How Good Are Those Young-Earth Arguments?
A Close Look at Dr. Hovind's List of Young-Earth Arguments and Other Claims
by Dave E. Matson
Copyright © 1994-2002
Young-earth "proof" #9: Saturn's rings are unstable which indicates that they are less than millions of years old.
If Saturn's rings are less than millions of years old, then what of it? The planet could still be billions of years old if its rings formed later. Recent study suggests that the rings are not older than 100 million years (Discover, April 1994, pp.86-91).
In his fifth seminar video, "The Hovind Theory," Dr. Hovind briefly indicates the nature of the above instability. Incredibly, he states that Saturn's rings are still spreading out according to particle size in keeping with the Poynting-Robertson effect! However, the Poynting-Robertson effect applies to fine dust in orbit around the Sun, not to particles in orbit around Saturn! Furthermore, most of the particles making up the rings of Saturn are the size of large snowballs -- much too large for the Poynting-Robertson effect (Chaisson and McMillan, 1993, p.290).
Perhaps Hovind's argument is an evolved version of Slusher's argument made back in 1980 (ICR Technical Monograph #9, Age of the Cosmos).
He argues that astronomer Otto Struve in 1852 noted that observations of Saturn's rings over the period from 1657 to 1851 show an increase in the widths of the rings and in the width of the gap between the planet and the inner edge of the B ring. The changes are interpreted to mean that the ring system is rapidly evolving and has not yet reached an equilibrium. ... Steven I. Dutch has evaluated Slusher's arguments and questions the observations interpreted as changes in the ring widths and distance from Saturn [1982, pp.31-32]. Drawings by Huygens in 1659 and Cassini in 1676, according to Dutch, show the proportions of the rings essentially as they are known today. Considering the poor quality of the early telescopes and the crudity of the drawings, no significant change can be inferred with confidence. Dutch summarizes with the remark that "the present creationist position is based on faulty data and erroneous reasoning, and is simply irrelevant to the age of Saturn" (p.32).
(Strahler, 1987, pp.145-146)
Image Source: Saturn 3D Space