©1986 by Paul D. Ackerman    http://www.creationism.org/books/ackerman/ 

 4 - Of Smoldering Embers


He looketh on the earth, and
it trembleth: he toucheth
the hills, and they smoke.
                   Psalms  104:32


Imagine that you are hiking in a remote wilderness area seldom visited by man. You are making your way through winding forest trails to a secluded cabin owned by a friend back in the city. He has volunteered his cabin as a much-needed vacation spot, assuring you that it is locked up securely and has not been occupied since his last visit over a year ago. You arrive at the cabin, unlock the door, and enter. Although the cabin appears totally empty, on the table in front of you is an ashtray containing a lighted cigar, and the fireplace reveals still-smoldering remnants of an earlier fire.

The simplest and most logical assessment of this situation would be to conclude that your friend is quite mistaken about no one living in his cabin. Someone has most certainly been here, and quite recently at that. The prudent course of action would be to be very wary of possible danger from this unknown occupant.

On the other hand, if there is some reason why you are absolutely wedded to belief in the owner's information that the cabin has been vacant for over a year, then you would be forced to figure out how a cigar and fireplace could continue to burn for such a great length of time. There must be something very bizarre about a cigar and firewood that can burn for over a year. Every suggestion you come up with would seem farfetched to any informed person. What is more, closer observations and additional data would only make matters worse.

If you can understand the absurdity of a suggestion that a cigar and fireplace could burn for a year and that a person could figure out realistic mechanisms to make such a thing possible, you can understand something of the dilemmas produced by results from our space research program.

The Moon That Blew Its Top

Do you remember the news coverage of the two Jupiter explorations by our Voyager space probes in 1979? Among the spectacular scenes of the planet and accompanying satellites was a most amazing sight—a volcano erupting on one of the moons of Jupiter, Io, at the very moment one of the Voyager's television cameras was trained on the satellite during the fly-by. Why was this event the cause of such excitement on the part of the NASA scientists? In their view the moons of Jupiter were formed at the same time as the planet itself and are about 4.5 billion years old. Small bodies such as this particular satellite would be expected to lose the interior heat and dynamism that produces volcanic activity relatively quickly and thus would be expected to have long since become cold and inactive. The occurrence of a volcano, however, tells us that the object is still hot and geologically active in its interior. Quoting from a report that appeared in Life magazine following the Voyager mission:

The big surprise of the Voyager mission was Io, one of Jupiter's inner moons. Instead of being cold, dead and otherwise moonlike, Io proved to be literally bubbling with volcanoes. Voyager's cameras witnessed one eruption on the moon's rim . . . that spewed fire and brimstone more than 100 miles into space .... earth was hitherto considered the only geologically active body in the solar system, but Io was found to be even more violent.1

Scientists have puzzled over the problem posed by the geologically active Io and have offered some possible solutions, the most favored of which is some form of gravitational "pumping" by Jupiter and its other moons. Expert critics, however, have pointed out that this is only a stopgap solution and will really not do the job of explaining IO'S geological activity over extended evolutionist time spans.

How can a moon of Jupiter be so old and still so hot and active? How can a cigar burn for a year? The problem is the same, and so is the solution, however unthinkable to evolutionist scientists. Maybe Io, just like the smoldering cigar, is not so old after all.

Of course, depending on specific existing conditions, the knife of discovery can sometimes cut the other way. The opposite difficulty was discovered during the Apollo explorations of our own moon. Lunar material was found to be very high in radioactivity. Scientists conferring on this and other matters at the Fourth Lunar Science Conference wondered how the moon can be very old and not be intensely hot or even melting from the accumulation of heat from the radiation. As Wysong states in his excellent book, The Creation-Evolution Controversy: "But the moon is rigid, and some [scientists] argue the moon has a cool interior. This rigidity and relative coolness of the moon [given its high level of radioactivity] speaks for its youth—less than 50,000 years old."2

Along these same lines, the lunar soil showed not only an abundance of radioactive material but also types of radiation that simply should not be in existence if the moon was very old. Again quoting from Wysong:

Short-lived U-236 and Th-230 isotopes found in lunar materials are taken as testimony for youth. If the moon were of great age, the short-lived isotopes would have long since decayed and thus be presently absent. Yet they are not absent, they are in relative abundance. Thus, according to this method, the age of the moon should be spoken of in terms of thousands of years, not millions or billions.3

Saturn's Rings

The same situation pertains to our discoveries about the rings of Saturn. Scientists were totally flabbergasted by the appearance of turbulence and instability in these rings. Rings that have stayed in place for 4.5 billion years should be in a very stable condition. Signs of instability and bizarre temporary physical conditions are extremely perplexing and seem to violate known and fully confirmed basic laws of physics. If, on the other hand, the rings are only a few thousand years old, there is no difficulty with known physical laws—just as a cigar that smolders for three or four minutes presents no contradictions to known physical laws.

General Findings of Our Space Program—And a Recent Dramatic Example

The evidence of our space probes indicates that the solar system, despite its reputed great antiquity, is active and alive. For evolutionist scientists the main outcome of our space exploration has been surprise. Phrases such as "apparent paradox" and "seems to violate known laws of physics" have abounded. Yet there is nothing in the findings that does not square fully with basic laws of physics, as long as one is willing to give up the idea of vast ages. The data are abundantly clear: the creation is not old; it is young.

An excellent example of what I am talking about occurred in a Los Angeles Times/Washington Post wire-service story that appeared in a local newspaper in late 1983.4 The headline bannered the news—"Dust Rings Our Solar System: NASA Calls Spacescope Findings 'Spectacular.' " The story reports the recent scientific discovery that three giant rings of dust circle the solar system. The discovery of the rings was made by observational data coming from the Infrared Astronomical Satellite, an orbiting spacecraft built by the United States, the Netherlands, and Great Britain. By getting a better view outside the blanket of earth's atmosphere, the orbiting telescope was able to detect things heretofore invisible to earth-bound astronomers.

The project's scientific team leader, Gerry Neugebauer of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, reports, "This telescope has been so sensitive that we could see a single speck of dust with it at a distance of two miles. ... If you were to put a baseball into orbit over the East Coast, this telescope could pick it up on the West Coast."5 The news story goes on to relate details of the dust-ring discovery:

What the telescope picked up that had never been seen before were three gigantic dust rings 100 million miles wide circling the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter 200 million to 300 million miles from the sun. The dust bands, which had never before been seen because they are composed of particles too fine to see and too cool to shine, appear to defy the laws of physics by encircling the asteroid belt in three extremely stable and symmetrical rings. "Particles this small can only survive in stable orbits for a few ten-thousands of years before they are pulled apart by the sun," said Frank Low of the University of Arizona. "There must be something that replenishes the rings because three stable bands that large cannot exist any other way."6 (Emphasis was added.)

The article then continues to report some of the various lines of speculation that evolutionist scientists are engaging in to "keep the cigar burning in the ashtray" for the necessary amount of time.


The evidence in support of a young universe has grown rapidly in recent years as a result of the data explosion stemming from enormous advances in sophisticated technology. Nevertheless, the human factor remains as the most significant component of the equation. In spite of so much evidence to the contrary, the prevailing dogma of evolution maintains its headlock on the scientific community.

Old ideas die hard, and evolution, with its requirement of millions and billions of years of cosmic history is no exception. Millions of tax dollars and untold hours of scientific brainpower are being wasted in an attempt to keep the evolution boat afloat. Harebrained and impossible concepts are being dressed in a cloak of respectability and promoted as serious science. It is time to face the facts: mega-evolution, with its vast prehistoric ages, is dead. The creation is not old; it is young.

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