Originally published in Creation 15, no 4 (September 1993): 22.
The moon-dust argument was easy to understand and explain. Nevertheless, it has been found to be an invalid argument for creationists.
For years, a common and apparently valid argument for a recent creation was to use uniformitarian assumptions to argue that the amount of dust on the moon was less than 10,000 years’ worth.
In an important paper, geologist Dr Andrew Snelling from Australia’s Creation Science Foundation [now Answers in Genesis], and former Institute for Creation Research graduate student Dave Rush, have examined in minute detail all the evidence relating to this argument.1 They have shown that:
The amount of dust coming annually on to the earth/moon is much smaller than the amount estimated by (noncreationists) Pettersson, on which the argument is usually based.
Uniformitarian assumptions cannot therefore justifiably be turned against evolutionists to argue for a young age.
Most NASA scientists, in fact, were convinced before the Apollo landings that there was not much dust likely to be found there.
Interestingly, Snelling and Rush’s research found that anti-creationist critics, in their haste to demolish the argument, had used figures which err greatly in the opposite direction.
For example, theistic evolutionists from Calvin College, after scathingly critiquing creationists for alleged erroneous handling of data, do precisely that and arrive at a figure for moon-dust influx only about one-twentieth of that which should have been correctly concluded from the literature they consulted. 2
The moon-dust argument was easy to understand and explain. Nevertheless, as we have indicated before, creationists as well as evolutionists need to be prepared to re-examine arguments as new and better data emerges.
H. J. van Till, D.A. Young, and C. Menninga, ‘Footprints on the dusty moon’, In: Science Held Hostage, InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, Illinois, ch. 4, pp.67–82.