THE CONSTITUTION THAT PRESERVES THE INDIVIDUAL IS AN IMPROBABLE STATE

By Will Myers

The person(s) that have the consensus of the group or government in the masses sense can exercise power over an individual. This is the natural state of civilization or politics. For the individual to have standing against the group or the masses is a very improbable situation. The creators of our U.S. Constitution attempted to do just such a thing even when the existing conditions in our country was far from such a state. We had slavery. We had power exercised by the religious element over individuals in a coercive manner to a much effective way then at present. The have-nots exceeded the haves in enormous numbers. America after the signing of our constitution started on the glorious road of personal freedoms; explicitly supported by the Supreme Court of America who supported the rights of an individual and gave standing to the individual which protected the individual’s rights and freedoms under the U.S. Constitution. Although, men in our society continued to work to enslave the minds of the citizens; we now have the battlefield for the mind of each individual citizen. America is being guided off the glorious path to personal freedoms and liberties without any adversity being between the individual and their God.

From the beginning of civilization the leaders needed the power to control the constituents. Some leaders were just and others were tyrannical. Their religion usually preserved the individuals to some extent, but the heavy hand of their laws was usually draconian.

Our present government in America maintains law and order with reserved powers. None the less, we have a shadow government that effects our lives on a daily bases. The special interest groups (SIG) who monitor private citizens collects sensitive information, expertly analyzes the info, is distributed, causing adversity in the life of a targeted private citizen. Society has always had this element who works to control the people. The SIG snake organization desires to be the people’s god. These snakes works to mode the private citizen’s mind for their self interest rather than the individual. As a matter of fact, SIG desires to eliminate the word “individual.” Their belief is that the individual belong to the people, the group, and exist to serve the needs of the people.

The relatively new concept of government is that the individual has God given rights that can not be breached; the rights are indivisible. The SIG snake organization opposes this concept. At present, SIG is working to occupy our free society and fill it with numerous adversities directed at each targeted private citizen and the celebrities. This is the force; this is not the connection that one wants. This is a criminal enterprise in progress as defined by the U.S. Constitution.

The individual under attack suffers from isolation and stigmatization. The individual suffers from the stolen originality and self worth because the self is not recognized by SIG the snake. The individual’s personal effects are vandalized in order to force the targeted individual to comply to the desires of the SIG snakes. This local scrutiny lead to the individual’s life being endangered. SIG causes people to disrespect the individual who suffers castration of original thought thereby suffering destruction of their self worth and self esteem.

Always the group controls the individual as in socialism and communism and all other governments. Only in a high quality democracy with a constitution that preserves individual rights, civil rights. America was on that path but Trump has turned our society toward hypercommunism in which the government owns the virtual-minds of the citizens with power to determine the thoughts and movement of individual citizens. Individuals are losing the right to be let alone, our privacy rights in order to function safely in a true democracy. Followers of Trump is being greatly deceived. They are being led away from guaranteed freedom to conditional freedoms which shall be shrined slowly. The un-Constitution affects:

1) In hypercommunism the individual is suppressed allowing no love.

2) The individual’s joy is stolen and turned into a charge for the snakes of hypercommunism.

3) The individual wrestles with the devil snakes who takes the peace of mind of the individual.

4) The individual is stigmatized. Local scrutiny is as bad as national scrutiny and causes violence liken unto mass killings.

5) The individual is isolated and ostracized.

Our U.S. Constitution gives the civil right of no person, group, or government shall place adversity into the life of any individual and the individual is guaranteed the freedom to seek a fulfilling life without adversity being placed into their life. The SIG snake organization is a criminal enterprise as defined by our U.S. Constitution. This is an improbable state because the individual is never stronger than the group. The SIG group can always over power the individual. For America society under the umbrella of our constitution has slowly bent toward individual freedoms. SIG works for mental enslavement

Kindness and goodness is not recognized. Gentleness has no place and is attacked by special interest groups (SIG) who poses as being the voice of the people but is a snake undermining our constitutional individual freedoms and protections.

Under our Constitution the individual has standing against the masses and these are indivisible rights. In the spirit of the Constitution we have the right to have no person nor group blocking our relationship with our God with the same applying to our right to have no adversities place obstructively into our seeking a fulfilling life. No person, group, nor government shall place adversities into the life of any law abiding citizen – no deep state, secret government, or covert organization have any authority above the laws and Constitutional rights for the individual. The mature, responsible individual obeys the laws while the law polices the immature impulses of the irresponsible individual. Hail to our U.S. Constitution that preserves the individual as opposed to the people enslaving of the individual.

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God’s Control Systems: The Carbon Cycle

by GUEST WRITERHugh HenryJune 24, 2021

With so much discussion and concern about climate change, the more we learn about our planet the better off we’ll be. Science has provided some of that learning by revealing how Earth’s “natural control systems” have helped maintain climate stability.

A previous article, “God’s Control Systems: The Water Cycle,” discussed process control systems and how they maintain constant temperature for manufacture of a variety of everyday items. It described the water cycle as one of God’s control systems because it acts like a process control system to moderate Earth’s seasonal temperature variations.

The carbon cycle also has features that resemble control systems to make and maintain Earth as habitable for human life.

Earth is warmed by heat energy from the Sun and, in turn, Earth radiates heat. The principles of global warming entail that some of Earth’s radiated heat is reflected back by atmospheric “greenhouse gases” such as carbon dioxide (CO2). This reflected heat energy is called radiative forcing, and it adds to the heat received from the Sun. Earth’s temperature depends on the Sun’s output and radiative forcing.

The early Earth had an atmosphere similar to our nearest neighbors Venus and Mars: high in CO2 and lacking oxygen (O2). Multiple control processes, including the following, were required to make Earth habitable for humans.

Early Earth’s Control Systems

First, oceans appeared. CO2 combined with H2O to form carbonic acid (H2CO3). The carbon cycle graphic shows that CO2 derivatives became buried in limestone and other rock formations, reducing atmospheric CO2. This was the first of God’s natural control systems.

The second (reverse weathering) and third (weathering) natural control systems are summarized by Hugh Ross in his article, “Highly Fine-Tuned Reverse Weathering Stabilized Earth’s Early Climate.” As simple aquatic life-forms began to emerge, the Sun’s intensity was decreasing. If Earth had become cold enough to freeze the oceans, life might have come to an end. But chemical processes referred to as “reverse weathering”1 increased atmospheric CO2 to compensate for the dimming sun, and the resulting heat from radiative forcing allowed life-forms to flourish. This process continued for about 3 billion years. Then, just before the Cambrian period, the Sun began to brighten as more complex aquatic life-forms emerged. More sunlight might have made Earth too hot, but the process of “weathering”2 removed just the right amounts of atmospheric CO2 to compensate for the Sun’s increasing brightness,3 and life thrived.

Some of these earliest life-forms included photosynthetic microorganisms, which introduced photosynthesis (taking in CO2 and producing O2). Photosynthesis was the fourth of God’s carbon cycle control systems, but it did not yet provide enough O2 to support the more complex life-forms which appeared through the Cambrian period. The deficit was filled by what is referred to as the deep oxygen cycle: a critical intersection of the carbon cycle and the oxygen cycle. As atmospheric CO2 was subducted into Earth, chemical reactions with carbon compounds produced underground O2 which was injected into the atmosphere at the just-right time and quantity to sustain these emerging life-forms.

Green land plants emerged after the Cambrian period, greatly multiplying the effect of photosynthesis. Eventually enough O2 was produced to sustain high-metabolism land animals; and more atmospheric CO2 was removed. Today, photosynthesis is the dominant mechanism to absorb CO2 from human and animal exhales and natural processes—as well as human industry —and maintain 21% O2 and CO2 under 0.1% in Earth’s atmosphere. The deep oxygen cycle makes a secondary contribution.

These thumbnail sketches of early control systems show how over billions of years, God’s control systems produced and maintained Earth as a habitable planet for his human image-bearers. Will this favorable pattern continue?

A New Control System?

Today, atmospheric CO2 is increasing and there are predictions of climate disaster if human CO2 emissions aren’t reduced 45% by 2030. Yet, similar predictions for over 30 years haven’t occurred . . . why not? Were earlier predictions premature and today’s predictions correct? Or is another natural control system operating within the carbon cycle? In a recent academic paper, physicists W. A. van Wijngaarden and W. Happer (W&H) suggest the latter.

