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Small Bodies In the Kuiper Belt: Not Enough Comets?


          We see too many comets if the solar system is 5 billion years old.  In the 1950s, Dutch astronomer, Jan Oort, proposed that long-period comets (those that approach the sun once in every 200 years or longer) originated from a leftover cloud of gas, dust, and ice on the outer fringes of the solar system.  The region is called the Oort cloud.

          Evidence for the Oort cloud has yet to materialize, but a smaller source of icy bodies has been detected.  Called the Kuiper Belt, after another Dutch astronomer, Gerard Kuiper, these bodies lie beyond the orbit of Neptune, and most beyond Pluto’s orbit.  Since 1992, astronomers have discovered nearly 1,000 icy objects beyond Pluto.  These range from 20 miles or more in diameter.  However, the Kuiper Belt only gives short-period comets, ones with periods under 200 years.

          Now x-ray astronomers observing Scorpius X-1, the first and strongest x-ray source found in Scorpius, report finding much smaller bodies.  Using NASA’s Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer satellite over the course of the last seven years, a team led by Hsiang-Kuang Chang of the National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan searched for drops in the brightness of Scorpius X-1.  (Scorpius X-1 is the brightest x-ray source in the sky and is located near where the galactic center and the Kuiper Belt cross.)  Each drop in brightness lasted a few thousandths of a second.

          The team found 58 short-lived dips, presumed to be caused by icy bodies 10 to 100 yards (meters) in diameter.  Reporting in the August 10 issue of Nature, the researchers estimated that the number of small, icy objects in the Kuiper Belt could reach a quadrillion, which is a thousand trillion of 1015.  That is from a thousand to a million times the number of potential comets assumed by computer simulations of solar-system formation.  The simulations assume that the small bodies will coalesce by collisions with one another.  Collisions between small and large bodies produce dust which should either be pushed out of the solar system by sunlight (radiation pressure) or, for larger dust particles, spiral into the sun.  In effect, the problem now is that there may be too many bodies in the Kuiper Belt to support evolution.

          Refinements in detection equipment and techniques could theoretically give the distances to the objects. 


Archaeological Frustrations for Evolutionists[1]


          Were our first ancestors civilized or uncivilized?  Did they wander constantly, hunt and fish for a living?  Could they write?  Modern science once thought our first ancestors were the most ignorant barbarians.  However, the recent findings of archaeologists have altered this concept.  Dr. W. W. Dawson, Canadian scientist, has this to say in his book, The Bible Confirmed by Science. 


Neither in Egypt nor in Babylon has any beginning of civilization been found.  As far back as archaeology can take us, man is already civilized, building cities and temples, carving hard stone into artistic forms, and even employing a system of picture writing.  Of Egypt it may be said, the older the country the more perfect it is found to be.  The fact is a very remarkable one, in view of modern theories of development, and of the evolution of civilization out of barbarism.  Such theories are not borne out by the discoveries of archaeology.  Instead of the progress we should expect, we find retrogression and decay.  Where we look for the rude beginnings of art, we find an advanced society and artistic perfection.


          Is it possible that the Bible view is right after all, and that civilized man has been civilized from the outset?  [This is exactly what we would expect if there was a global flood and man resettled the earth with his antediluvian technology and knowledge intact, particularly with a longer lifespan than today’s man. —Ed.]


Globular Clusters: Not Older than the Milky Way?


          For most of the twentieth century, astronomers taught that the globular clusters—clusters of stars that appear as densely-packed spheres of stars—consist of old Population II stars while the disk of the Milky Way consists of young Population I stars.  The stars in globular clusters were assumed to be older than the stars in the disk because they are low in elements heavier than helium.  These are generally called metal deficient.  It was presumed that the globulars are older than the disk and thus are richer in the hydrogen and helium produced by the supposed big bang, while the stars in the disk formed later, after exploding stars had enriched space with elements heavier than helium.  Also, the globulars seemed devoid of the dust produced by smoking and exploding stars. 

          About three years ago, Hubble discovered that globulars consisted of a mixed population of stars.  Instead of consisting entirely of “old,” reddish stars, the globulars also had “young” blue stars.  These young upstarts were called “blue stragglers.”  They even have planets.  Theories abound as to how these stragglers arose, in an environment which evolutionists thought could not harbor them.  No theory is without its problems, though.  These days, anything mysterious or newly observed in a galaxy or its halo is blamed on a collision with another galaxy.  So, too with the blue stars in globular clusters, galaxy and star collisions are invoked to explain their existence. 

Blue Stragglers in a Globular Cluster.  The small rectangle in the picture of the globular at left is enlarged at right.  Blue stragglers are circled in yellow in this Hubble Telescope picture.  (Courtesy NASA.)


In short, the commonly accepted theory for the formation and evolution of stars in the universe appears to be increasingly falling short of the observed facts.


Contrails or Chemtrails?


