Is the Moon's Size and Position Signs of a Designer?
I am presently reading The Case for a Creator by Lee Strobel. It provides a solid overview of six areas where some scientists claim that there is existing and growing evidence of design. These areas identify evidence for design in cosmology, physics, astronomy, biochemistry, biological information and consciousness. In the chapter on astronomy, there is a section sub-titled "Our Life Supporting Moon" which points to the possible uniqueness of planet earth as a life supporting planet results from the size and distance of our moon.
In this subpart, Guillermo Gonzales, Ph.D., makes a very interesting series of observations:
The website Evidence for God from Science points out how the formation of the moon led to a slowing of the earth's rotation that made life possible.
Soon after the formation of the moon, the Earth was rotating on its axis every eight hours. Such a rapid rotational period led to winds in excess of 500 mph. The moon, which was less than 10,000 miles from the Earth at the time, exerted large gravitational forces that slowed the rotation of the Earth to its current 24 hours. Likewise, the gravity of the Earth slowed the moon's rotation so that it now matches its revolution around the earth (29 days). It the moon did not exist, the Earth's rotational rate would still be too rapid, which would lead to high winds and conditions that were unsuitable for advanced life forms.
Interestingly, Dave Waltham, Ph.D., of Royal Holloway University in London, a geologist who specializes in all aspects of mathematical and computer modeling in geology and geophysics [in particular, research has concentrated upon forward modeling of seismic waves, forward modeling of sedimentary processes and forward modeling of tectonic processes], has recently published a paper in Astrobiology entitled "Anthropic Selection for the Moon's Mass" wherein he discusses how the moon seems designed to support life on the Earth. Here is the abstract from the publisher's website:
This paper investigates whether anthropic selection explains the unusually large size of our Moon. It is shown that obliquity stability of the Earth is possible across a wide range of different starting conditions for the EarthMoon system. However, the lunar mass and angular momentum from the actual EarthMoon system are remarkable in that they very nearly produce an unstable obliquity. This may be because the particular properties of our EarthMoon system simultaneously allow a stable obliquity and a slow rotation rate. A slow rotation rate may have been anthropically selected because it minimizes the equatorpole temperature difference, thus minimizing climatic fluctuations. The great merit of this idea is that it can be tested using extrasolar planet search programs planned for the near future. If correct, such anthropic selection predicts that most extrasolar planetary systems will have significantly larger perturbation frequencies than our own Solar System. Astrobiology 4, 460468.
So, here is a Ph.D. who has noted the design (anthropic) qualities of the moon, and who is proposing an idea that he claims can be tested. Interesting.
Thanks to Reasons to Believe for finding this article. For more on-line information on the anthropic principle, I recommend reading Reason to Believe's "Design and the Anthropic Principle" by Dr. Hugh Ross.