Heat radiated from Earth includes a wide spectrum of energies and, therefore, frequencies.4 However, only certain frequencies can interact with greenhouse gas molecules5 and contribute to radiative forcing. Researchers have studied greenhouse gas frequency response extensively; the data is maintained at Harvard University in the HITRAN database.

W&H performed a frequency-dependent estimate of radiative forcing that had never been done before. They “downloaded over 1/3 million rovibrational lines from the most recent HITRAN database to calculate the per-molecule forcings.”6 They also “divided the atmosphere into 500 altitude segments”7 because greenhouse gas concentrations and temperatures vary at different levels of the atmosphere. The physicists then modeled radiative forcing based on both current greenhouse gas concentration and on doubling those concentrations, which led to the following conclusion:

At current concentrations, the forcings from all greenhouse gases are saturated.8

What does this mean? Although more atmospheric CO2 adds heat to Earth by radiative forcing, there may be a point of diminishing returns in which additional atmospheric CO2 has less effect than previously. Earlier calculations based on frequency bands may have missed this effect, but it was picked up by W&H’s line-by-line analysis. Frequency is key in radiative forcing.

The physicists checked their calculations by comparison with satellite data9 and with similar calculations by others.10 Such comparisons do not prove the W&H model but they make it plausible.  

Control Systems Point to a Controller

Climatology is not an exact science. It is based entirely on computer models, of which the W&H analysis is one. Have the two physicists identified another of God’s control systems? Maybe . . . maybe not. But their conclusion is thought-provoking.

What we do know for sure is that God is in control of nature. Human control over CO2 emissions is limited; much comes from natural sources. There are surprises: like research that found a subglacial volcano in Iceland is “a globally important source of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) in spite of being previously assumed to be a minor gas emitter.”11

CO2 effects are an ongoing discussion in the quest to know more about Earth’s climate. Nevertheless, we praise God for the control systems that have made Earth habitable for humans, and we pray his providence continues. We are God’s stewards and must do what we can to maintain a livable planet. We may even need to adapt to changing conditions. But we trust the omnipotent God who alone controls nature, because “in all things God works for the good of those who love him” (Romans 8:28).

Endnotes

  1. Terry T. Isson and Noah J. Planavsky, “Reverse Weathering as a Long-Term Stabilizer of Marine pH and Planetary Climate,” Nature 560, no.7719 (August 23, 2018): 471–475, doi:10.1038/s41586-018-0408-4.
  2. C. K. Keller and B. D. Wood, “Possibility of Chemical Weathering before the Advent of Vascular Land Plants,” Nature 364, no. 6434(July 15, 1993): 223–225, doi:10.1038/364223a0; Lee R. Kump, Susan L. Brantley, and Michael A. Arthur, “Chemical Weathering, Atmospheric CO2, and Climate,” Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences 28 (May 2000): 611–667, doi:10.1146/annurev.earth.28.1.611.
  3. A good summary of weathering as a control system is found in Hugh Ross,Improbable Planet (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2016), 154–157.
  4. Heat energy can be viewed as a traveling wave of electromagnetic radiation. The frequency describes how many wave patterns or cycles pass by in a period of time, and this is directly related to energy.
  5. This is due to the vibration modes of a particular gas, such as CO2 and the electron binding energies (illustrated here for higher energy radiation). All of these depend on the frequency – and hence the energy – of the radiation.
  6. W. A. van Wijngaarden and W. Happer, “Dependence of Earth’s Thermal Radiation on Five Most Abundant Greenhouse Gases,” (June 8, 2020): arXiv:2006.03098v1, available at https://arxiv.org/pdf/2006.03098.pdf .
  7. van Wijngaarden and Happer,“Dependence of Earth’s Thermal Radiation.”
  8. van Wijngaarden and Happer, “Dependence of Earth’s Thermal Radiation.” See especially figure 9 and tables 2 and 4.
  9. van Wijngaarden and Happer, “Dependence of Earth’s Thermal Radiation,” figure 15. See also R. A. Hanel and B. J. Conrath, “Thermal Emission Spectra of the Earth and Atmosphere from the Nimbus 4 Michelson Interferometer Experiment,” Nature 228, no. 5267 (October 10, 1970): 143–145, doi:10.1038/228143a0.
  10. van Wijngaarden and Happer, “Dependence of Earth’s Thermal Radiation,” table 3. See W. D. Collins et al., “Radiative Forcing by Well-Mixed Greenhouse Gases: Estimates from Climate Models in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report (AR4),” Journal of Geophysical ResearchAtmospheres 111, no. D14 (July 27, 2006): doi:10.1029/2005JD006713; van Wijngaarden and Happer, “Dependence of Earth’s Thermal Radiation,” table 5. See also Syukuro Manabe and Richard T. Wetherald, “The Effects of Doubling the CO2 Concentration on the Climate of a General Circulation Model,” Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences 32, no. 1 (January, 1975): 3–15, doi:10.1175/1520-0469(1975)032<0003:TEODTC>2.0.CO;2; B. G. Hunt and N. C. Wells, “An Assessment of the Possible Future Climatic Impact of Carbon Dioxide Increases Based on a Coupled One-Dimensional Atmospheric-Oceanic Model,” Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans 84, no. C2 (February 20, 1979): 787–791, doi:10.1029/JC084iC02p00787; Lukas Kluft et al., “Re-Examining the First Climate Models: Climate Sensitivity of a Modern Radiative-Convective Equilibrium Model,” Journal of Climate 32, no. 23 (December 2019): 8111–8125, doi:10.1175/JCLI-D-18-0774.1.
  11. Evgenia Ilyinskaya et al., “Globally Significant CO2 Emissions From Katla, a Subglacial Volcano in Iceland,” Geophysical Research Letters 45, no. 19 (October 16, 2018): 10332–10341, doi:10.1029/2018GL079096.

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Did Augustine Lead the Ancient Church Astray?

BY KENNETH R. SAMPLES – FEBRUARY 4, 2020

Anybody who has heard my podcast, listened to my theological lectures, reviewed my Reflections blog, or read my books will know that I have a special appreciation for St. Augustine of Hippo (AD 354–430). He is my favorite Christian thinker outside of the Bible, though just a little ahead of other great Christian thinkers like St. Athanasius, Blaise Pascal, and C. S. Lewis. I also realize that not everybody shares my appreciation.

I am attracted to Augustine for many reasons, including the notion that I think a contemporary Christian philosopher needs to hitch their wagon to a robust philosophical-theological tradition within Christendom. In such a system, philosophy serves as a handmaid to historic Christian theology. And for me as an evangelical Protestant, Augustine in particular and the tradition of Augustinianism in general comprise a vibrant orthodox system of Christian thought. While Augustine’s ideas aren’t without reasonable theological challenges and difficulties, I think Augustine and the broad tradition that bears his name got the most important doctrinal issues right (God, creation, sin, salvation) and they reflect a broad ecumenical part of Western Christendom.

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But while I am glad to associate myself with Augustine, some people have challenged me by asserting that Augustine is not an appropriate theological model because he led the ancient church astray. I recently received that criticism from someone who reads my blog posts, and I would like to respond.

Criticism of St. Augustine

“As for Augustine, he was a man with a great experience of God, it would appear, but he was [also] the author/inventor of the most misleading doctrines; doctrines which had never appeared in church history previously and which have blighted the life of the church ever since. It is not for me to evidence what I’m saying in a brief comment like this—I would simply recommend reading God’s Strategy in Human History by Roger Forster and Paul Marston, a book whose appendix in particular takes the Augustinian view apart. Forster is an important church leader/thinker in England, formerly a mathematician at Cambridge; Marston’s area is history and philosophy of science.”

My Response

Here’s my brief response to a couple of the critic’s comments:

“He [Augustine] was the author/inventor of the most misleading doctrines.”

St. Augustine was the champion of such essential Christian doctrines as creation ex nihilo, original sin, salvation by grace, and the Trinity. These doctrines generally reflect the consensus of Christian orthodoxy.

Even Augustine’s somewhat controversial view of predestination is very similar to that of other great theologians such as Thomas Aquinas, Martin Luther, Thomas Cranmer, and John Calvin. Some within Christendom, though certainly not all, would even argue that Augustine’s view largely reflects the views of the apostle Paul as set forth in the Book of Romans (specifically chapters 8 and 9).

