New research provokes more questions about the origin of the moon

Mar 26, 2012 by Bob Yirka report
Moon. Photo courtesy of NASA

(PhysOrg.com) -- It’s beguiled watchers since before records were kept, and today still, it fills poets with pensive musings, and scientists with enchanting questions. Where did the moon come from, and how did it get there? The prevailing view is that a planet named Theia entered out solar system and banged into our planet with sufficient force to push some of the molten material from our planet into orbit. Over time, that material coalesced to form the moon. Now, new research from geophysical scientist Junjun Zhang and colleagues, suggests that such thinking might be wrong. In their paper published in Nature Geoscience, they find that in comparing titanium isotopes from both the moon and the Earth, that the match is too close to support the theory that the moon could have been made partly of material from another planet.

Scientists had already found that oxygen from the ’s mantle and the were nearly identical, but that wasn’t enough to put a dent in the theory that a collision with Theia had created the moon because oxygen isotopes from the Earth could have mixed with isotopes from the mass of molten material circling the planet after impact. Now, though, because titanium isotopes are not nearly so easily exchanged, it’s difficult to theorize that the same sort of mixing could have occurred.

Most scientists agree that if a planet had smacked into Earth and the moon came about as a result, than the moon ought to be made of some of that other planet as well. Some say the laws of physics suggest it would be somewhere in the neighborhood of forty percent. If that’s the case, why don’t studies of rocks brought back by the Apollo missions show evidence of this other planet?

Some suggest the moon didn’t come about as a result of an impact at all, but from parts of the Earth being flung into orbit due to a faster spin than we now have. Unfortunately, there is no evidence thus far to support the notion that the Earth ever spun that fast. Others suggest that perhaps it wasn’t a planet that struck the Earth but an object made of ice, which would have evaporated leaving no evidence behind that it caused a huge chunk of the Earth to be knocked into orbit.

And some, despite the new evidence, still cling to the belief that it could have been Theia, if Theia were made of nearly the exact same stuff as the Earth, meaning the isotopes would be the same. The odds for that are pretty slim, but not impossible. Hopefully new research will one day provide us with a definitive answer. Until that day though, it seems we will all have to just keep on musing.

Explore further: DNA survives critical entry into Earth's atmosphere

More information: The proto-Earth as a significant source of lunar material, Nature Geoscience (2012) doi:10.1038/ngeo1429

Abstract
A giant impact between the proto-Earth and a Mars-sized impactor named Theia is the favoured scenario for the formation of the Moon. Oxygen isotopic compositions have been found to be identical between terrestrial and lunar samples, which is inconsistent with numerical models estimating that more than 40% of the Moon-forming disk material was derived from Theia. However, it remains uncertain whether more refractory elements, such as titanium, show the same degree of isotope homogeneity as oxygen in the Earth–Moon system. Here we present 50Ti/47Ti ratios in lunar samples measured by mass spectrometry. After correcting for secondary effects associated with cosmic-ray exposure at the lunar surface using samarium and gadolinium isotope systematics, we find that the 50Ti/47Ti ratio of the Moon is identical to that of the Earth within about four parts per million, which is only 1/150 of the isotopic range documented in meteorites. The isotopic homogeneity of this highly refractory element suggests that lunar material was derived from the proto-Earth mantle, an origin that could be explained by efficient impact ejection, by an exchange of material between the Earth’s magma ocean and the protolunar disk, or by fission from a rapidly rotating post-impact Earth.

Press release

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Moebius
3.4 / 5 (8) Mar 26, 2012
Obviously the theory that it came from here is correct. From Wisconsin to be specific.
WorldJunkie
1 / 5 (13) Mar 26, 2012
Here is another explanation: what if the samples collected by Apollo missions were from moon regions that predominantly contained material that came from Earth, but there are also other regions, that we don't currently have samples from, that came from Theia? These regions can be anywhere - both on the surface where humans haven't trodden yet and in the interior of moon.
It's amazing how fast brilliant scientists sometimes jump to conclusions before considering all possible options, including some pretty obvious ones.
BackpackJack
5 / 5 (14) Mar 26, 2012
It's amazing how fast brilliant scientists sometimes jump to conclusions before considering all possible options, including some pretty obvious ones.


