WND Pushes Creationist Nonsense

WND Pushes Creationist Nonsense June 5, 2012

The Worldnutdaily has a long article promoting Walt Brown’s hydroplate theory, a thoroughly ridiculous conjecture that purports to explain how the entirely mythical Noah’s flood occurred. It’s all presented uncritically, of course, without any examination of the many absurdities of his “theory.”

How silly is Brown’s idea? He actually claims that Noah’s flood created the asteroids and comets in the solar system. Yes, I’m serious. Chris Sharp has some fun with that claim:

It is claimed that at the time of the flood, the fountains of the deep broke open ejecting superheated water into the atmosphere, which subsequently came down as rain and snow. It is also claimed that the asteroids, meteoroids and comets in orbit around the sun were ejected from the earth at the time of the flood, as covered in his book on pages 219 through 225. Let us look at the specific claim for the asteroids. As Walt Brown claims to be doing science, it is legitimate to use science to examine this claim, in fact exactly the same as one of the branches of science he uses in his book, namely celestial mechanics, which anybody taking freshman physics or astronomy will learn. Other than the miracle he is granted at the beginning, he will be held to the standard of freshman science. The SI system will be used throughout, except where clarification is required.

The largest asteroid in the main asteroid belt is Ceres with a mass of 8.7×1020 Kg and orbits at a mean distance from the sun of 2.767 AU (astronomical units), between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, and where 1AU is the mean distance of the earth from the sun, which is 1.496×1011m. The mass of Ceres is approximately a third of the mass of all the asteroids together, of which there are probably millions, but most of this mass is concentrated in Ceres and a handful of the other large asteroids in the main belt, which orbit at approximately the same distance from the sun as Ceres. We will neglect other objects beyond the main asteroid belt, including Kuiper belt objects beyond the orbit of Neptune. There are asteroids inside Mars’s orbit, including some that can come very close to the earth, but they are small and make up a negligible mass relative to the main belt asteroids. Consequently, we can calculate the energy required to move the amount of material corresponding to the asteroid Ceres from the earth’s surface to the orbit of Ceres, and the energy for all the asteroids will be approximately three times this.

The energy necessary to move an object from the earth’s surface to another orbit around the sun is given by the amount of energy required to lift this object from the earth’s surface to a point in space ahead or behind the earth, where it is stationary relative to the earth and far enough from the earth so that the earth’s gravity can be neglected in the calculations, then move the object out to the orbit of Ceres…

Dividing the energy obtained earlier for all the asteroids by the energy from (7), we obtain in round figures a number of about 60,000, i.e. the energy released during Noah’s flood to eject all the asteroids corresponded to about 60,000 asteroid impacts on the earth! To put this in another perspective, a “decent” sized hydrogen bomb releasing an energy of 10 Megatons of TNT, releases 4.187×1016 J, so the energy released in ejecting all the asteroids corresponds to 9×1029/4.187×1016 = 2.1×1013 hydrogen bombs, i.e. the energy equivalent of about twenty trillion “decent” sized hydrogen bombs would have had to have been released during the flood year. The mind completely boggles how Noah and his family, together with his menagerie of animals and plants could have possibly survived all this in a large wooden boat! Not only that, but according to Walt Brown’s model, most of this energy would have been released in the first few weeks of the flood. Without invoking miracles, explain: (1) where did this energy came from, (2) how did Noah and company survived, and (3) as this all supposedly happened only about 4500 years ago why is there no evidence for this?

The answer should be obvious: Magic! God miracled it! As if that was part of any valid scientific explanation.

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  • I find the whole “Noah’s Ark was real” stuff hilarious, because people will constantly try to bend science to such a degree that you have to force them to, at some point in their argument, say “God did it” “it was magic” “it was a miracle” or some other supernatural hullabaloo.

    At that point, you then go to the head of the conversation and say “well, why couldn’t God have majicked everything else?” and watch them sputter and grasp for an explanation.

    Try as they may, you dig deeply enough into the story, at some point they’ll have to admit God did it, at which point you can just straight out ignore their argument in its entirety.

  • WND pushes nonsense.

    In other breaking news, Generalísimo Francisco Franco is still dead.

  • eric

    As Walt Brown claims to be doing science…

    Well, there’s your problem.

    Brown is claiming to be doing science the way a magician claims to be doing magic – as part of the act. He isn’t actually doing science, any more than a magician actually saws a woman in half.

