The Origin and Purpose of the Moon
The history of the human race is also the history of life on Earth, and the story of life on Earth must start with the Moon, because without the Moon, life as we know it could not exist. There would almost certainly be some kind of life on Earth, but it would not be life as we know it, because life as we know it has adapted to environmental conditions that only exist because of the Moon. Without the Moon, the Earth would have an entirely different environment, which means entirely different life-forms adapted to live in it.
Effects of the Moon on Earth
The Moon keeps our angle of obliquity stable
Angle of obliquity refers to the degree to which a planet’s axis varies from completely vertical, or completely perpendicular (at right angles) to the plane of the ecliptic: the plane in which most planets in our solar system orbit the Sun.
Due to the gravitational pull of the Moon, the Earth’s angle of obliquity is kept stable at 22.5 degrees; which is to say that the Earth’s axis is inclined 22.5 degrees to the plane of the ecliptic. This has extremely important consequences for life on Earth.
It’s fairly common knowledge that the tilt of the Earth’s axis is what causes the 4 seasons. What most people don’t realise is how vital the 4 seasons are to life on Earth — as we know it.
Let’s say for the sake of argument, that the Earth’s angle of obliquity was zero degrees: that its axis was perfectly vertical, in relation to the plane of the ecliptic. This would make the equatorial regions super-hot; and the polar regions super-cold. There would be two main reasons for this.
The first, is that sunlight would have to travel through a lot more atmosphere to reach the poles, than to reach the equator (as the equator would be much closer to the sun, than the poles). Every extra metre of atmosphere the sunlight had to travel through would absorb and dissipate more of the sun’s heat.
Another important factor that reduces the heat at the poles is diminished power density, where the Sun’s energy is dissipated across a greater area as the Earth curves away from an upright position. For example, a circle of sunlight with a one-kilometre diameter will hit the Earth’s surface as a near perfect circle at the equator, but in extreme northern or southern latitudes it will be distorted into a long oval due to the curvature of the planet. This means that the heat of the sunlight at the poles will be spread over several times the area and therefore be several times weaker.
The planet Mercury is an excellent example of a world that is standing virtually upright, in relation to its orbit around the Sun. Apart from the fact that Mercury is so close to the Sun, its angle of obliquity would make it a very uncomfortable place for humans. If it were possible to stand on Mercury during one of its very short eighty-eight-day years, the Sun would rise due east every day, at the equator; and set due west. Mercury has equatorial temperatures that would keep lead boiling, yet probes sent from Earth have shown that the polar regions of Mercury are constantly covered in ice.
So, if the Earth were in this upright mode, life would be almost impossible across much of the planet, with extremes of temperature providing only a narrow band suitable for mammals such as humans to survive. Even then, the sea and air currents would move wildly between the hot and cold zones causing catastrophic weather conditions with regions of permanent rainfall and others with none at all. Hurricanes and tornadoes would ravage many areas and overall it seems extremely unlikely that higher life forms would ever develop on such a planet.
Whilst it is true that the extreme polar regions of the Earth are frozen throughout the year, the tilt angle of 22.5 degrees ensures that most parts of the Earth’s surface get a fair share of warmth throughout each year. This in turn means that by far the vast majority of water on the surface of the planet remains in a liquid state. All of life is utterly dependent on water and cannot exist without it.
The normal temperature range on Earth is such that there are very few parts of the globe that cannot support human life. We have a normal range of body temperature between 36.1 to 37.8°C (97 to 100°F) and yet the Inuit people live happily within the Arctic Circle and the Bedouin travel the deserts of North Africa. The world’s average temperature fluctuates slightly around the 14.5°C (58°F) mark, which is comfortable for physical work. Of course, some people will say that the world ‘is’ that temperature and that we would not have evolved as we have if it were any different — but this is flawed logic. We could just as well have evolved in a world where only small sections of the planet were available to us to inhabit. No other known planet has such a narrow temperature band — and a range of temperature that permits water to be liquid most of the time.
It has therefore been vital for our existence that the tilt of the Earth has been maintained at around 22.5 degrees for an extremely long period of time, and yet, bearing in mind the composition of the planet this is a very unlikely state of affairs. Venus is the nearest planet to Earth and the most similar to our own, but it has toppled over in the past and other planets in the solar system show signs of having varied markedly in their tilt angle across time. The Earth is very active internally and highly unstable, yet, despite a few periodic wobbles, it keeps the same angle relative to the Sun.