Also, some people criticize Augustine for his attachment to Neoplatonism, but I think the criticism is overstated. Neoplatonism does influence some of his thinking, but Augustine’s final authority is Scripture. For example, his body of writing, which extends to five million words, includes some 40,000 biblical references. He is the most prolific author of antiquity, surpassing all other Latin and Greek writers.

“[Augustine’s] doctrines . . . had never appeared in church history previously and . . . have blighted the life of the church ever since.”

Augustine is not highly regarded in Eastern Christendom, but he is still one of the great shapers of Christian orthodoxy overall. His theological influence covers an extensive range: anthropology, hamartiology, soteriology, ecclesiology, and eschatology.

Among patristic scholars, Augustine is often spoken of as the greatest of the church fathers. Rather than being a “blight” on the church, his theological influence has shaped much of Catholic and Protestant thinking about the very nature of the church itself.

We might also consider Augustine’s tremendous influence on other areas such as philosophy (e.g., faith seeking understanding), psychology (e.g., the examined self), and Christian apologetics (e.g., the problem of evil). Thus, I don’t think it is hyperbole to say that St. Augustine is arguably the most influential Christian thinker outside of the New Testament and one of historic Christian theology’s deepest shapers and defenders.

For more details, I recommend my book Classic Christian Thinkers, which includes chapters on Irenaeus, Athanasius, Augustine, Anselm, Aquinas, Luther, Calvin, Pascal, and Lewis.

Although anyone is welcome to disagree with Augustine (many scholars, including me, disagree with some of his views), in such areas as creation, sin, grace, and the triune nature of God his thinking has been held in high regard and he has, without question, shaped virtually all of Western Christendom.

Final Thoughts

St. Augustine was far from a perfect man, and he humbly admitted making mistakes in his theological thinking. His most popular book Confessions testifies to his state as a sinner who was in desperate need of God’s gracious gift of salvation in Christ. And his last book Retractions shows that he wrestled with various theological issues—even changing his mind on some important matters.

Even if you do disagree with some of Augustine’s views, like my friend above, I hope you’ll consider reading his writings and not merely listening to or reading what others, including me, say about him. A good place to start is with his book Confessions. You’ll be reading a Christian and literary classic of Western civilization.

Reflections: Your Turn

Have you read any of St. Augustine’s writings? Do you have a favorite Christian thinker outside of the Bible? Visit Reflections on WordPress to comment with your response.

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THE NEW WORLD ORDER IS UPON US

The new world order is mainly dependent on the operative SIG who are special interests that collect info about private individuals and distribute analyzed-info targeting specific individuals to the detriment of the targeted individual. The SIG snake organization is anti-America and anti-religious; especially Christianity. The goal of the SIG snake organization is hypercommunism whereas the government owns the virtual minds of the populace. The SIG snake organization shall have the power to enslave minds. Now, they can destroy anyone’s livelihood. The SIG snakes thrive on creating controversy in the lives of individuals that are targeted. The inner sanctuary of the mind is invaded and completely disrespected. This activity is now causing mass killings at an alarming rate.

Evil is growing and claiming to be doing good. Ignorance and Stupidity love evil because they can claim to be doing great things. Evil has successfully accused the Word of God to be bad for humanity. This has opened the door to workers of inequality (SIG) who distribute info targeting an individual to the individual’s detriment. How long must I continue a clarion call to return to the Faith and our path of a free society. The snakes of hypercommunism shall continue to cause mass killings because they shall always disrespect the individual during their molding process, and it’s only a matter of time until many individuals shall revolt as has always happened in the past. Our experiment of a free democracy and free society, whereas nothing is between the citizen and God, must continue.

No establishing of a daily repro with an individual citizen by SIG because this would mean anti-freedom. Connect with Christ Jesus, not SIG who has the imagination of Satan.

The innocent expressions of “when it rain; it pours” and “when things go South” are accepted as happenstance occurrences; coincidences. I am posing that special interest groups (SIG) have increased the probability of these occurrences by their manipulation of circumstances relative to these events. In many instances, SIG effectuates circumstances directly using servers of the snake. I am speaking from over 3 decades of experience as being exposed to SIG in a very profound manner. The SIG snake organization has the imagination of Satan and is the bad element in our society. The good in our society is Christ Jesus’ teaching of “Do unto Others as you would have them do unto you.” Jesus is our Lord and Savior.

The common phrases of “things are going South” and “when it rains; it pours” are thought to be only the results of happenstances and coincidences. But, in actuality, special interest groups manipulate circumstances, changing the probabilities, for the unfortunate targeted individual causing many detrimental events to occur in the targeted individual’s life. The special interest groups (SIG) snake organization are master orchestrators that are criminals as defined by the U.S. Constitution. The SIG snake organization is undermining our constitutional rights and freedoms. Our right to be let alone is being eroded. Jesus has been pushed out of our public schools and workplaces with a continual concerted effort to push Jesus out of America. Jesus’ teaching of “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is a saving grace from future mental enslavement by hypercommunism.

I must remark that there is a battle for our minds in this high tech world. Now, we have the battlefield for our minds. The government can now virtually map our minds onto a computer and now have highly sophisticated surveillance devices. The Operative are special interest groups (SIG) that monitor, collect info for passive and active dossiers, and distribute info that targets private citizens. There is no more ” right to be let alone.” This is the coming of a new government, Hypercommunism. ..no civil rights for the targeted individual. The SIG snake social machinery has also become much more sophisticated and has been accelerating rapidly recently. The antidote to Hypercommunism is Christ Jesus who not only saves the individual, but also will save our free society and democracy with civil liberties for All.

NOTE: Even my comments have been censored including Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn and Others. I speak of real coming events from experience, the father of knowledge.

1Larry Myers

3Larry Myers, Samuel Craig and 1 other1 CommentLikeCommentShare

3Larry Myers, Samuel Craig and 1 other1 CommentLikeCommentShare

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What Happened 800,000 Years Ago That Made Civilization Possible?

BY HUGH ROSS – DECEMBER 16, 2019

About 800,000 years ago Earth’s ice age cycle transitioned from being about 41,000 years long to about 100,000 years in duration. During a cycle, Earth’s ice coverage ranges from 10 percent of Earth’s surface to 20–23 percent. This transition, known as the Mid-Pleistocene Transition (MPT), may not seem important, but its highly improbable nature and especially what it means for human civilization has profound significance.

Importance of the MPT
Without the MPT global human civilization at more than a subsistence level would never have begun. More significantly, the MPT has allowed for the eventual existence of a high-technology population of billions of people to know and widely communicate the Creator’s ultimate message for humanity. How?

The MPT made possible warm interglacials, during which ice recedes closer to 10 percent coverage of Earth’s surface, and which last not just 2,000–3,000 years but up to 10,000 years. This allows enough time to launch and sustain global human civilization to a point where billions of humans can live on Earth at one time and possess the technology for everyone to hear and understand the Christian message of how Jesus Christ’s atoning death by crucifixion can reconcile them to their Creator. Two to three thousand years, especially with the temperature instability that was characteristic of the 41,000-year periodicity, would not give the necessary time.

A year ago, I wrote a series of three blogs on the miraculous nature of the MPT.1 In my forthcoming book, Weathering Climate Change, I offer a more complete explanation and description of the MPT.2 Now, a paper published in Nature affirms the conclusions that I drew about the MPT in my blogs and book.3

Eleven geoscientists, led by Princeton University’s Yuzshen Yan, report on their analysis of carbon dioxide and methane concentrations in ice core samples that date from 1.0 to 2.7 million years old. The deepest continuous ice core record of Earth’s past climate comes from EPICA Dome C in East Antarctica. This ice core contains the last 1.5 million annual ice layers. However, the bottom 700,000 layers have been under so much pressure from the top 800,000 layers as to pose a significant challenge to scientists’ attempts to determine a detailed and accurate chronology of Earth’s climate during those 700,000 annual layers. Consequently, EPICA Dome C so far has yielded a detailed, reliable climate record for only the past 800,000 years.

Old Ice Next to a Range of Hills
Recently, glaciologists have discovered old Antarctic ice that is near the surface and, hence, not subject to high pressures. In blue ice regions of Antarctica (the light-blue color results from the ice’s absorption of light and encased air bubbles) a combination of powerful ice flow against a range of high hills and surface ice loss by wind scouring and sublimation (ice directly transforming into water vapor) has brought old ice up near the surface. The Allan Hills region of East Antarctica is one such location (see featured image).

