Magnetic fields and the science of biblical creation
Published: 6 July 2013 (GMT+10)
The exponential decay of planetary magnetic fields is one of the strongest scientific arguments that supports the young age of the earth and the solar system. As such it is no surprise that skeptics attack this idea. D.O. from the United States writes concerning some such objections:
Hello Dr. Sarfati:
I have a couple of questions about Humphreys’s rapid decay model of Earth’s magnetic field. I couldn’t find anything on the CMI website that directly addresses these questions, but I apologize if I missed them.
One evolutionist I am debating argued that Lenz’s law implies that nature resists a change in magnetic flux. He used the example of “suddenly turn[ing] on a magnetic field going through a conducting loop, the loop will generate a current to form a magnetic field in the opposite direction to try and keep a magnetic flux of zero.” He says that “changing a magnetic flux generates an electromotive force that tries to oppose the change in flux” and used that to argue that fluctuation is much more likely than exponential decay when it comes to Earth’s magnetic field. Is his argument valid at all?
Also, is it true that if the magnetic field strength of the earth is decaying, its rotation speed must be increasing over time, to conserve angular momentum?
Thanks for your time and help.
CMI’s Dr Jonathan Sarfati responds:
Hi Mr O.
Thank you for asking.
This evo really doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Yes, there is such a thing as Lenz’s Law, which states that an induced current is always in such a direction as to oppose the motion or change causing it. But it will not overcompensate the way he is claiming. Rather, the induced current is caused by the field decay, so it will be in the direction of the original field. The decay is a negative of the original, so the induced field will be a positive. But it will never be as great (otherwise a perpetual motion machine would be possible, and this violates the second law of thermodynamics). Thus such systems will decay exponentially, as is well known in physics (as explained in my article The earth’s magnetic field: evidence that the earth is young).
As for the second question, there doesn’t seem to be a connection, because the field has no mass, while angular momentum involves mass.
Hope this helps.
Thank you for your response, it was very helpful. Regarding the second question, I understand what you mean about angular momentum, but the reason I asked it is the evolutionist I was debating said that “a magnetic field is angular momentum density,” and then went on to say that if the magnetic field was decaying, the angular momentum would have to “go somewhere” and would cause an increase in the rotation speed of earth. Is there such a connection between the magnetic field and angular momentum?
OK, then ask this critic some questions. We know that the rotational angular momentum of the earth (L0) is given by its angular velocity (ω) times its moment of inertia, which to a good approximation is given by the formula for a solid uniform sphere (I = 2 /5 Mr2). See more at Slipshod logic in Creation for Kids? (scroll down a fair way). OK, so what is his formula for the angular momentum of the magnetic field? Let him prove that it would cause a measurable slowdown by working it out quantitatively (if he can even find a formula).
Hope this helps.
Thank you for your insight. I asked the evolutionist what formula he would use for the angular momentum of the earth’s magnetic field, and he said:
“You haven’t had any actual education in electricity and magnetism, have you? A magnetic field is angular momentum density. It’s given by c^-2(r x (E x H) ) r, E, and H being the vectors of the position, electric field, and magnetic field, respectively. Where would the angular momentum go [in Humphreys’s model of magnetic field decay]?” I also found a website that discusses this formula [Weblink removed as per our feedback rules—Ed.]. What am I missing?
The evolutionist also claimed that Lenz’s law would imply that “the nature of magnetism is oscillatory because Nature Abhors A Change In Flux,” and that the correct graph for Humphreys’s model would be a “damped oscillator” rather than an exponential curve. Is this correct?
By the way, I am granting permission to publish any of our email exchange on the CMI website if you wish to, I would just ask that you use my initials and not my full name if you decide to do so.
This formula is not relevant to what is being discussed here.
Exponential decay is a very well-known phenomenon, and the way it works here would not be a damped oscillator. Rather, Dr Humphreys himself has written an update in the CRSQ this year, and the main phenomenon is exponential decay (so where would angular momentum go in a typical RI circuit), as per the laws of electromagnetism. There is a small sinusoidal component, which doesn’t affect the long-term energy loss, but nothing like a damped oscillator.
V.G. from the United States writes in response to The moon: the light that rules the night.
The link to support your site says that “They say the bible has been proven wrong by science. Whoever said that hasn’t been to creation.com.”