And isn't it amazing how people so quickly jump to the conclusion that scientists are so stupid that neither the original researchers nor their colleagues who reviewed their work wouldn't have thought of and already ruled out the completely obvious alternative explanations before allowing the paper to be published? Isn't it amazing that Joe Blow sitting in his armchair jumps to the conclusion that scientists are buffoons and that the explanation that it took him 2 seconds to think up is actually the better one?
Nik_2213
4.6 / 5 (5) Mar 26, 2012
Unless, as proposed elsewhere but not mentioned in this article, 'Theia' was co-orbital with proto-Earth, formed in the same orbit at 'trojan' Lagrange point...
Sinister1811
2.4 / 5 (10) Mar 26, 2012
I wonder what happened to this proto planet "Theia" that supposedly struck the Earth in its infancy. Was it ejected from the solar system? If so, then I wonder where it went. So, the moon was apparently part of the Earth at some stage. But maybe they need to examine it further to eventually find evidence of a collision with another planet. I wonder if we'll ever know the answers. The moon has been an enigma for as long as mankind has gazed upon it.
Isaacsname
2 / 5 (2) Mar 26, 2012
Maybe our current moon was dragged from it's orbit around another planet by Theia ? Maybe it was more like Titan at one point ? Maybe Theia and Earth never actually collided, but Theia dragged our moon from somewheres else and into Earth as a result of it's passing though our solar system, or into our sun ?

*bag over head*
mantyvaara
2.2 / 5 (9) Mar 26, 2012
Where the moon's material came from is an interesting question... but what's even more interesting is the size of the moon. I mean, how likely is it that the moon just happens to be the right size to exactly cover the sun during a solar eclipse? Did the moon form naturally or were there other forces in play? I ask this half jokingly, but can we see any signs of lunaforming activities?
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (11) Mar 26, 2012
how likely is it that the moon just happens to be the right size to exactly cover the sun during a solar eclipse?

It doesn't do that on every eclipse. Sometimes you see an entire ring around it at others it covers more than the sun - but since the corona stretches out much further than the sun you always see some of that, so it appears as though it covers just the disc.

It depends on whether the moon is closer to its apogee or perigee when the eclipse occurs - and also where the Earth is on its path around the sun.
WorldJunkie
1.3 / 5 (11) Mar 26, 2012
Isn't it amazing that Joe Blow sitting in his armchair jumps to the conclusion that scientists are buffoons and that the explanation that it took him 2 seconds to think up is actually the better one?


"Joe Blow" doesn't think that scientists are buffoons, hence the adjective "brilliant" (without any sarcasm, I should say). And yes, sometimes even scientific works overlook simple things. That's what peer reviews are for. Or maybe it is mentioned in the work but not in this article. In any case, it would be fitting to at least acknowledge this issue, as, I dare to believe, it is not completely devoid of logic.
Temple
5 / 5 (7) Mar 26, 2012
mantyvaara: "how likely is it that the moon just happens to be the right size to exactly cover the sun during a solar eclipse?"

antialias_physorg: "It doesn't do that on every eclipse. Sometimes you see an entire ring around it at others it covers more than the sun - but since the corona stretches out much further than the sun you always see some of that, so it appears as though it covers just the disc. "

Yep, the apparent size of the Moon changes by almost 13% between apogee and perigee (furthest and closest approach to Earth), from a subtended angle of 0.4923 to 0.5548.

Also, the moon has been gradually creeping further from Earth over the millennia. A billion years ago, the moon was around 40,000km closer to Earth, that's about 10% closer than it is now.

There are a significant number of coincidences that have to occur to enable us to witness solar eclipses. I feel quite fortunate that we have such an extremely rare celestial phenomenon on such a regular occasion.
Whitestar72
1 / 5 (8) Mar 26, 2012
The planet we live on formed around some uranium that the proto-sun flung out during one of the sun's mass ejections.
Earth was a uranium core that was cooking the first basalt out of the molten silicate froth that comprised the upper layer of the proto-planet. An explosion within the core pushed the basalt surrounding that uranium core away from one side towards another. This basalt surrounding the core behaves as does the planet around the sun acting under laws of motion and angular momentum. The basalt was pushed to one side and the core was on another and a dance between the two began and continues beyond today as the moon is still pulling away from the planet. There are only 2 locations on the moon, one near and one far side showing the presence of radioactive materials with silicates. There were no crustal rocks yet and the moon helped by pulling the continental granite mineral froth as close as possible into one lump or mass floating like froth on a molten world.
Fionn_MacTool
1 / 5 (2) Mar 26, 2012
Imagine NASA for the laugh decided to only share earth rocks and keep the ones they found on the moon for themselves...and now the entire scientific community has to base its model of the moon as originating on earth. That would be funny.
Torbjorn_Larsson_OM
4.2 / 5 (5) Mar 26, 2012
As Nik 2213 notes, the main Theia hypothesis, a Lagrange co-orbital protoplanet, predicts the same isotope composition and is hence well tested by these observations.