A U. S. Geological Survey team has drilled two ice cores to bedrock in the Allan Hills region. The lowest 30 meters of these cores is 2.7–2.0 million years old. However, for these parts of the cores the dating is uncertain and there is some evidence that layers of ice have been disturbed. Yan’s team determined, though, that the ice layers dating from 1.5–1.0 million years are pristine and yield accurate dates.

In the ice core layers dating from 1.5–1.0 million years Yan’s team carefully measured the abundances of carbon dioxide and methane and the ratio of deuterium (a heavy isotope of hydrogen) to hydrogen. The deuterium-to-light-hydrogen ratio is a proxy for temperature at the time the ice was deposited.

Models for the Transition
Measurements by Yan’s team showed that atmospheric carbon dioxide levels for interglacials both before and after the MPT were similar but that for the glacials they were, on average, 24 parts per million higher before the MPT than after. Yan’s team concluded that their measurements were inconsistent “with hypotheses that attribute the transition into the 100k [-year ice cycle] world to a long-term decline in both interglacial and glacial atmospheric CO2.”4 Instead, they stated that their measures affirmed models that link the MPT to:

  • decreases in atmospheric CO2 during glacial maxima caused by enhanced dust delivery to the Southern Ocean,
  • changes in global ocean circulation, and
  • greater ice sheet size over North America.

In an accompanying commentary Eric Wolff, an Earth scientist at Cambridge University, wrote that “these data force us to look elsewhere for the cause of the longer glacial cycles.”5 Here, Wolff indicates that the leading model explaining the MPT was a long-term decline in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels throughout both glacials and interglacials. However, recent papers published by interdisciplinary research teams that I cited in my three blogs6 have challenged this model.

Evidence for Fine-Tuning
Yan’s team’s findings are consistent with the conclusions I drew in my three blogs and book, with one important exception. I attributed the cause of the MPT to many more simultaneous factors than just the three above. In Weathering Climate Change I describe eleven other factors that also played significant roles.7 However, it appears that Yan’s team did not intend to be exhaustive in listing the causes of the MPT and the three they did list seem to be the most important.

I titled my blogs on the MPT “Miracles of the Mid-Pleistocene Transition” for a reason. The notion that possibly fourteen fine-tuned features of Earth’s ice age cycle simultaneously have combined to give humanity ideal living conditions seems highly improbable, even miraculous. Yan’s team’s research and measurements provide additional justification for the titles and for seeing a Creator’s interventions in Earth’s history to make possible the human story of creation, fall, and redemption.

Featured image: The Allan Hills Region of Antarctica
Image credit: U. S. Geological Survey

 

Endnotes
  1. Hugh Ross, “Miracles of the Mid-Pleistocene Transition, Part 1,” Today’s New Reason to Believe (blog), October 1, 2018, https://reasons.org/explore/blogs/todays-new-reason-to-believe/read/todays-new-reason-to-believe/2018/10/01/miracles-of-the-mid-pleistocene-transition-part-1; Hugh Ross, “Miracles of the Mid-Pleistocene Transition, Part 2,” Today’s New Reason to Believe (blog), October 8, 2018, https://reasons.org/explore/blogs/todays-new-reason-to-believe/read/todays-new-reason-to-believe/2018/10/08/miracles-of-the-mid-pleistocene-transition-part-2; Hugh Ross, “Miracles of the Mid-Pleistocene Transition, Part 3,” Today’s New Reason to Believe (blog), October 15, 2018, https://reasons.org/explore/blogs/todays-new-reason-to-believe/read/todays-new-reason-to-believe/2018/10/15/miracles-of-the-mid-pleistocene-transition-part-3.
  2. Hugh Ross, Weathering Climate Change: A Fresh Approach (Covina, California: RTB Press, forthcoming).
  3. Yuzshen Yan et al., “Two-Million-Year-Old Snapshots of Atmospheric Gases from Antarctic Ice,” Nature 574 (October 30, 2019): 663–666, doi:10.1038/s41586-019-1692-3.
  4. Yan et al., “Atmospheric Gases,” 665.
  5. Eric W. Wolff, “Ancient Air Challenges Prominent Explanation for a Shift in Glacial Cycles,” Nature 574 (October 31, 2019): 636–637, doi:10.1038/d41586-019-03199-8.
  6. Ross, “Miracles of the Mid-Pleistocene Transition, Part 1,”; Ross, “Miracles of the Mid-Pleistocene Transition, Part 2,”; Ross, “Miracles of the Mid-Pleistocene Transition, Part 3.”
  7. Ross, Weathering Climate Change, chapter 13 and the appendix.

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God’s Control Systems: The Water Cycle

by GUEST WRITERHugh HenryMay 27, 2021

My first job out of graduate school involved process control systems. From complex semiconductor chips for computers and cell phones to simple injection-molded plastic parts, many items we use every day must be manufactured at precise temperatures. If too hot or too cold, these items couldn’t be made—or at best wouldn’t work.

Precise temperature control utilizes what is referred to as a “feedback loop.” First, a sensor precisely measures the critical temperature and feeds it back to an electronic controller. The controller compares that measurement to the proper temperature and notes any deviation (+ or -). If the temperature isn’t correct, the controller signals the heating system to add or reduce the heat by just the right amount to bring the temperature to where it should be.

A home thermostat is a simple example of a control system. It measures the room temperature and turns the furnace or air conditioner on or off to make our home warmer or colder.

All such control systems are designed by an intelligent human agent. Hence when similar systems are found in nature, design by an intelligent agent is inferred. We believe this suggests an intelligent Creator-God—as does evidence of design in the universe and in the laws of physics.1

We can refer to such natural controls as “God’s control systems,” and we find evidence of them in the water and carbon cycles. This post will discuss the water cycle; a subsequent post will address the carbon cycle.

The Water Cycle

Water (H2O) exists in three phases: solid (ice), liquid (water), and gas (water vapor). Ice becomes water (and vice versa) at a melting point temperature of 32oF (or 0oC), and water becomes water vapor at a boiling point temperature of 212oF (or 100oC).

We experience ice naturally when the temperature falls below 32oF. We also experience water vapor in the atmosphere, known as humidity. But Earth hasn’t been as hot as 212oF for millions of years, so how does water vapor get into the atmosphere?

This process is explained by physics:

Gasses and liquids consist of molecules moving at high speed. Some liquid molecules evaporate into gas because of their high velocity, and some gas molecules with a lower velocity condense into liquid.

This introduces the water cycle as a natural control system which moderates Earth’s seasonal temperature variations. Summer heat and winter cold occur because the axis of Earth is tilted as it rotates around the Sun. The northern hemisphere experiences the intense warming of direct sunlight in summer, but less warming in winter due to indirect sunlight. The reverse occurs in the southern hemisphere.

Step 1: Evaporation

As this graphic illustrates, the first step in the water cycle is the evaporation of surface water. This process has the effect of cooling Earth’s surface—as explained by the physics:

Water doesn’t become water vapor just by reaching 212oF; additional heat—called “latent heat”—must be added. If water is boiled on the stove, the latent heat comes from the burner; if the water is evaporated naturally, latent heat is removed from the surroundings, cooling the surroundings. Moreover, more molecules evaporate from a hot liquid than from a cold liquid; this removes more latent heat and provides more cooling of the surroundings.

This concept may be easier to understand in the ice-to-water transition, which works the same way. The ice in a beverage gets smaller as it liquefies; in so doing, it removes latent heat from the beverage, keeping the beverage cool.

Step 2: Condensation

The second step in the water cycle is also based on physics:

Hot gas rises in the atmosphere.

The evaporated water vapor rises in the “troposphere,” the lowest level of our atmosphere, which is up to 130 (70) colder than Earth’s surface. The cold temperature causes the water vapor to condense, and clouds to form.

Step 3: Precipitation

The clouds produce rain. This is the third and final step in the water cycle, and it involves more physics:

When a cold object is in contact with a hot object, heat is transferred from the hot object to the cold one; the hot object becomes cooler, and the cold object becomes warmer.

The rain is cold, coming down from the troposphere. As cold rain touches a warm Earth, heat is transferred from Earth to the rainwater, cooling Earth as the rainwater is warmed.