          In the past we have covered the global warming scare and attempted to put that fiasco in a proper perspective.  Ditto for the coming ice age debacle of the 1970s and the baseless charges leveled against DDT.  Then, too, there was the ozone scare that weaned us off fluorocarbons even though the worst ozone holes in history occurred in the late 1940s, before 1954 when the heavy usage of freon started.  Too far from our publication’s scope was the spotted owl scare started by the Sierra Club’s executive director Michael Fisher to “save” said owl from the rape of its virgin forests by Pacific Lumber in the northwest.  Fortunately, Mr. Fisher’s lumber recycling company, Western Wood Fabricators, was there to help make up for the resulting virgin timber shortage.  We now know that spotted owls nest not only in virgin forests but also in K-Mart signs.  It should be clear to any thinking individual that our left-wing powerbrokers feel they have to frighten us to keep us under its thumb.  It is clear that fictitious, scary stories of doom can be quite profitable. 

In the 1990s there arose another scare, this time to cripple the airline industry.  That scare involved the accusation that the airlines (or the government, or the leftists, or the nationalists, or the army, or the air force, or Donald Duck were putting chemicals in tanks of airliners and spraying the land as they went.  The contrails we have all known since birth or, at least, since the Second World War when propeller-driven bombers would leave such trails, came to be called “chemtrails.” 

The anecdotes that were the substance of chemtrail accusations usually involved a series or network of contrails.  People reported they could taste the chemicals or feel their effects immediately.  There were fuzzy photos posted on the Internet that “showed” deadly chemicals being loaded on airplanes.

Serious science investigated if there could be something to this.  The prime culprit was aluminum poisoning.  However, tests for burning jet fuel revealed no aluminum.  Some of the testing hoped to implicate the contrails for global warming.  However, your editor recalls that the ice age scare of the 1970s accused contrails of seeding clouds which reflected more sunlight into space and so cooled the earth’s surface. 

Contrails form when water or steam produced by the burning of kerosene or jet fuel hits the cold air at high altitudes.  The steam cools to ice crystals, which can cause a rainbow effect in the contrail, or cools to water droplets, which are what clouds are made of. 

But was it all imagination?  Yes and no.  Researchers found that contrails formed more readily near weather fronts.  Such fronts can cause sudden changes in air pressure, humidity, and dust, all of which affect health and precipitate joint pains.  Cold, damp weather is especially detrimental to health.  For instance, most colds and flu attacks occur at temperatures between 20 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit.  They are less frequent at temperatures above that and almost unheard of below that range.  That is why, before the coming of the white man, Eskimos never had colds.  So it was neither the contrails nor psychosomatic effects that caused the symptoms.  The passing weather fronts created the contrails and were responsible for the symptoms.  Still, I am certain there will be some who will never be convinced.

What of the dark contrails?  I recall one day when there were a great many contrails over Cleveland.  Most were a muddy color and they formed a network grid running north-south and east-west.  The radio mentioned it and some of the talk show hosts speculated that they might be chemtrails.  However, it was unusually hazy that summer day.  It occurred to me that dust in the air absorbed the white light from the contrails and tinted it a sandy color.  This also explains why many of the chemtrails are associated with desert areas, areas where it makes no sense to poison people if this were a population control measure.  Since then, I have also observed and photographed shadows of contrails falling on thin lower-level clouds.  The shadows also look grayish and dirty. 

The conclusion is that the chemtrail scare is a myth, most likely started by environmentalists to frighten people away from the airline industry.  That would explain why, after 911 when the airline industry was depressed by the restrictions of the Federal government, chemtrails disappeared from the scare radar. 

Contrail shadows falling on low-level haze.


How to Lie with Statistics


          “How to Lie with Statistics” was the title of a leading statistics text in the 1970s.  The practice is rampant in politics and pseudosciences such as evolution and environmentalism.  Consider this example.

          Not too long ago the press trumpeted scientists’ announcement the completion of the chimpanzee genome, the chimp’s genetic formula.  The completion was heralded as a “really big deal.”  After all, it involved decoding some three billion building blocks of chimp DNA.

          While it was the chimp’s genome that was deciphered, it was the human genome that was the subject of the study.  This is so, of course, because the chimp is considered by evolutionists to be man’s “closest living relative.”  Evolutionists hope to find those genetic “changes” responsible for the emergence of modern man.  It is claimed that man and chimp have 98% of their DNA in common.  Thus evolutionists herald this as proof positive for evolution.  They claim this can only be an indication of evolution and common ancestry.

          A difference of two percent does not sound like a lot, it is true, but two percent of three billion is sixty million.  In other words, there are sixty million differences, sixty million steps that had to have changed to produce man.  That is a great many changes.  Even if it took five million years for man and chimp to evolve from their common ancestor, it averages to twelve genetic changes per year; twelve changes that would have to be common to the entire population of the evolving race.

