Pluto and New Horizons in review

December, 2016

The following article is reprinted with the author’s permission posted by Terry A. Hurlbut on November 4, 2016 at the Creation Science Hall of Fame, The reader is directed to the Creation Science Hall of Fame web site for additional videos related to this article.

On 27 October 2016, controllers for the New Horizons deep-space mission achieved a milestone. They got back the last data from their spacecraft’s flyby of the dwarf planet Pluto. Alice Bowman, head of the mission team, said the team would first verify the data. They then will order New Horizons to erase its memories. New Horizons must do this ahead of a planned rendezvous with another Kuiper Belt object (2014 MU69). It will make this flyby on or about 1 January 2019).

New Horizons flew past Pluto on 15 July 2015. Now NASA and the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (JHUAPL) have all the data it gathered in that passage. So now would be a good time to review what New Horizons found, and what it means. In fact, the Pluto findings mean a great deal, not only for Pluto, but also for Earth.

What New Horizons found in the Pluto system

New Horizons flew toward a body everyone thought was 4.6 billion years old, like the rest of the solar system. So the mission team expected to find signs of great age. Instead they found signs, not of age, but of youth. They also found or confirmed several things they still cannot explain.

One of the first articles from JHUAPL discussed the first shocking findings:

  1. Equatorial mountains on Pluto, made of water ice, rise 3500 meters (11,000 feet) above the surface.
  2. Charon, largest moon of Pluto, has cliffs, troughs, and a seven- to nine-mile deep canyon.
  3. Methane ice abounds on Pluto, in some places far more than others.

Equatorial region of Pluto

Fig.1:, showing mountains rising to 3500 feet above mean ground, and standing out in stark relief. Source: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI


February, 2016

Palais de la Decouverte Tyrannosaurus rex p1050042Tyrannosaurus
How many of us have heard that evolution is supported by the evidence of the fossil record or that millions of fossils prove evolution had to have occurred? It has been assumed that as more research accumulated and more fossils were discovered, there would be increasing evidence to support the thesis of Darwin that evolution of species has occurred. In fact, it now seems to be popular to think that this has indeed occurred, and that new fossil evidence - including evidence of whale evolution, etc. - now has lent increased support to the theory of evolution. We will look at the results of the research in the years following Darwin. We will also examine claims or statements from scientists, including evolutionists, about this fossil evidence. Let’s look at this and see what the actual fossil evidence tells us!

Accelerated Nuclear Decay Difficulties Solved?

September, 2015

One of the major challenges confronting the young earth view has been the supposed ages of millions of years  for the earth and dinosaurs—even billions for the age of the earth.   One proposal that has been made by creation scientists to account for this seeming discrepancy between secular science view and the creationist view is accelerated nuclear decay (abbreviated herein as ACCND).

What is ACCND? I will explain this by analogy. Think of an hourglass. It is used to tell time based on an assumed rate at which the sand moves through the neck of the hourglass. The movement of sand is analogous to the decay of radioisotopes. If the rate at which sand moves through the hourglass were accelerated by temporarily widening the neck, allowing more sand to fall through faster, we would have a lot more sand in the bottom half. Someone might look at the hourglass and conclude, based on the large amount of sand in the bottom part (or the amount of radioisotope decay products in a specimen), that a long time had passed. Actually, only a short time would have passed.

Parícutin A Mountain in a Year

May, 2015

Reprinted with permission from Creation Ministries International (

ParicutinIn 1943, a Mexican farmer was working in a field with his wife and son when he was astonished to see a small fissure suddenly open up in the ground in front of him. The trio were then rocked by a thunderous roar which shook the trees. The soil around the fissure bulged upwards 2 metres (61⁄2 feet), the crack gaped wide open, and ash began blasting out. An horrific wailing or whistling sound commenced, building in intensity, and the air was quickly filled with dark ‘smoke’ and acrid vapours smelling of rotting eggs (hydrogen sulfide H2S). It was as if the end of the world had begun.

Geological Unconformities: What Are They and How Much Time Do They Represent?

June, 2012

Geological UnconformitiesWhat are unconformities and what do they mean to young-earth, biblical creationists? The simple definition is that they are surfaces, usually seen as a linear contact in a vertical rock outcrop or exposure, that separate younger overlying rock strata or layers from the older strata below. They are interpreted by uniformitarian (evolutionist and “old-earth creationist”) geologists as gaps in the record, each gap representing missing time and sediments. But is this interpretation warranted by the field evidence?