Thus the water cycle moderates Earth’s temperature with two cooling events:

  1. Evaporation of surface water cools Earth by removing latent heat.
  2. Cold rain cools a warm Earth.

Saturation: Keeping Humidity in Check

In addition to the water cycle itself, there is an associated natural control system: saturation. Saturation occurs when evaporating liquid molecules equal condensing gas molecules; this limits the amount of water vapor in the air. Humidity refers to water vapor in the atmosphere, and “100% relative humidity” refers to water vapor saturation. The saturation effect assures us that even though it can be really uncomfortable on a hot day with 100% relative humidity, it can’t get any worse! Can you imagine how oppressive humidity could be without this natural control system?

How Much Cooling Is Involved?

How significant are the cooling effects of the water cycle? A final bit of physics helps us understand:

In the heat transfer from a hot object to a cold one, different substances require greater or lesser amounts of heat to warm (or cool) them by a particular number of degrees. The term “specific heat capacity” indicates the relative amount of heat that must be added (or given up) to raise (or lower) temperature. The higher the specific heat capacity of a substance, the more heat is needed (or given up) for each degree of temperature change.

This allows us to assess the cooling effect of the water cycle:

The One Who Is in Control

We still experience hot, humid days in summer and cold days in winter. God’s control system of the water cycle does not prevent that—it just moderates the effect. Without the water cycle and the saturation effect, hot, humid days could be hotter and more humid and cold winter days could be colder. These natural control systems reinforce the biblical idea that God is in control and prepared Earth as a habitable planet for humans, his ultimate creation.

Endnotes

  1. Hugh Ross, Improbable Planet: How Earth Became Humanity’s Home (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2016). See also reasons.org articles on the topic of design.

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How Can We Know That There Is an Afterlife?

by Hugh RossJune 4, 2021

Question of the week: As a Christian, how can I know that when I die there is something beyond this life? Do you have any advice on how to deal with this question that plagues my faith?

My answer: There are several ways. The two that personally bring me the most confidence are the historical evidence for the bodily resurrection of Jesus from the dead and the obvious reality of Ecclesiastes 3:11. Ecclesiastes 3:11 says that God has written eternity on the heart of every human being. Of life on Earth, we humans are the only creatures that think about life after death, the meaning of life, the existence of an eternal Creator, morality, judgment, the purpose of the universe, and our purpose for living, both in this life and the afterlife. If there is no afterlife, why are we humans so compelled to think, meditate, and debate about these matters? Why is it that even committed atheists acknowledge that there is a universal law that distinguishes good from evil? Why do they also believe that their lives have value, meaning, and purpose? Why are people all around the world so fixated on finding redemption from their propensity to commit evil or fixated on trying to justify themselves and their behavior?

As many scholars have pointed out (for example, Gary Habermas, Josh McDowell, and William Lane Craig), the historical evidence for the bodily resurrection of Jesus from the dead is stronger than the historical evidence for the defeat of Napoléon at Waterloo or for the surrender of Germany in 1918. There is so much historical evidence that Habermas currently is writing a 3,500-page multivolume set that will document about 80 percent of the existing evidence. For a brief summary, go here.    

If Jesus can raise himself bodily from the dead, then he certainly possesses the power to raise us bodily from the dead. He promised to do so. The historical evidence for the moral, sin-free perfection of Jesus (note that even Jesus’s enemies, his mother, and his brothers acknowledged that he was sinless—John 8:46) and the truthfulness of his words leave no doubt that he will keep his word. Bible

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What Was Your Intellectual Epiphany?

BY KENNETH R. SAMPLES – SEPTEMBER 15, 2020

Have you ever had a sudden realization that ended up changing your life? You may have had an epiphany, which can be defined as an intuitive flash of insight or discovery as to the deep meaning of something significant that comes through experience and leads to a sense of wonder.

Over the years I have experienced some significant spiritual and intellectual turning points. At the time of these events I knew I was encountering something special or unique. But only through looking back do I recognize just how important these experiences have been.

One such experience, an intellectual epiphany, came to me as a young student and it changed the way I thought about ideas and the importance of study. This experience has stayed with me my entire life.

My Intellectual Epiphany

Growing up I wasn’t a diligent student at all. In fact, if you spoke with my teachers (elementary through high school) I know what they would say about my effort. I know because I heard them convey it to me and to my parents often: “Kenny Samples only does enough school work to get by.” This deliberate approach was even more true by junior high school when I determined that what I really wanted in life was to be a professional athlete (I loved basketball and baseball). So sports trumped study.

But at age 13 when I was in the eighth grade I experienced an intellectual epiphany of sorts. In my social science/history class we studied the topic of World War II. My father, Jesse A. Samples, had been a combat soldier serving in the European theater of the war fighting against the German army. In preparing to write a school report about the conflict, my father and I went to a bookstore and bought a couple of reference books about World War II. That evening as my dad and I perused through the books my father discovered two photographs of himself in Hans Dollinger’s book The Decline and Fall of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan.1 The photos were black and white, grainy, and from a distance but my dad, mom, and I could all recognize it was my father.

This discovery surprised me and made me think differently about my dad and ideas. World War II and my father’s participation in it sparked my intellectual life. I began to realize that ideas and ideologies have consequences and that my father and his band of brothers had been involved in a great crusade to stop Nazi tyranny and oppression. I began reading about various aspects of the Second World War including the Holocaust. And the profound topic of the twentieth century’s world wars has never left me to this very day.

I distinctly remember my eighth grade teacher Mr. Morris praising my report in class and saying that the topic of World War II had “turned Kenny on academically.” That event from my childhood stirred me and influenced my interest in the big questions of life. My decision to study history and philosophy in college and later, theology, were influenced by my intellectual discovery in junior high school.

Providential Church Encounter

Many years later, I attended a Dutch Reformed church where an elderly man in the congregation learned of my interest in World War II. Through our many discussions about the war I learned that this man knew Reformed theologian George Stob2 (1907–2002) who had served as my father’s chaplain during the war (U.S. Army’s 44th Infantry Division) and had signed my dad’s Bible. I didn’t even know George Stob was a theologian let alone a theologian in my denomination. Few people would have known of Stob (who at the time was 93 years old) outside of the closely connected Dutch Reformed community. I was first amazed, but then further interaction with my fellow church member led to a connection with Stob’s wife and she told me that her husband often spoke about the courageous young men he had ministered to during the war. Again, with another surprise encounter concerning my dad and World War II I sensed that God’s providence was at work behind the scenes of my life and the life of my family.

Looking back, I came to see that this early intellectual epiphany—affirmed many years later by learning about my father’s chaplain—was truly a turning point in my life. It set me on a trajectory of exploring life’s big questions and ideas. Has something like this ever happened to you?

Reflections: Your Turn

Have there been significant times in your life where you can reflect back and see that God was transforming your mind and soul? Visit Reflections on WordPress to comment with your response.

Endnotes
  1. See Hans Dollinger, The Decline and Fall of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan: A Pictorial History of the Final Days of World War II (New York: Gramercy, 1965), https://www.amazon.com/Decline-Germany-Imperial-Pictorial-History/dp/B000B2C1UE/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=hans+dollinger+the+decline+and+fall+of+nazi+germany+and+japan&qid=1569634440&s=books&sr=1-1.
  2. Concerning chaplain and theologian George Stob, see this historical note at https://archives.calvin.edu/?p=creators/creator&id=544.

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Update on Our Miraculous Moon

BY HUGH ROSS – AUGUST 31, 2020

How did the Moon form and why does it matter? Researchers have learned that the size of the colliding bodies that resulted in our Moon provides more evidence for lunar design.

I have written previously about the amazing fine-tuning in the formation of Earth’s Moon1 and the fine-tuned features it presently manifests that play crucial roles that make advanced life possible.2 The level of fine-tuning is so complex and exquisite that one Moon-formation expert wrote in Nature that it has caused “philosophical disquiet” among his colleagues.3 Now, new discoveries are sure to generate even more philosophical disquiet and hopefully greater acknowledgment of God’s role in designing the Moon for the benefit and destiny of humanity.

An Amazing Moon
Our Moon is like no other moon. Relative to the mass of its host planet it is 52 times larger than any other known moon. Thanks to the Moon’s extremely large mass relative to Earth’s, it confers these benefits:

  1. Earth’s rotation axis tilt varies by only ±1°.
  2. Earth’s rotation rate presently is 24 hours, slow enough to minimize pole-to-equator temperature differences and fast enough to maintain a stable rotation axis tilt.
  3. Earth receives extraordinary abundances of highly siderophile (iron-loving) elements (gold, platinum, palladium, iridium, rhenium, rhodium, ruthenium, and osmium) that are critical for sustaining high-technology civilization.
  4. Herbivores and carnivores on Earth have an optimal night light.
  5. Earth manifests an optimal ice age cycle for global civilization and a high human population.