@ Whitestar:

Panets are not made by uranium, nor do they have a core of uranium since it isn't siderophile (iron-loving). And the sun (any star) has very little heavy elements by weight and they are not preferentially ejected by CMEs.

Planet formation is very well understood, hence the formation of Earth too, which all happened before the Moon formation.
Pressure2
1 / 5 (2) Mar 26, 2012
Maybe the moon was originally the planet on the opposite side of the sun only in an orbit 200,000 miles further from the sun. The earth would then eventually catch up with its smaller sister and when that happen the smaller sister fell into an orbit around the earth.
Shelgeyr
1.3 / 5 (7) Mar 26, 2012
My main problem with the collision theory isn't isotope-based, but rather deals with the more mundane issue of trajectories.

From what I understand - and like the last time this came up I again ask for clarification or correction if "the answer" has been figured out and I just missed the memo - it is impossible for Earth-originating ejecta (which by definition is on a ballistic path) to enter into an orbital path without a secondary, post-ejection "delta-v" or change in velocity, which is understood to mean a second precisely timed and placed collision (or some other even more unlikely thrust) being applied to the proto-Moon. Has this been resolved?

Without that secondary delta-v, ejecta thrown out below escape velocity falls back, and that thrown out faster simply escapes and keeps going.

So a Big Crash has to be followed later by a Big Bonk in order to get a moon.

Not my theory. I was told it is just "math".

Is this still considered true? If not, why not?
JamesK
5 / 5 (1) Mar 26, 2012
@Shelgeyr From my limited knowledge (AP physics class): Escape velocity is technically the velocity needed to reach infinite distance from an object. Below that velocity, an object can still obtain a stable orbit. Orbits are based purely on 'horizontal' (tangential to the orbit) speed. So if an object has sufficient rotational velocity (related to tangential velocity) it will be in orbit.
knowalot
Mar 26, 2012
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
nkalanaga
4 / 5 (1) Mar 26, 2012
Much of the debris from a glancing collision would have fallen back to the surface of the two bodies, and the loss of relative velocity would likely have caused a second impact if the smaller body survived the first collision. The debris left in orbit would have had its orbit circularized by interactions with other debris.

If Theia was 40% as massive as Earth, and the Moon is 1.2% as massive, that leaves a lot of mass that DIDN'T stay in orbit.

That could also be why the isotopes match so well. The collision wouldn't have remelted the entire Earth, so the returning debris stayed on top. It isn't that Theia and Earth were identical, but that much of the crust IS Theia.
rubberman
2.5 / 5 (8) Mar 26, 2012
"Hopefully new research will one day provide us with a definitive answer."

That answer can be found in Genesis 1:16. Until then let's keep on musing along making up more stuff about the universe calling it science.


As opposed to the myriad of proof of everything offered in the book that YOUR reference originates from.
ccr5Delta32
4 / 5 (9) Mar 26, 2012

That answer can be found in Genesis 1:16. Until then let's keep on musing along making up more stuff about the universe calling it science.


Genesis 1:16
"God made two great lights--the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars"

But how does this negate the giant collision hypothesis or indeed the moon cheese hypothesis ?
And is this God fellow not aware that the sun is a star ?
roboferret
4.3 / 5 (6) Mar 26, 2012

That answer can be found in Genesis 1:16. Until then let's keep on musing along making up more stuff about the universe calling it science.


You really think that is a fully adequate intellectually satisfying answer? That we should just accept that and move on? Even if it were true, it contains zero information about what happened. This demonstrates the truth in the statement "Creationism doesn't offer any answers, but it does stop people asking questions". Where's your curiosity?
nkalanaga
5 / 5 (3) Mar 26, 2012
"Genesis 1:16" Okay, suppose I accept your explanation for the origin of the Sun and Moon. The question still remains "HOW did He/She/It create them?" Assuming the universe functions according to physical laws, regardless of the origin of those laws, we should be able to determine how events occurred within that framework.
JohnMoser
4.4 / 5 (7) Mar 26, 2012
Quit feeding the god troll. They're like the anthropogenic global warming cultists.
monroe
5 / 5 (1) Mar 27, 2012
"And Theia knew Earth and Earth begat Luna..."

This sounds like old testament rationalization that has not yet been corrected by modern science. Earth has one large moon and at least one other in a strange orbit. Mars has two known moons. Jupiter has 66 known moons. Saturn has too many to count. Uranus has 27 and Neptune has 13. It seems unlikely that this many bodies were the result of planetary belly-bumping, especially when the gravity of the larger planets is considered.

