According to Dr. Thomas G. Barnes the Moon is much younger than claimed by the mainstream scientific community, by many orders of magnitude.

The Giant impact hypothesis, one of the primary mainstream scientific theories on the creation of the moon, says that the Moon is billions of years old.

Dr. Barnes claims that the Moon is far younger than this. While he does not explicitly claim exactly how old the Moon is, I believe that he is implying that the Moon is at most a few thousand years old so that it's age is inline with some creationist beliefs.

Barnes gives 5 reasons why his theory of a Young Moon is correct:

The age of the earth and moon can not be as old as required in the doctrine of evolution, as has been shown when the great laws of physics are applied to observed large scale phenomena such as:

  1. The recession rate of the moon and the Roche limit
  2. The faster earth spin rate in the past.
  3. The rate of lunar dust build-up.
  4. The decay of the earth's magnetic field.
  5. The pleochroic halos in the earth's basement rock.

The first point "The recession rate of the moon and the Roche limit." is sited by others who also claim that the Moon is young.

Conservapedia's article on the Moon states:

Rate of recession

The Moon currently recedes from the Earth at a rate of 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) per year, and is believed by atheistic scientists to be 4.6 billion years old, The Moon could never have been closer than about 11,000 miles or it would have been broken up by tidal forces. If the rate of recession stayed constant at 3.8 cm per year, it would take 9.6 billion years for the lunar distance to migrate from 11,000 miles to the present distance of about 240,000 miles.

It should be noted that Barnes believes that if the Moon was not young it would be much further away, while Conservapedia is claiming that it would take much longer for the Moon to reach the same position. But both say the Roche Limit and the Rate of recession prove that the Moon cannot be as old as mainstream science claims.

So is this theory of a Young Moon correct?

Does evidence backup their claims?

Must the Moon be much further away if it is billions of years old?

  • 47
    Any source that uses the phrase "atheistic scientists" when not specifically talking about the religious beliefs of scientists is almost certainly highly unreliable. Commented Mar 31, 2011 at 2:46
  • 10
    But even if the rate of recession was constant, 9.6 billion is still greater than 4.6 billion, so the Giant impact theory is not invalidated
    – Jader Dias
    Commented Mar 31, 2011 at 14:04
  • 19
    I can't really take any site seriously that claims "Atheists cannot explain the Origin of the Moon, despite many failed attempts."
    – fred
    Commented May 24, 2011 at 20:32
  • 5
    @MikeDunlavey "God did it, I don't need to explain it any further" seems to be the usual argument. Commented Jan 9, 2016 at 19:06
  • 9
    "doctrine of evolution" - Yep, that's a creationist alright. Nobody else would use this term. Commented Jan 9, 2016 at 23:17

2 Answers 2


A great source for answers to myths like this that keep circulating around is Talkorigins.org.

Some quotes from the moon section:

  1. The moon is receding at about 3.8 cm per year. Since the moon is 3.85 × 1010 cm from the earth, this is already consistent, within an order of magnitude, with an earth-moon system billions of years old.

  2. The magnitude of tidal friction depends on the arrangement of the continents. In the past, the continents were arranged such that tidal friction, and thus the rates of earth's slowing and the moon's recession, would have been less. The earth's rotation has slowed at a rate of two seconds every 100,000 years (Eicher 1976).

  3. The rate of earth's rotation in the distant past can be measured. Corals produce skeletons with both daily layers and yearly patterns, so we can count the number of days per year when the coral grew. Measurements of fossil corals from 180 to 400 million years ago show year lengths from 381 to 410 days, with older corals showing more days per year (Eicher 1976; Scrutton 1970; Wells 1963; 1970). Similarly, days per year can also be computed from growth patterns in mollusks (Pannella 1976; Scrutton 1978) and stromatolites (Mohr 1975; Pannella et al. 1968) and from sediment deposition patterns (Williams 1997). All such measurements are consistent with a gradual rate of earth's slowing for the last 650 million years.


  1. The high number for dust accumulation (14 million tons per year on earth) comes from the high end of a single preliminary measurement that has long been obsolete. Other higher estimates come from even more obsolete sources, although they are sometimes incorrectly cited as being more recent. The actual influx is about 22,000 to 44,000 tons per year on earth and around 840 tons per year on the moon.

    The story that scientists worried about astronauts sinking in moon dust is a total fabrication. As early as 1965, scientists were confident, based on optical properties of the moon's surface, that dust was not extensive. Surveyor I, in May 1966, confirmed this.

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    +1 for reporting we can measure year length from 200 m. year old coral. Cool!
    – Oddthinking
    Commented May 26, 2011 at 6:01
  • Worth mentioning: this doesn't address the Roche Limit issue. Having the moon recede at a rate which matches its actual distance doesn't help against the claim that it would have broken up long before it got there.
    – Bobson
    Commented Jan 11, 2016 at 10:55
  • Following @Bobson, it also doesn't help that the second point is inconsistent with the first. You would have to make a stronger claim that, "on average the moon has receded at about 3.8 cm per year for billions of years" in order for both points to support each other.
    – jpaugh
    Commented Apr 26, 2018 at 17:43
  • @Bobson True, but Roche limit doesn't tell you at what distance a moon will turn into rings of dust - it's only concerned with gravitational effects. In real-life, planets and moons are also held together by electromagnetic forces, which means the real minimum distance is much closer. Roche limit tells you the distance at which a moon couldn't form from a ring of debris. Of course, if the Moon were in within the Roche limit (it most likely never was), dust probably wouldn't accumulate on its surface, so one argument defeats the other anyway.
    – Luaan
    Commented Aug 9, 2018 at 6:49
  • @Luaan Given that the moon does not have a magnetic field, how would there be any electromagnetic effects on it? Also, the Roche limit is static. It applies to both formation and destruction - satellites can’t form within it and any that enter it are ripped apart.
    – Bobson
    Commented Aug 9, 2018 at 11:31

This link gives a thorough criticism of the "moon dust" argument. The estimate of dust deposit used in these figures is hugely flawed, and better estimates have existed for a long time, but were not used in the Creationist tracts.

Morris chooses to pick obsolete data with known problems, and call it the "best" measurement available. His calculations are based on a figure that is nearly three orders of magnitude too high. With the proper values, the expected depth of meteoritic dust on the moon is less than one foot.

  • 4
    Morris' definition of "best" is "the one that says what I want to hear" Commented May 8, 2017 at 20:50

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