Intelligent Design, The Science of it All

Earths Magnetic Field

The earth has a magnetic field pointing almost north-south—only 11.5° off. This is an excellent design feature of our planet: it enables navigation by compasses, and it also shields us from dangerous charged particles from the sun. It is also powerful evidence that the earth must be as young as the Bible teaches.

Physics professor Dr Thomas Barnes noted that measurements since 1835 have shown that the field is decaying at 5% per century1 (also, archaeological measurements show that the field was 40% stronger in AD 1000 than today2). Barnes, the author of a well-regarded electromagnetism textbook,3 proposed that the earth’s magnetic field was caused by a decaying electric current in the earth’s metallic core. This would calculate into a current that could not have been decaying for more than 10,000 years, else the original strength would have melted the earth- therefore   it has to be a very young earth.

The decaying current model is obviously incompatible with the billions of years needed by evolutionists. So their created and offered up a model that would supposedly be a self-sustaining dynamo (electric generator). It goes somewhat like this: the earth’s rotation and convection is supposed to circulate the molten nickel/iron of the outer core.


Positive and negative charges in this liquid metal are supposed to circulate unevenly, which then would produce an electric current, generating the necessary magnetic field. But scientists have not produced a workable model despite half a century of research, and there are many problems.4 What is also interesting is the measured rate of field decay (which both secular and biblical scientists agree upon) is sufficient to generate the correct current needed to produce today’s field strength, meaning that there is no need for a dynamo operating today, if it ever did operate.

As is typical of the secular scientists, they have a tendency to ignore facts that don’t fit into their particular “theory of anything that we hope makes sense”. They criticize Dr. Barnes theory (did I mention that he was a Christian scientist) because, again, both sides agree that there is evidence that the magnetic field has reversed many times—i.e. compasses would have pointed south instead of north. When grains of the common magnetic mineral magnetite in volcanic lava or ash flows cool below its Curie point of 570°C (1060°F), the magnetic domains partly align themselves in the direction of the earth’s magnetic field at that time. (For more details see: and pay attention to the bolded, italicized items.)

So without providing an explanation for how they believe it should work. They maintain that, because of the reversals, the straightforward decay assumed by Dr Barnes is invalid. Also, their model requires at least thousands of years for a reversal. And with their dating assumptions, they believe that the reversals occur at intervals of millions of years, and therefore by reversal thinking this points to an old earth.

The physicist Dr Russell Humphreys believed that Dr Barnes had the right idea, and he also accepted that the reversals were real. He modified Barnes’ model to account for special effects of a liquid conductor, like the molten metal of the earth’s outer core. If the liquid flowed upwards (due to convection—hot fluids rise, cold fluids sink) this could sometimes make the field reverse quickly.5,6

Dr John Baumgardner proposes that the plunging of tectonic plates was a major part of Noah’s Flood. I want to explain a little about Dr. Baumgardner and his expertise in this field. Please go to: Many secular scientists will admit to the breakup of Pangaea as the reason for the plate tectonics that they are able to measure today- they just believe it took many millions of years for it to happen.

Now I want you to stop and think a minute. Imagine one car sitting still and another car of the same make and model driving into it at 5 miles an hour. Now imagine the same situation but the other car is traveling at 120 mph. You would admit to considerable difference in damage to the stationary car. Now imagine this concept applied to the different continents. The Indian sub-continent bumps into the Asian continent by the force of the oceanic currents (about 5 mph) and according to secular scientists over the process of millions of years the subduction of the Indian sub-continent forced the Asian continent to buckle and created the Himalayans and Mt. Everest. In my mind the more likely scenario would be that the Indian sub-continent would have bumped into the Asian continent several times, caused some rocky chunks to fall off of each land mass and then eventually floated off on the oceanic currents ending up who knows where. Unless in a cataclysmic event the two continents were slammed together violently (really an unknown speed) causing the subduction and the folding and uplifting of the plates quickly. You decide which scenario makes more sense.