It is much more likely that two bodies formed by accretion in the same belt of solar debris would have similar composition and orbit.
Adam
not rated yet Mar 27, 2012
Alternatively a super-critical natural fission reactor at the Core-Mantle Boundary detonated, blowing mantle bits into orbit, thus making the Moon. All those aeons ago, natural uranium was enriched with U235 sufficient for nuclear reactions.
knowalot
1 / 5 (7) Mar 27, 2012
" You really think that is a fully adequate intellectually satisfying answer? "

At least it is an answer that fits the evidence, rather than pure speculation.

" That we should just accept that and move on? "

I think it could provide an excellent starting point for further research.

" Even if it were true, it contains zero information about what happened. (...) Where's your curiosity? "

Actually it does. Genesis and other Bible books contain a very detailed creation account. My curiosity goes well beyond the big bang theory. Even the big bang itself, if true, does not contradict Genesis if the creation account is to be taken as a meta-narrative.
kevinrtrs
1.3 / 5 (13) Mar 27, 2012
Planet formation is very well understood, hence the formation of Earth too, which all happened before the Moon formation.

Really, sir? So since it's so well understood we can explain how Mercury formed in the location where it is at right now?
Or how the gas giants just happen to exist even though nebular planet formation theory indicates they should still be forming? Which planet formation are you talking about that is so well-understood? Please inform us. Thanks.

@roboferret:
"Creationism doesn't offer any answers, but it does stop people asking questions". Where's your curiosity?

Fair enough. Let's play some more guessing games - mine is as good as any out there. Let's just go with the Theia idea and say a planet disappeared from the solar system. There's ample indication that the asteroids are a left over from a planetary disruption so perhaps one can go look there for the remains of "planet Theia". So there's my guess. What's yours?
Baseline
5 / 5 (5) Mar 27, 2012
I don't appreciate guessing games, I prefer to analyze facts. Pay attention because that will become a theme.

Of course theories will have issues that will be confirmed or proven incorrect, in some cases completely unraveling them.

This is to be expected when one is learning using a rational process and what is undeniable is how much remains to be learned.

Most of us here are looking for answers, you believe you have been given them.

You have exactly zero chance of converting my beliefs into what you believe, and I suspect many others here as well.

You are indeed a troll who has but one goal here and that is to get in the way, you simply add nothing of value to the discussion.

If it walks like a Croc-o-duck and talks like one...

roboferret
4 / 5 (4) Mar 27, 2012
@ Knowalot (really?)
Unfortunately, Genesis sums up the entire formation of the universe in 2 contradictory chapters, that gives us nothing more than "It was magicked out of nothing". As you could use that to explain any conceivable universe it's pretty useless as a theory too. Every piece of evidence we have indicates the universe as we know it formed over billions years following the natural laws of physics. There are gaps in our knowledge, which we have devised a very effective way of tackling - it's called science. It's complicated and rigorous process, and often raises as many questions as it answers, but that isn't a licence to inject any spurious mythology that helps you sleep at night into the remaining gaps.
Shelgeyr
1.8 / 5 (5) Mar 27, 2012
@JamesK said:
So if an object has sufficient rotational velocity (related to tangential velocity) it will be in orbit.

True, I think, although I'm not sure "rotational" velocity is the correct term. But getting to what I'll refer to as "orbital" velocity takes that second delta-v because an orbital path (so I've always been told) can't just "happen" out of a ballistic one. An orbital path requires two thrusts (at minimum), not just one.
nkalanaga
5 / 5 (2) Mar 27, 2012
Shelgeyr: You're right. A ballistic path, starting at the surface, with less than escape velocity, will result in an orbit with the perigee at or below the surface. In other words, what goes up comes back down, unless a second acceleration alters the orbit to raise the perigee. The alteration doesn't have to be self-produced thrust. It can be interactions, collisional or gravitational, with a third body, but that requires a third body with the right combination of mass and velocity in the right location.
TS1
not rated yet Mar 27, 2012
funnily I always find myself spending twice the time reading PhysOrg comments than the article itself (I mean in cases where the comenting goes on and on and on).
knowalot
1 / 5 (7) Mar 27, 2012
Hi roboferret,

Actually there is a lot of evidence against the notion of billions of years as well. It ultimately all depends on how the evidence is being interpreted. Scientists would know that to be true. People that believe in billions of years will assume billions of years as a starting assumption. Most of the long ages evidence is therefore based on carefully constructed circular reasoning.
knowalot
1.2 / 5 (10) Mar 27, 2012
Part 2:

God is not about gaps in science. God is the explantion of why science even exists. Our ability to use logic and reasoning is not a chance by-product of matter.

Science works well on a materialistic level but it cannot answer the big questions. Why are we here, what is the purpose of life, why are some things good or evil, how did the universe come about, why is there something rather than nothing, how did life start, what happens after death, etc etc.