Astronomer Jacques Laskar, a Director of Research at the National Scientific Research Centre (CNRS) and head of a team at the Observatory of Paris is in no doubt that the Earth would indeed topple over, if it were not for the presence of the Moon! With computer modelling, Laskar showed in 1993 that all the other Earthlike planets (Mercury, Venus and Mars) have highly unstable obliquity, which, in the case of Mars for example, varies wildly across time between 0 degrees and 60 degrees. The same computer modelling indicates that in the case of the Earth the obliquity would vary even more, between 0 degrees and 85 degrees — but for the stabilizing influence of our incredibly large Moon.
The Moon acts as a Gravitational Brake, slowing the Earth’s Rotation
Neil F Comins, Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Maine, has written about the consequences if the Moon did not exist. He explains that the Earth would be turning so fast that a day would take just eight hours and complex life would not exist yet. If higher life forms did eventually manage to evolve, such creatures would be very different to us without, for example, any communication through speech.
One thing is certain then: no Moon would mean no humans!
The Moon is responsible for the Earth’s tectonic activity
When the mechanisms that drive plate tectonics on Earth were figured out back in the 1960s, scientists were naturally curious about whether plate tectonics occurred on other Earth-like planets. Probes sent to Mercury, Venus and Mars have now shown conclusively that plate tectonics do not take place on any of our companion worlds, making it a strictly Earth-bound phenomenon, at least as far as our own solar system is concerned.
Dr Nick Hoffman, a geophysicist at the Department of Earth Sciences, Melbourne University, Australia, has recently suggested that the Moon made plate tectonics happen simply by coming into existence.
The composition of the Moon closely resembles the material in the Earth’s crust, without many of the heavier components, such as iron, that make up the Earth’s core. For this reason, it is widely believed that the Moon is made up of a portion of the Earth’s crust that was flung out into space by collision with a small planet, while the Earth was still young (the “Big Whack”) theory. Over time, the larger chunks of rock drew the smaller chunks to them, until all the chunks accreted into a ball. However, there are big problems with the Big Whack theory, which I’ll discuss later.
However the Moon got there, it appears to be made of about 70% of the crust of the original Earth.
Nick Hoffman, as an acclaimed expert on the terrestrial planets within our solar system, has suggested that the removal of the material that went to make the Moon may have triggered plate tectonics by creating the space for theEarth’s skin to shift. He points out that on Venus, for example, the same sort of forces are at work but the crust of the planet is so thick, the stresses within the crust simply cancel each other out, with the exception of a few wrinkles here and there. Hoffman has noted that if the seventy per cent of Earth crust that was destined to become the Moon was returned to the Earth, it would ‘fill the ocean basins with wall-to-wall continent’.
What would the Earth be like without plate tectonics?
Hoffman suggests it would be a water world, covered with oceans and with only the tips of extremely high mountain ranges poking out above the surface of the water. The reason the Earth is not currently like this, is that the removal of a large portion of the Earth’s crust, and plate tectonics, have created deep trenches between the continents, which are currently “swallowing” much of Earth’s oceans. Without these deep trenches, the water would have nowhere to go except over most of the land we currently live on.
Of course there is nothing to suggest that life could not have existed on such an ocean planet, and Hoffman agrees that life is most likely to develop in a watery environment. It’s a fact, though, that what we term as being ‘intelligent life’, such as our own species, has developed on land. The use of fire would not be possible in a watery habitat and the use of tools, one of the factors that is generally accepted as the starting point of our advance, is also a dry land phenomenon. So we humans would not be here if Earth was a “water world”.
PROBLEMS WITH THE “BIG WHACK” THEORY
The big whack theory is the suggestion that maybe some object, about the size of Mars, collided with the young Earth and that the Moon was formed from surface material that was blasted off the face of the infant Earth. There did not seem to be any other possibility, so it is now regularly taught as though it is a fact.
The major problem with the big whack theory is that such a massive impact as that proposed would’ve knocked the Earth spinning much faster than it is rotating currently. Something else would’ve had to have happened to the Earth, to slow its rotation to the current speed.