Thanks to the Moon’s tiny iron core and porous crust, the Moon’s large mass is complemented by a low density. Hence, the Moon has a large diameter for its mass (it’s big but not heavy). Presently, the Moon subtends an angle in the sky from the perspective of Earth’s surface that is identical to the angle subtended by the Sun. This fortuitous and unique identity means that humans on Earth witness perfect solar eclipses. The opportunity for astronomers to observe perfect solar eclipses gives them a unique tool to study the solar corona as far away as 10° from the Sun’s visible disk. Perfect solar eclipses also permit detailed observations of the Sun’s atmosphere, chromosphere, and flares. Much of what astronomers have discerned about stellar coronae, chromospheres, atmospheres and flaring has come by observing multiple perfect solar eclipses. The timing of solar eclipses allowed historians to produce a calendar of events during humanity’s early history.

Perfect solar eclipses also provided the first confirmation of Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity. Einstein’s theory asserted the universe had a finite age—it had a beginning, which implied that there was a cosmic Beginner, one that matches the Bible’s description of God.

If it were not for our Moon possessing precisely the features that it does, advanced life would not be possible. Furthermore, humans would not possess as much compelling scientific evidence as they do for God’s existence, character attributes, and the divine inspiration of the Bible.

New Discoveries Add Design Evidence
Over a decade ago, astronomers established that the Moon formed as a result of a planet that they named Theia, roughly the mass of Mars, colliding with the primordial Earth. However, a set of measurements indicated that both Earth and the Moon possessed the same oxygen isotope ratios.4 This identity either implied that the two planets had identical initial compositions or that during the collision their compositions got completely mixed together. For the latter scenario to occur, the masses of each body would need to be similar.

For the initial compositions of the pair to be nearly identical, Theia would need to form at the same orbital distance from the Sun as the primordial Earth. Though not impossible, such a scenario poses difficult challenges in attempts to model the dynamics of the early solar system. As for Theia and the primordial Earth possessing nearly similar initial masses, to date astronomers have been unable (with that assumption about masses) to produce a Moon-formation model that yields the present properties of the Moon and Earth.

In modeling the geochemical influences of the Moon-forming impact event on Earth’s mantle, three geophysicists showed that a Theia larger than 15 percent of Earth’s present mass always negated the present-day concentrations of the siderophile elements nickel, cobalt, chromium, and vanadium.5 However, a Theia that was only 11–15 percent of Earth’s present mass meant that the present Earth and Moon must, at least to some degree, possess distinct oxygen isotope compositions.

In a recent issue of Nature Geoscience, a team of three planetary astronomers presented high-precision oxygen isotope analyses of different lunar lithologies (rock units).6 Their analyses established that the Moon and Earth indeed have distinctly different oxygen isotope compositions. Specifically, the three planetary astronomers showed that while the crustal rocks of the Moon and Earth exhibit similar oxygen isotope ratios, rock samples derived from the deep lunar mantle are isotopically heavy compared to Earth. These findings imply that the deep interior of the Moon possesses the isotopic composition of Theia whereas the lunar surface and upper mantle has been completely homogenized by the Theia-primordial Earth impact event.

Philosophical Implications
The new discoveries have resolved the last remaining significant anomalies in models for the formation of the Moon. The new, reliable constraints on Theia’s mass are consistent with all the observed features of the present-day Moon and Earth. Quantitative evidence now permits Theia to form at an orbital distance different from Earth’s. These two discoveries mean that the previously demonstrated evidence for extraordinary, exquisitely fine-tuned designs in the Moon-forming collision event is now firmly established and, with it, evidence for a Moon-forming Fine-Tuner.

Image: Artist’s Conception of the Moon-Forming Event
Credit: NASA

Endnotes
  1. Hugh Ross, “The Remarkable Design of the Solar System’s Youth, Part 2,” Today’s New Reason to Believe (blog), June 6, 2011, https://reasons.org/explore/blogs/todays-new-reason-to-believe/read/tnrtb/2011/06/06/the-remarkable-design-of-the-solar-system-s-turbulent-youth-part-2; Hugh Ross, “Increasing Lunar Coincidences Lead to ‘Philosophical Disquiet,’” Today’s New Reason to Believe (blog), February 3, 2014, https://www.reasons.org/articles/increasing–lunar–coincidences–lead–to–philosophical–disquiet; Hugh Ross, Improbable Planet (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2016), 48–59, https://shop.reasons.org/product/283/improbable-planet; Hugh Ross, “Where Did Earth Get Its Fine-Tuned Supply of Water?” Today’s New Reason to Believe (blog), August 6, 2018, https://reasons.org/explore/blogs/todays-new-reason-to-believe/read/todays-new-reason-to-believe/2018/08/06/where-did-earth-gets-its-fine-tuned-supply-of-water.
  2. Hugh Ross, “Solar and Lunar Tides Designed for Complex Life,” Today’s New Reason to Believe (blog), March 25, 2019, https://reasons.org/explore/blogs/todays-new-reason-to-believe/read/todays-new-reason-to-believe/2019/03/25/solar-and-lunar-tides-designed-for-complex-life; Hugh Ross, “Lunar Designs Optimize Life for Both Predators and Prey,” Today’s New Reason to Believe (blog), November 20, 2017, https://reasons.org/explore/blogs/todays-new-reason-to-believe/read/todays-new-reason-to-believe/2017/11/20/lunar-designs-optimize-life-for-both-predators-and-prey; Hugh Ross, “Thank God for Perfect Solar Eclipses,” Today’s New Reason to Believe (blog), July 10, 2017, https://reasons.org/explore/blogs/todays-new-reason-to-believe/read/todays-new-reason-to-believe/2017/07/10/thank-god-for-perfect-solar-eclipses; Hugh Ross, “Rare Moon Just Got Rarer,” Today’s New Reason to Believe (blog), June 5, 2017, https://reasons.org/explore/blogs/todays-new-reason-to-believe/read/todays-new-reason-to-believe/2017/06/05/rare-moon-just-got-rarer; Hugh Ross, “Yet More Reasons to Thank God for the Moon,” Today’s New Reason to Believe (blog), November 22, 2016, https://reasons.org/explore/blogs/todays-new-reason-to-believe/read/todays-new-reason-to-believe/2016/11/22/yet-more-reasons-to-thank-god-for-the-moon; Hugh Ross, “Confirming the Moon’s Vital Role,” Today’s New Reason to Believe (blog), November 10, 2008, https://reasons.org/explore/blogs/todays-new-reason-to-believe/read/tnrtb/2008/11/10/confirming-the-moon’s-vital-role.
  3. Tim Elliott, “A Chip Off the Old Block,” in “Shadows Cast on Moon’s Origin,” Nature 504 (December 5, 2013): 90, doi:10.1038/504090a.
  4. U. Wiechert et al., “Oxygen Isotopes and the Moon-Forming Giant Impact,” Science 294, no. 5541 (October 12, 2001)é: 345–48, doi:10.1126/science.1063037; Michael J. Spicuzza et al., “Oxygen Isotope Constraints on the Origin and Differentiation of the Moon,” Earth and Planetary Science Letters 253, nos. 1–2 (January 2007): 254–65, doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2006.10.030; Edward D. Young et al., “Oxygen Isotopic Evidence for Vigorous Mixing During the Moon-Forming Giant Impact,” Science 351, no. 6272 (January 29, 2016): 493–96, doi:10.1126/science.aad0525.
  5. Hélène Piet, James Badro, and Philippe Gillet, “Geochemical Constraints on the Size of the Moon-Forming Giant Impact,” Geophysical Research Letters 44, no. 23 (December 2017): 11,770–77, doi:10.1002/2017GL075225.
  6. Erick J. Cano, Zachary D. Sharp, and Charles K. Shearer, “Distinct Oxygen Isotope Compositions of the Earth and Moon,” Nature Geoscience 13 (March 9, 2020): 270–74, doi:10.1038/s41561-020-0550-0.

