yet apparent, Gish judges that, "It is popular today only because of the consistent failure of all other models." (page 17) He concludes, "We can say with great confidence, then, that the results of the Apollo explorations to the moon, and data from all other sources as well, contradict and frustrate all human efforts to provide a naturalistic evolutionary origin of the moon. The uniqueness of the moon, as is also increasingly apparent from every other object in the solar system, is providing powerful, positive evidence for their special creation by God as proclaimed in [the bible]." (page 17)

Gish spends the last few pages rehashing radiometric dating methods. He says they, "are based on a series of assumptions, and thus the accuracy of the method depends, of course, on the reliability of these assumptions. These assumptions have been questioned, and the vast ages thus derived have been challenged." (page 17) He gives 3 references for these "challenges": JC Whitcomb and DB DeYoung, _The Moon - Its Creation, Form, and Significance_, BMH Books. Winona Lake, IN. 1978, p. 99; JC Whitcomb and HM Morris, _The Genesis Flood_, Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, MI, 1961, pp. 333-344; and HM Morris, _Scientific Creationism_, 2nd Ed., Creation-Life Publishers, Colorado Springs, CO, 1985, pp. 137-149.

He reproduces Table IV-4 from Whitcomb and DeYoung which lists 12 Apollo rock samples along with ages from Uranium-Thorioum-Lead Methods (2 columns, a low and high), age from Potassium-Argon Method, and a column labeled "Age Inconsistencies, extremes" which appears to be the difference between the highest and lowest values from the other 3 columns! He quotes out of context from _OofM_ a statement that the differences may place the age estimates in "jeopardy" and he concludes that billion year ages "may be in serious doubt according to these scientists." (page 20) He then states that the 2 Morris books describe a "great number of physical processes that indicate a young age". (page 20)

Gish summarizes by paraphrasing the scientists shooting down Gish's strawman version of their own theories and being "embarrassed" that "they still have little idea where the moon came from." (page 21) Gish ends with, "... the best statement we can make, scientifically, concerning the origin of the moon is still "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth'"

As much as possible, I have tried to refrain from comment as I typed the above, prefering to let Gish hang himself. Between the time I ordered and received this booklet, I acquired from America OnLine an article by G. JEFFREY TAYLOR in SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN July 1994 Volume 271 Number 1 Pages 40-47 on this very subject. The specific title was not included in the article and I can't remember it. Comparing the SA article by one of the authors of the work that Gish misrepresents is quite enlightening.

Gish makes it appear the the impact theory was created at the last minute only when it became clear that the others failed. That is false. Taylor refers to it thus, "I wondered what new twists the proponents for these fatally flawed ideas [the three strawmen knocked down by Gish, LS] would devise. Although modifications were indeed presented, we were all surprised by the enthusiastic reception given to a long-ignored idea: the giant impact theory. Among the most surprised was conference co-organizer Hartmann, and he was one of the inventors of the notion. By the end of the deliberations, a clear consensus formed in support of the idea that the impact of a large projectile with the growing earth dislodged the material that would form the moon. Of course, skeptical diehards and others desperately clinging to one of the old ideas remained, but the giant impact theory of lunar origin enchanted most participants. The idea was not really brand-new. Like an actor who achieves "overnight success" after years of small roles, the giant impact theory was a bit player for a long time.

Hartmann and his colleague Donald R. Davis proposed the impact theory in 1975. They had been investigating the accumulation of planets from smaller objects and noticed that numerous large bodies would have wandered near the earth. A few could have been as large as Mars. Hartmann and Davis hypothesized that the earth collided with such an object. As a result, some of the debris was launched into orbit, providing raw material for the moon. Alastair G. W. Cameron of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and William R. Ward of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., independently suggested the same idea one year later as they tried to resolve the angular momentum problem. They also addressed the details of the mechanism by which the material could achieve orbit and not fall back to the earth. The work of Hartmann and Davis had been anticipated almost 30 years before by the late geologist Reginald A. Daly of Harvard University. Two distinguished pioneers of lunar science, Ralph B. Baldwin of the Oliver Machinery Company in Grand Rapids, Mich., and Don E. Wilhelms of the U.S. Geological Survey in Menlo Park, Calif., found that Daly had suggested in 1946 that the moon formed from the earth by the glancing impact of a planet-size object. Although Daly's analysis contains errors, the giant impact idea is clearly stated in this insightful but completely ignored paper. Even if Daly's work had been widely read, it might have been discounted: the paper was published before scientists realized that impacts were an important planetary process [see "Prematurity and Uniqueness in Scientific Discovery," by Gunther S. Stent; SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, December 1972]."

Gish also stated that "No attempt has been made to account for the chemical composition of the moon [assuming the impact theory is correct]." I'm no chemist, but Taylor uses about half of his article space talking about what appears to me to be just exactly that! Apparently Gish has been so busy for the last 10 years trying to find things in the 84 conference report to misquote that he doesn't know what's going on NOW.

I wonder how long it will take Gish to update this misleading propaganda piece?

Peace, Larry

Go Back to Shy David's Creationism Page.