Dr Humphreys says these plates would have sharply cooled the outer parts of the core, driving the convection.7 This means that most of the reversals occurred in the Flood year, every week or two. And after the Flood, there would be large fluctuations due to residual motion. But the reversals and fluctuations could not halt the overall decay pattern—rather, the total field energy would decay even faster

Contrary to the hopes and dreams of the secular scientists, this model also explains why the sun reverses its magnetic field every 11 years. The sun is a gigantic ball of hot, energetically moving, electrically conducting gas. The dynamo model fails to explain why the overall field energy of the sun is decreasing and the secular scientists know it and choose to ignore discussing it.

Dr Humphreys also proposed a test for his model: magnetic reversals should be found in rocks known to have cooled in days or weeks. For example, in a thin lava flow, the outside would cool first, and record earth’s magnetic field in one direction; the inside would cool later, and record the field in another direction.

Three years after this prediction, leading researchers Robert Coe and Michel Prévot found a thin lava layer that must have cooled within 15 days, and had 90° of reversal recorded continuously in it.8

The only LOGICAL conclusion:

The earth’s magnetic field is not only a good navigational aid and a shield from space particles, it is powerful evidence against evolution and billions of years. The clear decay pattern shows the earth could not be older than about 10,000 years.

Recently, geophysicist David Stevenson at the California Institute of Technology admitted the problems that the earth’s magnetic field poses for long-age dogma:

“Right at this moment, there is a problem with our understanding of Earth’s core and it’s something that’s emerged only over the last year or two. The problem is a serious one. We do not know understand how the Earth’s magnetic field has lasted for billions of years. We know that the Earth has had a magnetic field for most of its history. We don’t know how the Earth did that. We have less of an understanding now than we previously thought we had a decade ago of how the Earth’s core has operated throughout history.”9

Now we need to understand a little bit about EXPONENTIAL DECAY. It is a physical law, proven by many experiments over time by many scientists and it is used to calculate the use of electricity in everything electrical from your cell phone to adding new mega-watt power lines to the electrical grid. For some reason (because they have no other possibility) the secular scientists have to throw up something to counter the, at this point, undeniable concept of a Young Age Earth.

Some secular scientists have claimed that an exponential decay curve is wrong, and a linear decay should have been plotted. Now, both exponential and linear decay curves have two fitted parameters:

  • Exponential decay (i = Ie-t/τ) requires the parameters I and τ.
  • Linear decay of the general form y = mx + c requires the gradient m and y-intercept c.

There is no statistical reason to choose one over the other for the limited range of data available, with no significant difference between the two. However, it is a well-accepted procedure in modeling of regression analysis to use meaningful equations to describe physical phenomena, where there is a sound theoretical basis for doing so.

Currents in resistance/inductance circuits ALWAYS decay exponentially, not linearly, after the power source is switched off. For example, in a simple electric circuit at time t with initial current I, resistance R and inductance L, the current is given by i = Ie-t/τ, where τ is the time constant L/R—the time for the current to decay to 1/e (~37%) of its initial value. For a sphere (assuming the molten core is as close to one as imaginable) of radius a, conductivity σ and permeability μ,τ is given by μσa²/π².

A linear decay might look good on paper, but it’s physically absurd when dealing with the real world of electric circuits. In fact, linear decays are rare in nature in general. Conversely, exponential decay is firmly rooted in electromagnetic theory. Thomas Barnes, who first pointed out magnetic field decay as a problem for evolutionists, was a specialist in electromagnetism and wrote some well-regarded textbooks on the subject. But most of his critics are grossly ignorant of the subject or choose to ignore because it runs counter to what they want to believe.

Another important point is that these calculations point to a maximum age of the earth. Even if the skeptics were right about a linear decay, it would still point to an upper limit of 90 million years, and this is far too short of a time for evolution to have occurred- they need billions of years. A final point is that if the decay really were linear, we would not have much time left before the earth’s magnetic field disappears!

Some skeptics have used the following statement to counter the above fact:

‘… only the dipole-field strength has been “decaying” for a century and a half … the strength of the nondipole field (about 15% of the total field) has increased over the same time span, so that the total field has remained almost constant. Barnes’ assumption of a steady decrease in the field’s strength throughout history is also irreconcilable, of course, with the paleomagnetic evidence of fluctuations and reversals [in the geomagnetic field] (Ecker, 1990, 105)’

Ecker, the so-called ‘authority’ turns out to be an anti-creationist dictionary compiled by an anti-Christian librarian with, as far as my research has found, no scientific training!