          The two percent claim is, however, a deflated figure.  All life on earth, from bacteria to human, has 75% of its DNA in common.  That 75% amounts to the foundation of life.  So we are not talking about a potential difference in three billion building blocks but one quarter of that or 750,000,000 building blocks.  If 60,000,000 of those have changed, then the fraction that chimp and man have in common is not 98% but only 92%.  What evolutionists are doing to boost their statistics is equivalent to claiming the differences in people’s height from head to toe should be determined by measuring from the chin to the top of the head. 


History Confounds Evolutionary Ages for Supernovae


          Increasingly in the last two decades, evolutionists have been vying for the maximum ages of stars, planets, cosmos, and events.  At the same time, evolutionary theologians have been vying to make the Bible as young as conceivably possible in order to deprive it of prophecies fulfilled.  On the other hand, evolutionary historians are trying to push historical events back in time as far as possible.  These contrary strivings are predestinated to lead to contradictions. 

          Supernovae, exploding massive stars, shine as brightly or brighter than all the stars in a galaxy combined when they explode.  If one of these stars were to explode within 100 light years of earth, it is believed that virtually all life on earth would be exterminated by the radiation produced in the explosion.  Fortunately, the Lord created the earth so that there are no potential supernovae near enough to threaten earth.  However, given their brightness, it is clear that supernovae in the Milky

Way can be seen from earth.


Left: Supernova remnant in the Large Magellanic Cloud.  (Courtesy NASA)                       

          The most accurate records of novae and supernovae are the “guest star” records of the Chinese.  Although the light of the explosion fades, supernovae do leave traces of themselves in the form of debris clouds such as that of LMC N49 above.  Tradition has it that the time of the explosion can be inferred from the expansion rate of the debris cloud.  The expansion rate can sometimes be measured against surrounding stars or from the Doppler shift of the debris in front and behind the cloud.  If the supernova was observed then we can check on that tradition since we know the actual date of the explosion.

          A supernova remnant, RCW 86 in the constellation of Centaurus, was reported to have exploded 10,000 years ago.  Last year (2006) astronomers discovered that the supernova was observed by the Chinese in A.D. 185, only 1,822 years ago.  The age had been overestimated by a factor of five. 

          The Chandra X-ray satellite data were consulted and the scientists now believe that the material ejected 1822 years ago slammed into interstellar gas and dust, was slowed, giving an inflated age.   RCW 86 was not the only supernova remnant moved forward in time.  In 2001 we reported a similar result for the Veil Nebula in Cygnus.[2]  Its age was reduced from tens of thousands of years to about 5,000.  Likewise, light echoes from two supposedly ancient SNRs in the Large Magellanic Cloud gave ages for the two supernovae of about 400 and 600 years.  Long-time readers of the B.A. may recall a discussion about the expansion of the ring-like light echoes of SN 1987 in the Large Magellanic Cloud.[3]  The light echoes give a much more reliable distance and expansion age.  When light passes through dust it dims, but its speed remains the same so it is not subject to the problems of trying to measure the expansion rate of the gas.

          The slowing effect of interstellar dust and gas on expanding gas clouds has been known for decades. We have also known that the supernova’s shock front heats up the interstellar gas to glowing as the two collide.  So there was no reason to assume that the expansion rate would give anything but an absolute maximum age, but because the ages so determined made the supernovae older than allowed by the Bible, the dates were uncritically accepted. 

          One of the unmentioned consequences of the discovery that supernovae ages have to undergo major revisions is that the frequency of supernovae in the Galaxy will have to increase.  Currently it is assumed that a supernova happens about once a century.  Revising the ages downward will require them to occur more frequently.  This promises to bring the supernova occurrence rate of the Milky Way in line with that observed with other galaxies. 

          Theoretical models of novae and supernovae predict that the core of the exploding star may compress into a neutron star.  If the neutron star is oriented properly to the earth we observe it as a pulsar.  In 2001 the Chandra X-ray telescope discovered a pulsar that was pronounced to be 24,000 years old.  Later astronomers noted that it, too, was the product of a supernova observed by the Chinese in A.D. 386.  The 24,000 dropped to 1621 years old.  Back in 1980, your editor presented a similar age mismatch for the Vela pulsar which is apparently mentioned on a Sumerian tablet reputed to be 6,000 years old.  In a footnote, using the slow-down rates for the Crab and PSR 1913+16b pulsars, the tablet’s age was reduced to as recent as 3200 years ago.[4] 

          All this means that scientists’ insistence that all explanations must be evolutionary in nature or must mention evolution is now getting in the way of doing science.  We have documented numerous other occurrences over the years, but the problem is getting worse with politicians now endorsing junk science. 

[1] Comparet, Inez.  Reported in the February 2007 issue of  “Hite’s Home Mission Outreach,” 816 E. Birch St., Palmyra, PA 17078. 

[2] Panorama, 2001.  “Age of the Veil Nebula,” B.A., 11(96):54. 

[3] Panorama, 1994.  “More Evidence for a Large Universe,” B.A., 4(70):18. 

[4] Bouw, G. D., 1980.  “The Star of Bethlehem,” Creation Research Society Quarterly, 17(3):174, footnote 12.