Our “Designed” Solar System

Lunar eclipse

(Image from Sangrea.net.)

The Sun and the Moon are among the signs of Allah. They are there so that we can contemplate His wondrous and incredible creation. The eclipse is one of the greatest signs of Allah. Do you not see how the moon perfectly covers the sun? The moon is the perfect size to block out the light of the sun. Allah made the universe in perfect proportions. Will you then not believe?

I found this quote from a Muslim creationist on a BBC discussion board about an eclipse back in 1999. It’s a claim I often hear from creationists whenever the topic of the solar eclipse comes up. To a creationist, everything marvelous (or even curious) is proof of design.

It’s an interesting coincidence, though, isn’t it? The moon does perfectly cover the sun! Except when it doesn’t.

This diagram (from The Dome of the Sky) shows how things line up during a total eclipse:

How a total eclipse works

And this photograph (from Astropix) shows what it looks like from Earth:

What a total eclipse looks like from Earth

That’s Godly perfection! I’m going to have to burn my copy of Origin of Species. Oh wait! What’s this? Jerry Lodriguss of Astropix wants to throw cold water onto my bonfire. Here’s what he says about this “perfect” size match:

However, for those who see more than mere coincidences in things, it isn’t always like this. Because the moon’s orbit is not perfectly circular, sometimes it is a bit farther away from the earth and it does not completely cover the sun’s surface even when the orbits exactly coincide. This is called an annular solar eclipse.

Bummer. Maybe that means God only exists during a total eclipse.

Here’s a diagram (from The Dome of the Sky) that shows how things line up during an annular eclipse:

How an annular eclipse works

And this photograph (from Mr. Eclipse) shows what it looks like from Earth:

What an annular eclipse looks like from Earth

To further rub salt in God’s wound, Jerry Lodriguss adds:

And, it hasn’t always been like this in the past, and it won’t always be like this in the future. Millions of years ago, the moon was much closer to the Earth, and due to the transfer of angular momentum from the Earth to the moon, the Earth slows down in its rotation while the moon moves farther away. Millions of years from now, the moon will be farther away and will never completely cover the sun’s surface.

Oh, no, God! You almost got things perfect.

(You need a Flash plug-in to play this!)

You need a Flash plug-in to hear this!

And the Year Isn’t Perfect Either

Then there’s the problem of the length of the year. If our solar system is so perfectly designed that the moon exactly covers the sun, then you’d expect that other measurements would also be perfect.

Why, then, is the year such an awkward length? Why do we need leap years? Why are the rules for calculating the leap years so convoluted? Phil Plait explains in torturous detail here all about leap years. The bottom line is that the year is 365.242190419 days long. What sort of crappy design is that?

Another question to ask is why the moon’s cycle isn’t perfect. Why is it 29.53 days? Why isn’t it 29 or 30? In fact, shouldn’t the cycle be 28 days or some other multiple of 7? Shouldn’t it reflect the perfect week, which is how long it took Magic Man to create the universe?

That would make our months exactly four weeks. That would give us 13 months of 28 days each. Uh-oh! That doesn’t work out either! The year should have been exactly 364 days long. I guess God screwed up again.

There’s nothing especially Biblical about four weeks. It would be better if the moon took 49 days to go through its cycle. That’s 7 times 7. Then the year could be 7 months long, or 343 days. God’s blowing it right and left.

Instead of a perfectly-designed solar system where everything lines up in perfect harmony, all I see is a random collection of numbers. There is no design apparent in these facts.

10 Responses to “Our “Designed” Solar System”

  1. Mike Says:

    Perhaps a better point, or question to make here, is how it doesn’t make any sense, in the Evolutionist perspective, that the moon isn’t much farther away than it is. If the earth is 15,000,000,000 years old as is the current school of thought, and the moon moves an average of 1.6 inches per year away from the earth, then…..well, you can do the math. It should be almost twice as far away as it is right now…and that’s if the moon “started” at the earth’s surface. Can you explain that? Just curious.

  2. Ron Britton Says:

    Can you explain that?

    I could, but if you’re so intellectually lazy that you can’t even Google it yourself, I sincerely doubt you’d believe the answer if it contradicted your pre-conceived ideas.

    Just curious.

    Apparently not.

  3. Parrotlover77 Says:

    Wow, that one was full of strawmen. The universe isn’t even (probably) 15 billion years old. So I’m not sure how the earth is supposed to be that old.

  4. Ron Britton Says:

    And if the moon moves 1.6 inches per year, why are there still monkeys?

  5. OtherRob Says:

    I’m curious, Mike. Are you still reading this thread? Without resorting to a google search I could give you some pretty good answers about that. Do you really want answers? I suspect I know the answer, but I’m willing to be proved wrong.

    And if the moon moves 1.6 inches per year, why are there still monkeys?

    LOL, Ron!

  6. David Says:

    I suppose Mike deserves an answer. Since I’m also too lazy to Google it I’ll just make two points:

    1 The Earth is believed to be about 4.5 billion years old, not 15 billion.

    2 The 1.6 inches per year would not be constant. The Moon’s recession is caused by tidal friction which will be different in different eras because of changes in the shape of the oceans.

    There’s a discussion at:
    http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CE/CE110.html

  7. Nick Says:

    I have yet to understand why all these things you mentions must be right on. There is already so much more design for you to “disprove”. Intelligent Design isn’t a theory proven wrong or right yet. There is no proof of spontaneous generation nor anything else. Who was there to observe such a phenomenon? It seems al ot more plausible that there is intelligence behind our complex biological makeup.

  8. Ron Britton Says:

    Nick:

    You are asking of us the very thing that you have none of yourself: Proof.

    You have no proof of God. Therefore, you cannot assume he exists.

    Science, on the other hand, has mountains of evidence proving evolution, for example. It has some evidence supporting abiogenesis. You have zero evidence supporting your version of the origin of life.

    Your version of events is nothing but unsupported assumptions and wishful thinking.

  9. Pete Moulton Says:

    “Intelligent Design isn’t a theory proven wrong or right yet.”

    In truth it isn’t a theory at all, Nick. I refer you to the link named ‘Not Just a Theory’ that Ron has helpfully supplied under the heading ‘Evolution Explained’.

    Then I’ll refer you to a brilliant essay by the late Stephen Jay Gould entitled “The Panda’s Peculiar Thumb“.

    I don’t expect you’ll read either one, but at least I’ve done my bit.

    “It seems al ot more plausible that there is intelligence behind our complex biological makeup.” Yeah, but only if the ‘intelligence’ was Rube Goldberg.

  10. Pete Moulton Says:

    Thanks for that edit, Ron. I still don’t guess Nick will read either essay, but now there’s no excuse that it’s too difficult.