Dr Humphreys answered in July 2001:

‘Litany in the Church of Darwin: “The non-dipole part of the earth’s magnetic field shall save us!” That is indeed an old and dismissive evolutionist argument. Tom Barnes discussed it in his papers during the 1970s. I discussed it near the end of my paper “A Physical Mechanism for Reversals of the Earth’s Magnetic Field During the Flood”.10

‘Over 90% of the field is dipolar (two poles, one north and one south), but the rest of it is non-dipolar, or multipolar, such as the quadrupole part (two north and two south poles), the octopole part (four north and four south poles), etc. Just imagine the fields from bar magnets tied together at various angles to one another.


‘In the 1970s, the evolutionists claimed that the very large energy (units are Joules or ergs) disappearing from the dipole part of the field is not really converted into heat, but is somehow being stored in the non-dipole part, later to be resurrected as a new dipole in the reverse direction. Some papers showed that the average field intensity (units are Teslas or Gauss) of some of the non-dipole parts is increasing slightly.11

‘But field intensity is not energy. To get the total energy in a component, one must square the intensity in a small volume around each point, multiply by the volume and a certain constant, and add up all the resulting energies throughout all space. The non-dipole intensities fall off (with increasing distance from the earth’s center) much faster than the dipole intensity, so the non-dipole parts are not able to contribute nearly as much energy to the total as the dipole part. That means the small increase in some non-dipole field intensities does not appear to represent nearly enough energy to compensate for the enormous energy lost year by year from the dipole part.

‘I have my doubts that the paper referred to actually proves the point the evolutionists want to make, that “non-dipole energy gain compensates for dipole energy loss”. It says that some energy will go into non-dipole components, but not nearly enough to compensate for the energy loss from the dipole part. The reversal process I propose is not efficient; it dissipates a large amount of energy as heat. I discussed this, including non-dipole parts by implication, in the second-to-last section (“The Field’s Energy Has Always Decreased”) on the ICR website. “Archaeomagnetism” is the study of the magnetization of bricks, pottery, campfire stones, and other man-related objects studied by archaeologists. Iron oxides in those objects retain a record of the strength and direction of the earth’s magnetic field at the time they last cooled to normal temperatures. Archaeomagnetic data taken worldwide show that the intensity of the earth’s magnetic field was about 40% greater in 1000 A.D. than it is today, and that it has declined steadily since then.” 12

‘As further evidence, I used the authoritative International Geomagnetic Reference Field data—more than 2500 numbers representing the earth’s magnetic field over the whole twentieth century. The bottom line is this:

‘In the most accurately recorded period, from 1970 to 2000, the total (dipole plus non-dipole) energy in the earth’s magnetic field has steadily decreased by 1.41±0.16%. At that rate, the field would lose at least half its energy every 1500 years, give or take a century or so. This supports the creationist model that the field has always been losing energy—even during magnetic polarity reversals during the Genesis flood—ever since God created it about 6000 years ago.

‘The evolutionists, on the other hand, have no workable, mathematically-analyzable theory of reversals. They are claiming that whatever process actually caused the reversals was 100% efficient—that the total energy in their hoped-for future dipole field will be equal to the total energy which was in the dipole field at its last peak (about the time of Christ). That is, their faith in a billion-year age for the field requires them to believe that each cycle is resurrected phoenix-like from the ashes of the previous cycle—with no losses.

‘Put another way, the Church of Darwin requires them to believe that the Second Law of Thermodynamics—that all forms of energy devolve down to heat—does not apply to planetary magnetic fields. Sound familiar?’

