We posted recently about Fifty More Extra-Solar Planets Discovered, and in that post we said: “We can’t wait for the creationists’ reactions.”
It didn’t take long. There’s an interesting response from the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute‘s creationist public relations and lobbying operation, the Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids, a/k/a the cdesign proponentsists).
The Discoveroids’ post is Among Darwin Advocates, Premature Celebration over Abundance of Habitable Planets. You can pretty much judge their attitude about extra-solar plants from their title.
They begin by criticizing a recent article at Panda’s Thumb. We’ll skip that. They also try to ignore the implications of a growing abundance of extra-solar planets by nit-picking about whether one of the newly-discovered bunch is really habitable. Focusing on minutia is an old technique of theirs — it’s an attempt to distract attention from the big picture.
It’s obvious why they do this — they’re creationists and they hate the idea that there are probably of millions of worlds out there, some of which may harbor life. The very thought is blasphemous to them, as it detracts from the glory of what the magic designer — blessed be he! — hath wrought here on earth.
After skipping over the Discoveroids’ food fight with Panda’s Thumb, it starts to get funny. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:
Undeterred, Ian Musgrave [who wrote the Panda’s Thumb article] exults: “Based on the Kepler data of 2010, we can say that around 50% of Sun-like stars have planets, and there may be at least one million Earth-like planets in habitable zones in the Milky-Way alone. And that is probably an underestimate.”
The Discoveroids’ reaction to that isn’t terribly different from the Inquisition’s reaction to Galileo’s solar system. They don’t like it. Not one bit. They continue:
We suspected Musgrave was celebrating prematurely, so we consulted Guillermo Gonzalez, a world-class expert on planet-habitability.
Expelled! star Guillermo Gonzalez? BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! That’s the Discoveroid “senior fellow” who failed to get tenure at Iowa State University and who now teaches at some bible college. He’s a co-author of the classic creationist book, The Privileged Planet, a “fine tuning” argument applied to Earth. You know how that goes — everything on our little world is so perfectly arranged that it just couldn’t have happened naturally; there had to be some guiding intelligence who set the dials so it would all work out exactly as we see it.
Gonzalez is every creationist’s “world-class expert” on extra-solar planets. A year ago we wrote Newfound Extra-Solar Planet: No Chance for Life about an article from the Institute for Creation Research that cited Gonzalez as their expert. Let’s read what the Discoveroids learned from him:
[Discoveroid article quotes Gonzolez:] While the number of discovered exoplanets has risen dramatically since 1995, so has theoretical research on planet formation, evolution and habitability. What astronomers have found has surprised them. … Our Solar System looks ever more like the exception, and it is exceptional in ways that are life friendly.
While these exoplanets are being discovered, astronomers are discovering additional constraints on the habitability of planetary systems.
What’s more, not only are more requirements for habitability being discovered, but they are often found to be interdependent, forming a complex “web.” This means that if a planetary system is found not to satisfy one of the habitability requirements, it may not be possible to compensate for this deficit by adjusting a different parameter in the system.
So there you are — the view from Bizarro World. The creationists don’t care how many extra-solar planets are out there. Nor do they care that as yet we know very little about the newly-found planetary systems. We don’t yet have the instruments to examine their atmospheres for chemical indicators of life. The creationists and their “world-class expert” are certain they don’t have any life because our earth is unique. Verily, it must be so. The magic Designer wouldn’t do it any other way.
See also: Klinghoffer Opines on SETI.
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