Hate to burst your bubble here guys, but I’ve been to this site, and I’m saying it. None of the “science” you’ve put up supports anything of creationism, and just goes to show that none of you really know what you’re talking about. The Bible does not classify as evidence. Not because it was written by people who weren’t there, but because it comes from the perspective of an imaginary being, God, who wasn’t there and to this day isn’t there. When I was a child, I believed in childish things such as God, the Devil, heaven, hell and angels. When I became older, I began to see reality as it really is, as opposed to the way I wanted it to be and put away those childish beliefs.
For your mental health, please do the same.
PS-The site has a good design, it’s just the content that sucks.
Jonathan Sarfati responds:
Maybe you will grace us with scientific support for your fact-free assertions, enough to persuade me and my colleagues who have earned doctorates in science Creationist qualifications. E.g. which scientific paper demonstrated that God is an imaginary being, and what was its evidence? Try also this paper: Atheism.
Glad you like the site design.
Jonathan Sarfati, Ph.D.
Dear mental health advocate,
I am always looking for examples of 'begging the question' (circular reasoning) to share with my friends and relatives. Yours is excellent and will be passed around without delay:
There is no God. Therefore the universe was not created. How do we know it was not created? Because there is no God.
You have done my mental health a great deal of good, and I thank you.
Hi Jonathan. In addition to my previous post I would like to add that I have worked as a police officer, child protection officer and social worker over the past 10 years. I found that none of the families, that I provided support to because of mental health issues, were practising Christians.
Hi Jonathan, I commend you for your reply to V.G. and for the effort that you and your colleagues have made to earn reputable qualifications in the field of Science. As a student of Geology and forced to endure time and again the illogical theory of Evolution, I'm delighted to say that I find some relief in CMI's sensible interpretation of the facts. Keep up the good work and who knows, maybe your critics will have enough sense to look beyond their standard text book reply.
I love this back and forth Q&A. I feel smarter by looking at this site. Thank you.
"I know of no finding in archaeology that’s properly confirmed which is in opposition to the Scriptures. The Bible is the most accurate history textbook the world has ever seen." - Dr Clifford Wilson, formerly director of the Australian Institute of Archaeology
When the evolutionist gave his formula (it's taken from Poynting's theorem for electromagnetic momentum) for angular momentum in a field, notice that he specified E, the electric field. If the earth had a huge amount of electric charge, then it might have enough electric field for the electromagnetic angular momentum to become a tiny fraction of its mechanical angular momentum. But if he'd actually calculated the magnitudes of the two for the real world, he would see that his idea is thoroughly implausible. I used to have such an idea when I was a Sophomore in physics. It's not for nothing that "Sophomore" literally means "wise fool"!
The first ungodly person brings a story (not a very convincing one) to compete with what God says by revelation. Even if such a person were able to tell a convincing lie, that would not make the lie true. And the lie would not make the truth false either. The second ungodly person presupposes Atheism as a filter to avoid experiencing much of reality, especially acknowledging God.
A hardened ungodly person can hardly see evidence for God, though God provides it readily. In their innermost minds, God speaks to them, but they use their presuppositions of Atheism, Materialism, Naturalism, Uniformitarianism, and Evolutionism to keep themselves from acknowledging God. However, none of these presuppositions can be shown to be reality or even to be scientifically possible. Where is the evidence that Jesus Christ doesn't lead us? And, what is the process by which ungodly people can know the inner spiritual experiences of every follower of Christ throughout time, which is what they are claiming in Naturalism?
We not only know about God, but we personally know Jesus Christ, the creator of the Universe. No circular reasoning, universal negative, or argument from ignorance is required.
Ungodly people say that revelation, written or direct, is not credible because the human mind can be easily fooled and can't discern between God's revelation and other sources. However, God is the One who gives the discernment along with the revelation, and this God-given ability to discern increases with our spiritual maturity. We have our senses exercised by reason of use. Ungodly people may want to consider all the evidence and not circularly use Naturalism, the presupposition that there is no spiritual evidence, to filter out all spiritual evidence.
Poor V.G. He obviously hasn't read about how archaeology, physics, chemistry & many other sciences are proving the Bible RIGHT.
Sorry, I can't quote all the articles. Too many.
In questions raised about the decay of earth's magnetic field, Johathan Safati states that according to the 2nde law of thermodynamics perpetual motion ‘machines’ are impossible. How does the 2nd law of thermodynamics account for the ‘perpetual motion’ of an electron orbiting a nucleus?
The answer is found in quantum mechanics (see Should creationists accept quantum mechanics?). The idea that an electron is somehow orbiting a nucleus the way the planets orbit the sun is an outdated classical-physical view.