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A Response to Joe Meert’s Question:
“Is The Earth’s Magnetic Field Young?”

Edward A. Boudreaux, Ph.D., Prof. Emeritus
© 2019 Edward A. Boudreaux.  All Rights Reserved.


In a 2004 update to an earlier article of his, Joe Meert launched severe challenges against the work of Dr. Russell Humphreys and Dr. Thomas Barnes, regarding the age, decay and reversal of the earth’s magnetic field.  As one who has expertise in magnetism (Boudreaux & Mulay, 2005, 1976, etc.), I feel it is incumbent upon me to provide a response to Meert’s claims.

The article in question professes that the only true definition of the earth’s magnetic field reversal is that cited by Jacobs (1994), which is simultaneously the position held as the status quo among most geophysicists.  This definition is predicated upon the presumption that geomagnetic data observed in relatively recent times (particularly the so called “archeomagnetic,” which is most commonly referred to as paleomagnetism), accurately reflects old-earth geomagnetic processes.  This in turn, is founded upon the erroneous presumption that, “observations in the present are the keys to the past.”  Such a position is not only unscientific but also totally disregards the likely prospect that past catastrophic events in the geohistory of the earth, would have significant consequences in altering the behavior of the earth’s magnetic field.

Actually, the work of Humphreys, unlike that appearing in most of the published literature, provides a model with solid scientific analysis for geomagnetic reversals, occurring as the direct result of a world-wide flood.  These findings are gauged by a completely different time frame from that presumed in paleomagnetic interpretations.  In relating to Humphreys work, Meert cites only two Impact Articles (1989, 1993) by ICR, one report in the Creation Research Society Quarterly (1988) and a web site report (2003).  The Impact Articles are specifically designed for lay readers having a high school/undergraduate college education.  The other referenced works are intentionally still very general in content, lacking scientific rigor.  Apparently, Meert completely overlooked (whether intentionally or not) the more rigorous publications by Humphreys (1986, 1988, 1990) on this topic.  Furthermore, an equally scientifically rigorous publication by Davey (1990) arrived at the same conclusion as did Humphreys.  In all of these works, solid physics is applied to the analysis of the model.  The conclusions drawn are that the earth’s magnetic field has flipped once in recent time (i.e., some 4000 years or so from the present).

In support of his claims, Meert references a number of authors, including Merrill (1998); Coe, Prévot and Champs (1995); Clement (2004), plus several others, whose positions are all pro paleomagnetic and counter to that imposed by a world-wide flood’s imprint on the geomagnetic record of the earth.  Undoubtedly, neither Meert nor any others in his camp, even believe that a world-wide flood ever occurred, much less consider the geomagnetic consequences of it.  Nonetheless, there are numerous bona fide, credible, scientists who do believe in such a flood and who cite numerous evidences in support of it (see publications by ICR, Proceedings of the International Conferences on Creationism, Creation Research Quarterly, Technical Journal, just to name a few).

It would seem that the logical question to ask is, “Is it any less scientific to accept a flood and derive the scientific analysis as a consequence of it, than it is to deny the flood and derive a scientific analysis in the absence of it?”  The same science is applied in both cases, so neither can be judged more scientifically legitimate.  The fact of the matter is that there is certainly more observable evidence in support of a flood rather than against it.  Hence, there is a reasonable basis for the flood model.  But the absence of reliable scientific data on paleomagnetism, whether the flood is accepted or not, does not allow for a definitive conclusion about geomagnetic reversals based upon any model.

Since there is no reliable, observable, scientific data relating to the distant past, the actual origin, decay time and reversal of the earth’s magnetic field, can never be proved beyond a shadow of a doubt.  Furthermore, denial of the influences of a flood clearly disqualifies the reliability of any current geomagnetic data and inferences derived therefrom.  Consequently, the earlier work of Barnes (1971, 1973), and in particular the more recent works of Humphreys and Davey, are every bit as scientifically credible as those of their opponents.

In conclusion, any contention maintaining that the works of Humphreys, et. al., have been debunked, is founded totally upon biases drawn from unreliable data.  Thus, such a contention is nothing more than an opinion devoid of valid scientific support. 


References

Barnes, T.G., 1971, “Decay of the earth’s magnetic moment and the geochronological implications”, Creation Research Society Quarterly 8 (June, 1971) 24-29.

Barnes, T.G., 1973, Origin and Destiny of the Earth’s Magnetic Field, Creation Life Publishers, San Diego, CA.

Boudreaux, E. A., 2005, “Diamagnetism and Superconductivity; Superdiamagnetism”, Encyclopedia of Physics, 3rd Edition, Lerner, R. G. and Trigg, G. L. (editors), Wiley-VCH-Verlag GmbH & Co., Weinheim, Vol. 1, 508-511.

Boudreaux, E. A. and Mulay, L. N., 1976, Theory and Applications of Molecular Paramagnetism, John Wiley and Sons, New York.

Mulay, L. N. and Boudreaux, E. A., 1976, Theory and Applications of Molecular Diamagnetism, John Wiley and Sons, New York

Boudreaux, E. A., numerous publications on magnetism in scientific journals, 1956- current.

Clement, B., 2004, “Dependence of the duration of geomagnetic polarity reversals on site latitude”, Nature, 428, 637-640.

Coe, R.S., Prévot, M. and Camps, P., 1995, “New evidence for extraordinarily rapid change of the geomagnetic field during a reversal,” Nature, 374, 687-692.

Davey, K. R., 1990, “Eigenvalue analysis of the magnetic field of the earth and its implications on age and field reversals,” International Conference on Creationism, Creation Science Fellowship, Pittsburgh, PA, Vol.II, 65-77

Humphreys, D. R., 1988, “Has the earth’s magnetic field ever flipped?”, Creation Research Society Quarterly, Creation Research Fellowship, Pittsburgh, PA., 25, 89-94.

Humphreys, D. R.(a) 1989, “The mystery of the earth’s magnetic field,” ICR Impact Series, No. 188, Institute for Creation Research, San Diego, CA ; (b) 1993, “The earth’s magnetic field is young”, ICR Impact Series, No. 242.; (c) 2003, “The earth’s magnetic field. Closing a loophole in the case for its youth”, Creation Digest.com (www.creationequation.com/Earth's_Magnetism_Field.htm)

Humphreys, D. R., (a) 1986, “Reversals of the earth's magnetic field during the Genesis Flood”, Proceedings of the First International Conference on Creationism, Creation Science Fellowship, Pittsburgh, PA, Vol. II, 113-126; (b) 1990, “Physical mechanism for the reversals of the earth’s magnetic field during the Flood”, Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Creationism, Vol. II, 129-142.

Jacobs, J. A., 1994, Reversals of the Earth’s Magnetic Field, 2nd edition, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, U.K.

Meert, Joe, 2004, “Is the Earth’s Magnetic Field Young?” (http://gondwanaresearch.com/hp/magfield.htm)

Merrill, R. T. , McEllinny, M. W. and McFadden, P. I., 1998, The Magnetic Field of the Earth, Academic Press, International Geophysics Series, Vol. 63.


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