A Moron’s Guide to the Moon’s Origin

The Discoveroids — described in the Cast of Characters section of our Intro page — are venturing into astronomy, where their magical designer — blessed be he! — has been busily at work.

Their “best” argument for the existence of their conjectural designer is that he provides a convenient way to “explain” things for which they don’t yet have (or won’t accept) a natural explanation. But as we all know, aside from Paley’s watchmaker analogy, all there is to the Discoveroids’ “theory” of intelligent design is the God of the gaps fallacy. Wikipedia says: “God of the gaps is a type of theological perspective in which gaps in scientific knowledge are taken to be evidence or proof of God’s existence.”

We can see this vividly demonstrated in the latest post at their creationist blog: How the Moon Supports the Privileged Planet Hypothesis. The author’s name isn’t given, so this represents the position of the whole “think tank.” They say, with bold font added by us:

Three astronomers offer “state of the Moon” addresses in Nature, revealing a troubling state of affairs: the Moon’s position and composition have so far baffled efforts to propose an unguided sequence of events that might have formed it. Since Apollo, multiple scenarios have been proposed, only to be rejected as either physically impossible or statistically improbable.

This is the article they’re talking about: Planetary science: Lunar conspiracies. You can read it all without a subscription. It’s by Robin Canup, described at the end as “associate vice-president of the Planetary Science Directorate of Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, Colorado.” She discusses several theories of lunar formation, and finds them all unsatisfactory. Among other things, she says:

Lunar-origin studies are in flux. No current impact model stands out as more compelling than the rest. Progress in several areas is needed to rule out some theories, support others or direct us to new ones.

It’s good for scientists to have an interesting challenge. The Discoveroids, however, see things differently. They tell us:

In this, design advocates might see the Moon dropping through two stages of Dembski’s Design Filter: chance and natural law.

Oooooooh — Dembski’s Design Filter! We’ve seen that before — see Crop Circles & Intelligent Design, and also Rock Mounds Are Designed, Therefore ….

The Discoveroids run through some of the current lunar origin models, which haven’t yet been accepted. We’ll skip that stuff and jump right to their stunning conclusion section:

We see these three astronomers coming face to face with realities that contradict their philosophical preferences. They want simplicity. They want plausibility. They want elegance. Even if “each stage of lunar evolution is plausible” alone, proposing a complex sequence of events to get our Moon, they know, multiplies the improbabilities until they become “vanishingly small” — yet the collapse of all the simple, plausible models leaves them with no alternative. They might well be stuck with “an unexpected level of complexity.”

So what? Everything we see is the result of a long chain of natural events, and would have been unpredictable a billion years ago (except maybe some undisturbed orbits, if there are any). That’s the nature of reality. Dembski’s filter is what we call Creationism’s Fallacy of Retrospective Astonishment. Here’s how they finish:

The words of these astronomers show that it is not the evidence that keeps them from inferring design. “Philosophical disquiet” or “embarrassment” should not prevent good science from boldly considering Canup’s question, “Are we missing something?”

Yes — oh yes! We’re missing the obvious explanation of Oogity Boogity! That’s the answer to the mystery of the Moon. It’s the answer to everything!

Copyright © 2013. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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12 responses to “A Moron’s Guide to the Moon’s Origin

  1. The Discoveroids love their ‘fine-tuning’ arguments for a ‘privileged planet’ even though it is pure post hoc ergo propter hoc sophistry.

    But it is a fun game! I am grateful to the Intelligent Designer (Blessed be He/She/It!) for making my legs the precise length for reaching the ground…

  2. Megalonyx says: “I am grateful to the Intelligent Designer”

    Olivia says you are living disproof of the intelligent designer.

  3. Charles Deetz ;)

    There are two other possibilities that the DI and the folks at Nature hadn’t considered:

    Butler & Knight presented three possibilities as to who was behind this operation: God could have created the moon. But knowing that the Sun and Earth already existed first, why wouldn’t this superior being have created the moon at the same time? Alien beings, highly advanced in technology, could have spotted our planet as a likely place for seeding life, and left their calling card (an obviously artificial moon). Human time travelers created the moon at some stage in the future, realizing that this needed to be done to incubate humanity in the past.

