Dusty Evidence

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Book Review by R. H. Brown
Yucaipa, California

MOONDUST AND THE AGE OF THE SOLAR SYSTEM. 1993. Andrew A. Snelling and David E. Rush. Creation Ex Nihilo Technical Journal 7(1):2-42.

The depth of dust on the moon has been featured in creationist literature as scientific evidence supporting placement of the origin of the Solar System (and the entire physical universe) less than 10,000 years ago. There have been claims by creationists that most astronomers and scientists expected a deep dust layer that presumably collected over millions of years and would hazard a spacecraft landing on the moon.

Snelling and Rush present the results of a seven-year investigation of both creationist literature and the professional scientific literature related to accumulation of the lunar regolith (surface layer of unconsolidated material). Both authors are strongly identified with the most conservative segment of biblical creationism. Andrew Snelling holds a doctorate in geology, is employed full-time by the Creation Science Foundation, Ltd., of Australia, is the editor of Creation Ex Nihilo Technical Journal, and contributes to the companion publication Creation Ex Nihilo. David Rush has a master’s degree in physics, has been employed by the Institute for Creation Research, and is a public school science teacher in California. They have produced an exhaustive, thoroughly professional treatment of cosmic dust accumulation on the moon.

Many creationists will be disillusioned, or at least disturbed, by the technical and historical details Snelling and Rush have made readily accessible. These authors forthrightly state that

... the amount of meteoritic dust and meteorite debris in the lunar regolith and surface dust layer, even taking into account the postulated early [more] intense meteorite and meteoritic dust bombardment, does not contradict the evolutionists’ multi-billion year time scale (while not proving it).... creationists should not continue to use the dust on the moon as evidence against an old age for the moon and the solar system (Abstract, p 3).

They further state that “creationists cannot say or imply, as some have, that most astronomers and scientists "expected a deep dust layer” on the moon (p 30). Contrary to claims made by some creationist writers, Snelling and Rush document that “the data had already convinced most scientists before the Apollo moon landings that very little dust would be found on the moon” (p 37).

Valid estimates of the meteoritic dust influx to the earth in tons/ year, as obtained by Snelling and Rush from the professional literature, range from 450 to 460,000. Estimates for the moon range from 4000 to 19,900. Using 10,000 tons/year as a representative estimate, Snelling and Rush note that about one billion years would be required to accumulate a 2 cm thick dust layer over the lunar surface. The Apollo astronauts reported lunar surface dust thickness ranging between 0.3 cm and 7.6 cm. So Snelling and Rush can say that “even with a meteoritic dust influx rate of 300 times the present figure, we can still comfortably account for the quantity of meteoritic dust found in the lunar regolith and the loose surface layer over the evolutionists’ timescale” (p 38). Having thoroughly considered all aspects of the topic, the authors say:

... it is inescapably clear that the amount of meteoritic dust on the lunar surface and in the regolith is not at all inconsistent with the present meteoritic dust influx rate to the lunar surface operating over the multi-billion year time framework proposed by evolutionists, but including a higher influx rate in the early history of the moon (p 36).

It should be emphasized that there is nothing in the evidence covered by Snelling and Rush that is incompatible with biblical specifications, if the creation account is treated on the basis of the definitions given in Genesis 1:8-10. Creationism has been severely discredited by scientifically inept efforts to defend presumptions that were unjustifiably considered to be mandated by biblical testimony. The publication of “Moon Dust and the Age of the Solar System” is a major contribution to credible scientific creationism.