To answer those questions one must look at God in order to avoid an utterly meaningless and absurd universe. The atheistic universe is much less plausible than the purpouse driven universe where God exists.
roboferret
3.7 / 5 (3) Mar 28, 2012
Every piece of evidence we have leads us to the fact that the universe is on the order of 13GY old. Anyone who can demonstrate otherwise would win a Nobel.
If it were younger, we would expect to find original elements with a half live of thousands of years - but we don't. It's not circular reasoning because we didn't start with that assumption. That all of science is conspiring to create and defend a mythology of billions of years is a ridiculous creationist conspiracy, which ignores the mindset of scientists and the process of science. It's an unfounded slanderous lie.

Your "Big Questions" are simply question begging.

Why are we here

Implies agency - question begging.
what is the purpose of life

Whatever you want it to be. There is no cosmic dictator.
why are some things good or evil

Some things are beneficial , some are harmful.
roboferret
4 / 5 (4) Mar 28, 2012
how did the universe come about

The big bang
why is there something rather than nothing

Logic fail. There is no state of "nothing"
how did life start

We don't know yet, and may never know the specifics, but we can take a good guess.
what happens after death

A funeral.

My life is interesting and fulfilling, and full of purpose. The universe is wonderful and fascinating. More amazing and complex than the writers of the Bible could begin comprehend. I don't need the threat of a final judgement to treat others with empathy. I resent the implication that I must credulously hold to one of the myriad religious views for my life to be of any worth.
nkalanaga
not rated yet Mar 28, 2012
The "purpose" of life is to preserve and reproduce itself. Anything else is incidental.
knowalot
1 / 5 (5) Mar 28, 2012
"Every piece of evidence we have leads us to the fact that the universe is on the order of 13GY old"

That is simply not true. Most geological and cosmic processes point to a younger earth and universe. A good example would be the lack of supernova remnants. These problems are conveniently ignored or explained away based on the billions of years asumption.

The big questions are anything but trivial. They have been asked from the beginning of time by every important thinker and philosopher. It is rather your answers that are meaningless and intellectually shallow.

What is indeed the purpose of your own life according to you? If you claim that one can just invent some arbitray meaning, how can that be credible? You may think that your life has any meaning, but all you are doing is just deluding yourself. That is not very rational. The only rational position is to believe that every human life has some objective meaning.
roboferret
3.7 / 5 (3) Mar 28, 2012
You are a supernova remnant. As am I. We are all stardust. Why is a purpose imposed on you from a omnipotent dictator better than the meaning you find for yourself? My life has meaning for me, and the people who care about me. It certainly isn't abitary, and your assertion thus betrays your small-mindedness.
I think you don't really understand the word rational, when you have no basis for your claims other than ancient tribal myths. Every explanation for every phenomenon ever found has turned out to be naturalistic. Supernaturalism is a crumbling faade for wilful ignorance. I have no reason to treat your religious views with any more depth than any other of the myriad cults and invented deities that have been invented through the ages.
roboferret
3.7 / 5 (3) Mar 28, 2012
Most geological and cosmic processes point to a younger earth and universe
that statement is as wide of the mark as it is sweeping. Educate yourself.
http://www.talkor...indexcc/
knowalot
1.1 / 5 (7) Mar 28, 2012
"You are a supernova remnant"

That is a rather meaningless statement. If the big bang theory is true, we are all big bang remnants in some sense. But that does not prove at all that God does not exist or humans are just biological machines. Please provide some logical evidence for your atheism for a change.

"My life has meaning for me, and the people who care about me."

Why would that be true and not just some self-delusion? If your belief about your life having any meaning is based on something real, than name it. Otherwise just admit you really have nothing to go on. In a 1000 years no one cares if you ever lived or died. So your whole purpose vanishes in thin air. To cling on to it for some 80 years or so is just completely irrational. I hope you get this.
roboferret
3.7 / 5 (3) Mar 28, 2012
I don't need to disprove that your god exists any more than I do Zeus, Odin, Isis or any of the other gods that have gone out of fashion. I don't believe in your god for the same reason you don't believe in Allah or Vishnu. The onus is on the claimant, or we could waste our lives disproving every fanciful whim that crossed anyones mind. A-thiesm is the absence of belief, due to the absence of evidence.
Whether anyone remembers you after a thousand years is irrelevant. If that thought makes you uncomfortable, then poor you, but it is not irrational. It's just the way things are.
roboferret
1 / 5 (1) Mar 28, 2012
My life has meaning for me, and the people who care about me because meaning is a human concept that implies agency. There is nothing to suggest it needs to be imposed on us against our will, or that doing so gives it more arbitrary value.
knowalot
1 / 5 (2) Mar 28, 2012
So you have no basis for assigning any real purpose to your own life after all. Then to go on and claim your life does have some self-styled meaning could be called self-delusion. No inch of rationality there.

If atheism is absence of belief then atheism is beyond any form of meaningful validation. You could call it "schmatheism" just as well. It is now reduced to a personal psychological state of "a lack". You are a person with a lack.

The Christian concept of God as a bodiless Spirit existing beyond time and space is not the same as aforementioned idols. A belief in Isis or the tooth fairy is blind, because it rests on zero evidence.

A belief in the Christian God is not blind however. It is based on valid evidence from cosmology, biology, philosophy and history. According to logic, God either exists or God exists not. Based on the available evidence, theism is more rational than an unverifiable personal psychological state.
roboferret
3.7 / 5 (3) Mar 28, 2012
So you have no basis for assigning any real purpose to your own life after all


Your definition of "purpose" begs the question and is irrelevant.

The belief in Isis or the tooth fairy is blind


But she left me money! Physical Evidence!
A belief in the Christian God is not blind however. It is based on valid evidence from cosmology, biology, philosophy and history.

Except the vast majority of cosmologists, biologists, philosophers and historians would disagree with you. It must be a vast and perfectly coordinated conspiracy, no?
You have come to this conclusion by being extremely selective with your sources, choosing ones that feed your preconceptions. Please don't pretend you're following where the evidence leads.
roboferret
3 / 5 (2) Mar 28, 2012
And athiesm doesn't REQUIRE validation. It's the default position, like a-unicornism and a-leprechaunism. If you're making claims about invisible beings, the onus is on you to produce some evidence, which you have spectacularly failed to do.
knowalot
1 / 5 (3) Mar 28, 2012
No it does not, and you now have contradicted yourself. You admitted to assigning a purpose to your own life, albeit one based on nothing. So the term purpose is not irrelevant.

The fact is that people feel as if they have a purpose, and their existence has meaning. Instead of assuming that this is just a self-imposed chemical illusion or evolutionary by-product in the brain, it is far mor plausible to believe it actually exists independently of our opinions and beliefs.
knowalot
1 / 5 (3) Mar 28, 2012
Not at all. There is plenty of plausible evidence for the existence of the God of the Bible, contrary to tooth fairies and unicorns. So your analogy doesn't apply. Just check any decent book on natural theology. Atheism has zero objective evidence however.

Again the genetic fallacy. Even if atheism is some kind of starting state, that does not mean at all atheism is correct! Any hypothesis, whatever you call it, must be based on some evidence, otherwise it is blind faith (tooth fairy). Bedwetting is also our starting state, but eventually one grows up and learns the truth. You are still a spiritual bed wetter by will.
roboferret
3 / 5 (2) Mar 28, 2012
People feel all sorts of things, that means nothing scientifically, and you can't demonstrate that my, or anyone else's sensation of purpose is any more valuable than yours.
Books on theology presuppose the existence of god/s? You don't say!
Athiesm has no objective evidence. So there's no evidence that thor doesn't exist? Athiesm is the non-belief in ALL gods, and yours isn't special. Muslims and some Hindus are creationists too, and are convinced the evidence backs their religion. The fact remains that the people who are experts in these fields reject all your claims.
Thanks for the ad-hom slander, but I used to be an evangelical christian, for over 25 years. I've read the bible from cover to cover - at least once a year for 10 years. I even used to speak in tongues. I was a dedicated creationist. Ultimately though, my desire for truth outweighed my emotional investment in my faith.
knowalot
1.2 / 5 (6) Mar 29, 2012
If you have been a Christian then you know better than to use the Thor/tooth fairy type analogy. The God of the Bible is a completely different entity and concept from the various mythological man made deities.

It sounds like we travelled opposite roads. I used to be an evolutionist, but found the theory lacking in convincing evidence. There are just some fundamental flaws there. As a scientist, I found science fails to answer the big questions of life. Science is just one type of expression of the human mind.

It is rather strange though that you attribute losing your faith to a search for truth. Certainly since that search supposedly led you to a doctrine that, in your own words, is not basd on any objective evidence. So from the truth of the Bible you ended up with no truth at all. Is that worth it? I think a person seriously interested in truth would gravitate towards the Lord and not some form of subjective atheism. There must be some other reason.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (3) Mar 29, 2012
The God of the Bible is a completely different entity and concept from the various mythological man made deities.

How so? Explain. Please. Do.
(As a former believer I'd REALLY like to know where the difference lies)

As a scientist, I found science fails to answer the big questions of life.