Incredibly, it is now widely accepted that that “something else” was a second collision (Big Whack 2) with a second planetary body about the same size as the first, travelling in the opposite direction; and it just happened to be travelling at the right speed, and to hit the Earth at just the right angle, to cancel out the speed increase caused by the first impact, and restore the Earth to its original rotation speed.
To me, this explanation smacks of desperation. The first Big Whack sounds reasonable enough, but the second sounds unlikely in the extreme; and most importantly, there is no proof of either whack. If there were indeed two whacks, sizable chunks of the other planets would have been broken off when they hit the Earth, and these chunks would’ve been incorporated into the Moon as it accreted from the debris of the collisions. But every analysis we’ve ever done of the Moon’s composition indicates it is made entirely of the Earth’s crust: there is no trace of other planetary bodies.
Today, mainstream science accepts the double whack theory of the Moon’s origin, because it is the least unlikely theory proposed thus far; not because there is good proof for it… in fact, there is no proof. Mainstream scientists cling desperately to “Big Whack”, because otherwise they’d have to admit they have no theory to account for the Moon.
IF THE MOON DIDN’T COME FROM A BIG WHACK, THEN WHERE?
All of the above facts, taken together, point to one startling conclusion: Earth, the original Terra, was terraformed by the Moon. The Earth would not exist in its current form — and we (humans) would not exist at all — if not for the Moon.
The Moon keeps the Earth’s axis stable at an inclination favourable to life as we know it: it keeps temperatures within a relatively narrow range that permits large bodies (oceans) of liquid water to exist (a condition not found on any other planet in the solar system); and keeps the weather relatively stable (more extreme weather conditions would’ve prevent life like ours from evolving in the first place). The Moon also acts as a gravitational brake on the Earth, slowing and regulating the ocean tides in a pattern than allows the continents as we know them, to support life as we know it. Without the Moon, the Earth would be spinning so fast and creating tides so massive (at least at the equator, most of the rest of the Earth would be a frozen lifeless ball without the Moon); that what we now think of as the continents would be submerged most of the time. Moreover, the continents as we know them, would not exist at all — without the removal of the Moon’s mass to create the gaps between the Earth’s tectonic plates that swallow the oceans; and drive the tectonic activity that pushes the continents up from the oceans — the Earth would just be a smooth round ball, covered by frozen ice everywhere but at the equator, where the water would likely be warm enough for aquatic life… but nothing like us.
Is it just by coincidence or chance that the Moon is a perfect life-support system for the conditions that allowed our species to evolve? Personally, I think this hypothesis is much more unlikely and outrageous than the alternative: that the Moon does all these things by design.
Authors Alan Butler and Christopher Knight are so convinced of the latter hypothesis, they’ve written a whole book about it: Who Built the Moon; upon which this article is based. Butler and Knight call the Moon’s creators the Unknown Creative Agency (UCA). Butler and Knight have used scientific rigour and accuracy in coining this term, as we simply do not know who built the Moon. Most of us — including myself — would simply assume the Moon was built by extraterrestrials; but, this may simply reflect a failure of our imagination. Just because we can’t imagine any other possibility, doesn’t mean there is no other possibility. By calling the Moon’s creators the Unknown Creative Agency, Butler and Knight are leaving the door open for all possibilities… even the ones we can’t imagine.
As frustrating as it is to have no answer to “Who built the Moon?”, the likelihood is that we will never know who or what the UCA was or is, unless they choose to materialise from whatever mysterious region of space/time they inhabit, to claim credit for their handiwork. Certainly, the UCA did not “sign the Moon”, as an artist signs a painting. However, the UCA left behind many clues as to the artificial/designed/engineered nature of the Moon, for us to figure out, as soon as we were smart enough to do the math.
The most obvious of these clues is the solar eclipses that occur every time the Moon passes between the Earth and the Sun. These occur because the Moon is 400 times smaller than the Sun at the centre of our solar system, yet it is also exactly 1/400th of the distance between the Earth and the Sun. Coincidence? Possible: but not likely. In fact, it is so unlikely that no other planet in our solar system has a moon that causes a total solar eclipse when it passes between its parent planet and the Sun. The late Isaac Asimov, described this perfect visual alignment as being ‘the most unlikely coincidence imaginable’.
