Walter Brown and the Origin of Asteroids and Impact Craters on other Planets

The inner solar system showing location of asteroid belt. It looks dense but in fact most asteroids are separeated by millions of miles.

The inner solar system showing location of asteroid belt. It looks dense but in fact most asteroids are separated by millions of miles.

Sometimes you run across an article so ridiculous you can hardly believe you just read it.  Such is the case with a chapter of Walter Brown’s book “In the Beginning.”    The whole book has significant problems but while I was delving a bit deeper into the origins of meteorites and asteroids and the appearance of age a bit more I ran into a chapter from his book on the origin of asteroids.  You can read about the origin of comets and marvel at Brown’s creativity HERE.   I am going to quote some of the best parts and while I have some comments I will try to hold off going to deep with my analysis because this theory of Brown’s is not worth spending too much time on other than to reiterate some points I have made before about the lengths that some creation scientists will go to avoid using an apparent age argument.

Brown in this chapter of his book is interested in explaining the existence of comets and especially the asteroid belt.  His theory:  Asteroid have their origin as rocks thrown off of the earth by supersonic jets at the onset of the Flood.   Lets here it from Brown himself:

The fountains of the great deep launched rocks and water from Earth. Later, gravity and water vapor caused most of those rocks to merge and be come asteroids. The size distribution of asteroids does show that at least part of a planet fragmented, but no known energy source is available to explode and disperse an entire Earth-size planet. However, the eruption of so much supercritical water (explained on page 118) from the subterranean chambers could have launched one 2,300th of the Earth—the mass of all asteroids combined. Astronomers have tried to describe the exploded planet, not realizing they were standing on the remaining 99.95% of it—too close to see it.

As flood waters escaped from the subterranean chambers, pillars were crushed, because they were forced to carry more and more of the weight of the overlying crust. Also, the almost 10-mile-high walls of the rupture were unstable, because rock is not strong enough to support a cliff more than 5 miles high. As lower portions of the walls were crushed, blocks—some a staggering 200 meters in diameter—were swept up and launched by the jetting fountains. [See Figure 160.] Unsupported rock in the top 5 miles then fragmented. The smaller the rock, the faster it accelerated and the farther it went, just as a rapidly flowing stream carries smaller dirt particles faster and farther…….      Water droplets in the fountains partially evaporated and quickly froze. Large rocks had large spheres of influence which grew as the rocks traveled away from Earth. Larger rocks became “seeds” around which other rocks and ice collected as spheres of influence expanded. Because of all the evaporated water vapor and the resulting aerobraking, even more mass concentrated around the “seeds.” [See page 275.]  Clumps of rocks became asteroids

Where to begin!?   First, I have no idea where he gets a value for all the asteroids of the solar system as comprising 1/2300th of the mass of the Earth.  Later he explains that the moons of Mars are captured asteroids/comets which themselves were coalesced material thrown from the center of the earth.   Was the earth really that much bigger before the Flood?  Also consider that for Brown all the craters on the moon come from stuff thrown from the Earth so there is some additional mass to account for there as well.    Brown certainly isn’t going to employ any apparent age explanation for the features on the moon and other planets as we have seen from my other posts and recently advocated by Al Mohler.   So rocks were blown from the interior of the earth into outer space where were driven away from earth at great speed.  Brown states that the supersonic jets that steamed out of the earth at the onset of the Flood traveled at 7 miles per second. This is fast enough to escape the earth’s gravitational field (An aside:  I’m not sure he considered what the real gravitational field would have been before the earth lost all of this mass to outer space).  Then these rocks got together along with frozen water and formed all the asteroids =that exist today in our solar system along with solitary rocks that became the meteorites.   As they traveled out many ran into Mars and other planets like Mercury and obviously the moon.  Some very large comets were captured by Mars to become the moons of Mars.   And all of this happened not since creation but only since the time of the Flood some 4-6 thousand years ago.

Meteor Crater in Arizona

Meteor Crater in Arizona. I would infer from Brown's writing that this crater resulted from a rock thrown from the earth during the onset of the Flood which then fell back to earth sometime after the Flood causing this impact crate in Arizona. The conventional dating of this crater is about 50,000 years and the crater is almost 1 mile in diameter.

I have to wonder if Brown has spent any quality time thinking about what he has actually proposed.  He may think he has solved some problem with modern comet theory but he his created thousands of problems for himself.   Mars is some 70 million miles away. These rocks from earth had to travel all that way before they could impact Mars.  Has Brown considered that Pluto, over 6 billion miles from Earth, has craters as well? What about the moons of Saturn?   There are comets that are that far away.   Did this also have their origins from the earth?  Maybe each of these planets also had a flood at the same time as the earth and they also spewed out material that became asteroids.   Notice in the figure above that the asteroid belt is spread all the way around the sun between Mars and Jupiter.  If the Earth is the source of all of the asteroids and they came shooting out from the earth in one events  why is there not a greater number concentrated on one area rather than spread all the way around the sun?   Has Brown even made an attempt to determine the speed of the asteroids and how much time needed for gravity and radiometer effects to spread these rocks out this evenly?  He couldn’t have because the numbers that result are very very large and yet Brown doesn’t ever want to impose supernatural explanations since these are events that happened presumably after the creation week. He feels that science alone should point to a young creation and if supernaturally these asteroids were moved to their positions then we could not infer a young earth from them but they would then appear old.

