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Monster Tides on Ancient Earth

We recently received the following question.

Hello Chaps!
While scanning through one of the god channels the other day Dr Richard Kent put forward his “Evolution is Impossible!” evidence list.  Most of it was ridiculous, playground stuff, surely only plausible for those desperate to believe it.  One point was curious though in his argument for a young earth – The moon is moving away from the earth 1.5 inches per year therefore 30 billion years ago twice daily tides would have been extreme tsunami’s making life impossible.  Have you heard this before?
Thankyou  (Your podcast is my greatest discovery!)
Brent R. Northumberland UK

Thanks for the question Brent.
It is correct that the moon is moving away from earth by about an inch or so every year. This is due to tidal friction. It’s also true that the tides a few billion of years ago (not 30 billion) were “extreme tsunamis” because the moon was so close to the earth. Now that I think of it, even “extreme tsunami” is a bit of a misnomer. Maybe mega-hyper-tsunami would be more appropriate since these twice-daily events were literally mountain sized swells of water that went far inland, scouring the land and bringing much of the debris back to the ocean.
I don’t think however that a period of time in earth’s history when tides were immensely destructive necessarily means that life could not have started and continued to evolve. Remember that ocean life evolved for quite some time before migrating to the land. Also, even if the nascent continents were teaming with life, all they had to do during the destructive tidal phase is to live inland a bit to be completely safe from the tides.
Ironically, these ancient high tides may have actually been helpful in mixing up or concentrating the organic compounds which led to life on earth.

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