Bad Claims: The Recession of the Moon

 

 

Of course, some presentations of this are worse than others. In this one Thunderf00t lambastes a particularly bad example of the claim/argument, but he does cover rather tidily the issues involved.

 

 

And here’s one where Desertphile does an excellent job of explaining why the extrapolation based on no evidence is outright intellectually dishonest; he also goes into some of the evidence that makes the extrapolation obviously incorrect.

This bad argument has been floating around for some time. It’s a gross misunderstanding of astronomy promulgated by Answers in Genesis to the credulous and those with little scholarship in any of the sciences needed to comprehend it. The biggest problem with this argument—and it’s not really an argument; it’s more like an unsupported claim—is that it rests on a faulty premise: The moon has been receding from the Earth at the same rate since it’s inception.

Really? Do you have evidence that it has been receding at the same rate ever since whatever event generated our moon? The answer isn’t just a resounding, “No,” it’s a resounding, “There is evidence that the moon had been receding by much less in the past than it is today.”

There are a number of poorly framed arguments and bad claims made by Creationism that involve unsupported extrapolation in this manner. It’s a great deal like looking at how the temperature has risen by 20 degrees between 6am and noon—and then extrapolating that the entire universe must have been frozen solid a few days ago and that we’re all therefore going to die in a fire within a few days ourselves. Without either direct observation of the temperatures from midnight to 6am; or at least evidence to permit us to extrapolate those temperatures making claims that temperatures will continue to rise or had in fact risen from absolute-zero would be laughed at.

These claims and arguments are, of course, not being published in any peer reviewed journals on the very subjects of geology, astrophysics, or physics because they’re blatantly wrong and wouldn’t even make it past the editorial phase. Instead, they are being spread instead in the political sphere; taking a the low road of attempting to convince a credulous and unstudied population to make them “true.” They can’t make it with these claims in places where people will actually put them to the test.

When people resort to cheating and misrepresentation to make their point, it’s time to either take them to task or dismiss them.

The Recession of the Moon and the Age of the Earth-Moon System (Tim Thompson, 2000)