It is even more unlikely when we consider that the Moon is rotating at a rate of 400km per Earth day. It is as if someone (the UCA maybe?) is trying to tell us something by repeating the number 400 over and over in the relationship between the Sun, Earth, and Moon.
Another number that crops up again and again in the Sun/Earth/Moon relationship is the number 100. If we multiply the circumference of the Moon by that of the Earth, the result is 436,669,140km. If we then divide this figure by 100 we arrive at 436,669km, which is the circumference of the Sun, correct to 99.9 per cent. This also means that if we divide the circumference of the Sun by that of the Moon and multiply by 100 we get the polar circumference of the Earth. Last, but not least, if we divide the size of the Sun by the size of the Earth and multiply by 100 we get the size of the Moon.
Still think this is all just a coincidence? If you’re dumb enough to believe that, you might also be dumb enough to believe that all these “coincidences” were cause by some totally random “big whack”, that just happened to dislodge exactly the right amount of the Earth’s mass and put it in exactly the right position in orbit around the Earth, and start it rotating at exactly the right velocity, to create all these relationships.
Or, if we are reasoning more logically, intelligently, and imaginatively, we might suppose that some Unknown Creative Agency, utilising some technology thousands, if not millions of years more advanced than our own, was able to make precise measurements of the Earth and Sun, and “build” the Moon to the exact specifications required to create all these relationships.
Butler and Knight also point out that the majority of solar systems observed so far (outside of our own), have gas giants (like Saturn and Jupiter) orbiting much closer to the star than they are in our own solar system. Typically, these gas giants occupy orbits similar to those occupied by Earth and Venus in our own solar system. Which leads to the possibility that our whole solar system might have been designed. Astronomers call Jupiter the “vacuum cleaner” of the solar system because its immense gravity “sucks in” space junk, such as comets and meteors whose trajectories might otherwise carry them dangerously close to Earth, or straight into it, causing an Extinction Level Event similar to that thought to have wiped out the dinosaurs. We might have gone the way of the dinosaurs long ago, if Jupiter hadn’t been perfectly positioned to prevent this. A case in point is the Shoemaker-Levy comet that slammed into Jupiter in 1994, creating fireballs larger than the Earth. If that comet had slammed into the Earth instead, none of us would be here, and likely, neither would the planet.
The Mysterious Origin of Life
We have seen how the UCA left nothing to chance in building and placing the Moon to serve as a life-support system for life on Earth. Is it then logical to suppose that the UCA would just fly away and leave the evolution of life on Earth to blind, random, chance? Having gone to all that trouble to engineer the perfect conditions for life as we know it, would the UCA just call it a day and hope that just by luck, someday a species such as ours might evolve to understand the messages it so carefully and deliberately left behind in the Moon?
Obviously, it would be completely irrational to go to all that effort to create the perfect conditions for life, and then just hope, that by chance, life would begin.
And yet, this is exactly what mainstream science tells us: that life on Earth was the result of some random accident. How foolish. The more closely we examine this theory, the more clearly we see the absurdity of it.
This is the “primordial soup” theory. In school, we are taught that billions of years ago, life spontaneously arose from the “primordial soup” of chemicals that was on Earth at that time. There are two scientists credited with the “soup” theory: Alexander Oparin in 1924; and J.B.S. Haldane in 1929. Haldane does not dispute that Oparin had the idea first, but claims that he discovered it independently of Oparin.
The primordial soup theory received a big boost in 1953, when a graduate student, Stanley Miller, and his professor, Harold Urey, performed an experiment that demonstrated how organic molecules could have spontaneously formed from inorganic precursors, under conditions like those posited by the Oparin-Haldane Hypothesis. The now-famous “Miller–Urey experiment” used a highly reduced mixture of gases — methane, ammonia and hydrogen — to form basic organic monomers, such as amino acids.
Following the “success” of the Miller-Urey experiment, the primordial soup theory was widely regarded as “proven.”
But all Miller and Urey did was create amino acids, and amino acids are not life. Amino acids have been called the “building blocks of life”, and this is accurate enough. But a pile of bricks is not a house, and a collection of amino acids is not a living cell. The Miller-Urey experiment did not create a single cell, and neither has any attempt to create life in a laboratory since then. If scientists cannot create life (a cell) from primordial soup deliberately, under controlled conditions (and in spite of having had 66 years to do so); then it is highly unlikely that nature did so randomly (and I’ll come back to just how unlikely that is in a moment).
