Monday, August 8, 2011

Occam and Lunatics

  1. The Moon is tidally locked to the Earth in its rotation - the same side always faces the Earth.
  2. The near side the Moon is relatively low and flat.
  3. The far side of the Moon is high and mountainous, with a thicker crust and far more impact craters.
  4. Therefore, there must have been another, smaller moon at some time which crashed into the Moon we know and love, causing the differences in the two faces.
This is the line of "reasoning" behind a recent hypothesis presented in Nature magazine. It seems apparent that Nature has lost much of its former luster, moving from testable hypotheses to SyFy scenarios in its pages. Clearly there's been no thought given to the idea that the side facing out might be hit more by meteors and asteroids. Bodies passing between the Earth and the Moon stand a good chance of being attracted to the much larger of the two - the Earth - and bypassing the smaller.

Have none of today's hypothesticians (I find it hard to call them theorists) ever heard of Occam's Razor? There is no reason to add a new moon to the system, when all data has already been explained in a simpler way. Once again, it seems we have supposed scientists creating scenarios in order to garner attention and - they would hope - funding for further research.

Posted by Procrustes 17


  1. I know what you mean, Procrustes. It's like the way advertisers go running around acting like they understand what behavioral targeting is because they have a line item for it in their flowcharts and budget documents even though they're just parroting the latest buzzwords they heard on MediaPost rather than learning to use data like Google does to make rational and effective advertising and marketing decisions.
    Keep it up, buddy!

  2. "There is no reason to add a new moon to the system, when all data has already been explained in a simpler way."


    Any actual evidence supporting the suggestion that "all data has already been explained in a simpler way?"

  3. Well, Anon, the scientists who have proposed this hypothesis are telling us there is no real evidence for it, it simply seems like a scenario that might explain the current appearance of the Moon's surface.
    When we can explain it by the tidal lock and thus the same face always being to the outside, there is no real need for another moon.
    Furthermore, it assumes the hypothesis that "a Mars-sized body" collided with the Earth to create these two moons which then collided to create our current single and singularly-pocked Moon.
    There are simply too many assumptions for it to be taken seriously, but thanks for the comment.