And you guys - cheer me on as I train for the Marathon. It's cold outside!
Sunday, December 30, 2007
Monday, December 10, 2007
I came across this via the mighty Pharyngula:
From the false dichotomy in the first sentence to the outright lie at the end ("theories on the Moon's origin are also completely inadequate..."), this is one long tissue of tosh. Worse still, a longer version of this is being sold (for actual money) as an educational (i.e. intended to make you smarter) resource for home-schoolers via the makers' website.
If you want to know what the research really shows, there's plenty out there. It's not like NASA hide their resources, and the ESA goes out of its way to be helpful too. But the data don't support the creationist world- (or indeed solar system-) view.
If you really want to know the most likely explanation for the formation of the moon, I suggest you look elsewhere: ("Analysis of data from NASA's Lunar Prospector spacecraft has confirmed that the Moon has a small core, supporting the theory that the bulk of the Moon was ripped away from the early Earth when an object the size of Mars collided with the Earth"). Note the reliance on data - and not just any data, only data that is consistent with other, independent observations:
"The current data come from gravity measurements conducted by Dr. Alex Konopliv of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA. His results indicate that the Moon's core radius is between 140 and 280 miles (220 and 450 kilometers). This result is consistent with independent magnetic data, evaluated by Dr. Lon Hood of the University of Arizona, Tucson, which suggest that the core radius is between 180 and 260 miles (300 and 425 km).
"In other results from Lunar Prospector, Dr. Robert Lin of the University of California at Berkeley, Dr. Mario Acua of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, and Hood also found that a broad section of the southern far-side of the Moon has large localized magnetic fields in its crust. These fields occur opposite the large Crisium, Serenitatis and Imbrium basins -- three of the "seas" that cover much of the Moon's near side. This result supports earlier evidence linking strong magnetized concentrations on one side of the Moon with young, large impact basins on the other side."
Science is expensive, risky and painstaking work:
"Lunar Prospector conducted its [64 million USD] primary mapping mission at an altitude of 63 miles (100 kilometers) for almost one year after its arrival in lunar orbit on Jan. 11, 1998. In December and January, the spacecraft's altitude was lowered to approximately 15 miles by 23 miles (24 kilometers by 37 kilometers). Analyses of data from the lower-altitude observations are expected to further improve scientific understanding of the origin, evolution and physical resources of the Moon."
Creationism, on the other hand, is an arrogant and petulant attempt to retain "favourite child" status in a universe that we increasingly understand to be so awe-inspiring that the only sane response can be humility.
If that is too heavy for you, I direct you instead to Professors Flansburgh and Linnell: