Re: Walter Brown Jr. Video

George Murphy (
Mon, 09 Mar 1998 09:00:49 -0500

David B. Fenske wrote:
> Can anyone help me with any of the following questions which stem from a
> video by Dr. Walter Brown, Jr., from MIT, entitled "God's Power and
> Scriptures Authority." This video was presented at my church this morning
> during the final class in the "Creation vs. Evolution" series.

First, a basic mistake is made as soon as the topic is stated as
"Creation VERSUS Evolution". One may (though I don't) conclude after
careful study that evolution is NOT a method God has used in creation,
but that is very different from stating an adversarial relation at the
beginning. You need to speak to the people who set up the class.
For the rest, I'll just comment on one point.
> 1) He claims that the moon is moving away from the earth, that there were
> several conferences in Hamburg convened to discuss this problem. The
> problem being that you can't go too far back in time before the moon would
> have been too close to earth. Has anyone else heard of this?

I don't know current numbers for this but have heard of nothing
that indicates serious discrepancy with usual estimates (5 x 10^9 yrs)
for the age of the solar system. in the earth-moon system, tidal
friction in the earth causes its rotational speed to slow. To conserve
angular momentum, the earth-moon separation must then increase. But the
celestial mechanics of the earth-moon system is very complext because,
among other things,
a. the non-negligible mass of the moon in comparison with the
earth (the ratio 1/81 is much higher than for any other planet-satellite
syatem), &
b. the fact that one really has to work with a 3-body problem -
the sun's gravitational pull on the moon is greater than that of the
earth so it's really the earth's effect that is a perturbation on the
motion produced by the sun.
Consequently, the classical lunar theory is one of the most
complex parts of classical celestial mechanics. The one effect I
mentioned cannot be considered in isolation.
George L. Murphy