There’s a really stupid article on Fox right now, claiming that scientists don’t know know why more asteroids have been striking Earth over the past 290 million years when compared to the 4.21 billion years before that.
We also don’t know how many meteor strikes we have experienced during those 4.21 billion years because the entire surface of the planet has been rearranged numerous times, obscuring much of the evidence for previous strikes. There are many holes in the ocean that were probably meteor strikes, and there are probably many previous meteor strikes that have been obscured by subsequent ones.
There is a built-in assumption in this study that there’s any kind of statistical norm for asteroid strikes, which indicates that the scientists in question have not been introduced to the concept of randomness.
Randomness is hard to achieve. No computer can generate truly random numbers because every program ever written to generate random numbers must operate according to a “rule for randomness,” which reduces the randomness to predictability.
Nature, however, has no difficulty generating random events. That happens all the time in the real world.
The assumption that there is an underlying rule to how many meteor strikes should take place over any given period of time is basically a religious assumption because it comes from the land of “shoulds.”
Things either happen or don’t happen. Asteroids hitting the earth are truly random events. The rate of those strikes might be affected by passing through clouds of asteroids, as the planet does from time to time, or any number of gravitational intersections, the movement of Pluto (which occasionally passes through the orbit of Neptune) through the solar system, and other variables, but it really is hit or miss as to whether any given asteroid intersects with the planet on which we live.
We also don’t know how many asteroids there really are, so we have no idea of the percentage of asteroids are hitting us or not hitting us. (The number of “known” asteroids in the asteroid belt varies from 1.1 million to 1.9 million, and that’s just in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. With a variance of 800,000 asteroids, “we don’t know” is the only proper answer to the question of how many asteroids there are in the solar system.)
Human beings can’t stand randomness because randomness proves the non-existence of God.
The Fox story originated on a website called Eurekalert.org, citing a paper from scientists at the University of Southampton. At the end of the post on their website, the people who operate Eurekalert.org posted this comment:
“Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.”
In other words, this entire story falls under the general heading of “science news that is neither science nor news.”