My “Top Five” Reasons for Believing in a Young Earth (Part 2 of 6)

Now that I have the scientific philosophy out of the way, it is time to discuss the major data that lead me to believe in a young earth. The first issue is the phenomenon of planetary magnetic fields. We all know that the earth has a magnetic field. It’s what makes the Boy Scout compass needle point north. If we look at the other bodies in the solar system (planets and moons), some have magnetic fields, while others do not. Mars, for example, has no planetary magnetic field. It has some residual magnetism (which is important), but there is no significant planetary magnetic field. Mercury, on the other hand, has a magnetic field (which is also important).

Scientists have been studying the earth’s magnetic field since 1835, and since that time, its strength has been decaying. Also, it appears that at least a few times in the past, its poles have reversed. Most likely, then, at some points in the past, the Boy Scout compass needle pointed south.

What causes the earth’s magnetic field? Pretty much everyone agrees that it is the result of electrical currents that occur in the core of the earth. Just as a current-carrying wire produces a magnetic field, electrical currents in the core of the earth produce the earth’s magnetic field.

What causes those electrical currents? There’s the sticking point. There are those who think differences in local temperatures in the liquid outer core of the earth coupled with the earth’s rotation cause the currents. A small minority of scientists think that the electrical current started because of the spin alignment of the molecules in the earth at the time of creation. As the molecules relaxed, this would reduce their combined magnetic field, and the resulting change in flux would produce electrical currents in the core.

If you don’t understand all that, don’t worry. Here is the key. There are two basic ideas of how the earth’s magnetic field formed. The first idea I mentioned, the dynamo theory 1, assumes it is the result of processes that are currently happening. The second idea I mentioned, the rapid-decay theory 2, assumes it is the result of the method by which the earth was created. Both assumptions result in detailed mathematical models that can be used to predict the magnetic field of the earth as well as the magnetic fields of other bodies in the solar system.

How do these models compare to the data? Well, the dynamo theory doesn’t do well at all. For example, if you “massage” the model so you get the right magnetic field for the earth, it is wrong for most of the other planets. For example, the dynamo theory predicts that Mercury should have no magnetic field. However, it does. 3 Alternatively, Mars has no planetary magnetic field (or an incredibly weak one), but the dynamo theory says it should have one that is on the same order of magnitude as that of earth. 4

The rapid-decay theory, however, has enjoyed an enormous amount of success in relationship to the data. First, when you “massage” the theory so that earth’s magnetic field is predicted correctly, the theory then correctly predicts the magnetic fields of all the planets of the solar system. This is particularly impressive because two of the magnetic fields (the ones for Neptune and Uranus) were predicted several years before they were measured. 2 Once the measurements were made, the rapid-decay theory’s predictions were correct. The dynamo theory’s predictions were NOT.

In a similar vein, in 1984, the rapid-decay theory was used to predict that volcanic rocks from Mars should show that even though there is no significant planetary magnetic field now, there was one in the past. Well, the data from igneous rocks on Mars do, indeed, indicate that Mars did have a planetary magnetic field, even though it doesn’t have a significant one today. 5

Finally, the rapid-decay theory predicts that all planets’ magnetic fields decay over time. We have seen that with earth’s magnetic field, but that’s because we have been measuring it for neary 200 years. Most planets’ magnetic fields have been relatively recently measured, but Mercury’s magnetic field (the one the dynamo theory says shouldn’t exist) was measured back in 1975. NASA sent another unmanned probe back to Mercury, and though it has not settled into stable orbit yet, it has passed by Mercury. Long before that happened, the rapid-decay theory was used to predict what this unmanned probe would measure, and once again it was correct. 6

So what’s the point here? The ONLY theory of planetary magnetic fields that comes close to being consistent with the data is the rapid-decay theory. Not only can it accurately reproduce all the known planetary magnetic fields in the solar system, it predicted two of them before they were measured. In addition, before it was known, the rapid-decay theory predicted that Mars would show signs of having once had a planetary magnetic field. In addition, it predicted what the new Mercury probe would measure before it happened.

This theory of planetary magnetic fields is everything that you want from a scientific theory. It explains why planets have magnetic fields, and it predicts data that have not yet been measured. When those data are finally measured, the theory’s predictions turn out to be correct. Well, a consequence of this incredibly successful theory is that the earth and the solar system cannot be more than 10,000 years old. That’s a result of the mathematics.

Thus, the ONLY theory of planetary magnetism that successfully predicts the data REQUIRES that the earth and the solar system be very young.


1. Paul Demorest, “Dynamo Theory and Earth’s Magnetic Field”, 2001,
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2. D. Russell Humphreys, “The Creation of Planetary Magnetic Fields”, CRSQ 21,1984,
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3. E. N. Parker, “Magnetic fields in the cosmos,” Scientific American, 249:44-54 , 1983
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4. Michael Zeilik, Astronomy: The Evolving Universe, p. 188 , Cambridge University Press, 2002
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5. Connerney, J.E.P., et al., “Magnetic lineations in the ancient crust of Mars”, Science 284:794-798, 1994
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6. D. Russell Humphreys, ” Mercury’s Magnetic Field is Young!”,
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