Later, Dr Humphreys published ‘The Earth’s magnetic field is still losing energy’, CRSQ 39(1)1–11, March 2002, which explains the above and more in detail (see full article, and his Creation Matters layman’s summary—The Earth’s Magnetic Field: Closing a Loophole in the Case for its Youth, March/April 2002—both off site). The abstract of the CRSQ paper reads:

‘This paper closes a loophole in the case for a young earth based on the loss of energy from various parts of the earth’s magnetic field. Using ambiguous 1967 data, evolutionists had claimed that energy gains in minor (“non-dipole”) parts compensate for the energy loss from the main (“dipole”) part. However, nobody seems to have checked that claim with newer, more accurate data. Using data from the International Geomagnetic Reference Field (IGRF) I show that from 1970 to 2000, the dipole part of the field steadily lost 235 ± 5 billion megajoules of energy, while the non-dipole part gained only 129 ± 8 billion megajoules. Over that 30-year period, the net loss of energy from all observable parts of the field was 1.41 ± 0.16 %. At that rate, the field would lose half its energy every 1465 ± 166 years. Combined with my 1990 theory explaining reversals of polarity during the Genesis Flood and intensity fluctuations after that, these new data support the creationist model: the field has rapidly and continuously lost energy ever since God created it about 6,000 years ago.’

The earth’s magnetic field is not only a good navigational aid and a shield from space particles, it is powerful evidence against evolution and billions of years. The clear decay pattern shows the earth could not be older than about 10,000 years.



1 K.L. McDonald and R.H. Gunst, ‘An analysis of the earth’s magnetic field from 1835 to 1965,’ ESSA Technical Report, IER 46-IES 1, U.S. Govt. Printing Office, Washington, 1967.

2 R.T. Merrill and M.W. McElhinney, The Earth’s Magnetic Field, Academic Press, London, pp. 101–106, 1983.

3 T.G. Barnes, Foundations of Electricity and Magnetism, 3rd ed., El Paso, Texas, 1977.

4 Measurements of electrical currents in the sea floor pose difficulties for the most popular class of dynamo models—L.J. Lanzerotti et al., Measurements of the large-scale direct-current earth potential and possible implications for the geomagnetic dynamo, Science 229:47–49, 5 July 1986.

5 D.R. Humphreys, Reversals of the earth’s magnetic field during the Genesis Flood, Proceedings of the First International Conference on Creationism, Creation Science Fellowship, Pittsburgh, 2:113–126, 1986. The moving conductive liquid would carry magnetic flux lines with it, and this would generate new currents, producing new flux in the opposite direction.

6 Humphreys, D.R., Physical mechanism for reversals of the earth’s magnetic field during the flood, Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Creationism, Creation Science Fellowship, Pittsburgh, 2:129–142, 1990. Dr Barnes, who had opposed field reversals because no mechanism could be demonstrated, responded (p. 141): ‘Dr Humphreys has come up with a novel and physically sound approach to reversals of the magnetic field.’

7 D.R. Humphreys, Discussion of J. Baumgardner, Numerical simulation of the large-scale tectonic changes accompanying the Flood, Proceedings of the First International Conference on Creationism, Creation Science Fellowship, Pittsburgh, 2:29, 1986.

8 R.S. Coe and M. Prévot, Evidence suggesting extremely rapid field variation during a geomagnetic reversal, Earth and Planetary Science 92(3/4):292–298, April 1989. See also the reports by Dr Andrew Snelling, Fossil magnetism reveals rapid reversals of the earth’s magnetic field, Creation 13(3):46–50, 1991 The Earth’s magnetic field and the age of the Earth, Creation 13(4):44–48, 1991

9 Cited in: Folger, T., Journeys to the Center of the Earth: Our planet’s core powers a magnetic field that shields us from a hostile cosmos. But how does it really work? Discover, July/August 2014.

10 Humphreys, D.R., Physical mechanism for reversals of the earth’s magnetic field during the flood, Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Creationism, Creation Science Fellowship, Pittsburgh, 2:129–142, 1990.

11 Barraclough, D.R., Geophy. J. Roy. Astr. Soc., 43:645–659, 1975.




4 thoughts on “Earths Magnetic Field

  1. I’m sorry but your article must be wrong. There cannot be an electrical circuit in the core of the earth, as the earth is actually flat! Do some research on the topic, you will see that it makes much more sense than a round earth.

    1. Maybe, I’m open to alternatives. However, you have to admit that even if it is flat, it has to have some thickness to it. Consider it to be a large sheet cake. Somewhere swirling within the white cake mix is the steaming fudge that could cause the same effect. Right?

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