There are four subgroups of unconformities that are rec- ognized by geologists, illustrated by the diagrams in Figure 1. The first is called a nonconformity. A noncon- formity is a type of unconformity in which there is a surface between underlying older metamorphic or igne- ous rocks and younger sedimentary rocks above. These contacts are usually very sharp and clear. Some period of time must have passed at these contacts between the exposure by erosion of the rock below and the deposition of the sedimentary strata.

Bits and Pieces from the Earth Sciences

August, 2008

Truth from an evolutionist?

T. Rex Bone

                                                          Science via AP

Unfossilized soft tissue from bone of Tyrannasaurus rex

A: The arrow points to a tissue fragment that is still elastic. How could elastic tissue like this have lasted for 65 million years?

B: Another instance of “fresh appearance”.

C: Regions of bone showing where the fibrous structure is still present, compared to most fossil bones, which lack this structure.

Rapid Geological Processes (Part 1)

April, 2003

There are many natural phenomena which evolutionary geologists say require many thousands or even millions of years to bring about. However, creationists have long held that most geologic processes can take place quickly if the conditions are right. Some of these phenomena include formation of the Precambrian granite "basement" rocks of the earth's crust, radioactive decay, canyon formation, petrified forest formation, coal formation, the rapid laying down of several successive sedimentary layers, formation of clastic dikes, formation of vast fossil graveyards, and stalagmite and stalactite formation.

Evidence for the rapid formation of the granite basement rocks of the continents has come from the study of polonium radiohalos.1 Polonium is one of several elements in the uranium radioactive decay chain which ends in lead. Polonium decays by emitting alpha particles (helium nuclei) with kinetic energies characteristic of polonium. The alpha particles penetrate the surrounding rock, eventually coming to rest and converting into helium gas by picking up two electrons from the environment. The rock is discolored at the location the alpha particle comes to rest. After enough alpha particles have been emitted, a sphere of discoloration results. Cross sections of the sphere appear as a ring that is called a radiohalo. Eventually the decay products of polonium will be converted into lead. The lead formed can be analyzed for its isotopic composition. Different elements give different halo patterns and different lead isotope products.

RATE Group Finds Strong Evidence for A Young Earth and Accelerated Nuclear Decay!

September, 2001

Helium Diffusion in Biotite

The Institute for Creation Research (ICR; reported in its October 2001 Acts and Facts newsletter (Vol. 30, No. 10, October 2001; and that the RATE (Radioisotopes and the Age of The Earth) group has found strong experimental evidence for a young earth and episodes of rapid nuclear decay in the past. RATE has put forth several research proposals in their book Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth (ICR and CRS, 2000;, edited by Drs. Larry Vardiman, Andrew A. Snelling, and Eugene F.Chaffin, to examine radiometric dating.



RATE: L to R: Bill Hoesch, Stephen Boyd, Donald DeYoung, Steve Austin, John Baumgardner, D. Russell Humphreys, Andrew Snelling, Eugene Chaffin, John Morris. Front: Larry Vardiman, Chairman

How Did This Happen?

February, 2011

The Grand Canyon is probably the most famous geologic formation in the world. It is 216 miles long1,14–18 miles across, and about a mile deep. The first question most visitors express is, “How did this happen?” Many geologists have tried to answer this question and have proposed different theories as to how the canyon was formed.

Geologists saw the power of moving water through catastrophic failures of dams that breached. In 1889 the Johnstown flood and the 1976 Teton Flood in Idaho, breached dams caused loss of life and showed quick catastrophic geological events. Unfortunately, in geology, invoking catastrophes violates a “sacred rule,” any explanations should involve only processes we see today. This assumption, known as uniformitarianism, still underlies most geological thinking today.

More Flood Evidences Come to Light

February, 2008

From time to time, new research results give additional insight into the Biblical flood. In fact, for one who understands the Biblical flood, many current discoveries are easy to understand. For example, a recent article in Science “calls for critical reappraisal of all mudstones previously interpreted as having been continuously deposited under still waters”.1 Because mud sediments are “the dominant sediment type on earth”, this reappraisal has tremendous  implications for our understanding of the entire geological column.


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