  • Larry

    Gawd, I think my IQ dropped 100 points after going off to read that article. There is so much idiocy buried there, it could create more than a few asteroids.

  • d cwilson

    I’ve seen this idea presented before. It seems to be the inverse of the canopy scenario, in which the Earth was once surrounded by a sphere of ice that collapsed to trigger the flood, that people like Ken Ham promotes. The idea that the asteroids were ejected from the Earth is pretty amusing and was thought up by someone who has no comprehension as to the actual scale of the Solar System..

    I honestly think creationists don’t understand science at all, or at least they don’t understand the scientific method. They seem to think all scientists do is think up stories that sound good to them. In their view, godless athiest scientists are just making up stories to reinforce their worldview that there is no gawd. So, they think they can do the same: Just make up stuff that incorporates things like Noah’s flood into them.

    The whole idea that scientists actually test their ideas against observations and data seems to completely escape them.

  • We had an idiot commenting at Pharyngula the other day claiming that all the world’s great mountain ranges–i.e. the Himalayas, Alps, Rockies, and others–were all deposited by the flood. He did mention the Indian sub-continent crashing into Asia (in the last 4500 years), but the mountains are all made of flood deposits. That’s why there are marine fossils in the mountains. That also allows the flood to cover the world’s highest mountains without requiring as much water to magically appear and disappear.

    Somehow we were not convinced.

  • ohioobserver

    I fear that Mr. Sharp (and, you also, Ed) are not playing the game correctly. Walt Brown is perfectly free to assert that “asteroids were ejected from the Earth”. It is however, against the rules for a curmudgeonly carping critic like Chris Sharp to ask “which asteroids?” “How many of them?” “How big are they?” or other such inconvenient and faith-deficient questions. Such questions spoil the effect, much like the ten year old who says he can see where the magician palmed that card. It’s jarring; it deprives the audience of a good show.

    Obey the rules. Watch the show. Believe whatever the guy in the spotlight tells you.

  • @d cwilson:

    “It sounds sciency, so therefore it’s science!”

  • I love it when someone bludgeons a Creationist hypothesis with basic physics and math. Takes me back to Carl Sagan’s debunking of Velivkovsky’s Worlds in Collision, one of my earliest encounters with skeptical scrutiny.

  • fastlane

    There have been some great threads about this on talkrational. (Just search for ‘hydropants’ on that site.) Between the continents travelling hundreds of mph, the water and asteroids being shot off the earth (and still magically being in a circular orbit), all the rain, etc., it just kept getting more and more ridiculous as the cretinist(s) try to come up with scientific rationalizations for their beliefs.

    It’s rather amusing, and sad and pathetic. (But good fun!)

  • d cwilson

    “In the 600th year of Noah’s life, on the 17th day of the second month – on that day all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened,” Genesis 7:11-12.

    This is one of the things I love about young earth creationists. They can’t accept that the Earth is more than 10,000 years old, but they have no problem believing that people once lived for over 600 years.

  • @d cwilson:

    No you see, the water canopy above the Earth actually let people live a lot longer. God originally made us all immortal, and so when we fell, he created disease and age and such. People still lived a very long time, and most of it was due to the way the Earth was. The water canopy helped with this. Also, it let lizards keep growing and that’s why there were dinosaurs.

    (This is really an argument I used to make.)

  • thisisaturingtest

    I’d pay to see Brown debate Kent Hovind on this subject- Hovind thinks the flood was due to an “ice asteroid” hitting Earth (at a time when, Brown says, there weren’t any). The entertainment value here is enormous- especially if you get a moderator who will stand up at the end and say, “My god! You’re both fucking idiots!”

  • justsomeguy

    If massive subterranean pockets of water suddenly burst open and ejected their contents into the atmosphere and the greater solar system, wouldn’t that mean there are now massive subterranean bubbles? Won’t the remaining water slowly seep back into them? Or maybe they’d collapse under their own weight?

  • @justsomeguy:

    “Sciency sounding stuff for distractionary purposes!!!”

  • d cwilson

    People still lived a very long time, and most of it was due to the way the Earth was. The water canopy helped with this. Also, it let lizards keep growing and that’s why there were dinosaurs.

    That’s another thing I love about creationists: When they try to explain dinosaurs. T-Rex was originally a vegetarian before before the fall. And after the canopy fell, there was less oxygen in the air, so those big dinosaurs had to breath so rapidly that their breath would ignite. And that’s where fire-breathing dragons came from!