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Hugh Ross

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Reasons to Believe emerged from my passion to research, develop, and proclaim the most powerful new reasons to believe in Christ as Creator, Lord, and Savior and to use those new reasons to reach p… Read more about Hugh Ross.

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How Did the Sun End Up with Its Unique Rocky Planets?

by Hugh RossMay 17, 2021

It’s easy to take the solar system for granted, but our present, life-friendly configuration of planets and the Sun has not always been this way. Astronomers continue to discover anomalous properties of the solar system and how they reveal design.

Our solar system began with five rocky planets: Mercury, Venus, Theia, Earth, and Mars; and five gaseous planets: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and an unnamed planet slightly smaller than Uranus. Theia merged with the proto-Earth to form the present-day Earth and Moon.1 The Sun’s unnamed gaseous planet either was ejected from the solar system or placed in an orbit about fifty times more distant from the Sun than Neptune.2

In their quest to find planets like ours, so far astronomers have discovered and confirmed 4,715 planets (exoplanets) beyond the solar system.3 Most of these planets are gaseous or what astronomers call super-Earths. While super-Earths may not be predominantly comprised of gases, nevertheless, their atmospheres are far too thick for any of them to be considered possible candidates to host life.

Based on what measurements are available, astronomers have developed two distinct definitions for a rocky planet. NASA defines rocky planets, also known as terrestrial or telluric planets, as planets with diameters less than 125 percent of Earth’s diameter where the masses, if known, are less than 1.4 times Earth’s mass and the orbital distances are less than 2.0 astronomical units from their host stars. (1 astronomical unit = Earth’s average orbital distance from the Sun: 149,597,871 kilometers or 92,955,807 miles.) Where astronomers know the measurements of the mass and diameter of a planet, a rocky planet is defined as a planet up to 110 percent Earth’s mass with a density greater than 3.0 grams/cubic centimeter. So far, astronomers have detected and confirmed 409 such extrasolar rocky planets.

The Sun’s Anomalous Rocky Planets
The Sun’s rocky planets orbit at greater distances than do rocky planets orbiting other stars. Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars orbit the Sun at distances of 0.387, 0.728, 1.00, and 1.524 astronomical units (AU), respectively. Their densities are 5.427, 5.243, 5.514, and 3.934 grams/cubic centimeter. Of the 409 detected and confirmed rocky planets orbiting other nuclear burning stars, the one that orbits its star most distantly, Kepler 367-c, orbits at a distance of only 0.253 AU. Of the 197 exoplanets with accurately measured orbital distances that have been classified as rocky planets, 94.4% orbit their host stars more closely than 0.10 AU.4 This statistic (of short orbital distances) can perhaps be partially, but surely not entirely, blamed on observational bias. Astronomers have detected small planets orbiting their host stars as distantly as 1.98 AU.

Astronomers expect the densities of rocky planets to decline with orbital distance. Greater orbital distance means there is less heat from the host star to drive off light gases and light elements. The solar system, with the exception of Earth, illustrates this correlation well. Earth is exceptional in that its collision/merger with Theia produced heat that stripped it of its gases, liquids, and many light elements.

Given how closely rocky exoplanets orbit their host stars, astronomers expected that their densities would far exceed those of the Sun’s rocky planets. Surprisingly, the average density of rocky exoplanets with measured densities is only 4.472 grams per cubic centimeter.5

Clearly, the Sun’s rocky planets stand radically apart from known rocky exoplanets. The big question is why? I’ll review some of the recent discoveries that explain how we got our anomalous planets. Feel free to skim and move to “Significance of the Sun’s Anomalous Elements and Rocky Planets” if you don’t need all the details.

Explanation of the Sun’s Anomalous Rocky Planets
In their search for a star that is a twin of the Sun, astronomers have recognized that the Sun is anomalous.6 Could it be that the Sun’s anomalous nature among stars may also explain the anomalous nature of its rocky planets?

The Sun’s relative abundance of elements is unlike that of any other known star. Several astronomical studies, when considered together, now explain the link between the Sun’s unique abundance of elements and unique configuration of rocky planets.

In one study, a team of astronomers led by Jorge Meléndez compared the Sun’s elemental abundance with that of 21 stars closely resembling the Sun.7 They found that the Sun is 20 percent more depleted than is typical in its ratio of refractory elements (those with high boiling points) to volatile elements (those with low boiling points). A follow-up study of 79 Sun-like stars affirmed this finding.8

In particular, the quantity of lithium observed on a star’s surface (photosphere) holds special importance. It serves as a sensitive indicator of the star’s interior characteristics and composition. Stars like the Sun are unable to manufacture lithium in their nuclear cores. What lithium they acquired in their formation process came from the nucleosynthesis that occurred during the first few minutes after the cosmic origin event. However, reactions operating within the stellar core and radiative zone act to destroy the lithium.

Elemental analysis of primitive solar system meteorites indicates lithium was relatively abundant in the gas cloud out of which the Sun and its planetary system formed. However, the amount of lithium on the Sun’s surface9 is far below that of the primordial solar system—roughly 170 times below that level.10 This large difference is exceptional, given the Sun’s relative youth—just 4.567 billion years of age.11 (Stars close to the Sun’s mass can sustain nuclear fusion for 9–10 billion years.)

Astronomical observations have established a strong inverse correlation between stellar rotation rate and lithium depletion. Stellar rotation affects the mixing efficiency of stellar matter at the boundary between the convective and the deeper radiative zones. The higher the rotation rate, the more effectively stellar material in the convection zone, in the form of penetrating plumes, is blocked from entering the inner radiative zone.

The influence of the Sun’s changing rotation rate on plume penetration makes perfect sense of the helioseismology data.12 It also explains observations of the Sun’s magnetic field and the Sun’s magnetic activity.13

Stellar rotation rates decrease as stars age. For stars of similar mass to the Sun, the observed rate of rotation accurately reveals the age of the star. The older the star and the more its rotation has slowed, the less lithium that remains in the star’s photosphere (surface).

The Sun differs, however, from the typical relationship between a star’s age and surface lithium abundance. A team of astronomers led by Marília Carlos measured the surface lithium abundance in 77 stars that most closely matched the Sun’s effective temperature, surface gravity, and metallicity.14 Their research affirmed a strong linear correlation between stellar age and surface lithium depletion, but the Sun’s surface lithium abundance proved far lower than that of any star in its age range, 4.1–5.1 billion years.

Carlos’s team noted that the most lithium-depleted stars in their sample of solar-like stars also had the fewest refractory elements. In this respect they appeared similar to the Sun. But this finding led to a question: How can such relatively metal-rich stars be so poor in terms of refractory elements?

In 2004, another team of astronomers, led by Garik Israelian, compared the surface lithium abundance of 79 stars that host planets with 38 stars that host none.15 They noticed greater lithium depletion in planet-hosting stars with effective temperatures between 5,600 and 5,850 Kelvin, closely matching the Sun’s effective temperature of 5,772 Kelvin. This severe lithium depletion, they explained, is the expected outcome of the transfer of angular momentum from a star to its protoplanetary disk and eventual planets. Such angular momentum transfer will have a braking effect on rotation in the planet-hosting star’s convective zone, thus deepening the zone and leading to greater penetration of plumes into the radiative zone.

In 2006, in a parallel study, astronomers Yu-Qin Chen and Gang Zhao affirmed that planet-hosting solar-type stars manifest greater lithium depletion than stars without planets.16 In 2009, in a follow-up study of 451 stars with effective temperatures similar to the Sun’s, Israelian and his colleagues found that 50% of solar-analog stars with no detected planets have, on average, 10 times more surface lithium than solar-analog, planet-bearing stars.17

In 2019, Carlos’s team clarified that the key difference maker is not just whether a star hosts planets but, rather, what kinds of planets it hosts.18 In particular, what matters is the total mass of rocky planets a star hosts and how far they orbit from the host star.

The solar system has the second-highest total mass of rocky planets of any known planetary system, exceeded only by the TRAPPIST-1 system.19 The seven TRAPPIST-1 planets, however, orbit their host star at distances ranging from only 0.01–0.06 AU, where the most massive planet in the system is only 15% more massive than Earth. Furthermore, five of the seven TRAPPIST-1 planets are not actually rocky. They possess very thick “envelopes of volatiles in the form of thick atmospheres, oceans, or ice.”20 Therefore, the solar system differs from other known planetary systems in both the quantity of refractory elements and of angular momentum transferred from the host star to its system of rocky planets. (The angular momentum transfer is roughly determined by the masses and orbital distances of the planets.)

