A Critique of Theory of Evolution (Part 5 – Moon Dust Refuted)

OK, this is getting really annoying. The moon dust argument is one that has been abandoned by many creationists, even Answers in Genesis, but it seems like “A Critique of Theory of Evolution” is still relying on this argument. In their words:

Geologists think that the Earth has at least a 5 billion-year history, but according to estimations from scientists, at least 14.3 million tonnes of meteorite dust falls from space onto Earth every year. Thus, if the Earth has a 5 billion-year history, than the meteorite dust should be 50 feet thick, while the meteorite dust that landed on the Moon should be 137 feet thick. However, when astronauts walked on the Moon, the thickness of the dust as shown from their footprints were only one-eighth of an inch.

I’m not sure why the author seems to make a distinction between geologists and scientists, as if they are separate occupations of different reliability. No. A geologist is a scientist specialized in geology. Anyway, that’s just a small rant, but the main point is: he got the facts totally wrong.

14300000 tonnes per year?

Buzz Aldrin posing on the Moon during Apollo 11 landing.
If Buzz Aldrin was a YEC (and landed after Morris published "Scientific Creationism"), I wonder what would he think when he finds out that: “I’m not sinking!”
Source: Great Images in Nasa (GRIN)

The moon dust argument probably originated from Henry Morris’s book titled “Scientific Creationism”, published in 1974:

The best measurements have been made by Hans Pettersson, who obtained the figure of 14 million tons per year.

Who was this Hans Pettersson? It seems that he was a guy who went to a mountain top in 1960, collected the dust with a filter intended to measure smog levels. He then measured the amount of nickel collected, and concluded that the upper limit of the meteorite dust that can be collected every year would be 15 million tonnes. Pettersson also admitted that 15 million tonnes per year was a gross overestimate (it is), and said that 5 million tonnes per year was a better estimate.

However, Morris seems to have misinterpreted Pettersson’s words as meaning 14 million tonnes per year, but that is simply wrong. The upper limit was 15 million tonnes, and the best estimate was 5 million tonnes. Nowhere in the paper did Pettersson mention 14 million tonnes per year, so its not clear why did Morris say that he obtained that figure. But it doesn’t matter, since Petterson’s data was flawed for a reason: he thought that all the nickel measured was of meteorite origin.

Accurate Estimates

After Pettersson published his data, there have been better measurements, using methods like the chemical signature of ocean sediments, satellite penetration detectors, microcratering rate of objects left exposed on the lunar surface, which estimate the flux rate of meteorite dust on Earth to be about 15,000 to 40,000 tonnes a year – three orders of magnitude smaller than Pettersson’s estimates.


The argument that moon dust estimates refute an old Earth is simply outdated, erroneous, and should be abandoned by all creationists. It seems that the author hadn’t, and so are a number of creationists. The author also tries to “debunk” radioactive dating, but his arguments are still wrong factually, and I shall answer them in my next post.


  1. Mark Isaak. (2004). CE101: Moon Dust. Available: http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CE/CE101.html. Last accessed 19 May 2010.
  2. Tim Thompson. (1996). Meteorite Dust and the Age of the Earth. Available: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/moon-dust.html. Last accessed 19 May 2010.
  3. Answers in Genesis. (1993). Moon-dust argument no longer useful. Available: http://www.answersingenesis.org/creation/v15/i4/moondust.asp. Last accessed 19 May 2010.
  4. Chris Stassen. (2005). The Age of the Earth. Available: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-age-of-earth.html#dust. Last accessed 19 May 2010.
  5. Don Lindsay. (2002). Young Earth Argument: Moon Dust. Available: http://www.don-lindsay-archive.org/creation/moondust.html. Last accessed 19 May 2010.

Previous: Java Man is a Genuine Fossil

Next: On Radiometric Dating of Minerals

2 Comments on “A Critique of Theory of Evolution (Part 5 – Moon Dust Refuted)”

  1. Mark Looy says:

    There is a word or two apparently missing in your statement: “The moon dust argument is one that has been by many creationists, even Answers in Genesis …” Regardless, are you suggesting that Answers in Genesis is using the moon-dust argument?

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