  • ‘Tis Himself

    Reading Brown reminds me of this bit from the movie Billy Madison:


  • The real point of exercises like this is not to do science, it’s to give enough of the impression of doing science that unquestioning, unthinking followers find it plausible enough to remain comfortable in their faith.

    Thus, when challenged, they are reassured by their belief that there is a scientific answer because they’ve heard people like Brown, Hovind, Gish, etc. assure them that there is one, and that any disagreement is merely because of preconceptions (Bible vs atheistic naturalism) and nothing else.

    Thus creationists are comfortable with scoffing at the impossibility of “macro evolution” while at the same time are quite happy to take the word of the creationist “scientists” that millions of disparate species located all over the planet can evolve from a few dozen “kinds” in just 4,000 years.

    And, if you happen to think too long and hard about it, and doubts do begin to surface, God’s always there to push them under again, if necessary.

  • Francisco Bacopa

    Thunderf00t has a very good video showing why the necessary energy to eject material even as far as the moon would not be available in the hydroplate model. And creationists do assert that moon craters are the result of hydroplate ejections.

    But suppose the energy was there to eject material from the Earth to nice fairly circular orbits in the asteroid belt. That’s might fine shootin’. Ejections would have to be carefully timed and angled. And they would have recoil. Enough recoil to give us a highly elliptical orbit with a major axis about the same as our current major axis, but a minor axis that would put us as close to the sun as Venus half the year.

  • Pinky

    Reading this type of crap in WND is not surprising, anyone with an iota of skepticism knows to read the site for entertainment purposes like the supermarket checkout line tabloids.

    What is worrisome is when Creationist drivel is published as fact in newspapers.

    In January of this year, a newspaper near where I live, the Tri-City Herald owned by The McClatchy Company, printed “Richland Man Sees Proof of Global Flood in Geologic Formation”.

    The story brags about a local, Greg Morgan, a nuclear safety engineer at the Hanford Reservation, whose article, “Flood Currents Frozen in Stone,” was published in Answers Magazine, a publication of Answers in Genesis. You may remember Answers in Genesis as the group responsible for the stupendous Creation Museum where Jesus rode dinosaurs just six thousand years ago.

    The article in the Tri-City Herald included Greg Morgan’s ‘scientific reasoning’ in support of his questionable claim without any remarks from real scientists, for instance working geologists with advanced degrees. This area is saturated with learned scientists who would have been happy to tell the truth about Creationist claims, but I guess the newspaper could not afford a local phone call.

    The ridiculousness of the claim was somewhat taken to task in the comment section for the article.

    BTW, I have not been able to determine the extent of Mr. Morgan’s post high school education. I’m sure if he was a PhD (of anything) the newspaper would have labeled him ‘doctor.’

    I stopped reading the newspaper years ago because of its failing quality. This article did not surprise me.

  • “WND pushes nonsense.

    In other breaking news, Generalísimo Francisco Franco is still dead.”

    The real news is that His Excellency, Frannie, has a better chance at resurrection than WND has at making sense.

  • Crudely Wrott

    When you are backed into a corner by overwhelming force you do exactly what any other frightened critter will do. You bare your teeth, spread yourself out wide and make the loudest noise that you can possibly make.

    The object of this ploy is to reduce your opponent to convulsive spasms of helpless mirth, thereby giving yourself a tiny window of escape.

    This ploy rarely works, as both mice and cats know from long experience.

    *pounce crunch nom nom nom*

  • What’s wrong with “God made more water, then he made it go away”? It’s stupid, but it’s also impossible to argue with. Why do they keep trying to come up with scientific theories for how these things happened that can’t stand up to two minutes of scrutiny and access to a search engine?

  • brettsaunders @23:

    Why make nonsensical arguments? Well, mainly, cuz they don’t HAVE an understanding of science. ‘sides, they’re crafting most of that shit for the other Morons in KKKrist, it don’t gotta be too well thought out when your audience is credulous.

  • thisisaturingtest

    @#23brettsaunders- that’s a good question, and I’ve asked it many times of creationists/Fluddites I’ve debated. One of these guys will be earnestly explaining all the “scientific” “evidence” for his Flood, and you suddenly ask, “where did all that water go?” Stumped, they reply, “well god took it all away,” and, nodding wisely, “he is god, you know.” Thanks for wasting my time, moron- if you’re just going to invoke “god can do anything he wants” at the point your hypothesis fails scientific scrutiny, just to save the hypothesis (which is, after all, only “goddidit” anyway)- why bother with any of the science at any point?