But first, I’d like to point out that the Miller-Urey experiment had some major flaws — if it’s supposed to prove the primordial soup theory. The amino acids created by Miller, Urey and others are but a tiny few of the constituents required for life. In any case, the experiment was very selective in its methods. Amino acids are referred to as being left- and right-handed, both of which were present in Miller and Urey’s soup, whereas life uses only left-handed amino acids. What is more, the very electrical spark that created the amino acids would also have destroyed them, so they had to be artificially isolated in the experiment.
The problem is more fundamental even, than the failure to create a cell. It is the failure to create DNA, without which, you can’t even create the nucleus of a cell. Modern science can do all sorts of things using genetic engineering, but that is using existing DNA. What modern science can’t do is create DNA from scratch, using basic building blocks (amino acids). As things stand, only DNA can create DNA (by copying itself); leaving science with no satisfactory answer as to how DNA was created in the first place.
The problem lies with the mind-boggling complexity of DNA. DNA creates and organises proteins. However, just one average protein contains over 300 amino acids. In order to create just one protein, it would take a gene of DNA with at least 1,000 nucleotides in its chain. Every DNA chain contains four sorts of nucleotide. This seems complicated but it results in a possible 4 x 10 to the power of 1000 possible forms. For those who do not realize, 4 x 10 to the power of 1000 represents the number 4 followed by 1,000 zeros.
To get some idea of just how big this number is: the total number of particles in the universe is estimated at just 10 x 10 to the power of 80. One begins to realize how utterly impossible it would have been for complex DNA to be accidentally created in the primeval soup of the young Earth.
In the world of probability, some things are very likely to happen; and others might sometimes happen; but some can never happen at all. Modern probability experts agree that events with very small probability don’t happen. William M Dembski, associate research professor in the conceptual foundations of science at Baylor University and a senior fellow with Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture in Seattle, came up with a mathematical formula for calculating very small probability. He estimated that there were 10 x 10 to the power of 80 particles in the Universe and wondered how many times per second an event might occur. The number he came up with was 10 x 10 to the power of 45 . He then calculated the number of seconds from the beginning of the Universe to the present time and then, to make sure he was erring on the side of caution, he multiplied this number by one billion and arrived at the number 10 x 10 to the power of 25 seconds. He then multiplied all the figures together, achieving a result of 10 x 10 to the power of 150 for his Law of Small Probability.
For a minimum living cell there are 60,000 proteins of 150 configurations. Joseph A Mastropaolo, an expert who has tackled this problem at length, estimates that the probability of the evolution of this first cell would be an absolutely staggering 1 in 10 x 10 to the power of 4,478,296 or 10 followed by 4,478,296 zeros. This exceeds Dembski’s estimation for Small Probability by such a great margin that were it not for the fact that DNA does clearly exist, no self-respecting scientist could uphold the possibility of it having originated by chance. If every particle in the Universe had one chance for every second since the beginning of time — we still would not have DNA.
These figures have persuaded many people much more intelligent than I am, that life on Earth is not a random occurrence.
The English scientist J D Bernal said, way back in 1965:
‘The answer would seem to me, combined with the knowledge that life is actually there, to lead to the conclusion that some sequences other than chance occurrences must have led to the appearance of life as we know it.’
Even Professor Anthony Flew, who spent 66 years championing atheism and logical thinking, was forced to admit:
‘A super-intelligence is the only good explanation for the origin of life and the complexity of nature.’
The late professor Sir Fred Hoyle, one of the most respected astronomers who ever lived, reached a similar conclusion:
‘Rather than accept that fantastically small probability of life having arisen through the blind forces of nature, it seemed better to suppose that the origin of life was a deliberate intellectual act. By “better” I mean less likely to be wrong.’
If it’s wildly improbable that the Moon was created by a double-whack, and practically impossible that life on Earth was started at random, then the most likely theory that remains, is that the same UCA that built the Moon also seeded life on Earth. Whoever or whatever they were, they went to a lot of trouble to create the perfect conditions for life, so it makes sense that they would finish the job.