Astronomers now understand that the Sun’s exceptionally low abundance of lithium and refractory elements likely explains the Sun’s unique system of rocky planets. One team of astronomers concluded their research paper by saying the peculiar solar elemental composition “would imply that solar-like stars with planetary systems similar to our own are a relatively rare occurrence.”21

Significance of the Sun’s Anomalous Elements and Rocky Planets
What do all these atypical features tell us? The Sun’s anomalously low abundance of lithium and refractory elements together with the Sun’s mass and age help keep the Sun’s flaring activity level extremely and uniquely low.22 These solar features help account for the Sun’s exceptionally low levels of short ultraviolet and x-ray radiation, at present. Only because these levels and intensities of flares and of short ultraviolet and x-ray radiation are extremely low is global, high-technology civilization on Earth possible.

Theoretically, the enormous quantity of refractory elements and angular momentum transferred from the Sun to its rocky planets should allow for a high-mass, high-density rocky planet, orbiting as distantly as 1.0 AU. Such a transfer of elements and angular momentum does not guarantee that this planet would not also possess a relatively thick atmosphere, one at least twice as thick as Venus’s, and a thick hydrosphere. In reality, the Sun’s transfer of angular momentum and refractory elements to its rocky planets produced five distantly orbiting rocky planets, two of which orbited at a distance of approximately 1.0 AU.

The early collision between proto-Earth and the Sun’s fifth rocky planet, Theia, guaranteed that Earth would become massive enough, dense enough, and sufficiently stripped of gases and water that it could become a home for advanced life. This early collision also produced the Moon. It was the early coupling of the Moon’s magnetosphere with Earth’s magnetosphere that prevented Earth from losing all its atmosphere and hydrosphere.23

Earth’s orbit from the Sun is barely distant enough to prevent Earth from becoming tidally locked to the Sun and ending up with a long rotation rate like that of Mercury or Venus. Earth’s companion rocky planets play important roles in stabilizing the orbital architecture of Earth and the other solar system planets.

These discoveries about the Sun’s anomalous elements and anomalous rocky planets add to the weight of evidence for the rare Earth, rare Sun, and rare planetary system doctrines. These doctrines state that Earth, the Sun, and the solar system all are amazingly and uniquely designed to make it possible for humans and global high-technology civilization to exist and thrive on Earth.

Endnotes

  1. Hugh Ross, “Update on Our Miraculous Moon,” Today’s New Reason to Believe (August 31, 2020); Hugh Ross, “Increasing Lunar Coincidences Lead to ‘Philosophical Disquiet,’” Today’s New Reason to Believe (March 3, 2014).
  2. Hugh Ross, “Recent Research Strengthens the Creation-Friendly Grand Tack Model,” Today’s New Reason to Believe (February 1, 2016); Hugh Ross, “Is the Solar System Too Fine-Tuned for Modern Science?” Today’s New Reason to Believe (January 7, 2016); Konstantin Batygin, Michael E. Brown, and Hayden Betts, “Instability-Driven Dynamical Evolution Model of a Primordially Five-Planet Outer Solar System,” Astrophysical Journal Letters 744 (January 1, 2012): id. L3, doi:10.1088/2041-8205/744/1/L3.
  3. The Extrasolar Planets Encyclopaedia—Catalog (accessed April 15, 2021), exoplanet.eu/catalog.
  4. Extrasolar Planets Encyclopaedia.
  5. Extrasolar Planets Encyclopaedia.
  6. Hugh Ross, “Our Sun Is Still the One and Only,” Today’s New Reason to Believe (April 17, 2017).
  7. Jorge Meléndez et al., “The Peculiar Solar Composition and Its Possible Relation to Planet Formation,” Astrophysical Journal Letters 704, no. 1 (October 10, 2009): L66–L70, doi:10.1088/0004-637X/704/1/L66.
  8. Meléndez et al., “The Peculiar Solar Composition,” L66.
  9. Marília Carlos et al., “The Li-Age Correlation: The Sun Is Unusually Li Deficient for Its Age,” Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 485, no. 3 (May 2019): 4052–4059, doi:10.1093/mnras/stz681.
  10. Walter Nichiporuk and Carleton B. Moore, “Lithium, Sodium, and Potassium Abundances in Carbonaceous Chrondrites,” Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 38, no. 11 (November 1974): 1691–1694, doi:10.1016/0016-7037(74)90186-0; D. Krankowsky and O. Müller, “Isotopic Composition and Abundance of Lithium in Meteoritic Matter,” Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 31, no. 10 (October 1967): 1833–1842, doi:10.1016/0016-7037(67)90125-1; James M. D. Day et al., “Evidence for High-Temperature Fractionation of Lithium Isotopes during Differentiation of the Moon,” Meteoritics & Planetary Science 51, no. 6 (June 2016): 1046–1062, doi:10.1111/maps.12643.
  11. James N. Connelly et al., “The Absolute Chronology and Thermal Processing of Solids in the Solar Protoplanetary Disk,” Science 338, no. 6107 (November 2, 2012): 651–655, doi:10.1126/science.1226919; E. G. Adelberger et al., “Solar Fusion Cross Sections. II. The pp Chain and CNO Cycles,” Review of Modern Physics 83, no. 1 (January 2011): 195–246, doi:10.1103/RevModPhys.83.195.
  12. I. Baraffe et al., “Lithium Depletion in Solar-Like Stars: Effect of Overshooting Based on Realistic Multi-Dimensional Simulations,” Astrophysical Journal Letters 845, no. 1 (August 10, 2017): id. L6, doi:10.3847/2041-8213/aa82ff; J. Christensen-Dalsgaard et al., “A More Realistic Representation of Overshoot at the Base of the Solar Convective Envelope as Seen by Helioseismology,” Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 414, no. 2 (June 2011): 1158–1174, doi:10.1111/1365-2966.2011.18460.x; S. Basu, “Helioseismic Evidence for Mixing in the Sun,” in Chemical Abundances and Mixing in Stars in the Milky Way and Its Satellites, Proceedings of the ESO-Arcetri Workshop Held in Castiglione della Pescaia, Italy, September 13–17, 2004, eds. S. Randich and L. Pasquini (Berlin: Springer Nature, 2006), 284–287, doi:10.1007/978-3-540-34136-9_93.
  13. M. Rempel, “Overshoot at the Base of the Solar Convection Zone: A Semianalytical Approach,” Astrophysical Journal 607, no. 2 (June 1, 2004): 1046–1064, doi:10.1086/383605.
  14. Carlos et al., “The Li-Age Correlation.”
  15. Garik Israelian et al., “Lithium in Stars with Exoplanets,” Astronomy & Astrophysics 414, no. 2 (February 2004): 601–611, doi:10.1051/0004-6361:20034398.
  16. Y. Q. Chen and G. Zhao, “A Comparative Study on Lithium Abundances in Solar-Type Stars with and without Planets,” Astronomical Journal 131, no. 3 (March 2006): 1816–1821, doi:10.1086/499946.
  17. Garik Israelian et al., “Enhanced Lithium Depletion in Sun-Like Stars with Orbiting Planets,” Nature 462 (November 12, 2009): 189–191, doi:10.1038/nature08483.
  18. Carlos et al., “The Li-Age Correlation.”
  19. Simon L. Grimm et al., “The Nature of the TRAPPIST-1 Exoplanets,” Astronomy & Astrophysics 613 (May 2018): id. A68, doi:10.1051/004-6361/201732233.
  20. Grimm et al., “The Nature of the TRAPPIST-1 Exoplanets,” 1.
  21. Meléndez et al., “Peculiar Solar Composition,” L69.
  22. Maria M. Katsova et al., “Superflare G and K Stars and the Lithium Abundance,” The 19th Cambridge Workshop on Cool Stars, Stellar Systems, and the Sun (CS19), Uppsala, Sweden, June 6–10, 2016 (July 2016), id. 124, doi:10.5281/zenodo.59176; Y. Takeda et al., “Behavior of Li Abundances in Solar-Analog Stars, II. Evidence of the Connection with Rotation and Stellar Activity,” Astronomy & Astrophysics 515 (June 2010): id. A93, doi:10.1051/0004-6361/200913897.
  23. Hugh Ross, “Moon’s Early Magnetic Field Made Human Existence Possible,” Today’s New Reason to Believe (March 26, 2021).

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