Which are? If you refer to the "meaning of life", "why is the universe here" and similar questions then you obviously haven't gone beyond a superficial analysis - and haven't found out that all those 'big' questions are paradoxes in disguise (i.e. they are unanswerable because they are intrinsically nonsensical or make implicit assumptions that don't hold under closer inspections)
knowalot
1 / 5 (3) Mar 29, 2012
I think a question like "why do I exist" is anything but nonsensical or trivial. These types of meta-questions have engaged thinkers like Plato, Kant, Hegel, Descartes, Einstein and many many others. They are valid questions. It is just very natural for people to ask these questions.

Every human being has a deeply felt sense of purpose. To just assume that some random physical process generated living, conscious and goal-directed beings from dead matter seems implausible to say the least. Science cannot provide an answer because the answer probably does not reside with the material.

In the end atheism is much more a cop-out than belief. Belief requires hard work and discipline. Quite different from atheism where anything goes. Atheism ultimately denies many essential aspects of life, such as morality, purpose and origin. And that is irrational.
roboferret
3.7 / 5 (3) Mar 29, 2012
There must be some other reason.

Sorry, no. There is no evidence for any sort of supernatural plane. The material is all that exists.
You don't seem to able to offer anything stronger than arguments from incredulity and wishful thinking, it's the same old rehashed creationist tripe. Fine tuning, the argument from morality, kalam, "look at the pretty flowers". they've all been done to death and thoroughly debunked.

as to atheism being a cop out, I don't have any choice. The evidence is far short of anything convincing. Why should I raise my credulity over the balance of the odds? Why is that considered a virtue? It has been anything but easy for me to openly be an athiest in a Christian family, it would have been far easier to play along.
You claim to be a scientist, could you point me to some of your published work?
roboferret
4 / 5 (4) Mar 29, 2012
Atheism ultimately denies many essential aspects of life, such as morality, purpose and origin


As athiesm is simply the non-belief in gods. That's it. I believe in one less god than you do. Morality, and purpose are human concepts. It is your presuppositionalist dogma that is irrational.
roboferret
1 / 5 (1) Mar 29, 2012
I'm getting a little bored of debating religion on a science website, especially when the arguments are as old and weak as the trolls on here; it's like "Groundhog Day". From now on, I'll refer you to the relevant talkorigins page. They have real citations and everything.
knowalot
1 / 5 (2) Mar 30, 2012
If morality is a human concept, then the difference between right and wrong is artificial an subjective. There would be no objective moral values and duties. Rape would be a social inconvenience rather than a moral abomination, like belching loudly at the dinner table. No more evil than driving on the wrong side of the road or similar conventions.

I think it is very unlikely that under certain circumstances child abuse or discrimination could be morally good. I think it is more likely that certain values and duties are objectivly true. Objective moral values can only exist if God exists. Morality therefore is not a human invention, but hard wired by God in our conscience.
antialias_physorg
not rated yet Mar 31, 2012
If morality is a human concept, then the difference between right and wrong is artificial an subjective.

Yes. So? What's wrong with that?
Something being subjective (or also dependent on the context you find yourself in) doesn't mean it's random.

Human morals are what developed to allow us to live together as a society. Rape is not an 'inconvenience' in a society (since it traumatizes, victimizes large parts of a society if that were the case and would lead to the eventual collapse of said society)

I think it is very unlikely that under certain circumstances child abuse or discrimination could be morally good.
See above. Subjective morals doesn't mean that there aren't things all humans can agree on. We all have certain drives (survival, procreation, security, ...) and out of those drives come common values which can be expressed as common morals ("don't kill" for example)

antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (1) Mar 31, 2012
Objective moral values can only exist if God exists.

True. You have just disproven the existence of god.

You're welcome.
knowalot
1 / 5 (2) Mar 31, 2012
So according to your definition rape is evil because it has negative social effects, like smoking or drinking. I think that is nonsense. Rape is evil because it is an objective moral wrong. Even if society would be perfectly ok with rape, it is still wrong. That is because objective moral standards do exist. And they can only exist if God exists.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (2) Mar 31, 2012
So according to your definition rape is evil because it has negative social effects, like smoking or drinking.

Yes.

Let's think about it: If rape had no negative consequences whatsoever - neither psychologically nor physically nor socially for anyone - then it wouldn't be evil.

Evil is ony stuff that can be perceived as negative by at least one party involved (directly or indirectly...and since we live in a society we're all more or less indirectly involved if someone suffers).

To give you an example: There are people who practice BDSM. Men and women. Some of these men (and women) fantasize about being raped by their partner. If two such people get together and consensually engage in such rape then there's nothing evil about it. Some even expressly want to go about it NON-consensually (though still in a safe way).