The asteroid Ida (image from NASA). This is a rather larger asteroid. Most asteroids in the asteroid belt are much smaller. Ida is about 60km at its maximum diameter. Ida actually has a very small 1.5km diameter asteroid that acts as a "moon" which circles Ida at an orbiting distance of 90km.

Let us look more specifically at the issue of the formation of Mars and Brown’s theory.   Here is Brown summarizing his view again and then using it to explain features of Mars:

However, asteroids did not come from the asteroid belt; they formed from rocks and water (ice) launched from Earth by the powerful fountains of the great deep. Later, the radiometer effect, powered by solar energy, spiraled them out through Mars’ orbit. The fountains also placed gas in the inner solar system. Simultaneously, comets and asteroids impacting Mars added water vapor which temporarily thickened Mars’ atmosphere. All those gases allowed Mars to capture Phobos and Deimos by aerobraking and placed them in circular orbits.

Mars, often called the red planet, derives its red color from oxidized iron. Again, oxygen contained in water vapor launched from Earth during the flood probably accounts for Mars’ red color.   Mars’ topsoil is richer in iron and magnesium than Martian rocks beneath the surface. The dusty surface of Mars also contains carbonates, such as limestone.82 Because meteorites and Earth’s subterranean water contained considerable iron, magnesium, and carbonates, it appears that Mars was heavily bombarded by meteorites and water launched from Earth’s subterranean chamber.

It is very difficult to believe that Walter Brown has studies much physics given his claims here for some of the reasons given above.  In addition, he is trying to say the Flood is responsible for the red color of Mars because of elements brought to Mars from rocks that came from earth.   I think that he thinks he is being clever here.  If scientists ever find life on Mars he will be able to say that this is proof of his theory because Earth seeded Mars with rocks during the Flood.  He is also trying to explain the carbonates that are usually associated with living things on earth.   Has he looked at the surface of Mars to see that there are 10s of thousands of impact craters.  Look at my prior posts  for pictures (Apparent Age: craters on MarsPerception of Age, Craters on Mars ).  But just think about this.  Mars is known as the red planet and has been known as the red planet because even as early as the ancient Egyptians recognized the color of the planet.   Somehow then, the water and rocks from Earth traveled all the way to mars, impact it and caused it to become “rusty” by the time the Egyptians laid eyes on the planet.  This compresses the time for travel across 70 million miles down to merely a couple hundred years at best.

One last thing we learn from Brown in this same chapter.  We learn that he takes the subterranean chambers extremely literally and in fact seems to try to explain their appearance as those in the ancient near east.  In them he finds a physical/literal explanation for the cause of the Flood:

Pillarlike structures were formed in the subterranean chamber when the thicker, denser portions of the crust originally settled onto the chamber floor. [Pages 441445 explain how, why, when, and where pillars formed.] Twice daily, during the centuries before the flood, these pillars were stretched and compressed by tides in the subterranean water. This gigantic heating process steadily raised pillar temperatures. As explained in Figure 163, temperatures in what are now iron-nickel meteorites once exceeded 1,300°F, enough to dissolve quartz and allow iron and nickel to settle downward and become concentrated in the pillar tips.19 (A similar gravitational settling process concentrated iron and nickel in the Earth’s core after the flood began.

Is it just me or does it seem like Brown is suggesting that when God created the Earth he created inside it a structure that was a ticking clock anticipating the need for the Flood?    God appears to have a created an unstable earth in which the tides were causing a break-down of the internal structure of the earth leading to an inevitable calamity.  Does Brown think that had sin not entered the world that this internal structure of the Earth would have stabilized differently?  I don’t know since he doesn’t address this.     As I said before, I don’t think this theory is worth spilling much digital ink over because it has so many theological and scientific problems.  And yet, I still find it fondly referred to by many lay-Christians who see the problems with just positing all the features of the planets to creation with apparent age but want to try to squeeze all the features (craters, volcanoes etc..) into actual historical events occurring between creation and the present day.  I say it has lay-Christian popularity because I can find little evidence that the main YEC groups (ICR, AIG and CMI) lend any credence to Brown’s theories.  In fact Brown’s theories are in direct contradiction to many standard YEC views.  I will address some of these large differences in future posts.

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