    From Coast-to-Coast-AM

  4. Aha – astronomers can’t explain the moon’s origin! (At least in a simple, elegant, satisfying way.) Thus, a gap exists! Therefore, God!

    Real scientists, rather than attributing the moon to supernatural design, want to collect more data. Imagine that. Whether or not they solve this problem, their activity will undoubtedly expand our knowledge of the moon and maybe Venus, and lead to new discoveries.

    The unscientists at the misnamed “Discovery Institute”, on the other hand, appear to be completely uninterested in discovering anything, having already decided what the answer is. If science were conducted by ID advocates, we would not have this problem, because we would not know the various data that create the problem in the first place. We would have no knowledge of the moon other than it’s appearance in the sky and the fact that it causes tides and solar eclipses.

  5. …and the fact that it causes tides and solar eclipses.

    Oh Ed, I’m sure you meant to say, “God causes tides and solar eclipses.” :)

  6. “If science were conducted by ID advocates, we would not have this problem, because we would not know the various data that create the problem in the first place.”

    QFT.

  7. What’s wrong with, “We don’t know…yet.” ? Only the ‘roids are bothered by that.

  8. They are bothered by scientists not knowing an answer. They, however, feel quite comfortable with having no answers for anything: What is “intelligent design” like? What are its limits? (Give an example of something that could not be designed.) When and where did it happen? Tell me something about who the designer(s) were, such as how many of them there were. Why did they design humans to be so similar to chimps and other apes? etc. etc. etc.

  9. According to Wikipedia, Jupiter has at least 63 moons. Where did they all come from? When I was a kid Jupiter had something like 9 moons. What’s up with that?

  10. docbill1351 wonders

    When I was a kid Jupiter had something like 9 moons. What’s up with that?

    A least two possibilities on this one:

    [1] The Jovians have been on an aggressive moon-acquisition buying spree in an attempt to corner the market. It is rumoured that they are launching a hostile bid to buy out our own Moon and are likely to succeed–unless Bill Gates can be persuaded to stump up the cash to prevent it being exported.

    or

    [2] The Jovian moons are prototypes for our own Moon left over from when the Intelligent Designer (Blessed be He/She/It!) was creating our Privileged Planet in the fabled “Goldilocks Zone.”

    One can readily imagine the Intelligent Designer rolling up a whole series of moons out of celestial dust and then trying them out, one at a time, in orbit around Earth. “This moon is too small!”, He/She/It declared of the first attempt. “This moon is too hot!” of the second, and so forth for 63 iterations of the other prototypes, all duly rejected, tossed aside, and thence falling into Jupiter’s gravitational well.

    Fortunately for us, the Intelligent Designer found that “This last moon is just right!”, otherwise how would grunion be able to reproduce?

  11. “aside from Paley’s watchmaker analogy, all there is to the Discoveroids’ “theory” of intelligent design is the God of the gaps fallacy.”
    Eeeehhh, Paley’s watchmakers analogy actually is a god of the gaps fallacy. We don’t know why the Universe looks designed as it looks like designed hence goddiddid.
    Hat tip for our beloved IDiots from Seattle: superconductivity at relatively high temperatures. We don’t know why it happens; our best theory (Nobel-price winning BCS) predicts it can’t happen so we have a true miracle wrought by the Great Designer, blessed be Him/Her/It.
    After all what is more designed and less reducibly complex than this phenomenon?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superconductivity

    Yup, we all can experience divine grace here!

    “They want simplicity. They want plausibility. They want elegance.”
    How biased! Hey, I even have a better theory. The Moon doesn’t exist at all! We know scientists are liars with their radiometry and stuff. Look with a fresh view at the evidence in the creacrap way and everything becomes clear:

    http://www.revisionism.nl/Moon/

  12. Mega – I completely agree that the moon was obviously designed for the grunion!