We don't need to understand this. But I can see nothing 'evil' in it. Everyone enjoys themselves. No one is harmed. Where's the evil?
knowalot
2 / 5 (4) Mar 31, 2012
According to this reasoning, stealing would be ok as long as no one notices. Cheating your spouse fine as long as it doesn't affect your relationship.

The problem is that negative or positive effects are highly subjective however. What is bad for you could be good for someone else. To take a form of happiness as a standard for morality is very dangerous. Sometimes even good intentions can have very negative effects. It is impossible to accurately measure or predict effects of certain actions. The only sound foundation for right and wrong are not our feelings, but some objective standard.

Rape is a violation of a person's body. That is always an evil thing regardless of subjective effects. To equate rape with certain perverted forms of sex just demonstrates that you are seriously confused about moral values. Even if a person would be deluded into accepting rape as normal, the act itself would still be wrong.
antialias_physorg
not rated yet Mar 31, 2012
According to this reasoning, stealing would be ok as long as no one notices. Cheating your spouse fine as long as it doesn't affect your relationship.

But someone will notice and someone will get hurt eventually. In a relationship you build up trust. If that trust is violated then something very real is broken.

In both cases (stealing without knowledge and cheating without knowledge) you're damaging someone - even if only potentially - in the future. So it's a clear cut case of bbeing 'morally objectionable'

What is bad for you could be good for someone else.

Yes. So? Having subjective morals doesn't mean that the only thing that you need to take into account to derive them is yourself.

To equate rape with certain perverted forms of sex just demonstrates that you are seriously confused about moral values.

No. It just goes to show that YOU can't understand that other people have other values. That YOU want to control everyone into sharing your (deluded) ones.
roboferret
1 / 5 (1) Mar 31, 2012
El_Nexus
1 / 5 (1) Mar 31, 2012
The God of the Bible is a completely different entity and concept from the various mythological man made deities.

How so? Explain. Please. Do.
(As a former believer I'd REALLY like to know where the difference lies)


I guess you have to draw a distinction between different kinds of god.

On one hand you've got entities like Thor, or Zeus, or Osiris. These are all inhabitants of the universe, admittedly very powerful ones, but still subject to some or all of the laws of nature. These beings clearly fall within the domain of scientific enquiry.

On the other hand you've got deities like the God of the Abrahamic religions, who are described as being the creator of the universe. This sort lives outside the universe and is not subject to any of its laws, and is not a relevant subject for scientific investigation.

I'm running out of space in this post, so will continue in the next...
El_Nexus
1 / 5 (2) Mar 31, 2012
Clearly if there is a God it must be of the second type, because we can confidently rule out the existence of a big bearded guy who sits on a cloud and hurls lightning bolts at people.

The downside is that appealing to a whole other realm outside the universe to explain this one is extremely dubious. It's a copout; it's saying "I know I'm right, but the proof is in a place nobody can ever get to so I don't have to justify my position." This is also the criticism I have of panspermia and parallel universe hypotheses.

Long story short, I think it's legitimate to dinstinguish between mythological gods and creator gods. But I don't think it will give any real answers.
bluehigh
1 / 5 (2) Mar 31, 2012
It seems unlikely that this many bodies were the result of planetary belly-bumping, especially when the gravity of the larger planets is considered.
- monroe

Sorry to interrupt the science vs religion tosh but monroe has a point related to the article. It does seem the explanation for formation of the Earths moon(s) as outlined in the article would need to be applied to the formation of other planetary moons, thereby making it extremely unlikely.
Husky
not rated yet Apr 01, 2012
now what if it wasnt Theia but our earth itself, a larger superearth that impacted into a smaller object, let call it Lheia (lunar theia).
bluehigh
1 / 5 (2) Apr 01, 2012
yeah .. and the other planets in our solar system all had similar or even enhanced impacts to create moons. Not good science and we got a really really really big moon. Hmmm ... back to God in the absence of any rational explanation with empirical evidence?
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (2) Apr 01, 2012
This sort lives outside the universe and is not subject to any of its laws, and is not a relevant subject for scientific investigation.

Anything that iteracts with the universe is subject to scientific investigation. (And if they don't interact then these gods are irrelevant for all intents and purposes)

Long story short, I think it's legitimate to dinstinguish between mythological gods and creator gods.

All mythologies have their creator gods. I see no difference in rejecting the egyptian Nu or the greek Chaos or the Mesopotamian Apsu-Tiamat over rejectig the Abrahamic gods
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (1) Apr 01, 2012
The really scary part about an idea like: "morality comes from god" is: These peope aren't capable of being decent human beings without their sky fairy. They really WOULD go murdering and raping through the streets if they came to the conclusion that their gods didn't exist.

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